In my last post, I mentioned I recently entered the historic Leadville 100 run lottery. It was a big step for me, but it didn’t mean I would be selected to run. Because of the high number of people who sign up for the guaranteed pain that comes with running 100 consecutive miles at altitude, they select the final field through the use of a lottery system. Was I selected? Keep reading to find out…(IMPORTANT: If you’re new to this story, click HERE for the full flavor of this unfolding saga.)
I sat across the table from a friend recently when the following conversation ensued:
Friend: “So you want to run 100 miles?”
Friend: “Have you run 100 miles before?
Friend: “How about a marathon?”
His train of questions ended and a brief moment of silence followed. He didn’t need to say anything else; I could tell what he was thinking. And if the truth were known, I’ve entertained the same thoughts on many occasions over the past eighteen months as I’ve considered entering the Leadville 100 field.
I was more than a little sheepish at first to mention to anyone that I was considering entering the Leadville lottery. I didn’t expect anyone to take me seriously or to agree that it was a reasonable idea. I was especially nervous about telling my wife.
My first surprise was she didn’t fall over laughing at the absurdity of the idea. I expected her to body slam the notion to the ground with a resounding “NO WAY!” She actually paused, and with a charming look said, “I bet you could do it.”
I had given her little reason to have such confidence. There were many occasions over the years where she watched me “go out for a run” only to return after 20 minutes because I didn’t “feel like running.” Not exactly a picture of the fierce determination it requires to run for 30 consecutive hours.
Her belief in me provided a shot in the arm, and I decided to pray about it. Surely the God of the Universe who possesses all wisdom and logic would think it was a bad idea, right?
The more I prayed about it, the more I came to believe that God was authoring a surprising story. He spoke the following to my heart on more than one occasion: Let’s do this together. I want you to step into a bigger story.
My next step was to seek counsel from trusted friends and mentors. If they thought it was a foolish idea, they would be honest and tell me. Once again, I was surprised by how supportive they were of the possible adventure.
Meanwhile, I continued to train and prepare as if I would enter the lottery and be selected. The lottery was set to open on December 1st and close on December 31st with the results being announced mid-January. (The race is scheduled for August 22-23, 2015.)
The doubts came on as strong as ever in late November. I had increased the mileage on my training runs, my ankles were starting to hurt, and the reality of how much time it would take to adequately train became crystal clear.
It was then I decided the Leadville 100 was not for me–at least not this year.
I told Ashley I was backing out and would not enter the lottery. Fear was gripping my heart, but I attributed my decision to the notion that it simply wasn’t realistic or logical during this season of life.
December 1st came and went and I was still pretty certain that I wouldn’t enter the lottery. The dream of participating in the Leadville 100 once burned brightly, but it was down to a few smoldering embers when I uttered a dangerous prayer:
“God, if this is really you…Will you have someone offer to pay the entry fee as a form of confirmation that you want me to do this? If nobody offers, then I’ll forget about it and move on.”
I wasn’t about to tell anyone about this prayer, because I wasn’t sure I wanted it to be answered.
My phone rang a few days later…”Gabe, I am excited about this Leadville story. I want to invest into you by offering to pay the entry fee.”
I initially said “thanks but no thanks” and communicated that I wasn’t going to do it, but then I remembered “the prayer.” I could sense God saying, Don’t give up so quickly. Not only did I remember the entry fee prayer, but I also remembered God’s original statement: I want to take this journey with you.
With sweaty palms and a racing heart, I submitted my name in the Leadville 100 race lottery five weeks ago. The embers were being stoked and the fire was starting to return. At the same time, I realized there was still a good possibility that I wouldn’t be selected from the lottery and this whole thing would go away in an instant. Again, I prayed: “God, if this isn’t from you…Then don’t allow them to select me.”
The following email appeared in my inbox last Thursday:
“Congratulations! You have been selected as a participant in the Leadville 100. Prepare to dig deep!”
I laughed out loud and threw my arms in the air.
This is really happening.