Who knew one could turn a day of travel logistics issues at O’hare airport into Ironman mental training preparation!
On Sunday I was meeting up with my sister, Holly, in Chicago to go to her annual baby boutique buying show which for the past two years has been in Louisville.
I had issues the night before checking in on line as part of my trip was on American and part was on United so I just planned to go to the United ticket counter when I got to Chicago and check in.
When I got to the gate they had me in their system but no seat for me and an oversold flight. I had to convince Holly to leave without me as bad weather was coming in (at one point all travelers were advised to move away from windows due to a tornado warning) and I knew that it would be tough enough for me to get on another flight, compared to juggling both of us trying to get re-booked. So off Holly went at 1:15 p.m. to Louisville while I worked with the gate agent on alternate options. Note: despite United not having a seat for me the ticket agents I worked with were very helpful.
No other airlines would play nice with United and let me on their flights so the only option available was to fly me to Lexington at 4:20 p.m. and then take an hour taxi ride to Louisville so I played the waiting game for this plan which would get me to Louisville about 9 p.m. After waiting another three hours the Lexington flight it continued to delay and finally after an approx. 6ish planned departure they cancelled the flight. The customer service lines were horrendous due to bad weather so I hustled to talk to a gate agent that knew about my original situation and she booked me on the last available Louisville flight slated for approx. 7ish which pushed and pushed and pushed until we finally and thankfully departed at 11:30 p.m., just under 9 hours from when I landed at O’hare.
The flight landed at 1:45 a.m. and I was finally united with my sister and tucked into the hotel bed at 2:45 a.m.
During the day I taped into my mental toughness but with awareness and mindfulness and kept my calm and tried to cast light onto others as I knew they were having a challenging day too. My phone battery decided to die on me as well and O’hare doesn’t have free wi-fi so I had a lot of mental time to think and draw from my meditation practice and stay relaxed and recognize if I was tensing and let go. When I would stray and think things were getting tough I would just look around at all the people around me that were all in the same situation and knew others had it tougher as they might be traveling with kids or elderly people that were traveling alone and might not have the travel skills I have to know what to do in these ever changing and stressful travel scenarios.
Even though Sunday was a day of waiting and running between terminal 1 and terminal 2 and missing out on time with my sister I tried to find the learning opportunity in each scenario which I know transfer over into life. During life and my upcoming Ironman I have to go into dark places and these types of volatile situations help prepare me for those times when I can remind myself that I can get through this and know that others around me are in the same dark place but we will all pull through. Thus the game of life!