I shall apologize to the three of you who check in each day, that my posts are about to slow down a bit to bi weekly or weekly. The big focus has begun and part of that is writing less, storing it in my head more, and finding that quiet time to reflect on the journey.
I stand here at the beginning of the big build, feeling really good. I am savoring how good I feel now :-) There were three words on the schedule that made my heart skip a beat with both excitement and nervousness.
Four Hour Ride.
We all remember what happened at the last four hour ride, so he's shown up again. And I am welcoming him, Thursday we will join forces and ride. There will be moments of challenge, testing, prodding, but that's what this whole Ironman gig is about.
What can I endure, how long can I endure it, and how can I remain patient as the process takes shape? Why am I here, what is my purpose? What can I withstand and how will I handle it? Will I bend or will I break?
Is my WHY big enough to make the HOW easier?
And at the end of it all, what are the lessons that will help make me stronger?
Ironman training is so much more than the physical. It's even more than nutrition. The great Karen Smyers once said that the furthest distance you have to travel on Ironman day is the distance between your ears. I once thought that I had that aspect conquered, and I learned there was more I needed to do.
So here I am. Wide open, ready to be pried apart, ready to be peeled and exposed.
:-) Mary Eggers
Monday, February 26, 2007
I shall apologize to the three of you who check in each day, that my posts are about to slow down a bit to bi weekly or weekly. The big focus has begun and part of that is writing less, storing it in my head more, and finding that quiet time to reflect on the journey.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
It came through on the Train-This Yahoo Group titled with my favorite expression, and it was form Sarah......
The message read "5 months from today."
Any we all knew what she meant. 5 months until Ironman Lake Placid. My heart fluttered like a child on Christmas Eve. Yes, 5 months. The deposits in the Bank of Iron are accumulating and fitness is building.
I was a very good girl in recovery week. I rested, and I even sat in Curt's "Man Chair" with my feet up. Luc was on winter break so we really had some fun together. We watched movies, went to the library, went to Cracker Barrel every morning, sledding and swimming. He's getting his freestyle down nicely.
I had to warn my husband that in the next four weeks I would be dropping 10 pounds (the last 10!!!) and not to be worried. I am about to embark on my first 40 mile per week running block, and when my running mileage gets above 35, the pounds drop whether I want them to or not. The trick will be slowing them down.
But things are coming together. The swim, the bike and the run are beginning to blend as fitness is building. I feel terrific. I am not nervous about my Achilles. I am not nervous about speed, hell, I am not nervous at all.
I woke at 4:30am on this Saturday morning eager to complete my first bike test, and I was thrilled with the results. The wattage, the heart rate and the cadence came togther as I hoped it would. All of those superspins were finally taking shape. I am equally as eager for tomorrow's test.
The next block is laid out and I am revved to go. The week after next I begin a series of twice weekly brick workouts. March 12th I begin teaching spinning at RIT. I have to write a syllabus and I have to grade! WOW! It allows me to get in a terrific 1:30 ride and then head to their most amazing collection of treadmills for 1-1:30 runs afterwards. I have been able to stay off the treadmill most of the winter, but at RIT they are too easily accessible, so it becomes time to take advantage of them.
In April, 6 days apart I have 2 distance road races. The Spring Forward 9.5 miler is on April 1st and the CATS 1/2 Marathon is on the 7th. Originally I wanted to peak for both of these events. But as we took a look at the grand plan it made better sense to use them both as tempo runs. The Gulf Coast 1/2 Ironman is on May 12th, having 2 down weeks around these road races would throw off the build and taper for the 1/2 Ironman. So I had to choose. Be an April champion or shine in the races that I want to shine in? Obviously I chose the latter. At mile 20 of Ironman Florida, no one will give a rats ass about my CATS 1/2 Marathon time in April.
So........ 12 weeks till Gulf Coast
14 weeks till Weekend At Placid
16 weeks till Eagleman
20 weeks till Ironamn Lake Placid.
and months will Ironman Florida.
It will all be here before you know it. Then planning, the creating, the data collecting, it is all underway and evolving just as I do. Strong days, weak days, up days, down days. It's all part of the package.
:-) mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:36 AM
Friday, February 23, 2007
Our masters swimming team is called the RAMS, and I have been swimming with them for 6 years now. I used to swim in the boomers lane, which was the middle of the pool. Here, 100's were done on 1:15-1:20. This season I swallowed my pride as leader of the Boomers and stepped to the back of the Stud lane, where 100's frequently depart on 1:05-1:10. Most times I hit the wall, take a breath and then go again. It's bringing my swimming game up a notch for sure.
We practice at a pool in the Harley School complex. Our pool is being renovated so we have now moved over to Monroe Community College, which has given us an extra lane and 15 more minutes in the water. This translates into 2 X 90 minute practices, which then translates into much more yardage. Just what an Iron Girl in training is needing. I have found my happy place.
Our new venue allows me 15 extra minutes in the am, enough for me to squeeze a good hour on the bike in. When I arrive home at 0730 I have 2.5-3 hours of training in, and I am smiling.
So it's been a wonderful recovery week. I began a series of bike testing, which will last through the weekend and the next 3 weeks. I save my running tests for the beginning of the week at the beginning of the next block. And I do this for a few reasons.
Recovery weeks need to be recovery weeks. I see a lot of athletes hammer themselves with very intense "testing" when they should be recovering. I save my bike test to the end of the week so that I arrive with rest under my belt. Bike testing is not as demanding as running testing.
We all know that the body becomes stronger when the body is at rest. It is when we train that we develop microscopic tears in the muscle. At rest the body repairs itself and in turn builds a stronger muscle. The next time the muscle is stressed it is stronger.
I place the run test at the beginning of the next block to ensure I have taken the proper rest, which means I have endured physical and nutritional recovery. This is the system that I have been scheduling my athletes for as well, and the results have been terrific.
When I schedule a long or hard ride to some it might seem hard. But it is when they see the word rest, that their blood pressure really rises. But that's the missing link of so many programs. Finding the balance is hard and it is through trial and error that you find the right method for you.
I am looking forward to the subsequent bike sets that I have on Saturday and Sunday, but for now I will be in Curt's "Man Chair" with my feet up and resting!
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:04 AM
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Yes, I create the training plans, analyze the data, help analyze nutrition, heart rate zones, etc, etc.... but my athletes do the work. They do the training. When they thank me, I have to remind them that it honestly has very little to do with me, I am just the drill sergeant. It is the athlete, the person who must do the work, face the demons, endure the triumphs, I am really just the guide.
I have been so blessed to work with a tremendous amount of people, through teaching spinning, yoga, coaching, etc. And it never ceases to amaze me, to watch each person evolve. They begin their cycling career, yoga practice, whatever it is with a degree of uncertainty, doubt. They are humble but eager. Some believe they have what it takes and some won't believe it if you hit them in the head with it.
I get to sit back and watch them peel away the layers like they are peeling the layers of an onion. First to disappear....... doubt. It comes from the first milestone whether it be a downward facing dog or the finish line of a 5k.
Have we spent so much of our lives not believing in ourselves that when we crest the milestone we are actually surprised? When did doubt begin and the innocence of childhood end? When we thought we were ten feet tall and bullet proof. When the world was open and wide and good.
The world never changed...... we did. Through circumstance and life and whatever that entailed for us.
So we begin a journey of whatever kind. In my world it is an athletic journey of sort. But an athletic journey is an incredible metaphor for life. If I can climb this hill, if I can hold this balancing half moon, if I can just ride 5 miles.......... then what else could I do?
One success leads to another, small or large and we have this energy that builds up inside of us. It begins to bubble and at times we have difficulty holding it all in. Like we are a shaken soda bottle and the cap has not yet been released. Like we are just ready to shine for all of the world to see.
And then we might feel guilty..... I don't want to seem conceited, I don't want to seem like I am bragging. But.... is it?
When did reaching for the goal, when did putting yourself on the line, when did believing in yourself become a bad thing?
Somewhere on our journey we began to believe it was.
So strip back those layers, reach for the starts as they say. Pull of the mask and let that bright light that is within you shine so brightly that even you are surprised.
That isn't walking around saying "I am the best in the whole world!"
It's quiet. It's personal. It's within. Once that light begins to shine from within, people will begin to notice a change in you, that they can't identify.
"Something seems different about you." They will say "But I don't know what."
Because you have finally removed self doubt, self loathing, self hatred. And you have replaced it with someone who takes care of themselves, someone who has grown into their own skin, and someone who throws open their arms and allows the world in.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:56 PM
Monday, February 19, 2007
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:05 PM
Sunday, February 18, 2007
We've come to the end of a terrific 3 week build. Mileage and volume is right on target. I even have been successful at taking a complete day of rest each week. Strangely I have come out of this build feeling incredibly fresh. But that's how this training stuff can work. You come to the end of a build fatigued, or fresh. It's when you are fatigued you question whether you did enough work. Its when you are fresh you want to do more.
My desire to want more will be met this week with a lot of testing. We are beginning a series of month long test sessions on the bike as I transition into training with power. My bike will be outfitted with an Ergomo in three weeks, which is going to help immensely as we collect data from races, planning the plan for Ironman Florida. Since I will be on the IMFL course in just two months it will be a terrific opportunity to collect necessary data. Perhaps when I signed up for Gulf Coast, that was my plan? I never know what's going on in this mind of mine.
I have come through my first 40 mile running week in over 2 years unscathed. At the beginning of the week during my long run my left hamstring was so tight that for every stride I felt it. 2 hours of Ow left hammie ow! Made me hyper-nervous. A complete day off on Wed and yoga yoga yoga....... completely gone. No tightness not even a hello. Whew.
So I am feeling very good about the upcoming running block. This week we will cover about 20 running miles through recovery and then it is into 3 X 40, rest and then we begin working up towards 50. All base training and during the subsequent block some hill work.
We attended the Hunter Allen seminar in Buffalo yesterday, and I have to admit that he completely organized my power training knowledge. It's like I had a whole alphabet of books and thoughts and plans, and he narrowed it down to A,B,C and D. I get it. I am relatively new to training with and coaching with power, and it can really become quite technical. I found myself fascinated by the ability to train, pace, plan, and test with power meter devices.
I decided on the Ergomo for a few different reasons. And I have been considering this purchase for months. I like that I can use different wheels. I train and race on different wheels, sometimes a disc, some times a Bontrager, so I like having that option. I like the durability of the Ergomo. I like that I can use it inside and outside.
I liked all of the other power meter devices as well, but the iBike seemed senseless for me to get. Among other reasons, most of the races that I do, your bike is in transition the night before without the ability to remove it until the race. That eliminates the option of calibration race morning.
The Power Tap limited me to just one wheel. I want to be able to train with and race with this thing, else why bother at all? For me the Ergomo was the natural choice. Plus it comes in a cool silver James Bond like briefcase. I am all about the cool factor.
I think that training with power is a very personal choice, can be incredibly beneficial, and needs to be completely understood by both the athlete and the coach. I really like how Hunter Allen called it the "You suck" meter, because it is very revealing about your talents and your weaknesses.
The bottom line of all of these things, all of the tri toys out there, is that they can impact your Fun-O-Meter.
Training and competing is fun. It is 100% fun. Adding toys and such to the mix for some people can pull from the fun. Toys are technical, and they come with a certain amount of Geek Stress. Geek Stress meaning they will fail at times, they will have to be repaired at times, software isn't always user friendly (ever see how many manuals as Computraienr comes with?) and they take a certain amount of knowledge. So be cautious as you add this stuff in, if it begins to impact your Fun-O-Meter, either causing you to spend too much time in front of the computer, or impacting the joy of riding.......
Then take it off the bike or place a piece of tape over the screen. After all, this is for fun, this is for fitness. I happen to enjoy all these technical things. I have a hunger for knowledge as an athlete and as a coach.
So.... on to rest week, and some testing!
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 10:55 AM
Friday, February 16, 2007
It must be the number one question an endurance athlete is asked.
"What motivates you?"
You have to be a motivated individual to achieve anything in life, be it in sport, career, family, education. You have to find your one thing, coach Rich Straus truly articulates it best, these are his words below..........
How do you determine your One Thing?
Identify why you want to do the race before signing up. Are you doing it for you or to prove something to someone else? Be completely honest with yourself. "I'm a doing this Ironman so I can earn a unique title that is mine forever."
One Thing = title of Ironman.
Take that One Thing and mate it with your race goals and expectations: "The title is important to me, not the time. I want to finish with a smile on my face."
Remind yourself, daily, of your One Thing and the race goals and expectations you have built around it. Through this process your One Thing will provide clarity of purpose to your training.
When the Phunometer is pegged during a 6 hour long ride, you'll know why you are still out there.
In your mental rehearsals before the race, visualize the conversation between Mind and Body when the Body begins to question the Mind's commitment to the One Thing. Prepare your rebuttal beforehand.
On race day, continually remind yourself of the One Thing. Focus completely on its accomplishment. Remember, you can never disappoint your friends or family. They will be proud of you regardless. However, you can let yourself down. In the end, the best we can do is follow our commitment to our One Thing.
Time or performance based One Things
This is double edged sword, creating intense focus on the run, but potentially setting you up for major swim and bike pacing mistakes.
Here is what I do:
Before the race, I set very broad finishing time goals. This is usually a simple exercise in curiosity, as I do the math on projected splits, based on current training paces. I don't plan to use these numbers in any way during the race.
On the swim and bike, I focus completely on smart execution. I let the time take care of itself.
I do my best to completely ignore the races of those around me, especially on the bike. I realize I create the conditions for a successful run hours before I step off the bike in T2.
Whenever I feel myself about to get stupid, I remind myself of this fact.
When I step off the bike, I look at the clock, assess how I feel, and absolutely commit to a run time and resultant finishing time.
I then put that goal in my back pocket. I won't need it until much later. In the meantime I again focus completely on proper execution.
At some point during the run, I know the gears will shift from "running" to "not slowing down." This is when I take the time goal out of my pocket and go to work. However, since I am usually incapable of simple arithmetic at this point, this will take the form of running to Mr. Gatorade, walking while I drink, then starting to run before I have a chance to talk myself into walking more. In the end, the time still takes care of itself as I focus on not slowing down.
Never underestimate the body's ability to go farther than you ever thought possible. However, the body is a machine. Your mind is the driver. Prepare your mind now to drive your body on race day.
I have sat down and outlined what my one thing is. It's something we all should do if we are serious abut where we are going. Establishing that process gives me a lot to hold onto during the months where it is not easy to get out the door.
Another little something I always try to follow in conjunction with this, is that I am always good to myself. I will never tell you that I kill myself during a workout. Think about the energy that creates. For me, stating "I am going to kick my butt on my run today"....... fills me with angry energy and that then translates into self hatred.
I lived in that bubble of self hatred for too long, and I have worked hard to get out of it. Each workout has a specific and positive purpose. Each workout is to help me become stronger in some fashion. I know there is a lot within me that can shine. and while I have trouble revealing it, I am closer than ever.
Each training session forces me to be in the present moment. I can't think about what is ahead, and I can't think about what's behind. I have to be in the here and now, else those are the workouts where I get off my bike. It's like every swim, bike and run, I am in front of a mirror. I can bend or I can break. Sometimes I bend and sometimes I break. That's just how it all rolls. One session leads to the next, and they end up in a season compilation of hits and misses. The hits build a tower stronger than the misses, yet the misses teach me the most valuable lessons.
One thing is for sure, my success as an athlete depends on my spirituality. The incredible Kevin Moats says it best;
"There are no atheiests during the last 8 miles of the Ironman"
So I encourage you to take the journey of finding your one thing. Then write it down, say it out loud, post it on the mirror in the bathroom. Don't be afraid to state it, and don't be afraid to succeed.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 3:57 PM
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Today very well may have been the most embarrassing day of my life.
To understand the end, you must understand the beginning. I have put 7 hours of training in within 2 days, trying to front load my week and stay ahead of the snow storm. With that said this morning's 2 hour run in 12 degrees was not to bad. It wasn't too bad aside for the fact that my water was frozen by mile 4 and my Gu froze too.
So picture me chomping on 100 calories of frozen lemon Gu while trying to pry open the top of my Fuel Belt flask to get to the water inside. I can't say I was successful. So I resorted to grabbing handfuls of snow, hoping no dogs peed in it, and then convincing myself there must be nutritional value to dog pee if indeed I did unknowingly ingest some.
So that leaves me arriving home in a bonked state. In a time crunch I decided to grab a quick shower (and forgo my morning coffee in a 60 minute shower...... ) and head to the mall. I have an idea for Valentine's Day and I am about attaining the goal. As I walk through Dick's Sporting Goods I feel like I am in the bonk tunnel, things look fuzzy, I am dehydrated and not refueled from my run but I only have so much time to get this done.
I have never been to Victoria's Secret and I can now say I will never go there again. With that said know that what I am about to say does involve Lingerie but is completely clean.
Rumor had it that VS had the most comfortable pajama pants in the world, for men and women. Silk, fleece, you name it, I was told that they had it. So I thought that a matching pair of jammie pants would make the perfect gift for Curt. Of course!
"ARE YOU MARY EGGERS?????? " I hear a female voice screech as I entered the door. Can't say I have ever been recognized in a store before, I felt alarmed and I should have gone with that instinct. As I looked around to see who it was, I realized that VS was full of men, and I was the only female.
"Oh my God!" says this tall blond woman, who obviously works there. She's dressed to kill, and she's up close and personal. "I used to take your spinning class, I see you on TV all the time, and I am such a fan!"
A Fan? What is she talking about?
"I ran a marathon last summer and I am training for my first triathlon... .." After that I don't hear what she says as I am feeling slightly sick and falling further into the bonk tunnel.
I need to getsomething to eat........ I tell her that I am there for the pajama pants I keep hearing about.
"No, No No No!" she grabs my arm and leads me to the back of the store where strappy nighties are suddenly surrounding me. "You need something a little more..... seductive... . for that husband of yours."
My heart rate enters zone III.
"I know exactly what you would look fabulous in." Oh my God, I think, maybe someone will rob the store and I can run away. She throws a little pink nightie at me, tells me to hold it and proceeds to take off my coat.
"This would be perfect on you." It's small, see through and pink! I need to get out of this situation........
"I...... um.... " I begin...
"Nonsense" she throws up her hand "You wear less fabric than that in front of thousands of people! Think of how your husband will react when he sees you in THAT."
He will probably laugh his ass off lady. But I am really tired, and I am really mortified, and I really need to get something to eat. I feel dizzy.
"Just try it on and see what you think." She leads me to the dressing room. Oh my God.
So suddenly I am in a small dressing room by myself with this little pink thing to try on. I feel like the only way out is to try the damn thing on, and what the heck. Maybe she's right. Maybe I need a little spice in my life. Maybe I need a little satin and forgo the coolmax for a day.....
So I slide it on. Realizing my hair is soaking wet from my shower, I flip my head over. I don't want to get the fabric of this thing wet. So I tie my hair up on top of my head, and in one quick swooping motion, I stand back up....... too fast! Too fast!
I saw stars and then I saw black. The next thing I know I smell ammonia, my eyes open and I am on the floor in VS's, about 10 people standing around me, I had passed out! I am half in the dressing room and half laying out of it.
"Are you all right?" The mall security guy asks me.
OH MY GOD!
"I am fine!" I say realizing I am in this sheer nightgown thing, and I have just passed out in VS!!!!!!!! !!! I jump up. "I had a long workout this morning, I am so sorry, I am fine....." I slither back into the dressing room where I overhear my sales girl explaining to the crowd that I am a triathlete.
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god......... I have just become the psycho exercise addict who passed dout in a lingerie store!!!!!!
I throw my clothes back on, I profusely thank everyone for their help and I apologize for making a scene, and I quickly excuse myself from the crowd and the store. With no gift in hand obviously!!!
I am so bright red I feel sunburnt. I make my way over to EMS, where I feel at home again.
I can't believe that just happened. I need to eat. So I grab Curt a fleece vest and some wool socks and a few PowerBars.
As I get to the register one of the employees begins to ring me out. Another comes through the front of the store returning from a break.
"Hey Joe" he says "I heard some girl just passed out in> Victoria's Secret!"
"No way" he responds, laughing. OH MY GOD! I can't get to the car quick enough with my revised gifts and my head hanging low, stuffing the Power Bar into my mouth. I am so completely mortified I don't know if I am going to laugh or cry.
So of course I laugh.
Now you can understand a good 200 reasons why nutrition during and after a long run is important, why Vs's is a store I should not be in, and how to handle yourself with grace. Yeah, grace!
:-) Mary eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 9:52 PM
Rumor has it, that if you wear your pajamas inside out to bed, the next day a snow day will be granted. Children throughout Western New York reportedly did just that, and we awoke to one of the greatest days of childhood....... The Snow Day! A free day off of school, feet upon feet of snow, that just means two things; hot cocoa and sledding.
Driving home from the hospital at midnight, where I completed a four hour shift, I knew this day was coming. Heck I have planned for it all week. Got the workouts in, got the work done, even got some extra sleep. As I drove 10 miles at an amazing 10 miles per hour I just had that feeling.
As Luc woke up and ran to the window to see just how much white fluff had landed, I felt like I had the most incredible power on earth when I announced that today school was closed.
It's not like kids don't like school, or that they don't want to learn. But a snow day is like a rebellion against the system. Like in this world of rules and homework they have something in their corner. HA! Take that, an extra day to do homework, an extra day to go outside, an extra day to do whatever we want!
Hooray! Enjoy the day!
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 7:56 AM
Monday, February 12, 2007
Wake up in the morning with thoughts of defeat and agony and spend your whole day there. Look into the mirror and cursing a body you hate, and you will live with that body the rest of your life.
Wake up in the morning and believe there is a world of possibility... and there will be. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you look strong today..... and you will be. But you must believe it, else you never will believe it.
Spending your day with people, notice their energy. You gravitate towards the one who share your energy, don't you? A pessimist finds a pessimist, an optimist finds an optimist. A pessimist attacks an optimist. It's an interesting phenomenon.
Find your own resistance, whether it be physical or emotional. Acknowledge it, fact it, respect it. If today is the day to honor and step back from it then do so. If today is the day to live alongside it, then do so. But if today is the day to step a rung higher and move past it, then do it. Resistance is opportunity in disguise.
Find your own possibility whether it be in work, in family, in life. Seek out the potential within yourself and let it blossom. Tear down the walls that have surrounded your castle for so long. Empty the moat that has prevented you from getting close to yourself. Be exposed. Expose yourself, to you.
Look to the horizon and see that every single day is full of potential, possibility. It is a brand new day. yours to mold, yours to create, yours to shape. Depending on your energy, your resistance, and your willingness to be exposed...... it can be a day that shapes up any way you want it to.
So look to the horizon, let it begin right there.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 11:01 AM
Saturday, February 10, 2007
This week I focused on continuing to build the base and gathering cycling data. I am spinning through Ironman New Zealand at 110 RPMs in Z2 and I am feeling it coming back again.
Coming into this last of build weeks for the current block it is a big running week. This will in turn lead into a big running focus as we begin to try to turn my weakness into my strength. The miles are all still base miles but the volume steadily builds through the next 12 weeks. I will be running the most I have ever run. Gulp.
I like the way it progresses though. Keep building a rock steady base and then begin adding in some hill repeats and eventually speed work. I may not touch speed work until right before Gulf Coast 1/2 Ironman. We will have a rock solid running base, which is extremely important as I will be so hyper vigilant about my previous injury.
Now that the season is mapped out, now that I can see the bigger picture, I understand the plan.
Gulf Coast leads to Eagleman, Eagleman leads to Lake Placid, and all of these races, every single workout is secondary to Ironman Florida. I know what I am capable of at Ironman Florida, and every training moment from now until then, is in preparation for that. The big finale. So I will be patient. I will be patient through all of the races as I know which one is the most important one. I know the number I am dreaming of on the Ironman Florida clock, and will a PR at a 5K in May matter then? Nope. Not at all.
The roads are clear yet it is cold, but I have hope in my heart. Most importantly I believe in me, I believe in what I can do. And with that I continue to make deposits into the Ironman bank.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 7:19 AM
Thursday, February 8, 2007
For the third year in a row I had the honor of speaking to about 150 students at the State University of New York at Geneseo. Topic..... How I survived an Eating Disorder. I do quite a bit of speaking to groups of all kinds on this topic, adolescents to adults, high school, YMCA groups, you name it.
I am not an eating disorder expert. I do not have all of the answers. But I have been through it, I deal with it every single day and I can tell you that hope exists. I am not special because I have found recovery, I am not special because I have found success as an athlete, I am not special for any reason, I am just like anyone else.
I see too many people, women and men who endure eating disorders. Those who have had the fortune of never experiencing this will never understand. It may begin as an issue of weight but what it takes on is monstrous and horrible. Where it takes us is towards death and self destruction. It shapes the rest of our lives.
I feel very grateful now, for the experiences that I have had in my life. Everything is connected in our universe and I know my calling is to help others who have this illness. It is directly a part of my recovery to do things like this.
Each week I get several emails asking me what I did to recover. Like I have said before for me there was no magic bullet. I would like to share exactly what I do in my recovery, as it may help you. Recovery becomes something different for each person, but this is the system that I have found, that keeps me well. I have to do these things daily. It is a chain and if I break a link of the chain everything falls apart. Take from it what you can, and allow yourself to leave the rest.
I am powerless over my eating disorder
If this sounds "12 Step-ish" then it is. I follow the 12 step program developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. And this is the first step. I have tried to control it, but I can not.
When I admit I am powerless, I have found my own higher power whom I "give" this whole thing to. Each person has their own higher power whether it is God or a tree. Find yours. It takes a very strong person to admit there is something in which they are powerless, very strong.
By daily following the 12 steps, it helps to keep me in check. Every single day I do this. Every single day. Every once in a while I jump into an AA meeting. I am not an alcoholic (I rarely drink) but the theme is the same, and I am always welcomed with open arms. It is an incredibly beautiful place, these meetings. You will learn a lot about a lot by attending them.
I practice yoga every single day
My yoga practice is all about presence. We typically live in the past or the future. Think of how many times you have driven down the street, and did not quite remember passing the grocery store. But you must have, you are at Main Street. "Where was I?" You think. We are such expert multitaskers, we are horrendous mono taskers. Instead of being everywhere but here, I have learned to be here and nowhere else. Be Present. Be here right now. Stop the mental hamster whee, cease the mental chaos and the physical fidgitiness. Just be here. That's what yoga has taught me.
Have a support system
I have a therapist whom I check in with once every 6 months, just to check in. Having someone who knows the whole story, to be accountable to is very meaningful. I can't hide, I can't fake it. They know me, they know my story, and when we sit down and talk sometimes there are things to talk about and sometimes there are not. Just having them as part of my support team is important.
I meal plan. I don't always follow the plan but there is security in having a plan. This part is essential because it gives me a framework to eat within.
I am a triathlete and I have an incredible passion for it. I am lucky to be healthy enough to do the training. It has given me an incredible family, and incredible business, and it allows me to share the wealth of my health. Personally my success in this sport depends on how well I take care of myself. It also brings me the same kind of stillness and presence as my yoga practice does. As different as they are they go hand in hand.
There is a book I read a passage from every single day. It is called "Journey to the Heart" by Melodie Beattie. I think she wrote this book to me. Every day I read a passage and take a few minutes to sit quietly in the morning and reflect on the reading.
My point here is that there are several things I must do every single day to maintain my recovery. speaking about my experience, holds me accountable. It gets me in touch with those who may need guidance, and giving back is completing the circle.
If you suspect someone to have an eating disorder, I recommend approaching them in the following manner:
Be supportive rather than accusatory
Consider these two statements;
"Carla you are too skinny! I know you aren't eating!", how about this one instead "Carla, I am really concerned about you. I care about you and I am worried you might be having trouble with an eating disorder. What can I do to help you?"
Expect them to be angry with you. But you might be saving their life.
Have a plan
As you use the supportive confrontation as I stated above, back it up with a plan......
"I thought maybe we could go to an eating disorder support group together."
"I found the names of some good therapists who can help you. I can go with you and sit in the waiting room, I can drive you....."
Having a plan will eliminate your statement of intention as being a cliffhanger. Take the time, do some research and find treatment options to suggest. Expect initial anger but they will think about it.
If you don't understand eating disorders, don't pretend to. Offer your ear for listening, sometimes people just need to vent. But if you say you are going to be there for support, be there.
Eating disorders are not easy for anyone involved. I put my family through hell while I was active. I have spent my adult life trying to live well, as a way of paying them back for the pain I caused.
Thank you to all who came this evening and for allowing me to share my story. Please feel free to contact me Meggers@Rochester.rr.com , whether it is to vent, share your story, or seek guidance please feel free to. I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it.
Know there is hope, there is recovery, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Reach out, because there are people in the world who will help you. They are still helping me.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 9:08 PM
We've got a heat wave here campers, so get out your suntan lotion. Twenty degrees is the reading outside right now, and I am delighted to be suiting up for a run. I have four hours laid out on front of me, with an hour on the run and 3 on the Computrainer.
It's fascinating how the more tools we train with to give us data, well that I use, the more I find out how much I suck. Sure I may typically have the fastest or one of the fastest bike splits in a race, and sure my pedal stroke is nice and even, but how I am riding in relationship to cadence, heart rate and wattage is horrible. Rather than seeing that as a negative, I feel lucky...... I can become a better cyclist!!!! That makes me smile. After all, I am not at the top of the mountain beginning the decent, I have just begun to climb.
So computrainer world is terrific and I am finding myself developing an obsession for this tool. I am dreaming of courses, time trials, importing, exporting.... it is a whole new world for me. Next weekend when we attend the Hunter Allen Seminar on Training With Power, I hope to learn more...... more.......more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My rest and easy days were stacked at the beginning of the week to recover from Epic weekend. I bounced out of bed this am ready to take on whatever these nuts from racer Mate (the designers of the Computrainer software) have cooked up for me. So the next four days are heavy, in fact next week is heavy. We decided to do a 3 week build as Luc's Winter Break is coming up, and it is wise to recover then. I am delighted that this will be a good block, I can feel it in my bones. I am looking forward to test week, that should be revealing as well. Gulp.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:07 AM
Monday, February 5, 2007
The wind is howling outside, the temperature is zero and the wind chill negative double digits. Rather than price treadmills this morning I spent 2 hours on the computrainer improving my cadence. I could get used to not riding in the garage.
I am speaking to a group of about 200 students at SUNY Geneseo this Thursday evening, something I have done for three years now. We gather on a Thursday evening and I tell the story of my eating disorder, and now of my recovery. I am very blessed to be able to get up and speak about this, as I feel incredibly passionate about giving back and helping those who also suffer from this.
Yesterday I was asked my my wonderful friend Carla to come and teach Yoga at an eating disorder program in town, as she knows yoga was is my mainline to recovery. Apparently the program knew who I was from someone who had practiced yoga with me, and I felt very emotional about the connection. What an honor.
I don't have the answer to recovering, and I get asked quite often "What did you do to recover?"
There is no magic bullet, no switch to flip inside my brain. In fact I had to completely let go of any control of it that I wanted to have. I fell, I stood up, I fell again. I got up again. I fell again and I fell harder, I got up. And I continue to fall. I also continue to keep getting up.
I place the power of this illness in something bigger than me. For different people that can mean different things, but it is bigger than we are.
I practice yoga every single day, whether it be for 5 minutes or an hour and fifteen minutes. This is the hardest part of my recovery to explain. I can't articulate what my yoga practice does for me, except that it frees my mind, and strengthens my body. It brings me focus in all aspects of my life. As a Mom, a coach, a triathlete..... everywhere. It has stopped the hamster wheel that revolves in my mind, it has halted the mental chaos....... it has brought stillness to me.
I think finding the key to recovery is allowing yourself to step outside of yourself. To reach beyond you, to ask for help, to accept help. To admit you can't do this alone. I have never successfully trotted on the recovery path alone. It has taken a village so to speak.
Keeping my recovery paths open and flowing has been the "it" for me. Yoga, meditation, multisport, being a Mom, and having a good support network to tap into. That's what has helped me stay on this path.
I can't guarantee that I will remain on this path. I want to, and I know to stay on the path I must always do the things I do. If I stop one the rest could fall apart. I have to maintain this balance, it is a comfortable balance.
As I walk this path of recovery I am thankful every single day to have found my health again. Eating disorders are incredibly difficult to understand. Most people believe it to be about vanity and weight, which could not be further from the truth. Each of us has our own demons and our own battles to face. This is mine.
Part of my recovery is sharing my story, reaching out to others who are experiencing this issue, and doing what I can to help them find their way onto the path of recovery. I speak to a lot of groups and I answer a lot of emails on this subject. I desperately want to have the magic answer, but I do not.
What I do have is understanding. I know why those who are afflicted with eating disorders ... are. And I believe through communication, and through movement, we can all heal, together.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 12:53 PM
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Hours pass quickly when riding against "Frank" the liquid metallic opponent on the Computrainer screen. I am delighted to say that on the Lake Placid course I kicked Frank's butt. Maybe I had a little help in his pacing but it felt good to step off the bike, a very successful long ride, and my first true Computrainer ride, complete.
This was really my first ever saved, analyzed Computrainer ride, and I was enlightened by what I saw. My spin scan numbers were identical almost the whole ride. My wattage was ridiculous but my cadence was slow. Yes, it is true, I am a grinder. One of my 07 goals is to keep that power and increase my cadence. Likely one of the reasons my running sucks is that I generate enough wattage to fly an airplane, at a ridiculously low cadence, and then wonder why my legs malfunction and my stomach turns inside out when I hop off the rocket and try to run.
Enlightenment is always humbling.
I rode the lovely new Computraioner in the warm comfort of my office, and I delighted in sweating instead of freezing. I enjoyed the fan blowing in my face and I even felt like I had too much to watch on the screen. Me, Frank, cadence, average cadence, heart rate, average heart rate, watts, average watts, my slope, Frank's slope........ when people tell me they watch TV in addition to watching the screen I begin to wonder!
So it was a great ride and a great week. The Train-This super bowl party was great fun (although I left after my boy Prince sang..... I never miss bedtime with Luc). Fosters one and two were painted blue and white, and I even took part in the play by play quarter game (I won nothing, but Marian was making a killing!)
This evening I am very tired from a weekend that was too busy and very Epic. Luckily I don't have another busy weekend planned until April. Whew. I need the quiet life, I need the time with my family, I need to kick back more often.
Tomorrow morning I begin build week 2 with a ride on the Ironman Florida Course. Increasing cadence, holding a steady heart rate and wattage, what better way is there to start off the week?
Epic Weekend rating........ A+!
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 9:21 PM
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Envision this; running on snow covered trails beneath a canopy of snow covered trees. The night is dark but the snow bright, the luminance of headlamps lighting your way through hills and valleys and across flat trails. Showering down upon you is moonlight form the full moon above you. Just moving and breathing in a place of such beauty and peace, you hardly notice that this is your 5th hour into the race, you have fallen several times, you are tired, and it is zero degrees out. You don't notice at all. All you feel is serenity, peacefulness and as weird as it seems, love all around you.
Part I of Epic weekend went off without a hitch at the Cast A Shadow Snowshoe Race. It's a 6 hour event in which you can race as a solo, team of 2, or team of 3. Each person runs a 2.5 mile loop on their snowshoes, and you keep trading off for 6 hours. Those with the most laps win.
Train-This brought four teams. Vince, Shannon and Curt made up our A Team. The rest of us were there for some good old down home base miles. We wanted our long runs, and we wanted to have fun.
Goose racing drew a terrific eclectic group of people, with mainly the hardcore trail runners showing up. Chet Josefski was there, who is an ultra marathoner (with his wife Diane), and he ran the entire 6 hours. Alan Hatch did as well. Molly Huff and Michelle Weiler were on the winning women's team with Linda Grossman (I believe). The previously mentioned are some stellar runners.
I haven't seen or spoken with them in a long time, but Boots and Ellen were there also. It was really, really nice to see Boots in a race again. He's a former professional duathlete with a lot of talent and unfortunately some injuries. He was always fun to watch race. As I was out running I saw Ellen running the opposite direction, and it was great to see her getting some training in. We used to run together years ago, so it was good to see her getting back at it too.
The most memorable were the high school cross country runners, it was a male team who wore pink shirts. "Snow Princess" was across the front. On the back I saw the names "Ariel, Cinderella...." And I can't remember the third. While I ran my first lap in about 20 minutes they flew through in 13. Astonishing.
A man passed me on my second loop and said "It feels great to pass Mary Eggers, because you crush me in triathlon." I took it as a compliment.
My fastest lap was my fourth. I knew Eggers 1 (Curt) was starting his fifth lap 3 minutes behind me, and I was determined to not be caught. That was my fastest lap and it hurt.
One of the things I worked on was on certain laps, pushing it just a little harder for certain points, just for fun. And somehow, it was fun.
All of our teams did incredibly. Most notable was Tina Hayter's Dad, who stepped into their relay at the last minute, when one of the members got called into work. Imagine that, 10am on a Saturday afternoon, receiving a call form your daughter. "Dad, want to run a 6 hr snowshoe race with us today?" and have the ability to do it. It was his first time on snowshoes.
In fact, Marian who was on my team did her first snowshoe run today also!
I have to give the "Trooper of the day" award to our son, Luc. At the last minute the impending blizzard that was happening in Buffalo thwarted out Grandparent pick up. So we decided to bring Luc along to the race and see how it went.
Little Luc was absolutely wonderful! For 6 hours he ran through snow alongside the team members. He cheered everyone on. He played with a friend's son, he sat in the warm lodge with us. There were 2 times when Curt and I were running simultaneously and the entire team chipped in and helped. Luc never cried, never whined, he just smiled and had a great time. I was so proud of him. It made for a really awesome family day. When you can spend the day with your family having insane fun, it is the silver lining for sure.
The weather turned foul however as the night drew to an end. Interstate 90, the 60 mile stretch of thruway that connects Rochester and Buffalo was become a parking lot, as cars were unable to make the trip due to whiteout conditions and immense snowfall. As much as I hated to make the decision, I had to cancel our trip to Buffalo and the Spin a Thon. It was just too unsafe, and with a chilc in the car, well just out of the question to try to make the trip.
So Epic weekend changes a little bit, as I will ride the same amount, in the coziness of my house (not even the garage) on the Computrainer, and I will ride the Lake Placid bike course. Not the atmosphere I was hoping for, but the volume!
This morning I am a little bit sore, in my lower back, but my workout doesn't start till noon so I can kick back a little bit.
So congratulations to the four Train-This Teams who competed yesterday:
Curt Eggers, Vince Luongo and Shannon Manzo
Tom Reho, Marian Arcelay and Myself (Marian has never snowshoed before, what a time to start!)
Kitima B., Kevin Chartrand, Sherry Hecker
Tina Hayter, Alan Hayter and Dana Sharp.
Thanks to our support crew:
Rolando Rivera, Mrs. Hayter, Camille Good and Luc Eggers!
Tonight Epic Weekend culminates at the Train-This superbowl party, where I have been guaranteed Kevin's "man chair" to sit and relax and watch the Colts win!
Pictures coming soon!
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:40 PM
Friday, February 2, 2007
It's the night before Epic Weekend, and there has been a small glitch. I thought the Cast a Shadow Snow Shoe race consisted of 6 mile loops, it is 2 mile loops! Not a wrench, just a different plan. On snowshoes and in snow, a mile can run you 10+ minutes. So we will each be running a lap about once an hour. There are rumors of hellacious hills!
My new Computrainer arrived tonight, and I believe I have everything installed. Truthfully I have been using the Ergo mode lately and previous to that I rode a TACX basic. So there are no saved rides, no real comparisons, etc. This excites me because now I can use a new set of standards to train and race on the bike. Previously I have used time and heart rate and my trusty wattage set. I feel good about this new direction for my cycling. Real tests, real data.
For the first time since beginning my 2007 program I am sore. It's an interesting phenomenon with athletes. We feel proud when we feel exhausted and sore. In many cases it means the work is sinking in. The muscles have become a bit broken down. When rest is proper they rebuild into a stronger muscle. That's the fine line that we walk. The edge between breakdown and build up.
Positive soreness is soreness that changes. It improves, it alleviates with flexibility training. Negative soreness is acute pain, the pain I felt when ignoring my partially torn Achilles tendon a year ago. Since that experience I am hypersensitive to any soreness and distinguishing it between positive and negative. Nothing negative so far. :-)
But this evening I am sore, and that feels insanely great. Heading into Epic Weekend I am gathering warm clothes to wear, hydrating, trying to figure out nutrition, sleep, etc. I don't have many busy weekends any more thank goodness, so getting ready for this one has been fun. The weather will try to throw a wrench into plans, making it possibly impossible for me to travel to Buffalo on Saturday night. But we will handle that as we go along.
Here we go, let Epic weekend begin!
:-0 mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 5:38 PM
Thursday, February 1, 2007
I believe in New Year's resolutions, I think they are fun. Life changing decisions should not come from a resolution, I try to make them small things that are good habits or again, fun things to do.
Here is my list for 2007 and how I am doing with them;
1. Floss: Ten years with Bulimia takes about 25 to recover from in terms of teeth damage and gum issues. I have had extensive round of dental work, and I have about 2 more rounds to go before we can call it done. If you ever want to rob me, don't steal my bike, steal my mouth. I should have it insured there is so much money in it.
In 2006 I somehow got out the habit of flossing. So in 2007 I am back at it. And I am right on track. "Gums should look like turtle necks around teeth." Dr. Tabone told me years ago... he'd be proud because I am flossing twice a day!
2. Don't lose my phone. I have a horrendous track record with cellular phones. I have crashed with them in my pockets, flushed them down toilets, ran over them in my car, dropped them, and I usually leave it at Starbucks. I leave it at Starbucks so often that they call me at home to tell me where it's at. I got a Treo phone and I have not lost it in 30 days. A record for me!
3. Read four books that have nothing to do with multisport. If left up to me I would only read multisport, but I have since branched out. Here is what I have read in a month:
Leadership (by Rudy Guliani)
Comfortable with Uncertainty
4. Learn how to cook. My husband is an amazing cook and he cooks beautifully healthy dishes. I am lucky, I realize that. I thought 2007 should become the year that I put my skills at the stove to work. So I am cooking dinner once a week. If I screw it up, I have a stash of whole grain frozen pizzas that I quickly use instead!
So those are the things I vow to do in 2007. Like I said, nothing life changing should be pinned on something as flimsy as a new year's resolution, but if you make them fun, they just might stick!
:-) mary eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 4:18 PM
If you are a treadmill hater, then you just need to change around how you do your workouts on it!
Click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCjSwr7zYtE&mode=related&search==
And stop your whining. Or as we like to say "Suck it up buttercup"
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 7:50 AM