running to my girl

I am not a runner.Β  I’m just not a fan of things that require endurance. Even most of my crafts only take a couple of minutes. In February, Matthew Benjamin, a local teenager, came to my church. He shared about how a trip to Uganda in 2010 wrecked him. He left Uganda changed…and that change led him to training for a half marathon to raise money to build an orphanage. In a few short months he ran. He raised $31,000+. As he shared at my church, he also said he would be planning a 5K Orphan Run this summer that would benefit the local kids in foster care.

I sat in my seat thinking…That is awesome. I want to raise boys that see beyond their own needs like that. Too bad I’m not a runner, maybe I’ll support someone else that runs it.

Then a week later my dear friend Cindy told me she was going to lead a Bible study called Run for God…it would involve training for a 5K and in the end the group would do the Orphan Run together. Bummer…I’ve got to learn to be a runner.

So I signed up for the study. I signed up because Cindy was leading it, because the run would benefit kids in foster care and because I so despise running…kind of like I really don’t like the wait involved in an adoption. In my head, there is nothing I personally can do to get our adoption process moving any faster. The wait is grueling. It takes endurance. It is painful. I don’t enjoy it. I just want it to be over. Basically, the same way I feel about running.

While I’ve endured the adoption wait, I’ve forced myself to run. I still don’t enjoy it. I have no idea what a “runner’s high” could possibly be. The whole time I am running I am thinking how much I wish I wasn’t running.

As I run, I remind myself to “run my own race”. There will always be people in front of me and those behind me….like an adoption timeline. My friends Angie & Cindy are always in front of me when we run. They run like gazelles. I run like an elephant.

Here are their gazelle feet…

When I run I try to find beauty around me…sunrise, sunset, flowers…anything to help the make me not think about how much I dislike running and want it to be over. I’m trying that with this adoption waiting. I’m trying to find beauty in the wait. I’m looking for flowers popping up in the middle of the fields separating me from my daughter.

I’m running 4-6 miles a week. Some people run that in a day. For me it is a big accomplishment. In a couple of weeks I will run my first 5K. And then on June 2nd I’ll run the Orphan Run Oklahoma. And then later in June I will run the Color Run just because having someone throw paint on me while I run sounds pretty fun…and a like a good distraction from the fact I’ll actually be running.

And then all those 5Ks will be over. And hopefully it will be close to time to board a plane.

So while it looks like I am running to cross a finish line, really I am running to my daughter.

*by the way, I got the pinning issue fixed on yesterday’s post. You can now pin a few of those pics.

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  • Steph - Honestly every time I read your blog now (every morning!) I get anxious and frustrated and nervous, because of your adoption. I’m impatient and squirmy and I don’t even KNOW you, I’ll never meet your daughter, I just UGH I want you to have her already so BADLY.

    So if it helps, when you and your husband are feeling alone and tunnel-visioned, you’re not alone. Of course there are hundreds of mothers waiting the wait you are, but there are also hundreds of us waiting YOUR wait with you, in some small way. Move it already, adoption!!!

  • Kaylee - Finally! Someone else who views running the same way I do! My husband ran long distance/cross country in high school and now coaches my little brother’s track team…needless to say, he loves running and could never understand how much I don’t love running. Anyway, it’s just nice to know there are more people like me out there! Keep up the good work!

    P.S. Can’t wait to see pictures of your sweet baby girl. I pray for her, you, your husband, and her brothers and sister everyday!

  • Diane - I totally agree with the running thing…I don’t get the “high” either. I run a few times a week but every moment I’m thinking, “I want to stop! ” Running more than a 5k seems amazing/crazy! Thank you for sharing your adoption journey! I think at the end of this “run” you will experience the best “high” ever!

  • Amy - What an inspiring post. I giggled out loud when you said you’re not a fan of things that require endurance- ha! That is SO ME! I too dislike running VERY MUCH and so wish I could be one of those people who liked it. You inspired me to do it even if I don’t like it. Blessings to you as you continue to wait for your sweet one. Thank you for including us in this journey, it has been a blessing to read about! Have a wonderful weekend!

  • angie webb - So amazing! πŸ™‚ I hate running, however I am going to sign up for the Color Run as soon as registration opens up in my city, too. While I hate running, it just looks so happy I can’t wait to do it and I can’t wait to see pictures you get from yours!!!!!!

  • Allison - I feel the same way about running. However, I recently took up running and I’m beginning to love it! I ran my first 5K about a month ago. I am also do the Color Run, It sounded like so much fun I had to do it. It is keeping me motivated. Good luck in your 5K’s. It is totally worth it and you will feel so accomplished when you cross that finish line.

  • Jane in Canada - Yay for running. I’m one of those running high people and absolutely love it. I’ve done about 5 half marathons and 3 full marathons. Tomorrow, I’m running a 5K with my 8 year-old daughter and on Sunday I’m doing my 6th half. It’s always wonderful when running can be paired with a great cause (I’ve raised funds for the pediatric program in my hospital) but even being out there, showing your children an active lifestyle is so, so important. Especially in today’s age of childhood obesity. They are likely going to be a generation whose life expectancy will decrease compared to their parents, for the first time in history. Your kids are obviously not in that category, but so many kids these days are not healthy, right from early childhood because they don’t have healthy role models at home. So…yay for running!

  • Ashley - I never got a runner’s high until I ran my first 5k. And even after that for a while running was only so I could lose weight. But then I ran an entire 10k and I got a REAL runner’s high and I was hooked. I went from being essentially sedentary to running a half marathon in eight months. Not saying you should make yourself love it or anything, but that it could happen :).

  • bonnie - totally agree with you on the running thing. i will do my first 5K this coming sunday. totally nervous. really don’t like it, can’t wait for it to be over. i like how you compare it to your adoption wait too though. and this sunday while I’m running my 5K, i’ll also be praying for you, praying that you continue to find the beauty in the wait. He is with you every “step” of the race and every step of the wait. hang in there.

  • Deb Leluga - I love how you have related your running to the adoption…beautiful.

    I started running a few months ago and have run two 5ks, one 8k and will be running a 10k on May 19. I, like you, feel like an elephant rather then a gazelle! πŸ™‚ Although I often think about how I rather be doing anything but running while I’m running, I must say, I always feel great afterward and it has even become a bit addiciting!

    I would love to particpate in a run for orphans. I will be researching to see if there are any in Northeast PA.

    Have a great weekend!

  • Christy - Woo hoo! All the capucilles will be at the color run! Will it just be you or all the Campbells? Hopefully we’ll see you in Tulsa. So, as a non runner myself, I can’t imagine why you’d be punishing yourself with RUNNING during this already grueling time. πŸ˜‰

  • tracy a - do it girl! i used to hate running too…then i trained for a marathon, put my back out so i never got to run it (2 weeks prior!), and now that i’ve been told i shouldn’t run, i long to! crazy… anyhow, you can do it! can’t wait to see the pictures after the colour run!

  • Seriously Sassy Mama - My goal is to run a 5k in a year. I was a sprinter and running a mile is long distance for me. I am not a quitter, and really want to accomplish this. Unfortunately, I have not been running, but walking 3 miles daily. 10-12 miles a week. I walk them in 30 minutes, so that is saying something. I really want to run. I wish I knew what was holding me back? Oh yeah, it is called my lungs. lol

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Yeah- unless the “high” feels a lot like wanting to throw up, then I’ve never had it either! Good for you pushing yourself!

  • Lacy M - This post just made me laugh out loud a couple of times!! I hate to run too and the entire time I’m running I’m thinking when can I stop!! I started running a few years ago to lose some weight….I’ve kept it up cause it’s a great excuse to spend time with my girlfriends. And I really think “runner’s high” is a myth!! We take weekend trips to running events. We went to Tulsa in November and ran in the Route 66, last weekend we ran in the OKC Memorial (we’ve ran it for 3 years now) our first run was a Muddy Buddy in Dallas. I’m a nervous wreck the entire time (when it comes to running) but the time with friends is amazing!!! I’m getting nervous right now just typing about running!!!!! Oh none of my runs have been a full marathon, just halves and relays. I will NEVER do a full!!! I don’t even like to drive 27 miles!!! Anyway good luck with EVERYTHING!!!

  • cinback - Way to go! I am also in training for my first half-marathon. I know what you mean about just wanting the run to be over…I started out like that too. But keep going. I am now up to 12 mile runs on the weekend and if you had told me that I would be doing this even a month ago, I would have laughed. Bless you on your journey.

  • Alice H - I think about hamburgers and cheesecake and other delicious items when I run. I have never had a runner’s high either. Thanks for posting info about that Orphan Run. I think my 11 year old and I will join.

  • Emily - First off: I gigglesnorted when you said you’re not a fan of anything that requires endurance. Didn’t you birth 4 kids? I just have one little boy and there are days when that feels like a feat of endurance. I am confident these measly little races will be nothing compared to that.

    Second: whenever I watch the Bourne movies, I am inspired to run. Especially the second, where he’s jogging on the beach in India…but that could just be the idea of running next to a topless Matt Damon….

    Third: I’ll be cheering you on in spirit. Go for it!

  • Natalie - It took me a long time to get a runners high. I did about 4 5ks before I finally started to like it and not dread the starting line. Now I love running and am doing a 10 mile race this weekend! Just keep at it- you will get there, too! Promise!

  • Sarah W. - AWESOME!
    you can do this!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Ashley, I just love you!

  • amanda torres - Girl, I HATE running. However, I do it for a couple of reasons…1. It’s efficient exercise. I can walk out my front door run for 30 minutes and be done. 2. I like the way I feel after I’m done. 3. Well, there’s no 3. I hate running. One thing that does keep me motivated is thinking about trials other people have gone through. If they can push through their trials then surely I can push through temporary pain. Sounds crazy, but it helps me.

  • Julie B - I’m doing the Color Run too! I will definitely sign up for the Orphan Run also. I’m also running the Rooster Day 5k again this year. Really my goal is to run that Rooster Day 5K until I’ve been running it longer than anyone else. It’s one of my really long term goals. I hate running also, but I lose weight really efficiently when I run. I usually feel a runners high and sheer exhaustion at the same time, lol!

  • Suzanne - As I have firmly entrenched in my 30’s, I have decided that running is an evil drummed up by the devil. That said, I am now doing the Couch 2 5K program (now doing = just started). I love how perspective changes things. You are running with visions of your soon-to-be Song in your head. Not mired down by circumstance, but focusing on what is to come. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your life with us! Praying for the day that we get to see your baby girl!

  • Sarah - Ashley,
    My friend Grace is also running to her daughter, so I thought I would share her blog with you…

    Good luck!

  • Nikki - Argh! I want you to not have to wait any longer! I don’t even have any children and I feel this wave of frustation and disappointment every time I come here. I can’t run.. I feel like my chest will explode every time I try. Good for you, pushing through and doing it for charity!

  • Susan - “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Heb. 12:1
    Running is not my thing either, but I will be cheering for you to finish the race so you can sing your Song! May God spur you on to the completion of your family!

  • Carrie Benjamin - Wow! That was so beautiful! I look forward to meeting you:)
    My son is Matt.. He is working hard to put this 5k on.
    Thank you for helping to spread the word.
    Posters are ready and they look awesome.. I think you will love the t-shirt too.
    Let me know if you need any posters:) I can leave some for you at BattleCreek.
    Take Care… keep running!! So blessed to hear your story:)

  • Venusia - Wow ! Thanks for the sharing about doing things that are hard and we don’t like for the good cause. It encourage me to continue serving God through the persecutions and hard time, because that is the greatest cause !

  • Kelleyn - Good luck!

  • Kara M - YEAH! We’re so excited for this. Praise God for Matt and the entire Benjamin family! They are a rock star family!! I’ll be at the Orphan Run…not running, but volunteering. πŸ˜€ Then The Color Run will be my first actual 5k to run.

    Matt is the perfect example of orphan care at ANY age!!

  • Tina Poulsen - I started running this year too. Your reason is much more noble & your analogies more profound. I started because I’ve always admired runner girls, making it look so effortless and chic. I laughed out loud at your “run like an elephant”! Come over to : for my running journey, including a 10K I ran in March:

  • kristin fleck - from what i hear the couch to 5k (C25K) program is the best, hands down. Just google it πŸ™‚

  • Katie Meg - We too are waiting to adopt and I am a runner! How funny. It sounds funny to say I am a runner, it has been a 2 year process. Still don’t love it, but must not hate it anymore. Running my first 10k next weekend. The running has helped me put feet:) to our wait, since it is really out of my control; yet totally in God’s control. Love hearing the adoption updates and how the wait is going. A friend sent me a link to “While I’m Waiting”- great song about worshipping in the waiting; so hard yet just the thing to do. Feeling for you and proud of you for running and adopting!
    Psalm 46

  • Ellie - Color Run just came through LA a few weeks ago and I know a lot of people who participated– I’m not a fan of running either {unless it’s playing tag or some other such game}, but I can see the appeal of a shorter run with friends that has a purpose! So, go you! *yay*

    {As a sidenote, I thought your little people might enjoy the knowledge that today is actually Star Wars Day… the motto of the day being “May the fourth be with you!” *grins*}

    Happy weekend!


  • Charity G. - I understand not being a runner. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the color run. My best friend and I just walked the So Cal Color Run. It was so much fun, and my boys (ages 4, 2, and 2) loved it.

  • Denise~ - Ashley, I feel the same way about running that you do…I’ve been running for 14 weeks now prepping for a 5K Mother’s Day weekend and I haven’t hit 5K yet! I keep running and hating it…but am hoping for a break through and a runner’s high! I never regret the run, but I regret the days I don’t run!

  • Tina I. - Waiting is hard. Being patient…also hard. Lessons that I can’t seem to master myself, so I’m not sure how I’m supposed to teach them to my children!:-)

    I am a mom of 5 and have been running for years (5 marathons and counting). I don’t always love it, but I never regret having gone. I’m slow and I don’t care. Running provides such great life lessons that I don’t think I could ever give it up. Sometimes running (like life) is hard/difficult/challenging. Just keep moving forward. If I can keep moving forward during a difficult run and do it with a positive attitude, I am teaching myself and my children that sometimes when life gets difficult, we press on, and see what God has planned for us next.

    My last 2 kids are twins that were born 8 weeks early while my husband was on a business trip. I was all by myself with my OB, tons of doctors and nurses (my family had my other kids), thinking that all 3 of us might not make it. I was scared, lonely, and in tons of pain, crying and saying that I COULDN’T do it. My OB said, “you’re a runner. You can run 26.2 miles WITHOUT STOPPING. This….you CAN do.”

    Running is good. Maybe it will help the wait. Take Care.

  • Erin~ - I’ve never commented (I don’t think??) but I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time. We’re an AF family and recently found out we’re being assigned to Tinker in June and I just registered for the Color Run! I’m far more excited than I should be about possibly seeing you. I am a runner, but considering I’m driving from Virginia to Oklahoma with two kids (2 and 6 months) just 8 days before the 5k, I don’t expect to be very fast. But it looks like so much fun!

  • ella @ lifeologia - Great work Ashley!
    I was expecting a Star Wars ~ May the 4th be with you post – but this is also good! ;D lol

  • Michelle W - Oh…I can so relate to your feelings of running. I absolutely loathe it. I just don’t get the “runner’s high” & I have no desire to run for endurance. I much more prefer sprints. I am short and compact & my build just doesn’t agree with long(er) runs. BUT, on the other hand, there is always some type of satisfaction at the finish line. Keep Moving Forward!

  • Jen Sadlier - I began to read your blog for your amazing creativity! I wish I crafted more, I find I end up doing a lot of looking and not much doing!:) But now I read your blog to see how God is working in yours and your families lives. Thank you for sharing your heart with a world of strangers! I hate waiting too! I hate running even more!! So I relate to that! We are not waiting for a child, but we are waiting on God to show us His plan for our family. Reading your blog helps me remember that all of us who love Jesus are waiting to see the plans he has for us! And getting to rejoice with our fellow believers at seeing His plan come to fruition. Reading todays blog made me think of this quote…”What God does in you while you wait is every bit as important as what you are waiting for.” I’m not sure who said it but I love that our Father is always working in us, even when we wish he would quickly get to the finish.
    I know we will never know each other, but thank you again for sharing! It encourages me daily!

  • Ko - Go momma go! You rocked this post! It seems like so many of us are running these days! And the color race will be awesome! We have ours tomorrow πŸ™‚ Thank you for the reminder about running your own race and comparing it to the adoption timeline. We are moving a God’s pace with our adoption and I know that in my heart but when I see other people “zipping” by us I get so anxious and think “hurry hurry”. Thank you thank you for this reminder. I hope you know how many lives you touch through this blog. God is using you in such BIG ways!

  • meg duerksen - you will get the runner’s high.
    you will.
    we will be running on june 2 also!!
    not in oklahoma but in kansas.
    we will be running twins.
    ha ha ha

  • Megan - NewlyWife - Funny story. I hate running too. I started Couch to 5k for my husband. Then I realized I liked that I was running. Not during the running, I tell you, but after the fact. Telling people that I was running. Etc. So I kept at it. Instagramming and facebooking after every run. My hubs came with me sometimes, but not all times.

    Once I hit 20 minutes though, it was actually easy. I wanted to make it to 25 or 30. SO WEIRD! I know. But just keep on keeping on. And listen to podcasts. If you like food + food bloggers, check out Joy the Baker’s. it is so random. But it makes me giggle. And you feel like you are running with friends. But you don’t have the pressure of worrying about keeping up. I also had a friend who listened to Mark Driscoll during her whole marathon prep.’

    Good luck. And keep it up!

  • jackie - Good for you! You will get a high….it is addicting. I just ran my 8th half marathon yesterday and cannot stop thinking about the next one :)I and it’s october…so my gilr will be at the finish!

  • hannahm - you go mama! and i hear you, i’m no graceful gazelle either!

  • Seamingly Sarah - I have no desire what so ever to run races, 5K, nothing, but I do love running. It is my meditation, my prayer time, my clear my head time. Nothing else works for my mind quite like running does. I miss it all winter while I live in upstate NY with cold icy roads, but come spring, I can’t wait for my feet to hit the ground again.

  • Rebekah - You will LOVE the color run! My family and I recently completed the Atlanta Encore Color run. We had an absolute blast. We don’t run, we aren’t runners and that was perfectly acceptable at this 5k. There were lots of families there. Are you taking your oldest with you? He may enjoy it also. There were children of all ages but I’m not sure I would enjoy it if I were 3. I would advise taking goggles (we bought safety goggles @ Wally world for $3ish) and bandannas to cover your mouths and noses while they throw the color. I used these during the race and then took them off before the “party” at the end. I wish I hadn’t. That was when I got the most color in my nose. If you don’t mind blowing multi-colored snot out of your nose for the following week don’t worry about a bandanna or face mask. πŸ™‚ You’ll find color in all kinds of places for the next week. Some might find that gross but for me it was kind of a reminder or a badge of honor for a completed and AWESOME 5k.

  • Jessica - good for you for running for a good cause! and i did the color run in atlanta about a month ago and it was so much fun!!! the dance party at the finish line is the best (mainly because it means the run is OVER) so many good photo ops along the way for a photographer like you. enjoy!!!

  • Nicole - What a touching story. I love the idea of your bible study! My heart has been moved by Uganda orphans as well. A local group here is holding a walk on Saturday for the Ugandan orphans & others around the world.

    I work at a small consignment shop & after the 90 day selling period for a consignors clothing items is up, they have the option of donating the leftover clothing to a Uganda Missions cause. The clothing is often packed away & taken there during a missions trip to be given away, or placed in a huge rummage sale with all proceeds benefiting orphans in Uganda.

    I think about & pray for those orphans every day. πŸ™‚