The Culmination of Two Waits: A BQ and a new daughter
January 2011 was a very memorable month for my family. We began our dream of adopting a little girl from the Philippines. I was 36 years old and had already given birth to five children – ages seven months to eight years. However, I felt our family had a sixth child destined to join us through adoption. We had no idea at the time that this journey would last almost five years. It started with this dream, and a name — Ashlyn.
At this same time, I was struggling to lose the baby weight from my fifth child. I also needed an outlet for all my anxieties and lack of patience in the lengthy international adoption process. As I was drowning in adoption paper work, my inspired sister-in-law challenged me to train for a half marathon with her. I laughed at her completely insane idea. Little did I know that running would become a passion I wouldn’t want to live without. In October 2011, I felt ‘on top of the world’ finishing my first half marathon.
A couple months later, in January 2012, my sister-in-law suggested the crazy notion of running a full marathon. I seriously doubted her sanity at this point, but I accepted this unrealistic, enticing goal. If taking care of five young children wasn’t enough to keep my mind off the lengthy adoption wait, training for a marathon truly kept my mind from dwelling on the unknowns. We registered for the River Towns Marathon in May 2012. Unfortunately, I suffered IT Band problems during my training and race, and I finished, but in tears and a lot of pain. After regaining my senses and shaking the desire to never run again, I ran my second marathon in October 2012, finishing with an injury-free 20 minute PR. I was officially addicted to running marathons.
About this same time, I started thinking about that famous and elusive BQ as a goal. And little did I know at this time, but my daughter was born and just had to find her way to us. But a second injury-fraught marathon finish in November 2013 was another set back with my running. Meanwhile, the adoption wait was as tortuous as the running injuries that continued to plague me. Another year passed, and with no conclusion to the adoption process in sight, I again pondered that BQ. And things started to change.
First, I got a lottery spot in the St. George Marathon in Oct 2014, a terrific course to get a BQ. Then, I changed my training strategy to a low mileage 3-day a week training plan with lots of cross-training. With a prayer in my heart, a pace band on my wrist, and my future daughter’s name stamped into a metal washer on my shoe, I stuck to my plan and fought hard for that BQ.
Repeating “Do it for Ashlyn!” pushed me through the last few miles. After almost four years of waiting for our adoption, it was the thoughts of my future daughter in an orphanage somewhere in the Philippines that helped me hold my pace and gut it through to the end. I beat my goal time of 3:42, with a BQ of 3:41:36 with negative splits! I was ecstatic. I did it! I really did it!
Amazingly, just three months later, in January 2015, our family was finally matched with a beautiful two year old girl in the Philippines. After a long eight month wait, we were allowed to bring her home in September 2015. As fate would have it, the day the registration window opened for me to register for the 2016 Boston Marathon happened to be the same day we welcomed our new daughter into our arms from a small orphanage in Bacolod City, Negros, Philippines. On September 21st at 9 a.m. (Philippine time), our dream came true as we held our daughter for the first time.
Later that night, in a remote hotel room halfway around the world (10 a.m. Boston time), I got online to register, as my husband and my new daughter slept soundly on the bed next to me. My two goals had come to fruition on the same day. Running kept me sane while waiting for Ashlyn. And now, I was rewarded with an entrance into the Boston Marathon and a new daughter all on the same day. My cup runneth over! My prayers were abundant with gratitude.
When I cross the Boston Marathon finish line on April 18th 2016, I’ll be repeating the same mantra that got me there – but with a slight twist – “I did it for Ashlyn – thanks be to God!”
What motivates YOU? A particular race? A BQ?
What helped you get there?
And if applicable, share your adoption stories!