I hope this email finds you happy, healthy and delightfully enjoying the fun of fall — football, sweaters & jeans, (thank you Jesus for bringing the cool weather to Ohio) fall festivals, apples, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin hummus, actually, pumpkin everything!
Fall is always a time of renewal for me. (I don’t think I’m alone in this!) Kids go back to school, the weather changes, the fun of summer is behind us and it’s time to root down. It’s when I hunker down, coze in and start dreaming of what I want to do, be, create, and see in the coming year.
In September 2017, I made a trek to Colorado to cheer my friends Geoff and Claire on as they ran the Imogene Pass Run. This is a race that begins in Ouray, CO and ends in Telluride, CO. You climb 10 miles and 6000+ ft to reach the summit with an elevation of 13,000+ ft and then descend 7.1 miles into Telluride, CO.
As I was cheering them on, I saw a hand-made sign that said, “Ain’t no mountain high enough…” The challenge of that sign and what my friends were up to that day took my breath away and planted a seed in my heart. I quickly went from “who would want to run this race?!” to promising myself that “I am to going run this race” with my friends (if I got in, that is) in 2018. [“With my friends” is a very key part of that sentence.]
To sign up for this race, you have to be quick to press “submit.” The application opens on June 1 at 8am EST…and quickly sells out within a few minutes.
I set my alarm for 7:50AM on June 1. With sweaty, nervous hands, I filled out the form and hit “submit” right as 8am struck. (Just for the record, no, I had not been training yet.)
The webpage is processing. I wait…and wait…my heart is pounding…One part of me is hoping I get in and a bigger part of me is hoping I don’t get in!
I get in! SH*T!!!! I mean, YAY!
I texted my friends Geoff and Claire to make sure they got in!
I hear nothing from them for hours. HOURS! Claire assures me she is going to Colorado but her injured knee will prevent her from running it. She is going to volunteer. (sad face)
Hmmm. Geoff….where is Geoff? It is 9am EST and I have not heard from him! I know he’s up because he has 4-month twin little girls.
I’m thinking, “DUDE, you so better have signed up!” Hours…HOURS later, well it felt like hours later, I get this…
So I get in, Claire is volunteering and Geoff completely blanked (OK, maybe his 4 month twins keeping him up is a satisfactory excuse). But, this leaves me to running the race ALONE. (remember above when I promised I would run this race ”with my friends”?)
“OH HELL NO!” I thought. My brain is racing…”It’s 17.1 miles. Last time I trained for a half marathon, I got a stress fracture. My long distance days are over. I’ll push my body to do this with my friends but I’m not thrashing my body to do this alone.”
Geoff and Claire promise me that although they are not running this year, they want to go out there to cheer me on. “NOPE," I think, fully tantrumming. “I’m not doing it. I'm not doing it without you guys.” Wahhh wahhh wahhh.
Fast forward to sometime in July, Geoff suggests we all go to Colorado, “hike” the 17.1 mile course together and volunteer on race day. I love that option! No running, no cutoff times, doing it together! It was a great combo of travel, friends, nature, exercise and service!
SWEET! We’ve got a plan. So Geoff, Claire and I meet up at the Denver airport on September 5 and our journey begins.
Two days before race day, Geoff and Claire show me the course. We drive up the first 5 miles and I am thanking God that I am not running this race. I mean we are talking seriously steep moumtains. There is no way! The altitude alone would be enough to burst my lungs.
I was soooo happy to be sitting in the car, driving up that mountain. I made an excellent choice in deciding NOT to do the race.
Geoff pulls the car over at mile 5. He invites Claire and me to get out to hike a few miles.
[PAUSE for some race day logistics: In the Imogene Pass Run, there are a couple cutoffs you have to make in order to keep running. This is to keep the runners safe as inclement weather can come in as the day goes on.
You have to make the first cutoff, Mile 7.5, by 10am (in 2.5 hours).
You have to make the SUMMIT, Mile 10, by 12pm (in 4.5 hours).
If you are not at Cutoff #1 by 10am, they send you back DOWN the mountain. GAH! Can you imagine?! Climbing 7.5 miles only to be told you have to go all the way back down the path you just came up?! Your support people will not be there…they are on the other side of the mountain waiting for you to come down the Telluride side.]
Back to our hike….Geoff, Claire and I got out at mile 5 to hike a bit. We hiked up to mile 7.5, the first qualifying point. So it was steep…but it felt really good in my body to hike both up 2.5 miles and down 2.5 miles.
The 3 of us are climbing, silently, each in our own worlds.
I start to hear God whisper in my ear…
“Sweetheart, are you sure you don’t want to do this run?” (note: God calls me “Love”, “Sweetheart” and sweet coaxing names like that :)
“Yeah, God. I’m pretty sure I don’t. I’ll do it next year.”
“But Sweetheart, you got in THIS YEAR. You came all this way. You are in Colorado. Don’t you think you should take advantage of that?”
“God, you are kind of loud in my head right now…You know I didn’t train this summer.”
“Yes Love. I know. That was by design. I didn’t want you to overtrain and hurt your body. And besides, you are always training. You move your body daily. Your legs are strong. Your body is healthy.”
“God, I will do it next year. I’ll do it as a challenge when I’m 49 years old and heading into my 50th year. I promise. And I’ll train seriously.”
“NEXT YEAR?! You are not promised next year. You will be one year older..I’m not saying this is as good as it gets, but it’s pretty darn good right now. And PLUS, you and I could have 6 glorious hours, up here on this gorgeous mountain ALONE, you and me. Whatdoyasay there kid?”
Hmmm. NOW God has my attention...6 hours ALONE...just me & God?
Then my Soul chimes in…“Yeah! If not now, when?” “You’re not getting any younger.” “C'mon Ames. Go home CHANGED, inspired and stronger.”
Ahhh. I see what's happening. My Soul and God are ganging up on my Head.
Crap. I have a sneaky suspicion that God and my Soul are going to win this battle…
“But wait, God, you know I’m getting a cold. It’s hard enough to breathe in this altitude….I have a snotty nose and congested chest….and my shoes…I don’t have trail shoes….and my hip. What if my hip locks up? And my foot…what if I get another stress fracture?! [I was pulling out all the excuses.]
Then very clearly, God said, “Sweetheart, I wouldn’t be convincing you to do this if I didn’t think you could do this. And to be honest, I’m less interested in you being able to do this on YOUR OWN. I want you to RELY ON ME. You are powerless on your own. With ME, we can accomplish great things. I want you to completely surrender. Let ME carry you over that mountain. Just say ‘YES!’”
I don’t dare tell Geoff and Claire about this conversation going on inside my head. They’d jump on that bandwagon with God and my Soul!
Geoff and Claire insist that regardless of whether I’m running or not, we must pick up my race packet because it will have a great t-shirt, crazy socks and a 17.1 mile sticker.
By the time we leave packet pickup, I’m sucked into the energy of the race and thanking people as they wish me luck. LOL. I guess this means I’m running it. I mean, I couldn’t possibly wear those fancy socks without actually running the race!
By now, the butterflies have officially kicked in and I start mentally preparing to be at the start line by 6:45am the next morning. What will I wear? What should I eat? What time do I have to set my alarm? Yep, it’s happening! There is no turning back now. I want to earn that t-shirt, those socks and that 17.1 sticker. I want to be up on that mountain alone with God.
I showed up at the start line early Saturday morning. Jitters? Yes. Fear and doubt? No. I was not thinking “what if I can’t…” All the fear and doubt was behind me. I was wearing the bracelet that Claire gave me that said, “I Will.” I was thinking "I can" and "I will."
There were no greater words than to hear Geoff and Claire say to me, “See you on the other side!” and with that, the horn sounded and off I went for 17.1 miles.
I can’t really tell you what shifted in me from my “Hell No” to “YES! I’m Doing This” other than the work of God and 2 really amazing, supportive, inspiring friends.
I can tell you…
It was completely worth it.
It was more than beautiful.
My time with God was perfect.
The community, companionship and camaraderie was incredibly inspiring and powerful.
The determination, perseverance and dedication of the human spirit awes me.
It was hard AND it made it that much more rewarding crossing that finish line!
I will be back next year :)
So I will leave you with these questions…
What is on the "other side" of YOUR "Yes"?
What are you being invited to do?
Run that race? Change jobs? Have a baby? Get that degree? Get healthier? Go back to school? Get a dog?
Forgive somebody? Start exercising? Buy a house? Move to a new city? Ask her to marry you?
Tune in. Listen. Say "Yes." I promise, you will not regret it!
Life is short. Time is precious.
And next year, or tomorrow for that matter, is not promised!
What Would Happen if You Said "Yes!"?
Come explore this question at our next Cacao Ceremony!
Join me for a Sacred Women’s Cacao Ceremony,
Meditation & Intention Setting Circle.