St. Jude from Another Perspective

I am finally back up on the Internet and able to blog about how I felt about the St. Jude run from a few weeks ago.

Amy brought up to me that she was thinking about running it this year, and it immediately made me think of a little girl. Her name is Lucy Krull, and her story is here . I have never met little Lucy or her family, but, having a love for children of all ages and her inspirational story of strength, I just knew I HAD to be at this St. Jude run, if not for Lucy then for every other child who needed our help.

I have not been a “runner” enough to run it comfortably, but I have capable hands and feet so I was in for the day to volunteer my time as a support person. I was a little nervous on the day of but was up at 3:30 AM and on the road by 4 AM to meet up with Amy and our friends. We got to the starting point, and I was told I would be working collecting donations from residents of the community. Now let me just let you all in on a not-so-secret… I do NOT enjoy collecting money from people. Moneyis a precious valuable, so I feel bad asking for it from anyone, but on this day I happily grabbed my milk jug and stood in the middle of the road at an intersection in the small town where the runners started. People pulled up in their cars, and my support team would ask different drivers “Would you like to help the children of St. Jude?” Let me tell you, the generosity of people out there is unbelievable. An older lady pulled up, rolled down her window and dropped a rather high-valued bill into my milk jug with the comment “I just took my dog to the vet and the vet didn’t charge me so I will give all of this to you guys.” That put a huge smile on my face, and I responded, “Thank you from the kids!”

A few cars later, a man pulled up with a badge on his sleeve. He said, “Guess where I am headed right now?” His response was “I’m headed to St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee. My daughter just got admitted there, so please… please send some up for her. ” Of course I will! I hope his little girl is fighting a winning battle. I think about her often, even though, once again, I do not know her. On and on through the morning hours, people pulled up and dropped money in my jug. We thanked, they honked, they waved, and, most of all, we all smiled!

The strong people running (including Amy) came galloping past us, Amy with a huge smile and an outstretched hand waiting for a high-five. Shortly after I saw her running, I received a text message from her saying “I am having so much fun!” I was too!!

I had heard so much about this day, especially about how the whole team gathers at the end of the day to run the last mile and into a huge reception for all running teams (as Amy has mentioned there was a team of runners that ran to Illinois from Tennessee) and all volunteers and families of St. Jude children. I ran in with Amy and, let me just tell you, the feeling that ran through my body was one of the best I have felt in my whole life. There was a little girl with her hand out yelling “Thank you,” and we smiled and waved at her as we ran by. I saw her again later and got a better look; her purple shirt said, in glittery writing, “I am a St. Jude kid,” and, at that point, my heart was full. I had done enough in that one day to give me a life time of happiness, and I will again next year– hopefully joining the runners out on the road to contribute a few miles to the run.

Even though Amy and I have concentrated on this St. Jude run a lot lately, who can really say they ran 20 miles in 1 day for these children (like Amy did), and who will stand behind them 150% every step of the way like I will?

And Lucy- If you ever get a chance to read this, even though you don’t know meand I have never met you, I will continue to keep up with your story through your mom’s blog. I just want to thank you for helping me want to start running so I can help you and all of your friends get better!

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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. ūüôā

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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?

Ashley’s Running Story

If you have come over from Sisters, Spaces and Stuff you may already know some of this information but if you’re new then the information will be new too!¬† So here is the story about how I chose to start running.¬†

June 2012 –¬† A Saturday morning, Amy mentioned to me that she and a friend of ours were going to go for a run down a trail in our area.¬† I asked if I could come too and go for a walk while they ran-¬†of course!¬† So Amy and I got there a little early and did a mile at a quick walking pace, then her and our friend set off running.¬† Their plan was 20 minutes out-20 minutes back… so I made my plan to walk about 15 then turn around and walk 15 back since I knew they would be running much faster than I could walk, I also didn’t want to lose sight of them…about half way down the trail my legs started to seem as if they weren’t going as fast as my mind and body wanted them to, so I revisited a Couch to 5k app from Rundouble that I had downloaded weeks prior and never got into.¬† I set a destination for myself and started the app…the friendly little voice said “start walking now” to begin my 5 minute warm up walk and let me tell you those 5 minutes took FOREVER!¬† I just wanted to run… when said friendly voice said “start running now” I was off and that minute felt great.¬† Next interval was approaching and so was a dreaded hill but when I heard the magic words I took the hill with stride (haha!) and made it to the top…I ended up back at the “meeting place” before Amy and I literally could not wait to tell her I did it!

The next day:¬†¬† Amy and I had been doing “sister walks” on Sundays at the park by our houses and the day after I knew I wanted to keep running so¬†I asked Amy if she would be willing to let me slow her down a bit and go for a run with her, she was totally for it and off we went.¬† Matt (my hubby) was with us on this day too and said the first time he saw us take off on a run he smiled he was now part of both mine AND Amy’s cheering squad.¬†

No longer just the audience, now I want to be part!

They now have 26 miles of running goodness on them!

¬†Fast-forward…… I decided my old tennis shoes were not doing the trick, they felt very heavy on my feet the days/runs following my starting days.¬† By the way, the first few weeks after I began running I would be so excited ALL day long to be able to run that night…the excitement has worn of a little bit at this point but I still do really enjoy going out for a run.So… I made these newbies part of my running wardrobe¬†

Today-¬†I am still running 3 times a week¬†usually every other day but sometimes I go every day.¬† If the weather is supposed to be really hot to the point of danger i’ll¬†skip a run but those days I always feel like something is missing.¬† I have good days and bad as all of us do but I enjoy my runs and that’s what matters most!¬† I have a little glimmer of hope to run my first 5k at the end of August with a bunch of friends.¬†

I can’t wait to cross my first finish line!

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?