Friday, November 30, 2007

Intention

Thank you so very much to all of you who emailed me over the last few days about the "My Choice" entry. If you didn't see it, it was a bit about my eating disorder and the 13 year recovery I am blessed to call my own. It never ceases to amaze me just how many of us are affected my EDO's, and it always comforts me more than anything to know... that we can at least reach out to one another. I am very honored to have made some very beautiful friends through writing, and even more honored that those of you who are affected by this disease would choose to reach out to me. Together I say.... is the best way to be.

****************************************************************

Today I set an intention as I dipped into the water at Masters practice. It was 5:45 am and I looked at the pool filled with swimmers, and I looked at my lanemates. It's amazing to me, we have swum together for years. Shared very difficult sets, moments. We have laughed very hard at very stupid things. We have just swum quietly together in times of grief.

When you share yards, miles, or even miles per hour together you become family in many ways. One year ago I became part of the Stud lane. One year ago it was my intention to just live through it. And that I did. Ken, Bill, Eric, Les... they all lapped me. And they lapped me a lot. In many ways I was just a reflection of the swimming talent that I have. That I spent 12,000 yards a day in college learning how to shine.

When you evolve into multisport, those pure runners have to let go of some of those fast 5k times just as we swimmers need to let go of the good old college days. When 200's were swum on 2:20. When 100's were done on the minute. When the workout entailed 12,000 yards a day.

I am lucky to average 10,000 yards a week now. And that's a good week.

So this morning when I swam behind Bill who was behind Ken I set the intention. No longer would I just survive this lane. One morning I am going to lead a set this season. I don't believe that improvement to my swim requires more time. It requires more effort within the time I swim. Rather than hang on.... I will take aim. I will swim next to Bill in lane 1 and as long as it is not breast stroke... I will stay right with him.

I will not get lapped. At least for a 500 :-)

This morning I was able to set the tone. I made all of the intervals, I did not get lapped (okay so we did swim 20 X 25's.........) I didn't die. I wasn't even close.

Which goes to show what you can achieve when you set your mind to it. When you set a goal and expect nothing else than 100% of yourself. When you finally allow yourself to show up.

I saw Ken getting closer but I did not let him lap me. When Bill M. pushed off the wall I gave him 2 seconds and I stayed closer. For a whole 50 I even stayed in his bubbles.

And it felt good. I know I have more to give. I have much more to give. It begins with stripping down the walls that hold be back from reaching, from being, and from taking aim.

Thank you for stopping by.

:-) Mary

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Choice

I am extremely excited to announce my participation in an event that I fully believe in, that will be happening here in Rochester this coming February. I was recently invited to speak at a Symposium that will be held at the University of Rochester, as part of a traveling exhibit highlighting Eating Disorders. It is a combination of voice and art which will demonstrate and help educate people as to exactly what an eating disorder entails and means and does not just to a person… but to their family.

I will also be giving my annual talk at the State University of New York at Geneseo on February 11th. We'd love to have you along.

Many of you know that I am all too familiar on this topic. I am in my thirteenth year of recovery from an active 10 year run of Bulimia Nervosa. Yes, do the math that is correct. I began to binge and purge when I was ten years old.

My son is seven years old. I was only three years older than he is right now when I began my journey on this almost deadly road. Truth is, I was one of the lucky ones.

As I said I am now in my thirteenth year of recovery, and just like every other process of recovery…. it is one day at a time. There are days when I feel absolutely free of this illness and then there are days where I feel I am still under its thumb.

Eating Disorders are a tricky business. They begin with weight and they morph into something very frightening and very difficult to understand. Look at an anorexic and tell them how thin they are, how can they not see that?

On the surface when an anorexic looks into the mirror she sees a different image than you do. But on the inside is where the illness is truly happening. There are issues of control, fear, etc.

Bulimics tend to look normal and they know that the binge / purge cycle is "disgusting". We know it's horrible. That causes us to become even more ashamed. To rid the feeling of shame we binge to stuff it down and then vomit…. to get rid of it.

For me Bulimia was a lot about getting rid of feelings that were too big for me. I had a terrible relationship with my older brother. He was physically and emotionally abusive towards me. Most brothers can be, but I learned to handle it very badly. I learned to soothe the feelings of pain by eating and then I learned to rid myself of those very same feelings, shame, pain, fear…. by throwing up. I did know that this was not the right way…. but it was the only way I knew at age ten. Age ten.

Because that was the way I dealt with life that became the way I dealt with life. From disappointments to elation…. this is what I did. From exams to swim meets to enduring adolescence. This is what I did.

My parents did everything they could to help me. But until I hit absolute rock bottom, until I had to stand on the edge of life and death…. all the help on earth wasn't going to save me. Save me from myself.

Believe me everyone on earth tried to help me. The harder they tried the sicker I became.

Over those years I did a lot of physical damage to my body. My teeth, my esophagus, my heart. every single day that I look in the mirror I can't believe I have finished four Ironmans.

13 years ago I was supposed to be dead. My senior year in high school I was voted most likely to be dead by 30… for this reason.

The doctors told me I would never have children and I would not be healthy enough to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. I would have problems forever they said.

So at the finish line of my fourth Ironman, my fastest Ironman, I thought about what they all told me. And here I was, a sub eleven finisher, a mother, a wife, able to fulfill a dream that most healthy people would never even try to embark on …….

The issues with my heart were one of the biggest catalysts to my recovery. The bigger inspiration to me were the children I met at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. I was a volunteer there, trying to learn what nursing was like before I embarked on my nursing career.

One day I sat in the game room of the hospital. My job was to play with whoever came in. A boy who was eleven was sitting in there watching TV. His parents were working and he had cancer so long that it didn't affect him that he was alone. We got to talking and he told me he dreamt of being a hockey player. He dreamt of it every single night. He told me that he would close his eyes and he could feel the stick, he could smell the ice, and if he tried really hard, he could feel the wind as he skated towards the goal.

I realized that this boy would have given anything to be in my shoes. He would have done anything to only have an eating disorder and not cancer (which he did later die from). And I felt so selfish. I felt that I had created this illness within me, and this was something I could recover from, and this was something I…. in a way …. chose.

I think about that boy very often. I think about him when things feel like they are heading up hill. I think about him when I feel tired or sore, or even when I lean towards those old thoughts and feelings.

I don't believe I am someone special because I am recovering from an eating disorder. I put my own fingers down my throat by my own accord. No one diagnosed me with a disease that I didn't know was happening to me. I had opportunity after opportunity to get help. And I had refused.

The first day of the rest of my life came after a hospitalization 13 years ago. I felt absolute gratitude. Absolute gratitude. I vowed to the memory of this boy that I would earn what I was given. I'd earn this life.

I have tried very hard to do just that.

When I speak about my experiences I try to emphasize that we have help available to us. All we have to do is make the decision that we need to get better. We need to reach out our hands and take hold of the ones that have been reaching to us.

We need to stop making it complicated. We need to do what we do with everything else. Make a decision, put our head down and get better.

I imagine my little friend is skating away somewhere in the universe. Free of cancer, free of pain. I imagine he can now hold the stick and now head towards the goal.

And I realize that my recovery is my choice.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mary

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Victory Lap

Please forgive me in advance.... I am going to take a victory lap. Because tonight I opened up my bike box, which was sealed on November 4th as I rolled it onto an airplane after Ironman Florida. A day that held many great things for me.


My fourth Ironman. My first sub elven finish. My first Ironman that was not Ironman Lake Placid. The second Ironman in a year. The second time I crossed the finish line feeling that feeling of... I have more to give to this race.

The day I laid doubt to rest.

My race bags still had sand in them. My Ironman Florida cap still has saltwater inside of it. My wetsuit still smelled of the ocean.

I remember reading one of Elizabeth's race reports. I think the title was something to the effect of.... The race is won in your head..... and never before did it ring so absolutely true for me. Before race day Jen sent me an email and all I remember it saying was BELIEVE.

And believe..... I did.

Since my injury in 2005 I was full of doubt and my 70.3 results showed that. When I teamed up with Coach T in August he helped me find so much more than pace. He helped me see a lot more clearly, just how in my own way I truly was. It was nothing physical except learning pace and not trying to reach for a pace I was not ready for.
He took care of the training. It was up to me to clear the space between my ears and that I did.

As I assembled my bike tonight and mounted it on my computrainer.... I felt like a breeze of Florida air was washing over me, and with it excitement spread through me.

As I picked up my cap and goggles that still had remnants of the day on them, I was full of memories. Funny ones.

Did I ever mention that there was a big rip in my wetsuit that morning? It made me laugh. Did I mention that I have never seen so many lines as I did at IMFL? I waited in line with Jen and Jerome for a long time.... for... now I forget what we waited for. The merchandise tent perhaps? When we found out if was another 90 minute wait to get to the register we bagged it. And then we waited for something else. Of which I really don't remember!

Did I mention that there were girls dressed in S&M gear on the run? They were handing out beer. They were funny.

Did I mention that nearly everyone out there wore Pipi Long stocking socks? They looked hilarious.

Did I mention that I passed Amanda Lovato somewhere on the run? And I will say it was not a good feeling to pass Amada Lovato, she was having a really rough day. It never feels good to pass someone who is suffering but she cheered me on. I was grateful to see a professional woman walking, aiming to finish, and still cheering others on. Did I mention Amanda Lovato has a hell of a lot of class?

Did I mention I launched my spare tubular? In retrospect I was glad I didn't go back. I only broke 11 hours by 61 seconds and that would have been it.

Did I mention how hard I worked for this day? I put in a lot of hours at Ironman pace. When training that doesn't seem so fast but at 20 hours per week after you have just done Ironman Lake Placid... it took a lot of focus. When no one was willing to ride long, and I was up on the parkway alone.

This season I achieved all of my goals. The last one... breaking the 11 hour barrier was the most important. I have more to give to this race and I will say it out loud.... I will aim for sub 11 at IMLP this year. Given the right day, and the stars aligning..... I believe I have a shot.

I might be a little shot at it in Placid, but I will be the littlest shot with the biggest smile and the biggest heart. Because it will be my last Ironman... for a while.

One last run around the track, the victory lap. Tomorrow morning the silver bracelet is removed and I continue through one more week of active recovery. Come Monday it will be December and I have a lot of work to do. Taking aim at a dream is my goal.

And now that doubt has been laid to rest, the dragon has been slain. Going forward there is only opportunity, and I am going to be right there to greet it.

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) Mary




Sunday, November 25, 2007

Between The Black Lines



The swimming questions keep coming! Thanks so much for writing in, keep at it and I will keep throwing back the best answers that I can! Keep in mind that all of this is my big opinion. I have swum forever and it's my first love. I have had terrific coaches and they taught me all I know. So it's my opinion!

1. Do you like to pull? My favorite thing on earth might be pulling. I swear I was born with paddles on!

I love using pull sets for a few reasons; strength and catch. If you have no shoulder issues I recommend paddles. A few different types of Paddles are out on the market.

My favorites are the TYR Catalyst, shown here. Each color signifies a different size. I use both the red and the blue, and sizes are very individual. My shoulder health is terrific, as is my shoulder flexibility. If you are not sure where to begin or have shoulder issues, go for a smaller size, or skip it all together. Paddles should NOT hurt your shoulder. Using them with an existing shoulder injury, using them when you are not ready for them, using them too much, or using them with a significantly impaired (AKA BAD) stroke can cause a shoulder injury.


How do paddles help your catch phase? Take off the wrist strap. Your fingers must point to the bottom of the pool to execute the catch, or they'll flip up.

Great sets for paddles are 200-1,000 yard repeats. I can not stress enough the importance of shoulder health previous to using paddles.
2. You said you use Swedish Goggles, what are those?

I have used Swedes since I was a kid. They do not have the foam piece around the eye, they fit right into the eye socket. Swedes come in pieces so you can achieve that custom fit. I do not race open water in these as they do fog up. I don't care if they fog up in a pool. It is annoying if they fog up in open water, but I can easily get through a race if I forget my other duds. Swedes should not hurt your eyes. If they do they are too tight. If the eye piece is too big for your socket, then try children's Swedes.
Hint; best anti fog..... spit. Lick the insides of your goggles before hitting the water, do not rub with your finger, same goes for any other goggle. If you wear a special goggle for open water, never ever touch the inside of the lens with your finger. Most have an anti fog film already on them.
3. I always lose my pull buoy, should I go bigger or smaller?

There are a few tricks to keeping hold of your buoy. Go smaller, I use a children's size. It is enough to float my legs to the surface and small enough that I don't lose it on a flip turn. Another trick.... buy an inner tube. (deflated ;-) Cut it into strips and you'll have a great band to slide around your legs.

Note: if you area runner and you "band" your legs..... know that most runner's legs sink, so dropping your legs will change the dynamics of your stroke in a negative way. Band and buoy I always say, and keep your shoulders healthy.
4. Zommers or fins????? I am old school and I hate Zoomers. If you are putting on fins, put on fins. Many triathletes are addicted to Zoomers, which I believe are "fake fins." to me it is like drinking decaffeinated coffee or fat free ice cream. Use regular fins. I find the best pair to be the simplest pair. If you have issues with blistering or chafing you can wear socks inside your fins.



Fins will help develop ankle flexibility, as well as enhance your kick, emphasizing kicking from the hip rather than from the knee.
How is ankle flexibility? Sit on your knees. Then bend and sit on your heels. Does that hurt your ankle? If so, you need to improve your ankle flexibility. Nothing blows up your total immersion style than toes pointing to the bottom of the pool.
5. What can I do out of the pool to enhance my swimming? Keep it simple outside the pool. A simple set of cords will do. I have a Vasa Trainer and I have tried the TriTon swim trainer. Vasa is the gold standard. Nothing compares to it, but remember I used it all through college.

6. What were your events in high school and college?
High school; 500 free, 200 IM and 200 Free. College; 1000 free, 1650 free, 500 free, 200 fly 400 IM.
All this talk about swimming has made me realize how blessed I am that my parents threw me in the pool at the age of 2. I don't work very hard in swim training to swim a good IM swim. My husband has to work a heck of a lot harder to swim the same pace. With all the tools and opportunities I have however.... I can regain some of those former swimming days.

Thanks for inspiring me... your great questions have motivated me to really find the pool focus again. Rather than hanging on in the stud lane.... I am going to go for it.

And please..... more questions!
:-) mary

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Booked

I am not sure what I have gotten myself into. Last week I received an email from Jen Harrison… it was an invitation, and it was intriguing.

An invitation to a weekend of training. In North Carolina.

So far so good.

Then I read the list of characters…. no one whom I knew, but I knew by reputation. Jennifer herself, the speedy little Elizabeth Fedofsky , super star Ashley Long, and some other super size names; Amy Kloner, Tracey McKee, Stacey Richardson… Kristin Villipoto…. (please forgive me if I have missed anyone) I could be in form some big time trouble.

None of them know me, but they are graciously welcoming me along, and Ashley opened her home to all of us. Thank you in advance Ashley.

I don't know what is in store, but I know this…. it will be good, it will be adventurous, it will be fun, and heading south in the winter? The timing could not be any better. Just when the miles on my comptrainer will start getting to me, just when the darkness of winter is making me a little crazy… a little sun and a little fun.
If nothing else it gives me something terrific to prepare for as I head into my own busy season. Work, school, teaching, it all gets quite busy very soon. I will have to be on top of my game in all areas, especially ahead of my school work.

February isn't that far away and on the other side of this trip there are just a few weeks between touchdown and take off again.

I never went on spring break in high school. I never even did that in college. I braved the cold of old SUNY at StonyBrook and buried my head as I trekked to the pool on New Year's Day. Coach Dave and the rest of my team…. we hunkered down on Long Island while the rest of the University were tanning themselves, we had our fuglies on and we had business to attend to.

So the time has come. I am going on a winter break trip. Being that I am not one for drinking much (remember my sister's wedding?), but I am one for working out a lot. Anything above 32 degrees will be tropical and I am a damn expert in keeping warm and staying dry.

Whatever these awesome ladies have in store for me, I will be ready. I will be waiting. Likely I will hang at the back, but I will be the caboose with the biggest smile.



And I hereby appoint myself and Elizabeth in charge of the coffee. We are the coffee captains and no one who should not have coffee (Jennifer Harrison) will have it if we do not say so.

Now, it's time to get rid of this off-season…. winter break is waiting!



:-) Mary

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wat's A Ceiling?

I received a few questions about the below post, that I thought I would clarify;

1. What is a ceiling? I call a ceiling ... the slowest I'd go. In the below set

30 X 100 on 2:00 with a ceiling of 1:20; the 1:20 is the slowest I would go. The early ones it is "easy" to hammer out some 1:10's... and then struggle through just making the last 5. I would slow down and aim for 1:15 and aim to hold that the whole set. So think of a ceiling as the slowest pace you allow yourself to go.

2. What's the best yardage to shoot for? Again, an individual answer. In an ideal world we all have 60 minutes 3-4 times per week to swim. If that were the case I'd aim for 3,000-5,000 yards. I always favor frequency over yards. If you can swim 5 days a week for 40 minutes, I would suggest that over 2 X 60 minutes per week.

3. How much do you swim? I swim 2-4 times a week, 60-90 minutes per session. My masters team swims 2 times per week (the 90 minute sessions) and depending on the focus 3-5,000 yards. In contrast I used to swim 10-12,000 yards per day in high school and college. Added contrast... I swam a 5:30 500 yard free in college.... I am lucky to swim a 6:30 now.

4. What kind of goggles do you use? In the pool I use Swedish goggles. For open water swimming I use TYR Goggles, but I don't know what kind they are!!!

:-) Mary

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Take The Plunge

It's a common belief (and of course I'd support it…) that swimmers make the best triathletes. In my experience it is much easier to teach a swimmer how to run, than a runner how to swim. . Now I know plenty of amazing runners who became awesome swimmers, and I know plenty of good swimmers who struggle on the run (ME!). The common thread in these runners turned swimmers is …. hard work.

It is true that swimming is 90% technique. Make no mistake about that. With that however comes the component of pace, just like in running and in cycling.

Through out my swimming career I have seen it all. The advent of Total Immersion, the positioning of the head, and the progression of turns. Namely the backstroke turn. When I began swimming we did the bucket turn. In high school it evolved to the flip but touch the wall turn, in college it evolved even further.

I left competitive swimming just before the introduction of the speed suit. In college we wore paper suits. Since I swam the 500, 1,000 and the mile, I had to get a new suit every meet. At the end of the mile it was disintegrating.

So how much does it take to improve swimming? It takes longer than cycling and running. Apply the same frequency and dedication as you do to bike and run, and you will see results within a few months.

I like to cycle my swimmers through a swim camp at least once a year. In swim camp they swim 4-7 days a week for 45-60 minutes at a time. This will last from 4-6 weeks and depends on pool availability. Within their workout there is a warm up, a drill set a main set and a cool down. I take a look at their strokes to give them the proper drills and we repeat those drills over and over and over.

Broken down, my swim workouts tend to follow this style:

1. Warm up. Ideally my athletes will warm up 600-1,000 yards depending on ability, experience and time constraints.

2. Drills; I use a variety of drills and we repeat that drill for weeks. Drills are meant to over emphasize a portion of a stroke.

For example the 6 kick switch drill; this drill is done wearing fins or zoomers and the athlete kicks on their side for 6 kicks, and then switches sides. The head is looking down yet slightly forward. The front hand is pressing down, not just hanging out in front there! This drill emphasizes the catch phase, getting on the side, balancing and rotating. And it's very simple.

We repeat this drill for weeks to allow it to absorb. When the swimmer swims their regular stroke the above points are emphasized but the swimmer does not swim identically as the drill.

3. Main set; I like to use the T Time method with my athletes. To establish your T Time swim a timed 1,000 yards (40 lengths). From that final time you can determine your 100 yard repeat time, by calculating the average pace per 100 yards. From that T Time you can then establish your 100 yd repeat time, and from there you can establish appropriate repetition for all distances.

A favorite set of mine is this and it progressed through the season. Let's use a T Time of 1:20.

The set begins as 30 X 100 on 2:00 holding a ceiling of 1:20

It then progresses to:

30 X 100 with a ceiling of 1:20.
#1-10 on 1:45
#11-20 on 1:30
# 21-30 on 1:25

And the final set whittles its way down to; 10 X 100 on 1:20 holding a 1:18.

This set teaches pace, teaches pain tolerance, and improves your speed. How I create this set is determined by the distance you are training for.

4. Cool down; my cool down sets are from 200-600 yards. I like to swim slow, but swim the most perfect stroke that I can.

Mixing the drill and main set portion of a workout can always be fun.

Example:

5 X 100 on T Time + 5 seconds

4 X 75 50 drill / 25 swim on T time + 10 seconds

repeat X 4

If you have a coach have them or someone who is a "swim expert" watch you swim. The key to having someone critique your stroke is to have that same person be the one who always critique your stroke. My swim coach will get upset if we give each other swim tips. She has a great point as to why; she is the one who sees us swim in practice. We give each other tips and then don't watch each other swim.

Swimming styles have as much individuality as running and cycling styles. Watching a video of Michael Phelps swim is a great idea, he has a gorgeous stroke, but trying to look exactly like him is impossible…. unless you have a wing span longer than your height too!!!!

Michael Phelps has a Popeye style breathing technique. So do I. My husband does not. Why? Mr. Phelps and I have been swimming forever. Curt has not. So while Curt swims the same speed as me we will look different when we breathe. So Curt trying to look like Michael Phelps when he has never breathed in the same style…. pointless.

Therefore….. Having the same person analyze and critique your stroke is vital, because they would know your background. They know your style of swimming, they see the progression and if the swim tip they give is being executed correctly.

How often should you swim? Again this is individual to you, and what you are training for. If you are a 20 minute 1k swimmer competing in Intermediate Distance or ITU races, it is worth the extra time and frequency in the pool to aim for 18 minutes. In an Ironman you can have a swim over an hour and still win.

Based on those two factors, and see what you can realistically fit in. Think about scheduling a swim camp, perhaps during the fall or the winter when you might be laying low on the running or cycling miles.

The bottom line…. don't be afraid to take on your swim. If you don't have access to a Masters swim team, find a reputable coach who has experience in stroke analysis. A good coach will give you one thing to work on for a few months. One who aims to change it all…. turn and run.

Addressing your weakness in the water will add speed to your stroke, if you give it time. It will also ensure you exit the water a little fresher than you would if you could swim the same time on no swim training at all.

It's all a matter of perspective and having the guts to take the plunge!

Swim Fast!
Mary

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

And so it begins... the most wonderful time of the year.... at least in my book. A time when we gather as families with those we see a lot, and those we don't' see quite so much.

A time when we share Turkey and Pumpkin Pie and watch the parade on TV. The eyes of children fill with wonder as they witness those massive floats swimming down the New York City Streets.

We are off to visit Pody Eggers, Curt's mother, my beloved mother in law. She's a pistol of a woman, no wonder Curt turned out the way he did. Neat, tight and trimmed at the edges. I imagine she ran a tight ship, with her husband Ernie.

I miss Curt's father, he passed away almost three years ago. It was Thanksgiving time when I first met the Eggers. A cute as a button couple in their eighties.... Curt's father had the most charming of all smiles.

Together they masterfully cooked Thanksgiving Dinner. Somehow all food arrived to the table steaming hot and delicious.

To this day I don't think Mom - in - Law has ever used any kind of artificial sweetener in her food. She makes the most delicious homemade gravy. In fact... I thought homemade stuffing was Stove Top, until I had hers.

Curt's father would carefully carve the turkey, just right. Dark meat, white meat....

They took such care in preparing the meal, for just the five of us. That care, thoughtfulness, it was all about love.

Believe it or not I adore these trips to Schoharie New York. There's no Wi -Fi, no cell phone range. Not a whole lotta anything. It's life, pure and simple. A one horse town. I will often think of Curt's Father, and his empty chair at the table. I'll run next to the river. We will wander through the woods with Luc. The air will be crisp, there might be snow, and we'll be surrounded by trees.


The silence of the weekend will be cathartic. Silence is always so powerful. Silence and stillness lend time to step back, look around and be thankful.

Thankful for one another. Thankful for the opportunity to be together. Thankful for memories of years past, and thankful for the ones yet to come.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

With much Love..... Mary

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Dream Team

If you know me and Kelly B., you know we are great friends. I call it more like a sisterhood that began way back in 2002... the last time I ever beat Kelly B in a race.

We had just done Ironman Lake Placid 2002 and I bombed it, she nailed it and qualified for Hawaii. 5 weeks later we toed the line against each other at the Hamlin Beach Triathlon. The Who's Who of Western New York triathletes always went there.


Kelly exited the water 2 min in front of me, I out biked her by four, and she came in off the bike ready to erase my 2:00 lead. And she nearly did. I only beat her by a close 29 seconds and believe me not only was I running scared, I was running for my life. I remember we hugged at the finish line.... and that's really where our friendship began.

In 2003 we spent hours and hours of training together. Miles and miles of heat, Popsicles, and running.

Once we met in Mendon Ponds Park. I drove over, she rode her bike. While we were executing a 20 mile run she stored her bike in my car. After 10 miles we stopped back at the car. While she ran to the bathroom I restocked our nutrition. And then locked my keys in the car.

We thought quick and realized Curt's office was only about 10 miles away. We ran to his office, nearly dying of dehydration, and then layed in the grass outside his office window, half naked and exhausted before he came out to rescue us.

We've ridden in a lot of rainstorms. We've ridden in 110 degree heat. We even spent a week training with Heidi Grimm. God that was the hardest week of our lives.

On one particular day we rode long.... I can't even remember how long. It was Tarzan hot out. When we got back I went home and took a nap while Kelly ran the first part of the run with Heidi. After my nap I came back and ran the second part with her.

We breathed such a sigh of relief when Heidi finally left town, only to be told by her brother that she had decided to stay 2 extra days and we were to be at the park at 8am!

And the bastard wasn't kidding.

Actually, Hamlin wasn't the last time I beat Kelly. Ironman Lake Placid 2003 was. Kelly did IMLP 02, went to Hawaii and was back for a third IM in 18 months. Our plan was simple, she'd lead out of the water, I would catch her on the bike, she'd stay with me and then we'd run together. Kelly would even wear these neon green bike shorts so I could find her.

I remember seeing those shorts way ahead of me, and they slowly got closer. It was IMLP 2003 and it was hailing. We had trained in it and we were prepared for it. I finally caught her. She told me she wasn't feeling great and to go.

"We trained in this!" I shouted at her..... "Come on!!!"

"GO" she shouted back. I felt like I was leaving a fallen comrade. I didn't want to go.
But I knew she'd be mad if I didn't. I had to listen to my team mate.


On the run we'd see one another on the out and backs. She told me she was having stomach issues but she was still smiling. Later I learned she was having bad stomach issues and when she saw me... she would put on a good face because she did not want me to worry.

That was the last time I got her ;-)

Kelly has done about 7 Ironmans and even though she's nailed an 11:05 at IMLP (with three flat tires) she has not hit her peak. Her 1/2 Ironman time is low 4:40's and we've traveled to some great races together.

Kelly moved to Colorado this year, changed jobs and now the dust has settled. And she's found Coach T. So now we are teammates, and there is no one I would rather have on my team than Kelly B. More than I want to break 11 hours again... I want Kelly to nail her eighth Ironman. I want her to train right, train with a plan, and train with a purpose.

Now she's got the right leader. No pressure Coach... but you see Kelly has never fully had a plan. She's a distance natural with a whole lotta talent. She's a diamond in the rough. Her liability is her passion for endurance.

It is a misconception that when Kelly and I train together it is a competitive moshing of abilities and wanting to kill one another. Actually... we are the opposite. I think we can chat for 100 miles and I think we can chat for 100 miles about Luc Van Lierde, Brian Rhodes and our number one .... Gordo Byrn. You have to scold us to go faster. Instead of coffee.... we ride or run.

If we were neck and neck at Ironman lake Placid and there was only one of us who was allowed to cross the finish line at 10:59.59..... we'd both miss it because we would want the other to do it first.

You don't find friends like that often.

This week I begin 2 weeks of structured active recovery... and only because I stalked Coach T so much he threw in the towel. :-) Then on December 3rd I officially begin the journey to Ironman Lake Placid. Kelly B will be in Colorado... but she'll be making the same journey (at altitude!!!) and we will get to race together on a really great day in our favorite place on earth. Lake Placid.

I have a busy 6 months coming up with a lot on the plate. The light at the end of the tunnel is Placid. The prize through all of the hard work.... physical.... career..... school..... makes everything I am about to endure worth it.

Thanks for stopping by.


:-) mary

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Fork In My Road

Something terrible has happened. And I never expected it to. I may have fallen back in love with being a nurse.

As you know I am a pediatric emergency nurse ... very... very... part time. Not too long ago I had set out to change careers. In January of 2009 I would quit the nursing profession and embark on the Education Pathway. Teaching, of course. I can change the world!!!!! My chosen career has left me burned out (at four hours a week???) and dreading the medical world altogether.

And then last Tuesday night happened. Burn Boy rolled in. He was the age of 7, and he spilled chicken soup on his lap. His thighs had 2nd degree burns and suddenly.... my passion flourished. I used to work in the Pediatric Intermediate Care Unit, and burns were our specialty. At that time a new Doctor came aboard and changed the way we care for burns.

Dr. Christopher Lentz and his wife Dixie Ried, PA, reinvented burn care for children in Rochester. Gone were the painful burn scrubbing sessions. Along came new dressings, new treatments, conscious sedations.

I fell in love with burn care because it was something I could look at, get my hands on, not theorize about. It wasn't white blood cell counts or transplant failures... it was right in front of me. Day by day I could see the healing, day by day I could do so much.

So on Tuesday when Burn Boy came in there was something I could do and start without the blessing of anyone else. I could medicate, dress, begin IV fluids, begin the healing process, and the family was wonderful. They asked great and appropriate questions. They listened, they were supportive. Mom felt so horrible, and it wasn't her fault.

For the first time in so very long I felt like I was a nurse again. And I realized that I had become the product of my environment.

Why do I stay in the Peds ED? Because I have control over my schedule and I love my colleagues. I have the best colleagues ever. Form a former ARMY nurse who served in Vietnam.... to new grads.... we have an amazing group.

A kid once came in with one arm and my friend Amy and I together infused blood and kept him stable until we arrived to the OR's door (his arm was reattached).

This is a team that watches out for one another.

As I left the hospital on Tuesday night I remembered that I don't have to work in the Peds Ed forever. I don't have to deal with shootings and Medicaid and abusive people. I am there because I choose to be.

Which led me to realize that I am back at the fork in the road. Leave Nursing completely? Trade it in for the headaches of the educational system? Or Pursue my Masters and as a Nurse Practitioner ... search for something I love.

Practice Therapeutic Yoga as an NP.... or as an Educator......

I will now have to say I don't know what to do. Except to stop thinking about it. For now I shall again postpone decisions until next September. I will allow the semester to come as it does, I will keep my eyes open for opportunities. In the meantime I will continue to be the best coach I can be, the best yoga teacher I can be, the best nurse I can be.... the best me I can be.

Thing always happen for a reason and I really learned one thing on Tuesday night....
I ain't over yet.
:-) Mary

I'm IT!

I got tagged! I have never been tagged before! E.L.F. gave me a tag to tell 5 random things about myself....... and now I have to tag 5 others!

So the 5 I tag are Kitima, Cindy Jo, Courtney, Ed and Aurora!

1. I wasn't called Mary until I began competing in triathlon. My parents named me Mary Michal and people who knew me before I became a triathlete call me Michal (pronounced as the boy's name Michael)

2. I was on the Hickory Hill Swim Team at age 5. I swam the 50 free in 29 seconds but I could not pass the deep end test. I was afraid of treading water in the tank because my brother told me that there were sharks in there. (clear water, no sharks might have been a clue!)

3. My favorite yoga pose is balancing half moon with an arm bind. Whenever I do it next to Phil I fall into him. When I do it next to Tom he sticks his finger into my back to hold me up.

4. Sometimes I steal my husband's socks to race in for good luck.

5. I originally went to college as an art major.... to become a Fashion Designer.

:-)

The Art of Training

Lately I have been involved and reading up on many debates. The debates seem to center on "the best way to train". Heart rate monitor or Pace? Power Meter of Heart rate? Lifting weights or not... and is functional strength training all a bunch of bull?

These debates are very enjoyable to me, I love to hear different opinions and I love to hear different points of view. I think we do however have to remember one thing.... if someone (coach or fellow athlete) preaches to you that "X" is the only way you can train for "Y" you should turn around and run. Run fast and run far. If you believe them.... then I have a bridge to sell you.

For my athletes I use a combination of things, and it begins with what you own. We can't train with power if we have no power meter. I think that the ultimate lesson that all of these devices teach you is how to listen to your own body. The old schoolers call is perceived exertion. In the middle of a race your heart rate monitor or power meter may not work... but your perceived exertion will never fail.

But today's topic is really about weight training. Is it beneficial or not to multisport athletes? In all honesty I have read just as many studies that advocate weight training, and just as many studies stating that it makes no difference. What I am going to tell you is my opinion.

I believe that weight training is very important. I believe that a stronger muscle is a more durable muscle. Those who are over 40 also need to be mindful that muscle mass decreases yearly. Yes, there are studies that show that endurance training will be sufficient. But people are individuals and that needs to be addressed.

Within the past year I have become fascinated with functional strength training. In a nutshell the theory of FST is to train the movement first, the the muscle second. Essentially each movement has a degree of rotation with it, because that's the movement we replicate when we swim, bike, run, walk, rake leaves, etc. The muscles in our bodies work in tandem.

Example: perform a bicep curl and you are working the bicep. Add a squat to it and you are working the core and the legs. Add a slight twist to it and now you are using the obliques. I don't see how this can harm your multsiport career. I really believe it can only help.

I can be my own example. I am someone who has lower back problems, and since I have Incorporated functional strength into my routine I don't. In 2005-06 I partially tore my Achilles tendon. I will not ever remove my rehab for both my AT's from my program. When I don't do it, I start to have problems. So naturally I believe in it.

A question I often get is, how much weight should I lift, how many reps? I think this is very individual, just as the type of weight training is individual. Last season I had an athlete who just preferred to weight train on machines, she just didn't feel the benefit of the FST program. Because we know how much our mind affects our body, I put her back on machines.

Weight training should be periodized just like the rest of training. You evolve through phases of adaptation, strength, etc. So it is hard to say you should lift 15 pounds for 3 sets of 15.

Some of my guys are the difficult ones... getting them out of the weight room or out of the routine of lifting like a body builder is very difficult. So tapering them a bit and changing the types of sets they do is very helpful.

Women are fearful they will bulk up.... and they seem to do great with Functional Strength Training.

Pilate's and Yoga.... excellent methods of strength training as long as you are in a good class with proper instruction. Those two entities are risky in that we may not be tuned in enough to sense our alignment and can risk taking poses too far.

Bottom line.... remember that training is both art and science. We need to look at both sides of the coin in addressing people as individuals. What we as coaches and athletes must do is take a look at the big picture, determine what might fit this person, and know it might not fit that person. Use a combination of activities to promote strength, and above anything else... make sure the athlete enjoys the program.

If they don't' enjoy it, they won't do it!

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) mary

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ironman Florida Pictures

Well, not really. They are pictures from Ironman Florida but somehow I managed to NOT TAKE ONE SINGLE PICTURE OF ANYTHING IRONMAN! I guess when you have been to so many Ironmans you don't need too many pictures.

To see some very cute pictures of our trip, please click here. Thanks for stopping by! :-) Mary

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day In The Life

"Her blood pressure is 144/77." I told her mother.



"Is that high?" she asked.



"For a 12 year old girl who weighs 95 kg, that is high." I said.



"Wow, she weighs 95 kg?" her mom asked in surprise.



"95 kg..." I replied.... "Is two hundred and nine pounds." I wondered if this mother actually thought he daughter weighed 95 pounds. She was obviously obese... like her mother.



"I think it is the headaches and the stress." She defended.



"I think it is her weight." I could only be honest. I can not be politically correct when a 12 year old girl is standing in front of me weighing in at 209 pounds, and everyone is denying it. "I do need to get some blood work." I continued.



"She has very small veins..." Mom said. I took a look. She did not have small veins. She had great veins. They were buried in fat.



Here is a little hint.... never tell a pediatric emergency dept nurse that you have veins that are too small to puncture. It is my job to be able to puncture the smallest, most dehydrated spider like veins. I sometimes put IV's in baby's scalps.



And so goes another shift in the Pediatric Emergency Dept. If the patient population was actual emergencies, we'd only need half the staff that we have. The problem is.... the patient volume and the reason that they come to see us.



This morning it was a mom and her 2 daughters that missed their 10am appointment. They came to us at 11 instead of rescheduling. Mom wanted to know how long the wait would be. After all her daughter has had a sore throat for TWO days!



Last night a young boy came in with a burn. I love pediatric burns ... not because a child was burned... but because there is so much you can do to help them and their family. So picture this, burn boy comes in via ambulance (EMS we call it). I check them in, medicate him, apply dressings to his burns, tell the family we will need to begin IV fluids. I finish checking them in so I ask the EMS crew to meet me in room 37 Left, and I will be right there. As he wheels away an 18 year old boy comes in on a stretcher. His mother is next to him. realizing the other nurses were also swamped I begin to triage, assess and check him in..... while my mind is on burn boy.



"He's been sleeping longer than normal" Mom said to me. 'And his left elbow hurts." I looked past her as the 18 year old wide awake boy. On a stretcher. Form an ambulance.



"How are you feeling buddy?" I call to him.



"Fine." He says. After I took his history and vital signs I shake my head at the fact that 911 was called for this.



"I have to tell you..." Mom said in a quiet voice. "He is very irritable and sleeping 13 hours a night." Then she looks right and then left "And the last time I was not impressed with the doctors here."



Okay red flag..... big mistake Mom. Don't come to my hospital and tell me you don't trust the doctors here. Just because you have watched ER, Grey's Anatomy and Scrubbs .... you are not a medical expert. Coming to my hospital and stating to me that you don't trust my colleagues, you just got a red flag. Especially for calling 911 because your teenage boy is cranky and sleeping 13 hours a night.



My charge nurse directs me to place Sleepy boy and Mom into the waiting room. Now vitals were perfect and he said he bumped his elbow. I have a kid with a pretty big 2nd degree burn waiting for me and 6 other patients who are much sicker on my assignment. And a whole waiting room of stuffy noses waiting to be seen.



"Oh no!" Sleepy boy's Mom cries..." He needs to be seen NOW" She is getting loud, and I am sorry, I just don't' deal well with that.



"Ma'am." I say quietly. "We are full, we have a waiting room full of children, we have several children who are sicker than you son is right now, I appreciate your patience we will get to him as soon as we can."



"I AM NOT WAITING!" She screams. "SOMEONE NEEDS TO SEE HIM NOW!!!!" By this time I have created a comfortable place in a wheelchair (as comfortable as they can get) in which sleepy boy could rest and wait.



"Ma'm." I tell her sternly. "You have the right to leave and be seen at another hospital. Right now I have a badly burned child to attend to. Here is where you son can rest and wait." I turned to Sleepy boy, "Are you okay with that?" He nodded looking annoyed with his Mom. "So while you make this decision I need to go and take care of a burn."



And so it continues int he life of the Peds Ed. Where your child, your problems, your situation is always the worst. Where we are always wrong, where the hospital never knows what it is doing.



Let me remind you.... you cam to us, we didn't go out and invite you in.



Better yet, let me explain how things work.



We have X number of rooms. We have 3 times that many patients. The sickest kids come back first. The nurse and resident will see you. The attending will see you. Maybe in that order, and maybe not. If you need X rays you will get X rays. If you need a CT you will get one. It might be in 5 minutes and it might be in 5 hours. There might be a level II trauma that comes in and bumps you back.



We may need to get blood work. Your pediatric nurses are your best bet for hitting a vein. It's pretty much all we do. We poke babies, children and young adults. Your child is a wrestler? We handle it. Your child will cry? We know that, we help them through it. Having your coping skills encompass doubt towards our abilities will not help. Comfort your child and we will get the vein. They won't pull it out because we know how to prevent that.



It is supposed to take 30 minutes before the blood work is back. It may take longer.



Your X Ray results are not final until read by the radiology attending. I can't do anything, even if I can assess the X Ray myself... until the attending gives their read.



If you ask me how long anything will take I will never know. I don't even know the guesstimate. If I tell you an hour and a pediatric trauma rolled through the door, it just because 3 hours.



We are not here to torture your child or to screw you over. Believe it or not we are here to help. But before you berate me for the length of your stay please remember one thing....



Before I walked into your room I just might have been holding the hand of a child who died.



:-) mary

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tis the Season

"Medium black coffee please" I responded to Keith at Tim Horton's. I know Keith by his voice. He's a college kid and he's got a voice for radio... that's for sure. As I pulled to the pick up window I secretly hoped, and I was happily surprised but not surprised..... because you know when Christmas is coming. everyone pulls out their holiday coffee cups.


Yesterday I noticed it first at Starbucks. This morning Tim Horton's. And tonight I will slide through Dunkin Donuts on my way to work.

What's a nurse without coffee?


It's peanut butter without jelly.


You just can't have one without the other.


And so it brings the best time of the year. It's almost Christmas. The 2 months of the year when people are nicer to one another. When you say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or explain that Hanukkah has a silent C. I don't give a rat's ass what religious sector you belong to, I will be saying all three of those sayings. Because the meaning of the words goes far beyond the restrictions of religion.


It's that time of year when people go nutty with Christmas decorations. And here I have a confession to make, well.... for my husband. My husband is a great Christmas decorator. He loves those little houses.... he creates a little Christmas village on the mantle. Well last year we just left it up! It's almost all ready for this year's display and no extra work. What's wrong with a little more holiday cheer all year long?

Yesterday Luc and I spent 90 minutes blowing leaves in the front yard. I should say around the front yard. His eyes lit up as the leaves swirled though the air, a rainbow of colors. And Mr. I am still limping from my broken leg..... even dared to climb high enough into a tree to shake the branch so more leaves would fall.

By Friday we are scheduled to have snow. Which means sledding. And Snowboarding, and Mr. I am still limping from my broken leg will be learning to ice skate. Triathletes on skates is always interesting. Just remember that when you fall keep your arms tucked. Don't extend that arm!!!



And then the greatest event of all.... Christmas. When my entire family converges at my parent's house, where we will have matching pajamas waiting for us. From oldest to youngest we receive a hand made embroidered pair of matching pajamas. And we have to wear them. My sister and brother in law from Paris, my brother and sister in law and kiddos from Georgia.... the infallible Aunt Marilyn.... Curt myself and Lucster..... it's a grand time for sure. We play very bad pool and search for bowling alleys to be open on Christmas Eve. Amy and Yann will celebrate their wedding PART FOUR (UGH!).


And in the meantime I have traded my time trial bike in for the mountain bike. for just a little while. I shall ride through the piles of leaves on the trails.... hop on a few mountain bike paths, hope not to break anything but enjoy the thrill of the climb.


Humpty Dumpty and I will meet once again and I shall meet him not with fear but with respect. But if you should hear a very loud F Bomb as someone is descending the madness.... it couldn't be me. But this time I shall not reach out and hug the tree as the trail turns. I shall now allow the bike to veer right as I wrap myself around the tree. I shall allow the path to take me any which way it wants to go.


Just don't spill my Tim Horton's coffee in the Holiday Cup!


Thanks for stopping by.



:-) mary

Monday, November 12, 2007

Freezeoo!

It's absolutely amazing that within one week you can go from feeling like the fittest person on earth to the fattest person on earth. But that's what the Ironman buys you. Not that I am complaining.... in fact this is the best Ironman recovery I have ever had. After you've done so many though, shouldn't the recovery be better?

This week I hop into active recovery for a few weeks. Next week will bring some structure and then beyond that I shall transition slowly into a full on running block. The cycling and swimming will be present but the ever present focus will be on running.

I have even entered the Freezeroo series. It's a winter running series 'round here. And you can expect the hills and the wind and the snow to be alive and pulsing.

There is one thing I like less than a duathlon... winter road racing.

I run outside in the winter. I never run on a treadmill. I will run in a blizzard. But race in one? OH Gawd! Coach T recommends it and I do what Coach T says. I am a good student, I am a coachable athlete. Ask me to jump and I will say how high.

Because come July I will be lining up for my fifth and final Ironman for a bit. Not forever, I love this damn race too much. I like to come and go from the Ironman. I took a four year break the last time and the next one could be longer.... or shorter.

When I line up in the mosh pit of a swim at Ironman Lake Placid I want to know I have done everything that I could to go sub eleven. Everything. From running to diet to race day nutrition. I want no avenues left unexplored, no "what if's" to be laying around.

I want to feel like I did at the starting line of Ironman Florida. I want to feel like I did at the finish line of Ironman Florida. 100% present. 100% ready.

So if this means Freezerooing my butt off, then I will take it. If it means slip sliding through the hills of Powder Mills Park during the Hearnish 10K.... if it means cursing Bill Hearne for a LONG 10K..... then bring it on.

Tomorrow I get to do a 15 minute run after a mountain bike session. And I can't wait.

:-) mary

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thank You Veterans

Tonight we were at the mall. You know it's the off-season when you see the Eggers' Family hanging around at Dick's Sporting Goods playing basketball.

As we were walking through the rest of the mall a man caught my eye. He was driving a Lark, one of those handicapped scooters. He had one leg and a prosthetic leg. He was wearing a United States Marine Corps Hat. He was also wearing a United States Marine Corps Coat. People were kind to move out of his way. Our eyes met for a brief second and I smiled.

What people, including myself were failing to say was thank you.

Judging from this man's age, and being that he was a United States Marine... he likely has seen things I couldn't imagine in my worst nightmare. Because of him... I could walk through the mall. I can chase an Ironman dream. Because of him and all of the others who serve our country.... I have so much to be grateful of.

One year ago tonight my Grandfather died. His name was Stephen and he was a Navy man. At our family gethering in 2005 at Christmas Time.... he spoke about the war. My Grandfather had never spoken about the war.

Grandad served on a mine sweeper in the Navy. He served with the Sullivan brothers. Know what a min sweeper does? Sweeps the mines in the water. How'd you like that job? He served in the Battle of Normandy and he does not speak about that.

All my life I wanted to be in the Navy. I almost got there too. I got to the point where I was to ship out. I got to that morning before the Navy physician, who had previously medically cleared me, determined that my cardiac history would prevent me from completing basic training.

To say that I was absolutely devastated would be an understatement. To say that I was completely ashamed to even look at my Grandfather would be an understatement as well. Funny thing was that he understood. I almost think he was glad not to see his Granddaughter go to the Navy.

12 Years and four Ironmans later I believe that the Navy missed out on one hell of a sailor.

I have a special place in my heart for everyone in the United States Military. It may piss people off to know this about me but I believe in this war. I believe in it 300%. why? because I know people who are there who relay to me the truth.

Your support of this war is individual and I respect that. And this is not a story of why I think you should or should not agree with me.

Last year at my Grandfather's funeral he received full military honors. I will never forget my son Luc looking up at the Navy soldiers who stood at attention at my Grandfather's casket. When they raised their hands in salute my son walked over, stood next to one of them, and saluted as well. He will never know the impact of that moment. Never.

But I do. I understand what these soldiers went through. I understand to a degree I should say. I have never been in war, I have never been in that kind of environment. These men and women risk their lives defending our freedom and I am so proud and honored to be able to say thank you to all of them.... this Veteran's Day especially.

Whenever I am traveling, especially through Atlanta I see many ARMY soldiers walking through the airport. I try to say a simple thank you to as many of them as I can. Whether or not I believe in this war I believe in showing our military respect and I believe each and every one of us should at least say thank you.

They are placed into situations we can not even imagine. They step into scenes of life that no amount of basic training or classwork can truly prepare them for. They are forced to make split second decisions based upon orders from their superiors while staring at the literal eyes of the most evil people on the face of this earth. They are required to keep their wits about them when in a moment of war, face to face with someone who would not only prefer to pull their eyes out, but would love more than anything to chop off the heads of their children as well. And in those situations some idiotic reporter is not far away just waiting for them to make a mistake. As blood runs down their face they have to act swiftly against an enemy. With the hope that the reporter doesn't skew the picture they have just taken. Because the soldier did what he did to protect them. Or someone else.

So when you come face to face with a Veteran this week, or any week, don't take the easy route. The easy route is to look away and pretend nothing exists. Step into reality and please look this soldier of the United States of America in the eyes. Thank them for their service to our country.

Regardless if you agree with the war, you can have the decency to look a soldier in the eye and say thank you. You will not ever know how much that will mean to them.

So here's to all Veterans, past and present and the ones who shall join tomorrow. I raise my glass in a toast to all of you. Especially you Granddad. For volunteering to serve in the Unites States Military. For doing whatever it is that you had to do for the victory. For standing in the line of danger so I could have the life that I lead now.

With gratitude, humility and honor, I say to you....

THANK YOU.

Friday, November 9, 2007

When Can I Run?

Think that's a little too soon to even think about 6 days after an Ironman? Well you are as surprised as I am for thinking it and even asking it. When can I run? In my life I don't think I have ever wanted to run more than anything on this earth.

And I blame Coach T for that.


So who IS this Coach T, you might have been asking? People sure have been asking me. Who is this mystery coach who guided me to pass 200 runners at Ironman Florida and run a perfect marathon? Did I say that? Pass 200 runners and run a perfect marathon? Now I didn't run a 3:30 or anything but I ran well. Did I say that? ME? Mary Eggers?

I don't think I have ever passed 200 runners in an entire season. So please forgive me if I am sounding like I am sounding conceited. Forgive me because I am hopeful and excited about 2008.


But enough about that, who is this Coach T? He's local triathlete Trevor Syversen. Father, husband, employee and one hell of a triathlete. And one hell of a coach.


I could go through all of Coach T's certifications and qualifications but we know anyone in the world can get a certification. What Coach T did for me was 14 weeks of focus. Pace, running and focus.

He made me run. for 14 days in a row I ran. And I continued to run 6 days a week after that. He made me run at specific paces. He didn't make me run long. In fact I think my longest run was 2:30. But it was a focused run.


Coach T has a mind for coaching. He knows how to blend it, he knows how to build a program. He knows how the principles of overload, frequency and repetition apply to people individually. He showed up to the track with a stopwatch on my 5K time trial day.

He knows how to take one to the edge without stepping over it. He knows how to make you believe in you. You learn to believe in you during those workouts that take you right up to that edge.


There's nothing fancy about his program, but it is built for you. Sure I could go ahead and post my training.... but that would do you no good. My plan and your plan should be different. My pan and your plan will be different. You will have weeks of repetition. But trust me in the middle of 20+ hour training weeks, knowing what's coming on Tuesday is a relief. You get to know your abilities, your potential. You learn that repetition is your friend.

Without holding your hand all the time, Coach T helps you to believe in yourself. I knew lining up for Ironman Florida that I had already done the race. It wasn't as if I was going to reach to some pace I had never done before. I had the files, I had the data. It was data that was based on my own results. There would be nothing new on race day.

Coach T helped me to be tired and keep going. He structured my training so hard days were hard and easy days were easy. He helped me set goals and we reviewed them.

He knew when I came across the 13.1 mile timing mat at IMFL that I could be in just under 11:00. He knew that by analyzing my bike split.

If you are a Western New York athlete and you are serious about taking your performance to the next level.... Trevor Syversen is your man. He is experienced. He understands the principles of training. His philosophy is simple. He offers one plan.

And at the same time he sets the expectations high. Very high. And you meet them. That's it ;-)

Check Coach T out for yourself here. He says the site isn't done yet and I am not even sure if he is officially open for business. But that's too bad.... you need to check him out. I promise you won't be disappointed.

And I get to run next Sunday :-)

Thanks for stopping by.

:-) mary

Welcome Terry Cycling!

I would like to thank Terry Cycling for their sponsprship for my 2008 season! I am honored to be representing a company created by Georgena Terry... who has done great things for women's cycling throughout her illustrious career!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Girl On Your Left

This was just put up on Slowtwitch;

It is my sad responsibility to be the messenger of unhappy news I never, ever thought I would send. Dorothy Barnett-Griffin, wife, mother of three, sister, daughter, philanthropist, athlete, friend to hundreds and more of an Ironwoman then all the Ironmen I have ever known, passed from this frail existence today November 8, 2007. Dorothy will be missed. She was a punctilious pink presence everywhere she went. She opened her heart and her home and her purse to so many. She was a woman of opinions clearly stated and a wit and wisdom equally measured out in ample doses to lift or lead others as needed. She was a magnificent woman. She was intolerant of fools and incompetence but had a heart so big that she became the epitome to many of faith and hope and charity – but like Paul writing to the Corinthians, charity was her greatest quest. As a result of losing her first husband to a sudden tragic death, she became familiar with and then a huge supporter of the Journey of Hope Grief Support Center in Plano. In fact she was racing in the Ironman to race funds for this organization. (For more information see http://www.johgriefsupport.org/founders.htm) We honor best not with flowers and cards and well-used expressions of sympathy but by imitating and emulating the worthy life of another. You could do far worse than to follow the admonishment to go and try to be like Dorothy. Be "Dorothy-Strong!" On her way into Heaven I can hear her saying as she speedily passes dawdling others shuffling slowly along - just like she did in many a race: "Girl on your left." We are diminished greatly by her leaving, we are all magnified for having had her in our lives. Farewell Dorothy. Please pray for Mike and Dorothy's kids.

To you Dorothy, a woman I never met yet I will never forget, I raise my water bottle and I toast my Gatorade to you. In honor of you my unknown friend, each time I pass I shall say "Girl on your left."

Like the post asks, please pray for her children.

:-) Mary