Today was a gorgeous day in Seattle. There were no sun breaks because there were no clouds. The sun was high in the sky, raining down vitamin D and happiness, trying to cure all Seattleites suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in one apologetic, shiny day.
Sheri and I headed out for a brick workout today. We would have done it even if it was cold and soggy, because the Training Schedule rules our world. The Training Schedule called for a 1 hr and 45 minute ride immediately followed by a 45 minute run. They call it a brick because when you get off the bike, your legs feel like a million tons of heavy red bricks. OK, maybe not a million. But, it's hard to run after you get off the bike. Really, really hard. However, one must obey the all powerful Training Schedule at all costs, so you suck it up, put one foot in front of the other and try to practice the face you'll make when you cross the finish line.
Birds were singing, drivers were smiling, and even though my legs already felt like bricks when the ride started, I was optimistic. I had sunshine, a PB&J sandwich, Gatorade, and a view of Mt. Rainier. Miles 1-7 passed without incident.
Then, I ran over a staple. A. Tiny. Little. Staple. In the middle of a bike trail.
Air violently hissed out of my back tire and I suddenly had my first flat of the season. I have no clue how to fix a flat. None whatsoever. I instantly began wondering which friend I was going to call to come pick me up. I yelled up to Sheri and, totally unfazed, she whipped out her flat repair kit and got to work. Having no idea how to help, I could only offer little spurts of encouragement. "Good job, Sheri!" "Wow, I'm impressed!" "Um...... let me know if you need anything..."
A fellow cyclist, by the name of Jason, towing his 1 1/2 yr old son named Luke in a bike trailer, stopped to see if we needed help. We accepted his gracious offer and Jason and Sheri got to work fixing the flat. Not knowing what to do, and feeling very useless, I proceeded to play with the baby. When in doubt, flirt with babies. It's a motto I live by.
Sheri and Jason almost successfully installed a new tube in the tire. As they were finishing up, Sheri discovered a hole in the new tube. I will not repeat what she said and what I thought simultaneously. Sometimes there are no other words.
Back to square one.
Jason attempted to patch the first tube with the staple punctures and was really, ever so very nearly successful. He patched it, they got the tube in the tire, and we started pumping it up. A soft hissing sound came from the tire and we realized THERE WAS ANOTHER HOLE. By this point, Good Samaritan Jason and his adorable son, Luke, needed to get going. We thanked them for their help, gave Luke a few raspberries on his tummy, and proceeded to install a THIRD tube in the tire.
And, by we, I mean Sheri.
But, Ladies and Gentleman, SHE DID IT. Sheri was a rock star. A Super Hero. She saved my day. She was a TOTAL STUD. My thanks also go out to her husband, Jack, for teaching her to fix a flat.
We proceeded with our ride. Delayed but not deterred, we tackled the ride with renewed enthusiasm.
Until, a small bee decided to dive into my shirt. And sting me. Twice. I screamed and furiously shook the little bastard out of my jersey. No problem, it only half stung each time, so finishing the ride was no problem. It still hurt like the dickens, though.
Tonight, I'm laughing about these experiences, adding them to the "survival stories" archive that every athlete keeps in their brain and brags about to other athletes.
Today, Sheri teased me that by blog time, I'd have come up with some lesson I'd learned from the flat and the sting. And, she was right. So, here goes.
Obstacles happen. Prepare the best you can (I'm going to learn to change a flat ASAP) and then roll with the punches.
You never know when a staple or bee will derail your plans.
Breathe deeply and survive.
Life is unpredictable.
And, it's OK.
(PS, I was also very humbled and impressed with how many fellow cyclists offered to stop and help us....I felt cared for by strangers today)
THANK YOU, JASON!