Running For Rescue Dogs

For those of you that know me well, I’m a huge fan of dogs!  Well, pets in general but I prefer my pups more than anything.  When setting out to begin my 2017 year of running I wanted to make a difference in the world of Dog Rescues.  My choice was to team up with BlackJack Animal Rescue out of Tennessee.  They’re the people who found Stella and once I got to know their story, I had to step up my game.15823162_10208205482236738_934814482490240172_n

Blackjack Animal Rescue is a small group of people out of the Bristol, TN area (and beyond) that are doing everything they can to make a change in the lives of dogs.  The work hours are long and the job can be overwhelming at times.  The southern states especially seem to have problems getting these dogs into homes.  At times, it seems easier and more cost-effective to just put the animals down.  This doesn’t sit well with the owner/operator of Blackjack Rescue Sharon Bryant.  She sees dogs (especially Catahoula Leopard Dogs) the same as I do, amazing spirits that want nothing more than to be with humans.  The soul of a dog is special and Sharon, along with her team of angels work tirelessly to save as many dogs as they can and find them good homes.  The average adoption fee is $300 but let me tell you, this covers the animal being fully vetted, micro-chipped and usually transport to just about anywhere!  The fee also helps to cover the never-ending costs of maintaining all the animals in foster care but also helps to save more dog’s lives.

After getting to know Sharon more and seeing all the faces that she works to bring back to health, train, foster and eventually get homes, I knew I had to step up and help.  I’ve been working on bringing awareness of this population problem and lack of help in the southern states as well as raise funds through my running of races, blogging and regular postings on Facebook.  The hope is to get extra donations to this amazing outfit so that they can turn the tide of killing these animals.  I’ve reached out to the running community, co-workers, friends and family to assist in my efforts.   http://blackjackrescue.org/ is the website and they have a paypal system set up so that you can do either a one time donation or a regular monthly one!  If you prefer to mail checks, just send one off to Blackjack Animal Rescue 260 Old Stage Trail Bristol, TN 37620.  There’s also a wish list on the website if you’d like to help with food, toys, bedding or a Thundershirt!  Yes, I did donate a new Thundershirt to the rescue this year so that some wonderful pup would feel safer during storms.  Everything is tax-deductible as Blackjack is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

stellagoosecooper

Stella (right) and her cousins Goose (bottom) and Cooper (top left) are all BlackJack Rescue dogs!

I have a little more that I need to share about rescue dogs and what they can do for your life.  This being my own story.  I had an Aussie Shepherd/Catahoula mixed dog (Silver) that was part of my life for a very long time.  He lived to be 17 years old and was my world.  When Silver passed, I realized that I had a hole in my heart that only a dog could fill.  I hated coming home to an empty house and missed that wagging tail at the end of my work day or upon any return home.

I started my search locally and eventually found Blackjack Animal Rescue.  They specialize in Catahoula Leopard dogs, so I decided to keep watching the intake and hoped for another silver.  I contacted Sharon and told her my story which in turn prompted her to start sending my pictures of so many beautiful dogs!  I just couldn’t believe all these adorable speckled pups were in need of a home.  Well it happened, she notified me of a dog that was running loose on an expressway and was brought in by a member of her group.  She was a bit skinny, no tags, not fixed but pretty much healthy.  She sent pictures to me of “Stella”.  I just knew I had to have her.  We were heading for the TN area for vacation and made arrangements to meet Stella at a local dog park.  Wow!  She was not only beautiful but so playful and full of love.  Needless to say…the rest is history!  A couple of years later Stella is living the good life here in Ohio with us and my heart is once again full.

While she’s not Silver, she brought all new and exciting things to our home.  Stella is scared of the back yard (long story) so she requires regular walks just to go potty.  This means that Karla and I have to walk the neighborhood 3 or more times in a day.  While at first it seemed like craziness, it’s turned into a blessing in disguise.  We’ve met numerous people in our neighborhood and have become good friends with them. (Thanks Stella) We’re walking and getting more exercise than ever before. (Thanks Stella) We’re able to spread the word about Blackjack Animal Rescue and teach people more about the Catahoula Leopard dog! (Thanks again Stella)  You see, as Cesar Millan once said “You’ll never get the dog that you want, You’ll always get the dog that you need.”  I needed Stella in my life and she’s changed it forever.  Keep this in mind if/when looking at rescue dogs.  They’ll bring more to you then you’ll ever be able to give to them.  They want nothing more than to be loved by you and be with you.stella

I needed to share this so that more people will understand how important dogs are in our world.  I also want more people to get involved and help rescue these special animals.  We have several great dog rescues in our area that can always use help.  I’d love to see more people help me with our friends in the south.  They need us up here in NW Ohio!  We need to bring more Catahoula Leopard dogs this way.  We need to save lives that are being snuffed out at an alarming rate at the high kill shelters in Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee.  So please, take some time to get to know Blackjack Animal Rescue.  Like them on Facebook and follow along!  Donate and save a life!  I need you to help me make this happen.  Runners…it’s time to shine.  We can do this…Together.mikesraceshirt

I’ll see you on the Road!

~Zombie~

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Stay Strong and Move Forward

daves10formike The first official race has been run!  The Dave’s 10 Miler turned out to be an absolutely perfect day!  Late January in NW Ohio and 60 degrees at race time?  Are you kidding me?  Karla and I both wore shorts and I had on a short sleeve shirt…Wow!  The 10 Miler is billed as the race that can give you anything from our 60 degree sun filled day to a full on blizzard!

When I ran this one in 2015…it was the only race that I seriously considered giving up on.  My mindset was that I was out there running with a purpose and I needed to stay strong and move forward – telling myself to never give up and never stop!  I won’t lie…it was the longest 10 miles of my life but the satisfaction of crossing the finish line washed all the negative away.  There will always be obstacles in our lives…we just need to roll through them because the finish will be sweet!

The next run up will be the Great Scott 25K.  It’s a Toledo Road Runner club event and can also be a challenge due to it being run in late February.  March is when things will get really busy!  I’m laying out a couple of 5K runs to go along with a couple of bigger runs!  We’ll have both the Black Swamp Festival of races (25K) and the Ann Arbor Half marathon (13.1).  Trying to keep the legs moving and focused on the big prize in April!  The Big Sur Full Marathon!  Just for kicks…we’ll be running the Glass City Half Marathon the week before the Big Sur Full!  Crazy you say?  I’m going with absolutely on that!  LOL!

Training has been going well and both Karla and I remain focused.  I’ve been getting my much-needed lifting days in each week which is helping a bunch.  I’m still carrying around my food journal and writing down what I eat each day.  I do allow myself one full day off of strict eating and usually enjoy a pizza after my long run then.  Something to look forward to after all the miles are run!

My sister Patti and I have been changing up our running routes to see different parts of Toledo – or at least parts that we haven’t run in quite some time.  I threw in both the High Level bridge and the Martin Luther King bridge on a couple of long runs.  Back in my old stomping grounds of the East side!  The High Level bridge seems so much smaller than I remember it…lol!  Maybe after running the Ravenel bridge in South Carolina a few times I’ve learned how big a bridge can really be!  That one is a monster!  I’ve been keeping away from too many “junk miles” so that I can keep myself healthy.  I have a regular issue with my right foot and want to keep it from acting up yet again this year.

The purpose this year is of course for BlackJack Animal Rescue!  I love my dogs and especially Catahoula Leopard Dogs!  Blackjack has had their hands full with the storms in the south, poor animal shelters and just people’s lack of care for animals.  If we can get funds to them and save more of the precious pups…the world just might be a better place!  Sharon Bryant and her band of warriors are always on the lookout for dogs to rescue.  They share these faces in their network and find foster care, get them fully vetted and ready for their forever homes!  It’s truly an awesome job they do and I’m honored to put my race shirt on and show the name BlackJack Animal Rescue on my back!  Please like and follow them on Facebook. To offer a donation just go to Blackjackrescue.org.  You can make a one time donation or set up a recurring monthly amount.  All donations are tax deductible as well…so double bonus!mikesraceshirt

Stay with me…we have much more to come!  I’ll update you on training and such during February.  March we’ll be “Bringing it”!  Getting ready for the final push before we roll into April…so stay tuned!

You know what I’m going to tell you now.  Stay active!  Go walk, run, bike, lift weights…whatever you want – just move!  The human body was built and designed for motion!  Drop one bad habit in your eating or set yourself a challenge to walk a 5K by a certain date.  Be proud of yourself and keep going!  I’m always around if you need a kick in the pants…lol!  Until then…

I’ll see you on the ROAD!

~Zombie~

Keep the Focus!

We’re working through the second week of training and thus far I feel pretty good!  I’m staying focused on keeping my miles where they need to be and getting to the gym 2-3 times each week to maintain my strength.  Doing the core work and eating better will help I’m sure.  I really hate carrying the extra weight but know that in time that’ll be corrected. I always feel better when I’m a bit lighter and my speed will improve as well.  On Task!

I’ve signed up for group of runs that’ll be done here locally. http://runtoledo.com/runthe419/ I’ve run a couple of them in the past years but there are some that have been brought back from my past.  The Channel 11 River Run was one that I remember running in the wayyyyy back!  I like the idea of running the streets of Toledo and reliving memories of yesteryear.  Brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.  For those of you that are here in town…you need to come out to these and cheer!  If you have the time…volunteer!  I’ve never known a race director to turn away free help!

I have my sights set on a couple of my Winter favorites.  The Great Scott 25K was big fun the last time through and I absolutely must run it again. February 19th at Oak Openings Metro park.  The next favorite is the Great Black Swamp Festival of Races! FALLEN TIMBERS MIDDLE SCHOOL, 6119 Finzel Rd, Whitehouse, OH 43571.  For those of you who have followed Run Zombie Run you may remember that I love this race because of the “Memory Mile” at the end of the race.  Signs posted everywhere of special people that we’ve loved and lost.  I find myself fighting tears and emotion during this final mile.  All the names just make you realize how precious and short life really is.  It’s a must to come out to this one!

I’m keeping with the challenge to run at least a 10 mile (OR More) during each month of 2017!  I’ll run some of the super fun 5K’s as well but want to keep at the Big Runs!  The idea is to maintain big mileage but stay healthy to make it through the entire 2017 race season.

The Race shirt for this year is a dark Gray Nike DriFit.  We have white letters for the Run Zombie Run and an Orange Zombie!  New this year is an Orange Zombie Dog!  This year’s focus is on Blackjack Animal Rescue.  blackjackrescue.org  I want people to know the kind of work that’s going on in the world out there so that we can keep hope.  Sharon Bryant and so many others that she’s networked with do hard work for the love of these animals.  They want nothing in return but to know that they’ve made a difference and saved one of God’s creatures.  How can you not want to help a group like that?  I’ll talk about them more in future blogs and continue to find ways to raise funds to help their operation.  Feel free at anytime to get on their website and make a donation!  Tell them that Zombie sent you in the comments…it’ll make Sharon smile!

I hate to get too much ahead of myself but I will tell you that I’m looking into a possible Virtual 5K again this year!  My Tattoo artist told me today that he’d be happy to do artwork for shirts and you know…we just might have to do that because it sure was fun the last time!  I’ll look into getting a sponsor or two to cover the cost of the shirts and printing so that every dollar can be sent to Blackjack Animal Rescue!  If there’s interest…I may look into doing regular (soft) T-shirts that mimic my Run Zombie Run Race shirt!  Reach out and let me know if it’s something I need to look into.

I always like to close by telling you all that I appreciate you following me on these journeys in my life.  I love that people become inspired and want to do good for others as well as themselves.  Remember the human body was meant to be in motion!  Go out and enjoy the winter…don’t just hide from it.  There’s a certain peace in walking on a crisp Winter day!  Download the ResQwalk App on your phone and turn that on while walking as well!  If you put Blackjack Animal Rescue in as your chosen rescue…every mile you walk they’ll donate funds to the rescue!  How cool is that?  So get out and go!

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~

Holidays, running and the challenge!

We’re about to start a line up of Holidays that can cause a few issues.  Over eating, good old stress, of course the lack of sun due to time change and weather!  I say again…”Keep Moving!’  I plan on getting out both today and tomorrow for some nice runs.  Today because the wind is light and work is crazy busy!  I come to work in a better mood and better frame of mind after a nice run.  The plan for Thanksgiving is to get up and run with my sister for our weekly long run.  We have a set goal of no less than 9 miles on our long run day.  Hoping to go 10 miles + tomorrow!  It’s easier to consume a few extra calories when you’ve gone out and burned some 1,000 to 1,500 calories first thing in the morning.

We get through the Thanksgiving hangover only to go right into shopping mode for the Christmas season.  Everyone loves to cook and bake during this season and I won’t lie, I love me some cookies!!  While Christmas is always special and I enjoy seeing family that at times I may only see once a year, I still like to find my time to get some running done.  This year will be even crazier because of this plan I’ve come up with to run 30 races during 2015!

The new website will be going live, I’ll still be working on getting sponsors and blogging of course.  Then there is the matter of setting up the race schedule.  I’ve started a list of some of the local runs coming right into the beginning of the year.  Here are a few that are on my list:  The kick off race will be the Midnight Special 5K.  It’s held on New Year’s Eve and runs through the midnight hour!  I thought that would be kind of cool!  I don’t drink or party, but I do run!  That will be the kick off of the 30 races!  I’m looking into doing the Dave’s 10 Miler on 1/25/15.  I may find time to get one more in January.  Also looking to travel to Florida in February to visit my sister and run the A1A Half Marathon down there!  Sunrise at the beach…yeah…I’m there!  That’s 2/15/15.  I will for sure be running the Black Swamp Festival of races on March 21, 2015.  I fell in love with this race last year because of their “memory mile”.  Runners are given the opportunity to list names of love ones they’ve lost over the years.  The entire last mile of the race is covered with signs showing  the names and a message on them.  I was in tears the whole way in last year…so touching!  I will of course plan for the big one in Toledo, The Glass City Half Marathon on 4/26/15!!  Once the website goes live, I’ll list any and all races on a calendar right on the site for all to check and hopefully follow!  Busy but in a good way!

Don’t forget to be kind to one another through the Holiday Seasons!  It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day!  You never know what they might be going through and you could be the difference…and really, don’t we all want to make a difference?!

Keep talking about my 30races.com to anyone and everyone!  Talk about Mobile Meals of Toledo and the fine work they do!  Keep following and buy a Run Zombie Run T-shirt for a Christmas gift!  It all goes to Mobile Meals of Toledo…nothing for me but happiness knowing they we’re making things better.  https://www.booster.com/mobilemealsoftoledo

Zombie

Treadmills OR Dreadmills?!

When the weather gets to the point of ridiculous, like today.  One needs to seek other forms of cardio, of the indoor version.  Now most runners can step right up to a treadmill and go without any issues.  Me, it’s a whole different adventure!  I hate to even look at the damn things!  I don’t trust them, I don’t like the way they sound and I really hate looking at myself running in a mirror!!  (Thanks Snap Fitness for that!)  Did I mention the close proximity of other people while you’re trying to run on this torture device??!!  I just may be one of the sweatiest persons on the planet when it comes to running.  If you’re parked on a treadmill next to me, yeah, you may get overspray on your machine…sorry. 😦

These machines are discussed by runners all the time.  The best brand, how far can you run on them, do you go to a gym to use or is it at home?  That kind of stuff.  My take has always been, I will run outdoors every single change I get!  It has to be God awful outside for me to get on the Dreadmill!

The other issue I have, I can’t do long distance on one.  Mental block of some kind, but I just can’t do it.  Today after doing my weights, I walked over to the “yuck machine.”  Maybe muttered under my breath for a moment or two and then climbed aboard.  I was able to get 2 miles worth of sprints done and a very mild “runner’s high!”  I did get it done though and I’m happy for that!

So I’m curious, your take on these machines.  Do you love them?  Do you hate them?  Love to hear stories!  Maybe I’ll share some of my adventures another day of the many mishaps I’ve had on the Deadmill!  My reasons for such distrust…lol!  I can laugh now…but it wasn’t so funny at the time!

Happy Tuesday all!  Get up and get moving!

Zombie