What’s Crazy? Giving Your Bike a Flat Tire So You Can Practice Changing It…


Good food days!  It’s always nice when I have leftovers available, and as hectic as the past two days have been, that’s a really good thing too!

The coffee D made on Monday morning was icky.  I’ve been using coupons and buying whatever is on sale for the most part.  We used to be total coffee snobs (hello…we lived near Seattle in the late-90’s!).  When we moved from WA to WI in 1999, I remember going to the mall and buying a raspberry mocha from Gloria Jean’s Coffee Beans (were no Starbucks there – though frankly only the tourists in Seattle ever went to Starbucks).  They used chocolate milk, and it tasted like NyQuil.  As soon as we got home, D ordered me a cheap espresso machine from QVC so I could make my own!  When we bought coffee, it was only whole bean, and we’d often make custom blends.  My favorite was an Italian coffee, and we’d sometimes even order it!  We’re so not like that anymore!  My coffee consumption has gone down a ton, and we’ve pretty much become a Foldger’s family.  Still…if nice coffee is on sale, I’ll pick it up as a “treat”.  Well…apparently my expensive coffee taste buds no longer exist, because the stuff on Monday was not good.  I think because I drink black coffee, it’s impossible for me to mask the bad flavors with sweeteners and creamer.  Anyway, D noticed I didn’t like it and actually dumped it and made a new pot so I could have my single daily cup of joe.  He’s such a thoughtful guy!

I had to run out the door on Tuesday to get downtown for the day, so I threw together a breakfast salad to eat once I was there.  I have these containers called Fit N Fresh.  I’ve had them for years, and they’re totally awesome.  They sell them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Target.  Anyway, they all have little snap in ice packs, so if I’m taking food where I don’t have access to a fridge (or don’t want to use the communal office fridge because they’re gross), these are perfect.  The kids use them all the time for school lunches (I don’t believe in using baggies or disposable packaging whenever possible), so they can take things like pasta or lettuce salads, sushi, or anything they want to keep chilled.  Anyway (excuse my rambling..I have a strange love for Tupperware and similar products), I threw together an awesome breakfast of fresh spinach, tofu eggless salad, the raw spiralized salad I made on Monday, and some sprouted lentils.  Again, totally full for hours.

An aerial view of my container!
my breakfast salad (notice it’s stuck between a laptop and a normal keyboard…yep…that busy!

Lunch was some reheated butternut squash mac and “un” cheese between conference calls.  Also very tasty and filling.  It’s a good thing too, since I frankly didn’t have time for lunch.  I brought an apple and a banana with me too in case I got the munchies…which I didn’t (was too busy…and full!).  On the car ride home stuck in craptastic traffic at 530, I ate my banana.  By the time I got home, figured out dinner for D and the kids, I had just enough time to drink a glass of chocolate soy milk (I had a sweet tooth) before running out the door just before 7.  I was a little hungry when I finally got home just after 9, but I certainly wasn’t going to eat that late…I’d never have fallen asleep.  Is it just me?  I can’t sleep if I have much food in my belly.

Breakfast this morning was a fresh juice smoothie.  I used the Vitamix instead of the juicer (I was looking for something filling…and honestly the Vitamix takes 45 seconds to clean, where the juicer has to be dismantled and put through the dishwasher!).  I didn’t add any water, so it was thick.  Just fresh pineapple, two peeled mandarin oranges, and fresh sliced mango.  It was really good and quite filling. 

I snacked on some baked lentil chips from Trader Joe’s.  I like my salty snacks, and with being gluten free – at least for Lent – I needed to go shopping and stock up on some alternatives!  These were actually really good (notice I said ‘were’…yes…they are now gone!), and quite frankly, pretty low calorie and very low in fat.  They were simply salt and pepper, and I was surprised by the spiciness.  If you have a TJ’s near you, I’d highly suggest them!

Lunch was a lentil and rice pilaf.  I’ll be honest – it wasn’t one I made from scratch.  It was the boxed Near East brand, and I didn’t like it too well.  I ate a little (with a ton of hot sauce) and decided I wasn’t hungry enough to eat any more.  I was also too busy to get anything else, so I finished it and went about my day.

Dinner tonight was totally awesome.  I made tempeh taco’s with a pickled radish slaw from a great site.  I actually made the radish slaw on Monday so it could pickle for a few days.  I didn’t realize I didn’t have OJ until it was mostly made, so I substituted a peach, mango, orange juice I DID have.  It did impart a different flavor, but no less awesome.

The tacos had a touch of spice from the chili powder (I used Ancho chili powder because it was what I had on hand), and I topped it with the slaw, chopped cilantro, onion, tomato, lettuce, and avocado.  Holy yummy.  I only have leftovers because I was going to run an hour later and couldn’t be TOO full.  I want to eat them all, but I may have to use my leftovers to give to friends and lure them into the awesomeness that is vegan eating!  Or…I can just email them the recipe and keep it all to myself.  That sounds good too.

this is what the tempeh packaging typically looks like.  In a regular grocery, it’s usually in the produce section on the hippie shelf
this is what it looks like right when you take it out of the package.  Don’t be scared – it’s SUPPOSED to look like that.  It’s not moldy or rotten or anything.
so I cubed it up, tossed it with the spices on the recipe (olive oil, cumin, garlic, chili powder, OJ, etc) and sauteed it up until nicely golden brown
all the toppings to decorate my tacos!  In the mason jar is the pickled radish and onion slaw.  I’m totally going to use that on everything for a while…until I can make more.  yeah for me, yet another way I find I can like radishes!
the finished product on some fresh corn tortillas.  I debated using romaine lettuce cups, but wanted the good carbs for my run.


Tuesday’s are normally run days for me, but instead it was Tri Club clinic night!  W held a clinic for us newbies to go over race day and transitions and to make us practice changing flat tires.

He told us to come with our front bike tires and two tire levers.  I felt like a moron – but I didn’t know what a tire lever was!  Apparently when everyone else uses butter knives or screwdrivers to take the rubber off the tire…there are actually TOOLS for that!  I am now the proud owner of a couple tire levers ($3 for 3 of them…can’t really complain about that…but it’s going into my running total of just how expensive this tri sport thing is!).  I also couldn’t figure out how to get my bike tire off (don’t laugh…I know my Dad is cringing right now reading this).  I was worried I was going to break something when D and I couldn’t just pop it off….so I put my bike in the van, went to the shop a couple minutes early, and A came out and showed me how to take it off. 

W, his wife M (who is in our club and a very awesome triathlete), and the morning Tri Club coach P proceeded to scare the crap out of us for over an hour with “tips” and “rules” about race day and transitions.  So essentially….

*forget your helmet.  Disqualified.
*forget your race number.  Disqualified.
*have anyone touch you or help you in any way.  Disqualified.
*anyone lends aid to you when you get a flat tire.  Disqualified.  (this ain’t no charity ride…no help wagons here my friends!  Do it yourself, or quit.)
*have a family member or crowd supporter hand you a bottle of water.  Disqualified.
*sneeze.  Disqualified (just kidding.  checking to see if you were paying attention).

Then there was the discussion of socks or no socks.  When you run from the water to the transition area with hundreds of other wet people to get your bike, you always get muddy.  Do you put socks on, or not?  M doesn’t do socks, W does – but with baby powder.  And P demonstrated how you roll them down in the set up, so when you’re feet are wet and muddy, you can easily put socks on your filthy feet.

Oh and the Tri is April 2nd.  April is a schizophrenic month in Virginia.  It could be 80.  It could be 30.  Regardless…I get out of the pool soaking wet and half naked and have to bike in whatever whether God has thrown at me and try not to get pneumonia.  Does this sound fun yet?

At this point, I’m freaked out.  The whole concept of what I’ve gotten myself into has now wormed it’s way into my head and is playing mental games with me.  I’m not ready.  I’m not in shape enough.  I’m going to die doing this.  Things like that bouncing around in my noggin.

I was IMing and emailing with my husband today about my total mental breakdown on the subject of the possibility of actually doing this and living to try and do it again, and he sent me this little nugget of wisdom.  “So what?  does it really matter if you’re not a Kenyan ultra uber super de-duper mega marathon triathlon sprinter pole vaulter triple jumper first place finishing star athlete?  You’re doing this for you.”  Truer words have never been spoken (or…emailed as the case may be).  Thanks baby.  My head is still screwed up on this…but this helped.

After he scared us, he made us practice fixing our flat tires.  Twice.  So we had to let all the air out, take out the inner tube, inflate it a bit with our mouths to give it shape, but it back in, put the rubber back on, and pump it up.  And learn how to use CO2 cartridges since there aren’t random tire pumps on the side of the road.  Though that would be cool.  Did I mention we had to do it twice?  I got to use my groovy new tire levers at least.  And found out I need to get a wedge bag for my saddle with all the necessary supplies to self service during the race should I get a flat.  Add THAT to the running total….

I finally started taking some pictures.  At one point, M took my camera and took a couple of me. 

my coach is wearing the brown shirt.  P, the morning club coach is the one standing, but leaning over in the grey shirt on the left.
This is L.  She’s very cool, and has done this before.  Always has encouraging things to say when things get tough
this is me!  Using my cool tire lever 🙂

I got home later than planned (W talks a lot…our 1 hr clinic turned into almost 2!).  It was a great use of time though.  I feel a bit better prepared.

Today I went swimming right after work.  Not a ton, just a 750 yd swim.  It was good, but I had a hard time focusing.  Due to major work problems, my pager and phone were going off like crazy, and I was worried about missing something vital (oh, like a call from a VP….again).  I stayed in long enough to get 15 laps done, and hopped out.

It’s was also Tri Club run night.  About a 6ish miler in our regular loop…half or so at race pace, a quarter either warming up or cooling down, and another quarter at tempo.  Yeah…I made it about 3/4 of a mile when my phone rang.  It sucked, but I had to head back and leave.  Duty called I guess.  So tomorrow – which is normally my rest day – will be a run day so I can make up for today.  If I have the energy, I may try and do two runs tomorrow.  One to make up for yesterday, and one for today.  We’ll see.  I hate morning runs.


Do you ever have days where you think you’re surrounded by people who just try to go out of their way to make life difficult for you?  Yeah.  Me too.

So I try not to whine about work things much, because in the end, I really and truly love what I do and where I do it.  I have the world’s coolest boss, I get trusted to do the job I want to do the way I want to do it, my customers are great people who do their best to save peoples lives every single day (and I try to give them the technology tools to help them do that), and my team is the coolest ever of hardworking, dedicated, and smart people.  I certainly cannot complain about that.

But this week.  I’m in total chaos.  First – we have a new hospital near DC.  I have until October to bring my systems live at their hospital.  Yeah – all looks good.  Plenty of money budgeted for the one I have to take…until the vendor tells me…oh, your hardware can’t handle it and it should be replaced.  Hello, unbdugeted project.  No problem, I have to do this, not exactly optional, so my boss (coolest boss ever, remember?), gets me the money.  Not cheap either.  Nice!  But not until my vendor tries to sell me the Cadillac when all I need right now is a pinto.  I’ll buy the Cadillac NEXT year when I can budget for it.  That took most of my energy for a few days, but seems to be going okay for now….

Oh, and this system has no test system – only production (I haven’t had this system for very long…only about 3 months).  So what does my coolest boss do?  Get’s me the money.  Unbudgeted.

And my newest inherited system?  Crashed.  Three times.  TODAY.  Political nightmare this one has been.  This is a case of it being a REALLY old system (like 8 years old, never been upgraded) and no one was willing to invest the money they needed to to keep it rolling.  So what has my boss done?  Give me nearly a blank check to get it fixed the way I think it needs to be done so it’ll work well for my customers.  Again…unbudgeted.  And it isn’t going to be cheap.  Coolest Boss Ever.  But at some point, they’re going to figure out I’m too expensive to keep around!

Then I have another vendor on a new project quote me one thing – and then tell me (5 months later), that it’ll cost that….times 7…if I REALLY want to do the project we asked for…7 months ago.  Can I tell ya…same vendor as the other project.  Ugh.  That’s fun news to break…”sorry boss….this isn’t a $1.5 million dollar project….more like add an additional $300k and we can do what we were told we could last summer).  Yep.  That’ll fly well.  I know they’re just doing their jobs too..but today they are my scapegoats.  Tomorrow is another day.

So here I am whining about the job I love.  But I’m not.  It’s not the job that’s upsetting at all…quite the opposite actually.  Just a frustrating few weeks/months that will somehow work itself out like it always does because of the people I have the honor of working with.  Helps to have the Coolest Boss Ever.  So when I see the light at the end of the tunnel and realize a bit too late that it’s an oncoming train…she’ll be there to pull me out of the way just before I get squished.

On other notes….my plans for the rest of the week and through the weekend are pretty crazy too!  I have a dentist appt tomorrow, it’s Irish day tomorrow – my second favorite holiday and reason alone to celebrate somehow…typically with green beer, Sammie has a vet appt on Friday for vaccinations and for “getting old”, Friday night is Tri Club swim trials, Saturday is a group ride to raise money to support Red Cross Japan (which I haven’t mentioned on my blog because I try to keep my writing light hearted and goofy…and I am absolutely horrified and worried about Japan and what they’re facing…and can’t really convey it appropriately here), then swim again (this time while R has her lessons), stop at the Shamrock sports expo, cheer on some runners, and then head to DC for a couple days of meetings and general chaos.  Oh, and I got suckered into stopping by my friend’s house on Friday morning before work to give her cat his meds!  (she’s going camping to celebrate her hubby’s bday).  So…I imagine that with all of those activities, some of the stories I have to tell will be more interesting than my work drama!

Oh….and my turtle!  I almost forgot!  So D “rescued” a baby turtle near his office back in November.  Up until fairly recently, I’ve constantly worried that he’s been on the verge of death (never seen him eat, never really see him move from his fake shrub).  The last few weeks, he’s been a swimming fool though, and seems to be doing well.  I actually caught him sunning himself on his rock today, and was so excited I took pictures.  So goodnight, and here’s Kiko!

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I am a 45 yo busy career single mom and doctoral student attempting to find her inner athlete, be a gluten-free(ish) vegan, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, box, do yoga, dance, travel, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

3 thoughts on “What’s Crazy? Giving Your Bike a Flat Tire So You Can Practice Changing It…

  1. Crazy, yes? Necessary? YES! I remember my first flat. I was alone, but did have a phone. I sort of knew how to change it but I called my husband (he was out for a longer ride) and I just waited on the side of the road until he made his way back to me. I was about halfway through 😉

    Oh, always keep dollar bills on hand– if you slice your tire you can put the dollar bill between the tube and tire and usually can make it home without the air leaking out again!

  2. My hubby goes sockless for races. He definitely practices running without socks though. He firmly believes in body glide. I can't wait to hear about your race. We have that schizophrenic weather here too. One day turtlenecks, the next day short sleeves.

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