Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

It's the night before Ironman and we are having so much FUN! Panama City Beach in the off-season is the FUN season for spectathletes (thanks Liz for that term!!!!). I have run into so many people..... what a small world. Danni is here as well and Marit arrives tomorrow.

Tonight we forced Curty to go back to the hotel while Luc and I had an entire Go Kart, Haunted House and Golf range to ourselves!

A run on the beach this am..... a swim at the aquatic center...... I may never come home again!

As long as I am with family I swear I can call anyplace home.

His feet are up. He is ready and I am so very excited. It's been a long time since his last Ironman. He's ruled short course and I am crossing my fingers that he hits his potential tomorrow.

Curt is READY!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ironman Florida 2008 Day One Update

Thanks for all the well wishes..... rememebr CURT is racing.... not I!!!!! WOO HOO!

Funniest statement made while traveling with Luc today: it was made while we were walking through the Atlanta airport. Each time Luc sees a pilot he must approach and say hello. One kind pilot asks Luc "Where are you going today?"

"Starbucks." He answers. "My Mom really likes Starbucks.


Arrival in Panama City Beach brought us sunshine. Not too long after we arrived at the hotel we took note.,…. Curt is ready. Silver bracelet is on. Sending him down a day early was a good call. Go Mary!

Soon, for the first time in the four visits I have had in PCB I found myself training… not tapering…. not loosening…. but training. Just a run, an easy run. I was the girl all you Florida Ironman athletes saw smiling and waving at all of you. The obnoxious girl running in her skirt while you were all dressed in arm warmers and mittens. It's 75 degrees people! Yesterday I was dressed in full on winter weather gear!

For the first time in a long time I am at an Ironman race and I am not racing an Ironman. It feels so weird.

This was the reason why I wanted to qualify early for Cheatwater 70.3 2009. (Sorry Rachel… I couldn't resist). If I qualified in Austin, then I would not sign up for Ironman Florida 2009. Really, it was the only way to prevent this from happening.

I have already thought about how it would be possible to do the double. My new coach however thwarted this idea quickly. Genius she is!

This evening we played on the beach and in the ocean. One of my athletes Kim and her boyfriend Jake joined the Eggers family for a round of mini golf. Then another one of my guys, Jay joined us all for some ice cream. It was good to have the peeps together. Everyone is ready. Everyone is ready to go.

Friday is Halloween. Danni and Marit arrive and tomorrow evening we swim in the ocean. We will show up at the Gilmore Girl's Memphis house on surf drive for trick or treats too!

A week of family and friends. Now really, does it get any better than this??????
I will have pictures tomorrow. Internet in PCB seems spotty this weekend! So does cell service. Until then there are bikes to be cleaned, bags to be numbered and memories about to be made. And of course, good scares!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


A few pictures from our Haloween adventures......

And an old post from March 30th 2008 to get us in the Ironman Spirit!

I just took a look at my schedule of training for the week and it thrilled me to the bone. I am well aware to the non Ironman fanatic that this might seem a bit much. Heck, my life to most is a bit much.

But you know what I long for? I long for someone to just get it.

I long for someone to just take it as it is. People believe that I am not able to rest. That I am not able to lie on the couch and watch TV, that I have a complete inability to put my feet up. That my head is swirling a thousand times a minute and I just can not stop.I don't even try to explain it.

This is my life.

This is what I do.

I am an athlete.


A 2 hour run for someone who does not train as much as I do is going to sound completely insane. A 2 hour run for someone who has trained 15-20 hours per week for the better part of 10 years, it is a walk in the park. A 2 hour run is not at mach speed. It's at e pace. It's like walking easy for walkers. I can do it when I am sick. I can do it when I am well. Because I am a superstar? No! Because I am accustomed to it. My body is used to it. It does not hurt to run two hours. It used to. It used to hurt a whole heck of a lot.

But fitness is an interesting thing. It is bankable. It is progressive. It has cycles. There are peak weeks and there are recovery weeks where the body absorbs the heavy load. The people who are out there grinding out the same week, same workouts, same intensity all the time without a proper progression are the ones who get hurt, the ones who get burned out and the ones who don't make progress.

I am a thrill seeker.

I love the excitement of the gun firing. I love the energy of running into a shark infested ocean with 2000 people. I love the feeling of jumping on my bike and riding with my heart on the handlebars. It strips away the layers, it strips away my story. It puts me face to face with me.

I love running stride by stride with someone and never saying a word. I love in my yoga practice when I can feel the energy of the people around me. Like our breath is one breath. Like our movements are one movement. Like the joy and the pain and the ups and the downs are combined into one.

It puts me face to face with me. It's not a form of self sabotage. If I can't do it, I don't. It's a form of therapy. I think a bout a lot during these miles. I create during these miles. I spend time with me during these miles. And I dream about a lot during these miles.

So what is my dream? My dream is always the same. The last 30 seconds of every single race. Especially the Ironman. In the Ironman the finish line looks packed with people in stands on either side of me. It's my very own red carpet. I can see the hands waving, I slap hands as I run down the chute, I feel the excitement, I relish in the energy. But each time I hear nothing. And it always happens in slow motion for me. It is my moment of glory. The moment that answers the questions … am I fit enough? Am I strong enough? Do I believe enough in me?

Can I stand on my own feet and can I completely occupy my own skin and love what I feel?

What do I have inside of me and am I willing to be torn completely apart to find out?

Do I have that much courage?

It brings to light the moments during the year of preparation…… the rides in sub zero temperatures, the runs on pure ice. The workouts that have been so hard and so hot that my cloths get strewn all over the lawn and I lay in a bathtub of ice and I love what I feel.What do I feel? The absolute purest most vivid feeling of being alive.

I admit, sometimes people can find that by reading a book. Some people can find that by going for a walk. I can actually do that as well. But nothing, absolutely nothing can make me feel every inch of myself like a finish line.

It's been in the pool, on a bike, and through trails and woods and streets that I have found everything I have needed to find in my life. I have found friends. I have found enemies. I have fallen in love, I have had my heart shattered out here and then I have gotten up and done it all over again. I have found sisters and brothers that I was not born with. I have found solitude and quietness in my brain.

I have dreamt big dreams and I have let go of unfulfilled ones. I have found health and I have even found illness. I have at times tried to outrun illness. And then I have found my way back again.

So this is my life. This is who I am. I am not running away from someone I wanted to be, I am not running towards someone I want to be.

I am not running from a problem or running for an answer.

I am stretching out my arms holding my head back and I am screaming as loud as I can.

I know that makes me scary. I would rather be thought of as someone who frightens people and someone who lives big and someone who is willing to risk her heart, risk her body and risk her soul....Than be thought of someone who had…. potential.

I am not sorry for that.

There are those who can't take it and they run. And there are those who can just take all of me and love me no matter what.NO MATTER WHAT.

I can not remember how the quote goes exactly or who it is by but here is what I truly, absolutely and whole heartedly believe……"When I die I do not wish to arrive at the gates in a pretty white dress with my hair perfect. I wish to skid in by my back wheel, bloodied and bruised to the bone screaming …… WOW……… what a ride."


The off-season has treated me well. Very well. I'm on week #4 and I have done..... a lot of nothing. Few swims, fewer bikes, and I got to start running this week. After the crash..... it's been a long time since I have run. Getting back to it, for a few minutes a day has been wonderful.

Yesterday I graduated from weekly chiropractor visits to bi weekly visits. Dr. Les commended me on my remarkable ability to take an off-season, and to allow things to heal.

Things happen for a reason and I truly hope the badness of 2008 is finally behind me. I feel in so many ways like I have climbed this giant mountain. I have climbed over the mountain. While it didn't seem so ginormous at the time, as I look back..... thing was freaking huge.

And I am not the only one who has endured her fair share of S*** this season. I have been thinking a lot about Elaine (Tri Girl Pink) these past few months. I've never met Elaine.... she's one of my creepy Internet friends. I have certainly never met Margret. But I have prayed for her, for them, for their families and for their pain.

The hardest part is to look at the pictures of Margret..... before she became sick. And that wasn't too long ago. Living the triathlon life, loving her new bike. She sounds just like us. Just like you and me smiling with friends and living it up. Setting goals and dreaming dreams.

When you watch people go through something like this..... it makes you look around and reach out for that squeeze, that hug, those words you never wait until it is too late to say. You really begin to forget about the small stuff.

There are a lot of unkind and negative people in this world. Experiences like this remind you that the evil people in this world.....they are as valuable as my trash.

This morning I assembled my bike after we dropped off Curt at the airport. It's snowing. I began to feel grouchy about the snow. Then I stood outside and let the snowflakes fall on my face. I reminded myself that snow is one of the small things.

And we know not to sweat those.

So Elaine, Margret, and to all of you, please know you are not in the hearts and prayers of so many today..... you have been for a long time. You will be forever. In those moments of desperation, those moments when you think help.... help..... help...... please know that in this instance, help is on the way. All you have to do is reach for it. She's around you. She's not in pain anymore. She's free and I know in my heart that she will be there to help you heal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

love this life

As I sit here at Train-This Headquarters and look out the window I see the word DISMAL. Wind blowing, the threat of snow. Beautifully colored leaves but a grey grey sky. Dismal. In 2 days I will be on the beach.

With this guy....

And this view....

And this guy too.....

In moments like this I can feel it brewing. So much to get done between now and then. But when we feel the jerk of the plane as we go from non motion to speeding down the runway I will get to leave everything behind me.

Everything behind me? That sounds like I have some impossible life. I don't. I have a very blessed life with wonderful people who I have amazing connections with. Through work, through play, through the blogosphere.

On Friday Luc and I will be trick or treating in Panama City Beach. On Friday I will take Danni swimming in the ocean. She's never swam in the ocean!!!! I have a vision of fear and excitement for her. It will be awesome.
On Saturday by the time Curt hits the run we will be hanging with the Memphis girls at mile one of the run. I might wear my own race number because it will be easier for you to see me than for me to see you. In any case I will be wearing red and pink flowered board shorts and a black top. Maybe everyday I will wear that. On the beach I will be dressed as Texas. My name is on my butt, don't be shy.
On race day I will be cheering. And I will be holding my breath all day long for every single one of you. I know how it feels.
The week where too much time has become too little time. The week where waiting becomes the norm. Waiting in airports. Waiting in line. Waiting for the sound of the cannon.
You've put a lot into November 1st. You've dreamt about it and you have worried about it. Feel the energy that you feel right now and soak it up. Let it course through you because energy is life. Life is what you have, and this is what will carry you all day long.
Get your feet up. Get your shine on everyone..... because Saturday is your day to shine!

Monday, October 27, 2008

running camp

Sarah and I after a long run this summer......

Running camp began this week ...... right at the moment I reached out and grabbed it. Like I said yesterday... you almost have to wait for that moment to come. It came through cold and rain and while I was out there running I decided. It was time for running camp to begin.

Part of this year's journey, now that I have learned how to run, is to become a faster runner. You might remember that for the better part of 2 years my focus was on Ironman running, which meant E paced running as defined by the world's number one running Coach Jack Daniels.

What is all this V Dot talk? It's a system. It helps if you have a Garmin, but I advise you to not get a Garmin if you are freaked out by numbers or one of those people who gets obsessive about it. I am the type of athlete who can read and also ignore my Garmin without emotion. This thing could fall off of me and I would only be upset because it was expensive. By using it I have learned my paces. I am not defined by it.

So let us begin in the beginning. To understand the V dot system, actually to understand any training methodology you need to have a basic understanding of physiology and training. It's not that hard. There are a lot of great articles out there. There are a few who write in a fashion that is simple and to the point about the basics and even about more.

References you are going to want to check out are: (and there are absolutely more, I just like this group. Also note that Trevor Syversen of TMS Multisports would be on this list if he actually PUBLISHED something.... he's awesome)

Gordo Byrn
Rich Strauss
Paulo Sousa
Chuckie V (some people disagree with this choice, but the guy is hilarious!)
The Science of Sport

And my favorite
Jack Daniels. In fact here is a good article from a great site written by him:

What I do is I read an article, I put it away and I allow it to soak in. I often think about it during my next run or ride.

Back to V Dot. To oversimplify (understand by doing the reading, don't just go out and do something……) the process, you begin with a recent race time. For me…… a 5K.

21:10, somewhere around there. I will use this number because it's been where I have been running since the summer. This number gives me a V dot of 46. Based on this V dot JD set up paces for various runs. Now these names paces and definitions are designed by JD, as I will incorrectly reference them I am sure: (and
here is a great site for V dot calculating). Important lesson here: never run at a V Dot you have not earned. Unless you want to be injured.

E pace; Easy pace. HR is 65-79% and quantity is lesser of 25% weekly mileage.

M Pace; Marathon Pace. HR is 80-90% and quantity is lesser of 90 minutes.

T pace: Threshold pace. HR is 88-92% lesser of 10% weekly mileage.

There are 2 faster paces, but we will save that for later.

My E pace is about 9:00-9:10 minute miles. When I first saw that I thought, holy cow, that's waaaay too slow! But I trusted it, I did it and I am able to run every single day at this pace. Running slower forced me to develop a higher cadence run, forcing me to land on my midfoot and forcing me to run more efficiently. When I run e pace I can sing happy birthday, I feel like I am going …. as Training Peaks would call it…. embarrassingly slow, best alone.

The benefits of running E pace are that you develop your aerobic foundation (that's putting it really really simply). You learn to run more efficiently. (Saves you $$ on Newtons) and by running more efficiently you will avoid injury. I can run E pace in my sleep, and when I am in pain. E pace is also the pace that many hold during an Ironman marathon. Rich Strauss and his friends have come up with what I think it a gorgeous system for power pacing on the bike and V dot pacing on the run for an Ironman!

Now….. of course if all you do is run E pace you will do nothing but run E pace. (Like me). Just as if I go out and run 6:45 miles for every run of every day I will get injured. During this phase of the year, during running camp, the goal is to build durability and endurance.

So I am officially in running camp. 30 runs in 30 days. All E pace. 90% of these runs are 30 minutes. The goal: to run every day. To do this requires a brutal sense of honesty with myself. I have that. I have been through enough injuries to know whether I should run through something or I should not. And not to worry I will keep you updated.

The real magic will come down the road. When the running foundation is super solid and we can get into T pace and even I pace runs. The E pace is the cake. A good solid chocolate cake. Those other paces are the icing.

Skeptical? Don't worry; it's worked for thousands of runners. It has worked for me for over a year. Now that the focused has shifted, we shift too.

Lastly……. what do you do if you don't have a Garmin? There are a few good systems based on heart rate, take a look around. The thing to remember is that one system doesn't work for everyone. Many opt for the no gadget at all system, which is a great system to follow! As I said before I happen to be someone who can be very causal about my gadgets. I can get lost in the pure beauty of a run through the forest and occasionally check my pace. I don't care how far I run I only care about time right now. If the battery dies the battery dies. Don't be owned by these things, you'll go mad.

These gadgets and numbers teach us how to read out bodies. They often time slow us down. I think the real magic in them is when you attain the same feeling without looking, and realize you nailed it. That right there is when you know you've got it!

So welcome to running camp. I am looking forward to the runs I will be doing in Florida. The sun, the warm, the sand. It's all good medicine.

So read up campers and feel free to shoot me some good references that you might have. I am a sponge, and I like to read. Especially when I am hanging at the beach. Watching an Ironman. With Ironman friends. In the sun.

Yes friends....... there is thing called the sun....... I have heard much about it......

Saturday, October 25, 2008

the urge

It happens when you've taken a proper off-season. You wake up in the morning in a sea of unstructure. Only faced with the challenge of no zeros for the week. You begin to reach for it again.

The season behind you is finally behind you. With all of it's glory and so much of it's heartbreak. Those are the lessons that make us stronger. We learn from tripping more than we learn from never falling down. Smiles replace tears as you recount what you remember of the concussion. The dazed and confused feeling finally shaken. The sorrow and grief of a life you loved so briefly healing. Slowly healing.

While I heard the rain falling on the roof I looked out the window and through the grey skies and the cold air I saw beauty. Leaves of all colors. Many on the ground. The inviting road. I don't' care how cold it is..... the road always seems to call me.

One bike on the trainer.... one still in the box..... another lent to a friend. Biking? Not just yet. I want to run. So I ran.

Just because I dream of the sun doesn't mean that wearing a skirt and a t shirt is warm enough when the thermometer reads 42 degrees. Then again, maybe it is? My first run back felt nothing short of glorious. It reminded me that the bad days remind me to treasure the good days.

What I treasure most however is the feeling. The feeling of beginning again. Yes it was hard this year but if it were easy would I even be here? Would it awaken that spirit within me that wants to know .... if I have what it takes?

I treasure the feeling of privilege, because this ability and how I define it is a privilege and not a right. I choose to do this, I was not drafted into any event. I choose to sign up with my own free will. Reminding myself of that makes it all feel richer. All feel sweeter.

I remember the excruciating pain I experienced after my bike crash on September 11th. I remember how hard it was to walk. I remember tears in Curt's eyes as he watched the train wreck finally happen.

I know that day happened for a reason. There were a lot of lessons to be learned this season and I will not forget them, even though they might not be defined today. I still learned and I still grew. I still was able to answer the call as to why I am even on this path to begin with.

I am here because I can be. I am here because I want to be. I am here because of those moments in training or in racing..... those moments when it becomes that hard. It becomes so hard that I begin to think....... help...... help...... help.

And then I realize one important thing. That help..... is not on the way. That this comes from me, a place deep within me. The place that wonders what if, the place that wonders if I can, if I have it anymore, if I am over or if I am just beginning again. I find that feeling of beginning again and I realize the person I think I am is no match for the one I truly am.

In 2002 I puked through 13 miles of Ironman Lake Placid. Curt would ride his mountain bike about 100 yards in front of me and clap as I stumbled by. He'd ride ahead again and clap while I stumbled by. I remember asking him to help me. Please anyone help me.

He smiled and he kept clapping. He said a very important thing to me. He said:

"Suck it up buttercup."

By not helping me he helped me. By not giving in he gave to me. By not allowing me empathy he made me find strength.

Remember ....... do not ever forget...... our sport is a metaphor for our life. Remember the first time you ran one mile and thought it was your last? Then you did it again. Then 2 then 3. remember that first contraction when you had your baby? You thought the world would end but you endured another and then another. Remember when you were rejected for a job or a relationship or (insert your experience here)....... and you kept coming back, kept looking, kept putting one foot in front of the other.

Because eventually..... eventually the steps would form a walk. And the walk formed a run. Somewhere in the midst of that run you felt it unlock inside of you. Like a gate was opened and you were set free. In this experience you learned what you couldn't' learn in Psychology 101.

You learned that you are never afraid to try. You learned you are not afraid to fail. You learned that failing happens, but losers never even try. You realized instantly which one you were.

You learned that you already.... right this very moment.... have everything you have ever needed in your life. The external goals....... were already inside of you. So you turned on the light and you let them shine out.

So you keep your shine on. Shine it brightly.

Remember..... it all begins with an urge.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Top Ten Curt Eggers Facts

As written by one of my Train-This Teammates, in honor of Curt's Ironman next week!


01 Curt Eggers' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

02 Curt Eggers counted to infinity - twice.

03 Curt Eggers does not race because the word racing infers the probability of failure. Curt Eggers goes winning.

04 If you can see Curt Eggers, he can see you. If you can't see Curt Eggers you are only seconds away from being passed.

05 Curt Eggers sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled triathlon speed. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Curt roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

06 When the Boogeyman and (insert competitor name here) go to sleep every night they check their closet for Curt Eggers.

07 Curt Eggers built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK assassination. As Oswald shot, Curt met all three bullets with his rock-hard abs, deflecting them. JFK's head exploded out of sheer amazement.

08 Curt Eggers has already been to Mars; that's why there are no signs of life there.

09 They once made a Curt Eggers toilet paper, but it wouldn't take sh** from anybody.

10 A blind man once stepped on Curt Eggers' shoe. Curt replied, "Don't you know who I am? I'm Curt Eggers, national champion!" The mere mention of his name cured this man blindness. Sadly the first, last, and only thing this man ever saw, was a fatal roundhouse delivered by Curt Eggers' massive leg.

world's biggest leafbox

Does that look say fall, or what? Too bad we will be trading it in a week for Panama City Beach. Nothing says it's Ironman Florida time like Halloween. You Memphis girls better have some trick or treats for a Scary Skeleton on Halloween!!!

My goals in Florida are this:
  • Drink one beer every day. And not crap beer. Guiness.

  • Swim in the ocean every day

  • play Frisbee on the beach with Luc

  • boogie board with Luc.... hopefully surf. Nothing says NEW YORKER like sucking at surfing.

  • Build ridiculous sandcastles

  • Be a Mom, A Wife.... and what's Elizabeth call it..... Spectathlete?

I have to go prepare.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

hitting rock bottom

I don't know what we are doing in this picture, but that's me, Kim and Ja Boon in Texas!

I am mortified to say that I gave in. I joined FaceBook. Or is it Facebook. I blame it on the fact that I spent 12 hours in a classroom yesterday. Yes, 12 hours. Give me 140.6 miles to cover and I will, untrained and backwards before I enjoy sitting in a class for 12 hours. I'm a girl that needs fresh air and a whole lot of it.

One of the wonderful side effects of sustaining a grade 2 concussion at Ironman Lake Placid this year are the repercussions. I have had what I suspect to be a migraine maybe once in my life. That was a year ago traveling home form Germany on the airplane. I puked my guts out. What's worse than being sick? Puking on an airplane. Midway through an 8 hour flight. In a small airplane crossing the Atlantic. And the barf bag breaks so your hurl goes all over you.

Suddenly..... you become that girl. Whoever made those crap bags should be shot. Especially when I filled about 10 of them.

The 16 year old kid sitting with us was horrified.

So was customs when I barfed my way through there. And then security. Nothing passes you through GO while collecting your $200 like vomit.

I will have to remember that next time I fly to Europe.

Anyhow....... for 12 hours yesterday I absorbed what I could, the class is actually really interesting.... I had my laptop so Amy Mo and Kim kept me company through emails. And so did Ja Boon. I had a terrible headache and had to visit the bathroom to barf on the rocks a few times. U.G.H.

The most enlightening statement of the day was how Boon predicted Curt's IM finish time. Numerology..... she said she learned it in med school. I can't reveal it till he's done. Then I will also tell you about the massive $$ pool we have going here at Train-This..... a little wager that Curt doesn't know about that will surely make one of us rich.

So if you are watching IM live and Curt is closer to their predicted time than mine.... turn away..... some freak girl might jump out and push him through or hold him hostage..... for a few minutes.

And of course I am avoiding the Facebook topic. I told you I'd never join and I am still not so sure. Within minutes I had a bunch of friends. I thought I was hot stuff when I reached 17 at minute five, and then I realized my sister in law.... had a few hundred.

A few hundred????

Great. I still won't be Homecoming Queen. Even on Facebook.

Names started popping up that I hadn't seen in a while. Fiends from years past. My biggest hesitation was that I didn't want anyone from high school to find me. None of those names have showed up yet. I was the sick eating disorder girl in high school..... I had great friends but it's a let me forget about that part of my life feeling.

But maybe that's what I need. I need to find that part of my life again. I need to stop avoiding those people. JILL: I lost your email when I changed emails..... send me another and an update on the girls and the baby!

Jill and I went to high school together. She found me on the news around here a few years ago. I allowed my life to get too darn busy and just seemed to never have the time to connect.

So whenever one of her beautiful girls falls off something..... I see her in the Peds ED. Last time I noticed she was pregnant again! How wonderful!

So maybe Facebook is my step to reconnecting to the people I have spent years trying to avoid. Why avoid? Not because of anything they did wrong..... but a part of my life that frightens me. Recovery is continual for kids like us..... but one mention of the words high school and I have an instant flashback of a time in my life that was horrible.

It's not horrible anymore. It's wonderful. So let me stand on this rock and take a look behind me. By doing a bit of that I found out my old friend Roy is a doctor in California and appears on some show called General Hospital at night (or something like that.)

So here I come FaceBook. I don't' know how to work it, and I can't see myself spending all day on it..... because I need fresh air. I have a whole day to get it, so I am going to take it!
And I still have not found my sister.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

help...... and so great!

One of my favorite off-season habits is looking for new blogs to add to my blog roll. I have found a most amazing one and here is a quote that encapsulates just about everything so many of us feel when we get into the water. Now my problem is...... I can't find the blog!


This is a great piece and is perhaps the most inspiring blog I have ever read. Please help me find him again!


"Quick: when was the last time you high-fived your Grandpa? Your mother? Your wife?

Not a hug, not an encouraging squeeze. A high-five. Containing a language all its own.

When bobbing around the water, waiting for the world to turn, with the music blaring and the crowds gathering and the mass of swimcaps all around - we are each of us a tiny universe. With a story, a purpose.

We each of us have somebody up there who's breath won't return until they see us safely out of the water. We each answer to something other than ourselves in answering why we are here. It is never a simple thing. And when you toe that line, in the instant before you step into the water to Take Your Mark, you are their ambassador. You represent everybody who believed, or doubted. Who showed up because of, or in spite of. You cross for everybody who hasn't crossed yet, who will one day, and who never would. And you can either pull that weight, or let it pull you.

Because if you know not suffering, or anger, or defeat; if you've never felt like you are more than who you are; if you've never asked yourself what you are truly made of - what absolutes live inside you, and resolved to discover what...well then, of course you'd never be interested in the first place.

It is a thing we all have in common out there - a determination, a requirement, to be Who We Are Instead.Yes, it is. It is that big of a deal. It is that hard. It really is. That's sort of the point.The rest are just details. The rest figures itself out. There's never a "good time". It's never going to ideally suit your universe.

You'll never think to yourself, "Geez, you know what I'm in the mood for? Madness."

It will always be hard, you will always have to work to find the balance, it will never make sense to everybody, often not even yourself. And that, too, is part of the journey, and part of the forging. If you have to talk yourself into it, then wait until your time comes. Until you're drawn in. Until the current takes you. But if you're just making excuses...well then. Life is short. Get in already."


So so so well said.

mary eggers is about to get sharked

"Hello God....... is that YOU?" It still makes me laugh, just thinking about it. Ryan tells it best. His day at Ironman Florida 2007, the day he coined the phrase "I sharted myself" and came apart at the seams a bit. So much so that when Mike Riley announced his name as he crossed the finish line...... he thought it was the voice of God himself.

Some people equate the voice of God to Morgan Friedman. For us triathletes..... it's Mike Riley.

I wish I had known Ryan a year ago, because I was out there too, but I was having the day of my life.

Now in a little over a week my husband will be toeing the line and for the first time in 10 years, I will be taking a vacation that does not involve me racing or training. Of course I will train, it's the ocean for heaven's sakes. But this time it's all him.

Through my site meter I have noticed that a lot of people have been googling his name. Kind of makes me laugh. The guy has certainly proven himself on the short course field throughout his life. Forever on the All American list, always on the Inside Tri list..... National Champion, you name it. Short course is his thing. The last time the guy did a 1/2 Ironman he did it in 4:20.

His Ironman record isn't the greatest..... according to him. I mean he's only done Kona. And walked half the marathon to an 11:06. Canada 2001 was his second, walked about 18 miles to a 12:05. He hated the long training. Once he called me collect to come and pick him up during his long run.

So it really was not hard for me to go 10:58 last year in Florida and claim the title of the "Household's Fastest Ironman." With everything else he's accomplished, can I just have something?

I remember sitting at the Waffle House the morning after IMFL, intending to eat the world but only having the appetite for toast and coffee from my favorite mug. I remember him asking me how I felt and how it felt out there. And what time did registration open.


He told me he'd just take a voucher.

Then back at home ironically the last day to claim your voucher was the day that Kona was televised. As we watched I pretended to do work on my laptop. I was really typing in his information. As soon as the credits began to roll I asked him what he thought.

"Kind of makes me want to give it another try." He admitted.

"Good" I told him. "I just hit submit." If that didn't mean he had an Ironman in a year he might have asked for a divorce.

Curt built his year as he's always built it. Raced a lot, head to Portland where he earned himself another age group bronze medal. And he's slowly trended his training volume upwards. In 99 and 01 he didn't follow good nutrition during the Ironman. Man's had to teach himself how to eat 300 calories an hour and take salt. The nutrition is what held him back before.....

We just didn't know. I was actually able to give him some help and help him realize..... I know this is a shocker..... you need calories to be strong in the Ironman.

And then..... this is where it was crazy. While I was in Texas he texted me. "I just rode the IMFL course on the Computrainer. It seems hilly on the CT."


You rode the IMFL course? I texted back.

Yes. He replied. I needed to get it done before Luc woke up. He had ridden 5:15 inside, covered 112 miles, and ran on the treadmill afterwards. When I got home as he told the story he told me he got bored the last 10 miles so he rode them hard.

Apparently when I get bored with things my approach isn't quite the same.

"I am dead." I told my Texan friends that morning. "My Ironman record isn't going to get broken, it's going to get freaking shattered."

See that picture over on the right hand side? The one where Curt's head is in the shark's arm? read the caption above it. In a little over a week we will be returning to that store and I will be sticking my head through the shark's arm.

Because Mary Eggers is about to get sharked. Taken to school. The bus is coming down the street and I can hear it. And you know what? I am pretty excited about it. It's so damn cool when you can watch the person you love and admire hit their best. Will it be his best? I think so. I have never seen him more prepared. I have never seen him so relaxed. I have never seen him enjoy the training so much. It has been refreshing to see someone take such a relaxed and casual approach to this Ironman stuff. Never panicing, never freaking out. Just putting one foot in front of the other. Day after day after day.

The Ironman and I may have divorced, maybe Ironman has moved onto Curt. At least for now. I am happy to give that relationship up.

Please email me or leave me a comment if you are competing at Ironman Florida. Luc and I will be at the Days Inn at mile five of the bike course. We will make a sign for you and scream our little brains out.

We will be somewhere on the run, but please let us make signs and scream for you. For once I get to sit along the sidelines, drink myself a brew-ha-ha, swim in the ocean and stay up late watching Ironman athletes achieve their dreams!!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

eyes wide shut

Today is a good day. I think. I am so damn sleep deprived that when I tell myself it is a good day I believe it. But I could also tell myself just about anything right now and I'd believe it. Conversations with myself are fun.

Perhaps it was appropriate to unload the 83 pound bowling ball I have been carrying around with me ..... into blogland...... kind of send it out there...... because note to self: ut was a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy. Thank you so much for the hugs and support. I will never be able to convey to you how much it meant. Thank you isn't even enough.

Now.... let's review. Training is what we triathletes call exercise..... it's like our code word. It's like calling a runner a jogger. Training (exercise) reduces stress. Physiologically proven! So my two week break has officially ended. I have however been awake for over 24 hours and as fun as that has been.... it's not over just yet.

While there is also 2 weeks left in my official off season, I can return to activity .... today. With the lack of sleep due to work then sleep interrupted by meetings at school and a little one sent home with a fever + trip to the pediatrician + teaching 2 yoga classes this evening + a meeting with Ja Boon........ today was a functional strength training day for me.

I have done 100 mile rides after having been awake for 27+ hours..... Kelly B can attest to that. Calling it a magic carpet ride might not even do that justice. I'm half wondering if I should alert my yoga classes tonight that their super zen instructor has had so much coffee today, if she were drug tested she would prove to be positive for an illegal amount of caffeine. Nah..... I will let them enjoy the sleep deprived doped up version of me (which is code word for very hard class tonight gang...).

Tuesday will be my first run since Longhorn, which was my only real land run for a few weeks before that. My bike arrived safely last Friday and packed within was my new pair of running shoes, completely covered in dirt / mud from Texas.

Tomorrow morning in the crisp cold I shall run, and I can't wait. The cold air will feel good in my lungs. The pain is absent and I know it will remain so. The ground beneath my feet shall feel like home again.

I know that we would never understand what good days were unless we had bad ones. In many ways I am grateful for the tough days, the ones with my heavy heart. This way the small life that was only with us for those 9 short weeks is honored, respected and hopefully understands that it was so very loved.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Please forgive me, but today is a hard day.

I have debated on whether to write or not about this. It's not really a topic some would find appropriate for blogland..... maybe more appropriate for a therapist. But what if I can say something that you can identify with, maybe you have been through this same thing? What if you have felt this sort of pain?

I write because it is what I do. It's who I am, it's how I express myself. I write because we are all in this together, in reality.

As I look back on my 2008 season I am proud of what I accomplished. I overcame many things and I kept my spirit high. I fought through a lot. I endured a lot. I also encountered the heartbreak of my life. It's taken me almost 3 months to come to terms with it, and I can't even say that I have come to terms with it. It's been hard on my heart. Hard on my mind.

Two days after Ironman Lake Placid I learned that I was pregnant. Yeah, I was just as shocked as you are.

8.5 weeks to be exact.

Surprise and happiness were very short lived as we soon determined this pregnancy wasn't viable. We had to end it on July 31st which was absolutely, unequivocally the worst and most painful day of my whole entire life.

As I thought back on the previous eight weeks, so many things had made sense that I had simply overlooked. The way I felt. Missing periods. But honestly sometimes that rolls into Ironman training.

I remembered how horrible and flat I felt at Quakerman. How tired I was at camp.

And I was horrified that I had done all of this training, all of this to my body while I was carrying a child. Training was not the reason this pregnancy wasn't going to make it. But I will always wonder.

How could I not know I was that far along?

Well, now for the second time in my life I have made it possible for birth control to say that it is 99% effective. Plus with my history periods aren't always regular. Ironman training makes you tired. Sure I was more tired than normal but ..... I had done 2 IM's in a year.

The guilt, the horror, the pain and the heartbreak were so overwhelming. They still are. The only one who can even possibly understand what this has felt like.... is me. I have shared with some, some of you. Sometimes it is just about letting it out. You can only carry around so much pain. But it's been like a weight I carry all alone. All by myself.

I layed on the couch and stared at the ceiling for almost 2 weeks during that time. All I could do was cry. My training, moving is what has helped me the most. It goes back to what I was talking about the other day. Moving.... exercise has "proven physiological benefits". It gave me fresh air. It gave me a place to be. It gave me a place to cry because in all honesty...... crying is what helps in times like these.

I can't erase it. I can't erase the pain. Some days are good days. Other days.... the days when I think..... what if..... what if..... what if...... who was this little person...... what would they have been like...... those are the days that rip me up. That pull my heart right through my body and throw it on the ground.

The physical pain of the whole experience was shattering. And as shattering as that was it was pale in comparison to the pain I carry around right now in my heart.

That was why I was so intent on going to Texas, despite having crashed my bike. Despite all I have been through. I needed a get away. I needed the sun. I needed to be with friends. I needed a starting line, I needed a finish line. Every step along the way I thought about the baby I lost. A girl.... a boy...... who they could have been and what they could have been. What I could have done differently.... and while they tell me there was nothing..... I will always wonder.

In many ways it was therapeutic for me to go to Texas. In all honesty I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and cry myself to death. It was actually in all honesty the one and only time in my life where I thought..... I wish I was dead.

Then, my seven year old little boy came up to me on the last day that I was on the couch. He asked me if I wanted to shoot hoops with him outside. I said yes, primarily because I felt so guilty for what he had been witnessing, and for trying so hard to keep it all in.

We went outside and we shot hoops. For over an hour. I don't think we said anything. But every time we made baskets we'd high five.

Of every single person in my life, Luc is who helped me the most through this painful experience. He didn't say anything magical, and while he didn't know what was going on.... he knew something was wrong. He got me outside, and he got me moving. He couldn't say anything to take away the pain and the heartache and the feeling of sadness. He couldn't do one single thing.

But be there. Spend time with me. Enjoy the moment. Be a family. And I coudln't allow the pain I was feeling, am feeling..... to cause me to overlook the one most magical thing I have right in front of me. My son.

I learned that you don't always have to say something to help someone through a tragedy. You can send flowers and say words...... but nothing replaces hugs. Nothing replaces time spent with someone you love.

They say this kid has problems. They are trying to tell me he is learning disabled.

I think this is a kid who lives from his heart. I think this is a kid who knows how to live authentically. I think this is a kid who knows the true meaning of love.

Love, that's what is ultimately going to heal this pain.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

putting the F back in FUN

Here is my brother Chris and my nephew Cameron sledding last Christmas Day.... can you tell my brother lives in Georgia? A WOOL COAT AND A BORROWED SCARF???? Talk about lack of winter gear.

Saturday morning I got out of bed early and I noticed something I haven't noticed in a while. C.O.L.D. Yes, it's fall here in upstate New York and it's a good 40 degrees in the morning. The beautiful thing about Upstate is the changing seasons, with changing seasons comes adapting to cold. It takes a few weeks but we do it. It means bringing out the winter gear.

Surviving winter is about 2 things...... winter gear and finding an outdoor hobby.

When winter descends upon us there are people who head out and play and there are people who hide inside, in gyms, or not even that.

Snow is fun and it's almost a crime to spend winter inside. We still need fresh air, we still need sunlight. We still need the outdoors. If you have the right gear the outdoors completely rocks.

We have downhill skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and even sledding. We have a great snowshoe race series. I haven't snowshoed in 2 years because I was so darn focused on training and not wanting to deviate from the schedule and "the plan". Not this year.

This year I will be out on snowshoes and I will be racing at Frozen Assets for sure! I will break out the Cross Country Skis! I will continue to teach Luc how to snowboard.

Those are all great endurance activities.

Erik Grimm is an incredible athlete around here. He's done Hawaii a few times, he adventure races, he does a bunch of stuff. I'd be neglectful if I didn't mention Carl Johnston, Grimm's partner in crime. These guys compliment their training with a lot of cross training. In the summer they are found at various triathlons, come winter they are found racing at cross country ski events. Grimm recently began trying his hand at Cyclo Cross. They are incredibly well rounded athletes and at the age of 40+ give the boys around here one serious run for their money.
This is Travis Early, myseld and Carl Johnston at a road race last year. Johnston just recently switched from wearing speedos to "tri shorts".

They stray far from the swim-bike-run, and it shows. They are healthy, they are having fun, and they try just about anything.

I often pick on Johnston (because it is really really fun) and I hate to say it, but he's right. I need to get out there and have more fun. So this winter I shall be doing just that.

Monday I get to start some regular activities. Much of this past 2 weeks was taking complete rest. It's seemed like it has lasted forever. I have been walking, done a bit of swimming (and I can flip turn again!), sporadic functional strength, and teaching a few spinning classes. I have been mostly been resting. Believe me that is so much harder than anything.

This week will be about limiting my zeros, but keeping things light, keeping things unstructured and most of all..... keeping it FUN! Two more weeks to go......

Friday, October 17, 2008


To create a plan, a year, a season I like to start with goals. What is it exactly that I would like to accomplish this season? I have three levels of goals: the big, the medium and the small.

The Big: This list entails my ultimate goals for the season. Something big that I can constantly look up to. For 2009 I have the following Goals:

1. Sub 5 hour 1/2 Ironman at Gulf Coast, Musselman and 70.3 Worlds. Now...... there were so many years I never went over 5. In actuality this should be an easy goal for me to attain. But through a series of circumstance and.... whatever..... it has eluded me. Within this goal I have the big goal of figuring out this distance.

2. 1:40 1/2 Marathon this spring. Again, there were many years I ranged between 1:39-1:44. I haven't focused on this distance, so this is a realistic goal for me. I also wish do do the same within my 1/2 Ironman performances.

Now there are a few goals that I have not quite whittled down yet to look pretty, but those will be added to the big list.

The medium list: this contains smaller goals which are stepping stones to my bigger goals.

1. Swimming: At the Ironman distance I am a swimming slacker. So my goal is to maximize my strength with actual tracking of my T time and progression with my Masters team through the season.

2. Cycling: Continue to increase my FTP and my ability to pace myself while racing, by continuing to train with my power meter.

3. Running: continue to evolve as a runner. With the Jack Daniels V Dot program I became good at running frequently and consistently at certain paces. Now that Ironman is over I shall be focusing on getting faster through the same system. I will be using winter and spring 5 and 10K races to help me toughen up in the speed department. I'd like to get to a 20 min 5K and maybe even below!

4. Continue the evolution of good nutrition. Get down to a lighter weight more appropriate for 70.3 and speed, through proper wholefood nutrition.

5. Avoid injuries by curing my allergy to gravity, and being honest with myself and my body.

The small goals: these goals are almost my weekly goals and they change all of the time. They help in attaining my medium goals which help me attain my big goals. For example my goals for this wee were:

  1. Practice yoga every day as I continue my off season

  2. Good Nutrition (adhering to TriGirl Pink's challenge)

  3. Get enough rest

  4. No structured training. Walk and relax.

I have laid out my Annual Training Plan (ATP) and began to structure my basic week. I have configured my four weeks of transition period to begin on November 3rd. I have penciled in some test dates beginning in December. The protocol I will be using for test sets and my tentative progression has been printed out. My new daily log has been created as well.

I have to admit that I am really excited to see what I can do with myself. I am really excited for the opportunity. My continued rehabilitation is going really well, I am down to once a week at the chiropractor, I am at a level 1 pain (I can't believe this has lasted a month.... which is really short when it comes to injuries actually....) and next week I shall go for 3 short runs!!!!!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Another pretty swim helmet photo!

Over the past week, since I have stated my intention to coach myself... people have gone into some kind of frenzy. I have gotten dozens of emails. How do I plan to do this? What made me decide to do this? Did something happen with Coach T?


Calm the heck down. Nothing happened. Coach T is a man who is pursuing another degree, works full time, is a husband and is the father of three children under the age of 5. I felt it time to alleviate some of his stress, and apply everything I have learned. When the man finishes all that he has going on he will devote time to his coaching..... and I will be first in line. The man's one hell of a coach. And a teacher. He's taught me so much.

There once was a time when us coaches were not a dime a dozen. When athletes coached themselves. My husband has coached himself all his life. Not too bad.

Now as a coach I realize I am preaching some dangerous things. It is my philosophy however that if you want it, you can learn a lot from a coach, There may be a time... if it is something that interests you...... there may be a time when you can apply what you have learned..... to you.

For hours every single week I scrutinize power files, data files, comments.... I track daily parameters, think about seasons...... carefully piece together weeks for my athletes. I stopped doing that for me because I let my coach do it all.

This might sound odd to say...... but I miss myself. I miss tracking my own progress. I miss planning my own workouts, I miss reading my own power files.

Now why would one even need a coach? There are a lot of great reasons to hire a coach. First, coaches can alleviate the stress of planning for you. You have a busy life, we can plan and build and evolve your season for you and with you. We can be completely objective. We are a source of support, we look out for you, fill you with motivation, celebrate your accomplishments and accept your defeats. We love watching you be your best better than our own. We love your finish lines more than ours.

We cherish the relationships we develop with our athletes. We care.

I can do that for myself. I have been around long enough, I am very honest with myself and I can be very objective with myself.

And I will walk you through everything I do. Maybe you can learn something from me. I tell my athletes that I have barfed on the rocks so many times.... meaning I have made so many mistakes..... that every mistake I make is one less they will make. Quite possibly you will be able to do the same.

Maybe at some point in your life self coaching is for you too. Maybe you just enjoy working with a coach. I certainly do. It's a personal decision. But like I said before..... I miss watching my own progress. I miss tracking myself, checking in with myself and being the boss of me.

So stay aboard, this will be a fun ride, I guarantee!

Monday, October 13, 2008

bridging the gap

As a coach I often see athletes with amazing potential. I see athletes with goals that fit them, are appropriate and are a challenge.

Athletic potential and Great Goals.

What's missing? Bridging them together.

I once knew an athlete who had just this. The potential. The Goal. Yet they consistently failed to bridge the gap between the two. So many things just got in the way. Working overtime, family crisis, etc. The problem is...... those additional things were not new factors, they were old factors. They had always been present within their life. They just allowed the volume on those stressors to be turned up every so many weeks to a point to where it was damn near crippling. And as a coach I do what I can to help this person bridge this gap. Most of the time I am successfull. Other times I am met with the most famous three letter word. BUT. But this..... but that...... all I know is the more buts you give me the more sh** I see.

I coached a different athlete in a similar situation. The ability. The goals, and they did in fact bridge the gap between them. They worked more than anyone I had ever met and at the same time was very involved with their family. The volume of the stress in their life was sometimes so loud I could hear it through the screen.
However...... they got in their training, granted with their schedule it wasn't like they were smacking down 20 hour weeks. As Gordo would say, this athlete had a minimum number of "zeros" in their weeks.

What's the difference? The second athlete didn't allow the volume of their life stress cripple them. They accepted it as part of their life and rolled with it. They made sure that something was done each day, and the motivation was more health and stress relief than it was performance. Performance happened to be the bonus along the way.

I am going to tell you something you might need to sit down for. Are you ready? Listen up......


My Dad always used to tell me that. His next statement would always be: and it gets worse. So find a way to deal with it.

That might sound harsh, but he was right. Life is definitely hard. Many of us like to play whose life is harder..... which is the game I love to hate.

There is divorce, custody issues, illness, finances....... and those are just a few. You know those people who just roll over it and take it as it comes. And then there are the people who worry. Who neglect themselves and their training because they are sick with worry.

Here is where training becomes more important. Not because you set a goal to do X,Y, or Z race...... but training is what we triathletes call...... E.X.E.R.C.I.S.E. Exercise is good for you. Exercising has proven physiological benefits....... one of them being stress relief...... and that is why it becomes important if not vital.

I have yet to find one single person who has solved any problem through worrying. If you have, please let me know. Worrying helps nothing. Of course if you have $18,000 in debt that doesn't mean walk through life with a carefree and fancy free flippant attitude.

But, maybe it does. Create a plan to get out of it. There are steps, there are ways. Create it, adhere to it, be consistent with it...... and let go of the worry. Worrying isn't going to grow dollars on trees. Worrying isn't going to make it go away faster. Skipping training (our code word for exercise) will eventually turn that worry into illness.

Triathlon, training, exercise is an outlet for stress. Triathlon and competition is a great outlet for many of us. We are able to channel energy into positive places. It feels good to go hard, it feels good to accomplish a goal.

Every year in Kona we hear about the stories of ordinary people achieving the extraordinary. Not the people who are the professionals, the others.

The single parents who do have debt and do work 60 hours a week. Who get in their training at super early o'clock and don't have time for ultra workouts. The people who have faced odds that are unbearable to even think about, while maintaining their position as head of households, and they too get it done. The countless stories of people who face magnificent challenges in their lives to achieve a goal.

No wonder an Ironman finish line is such a place of emotion.

Watch a local sprint triathlon. The same people exist there as well, it just doesn't get televised because it is only a sprint triathlon. There too you will find people of all shapes and sizes achieving goals on limited time, limited this, limited that.

They achieve their goal because they are consistent and they don't allow things like stress and worry to overtake them. They might not train 15 hours a week but they limit their zeros. They realize that, yes they do always have time for a 20 minute run. Too tired? How about a 20 minute walk. 20 minutes of walking can give you the same stress relief and it is better than a zero.

Because a lot of zeros will give you an ulcer.

I think of that athlete who fails to fins a bridge to possibility and the goal. The power is so completely in their hands. Letting go of the expectation that this will be a smooth ride is paramount. Letting go of comparisons such as...... well that person trains more than me, but I have no time..... critical. Realizing that worrying and fretting about the difficulties of life is pointless....... is really really important.

We all are in this sport because we choose to be. Not because it is our right. It is our privilege. If your stress volume is so high right now that you find many zeros in your week..... then it is time to reevaluate. Possibly change the goal. Definitely change the approach. But remember the most important thing...... life will always be hard....... it is how we choose to deal with it that matters.