Sunday, September 30, 2007

OOPS!!!!! He Did It AGAIN!

And the king does it again! He's the Long Cousre Duathlon National Champ for the old guys.... 50-54...... not that I could even be in their top 10.....

Way to go Curty!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

There's Something About Curty

This weekend my several time age group National Champion husband is in Ohio, competing in his third National Championships of the season. This time he goes long at Powerman Ohio. He's hoping to qualify for Long Course Duathlon World's in Richmond Virginia next month, And if you know Curt, you know he won't have any problem doing just that.

I love to tell Curt's story because it is a good one. He sidestroked his first triathlon at age 33 and came out of the water last. 5 years later he came back and won that race... 5 years in a row.

What happened in those years?

He studied triathlon. He committed to improvement. He trained consistently (notice I did not say HARD) and he learned to listen to his body.

Over the years he has achieved so many age group and overall wins that the plaques are no longer displayed. They are in piles in the back room. He's been to Nationals and Worlds a billion times. He qualified for Hawaii 4 times before he took the spot in 99, when it was his first Ironman.

2 years later he did his second at Ironman Canada, and never truly loved the Iron distance like he loves the fire of going fast.

I don't know the last time he was not a USAT All American.
We met on a 50 mile ride one day and the rest is history.

He owns no heart rate monitor, no power meter, nothing fancy. He does have a Computrainer that he uses the stand alone version of. He writes his training in a log book.

I guarantee if you asked him to find an effort that felt like tempo..... if you could measure his wattage and heart rate he'd be where he needed to be. Curt knows his body like no one else could.
He has desire. He has commitment. He defines his goals and then goes after them.

He's on his bike at 4:30 am most days. His work gets done off family time. We've strived to create out lives in that fashion. We don't want to be one of these families that falls apart because one spouse is out training all the time. There is no single parenting here.
Take a look at the local race results, If Curt does not win, then he's second or third by seconds. And those who beat him? Half his age. I was once standing at a results page when a young man cried out "WHO IS THIS GUY? HE'S LIKE 50!!!!!"
"That's Curt Eggers." I proudly say.
So here's to Curty. Round here we say he's the man. Here's to reaching for the dream, reaching for the goal and proving to all of us that anything really is possible.
:-) mary

Friday, September 28, 2007

Run Towards The Light!

The end of Big Balance is almost here, and I can see the light at the end of this tunnel. I can feel it taking shape, and as the fatigue is still mounting, but I am recovered from Wednesday.

As I began my tempo run this morning I was positive I wouldn't be able to hit the intervals. But I did. I put away those negative thoughts. I opened the door to possibility. During interval #4 my right hamstring began to pull and then throb. I kept my pace. I wanted to push through. I decided to abort the interval, stop a moment, and stretch. I ran easy the next 5 minutes and all was fine. A moment to slow resulted in a fifth and strong interval. If I had pushed, would I have run at all?

Who knows. Of all the running I have done in the past 6 weeks this would be the first run I deviated from. And that makes me smile.

At Masters this morning the gang was swimming strong, and I did my best to. Quite honestly unless it is an Ironman week I rarely swim four times in one week. I swam four hours a day in college. As Coach T has it set up, easy day... hard day..... is perfect for me.

Four workouts to go, and 2 days. On Monday I have an optional day off. I have a feeling I will hit the road anyways.

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) mary

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Breaking Point

Last night I sat down on a bench in Wegmans. It was late, it was dark, it was raining and I wanted to take a nap. With my cart full of groceries I wanted to take a nap. For the first time since this Ironman Florida block began, I felt spent.

But I also knew I was feeling spent because of the two hours of sleep I had gotten the previous night. Pile a long bike and a swim on top of that, a day full of stuff and the world will crash down on you at some point.

I was so tired. I have not been this tired in so very long. I wanted to skip the next round of training. And again I reminded myself I felt this way from sleep. Lack of it.

And then a thought came to mind.

How far are you willing to go? It made me smile.

As far as I have to. I stood up. I took a deep breath.
This is what it is going to take Mary. It's going to take this level of pain, this level of fatigue, this level of wanting it so damn bad. And no one can forge through it but me. Not Curt, not Coach T. So I do not whine to them. This is me myself and I.

Rest is coming next week. It'll be a moderate week cuz coach T don't dare say the word recover. Big Balance is almost done and I am in the home stretch.

Tomorrow I know I will feel so different. But today I know this much.....

We have to get weaker before we get stronger,

We have to become unhinged before we get put back together

We have to fall down in order to learn balance.

This is just the breaking point.

The deeper I dig now, the deeper I will know I can dig when I need to.

The more fatigue I handle now, the more I can handle on race day.

The more hits I take now, the more I will be able to take.

And at the bottom of it all, I am still aware that this is a privilege not a right. A blessing not a demand. Know that at the bottom of this all, I am so grateful to have this chance.

Thank you for stopping by.

:-) Mary Eggers

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Now With 100% Less Ralph

For the past few seasons I have had some strange issues with leaving my stomach content all over race courses. That and bonking here there, and everywhere. In 03 and 04 my nutrition was so rock solid? What had gone wrong?

Since then it's been a year plus long study in tonicity, hypertonic, hypotonic, grams of CHO versus ounces of H20. Lucky for me I coach some very bright people. And I have a very bright coach.

At Ironman this year I tried Infinit, and didn't have good results. I have always had good results with Carbo Pro... when I could use it a certain way. But I didn't know that way. A few times I stumbled into it with luck.

Last week I needed simplicity. I can't deal with grabbing X bottles at this station, drinking Y oz by this station and then Z bottles lasting me here. Confusing. I reverted back to the simple way. The Carbo Pro way that I had found luck with before.

I enlisted The Boon, and Coach T. The Boon is unbelievably bright. Want to see her get excited? Ask her to calculate your race day nutrition. Or show her a disc wheel and give her wind tunnel results.

And Coach T...... we know he's a smart egg.

My question to them was.....

I need to make my solution hypertonic when it hits my gut. I need to know;

Take ______ oz of H20 with ______ oz of Carbo Pro every ______ minutes.

And together they figured it out.

Saturday it worked. Today it worked. I felt stellar. 2 X 5 hour rides at Ironman wattage pace. Bingo. A few more to go and I believe we have nailed it.

I am so damn lucky to be surrounded by good brains and good people. I always say that we are the sum of all our parts. And just like it takes a village to raise a child.....

It takes an army to get Mary through an Ironman.

:-) Mary

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

To Infiniti And Beyond

I know you are really beginning to crave these posts right now. When the word triathlon or especially Ironman makes you feel the same way you did when you drank too much tequila back in the day. That instant feeling of queasiness. Almost enough for you to run to the toilet and give it all away.

Or maybe that's just how I feel today. Silly me. I signed up for 2 Ironmans in one year!

Because as of today we only have a handful of athletes who are not in their off-season. Next week many of the clan begins their 2008 programs.... and here I am stuck in the middle. And the next 30 hours are going to be busy and I will be doing 7 hours of training tomorrow on exactly four hours of sleep, if I am lucky. If no pediatric trauma rolls in at midnight. It's 90 here in Rochester which translates into "Shoot your neighbor night" around here. Could be a late one.

The only person who I know will ride 5 hours with me tomorrow is Erik Grimm. And I don't dare ask him to. Been there, done that. Everyone else is post Ironman or post something. Or they are smart. No takers.

But then again which is worse, being exhausted and alone? Or being exhausted with a friend who has to stop and have a pancake breakfast while he waits for you every 5 miles?

I actually prepared for this, as I do this pattern every week. Monday into Tuesday I get about 12 hours of sleep. Rob Peter on Monday night so I can pay Paul on Tuesday night, when the hours of ZZZZ are skimpy. And I won't even feel it until 4pm on Wednesday when I am sitting at a table outside of the Sylvan Learning Center, drooling on my Laptop while Luc is inside.

Tomorrow is an important day. Another nutrition testing day. Swim 1:15 with Masters (translation.... hang on Ken's feet for 90 minutes and pray Grimm doesn't take off my arm again....) and then get up to the parkway. Only a Powerbar to fuel between workouts. 1 hour below 150 watts (this is the hardest hour by far) and then 3:50 at 155-169 watts (for me is Ironman pace) with a build towards 170 at the end, and a 10 minute cool down.

Exact Ironman Nutrition tomorrow;

2 X 24 oz bottles with 900 calories each.

Q 15 minutes my Kitima and Coach T prescribed amount of gulps of water to gulps of mix, and a gel at the top of the hour. With water.

1 X 250 mg salt tablet every 30 minutes.

No more, no less.

I believe, I know, I am certain this is the plan that will work.

Ironman is really about managing fatigue and pain. You spend months managing fatigue and pain so that on one day when you have to go to the brink of yourself, to the very edge, to the furthest point you thought, and then 10 steps beyond that........ you know that you can, and you know that you will come back from it.

And damn.... knowing that..... it's exciting.

:-) mary

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mary's Ironman Must Have's

Everyone has their favorite things to bring in an Ironman. I find that the simpler I keep things, the better my day goes! For most races I wear a two piece racing suit, and I swap the bottoms each discipline. In the swim I wear trunks, on the bike cycling shorts and on the run, likely a skirt! Not a skort, A skirt! I also swim with my race number on a belt, tucked into the swim trunks.

Swim to Bike Bag;
Bike Helmet
Bike Shorts
Bike Shoes


Aero System in the front
2 Bottles in the back of nutrition.
1 spare Tubular with a Allen Wrench Tool
Salt tablets in a Salt Stick mounted
I tape gels to my bar or throw them in a flask.
(I do not wear cycling gloves, never have. I don't use a Bento Box either)

Bike to Run Bag

Run Shoes
And never forget the DRY CLOTHES BAG

My favorite sweatshirt and sweatpants, and a sportsbra. After an Ironman, it's commando. Nothing needs to be near the cooch.

I remember watching Lori Bowden on TV fly through transition. She and Karen Smyers stressed once in a pre race chat the importance of keeping it simple. Less to grab. Less to carry. learn to fix things and learn to live off the course. From the course on the bike I refill with water. I do that because I like to drink water. I like to have the chance to clean myself off and I don't have fuzzy teeth. I concentrate my nutrition, and calibrate my gulps to dilute my solution to a 10% solution.
Advice; have a good coach and smart friends who can tell you that you need X gulps of water to dilute X gulps of nutrition X times per hour. It works like a charm.

While you develop your own system, try to mainstream and simplify. Unwrap the PowerBars, stick them to the top tube. Reduce waste. And reduce the amount of stress you place on YOU!

:-) Mary

More Casualties of Iron

In the past eight days I have put in 23 hours worth of training. I have the stupid tan, 2 missing toenails and the brain to prove it.

The Stupid Tan. This is the cycling shirt sleeve / cycling short hem line..... tan. It's all well and fine until you teach your yoga class in your traditional yoga gear, which is Lululemon tops.... sleeveless. Until you hit the pool and the pure swimmer poke fun. Until you hit Ironman Florida in a 2 piece race suit and you look like you are wearing it over a while cycling suit.

Missing Toe Nails Losing toenails may be painful for a day. But that's not when they fall off. They leave about 3 days later. If you are lucky like me and know a lot of doctors and pedicure professionals, this is an easy problem to take care of. Just a local block, a pull and a loofah stone. Your yoga feet will be pretty again.

The Ironman Brain. This could be an entire book. My biggest problem is losing my keys every single day, twenty times a day. My husband suggested hanging a hook and putting them there every time. The problem with that is that I did that a year ago, and each time I lose the keys, that's where they are. Lesson #37465755..... when you hang the keys up... remember that you did just that.

Aside from the 3 latest Ironman casualties, I am stunned at how good I feel. Muscle soreness.... none whatsoever. Sure I can get tight, but this might be the benefit of being a yoga teacher. 6 days a week I am in 110 degree room in a downward dog. Ahhhh.... that's heaven in itself.

As soon as the clock strikes hour 23, the chariot turns back into the bicycle, the glass shoe becomes a running shoe, and the ball gown becomes my bathing suit again. The clock rolls back to zero.

Welcome to Big Balance Week #2 as Coach T has titled it. 2 big weeks of training with balance across all 3 disciplines. 6 runs, 5 bikes, 4 swims. This week we keep the workouts at Ironman pace. Nutrition on my long ride at Ironman pace worked like a charm. We test that again on Wednesday.

Not only is there a lot of training to be had this week, there is a lot of sleeping. I planned out my nights of sleep with a nap every single day. Rest is just as crucial to the training. Tonight I will be in bed at 8 and tomorrow I get to sleep in until 7am. It's strength building in disguise.

So as the casualties of Iron begin to mount, I am handling them with grace. One step at a time, one revolution at a time, one stroke at a time. Baby steps.

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) Mary Eggers

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Think Before You Speak

My son broke his leg over a month ago. If you have ever broken your leg you know this is a lengthy process. Good enough break and it is eight weeks if everything heals well. We are about to enter week 6 and Luc is on cast #2. His first cast was a full leg cast, this one is a shorter cast, below the knee and this time, whew.... it is Gortex on the inside. What makes a cast waterproof is not really the outside, it is what's on the inside.

Give a 6 year old with some sensory and balance issues a pair of crutches and you'll have a kid in an arm cast as well. We opted for the walker. Ever need a wheelchair? Call your Town Hall of your local Ambulance Corps. They likely have many to lend out.

Benefits of being a nurse.... knowing that they do make walkers and wheelchairs for children and knowing where to get them.

A month ago Luc was equipped with both. To make things easier we received a hang tag, allowing us to park in Handicapped Spaces. Which is all well and fine if you car doesn't have a license plate that says "IRONCHICK" and have a few Ironman stickers on it. Hanging a handicapped hang tag on it doesn't feel so right.

Parking Spots. I have quickly learned that handicapped parking spots are not necessarily for a closer spot. It's the space between cars that becomes vital. In a standard parking spot a wheelchair likely does not fit. Neither does a walker.

There has been one instance where a woman began to scold me for parking in a reserved spot, until I rounded the corner of my car with a kid in a wheelchair. She shut up immediately and apologized.

"Don't apologize." I said "Think before you speak."

When you are living life pushing someone in a wheelchair you begin to realize all of the difficulties these people have to face on a daily basis.

Sidewalk Ramps. If they have the slightest bump it is difficult to roll over. I have almost launched Luc out of the chair forcing the wheels. And every morning at school someone must park in front of the sidewalk ramp while dropping off their able bodied kids. Until I stand there and politely wait until they move. I noticed she didn't do it again.

"Sorry" She called out the window.

"Don't apologize." I told her. "Think before you speak."

Stores. Automatic doors are heaven. Doors with the big button that open the doors are second best. Opening a door is fine if you are the wheeler. But if you are in the wheelchair, how on earth do you do it without waiting form someone to come by and help you? I imagine the feeling of dependence on society to open doors for you gets old, when you are working hard to gain independence of your own life.

Bathrooms. I am a mother who is herself guilty of bringing my son into the bigger handicapped accessible bathroom in a restaurant or store. Heck it is easier to navigate. Now try asking a boy to balance on one leg and don't miss the toilet. We need the space. One day I came to the other side of the wall. Having the kid in the wheelchair who can't fit into a regular stall, has to go really bad, but we need to wait because mommy and princess are in the bigger bathroom, and princess has kicked off her golden shoe. Only to have them come out and tell me this is the ladies room.

"So I should open the door to the men's room and roll him in calling 'Good Luck' after him?" I asked her point blank.

"I guess not. Sorry."

"Don't apologize." I said "Think before you speak."

Staring. When your child is in a wheelchair people stare but try not to be caught. When I catch someone staring at him I gently tell them it is okay to look at him and it is even okay to ask him why he is in a wheelchair.

We had the fortunate ability to send Luc to Preschool at the CP Center of Rochester. He was a typical peer for the children afflicted with CP. The ratio was 50/50 for children who had CP and children who did not. It was there Luc learned that some kids are in wheelchairs, some kids walk differently, some kids use walkers, some kids have trouble talking. That experience taught him to be very comfortable with wheelchairs, kids in them, and kids who make noises, anything.

Children are curious. By nature they are not mean. Their parents tend to get in the way of that by implanting into their heads not to look. It is not rude to look at a person in a wheelchair. Acknowledge it. Talk about it. Ask questions. Sure you may come across a person who has been asked one too many times, but I say take the chance.

If you encounter a child who does not speak, how do you speak to them? You crouch down to their level, make eye contact and speak to them like you would any normal kid. Don't speak louder, treat them like a kid. That's what they are. Even if they do not speak back to you.

The more fearful you act around people with disabilities the greater the rift you create. The more you include, the more you treat them as normal, the more you act like they are just like you..... the smaller that rift will be.

People with disabilities are normal, they are list like you and I. They have more obstacles in their way and they have a lot to deal with. You can never imagine with some of these kids and families must undergo on a daily basis. Nurses and Aides in their homes 24 hours a day. Sometimes big ventilators, electronic lifts. Special tubs, bathrooms, medications that need to be stores in special fridges. Ramps, vans.

And yet they go through life without complaint. With a spirit that we wish we could have. With bravery and with passion that we don't even know.

We are very fortunate. Luc has cruised through open heart surgery and now 2 broken legs. These inconveniences are temporary. In a few weeks I will bring the wheelchair back. I will find someone who needs his walker. The casts will become mantle decorations. This will become a funny story.

We will soon be in Florida running on the beach and swimming in the ocean. We won't have to deal with traveling in a wheelchair, flying in a wheelchair, or wheeling a wheelchair down a beach.

The lessons we are learning are precious. Look around you. Hold open a door. Don't be afraid to look. Teach your children that while we are different, we are all one people. Looking to do the same thing.... live our lives the best way we can.

And please remember one thing..... please think before you speak.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Real Secret

The questions of the week seem to be directed towards why I am not racing the Finger Lakes Triathlon, what is this secret IMFL training plan, and who is this secret coach I now have?

Yes, it is true, I am not racing at Finger Lakes this Weekend. I will be there supporting the Train-This athletes. I will be the gal with the boy in a wheelchair. The decision not to race was made in August, when Coach T directed me to set goals. Was it more important to me to be committed to the IMFL build or to be the Finger Lakes Champ? Which was more important?

IMFL of course, is more important. So I am sticking to my plan this weekend, sticking to my build. I have workouts to do and nutrition to practice.

Which rolls nicely into who is my secret coach and what is my secret plan?

There are no secrets, I am afraid. I am working with Coach Trevor, whom I will write more about when he is officially open for business. I will say this now though…. his program is outstanding. I feel more focused than ever. I feel more prepared than ever. I feel more ready than ever. Whether or not IMFL turns out to be the day I am training for it to be…. this coach has created a plan that is rock solid. He's a rock solid coach and deserves to be paid more than he will charge.

He's created no secret plan, no secret training. It's carefully constructed to give me a lot of hard days and recovery days in between. He has me running much more frequently than I have ever run, which is absolutey making me stronger. Not to worry, a 3:00 marathon won't be happening…. just yet.

I do know this however. When the going starts to get rough, if and when it does during the marathon, as tends to happen in an Ironman. I feel confident that I can run through it.

I have never felt like that before. And as much as it excites me, it is new territory.

I have bombed so many races that the fear of the bomb doesn't affect me. The fear of losing it doesn't scare me. On the other side the thought of nailing it does not cause anxiety. I am in the process of laying out my plan and I will stick to my plan. I will take aim and I will focus on the goals I have set. I will have a drama free race. I will deal with the bumps and roll with the smooth sections.

And I absolutely will not allow my head to get in the way of what my heart is shooting for.

Thanks for stopping by!
Mary Eggers

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There's Something About Mary

Because lately I have been asked, and in case you cared, or even if you didn't.

Years in Triathlon; 10 I think

Ironman PR; 11:23

70.3 PR; 4:48

Course records; 6 that still exist

Marital status; Married 7 glorious years

Children; one darling 6 year old with a broken leg

How many times have I qualified for Hawaii; 3

How many times have I done the Hawaii Ironman; None

How many times I have been to Hawaii; twice

Favorite race; Ironman Lake Placid

Least Favorite Race; don't have one

Occupation; Mom, Triathlon Coach, Yoga Teacher, Registered Nurse, Student, Spinning Instructor

Favorite Occupation; Mom

Bike I currently ride; Cervelo P2C

Running Shoes; Mizuno Wave Riders

Goggles; Sweeds for the pool, TYR for outside.

PowerMeter; Ergomo

GPS system; Garmin Forerunner 305

Favorite Food; Tomato Soup

Favorite drink; Coffee

What you might not know about me; I am a student at the University of Rochester

What you do know about me; Multsiport is my passion.

How many times my son has broken his leg; 2

How many times my son has had open heart surgery; 1

Which was easier; open heart surgery believe it or not!

My favorite training partner; Kelly Bergkessel

Where I swim; Under the guidance of Coach Lorie Rick of the RAMS

My triathlon Coach; Coach T

Best thing my coach has ever told me to do; Harden the F&^# Up

Best thing my husband has ever said to me in an Ironman; Suck it up buttercup

# of races in which I have vomited; 6

# of races I have DNF'd; 1 (warning..... never claim you will DNF. NEVER CLAIM IT.)

Stupidest thing I have said during a long run; The canal is higher when it is full

# of bike crashes I have had this year; 3

# of serious injuries I have had; 1

My favorite thing about coaching; watching people transform because they believe in themselves.

Age difference between Curt and I; 17

# of times during a race I have been called his daughter; 2

# of people who care about the age difference; 1,00,000,000,000

How many times I have ever thought about it; zero

People I look up to; Karen Smyers and Lisa Bentley. Both are class acts.

# of Ironman Hawaii World Champions I have hugged; 1

# of Hawaii Ironman World Champions I have been photographed with; 2

# of Ironman Hawaii World Champions I named my son after; 1

# of Ironmans I have done; 3

# I of Ironmans I will (hopefully) do this season; 2

# of Ironmans I would recommend per year; 1

Who I pick to win Hawaii this year; Lisa Bentley and Chris McCormack.

:-) Mary

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Year Seven

For seven years I have swum with the Rochester Area Masters, and coached by Lorie Rick. We swim on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 5:45-7:15, and it's one hell of a group. I am in the stud lane, not by ability but by choice. Frequent;y my mornings consist of "rest" intervals which are a touch to the wall, a breath and go. But that's fine with me. To get faster and stay faster I have to be the slowest in the fastest lane. And the stud lanes are filled with a great cast of characters.

Mark. Mark is a former swimmer from somewhere and I believe he swam in the 96 Olympic trials. He's got a beautiful swimmer wife names Julie and 3 darling boys. When we do 50's Mark does 75's. When we do 100's, Mark does 150's. The greatest thing about Mark is that he will not allow you to stop for him to pass. He passes you. Like a snake he will wave between 2 oncoming swimmers before you ever knew he was there. Mark also can not slide into the pool. He must walk to the center and dive in. We all have our rituals.

Dr. Les. Dr. Les and I met on the Lake Ontario Parkway, during the Hamlin Beach triathlon. He didn't like me for 3 seconds because I passed him. Then we became friends. When we were in a horrific bike accident 3 years ago, I was holding his head in the middle of the road while his shoulder and hip layed in unnatural positions. At the same time I was screaming at him to stay awake I called his wife. "Hi, this is Mary. Les is still breathing." I told her. Way to go Mary, I had forgotten to tell her we all crashed. Unfortunately that crash ended Dr. Les' cycling career, but he still swims like a freak. And his collection of suits? Unmatchable.

Dana. Dana is the first to enter the water most days and has a work ethic to die for. She's a very talented athlete not only in the pool but is an amazing runner as well. As she gains comfort on the bike she will become quite a threat in the triathlon world as well. Dana's suit and goggles and cap... they always match.

Bill. Bill has lost 30 pounds and even on his self proclaimed slow days is still damn fast. He might be the kindest person in the world and is always good for a smile or a sarcastic comment on how hard the set is. I have been promising him a "Mary's cup of coffee" for quite some time now.

Maureen. Maureen is another talented swimmer and she can run as well. Another kind soul she is full of encouragement and is always smiling. She's one of those people whom you just love to swim with and don't mind if she laps you a hundred times.

Erik. Erik Grimm has somewhere earned the nickname Kong. And if you can associate any visual picture with the word Kong.... that's how Erik swims. He still roasts me in the pool and each practice we lock arms, or I earn some sort of horrid hit from him. I have already warned him that this season my paddles are bigger and sharper. Erik and I are the pure triathletes of the group (we are winning over Dana and Ken however) and we race breaststroke. Imagine the 2 worst breaststrokers you have ever seen.. that's us. Hammering each other for the win of 25 yards. I am determined to take him this season.

Ken. Ken is my favorite. I have to start off with my botched attempt at getting Ken signed up for Ironman Lake Placid. I waited in line for 3 hours for my spot. Then I waited another 3 for his. As the woman was writing his name on the voucher.... Graham Fraser himself came onto the scene and declared that from this point on no one signs up anyone but themselves. I almost cried. They would not let me finish Ken's voucher. With that said I feel indebted to Ken now. Ken is a super fast swimmer who has a strangely timed stroke (again he is much faster than I). I swear there are days when Ken wants to kill me ... for whatever reason.... and then he will crack a smile. It is my goal this season to not be lapped by Ken during a 200. Good luck on that one.

There are so many more faces on this amazing team whom I have grown to love seeing at 5:45 am. None more so than my amazing coach. Coach Lorie has a swimming background that makes your head spin. She's tough, she's direct, and she's damn honest. She also gives me cupcake and cookie recipes that make me the hero of first graders. I hope I never have to swim for anyone other than Coach Lorie. She knows me, she knows hot I function. The first week I learned never to mention that I had ran of cycled already.... there are no excuses in our pool. That's what I need and that's what I love.

So here is to year #7. I can't wait till the morning and I can see my lane mates smiling faces. And Grimm.... watch out because I am taking you on that 25 yards breaststroke!

:-) mary

Monday, September 17, 2007

Casualties of Iron

The above picture is the start of the men 60-64 wave at ITU World Championships. Thought we needed a picture unrelated to the story, to start off Monday!

Ironman training will bring the obvious. Sore muscles, restless appetite, fatigue. Those are not the hard parts of Ironman training. What no one ever tells you about are the true casualties of Iron, the parts that hurt.... hell you didn't even know they could hurt. That's the true nature of living in the Land of Iron.

On this Monday morning I awaken with 2 problems. Not muscle ache, not fatigue...... crotch fire and sore right 2nd toe. Not to worry the crotch fire isn't actually within the crotch. And I apologize for using the word crotch, it is the very part of the body that even as a nurse I try to avoid. That's why I don't deliver babies.

I have a pair of cycling shorts, Pearl Iszumi. I have had them since 2003. These are hands down the best cycling shorts on the face of the earth. So awesome that I wash them completely alone. An entire cycle of the washing machine devoted just to them (sorry Curt). Every single 100 miler I have done from 2003 and beyond..... which is easily over 30.... has been in these shorts. I am meticulous about their care.

Yesterday on my long ride.... the unthinkable happened. Four years and literally thousands of miles later..... they began to hurt me. Now I don't require padding, the pad residing in this pair of cycling shorts is just damn comfortable. But I may have finally worn my welcome. While the pad itself was fine.... the seams on the outside of the pad.... began to dig into me.

Now my inner thighs don't touch when I run, I never have troubles with chaffing. But if you know that spot where inner thigh chafing potential exists, take it about three inches north. Right into the highest point of upper thigh. Where leg meets body. Not crotch, just a bit beyond. Now imagine seam rubbing for 4+ hours.

Yes, ouch. Worst than ouch. Laceration, abrasion.... CUT! BLOOD!

There are things cycling manufacturers have invented to rectify this sort of situation. But there is one product that cures all evidence of the chafe, the rub, the unwanted. Desitin. Yes Desitin. Yes the white cream you paint your kiddo's but white with so when they pee themselves said diaper with extra absorbency doesn't cause the unwanted diaper rash on their smooth behind.

I am convinced the creators of Desitin are absolute geniuses. When you have a hot spot, a chafe potential, paint it white with Desitin. It will resist everything. Water, sweat, you name it. Nothing gets past it.

Needless to say my rub has been soothed. Whew. And I am seeking a new pair of cycling shorts.

Onto problem #2, the toe. The toenail. Miraculously I only lost one toenail after Ironman Lake Placid. But I have it's sister working her way to the top so to speak. My right 2nd toe is screaming at me. Well, the nail is.

One thing to note about me... yes I am a Pediatric Emergency nurse. There are 2 things that make me feel dizzy. Teeth and toes. Yes, bring your arm in to me in a garbage bag and have your bones hanging out your shoulder.... not a problem. Wiggle your tooth in front of me or show me a finger or toe without a nail and I might hit the floor.

So when my own toenails begin to fall off.... a problem exists. Sometimes I tape them back on with duct tape with the erroneous belief that it will magically re adhere. Sometimes I ponder asking the toenail removal expert Dr. O'Gara if he will give me a local block and take care of business.

And then there are times when it is midnight and I can't see in a dimly lit hallway, armed with toenail clippers and a lack of a plan. A hope that I don't pass out. I take deep breaths and think of happy thoughts and places as I trim the sore nail that by the end of the week will hang with a thread.

I know my husband will kill me if I wake him up from the sleep he needs, to help the operation. I also know that I will become yet another laughing stock if I pass out, fall down the stairs and break my arm.

Harden up buttercup. I told myself as I got to work. I did get lightheaded, I did get queasy, but I did not pass out. I was able to successfully trim the nail enough to await the falling off of.

Which would be completely fine if you didn't make 1/2 your living walking around a yoga studio in bare feet. Gross toes and yogis don't quite mix. A little nail polish and things are all better.

Until the next round.

As you contemplate the Ironman experience, a trip through the Land of Iron, know that it isn't the sore muscles and fatigue to be afraid of. It's the little things. The chafe, the toenails, the ability for the Ironman to make even your hair hurt.

That's what Ironmans are made of.

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) mary

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Beyond Luck

Today, I allowed my focus to wander, my mojo to band, and luck had the best of me. Here in western New York the weather is playing with me. Through the week it was summer and come weekend it turned into early spring. Periods of sunshine mixed with rain. 55 degrees.

My intention was to ride the parkway this afternoon. Dearest Husband cleared his schedule so I could have this piece of time for myself. I looked towards the lake and saw nothing but dark clouds, I looked at my driveway and saw nothing but rain.

My computrainer owned me for the next 90 minutes. It was an easy hour, and then I began the 20 / 40 minute sessions we had planned. And then I made the mistake of looking outside.


I ripped my bike off the trainer and headed out. Not 5 minutes into the ride I flatted. I changed it. I flatted again. It began to pour. I began to freeze. I rode home, mounted the bike again. Hopped on, flatted a third time.

I sat on the garage floor.

Had I not crashed last week I would not have been disappointed. But here I was with a second ride in a second week ending in the bust.

I gave up. I gave in. I threw my hands in the air.

"Try again tomorrow" Curty announced, meaning he'd again give me some time to get this done. He doesn't want to see me quitting. And I know he wants a good vacation in Florida.

Grateful to him, I agreed. We scheduled Sunday and I laughed. This was the way Coach T had originally planned the week.

As I sat back and reflected on the debacle, I felt tired of debacles. It has been a long time since I have had one. In the spring I had a hard time staying on the computrainer more than 3 hours. I had set myself up today. I should have gone to the parkway anyways and just froze. I'd at least be sitting here with a good story about how I froze my ass of for 100 miles. Florida will feel great compared to that.

With this reflection I cam to the realization that I very well could crash at Ironman Florida. I very well could have 3 flats. What would I do then? Would I quit? Would I stop? Would I look for sympathy in the arms of my husband.... who did everything he could to get me back on the bike today.....

I need to be the girl on the line at Ironman Florida who does not quit. I need to know that I will no longer fold when things don't go as planned. I need to ride in Ironman Florida being the one who trained in the worst weather. I will then appreciate the sunshine. If I would have just taken 5 minutes and allowed myself to refocus, I wouldn't have given up. I didn't give myself a chance.

The past 2 long rides contained things beyond my control. Crashes, flats..... now I realize that I need to focus on dealing with the unexpected. Dealing with the bad luck. There is no guarantee things will go smoothly at Ironman Florida. I will become the expert at rolling with these kinds of punches.

Tomorrow I shall suit up again and we will get this ride done. Come rain, hail, snow or sunshine this ride gets done.

As I continued my reflection I had another epiphany. Usually I bag a long run and not a long bike.

Becoming that runner? I wonder.

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) Mary Eggers

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Spring Break

My husband took me on a 9 day second honeymoon to Hamburg Germany, and in return I am taking him on Spring Break. Yes folks, that's right. The Eggers' are heading to Panama City Beach, home of Spring Break. On this Spring Break things will be slightly different. Yes there will be swimsuit clad bodies, although they'll be a lot fitter than the beer belly toting college students who are usually here. Not only that.... this Spring Break happens in the fall. In November to be precise.

What better way to thank your sweetie for taking you to Europe than treating him to a week on the sandy shores? Redneck Riviera? Hotels and restaurants?

Does it get any better than that?

Yes folks we are heading back down Ironman lane, this time the stop is Ironman Florida. I am trading in the beauty, the mountains, the trees, the 10k descent for the flattest Ironman of my life.

Initially when I signed up for this race I envisioned palm trees and sandy beaches. The smartest move I made this year was so race at Gulf Coast, which is on the same course. My margarita drinking hula dancer dreams were a but thwarted. Replaced by Billy Bob and his wife Candy (his baby's mama) in their tube tops and cigarettes, having a Sunday BBQ on the front lawn.

Once I got past the shock I will have to say that sir Billy B0b and Candy were a welcome sight for a gal having a tough day. They cheered and encouraged and there were a lot of them.

I vowed I wasn't coming back. Forget this place, I told myself. Even on the marathon at Lake Placid just a few weeks ago, surrounded by Adirondack glory I told myself to forget Ironman Florida. It's too ugly.

And then something happened. A few things happened. When I finished Lake Placid I felt elated. Exhilarated. I felt like I had come home. The Ironman had found me again and I was glad to have been found.

Can I do another Ironman in the same year?

Can I do another Ironman besides Lake Placid?

Can I get through that course, that terrain..... am I strong enough?

As Coach T took the reigns, things kept changing. My mojo returned. I was glad to have focus. Now that we are nearing the meat and potatoes of this program I feel hungry.

People have asked my motivation for Ironman Florida. Is it to qualify for Hawaii?

I have qualified for Ironman Hawaii 2, techincally 3 times. The first time I was racing in the pro division in Canada and earned a pro slot. I am not a pro. I didn't take the spot.

The second time I qualified for Ironman Hawaii was at Ironman Lake Placid. I turned it down.

The third time I qualified for Ironman Hawaii was at Eagleman 2005. Vigo has allowed the woman who won the age group to accept the spot from the airport. He later rescinded that decision, after we all left (an hour later) and then he did the age group awards again with slot allocation. No one had stayed (why would we?) and the slot got rolled to the girl behind me.

If I never do the Hawaii Ironman.... I am very okay with that.

My approach to Ironman Florida is fist for time. This is a course I believe I can break 11 hours on. Yes that depends a lot on the weather. I was on pace for 11 at Ironman Lake Placid. I made a nice save. My training has become extremely focused. I believe I have a shot at the 11 hour barrier at IMFL.

I don't want to miss that opportunity, win lose or draw. I can at least say I went for it.

If Hawaii should happen, then I shall decide then. In all honesty as I look to 2008 I am looking forward to Ironman Lake Placid. Kelly, Bill, my great friends are all doing the race. There is nothing like doing an Ironman with your friends. Nothing.

I would trade a 2008 Hawaii spot for that experience alone.

But should that happen, we will decide it then.

Until then it's sweet spot rides and tempo laced runs. It's getting my little boy stronger so he can run in the sand. (He got his cast changed and has 4 weeks and one more cast to go). It's dreaming of sunshine on our backs and sand between our toes. It's looking forward to a vacation where we have no agenda. Just the Ironman and just play.

We've never been on Spring Break, and naturally the Eggers' Spring Break will have a theme of a different kind. Rather than funneling beer I will aim to avoid vomiting. Rather than wet t-short contests it will be sponges in my bathing suit. Instead of the post party hangover, there is the potential to sleep with an Ironman medal on. And there is the potential to go to bed on November 3rd as a four time Ironman finisher.

That alone, is the highest motivation there is.

:-) Mary Eggers

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Circus Dreams

At least my dream of being a circus performer is still alive. Now if Barnum and Bailey have room for a Bicycle Acrobat, I will have to audition. Today I might have won the gold medal for aerial impressions on a P2C. Yes, I definitely would have.

On my way up to the Lake Ontario State Parkway in pouring rain I realized I had forgotten my Ergomo. The main piece I needed for this 4.5 hour Ironman Paced / Tempo Paces ride. Reluctantly I turned around and decided to ride from home, as I had wasted too much time already this fine rainy morning. My husband had granted me the morning and I needed to get going. The rain didn't bother me at all. As long as it is above 55 degrees I can ride in it. The ride would be hillier but I could adjust.

Hour one went well, kept at my goal wattage, and adjusted to the hills. It was during the first interval where for the first time in my life the hills became frustrating. I was looking for the steady state effort, the continuous pedaling the continuous aero position, the continuous gear. One of my goals during today's long ride was to memorize the feeling of Ironman Pace. To close my eyes (not literally) and know where I was at. To know that feeling is priceless. There is no guarantee my Ergomo won't die on race day and I want to know the feeling of this focus.

As I neared the 2 hour mark, I began to contemplate coming home to finish the final 2 intervals on the computrainer. While the rain was not bothersome, the hills were. Now I am a climber and that sounds strange even to me. On the computrainer I can still use the Ergomo and have a quality control workout. Having something to do, something to focus on, I can ride 5 hours without a problem on the trainer.

As I was having this internal debate I was riding along a road I always ride on. The shoulders are about 2 feet wide and I was as right as right could be. Along the left of me a traditional car was driving down its traditional path. I had plenty of room. Looking up I saw a van coming in the opposite direction. It was then that I noticed a third car, trying to overtake the car that was overtaking me, heading right for the van coming in the opposite direction.

Maybe it is my experience as an emergency nurse, I don't know, I don't panic in these situations. People have died in my arms and I can keep my cool, until the moment it is declared done.

As the third car began to overtake the first car, the car swerved over into my "lane". It was car, and then guardrail, and I saw my path evaporate. Quickly I looked over the guardrail and I took aim.

One of my training partners Bill, always mocks me for "jumping" my bike over cracks in the road, etc. He calls the bunny hops. But I can jump my light P2C without any difficulty. I always joked I could be a bike hurdler. Those jumping skills saved me today.

I looked past the guardrail and took my best bunny hop. My right thigh hit the guardrail and I rolled right over it (traveling at about 25 mph myself) I remember tucking my head, rounding my shoulders, landing right on the back of my shoulders, below my neck, the pump I had been carrying in my middle rear pocket jammed into my back. Somehow I rolled or flipped or performed a triple axle.... and landed in a ditch with water in it, that ran parallel to the road.

The wind knocked out of me, I looked up, right foot still clipped in. Bike laying across me. I stayed still and took inventory. I can breathe. I can wiggle my fingers and toes. I don't think I hit my head.

Everything appeared to be fine. I proceeded with caution as I know how adrenaline can mask injuries. The bike was okay. I seemed okay.

THANK YOU GOD.... AND THANK YOU GOD FOR THE RAIN TODAY! When you crash in rain rather than sticking you slide. I walked away from this completely unscathed, but feeling tremendous gratitude.

I am alive.

Because I was so shaky, I did ride home, and stop the ride early. Proceeding through the day I am more sore but I don't believe I have injured anything. And while I might have been short on training hours today, I am alive.

And I am one step closer to that circus career!

:-) Mary

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Taking the Chance

I am a little bit jealous this morning. Of my husband.

He's out running right now in this downpour.

He came home from work last night and announced that he is going for it. He's going to Powerman Ohio to qualify for the Long Course Duathlon World Championships. He said that he is not yet satisfied.

And I cheered. It's awesome to see him fired up. It's awesome to see him reaching deeper. And it's awesome that he could podium at three National Championships in one year.

I am jealous because I have been told that today I will have one day of rest. I have been told do eat, drink and lie on the couch. And as much as I hate it, I know I need it. My transatlantic hurl fest dropped me by 5 pounds, raised my resting heart rate by 10 beats, and gave me a headache I can't shake. I know though that this rest is much needed. And I know that it is the only day I will get. In the past 30 days I have run 28 times. I am feeling really good, until I got on that damn plane. Rest cures however, we know it and we hate it. But Coach T is the boss and strangely he always seems to be right. Just like my Dad.

Sunday I will recapture long rides with a 4.5 hour ride. It's a ride of flatness, of focus, of wattage, and it might be of rain as well.

Like I always say however, if I want something I have never had I have to do what I have never done. While Coach T is mapping out the rest of the journey, I am mapping out the rest from this end. Clearing the calendar, scheduling the schedule, blocking the blocks that need to be blocked. I can roll with punches but at this moment of time I feel like I have rolled, and rolled and rolled. Blocked out times and dates give me comfort. Nothing can jump up and jump in and rock the boat. Focus has landed and focus demands total commitment.

That's what I see in curt right now. I am supporting it with everything I have. What's wrong with having a dream? What's wrong with having a goal? What's wrong with aiming for it? What's wrong with going for it?

Nothing. That's what. Nothing is wrong with it. Outsiders might think so because they perceive this as a selfish pursuit. That's because they've never taken that chance on themselves.

Whether it is athletic, academic, whatever it may be. Don't ask someone else to believe in you, don't ask someone else to take a chance on you.... if you are not willing to take that chance on yourself.

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) mary

Friday, September 7, 2007

Home Sweet Home

The best way to make friends on an international flight, is to puke your guts out while flying over the Atlantic Ocean. Until yesterday aside from crashing I believed the worst thing that could happen to me on an airplane would be to need to change a tampon. Nope. Hurling in midair is the worst.

Wait a second, hurling mid air and having the first bag brake and pour all over your legs is the worst thing. And then, to make things worse..... hurling in security as you are reaching your bags. Don't puke on your laptop either, that'd be another big no no.

I was never so happy to step out into the hot summer air as I was last night. It feels like a week since I have breathed fresh air. In Germany I was stunned at how many people smoke. Inside, outside, everywhere. I truly take for granted the clean air that we have here. In New York State you are not allowed to smoke in restaurants, and in many areas outside now. And now I am more grateful for that than ever.

I absolutely respect your right to smoke. But please respect my right NOT to smoke.

All of the clean air bills and laws that are pending? I might just become an environmentalist wacko. Go to Germany and you will see what I mean.

But again I say that you know when your vacation has done its job when you are happy to be home.

My training went well. I nailed the frequency but not the bike volume we had planned for. Coach T will take care of that as the focus begins today. As an added bonus Kelly B is in town to defend her SOS title, so we are sure to get into some trouble!

:-) Mary

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

More Hot Tips For German Travel

On the left of the snapfish menu, you will see the menu for all of our days here in Hamburg!

Adding STEIN to the end of the word does not make it German.

Examples; ToiletSTEIN, AutomobileSTEIN, and bicycleSTEIN, are not German words.

The same goes for BURG...... while Hamburg works, breakfastBURG, CoffeeBURG, Nope!

And still, adding what you consider to be a European accent to words, does not make it German either!


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

To Berlin and Back

Today we got lost, got found and I touched the Berlin Wall. I understood the magnitude of what stood before me in that wall and how much has changed in the past 20 years here. It was very different than I expected it to be.

It was so much more. It touched my very soul. It made me realize just how very small I am, and it made me realize how proud and blessed I am to call myself an American.

It's always been my belief that a vacation has done it's job, when you are ready to come home. I am ready for the open road, I am ready for morning routines and 1st grade. I am ready for my messy house and I am ready for laundry.

I am ready for the final 8 weeks of training for Ironman Florida. Before me lies a whole lot of work, and a whole lot of going to the brink. Going to the brink weakens me and then makes me stronger. I am prepared to do what I need to do to have a good day in Panama City.

I look forward to that vacation now. Sand between our toes... Luc's white bum contrasted to his tan legs. I am looking forward of getting Luc strong again, I am looking forward to his glow in the dark cast.

It's been a time of reconnecting for Curt and I. It's been a time of getting away, living a different life in order to truly appreciate the one you live now. I do love Germany and I do love what I have seen of Europe... yet my heart melts when I see Starbucks.

Wednesday will bring one last run around the lake, one last swim in Baderland, and one last bike ride along the brick paths that snake throughout the city. It's doubtful I will ever return here to Hamburg Germany. Paris where my sister lives will be next on my list.

Being here reflects to me that I am what these people might consider to be a country girl. I long for the roads I ride. I long for Friday night, just lunging with my boys.

I am so blessed to have taken this trip. Yet I am even more blessed to live where I live, and to be who I am.

One more report to follow, as well as pictures from Berlin and Wednesday.

Thanks so much for coming along on this adventure. I hope it has been as much fun for you, as it has been for me.

:-0 Mary

What I Really Learned in College

We are off to Berlin this morning, and thanks to my train navagational skills, we should be all right. In college I had to often lead our women's swim team through Grand Central Station. I also had to drive the team but becasue pathetically at the age of 20 I was the only one with a clean license.

So now that's 2 things my SUNY education gifted me;

1. I learned my social security number.
2. I learned how to navagate a train system.

:-) Mary

Monday, September 3, 2007

What I Have Learned Here in Germany

I have learned a lot on my trip to Germany. In case you are planning a trip, I thought I would share these hot tips with you......

1. If you don't know the language, adding an accent that you consider to be European to an English word.... doesn't work.

Example; Le Bathroomae means nothing. Here in Germany it is the WC (water closet)
Le Subway...... not a good one either.

2. Sometimes you ahve to pay to use the WC (bathroom). Sometimes it is 0.50E (that's fifty cents) and if there is an attendant it is 0.20E. Pay it, because these are bathrooms that are cleaner than your own bathroom.

3. When I was in 7th grade my French teacher told me that in all of Europe in all of the bathrooms, you had to squat and pee over a hole in the floor. ABSOLUTLEY UNTRUE.

4. To say Thank You in German, say Dan-Kay. Do not say Donkey. And as we are on the topic, if you don't know the word then say it in English.

5. Learn 10 German words and try to use them.

6. When learning 10 German words, learn appropriate ones. My top ten reccommendation;
Chicken, coffee, subway, right, left, I'm lost, Thank You, Please, Good Morning.

7. If you don't know German, don't say it in French. Likely the German will also know French and try to speak to you in French, thus declaring you a poser because you won't know that either.

8. French and German are different languages.

9. When entering a subway, know your exit.

10. The red brick bike path..... don't even run on it.

11. When you don't know German, don't know French.... posing as a Canadian and adding 'eh to the end of the sentence will only get you the "STUPID AMERICAN" look.

12. Men can wear capris pants here. Men can not do that in America.

13. I am the only one in this country who wears a skirt to run in. In fact I believe I am the only woman in this country who wears shorts. Apparently shorts are a fashion faus pas. Next month's edition of Vogue Magazine will have a picture of me in shorts and a big NO accross it!

There is so much mroe that I have learned, especially about triathletes from around the world. I can't for the life of me however understand why the Japaneese Triathlon Team kept going for runs in their wetsuits.

I do know, and reiterate that the Austrailian Team is the very best. They have blow up Kangaroos, they paint their faces green, have a wicked cool cheer and are generally insane.

Ans thank you to my sister, and for the volume of wine I drank then, becasue I am in Germany and have not had German Beer or any wine. I am offically a loser.

That's all for today, tomorrow is Berlin and the Berlin Wall!

:-) mary

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The calm after the storm

(Please excuse my spelling..... everything is in German on the blogger!)

Just as quickly as it came, the ITU World Triathlon Championships are over. The athlete village is torn down and as we linger on here a few days, the team jackets will grow sparse. On Sunday it was a city filled with screaming fans... I hope in my next life I am an Australian. They like to paint their faces and have a neat "AUSSIE AUSSIE" cheer. They have so much national pride I almost painted my face green!

During the age group race I saw so much... I saw the race of his life from Curt Eggers. Gone was the man who will tend to look over his shoulder or ask his position. Here was the most focued, smooth, hard running Curt I have ever seen. On the course Curt bonded with a Frenchman and experienced sportsmanship from a stranger. One of those people whom you will never meet again, yet you will never forget.

At one point on the run Cut and this man ran by an aid station. Curt was on the outside and would have liked to, but couldn't grab a sip. The Frenchman grabbed a cup, took a drink, then passed it to Curt. Now that is class.

The Men's ITU race was unbelievable. I saw Simon Whitfield, Andy Potts, all of them. They were so close together not just on the bike but on the run as well. And you think an Ironman has great crowd support? That's nothing compared to the maddness over here!

It was the most exciting three days of competition. A little jump start to the car of inspiration as I am headed to IMFL. Training here has gone well, not the length I wanted it to be but the frequency is there. I feel good, I feel happy and I can't wait until the big workload is back.

Today is Monday morning and we'll be traveling by bus around Hambrug and even taking a boat tour! Tomorrow we head to Berlin then Wednesday we just hang out in Hamburg and try to find a taxi that will bring us both to the airport at 5am with 2 bike boxes.

Check back this evening for pictures from the men's ITU race, and today's adventures!

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) Mary Eggers

Curt... 6th in the WORLD!

We are delighted to report that Curt took 6th in the age group today! FIRST American! It was the race of his life, and as a bonus.... he said he ahad a lot of fun! He couldn't be happier. A perfect day for a race, the men's pro race is right now!

We are off! More to follow!

:-) Mary

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Did YOU Hug Faris Today?

I did. I got that, a picture and an autograph as it suddenly became one of the best days of my life today!

Touring Hamburg, By Bike

Don't forget that for older posts, keep scrolling down and if they have disppeared check the archives.

Day four in Germany might be the best yet. And it's only 8am here. While the air is still cool the sun is shining. The citizen's race of the Hamburg "City Man" is today. Knowing the race begun at 7:30am, knowing the roads were closed, we had the idea to try the bike course again today at 6:30am. And the third time was the charm. The roads were closed and the course was marked and even barricaded. Not only did I get aero finally, I hit some "sweet spot" wattage for a bit. This course is one of the best courses I have ever ridden. Smooth pavement, straight sections, gradual climbs and turns. My favorite part is at the beginning and the end, as you ride through a tunnel, which is heated!

Each and every day I am convinced that the way to explore Germany is on a bike or on foot. I have found things I would never have found in a car. Canals, trails, architecture, you name it.

I am not all that interested in museums and things like that. What interests me is seeing how people live. Sitting in an outdoor cafĂ© watching how the Germans interact with one another taught me that over here, people are of high value. I can count the number of people I have seen on a cell phone or a Blackberry… on one hand. And while half the country is smoking, at least they are out walking or even on a bike. I can forgive smoking then, believe it or not. Come to think of it, I don't believe I have seen one obese person. I really don't!

What interests me along with the people is the architecture. In America we have lost that pride in our buildings as we seem to be of the mind set "two weeks to a skyscraper". Here I am seeing buildings that were built in the 1800's, and even earlier.

Our hotel, Hotel Basler Hof was built in 1906. During WW II it was a headquarters for the British Army. The German Flair is evident here and the hospitality is overwhelming. Our friends are staying down the street at the Mariott… but we can stay there in America. Our little balcony here overlooks the street and has long curtains and a big French door. The bed itself is unique. Set up as a queen bed, it is actually 2 twin beds together. Two separate feather quilts, but all in the same bed frame.

The elevator is small and the stairs are winding. I keep thinking of how it must have been during those wartimes. Those wondering thoughts are easily answered as the history and images of the hotel's past adorn the walls of the lobby. This place has a lot of history and I am a teeny tiny part of it now.

During our ride this morning we toured the infamous St. Pauli's section of Hamburg. Apparently St. Pauli's is famous for prostitution / partying / etc. So at 6:30 am as we rode through… hundreds were still out enjoying a night of fun. We looked at them as strangely as they looked at us. But they smiled. At the expo there are St. Pauli's triathlon shirts and I just might have to get one.

On tap for today is a 2 hour run, and I shall run the run course twice. It runs along the canal. I am told Hamburg is the city of canals, so next week we shall hop aboard a boat and take a little boat tour!

Curt is feeling well, he is feeling ready. I feel like this bike course was designed for him. He's resting, he's calm, and tomorrow it will be his day.

Throughout my life my father would ask me after each event / test / etc; "Did you give it 100%". He would never care about the placing, or the grade. He taught me to give 100%, and that didn't matter if it was first or 10th place. In fact he taught me that it was better to give 100% and come in tenth place, than it was to give 60% and win. That's something I have carried with me throughout my life and that's what I feel fir Curt for tomorrow.

I don’t care what place he comes in. I care that he gives 100%. He's trained, he's dreamt, and he's worked hard. If he gives 100% then he's won whether it is the gold medal or not a medal at all. Where he has come from and where he has been are testaments to what he is capable of. But coming off this course, knowing he put in the effort he is capable of, regardless of the placing that earns him… is the best win of all.

Thanks so much for following along this adventure! More to come tonight!

Mary Eggers