In retrospect, perhaps planning to run a marathon that was an 8-hour drive away wasn't the best idea. While I love Wisconsin and am happy to get to do my first marathon with my brother, I'll spend nearly four times as long driving as running. And somehow it all seemed so much smoother in my head.
Instead of the family trip up to visit and cheer for me, I ended up traveling here alone...with maybe a few hard feelings about the lack of support. And I do get my husband's point of view. It's a long drive, a long time to stand around, and I probably won't want to do a whole lot besides the race this weekend. Not really a fun-filled mini-vacation. I can't really blame him for not wanting to sign on for the chauffeur/cheerleader gig.
It's hard for him to win with me. On one hand, I'm pretty independent and certainly don't like being told what (or what not) to do. At nearly six feet tall and strong-willed, I don't awaken a lot of protective instincts, but there are times that I want to be taken care of and looked out for.
Despite my dread of the hours in the car, though, the first five hours went very well. I think marathon training has helped my driving...so much of it is mental, and I'm now well accustomed to running for a few hours with just music and my thoughts to keep me company. Time crusied by, though I still would much rather spend 8 hours on a bike than in my car. I made it 5 hours and had just told Jeff how well the drive was going when I changed lanes passing someone and hit something hard in the road.
Ugh. Not 30 seconds later was the feel/sound I had dreaded...flat tire. I had to cross back across the interstate to pull off on the shoulder and got out to see that my driver's side front tire was flat as can be.
OK, so, while I'm all I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never never never never let you forget you're a man, I've never changed a tire. I don't know how to change a tire. Honestly, I don't really want to know how to change a tire. I have mentally filed that under "things God invented men to take care of". Unfortunately, there was no man in my car (see, Jeff!! I told you you should come with me!), so I buckled down and changed that tire like a Daytona 500 pit crew.
In my mind.
I'd like to say that I handled the problem with my typical grace under pressure, but it was more like grapes under pressure: wet, messy, and lots of w(h)ine.
There I sat, in the dark, on the side of the interstate in Wisconsin, cars speeding past me as I called Jeff crying. "I have a flat tire!"
"Oh, hon, it's ok...I can talk you through it."
I really didn't want him to talk me through it. I wanted him there, changing my tire. I wanted to not be standing there alone in the dark facing headlights. I was mad at my husband. See? I knew something was going to happen, and now here I am, all by myself! To his credit, Jeff was absolutely patient and calm with his sobbing, angry, tire-changing-impaired wife. How patient? Well, he put up with me saying things like (as I had to hang up the phone so I could crank up the jack) If you hear of someone being killed on the shoulder between Janesville and Madison, it was probably me. Grapes under pressure. Sour grapes. B****y grapes.
And I'll be honest. It was scary standing out there in the dark with those cars flying past me and hardly knowing what I was doing. Thank goodness for cell phones, otherwise I'd have been trying to read the instructions in my owner's manual by the light of the passing headlights. Behind me on the interstate, I could see another car which must have hit the same thing. A police car pulled up behind it. Eventually they finished up and he came and helped me. At that point, I had the jack most of the way up. If he hadn't shown up, who knows how long I'd have been out there.
The fun didn't stop once I was back on the road. I still had about 3 hours left to drive, and now my speed was limited by the donut spare I had. I was inspiring a large degree of road rage among the drivers who didn't appreciate my slow pace (hopefully not foreshadowing for the marathon tomorrow!). Once I start crying (flat tire), I have a hard time stopping, especially when I'm being tailgated and honked at and shrinking down in my seat.
I pulled off at the next city to get some gas and dinner. Barely keeping it together, I ordered a sandwich at Subway. Looking at my puffy eyes and tearstained face, the guy behind the counter asked, "And how are you tonight?"
"Fine." Please don't talk to me anymore. Please just let me get out of here without crying.
Sniff. Sniff. Wipe eyes with back of hand. Sniff.
"Sooooo....how's your night going?"
(Waterworks.) "Fine, until I got a...flat tire (sniff) on the interstate (sob)...and I've never changed a flat tire before. (sniff) and it was dark."
"Well...you got it taken care of. And it could be worse...you could've been changing your tire in 3 feet of snow."
(Sniffle) "That's true." (sniff sniff)
And when he finished making my sandwich, he handed it to me and said, "Have a nice night." I tried to give him my money and he said again, "Have a nice night."
So. I had to buy two new tires, but I did get my supper for free. And once I calmed down, it was kind of empowering to realize that I could change a tire if I needed to. I am woman, hear me roar. Or meow. Whatever.
And I'm looking forward to smoooooth sailing tomorrow. Thank you so much to all of you who've commented, reassured me, wished me luck, and just generally been the best kind of support and inspiration a girl could ask for. I'm excited for tomorrow and can't wait to tell you all about it!