It's 5:30 am and I swear to god that the best coffee on earth is here in Germany. From posh posh cofee palace to corner cofee joint, each cup is brewed fresh, espresso style. No caraffes. This may change the way I make coffee! And the croissants..... Sarah Lee is a LIE!!!!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Day three pictures available here
Welcome to day three in Hamburg Germany, and welcome to excitement. I awoke at the typical early hour ready and willing to tackle the bike course. For this time I had done my homework. I memorized every road, I drew it on the map, I created the cue sheet and taped it to the Handlebars. And at 6:20am we were off and riding. The streets were busy but the drivers were all nice. Today we would navigate correctly.
And then.... a group was ahead of us and Curt caught up to them. He signaled to me that they knew where they were going. And in no time we missed the first turn. I called ahead but no one responded. Irritation filled my body. The streets over here were too, too busy.
More riders pulled up behind us. I told them we were going the wrong way. But since Curt was sticking to them, so too had I. When they finally realized they were so off course, it was just too late to salvage the ride and get Curt home on time. By now it was 7am and traffic had picked up quite a bit. I convinced Curt to turn around, we could try cycling along the wonderful bike path that we had found uesterday.
On the way back I turne doff the Power Meter. I turned off the watch. The stop and go and insanity of being lost... just too much for now. I was losing enjoyment of just cycling.
But a few moments later I found it again. The brick path was wonderful. Nothing I could go aero on or even hit a "Sweet Spot Interval"... but a place I could spin and enjoy.
So today became a day to turn off the watches, the paces, the intervals... and today became a day to just relax and enjoy. Every time, it happens the same way. The moment I jump off of it, is the moment I touch down.
Suddenly I could feel the pace during my run this afternoon, along the same path. I admit yes I had the Garmin on, but no I didn't look at it. I just ran and relaxed.
I don't know how much time it took for swim 4,000 yards in the heaven that Baderland pool allows us. I just swam
Today also brought an exciting day of racing. The junior women & men raced this morning, and the Under 23 men & women raced late this afternoon. It was inspiring to watch the desire, passion and dedication on the faces of these "kids". All races were very exciting and the weather was awful! Rain and wind and just a peek of sunshine. Yet these teams pushed on and raced their very best.
Tomorrow we ride ealry again, and then hang out for the Citizens Race called the City Man. Should be very good!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 1:58 PM
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Day two here in Germany and Mary Eggers finally decided to show up. In an unforeseen state of circumstances my alter ego "Crabass" decided to take the usually giddy Mary's place for a day, and we can finally bid goodbye to Ms. Crabass and say Welcome PowerButt. Call it jet lag, call it what you want, it isn't like I have not traveled through tiem before. Hawaii is much further than Germany and you even have to ride a damn goat to get there.
Day two in Hamburg Germany has been of course full of adventures! We began the day at 6am as we took on the ITU World Championship bike course! What was intended to be a smooth ride thorugh the city was anything but as I made the mistake of becoming the follower. For tomorrow I have learned and memorized the way and we shall not get lost. Did I mention yet that it is freezing and rainy here?
One notable thing about Europe is their respect for cyclists. I live in the suburbs and I can get to the country in minutes. As I ride along country roads at home with our wide shoulders I can stay off the road. Still that doesn't stop the motorists from beeping because I might slow them from getting to church on time. Well this morning I rode thorugh the city streets in Germany, thousands upon thousands of cars passed me and not once, not once did I get beeped at, swerved at, anything! There are no shoulders, just 2 lane roads and I rode as far to the right as I could. Cars politely moved over to the other lane, never tried to share the lane, they slowed down, and not once did I hear a horn. Incredible!
My only regret thus far with cycling is that after an hour the streets get clogged. Tomorrow's goal is to find roads where I can ride longer and harder.
The scenery along the bike course was stunning. Yes all city riding but the architecture of the buildigs and especially the bridges was intriguing, I've never seen buildings with such intricacy. The bridges own their own unique flair and I wondered if these were built a hundred years ago. That was the kind of architecture they had.
During our ride a group pulled up to us, and a girl announced to me "I did the Portland Triathlon." Not sure what to say I simply replied "I did Lake Placid." With a laugh I rode on, not certain of the etiquette here at the World Championships. Forgive me for picking on the short course athletes, becasue I mean no harm at all. Call me an Irongirl who feels a little out of place with all of these fast twitch fibers and lack of X Labs. Out of my own lonliness I am finding myself picking on them. Occassionally I see the Ironman label on another, and we share the common smile.
Now relaize if I ever switched over to short course I would completley admonish all Ironman athletes! The door swings both ways!!!!
After an amazing breakfast at out hotel Curt and I ran the run course. I have been to some world championships and this run course might be the very best. We ran along the water on a crushed stone / dirt trail. Nice and wide and lots of people on it running, walking, biking, everything. I found the perfect place for the remainder of all of my runs. I can run 12 miles here and feel comfortable.
There was an open water swim scheduled for today but as I mentioned earlier, it is wet and freezing. We headed over to Baderland once again to meet with 50 meters of bliss. I felt great in the water and while I did not pack my swim gear, I did treat myself to new paddles, a buoy and goggles at the Expo. Some girl in Europe shop for rings, I shop for gear and gear alone!
Baderland houses all kinds of athletes, from children to the elderly. I am having the most fun interacting with the U23 crowd. None of us speak one another's language, but there is a common bond, a shared smile. These kids are part of the new generation that grew up with triathlon. Most of us dabbled in one discipline and got into triathlon later.
On tap for this evening is a dinner with our friends Tom and Eileen (Tom's one of the fastest 60 year olds on earth) and Curt getting his feet up!
Tomorrow's goal is to head out for longer workouts. I feel comfortabe now goign it alone! So Curt will ahve to do what he does worst, get some rest!
On a final note... I can see why my sister Amy moved to Europe (France) years ago. I am learning that Europe ahs this unique flair, this attotude of culture and history. Chaos but at the same time you see people spending time with people. I don't see many on their phones, blackberrys or even at a cafe with a laptop. The mix of history and modern life. The accessibility of everything. The fun.
There just might have to be an Ironman trip over here someday. We will just add that to the list!
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 9:59 AM
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Good evening from Hamburg Germany, home of the 2007 ITU Triathlon World Championships! Curt and I touched down in Germany this morning at 8am. Which for us was 2am! A long flight and small airplane gave way to a 60 minute trek through a bus station, train station and through the streets of Hamburg with a bike box and luggage!
We settled in to our beautiful hotel right in the heart of Hamburg, and resisted the overwhelming urge to sleep.
First order of buisiness was to swim. Without any difficulty we took the U1 train over to the pool. A 50 meter indoor pool with free access to athletes all weekend. We found ourselves swimming with some of the under 23 kiddos from Venesuala. They were all geared up in their ITU suits and ready to race this weekend.
While it was the worst swim of my life, 50 meters with no lane lines and hour 30 without sleep will make things interesting indeed! After our swim and crashing for a nap, we went accross the street to run. Right accross from our hotel is a neat park, almost like Central Park, and it is full of running trails and pathways.
There are billons of poeple out and about here. And while there are quite a lot of smokers, I have to give them credit where credit is due. They are out walking.
We have had some trouble communicating as our German is horrid and all the Germans speak very good English, but at times there are the words that just get mixed up. The train system is fabulous and easy and the food is outstanding. I just never know what on earth I was ordering!
The race site is simply gorgeous, and we are in for an amazing weekend for certain. We get to open water swim tomorrow and we will attempt an early morning bike.
Our greatest challange will be biking, as the streets are crowded and there are no clear places to get out to the country. But we will find it!
More to come tomorrow!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 2:43 PM
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
In the past 23 days I have run 22 times. That's a run a day and when you miss one day because for once you drank too much... it means a double run. Now a daily run doesn't mean 120 minutes a day at a 6 minute mile. In fact it means the opposite. Some runs are 30, some 45. But right now on EZ run days they are at a certain slow pace. We've begun to delve into the land of pickups, which means during a 45 minute run I will pick up to R (race) pace for 30 seconds at a time.
When you have spent your triathlon career with a stellar swim bike combo and a die on the run tradition... you have to one day accept that no amount of cycling will make you a runner. Running makes you a runner. Risky? Only if you don't listen to your body.
So much has changed within me as I have been running frequently. My right Achilles was very tender on the way to IMLP. (Last year I tore the left). As I have been running daily the pain has subsided. I am feeling very strong. My mental attitude towards my runs has been reinvented. For once in my life I freaked out when Monday I had no run scheduled. And then I laughed. Who would have thought?
Like I keep saying... what I was doing wasn't working, so it was time for something new. With luck this all will enable me to have a great day at IMFL. Beyond that I know my 2008 season will be a much different season than seasons past. But I am willing to take the gamble. I am willing to take that chance.
While we are in Germany Coach T cooked up a good block of training for me. Daily swimming and of course daily running. Mid length bikes with sweet spot targets. You will notice a lot of pacing going on here. It's there for a reason.
IMFL is no joke. Some people believe it is an easier Ironman. I don't consider 112 miles of straight pedaling to be easy. In fact I don't consider 140.6 miles of anything to be easy. Each Ironman has its own unique flavor. Remember you are talking to the girl who has done IMLP 3 times. 10 minute break on each loop of the bike! That's 20 minutes out of 6 hours I don't pedal!
So take each Ironman for what it's worth.
This morning we are off to Hamburg Germany for the ITU World Championships. On this trip I get to be the Tri Sherpa, as it's Curt's day to shine. I packed up both of our bikes last night without a hitch. Everything is ready to go.
We are scheduled to arrive in Hamburg Wednesday morning at 7:40am. In a sleep deprived state we hope to find the pool, get in a swim and a run before checking in to the hotel. I have everything mapped out so with luck, we won't have to think too much!
I will have laptop on hand and hopefully will be sending out some updates. Until then.. Bon Voyage!
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 5:20 AM
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday afternoon I had my longest ride since Ironman Lake Placid on tap. On the parkway with Coach T. Now Coach T is one hell of a triathlete. One hell of an Ironman. This season he's taken a bit of a break and he's getting himself back in shape. My days of riding in front of him are going to be VERY short lived.
This was a 3.5 hour pancake flat ride with the meat and potatoes of it being 120 minutes at tempo wattage. That's slightly faster than 70.3 pace, I was both scared and excited for it. Anyone who knows me knows I am a climber. But Ironman Florida is anything but hills, so this is where I need to be at right now.
The first hour was an easy spin and it drove me nuts. I wanted to fly but with Coach T behind me I didn't dare. After all, why bother getting a coach if you are going to throw it away? I ahve been guilty of that before and it hadn't worked. So trusting the plan has been my new motto.
Finally the 60 minute mark hit and I was off, jumped right into tempo range and felt great. Mentally I broke it into four 30 minute segments. It felt good to ride hard again. It felt strange to have no hills, no 10 minute descents to rest my legs. I came to the realization that IM Florida would be all about focus, and that's what Coach T is teaching me.
Pace and focus.
Because it is easy to ride hard. But riding alone, and riding at a certain effort level takes a certain amount of focus. I looked behind me and Coach T was not there. Like I said before my days of that happening are short lived. I can't even revel in them because when this man gets in shape I am dead.
My mental game plan was mantras. Focus was one of the obvious ones. And then a little phrase I learned form Lisa Bentley,
"Race with heart.... Finish what you start."
Amazing how you can repeat that over and over to yourself for over and hour. Amazing how repeating that to yourself for 120 minutes can eliminate the mind from drifting anywhere else. My mind wanted to drift, but I quickly reeled it back into it's place. Between my ears and focused on the road.
When we were done Coach T came rolling in, smiling. He claims to have one speed... slow.... but don't ever listen to him if he says that. Like I said I am soon dead on these rides.
I was surprised at how quickly I recovered form this effort. I was surprised that my evening run felt so good. I am surprised how good I feel today. Perhaps it is excitement about leaving for Germany tomorrow.... perhaps things are beginning to come together.
This morning I finally cut off my Ironman Lake Placid silver bracelet. It's been a month and the celebration has ended. A new focus has begun. A focus of training, a focus of mind. A focus on the possibility.
You just never know what can happen when you focus.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 12:58 PM
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Tomorrow morning four athletes from our Ironman Team will toe the line at the Inaugural Ironman Louisville, in Kentucky. Bill Harris is competing in his second Ironman. Rich Clark is starting his 9th. Glenn Kofahl and Jeremy Hammons (who are uncle and nephew respectively) are competing in their first. Friends of Train-This include Denise Everitt in her billionth Ironman, Bryce Baird in his 3rd and Courtney Green in her 1st.
These athletes have been through the gamut this week as swim changes seemed to be announced daily. For the first time ever a time trial start will begin the Ironman, and this is a non westuit swim for them as well.
I am very proud of this team. I am very proud that this team is arriving to the starting line 110% prepared, 110% ready and 110% focused.
Right now I feel more anticipation than I ever feel for myself. I know how their stories will end, I just don't know how the journey will go. I want to be there on the sidelines cheering. I want to be next to them on the course exchanging a high five. I want to see their finishes and the look of pure joy on their faces.
They will have an inaugural Ironman, record heat, a time trial start, and they'll be great. I on the other hand will be a nervous Nellie as I exchange emails with my good friend Jennifer Harrison, as she has several peeps racing as well. My long ride with coach is at noon, so I will be riding during their ride as well.
Positive vibes fill the air from our hearts to theirs. And I told them to listen, and listen carefully. If they listen hard enough they will hear the subtle roar of screaming coming from 11 hours away.
Because they know that the Train-This Team will be here screaming for them all day long!
Thanks for stopping by.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:24 PM
Thursday, August 23, 2007
This morning I actually have pity for all of you. Men and women. Because today you are not married to me. It's really your loss. Because for the third day in a row I have brewed the most amazing pot of coffee.... I have nailed the perfect blend of bean, water, brew time. I got it right. After years of tinkering, experimenting with bean, water, brew time. Perfection. Imagine being the lucky one to call themselves my spouse, coming into the house after your own morning workout only to be greeted with Mary's blend of bliss. Wow, that's an enviable place. Right Curt?
Three days ago it all came together. And for three days in a row I have gotten it right.
This morning I first thought it was because I had rose at 3:15 am to begin a 90 minute sweet spot ride beginning at 3:45. Perhaps it was fatigue that was making anything taste good. But if you know me you know I love coffee and you know how much pride I take in the perfect cup.
The ride began and the intervals felt good. They felt a good kind of hard. It was the exact same workout I had done on Tuesday but for some reason today it clicked in all the right places. I had specific parameters to uphold and I did it. The same happened on Tuesday and the same thing happened in my run. Click, Click, Click. I had insurmountable focus, unexplainable passion, undeniable hunger.
It is making me nervous that I have found this laser lock focus. When is the honeymoon going to end? I should not be feeling so good just 4 weeks after an Ironman. And I definitely should not be ADMITTING it.
I can't help it. When things begin to come together it excites you. You begin to wonder if all the flops, stalls, stumbles. If all that will come down to one magical day. You wonder if all the previous blends of bean and water and brew time.... they all came down to the perfect pot. Stranger still is that I have replicated it three times.
More frightening even than that i that I have felt good. I have felt strong, I have felt focused. I have felt motivated. Over and over again.
The bad workouts are coming. That's inevitable. We can not appreciate the good without the bad. We can't appreciate the dark roast perfection without the coffee that tastes like rot. You have to savor these good moments because when the bad ones come, these good memories are what keep you striving for more.
So it's really quite simple. Take it for what it is worth, but stamp each lesson in your mind. The good days will be there, the bad pots of dark roast will arrive. We have to roll with those punches and relax with what is.
And enjoy a cup of perfection while it is here!
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 7:45 AM
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Onto week two of 6 year old in a full leg cast life. And it gets even more exciting. Yesterday Luc's big splint was removed and a sleek new glow-in-the-dark cast replaced it. Same length but a whole lot lighter. Which was nice for both of us. Today the little man gets his walker, a mere 2 weeks after finishing his first triathlon.
Today I have to what I do not want to do. I have to obtain a handicapped parking hang tag for the car. Oh no, not for me, this is for my parents while we are in Germany. Mind you we do have a valid reason for a hang tag. The kid is in a wheelchair.
Day one of Luc being in a wheelchair I pulled into Wegman's. I parked in a non handicapped spot and it took me a few minutes to get him out of my SUV and into the chair. Just as I did right in front of me was a woman in a van. She had a hang tag. She literally jumped from her seat, landing on 2 feet on the ground. We looked at one another. I shook my head.
"You need yourself a hang tag" she told me like she had discovered some great new secret.
Please don't take me the wrong way, but I need no hang tag. Why? I am a healthy triathete and I am not in need of one. From the looks of things, she didn't need one either.
But how about the 87 year old man who now has to park far because this young whipper snapper took a closer spot. That's what infuriates me. Leave the hang tags for the people who really need them, walk the 10 extra feet. I proudly say that it has not affected us at all to live without the hang tag. We are happy to do so.
The most wheelchair friendly place on earth that I have found.... Cracker Barrel. While they don't have automatic doors it is easy to pull open and slide your chair through without causing damage. Through their shop and restaurant there is plenty of navigational room.
Ben and Jerry's wasn't bad but we had to ask for a ramp. And I decided not to ask and just make the giant step with the chair.
My favorite experience is the woman who wanted my parking spot. She sharked and waited. She didn't see I had a wheelchair. So after she began to beep her horn, I came around the side of the car with the wheelchair and asked her if I could help her with something. She declined and found herself another spot.
People are pretty interesting to observe when they see a kid on wheels. They either ask what happened or instruct their snobby kids to stay away from the handicapped boy.
As a pediatric nurse I know there are many kids in our community who live on wheels. Luckily we are only on wheels for a few weeks. These kids have wheels for their life, and this is the kind of stuff they deal with on a daily basis. At times I wonder if they feel like a circus attraction.
Nonetheless it's given Luc some perspective on how to handle himself in these situations. He's learning that there is so much more than meets the eye. For yes, he has a snazzy white cast. But what you don't know is that it glows in the dark. Something you wouldn't learn if you turn your head from the boy on wheels.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:26 AM
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Somehow my training and racing plans have become the talk of the town around here, and I can't figure out why. I have received so many emails from people I don't even know asking if I am racing this race, racing that race... why did I have Fall Frolic on the schedule and now it's gone? Am I injured? Burned out? Something wrong? 2,761 of you have visited since the beginning of the month... and I thank you for caring! WOW!
Believe me, I appreciate all of the kindness. But not to worry my friends, things here are going just fine. With Coach T steering the ship I have decided to put my 110% focus into Ironman Florida. And that means no triathlons until November 3rd.
You will however see me make an uncharacteristic move in racing at the Rochester 1/2 Marathon and Hospice 10 miler, on fresh legs, as a focused race. Usually I like to sandwich these races with a bike or more running miles.
But what I have been doing hasn't been working, so it was time for something different. And that's what happens with training and with life sometimes. We get stuck in ruts. The same old thing. It produces results in the beginning, and then thing filter out. Flatten out. The passion remains but something isn't clicking anymore.
That's when it is time for a fresh outlook.
Now understand that I have handed Coach T the impossible. Help me have my best race at Ironman Florida. After I have just done Ironman Lake Placid. Here is 14 weeks Coach, have fun!
In 14 weeks some massive brand new fitness level is not going to be built. I won't be running 6 minute miles in the Ironman just yet.
What will happen however, is already happening. Focus. Polishing. Purpose. With Coach T we will take this gigantic base I have built up and fine tune with very purposeful training.
And today is day one of that.
You know trouble lies ahead when you leap out of bed at 4:45 am for your first sweet spot ride. It's a ride designed to make maximum fitness gains without destroying me. I get to ride my bike hard and I can't wait. Usually I do these rides on the computrainer, because of the control-ability it allows me. The only thing I think about during these are time and wattage. And I will be able to recreate this scenario in terms of temperature, weather, etc. Long rides I like to do outside for obvious reasons :-)
So thank you for the voices of concern. I do appreciate it more than you know. To be surrounded by such a great community is wonderful. Know that everything is just fine here at Camp Egg. Curt is preparing for ITU World's.... we leave for Germany a week from today... and I am preparing for IM Floirda.
And god love little Luc.... he's adjusting to life in a cast just fine. He even gets a new fiberglass one today, color of his choice. He's good on wheels and on crutches!
Thank you for stopping by.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 5:03 AM
Sunday, August 19, 2007
One of the things I have grown to appreciate about life in Rochester NY, is the choices we have for training. Out my door I can run hills or flats. I can open water swim or hit the pool. I can run a hilly road, a hilly trail, flats or a track. I have Canindaigua Lake or Lake Ontario. There literally is no restriction to what I can train on, and today was no exception.
I met Coach T at Braddock Bay, right on the Lake Ontario State Parkway. Here I can ride 112 miles of flat, which is highly convenient when training for Ironman Florida. Today was Functional Threshold Power testing day (FTP). And today coach was riding. Which was a bonus.
We started off heading west on the smooth pavement. 20 minute warm up. 5 minute flat out. 10 minutes easy and 20 minutes balls out. The gun went off and I began my 20 minute balls out effort. Within minutes I was riding in another time.... it took me back to the year 2002, and oddly it was the same time of the month, the end of August.
I had just bombed my first Ironman. I made rookie mistakes and went a 13:43. All eyes were on me and I fell on my face. My soon to be good friend Kelly had made her Iron debut in an 11:18. But again it was late August and it was the Hamlin Beach Triathlon, one of the country;s oldest and now nonexistent races. A local race company has tried to revive it, but it hasn't been the same.
The Hamlin Beach Triathlon was named the Mark Page Hamlin Beach Triathlon, and I sit here with the winner's plaque in my office. On it is a picture of Mark Page at the Hawaii Ironman. Mark Page was the brother of Full Moon Vista owner, Scott Page (which opened a few years ago.). I never knew him, but I will always remember him.
As I believe the story goes, Mark Page was out training, when a van made a right into a driveway in front of him. I believe Mark hit the van and was killed. He was one of the original RATS (Rochester Area Triathletes), and the loss devastated the triathlon community. As it should.
The Hamlin Beach Triathlon was then dedicated to him. And it became the "Who's Who" of Western New York Triathlon. Every August anyone who was everyone would come to town for this spectacular race. Directed by Bill Kehoe, then Carolyn Krisen, who were locals as well, it was one of the best races in the area. In fact at one time it was a qualifier for the Hawaii Ironman.
I had won the race already once, as Mary Workman. Actually I had won the race twice, only to find out afterwards that I had been directed off course. So it was 2002 and I was now Mary Eggers and the female field was stacked. A strong of terrific local women were lined up. Because of the recent Ironman performances in the local paper I was not selected as one of the women's favorites, which was good for me. I like being the underdog.
I knew Kelly would be racing, I didn't know here well but I knew she had a killer swim / run combo. My strength was on the bike, and that's where I'd focus. For I had redemption on my mind. The girls had all kicked my ass in Placid and some let me know it. Fuel to the Fire.
The Lake was rough as always and I knew Kelly would be 2 minutes ahead of me on the swim. Hell she was a senior at U Conn and a swimmer at that. I knew my secret weapon was my ride and when I hit that parkway I held nothing back. I caught Kelly and I put massive time on the rest of the field. Kelly rode a 1:08 and I rode my personal best 1:04. Dr. Les was riding, this was before the bike accident we were in which ended his cycling career.
Aside racing Kelly that day, my race with Dr. Les is an amazingly fond memory. It's where I first met the chiropractor and it felt like home.
I came off the bike about 2 minutes in front of Kelly, and my friends kept me updated through the 10K run. That was plenty of time for her to catch me, but I had hoped Ironman had taken something out of her legs. Each turn she was closer and closer. I had so many people screaming at me I finally screamed "SHUT UP" to my friend Joe.
That Sunday in August 2002 the race was mine to be had, and I had to fight my ass off for it. I eclipsed Kelly by just 30 seconds. When she came across that finish line we embraced and thus began a sisterhood. In the years to follow we have trained many many miles together. Although she lives in Boulder, that continues. That's what happens with friendships.
So this morning I was transported back in time to that day in 2002 when a friendship began, a demon was erased, and I was the last champion of the Mark Page Hamlin Beach Triathlon. More memorable than being named the champ were the experiences of the day. Like movie moments they reel through your mind.
As I was nearing the end of my 20 minute time trial I imagined the sun on my back, Dr. Les chasing me, and time standing still for just this few hours of time.
I was sad this morning when 20 minutes arrived on the screen of my power meter. I was sad to leave the memory, but that sadness turned into joy when I thought about all of the wonderful things that blossomed from that day. The journey I have taken since then, both in sport and in life.
A few minutes later Coach T caught up to me and we had a great easy ride on the parkway. Catching up, planning for IMFL, and just riding. I can't remember if I even knew Coach T back then, but again that's the journey we all take. Meeting new people, growing away from people, and unfortunately losing people.
I sit here and look up at this picture of Mark Page having his moment of absolutely glory. I never knew Mark Page but I imagine he was chock full of a passion for life. His finisher's picture shows it. A man at the end of his own journey, hands in the air, the most gigantic smile in the world, and not one ounce of pain. For someone who has just done a 10 hour Ironman that's damn neat to see, and an honor to be looking at. One moment of time, one moment of life, captured in a snapshot.
I can imagine that Mark Page never thought his finisher's picture would end up here. On my wall, in my office. And actually, that isn't where it belongs. I will take this to his brother, that's who ultimately should have it. On his wall, in his bike shop.
So I thank Mark Page for the memories he has created, without knowing it, without intending to. I thank Mark Page for the gratitude he has created within me. Without knowing, without intending to. Now that's a legacy. Moving and inspiring people whom you have never met. Just through the way you lived your life.
Inspiring me, through one moment of time. In one snapshot. Thank you Mark Page
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 1:12 PM
Friday, August 17, 2007
As I am approaching the end of my transition period, and the beginning of some focused training, I am realizing just how important it is to train the mind. It's equally important as it is to train the body. I have spent a great deal of time over the past few years shifting my perspective, and now I am shifting into focus. Just as my bike test this Sunday has a plan to it, a physical plan composed of wattage, time, feel.... so must my mind. It worked for me on Tuesday during my run test.
I am finding mantras, words, things that mean something to me. And I am simply repeating them over and over to myself. I find that when I stop doing that, my brain starts to waver. Case in point, Ironman Lake Placid. During my tough miles of the marathon my mind was everywhere. Consequently my body was everywhere. The moment I pulled my mind back into the race was the moment I took off.
This week one of my favorite athletes to watch and follow, Gordo writes about True Limiters in his blog. It's worth a hop over there to check it out. A lot of what Gordo says hits home for me, and helps me in tremendous ways.
Think about what limits you. I think my head has gotten in the way quite a bit over the past 2 years. I am realizing with this new training focus and Coach T, that the single most important thing in determining our own success is what happens from ear to ear. Through Gordo I am learning to simplify my mental plan with races, and I am learning to develop ones along with the plan of a test in training.
On Sunday I will execute my FTP test with Coach T. He wrote me something that lit me up inside....
"On Sunday we go for broke."
And I love that. The bike is where I can shine, where I can light it up. Rolling towards Sunday I am practicing mentally, knowing that when I feel like my legs are burning up on the bike, it will only make me reach further and dig deeper. On my bike I always feel like I can fly.
Sunday I am going for broke.
I have a few athletes preparing for Ironman Kentucky next weekend, and they are absolutely ready. Bill will be competing in Ironman #2, Rich #7 and Jeremy and Glenn #1. It's been exciting to watch their progress.
In 2004 Bill did a 1/2 Ironman in 6:00. The following year he was at 5:10. This year he did a 4:57. I see tremendous potential exist within him. There has been nothing magical to his training. A HRM is all we have used. Through the past years Bill has trained consistently, he has thrown out the excuses, and just did the work.
Two weeks ago my husband was out running, Bill lives nearby and they hooked up at the end of their training days. Curt was running 90 minutes, Bill was finishing 3 hours and it was 95 degrees out.
"Bill looks strong." Curt cried as he came into the house after they were finished. "You can see how his body has transformed into a triathlete's body."
"So has his mind." I added, feeling pretty proud. For Curt to say that, was a huge compliment to both of us. To Bill as an athlete and to me as a coach. But in reality I just bark the orders, the athletes execute the plan.
The stars will need to align on the day of the race, and I won't put into public writing what I think Bill is capable of.... but Curt and I will be watching the race unfold. A quiet silence between us as these guys take on the day. Quiet silence meaning we know the splits that they are capable of.... and only until they cross the various mats will we know what the day is bringing.
One thing is for sure however, an Ironman is a long day. If you put in the time you will finish the race. If you put your mind into this race you can achieve a PR. Throw your soul in and you can create magic.
In the Iornman you will go to the brink, and you must be comfortable with seeing that side of yourself. You must be willing to look right in your own eyes and see yourself as you really are. Be ready for it because it gets ugly. However what is revealed is something magnificent. Only you can define it, and only you can understand it.
And those true limiters stop being limiters. They become the platform from which you begin to fly.
Thank you for stopping by.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 3:52 PM
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Posted by Mary Eggers at 9:04 AM
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Our house has nothing but stairs, so I am certainly getting my strength workout in :-). The local ambulance corps loaned us a wheelchair, allowing me to take Luc out for pancakes and for four walks yesterday!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:45 AM
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
This morning was the big time trial. 5K on the track, coach present with a stopwatch. Thank God coach Trevor can count to 12.5 because I certainly can not. With the events of the past few days sleep is not coming as handily as it normally does. Now I can get to sleep, in fact if given the option I could lie down in the middle of a four lane highway, right on the yellow line and fall asleep within 30 seconds. Call it the blessings of being a nurse.
Staying asleep is another issue. Not that I couldn't if I had the chance to. But with Luc's broken leg, his pain medication schedule, etc., the beast doesn't stay asleep. The other blessing of a nursing career is the ability to do anything no matter how tired one is. So not only can I function, I can function well without rest. In fact my 2004 Musselman victory happened on 3 hours of sleep and a 12 hour shift of emergency nursing before it.
Point made I assume.
I wanted to prepare for this time trial. Aside form a few runs in high school I have never set foot on a track. I have prescribed workouts on one, but never done them myself. When I saw this scheduled for Me 2 weeks ago, I got nervous. So I needed to create a plan to mentally run hard on a track, in front of coach, just 3 weeks after the Ironman.
6am came and I was ready with a large cup of coffee for coach. My approach to this time trial was to make it simple. I knew it was my mind that stood in the way. Mile one I would repeat to myself the word "focus". Mile two I could repeat "Strong" and mile 3 I would mentally chant "Commit .... strong.... commit... strong."
After a 15 minute warm up it was time to begin. Coach had all my goal splits written and graphed and he was ready with the stopwatch. 3 weeks ago he asked me what I thought I could run a 5K in and I told him. Honestly I was hoping that was what I could run it in, and after the Ironman it became a prayer.
I lined up and he dropped his hand. I began to run. The first four laps went quick. I felt great. I saw the number 6 when I looked at my Garmin (not six minutes flat, six something!). The second mile began to hurt a little bit. Coach and I had discussed this prior to the start and we knew it was coming. My legs were flying, and my mind was focused. I knew I was losing form and I would hear the occasional "CADENCE" shout from across the field. That was cue to stop increasing the length of my stride as I began to hope I could leap a tall building with my single bound.
The tough part came when I thought I had 2 laps left and Coach called out "THREE TO GO!" I wanted to lose it, walk, blow it off. THREE? Then I realized opportunity was upon me. Come back to your focus Mary and commit to this run! I knew my weakness during my run was much more mental than physical. In the throws of the Ironman this is where the rubber meets the road. The Ironman doesn't build character, it reveals it. Have enough and you are golden. Have none and you're screwed.
I crossed the finish line and smile. I nailed the exact pace I thought I would. Three weeks after the Ironman and running every single day put me right where I wanted to be.
Which is good news as me move forward through this transition week. I have an FTP test on Sunday which will reestablish my power zones. The dialing in will be done, and Monday I will begin the next block of preparing.
Looking forward I am excited. I know there is hard work to come and I am delighted. I am ready. I am ready to dig deep and look beyond myself. I am ready to reach higher than I have reached before. This morning I proved to myself that the impossible is possible. The only limit that I have is the limit I set for myself.
Thanks for stopping by.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 10:32 AM
Monday, August 13, 2007
I have made it home from the wedding extravaganza of all wedding extravaganzas. It was an interesting weekend. Curt was allowed off the hook so he and Luc rode the Metro through downtown Buffalo a hundred times while Pelee came to yet another Eggers' family function.
I would introduce him as my friend, or "brother from another mother", who was standing in for Curt who was riding the Metro with Luc.... and then Pelee would correct me....
"I am her secret lover...." he said to my DAD, who luckily was all tanked up. You see Pelee and I went one hour later (on purpose) and thank god we did because we missed "Whisky hour". Turns out that the first hour of the wedding was no food, no water, just whisky.
And they were all sillied up. Which then became somewhat infectious.
The last time I had a little too much of the juice was at Rich Clark's wedding.
And now I very vividly remember why.
Now don't get me wrong the wine was pink... and it was good.... and when there was no pink wine around I added some red to some white.... and then interestingly watched the French people have seizures.
I taught my nephew to do the worm, sometimes known as the dolphin. And yes, that does involve lying on your stomach. Which the French people thought was quite interesting.
I liked the icing better then the cake, so when the French people asked who was licking the icing off the cake I told them that's what we Americans do 'round these parts.
As the training questions rolled in… I just began telling people I won yesterday's race, even though I didn't race it. They all just can't get past the fact that we can ride our bikes more than 3 miles without dying. So I relented that it was easier to call myself a champion than to explain why I rode around the island.
The French people liked that. And I like the way they call me champion.
I came face to face with Reed Ackerman, who after 15 years apologized for being a part of the clan that threw a bucket full of vomit and beer into a Jeep Cherokee carrying 13 cheerleaders, of which I was one. And then he told me he lives down the road from me now.
Apparently in the speech that I gave in tribute to my sister I told people I have an alternative lifestyle. Then I spent the rest of the evening asking every person if they realized that what I meant by alternative lifestyle was that I was an athlete.....
I don't know what the French thought of that.
Pelee was not successful in getting my Uncle Buck to come to the "Italian bar" after the reception, but Pelee and I did make it there. Had some more pink wine and then ran through sprinklers in the front lawn of the Hyatt.
And I know the French people loved that.
But then came the morning and a feeling I have not felt in a million years. Dear Curt took dear Luc out for a walk, to which we were thrilled as the curtains were drawn back to closed. 10 minutes later a frantic call comes from Curt.... he had seen the word FREE and turned to look. And while he was looking Dear Luc jumped on an elevator. Of a hotel with 16 floors. And because there actually IS a God as I stood at the door of an elevator on the tenth floor and Curt stood in the lobby, magically the door of the middle elevator opens and there is dear Luc with another boy and his mom.
"Luc said he lost his dad and his Mom is sick in bed." she told me.
After the dust settled and Curt wished me a happy 7th wedding anniversary.... I retreated back to the 10th floor where I found Pelee in the hall with his underwear looking for Luc. We retreated back to the dextox center where I spent the next 2 hours kissing the porcelain, as the French people say.
I could eat nothing at brunch and then cursed myself for the brainchild idea of Curt and I driving separate cars. Because now I needed to get back and I couldn't stop hurling.
So the one day I have to pull over on the 90 and hang over a guardrail to "lose the cookies" as the French people say... wouldn't that be the day where four sets of people I know drive by beeping and laughing. I guess that's what happens when you have the idea of a distinctive car.
Back at home I have stopped losing any cookies. I still had a run to do, and I realize why I stopped drinking the pink wine in the first place. So my wine glass has been hung up for the next event in 5 years. More importantly I remember why I love the Ironman more than I love going our to 'Italian clubs"
Because in the morning, and you wake up with a body that's screaming. At least when you've done the Ironman it's because you did something worth doing. You didn't essentially poison yourself.
And then you begin to notice that when you do the Ironman you begin to give the training and race day stories the same tone and affection as those good old bar hoping days. And that's who I am now, and that's who I intend to stay.
Just when I believed the day was closing, just when it was safe to lay on the couch… I hear a piercing scream from the backyard, where Luc was playing. I found him laying in a heap on the ground clutching his leg. Being a pediatric emergency nurse has it's benefits, and one of them is knowing the scream of pain. The scream that is not fake, and is not crying wolf.
We got him to the emergency dept, and this would be a time where I was glad to work there. We do take care of our own. One woman asked my husband if I worked there. Upon him saying yes she rolled her eyes and grunted, accusing us of getting special treatment.
I shall tell you this. In this circumstance Luc's injury was more critical then her son's stuffy nose. And we do get special treatment. It's one of the very few benefits of working in the pediatric emergency dept… again we do take care of our own. I have spent countless nights taking care of all of the children in Rochester. Diagnosis ranging from stuffy noses to brain tumors, shootings… you name it. I have held the hands of children who are dying, who are in painful procedures… I have even had a gun held to my head.
So when one of our own arrives with their children… we do give priority. It's one thing we can do for one another when the rest of the world treats us like shit.
Luc broke his tibia and had to undergo what we call a conscious sedation. Through an IV we give medication that puts him to sleep, and then the ortho docs put a big splint on him from toe to hip. He sailed through it, did awesome and now we are home.
He'll be off his feet for about 4 weeks, which stinks because it is summer and he just did his first triathlon on Saturday.
But accidents are called accidents … they aren't called "on purposes", and boys will be boys. We've got a loving family on the way to see him right now, and we will make the best of all of it.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 1:01 PM
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
I glanced up at the clock last night as I stood in the trauma bay, over a teenage girl who was in a car accident. She was awake, speaking, likely had some broken bones. Plenty of Pediatric Nurses were around. Fifteen minutes past midnight and I had to be up at 4:45. But that's every Tuesday into Wednesday, and it's better than working a night shift. Had she been more injured, or had there been one less nurse around I would have remained in place and finished the trauma.... but my friend Sheila nudged me.
"We got it Mar." she said, and I knew what she meant.
Sheila knows... hell she just watched the Escape form Alcatraz on tv the other night. Sheila's not an athlete but she's the mother of five, and the wife of a cancer survivor. She understands priorities. She understands me.So I slid in the patent's IV, drew 30 cc's of blood for a trauma panel, bid my friends goodnight and crept out the door.
My four hour shift complete and I had a bounce in my step regardless of the fact that we were getting slammed from all ends with patients. Bloody arms, abdominal pain, you name it, they came in. Sometimes I wonder if we have seen every child in Rochester.....Last night it didn't matter because I am so excited.
It's day 3 of Ironman Florida preparation and I had to check my coffee bean stash. Did I buy a stronger bean? No, I buy the strongest. What is this fluttering of my heart? Atrial Fib? No, heart rate is too slow.
4:50am came and I leapt out of bed groggy but knowing my beloved java was fresh brewed and waiting. The drive to Canindiagua was quiet, and one of my athletes Dennis came rolling in shortly after me. Dennis just completed his first Ironman, crossed the finish line with his two young daughters and his wife beaming.
He's got the feeling I've got, I could tell. He decided to go and do Pigman, a 1/2 Ironman in the Midwest next weekend. He took 2 weeks of recovery and we repeated his taper. He's jumpy, he's smiley and I know the feeling. We swim the same pace so I really enjoy when Dennis shows up, especially at 6am. The water was choppy and we couldn't swim straight to save our lives. I had one goal for this morning's swim, and that was to focus. I tend to daydream about that Ironman finish line, and I wanted to feel more honed today. So I thought about 2 words and only 2 words. Smooth and strong. Through the 52 minute swim I was able to repeat that mantra to myself over and over.
During the drive home I felt such excitement. Again I questioned it... too much coffee? No, just one cup. Dehydration? No, I had 50 ounces of water in me already this morning. What was this feeling?????
Arriving home I kissed my boys and again profusely thanked my husband. While he does have the ability to work from home, he has better access to resources at his office. But during the summer months he works from home for a little while to allow me some time for training. Just a 30 minute run was on tap and I couldn't wait to get into my running shoes.
Something is wrong... I can't wait to run? What's going on? During my run I felt happy, I felt light. I concentrated at running my prescribed pace, my prescribed cadence, and kept an eye on my heart rate. Just like my swim I wanted to focus. Each time I drifted into Ironman dreamland I noticed an elevation of heart rate :-)
So I thought about commitment. And I repeated that to myself every other stride. Commitment to the run, to the program, to the parameters, to the plan. And I smiled the whole time. 40 minutes later my run was uploaded and my daily report sent in to Coach T.
I sat back and smiled. I looked at my daily stats. Dangerously low on sleep at 3.5 hours. But I know that and I know that comes and I know that this afternoon I will nap, and I know I will have to remain on top of hydration and nutrition today.I rated my motivation a 10+ on the scale of 1-10.
All of a sudden there has been a new energy breathed into me. It's not that something was wrong.... it is something that is right. I don't know when I have felt this level of energy, motivation and passion last. I thought I had it all along, but suddenly it is heightened. That's all good news during this first week of transition. We'll be logging 9.75 hours and I know that fatigue and soreness is coming.
I know that this very well may be a temporary feeling, but it also might not be. I am excited, I am smiling, and I am anxious to go longer and go faster. But I know what coach T would say..... hold back, sit tight.... it will be here soon enough.
Thanks for stopping by.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 4:53 PM
Monday, August 6, 2007
The two week Ironman vacation / off-season has ended, and this morning it was time to get to work. Coach Trevor is steering the ship and I am delighted to be following behind. This morning was a *** Gasp*** 30 minute run. Not too much to swallow for an Irongirl for the third time, just two weeks ago.
But this run had a different theme... different feel. Rather than the workout I've seen for three years "Zone II, pay attention to breathing", I had three things to focus on. Pace, heart rate, cadence. Three specific things.
Looking at day one, you might think "30 minutes?" and wish me luck at Ironman Florida. To understand the workout you must see how it fits into the puzzle of the plan. And the plan is laid out. Holy crap it's laid out.
Suddenly when someone has really taken the time to create that for you, you have that desire to show up. 100% for each and every workout whether it is a hard or easy one. 100% commitment is what you suddenly feel. You know the plan is new to you and you know that taking on the crazy girl in town could be a dangerous feat. But you know that for this race all eyes are on you, but the only eyes that matter are your own.
Perhaps this is the time you really drop the past. This is the time you use the lessons of the failures. This is the time you stop reliving all of the glory moments. This is the time you reach deep within yourself and instead of finding that girl you used to be.... you realize that she was no match for the one you really are.
As I look ahead through the next 14 weeks I do so without question, without doubt, without uncertainty. I look to the next fourteen weeks with desire, with commitment, with joy and with passion. I am going to be tested. I am going to be really tested.
And I am willing.
In those weak moments strength is built. In those uncertain spots confidence will be built. Mantras will be developed and remembered or written on my legs. If I want the prize I have to change the way I am going about reaching for it, because it hasn't worked so far.
So I am welcoming this new path, this new idea, this new chapter. I want it bad. I can taste it. And I will work hard to put myself in the best possible position for it.
So giddy up my friends.... we could be seeing more than just the dream, the possibility. Just maybe, maybe we will see the reality.
Thanks for stopping by.
:-) Mary Eggers
Posted by Mary Eggers at 9:50 AM
Sunday, August 5, 2007
3. Fitness as a way of life. We enjoy being fit, and that's rubbed off on our son. We swim and bike together each week. We spend hours at the playground. We do not own one single video game. We don't care if Luc is a triathlete or an athlete. As parents we have a healthy lifestyle deeply ingrained in him. He is the child who would rather play hide and seek then watch a movie. He is the kid who would be outside all day long, and often is. It helps him in so many ways to get his exercise every day.
4. Communication I grew up in a very volatile home. There wasn't a day that went by without some massive fight. That being said now that we've all grown up and have our own lives.... that's all gone away. I can finally call my brothers and sisters my friends, and even my parents. But growing up in that environment caused me to have one goal as I grew into a family of my own. Communication. It was my intention moving into marriage and family that there would be no screaming, no screaming arguments, no daily battles. Come hell or high water Luc was growing up in a home with none of that. Now it's taken us 7 years of marriage, sometimes good communication, sometimes not so good. But we have kept the communication lines open and we have worked hard at discussing issues before they come to blows. It's hard. Sometimes it is easier to hold back until it builds up. I am proud that we have taken the load less traveled for us and worked hard on this. I can be proud that our 6 year old has so far grown up in a home that has contained much more laughter than tears. I pray we can keep that going.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 5:11 AM
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Posted by Mary Eggers at 7:55 AM