COMPETE : Something Will Go Wrong

This blog post was written by PATHFINDER Compete CA and Team Assessment athlete, Shannon Bass.

Something will go wrong.

You need to understand this, think on this, and prepare for this.

Most importantly, when the thing goes wrong, know you have complete control over how you react. Your reaction determines what happens next. The best reaction is when you are able to:

  • Identify and solve the problem
  • Maintain a neutral mindset
  • Recognize how to avoid the issue next time
  • Move on

The less desirable reaction is when you shift to blaming yourself or others, stay focused on the negative results of the problem and fail to see the next steps as you are still looking back.

If you think that all sounds confusing and you would prefer some examples, no worries as TA 2020 provided!


After the Welcome Party at the park, it’s an approximate 5-mile ruck (including a loop of the park) to Jason’s dad’s house. The house is also called Jay’s House of Pain, or JHOP. We were given a 75 minute time hack, and Alicia and I felt we would hit that no problem. We shuffled the few downhills and kept a strong pace. We felt pretty good as we came up the hill and saw someone standing at the top of the JHOP driveway. This person said something positive to us, and while we can’t remember his exact words, we both interpreted the message as “you finished the five-mile ruck and made the time hack.” We then encountered Cadre Cleve at the top of Winner’s Hill and stopped and joked with him for a few seconds. We did the same with Jason down by the river. We were not sure of the route as we lost sight of the team in front of us, and stopped a few times to look over our shoulders for another team. We were in no hurry…we had finished. As we came around the loop and got closer to the house, there were several paths leading up to the house, we looked for headlamps and slowly made it back to the yard. 

As we arrived, Mocha said “F-04, 81 minutes”. 

Alicia and I looked at each other: shocked, confused, angry. We protested about the person at the driveway but didn’t know who it was and the cadre didn’t care. We worried it would be a second strike, which we had not counted on for that evolution. As we went to fill up water, we quietly spoke to each other, regrouped, and got our minds right. Something had gone wrong, it sucked, but we were still very early in the event and we needed to let it go. If we got a strike, we would live with that. We couldn’t let any negativity take hold as the event was already hard enough without us doing it to ourselves.

That’s when we did it right.


Fast forward to the second night, during the 12 miler. We were in the neighborhood of 36 hours into the event and about five miles into the 12 miler. We were moving very slowly and everything was hard. I was experiencing pain in my glutes, quads, hamstrings, and IT bands. I was tired, but it was so much more than that, I was truly in pain. Unfortunately, my partner was in the same spot, at the same time, which is a bad combination. We stopped on the loop and lubed our feet. We ate some food and just rested a minute. Then we kept rucking, slowly, painfully. We spoke, almost simultaneously, about doubts. Could we endure many more hours of this? Was this our endpoint? Maybe this was enough for us? 

Something had gone wrong, it sucked, we didn’t let it go. We let the negativity grab us, we wrapped ourselves in it like a blanket. We caught the scent of comfort and rest, and just closed our eyes and inhaled deeply. We struggled up the Hill and told Cadre Hand we were done. 

I have always maintained it was an answered prayer that no one accepted our proclamation. During the Welcome Party lunges, I had prayed for help keeping my thoughts on the task at hand, staying focused on the work, and not worrying about the future. I had prayed for mental and physical strength. I had prayed for help if I had moments when I wanted to give up. God definitely has a sense of humor, as when we needed help, He sent Jason and Mocha.

“You guys are doing fine, middle of the pack, right where you’ve been all event, what changed just now?”

“Of course you’re in pain, everyone out here is in pain. What did you think this would feel like?”

“We know you’re not here to win. You’re here to prove a point and inspire others about what they can do.”

“Just go out for one more lap, no big decisions, one more lap.”

The conversation was brief but full of insightful observations and hard truths. It was a figurative slap in the face to jolt us out of our very negative mindset. We set out on the next mile, and while everything was the same physically, everything was different mentally. 

That’s when we did it wrong.


Many of you have heard these stories before. I write about them now, in more detail, because I want it fresh in your mind in Ohio. I want you to pray or meditate or send thoughts into the universe about your needs and intentions. When something goes wrong, remember these two different situations. 

When your team is behind, gets a strike, doesn’t finish an evolution, misses a time hack – breathe and let it go. If your partner is injured, needs to slow down, or needs extra help – address the issue and move forward without frustration. If you feel like quitting, hear Jason’s voice telling you to try one more lap, no big decisions. When you’re sure you need to quit, plan to do so in the next evolution. Recognize the blanket of negativity and the scent of comfort and shake them off!

Something will go wrong. You will still keep going.

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