Sunday, August 31, 2008


This morning I raced a great 1/2 marathon in Geneseo NY. Whew, a tough course! One of my old acquaintances Boots designed this course. He has a knack for making some thrillingly though courses, but he's right, they all have a flow to them!!!

Now I will always carry the dram that I will wake up and run a 1:30 and I will say..... wow, how'd I do that! It was EASY!!! HA HA!. Again, just a dream.

I had a great race albeit about 2.5 minutes slower than coach had wanted. I was able to nail my pace and hold on to it pretty well through some very difficult hills and rocky footing. I tripped a few times trying to scoot over these rocks, and I kept reminding myself..... this is how Austin will be.

In my head I felt happy the entire time. In fact I didn't feel like I was in my head at all.

Saturday wasn't the ideal race prep day, but life has to be lived.... does it not? A morning of workouts and teaching and nine hours on my feet as the charge nurse in Peds Ed...... every child in Rochester broke their arm yesterday. The arm they write with. I don't know how school is going to take place on Wed because rooms will be full of colorful casts!

All day at work I hydrated, which becomes a problem when you are in a trauma and you have to pee. You can't. Ouchie!

I got home at 1am to wake up at 5am. Peeing clear = goodness. After some oatmeal and coffee I was off to Geneseo. A beautiful country town. I love it there.

Lucky for me Alan and Kim were running also. Kim is prepping for Austin and Alan is prepping for the Richmond 1/2. If anyone is going to nail this pace it would be him, so we conferred and we would run together. Whew. I thought.

Right before the start of the race my friend Stephen and I were talking. He handed me a Looney (a $1 in Canadian). He told me at the first turnaround there would be a fountain. I was to throw a coin into it for good luck the rest of the calender year. So I did! Thanks Stephen!

Gun went off and we ran. Alan is particularly good at pace so I sat right on his shoulder. We ran well. By mile 5 we were on pace with wiggle room. As we began to hit some rolling hills I kept losing footing as we were on gravel and dirt. Alan put 12 seconds on me. Very strong in the hills!!!!

As his coach I was thinking.... hold steady Alan..... and for myself I was thinking..... keep him in sight. I was able to do that the rest of the race.

Mile 10 brought us an ugly slow incline that lasted the better part of 2008. Even then my spirits were high, my smile was big.

I was running. I was feeling good, sure tired form a full week of training, a previous long run and a full day on my feet on Saturday. In Austin I will be running tired and I need to be good at running tired. After all this Iornman endurance it was time to run strong.

Once I got up that endless hill I ran the last 2 miles right on pace. I knew I'd be a bit over the goal time, but I was happy. I was running. I was seeing a finish line. I was not leaving this course in an ambulance.

Alan finished about a minute in front of me. Kim had a tough day and persevered.

And I was so proud. Proud of them, proud of me, proud of us. I felt like a kid running through the woods. I felt like a competitor calculating splits, and I felt like a runner. I even thought to myself..... I wonder if I can run Bree Wee's 1/2 marathon split as she is at IM Kentucky now (and leading.). Then I remembered her times and I laughed out loud at myself.

Nice try!

We've done absolutely nothing but E pace since IMLP. Nothing at all faster. You'd better believe the next 5 weeks will be designed to knock my socks off however. I ran well with just base training, I ran happy and I did not hit my head.

I loved this race. It was gorgeous. It was fun. The people were awesome. No chips, just rip tags. Old school. The way it used to be.

As we were running up the monster hill a man said to me..... "I ran this hill as a child..... I will run it as an adult.". It made me smile. It made me laugh. He laughed too. Again sport unites.

Things are looking up from here!

Friday, August 29, 2008

hey kathleen!

KATHLEEN! (From the airplane and IMLP!!!) I got your post but not the message! Shoot me an email at Maryeggers "at" gmail "dot" com!!!! I cna't believe you found me!!!!!!!! CONGRATS IRONMAN!!!!!!!!! WOO HOOOOOO!!!!!

after hours

For the record...... I didn't even try for Ironman Canada. But 2 of my athletes got in!

I stood in my garage at 5am Thursday morning and all I could think about was closing my eyes. Then I did something I never do. I went back inside. I got into bed and I slept until 9am.



To me that's like waking up at noon. But I needed it. I also had the luxury of doing something that in my book is dangerous..... I moved a long workout to 5pm.

We all have that time of day that is good for us to train. I am a morning person. Blame it on years of age group and college swimming. 4am practices to be out of the pool by 6 to be home by 6:30 to be to school by 7 to be back in the pool by 4pm.......

That kind of schedule programs you to wake up at 4am without an alarm clock.

Training at night to me is like death. I hate it.

On tap was my traditional 3:30 trans brick with tempo efforts tucked inside. It was cold. I wore a long sleeve jersey! It's August for crying out loud. For good luck however I wore the Storm Trooper Jersey. My most favorite ever.

As I sometimes do I placed a piece of masking tape over my Ergomo so it would only display elapsed time. I like to see if I can hit the effort without looking. With these little gadgets there is 100% chance they will fail in a race. You must be able to find it within yourself on race day rather than get wrapped up in numbers, data etc.

You will never see me wearing a heart rate monitor in a race for that reason. While I use a Power Meter and Garmin I am not dependant on them. It takes all of the fun out of racing in the first place. If there's a girl I need to catch then I need to HTFU and go faster. My heart rate won't even matter. Go faster.

I nailed the wattages I needed to nail and it was great great fun. It got dark by the time I was done and my run was done in dark rain with the company of a headlamp. I didn't look at the Garmin but nailed the run pace as well. It was neat to run at night. I finished pretty close to 9pm but I was glad I saved the workout. I was hungry for it. This morning my body said sleep and I said OKAY!

Good times. I am feeling good. It feels really good to feel really good. It's been so long since I have felt good..... healthy, peppy.... that it feels like a Christmas present.

Sunday I get to race for the first time since Lake Placid. Now, it is a 1/2 marathon. Placed at the end of a 17 hour training week. Who wouldn't love to PR? I would! And maybe I will. I am taking aim and I will run from my heart and let my body do the following.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Yesterday we went bowling. At the end of the school year they issued cards that read "Say no to drugs and yes to bowling"! Now, bowling is a cheap sport if you are recreational beginner bowlers like us. The cards made it even cheaper. Hip hip hooray!

We've been bowling a few times a week ever since. Team Eggers .... you could say we aren't so talented in the lanes. We bowl with bumpers and together it is a feat if we break 200. Together.

Today Luc and I brought Granny.

Big mistake.

Somewhere in my vault of lost childhood memories I forgot that Granny is a great bowler. I have vague recollections of her lugging a bowling bag and shoes around. Us kids being in some sort of play room. I think my Dad bowled as well.

It's all so foggy.

So when we asked for bumpers Granny let out a huge laugh. What's that about? I wondered.

Then she stepped up to the plate. My jaw dropped to the floor. Flashback! Memory crystal clear,

My 63 year old bike riding tennis playing mother sent a bowling ball down the lane at at least 63 miles per hour. Ka-BAM!


I swallowed. Luc and I looked at each other.

"Granny's good." He said.

"Granny's really good." I confessed. "we are going to get killed."

I felt sort of inferior that I used an 8 pound ball. She used a 15. Hey, I have a race coming, I don't' want to get hurt bowling with a heavy ball!!!!

She was cool to watch. Even gave me a few tips. A few tips that changes my game. I even broke 100!!!!

It brought back some great childhood memories. It gave me a platform to hang out with my Mom on. Bowling is good stuff. Like I always say, sport can unite family. It was nice to laugh with my Mom. I don't do that too often.

Last week I was telling he that Austin would likely be a non wetsuit swim. She told me I should get one of those suits like the Olympians wear. Hmmm.... I thought. She might be right.

A Blue Seventy pointzero3 arrived yesterday. There are for a sure a few races I do each year which border too much on the side of whether I wear a wetsuit or not. I have a Blue Seventy Double Helix that I don't wear much. Hate long sleeves. I have 2 Nineteen sleeveless.... which I alternate between depending on the day.

But there are days when I just need to be free of neoprene. Maybe this thing will do me some good.

Over at Bowl-a-roll I noticed that even people there have their special stuff. For our powermeters and heart rate monitors they have their special balls, shoes, outfits. This is their turf and I am the kid without a clue.

I was especially impressed with the teenagers I saw. Bowling together, laughing, polishing their balls (bowling balls!) It was really nice to see that.

So Granny killed us on the lanes. And later that day on my three hour long ride (just three hours!!!) I again was grateful and thankful that in this world we have so much to unite us. Sport is an amazing platform for all of us to come together. We laugh, we cry, we take it as seriously as we feel like.

But it's fun. And fun is what it is all about!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

i said no

Let me get this onto the record right away..... I am not signing up for the 2009 edition of Ironman Canada. But thank you for the 84 (yes, eighty FOUR) emails that contained this message Wednesday......

Limited online entry slots available for 2009 Subaru Ironman Canada August 27, 2008
Penticton, BC – A limited number of general entry slots for the 2009 Subaru Ironman Canada will be available on-line. These slots will be available through the website beginning at 9 AM PT Friday August 29th. Demand for these slots is expected to be high and therefore athletes are encouraged to go to the website as soon as possible.

I mean, so what if it is my dream race? So what if it isn't completely sold out? So what if it will have crossed the year mark since I have done an Ironman? Uh.... for the record I technically have not done an Ironman since Nov 4th 2007.

I still, WILL NOT BE ONLINE FOR THIS SIGN UP. I freaking hope.

Not to say that this race is not on my radar. This race is the highest on my radar of any race in the world. Trumps Hawaii like tenfold. Smashes Hawaii tenfold. (sorry Hawaii buds.....)

My aim is to use this race as my reward for finishing grad school. Therefore I will be doing.... or should I say attempting to sign up for this race in the year 2011. I put four years between my second and third Ironmans and I will put three between my fourth and fifth.

There is more than one way to get into this race and believe me, I know what I will need to do to be standing next to a giant peach in August of 2011.

While I am dropping bombshells I might as well drop this one.

Take a deep breath, a drink of java and please sit down.

I am going to cut my coffee consumption.

I know, please don't worry because I have found an alternative. Teccino. Have I tried it yet? No. But I have been thinking about it since May. Three months to think about trying something might be a signal that I could use a step down program.

Now coffee and I have not had an argument. Unlike the Ironman we have not broken up. When I can drink a pot and go to bed without an issue..... it might be time to cut it down. I just love coffee and this possibly will serve as a good alternative. Apparently you can mix it with coffee and wean yourself.

I don't know how this will go. I don't know I will last even one day. I do know I shall give myself an out. I will say that I will not pass up Starbucks. Ever.

But anything is worth a try!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Our sport means so many different things to each of us. Even within ourselves it means different things. Some days.... many days it is my therapy. There are just things I experience on a 100 minute run that I can't experience, work through, or cope with in any other venue. The sound of my feet hitting the gravel as I run through a canopy of trees. The cool feeling of the morning air washing over my skin.

Today my long run was my therapy. Tomorrow my bike ride will be about something else. Tonight's swim was about hanging out with friends.

I think back to that very first duathlon.... geez..... maybe 12 years ago? The one I did with great anticipation and on a mountain bike.

I think about all the Masters practices over the years, the traveling to races, the races, the bikes.... the runs..... I think of all of the amazing people I have had the fortune of experiencing. Some are still around and some have moved on.

Amy Kloner wrote something that really sat well with me the other day...... she wrote "I don't want things..... I want experiences...." And I thought, yes, that's exactly what I have gotten over the years. Sure there have been awards, medals, wins, losses...... but the experiences are what I treasure the most.

I met my husband on a 50 mile ride. The first one I ever did. Now over 10 years later the platform of this sport has enriched and at the same time focused our lives.

Sometimes people will ask me when I am going to settle down a bit and become one of those normal moms. You mean the ones who so completely lose themselves in the lives of others that they don't know who they are anymore????? The ones who are afraid and the ones who can't stand up for themselves? The ones who wonder what if..... all the time?

That's not me. That never was me. That will never be me.

I am an athlete. It's who I am and it's in my soul. It's how I express myself. It's how I have been able to experience the most incredible experiences and the most incredible people.

This morning my run was about therapy. Therapy as I cope with a recent tragedy....(and I know I keep referring to this .... I will write about it..... I just need some time.... and with all the buildup I am giving it you will read it and think..... that's IT???????), therapy as I allow a piece of me that broke to heal.

When I came home I know my husband knew what this run was about. He knows this is how I need to heal. Thank God I have him as my husband. I honestly don't think I could experience what I have experienced throughout my life without him by my side.

Tonight we went back to the pool...... this afternoon Luc spent 90 minutes jumping off the 3 meter board and tonight while I swam he jumped another 90. Kim swam with me and she jumped too. Curt watched and smiled and I knew that he knew.

For me this sport is a venue for so much. Therapy, family, friends, love, loss, all wrapped into one. I can't imagine my life without it. I can't imagine my family without it. And as I look around I can't imagine my life without these guys!

Monday, August 25, 2008

the jump

How amazing are the girls at Splish? How amazing? Here it is the official "Hook 'em Horns" suit. 6 weeks until Austin. Austin or BUST!!!!

I don't know what it is, but the more I observe my son the more I learn. This is really turning into one hell of a "my kid is the best" blog, but the things he teaches me can transcend computer screens.

RIT's pool opened back up and the other night we went for a swim. On the way Luc told me he'd be going off the 3 meter diving board. To which I replied, "awesome!" like I always do. He always says that. He always chickens out. But he's 7 so no big deal. He will spend an hour jumping off the one meter dive and be just as happy.

When we arrived there the local age group diving team was finishing. So we hopped into the other pool for a bit. I saw him eyeing that board and I wondered if he'd actually do it tonight.

30 minutes later it was quite a scene. Luc standing on the 3 meter board terrified. The RIT men's diving coach standing on the second 3 meter diving board next to him. The other kids waiting were cheering. The entire life guarding staff came out and was on the side of the deck. The women's volleyball team was swimming laps in the third pool cheering him.

In total about 50 people were cheering this kid on. You can do it, jump, you name it they screamed it. He was smiling. All eyes were on him. I wanted to cry.

The he did it. He freaking JUMPED! And the cheers were bigger than the cheers for Phelps last week.

Two days in a row he did something major. The day before he took his YMCA swimming test for the 12th time this summer..... and this time he passed.

Kid's got tenacity.

Is he learning that from me, or am I learning that from him?

Sunday I get to race. It's a running race, I never run a road race in the summer. It's a half marathon and any hopes I had of resting were quickly silenced. A half marathon and a long run this week. And a lot of intensity on the bike.

Back to the HTFU days girl..... I thought to myself.

My husband is even thinking of hopping on board for this 1/2 marathon. Let me say this right now...... I am savoring these last 2 months of holding the Eggers Family Ironman Record. For the record..... it is a record I should not own. Curt just hasn't had the interest to find out his Ironman potential.

Until now. And I will say this..... I am so so so so so so dead. That picture to the right of Curt's head in the shark's arm? It will be me on November 5th.

So on Sunday as the starting gun goes off I plan on taking a big piece of Luc with me. As he's standing on that 3 meter board. In so many races I have fallen short. And in so many races I have reached beyond.

But typically the shortcomings are a higher number than the victories in the end. I look at Luc and how many times he failed that swim test. He kept coming back and now he's earned his right to the deep end and the slides.

He's earned his right to fly off the 3 meter board and have the world cheer for me.

I keep thinking of Michael Phelps (I know.......wipe drool from chin Mary!!!!) and I keep thinking how he was told he couldn't and wouldn't. Then how for a week he showed the world what he could do.

I shall take that with me on Sunday. The victory isn't always in the time or placing. This is a piece of the puzzle that will be finished in Austin. I have a beautiful suit on the way (THANK YOU SPLISH).... I have a great team to travel with. I have a boatload of mojo.

6 weeks to go. I am the girl with the biggest smile!

celebrate the good days

I am a bit pissed off. Last Tuesday my Cancer surviving friend got hit by a drunk driver who was texting. She broke her hip. Running career ended. Another friend broke her collarbone in a bike crash. 2 others had very close calls.

I was riding my bike through Mendon Ponds Park. In the middle of a 90 minute tempo effort embedded in three hours. A guy and a girl were riding their mountain bikes ahead of me, not helmeted. I pulled into the middle of the road to pass and the guy takes a u turn. If I were aero I'd have crashed.

Thank you God...... I thought to myself as my heart rate hit 300.

Here's the thing. When it comes to bikes and cars...... and I know this isn't the crowd who even needs this kind of reminder........ bikes will lose. Cars are bigger. And faster. And heavier.

Manslaughter is one hell of a hefty charge. So go ahead and hit us. But you be the one to tell my son that my riding in the white line would have made you 5 minutes late for Happy Hour. And that because of that his Mom isn't coming home.

Irritations aside I was so happy to have a solid 4.5 hour training day. A 3:30 trans brick and a good 60 minute swim. It's the best I have felt since the end of May.

I feel guilty saying I feel good when my friends are broken and my heart is with Wee. I know what they would tell me. I know they'd all slap me.

Truth is we all have our up days and our down days. Our victories and our defeats. The defeats always hurt more but that is what we learn from.

You think Peter Reid learned more from the three times he won Hawaii...... or the several times he did not win Hawaii?????

The lessons that are important are the ones we learn the hard way. But we also can't forget to celebrate the victories. Some days the victories are getting to the starting line in the first place. Some times the victories are a pair of fresh legs, knowing when to stop, knowing when not to stop, coming home from a bike ride at all.

Be open to all of it. We can't shield ourselves from the bad. We won't shield ourselves from the good. We can however realize the importance of both.

Stay safe.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


So glad I have a long trans-brick this morning, else I'd be glued to my computer while the Ironman Canada bike is happening. I mean in the time I complete my 3:30 workout...... they won't be done with the bike, so I can relax.

All eyes are on Ironman Canada this morning and I am so very much hoping for a 1-2-3 finish for my favorite three ladies..... Wee, Bentley and Ficker. I don't' even care what order but if I had to pick three for the three Kona spots..... they'd be my choices.

And as I look down the short workout I have today compared to what I was doing two months ago I am smiling. I have forgotten how much I love this 70.3 stuff. Long enough for a taste of long and short enough that the day with the boys still exists.

Best part yet is that my RIT pool opens up today so tonight...... we shall swim.

The day's most exciting news however has one word..... WEGMANS. Rochester = Wegmans. It was born here, it was raised here. The Wegman family has created an amazing store with an amazing culture..... people come from all over to shop here.

A few miles from my house remains the last existing "small Wegmans" (or one of them). This store apparently has been around for 49 years. It took me all of 20 minutes to grocery shop there. Across the street they built a biggie, and it opened this morning.

So at 7am Luc rolled out of bed with excitement, because today was opening day. It wasn't insanely crowded like I expected it to be, but the whole town was there. The kids and faces who worked in "small Wegmans" were all still there. They were beaming with excitement.

Being a new and bigger Wegmans means the Organic section is its own small store itself. Which means I no longer I have to take a long drive to buy my beloved Acai Berry. The Acai Berry is a frozen berry from the Amazon packed with the best of the best. My awesome yoga studio makes this little diddy called the Acai Bowl, and I get it as often as I am there. Now with Acai within 2 miles of home, I will likely have it every day.

Here's the recipe with a few added touches.... it is a great way to start the day:

1 Packet Acai Berry

1/2 Cup of soy milk (also good is Almond milk and even Hemp milk. Yes, Hemp milk)

Blend these two together. Pour into a bowl. My favorite things to add:

Pureed Mango right on top.

Blueberries and Strawberries.

You can add a scoop or two of Granola if you'd like.

The great thing about nutrition, is when you eat well, you feel well. When you eat well you recover well. When you eat well your perform well. When you eat well, you function well.

The secret to feeling, performing, recovering well is within our hands. It is never found in a capsule or a special drink from a canister. The best food is whole food. Bottom line.

But that's another post..... for another day.

Back to Ironman Canada...... GO WEE!

Friday, August 22, 2008



I have to answer a question I was asked several times yesterday..... is it really this great to be a Mom?????

Yes it is. There are hard days. Especially with a kid with "special needs." In the grand scheme of things, our special needs aren't as big as many other people. Those amazing parents who take care of kids with brain injuries and cancer and all of the horrible stuff children have to go through. They are the ones with the struggle. Those are the ones with real special needs. Kids in wheelchairs needing ramps in their homes. Needing rooms made bigger to accommodate ventilators.

Believe me I have it incredibly easy. My hardships as a mom are what people with real hardships look at and wish for.

Maybe it was because Luc didn't come to us the easy way. Maybe because we have been unable to give him a sibling. You don't want to know how many times I have been pregnant. I have days when I get upset and frustrated, just like everyone else.

But every single night I watch him sleep and I thank God for him. He's a gift.

I think people sometimes wait for "the right time" to have children. There is no magical moment when you say "I am ready". And when you take home your new bundle of joy..... realize you get a bigger instruction manual for your TV than you do for your child. It will be a good luck! And off you go.

Parenting is the biggest stumbling act there is. You learn by guessing. You learn by falling on your face. All of the baby books and what to expect books in the world can't teach you what you learn.

They are all a bunch of bullshit as far as I am concerned. For one simple reason.....

Individuality. No child in the world is a clone. No child in the world is a textbook case. YOU DON'T WANT THEM TO BE. YOU WANT THEM TO BE AN INDIVIDUAL. My best parenting advice? Trust your instinct..... your instinct is never wrong.

Instinct is something very powerful. Something we are all born with. At age 7 it is untouched. Then someone says something that causes you doubt, which then becomes a layer on top of your instinct. Through the years there are more layers until you are an adult and don't trust yourself at all.

When I race on instinct.... I have great races. When I race from my head.... when I think too much.... when I allow the mental hamster wheel to turn..... when I try to think my way out of the paper bag..... the box of hurt..... call it what you will...... I more often than that fail.

Come out of your head. Unplug form your mind and tune into what brought you to the first starting line ever.... in the first place. That flutter in your heart. That feeling of "ohmygodican'tbelieveiamgonnadothis!".... and it is a feeling..... not a thought.

When those moments of frustration start to pop up, those times where you start to seep back into your head and you start to think..... I can't, I am tired, this is ridiculous..... look at those moments as moments of opportunity.

Resistance is opportunity in disguise. Come to the moment of greatest resistance, throw your heart right over it and I promise you body will follow you. Your mind.... it might trail last. It might get dragged through the dirt but it will finally come along.

But your thoughts and your plans and your calculations are not what brought you there in the first place.

It was your heart.

Sport again becomes a great metaphor for life.

You have the idea of what parenting will be like. What the baby will be like. What your child will be like. How the schedule will flow. How you will handle the late nights, the diapers, the breastfeeding that doesn't happen the way you want it to.

You think you should do things one way and you bust your ass trying to stick with that plan.

Your heart says.... hey this isn't working..... there are better ways..... listen to that voice instead.

Your mind too often says failure.

Your heart never will if you are doing what you really love. Be it parenting, sport, hell driving the damn car.
You have absolutely everything you need, inside of you at this very moment. It does not need to be developed, trained harder or even rested. It just needs to be uncovered. Layer by layer allow the shit to fall away, and you will see.

That everything you could ever possibly need is not set in a goal or a title or a time......

it already exists...... right inside of you. So stop looking outside for it. And come back to what's authentic and what's real.

Your instinct. Trust it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Best Day

Luc is in the back with the Shrek Green shorts on........

Today Mary had a good day. Fever gone, mojo on high. Workouts complete. Day at the beach with my son..... fan-freaking-tastic. I love this kid, he's so much life wrapped into one little guy with amazing blond hair.

Each time we get to the beach he looks for someone to play with. He typically finds the one kid digging a sandcastle alone and he walks right up.

"Hi my name is Luc." He says, "Can I help you build a castle?" He's always well received. Usually the kids ask him to bring water from the lake and dump it in the hole.

In not too long of a time there will be 20 kids digging, building, laughing so hard their sides hurt.

Yesterday we were in Walgreens and Luc stopped. It was a Sports Illustrated magazine and Michael Phelps was on the cover.

"Mom he's so cool." Luc said as he studied the picture.

"You know Luc...." I told him, "When he was your age a lot of people would tell him he wasn't smart enough. They told him he couldn't do anything." And I told him that because at 7 years old, Luc has been through the same. Even as we did find the right school, the right classroom, the right support...... there is still talk of what he can not do as opposed to what he can.

He thought about it for a moment.

"Can I be like Michael Phelps?" He asked me. I smiled.

"Of course you can." I told him, "Except you can be something even better. You can be Luc Eggers." He smiled at me and gave me a hug. And then I reminded him that I was always going to be in his corner. I reminded him that whenever someone tells him he can't, I will tell him three times louder that he can. I promised him that no matter what he could always know that I believed in him. That I would always believe him. And that he would never ever be alone in his efforts to achieve his dreams.

Then he changed the subject.

"Mom remember not too long ago you didn't finish that race." He of course was referring to my IMLP DNF. "Remember you got hit in the head." Oh how I wish I would forget Luc, how I wish I would forget.

"I remember." I promised him.

"Is your head much better Mom?" I told him that it was. "Are you going to race again?" I told him I was. "Is that why you are going to Texas?"

"It sure is Luc." And I realized now more than ever how much our kids learn from us. He saw me get knocked down and he needs to see me get back up.

Sport is the greatest metaphor for life. We keep watching these Olympics and we keep watching the impossible become possible. Through hurdles or 200 meters. People who realize a dream against all odds.

Even some who don't realize a dream. The runner who tore his Achilles. Luc told me that he should go get some rest and try again. Just like I did that time I had to wear the boot. Wow, I thought, that was back in 2005. For a kid who is labeled with learning disabilities this kid sure remembers stuff.

Which means he remembers what I do when I fall. Which means he's watching and he's learning that when he falls down, he should get back up. He's seen me have great races and he's seen me have really bad ones. He's seen me walk and he's seen me....... G-A-S-P....... DNF.

Luc brings me out of myself in so many ways. As I have previously mentioned I just went through something really really hard. What I wanted to do was get into bed, pull the sheets over my head and disappear. What I sometimes wished for was a truck to run me over.

Sometimes I feel like there is this cloud of sadness following me.

But what does that teach my son???? That teaches my son how to allow life to swallow us up. That's not me and that's not what Curt and I will ever teach him to do.

Last night Curt and Luc drove me to teach yoga because I wasn't feeling well. At first I resisted..... I can drive myself..... and then I thought about what that could teach Luc. Curt told him Mommy wasn't feeling well and this was something we could do to help. No it didn't cure me, but the gesture said so much about being cared about, being cared for and being loved.

Luc will learn from that too. He will learn from every single thing we do.

So they can keep labeling him. Just like they kept labeling Michael Phelps. They can keep telling Luc what he can't do. I will keep telling him what he can do. And I will shout it louder and I will say it with more meaning. Because I mean it. And I believe it.

They can shake their heads and tell me that this little boy with a speech delay and a fine motor skill delay will amount to nothing. They can hold that dream and their insistence on being right.

Luc will keep walking up to kids on the beach and turning it into a great big party. He will continue to look up to people like Michale Phelps and even..... to his Mom and Dad. Luc will keep putting one foot in front of the other. Luc will keep moving forward.

Because no one in the world can tell him that he doesn't have enough guts. No one in the world can tell him that he doesn't have enough heart. And no one in the world can tell him that he will never amount to anything.

If you've ever met this kid then you know exactly what I mean.

When we decided to have a baby...... we had this idea in our heads about how it would be and how it would change our lives. It absolutely did in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Luc gave new meaning to my life. He has made it full of rich beautiful color.

Luc has taught me the most valuable lessons in the world. Things I did not learn in a classroom, from a lecture, from a book or from standing on a podium. Luc taught me the meaning of life. The meaning of love. And the meaning of family.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

mary has a bad day

"Amy Mo!" (she's on the LEFT)...and I in May at the Weekend at Placid Training Camp, I know..... is it really possible that I am really this pretty? Yes..... yes it actually is!

Stop the presses, put down the java, and please sit down.

I had a bad day Wednesday.

Yes, the queen of sunshine positivity..... allowed herself to slide under the proverbial bus. Not the real bus. The pretend bus. Serves her right, damn positive all the time..... ha ha!

I won't go into details because who wants to read my daily regimen? It's boring. I will say that I had a fever, I felt like ass and I had to something I hate to do..... I had to move around some workouts.


I know, I know.

Since working with Coach T he's got me sold on a basic week. Think of it as the framework and while the framework doesn't change much, sometimes what's inside does. Mondays are always active recovery. Tuesdays are always long runs, Wed sweet spot rides..... yes there is more but that's the jist. I know that every Tuesday morning I am running long, and the focus of the workout changes. I know every Wed I am riding hard and longer.

Stability gives me comfort. My body also knows what is coming. And I hate to move things around. But this week it was a must. Even with a fever I managed a 30 min spin and a 30 min run. Don't call me a hero because that likely shouldn't have been done at all. But you know us tripe type A athletes, we like to "be as productive as possible."

So things get moved..... big freaking deal. Life happens.

Not only did I have a fever of 103..... I knew I'd have to see the doctor if I didn't get it down quick. I submerged myself in the Lake and got it to 102. Because we all know that cool water will cure the source....... and if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you......

While at the Lake my friend Claudia told me about how great the weather in August was..... In Hawaii.... form where she just returned. I was convinced she was a RR plant. Not that I am complaining.

On the way home I realized that every single road around my house, every road to the main road had a sign on it that read..... FRESH OIL ... LOOSE STONE. Didn't we just have a conversation about this?????

Son of a gun they surrounded me with it. Except.... where's the Fresh Oil? All I see is loose stone!!!

Making matters worse I received the bill for my big ambulance ride at Ironman Lake Placid. What's more expensive than the race? The $579 ride back to town. Next time I won't ride through town, oh wait, I retired from Ironman. Next time won't happen. I won't get hit again!

It was a bill because I neglected to update my insurance information. We have completely new insurance. I remember laughing at my medial card..... what
Lo-SER needs to update this?

This LO-SER apparently.

Another look outside the window and there is still just loose stone.

Onto my computer and I see Michael Phelps is rumored to be dating AMANDA BEARD. A closer look revealed this was just a rumor, but not before I decided it was for sure my time to get struck by lightening.
In the grand scheme of life..... this bad day is pretty mild. Believe me, I had had days much much worse. So what shall we do? We get back up tomorrow and continue on. Wallowing in the loss of today is pointless. Besides..... I made some shifts and it all fits in. BFD.
Time for a lot of sleep. And a lot of Tylenol!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back To School...... BOO HOO

I was reading a terrific post of Kerri's and she mentioned school starts in 5 days. Ha ha! I laughed, we don't start till Sept. I felt bad for poor RR's kids because they start in the beginning of August!

Ha HA! I laughed. SUCKERS!

Until I read the date. August 25th???? That's not next week..... I have the whole month of AUGUST left to play.......

Shit. It is August 25th. Which means I have one week left after this one.

Shit. Not only is my little man in second grade..... how the hell did that happen?????? I am back to school myself. And man I love school weeks 1-3 and I hate it the rest of the way. But I have three years to go and RR is doing a great job of convincing me..... actually planning on me coming to teach at the University of Hawaii.

Give me something to dream about when I am riding sweet spot rides in the garage in the dead of winter in the middle of a 10 credit semester.

Summer can not be over. IT CAN NOT BE OVER!!!! We've been hanging at the beach. We've been riding bikes. I get to be 7 years old again and especially now that I am back to physical health I am treasuring every single second.

Today we spent the day at Roseland Water Park..... we have so many things to do around these parts!!! It's a small water themed park and we had a blast! Water slides, water slides and more water slides. I am a water slide fanatic and so are the guys.

But today it was just Luc and I. Screaming, laughing, getting sunburnt. Practicing body surfing in the wave pool. Our eyes beet red. We were in the wave pool so long that Luc's "Thumb Toes" have blisters on the bottoms of them.

And here he was on the way home...... to which I always think "I WON!"
Realizing the end of summer makes me sad. I am a summer kid. Luc is a summer kid. Curt is a summer kid. We love being barefoot and we love being in the sun. We love all that involves water and we love to live on the wild side of water.

I know these days won't last forever. I fear they won't last forever. The days of crawling into bed with us because he's afraid of thunder. The days of riding his bike, stopping and calling back "I love you MOM!". The days when upon leaving the park he says "Thanks for taking me to Roseland MOM!"

The days when he tells me I am the coolest Mom in the world. Someday 18 years old will come. Some day college will come.

I just don't want it to come too soon.

I have always loved summer. I always will love summer. I don't want it to end. I want an endless summer where there's always a bit of sand in our shoes, where there's sunburnt noses and where there's late nights and early mornings. Where the sun is always shining and the pool is open for swimming. Where swimsuits are the uniform...... and we are always running out of sunscreen.

And when there are races which in our world are much like family reunions.
But wait...... there are still plenty of races to go, fun to be had and dreams to be caught.

So you threaten me fall, you threaten me school, you threaten me little yellow school bus. You come rolling down on me all you want but one thing will remain..... I will make sure summer stays here just a little bit longer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Where we are at

I am slowly recovering form the week of swimming. How about Snowy in the triathlon???? I predicted her to be Gold and Fernandez to be silver. I had a feeling Bennett wouldn't medal because I think London will be her time......

On Sunday I got to return to the long stuff. Well.... and I smile to myself when I think of this..... the 70.3 long stuff. On tap was a 3 hour ride and a 30 minute run. We made a day of it.

My husband went and kicked some bootie at the Sodus Point Triathlon in the morning while Luc and I ate at Cracker Barrel and practiced on his new bike....... then the guys met me down at the Lake while I took a ride.

I rode form home to Canindagua (and I will never spell it right.), rode the new Finger Lakes Triathlon bike course and then transitioned into a 30 minute transition run around the trails and the pier of the Lake.

Wonderful. It was so wonderful.

I love the changes to the bike course. I was surprised that I did as there is a great hill in the beginning that separates the men from the boys. This new version skirts the hill but the roads are awesome. One of those situations where you are ascending but feeling like you are descending. With the Lake in your view at times, corn and trees and fields all around you...... you gain the feeling of quiet serenity and the feeling of smooth and fast.

I felt happy to be riding for more than 2 hours again. Nothing special was on the agenda..... just steady wattages and enjoy.

The hard work starts next week and I can't wait for it.

Transitioning into the run was no problem at all. Most days I do every run off the bike, which is something I recommend to anyone looking to improve their bike run combo.

I got excited to race. I haven't done this race a in a bit and it's the big hometown race. I know how to race it and I can't wait to race it. It means I have to be in top form, swim bike and run..... and believe me I am getting there. The workload is steadily increasing and I find myself with an elevated heart rate in the excitement of hearing a starting gun.

Wow.... it's been almost a month. Since the DNF, since I have raced. Next week I am running a half marathon, which will be new for me. I typically don't road race in summer, that's what spring and fall are for. A road race in the summer, a really pretty one at that!

And just when I thought I'd taper and rest a bit for this one...... I should have known better. Coach T just simply has me run long twice that week. Run twice long I shall.

Today as Luc and I spent the day at the beach down in Canindagua as shown below....
I thought about how lucky I am to live where I live. I have open roads, I have 2 lakes and a thousand pools within my reach. I have tracks, trails, hills and flats. Anything you need from your doorstep or pretty darn close.
To have the treasure of 2 Great Lakes which I consider to be clean..... what a gift.
To be feeling good again..... what a gift. To have this sport to call my home...... an absolute gift!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's not over till you hit the wall

Here are some phunny ones phrom the Phelps Philes..........

SportsCenter ad #1

SportsCenter Ad #2

Michael and his dog Herman

I don't know about you...... but these games came at the exact time I needed them to come. I just went through something pretty awful.... not my DNF..... something I will write about later..... and I don't know about you but things like this inspire me.

It inspired me to watch the women's marathon and to watch a 38 year old mother from Romania take a chance on herself.
It inspired me to watch a man they have nicknamed "The lightning bolt" become the fastest man in the world. And to watch a little less known young man in his first Olympics hold himself with poise and class as he ran himself to the bronze medal in that same race.

It inspired me to watch a woman who is 41 years old on a relay with girls who could be her daughters, swim to a third silver medal.

It makes me wonder if there are better swimmers out there. Maybe there is a better swimmer than Michael Phelps out there. Maybe a guy who was told he couldn't..... and listened. Who now sits behind a desk and looks at a computer all day long and wonders what if he just believed in himself.

There are so many stories and they don't all need to involve your dog having cancer or you enduring the most catastrophic thing on earth.

They all have one thing in common. Trusting what is inside of you.

Sport is a safe field to do that in. No one gets killed. Nothing really horrible happens if you don't win, and simply nothing really special happens when you do win. Yeah you get the medal, maybe some endorsements, you are a national hero....... but it doesn't change the world. It doesn't change who you are inside.

Sport is safe.

If you can do it on the field you can do it off the field.

Someone recently mentioned to me that doing an Ironman is like putting a card in your back pocket. When you come up against something hard in life, whatever it may be, you can always reach back and feel that card. The one that says you can.

Whatever Michael Phelps comes up against, he can reach into his back pocket and feel the eight gold medals that people told him would be impossible to achieve.

Maybe you have been told you are too big, too small, too tall, too short..... too fat.... too thin..... you just don't have enough talent.

No one can tell you that you don't have enough heart. No one can tell you that you don't have enough guts. The only one who decides that is you.

I am dreaming big. I set myself a goal and I am going to achieve it. Because of the many times I have been told I can't. Even by myself. Just like Phelps..... I will paste those words in the back of my locker. I will use that as fuel and I will build something even bigger.

Because I have heart, I have guts and I have the desire to achieve the goal I have set. I have the belief in myself that I can overcome, that I can make that reach and should it come down to a photo finish...... in whatever arena I am in..... I will take that final stroke and I will not give up.

Because it is never really over until you hit the wall.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Believing That You Can

I think by now that it is pretty obvious that I am the one who should be sitting there next to Rowdy Gaines commentating on these games.

After his epic swim last night Phelps told the reporter "You just have to believe that you can." (and then he said Mary that again was for YOU!) And that, right there is perhaps the greatest lesson of these Olympics.

Believe that you can.

Much of my life I have been told what I can't do. Maybe that's been your story as well. But I found what I can in fact do, in the pool as a youth and for the better part of my adult life, in the arena of multisport.

Sure my results have had their ups and downs. I have not had a solid 70.3 race in a few years. One of the greatest defining moments of my career ..... to myself.... was nailing my race at Ironman Florida in 2007.

And it was because I believed that I could.

I didn't win the race, but I won the race against myself.

Those kinds of challenges are what bring me back to the starting line. Yes I have won a few races this season, I have a had a pretty good season to date. But those wins, those seemingly good results were clouded. It was not my best.

My best is yet to come this season.

I watch these Olympics because I learn from these athletes. I learn that what is supposed to be logical, what is supposed to be impossible..... is possible. For a good bit of time, even to the wall it appeared that Phelps had been beaten. It came down to one one hundredth of one second. Phelps kept believing that he could and he did not give up. He literally swam through the wall. Call it luck..... I believe that was one darn lucky race for our golden boy...... but from start to finish, even though he had put himself in a 7th place hole at the first turn..... he believed that he could.

Now eyes will shift a bit as another amazing athlete takes center stage. 41 year old Dara Torres. Another athlete who has taught me so much over the years, but especially the past year.

Why is Torres in the position she's in? She believes that she can. And last night she had the fastest time in the 50 meter semifinals. That seeds her first. This is a woman who stays the hell out of her head and swims from her heart. She puts her head down and swims her ass off.
And that's what makes champions.
Logically this shouldn't be happening but yet again we see that logic isn't always what we should listen to. What we should listen to is that inner voice however big or small it may be that says that we can. That holds that ray of light. While logic can be piles on top of us saying we can't..... as long as there is the hope that we can........ we sure will.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fresh Oil, Loose Stone

I don't know about you but I have a FEVER...... PHELPS PHEVER!!!!!!

Here is a terrific article on Michael Phelps in case you were needing anything more Phelps this week. As long as there are Olympics.... there will be pictures of this relay. I wish I had my house wallpapered in this picture! Did you see him and Lochte fighting over me in the pool last night? I mean they hit the wall, looked at the camera and Phelps said "That was for you Mary!!!"

Fresh Oil.... Loose Stone

Those are four words on the list of "things I never want to read" while out on a training ride. Other two good ones are "Pool Closed for Week."


I am very fortunate that I live close to 2 of the Great Lakes so chances of me missing a swim in the summer are pretty slim. But there are days when I can't get there, and there are days when adaptations need to be made.

To swim bike and run faster you need to swim, bike and run. Sure there are things we can do to cross train and help make us a more rounded athlete. We can water run, we can do swimming dry land exercises. These won't replace the sport itself but I believe they can help when injured, or when in a pinch.

When you have a running injury I do believe that pool running can make the transition back to the road much easier than no running at all. Many people use it in place of a run to give their legs some recovery each week.

When I am in a bind and my pool is closed and for whatever reason I can't make it to the lake, I dry land train. It brings me back to the college days when this was the stuff we'd do on the deck every single day. I have great flashbacks.

The greatest dry land exercise we had to do were Badgers, and I can't do them at home unless my husband surprises me with a fastlane pool and a starting block.

To perform a badger you need to hang off a starting block. Calves on the top, shins parallel to the ceiling. A nice teammate can hold your legs for you. Unroll your body so your head is in the water. Cross your arms. Then curl up so your nose hits your knees. Then release your head back underwater.

Oh yeah, at least 200 of them. And no it's not waterborading.

If you don't have that stuff at home there are many other ways you can get something in if it's swim or nothing. I have the luxury of owning a Vasa trainer. A woman on my Masters team was selling hers and I got it for a STEAL! Best thing I own!

On the Vasa there's thousands of things you can do but nothing replaces the good old pull through. More boring than a dreadmill....... more painful than 4000 meters timed. But completely awesome.

You can also use stretch cords. Sure you can buy them for $30-40 online, but if you go to your local Target you can get them for $7. Visit a medical supply store and grab surgical tubing for even less. Even better visit the hospital and steal it. :-)

If you have an extra pair of paddles tie them to it. If not just hold but make sure you are not flexing your wrist. It won't matter except if you always use tubing that way when you are 60 you will regret it. So straight wrist.

Click here for a great dry land swim program designed by Gordo.

Click here for a some great Vasa tips from Gordo.

Click here for a great stretch cord workout from Gordo.

(why so much Gordo? He took the time to put it together, share it, explains it great and he's good to look at. The only thing better would be a demonstration by Phelps. Or Lochte. Or hey, I am also a major Aaron Piersol fan...... MISTER COOL!!!)

Dry land swim programs again are not substitutes for swimming. Dry land programs can certainly enhance but shouldn't replace swims. I use them in a pinch, in the fall and winter this is part of my functional strength routine.

So when you are faced with a day when the pool is closed, it is thundering and circumstance prevents you from breaking the surface, don't despair. There are easy things you can do for very cheap to keep those swimming muscles firing!!!!