Why We Should Be More Like Rubber Bands

Good Morning from the coolest city in Nevada (high today is 70 with thunderstorms),

Well, the Reno Tahoe Odyssey was a smashing success, to say the least, and one full of adventure, socializing, atrocious smells, and good times had by all. I don’t know that I will get excited for next year’s race just yet, but I feel like this could become something of an annual habit.

I’m not entirely sure which was better, the whole 2 hours of sleep I got, crushing the Virginia City in 19 minutes, blazing up Kingsbury Grade in 39 minutes, or making 11 new friends over one of the best bonding experiences ever. Through all of the sweat and pain, we all came out better people with many lessons learned along the way. Today, I’ll share the greatest lessons I picked up out of all the adventuring through Tahoe over the weekend.

We can take note from rubber bands because flexibility is the key to getting the most out of life’s experiences! Rubber bands flex and bend to fit their environment, which is something I can certainly get better at doing. Here’s three fun examples I had from this weekend’s race of why being flexible has great benefits.

  1. Adapt quickly – there is always going to be a certain amount of stress for me anytime I try a new competition or event; however, my first leg of the 178 mile adventure came as quite a surprise. After arriving at the starting point, I decided it was time for a porta potty trip. To my great surprise, as soon as I came out I saw our team’s runner came flying into the finish where he was supposed to pass the baton to me for my leg. Needless to say, I didn’t have time to stretch or mentally prepare for my 5 miles (fresh from sitting on the bus for 6 hours) but I grabbed the baton anyway and had a blast running my first leg, despite the lack of preparation.
  2. Expect the unexpected – there is only so much planning and preparation you can do for anything in life, and there will come a time when you just have to accept that you are as prepared as possible. I was pretty confident that I was ready to run my 13 miles across the 3 assigned legs, but I wasn’t quite prepared to pick up an extra 10k for another team. However, I offered to do it anyway (despite it being 45 degrees) and it was worth it to help their team advance along in the course. Life will often present us unexpected opportunities and it is our duty to make the most of them.
  3. Don’t stick with the plan – the best laid plans often get blown out of the water. As an athlete, I fully appreciate and need a full nights sleep. Being crammed on a bus with 11 other people isn’t exactly the ideal sleeping situation and clearly sleep was the first thing to go. Over the course of the night, I probably got 2 hours of sleep from patched together power naps and then tanking from purse exhaustion. However, I still had a blast finishing up my final leg and enjoyed the friendship of my other teammates. Nothing brings people together like sharing spaghetti out of a stove while lounging around a passenger van in stinky, sweat-drenched clothing.

As an excessive planner, this adventure helped me to let go of my “need to know” and really helped me stay flexible during the 27 hours of racing. The greatest lesson learned was to just stay flexibility and enjoy the unexpected things that popup along the way. What areas do you need to be the most flexible in?

Picture credit 1

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9 Comments

  1. Tucked away in your point #2 is another reason to embrace flexibility: the chance to help someone who crosses my path outside the”schedule.” I can be so focused on “the plan” that I may not notice the person in front of me–and I lose out.

  2. Great thoughts! I think we often take bumping into someone for granted, and don’t always consider how we may have impacted someone or how they have impacted us. It’s a lose-lose because we would both miss that interaction!

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