I have run quite a few half marathons, and after having my son, noticed a drop in my running time. My first half marathon after having Odin lead to a 13ish minute PR, going from 1:47 and change to 1:34:01. Then people started asking when I was going to take the plunge and do a marathon. I told them I’d consider one when I was done having kids.

Odin was born on November 29th, 2012. In 2014, I suffered two miscarriages – one on Mother’s Day and the other in September. In October of that year, we took a trip to Boston to see a football game and to just get away from everything we were dealing with. When we were on our trip, I had my husband drop me off in Newton, where I ran the Newton Hills and Heartbreak Hill, down past Boston College and into downtown Boston. We spent time chatting with employees in running stores, going to the Finish line for the Boston Marathon and more. I started to think about what it would be like to run the Boston Marathon, and knew I’d have to qualify first. But the spark was there, the fire inside of me started to burn.

Shortly after our trip I found out I was pregnant again. I didn’t get too excited at first, as the miscarriages lurked in my brain. When I was almost 7 weeks along, I began bleeding. This is what happened with the previous miscarriages, so I immediately assumed I had lost this pregnancy also. I had told my husband that if I had 3 miscarriages, that we would be adopting if we wanted more children, because I couldn’t go through the heartache anymore. The next step would have been to go to a fertility clinic, but I didn’t want to be pumped full of hormones and I felt like I was living life in pause, afraid to commit to anything because “I might be pregnant” at that point in time.

The night I began bleeding, I was inconsolable and crying frustrated, angry tears. I started looking up marathon training plans and was going to commit to running the 2015 Ottawa marathon. I needed to channel my energy into something and I had told people I’d run a marathon when I was done having kids – so now was the time. Or so I had thought.

The next morning I woke up and the bleeding had stopped. This had never happened when I was miscarrying. Ryan was at work, so I packed Odin up and went the emergency room. I told them what happened and was brought in for urine and blood work, as well as an ultrasound. To my astonishment, I was still pregnant. Some people bleed a bit when pregnant, and unlike the previous two pregnancies, that’s all that was happening. The doctor showed me the baby, but couldn’t detect a heartbeat – which can be common when an external ultrasound is done early in a pregnancy, but still scared the crap out of me. They didn’t so an internal ultrasound that day, as I was booked for one at the end of that week. So I was told to carry on like I was pregnant – talk about living in limbo! The ultrasound at the end of the week would show that I was in fact still pregnant. As a precautionary measure, my doctor brought me in each week for blood work to monitor my hormone levels during the first trimester. It was the longest 3 months of my life and I was constantly afraid of losing this baby.

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On August 2nd 2015, Lennon Elizabeth Khan entered the world in a whirlwind 45 minute labour. Our family was now complete. When Lennon was 4 months old, I began training for the 2016 Ottawa Marathon in hope of qualifying for Boston 2017.

The marathon is so much more than trying to run a BQ. I feel like it is a symbol of overcoming one of the most challenging years of my life. The miscarriages and the experience at the beginning of my pregnancy with Lennon were tough on me physically and mentally. I think about overcoming the obstacles thrown at me in 2014 and can’t help but think about the Boston bombings and what people have had to overcome after that horrifying event. Those whose lives were lost, those who were injured, those who witnessed it, those who were present at the time – it was a dark time that people banded together in and emerged from it even stronger. Everyone has a story, their own journey, their own reason for setting goals and going after them. Aiming for a BQ has been part of my journey to heal the wounds of 2014 and celebrate the gifts – Odin and Lennon – that I have been blessed with.

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