The Dawn of a New Hope - A reflection of my 2016 Leadville Trail 100 Journey
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
"Hope" - "to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true"
- "to cherish a desire with anticipation"
- "to expect with confidence"
It takes a few days to process and settle into the emotions and feelings from the events from this past weekend. Reaching mile 62 of 100 ~ Not necessarily defeat or despair, but a renewed hope and confidence that this is a continued journey and it is not over. For that, I am most grateful. This past year, as I know Sarah, Colleen and Paul would agree, has been the best of our lives. I am thrilled and ecstatic to know it is not over, and we will continue on with new goals, dreams and hopes in our love of running.
I won't recount my mile by mile journey, but a summary and an analysis. I enjoyed every minute and every step; hours that seemed like minutes and God's grandeur moment by moment. A blessing to be amongst iconic and historical grounds that bear triumphs & relentless territory. Close friends who have become closest friends serving as pacers and crew ~ Mel, Sherpa John, DT, and Greg. Friends and family checking in and staying apprised of progress. The experience and journey in itself is what makes Ultra so special and Leadville so much a part of my heart now.
"Hope is the beacon that points to Prosperity" -Edward Counsel
And so it was Hope. The irony of it all! Hope Pass, the one beacon, and highest point on the course at mile 45 and 12,600 feet in elevation that makes or breaks the run. Having had a strong enough run thus far and staying ahead of cutoffs by an hour, I made it over Hope the first time to the halfway point in Winfield with still an hour to spare. And then comes the point of turnaround and ascending up Hope for the second time, a 2600 foot climb in 5 miles to head back 45 more miles towards Leadville. My amazing pacer, Sherpa John, had me going strong. I slowed but remained strong, maintaining time cushion, though, getting tighter & tighter with each and every step. Once summiting hope and reaching the "hopeless aid station" , my lack of nutrition supplementation and limitied ability to consume the required calories to maintain energy had caused for crisis. I cried. Hard. Harder than I have ever cried in my adult life. Without the necessary energy to run down to twin lakes, I walked at a snails pace waiting for energy to find me again. I made it back to twin lakes at the 62 mile mark, but not in enough time.
Hope Pass looking past Twin Lakes towards Turquoise Lake and Leadville
"Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectiation of positive outcomes to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large'"
And so now I am left with Hope. Hope pass, as the most daunting point, but providing for the most prosperity, For if we can get past Hope with a smile on our face(Sarah), then we are home free. At the top of Hope, you can see all the way from Twin Lakes to Turquoise lake, and so Hope does stand as the beacon to the prosperity of the finish. And so "Hope", both the mountain and the virtue, is what now fuels my willingness and eagerness to "dig deep into that inexhaustible well of Grit, Guts and Determination"
Sarah calles her "Lady Hope"
Colleen wants to "Make Best Friends with her"
And for me, "Hope is my Beacon"
Pictured here is Hope Pass with it's iconic prayer flags, "Hope's Beacon"
" Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all" - Emily Dickinson
Psychologist Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson argued that "Hope" comes into its own when crisis looms, opening us to new creative possibilities. Hopeful people are like the little engine that could, because they keep telling themselves, "I think I can, I think I can" and maintaining a realistic sense of optimism. So upon reaching the top of Hope Pass for the second time during the LT100 run, many are in crisis, and then turn to the hope within to create the possibilities within ourselves to keep going. It is in me. My hope is strong.
Psychologist Charles Richard Snyder stated that a person's determination to achieve a goal is measured by their hope. Snyder also developed a theory that argues hope should be viewed as a cognitive skill that demonstrates an individuals ability to maintian drive in the pursuit of a particular goal. "This model reasons that an individual’s ability to be hopeful depends on two types of thinking: agency thinking and pathway thinking. Agency thinking refers to an individual’s determination to achieve their goals despite possible obstacles, while pathway thinking refers to the ways in which an individual believes they can achieve these personal goals.
Luke Skywalker is used as an artisitic plot device as a motivating force for change. Episode IV, A New Hope, Skywalker is expected in the future to allow good triumph over evil within the plot of the film. Herein lies triumph over Hope Pass.
In Greek Mythology, Pandora "opened the box after being warned not to, and unleashed a multitude of harmful spirits that inflicted plagues, diseases, and illnesses on mankind. Spirits of greed, envy, hatred, mistrust, sorrow, anger, revenge, lust, and despair scattered far and wide looking for humans to torment. Inside the box, however, Pandora also discovered and released a healing spirit named Hope. From ancient times, people have recognized that a spirit of hope had the power to heal afflictions and helps them bear times of great suffering and pain caused by malevolent events." That Darn Mountain! We will suffer through pain over that Hope Mountain and will reach the finish through the power of hope!
"Hope is a strong and confident expectation of future reward"
"Hope is akin to trust and a confident Expectation"
"For in Hope, we have been saved"
In religion, hope stands as the journey and/or quest for heaven.
In Christianity, Hope stands alongside Faith and Love. And so Hope is good.
In Hinduism, Hope is mentioned alongside desire and wish. "Karma" is linked to ritual sacrifices, and hope and perservearance are linked to successfull performance of these rituails.
Hinduism also points out that Hope takes work, hard work in order to achieve Prosperity.
I am left with this. "Hope"
My quest over hope was not defeat. It was a new beginning, the dawn of a new hope, yes? The dawn of a new day and a continued journey. A continued journey and advenutre to the finish line.
I will be back next year, I already have my ticket and I know I will be surrounded again by love, friendship, faith and hope.
Until Next Time, Happy Running