Sunday, July 22, 2012

St. Jude Chicago To Peoria Run

The 17th annual Chicago to Peoria run was such a life changing event this weekend and now I hold the honor of being a St. Jude runner.

First, let's look at the run by the numbers: the Chicago-Peoria run group raised over $238,000, my team, the Peoria Police raised over $22,000 and as an individual I raised $2535! The run was 160 miles done in 36 hours; I participated 11 of the 41 legs with a total of 31.84 miles ran in 5 hours and 37 minutes and burnt about 3,500 calories.

I'd like to say this adventure began on Friday morning but really it began about a year ago when I saw a posting on facebook about the run and I made the comment "I want to do that". Those five words made a wish into a reality last December when that friend invited me to join his team for the St. Jude Chicago to Peoria run. I began blogging, facebooking and donation seeking in February and continued all through the kick-off of the run. In addition, I spent two of the hottest days of the summer broadcasting from the parking lot of the radio station for 8 hours each day trying to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. During those two days one of my teammates, Tiffany, hung out with me so the $750 we raised I put towards her fundraising goal.

In the past few months I had some pretty amazing experiences from donors and from St. Jude patients and families. The first came from Sgt. Dean Shaffer, he was my first doner and he made his donation while serving in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, a few months later he lost his life serving our country, my very first run on Friday all I did was think about him. Next, I was contacted by Christian who is a St. Jude kid. He shared his story with me and it puts everything into perspective knowing what he has gone through and is still going through today. As tired, hungry and sore that I am today, I know it's not even a smidgen of what Christian has had to bare. I met him again last night with his mom at the telethon and his mom was so adorable thanking me for running and I could really feel the love she has for her son and the pride she had in me for being a St. Jude runner. There are so many people who've touched me in the past few months and simply I cannot name them all and all they have done, otherwise the blog would be a book. My life has forever been changed by this run and I simply cannot wait to do it again next year!
This is Christian and I at the telethon!

Here is one of the pictures Christian drew for me and gave to me last night.

Here's a few other highlights of the Chicago to Peoria Run:

Scariest: About 30 minutes into our drive to Chicago I herd a very loud bang and I thought that something smashed the windshield but we blew a front tire. That police officer mentality took over with our driver Jen and she commanded the RV to the side of the road like it was nothing, the boys jumped out, changed the tire and got us back on the road.
Our AMAZING RV driver Jen

Funniest: At 1:30 am a few of the boys decided to go for an undie-run wearing nothing but their reflective vests and their skives!

Rezac and his speedo!
Memorable: It was a toss-up between running into Roanoke and over the bridge. In Roanoke the towns people just go ALL out for the runners. The EMT and Firefighters meet us outside the city to bring us into town (and then bring us all the way to Peoria), hundreds line the the street and meet us in the park, they provide an AMAZING spread of fruit, veggies, corn on the cob and desserts (all of which are homemade) and then they open up the pool for us to cool off, shower and refresh ourselves before were off to finish the journey. The other is running over the McCluggage bridge!At first it's cool because when can you ever actually run over that bridge to begin with? Then, it's just pure inspiration as you see the river below, the boaters all waiting and waving and then running along Adams and making your way to downtown. You realize that your almost done and it just hit me what I raised, people I've met, how far I've run, plus my boyfriend was waiting for me too!
The runners presenting Roanoke with a gift!

Running the McCluggage bridge!

Hardest: Getting going again and the last mile! You would think it was one of the hilly runs or late night ones or even mid-day. The biggest obstacle was honestly getting up to get ready to run after resting. Yesterday I didn't feel well at all; my body clock was off, diet/nutrition is off and things wern't working how they normally do, I also had a stomach ache, headache, heartburn and ZERO desire to run. However, it never failed, once I got going and running I started to feel GREAT again. Then, the last time! The hardest part of the last mile, as cool as it was, was to just keep going because I've had some painful inflammation in my lower-leg and at this point it was ON FIRE since I had already ran 4.5 miles.
Downtown Peoria and although my smile is big, so was my pain!

Embarrassing: Right where you turn from Jefferson to Kumpf by the Civic Center, I tried to jump the median and instead caught it with my shoe and I-WENT-DOWN in front of alllll the people lined up to Cheer us on. Thankfully I was at the very back of the runners so only a handful of runners saw it. Of course it looked far worse than it really was, I'm kinda clumsy anyway so I did this sweet ass ninja roll thing and hopped right back up and continued running it in. I did suffer one minor injury and that's a scraped up knuckle, which does hurt more than any of my muscles, go figure!
My "war wound"...can you find it?
Peoria Police team on the St. Jude Chicago to Peoria run!


  1. Awesome Job Anna!! You truly ROCK!

  2. Love this blog....very inspiring! I watch the runners run over the bridge from Qdoba which has made me decide I am doing it next year