“Opportunities go right by you because you think you’re not ready.” David Goggins, Retired Navy Seal and Ultra-Endurance Athlete
Over the summer, I was debating whether or not I should do Antelope Canyon as my first 50 mile ultra. I wrote about how it seemed meant to be because of an old photo I found of Horseshoe Bend in my vision board, but also how I was terrified of heights and fearful that I wouldn’t be able to handle the heights in the race.
After attending a ChiRunning Clinic and talking to the instructor, Lisa, about her experience, especially because she also fears heights, I felt a little more confident. In attendance was also another runner, Tricia, who had signed up for the race as her first ever ultra distance. Inspired by these two ladies, I went home that day and signed up as well. Unfortunately, by this point, the race was full so I was put on a wait list with 114 people ahead of me. For an ultra, that is a lot of people and the likelihood of me getting into this race was looking slim.
A month or so later, I was given the opportunity for a temporary promotion at work for 120 days and the timing would coincide exactly with training for Antelope Canyon. In fact the last day of my temporary promotion is the same day as Antelope Canyon (hmm….first sign?) Nervous this promotion would interfere with my ability to train and because I was in a funk with my running anyway, I was beginning to think that the stars were aligning against me. I told Kenny that I had decided to withdraw. I had made up my mind to run Whiskey Basin 88K later in the spring.
Even after deciding to withdraw however, I was checking the status of my wait list entry at least once a day, sometimes more. About two dozen times, my mouse hovered over the “Delete Entry” button. I could never quite bring myself to delete that entry though (hmm….sign two?). As the days ticked by, I watched my number get closer as people dropped out and new people got in, but it was a slow climb towards number one.
Fast forward to last Monday night, right before bed I was doing my obsessive status check. I still had 89 people ahead of me. Why, you ask, would I keep checking my status if I had already made up my mind not to run? Well my friend, that is a great question and one for which I have no answer (hmm…sign three?).
Dawn broke on Tuesday morning and I was checking my email while I waited in line at the store. Just as the cashier started to ring up my purchases, I got a glimpse of an email that said I was selected for Antelope Canyon 50 miler. This couldn’t be right….I must have seen this incorrectly. As I tried to pay for my purchases and remain polite, I was intensely distracted because I was dying inside to read this email and see if my eyes had deceived me.
Once I finally got a chance to read the email, I saw, much to my surprise, I got selected from the wait list for entry into the Antelope Canyon 50 miler. WHAT! How was this even possible? There was no way that 89 people dropped out over night! I couldn’t believe that this was happening and it seemed meant to be (hmm….sign four?). I later found out that the same friend Tricia who had inspired me to register, had somehow gotten a waitlist spot and because she was already registered, gave up her selection to me. Amazing! (hmm…sign five?)
But the dilemma still was there: I felt like I wouldn’t have the time to train, I was worried about the heights, I was afraid I wouldn’t be ready. I tried to talk myself through all the reasons that this was a bad idea. And yet, it still seemed like I had an opportunity dropped on my lap that I couldn’t not ignore.
Opportunities are amazing that way…they come out of nowhere at times and if we aren’t watching, we will miss them. If we over think them, we will miss them. If we wait until we are ready, we will miss them.
I reached out to my running club and the response I got was unanimous….DO IT! One friend even pointed out, “If you are looking for an excuse to not do the race, you came to the wrong group!”(hmmm…sign six?) And she was right. I went to this amazing group of women because I knew that they would support me all the way.
Then and there, I decided that I had to do this race. To wait until I was ready to partake in this incredible, serendipitous opportunity would be a big mistake. By noon Tuesday, October 26, only a few short hours after getting the email, I was registered to run the 50 miler at Antelope Canyon. When opportunity knocks, sometimes you just have to answer.
As I begin my training, I can’t help but wonder about the significance of this race. My journey has evolved so much over the last year. With each new challenge I take on I learn something new and wonderful about life, myself, my family, my friends. I see more clearly the beauty of the world around me and how truly the flaws of this world make it the perfect place to be. This race was clearly meant to be and time will tell what lessons I am going to learn as long as I remember to listen.
Call to Action: What in your life are you avoiding for fear of not being ready? What opportunities can you take advantage of if you just believe in yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
The journey continues…..