Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Here is a great little video that does a nice job of really breaking down the running posture, Chi Running Style:
Just like when working on swimming technique, you don't want to work on running technique alone. While you are learning the feel of the water, or in my case the feel of the road, it's imperative that you have good objective feedback and video of your form. It will mean watching yourself run, big deal. get over it. I'd rather watch myself run and feel awkward about it, then develop an injury because I am not running with proper form.
In swimming I can't tell you how many folks cross their midline with their catch and have no idea.
Same idea here!
So as we evolve through change, expect it to be hard. remember, the brick walls are there for a reason, they keep those who don't want it bad enough,....... out. We need to go slower to develop technique and proper biomechanics. We have to endure the soreness. We have to be patience.
I think a lot about Julie (Swail) Ertel and how over the years she has transformed herself into a runner. She recently brought that 10K time during the triathlon leg under 35 minutes. If you have ever seen video of her running she went from running like a swimmer to running as a runner. It's her strength.
I think the most frightening place to be is thinking that you have nothing to improve, nothing new to learn. That my friends is a place of stagnation!
More to come from our run analysis tomorrow morning!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 7:21 AM
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The Wizard wastes no time in getting to the point. I am in a full on training week, albeit light.... it's full on. Which might seem a little much this time of season. I have spent much of my adult life training upwards of 20 hours per week so beginning at 14 is not truly that big of a deal. All of it is easy, most of it is form work and technique. This morning a three hour ride and I am drooling in anticipation. I have been blessed to be injury free, thanks to the Wizard who so appropriately knows how to structure my day, my week, my season. Not one niggle, not one ounce of sore, not one ache or pain has come to me since I have been under his guidance.
Back to the early mornings...... it's funny how this sport can be. Those of us who work and have families think nothing of rising at 4am on a daily basis to get our hours and miles in. For some reason this fascinates other people, but when you have spent your life getting up at 4am you begin to realize the true beauty of it. I can't tell you how many mornings I have driven to the pool under the light of the moon. Better yet run on moonlit streets with nothing to make noise except the sound of my breath and some deer.
To others the lure of the evening is the same as the beauty of the morning. It just depends on your internal clock and what's right for you. Every day of my off season I was awake by 3:30am, just like a regular training day. There was one day I did sleep until 8am and I had this odd feeling that half the day was gone.
Simply put, I adore the early mornings.
Yesterday was the first day in years that I got to immerse myself 110% in Train-This Multisport activities. My training is usually done by the time Luc goes to school. Off he went to school, off Curt went to work, and it was Cocoa, coffee and I in my office. For the first time in ages I didn't have a looming paper or final. It was me and my athletes. I got so so much done. By the way our friends at TWIN Advertising are busy creating a new website with us, you can check out our temporary home complete with some training tips right here. Notice we've got three coaches now as well!
I spent the morning organizing their files, scrolling through their programs, reviewing the paperwork for the new athletes we have coming on board. Planning the three camps we have. Getting ready for the weekend.
This weekend we are taking most of the team down to Tri Spot Multisport in Buffalo. Tri Spot Multisport is a unique training center / store / bike shop / hangout. They've got eight computrainers, an endless pool, treadmills, and all the gear you could imagine. My good friend Kevin Patterson owns it and he's been gracious enough to open for my team this weekend.
We will run through power tests, heart rate tests, swim analysis complete with above and below water video, body composition testing. We have the fit kit for our team uniforms this season and I am so so so so excited about this. We've got a massive team this season and trust me, you will know who we are. We did our first round of team gear in 2007 and this season we will have a brighter and distinct look about us!
I have been so fortunate throughout the past five years to have incredible people to work with and to experience growth in a business that's a luxury. With that being said the reports throughout the past 12 months have shown that folks are putting their money into health and wellness opportunities, a beautiful trend in our society.
I see excuses to not exercise truly beginning to fade, as they are replaced with goals, events, dreams, ideas. It's no longer.... I don't have time to take care of myself...... it's becoming...... what can I do to achieve?
I think that's the most beautiful trend of the year.
As I worked away in my home office I reminded myself of how blessed I am to be able to work from home in this business. I truly love it. I am still a pediatric emergency nurse however, I still work 2 days a week. I can not imagine ever giving that up. It connects me to reality. It allows me to have the chance to give back. It challenges me.
Thinking ahead to the future for the first time in so long I got to take some time and think about, and begin to plan where I would like Train-This to be five years from now. It excited me, raised my heart rate a lot. I am realizing that life is truly an opportunity and it is up to us to create our own luck. What's that saying.... the harder we work the better our luck becomes?
So now is a wonderful time to contact us if you are seeking someone to guide you through your multisport season. Our 3 USAT Certified Coaches have the experience and ability to build a program completely to you, completely to fit your life, and to guarantee you meet your goals.
Our ultimate goal is to get you active, moving, participating.
We want to see you achieve.
We want to see you grow.
We want your kids to not sit on the side of the pool and watch you.... we want them in the game.
We want to build performances out of health and sportsmanship and good will.
It's funny how the Train-This Team has evolved over the years. When you join us you become part of this family. It's like Cheers..... everyone knows your name. From Atlanta, to N'Orleans, Memphis, Montreal, Syracuse, Buffalo and Rochester...... we know one another. Blame it on the mad google group conversations we all have, blame it on the training sessions we do together, blame it on us just meshing. I can't imagine the athletes we work with not knowing one another. They give one another such support and friendship it's incredibly moving.
Every single day I pinch myself that I have had such good fortune in creating this business. I have been so lucky. My athletes are amazing people. They accomplish things that are never recognized on a daily basis. They achieve things that sometimes just they and I celebrate. But I celebrate each of their victories much harder than I do my own.
So we are moving forward on all positive fronts possible. 2010 looks to be the brightest year yet.... personally, athletically, professionally. Thanks so much for your support as well. The thousand of you who stop by each day mean a lot to me, for whatever reason you are stopping by. I hope that I can help your training and or your life in some way.
We will be getting back to the coaching files, drop me a note if there is something you'd like to read about!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 4:20 AM
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I didn't sleep very well last night. I had laid down next to Luc while he was falling asleep. Slowly I just listened to his breathing as he made his way into what we love to call "Dreamland". Each night I ask him what we will do tonight together in Dreamland .... typically it's ride rollercoasters. I always tell him that I will meet him there.
As I was about to get up and tiptoe back to our bed, Luc rolled over and rested his head on my shoulder. I was immediately brought back to the younger years, where he was so small (10 pounds at birth) that I would just hold his sleeping self and watch him.
I stayed right where I was all night and I just watched him. How have 9 years passed? This little boy..... was once a baby and now he's full of wonder lust and imagination.
I had the same feeling as we were decorating the tree the other day. As I pulled out ornaments I held up the ones that said "Vermont 1998", our first Christmas together. Beforehand we had gone to Vermont and I remember as we were riding our mountain bikes through town we stopped at a little Christmas shop to buy these. Now over 10 years later here we are.
From Thanksgiving until sometimes mid January the hat you see in the picture above, will remain on Luc's head. His old school made him take it off last year. Not his new school. Wear it away they say.
I've pulled out all of my Santa tricks, my Call Santa iPhone application, Santa calls your child with either a warning or a good job message! And juts yesterday as I was working I called Luc to my office! Santa just magically popped up on my screen with a personalized video message for Luc! And don't forget my all time favorite... the Christmas Eve Santa Tracker: www.noradsanta.com , works every time.
If anyone believes in the magic of the season, it's Luc. It's something I appreciate more than anyone. He confided in me that 2 boys on his bus told him Santa did not exist. He then confided in me..... that Santa exists in your heart. Santa knows who believes and who doesn't. It doesn't matter what you tell the boys on the bus.
It seems as if Luc believes in something much bigger than whether there truly is a Santa Claus. Christmas is the 6 weeks of the year that people are a little kinder, people get together, people decorate and celebrate. Luc has taught me to fully and completely embrace that. We listen to the Christmas music the moment it is begun. If they begin it in October then all the better!
Luc proudly cries out "HO HO HO MERRY CHRISTMAS!" any time he can, he knows the importance of spreading good cheer.
Each morning the first thing he does is light up the Christmas Tree and turn on the train beneath it. Much of his time after school is playing with that train. We may have the most used Christmas Tree in the world!!!!
I think the important thing is to soak up the magic of the season. The beauty of the snow coating the trees, allowing the world to be a little bit brighter. The folks who take their time to play Santa and spread good will among us. The little boy who runs around in his Santa hat and believes, because it's fun to believe in magic.
If we don't believe in a little bit of magic..... where will we be? Santa, he's a stretch of the imagination. But rather than getting caught up in the technicalities of how he delivers all the presents in one night, how the reindeer fly, and how he fits through that chimney...... believing in the magic of it all seems to do us just fine.
It's time to break out the cross country skiis and the sleds, because the snow is here!
Here is a little video that Luc and I took last year... if the video is not working here is the link:
Posted by Mary Eggers at 4:34 AM
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It seems my rendezvous with Montezuma's revenge has finally come to a close, however Curt's..... has begun. Lucky for him I am a really good nurse and I make a mean toast with butter and ginger ale with ice. Speaking of Curt, we were joking yesterday about the one statement he has had to get used to this year at various races "Hey! You are Curt Eggers..... I know you from the Internet!". I think it's happened to him at every race he went to this year. Donna spotted him in her hotel, Cathy in the airport...... ahh the benefit of being married to me. Lucky man.
I am very excited to announce I have been selected to be a part of QT2's Elite Triathlon Team. Of the 59 members of QT2, 18 are on the Elite Team, of which you have to qualify for. I just made the qualifications, probably by the skin of my teeth, but I am very honored to be a part of this group. QT2 was by far the best coaching decision I have ever made. Jesse Kroplenicki is an incredible coach, and to be able to work with a coach who has coached Ironman Champions and athletes of such high caliber is really a privilege I am so happy to have. Totally by fluke.
Last evening I had the first of 2 meetings this week with The Wizard, via the phone. It was a season overview, laying out the plan of how we shall tackle the next 50 weeks until Ironman Florida. The big picture: two big macrocycles with a scheduled intermission right after the Musselman. Which works out so perfect because I spend that week in Placid Coaching Ironman! The n we do another which culminates at IMFL. And you know the goal for that day.
The four big races we shall focus on are: Lonestar 70.3, Musselman 1/2 IM, Pumpkinman 1/2 (Or Syracuse 70.3) and of course IMFL. There will be a sprinkling of road races between now and April, and then some local races which will be decided in the next week or so.
The second thing we are focusing hard on is body composition. After some measurements and number crunching we've determined what I already knew.... I have a lot of muscle on me. The Wizard recommends his athletes maintain a muscle composition of around 20-21% to put it in simplistic terms. This is not body fat. That.... we will inch down to 12% by November.
The first priority is to get rid of a little bit of muscle mass, which makes me unbelievably happy. How we are going to do that is a little bit tricky, it's through nutrition and I think that just plotting the method out there on a blog comes with risk, so I might not do it at all. I think it's something to be done under close supervision, not by reading what someone else is doing on their blog. There are no pills or powders involved, just a specific 2 week nutrition protocol to follow. I begin that on Monday and follow it for 14 days under close supervision of the Wizard, and everyone in my close circle. Trust me when it comes to nutrition I get watched like a hawk.
One thing to remember about those who have had eating disorders...... it is not the craving of a certain food that will cause a Bulimic to binge and purge, it is the ignition of an emotion. It's not even so much about control. And I know I am not explaining it well. The emotions that caused me to binge and purge 15+ years ago...... are from 15 + years ago. The danger with doing drastic nutritional changes comes from the high that one can get from losing a few pounds.... from manipulating the diet, this sort of thing. It's a complicated slippery slope, but I feel confident in myself, in my recovery and in my support system that this will go as planned.
It will test me for sure, but it will be good for me in the long run.
Speaking of running, the third part of the 2010 plan is a very drastic approach to my running. After studying some video of my running form and a picture from Clearwater, I see how I am the classic swimmer turned runner. I lean back, hold my shoulders high, and while I do land midfoot, I am running like I have always run..... like a swimmer. Video of how I have been running over the past few weeks, forward lean from the ankle, using gravity, a mix of Pose and Chi running already is showing me to be a much different runner. I am not looking at heart rate or pace right now, I am solely working on technique and form.
Once I go to Boston next month we will spend upwards of 6 hours doing video analysis. On the swim, bike and run. We will be on the track working drills, overlaying video of me running with QT2 Teammates Dede G. and Cait Snow (oh great), and really looking at my running like never before.
We are also employing the use of powercranks, which are going to benefit my run the most, while ideally upping my power on the bike. There's some controversy over whether these things help cycling, I have heard a lot of people say they hate powercranks, in fact the friend who has generously allowed me to use them said "I don't care if I never see these things again".
As the Wizard described last evening, for those of us who feel like our bike is our happy place..... powercranks can be very frustrating. He's got a protocol on how we will proceed with them, and I am looking forward to it. I am looking forward to being brought out of my box so to speak. I am looking forward to the challenge of this season.
To achieve what I have never achieved before, I am going to be doing things I have never done.
The easiest place to be saying that is sitting at week one of 50. Kid of like a New Year's Eve Resolutioner making plans. It's easy to say what you are going to do. The hard part is getting into the thick of it and executing it.
I have nothing to lose and everything to gain as I sit here on my very own personal New Year's Eve.
Laura posted this on FaceBook yesterday, if you have not watched the Last lecture then you need to...... it's worth the time trust me...... but I love this statement:
"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough." ~Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon, The Last Lecture.
If staring down the barrel of 2010 was without a few brick walls, then where would I be? There are the planned ones such as body composition, running form. There are the unplanned ones, which are hopefully not injury. There are the small ones like powercranks, hitting performance indicators..... but it is how we look at all of it that really makes the difference.
Am I willing to be challenged in ways I never have before? Yes. Am I willing to stand with my toes up to the brick wall and look up? Yes. Am I committing to not turning around? Yes. I am not looking to go back to the way things were when I excelled by pure luck. I am looking ahead to making the changes and taking the steps I need to to make this happen.
I think we have a lot more to luck than we think we do. The harder we work, the better our luck becomes perhaps. But it's more than hard work, it's listening to someone who knows me as an athlete, working my own program, listening to my own body.
I feel like we are about to take the adventure of a lifetime my friends. I am so honored you are along for the ride.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 4:51 AM
Monday, December 7, 2009
I took an exam on the GI system on Thursday, my final Pathophysiology exam. The core of the exam focused on the physiology of GI illness, diarrhea, vomiting, the CTZ center. Which was incredibly ironic that I began a full fledged session of Montezuma's Revenge on Friday.
I was convinced it was..... until I walked in the house and found the sub ten doode with the barf bucket in hand. Whew, I thought. I am not crazy (shut up).
When I did make it to work last night for my weekly night shift (which I do have to add is a whole lotta fun when you work with some pretty amazing people) the gasp was not about how horrible I looked but for the lack of coffee in my hand. Then it was to me.
Two hours later I was sent home. You are not allowed to be sick when you are a pediatric emergency nurse. But when you are, show up and it will be taken care of.
Which brings me to this morning and the best meal I have ever eaten in my life: two pieces of toast, a banana and a Diet Pepsi. (I don't even drink Diet Pepsi). It was Thanksgiving all over again! Heaven!
Today is going much better for me. Seems Montezuma/conversion disorder has claimed a new victim. In a house where we are rarely sick it's big news when we are. I of course fear what every mother fears..... our son getting sick. With all of his issues and experiences I can count on one hand how many times he has thrown up in his nine years...... twice. He's also had one ear infection. I would have traded open heart surgery for a few rounds of puke, but beggars can't be choosers.
Cross our fingers he escapes the revenge.
Excitedly I logged into my QT2 account as soon as I woke up and felt nauseous again. fourteen hours on tap including a 3 hour ride on Thursday. (note to self: reassemble bike tonight). Holy cow, I thought.
No rest for the wicked..... or should I say for those who have things to do and places to be in 2010. If I had just read that one someone else's blog I would have had a heyday! Too much volume! She will be injured by January! What the HECK!
I have to remember who my coach is. I have to remember his track record. I have to remember that this is the coach I came to to bring me to an entirely new level. I am willing to go out on the limb, and go to the places I have never gone, and do the things I have never done.
Fourteen easy hours...... fourteen I shall then do. I am meeting with Jesse this evening and then I will have our goals, aspirations and dreams.
While I might be existing on toast and bananas for today....... I know that come Sunday I will be back to my old self, my old strength, my bike seat and my new running form.
Hope you are all ready, because this year is going to be great! Of course!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 12:36 PM
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Through the past year I have revolutionized my nutrition. The struggle as an athlete and coach even was how to balance nutrition while distance training and keep on keeping on. Last January I began to delve into the Paleo diet and through my work with the Wizard and QT2 I came to the Core Diet. The Core Diet is often mistaken for Atkins to those who don't know it well.
The Core Diet is pretty much the same as Paleo for Athletes, with the exception that it has better guidelines for balancing weight loss with distance training. We made vast improvements in my body composition throughout the past 6 months. It's tricky because body composition is not truly measured in pounds as it is in body fat. For me that means calipers. While they do have a margin of error they are much more reliable than a..... scale. A scale? really? You step on a scale and it tells you how much body fat you have? Read the directions on how it is done..... please. Then use some common sense.
Body composition is important in triathlon. The lighter you are the faster you can go, but with great exception. Many athletes fall into the lighter is better and then end up with significant injury, most commonly in the form of stress fractures.
Many athletes also believe that lighter right now is faster forever.
Women should aim for a body fat percentage of 12-14%, and that 12% should be on race day. Not before. Men.... 5-7% and again, that 7%.... on your A race day. Getting down to that lower range and even below it in December for a race that is 7 months away will guarantee you this:
Your body needs fat to perform certain functions. Cell metabolism for one. The low fat diets of the nineties are out, the focus is now on whole foods, real foods, I think that's a great thing for our American culture.
In an Ironman race 10 pounds is said to be good for 10 minutes off of your time. Of course this excites me as I am 15 pounds lighter than when I did my 10:58 at IMFL in 07. I believe I have about 15-20 to go, but we will allow my latest body composition analysis determine that.
However if you don't have 10 pounds to lose..... then think of trying to lose that additional 10 as time added to your time. I honestly believe that it works inversely. So save yourself the time and the heartache. Be healthy, get your composition analysed by something other than your $150 scale.
A few rules on the core diet are ones easily incorporated into any lifestyle:
1. Drink 80 ounces of water every day (That's 2.5 of those Nalgene bottles)
2. Eat four fruits per day
4. Eat four veggies per day
5. Eat 6 time per day.
The biggest complaint I hear with nutrition is time. No one has time to devote to planning meals or preparing meals. But we all have time to plan our weeks and our training. Be just as serious about your nutrition then! I spend about an hour on Sundays cooking, chopping, preparing meals for the week. I store them in small Glad Lock containers and then when the time comes my preparation time is minimal.
I remember feeling a significant difference in how I felt after just 2 weeks eating in the Core. Energy levels soared, I felt cleaner, I felt really good. I was no longer relying on bread and bagels for my carbohydrates, I was relying on much healthier sources like fruits and vegetables.
Many people thing that because you are not eating bread and bagels that this is Atkins. Not so. It's a tough thing to give that stuff up, especially if you are a swimmer like me and Saturday mornings have always meant swim practice then pancakes!
Take a look at your fruits and veggies. Look at how much you can get from those sources. There is certainly a time and place for the higher carbohydrate foods, those we call workout windows and I will outline those another day.
The biggest focus when eating in the Core is healthy nutrition. I think of all of the years my body was starved of the micronutrients that it needed. Especially with the health issues I have dealt with in the past 2 years. My body soaks that stuff up now and I feel that difference.
The Wizard is pretty strict on making sure you eat enough fat, enough vitamins, he reminds us that we lose health when we aim too low. He aims for 0.5-1 pound of weight loss per week, which is easy to do in a world when you aer taught that you can lose 3-6 pounds by drinking 3 shakes a day.........
Now is the best time to begin working on the nutrition front. I don't enjoy the treats that the holidays bring. Growing up with an eating disorder this was the worst time of year for me. I am happiest when I avoid it. I am happiest when instead I try new fruits and vegetables. I feel good at the end of the day. I don't' feel like I have the sugar induced false high.
So begin establishing those habits now. Good habits. Healthy habits. The water, the fruits and the vegetables. Find out what your body composition is and then begin upon a long term plan to getting it to where it should be by race day, remembering that on race day it can be at its lowest, afterwards you add a few pounds.
It's wonderful to be fast. There will be no such thing as fast if you are a woman with 8% body fat and a stress fracture though, as you watch from the sidelines.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:59 AM