Entrepreneurial Lessons from 6 Miles Through the Forest

Last weekend, I ran a 6 mile adventure race called the Leatherman’s Loop. 

I had to cross three rivers and go through tons of mud. The mud was an issue for me….  For a year now I’ve been running using the “Pose Technique,” and this requires me to wear special shoes (similar to racing flats with low heals). Importantly I’m not supposed to tie the laces too tight. So, when I went through the first big mud patch, one of my shoes got sucked under the mud.
So, for a minute or so, I was standing in the mud trying to find and dig out my right shoe, while the rest of the runners raced around me. That part of the race wasn’t much fun…but I enjoyed the rest.

After the third river crossing, there was a short incline and then a flat quarter mile to the finish. To the right is a picture of me going up the incline.

Here are some lessons you might be able to apply:

1. Have the right tools: In the picture, you can notice the ipod on my right arm. I had it in a waterproof case. This allowed me to go through the rivers with no problems and not have to worry about it dying on me (others ruined their ipods during the race)

2. Set goals: My goal wasn’t to win the race, but to finish in under an hour. I came in at about 58:30 (they haven’t published the official times yet). So I made it. This gave me a greater sense of satisfaction.

3. Always practice a lot in advance: Many times you are unable to practice under the same circumstances as in the live event. For example, when making an important presentation, it’s hard to account for the pressure. But if you practice enough times in front of a soft audience, you’ll improve. In the case of this race, I really didn’t want to practice fording through rivers and racing through mud pits. But I did practice on a different trail that was much steeper, which made the race much easier for me. In hindsight, practicing running through mud would have been very helpful.

4. Have fun: Success in life is about working hard and having fun. I’m sure there’s tons of folks who wanted to run the race, but didn’t. They made excuses that they couldn’t find time to train since they were too busy with work, etc. There is a long journey to success. Not only do you have to be happy when you get there, but you have to enjoy the journey as well. So work hard, but make sure you have a lot of fun too. As they say, life is short.

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