Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Touchdown... Florida!

We have happily arrived in Florida and guess what? we are in the Central time zone! WOO HOO!

Luc's first time ever on a plane...

He got to sit in the cockpit for 30 min before take off while we waved from the gate window.

He wore the pilots hats and got to play with the controls.

Then they upgraded us to first class.

The Pilot announced that Luc had helped set up the plane.

On the second plane there were Ironmen and women everywhere. My bike made it too.

What a kid in a walker gets to do. I was so proud of him. He and Curt are out right now playing in the ocean. This is exactly how I imagined it to be. I am up on the 5th floor overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and assembling my bike.

Pictures to come.

:-) Mary

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Attitude of Gratitude

"If I had one wish.... I think I'd pass. I can't think of anything I need."

The bags are packed, the tickets are printed and very soon we will be at the beach. Panama City Beach to be exact, the home of hotels upon hotels and beaches upon beaches. Yes my friends it is time already. The Ironman has called and I am on the way. It's a good thing because I feel ready.

As cheesy as it sounds, there are so many people to thank. I am absolutely the sum of all my parts. Read through any tri bloggers blog and before their big day many do the same. We do it because it is true. We realize this is a privilege and we realize that while our parts think we are nuts, the support you give to us makes so much of a difference. And know we support you in your quest the exact same way.

To every person who has read, written, sent a note of best wishes, a thought, I thank you.

The one person I really need to thank however is my husband Curt. A year ago he asked me if I signed up for Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman Florida. I attempted to pretend that there was another Mary Eggers who lived in Henrietta NY. His reaction was to laugh, and while this was one race I didn't communicate with him about signing up for, as always I was immediately given his 100% support. Along with a good luck with that one you freakball laugh.

It has been an honor, however cheesy that sounds... to step back while I am training, to give him due support. Curt's dream is an ITU medal. I got to go to Germany where he did damn well bit missed the medals. We got to travel to Richmond where we got to see a dream realized. I know how hard he worked for it. I know how much he has dreamt of it. It felt so damn good to see him run down that chute, I knew he was silver but he wasn't sure... just yet. It was so great to see him on that podium as a silver medalist.

More important than sport... I have been in absolute awe of Curt in his role as a father. Over 10 years ago I remember sitting in East Side Mario's, in Canada. The night before the Guelph Lake Triathlon in the Subaru Triathlon Series. It was before we started dating and we were with another friend. The topic was things we still wanted to do in our lives. Goals, aspirations.

I will never forget Curt telling Ryan and I that he ... more than anything ... wanted to be a father. I remember thinking he'd be a great dad. And we hadn't even started dating yet.

Then the day came when we found out we were in fact pregnant. I will never forget that look on his face. "I am going to be a Dad." he said with tears in his eyes. When they set Luc into his arms seven years ago next week, it was an expression I did capture on film, but a look of absolute gratitude.

Three years ago this month our little Luc underwent open heart surgery. The night before the three of us lay in bed, Luc sleeping and Curt and I awake. Nothing to say but fear was thick in the air.

Four hours of agony as Luc was in the hands of the best heart surgeon on the face of this earth. Like always he sailed right through it. So well that he broke his foot 8 days later wrestling with Curt. Fresh chest incision and all.

To watch Curt evolve through these moments, these experiences... to endure these events with him has been wonderful. I have learned so much from him as a person. As a parent, and as an athlete.

When I see him on the sidelines cheering me on it is gold. Absolute gold.

At Ironman Florida I asked Curt to please stay at the hotel with Luc. Drop me off, I will call when I am done. It is not that I don't wish he'd be out there cheering. It's that I know how long of a day this is for a little boy and his Dad. These hours are much better spent looking for seashells, swimming in the ocean, or in the pool. We got a beachfront hotel for a reason. In my heart I will race in a better place knowing they are getting a sunburn.

Besides... I know Curt will be checking online where I am at. I know he will be with me. I know they will be cheering me.

He's given me the go ahead to reach for this goal. He's supported me on the days when training was hard... celebrated with me on the really good days. During times of doubt, Curt always says to me "You are a three time Ironman finisher Mar... what's there to worry about?"

I have strived to mirror the confidence that Curt has in me.

So Curty I thank YOU so very much. For supporting me. For loving me. For reaching for the stars with me.

Again I quote:

"If I had one wish... I think I'd pass. I can't think of anything I need."
Thank you for stopping by.
:-) Mary Eggers

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Potentials

People keep asking me if I am nervous. Which is then making me nervous because I am not. Should I be nervous? Maybe I should. I can't think of anything to be nervous about. I can however find a lot to be excited about. The first being getting my silver bracelet on Wednesday. Running into Graham Fraser in the Ironman Store like I always do (no matter where I am....). The starting line with 2400 people. Ironman's awesome. It's just an awesome extravaganza.

I don't get caught up in the "what if" scenarios. There is a lot you can control on race day, and a lot you can't control on race day.

Here are the potentials;

What happens if I flat? I have a spare, so I change it and / or wait for tech support. Stretch my legs, pee and cheer everyone on.

What if I crash? Then I duct tape myself back together and get back on my bike. Or I ride the ambulance to the other finish line :-)

What if I lose my nutrition? I will take from the course.

What if I feel sick? I will slow down.

What if my Power Meter or Garmin die? I go without.

The above are things I can't control too well. Things happen out there. What I can control is my reaction to them. I will roll with the punches and make sure I laugh through it all. Why get upset? What good does that do? It just burns another Ironman match.

My race plan is set. My bike is still not packed ;-) and I have a few workouts left to do. Most importantly I have a 6 year old boy who is dreaming about his first airplane ride. Stories of late have been about what it is like to fly through a cloud. What it looks like on top of those clouds. What the ocean is like and how big is it?

When you can see the world through the eyes of a child you start to lose the clutter. Like what could go wrong. Children are like that, they naturally look at possibility rather than look at the potentials for disaster.

How did we lose that in ourselves? When did that excitement for life become replaced with cynicism, dread, and anxiety?

It's something I have been working for a while to lose myself.

When I step up to the line at an Ironman, or any race for that matter, I see possibility. The promise of a new day.

Don't be afraid to dream, or reach because of what might happen. I think we sometimes become so self protective that you don't allow yourself the chance to dream just because of the possibility of disappointment.

I tell you this friends.... if I bomb Ironman Florida... I bomb it. If I nail it... I nail it. I will live to see another day. I will live to see another starting line and my little boy and my husband will still love me.

More important than that though... is that I will absolutely be able to look at the woman in the mirror with love and respect. Care and grace. I will look her in the eye as I always do and know that what matters most is not what other people think of me based on a race, a number, a score......

But what is in my heart and in my soul. That's the key to everything.

Time for some packing and getting Gu off my frame. And settling down a wide eyed 6 year old who wakes up every morning wondering..... if today is the day.

Not yet my little buddy..... but soon.

Thank you for stopping by.

:-) mary

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Across the Other Pond....

While all eyes were in the Hawaii Ironman last week, my friend, my associate coach and athlete Erika was over in India. She was representing the United States in the Military World Championships. Olympic distance ITU style racing here. She came out of the water in the lead pack and remained in that lead until the final mile of the bike, when her day was cut short by a few other cyclists.

I cried when I saw this picture. I show it to you because it is a reminder that anything can happen out there on race day. Erika was being careful. Erika is a very experienced athlete if anyone knows how to ride in an ITU race it is her.
Luckily her injuries "only" entailed stitches to her knee, and she was very badly banged up. Needless to say she was unable to finish the race. Her A race... she was prepared for one hell of a run. And she traveled all the way to India for heaven's sakes.
What's important is that she is all right. We are so grateful for that. And thanks to my new friend in India .... Chetan S...... so sending these across the pond.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery Erika!




Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday Show -N- Tell

If you saw this little creature on the course at Long Course Duathlon World's last weekend... that was Luc! You don't often get to see the Grimm Reaper with a walker at a race! By the way if you heard him BOOO you he was trying to scare you... we changed BOO to ROAR as soon as I realized it! And below is a picture of Luc with Ronald McDonald himself. What's a race without a Big Mac and French Fries? Did I mention they handed out the pre race bags in the McDonald's drive thru bags?


It was an absolute shame I did not bring my camera with me on my long ride through Ashland on Saturday. Virginia was just stunning. Even downtown was beautiful and I swore if I wasn't doing the Ironman next weekend the Richmond Marathon would have been a nice choice for races. But who runs straight marathons anyways? I need a warm up!

Even a silver medalist gets to meet Ronald himself! Below if a shot of Warren Elvers and Curt. Back in the day I used to swim with Warren's daughter Jen. We even went to the same college.
















To the right we have Dad and Luc. At this point Luc ditched his walker for a little bit. Hooray!

To the left is the silver medalist himself. He might be still wearing this medal. In fact he might be out on a mountain bike ride right now with Coach T wearing this medal.

But wouldn't you? Look at it. It's a cool medal.


Thank you for stopping by! :-) Mary

Friday, October 26, 2007

An Update

I can't believe I am even posting this. But Elizabeth asked. I wouldn't feel right knowing she and Sami Brady parted ways 15 years ago. Plus you might also be wondering but not brave enough to ask. So with my head in the sand here is what I learned this week.....

Sami overcame Bulimia. Turned really evil. Lucas is Will's Dad. Will is now 13 or something. Sami is left at the alter 3 times. Marries Austin twice I think. finally turns good falls in love with Lucas. EJ Wells (aka Elvis from Kristen way back then.... he's a DIMERA!) rapes her, she gets pregnant, a whose the daddy scandal ensues. EJ and Stefano are forcing Sami to annul her marriage to Lucas and marry EJ to end the Brady vs Dimera Vendetta.

What started that Vendetta? A hundred years ago Granpa Shawn's sister Colleen (resembling Sami) and Stefano's father Santos (resembling EJ) fell in love. Colleen was in the convent... had an affair, found out Santos had a wife or something and threw herself off a cliff.


Vendetta begins.


Carrie left Salem, came back, married Lucas, divorced Lucas... married Austin and moved away. Thank God.


Hope and Bo still together.


Marlena and John, still together but John just got killed again. Likely the work of a Dimera.

Did I mention Stefano is ill and stole John's kidney?


The pirate looking man Steve is back.... apparently was in captivity by the Dimera's. EJ will show Steve a tarot card and Steve falls under his control.


Victor and Kate divorce... Kate sleeps with Stefano..... at one time she was married to Roman... she slept with EJ too.

Now I am getting confused. And now I am getting horribly embarrassed. But it beats hanging out on slowtwitch.

Just for kicks I turned on General Hospital to learn that Sonny, Carly, Jax and Luke are still around. And Robin is all grown up.

I turned off the TV today and vowed I would not be thinking of John Black next Saturday morning. One week of taper has been completed (almost). Now it's time to focus. It's time to make the lists of what to pack, create my plan for race day.

As I have said before the Ironman and I have a date. Luckily it is a Saturday race as I can't compete with the Buffalo Bills for the attention of my father. Whew!

Thank you for stopping by.

:-) mary

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blog - O - Rama

When my friend Jen read that I was filling the void of training time here in taperland with Days of Our Lives. She was horrified. "Read some good blogs" she wrote me. I begged her for some. So she obliged and I spent the better part of the day reading through some terrific reads.

Now I don't know what happened with Sami and her twins today. But I do know that I am feeling very good. The Ironman has still not come, but I am being patient.

I am so honored to be able to share this terrific list of fellow bloggers that I was so happy to spend time finding yesterday. It's so neat to see what an amazing triathlon community we have out there. Please keep posting because taper means time. And unless you want me to wallow in the feud between the Bradi's and the Dimera's, then keep writing.

Here is the list in alphabetical order, and scroll down on the right later today because they will be on the blog roll. Have a good blog? Send it to me because I would love to add it. I poked through other's bloglists and found more good ones. I love the tri blog community.......


Amanda Lovato pro triathlete

Alicia Parr a great read from the girl who has raced more than anyone this season.

Andrea Fisher I love the Fish

Bri Gaal If we were neighbors I am sure we'd be friends.....

Chuckie V he is the man

Beth from PA excellent read

Cindy Jo I finally found your site sister, thanks for all your kind words!

Courtney Crutcher also doing Ironman Florida.

Courtney Green Ironman Louisville Finisher and Go Go Dancer in Training

Desiree Ficker pro triathlete.

Ed's Type I Blog Ed is a Type I diabetic that I coach training for IMLP 2008

Elizabeth Fedofsky whom I vote "Most Likely To Do Another Ironman Soon" no matter what she claims.

Gordo need I say more?

Jennifer Harrison the suggester of most of these blogs!

Jenni Kiel I think I watched her race last weekend in Richmond.... I remember the pigtails!

Jasper Blake fellow Canadian

Lisa Bentley my hero

Simply Stu awesome... just awesome

The Outdoor Journey How this guy has time to breathe is beyond me


The Daily Grind who doesn't love this one?


Travis Earley needs to post more!!!!!


For now that's the big old list. I appreciate your words, I appreciate your insight, humor, wit and willingness to share your lives.


Blog on, I am still tapering.


Thank you for stopping by.



:-) mary


Hmmm..... Not Here Yet

I am certain the Ironman is going to call me. Check on me, or at least taunt me. Nope. He's nowhere to be seen. Hasn't called. Hasn't emailed. Hasn't in any way said hello. I hope he hasn't forgotten about me after our little rendezvous back in July.

It's like the Ironman is about to happen and no one seems to KNOW!

And I think I have figured out why.

Each July nearly every person in Western New York makes the pilgrimage to Lake Placid for the Ironman. In every conversation.... "You goin to Placid?" is the theme. "What day are you going to be in Placid?"

If you are or are not competing in Ironman Lake Placid.... at Ironman Lake Placid is the place to be in July. I am so used to organizing swims, bikes, runs. Checking in on this person, that person. I never go to Placid alone, I take the whole Army, Air Force Navy and Marines with me.

On the eve of the week before Ironman Florida.....

A little bit quiet round here. Nothing to organize, nothing to plan... nothing at all. Hmmmm. It's like we will quietly step onto an airplane next Wednesday morning and slip away to Florida.

Yikes... that's exactly what WILL happen!

Perhaps I should go out and drum up some excitement. See if I can arrange a caravan.

"Let's go to Ironman Florida everyone!" I will call out from the megaphone as I drive thrugh neighborhoods... "Fall break! It'll be like spring break min the fall!"

I have a feeling that my cheers will fall to deaf ears.

Around these parts people are hopping on mountain bikes, hiking, trail running. Wrapping things up. Preparing for the NYC marathon.

Which leaves me hanging on Slowtwitch. And that's a pretty frightening place for triathletes when they are tapering. I am humored by reports of jellyfish, sharks and RED TIDE!!!

OH NO!!!!!

One can get pretty freaked out hanging out there. I promised Coach T I would stop.

I am delighted that the soap opera I used to watch in high school.... Days of Our Lives.... is still ON TV!!!!!! I have spent a few afternoons and I am already caught up in the occurrences of those who live in Salem. That's the beauty of those shows.... you can take a 15 year break and be caught up in 3 days.

So rather than listening to what will happen to you is a shark eats you..... here's a hint.... you will probably die.... I am entwined in the drama of who is the father of Sami's twins? Is it evil EJ or Lucas???? Or perhaps Lucas fathered one and EJ another!!!! What will happen today? Did they really kill off John Black? Any how many lives does he really have?

For now, I will take these thoughts to occupy my mind. Because I can't put out the wildfires. I can't get anyone to join the Ironman parade. I can't convince Jill on Slowtwitch that she'll be fine in the water at Ironman. I can't check the weather report more than eight times a day.

So I shall sit back in Curt's man chair, and wait to find out what will happen to Sami today. But know this my dear friends.... the Ironman is going to get in touch with me. Maybe by phone, maybe by email, maybe even snail mail. He and I have a date next Saturday at 7am.... and one thing is for sure...

I will be there!

:-) Thanks for stopping by. :-) mary

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Goal

I have been asked this week how I am doing... by everyone. Like I have some sort of disease. They ask with a worried look. "How are you doing Mary?" they say "Is there anything I can do?"

Did someone steal my teddy bear or something? Did someone die and no one is telling me?

Oh... I get it! Mary is without her endurance fix and the breakdown must be coming, right?

Well fear not my friends... I will not break down. I am following Coach T's orders to a T (get it?). My feet are up, I am in the man chair, and I am waiting for November 3rd to roll around. I have so much work to do here at Train-This that resting does not even become a problem.

I also have so much to be done in the laundry and housekeeping department... but we will save that for after I return. I will have plenty of time to get that done between Nov 4th and Dec 3rd :-)

On tap for today.... writing programs, finishing a newsletter, getting directions form the airport to hotel to race printed. Creating my list of packing for myself and for Luc (thank God Curt can handle himself.) Creating the playlists for my classes this week, creating the classes for my classes this week.

And most importantly I will be dreaming about the Ironman.

So what's the goal? So what's the time? So what's the theme for the day?

The goal is to have a good day. If you have ever done an Ironman you then know that so much can happen. I would like to roll with any punches with a smile and with some grace. I would like to handle the highs and the lows with humility and again humor and grace. I respect this distance to know that anything can happen on race day.

If the water is good I'd like to be out of the ocean in about an hour. If I see Jaws plan on me breaking the swim record. And then plan on me having a very long marathon.

I would like to ride between 5:30-6:00. I have wattage goals that I will stick to. The bike will be the hardest part for me because it will entail holding myself back. I am riding a disc wheel and I love to hammer. That usually buys me a near fastest bike split with a near similar run time. And if you know triathlon you know that's not good.

Conservative on the bike will be the theme. Let the trains go by, get in all of my nutrition, and stay within myself. Those are my bike goals.

Running... this is where we've done the most work. I am aiming for a 4:00 marathon. I know that at mile 18 it becomes mental. I also know that nutrition on the bike will show up here. So those calories and mg of salt must be perfect. Earlier this year at Ironman Lake Placid about mile 15 is where I fell into outer space until Doug Bush saved me with a lot of salt tablets.

In the end I will be very happy to finish the Ironman for a fourth time. I will be over the moon if I finish below an 11:23.45 which is my previous best. Am I aiming to qualify? If I do, great, if I don't, then that's great too. Then I get to hang with my friends at Ironman Lake Placid 2008. Kona isn't the end all be all for me.

Those are the goals. Broad, yes. Unrealistic? No. I know that the longest distance I will travel will be from ear to ear. I know that I am very well prepared. I know that what will happen out there.... will happen.

And whichever way this day rolls.... I am excited and I am ready.

Thanks for stopping by.

;-0 Mary

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Heading to the Chapel!

It's a first! We have our first Train-This engagement!!!!! Congrats to Kevin Chartrand and Kitima B, 'round here we refer to them as Kevtima...... well they went to Paris and got themselves engaged!

CONGRATS!

:-) mary

Mary's Bag of Iron Tricks

This weekend my husband needed something and somewhere to carry his salt tablets. And as usual I came to the rescue. He was so impressed (which could be an embellishment but it's my blog so the way I remember it is the way it happens....) that he suggested I make a list of all my little Iron Tricks.

That's the thing about we distance folks. We can carry anything anywhere. Think of us like Macgyvers on bikes. You need it? Ask a triathlete riding 100+ miles.... it will be somewhere taped on our bike. Roadies love to use this as "pick on points". Laugh all you want till we are out riding and you bonk. Suddenly my buffet of salt tablets, Carbo Pro and Gu will become your mirage.

What I use to carry salt tablets on the bike... Salt Stick. Some dis this little neato thing, but I swear by it.

Salt tablets I use... Succeed. They give 250 mg Na in one tablet.

The tip I gave Curt.... (who dissed the salt stick).... put salt tablets in a flip top container, like a Mini M&M container. Something you can operate with one hand. Stick it in the leg of your cycling shorts. It worked so well he even unintentionally ran the second run with them!

Great place for carrying salt tablets on the run.... in your suit, in your short pocket and ladies, don't forget the cleavage.

What to do if you use a gel and miss the garbage on the bike? Throw the wrapper into your front drink system. It won't disintegrate and the flavor won't harm you.

What I carry my gels in.... a Gu Flask. I put 5 in there and add a bit of water to thin them out.

Things I carry but never use..... Imodium, Gas-X and Aleve.

My favorite title on the run? The salt fairy. I always carry extra tablets for you... except at Ironman Lake Placid 07. I forgot them. Need some salt on the IMFL run? Just ask.

Best chafe preventer? Desitin. Hands down.

Best place to stash ice cubes..... in the hat, down the front of the suit and ladies, use the cleavage.

Where I carry my spare tubular.... in a water bottle on the frame. I cut off the top and stuff everything in it.

Best tool to use to get a tubular off in a race... a metal nail file.

Special Needs Bags.... I only pack what can be thrown away.

Why I always ride with $20, even in a race.... it makes a great patch, buys you a drink and can buy you a ride home.

This one is from Kitima.... wrap a foot or 2 of duct tape around your water bottles. Almost anything on earth can be fixed with it.

Best way to toss a water bottle.... add some spin to it. For me it hits the goal easier. At least in IMNA events you get to aim for a hockey net!

That's all for now as I sit here in Curt's man chair, tapering, waiting and learning that all people on www.slowtwitch.com are really freaking out over jellyfish and sharks!

:-) Mary

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lucky Numbers

It's official... bib numbers have been assigned. That means one thing... Ironman Florida is 12 days away.

And I am # 2216.

Things feel good today as I begin taper. But it's a day off, so they'd better feel good. An eight hour drive through heaven didn't hurt.... it only helped. Especially when you have a silver medalist sitting next to you. Maybe even wearing his medal all the way home. Why not? I would. Don't you sleep with your Ironman medal on? I do and I proudly wear my silver bracelet for as long as I can.

I have no shame. I love the Ironman and I want reminders of it all around me.

My heart pounded as I scrolled to my name and saw #2216 next to it. My heart always pounds when we get our bib's. Why? I don't know. I am hoping for a lucky number. But lucky I can't define. Luck is a part of it, but it is also preparation and racing the race that you trained to race.

I admit, I do not look at start lists. And that's the God's honest truth. I used to do that, but found it to be a waste of time. Why worry or wonder is Sally Smith is on her game? Hell I don't even know her. And it won't matter. There is one race I need to be concerned with and it's mine alone.

Time and energy is better spent off my feet and visualizing the day. feeling the salt water. Feeling the pace. Mentally walking through any mishaps, watching myself handling them with grace and humor. Feeling myself race without flaw. Feeling the sun on my back. Once I turn any energy to another person, it will take away from mine.

I leave in 8 days and I can't wait to board that plane. I can't wait to feel the sand and I can't wait to hear the cannon.

I just can't stinking wait.

Until then I have some key workouts to do, workouts to plan, and an Ironman finish line to dream of.

And race # 2216 to find facts on!

:-) mary

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Supersize THIS!

Thanks so much to all of you who have sent emails for Curty! He's so delighted and for the record, the below picture was in fact published with Curt's blessing. He's rather proud of his abnormal anatomy. You all get to see his pretty face!


Congrats to Curt Eggers… who today won his long awaited ITU World Championship Medal. At the McDonald's ITU Long Course Duathlon World Championships Curt took second in his age group, earning him the Silver Medal he has always dreamt of! Great work Curty! Do you want fries with that? :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Journey

Someone please remind me that I need to wear socks when I run. The only exception being a race of the Olympic distance or shorter. Mary needs to wear socks. Even if I have been in this sport for 10 years, even if I have the worst blister issues on earth, even though I still have feet tougher than Heidi Grimm's.... (well, that's not saying a lot... right Heidi :-). Even if these are new shoes and even if these are the same model. Only an absolute idiot would forgo socks, even if every time they do.... the above happens..... 14 days out form an Ironman.

With that being said I enjoyed my final long ride today and it was wonderful. Not wonderful to be done, but the ride itself was absolutely wonderful.

I used the website www.mapmyride.com at the suggestion of Coach T, to find a place to ride up to 4 hours today. I was nervous about this as we are staying in strip mall central headquarters.

Curt and Luc dropped me off at a 7-11 with 1700 calories, 3 tubes, a pump, C02 cartridges, a map, directions written down, Ergomo, money, credit card, ID..... as I was preparing Curt stood with his mouth hanging open.

"Are you packing the shower too?" He snorted. "That's why I don't do the Ironman anymore."

I smiled, we synchronized watches and I was on my way. The road was narrow with a bit of a shoulder, and I admittedly was nervous. I was alone, with directions but in a place I didn't know. A street with narrow shoulders and did I mention I was alone?

All of those fears were quickly squashed as within 10 minutes I had already waved hello to about 30 cyclists riding the other way. I quickly realized that this route was marked! With street signs!!!!! I didn't need the map or my directions! The country road I was longing for was here!

Heaven!

So for the next few hours I rode along country roads. Through the town of Ahsland. Under canopies of trees. Alongside railroad tracks. Traffic at times was steady but I was greeted with patient motorists and friendly waves.

Descents, ascents, cows, corn...... today I got to have it all and I felt like the Belle of the Ball. For a good stretch of road I didn't even see a car. What a way to end long rides. My legs felt good. My head felt good. My nutrition felt good.

Heck I didn't even know that my Ergomo battery had died.... I was riding at goal wattage. I know because now I can feel it.

I felt sad when the ride came to a close. I wanted to be out there longer, go further, see the beauty that Virginia really has. It's so much more than hotels and buildings and the concrete jungle. And this is how I love to see the world. On my bike, with the sun shining down and the wind howling. It's so much more amazing than standing in a museum. That's how I live and that's the only way I want to live.

There at times when my mother wonders aloud when we will get over this triathlon thing. I never try to explain because how do you explain the unexplainable? To some a rich life involves seeing plays and wandering around art exhibits. To others enjoying life means drinking wine together and enjoying European made meals.

Those are wonderful ways to enjoy life and I recommend them to everyone. I should actually say that I recommend you find what you love. Be it movies, or spending time over wine, Frank Lloyd Wright or BBQ's. Find what you love.

What they don't' understand is the way that we choose to enjoy our lives. It's not race day, it's all that goes into race day. Wandering through the countryside that wars were fought on. Seeing the fruits of a farmer's labors. The sun on my back.

Running along a canal that was dug by hand all the way through New York State. As my feet hit the ground stone I think about the hours and hours that went into that. What the lives were like of those who did it.

Swimming in lanes just listening to the water splash around you. Sharing a common goal with the guys in your lane. Just reaching for something a bit higher than where you are standing. Sharing a smile over a styrofoam cup of coffee waiting for the pool to open.

Finally getting to race day where strangers become friends. Where a kind word and a reassuring smile is yours and yours to give freely of. Where you learn how strong you truly are.

What they call selfish I call living. And I don't bother to explain.... because it is really their story and not mine. They believe it is a selfish pursuit of glory. That's the story they created and placed upon me. What they will never know or understand is the true meaning. The meaning of living. It's because I can not explain and I can not articulate. I can only do what I do.

I was so lucky to find the one person on the earth who sees it identical to how I see it. Living.

Together we dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail as a family. Spending time cycling across a state, part of the country, the whole country. This venue of sport gives us the ability to enjoy each other. Parents and child. It gives us time absent of television, newspapers, video games., etc. It strips us down to our bare self. The three of us. Together. Nothing but movement and nature. Take away all of the clutter of our lives..... and it brings us even closer.

That's the whole picture, and that's the feeling that I had today when later we returned to Ashland. Standing alongside the railroad tracks I held Luc tightly as we stood closer to a moving train than I had even stood. Maybe too close but the wind of the train was powerful. It made me think about my Grandfather, a railroad man all of his life. That's how he got to see the country and damn.... that's a neat way to see it.

The feeling of connectedness. Family. Of living. That's more than a finish line. It's more than a starting line. It's the way I have chosen to live my life and build my family around. And for me that is what's right.

When I touched the brakes at the end of a few hours, I turned and looked back down Cedar Road. When I had begun the ride today I was not sure where this would lead me or if I would even return alive. That's the way I felt ten years ago. I didn't know. We don't always know where our journeys will lead us.

For me, it's been nothing short of beautiful. And this isn't the end just yet.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

:-) mary

Underpants Run?

Day one in Virgina was a good one! The weather was rainy yet humid, and I went for a run. Just 75 minutes, and I went the wrong way, finding myself in strip mall world. It took me 60 minutes of running here and there, on a sidewalk, on the grass, on a street that was too busy before I found solace and comfort in a neighborhood.

The athlete handbook claimed registration was on Friday. We traversed downtown Richmond to the host hotel to find out that wasn't so.

"Where's athlete village?" I asked Curt

"This is duathlon..... Long Course Mar..." Said Curt "The red headed stepchild of multisport."

No athlete village? No Gatorade swim? Okay this is duathlon.... no Gatorade run? How about the underpants run? Welcome dinner?

This is the second World Championship event I have spectated and I need to know.... why do y'all have these things in the freaking city?

I am missing the Ironman and the world I know. I wouldn't be running into Graham Fraser here. I wouldn't be running into those people I always run into at an Ironman event.

I have been to the Hawaii Ironman and I have been to Ironman Canada, Lake Placid, etc. I will say this..... Ironman Hawaii is very serious. Triathlon World Champs were a bit tight. All other Ironmans are wicked awesome frat parties. Maybe that's why I gravitate towards Ironman North America Events :-) (Poke!Poke!).

We all have our own thing. Be it short course this, long course this, nationals, worlds, best of the us.... Ironman...... 70.3....... whatever. We gravitate towards those events because those are the events we love. Curt will likely never do another Ironman. I will very likely never do Long Course Duathlon.

To each our own.

To fins something we love, have passion about, enjoy..... that's important. Yes, there is that elitist perspective. I have heard people talk down to those who don't do Ironman, And I have heard those who don't talk down about those who do.

And I never realized until yesterday how silly this kind of talk was. But that's another story for another day, I promise it is a terrific one too!

Off for one more long day..... I dream of my athlete village, my Gatorade swim and definitely for my underpants run!

:-) Mary

Friday, October 19, 2007

Destination... Richmond Virginia

Greetings from Richmond Virginia.... home of the 2007 Long Course Duathlon World Championships! Yes, Curt once again is testing his limits, abilities and his mind!!!!!!!

We had a beautiful drive down here, splitting the drive over 2 days. There's nothing like a good long drive in Autumn. The trees are spectacular. The air is warm, and we are together as a family. I don't care where we got when we are together we have a great time.

Last night Luc showed off some of his spectacular backstroke in an amazing huge hotel pool, showing that a broken leg can't slow him down and a walker is soon to be a thing of the past!!!!

Much more to come over the weekend. I get to embark on a final 4:40 workout tomorrow, and I can't wait!

:-) Mary!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Day In the Life

at 6am I went for a run.

At 7am I realized running in the morning will route by every high school bus stop on earth. And yes kids I run in a skirt, with a reflective vest and with a headlamp.

at 8am I got Luc to school.

at 8:01 am I realized I forgot his walker. In the driveway

at 8:05 am I gave him a piggyback to his classroom.

at 8:06 he told the vice principal that i forgot his walker but remembered my bike.

at 8:10 I was on the way home.

at 8:25 I pulled into my driveway where the walker was. Curt was shaking his head.

at 8:42 I got pulled over for speeding.

at 8:45 the officer asked me why I had a walker in the back and a bike on the top

at 8:46 I was explaining that the Ironman was NOT the cheese holding and car tipping contest.

at 8:50 he let me go.

at 8:55 I got Luc his walker.

at 9:06 I was on my bike

at 9:10 the officer who stopped me escorted me through a busy intersection :-)

at 10:40 I arrived back at RIT and changed in front of the rugby team.

at 10:50 I was ready for spinning class.

at 11am they asked me how many Ironmans one should do in a year?

at 11:50 we were done.

at 12 noon I was in the pool

at 12:05 I forgot what lap I was on.

at 1pm I headed for the hot tub.

at 1:01pm I stood looking at the hot tub realizing it was empty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

at 1:02 pm I cried.

at 1:20 I was back home. eating tomato soup and a turkey sandwich

at 1:25 I was reading taunting emails from Erik Grimm who is in Hawaii right now. I made a mental note to steal his black.... crackberry and throw it into a body of water.

at 1:28 I realize I am not sure where my phone is. But I know where my Ergomo is!

at 1:40 I am going to be back to school to scoop up my buttercup Luc!


:-) Mary

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Just About


Too much time has somehow become too little time. Ironman Florida is 2.5 weeks away.

Monday I did another ride on the parkway. I am ready for flat. For three hours I looked at my front wheel and kept my wattage at Ironman pace. Nutrition went well, the breaks I gave my back went well, even my saddle felt good. I am ready to get on with it already. I got to ride on the desolate parkway surrounded by a tunnel of trees whose leaves are all different colors, and with the Lake at my side. While the water was calm the wind was blowing. What I thought was at my back was really in my face, I realized at the turnaround.

I stopped at Hamlin Beach for some water and stood there for a moment. The trees, the water and me. It was the feeling of serenity that wrapped around me. At this very moment in time I was where I wanted to be.

I thought about where I wanted to ride one of 2 four hour rides this week, tomorrow. The second will be in Richmond. Tomorrow I ride to Bristol. I haven't ridden through Bristol because I am avoiding hills. Tomorrow I shall seek them out. I will be full of regret if I allow this entire Autumn to pass me by without a ride there. It's just too beautiful to pass up. One more stop at the convenience store that I stopped at for every long ride on the way to Placid. John and April will wonder where I have been.

"Mom," Luc said to me yesterday morning as we got into the car, "You're gonna rock." And of course it almost made me cry. For the first time I got to stand on a sideline and cheer him on as he did his first triathlon. The day before he broke his leg. And by the way he's doing well. While he got his cast off almost 3 weeks ago he still walks with a walker. The muscle of the broken leg had atrophied badly, but we will get there.

I will remember his words on race day. I know I will be out there all alone. I am ready. I know this day will bring things bigger and beyond me. And I am ready to take the day as it comes. I am ready to make something happen out there.

Things are almost ready. My race suit should be arriving any day now. Russ from Tri Running and Walking slid my new shoes on my feet... and I felt like Cinderella. Salt tablets, Carbo Pro, race wheels, new cables ... you would not believe how much "stuff" goes into an Ironman. Special needs bags, dry clothes bag, swim to bike, bike to run, nutrition, spare tubulars, gels gels gels. My athletes are always astonished when we get to this stage of the race. Suddenly the physical part becomes the easiest part.

And I am sure Coach T is ready to see what happens to. It was a a gamble. 2 Ironmans 14 weeks apart. Taking me on after Lake Placid.... "fix this please" essentially is what I asked. He created a damn good program and I have done my best. I feel better prepared than I have ever felt. One thing is for sure, I have found my coach and I know that I will have a great 2008.

Now, this morning I am headed out for a run. It's dark and it just might be the first time I have to wear tights. I resist that but I just might have to. In 2.5 weeks however I can say with 90% confidence that I won't be wearing tights as I run. And I can't wait
.


Thank you for stopping by.


:-) Mary Eggers

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The True Meaning of Iron

This photo is from www.xtri.com :

With the rivalries, the DNF's, the highs and the lows, congratulations to someone who has inspired me for years. Lisa Bentley granted a wish for 7 year old Carter yesterday. His wish was to cross the finish line with her in Hawaii. He has Cystic Fibrosis (as does Lisa) and The Make A Wish Foundation granted him the chance to have his wish granted.

Lisa, on a day that did not go exactly as planned, made her day about something other than herself. Her finish with Carter made me cry. It inspired me to remember the true meaning of Iron. And I think Lisa was the true champion today!

The Final Push

As you know I will be lining up for the fourth Ironman of my life in just under three weeks. It's my second Ironman this year. It's the first time I have done an Ironman that was not called Lake Placid. And I am really excited.

For me Ironman Florida is like stepping to the other side of the earth for me. I will essentially be alone rather than relying on the enormous Lake Placid fanfare that I have come to love. Ironman Florida lacks in scenery what Lake Placid is abundant with. Ironman Florida is flat whereas Ironman Lake Placid is nothing but hills. And I love hills.

With Coach T I have set goals for this race and we have set and met several goals along the way. One of the main things we have worked on is run frequency and run pace. Specifically running when I am tired at marathon pace.

Heading into an Ironman I believe you must have confidence mixed with respect for the distance. 140.6 miles is never easy whether it is Ironman Florida, Ironman Hawaii, Ironman Lake Placid, or anywhere else. 140.6 miles will bring with it unique challenges. Unique circumstances and unique tests. You best prepare yourself for anything, and come race day you hope to handle it with grace.

One of the things I know I will have to contend with in Florida is drafting. It frustrated me in Clearwater. It frustrated me at Eagleman. I am now hearing there was drafting with the age group women in Kona.

In my opinion the officials within the races in Clearwater and at Eagleman did a horrendous job. I saw them watch drafting. I watched them ride by. I watched them do nothing. I did everything in my power and was able to stay clean yet.... the people around me just didn't care. They knew they could draft and they knew they weren't going to get caught. So not only did the officials not do their job.... neither did the athletes. They didn't care at all. The worst part.... they don't even draft correctly. If you are going to cheat and you are going to draft get out of your damn aerobars. And learn to hold your damn line. And you'd better get ready because I will then run your ass down.

I feel that drafting is the exact same thing as doping. I can not imagine being so insecure as to actually cheat to get somewhere. Be it drafting or doping something within you is too insecure to stand on your own abilities. If you can live with yourself as a cheater in sport.... then what are you willing to do in life? Sport is just a mirror for how we live the rest of our lives. I take it that seriously. Cheat in sport so easily.... maybe it's easier to cheat in life. Shame on you.

In each of these races I allowed it to frustrate me. At Ironman Florida if I see it I can not allow it to affect me. I have to remain in my own space, I must remain in my own plan, and I must remain calm. Giving away energy like that gains me nothing but wasted energy. In an Ironman I don't need that.

I will stand on my training. I will stand on my abilities and stick with what we have planned. If the train goes by me, the train goes by me. I stay within myself and I stand on my abilities.

I do believe that race logistics allow for this horror to happen. Place 2000 people on the same starting line and temptation will be present. I believe the only way to alleviate this is to begin time trial starting as was done at IM Louisville. I didn't hear much complaints of drafting there. But you don't find much cheating on hillier courses.

Since you can't seem to rely on integrity, you seem to have to turn to logistics. That's sad.

Onward we roll as we head through the final week of Bike -o- Rama. Lots of cycling, lots of hours and lots of fun. That's for damn sure!

:-) Mary Eggers

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Perfectly Paced Glory

Today was a perfect day for a fall road race. The air was crisp, the sun was shining and I woke up happy. Happy to be racing. I told Coach T yesterday that it would not have mattered if this were a road race, a mountain bike race, even a duathlon.... it wouldn't have mattered. I was racing today and I was happy about it.

The Hospice 10 miler / 4 miler and 2.5 mile fitness walk was moved to a new venue this year in the town of Greece. Pete Van Pursen is the race director and the biggest cheerleader on the face of the earth. His wife served in Iraq and his son Philip is a damn good triathlete. The whole reason I did this race for the past 2 years was because of Pete. He has supported us athletes so many times... I want to support him.

This 10 mile course was awesome. A touch slower than the 2006 course, but in the previous course there was a 3 mile downhill to the finish. This course featured a few deceiving and sloping uphills, but I was thrilled with the race and the finish.

In the starting line I got greeted with a few whispers "I think that's Mary Eggers." followed with some word of an Ironman. I smiled to myself, funny how you can stir up a little whisper here and there. One woman even stood in front of me, looked at my hat, then pretended to bend down and cough while she looked at the information on my race number.

"It says I am Mary Eggers." I told her. Embarrassed she stood up.

"I thought it was you!" She smiled.

"You could just ask." I smiled back.

Ahhhhh to be a triathlete in a different venue!

Today I had a plan and by all means I was sticking to this plan regardless of who was here. And I did.

Miles 1 and 2 were right on target as I aimed to take them easy in 7:50-8:00 each. I felt like there was a vacuum sucking everyone forward and I had to do everything I could to hold back. Control! I reminded myself. Control! My first 2 miles were all about control.

About mile 3 or 4 a really nice woman ran up next to me and told me I was doing great. I reciprocated the compliment. She told me she was a new triathlete and was wondering if she could try to hold my pace. I absolutely accepted the company. I did let her know what I was training for and what my plan was and why that was my plan. Her husband signed up for Ironman Lake placid in 2008 also. I told her not to try to hang with, just hang with me.

I don't know where I lost her but she dropped back a few miles later, I made sure to send positive wishes her way.

The entire way I felt like I was running strong and running in control. I felt very good. My breathing, my mind, my pacing felt spot on. The effort was just underneath my edge. At mile 6 I began to notice that my pace was slowing but effort was remaining the same. A few minutes later I realized it was a long sloping incline. Whew!

And it was about that time I realized that I was passing people. If you know me, you know that doesn't happen all that often so I appreciated it for what it was worth.

I crossed the finish line in 1:18 on a more difficult course, feeling entirely in control, and feeling very, very good. I won my age group and I got to enjoy the company of my fellow teammates; Nathalie, Bill, Sharon, Sarah, Adam, Glenn, Jeremy and Tom. Jeremy's daughter and Glenn's son did the kids runs too!

To jump into a 10 miler 3 weeks before an Ironman marathon is a great confidence builder for me. I am aiming for a 9:00 mile at Ironman Florida which can buy me a 4:00 marathon. To all you runners that might seem slow.... but tack on a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike in front of it and then tell me how a 9:00 mile feels. Too slow now? :-)

I can feel that my running has changed. I have a lot more confidence, and a lot more ability. The speed part will come over the winter.... but right now I am right where I need to and want to be. All thanks to the Amazing Coach T. And you get to learn more about him on the other side of IMFL.

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) Mary Eggers

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time

I am excited. I am excited because tomorrow I get to race. I haven't touched a starting line since July 22nd. My longest race pause ever in the on season. This was initially Coach T's decision, but as we evolved through this Ironman Florida block I now see why.

It's October 12th, and I am feeling damn hungry. My mojo is high. I am feeling really motivated. Result by design for a girl who over races. A tactical decision which right now seems to be paying off.

Tomorrow morning we hit the Hospice 10 mile road race. It'll be chilly and a bit rainy, but it is flat and flat is what this hill lover needs. I ran it last year and I am excited to see how this year goes. With 16 hours of training under my belt this week I am feeling very good. Very fresh. Very excited.

My goal is to run ab out a 7:50-8:00 miles for the first few miles and then take it from there. I want to finish strong. I want to see the fruits of my labor. I want to see if this pacing pacing and pacing work has rubbed off. While that pace may seem slow for those of you sub seven minute milers.... that's the pace I am aiming for. I have been in Big Bike Week and I have a lot of miles on these legs. It of course would be a dream to run pure 7 min for 10 miles... but we have another race called Ironman in 3 weeks that I am aiming for.

And while I am not a runner by nature.... I am inching closer and closer to it.

So with that, time to put my feet up and pout some water down.

:-) Mary

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Road From Here

I am a pediatric emergency nurse, I work part time (4 hours a week). I have been a nurse for 9 years and it has been time for a change for a very long time. That's one of the reasons I started this business. It gave me the freedom to work from home and the ability to work in the field that I love.

I am also a yoga teacher. I would have to say that triathlon and yoga are my yin and my yang. I love to teach. I love to share. I love to watch people grow.

Through the past 2 years I have asked myself the question... what do I want to do with my life?

Because I am in the medical field I naturally thought I should follow the path I am supposed to follow. Attain my Masters and become a Nurse Practitioner. And each time I thought about that my heart would sink.

I have watched too many people die. I have been abused by patients too many times. In the past 9 years I have been assaulted many times verbally and physically. By patients, bu their families. Once a gun was even held to my head.

I have held the hands of dying children. I have held their crying mothers. I have cried so many tears myself.

I have helped to save month old babies at 6am. I have been elbow deep in blood at 3am. Sometimes when you do what I do you wonder if the rest of the world know that this stuff even exists.

And I am tired of it.

What keeps me working there is the amazing team I have surrounding me. Regardless of how horrible it gets I look around me and there is a group of people who has my back, and I have theirs.

Yes I could work somewhere else. But it becomes the same shit, different place.

I have a son who is a considered to be a "Special Needs Child." He has some minor delays that have required him to receive Special Education. Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, etc. I have worked extensively with him at home, and we take him to the Sylvan Learning Center.

His progress over the past year has been astounding. I have fallen in love with teaching him. I have fallen in love with watching him grow.

One day in May it dawned on me.

I could become a teacher.

Thus began my 6 month research project. What kind of teacher, what would I need to do, how long would it take, how much would it cost. Day after day it felt right. And yes I was met with the "grass is greener on the other side" comments from other teachers. I remind them however, that they were talking to a burned out nurse who has found a passion and a love for teaching.

I have always been some sort of teacher and I have always loved it. This feels right. It would allow me to continue to run my business, it would allow me to do what I love. Share, teach, give.

I have decided to move forward with it. I will be a nurse for one more year. As I am 2 semesters away from my BSN and the University of Rochester, I will return to school in January to complete that. It means working a bit more, but with a year to go, I can handle it.

Come January 2009 I will become a full time student once again. I am looking at Nazareth, St. John Fishers, and Brockport. With a BSN the process of earning a second Baccalaureate and then Masters is much smoother. Much better than starting over. I will be able to run my business and teach yoga and attend school. All of the things I love to do.

Of course as always I will remain in the sport that I love. Likely drop from the Ironman distance in 2009... but I like to step away from 140.6 often.

Now we have a plan, we have a path. Of course no path is easy but if we always chose the easy way.... where would be really be?

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) Mary Eggers

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

When you hand your $470 to the man a year in advance, they should have the decency to tell you one thing. They should at least have the kindness to warn you, prepare you or at the very least prepare your family.

Your IQ is going to drop several points the closer you get to the starting line.

It is official. My 6 year old is in charge of my car keys. The kid down the street is in charge of my wallet :-) and the neighbors dog is in charge of everything else. The three of them seem to keep thing in line much better than I am these days.

I can't even remember what my workouts are as I go from computer to the road.

People ask me my phone number and I just stare at them.

People ask me my name and I tell them my sister's name.

People ask me how many kids I have and I say three.

But that's how you know that you are almost ready. The meat is almost well done. Into the picture emerges the proverbial fork and it is heading towards me.
But not yet.

A few more hours and a few more days. A few more loads of laundry and a few more moldy water bottles. And don't forget that trip to Virginia.

VIRGINIA????? Yes Virginia. Seems my husband had to go out and earn himself another National Champion title, and seems he's gotta go compete in another World Championships. I would have to say his fork is about to pierce his skin. We are traveling with him to Richmond next week, and then 2 weeks after that heading down for our big family spring break.

Triathletes in Panama City Beach on Halloween. Does it get any more wild than that?

If having one parent training long isn't bad enough, try having 2 parents training long. Sure they train on their own time but between the two of them they can't remember a thing. Good think our little guy is bright and responsible. And broken :-) Food gets fought over, everything gets misplaced.

Housecleaning???? That happens on November 6th.

So we are almost there, we are almost cooked. I'd have to say that Curt is one ready man. He's psyched, he's fit and he's hungry. Me? I think so. I wait for Coach T's final word on that one.

One thing is for sure however. If you see us on the street my name is not Amy. It's Mary. I have one child and one husband. My husband's name is Curt no matter what I tell you.

:-) Mary

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bike -O-Rama

Coach T Calls is Big Bike, but he also says every coach has their trademark names. He can call it Big Bike and I shall call it Bike -o- Rama. Either way you look it is a big week of cycling 'round here. That's like handing me a great big piece of chocolate cake :-) With a lot of frosting.

I spent Monday in Buffalo as Jim Costello combed through the bike with a fine tooth comb. And cleaned the old gels off of it :-) While Jim was hard at work Luc and I were at the Zoo! But upon my return my Garuda (just a little name we came up with for the bike when I got it last year) was clean, tuned and ready. Race wheels were on and my heart skipped a beat.

I like to do this kind of final tune up a few weeks before a big race like an IM, because then it gives me some "wear time". I can put new cables to the test, and add a few miles. I never ride brand new equipment on race day. It's like breaking in a new pair of shoes. Speaking of shoes, running shoe replacement day is today.

Before I head into the Hospice 10 miler on Saturday I will have ridden about 15 hours. With normal swim and run frequency as well, the goal at Hospice is pace. 7:50-8:00 miles no slower and no faster. The course is flat and the weather should be chilly, but I am ready.

These final 2 weeks of big preparation will go fast and I am feeling very excited to be at Ironman Florida. I was asked yesterday if I get nervous before races, do I sleep? Do I toss and turn?

Believe it or not.... I do not get nervous before races. That is the god's honest truth.

I credit my yoga practice for that. I lay in bed, find my breath, and I visualize the race as I fall asleep. I even take myself through flat tires, etc. I have been able to sleep very well before an Ironman.

If you think about it, what is to be nervous about before an Ironman? It's too long a day to waste energy bringing up your heart rate the night before. I use that time to sleep, there will be plenty of heart raising the next day.

What I do feel though is an awesome calm excitement. Especially before an Ironman. Especially Ironman morning. People often ask me how I am smiling race morning. I remind them that we worked long and hard for this. Ironman Day is the party.

So as we sit here in Bike-o- Rama week, you can bet that fall will finally arrive, I will ride through Bristol and see the colors of the leaves. I will find that place in my head and in my body that allows me to only be present to the task at hand.

And I shall relish every moment.

:-) mary