How Ignorance + Arrogance Helped Me Finish a Sky Race

How Ignorance + Arrogance Helped Me Finish a Sky Race

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Last week I wrote about what it takes to get to the start line of anything.

Many times, we scare ourselves before even starting, causing us to never begin. And that’s why, so often, simply to begin is to win.

But what happens when we do begin and then realize we had forgotten how hard the effort actually was?

I did finish the race I wrote about last week. But perhaps due to a measure of Ignorance and Arrogance (I+A).

During the 11 hours it took me to complete a race that 20 some year old elites finished in half the time, I often found myself asking, “What the hell were you thinking????”

Well, the truth in retrospect, is that I wasn’t. While I diligently kept track of my daily progress as I trained for the race this past year, I also unconsciously parked myself at the intersection of Ignorance and Arrogance.

The nearest comparison that comes to my mind is childbirth. As women, if we didn’t inject a measure of Ignorance + Arrogance into our mindset, we might never attempt childbirth intentionally.

So I put it to you that a little I+A is a good thing.

It’s at this unique intersection that many of us attempt goals that we simply would not otherwise.

And just like with any other skill in The Game of Life, it’s also about the nuances. If I was totally Ignorant and Arrogant about my capabilities and the race course and conditions, I certainly would not have finished — because my training would not have been sufficient.

But a little I&A got me far enough into the race so I could leverage my “Why” and keep moving forward.

I&A always fires the engine but our “Why” provides the necessary horsepower required to reach our destination.

My “Why” was to see my son at the finish line and not disappoint him by quitting on myself. I realize this can sound superficial to some, but that’s the beauty about our “Why”. It’s ours to create and if it helps us get up and off our knees to take another step forward, then it’s as good of a reason as any.

When I got to the finish line that day, my son wasn’t there. Actually none of my friends and family were!

I was given a finisher medal and experienced one of the most awkward and vulnerable moments of my life.

Here’s what happened. My son (who finished the race 75 minutes before I did) along with my friends, were keeping track of my progress across the mountain using an app. Somehow the chip on my bib failed to alert them that I had passed the last aid station which was 4 miles away from the finish line.

Yep. Technology happens. Sometimes for the worst.

I’m not proud to confess that I crowned my achievement by crying in the bathroom so that no one could see my disappointment.

But as I began to regain my perspective, I realized that had I known that no one would be waiting for me at the finish line, I also would have probably quit.


I didn’t know so I kept pushing forward.

And this too is why a little Ignorance is a good thing.

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