Taking Running to a Whole New Level of Awesome

If you know me, you know that I love to run. Up until now, I didn’t think I could possibly love it any more. I was wrong.

Let’s back up about 6 months. My best friend Amanda, whom I’ve talked about before as the friend who got me in to running, participates in a St. Jude Peoria run every year as a way to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. With a half marathon or two under my belt, she asked if I would be interested in participating. She has had nothing but positive things to say about it, so I thought, why not?

Here is how it works:
-Group/team members raise money to donate to the charity.
-At the starting point of the branch, runners set out with at least 3 on the road at a time to head toward Peoria, Illinois.
-At the end of the run, all of the participating groups meet up at the convention center in Peoria to celebrate and take part in the St. Jude telethon.

The branch of the run that I joined was the LaSalle/Peru branch, which was a 66 mile trek to Peoria.

The day started bright and early at 4:30, so we could leave Amanda’s house at 5 am. The run kicked off at 6:30, and we had an hour drive to the start. Of course, we had to stop for coffee to get us running. 🙂

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The run is split into 6 mile legs, which the coordinator also splits in half to keep people from burning out too quickly, especially since ours is a smaller branch of the run. We started with the second leg, which included a massive hill, but a very pretty bridge over the Illinois River. I ran the full six (and saw Ashley collecting donations on the way!) before taking about an hour long rest.

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I alternated between 3 mile runs and breaks of various lengths through most of the morning. By far my favorite leg was a beautiful, shady, downhill 3-miler that a nice group of girls did all together. We had a great time chatting and laughing in the beautiful scenery.

After lunch, I was feeling good on one of my legs and decided not to stop. This was TOUGH. Luckily, the driver of the van that followed us down the roads was super supportive and kept updating me on my distance. Amazing people participate in this event; it truly blew me away.

This five-miler took a lot out of me, especially as the heat began to ramp up, so I rested for awhile and got to meet up with Ashley, who was volunteering, before my final leg.

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I was slowing down at this point, but my group was amazing and held up with me and motivated me when I needed it.

Finally, we reached Peoria for the culmination of the day, which was nothing short of amazing. This post is getting lengthy, so Ashley and I will work on a continuation for tomorrow.

When all was said and done, I ran 20 miles– more than I have ever run in one day. I love running and racing, but this run was entirely different. Each and every one of those miles was bigger than me and meant to benefit children who need it. No matter how hot or tired I got, I knew I had to keep going, for the pain of a run is nothing compared to what some innocent children have to endure. I ran to end it, and I will run to end it as long as I can. We can only hope that, as cool as this experience was, we can find a cure and not need to run for this reason any more.

Stay tuned for the recap of the best part of the day!

Have you ever done a St. Jude run, or something Iike it?

Simple Things A to Z

As I’ve been blog surfing recently in my time off from work, I stumbled upon several of my favorite blogs, including Tina’s, Janetha’s, and Paige’s, that we’re doing a “Simple Things” survey. It’s always good to stop and appreciate the smaller things, so I thought this would be a good weekend post for the sister and I.

A Appreciation
The smallest expression of appreciation from another person can mean so much, right? Feeling appreciated can make a bad day good again.

B Baby giggles
I have been babysitting one of my best friends’ son once a week this summer. He is just a little too adorable.
(Ashley) A baby giggle is why I am in love with having a profession in Early Childhood Education.

C Coffee
I am typing this before going to the store on a morning that I am out of coffee…so I REALLY appreciate it today! Haha
(Ashley) I don’t like Coffee very much so my “C” will be carefree because sometimes you just have to be!

D Dog noses
Wet, yes, but adorable.
(Ashley) Makes me think of my “niece dog”-Libby

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E Eating
We all have to do it… does any one get paranoid about it like I do and not eat past 7pm?

F Friday evenings
There is nothing quite like having two days off freedom ahead of you!

G Grilled cheese
…but only if it’s made correctly. 🙂

H Happiness
What we feel when we run and after a good run.

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I Iced coffee
Can you tell I’m really missing it this morning?

J Jimmy Johns
I don’t know why, but a beach club on whole wheat bread makes me a little more happy than it should.

K Karate
(Ashley) I have a very weird ambition to try to learn karate.

L Listening
Sometimes listening is all you really can do in a situation when you don’t know what else to do.

M MapmyRUN
(Ashley) This is a feature I add to my runs that I almost cannot live without.

N Not having to set an alarm
No explanation needed here.

O One
(Ashley) Today is my godsons 1st birthday.

P Photography
(Ashley) I’ve been getting back into my love for it lately.

Q “Quiet” running
Some people refuse to run without music…I find it kind of awesome.

R Running
This is a given word for us at the moment.

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S St. Jude
Amy is running in a huge St. Jude Children’s Hospital event next week. I don’t feel confident enough in my running yet, but I’ll still tag along beside her as a volunteer!

T Text messages
I don’t know about you, but when I’m at work and check my phone to see a text waiting for me, I get excited. 🙂

U Update
I really hope you are all liking this update!

V Variation
Who wants to get bored with the same old thing?

W Water
I pretty much love sitting outside by the water on a nice summer night.

X – HELP??

Y Yes!
(Ashley) Totally the word that was running through my head over and over today when I realized I had run for the longest I have ever run at 1 time. It was Fantastic!

Z PiZza
Yeah…I cheated. But is there anything better than a good pizza?

Pick a letter…what simple thing comes to mind?

Amy’s Running Story

I have been running for a little over two years now. I truly never thought I would call myself a runner, but now, here I am, blogging about it.

It all started with my college roommate, who remains one of my very best friends. When we met, she was on the cross country team. She eventually went on to start the first running club on our campus. Although I didn’t run, she asked me to be the “pr chair” of the club, which basically meant I put together the newsletter.

Running always intimidated me, but I admired runners from a distance. One day, several years after graduating college, I decided I should give it a shot. I looked up the Couch to 5k program. For me, it worked like a charm. In the past, I had a tendency to bite off more than I could chew when it came to running. This program really gave me the opportunity to build confidence gradually.

I took my time, and, six months later, I was ready to run my first 5k.

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For me, this was one of my most exciting accomplishments. I was at a point in my life at which I needed a confidence boost, and this definitely did it for me. I was hooked.

In the 6 months that followed, I ran several more 5ks and had a great time.

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Soon enough, I decided to take this relationship to the next level. I signed up for a half marathon.

I never expected to do this. But I did. And it was awesome.

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Now, running is a huge part of my life.

I have run…

Five 5k’s.

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Two half marathons.

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In Central Park.

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With family.

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With friends.

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And lots in between! I am looking forward to all the adventures running still has in store for me…including…a marathon?

So, runners…when you look back, how did running start for you?