My running buddy and I made a huge commitment last September. We had just racked up terrible times during an open heat at Savage Race in Dallas. So, we made a commitment to one another that we will not only do better next year, but that we will run in the “Pro” division. You know those decisions in life that seem kinda crazy to everyone else, but deep down you know you did the right thing? Yeah, this is not one of those. There is no doubt in my mind that we are in way over our heads!
To say that Ryan and I are not elite competitors is like saying “Smurfs aren’t very tall” or “Antarctica isn’t exactly hot.” If he’s not waiting on me to finish burpees or recover from an obstacle, we’re taking breaks for his heart rate to return to normal during a run (In his defense, he has a medical condition). Oh, and I know what you’re thinking, but it’s too late to renege on our agreement. I’ve already paid my registration for the 2017 race. And the only thing more terrifying than trying to keep up with actual elite OCR athletes is telling my wife I threw away $100.
So, what’s the plan? Rise to the occasion. I guess that was always the plan. It was an idea I first heard from Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer. Actually, I heard her describe this approach to life long before she took her high profile position at Yahoo. It was in a documentary about Google; Mayer was a vice president of development and the highest ranking woman in the organization. She explained that the secret to her success was that she would deliberately say “yes” to opportunities for which she knew she was neither qualified nor ready. In a baptism by fire approach to success, Mayer frequently leaves herself no choice but rise to the occasion or fail in a blase of glory. More on that in a minute.
It’s the last days of January, and I have almost 9 months to get my body and performance where it needs to be for this season’s Dallas Savage Race in October. A lot can happen to a body in 9 months (see “reproduction” in any biology textbook). I’ve accepted that someone has to come in last in every race even in the pro division. Still, I owe it to the other competitors to bring my “A” game and not make a mockery of the event by being just one more annoying obstacle on the course. I’m going to have to crank up my grip/upper-body training, cut out my after dark snacking, and figure how the heck I’m going to manipulate Savage’s Teeter Tuber obstacle without the usual assistance. Again, Ryan and I have time to get there, we just have to reaffirm our commitment.
Now, I’ll address the elephant in the room for you business scholars out there. Marissa Mayer has received a lot of criticism as the CEO for Yahoo. Many insist that she has failed to rise to this particular challenge. So, do I regret following her advice to deliberately get in over my head? Not yet. For now, I still believe that I can deliver a respectable performance. I don’t know how impressive it will be, but definitely more than if I had never registered at all.