Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Here is a great little video that does a nice job of really breaking down the running posture, Chi Running Style:
Just like when working on swimming technique, you don't want to work on running technique alone. While you are learning the feel of the water, or in my case the feel of the road, it's imperative that you have good objective feedback and video of your form. It will mean watching yourself run, big deal. get over it. I'd rather watch myself run and feel awkward about it, then develop an injury because I am not running with proper form.
In swimming I can't tell you how many folks cross their midline with their catch and have no idea.
Same idea here!
So as we evolve through change, expect it to be hard. remember, the brick walls are there for a reason, they keep those who don't want it bad enough,....... out. We need to go slower to develop technique and proper biomechanics. We have to endure the soreness. We have to be patience.
I think a lot about Julie (Swail) Ertel and how over the years she has transformed herself into a runner. She recently brought that 10K time during the triathlon leg under 35 minutes. If you have ever seen video of her running she went from running like a swimmer to running as a runner. It's her strength.
I think the most frightening place to be is thinking that you have nothing to improve, nothing new to learn. That my friends is a place of stagnation!
More to come from our run analysis tomorrow morning!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 7:21 AM
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The Wizard wastes no time in getting to the point. I am in a full on training week, albeit light.... it's full on. Which might seem a little much this time of season. I have spent much of my adult life training upwards of 20 hours per week so beginning at 14 is not truly that big of a deal. All of it is easy, most of it is form work and technique. This morning a three hour ride and I am drooling in anticipation. I have been blessed to be injury free, thanks to the Wizard who so appropriately knows how to structure my day, my week, my season. Not one niggle, not one ounce of sore, not one ache or pain has come to me since I have been under his guidance.
Back to the early mornings...... it's funny how this sport can be. Those of us who work and have families think nothing of rising at 4am on a daily basis to get our hours and miles in. For some reason this fascinates other people, but when you have spent your life getting up at 4am you begin to realize the true beauty of it. I can't tell you how many mornings I have driven to the pool under the light of the moon. Better yet run on moonlit streets with nothing to make noise except the sound of my breath and some deer.
To others the lure of the evening is the same as the beauty of the morning. It just depends on your internal clock and what's right for you. Every day of my off season I was awake by 3:30am, just like a regular training day. There was one day I did sleep until 8am and I had this odd feeling that half the day was gone.
Simply put, I adore the early mornings.
Yesterday was the first day in years that I got to immerse myself 110% in Train-This Multisport activities. My training is usually done by the time Luc goes to school. Off he went to school, off Curt went to work, and it was Cocoa, coffee and I in my office. For the first time in ages I didn't have a looming paper or final. It was me and my athletes. I got so so much done. By the way our friends at TWIN Advertising are busy creating a new website with us, you can check out our temporary home complete with some training tips right here. Notice we've got three coaches now as well!
I spent the morning organizing their files, scrolling through their programs, reviewing the paperwork for the new athletes we have coming on board. Planning the three camps we have. Getting ready for the weekend.
This weekend we are taking most of the team down to Tri Spot Multisport in Buffalo. Tri Spot Multisport is a unique training center / store / bike shop / hangout. They've got eight computrainers, an endless pool, treadmills, and all the gear you could imagine. My good friend Kevin Patterson owns it and he's been gracious enough to open for my team this weekend.
We will run through power tests, heart rate tests, swim analysis complete with above and below water video, body composition testing. We have the fit kit for our team uniforms this season and I am so so so so excited about this. We've got a massive team this season and trust me, you will know who we are. We did our first round of team gear in 2007 and this season we will have a brighter and distinct look about us!
I have been so fortunate throughout the past five years to have incredible people to work with and to experience growth in a business that's a luxury. With that being said the reports throughout the past 12 months have shown that folks are putting their money into health and wellness opportunities, a beautiful trend in our society.
I see excuses to not exercise truly beginning to fade, as they are replaced with goals, events, dreams, ideas. It's no longer.... I don't have time to take care of myself...... it's becoming...... what can I do to achieve?
I think that's the most beautiful trend of the year.
As I worked away in my home office I reminded myself of how blessed I am to be able to work from home in this business. I truly love it. I am still a pediatric emergency nurse however, I still work 2 days a week. I can not imagine ever giving that up. It connects me to reality. It allows me to have the chance to give back. It challenges me.
Thinking ahead to the future for the first time in so long I got to take some time and think about, and begin to plan where I would like Train-This to be five years from now. It excited me, raised my heart rate a lot. I am realizing that life is truly an opportunity and it is up to us to create our own luck. What's that saying.... the harder we work the better our luck becomes?
So now is a wonderful time to contact us if you are seeking someone to guide you through your multisport season. Our 3 USAT Certified Coaches have the experience and ability to build a program completely to you, completely to fit your life, and to guarantee you meet your goals.
Our ultimate goal is to get you active, moving, participating.
We want to see you achieve.
We want to see you grow.
We want your kids to not sit on the side of the pool and watch you.... we want them in the game.
We want to build performances out of health and sportsmanship and good will.
It's funny how the Train-This Team has evolved over the years. When you join us you become part of this family. It's like Cheers..... everyone knows your name. From Atlanta, to N'Orleans, Memphis, Montreal, Syracuse, Buffalo and Rochester...... we know one another. Blame it on the mad google group conversations we all have, blame it on the training sessions we do together, blame it on us just meshing. I can't imagine the athletes we work with not knowing one another. They give one another such support and friendship it's incredibly moving.
Every single day I pinch myself that I have had such good fortune in creating this business. I have been so lucky. My athletes are amazing people. They accomplish things that are never recognized on a daily basis. They achieve things that sometimes just they and I celebrate. But I celebrate each of their victories much harder than I do my own.
So we are moving forward on all positive fronts possible. 2010 looks to be the brightest year yet.... personally, athletically, professionally. Thanks so much for your support as well. The thousand of you who stop by each day mean a lot to me, for whatever reason you are stopping by. I hope that I can help your training and or your life in some way.
We will be getting back to the coaching files, drop me a note if there is something you'd like to read about!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 4:20 AM
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I didn't sleep very well last night. I had laid down next to Luc while he was falling asleep. Slowly I just listened to his breathing as he made his way into what we love to call "Dreamland". Each night I ask him what we will do tonight together in Dreamland .... typically it's ride rollercoasters. I always tell him that I will meet him there.
As I was about to get up and tiptoe back to our bed, Luc rolled over and rested his head on my shoulder. I was immediately brought back to the younger years, where he was so small (10 pounds at birth) that I would just hold his sleeping self and watch him.
I stayed right where I was all night and I just watched him. How have 9 years passed? This little boy..... was once a baby and now he's full of wonder lust and imagination.
I had the same feeling as we were decorating the tree the other day. As I pulled out ornaments I held up the ones that said "Vermont 1998", our first Christmas together. Beforehand we had gone to Vermont and I remember as we were riding our mountain bikes through town we stopped at a little Christmas shop to buy these. Now over 10 years later here we are.
From Thanksgiving until sometimes mid January the hat you see in the picture above, will remain on Luc's head. His old school made him take it off last year. Not his new school. Wear it away they say.
I've pulled out all of my Santa tricks, my Call Santa iPhone application, Santa calls your child with either a warning or a good job message! And juts yesterday as I was working I called Luc to my office! Santa just magically popped up on my screen with a personalized video message for Luc! And don't forget my all time favorite... the Christmas Eve Santa Tracker: www.noradsanta.com , works every time.
If anyone believes in the magic of the season, it's Luc. It's something I appreciate more than anyone. He confided in me that 2 boys on his bus told him Santa did not exist. He then confided in me..... that Santa exists in your heart. Santa knows who believes and who doesn't. It doesn't matter what you tell the boys on the bus.
It seems as if Luc believes in something much bigger than whether there truly is a Santa Claus. Christmas is the 6 weeks of the year that people are a little kinder, people get together, people decorate and celebrate. Luc has taught me to fully and completely embrace that. We listen to the Christmas music the moment it is begun. If they begin it in October then all the better!
Luc proudly cries out "HO HO HO MERRY CHRISTMAS!" any time he can, he knows the importance of spreading good cheer.
Each morning the first thing he does is light up the Christmas Tree and turn on the train beneath it. Much of his time after school is playing with that train. We may have the most used Christmas Tree in the world!!!!
I think the important thing is to soak up the magic of the season. The beauty of the snow coating the trees, allowing the world to be a little bit brighter. The folks who take their time to play Santa and spread good will among us. The little boy who runs around in his Santa hat and believes, because it's fun to believe in magic.
If we don't believe in a little bit of magic..... where will we be? Santa, he's a stretch of the imagination. But rather than getting caught up in the technicalities of how he delivers all the presents in one night, how the reindeer fly, and how he fits through that chimney...... believing in the magic of it all seems to do us just fine.
It's time to break out the cross country skiis and the sleds, because the snow is here!
Here is a little video that Luc and I took last year... if the video is not working here is the link:
Posted by Mary Eggers at 4:34 AM
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It seems my rendezvous with Montezuma's revenge has finally come to a close, however Curt's..... has begun. Lucky for him I am a really good nurse and I make a mean toast with butter and ginger ale with ice. Speaking of Curt, we were joking yesterday about the one statement he has had to get used to this year at various races "Hey! You are Curt Eggers..... I know you from the Internet!". I think it's happened to him at every race he went to this year. Donna spotted him in her hotel, Cathy in the airport...... ahh the benefit of being married to me. Lucky man.
I am very excited to announce I have been selected to be a part of QT2's Elite Triathlon Team. Of the 59 members of QT2, 18 are on the Elite Team, of which you have to qualify for. I just made the qualifications, probably by the skin of my teeth, but I am very honored to be a part of this group. QT2 was by far the best coaching decision I have ever made. Jesse Kroplenicki is an incredible coach, and to be able to work with a coach who has coached Ironman Champions and athletes of such high caliber is really a privilege I am so happy to have. Totally by fluke.
Last evening I had the first of 2 meetings this week with The Wizard, via the phone. It was a season overview, laying out the plan of how we shall tackle the next 50 weeks until Ironman Florida. The big picture: two big macrocycles with a scheduled intermission right after the Musselman. Which works out so perfect because I spend that week in Placid Coaching Ironman! The n we do another which culminates at IMFL. And you know the goal for that day.
The four big races we shall focus on are: Lonestar 70.3, Musselman 1/2 IM, Pumpkinman 1/2 (Or Syracuse 70.3) and of course IMFL. There will be a sprinkling of road races between now and April, and then some local races which will be decided in the next week or so.
The second thing we are focusing hard on is body composition. After some measurements and number crunching we've determined what I already knew.... I have a lot of muscle on me. The Wizard recommends his athletes maintain a muscle composition of around 20-21% to put it in simplistic terms. This is not body fat. That.... we will inch down to 12% by November.
The first priority is to get rid of a little bit of muscle mass, which makes me unbelievably happy. How we are going to do that is a little bit tricky, it's through nutrition and I think that just plotting the method out there on a blog comes with risk, so I might not do it at all. I think it's something to be done under close supervision, not by reading what someone else is doing on their blog. There are no pills or powders involved, just a specific 2 week nutrition protocol to follow. I begin that on Monday and follow it for 14 days under close supervision of the Wizard, and everyone in my close circle. Trust me when it comes to nutrition I get watched like a hawk.
One thing to remember about those who have had eating disorders...... it is not the craving of a certain food that will cause a Bulimic to binge and purge, it is the ignition of an emotion. It's not even so much about control. And I know I am not explaining it well. The emotions that caused me to binge and purge 15+ years ago...... are from 15 + years ago. The danger with doing drastic nutritional changes comes from the high that one can get from losing a few pounds.... from manipulating the diet, this sort of thing. It's a complicated slippery slope, but I feel confident in myself, in my recovery and in my support system that this will go as planned.
It will test me for sure, but it will be good for me in the long run.
Speaking of running, the third part of the 2010 plan is a very drastic approach to my running. After studying some video of my running form and a picture from Clearwater, I see how I am the classic swimmer turned runner. I lean back, hold my shoulders high, and while I do land midfoot, I am running like I have always run..... like a swimmer. Video of how I have been running over the past few weeks, forward lean from the ankle, using gravity, a mix of Pose and Chi running already is showing me to be a much different runner. I am not looking at heart rate or pace right now, I am solely working on technique and form.
Once I go to Boston next month we will spend upwards of 6 hours doing video analysis. On the swim, bike and run. We will be on the track working drills, overlaying video of me running with QT2 Teammates Dede G. and Cait Snow (oh great), and really looking at my running like never before.
We are also employing the use of powercranks, which are going to benefit my run the most, while ideally upping my power on the bike. There's some controversy over whether these things help cycling, I have heard a lot of people say they hate powercranks, in fact the friend who has generously allowed me to use them said "I don't care if I never see these things again".
As the Wizard described last evening, for those of us who feel like our bike is our happy place..... powercranks can be very frustrating. He's got a protocol on how we will proceed with them, and I am looking forward to it. I am looking forward to being brought out of my box so to speak. I am looking forward to the challenge of this season.
To achieve what I have never achieved before, I am going to be doing things I have never done.
The easiest place to be saying that is sitting at week one of 50. Kid of like a New Year's Eve Resolutioner making plans. It's easy to say what you are going to do. The hard part is getting into the thick of it and executing it.
I have nothing to lose and everything to gain as I sit here on my very own personal New Year's Eve.
Laura posted this on FaceBook yesterday, if you have not watched the Last lecture then you need to...... it's worth the time trust me...... but I love this statement:
"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough." ~Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon, The Last Lecture.
If staring down the barrel of 2010 was without a few brick walls, then where would I be? There are the planned ones such as body composition, running form. There are the unplanned ones, which are hopefully not injury. There are the small ones like powercranks, hitting performance indicators..... but it is how we look at all of it that really makes the difference.
Am I willing to be challenged in ways I never have before? Yes. Am I willing to stand with my toes up to the brick wall and look up? Yes. Am I committing to not turning around? Yes. I am not looking to go back to the way things were when I excelled by pure luck. I am looking ahead to making the changes and taking the steps I need to to make this happen.
I think we have a lot more to luck than we think we do. The harder we work, the better our luck becomes perhaps. But it's more than hard work, it's listening to someone who knows me as an athlete, working my own program, listening to my own body.
I feel like we are about to take the adventure of a lifetime my friends. I am so honored you are along for the ride.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 4:51 AM
Monday, December 7, 2009
I took an exam on the GI system on Thursday, my final Pathophysiology exam. The core of the exam focused on the physiology of GI illness, diarrhea, vomiting, the CTZ center. Which was incredibly ironic that I began a full fledged session of Montezuma's Revenge on Friday.
I was convinced it was..... until I walked in the house and found the sub ten doode with the barf bucket in hand. Whew, I thought. I am not crazy (shut up).
When I did make it to work last night for my weekly night shift (which I do have to add is a whole lotta fun when you work with some pretty amazing people) the gasp was not about how horrible I looked but for the lack of coffee in my hand. Then it was to me.
Two hours later I was sent home. You are not allowed to be sick when you are a pediatric emergency nurse. But when you are, show up and it will be taken care of.
Which brings me to this morning and the best meal I have ever eaten in my life: two pieces of toast, a banana and a Diet Pepsi. (I don't even drink Diet Pepsi). It was Thanksgiving all over again! Heaven!
Today is going much better for me. Seems Montezuma/conversion disorder has claimed a new victim. In a house where we are rarely sick it's big news when we are. I of course fear what every mother fears..... our son getting sick. With all of his issues and experiences I can count on one hand how many times he has thrown up in his nine years...... twice. He's also had one ear infection. I would have traded open heart surgery for a few rounds of puke, but beggars can't be choosers.
Cross our fingers he escapes the revenge.
Excitedly I logged into my QT2 account as soon as I woke up and felt nauseous again. fourteen hours on tap including a 3 hour ride on Thursday. (note to self: reassemble bike tonight). Holy cow, I thought.
No rest for the wicked..... or should I say for those who have things to do and places to be in 2010. If I had just read that one someone else's blog I would have had a heyday! Too much volume! She will be injured by January! What the HECK!
I have to remember who my coach is. I have to remember his track record. I have to remember that this is the coach I came to to bring me to an entirely new level. I am willing to go out on the limb, and go to the places I have never gone, and do the things I have never done.
Fourteen easy hours...... fourteen I shall then do. I am meeting with Jesse this evening and then I will have our goals, aspirations and dreams.
While I might be existing on toast and bananas for today....... I know that come Sunday I will be back to my old self, my old strength, my bike seat and my new running form.
Hope you are all ready, because this year is going to be great! Of course!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 12:36 PM
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Through the past year I have revolutionized my nutrition. The struggle as an athlete and coach even was how to balance nutrition while distance training and keep on keeping on. Last January I began to delve into the Paleo diet and through my work with the Wizard and QT2 I came to the Core Diet. The Core Diet is often mistaken for Atkins to those who don't know it well.
The Core Diet is pretty much the same as Paleo for Athletes, with the exception that it has better guidelines for balancing weight loss with distance training. We made vast improvements in my body composition throughout the past 6 months. It's tricky because body composition is not truly measured in pounds as it is in body fat. For me that means calipers. While they do have a margin of error they are much more reliable than a..... scale. A scale? really? You step on a scale and it tells you how much body fat you have? Read the directions on how it is done..... please. Then use some common sense.
Body composition is important in triathlon. The lighter you are the faster you can go, but with great exception. Many athletes fall into the lighter is better and then end up with significant injury, most commonly in the form of stress fractures.
Many athletes also believe that lighter right now is faster forever.
Women should aim for a body fat percentage of 12-14%, and that 12% should be on race day. Not before. Men.... 5-7% and again, that 7%.... on your A race day. Getting down to that lower range and even below it in December for a race that is 7 months away will guarantee you this:
Your body needs fat to perform certain functions. Cell metabolism for one. The low fat diets of the nineties are out, the focus is now on whole foods, real foods, I think that's a great thing for our American culture.
In an Ironman race 10 pounds is said to be good for 10 minutes off of your time. Of course this excites me as I am 15 pounds lighter than when I did my 10:58 at IMFL in 07. I believe I have about 15-20 to go, but we will allow my latest body composition analysis determine that.
However if you don't have 10 pounds to lose..... then think of trying to lose that additional 10 as time added to your time. I honestly believe that it works inversely. So save yourself the time and the heartache. Be healthy, get your composition analysed by something other than your $150 scale.
A few rules on the core diet are ones easily incorporated into any lifestyle:
1. Drink 80 ounces of water every day (That's 2.5 of those Nalgene bottles)
2. Eat four fruits per day
4. Eat four veggies per day
5. Eat 6 time per day.
The biggest complaint I hear with nutrition is time. No one has time to devote to planning meals or preparing meals. But we all have time to plan our weeks and our training. Be just as serious about your nutrition then! I spend about an hour on Sundays cooking, chopping, preparing meals for the week. I store them in small Glad Lock containers and then when the time comes my preparation time is minimal.
I remember feeling a significant difference in how I felt after just 2 weeks eating in the Core. Energy levels soared, I felt cleaner, I felt really good. I was no longer relying on bread and bagels for my carbohydrates, I was relying on much healthier sources like fruits and vegetables.
Many people thing that because you are not eating bread and bagels that this is Atkins. Not so. It's a tough thing to give that stuff up, especially if you are a swimmer like me and Saturday mornings have always meant swim practice then pancakes!
Take a look at your fruits and veggies. Look at how much you can get from those sources. There is certainly a time and place for the higher carbohydrate foods, those we call workout windows and I will outline those another day.
The biggest focus when eating in the Core is healthy nutrition. I think of all of the years my body was starved of the micronutrients that it needed. Especially with the health issues I have dealt with in the past 2 years. My body soaks that stuff up now and I feel that difference.
The Wizard is pretty strict on making sure you eat enough fat, enough vitamins, he reminds us that we lose health when we aim too low. He aims for 0.5-1 pound of weight loss per week, which is easy to do in a world when you aer taught that you can lose 3-6 pounds by drinking 3 shakes a day.........
Now is the best time to begin working on the nutrition front. I don't enjoy the treats that the holidays bring. Growing up with an eating disorder this was the worst time of year for me. I am happiest when I avoid it. I am happiest when instead I try new fruits and vegetables. I feel good at the end of the day. I don't' feel like I have the sugar induced false high.
So begin establishing those habits now. Good habits. Healthy habits. The water, the fruits and the vegetables. Find out what your body composition is and then begin upon a long term plan to getting it to where it should be by race day, remembering that on race day it can be at its lowest, afterwards you add a few pounds.
It's wonderful to be fast. There will be no such thing as fast if you are a woman with 8% body fat and a stress fracture though, as you watch from the sidelines.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:59 AM
Saturday, December 5, 2009
2 hours later he came back to me sitting on the edge of the bed sobbing, snot running from my nose in full on labor, getting an epidural. My water broke and I sobbed "I'm incontinent" (nurse speak). I swear it's times like those when you realize the true meaning of love.
This morning Luc was reassuring, as he promised me he would straighten things out with Santa:
"Mom I will tell Santa that you didn't sleep because you were sick, not because you were being bad."
The big meeting with Jesse.... aka: The Wizard.... is tomorrow. Between now and then I have a few items of homework: running form video and power test on the bike. As long as the re hydration plan works then that power test will be on. The run video will take just a few minutes. I am most excited about this part. While I have worked really hard on my running paces and running zones.... I have never had a coach who has walked me through the process of working on running form.
What I hope to do one year from now is show your the before and after video, the before and after times, and the upward slope of improvement. I am planning on taping my running on a regular basis. Next month when I do make that trip to Boston I will be able to work with him in person on it. It's so exciting when there is room for improvement. I am heading into my best endurance years, and I still have room to improve things on the swim, bike and run.
Opportunity is abundant! That's what I hope to pass on to you.
After our meeting I will let you know about our goals on all fronts, the races we plan on hitting and what tips I was given for my running form. I might even post the video so you can see that.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 10:37 AM
Friday, December 4, 2009
Many events to come, but these are the big four races we are aiming for:
April 25th: Lonestar 70.3 Galveston TX
July: Musselman 1/2 Ironman Geneva NY
September: Syracuse 70.3 or Pumpkinman 1/2 Ironman
November: Ironman Florida, Panama City Beach
Ironman 70.3 World Championships 4:58
Pumpkinman 1/2 Ironman 4:54 1st amateur female
Sodus Point Triathlon 2nd overall female
Musselman 1/2 Ironman 5:08 8th overall female
New Orelans 70.3 5:25
Please click here for results prior to 2009!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 2:20 PM
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Remember the swim helmet? for those of you new around here the swim helmet is a joke, no I do not really swim with a helmet on! Grimm brought it to my first practice back after the injury and I wore it as a joke. Although there seems to be a market for this thing during the swim at IMLP, which incidentally will have 400 more people in it this year!
It felt good to slide into the water. Compared to the water I had swum in the previous day this was much colder. At Masters it always is. The usual faces greeted me, coming back to the pool after my 2 weeks break was a lot like coming home from vacation. Well, I just did!!!!
I was born a swimmer, I swam in college and nothing, nothing replaces the feeling of those first thousand yards in the pool after a break. I love to re feel the catch, the throw, the breath, the sound of nothing but water all around me.
Coach threw tennis balls in the water this morning and I knew it would be awesome. She gives us the best drills. Tennis balls are one of the best tools for head positioning, fist swimming, and Mark even taught me how to juggle.
I moved to lane 1 yesterday to even out the lanes and I think it will be my permanent lane this year. Lanes 1 and 2 swim together, but lane 1 seems to fit me well right now. I am in need of some swimming change.
After I ended my collegiate swimming career I began to swim by 2 rules: no more fly and I will breathe to my right. Yesterday I brought my fly out of retirement. Trust me when you have spent years of your life swimming 10,000 yards a day, most of that fly, you deserve to retire it for a good 10 years.
One of the sets we were given instructed us to breathe to our non preferred side. The beautiful thing about my swim team is that we don't stick a workout on a wall and have at it. Lorie coaches form the deck, set by set. At any given moment she's in your face and she holds nothing back. If you are swimming like sh*t she says those exact words. That's what I love abut her. She's damn honest.
Out of fear I began to breathe to my non preferred side. It felt like writing with my feet. As I swam that set I thought about how we are analyzing my running and my cycling form the bottom up. With a good long season ahead of me the focus is high on biomechanics right now.
Why not with my swimming?
I am a much much better swimmer than I train to be. I don't work hard at all to swim 28-30 in a 70.3 race. Not at all. It's embarrassing because with my background all I have to do is put froth some effort and bam, there it will be.
As we move towards this new season with new goals...... and I have promised before..... but I will promise again. Some effort in the pool. I am swimming fly again, I am breathing to the left. I am getting out of my box of swimming safety.
Because it will take beginning from the bottom to reach what I have aimed to reach in 2010.
As I look down the path of 2010 I realize that right now I am in a great spot. We start on Monday and that gives me almost a full year. My big A plus race is at the end, many people's is in the middle. That gives me the luxury of time.
I am studying my running homework, the powercranks are on their way, the power meter is being charged...... I have a meeting with Jesse this weekend. Next week we do run form analysis. (I did have to postpone my trip to Boston until Jan 23rd because I am getting a new car! Exciting!) Power test, body composition analysis, all this weekend.
I am loving what I am doing so far. My legs are sore in the good way kind of soreness. I am ready to step out of the box, be taught something new, and in the pool...... find something old.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:45 AM
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Here is our friend Rudy Garcia, as he walked past us at Ironman Arizona. If you have been in this sport long enough you remember when we was on the cover of Road Runner Sports as an 11 or 12 year old kid, promoting the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
If you don't know the story of Rudy, the 2 minute synapses is this: as a kid he was wheelchair bound. Essentially he asked for his legs to be amputated so he could get on with his life....of course there is much more detail, but that's the jist. At five years old he had the foresight to say..... enough of this. Click here for a much better recap of Rudy's life.
At the 2009 Ironman Arizona event Rudy became the first double leg above the knee amputee to complete the Ironman. When he walked by us..... Luc took notice. He was fascinated by this kid who had these amazing legs. We watched as Rudy checked in.
I have had the fortune of being at some events with Rudy, like the 70.3 Ironman World Champs in 2006. I remember watching him run into the water on his stumps and kicking the asses of some of the best swimmers in that field might I add.
I wanted Luc to watch him, to stare at him. Luc is not new to being around wheelchairs and walkers and disabilities. He was in a wheelchair and used a walker himself. He attended a pre school with children who had CP.
What was different..... was that this kid with the amazing legs.... was doing the Ironman. Luc never had seen that before. I watched as that scenario was absorbed by Luc. Luc is no stranger to adversity. If you have been reading long enough you know the struggles we have endured over the past several years with an education system set up that's against children like Luc. You remember the fight and the meetings and the phone calls.
How on earth Luc managed to wake up every single day with a smile on his face, and walked into a school where all he met all day was doom.... is beyond me.
It's now December, and Luc has been in his new school since May of last year. He's an entirely new kid. He has close friends. I have a notebook that he comes home with every single day with a synapses form his teacher of how the day went. Great day, worked hard today, those kinds of comments are on every single page.
Last year we got a phone call every single day. By this time of last year I had been at the "round table" at least four times. Luc faced every school day of 2009 being told by teachers that he would never fit in, that he was bad...... and as you remember we yanked him out and homeschooled him in March.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 4:24 AM
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The off season always brings triathletes to yoga. We believe we need to fins something to shut off the mind, give us something to relax, stretch a bit and unwind. If that's what you need....
You will not like my yoga class.
If what you are looking for is something to turn off your brain, not sit still, sweat more than you ever have in your entire life, develop your core strength more effectively than a TRX will, move for 75 minutes, be challenged in ways you never thoughts possible while listening to Eel, Jack Johnson, Michael Franti, Green Day, Krishna Das and sometimes I even threaten Michael Jackson......
Then you might be a good candidate for Power Vinyasa Yoga.
There are a million different styles of yoga. If you like to be still there is a style for that. If you like rigidity, there is a style for that. Baptiste Power Vinyasa is what I call the freestyle yoga. Your poses and mine.... they will look different. We've got different bodies. It's open to interpretation, it's open to really jacking up the intensity and at the same time bringing it waaay down. It's what you need. It's not keeping up with an instructor..... in fact as an instructor......
I don't do the class with you. I roam around the room and lead you through it verbally.
WTF? I don't show you the moves?
No. That's what our basics class is for. Besides...... what I do or don't do on my mat has zero to do with you. I am probably your most inflexible yoga teacher, but what does that matter? Don't come to your mat looking to copy my routine, look to develop your own.
There aren't even mirrors in our studio.
WTF? How the hell will I know if I am doing the poses right?
You feel it. Do you look in the mirror every single time you swim bike and run? No. You feel. That's exactly what you learn to do on your mat. As I roam the room I even make sure you are in the right place.
In our studio you don't turn off the brain by sitting still and sitting quiet. You turn off the brain by moving and sweating and breathing and listening to music. By doing that you disconnect, you get into the space of your body and out of that dangerous space between your ears.
Even if just for a little while.
I love to read what triathletes write about yoga, especially during this time of the year. Here are some of my favorites:
1. I watched the teacher bend into a pretzel, so intimidating!
It shouldn't mater what your teacher does. Leave the competition outside kiddo.
2. Yoga teachers are holier than thou.... or think they are.
Actually....... if someone can elicit that response within you..... then likely that teacher strikes something inside of yourself that you aren't comfortable with. To that I say..... get over yourself.
3. I don't get the poses
Take a basics class. Learn them. You learned your bike didn't you?
4. I don't like to sit still and meditate
Whew. Me neither. Come to my class then. You will beg me to let you sit still. I should mention you will sweat your ass off so not only should you bring towel, but a change of clothes for a ride home and another for during class.
5. I don't like yoga music.
Again Whew. Me neither. Come to my class then. We will get along well.
Remember........ when we are open in our minds then there are opportunities. You know the feeling of riding your bike, where it is just you and the road, no thoughts pass between your ears, you are moving on feeling, riding the high, feeling so damn connected?
That happens every single time I step onto that mat. It's through moving that people like us attain that feeling of connection. Not through sitting still. It's our personality type. That's all.
Just like in swimming, biking and running, yoga takes some time. Give it 5 classes. Trust me, something will happen. Use this off season time to give it a shot. As it comes time to delve back into the season you will know what you need to know to develop your own routine.
At Breathe we've got another Yoga and Nutrition For Athletes coming up, three consecutive Tuesday's in January. Stop by our site for more details.
Also, here is a great site for those who prefer to practice at home. In a few weeks we will post the video for the 20 minute routine that I have developed for athletes. The one missing component is, you need a good dose of 90 degree heat. Grab the space heater. Turn off the phone. Put on some music. Turn off your head.
I am okay with it if you "just can't get into yoga." That's too darn bad I will think..... because it's been such a literal lifesaver, helped me cope with so many things........ but i encourage you to give it a try.
Jump off the mental hamster wheel. Get ready for heat, and get ready to work hard.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:15 AM
Monday, November 30, 2009
Posted by Mary Eggers at 2:30 PM
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday meant running. Which also meant some running drills. Which meant jump roping. Which then led to my discovery that I am one excellent jump roper. Yes! It's true, watch out. If you see some girl skipping merrily along during the next 70.3 that just might be me. Finally something related to running that I am pretty damn good at.
Why jump roping? For a variety of reasons, that in a minute.
First of all..... feet. I get a lot of questions about what I wear for shoes because of what I do. Because of the amount of time I have spent barefoot since tearing my Achilles a few years ago I have very strong feet. I never wear socks. Only to work. I don't wear shoes or socks in the house, I teach yoga, and the only time I wear shoes is when I am working, or training, or just out.
Since I have instituted that rule I have saved a lot on matching socks in the laundry and I have also developed very strong feet. I also attribute that to yoga itself. The muscles in our feet become week when we leave them to depend on the support of shoes. They also become weak when we wear very bad shoes.
I wear Dansko shoes at work, and in leisure. I wear these very cool Keene shoes the yogui model. These shoes are my shoes of choice because they allow your feet to become strong. The Keenes are better than a Croc because of better support, but not too much support. If you are a nurse Crocs are quite possibly the worst shoe that you can wear.
So I have worked to make my feet strong. I think that is incredibly important not just for running but for life in general. A strong foot is a healthy foot!
Back to jump roping. I am trying to change the way that I run. Jump roping drills are a great and fun way to do the running drills outlined by Dr. Romanov. Check out this video. I jump roped for 15 minutes and aside from a few catches in the rope I found myself to be a darn good jump roper. If I don't' say so myself. If we could get that to count for something..... it will.
Why do we need to do drills in running? The main point of drills in running is to develop or heighten our perception. Strength and agility are biproducts of the exercises. Our main goal is an acute perception. Like many of our runners ask, do we always need to do drills in running? The short answer is yes, the long answer is because we need to continually sharpen our perception like the edge of a knife. Think about a runner wearily flopping away to the finish. That is where most of the damage occurs, why? Loss of perception due to fatigue. Our drills help us maintain our perception despite the many outside factors which could deprivate our senses. So today, go ahead and do some drills and improve your running day in and day out!
There are some coaches who believe that drilling in any sport is a waste of time. They believe good technique naturally just happens. Well, I have been running a long time, and I haven't accidentally fallen into better technique. I should have done this a very long time ago, but better late than never. In fact, the timing feels perfect! Not only are we pulling apart this run.... we are pulling apart the bike. Powercranks..... here I come!
Posted by Mary Eggers at 8:06 AM
Friday, November 27, 2009
I get to start training again tomorrow. It has been a full two weeks off. And I mean off. Aside from some hikes while on vacation I did nothing. Nada. Zip and zilch. I also hated every single moment of it. I also followd instruction and went off the core and that was an utter disaster.
I never felt the urge to eat anything and everything. I had some bagels and toast and some of the high glycemic foods I had given up. And they made me sick to my stomach. The side effect of eating clean is that eating dirty makes you feel like sh*t. The two indulgances I did engage in were Diet Coke and Coffee.
I know. Someone call the police over my wild livng.
Tomorrow I get to run. As you know I have become a student of running form as both a coach and as an athlete. I am excited beyond belief to put into practice what I have watched, read and listened to.
There are three running coaches who in my opinion have the corner on running:
Over the past several weeks I have read what they have written, watched videos and footage of runners that have been coached by them or that they are critiquing, and have watched several seminars thay all have given. The three of them seem to focus on some common points:
1. Running with a forward lean from the ankles (not from the waist)
2. Cadence of > 180 (this is counting both feet)
3. Driving the knees forward rather than focusing on the push off. In fact in one of his seminars Dr. Romanov demonstrated how he believes there is no push off in running.
There are several points on where I should not say they disagree but differ. One points out that a midfoot landing is critical while the other points out that the midfoot would mean the arch, which does not touch the ground. Rather than focus on those kinds of points I think it is really important to focus on where these three agree.
These three seem to have vast experience working with runners who are causal, marathoners, elite distance, triathlon, all kinds. All backgrounds. All shapes and all sizes.
Dr. Romanov in one of his seminars pointed out that there is really no standards of running form, like there are for swimming and for cycling. Often times running form has been left alone. Yet it is the sport that seems to garnish the most injuries.
In 2006 the Runner's World Guide to Running (or whatever it was called) made a statement of this effect (and please know I am paraphrasing)......
All but the luckiest of runners will experience an injury at some point in their running career. So you have to be prepared to expect a niggle of some sort at some point.
Wow. That's a statement of doom and gloom. Welcome to running, expect to be injured sucker! Doesn't it interest you that the sport with the highest injury rate (last year it was estimated that 85% of runners sustained an injury?) is the one sport that really requires..... no equipment? It's something to think about for sure. Did cavemen have these injuries when hunting down their food? Or did they just run naturally?
Here is an interesting article from Dr. Romanov on why he thinks the shoe companies are to blame for poor running form.
Biomechanics are certainly something to look at and consider as we try to improve running. In the pool and on the bike we spend hours and yards and miles to perfect our form. Get the most of our swim stroke, establish the best fit and aerodynamics on our bikes..... yet when it comes to running we are very afraid as both athletes and coaches to correct form.
A person who runs a 17 minute 5K will not be open to correct biomechanics. They truly believe that in order to go faster they must train harder. That might be true, but a peek at how they run could give them that extra bit they need to break the 17 minute barrier.
To change anything.... you must first be open to change. If you lack openness, you deny yourself opportunity. I have noticed that runners in particular are very defensive about their form, and their shoes. Swimmers and cyclists seem much more willing to make changes. Running for some can be riskier.
If you are like me..... looking to hit your absolute best potential in 2010, maybe your openness to making changes is greater. I by nature am not a great runner. It's something I ave worked hard at especially with my new coach. While I made great improvements, those improvements did not come forth on race day for several reasons. One of the biggest reason is that I have never had my running form critiqued.
Swimmers by nature bring barriers to running. We have excellent plantar flexion and terrible dorsiflexion. Those with a breaststroke background are in the worst scenario with their externally rotated hips. Swimmers tend to have bigger shoulders and chests and therefore run with the chest pulled high and back. Here is a great articles about the importance of proper body alignment.
My first foray into new running form is drill work. And a lot of it. Getting me to lean forward not from the waist but from the ankles. Allowing gravity to help pull me forward rather than be so upright that I have to work against it.
We have brought my running cadence up to about 93, so on that front I am doing well.
The third thing we will work on is landing more forefoot and decrease that heel strike. Take a look at your race photos and see where you land. You may think you are on your forefoot but.... NOPE!
That's purely the beginning. We have lost to correct and with a year to go, I am very hopeful that I can crack my running ability.
So take a look around that the different resources. Get your run form analyzed by someone who knows what they are doing. It will never hurt to have it looked at. It can mean the difference between snapping an Achilles to break 17 or correcting a few simple flaws to get there. We were meant to run, made to run.
And remember: the willingness to change must be there to even attempt it.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 3:08 PM
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I am finally home form what it feels like a whole lotta travel. The best part was taking a shower in my shower! We loved Tempe. Curt is thrilled with his performance, 45 minutes slower than his goal time but one of his best efforts. See, he's never had to deal with GI issues, never had to deal with that kind of stuff. Looking at his even run split it showed that he could keep his pace well throughout the difficulty. He knows he is capable of better.... so we are coming back in 2010!
Throughout the trip I have been filling my brain with lectures from some really awesome coaches and really breaking down the mechanics of running. I have an upcoming run analysis and I am learning how to sight run flaws in myself and in others.
In one of the lectures some really good points about running form were made. We work very hard on our swimming and cycling techniques, but no one ever wants to touch running. Running is probably the most difficult one to change..... but easy if you are willing to change it.
A 17 min 5K runner who has terrible bio mechanics will likely never be willing to change how they run. Yet they will deal with injuries and buy shoes to help this and help that when to avoid all that and become faster they could do it biomechanically. Running mechanics are described as being just like chiropractics, the change is immediate.
I was especially interested to learn bout running shoes and how they do more to diminish our perception than to help us run. The pronation issues that we believe we have are not necessarily true..... an analysis of running biomechanics can fix that better than a clunky shoe.
I am fully embracing what I need to embrace to become the runner I need to become to achieve the goals I have set for 2010. I have a meeting with Jesse next week where we will break down absolutely every single goal and the plan of action I will take to hit each one.
My biggest goal is to go as close to 10 hours as I can at IRonman Florida. Quite obviously the amount of work that will take is not a small task. The focus it shall require will be above and beyond anything I have ever done before. It will especially require more refinement to my body composition. I say 20 pounds, Jesse says 10. Next week we will know for sure.
It means a complete and I mean complete overhaul of my running mechanics. It means I have to work at swimming. It means I will be on Power Cranks. It means I have to commit to going further that ever.
Now we can look ahead at the year and wonder.... will I do it? Will I make it? That big long term goal is important but what brings us closer to earth are what we call the performance indicators. There are certain indicators that I need to shoot for every 6 weeks or so, in swimming, cycling, running and body composition, that will bring me closer to the big goal I wish to achieve.
So rather than wondering for a year ..... each training block we aim for the performance indicators, from there we can say..... these indicators will yield this result. Are we on track?
I like working through goals that way. As far as races are concerned the races I will focus on are:
Long Horn 70.3
Musselman 1/2 Ironman
Pumpkinman 1/2 Ironman
There will be 5K races and other races sprinkled in there..... but these four are the biggies.
Once I have this meeting with Jesse I will share all of the goals with you. Some people wonder why on earth I would share this kind of detail...... won't my competition get the inside scoop and take that info and .... blah blah blah......
OMG get a life, is what I say. People are freaking head cases out there. I know people who won't reveal who their coach is because they believe people are just that interested. What I have for performance indicators and body composition are nothing to be secretive about. Who is my competion anyways? A woman whose cheated on her husband and blew apart her family and has zero else to make her feel good except winning? Someone I don't know from Utah who is targeting to beat me? Someone who views me as some kind of threat?
I don't care who my competition is. I don't care if you develop your entire plan around what my season is. I will think you are a complete psycho, but if that is what drives your performance and helps you to become a better athlete and helps you to achieve your dreams..... as psycho as it is..... then have at it.
It goes back to what Cathy Y and I talked about on the beach in Clearwater...... we've been in this sport so long that the false elevating satisfaction of beating Mary or Cathy, gets old. As we mature and grow older and more experienced at this it becomes more about the personal satisfaction.
My good friend KR from Syracuse is also competing at IMFL with me, she was in Clearwater also, and we are the kind of friends that root each other on. Whether one wins over the other is not important..... we support each other on the journey. I can not wait to race this race with her.
So that's where we are at..... time for planning, goal setting, taking a very honest look at form and composition and what I am going to accomplish this year. I am very happy with 2010. I got back on my feet with the help of an awesome coach. Now we get to start from the beginning.
Upcoming coaching file topics:
Nutrition, swim, bike and run form, and how to plan a season.
Posted by Mary Eggers at 9:45 AM