Monday, September 29, 2008

preparing for departure

My Austin "Do not forget list"

Traveling to a race is always exciting. I love to travel. I love to see new places, new friends, new experiences. I love traveling alone, with my husband and with friends. Not too long ago I wouldn't set foot on an airplane. In fact it was the reason I turned down my Hawaii spot in 03.

I flew to Hawaii in 2006 for yoga training and it was the beginning of so much. The beginning of getting over an irrational fear. I simply kept putting myself in situations: (aka: on airplanes.....) that completely frightened me. I had to just sit in the middle of my fear to get over it.

In yoga world we say you have to sometimes walk through the fire to get to the other side.

I knew that I truly arrived as a flyer as I was coming home from camp HTFU last winter. There I was sitting on an airplane 30,000 feet above the world and on my iPod I was watching the airplane crash scene of LOST. I wanted to get up and show everyone my big accomplishment. But I was sitting in first class where a girl decked out in Lululemon doesn't fit so well with a bunch of suits.

Hmpf.... I thought...... I am a small business owner so I do belong here.

Nonetheless I have been able to fly without issue for a while now. No medications, no nothing.

My very favorite point is where you are rolling down the runway and you hit turbo. You fall back a little bit and that's when you know..... I am on vacation.

As we sit on the top of the week like a roller coaster just waiting to hit the best part of the ride, I find myself so completely swamped with things to do. A paper needs to be written. Chapters need to be read and an online discussion group needs to be responded to. It's enough to keep me busy without devastating me. It's enough to keep me from being absolutely stupid with my back.

Yes, my back, my SI. How are we today?

Good. After working a night shift and sleeping 3 hours I awoke with no pain. I planned it out, using the run girdle at the end of the shift. The beauty of hospitals is that we make the greatest ice packs. So at the end of the shift I made a great big bag of ice and I strapped it to me for a bit.

I decided to play things completely smart. I have the fitness for this race, it's the pain while running that will hinder me. But I don't have to PR to get a spot to 70.3. I have to race smart. Part of racing smart is continuing to prepare smart. During my 60 minute pool run on Sunday I was able to do over half of it without the belt and keep my form. It felt GOOD! I will hold off running on pavement until Friday. I will do all of this week's sessions in the water. That way I can step back from testing and testing it. I know I can handle the pain. I am doing so much better this week that I don't want to ruin it by being stupid. Certainly running on land is the best way to go had I not crashed almost 3 weeks ago. But you know, we have to do the best we can with the cards we are dealt.

I am a lemonade maker my friends. I make great lemonade.

Priorities this week include staying loose, staying focused, visualizing every inch of the race. Creating a mental game plan, I have the physical game plan. Getting my stuff done by Wednesday and on Thursday at 6am EST we will be off.

Preparing for departure........

Saturday, September 27, 2008

taper.... uh..... yeah

Texas flag suit has won! Thanks for taking the time to help me on this very important global issue. I hope you skipped the great debate to take time to think about my bathing suit. If you must..... scroll down to see the suit in action with the swim helmet and running girlde.

Some of you dear readers may feel like you are watching a car wreck in slow motion. I get that. real time though..... real time.

Saturday I cried tears of joy as I mounted little blue, and had a great ride on my Computrainer. Little Blue is my baby blue Cervelo P2K. It's got 650 wheels and I don't care what you say about a 5'10 girl riding 650 wheels..... there is something about that bike. I love it. I will always love little blue.

During my 60 minute ride I was able to obtain and maintain tempo efforts without any issues at all. While I didn't run off the bike yet, I got off with a pain level of 1. I am trying to be smart...... I ran about 2 miles with pain of 2. I have to be careful because I worked last evening. It's homecoming weekend so there are a lot of injured football players. Patients looked at me so strangely last night as I paraded around with scrubs and a Fuel Belt..... that I found an ace wrap in the ortho pit and that worked just fine. It's funny because the run girdle does not eliminate the pain but it gives you a feeling of stability. Which again I realize is a huge problem.

I hope you are all taking notes on this. The beauty secrets of Mary Eggers.

I don't know about you but I am a planner. I like to stare at a week of training and I like to check things off the list. Not only have I no plan for a taper, I have not had a plan for any given day for 2 weeks now. I can't plan anything at all because I have to make a decision based on how I feel that day.

It's the strangest feeling. What shall I do today???

I didn't even decide to throw in some tempo efforts this morning until I got on the bike and warmed up. I am just going from gut here. Who knows what taper will look like. Short workouts with some tempo efforts. I hope it works.

It will be a busy week, that's for sure. I have 80 hours of vacation and I only work 20 hours a week. Being in the hospital setting I frequently stack my hours at the beginning of one week and at the end of the following so I don't have to use that vacation. It's like money. I like to save it and look at the big numbers.

I certainly could have taken vacation for Texas, but I chose not to. I did for IMFL!!! So I have 3 days of just 8 hour shifts..... and then the big hell. I have a class on Wednesday for the next five Wednesdays from 8am - 6pm. I would much rather do an Ironman every Wednesday than be in a class. However this class covers all of my electives for my degree and could give me what I need to launch into a whole new tax bracket. Yeah, it's that good of a class!

Miss proactive that I am I did email my instructor and let her know I crashed my bike and have a back injury (which undoubtedly threw up the this girl is a wacko flag....) to ask if it would be okay if I periodically stood in the back of the room rather than sit. I am very sure she won't let me lay down.

I am so tempted but I never ask..... can I just bring my bike and trainer? Because I listen much better while in motion!

So we shall continue on the road we have been on (We???? Yes, you and I). The border of winging it, going form my gut, knowing what I want to do kinda sorta....... and not going crazy. I still have my cup of HTFU and my friends wing and prayer are already in my suit case. Next to my point zero3 speed suit. And my helmet. And my run girdle. I might just wear pink compression socks to really complete the look.

Friday, September 26, 2008

suit vote!

Many many thanks to the amazing girls at SPLISH for these 2 super great suits for Texas Longhorn 70.3 I don't know which to wear! Help me decide! Sorry for the crapness of these shots..... I took em with my camera phone... and if I am not going to be smokin fast I might as well look good. Well, as good as I can look!

Many many thanks for your amazing comments on my meeting with Luc's school today. It went much better than I thought it would. More to come on that later. I imagine you are just dying to know how my back is. I know..... it's consuming you.

After speaking with Marit last night, I decided to use a tip she suggested. I have to credit Marit with the design, but we have a new addition to the Mary Eggers special needs triathlon kit. To compliment the swim helmet we now have the running girdle.

Yes, the run girdle. Looks so awesome I can't even bring myself to post a picture of it yet..... yes it makes me look that pretty. Now these are going to be some interesting race photos. I will make sure they never hit the air waves.

What is the run girdle you ask? Well..... it's very simple, you may already have what you need. Simply take a fuel belt, one of the newer ones...... and wrap it around your hips. Not waist...... hips. Right over the hip bones. Don't put anything in it now silly people...... run with it empty.

What does it do? I thought you'd never ask. It makes my back feel better when I run. Marit obviously put it through several very scientific trials, it made hers feel better too. If you have ever experienced SI pain, then you know. It feels like it stabilizes you.

I am sure the guys at the Science of Sport will be writing about it next. If it were at Interbike right now I can pretty well assume that Miss Chrissie Wellington would be picking it up. BS just hasn't heard about it yet.

My 45 minutes run today with the new run girdle went well. My pain is about 2. I was able to keep E pace and at times even go faster. It wasn't 100% pain free but the pain settles to a level I can HTFU and tolerate.

After Oct 5th I will take a good 4 week rest and allow everything to heal. I promise that.

Will I wear the run girdle at Texas? Over one of my smokin new suits? I don't know yet. I wear an ace wrap when I walk now and it helps.

Mary.... don't you think if you need to wear an ace wrap around your hips to feel good that you are taking this a bit too far????

Totally. I just need this finish line. For reasons you know and some that you don't. I need this finish line.

at the plate

If you are tired of reading about my back, my husband is tired of listening and I am tired of living it! HA HA! Thursday was a good day, only a bike ride and a Dr. Mike Adjustment. Periods of pain and no pain. Today I run and I can not wait.

Today I also have to go to bat for my son, as we do every single year. He's a kid with some special needs, and he's come a long way. But nonetheless every year we get called into school at about this time, to listen to how bad he is.

In this kid's 8 years of life he has been told how horrible he is by every adult in the academic world. Then we wonder why kids have such trouble in life?

Last year we created an amazing plan and group of strategies with an incredible child psychologist who simply told the teachers "I wish you would all stop provoking this kid." And the same thing is happening again. He'll be called in again.

We didn't change schools but some of the players in the team have changed.

We sat Luc down last night and we reminded him..... we love him. We are always on his side no matter what. That he can always count on us to protect him.

What I will fail to understand is how people within the academic world can have degrees and "experience" in special education and completely fail to ask, understand or even work with a plan that was previously set forth....

This is what I will never understand the most......... these same teachers, these special education teachers consistently ..... consistently........ CONSISTENTLY....... remind these children of what they can not do.


Frankly it really pisses me off.

Once we build from what he can do....... he succeeds. This is not rocket science everyone. This is a simple concept.

So today Curt and I will sit at the round table as we have done so many times before. They will try to tell me that Luc just bursts out and hits other children. I will tell them he won't do that unless he is provoked. They will smile and shake their heads and tell me he is unprovoked.

God give me the strength to not say BULLSHIT.

I will keep a small checklist of all the negative things that will be said versus the positive things. In fact I can tell you exactly what they are going to say.

I can tell you this..... we bring in this specialist again and he will say the same thing. Stop provoking this kid and build on what he can do instead of continually reminding him of what he can't do.


And what happened after that meeting last year???? Luc became the first special education kid to be awarded..... student of the month. Please excuse the hair.... Curt took him to school that day. Blad men feel they don't ahve to brush their son's hair.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Below we have Erik Grimm, Myself and Dr. Les the magic chiro. Oh, and the swim helmet, which Bree has asked to wear during our swim next week in Texas.......

Wednesdays' box scores:
swim= 0 pain

bike = 0 pain

run= pain score of 3.

Wednesday I felt freedom. I ran for thirty minutes on the road. Pain score of 3. Lowest pain score while running, almost 2 weeks to the date of my crash. Faster than E pace. I have to remember to keep loose. Let my upper body rotate.

This is going to happen and I am not going to be afraid to make the reach.

Don't forget that it is never truly over until you hit the wall. And I am coming down the final 25 yards.

The funniest things are happening as I slowly return to the roads. I am riding with my powermeter but I am not looking at it. I am running with my Garmin but not looking at that either. When I am done and they are loaded..... I am in the right zone and the right pace. Most importantly I am back in my heart.

That's where this all began, didn't it?

The other day I was telling rr about a dream I had. She and I were in Kona and we met at Starbucks. You know the one on the way to the queen K? I had flown to Kona from Rochester NY (because I can just do something like that....) to bring her a LuluLemon bag that I thought she would like. I recall telling her that the bag was definitely bigger than her shorts..... and I remember her telling me to have patience. To look within myself, that's where I will find what I need.

Every day is a better day. Every step is a new opportunity. Every moment is a new moment. Just Iike I discovered at Ironman Florida in 2007..... the one who has to believe in me...... is me.

And I do.

I shipped my bike to Austin yesterday after a two hour ride and a kiss goodbye. I would like to proudly say that it weighed 52 pounds and cost $53 to ship. So our six bikes are on our way and in a week we shall be too.

Hook em Horns!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

upside down and backwards

I took a deep breath as Dr. Mike...... the substitute Chiropractor...... began to execute the Yamaguchi triple lundi mach 5 with a twist...... and bam..... no crack. He claimed it cracked. I told him it didn't. Where was the magic? Where was the force?

Dr. Les just knows my body. His partner is wonderful don't get me wrong. I walked out of there in less pain, about one number less. My life these past 2 weeks is lived by numbers. Pain on a scale of 1-10. Friday was a zero. Saturday 5, Sunday 5 Monday 6, Tuesday started off at 6 and we are down to 5. Dr. Les will be back by Monday. I think.

I am tempted to fly myself to Montana and find my BFF fly fishing. If it wasn't for that damn accident a few years back he'd be riding a bike instead of fly fishing.

"I was the one in the big crash of 03." I admitted to Dr. Mike. He told me that he told Les.... if he ever saw him on a bike again he'd kill him.

If I ever saw him on a bike again I'd freaking to a back handspring. With a helmet.

Today's training was just as everything else has been, one step at a time. 35 minutes on the precor was fine, the pain settled at a 5 and stayed there. Biking for 1:45 was like being given complete freedom. Pain to a zero.

And then I tried it. I ran to the stop light and back. One mile. If that. Pain = 5. But it didn't change. It didn't radiate, it didn't increase, it didn't go anywhere. It's like you could put a stamp on my back. It's isolated and I know it will heal.

But first things first.

Tomorrow I will run for 45 minutes and see what happens. If the pain remains at the same level, good. If it increases..... then crap. I can tolerate it staying.

As I thought ahead to next week, I thought if I am going to taper for one week, wing training for another 2, perhaps I should at least approach this thing with some sort of plan. So here it is;

When I wake up in the morning of race day I will help myself to a giant cup of HTFU. Then I will grab my friends wing and prayer. I will hold them tight. Then I will see what I have inside of me.

I pushed a 10 pound baby out of a hole that is supposedly 10 cm. Took me 17 hours. Notice when you have a child they tell you the circumference of your baby's head in inches, not centimeters. They don't want exhausted drugged up mommas figuring out that X inches does not equal 10 centimeters.

For 17 hours I pushed that kid out. I know what pain is. I can tolerate 13 miles of pain. Walking doesn't make it any better so the fastest way to this finish line will be to run. It's a gamble, it's a risk, I will take an appropriate off season.

I feel like I am hanging on a rope that is fraying. The only way I am going to fall is if that last thread breaks. Not because I let go.

While it is certainly important to arrive at a starting line 100% ready and healthy, at least I have one of those. I am 100% ready. I am not 100% healthy. I will have a pain free swim and a pain free bike. When it comes down to that run I am just going to have to dig deeper than I have ever dug, be braver than I have ever been, and run the best 13 miles that I can.

Just give me a finish line. It's been a while.

Monday, September 22, 2008

one day at a time

One day at a time Mary, one day at a time.

Patience Mary, patience.

The words you have all given me fill me with hope. I realize that this 70.3 race is going to be done on heart more than anything else. But to have moments of doubt and fear mixed with feelings of confidence... that's natural.

Sunday I was able to bike with no pain. I cried because I was so happy. I did it on the roads. I took a few seconds every ten minutes of the hour to get out of the saddle and flex my back. When I dismounted at the end of 60 I wanted to go further..... but I had no pain. And it was dark.

I headed over to the pool and water ran for 60 minutes. It was after 8pm and the pool was filled with college kids. When you hang at a university like I do the scenery changes from old folks doing water aerobics to youngsters donning suits of all sorts (strong bikini world..... on those who shouldn't be wearing them....).

At RIT there are 3 pools. An 8 lane 25 meter pool. A recreation pool that is a little warmer with a current and lazy river. And the diving well which hosts 2 X 3 meter boards and 2 X 1 meter board. With kids jumping off the boards there is plenty of room for me to water run. Between all 3 pools plus a picture window to the weight room.... I have lots of entertaining things to watch. An hour actually passes quickly.

I especially loved the snowboarder who practiced his stunts off the 1 meter diving board. He was awesome.

I was able to run without pain. I felt so happy. Maybe I thought.... maybe this could happen for me. All I have gained over the past year can't be completely lost in one week.

It's been 11 days since i have run on land and it does make me nervous.

Tomorrow morning I start four consecutive days of adjustments with Dr. Mike. Dr Les has had the nerve to take a 2 week vacation. I know.... I thought the same thing. He has assured me Dr. Mike will give me a great adjustment. I am most concerned about my favorite one:

The Yamaguchi-Triple-Lundi-Mach-Five. With a twist. Please do not forget the twist Dr. Mike.

With these daily adjustments I could be running Tuesday, or Wednesday. One day at a time. I can't even plan the week much less the taper.

Then those moments of doubt creep in..... will this ever heal at all?

I have to have faith. I have to believe.

I know that in Austin I will be the girl with the most heart. The weather is looking better and the water is still warm. I wonder if it is too hot ..... will they put the run into the water?

A 13 mile water run?

Now we are talking. If that becomes the case than this entire field better watch the heck out. especially you Wee. Because I will state right here and right now that if Longhorn 70.3 becomes a water run because the air temperature is just too hot to run on land...... every single one of you is in deep trouble.

Why? Because Kloner won't be there and by that day I will be the world's best water runner.

Consider yourselves warned.

Until then I will continue to take this one day at a time. Without a plan but with a big dream. Isn't that how this all began after all? A race, a finish line, a thought, a dream and a lot of uncertainty of exactly how we will get there?

I will. I don't know how I will get there..... I just know I will.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Here's Dennis Moriarty, Curt and Luc at the Sprint National Championships back in August.
Congrats to so many people for such amazing performances on Sat at USAT Nationals! Curt earned a bronze medal in the 50-54 age group, improving his time by 3 minutes over 2007!!!! How about Cathy Ynsestad? 2nd overall! And Tom Dutton, the ageless wonder, 2nd in his age group! And at the Finger Lakes Triathlon the Train-This crew did amazing. By Monday you can check out their awesome stuff right here.

What an exciting day. It made me wish I was there.

Things here are progressing, and progressing slowly. I spent the weekend as a spectator for my favorite race, the Finger Lakes Triathlon. So many kind folks came to our triathlon clinics yesterday, I realized how many people were beginning the sport. I also realized how amazing my good friend Rich Clark and his team at Score-This are..... with race management and so beautifully channeling over 900 athletes in 3 separate races through a very well designed course so flawlessly.

Score-This is simply awesome.

I was in just enough pain today to not race. I was heartbroken and at the same time grateful. Dr. Les warned me not to race and I didn't. Saturday I biked with no pain. I stood at the race expo for a few hours and did experience pain, I could relieve it through the movements he taught me. I was afraid to run the road afterwards so I got in the pool and water ran for 30 minutes. Man did that feel good.

Water running is certainly not a substitute for a road run. But in this circumstance it is so much better than nothing.

I know this is going to take a few more days of adjustments and of taking things day by day. I will bike and water run again today and I know I will be on the starting line in Austin.

My main goal is to secure a spot to the 2009 70.3 World Champs. I must have this insane idea that they will fix this unsafe draft fest of a race by then ..... or my concussion 2 months ago must have erased my memory. If I can secure that slot then I can transition into a month or R&R.

I promise I will take it this season. I just might not have any other choice.

I will race Austin smart, that is the plan. I have to accept that right now, and this season I have some limitations. My allergy to gravity and my attraction of strange luck has certainly won this round. It has made me reflect on this season and think about what I'd like to do next season.

I want to be healthy. I want to be faster. I want to train smarter. I don't want to do an Ironman (hear my husband cheer). I want to soak up the many awesome local races that we have around here, that I have missed due to traveling or being ready for an Ironman.

Kelly B and I have already placed this cool race on our 2009 agenda.... there are new things to explore and have fun with.

That's what life is about!!!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

the big crack..... and go CURTY!

Curt's been in Oregon all week prepping for USAT Age Group Nationals! I am so fortunate that we have a very fun relationship. I have a friend at work who has a very volatile relationship and I am convinced it is because she is constantly trying to change her husband. Curt and I do our own laundry, neither of us care about a clean house (ha ha!) and I have to say..... I married the guy because I like him just the way he is.

He loves his car, his Honda Civic. It's in some ways his man cave. Neat, pristine! I have a Toyota Rav 4 which he refers to as the locker room.

But while Curt is away, Luc and Mary shall play........ we sent him a few pictures that were sure to light the fire underneath him...... we call it creative inspiration:

I made sure to leave all my coffee cups for him to clean up.......

I didn't want his car to feel left out from being called the locker room:

And what husband wouldn't just love to have their wife play "How low can I go", and then PARK IT..... to be found on Monday morning.......

In other news..... my back feels very good. The pain is gone. Gone? GONE. Today I test it out with a 60 minute spin on the trainer and a 30 minute treadmill run. If all goes well I hope to spin again tonight on the trainer.

It's my SI joint and it was completely immobile.

Standing outside of the door of my treatment room at the office of Dr. Les (my new BFF) it might have sounded suspicious. But after three tries and Mary's screaming....... it cracked.

What cracked?

IT cracked. Does everyone else scream when adjusted? Seems like in the entire office..... only I do. Is that normal? (Don't answer)/

The joint that hasn't cracked or moved and has caused me debilitating PAIN for 8 days. It cracked and I let out the most incredible sigh of exasperated relief. It took my pain from today's 6...... to a 1. I still can't believe that all it took, was a few adjustments. Some of you saw how I could not walk..... Karen W from work witnessed it all day Tuesday!

I came home and rode the trainer for 45 of the happiest moments of my entire life. I am not racing on Sunday. I am not racing on Sunday. I am cancelling Luc's trip to Granny's on Saturday night because I lack that much self control.

The only way I won't race is if I have a 70 pound 8 year old with a Mohawk strapped to my leg. I am THAT addicted. I lack THAT much self control. I am a complete BEAR IN A CAGE. And I will be in Austin racing my little..... no..... my BIG heart out.

Swear to GOD I WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe this was just what I needed. Some forced rest. In the past year I have done 2 and part of one... Ironmans. I have trained upwards of 20 hours a week at this pace, at this wattage, at this effort.... and I have neglected my spine care... Maybe pain was the only way to stop me. All the compressing of this joint..... which I knew was a hot spot.

I am very good at learning the hard way.

It's not over yet. I warn myself to not get my hopes too high. I go back Tuesday, Wed and Thurs. Dr. Les will be in Montana (I know, at a time like this!) but I will be seeing his partner, my new substitute BFF Dr. Mike. Who knows? Maybe we can have a three way BFF ring.

Keep it clean kids...... keep it clean.

One day at a time. One step at a time.

Sunday I will ride the roads for 2 hours and again run. If I am pain free I will carefully plan a big week and them Yee Haw........ game on my friends!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


We saw this car the other night at RIT. If I ever meet the owner i will slap them. The "energy" they will be saving by being green will be wasted when they see how much fuel is needed to power up the jaws of life to get their sorry body out of this thing after an accident. I don't care how many airbags you have. Get hit by an eighteen wheeler and leave your kids memories of how you tried to save the world.

Remember how I said I wouldn't be seeing the chiropractor, it wouldn't help because it was a structural issue and I think people who run to their chiro for every little ailment are pansies?

Okay…. I was wrong. And I am eating my words.

Yesterday I saw my good friend, my chiropractor who is also my lane mate, former cycling buddy until we had the big crash of 03, and as of right now my new BFF. I could loudly pronounce the benefits of Chiropractics to you, but you already know. I am not ashamed to be a fair weather fan either….. hell I am from Buffalo NY, home of the Buffalo Bills. I needn't say more.

Anyhow….. Dr. Les Lange of Greater Rochester Chiropractic saw me in May of 2007 for my little back issue. Then it was muscular and at that time he lectured me on my neglectful spine care. I have scoliosis so it was important.

Truthfully I knew he was right. But if I had an hour in my day I would spend it training rather than being adjusted. Seems it has caught up to me.

We determined this is not muscular as I thought. Evidenced by the massage on Tuesday….. no trigger points, no sore muscles. Evidenced by the same thing with Dr. Les. He assessed my spine functionality. Now remember that your spine was designed to bend and twist. I am a yoga teacher and when healthy I can not only do a backbend, I can back bend and rest on my forearms. So normally my flexion and extension is good.

Thursday……. not so much.

The only time I experienced pain was bending forward. When he tried to bend me back I couldn't, but not because of pain. Which led him to conclude this was in fact structural, but not disc. This is good news.

One of the reasons I don't get cracked is because I hate to be cracked. Call it control, call it whatever. But I was in so much pain that relaxing into the arms of Dr. Les with my right leg here, my arms crossed; me twisted…… that felt fine.


AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Five more cracks and an instant 50% reduction in pain.

"You'll be ready for Austin." He told me. "You will be pool running by Friday, running by Monday and flip turning by Wednesday." Honestly I don't care if I flip turn at all before December.

He also instructed me to limit sitting to driving. "Either stand or lay down." He said.

I walked a mile with Luc and it was good. I spun an easy 45 minutes and it was pretty good.

It's sore, I will admit to that. But it is the first big improvement in a week. Hooray! I can put away the Flexoril (this isn't a muscular issue….. although it was a nice magic carpet ride…) and I moved my computer to the island counter in the kitchen.

I get cracked today, and every day until we can back it up to once a week, once every two weeks and then once a month. I will never neglect my spine care again.

Now note this: had sticking needles in my eyes cured this pain I'd be standing here typing to you the benefits of needle-in-the-eye-sticking. I am not afraid to jump on a bandwagon. Remember: Buffalo Bills.

If cracking me works then you can crack me all the way from here to Austin Texas. If no sitting is the order then hell on the place I will stand (once we reach altitude of course). Man, that would mean I have come a long way; I have flown to Hawaii 2 times without even leaving my seat for a 12 hour flight.

So if you see a tall girl with gnarly brown hair and pink compression socks (just to irritate my coach I wear them ;-), standing in the back of the plane with a death grip on a seat (what if the top of the plane rips off? COME ON!!!) Then come on back and talk to me. I will tell you the benefits of chiropractics.
Before then however I am off to find Dr. Les and I matching BFF bracelets.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Ashley gets to live near coffee street and it makes me jealous.

If anyone is good at turning a negative into a positive.... it's me. It's just what I have been taught.
Wednesday brought me my very best day since my crash. My pain level has significantly decreased to about a 3/10, since I took just one dose of Flexoril. I took another Wednesday night as well.

Why do I have such aversion to medications? Side effects. I hate them. It isn't like you take a Flexoril and it goes to the affected muscle. Medications have systemic effects. They mess with your head, cause fatigue, etc. But this time I had to concede and I will admit.... it has helped tremendously.

Dr. Les Lange of Greater Rochester Chiropractic is the pinnacle of my recovery here. Sometimes I become annoyed when people run to a chiropractor for ailments. Even myself. But with scoliosis I have a structural issue that is helped with chiropractic, ART, and ultrasound. Things have calmed down enough to get worked on.

Wed I was able to make through a very comfortable 2000 yards of swimming (no flip turns!). Thursday I shall bike for 45 minutes. I am taking everything one step at a time. I really hope by Monday I can run. I have no plan for the week at all, I started with zero and I will end up with something.

I really want to compete in Austin. If I don't hurt I will go for anything. If I hurt I will stop.

I have never worked so hard for a season that fell so short. My Coach put so much into me and I returned nothing to him.

But I am moving. I am moving more and hurting less.

I approach everything in my life with heart, hope and faith, and this is no different.


Like I previously said, 2008 has brought a bit of strange luck to the girls of Camp HTFU. What is important is that we keep our perspective. I believe we have.

Two days ago I cried through a half mile walk with my son. Today I woke up to ..... less pain. For 5 days pain has been 9 out of 10. This morning it was a 5. That's a gift. Tuesday I spent an hour on a massage table getting worked on by the magical hands of Kevin at Breathe. The rest of the day was a disaster. I worked a 12 hour Pediatric ED shift and I burst into tears several times due to pain. You think my Nurse Manager would have cared.

Uh..... no.

But my wonderful colleagues did. Including the doctors I work with. They have helped me in more ways than I know. I finally agreed to a prescription for Flexoril. Funny how I have such an aversion to medication. Just took my first dose and I feel the muscle continue to relax.

At noon I will head to the pool for some light laps and no flip turns. Now let's talk about ego. How much does it absolutely kill me to do an open turn? Can you say SWIM SNOB? But I will eat my piece of humble pie and do the open turn. No intervals, just swimming.

All I want to do is move today.

Should that feel good I will do a very easy water run and spend some time in the hot tub. Thursday I spend with Dr. Les Lange of Greater Rochester Chiropractic.

I am holding hope that if I can get out of pain by Sunday, Monday I can ship my bike and Austin is still on. The training I have done is not for nothing. I can put in a good easy week next week and come Austin just race from my heart. Will it be fast? I don't know. I will ride completely on feel, meaning if I have pain I shall slow down or I shall stop. I am okay with that.

I just want to move.

There's one thing that's for sure, this is something that will heal. This is not the end of the world. Sure I have worked so incredibly hard for a season that was crappy. There were many things that were beyond my control, and just as many that were.

Like I could have just been paying attention last Thursday instead of riding with my head down. Admiring those great big watts bought me no watts today.

Humility Mary. Humility. I know.

Day by day. That's all i can do. I will only do what my body shall allow. I am approaching this recovery like I approach everything. With a big heart, great hope and a lot of faith.

Just like my teammates in HTFU. One day at a time girls. One day at a time.

another one bites the dust

2008 Has not been kind to the girls of Camp HTFU. Marit crashed first. Then Ashley. I crashed last week, which for the past 6 days has rendered me having a difficult time walking. The pain I am currently in is so excruciating I can barely write. Today Jen Harrison was in a car accident. She will be okay.

We will all be okay. My injury is going to heal. We are all going to heal. Together we will pull through.

Monday, September 15, 2008

live strong ZACH!

A message from Michael Hollstrom...... friend of Zach DeRidder, who is surviving cancer:

And click here to see a great inspiring video!

My friend Zach DeRidder is a 23 year-old cancer triathlete and a finalist in a video contest to win an autographed bike signed by Lance Armstrong. During the summer of 2007, I followed him around New York State filming him and cheering him on as he finished an unbelievable 16 athletic events with a tumor on his liver the size of two grapefruits. While undergoing treatment for liver cancer, Zach completed a total of 8 triathlons, 1 dauthlon, 6 foot races, and 1 century bike ride. I helped my friend start his own foundation to raise money for cancer, launch a website, and raise over $1000 for a cross-country bike trip he hoped to take in the near future . . .

Then in Sept 2007, Zach was hospitalized unexpectedly and fell into a near-fatal coma. In the hospital he lost his strength, his weight, his memory, and almost his life. With surgical removal of the tumor impossible and after being rejected for a liver transplant, Zach returned home to his family in November and began re-learning how to read, tie his shoes, and do just about everything. Not surprisingly, Zach quickly started gaining his strength back by doing push-ups, sit-ups, walking, and biking. Throughout 2008, Zach has been in and out of the hospital for comparatively minor issues such as kidney stones.

Miraculously, an MRI in August 2008 found that Zach's tumor shrunk for the first time since it was discovered in December 2005. Liver cancer messed with the wrong man! Zach's on his way to accomplishing his biggest goals of beating cancer, going to college, and starting a family.

Today, Lance Armstrong offers us a chance to share Zach's incredible story to build public awareness of cancer and inspire everyone we know to face difficult challenges with courage and optimism. He put out a video contest last month daring you to send him a video describing how you dared to make a difference in your life and in the lives of others by overcoming serious obstacles.

Lance's team selected Zach as a finalist (mhallstr4). Now it's up to us to select Zach as the winner of the autographed bike.

1. Email this message to everyone you know.
2. Vote for Zach's video (mhallstr4) on this website once a day through Sunday, Sept 21:

Thank you on behalf of Zach, his friends, his family, and everyone affected by cancer for forwarding this message to everyone you know and helping Zach win the autographed bike.

Saturday, September 13, 2008



One of my former students emailed me this morning to ask me how I stay motivated. She is doing the Rochester 1/2 marathon tomorrow and her long term goal is to compete in a natural body building competition next March. Actually she has two lined up. She admitted to sometimes losing motivation to do her workouts and follow her diet.... and I could identify.

I thought it was a great question.

While I admit that I was born with a tremendous amount of motivation, there have been times that I too have struggled. I have been in this sport about 12 years now, and honestly the last 3 seasons have brought more disappointment than achievement. Injury, falling short of time goals, etc.

However I will say that Ironman Florida was the shot in the arm I needed. That's carried me through all of the difficulties I have had this season. Even with my crash 2 days ago. Things are getting better but truthfully I worry that I won't compete next weekend.

Give me 2 more days to work this out.

Those small moments of achievement, and that one big moment like Ironman Florida 2007, those help me stay motivated. Why? Because I know that I can do it. I may face every hurdle on earth on my way, but this streak of difficulties has ended and the lessons I have learned along the way are much more important than the ones you learn from winning.

In 2004 I won 14 out of 15 races and set the Musselman 1/2 IM record in 4:48. Honestly I learned nothing from all of that. Nothing.

It's the past 3 seasons that I have learned. When I have fallen (literally) DNF'd..... its almost as if there is a natural progression of this whole thing. We can't have the good without the bad.

But back to motivation.

I see it a lot when people sign up for the Ironman. You have to sign up a year in advance. The biggest athletic goal of your life has been set. Paid for. Locked down. You know where you will be on that day in 2009. It's as if it is so far away you want to get psyched for it and you want to start the training right here and right now.

Let a few weeks and a few months pass. Let be January 15th at 5am when you are rolling out of bed for a run. It's dark, winter, the plows are out. The goal is far away. The motivation may seem low.

The excitement you feel when you hit submit will fade, and you should let it. It's a long year.

Start by setting smaller goals. Weekly goals, monthly goals and / or quarterly goals. By quarterly goals I mean...... aim for a particular 10K or 1/2 marathon. Then the next quarter it might be time for another road race, then maybe a particular triathlon, or a few. A longer ride. Anything.

As you look at your season don't just plop Ironman on the calendar and not know what else you would like to do. There are stepping stones to get there. The road races, the 1/2 Ironmans. Etc.

Set small goals along the way.

The next thing I think is important is along the same lines of planning a progression of your season. Let volume build, segway into intensity segments. Work on your weakness. Don't forget about recovery.

Training for a big event isn't about 52 weeks of 100% focus. It's a progression. It's building volume and recovering from the workload. It's shifting the focus to help you improve your weakness and build on your strengths.

What it comes down to honestly is taking things one step at a time.

The third piece of advice I would give...... love what you are doing.

With all of my setbacks I can honestly say I have not ever felt like I wanted to quit my sport. Every single day I look forward to the swim the bike and the run. I feel happy to be doing it. (There are days when I get out there and I don't feel happy..... those days I go home.)

This sport has enriched my life in so many ways. Beyond titles and awards and nominations and records...... I have met so many truly amazing people that I am so blessed to call my friends and family. I came into this sport to find myself. I did that. What I didn't come here to find was the community. That was a great big bonus.

So not only do I love this sport, I adore all of the people it has crossed my paths with. That's the biggest motivation of all. The people I have met have inspired me, cried with me, hell one even married me.

The day I stepped foot into that first open water swim I was just hoping to get to the finish line. While I did just that, the experiences a long the way have managed to take my breath away.

So I shall tell my friend, whom I am so very proud of to search deep and reveal the reason she has set those goals in the first place. I will tell her to plan her training with stepping stones that all lead to the big event in March. I will tell her to find the joy within her training and within herself. And I will tell her to treasure the people she shall meet along the way.

And I will remind her to not get so focused on the end result, the big day that she missed everything that will happen along the way.

Friday, September 12, 2008

the hurdler

I can't believe it. I crashed my bike. Not because of anything glorious either. I was in the middle of a 120 minute tempo session. My head was down. My preceding tempo run was great. reverse acclimation was in full swing and my feet were frozen.

When I rode off the rode and into someones lawn. Crash, flip, boom.


The good news: I kept my wits about me as I was falling and I kept my head up.

The bad news: I landed on my right hip.

The good news: I have no road rash.

The bad news: I have nothing to show for this!

The good news: I landed on my right hip which triggered the old "right side of my back / hip tightness problem" that I frequently encounter, from when I was hit by a car running some 10 years ago.

The other good news: I am in one piece and my bike is fine. I am lucky.

I picked myself up and finushed the ride. I completed my second tempo run and headed to the pool. The tightness grew so much I could not flip turn.

Game over for today.

We all have our litte injuries and we have our own way of dealing with them. For example I partially tore my Achilles in 2006. What works for me when I have any sort of AT issue is heat. The AT's have a poor blood flow. The only time I ice my AT's are in an ice bath. For me heat on the AT works wonders.

My back.... I have scoliosis so there is a weak spot there which I combat with strength training and flexibility. So when it gets tight I can tell because my hamstrings will get tighter. I never use ice on my back.... I use heat. For 24 hours I don't touch it. I let it be still. Then I go to work.

There is nothing a chiropractor can do to fix it. It's my structure. I also won't make an angry muscle angrier by touching it all of the time. So I do my fix for an hour and then I leave it be.

Already much much better. I am grateful because I know this injury.

I am lucky that I broke nothing. I am lucky it is just this. And I know I know..... intervals like this should be done on the trainer!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

not again!

For the record..... thank you for the emails about Ironman Canada again opening spots for the 2009 race. My decision not to sign up is final. We are over for another three years. Ironman divorce is final. I am not signing up. I am not signing up.

Moving on..........

Kelly and I continued our Austin heat training program with a 120 minute ride in 65 degrees of sunshine today. To make it really worth it we dressed warm. I even wore my favorite Postal Service Jersey.... fleece on the inside!!!!!!

We swam today at Nazareth.... which just might be the coldest pool in the area. I figured if I was freezing my butt off I would wish I was in the warm balmy waters of Austin.

Yeah.... this is so the way to go! Reverse acclimation. I shall start a new thing!

Today is picture day, so I shall share a few pictures while I am out completing my uptempo brick:

Here is how my car looks after a traditional day of training with Kelly..... it is also called "The locker room". And in case you were wondering...... it does smell like it too!

I received this hilarious gift from two of my craziest athletes: Karin and Matt Kellman. It is a giant poster of the Ironman swim. I am the one in the pink cap....... just in case I have forgotten my Ironman lake Placid experience...... (and that white spot is the flash..... not the sonic boom that happened when I got hit....)

And while we are on the topic of picture day..... Curt's racing bike is packed and shipped off to Oregon..... here's how I pack er up:

Here's my little sunshine on his first day of second grade.......

Here Luc is jumping off the three meter dive....... something Curt Eggers will not do!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


An email from the Longhorn 70.3.... or what are we calling these races now...... Ironman Texas 70.3 .... revealed that the lake in which we shall be swimming in next month...... is 90 degrees.


90. Ninety. Nine zero.

I don't think I have ever swam in water that warm. Like..... ever. Which is why you might have seen Kim, Kelly and I doing our workout in the hot tub this morning. Next to cups. Who drinks from cups and jumps up and down at the end of the lane.

That is not a joke.

Anyhow...... 90 degrees of swimming may change things a bit. Like no wetsuit. And maybe not even a skin suit. Possibly just skin if you know what I mean. This could very well become the nude swim in Texas.

A look through last year's results and the seemingly slower times were well explained by the hundred degree heat. Suddenly this race could easily become about who races the smartest rather than who races the fastest.

I have never been stellar in the heat but each time I race in Africa Hot weather I handle it better. While I might take a bottle of S! caps I get through it. And I will find a way to persevere through this one as well.

Now comes the question....... how on earth do I simulate Texas heat in Rochester NY when outside my window it is a chill 65 degrees?

Clothing of course. It is scientifically proven that if you simply dress warmer...... that it is just like the hotter climates. I swear! If you believe that then click here for SwimmingPeaks 1.0, you will fall in love with this software.

The truth of the matter is..... I can't really simulate Austin up here in Rochester. Sure I could bring the bike into the bathroom with the shower on HOT and the steam .... but that truly wont' simulate actual conditions. I can dress as warm as I want.... but again that won't do.

I just have to rely on past experience and plan ahead. Strategery as they call it, my favorite George W Bush invented word.

Strategery is devising a strategy. Combating fluid loss, salt intake, caloric expenditure, pace, etc. Trying to figure it all out and then when the gun goes off hope that like the lotto.... I have more than just close enough.

Actually close enough will do me just fine as well.

So I can spend the next few weeks worrying. Or I can spend the next few weeks working hard and preparing to have the best race I can in any conditions. What it will truly come down to, more powerful than heat or distance...... is that space between my ears.

Monday, September 8, 2008

open water swim clinic this sunday!

You are invited to an open water swim clinic! Here are the details:

When: Sunday Sept 14th 8am (until about 10am)

Where: Kershaw Park, Canandaigua Lake we will be meeting under one of the shelters initially!

What: Learn and tricks of open water swimming. Everything from sighting, to
wetsuits, to which

goggles to wear, warm ups before a triathlon, and even some stroke technique.

Who: Presented by Train-This and Score-This!

Now here are the nitty gritty details:

When you arrive please come on over to the shelter. We will be towards the Hess station, closer to the coffee shop rather than the actual swim entrance. You will need to sign a USAT waiver and check in with Rich from Score-This! And for the record...... Train-This and Score-This have been lifelong friends..... people often ask if we know each other! HA!

Open water swimming is much more than swimming in a lake. Even as a collegiate swimmer it took me a few seasons to develop my open water style. We will take you through the whole gamete on Sunday. I will bring some of my wetsuits so you can see the difference between sleeveless, long sleeved and you can check out a skin suit as well. I will bring lots of pairs of goggles so you can check out the different styles. I will help you determine which ones might or might not be for you (both wetsuits and goggles).

Next we will talk about getting the wetsuit on and off, how to achieve the fit and how to slide out in no time.

I will teach you how to navigate an open water swim, from start to finish. I will teach you "the dolphin" and give you some tips on how to swim straight, when to breathe, and how to not get kicked in the head. :-)

The course will not be set up on Sunday because the lake is open for the boaters and we just don't' want anyone to die! However our traditional swim course will be available for all to swim. Plan on swimming as little or as much as you'd like. I will take a look at strokes and will give you one small tip to make your open water swim better (if you even need it!).

While this clinic takes place at the site of the Finger Lakes Triathlon, you needn't be in the triathlon or even a triathlete to attend. You do need to know how to swim. No lifeguards will be on hand. The lake is 5 feet deep in all sections we will be swimming in. So you will never be in water over your head.

So please join us..... our clinic is free and we would love to see all of you!!!!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

not much longer

Here I am stalking Brian Rhodes. When we started to take this picture he was sitting down and stretching. I instructed Foster 1 to take the picture with me in the foreground. As Foster 1 took the picture he was laughing uncontrollably. Later on when I uploaded this picture I realized that BR realized what was going on, stood up and himself started laughing. I will have to work on improving the subtly of my stalker ways.

Goodness gracious I am sick. NUTS as Luc would say. Was I not just sick? The good news is that it is respiratory. I train easier when it is above the neck, rest when it is below the neck. I have a four hour uptempo brick on tap today and I need to get er done.

It's funny how if you were my athlete telling me this.... I'd likely tell you some really great advice. But when it is me..... do as I say not as I do.

Because there is not a lot of time left. And I need to rock these last few weeks out. I need this tempo work and I need to know I can do it.

What I must remember is that Austin isn't being built in these weeks, it has actually already been built. I have been building it all season long and I hope..... I hope..... I hope that it all comes together on October 5th.

As I have looked back over my season I don't see enough races on my calendar. I see some results but I wasn't healthy. I see a lot of work and not a lot to show for that work. As next season begins to loom there will be more.

Now that my divorce from the Ironman has become official. And I got custody of the kid.

I mean today Ironman is running around with over 4,000 people all over the world. What kind of relationship is that?????

Two weeks from today I get to race at the Finger Lakes Triathlon. This is the big hometown race and it's full to capacity. There's a great ladies field and my heart is already pumping at the thought of going hard and going fast. I will be like a bear in a cage at that race.

Oh yes I will.

There's this balance between competing a lot and not competing too much. Enough to keep you fresh, but not so much you trash yourself. I definitely feel under the wire this year but again it comes back to Ironman (bastard) who I gave up everything for.

Racing is fun. It's the party of all of this work. Its the celebration, the good times with friends, the head to head races. That's what we sit on our trainers all winter long for. That chance to see what you have on that very day.

I want more of those days. As I prepare for Austin I can't help but thinking to 2009 and the year I turn 35. I actually can't wait. 30-34 was good but not at all what I know I am capable of. I know I have a peak to hit and I haven't hit it yet. Now that I am so over the Ironman (please notice that if I had not left the IMLP course in an ambulance...... had I pr'd I am very sure I would be singing a whole different tune.....) there is a whole field of 70.3 waiting to be investigated and figured out.

It begins in Austin!!!!