Just Say 'Yes'!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In 2008, Jim Carrey starred in a movie called Yes Man, and I’ve grown to love the idea behind the movie.  His character makes a covenant to stop being a ''No Man'' and vows to answer ''Yes!'' to every opportunity, request or invitation that presents itself.  Not too long ago, I was presented with an opportunity to reconsider what would have initially been a ''NO way!'' for me when my daughter asked me to participate in a race with her. If you’ve read my blogs, you know I’ve done 24 races since I joined SparkPeople. So why would I be saying ''no way''?

I’m trying to pass the healthy lifestyle journey onto my kids, and my youngest, Rachael, has become my race buddy.  She completed the Hell Run and found that she actually loved jumping over fire, treading through streams and wading through mud.  She actually prefers these types of races to the standard 5k’s that we’ve been doing.  She brought up an event called The Rat Race, which is scheduled for October 20th in Dallas.  It’s an Urban Adventure Race beyond what we have tried so far. The catch for me was one tiny word--repelling. I am seriously afraid of heights.  I remember flying with my daughter when she was very little.  It was a turbulent ride and I was trying not to show the fear that I was feeling.  We hit a big air pocket, had a small drop, and she looked at me with the biggest smile and said ''don’t you just love the way that makes your stomach feel when it drops?''  It was at that moment that I realized she might be an alien baby because I never would have thought that!
So what could I do?  I didn't want to let her down, so I decided to research the race and find out what we would be repelling off of and whether or not I could skip that section.  I contacted the host of the race, and had a chance to meet Chris Jones, the man behind the event.  How can you not like someone whose job title is ''Chief Rat''?  The entrepreneur behind the race has a history of competing in all types of races: running, biking, triathlons, etc.  He wanted something more, and The Rat Race was born. It’s an ''Urban Adventure'' race event, and is currently scheduled for Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and San Diego.  The event will include 3 miles of running, 15+ miles of biking, 1 mile of kayaking, climbing/ropes and 10 check points - one of which includes a City Revitalization Project.  You can register as a solo participant, or have 2 or 3 person ''rat'' teams.

Photo courtesy of Chris Jones

There are some unique and very fun aspects of this race.  The course remains undisclosed to competitors until the morning of the race, when they are given a map and required to reach checkpoints at various locations.  At one checkpoint, the racers will be assisting in a Revitalization Project.  It’s a chance to not only race and have fun, but also a chance to help with a project in the city.  The goal is to contribute 400 volunteer hours to the city during the course of the races.  I consider that to be truly unique and imaginative. Next year, they are looking to expand to 16 cities!

Photo Courtesy of Chris Jones

One thing that made me feel better about training for this race was the fact that there will be ''skill clinics'' available over the summer.  So now I’m training for this event and it will be my first triathlon and Urban Adventure Race all in one.  Will I pass out on the ropes?  Who knows, but here is my motivation:  if I’ve learned anything after being on SparkPeople for almost 3 years, it’s that you can accomplish more than what you ever thought or dreamed just by taking small steps in the direction of your goal.  My step is admitting my fear, facing it head on, taking a skill clinic, and overcoming it in October.  Who is with me?

As I write this, I know that this is my last article for the dailySpark. I have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to share my journey with you.  I hope you will check out my SparkPage for the rest of this story over the coming months. I’d like to end this with a challenge for you--can you dream bigger?  Don’t make this healthy lifestyle journey just about a number on a scale.  Make this a journey to a new you, a fun, exciting life, and a world of opportunities that you didn’t think you would be able to have or do before you started. 

What can you do to dream bigger today?  Have you done a fun run or any type of race before?  What is holding you back from believing in yourself and chasing some fantastic goals?