Management: Am I Up To This?

A TIME reporter joins an adventure-racing challenge

I am upside down in a kayak in San Francisco Bay, fighting panic. I'm not sure I can hold my breath much longer. I yank away at the tab that attaches a rubber spray skirt--and me--to the two-person boat, the bottom of whose hull is bobbing on the surface.

Why is this impossible? It seemed so easy in that one-hour lesson back at the beach, where I worried only that I would never remember all the paddle strokes and regretted that I looked ridiculous in a green wet suit, fuchsia-colored shoes, rust T shirt and blue kayak skirt. Now I no...

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