Are You Listening?

Sorry, folks.  I was at a conference in Wisconsin this last weekend and forgot until this second that I was supposed to blog today!  For speed’s sake, I’m reposting something I did on our relatively new Superromance blog a couple week’s ago.

Do you ever feel like the world is trying to send you a message? Well, if you’re like me, the world works pretty hard and shouts loudly and the penetration rate is still dismal. My Sunday morning was a perfect example.

I bought myself a road bike about a month ago with the intention of getting out once or twice a week. I injured my back some time ago and figured I needed to change things up a bit to keep from re-injuring myself. So to kick things off, I registered for a race with my son. Race morning it was thirty degrees outside with twenty degree windchills and it snowed, but that’s another story for another day. He did 50 miles. I did only 20, but we ended up having a gas in spite of the weather.

Afterward, my son asked me if I’d do a 100 mile race with him later this summer, and me being me I said yes. Crazy, I know. But when your seventeen year old asks you to do something with him, it’s really hard to turn down the opportunity.

So I have some training to do if I really want to bike 100 miles in one day and I went out last weekend to see how far I could bike. Went 30 miles and was quite impressed with myself. Went out Wednesday this past week and biked 40 miles. I was shot, but talk about a rush! I realized this morning that the biking bug has definitely bitten me.

I really, really wanted to see if I could bike 50 miles on Sunday, but it had rained out most of the previous night. Wet trails mean wet brakes and tires that could slip out from under you. Not all that safe when you’re traveling fast. I figured I’d wait and let things dry out. Except that it started raining again after I woke up. Still, the forecast and radar made it look as if after that shower passed I’d possibly have about a three hour window before an afternoon thunderstorm, so I decided to risk it and head out.

The trails were wet with puddles and my legs and back were muddy within a couple miles. But I don’t melt, so what the heck. I’ve yet to have anything but a squirrel cross the paths in front of me, but yesterday morning both a rabbit and a wild turkey shot out in front of me. When a little dog started wandering ahead of me, I figured I’d better slow down. I heard someone calling for it, so I stopped and picked him up. A minute or so later, a little girl in pjs came onto the from her backyard to get him.

By this time, you’d think I’d be wondering if I’d made a mistake. Haven’t seen one other serious biker out. But no. I kept going.

Fifteen minutes later, I was cruising 18 miles an hour down the path, took a turn, and bam. There was a fallen tree directly across the path. I hit my brakes and slowed, managed to stop before running into the tree, but didn’t have time enough to get my shoes out of the toe clips holding me to the pedals. I fell over right onto the muddy ditch.

I was a mess. But did I turn around? Of course not. You can unclip and go around a silly old tree, right?

About another fifteen minutes and I hit a real road block. The path was entirely flooded. Looked a lot like the picture on the left. The funny thing is that I actually considered getting off my bike and walking through it. I know. I’m an idiot! But dang it, I wanted my 50 mile training ride in.

Figuring I’d do a few loops of the paths I’d just been on to get my miles in, I turned around. Low and behold I forgot about the tree in the path and did the same d$%ed thing again! Fell off into the ditch! No turkeys or rabbits on the way back, just a small white-tailed deer.

As I’m heading back, some ominous looking clouds were rolling toward me. I figured I’d keep biking closer to home. Sure enough it started raining. Not too hard, but I was soaked fairly fast. After a few minutes, the rain stopped but those clouds were getting darker and darker.

Any guesses as to whether or not I was planning on going home?

I cruised right by my house, fulling intending on going another seven miles around a nearby lake when thunder started rolling and lighting struck off to my west. Finally – finally – I listened. Took me about three minutes to pull into my driveway and I no sooner went into the garage than a deluge of rain poured from the sky.

I’m thinking all morning the world was trying to send me a message, but stubborn me refused to listen. If that trail hadn’t been flooded, I would’ve headed to a park far north of my house and would’ve gotten stuck up there. Now I’m wondering what other messages I’ve been missing for months, maybe years, about career, travels, family and relationships. Hmm. Maybe I should work on that stubborn streak and pay more attention?

When was the last time the world sent you a message? Did you listen before it was too late?

Then again, the more I think about this the more I wonder if maybe the universe was simply trying to tell me that if I want to do that 100 mile bike ride I’d better be prepared for just about anything.

So how exactly do we go about interpreting the messages the universe sends us?

I mean what if I had interpreted all the bumps and bruises I suffered along the road to publication as a loud and clear message to give it up?  I might have stopped writing long before I was offered my first book contract.

Something to think about.

Oh, and THE PURSUIT OF JESSE, my July Mirabelle Island romance, is now available for delivery from eHarlequin and for pre-order at your favorite on-line bookseller!



About Helen Brenna

Helen Brenna is the RITA award winning author of romances for Harlequin's Superromance line. Three more books in her popular Mirabelle Island series will be release in July, August and September of 2011. For more information, check out her website at
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7 Responses to Are You Listening?

  1. Pat Van Wie says:

    What a great story/post, Helen.

  2. cindy gerard says:

    Wow, Helen. You’re amazing! Yea for you.
    And about the listening … I’m a slow learner and a slow listener, apparently. For the last few years my body has been trying to tell me I’m doing something wrong. I wasn’t listening. I really thought I was eating pretty healthy – but still I always felt like — well, I felt crummy all the time and even ended up in the hospital last winter for a week.
    Last week, Kylie posted about the 17 day diet. I decided I’d give it a try because I was certain if I lost a little weight, I might feel a little better. It’s nothing really revolutionary but it’s a really healthy plan. No sugar. No bad carbs. No gluten. Lots of fish and chicken and turkey. a little dairy. a little fruit. Well – I’ve been on it a week. And yes, I’ve lost weight but even better, holy cow, I FEEL so much better! Seriously. I don’t feel like I’ve been run over by a truck when I get out of bed in the morning any more. And there are tons of other ways I feel better that I won’t get into but the bottom line is: I’M LISTENING TO MY BODY and it’s telling me loud and clear that sugar, bad carbs and gluten makes it sick. Wow. What a revelation.
    Just wish I’d listened to it sooner … or at least figured out what it was trying to tell me.

  3. Helen Brenna says:

    Thanks Pat!

    Cindy, so glad you’re feeling better. This diet must be amazing for you to be feeling so much so quickly!

    I think listening to our bodies is one of the hardest things to do. For example, sometimes I CRAVE exactly what I shouldn’t have. What’s that all about? lol

    Keep it up. I’ll bet you’ll feel even better in a couple more weeks!

  4. Leanne Banks says:

    Helen, I agree with Cindy! YOU ARE AMAZING!!! But what I would really like to see if your photo AFTER that last bike ride. I’m SO impressed!!!!:)

  5. Michele says:

    Wow, Helen, you’re my new hero. I think I can do a couple miles on my bike before dying from exhaustion. And so determined you are! Go you! Don’t stop until you get to that 100 mile mark.

    I’m with Cindy on listening to your body. Since I started eating well last fall, I know my body has been so happy. It’s yelling to me “Thank you for treating me so nicely and not putting bad stuff inside me!” So I’m going to keep doing that because I got the message and I’m listening a lot now.

  6. Helen: I like your second interpretation…that your 100 mile ride will require you to be up for anything! I think it’s such a great goal, too.

    I don’t usually “see” the signs the universe is sending out. I’m afraid I’m so focused on the next in my Must Do list that I’m not paying enough attention!

    I’ll look forward to you reporting how your training continues and how you liked the race.

  7. Helen Brenna says:

    Leanne, I’ll have to get a pic of me and my bike. I’m really like that baby!

    Michele, you really have done such a great job with the no sugar thing. I still battle with that myself, although I eat healthy otherwise. guess we can only tackle one thing at a time!

    Christie, the most I’ve done so far is 50 miles and that totally and completely wiped me out. I’m starting to wonder if I’ll be capable of a 100 miler even with training. We’ll see!

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