Posted by Nicole
One of the highlights of coming to Illinois in mid-August is the participating in the annual Bulldog Challenge Runs at St. Anthony High School. My mom, all of her siblings. and the majority of my cousins attended St. Anthony, so participating in this race is extra special to our family. The Bulldog Challenge helps raise money for the St. Anthony sports programs, something I was very glad to support! Unlike myself, many of my cousins are SO great at sports– baseball, softball, cheer, tennis, golf, soccer, etc.
A couple years ago, I volunteered at the race and helped direct people along the course. This year, I signed up to run the 10K!
I was accompanied by a LOT of family members.
And the whole gang– 14 of us!!!
For such a small town (population 12,000), the race had a great turnout. Over 400 people participated in the races– 2 mile walk, 5K, or 10K.
I chose the 10K, along with my aunts Patty, Marilyn, Cindy, and Rose. The rest of the gang rocked the 5K!
And yes, I have a huge extended family. I am so lucky to have so many great aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The race began at 8:10, just as it was starting to heat up…
It was a great run with lots of water stations and awesome mile markers! The only bad parts were the humidity and the HILLS! I gave myself quite a few pep talks to charge up the hills.
To go with the theme of bulldogs (their mascot), there were huge paw prints spray-painted at various parts of the course. It was a nice touch.
Mile 4 went along the interstate and I managed to quickly snap a photo of one of the Effingham towers. It reads “The Crossroads of Opportunity“– Effingham is at the heart of the crossing of interstates 57 and 70. Many truck-drivers stop in Effingham to rest because it is a major crossroad of the country.
I ran the first 4 miles consistently, which is the farthest I have ever run! I was so proud and gave myself a 30 second walking break as a reward. I ran most of the remaining 2 miles, and I was soon greeted at the finish by about 7 family members! Such a great way to end a race…
My goal was to finish the 10K in under an hour. I beat my 10K PR by almost 4 minutes!!! A 9:12 pace was a great accomplishment for me, especially considering I walked about 0.4 miles of the race and had to slowly
run trudge up some hills.
The race finish was at the St. Anthony track, and the track sure felt like squishy heaven after running 6 miles on roads! Considering I almost always run on a treadmill, the track felt great.
The awards ceremony began soon-after the races. My aunt Patty got 2nd place in her age group! She is super speedy and her life goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states… that’s the real deal people.
Participants enjoyed beer and burgers after the race…. which was at 9:45 AM!!! Illinois folk sure know how to party hard ;)
After chatting with family, I drove back to the lake house.
I explained the race details to my mom and then took a much-needed shower! I was covered in salt.
And next came….
Salad, very similar to my last one, with a Boca vegan patty, TJ’s flaxseed crackers, balsamic dressing, and a dollop of greek yogurt. +++ Lots of leftover fruit from my mom’s high school reunion! So.much.cantaloupe. :)
You guys, don’t be fooled. This salad was HUGE. And all for moi.
Salad the size of my head… just the way I like ‘em.
Tonight we are going to Krista’s wedding!!! I am so excited. I cry at every wedding I attend, I just can’t help it. Exchanging vows is so emotional and I’m a sucker for intimate things like that. I’ll be sure to wear my waterproof mascara.
Enjoy your Saturday, friends!
Q4U: Would you rather run in extremely hot weather on flat terrain, or in cool weather on hilly terrain?
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