Sunday, November 30, 2008

yoga yoga yoga!

It's my lifelong dream and wish to help people understand yoga. It's really not that hard and believe it or not it is so very little about a pose. It's so much about connecting the mind and the body, much like we do in training. It's really no different than swimming biking or running, in those times when your head is just silent, and you are moving from your heart.

What I see very often is this.... and as I articulate this..... see if you can grasp the feeling rather than the words...... someone new comes into class. They are first surprised about the heat. Then the class begins and they think: my butt is in the air.... it is too hot..... what did that teacher say.... what's this Darth Vader type breathing...... oh my GAWD I am sweating...... I don't get this........

That's a lot of mental traffic. That's a lot of resistance. That's a lot of resistance to giving up the control we all like to have over our lives. In the beginning it's normal, it's part of the process.

After a class or two you begin to think less and you begin to move more. You stop comparing yourself to the yoga stud in the room and you stop competing with the woman who is older/younger than you.

You start to notice that the mental hamster wheel that constantly spins in your head begins to slow down and if you are really lucky.... it even stops. Rather than trying to fight through poses, survive poses and even perhaps "win" the pose..... you start to relax into them. You realize that you are good at making things hard. And you are not good at letting things just happen.

Yoga has been around for hundreds of years and while there are several styles, schools, types of yoga.... the essence remains the same. The poses have not changed. It isn't like there are new yoga moves like there are bikes and helmets and swimsuits. That's not a coincidence either. Each asana or pose or series of poses is linked to a part of your mind, dare I say spirit. It awakens, brings to the surface and opens doors within you that you never realized you had closed.

DVD yoga is good, but you don't get the full effect, as you are trying to watch a screen while you are upside down. The teacher isn't there talking you through it or better yet giving you physical assists. Plus at home there is a phone, children, a pet, distractions.

So as you slide through your off-season I encourage you to be open minded and try something different. The first 3 classes are the worst. You are awkward, uncomfortable, uncoordinated. You begin to have feelings of this is not for me.... essentially you have already written the end of the story before it has even begun.

As an athlete my recommendation is the style of yoga that I practice and teach: Baptiste Vinsaysa..... find a studio near you by clicking here. (We do OM in the beginning of our practice, rather than laugh at it, find out the meaning.) I know many of the teachers throughout the country so I can certainly give some input if you need it, especially you Colorado folks! There are lots of other styles from Bikram to Gentle Hatha..... you have do explore and see what fits you.

So this year spread your wings a little bit. Get a little bit muddy, and embrace something new with an open mind. You never know what just might happen if you spread your wings. You just might be able to fly......

Saturday, November 29, 2008

playing for her


There is a quote I think by Mia Hamm that says something to the effect of Behind the athlete that you are today, behind the coaches who push you.... is a little girl who fell in love with the game. Today... play for her. As I weathered the storm of 2008.... like so many of us have.... I have been getting to know that little girl again. The one who loves to run and swim and bike and be a little bit reckless with herself and her heart.

As 2009 is just a month away I feel it brimming with possibility and opportunity. This is the year. I can feel it. Throughout the past year and even past few seasons I have tasted disappointment and defeat more than I have tasted victory and success. Lots of things played into that. But for 2009 I have a clean slate.

I feel full of love and abundance. Love for a very wonderful life that is right now filled with laughter. Abundance not in terms of things.... but in terms of people. Our Triathlon team for example. A mix of positivity, possibility, ability and passion. This might be the most passionate group I have coached yet. For the record I say that every year and then every year the passion and the drive go even deeper.

'Round here the Christmas Tunes... (Carrols..... Caroles...... how am I doing professor?) are playing and I don't care if I hear Frost The Snowman eight hundred times. I only get to hear it for ninety days and I will not live in the box of "This is too much Christmas." like I see so many.

This week we will put that Christmas tree up and as Luc is 8 .... we've got the beautiful collection of handmade, homemade ornaments. And that is what a tree should have. I believe a Christmas Tree reflects you.

Growing up my mother had 2 trees. Her tree and ours. Her tree had a theme, ribbons on each branch, lace..... we considered it to be her tree to F**** up. Our tree..... represented our family. Picture ornaments of ourselves in kindergarten. My sister and I always play a game, I always put her picture on the back of the tree, and she will switch mine and hers. This goes on for weeks.

The Eggers' family tree has a little bit of everything, because that's what we are. A little bit of everything. Ornaments get hung wherever because some things in life don't need to have rules. The lights..... whatever we seem to be in the mood for.

What's important is that there is love in the air. There's magic as Luc focuses on the fireplace. There is hope for something bigger than us. There is abundance of family, friends, Christmas Cards arriving.... and this year I am even sending cards..... popcorn of all kinds, candy canes and stockings.

Man I love this time of year. Because whatever we are celebrating, whatever religion we all walk around with a bigger smile, a hop in our step and a lot more love.

Love is what makes the world go around. This year I have been able to unlock it with my full potential. Like opening the trap door and letting it all fall out. As I look at my guys I think..... how lucky I am.

As I hit the bike at early o'clock I will continue to be grateful for the ability, for the passion and for the dream. Sometimes you don't realize what you have until you have it physically threatened.

So that little girl within me that fell in love with this sport 10 years ago? I am on the bike for her this morning.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

It's funny because if I posted a picture of my hair cut, you would wonder what has changed. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Two inches shorter but when you can still pull on your own hair when you reach your hand up your back, 2 inches isn't noticeable. It's healthier, and I don't know why it took 2 hours to cut, but I got to drink coffee.

I wake up this morning feeling pretty excited, which is odd because I am not spending Thanksgiving with the boys. As strange as that sounds, you have to realize that I am a nurse and even though I work 2 days a week, holidays come with that territory. I usually choose to work Thanksgiving because when the big family descends upon us all at Christmas I don't have to work. Besides after I get my Masters (2 years!) then I won't have to do any more holidays.

I send the boys out to my mother in laws a few hours away. She's in her eighties and she's alone and it is far more important that she have company. Besides I get to spend the day taking care of kids and that's a good Thanksgiving gift. Both to them and to myself. Besides every day is Thanksgiving with these guys.

And then I eat less too. Icing on the cake.

So I awake this morning with a sense of excitement and wonder. My first big race is now in April, which seems so close. I finally finalized my race schedule and I love the feeling of wonder. I've never been to New Orleans. I've never done a 24 hour triathlon. I've never felt so strong about opportunity and possibility as I do right now.

2008 had some good stuff in it, but it also had much heartbreak and just, strange things happen. I learn more form these kinds of seasons than I do from the really good ones. But it's been a bit since I have had a really good one, so I have to admit I am hungry for one.

So it is time to hit the bike here at early o'clock. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mardi Gras

I have a habit of celebrating things late. My son was 14 days late (42 weeks of preggo=fun). My birthday is always celibrated late. I celebrate Spring Break in May in Panama City Beach and then usually again in the fall.

So why not celebrate Mardi Gras late?

Upon arriving home after a great morning at Masters.... meaning sprint day hurt a lot..... I looked over my schedule and prepared to have a session with my coach. I had been feeling that 3 half Ironman / 70.3 / whatever you want to call them these days..... races weren't enough to get my issues with this distance solved. I want four. I want four good and solid 70.3 performances. I looked at my schedule..... I didn't want one between Gulf Coast and Mussel. I didn't want one in August with the 24 hours of triathlon coming up. I wanted one earlier.

Realizing that Oceanside was filled up (I had my chance.... but the thought of going with Beth, Marit, Jen....... DARN!) I noticed New Orleans 70.3 was still open. Since my husband recently lost his mind in buying us a puppy and then signing up for Ironman Arizona 2009.... I thought it wise to take advantage of his complete insanity by running it by him.

He said sure and I hit submit. And North America Sports is once again a little bit richer.

Of course that meant an email to Kelly B., and then to Sarah. Because when I travel I like to bring friends. We are headed to the French Quarter and I hear that's a pretty neat place to go.

And of course there will be Waffle House.

Between now and then there is much work to be done. But knowing a 70.3 race is looming..... I will be on my trainer with a smile.

Now about that haircut..... it went magnificently. And yes it is true, I got to drink coffee while getting it cut!

I arrived a few minutes early and was escorted to a couch and given that magnificent cup of java. I liked it already at the Spa at the Delmonte. A few minutes after that a giant of a man, who looked more like a football player than a stylist, approached me and introduced himself as Angelo.

He brought me back to the chair and sat me down. The hair assessment began. He marveled at the health of my hair, and I told him I was in the pool 4 times a week. I am so used to people touching hair and gasping..... you must be a swimmer! But apparently my conditioner -in -the- hair-before -the- cap -goes- on- trick has done me wonders.

Angelo said the first thing he wanted to do was preserve the length. I then told him the rules for my hair: I don't care how long as long as I can put it in a ponytail.... I don't care what you do, what instruments you use, or what side you part it on. I told him that he knew what was best and to have fun with me.

He stood back very surprised. "Can all my clients be like you?" What can I say..... I am a dream girl. Just ask my husband.

For over 90 minutes I don't' know what he did. Used a razor, scissors, washed, conditioned, chatted. Then blew it dry. An inch shorter, a bit more lift I am told and voila....... better hair than what I went in with. A little hemp spray (Just wanted to say the word HEMP really) and I was on my way. With an appointment in 6 more weeks.

After i told Angelo that it had been 14 months since my last haircut, he put his scissors down and stood back. "We won't be doing that again." He said.

No sir, not with hands like that!!!!






Tuesday, November 25, 2008

pampered

I can't believe I am going to say this but I am about to spend a few hours at a spa. The Spa at the DelMonte to be exact. Now here is my confession..... I have not had a hair cut or even a trim since August 5th 2007. Yes that says 2007. I am about to go to hair confessional but I am told I can drink coffee while someone brushes my locks.

Sold!

No big dramatic changes, I know that will be what you wonder the most. A trim, a layer, a brush. Maybe they will even talk me into some product. Product? Product I am told, is the going word for gel mousse and hairspray. All I know is that while on my mat in 100 degrees tonight I do not want get running down my face.

As I am transitioning into becoming a dog owner..... now we don't have Cocoa just yet..... I am very lucky to have some amazing resources. My good friend Downtown Wendy Brown is a Lab expert, she shows hers and she's my mentor through this whole process.

I figured that the first thing we might need is a leash and a collar. Where else would I go to buy these items but my home away from home..... Breathe. Breathe? Yup, yes. They carry a brand called Om My Dog. Being the yogi that I am I thought it appropriate to begin Cocoa's life with the Eggers with good karma, or chi. That meant green and that meant the heart chakra. After all doesn't everything revolve around love?

So what happened to the name Spike????? Well, I caved, folded and crumbled. All the way to the breeder's house I announced over and over and over that this dog's name would be SPIKE. GIRL SPIKE. That would be the only name I allowed my canine to be called.

And then when I picked her up the name Cocoa came out.

It was a horribly embarrassing moment. I don't' often like to show my sensitive side.

So we continue to prepare, we continue to wait, we continue to plug away at the swim bike and run and at the same time relish in the excitement of our new arrival.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

SARAH PR'S AT IRONMAN ARIZONA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Train-This athlete Sarah Stanistreet......... in her second Ironman of 2008..... Lake Placid 11:53....... just came across the finish line of Ironman Arizona in 11:12......
a PR! AND 3RD IN HER AGE GROUP!!!!!!


Sarah your whole Ironman Team is rediculously proud of you!!!! WAY TO GO SISTER!!!!!!!!! This is one of those moments as a coach that you just f-ing cry!

you know you are from buffalo when....

I am originally from Orchard Park NY, near Buffalo. Thanks to Facebook (ARGH) I found various groups with old friends from all around the area. I found this group and I kid you not, every single one of these things is TRUE!


I'm from Buffalo. We eat chicken wings, not Buffalo wings.

Jack Kemp is a quarterback, not a politician.

We drink Labatt Blue and love it.

Mighty Taco always has preference over Taco Bell. Pop, not soda and Pepsi, not Coke.

They are sneakers not tennis shoes. It's a sucker, not a lollipop.

Bison chip dip, La Nova Pizzeria, Aunt Rosie's Loganberry, Chevettas Chicken, Peter K's Potato Pancakes and Ted's Hot Dogs are all too familiar...not to forget Taffy's Shakes and Charlie the butcher.

A fake ID is unneccessary, there is always Canada...But we have them anyway. Our bars don't close until 4amm and we DO sell beer in a grocery store (Tops or Wegmans), which always makes for early starts and late nights.

Jim's steak out at 4 in the morning is calling it an early night...

We never cuss, but we swear entirely too much.

We know that a 65 mph speed limit really means 80. We will cut you off, swear, and give you the finger if you are keeping up AND do it all in the snow, while expecting nothing less in return.

Driving in the snow not only comes naturally, it is fun.

We know what Artvoice and Nightlife are and we either love them or try to burn every copy we see.

We start the weekends off right at Thursdays in the square while enjoying beer, free music, and an interesting crowd.

We lived through Wide Right, The Forward Lateral, and No Goal. Dubbed by Dan Marino as "the meanest fans because no-one actually wants to live here..."We all know he wouldn't stand one winter up here.

We love the Bills (no matter what) and accept that it takes 2-4 hours to get home from a game. Nothing closes in 3 feet of snow or -20 windchills...In fact, that's how we prefer to tailgate.

We can correctly pronounce, spell, and identify Chippewa, Scajaquada, Lackawanna, Cheektowaga, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Olean, Tonawanda and Gowanda without hesitation.

When giving direction it's not "take I-90 to Route 33 east" it's " take the 90 to the 33 east"..."the" is not an option.

We are 30 minutes from another country, one of the seven wonders of the world, and even a few beaches. It's the second largest city in New York.I AM FROM BUFFALO, a drinking town with a sports problem, and damn proud!LOVE IT OR HATE IT!

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-they're not buffalo wings, they're not chicken wings, they're just wings!
-wide right, forward lateral, no goal, nuff said.
-your kid's halloween costume can fit over a snowsuit.
-at least once in your life, you've touched the top of a flagpole without using a ladder.
-you like wings, beef on weck, handmade horseradish, pierogies, golabkis, kapusta, kielbasa, placek, Weber's mustard, St. Joseph's Day bread and twice baked double cheese baked potatoes. -washed down with Genny, Genny Cream, loganberry juice, Vernors, Old Vienna, or Black Rock pop.
-you can correctly pronounce the Scajaqueda expressway.
-you use the word 'the' in front of expressways, the 400, the 90, the 290, etc. -driving is better in the winter, because the potholes are filled in.
-you know what "wind chill factor" and "lake effect snow" mean.
-you celebrate Dyngus Day.
-you go to Niagara Falls for the outlet shopping, not the view.
-you know people who went to school with Ani DiFranco, one of the GooGoo Dolls, chad michael murry and kevyn adams
-you follow a Bills game on TV with the sound off and the radio tuned to the game.
-you've gotten frostbite and sunburn in the same weekend.
-you watch fireworks twice during the first week of July.
-pop is to drink, and soda is to bake with.
-your parents ever threatened to send you to "Father Baker's" if you didn't behave.
-you think of Canada as West, not North.
-the sound system is worth more than the car.
-you know what a firehall wedding is.
-a Bills - Dolphins football game isn't just a game, it's personal.
-You sit in your screened in garage to watch the sabres playoff run
-Foot in the crease from 99 stanley cup
-You know the marineland jingle....by heart.
-You know that Billy Fuccillo is really HUUUUUUGE.
- you've driven during a state of emergency or driving ban
- you've seen lightning and snow in the same storm
- the bars close at 4AM!
-you get made fun of for being from upstate even though you're from Western New York!
-you know who Sal is and you know to "duck" AKA the Erie Canal song we used to sing in elementary school!
-When you have never had a home team win something big and know the world will end when it does!
-When you're in love with the BUFFALO SABRES

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cocoa!

For this week's cycling strength training click here. Jen N....you can use a ball or some Tide bottles filled with water so you don't kill anyone! HA HA!

They bought me a puppy. One look at her and I forgot all about the name Spike. I called her Cocoa. This is not good. She comes home in 3 weeks, but here she is:




This picture says it all.......................... welcome to the family Cocoa!

this week's strength training.... cycling

For this week we've got some strength training exercises that will help your cycling gain power. Now remember, to become a faster cyclist you need to ride your bike. Period. Adding some of these moves can help, but again ride your bike to become a faster and stronger cyclist! Have fun with these, and if you don't' have a Bosu Ball, try one of those discs. They are cheap and they work great!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

beating the blues

It's that time of year when the colds begin, the fevers rise, the flu shots are administered and sooner or later you find yourself feeling like C.R.A.P., under the weather, like a truck has hit you or what I professionally call...... you have the whole schabang (oh no..... did I spell that write? So nervous about my grade here!)

In all honesty, what better time to happen than right now? The off season, the beginning of preparation, if there is going to be a time I am listening to no motivation, feeling tired, achey it is right now.

Last night I went to bed at 6:30pm and I am so glad that I did. It meant missing a run in my running camp but ... there are days when we have to be sick.

I wrote a little diddy last year with my opinion on how to train when sick. Now I just need to listen to it. I suppose I will have to have a small chat with my coach. When things are missed part of me wants to make them up and the other part, the smarter part reminds me to let it go, let things heal, let things get better before they get worse.

Our bodies have a magical way of healing themselves. Medications are nice and important at the right time but really they just support the natural abilities of the body. What supports that better than anything however is not trying to control it, not trying to fight it or beat it, but just allowing nature to take its course.

After all, it is just a viral illness. Just a cold. To me, an annoyance. To some people in this world it is complete devastation, meaning that a cold, could very well kill them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

anonymous......... notsomuch!

The interesting thing about the Internet…. is that you are never quite anonymous. Especially here in blogland. I have been very fortunate that I have not had the hate mail that other fellow bloggers have had to experience. When I read Cathy's experience and the idiocrasy that ensued on her blog yesterday….. I had to shake my head. I then got an anonymous comment about my spelling, and I laughed even harder. I have arrived!

Good thing this isn't a term paper. Whew!

Here's the thing about the Internet and about blogs…… I don't send my writing to you. You must make an effort to either type in the address, or to save it to your list of favorites, or to click on the link from another's blog. YOU COME TO ME.

The moment you do that you are identifiable. Leave a comment, even better. An anonymous one..... isn't anonymous. Even if you are commenting from Starbucks.

The company that manages my website has an amazing tracking system. I can tell you exactly what your ISP address is, and then I can find your name. Actually, they do it for me. In addition I have Site Meter, which gives me a back up.

Because truly, if you are going to make idiot comments, at least you should have the balls to identify yourself. If we were having a conversation could you not say "Hey Mar…. you are a horrid speller." Tell me something I don't know. If this were a term paper I'd care a bit more.

When you visit this site I know your ISP address. We get about 1,300 hits a week and they've got all the addresses. Now if you download a picture form my site….. I have en more information about you. See how the web gets deeper and deeper? It's kind of interesting.

Think of it this way: you are one of these blogger anonymous stalker folks, you visit a site with an existing chip on your shoulder. Which in all honesty puts you into a certain class of people right there (FREAK). You take time during your day to visit a site. Don't bother me now honey….. I am stalking Cathy! You take time to read that site. You take time and energy to get all riled up because someone wears something you don't like, or someone says "I won a race", or someone shares something…… your reaction is energy, your reaction is your time. Then you get so fired up that you take the time to make a comment, and even if you are making an "anonymous" comment…… you are not. Then you actually (and I can prove this) check back a few times to see if it has been published. Then you take even more time checking back to see if it is responded to.

Look at that time, look at that energy and look at the level of angst, hatred and negativity you have given?


You are a parent who is responsible for raising a child to be a productive part of society and you act like this? You are whoever you are in your career, and this is how you act?

That puts you into the next category of …. psycho.

About a year ago I did have someone who routinely harassed me on this blog. Not only was I able to identify them, I pressed harassment charges and I was able to settle. Once this person was identified (and I didn't even know them … so they got all hot and bothered based on what I wrote) I was written a long letter of sob story and apology. Which I laughed at because this person was such a freak!

So you have to have thick skin to be a blogger. You also have to be careful. To the people who have to be the subjects of such psychotic behavior I advise to be careful. If someone is willing to take this much time and energy to make an anonymous comment, then they are either a real whack job and someone who would actually attack you on the street, or just a coward.

Remember: they come to YOUR site…… you don't email it to them, you don't force them. THEY COME TO YOU. And the moment they do, their identity is not secure.


So if you've got a chip on your shoulder, or you are that full of hate, or that full of envy... get some help. Or how about this...... don't visit the site.

I find that some people are so focused on looking what is inside your mirror, that they never look inside of their own. They are afraid to see what is in front of them. So they focus on you. When people find something to harass you about it is either because of envy or because you represent something about themselves which they are not comfortable with.


Freaks!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

spike

I would like you to know that Spike is the perfect name for a girl. Did you know that my middle name is Michal (pronounced as the boys name Michael) and I was called Michael until I started doing triathlons? They kept entering me in the men's division, it became a big pain in the ass, I finally started entering as Mary and then I met a whole new group of people who called me Mary.

I like to tell my high school friends I am in the witness protection program.

I have some very serious concerns about my husband…. whom we affectionately call The Man around here. It began last week when he decided he will go grab an IMFL 09 spot at Muskoka (June). It continues this morning when he set the paper in front of me and asked me to inquire about a Chocolate Lab Puppy for Luc for Christmas. A girl dog.

For the better part of 2 years I have been searching for the perfect dog. Until this morning I had my heart set on a French Bulldog. In my dog dream I pictured my little bulldog named Spike, he would have a spike collar and he would be my friend and my protector. I would teach him to snarl at people who talked to me on the street. Beyond that snarl he'd be a nice dog. He'd sit at my feet and he'd be cute.

He'd be my little buddy. My little friend. My protector. I have a wild son; I don't need a wild dog. I run with myself, I don't need a dog to run with. Mine all mine he would be…..

Notsomuch.

Apparently this dog needs to be for Luc. SIGH.

Curt has decided that Luc needs a dog since we can't give him a sibling. Something to be responsible for, clean up after and the list goes on. A Chocolate Lab would be perfect because the dog could play, run and swim.

Who is going to train this dog? Oh right….. that'd likely be…… ME.

So I have declared that this dog's name will be Spike. I want a boy dog because girls and hormones make me uncomfortable. (That's why God gave me a son). If I had to be subjected to having a boy's name all my life than so will girl Spike. I turned out just fine (enough….. enough!) and so will she. It will make her tough.

Now this is all still in the inquiry stages. Nothing is set in stone, and contact hasn't even officially been made.

I once had a dog in college; it was actually my roommate's dog. This dog had serious psychological issues (of course it is fate that I would end up living with a dog like that). It wore a cone and it had to wear mittens due to obsessive licking of its paws.

I shall keep you updated, and Luc has no clue. Santa will hopefully be bringing a dog for Christmas.


I thought I had the Trump Card when I bought the Wii (hidden….. hidden…..). Am I a bad person for secretly bringing out the Wii when no one is home and practicing as Guitar Hero?

Monday, November 17, 2008

always believe

The snow is falling outside my home office window, and while the sky is grey I can't help but have the feeling of warmth. I've noticed that the stores are filled to the brim with Christmas gear and already.... the Carole's have begun playing.

If I were in charge of this world the Christmas Carole's would be playing from November 1st through January 25th. The season is far too short and when else can we tap our feet and hum to the tunes of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?

If I were in charge of this world there would be mandatory morning meetings around a bonfire on every corner and the drinks were hot cocoa. The hot cocoa with the big marshmallows. We'd all stand there for a few minutes each day and catch up. The way neighbors used to.

If I were in charge of all of this we'd have a Christmas party every weekend between now and January 6th. Just for the sake of getting together. I would make dressing up optional, but it's Christmas..... it's fun.

If I were in charge there would be mistletoe everywhere.

If I were in charge every single person would wear a Santa hat, every single day. Just like my son does right now.

I know the years of believing in Santa Claus are numbered, but this kid believes hook line and sinker. While it's the world's greatest bribe (don't make me call Santa...), it's the feeling of believing of something bigger and beyond you that I love so much.

I am glad stores are back to greeting each other with Merry Christmas. Happy holidays? Say that to me and you'll get Merry Christmas in return. Arrest me and send me to the North Pole where I will paint toys the rest of my days. That's not so bad!

Christmas is beyond religion for me, beyond Santa and Jesus..... of course it is all of that. That stuff is important. But to me what this really all comes down to is that for a few weeks of the year we are all a little nicer to one another. For a few weeks of the year we all gather for parties, we drink some wine, spread some cheer. We take a break form the grind and we take time for each other. For a few weeks we get to watch wide eyed children watch Santa and his helpers in the mall, at pancake breakfasts, or in the parade.

The making of Christmas cookies is the making them together part, when you scoop some dough into your mouth, and laugh as you make silly designs. The cookies are the bonus.

Our family is scattered all over the world, and usually we come home together every other year. Just so happens this year we are all coming home again. My mother makes all of us (11 in total) matching pajamas with our names embroidered on the shirts with the year. While the kids sleep we play pool in my parents basement and drink beer (legally now!), and we catch up.

More than presents there is laughing. There is sledding. There is fun and there is togetherness.

None of it happens if you don't believe in something. Call it Santa, call it Christmas, call it what you want. There is something hopeful about believing in something bigger than you, something that you aren't sure exists but you have blind faith that it does. That to me, is the true magic of the season.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

updating the update

Click here for this week's dryland swimming workouts.......

Click here for a great article on the pros and cons of racing flats.....

Click here for information on our 2009 Lake Placid Camp!
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Day 21 of running camp is approaching, and I feel great. At the beginning of this camp it seemed like a large undertaking. 30 runs in 30 days? Would I make it? That's a lot of days of running..... in a row. Coach T would be proud.

All of the runs except for Sundays have been 30 minutes in length. 30 minutes is so easy to do. Anytime, anywhere, any feeling. I feel stronger and I have been tilting past E pace this week. My run test is December 6th and I will run this pace until I earn a new V dot. I am not a runner by nature, so this is my priority as I begin my season. This season I become a faster runner, and I do it by being smart and methodical. With my cycling and swimming there are times I can be less methodical..... those are the events where I can so often train by feel.

Nutrition is also going well this week as I strive to eat more primal. The funny thing is that when you seat more fruits and vegetables ...... you drop the calories pretty darn quickly. Good for weight loss (down 6.....) yet you have to make sure that you are eating enough for 12 hours of training per week. I know..... rocket science.

After a few days you crave the sweets so much less, and the sweet tooth is replaced by the sweet tooth fruit. I am hooked on Mango yogurt...... which is actually incorrectly named because it is literally just pureed Mango. My other new favorite dessert is Pumpkin Pudding. This more elaborate recipe has two entire ingredients: organic canned pumpkin and organic vanilla yogurt (saying organic makes me feel so earthy......) 1/2 cup of each and there you do. A dash of cinnamon and it is heaven.
I might become the pureed fruit girl by the end of all of this.

I have even taken a look at the people around me and who I choose to surround myself with. I have stepped back from some of the people who carry around negative energy. We all have hard lives, we all have ups and downs. But self created drama is draining. And I don't need it.

But I am learning. And feeling good. And so looking forward to what the season will bring this year. My main goal is to get my 70.3 time to where it belongs...... in the 4:45 range and to improve my overall speed. Ironman can just suck that stuff out of you, can't it?

This morning we began our group runs along the canal. We gather at 7am and as we start to run we split into our various paces. Each week we will get anywhere form 2-15 runners, and I love it. This morning I ran with Sarah, she's heading to IMAZ this week. It was perfect. How many long runs did we spend together this year? How many times did we lay in the parking lot at Pappa Johns? It's been her who I have leaned on in the wake of everything that has happened to me this season. And it is Sarah I will be screaming for next week as she tackles her third Ironman, second of the year.

Best of luck to all of you competing. It's a late one. No Ironman is easy but as the weather gets colder and some of us have already completed our off season, it gets mentally tougher. Funny thing is though...... that's what the Ironman takes.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

running flats...... yes or no???

One of the questions I am asked yearly is "Should I wear racing flats?". I am not a huge fan of them. One of my favorite things to giggle at during Ironman racing are the people walking the marathon in racing flats. Almost as much as I love to see a heart rate monitor strap out of the swim.........

One of my former sponsors is Fleet Feet of Rochester, so I asked Boots, former professional duathlete to give his opinion on flats. He's been running for about 354 years and knows his runners and shoes.

Click here for the article!

goals

Click here or see the right sidebar for the dryland swimming exercises.

I don't know about you but I am a goal oriented person. It keeps me on track. It gets me out of bed at early o'clock when I have a very full day to get my workouts done. It keeps me focused on the days when I get a little too riled up and on the days where I feel like a log.

One of my goals as a mother is to be there when my son gets off the bus. That keeps everything else in line. It forces me to work a few crazy shifts.... many times he doesn't know I am gone! It motivates me to work and train while he is at school and get my stuff done! After school time is Luc time.

One of my goals is to not put too much on my plate. (HA HA!). That's why I have a limit to the number of athletes I coach, a limit to the number of hours I work, etc.

But the goals of being an athlete are the most fun and are the ones that get me on the bike at a crazy early hour (not every day, just when necessary).

I know a lot of people who are almost afraid to set goals due to the fear they won't reach them. But part of like is failure.

Think of the artist, who has a passion and a commitment to painting. The artist isn't born with paintbrush in hand painting beautiful scenery. There have been many canvases scrapped, thrown out, cried over, ridiculed..... before that one perfect work piece is arrived at.

For most of us there are the races where we completely fall apart, fall down and get trampled on, before we reach that finish line at our goal time or on the podium or as the winner.

What matters is how we deal with not reaching the goal. My goal this season was to go sub eleven at Ironman Lake Placid. I ended up in an ambulance. Now what am I going to do with that? I will be back..... don't you think I am quitting Ironman racing. Hells no! Not quitting the Ironman, taking a step back from it. Yes, what happened was not in my control. Whatever. Of course it burns me that my goal was not met.

Absolutely. I can turn that disappointment into the fire for this season. As I return to the 70.3 distance and work on speed, getting leaner, getting stronger while stepping back from the long..... I am gathering what I need to return to Ironman to complete #5.

When too early o'clock comes around and I have a stacked day with a sick little 8 year old at home, then I get up if I want to get it done.

The why...... makes the how very easy.

So as you set up your goals for 2009 there are a thousand ways to do it. You can set big goals, medium goals, small goals. You can have your A list, your B list and your wish list. Whatever works for you, embrace it.

I like to write them down and place them where I can see them. I have one in the bathroom that I wake up to every single day. I don't over complicate things by placing quotes and such all over the place. I pick one to give me focus.

I often find that the athletic goal I set for myself..... I can apply it elsewhere as well.

By now we know sport is a metaphor for life. The lessons we learn now, the canvases we don't get right, the rides in the dark alone...... those are where the lessons happen. So let them.





Thursday, November 13, 2008

dryland swim program

As a collegiate swimmer my life was ruled by swimming exercises on the pool deck, on the mats and on the Vasa Trainer. I have a Vasa Trainer and I would gift one to every swimmer in America if I could. I happen to have gotten mine through an incredible deal and I would not trade this thing for anything in the world.

If I had to point to one program for dryland training it would be
this one. I incorporate the exercises that apply to me into my functional strength training program. In Fact, this is itself a good FTP itself as it incorporates all parts of the body. I FST 3-4 times a week right now for about 30 minutes.

I won't go into the argument on whether strength training is necessary or effective. Take this all for what it is work and if it helps you... wonderful.


Here is a good dry land training program using some of the things you might have at home:


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

stay in the game

I need to take my husband's temperature.

I think he has a fever.

Ironman Fever (Thanks Boon for that :-)

He called me yesterday and confessed. I want to do that again.... he said. I know I can go a 9:40 on that course. All I could do was smile and hold back from screaming. No, he doesn't regret turning down Hawaii. He hated that course. Ironman Florida.... it's made for the guy.

He admitted that he gets it. He gets why Ironman and I have had such a run together. despite our current breakup, Ironman and I I will have a reconciliation. In 2010. First things first however. 70.3 and I broke up bit ago and we need to make things right.

I have to admit that it excited me to pieces. Go for it. I told him.

This morning I woke up too early. I was supposed to be on the bike by 4am but I was sitting with a certain 8 year old who told me..... 8 isn't that much fun so far. I can't blame the kid, he's had a fever ever since he turned eight on Sunday. The poor kid has even been hurfing (his word for barfing). So the ride was cancelled and shifted when I found myself rocking his nausea away from his burning up little body.

I had one goal as I approached the pool this morning. Keep myself in the game. No matter what, even if the STUDS lapped me I would remain in the game. I would swim 90 minutes straight if I had to. Which is easy to do when you are swimming with Mark (96 Olympic trialist and last year swam a 1:46 for the 200 free. I know, I hurfed too.)

It was a light group in the STUD lane. No Grimm. Just Bill M, Dr Les, Rauni Mark and I. Bill and I shared lane 2 as we always do.

Bill M. is perhaps the nicest guy in the world. Actually, so are all my lane mates.

I know I am having a good swim when I can stay ahead of Dr. Les. Which I will dearly pay for when he cracks me tomorrow...... bastard's my chiropractor. So I carefully pulled myself ahead of him.

You know where you are in swimming. On one side of me I have the Boomers, on the other side of me I have my fellow Studs. Scott W. is a freaking great sandbagging BOOMER, he should be in with us. On our sets of 500's if we started at a similar time I could see him ahead of me, but by the second 200 I can always catch him. And on the other side I was staying ahead of Les.

Stay in the game Eggers.

I remember hitting the wall after the first one and gasping "Did I make it?"

Bill and Mark cheered me on.

Then I made the second one. And the third. I thought I was hallucinating as I saw Ken on the deck, man's recovering from a broken neck sustained at Longhorn. Did I not tell that story???? The guy walked around for 3 days with a fractured C1. He walked around for days with a nurse and 2 physicians telling him to HTFU.

L.U.C.K.Y.

We ground out 5,000 yards this morning. I stayed in the game. It was heaven. So heavenly that when I was pulling 8 X 100's at the end I touched the wall and heard Coach Lorie laugh.

"She's been turned and tanned on both sides. She's done."

Yeah I guess I was.

It was one of those mornings where I showed up at my internship at the law firm with my grownup clothes on and Starbuck's in hand.... feeling this quiet sense of pride for a little ride through the five corners of hell this morning.

It's not something you need to announce and pound your chest about (except when writing on your blog.....). But it's a feeling you quietly walk around with.

Knowing I took the reach, and the kick and the pull. And got outside of my comfort zone. Which, in swimming I spent my life in that area. The past few years within. It is only now that I am venturing back out......

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

primal eating

Inspired by the recent nutritional challenges of Elaine..... and my own history / shortcoming / obsession with nutrition issues and eating disorders..... accompanied by my health issues of 2008..... along with my break from Iron distance racing..... I decided that it has come time.

Nutrition can be tough, especially in our sport which demands that our bodies are fed properly and enough to perform at an optimal level. My history with an eating disorder plus some serious health issues this past season have really turned my attention to what I eat.

I am really fortunate to teach at a a yoga studio which also has a massive nutrition component. At Breathe I have been introduced to the concept of whole food nutrition, as Cyndi is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met in the Nutrition industry.

My biggest off-season project has been to revamp my nutrition and get myself to a leaner short course weight. My priority has been to reinstate my health and make sure I set the foundation to preserve my health. I have been through a few frightening health experiences this past season which is where this revamping business all came about.

I think nutrition is a lot like training..... you have to weed through a lot of bullshit.... you have to look at things as they fit you..... the individual person and then make changes from there.

By nature I am not a good vegetable and fruit eater. My palate was restricted to bananas, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, all kinds of lettuce and sprinklings of other things. At Breathe I was introduced to Mango and now I make a really good, what I call Mango yogurt. It's really nothing more than pureed Mango. Love it. Throw a little cinnamon on it and call me happy.

I could eat very bland things and be really content with life. I could also gravitate towards anything sweet and be happy with that as well.

My two year multisport plan doesn't allow for that however. It turns out however that my two year multisport plan is also my two year Masters program. And yes, that is on purpose. How am I to survive this degree and come out of it intact and healthy and functioning? To be as healthy as I can possibly be.

And that brings us back to nutrition. October was about giving up the sweets. Not much of an issue there. November became about adding five fruits and vegetables per day.... and I am doing well. Thanks Elaine for these kick starts, because they have been awesome.

I am gravitating towards a completely primal eating lifestyle, and this will likely take some time. I am learning to cook (I married an amazing cook so I just..... never did). I am adding a new fruit and vegetable to my diet each weer, sometimes with success and sometimes without. And I am watching the scale. I am very happy with the results so far.

As I share my training with you for this season, I will also share my nutritional metamorphosis. To begin that here are a few great websites that detail some good nutrition habits. remember that nutrition, just like training, just like life, is highly individual.

Mark's Daily Apple

Modern Forager (this site is about repairing your metabolism after an eating disorder).

Home of the Glycemic Index

Paleolithic Diet

Sunday, November 9, 2008

desire

If you are looking for the stability ball workout, please see the menu on the right….. we created a link and we will save them as we post a new one weekly. Next week by request we will be posting favorite dry land exercises for swimming! Thanks you for the feedback, I am so glad it was beneficial for you!

I am entering week 3 of running camp. I don't feel like it is this huge undertaking as it sounds…… 30 runs in 30 days….. Coach T had me run so much that 30 days of running in a row….. is just another week.

I'm feeling good. Feeling great. Feeling strange because some of us are coming into our on season, some going into the off-season and then some like one of my athletes Sarah….. still has an Ironman coming up.

It's a bit weird not checking in with a coach. Who looks at my daily log? Who keeps their eye on me? I do. I log in as an athlete and I log in again at the end of the day as my coach. A few hours away from the workouts and I give it a look over just like I do everyone else.

I have also opened up my training log to the Train-This Team. 35 pairs of eyes. Some are new, many have been with me a few years, they are going to keep an eye on me. My way of seeing what they have learned through the years. And my way of keeping myself in check. It's one thing to do something stupid when I am the only one who sees it. It's another thing when my athletes get to see it.

I'm looking forward to 2009, it's a calm feeling of drive and a quiet feeling of hunger. As I lay out my plan for the season and my goals for racing I feel that everything is an opportunity. I look back on 2008 and I can't believe what I have been through. None of the stuff I endured was on the plan. But I overcame it with a lot of fight and I hope a bit of grace.

I watched Clearwater online yesterday. I was at the inaugural race in 2006 and I could tell that the drafting wasn't quite as bad but it still existed. I've done a lot of races with drafters cheating their way to the top. Ironman Florida and my age group last year saw a few. But one in particular.

When you do something like cheat, be it in sport or in life….. it has a way of coming around. Life is circular like that. Like the female professional at 2008 Ironman Florida last week….. she treated the volunteers in T1 horridly. That kind of stuff comes back around. You let it go, and let it work itself out.

I'm not afraid of the drafting at Clearwater 2009. I don't care. All I need to know is that I will be riding clean, just like I always do. When I set my goal for a race like this I set it for time. I don't aim for a podium because I can not control who shows up. Chrissie Wellington could decide to be an age grouper next year, come and rock the field. I can't control that. Nor would I change my training to combat that. I have to train my way for my race. Not her way for her race.

I can't control who shows up. I can control my pace and how I race these events. I can't control people who cheat by drafting. I can control how I react to it. I can allow my energy get sucked into their race. Or I can let that go, let karma take care of it, and focus on myself and my race.

Each race I do I race with integrity. I can't force someone else to do the same but at the end of the day I can feel good about what I have chosen whether or not I stand on a podium or not.

When I die no one is going to give a rats ass how many podiums I have stood on or how many medals I have won. But someone somewhere might have been touched in a positive way because I thanked them for handing me a water bottle. Someone might have been less inclined to snap at a volunteer because they heard me say thank you.

Does that mean I will stop aiming for the top?

Absolutely not.

Especially in 2009 I will aim for the top. I firmly believe, I always will, that one of these days the good guys will win. The drafters will all get DQ'd or maybe the race director will finally create a wave system on a hillier course that makes a difference. Maybe someday cheating will lose its appeal.

So I shall move forward with this hunger, with this drive, with this desire to tackle, to reach, to be the best that I can possibly be. To bury myself, to bury the pain, to unlock the passion, to meet my potential.

That's what I am taking aim for
.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

stability

With everything we have at our disposal in terms of balls, bands, straps, etc, it's almost a crime to pay money to belong to a gym these days. For the 15 minutes you drive there and then drive home you could get 30 minutes of strength training done right at home.

We know about the debate on whether strength training is a hindrance, helpful or makes no difference at all in Multisport training programs. Create your own viewpoint and move along please. You aren't going to change my mind. To swim bike and run faster you need to swim bike and run. No one is saying that strength training trumps specificity. But strength training is a valuable tool to have in the tool box.

I believe a stronger muscle is a healthier muscle, which means it can sustain more. And as you age you lose muscle mass.

Plus…. I think it is fun.

Here is a great stability ball workout thanks to the folks at PhysicalFitnet for introducing me to this great site and for the ability to post videos. Starting this week we will feature a different set of exercises with different equipment. So stay tuned. You just might enjoy this!

Friday, November 7, 2008

wrecked

"Yes.... you are the man." I confessed for the trillionth time this morning over the phone to Mister 9:55. I sighed. That beat my time by over an hour. Suddenly my little 10:58 seems to suck big time.

He believes I can go sub 10 at Florida. Funny thing.... I bet I could too. But there is work to be done between now and then.

And first things first., Which means my return to Masters this morning and getting my intestines handed to me.

Ahhhh.... I love the first week of on again. You know when you have taken the proper offseason.... three days in on season everything feels good. Until you show up at masters where you've been missing for a week. When they made the transition from drills to pace and you were swimming with the girls in the ocean.

I really love the lane I swim in. It's a good group of people. I have heard of teams where there are lane wars. We line up how we line up, we frequently fight for the last spot in the lane..... and we are good to each other. We mix hard work and laughing. None of us can count, or add. Or remember the set. We've even got a new girl and she's a criminal psychiatrist.... or something insane like that. She fits right in.

This morning when we had 12 X 150 on hard-o-clock I thought.... this is an interval I can make easily.

Not so much girlfriend.

I swam about a 1200 straight. There were a few times I got to do an open turn which I count for rest. What screwed me up the most is that we had to breathe to the other side. Give me a pen and tell me to write with my left hand while you are at it. I couldn't remember what I was doing.

I thought my coach was on the other side of the pool.... but she wasn't. Caught me breathing to the right.

Shucks.

After 4600 yards my shoulders were grateful it was over and my head knew it would get better. This is what happens when you have taken proper rest. You get a little out of shape. When you come back you come back even stronger.

I was so wrecked this am that during my run I wasn't sure if I'd make 30 minutes. But I did.

And that's how things go in the beginning. This is the fire you have to travel through for the bigger gains on the other side. When times got tough today I labeled each wall opportunity. I pushed off of opportunity a gazillion times today.

2009 has nothing but that. Opportunity. Today I saw it, and tomorrow I will as well. There are goingto be days that are great, and then days that I feel like a wrecking ball has taken me down.

And each one of them holds promise.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

some photos from florida.......

The face of a 9:55!




What do you do when your Dad is doing the Ironman? Watch him go by and go swim some laps in Barb's pool of course..... silly!



Every man in America's dream......... and we don't need to wonder what the seven year old was thinking...... this is what Ironman athletes do honey...... now don't tell anyone!


Two future triathletes hang out at the awards ceremony...... Luc told her he would carry her over the sand to the water.....


Our family. This picture describes me to a T...... she looks like she's got it together..... but there's one thing a little bit off.......

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the finish line!

Thanks Laura for the picture! Here's Curt myself and Luc at the finish line! Shark picture is on the way!

2009 Train-This Lake Placid Training Camp

June 19, 20 21 2009!

For 6 years now we've been gathering in Lake Placid on Memorial Day Weekend to swim bike and run. For four of those years we've done it as an official Ironman Lake Placid Camp for our stable of athletes. At first we focused on those doing Ironman Lake Placid, and then the rest of our team wanted to join along. This year we have changed the date to June 19,20 and 21st!

We coach about 30-40 athletes at any given time and while our Ironman team is the one we highlight the most; we have athletes of all different distance specialties. With the growing popularity of the 70.3 distances we began to focus the weekend on that as well. Then our intermediate distances and duathletes wanted to come along for the party….. so we incorporated everyone. Each year we bring a few tag alongs along. Friends of our team, people who write and ask to come along. So this year we would like to extend an open invitation to our Train-This Lake Placid Training Camp.

If you are training for an Ironman, 70.3, or any distance event….. and would just like to get away for the weekend with an incredibly fun group of people, then please consider joining us.

What will you get out of attending our camp? I'm not a professional triathlete, I am a Mom, wife, Triathlon Coach, Triathete, Yoga instructor and Pediatric ER nurse. I am also a student.

Why tell you that?

Because I know what it is like to balance work, school and family. I understand what it is like to train for 20 hours a week and how to put it all together so it enhances your life, doesn't take it over. I am a four time Ironman Finisher. I have had a horrible Ironman, I have nailed it twice, I have had a mediocre Ironman and I have even DNF'd an Ironman. So I know what it is like all across the board. In my 10 years of racing I have done about everything from winning to injury.

You do not have to be a Train-This athlete to attend our camp this year. We will provide you coaching on pacing for long and short course events, nutrition for long and short course events, how to piece together your Iornman race, your 70.3 race and your shorter races. We will give you tips and ideas on what to put on all of those Ironman bags, how to transition for all distances. With your coaches approval we will also take a look at your swim stroke.

My main goal in creating this camp so many years ago was affordability, with the rise in cost of entry fees, travel fees, costs to fly your bike; we wanted to keep some things simple.

Remember the day when triathlon was really simple?

That's the goal here.
The price of this camp will be less than $200, and here is how this will work:

1. I will be reserving a block of rooms at the Alpine Inn in Lake Placid. These rooms are traditionally $60-70 per night and can hold 3-4 athletes, or you can be solo if you'd like. All I ask is that you cover your hotel and between everyone, cover mine. That typically is $5-10 per person.

2. Cover your own meals. Now keep in mind that we hit the grocery store so really the only meals we eat on the town is Friday night, Saturday night and a Sunday morning breakfast.

3. If you would like to carpool, we have plenty of room in cars. If you are flying in, try to fly to Rochester and / or ship your bike to me and we will get you to Placid.

Now….. you are welcome to make reservations at any of the hotels in Lake Placid in your own. We have been doing business with the Alpine Inn for a while and we really enjoy staying there. It's old school, low key and has a great view.

What's our agenda? That's going to evolve as we go along! We will swim, bike and run every day. We will have group talks on all of the mentioned topics throughout these three days. As we get people signed up and get people funneled into their respective groups then we will be able to create more of an agenda.

For example, the Iornman Folks can expect something like this:

Friday night: One loop of bike course without the out and back (about 42 miles)
Swim in Mirror Lake

Saturday: 112 miles of the Ironman Course with a run off the bike.
Evening swim

Sunday: Am swim, long run and easy bike.

Friday night: course preview and nutrition seminar.

Saturday: Nutrition guidance Part II, thoughts on pacing an Ironman.

So you'd like to join a great group of people in a beautiful town for a weekend of fun and training? Good! Because we would love to have you along.

Like I said you can expect to pay less than $200 for this camp. If you are interested please send me an email at maryeggers "at" gmail "dot" com. I will send you an information file. The purpose of the information file is to gather info about you so that we can arrange housing, training groups and to give you exactly what you are seeking in a camp. This is not an application!

By June 1st I will send you an invoice for your share of the hotel + $5-10 to cover my room. Then we go to camp and have a blast!

Why am I offering this camp at such a low price?

It's my way of giving back to the sport that has given me so much. It's really that simple. In a world where I see prices do nothing but escalate, some things should be kept simple. Camp….. should be simple. And as Train-This is turning five, it's our way of celebrating with you!

So please, consider joining us for a weekend of play in the town where the Miracle on Ice happened!!!!! Join our awesome team, get away for a few days and meet some amazing people while learning something really fun.

See you at camp!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

freedom

Here's a scary skeleton from the beach!

Greetings from the Atlanta airport where CNN is confusing the heck out of me on the election results. Stop with the damn predictions already.... let the election just happen.

I got an invitation from my sister in law the other day to join Mammas for Obama.... and I had to decline. Sorry girlfriend I am a die hard republican. Funny how politics works these days.... I don't really get into debates over politics. To me it is your own internal set of values and ethics that determines who you are and what you believe in. It is not my job to judge you or persuade you but it is my job to accept you for who you are and whatever you believe in. That's why I am so proud to live in this country. If you consider me to be "insert your negative word here" just because I am red or blue...... then please.... move along. Move on to someone who cares to place silly judgements on people like that.

But we do that, don't we. We might judge someone based on their size, their ability or lack thereof. We may judge them because we consider them to be loud, or talkative, or ultra competitive. We judge people before and instead of taking the time to actually get to know them. Beyond words that they write or results that they produce.

It's interesting to me. I love to watch that happen.

I especially love when people judge me based on any factor before ever having a conversation with me. I stand back and I watch in amusement, because I realize that is their story, that is the story they created...... not mine.

And again, that's why I live in this country. That's why I salute the flag when I see it rise. That's why my hand is on my heart when I hear the National Anthem. That's why I know the words to the National Anthem.

Because...... I can.

As I can do that, I can also enjoy the freedom to rise above that kind of stuff.

As we know..... our lives, our families, our abilities as athletes...... they are all what we make of them. Don't worry about what others believe of you and your performance, you believe in it. You believe in your performance. You believe in the person in the mirror.

I find that those who like to lend judgement spend far too much time looking in your mirror than looking in their own. I also find that the people who react strongly and negatively to a quality that you posses...... because you reflect something within them that they aren't comfortable with.
So let it go. Just let it roll. Let people get mad that you are voting opposite what they believe. Let people think this or that because you had a slower race. Let people believe this or that about you because of "insert your quality here."
Enjoy being you. You only get to do this once so make sure you do it right from your heart.

So enjoy your right to vote today...... enjoy your right to choose...... enjoy your right to be red or blue..... enjoy your freedom to be the person that you are. Without limits and restrictions. Just freedom.

Now that's something to celebrate!