Saturday, January 31, 2009


In this picture I am at a press conference with Brian Rhodes, towards the end there it's Sarah Groff and Victor Plata..... I think. The important point is I am sitting next to Brian Rhodes. It looks like I am saying something important and fascinating doesn't it?????

This morning is my very first sweet spot ride of the season, and no this is not an X rated post. I am not sure if Coach T coined this title but I will give it to him.

So what's the sweet spot? So easy, for once this is so easy!

If you are a powerhead as I like to call folks like myself who train with power, then by now (unless you are the last.... like me) you've determined your FTP or Functional Threshold Power. The sweet spot is another word for lactate threshold, essentially riding at about 96-105% of your FTP.

Using Coach T's workouts I like to begin low and then increase the intervals over time. For example this morning I will ride 3 X 10 minute sweet spot efforts with 5 min recovery in between. The effort feels hard but not death - hard. The goal is to increase the length of these intervals to push up your FTP.

I will segway into 2 sweet spot rides per week, and then add in an FTP ride. Physiologically it is fine to do these type of interval rides frequently, just make sure you are recovered enough in between the ride. I'd probably not schedule myself for 2 sweet spot rides in a row....... but at this point that is common sense.

The sweet spot rides again are hard but not devastating. They give you much to focus on during a 2 hour ride as I have this morning (no...... not intervalling for 2 hours...... but tucking it in there).

For the record I did begin some tempo effort on the run this week. I am easing into that as well, with just 1 minute at tempo pace at the top of every five minutes. This translates into about 8 efforts throughout the run, and the goal will be to increase the time and decrease the intervals over the next few weeks. I am sooooo easing into things here, but it's a long season and my A races are in July and in November, with that 24 hours of triathlon in the middle.

While the snow is falling outside still....... and I see there are Professor of Nursing positions available at the University of Hawaii...... oh yes there is a grand plan here...... I will keep pedaling in the security of the basement. In my old age I have moved the bike from the garage because I am pretty sure New Orleans is not going to be 10 with a feels like negative 5. I'm just sayin!

Friday, January 30, 2009


I am a self proclaimed swim slacker. Because I come from a collegiate swimming career I declared myself retired from butterfly, and I like to caboose the lane. It does not take a whole lot of effort for me to swim a 30 minute 1.2 mile swim or a sub 60 minute Ironman swim. I am content with a 1:01 even.

Last week at the Postal swim I giggled my was through yardage that was.... well, call me a damn swim snob, but beneath me. When you drop 5 entire seconds off your 50 yard split during the last 5 minutes of the swim .... you might be called a slacker. Every few months I declare my swim slackerness over. I have to admit it, swimming is easy for me and I take it for granted as evidenced by a lot of swim results that could be better.

I complained to my swim buddy Ken that I am just too darn complacent in the water, and I wish I had that old swim mojo back. I could use those extra 2 or 3 minuets in the shorter events.

He declared that I wold be leading the Stud lane on Friday if it meant I wore fins. Eeeks, I thought. That means business.

So I led two sets today. It was pace day. The first was a kick set with fins. I am not a good kicker but I did it and ... I didn't die. That made me smile. I led the stud lane and didn't die.

At the end I led 10 X 100 on the pace we need to hold for our goal 500 yard free. These were on 1:55 so you had time to push and had time for rest. It kinda felt like taper week :-)

I wore the fins but let me tell you, fins don't make things easier when you look over and Mark, the 96 Olympic Trialist is next to you for a 50. It gives you a glimmer of greatness. My goal became to never let him beat me by more than 4 seconds on these 100's. Now Mark can open a gap of 8 seconds on anyone during a 50.... if and when he chooses to.... he's that fast..... (SICK), so this was a reachable yet difficult goal at the same time.

And I did it. I got tired.... who doesn't when they are busting their ass..... but as I got tired I felt the fire inside of me burn. That good old swimmers fire where you work so hard in the pool and no one knows and no one cares but the people you are in the water with. When you kind of hope you make it to the shallow end because if you pass out or start to at least you can stand. The kind of hard work where it is tempting to have a tea party in the deep end because when you are that spent you don't believe your coach can actually see through the water and will never notice.

Although each time I hit the wall I was recovered enough to do it again. THANKYOUREST! The effort and the taste was just enough to make me start to once again dream of leaving my swimmer slacker status behind.

So thanks to Ken, for holding me accountable. That's sometimes what we need isn't it? It's one thing when we are accountable to ourselves, another story when we are accountable to another person. Depending on the person and the situation it can work in either direction. In this case my swimmer past didn't care, but I cared when someone else told me to care.

So I am stating it here and stating it now. Mary Eggers' swim slacker days are over.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Luc decided to give Cocoa a trim yesterday. As I was greeted by a kitchen floor sprinkled with brown lab dog hair, I found an 8 year old boy and a 10 week old pup looking guilty. Pictures don't do it justice.

Four times a season my Ergomo fails to download. Each year it is during a test and if I remember correctly it also happened during one of my first bike tests last season. I should know by now to back it up with the Computrainer but I seem to enjoy learning the hard way.

I am good enough at eyeballing the Ergomo to guesstimate the average watts for the test and I am not far from where I want to be. Doesn't mean it wasn't hard. I have done no hard efforts whatsoever since the last test back IN December. So to have improved on just endurance riding (or so I think I have) was a delight. Getting there.... notsomuch.

The first 5 minutes I was on the horse. My butt was lifted just off the horses back (not literally, but that feeling....) I was low, I was focused, I was nailing it.

Then things began to crack a bit as they always do during this time of year. It isn't the cracking, it is how you handle it that makes the difference. On this proverbial horse I began to feel like I was riding sideways. I was holding on, my form was still good, but I was riding sideways wondering how to upright myself again.

The next five minutes the cracking got worse and I felt like I was beginning to slip. I don't go on words I go on feelings. So I embraced the feeling that I had wanted to capture during the start of this ride and got myself up righted again. The last 5 minutes I was back.

It felt good to push that hard again. It felt good to go to the edge. It felt good to step into that realm of perhaps quitting.... and not quit. I remembered my four agreements. I embraced the feeling of soaring, and I dint' allow a single thought to enter my brain. This test was not for thinking it was for riding hard.

When the test was over I honestly thought I would pass out. In the back room I reached up and grabbed the air vent tube thing and looked through the fish tank in the wall (which is empty) at Luc who was on the couch, reading (God love him. I give him time every day after school to unwind.... no activities, no nothing....not even me bugging him..... whatever he wants to do to unwind from 6+ hours in a special education class..... UGH!... and he freaking READS!!) and I wondered if it would scar him if his mother passed out on his bike.

Deciding the answer would be yes I grabbed the handlebars and pedaled slow until everything came back. I didn't even freak out when Ergomo (which is now pretty much extinct) failed to load. Now... I love my Ergomo.... except for this four times a year failing download (usually during important times).... Ergomo has been really, really good to me. Really good to me. Our first year together was a headache but let me be fair.... I didn't have a clue how this thing worked and my German (the language of Ergomo) was so bad I didn't get the directions.

But just like any good relationship.... bike shorts, bike shoes, marriage, friendship.... powermeters.... we will have our good days and our bad days.

The test did not go to waste. I got my FTP settled and I am happy with it. Let the sweet spot rides and FTP sessions begin.

And in case you are not on FaceBook (are you seriously NOT??????) here is a little sledding video that Luc and I created with that new underwater camera we got the other day.

Here is the video,

and please do not try this at home. Luc and I are professionals.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


It's just over 11 weeks until New Orleans and I am chomping at the bit. I made the decision to wait until I turned 35 until I began any formal speedwork for this race (which was Sunday) and I am glad that I did. It's coming to me, not being forced.

I have also made some changes to my 2009 racing schedule. Gulf Coast might be out, due to an aggressive travel schedule declared by my husband. There's a reason we've been married 10 years and I would like to make it to 20..... compromise is always a good thing. But don't count it out yet......

I decided against racing some local 5K's this weekend for the simple reason that I just didn't feel like racing just yet. Even if these were training races.

The fire is beginning to burn.

With that fire comes the mental homework, or in my case the spiritual homework. I am always in the process of completing spiritual homework (hazard of being a yogi), because the spiritual path is an ever evolving one.

One of the books I rely heavily upon for guidance on that path is The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. He makes things very simple (which is the attraction for girls like me... we like simplicity). He states that the four agreements are this:

1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don't take anything personally.
3. Don't make assumptions
4. Always do your best.

Sit with these four statements for a while and see how they apply to you in whatever situation you choose to apply them.

As an example we can apply these to a bike test. Very simple and non personal situation to use.

1. Be impeccable with your word: in this case would mean (to me at least) that I will use only positive self talk. No emotional abuse during this test.

2. Don't take anything personally: my watts will be what they will be. If I attain a higher or lower FTP it does not mean you suck as a human being. They are what they are.

3. Don't make assumptions: whatever the FTP turns out to be... don't assume it will be X Y or Z on race day.

4. Always do your best: here's the easiest one to apply. Do my darn best.

Disclaimer: applying the four agreements to a bike test is actually easy. Go ahead and apply them to your life. Much harder. The example of a bike test is just that, an example. Take it for what it is.

Imagine if every single person was impeccable with their word. Imagine if every person took nothing personally. Even the insults hurled at them from others. Imagine if we never made assumptions and imagine..... just imagine if we always tried our best.

Can life really be that simple? Can our sport really be that simple?

I guess the answer is up to you. If you choose to answer it. We are never an end result as people, athletes, mothers.... all the roles that we play in our lives. But on the journey, what if we kept things a little bit simpler? Hmmmmm...... thoughts to at least ponder.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I had the best birthday of my life on Sunday. BEST EVER. On a day where I got to join a new age group I got to do everything I love to do with all of the people I love to do those things with... and it seemed like party after party all day long. The postal swim went great. We had a yoga party. My parents drove up from Buffalo to join us at Cracker Barrel, and the list went on and on.

The biggest bonus this year was the addition of Face Book and all of the wonderful friends I have been able to reconnect with.

Talk about feeling blessed.

Now.... it's time to get to work, because it's a new year, a new age group, and there is so much opportunity on the horizon. The base layers have been planted. The hard work is upon us.

Much more to come.

Thank you so very much for all of the birthday wishes! And I promise.... pictures of cocoa are on the way!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I have been informed that I have not posted pictures nor updated on the puppy status. Get close, real close because I am going to say this very quietly so I don't jinx it...... we got a really good dog. And my husband? He's the damn dog whisperer himself. I will post some pictures tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a big day, but in my old age I can't remember why.....

She's great! A very sweet tempered pup who of course chew on everything except her dog toys and is helping me clean my carpets inch by inch by inch. But thanks to the suggestion of one of one of my athletes & friends Jen.... she rings a little bell attached to the doorknob when she's gotta go out. Most of the time!!!

She listens to everything Curt says or more fascinatingly..... does. He will give the dog baseball arm signals and she'll be at his feet in an instant. I have been told that he's the pack leader. Good, you can be the king if you want to be, as long as she listens.

We do have a suspicion that if this dog could communicate with her siblings she would say "This family makes me work out all the time!" People warned us that this dog would need a lot of exercise. Turns out ..... the joke was really on Cocoa. The Eggers need a lot of exercise. I love hiking with her. Sometimes she will sit at the door in protest..... not another walk! Oh yes dear pup..... another walk.

Oh, and i have given her a middle name. Puff. Cocoa Puff.

For my birthday I got a very nifty little video camera that films underwater. For under $200 this little thing arrived on Thursday:

It does not appear to be water proof, but it sure as hell is. And yes, that's water proof, not water resistant.

Here is my first venture with it.... Masters on Friday. The picture will be better when I fiddle with the resolution and learn some basic video camera skills, but the shots are pretty good. No one was electrocuted either!

My goals in this first venture were to record, upload and post here. Take a look! It's not pretty, reminds me a bit of the Blair Witch Project in terms of camera handling....... I didn't hit the upload to Blogger goal yet but I have it on You Tube.

Click here to watch it and remember I have to select the right settings, it's not a clear picture just yet. I have to read the directions :-)

Friday, January 23, 2009

ruby slippers

Remember the story of the Wizard of Oz? As a child I took the meaning of the movie to be that home was where the heart is. As an adult I realize it was so much more.

Dorothy and her friends embarked on a journey to find a magical man called "The Wizard of Oz." The booming voice of the great master to help them lead the way, or Dorothy's way back home. They traveled through all sorts of events.... finding courage, finding their hearts, and was it finding their brain? HA HA.

They battled evil, they came across happiness, all of the energetic forces of the world that caused them to dig a little deeper, try a little harder, band together a little tighter until they reached the great Voice of Oz.

Turned out however.... the great voice was just a man behind the curtain.

The important lesson in this story was that each character was looking for something.... in someone so much bigger than themselves. If they had just that one thing.... then their life would be complete.

It turned out that the things they were looking for, they already had.

The entire time ..... Dorothy had on those Ruby Slippers.

The journey for all of these characters was vital however to realizing that what they needed they already have.

Seems I am repeating a common theme these days.

As you stand before the great Wizard of Oz..... what are you looking for?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

brave heart

It is with great saddness that I am writing...... as our friend Zachary DeRidder has died. Many of you know Zachary as "the kid who was competing with Cancer." And while yes, he was, he was truly so much more than that.

Bravery is not a word I can use.... it is just too small. He was a man of faith, love and something so much bigger than bravery.

To read Zach's story please click here:

To watch the video he won the Lance Armstrong LiveStrong contest with, click here:

To read a beautiful tribute to Zach by his friend Leah (whom I am so proud to call my friend thanks to Zach) please click here:

Thank you Zach, for all you brought to all of our lives. For teaching us to truly.... LiveStrong.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

not the cake

I had a massive failure the other night. And it involved cake. I am the type of girl who prefers the icing over the cake. Many a cakes throughout my youth and my life have been the victim of my licking the icing off and hope no one notices antics.

Until that damn juice cleanse.

I have been feeling great since the big cleanse. My affection for all things sweet and sugary has been replaced by a craving for juicy fruits. Bananas, mango's, acai.... name it. So at work the other night when my friend Janet and I were presented with a birthday cake (our birthdays are 3 days apart).... I thought.... well I haven't had cake in a long time, and there is always time for Birthday cake!

So I cut myself a slice with a lot of frosting.

I took the first bite and it was heaven.

The second one... notsomuch. I looked at where the cake was from. You'd be hard pressed to find a bad cake from Wegmans. I took another bite. I could eat no more. Where are my apples?

Horrified at my failure I ate a piece of sponge candy. Chocolate was sure to cure.... again no dice. Tasted awful. Tasted sweet and artificial.

My GAWD SAY THIS ISN'T SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Was this really form the cleanse? I don't know. There are no big scientific studies to even prove a cleanse is beneficial. It may very well be mental over physical, but in the same breath that I was horrified at myself..... I was happy about it.

Except I don't know what to do about my birthday on Sunday. A birthday with no cake?

Oh dear lord. I don't know what we will do. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 16, 2009

it's all good

Yes, that's a coffee mug in my hand.....

It was one of those mornings I cherish so much as a North easterner, more specifically a Rochesterian. For over a week they have taunted and warned: it will be the coldest Rochester has been in YEARS!!

Well, it is. It's damn cold. But that didn't deter us from hitting the pool at 5:45am.

As I have said before I adore my team and I adore my lane mates even more. We all just click together, every single one of us. I've been reading so much about lane drama .... I am lucky because our biggest drama with Ken out of town this week (lane mate and clock keeper) was whether we'd leave "on the top".... or "On the bottom.". When you find a team like this to swim on, honestly I never want it to end.

These are the days where you walk around with a few layers, start your car a bit earlier, and cherish when the sun comes out. You are grateful that you spend 6 hours a week in a room that is 90 degrees. You are grateful when you run for 80 minutes on the treadmill and don't mind it, because you are warm, you can look outside and you've got good tunes playing. Even a little Violent Femmes to add some old school spice.

I think the best quality of being a Rochesterian is that we tend to find the good part of just about anything. Weather, and one another.

Training is going very well. I am ranging between 12-15 hours and right now it's all endurance. In a few weeks I will start to turn it up a notch but my immediate goals have been met. I am running 6 days a week, I am increasing my mileage over 30 miles and heading to above 40 (remember if you train your run correctly you won't get injured.... knock on wood!). My weight is not too far from the race weight I want to get to this season, and my nutrition is better than ever.

Most importantly I am feeling relaxed. And with everything that goes on in my life, that's a great place to be.

As I sit here on the brink of turning 35 I am excited. Having a birthday in January is like having a double New Year. A double chance to have a clean slate. A double chance for new opportunity. I move up an age group and I am excited about that as well.

That's the thing about triathlete.... we get excited with age.

I feel like my best seasons are still ahead of me. 30-34 was pretty rocky in terms of performance. It started off good and then it seems that I have had all sorts of lessons to learn. Consider them learned.

As I approach 35 I feel a sense of clarity, dare I say maturity. I feel a clam sense of excitement and a strong sense of possibility.

So here's to 35..... and if the temperature was even close to that around here today.... I'd call it a heat wave!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Training With Power

I wrote this last year, and it's highly oversimplified but gives a bit of an overview of how to begin training with a powermeter:

A year ago I took a class from Hunter Allen, author of "Training With Power", where I learned from the man himself all about power, power meters, and being a power head. If you have never trained with power, it really is a terrific and fun way to train.

Before I continue, the statements I am about to make are very simplified. To truly understand power take a class and do some research. Google training with power, or better yet, Google Scholar it. To appropriately define and explain power.... could take all day long!

Back to power.......

Towards the end of the seminar (which was about 8 hours long) I started to feel lost as equations and mathematics swirled through my mind. It took me a long time to begin to process it also. Enter Coach Trevor Syversen, who really helped me to do that. Process Power.

Power meters are expensive, they can give you a big headache, they have a learning curve. I believe you can effectively accomplish the same thing training with other modalities. We train our athletes with what they have available to them. There are a bunch of varieties out there, Google power meters and see what you find.

It just so happens the athlete who made the biggest jump in 2007 happens to have a power meter. Everyone wanted to know what Kevin did, what was his secret.... and many began to feel inferior because they didn't own a power meter.

It was all well and good that Kevin had this device. But what others failed to realize was that it really wasn't the power that caused the improvements, it was consistent workload..... optimal stress + optimal rest = optimal progress.

Kevin has been a four year evolution. Not a one hit power meter wonder.

Coach T is really smart, smarter than I will ever be. He is a damn engineer and if you know an engineer than I have to go no further. Coach T helped me understand how power relates to me and how to best use it to help make me a better athlete.

Power for me is two fold.... in training I work in the sweet spot a lot. The goal is to raise my FTP. In races I use power to hold me back from blowing my wad.... as I have done so many times before. My uber strong bike will be back, we've quieted it down for a bit to improve my run. The culmination will happen, it's not too far away.

Working in the sweet spot / at 88-94% of your FTP is fun. What's the benefit of working in that zone? It allows you to begin to improve your Functional Threshold Power....... without doing workouts that are impossible to recover from.
"In a nutshell what it says is: Spend a lot of time training in the 85-95% range to get the best balance between Functional Threshold Power increasing training effect and recovery ability or training time."

Here is a graph by Dr. Coogan to illustrate this point:
The black line, where it peaks, that is your "sweet spot". Hard enough to be hard, but not devastating. On the trainer it makes an hour pass by quickly. It gives you something to focus on, something to measure, something to watch. As your FTP increases, so will your sweet spot.

Now we know that physiological adaptations to training take roughly 6-8 weeks if you have found your proper training load. So it is wise to retest for your FTP every 6-8 weeks. Hunter Allen has a terrific protocol on how to test in his book, which is absolutely appropriate for the trainer. However, if you are training longer distances, I would recommend the 60 minute time trial. It will give you a truer picture of what your FTP actually is.(addendum: Rich Straus and his gang over at endurance Nation have a slightly different version of the FTP tests where you run thorugh 2 X 20 minute time trials. So check around and see which one fits you).

Yes, I whine about the 60 minute time trial as well. Which is funny for a girl who has spent no less than 4 hours racing in the past several years. I do believe for indoor training that the 20 minute TT works just fine. Just think about retesting when you do hit the roads.

In my opinion Coach T says is best here, referring to all tests and exactly what we do with this data:

Just to set the baseline.... what we (or I) most want to determine from of these tests (for all Swim, Bike and Run) is your functional threshold pace (speed or power). Why? Because we know that these FT paces are a very good predictor of endurance race performance for races longer than say 15 mins. And we know that the best way to improve FT is to train at FT.

FT is defined as the Power, Speed, Pace that you can hold for about an hour (for bike and run) and 30 mins for swimming.

So the most accurate way to determine your FT for each sport is to give it your best evenly paced shot for each sport for those times.

However there's been shorter tests developed based approximations, rules of thumb and experience to obtain quicker results or reduce the stress on athletes. But like all approximations they can and will be skewed for several reasons.... athletes motivation, athletes training specificity ( i.e. training long and slow for a marathon and we make them run a 5K for a test), athletes level of fatigue, athletes pacing ability....etc. That's all.

So if one test is done we just have to check and recheck to make sure the result makes sense. I don't have a problem with the shorter tests but we have to keep the factors above in mind so we know we have the most accurate data available.

Training with power is fun, it is effective. Just like any training program, whether it be heart rate based, even perceived exertion based, it works only if a few things happen;

You have to train consistently
You have to train with purpose (easy days easy, hard days hard)
Optimal Stress + Optimal Recovery = Optimal Progress
You have to have good form and technique
You have to commit to your goals and your training program.
You can't have one without the other. Have all of that, and it won't matter what device you use. You will see the improvements in the results.

Monday, January 12, 2009

awesome abs

We all know how important the core is to a strong body. Did you know that the most important muscle group in swimming, cycling and running is the core? Before you overdose on core to improve your cycling.... remember to be a better swimmer, cyclist and runner you need to swim bike and run. A billion crunches will do nothing for your speed, but adding in some good ab exercises a few times a week can do a lot to lend to your healthy athletic body! Now..... be smart, pick the ones that are appealing, sprinkle them through your routine, and do the repetition amount that feels right and challenging!ENJOY!

Friday, January 9, 2009


Another random picture..... Travis Earley, Myself and Carl Johnston. I posted this because the next time I see Johnston he is going to whine that I put a picture of Grimm up and not of him. Johnston INVENTED middle child syndrome.....he's my spellchecker I am sure of it!

Juice Cleanse.... done. Feeling.... mighty awesome. Mighty awesome indeed. If there was ever a day I was going to snap (did I not say this before) it would have been Thursday, the final day. I was the Charge Nurse in pediatric Emergency with a full house, children in the waiting room, down a nurse, and surrounded by girl scout cookies.

And I did not... for the record.... cave in.

The greatest thing was..... I looked at my beloved Thin Mints. The... place me in the freezer and if you don't eat the whole row you don't even deserve to have one.... yes, those Thin Mints. I looked at them and I thought.... at midnight.... I could have one.

But I didn't want one.

That's where the beauty of all of this lies. The Thin Mints didn't call to me, speak to me, even frozen they didn't make eye contact. I relished instead in the feeling of feeling so good.... and this is why I do it.

I will say this. At about 11pm or thereabouts I was fried. It was a horrid night. And since I was in bed Monday night at 9pm and it had effectively been 72 PLUS hours since the cleanse began..... I got myself some good whole grain cereal and I had myself a bowl of it.

With milk even. It tasted really good, yet heavy on the stomach.

This morning I felt good in swim practice as I am adjusting back to the daily routine. I am craving fruits and veggies, and carefully adding in small amounts of carbs and protein. Did I mention how great I feel???? I feel clean, and I am not talking about my GI tract. There was no shit**g my brains out. All plumbing has been functioning normally.

So this trend shall continue, this primal eating movement I have been on. I am very happy about it, I feel like this accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. I am fueling my body with the best possible fuel and for me... not for everyone.... that does not involve Thin Mints.

Now tonight's big task: how to eat primally at Chuck. E Cheese.

I just might go completely pure and raw and bring myself a bottle of Absolut.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

closing in

This picture has nothing to do with today's topic..... but here is Erik Grimm modeling his sleepwear while myself and Mike Moreland admire...... you never know what will happen at 0530!

As the run grew longer, the weather got worse. What began as an E paced run in the snow became a wind fighting-hill-climbing-where the hell are my feet-are-we even close to E pace-run.

"I know." Sarah cried out as we were climbing the hill that in the spring grew easier each week, "That you are the only one who would run this hill with me."

"Because we will do what others won't." I said "I forget the first part. I am juice cleansing." I am very sure that was my way of justifying a sub zero snowblowing "run". Just the same way I justify my coffee habit (please note I don't call it an addiction).

It's January, and snowy, and this is how this hill should feel today. It means we both took the proper off season and it means that we are both ready to begin tackling this stuff again. Neither of us are doing an Ironman this year, and both of us are feeling excited about that. We are planning camp, as this year Sarah will be one of the organizers, we are busy dreaming dreams, creating plans for racing.... and this is the stuff that ignites me..... and her.

I swear we were separated at birth a few years apart with different color hair and all that.

And welcome to day three of the juice cleanse. The day I feel absolutely amazing. The day that I feel clean, I feel the healthiest I have felt in a year, the day I wish it wouldn't end..... except I wish I could add on a few calories.

Nothing worth anything is ever easy. Name the goal. Not easy. We all know if it were, then we'd all be doing it. Ironman. Masters degree. Childbirth. Yoga. Nothing ever worth anything.... is easy.

Last night I hit the juice cleanse lull, or hell or whatever you want to call it. I wanted a damn steak (I don't even eat steak). I wanted butter popcorn (never really eat that either). I wanted to sink my teeth into a great big hamburger. (I eat hamburgers). My head pounded. I couldn't eat one more apple or piece of lettuce (how many pounds of green do I have to eat to ingest 4000 calories anyways).

As much as it sucked, I knew.... knew..... knew..... I was about to turn the corner.

This morning.... I did.

I woke up feeling lighter, cleaner, fresher. Still low on the calories but I have planned today to get everything in on time. I am working in Peds ED 4-midnight and I know I will have no problem averting the simple sugar treats that line the counters this time of year. And that is exactly why I am doing this.

My craving for that kind of stuff disappears. My desire to fill my body with the good stuff heightens. It's like magic.

I absolutely admit that being low on the calorie range is a fine line for someone like me. I alternate between that "high" .... and that's when I need to get something in. As we know I can take that and run.

Which leads me to believe that I am still hanging on in my recovery. Or just really really good at denial.

I am feeling very good. I am not hungry, I am craving good fruits and vegetables. I don't' crave a single carbohydrate or protein. BUT..... as a human being we can't live without those things (which is why this is only 3 days). So the reintroduction of these foods will have to be slow and careful or else I will be charting myself through morning swim practice.

Stay tuned for how that all goes.

Needless to say juice cleanses that are well planned and well thought our are wonderful. Things I would advise being careful of: cleanses that sound kind of weird (they then ARE), cleanses that have less than 1,200 calories per day, are based on a pill or powder, cleanses that restrict ingestion of calories for more than 3 hours..... and cleanses with strict rules, and cleanses designed by someone who is NOT a respected RD. Or one at all. Oprah..... notsomuch.

I did modify some of the rules for this one. I still drank coffee. I still took my vitamins. It's just like training, you have to let it fit you.

And just like running the hills with Sarah this morning, fighting through the hard parts, the wind, the snow, the lack of footing..... the good things are never easy to attain. We have to work to get them. But if they are important enough to us, we stick to our guns and we get there.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

juice cleanse: 1/2 way there

The second day of the juice cleanse is always the hardest. You don't feel good. In fact you feel like ass. This juice cleanse is a lot like the Ironman.... you have to suffer to reap the benefits. The benefits don't come until Friday.

But if there was ever a day I was going to blow the entire thing, it would have been today. Which I blame on my own poor planning and mother nature.

Scheduled to pick up my juices at 0730, I headed to swim practice at 0530 fueled by 1/2 Acai frozen berry. And an apple. Yeah. I know. With over 24 hours since my last slice of bread I suddenly wondered how I thought training 15 hours this week + juice cleanse with the amount of calories for a normal person fit me.

The devil was sitting on my shoulder. Little bastard.

The plan: swim practice.... swing over to Breathe for my juices..... then over to the hospital for my CPR class (which for the record I am renewing before it has expired. Gold star for me).

With an inch of ice and freezing rain, that plan didn't quite work. I knew I wouldn't be able to pick up my juices until noon. Which meant I had to scrounge. I had four apples with me. I would have had more but my bananas are still green and I was hurrying. Note Note NOTE POOR PLANNING.

Swim practice wasn't so bad, but swim practice never really. is. Sure I felt like I was circling the bowl a bit but I knew that would happen so I adjusted accordingly. Anyone who has ever been a swimmer knows the danger zone is after the swim.

I made it through Starbucks with a Venti Pike Place and no scone. I made it to Peds ED to drop off my Health Update where at 8am there were chocolates and cookies on the counter. Made it through a 3 hour CPR class where there were bagles and pastries.

Every carb on earth was screaming out to me today. And I made it through on four apples. Now remember i am juice cleansing to cleanse, not to be all Atkins or something. But this poor planning left me in quite a lurch as you can imagine.

When I finally arrived at Breathe I had my entire day of juices plus a big bowl of veggie broth waiting for me, and good friends to laugh with. I took a 1/2 hour to slowly fuel up and get my bearings back.

I have been asked by many out of town friends if this is something they could do at home. Certainly, if you are of good health (medical disclaimer). To see what the juices consist of click here.

Pictured here are the following:

Front: vegetable broth

Front Left / white cup: The All America. I think you need a juicer for this one, and it is served hot. Basically hot apple juice (you could buy premade) and I think there is some ginger in there. Check the menu.

Front Left: Caribbean Cooler, can be made with a blender.... served cold.

Back Left: Breathe Classic, can be made with a blender.... served cold

Front right: Lemon up. I think it needs to be made with a juicer or perhaps can be bought as carrot juice, but with enough lemon that it tastes more lemon than carrot.

Back right: Ginger snap. Might need to be made with juicer: carrots and ginger. Ginger overshadows the carrots.

As I tried to guestimate the caloric content of the day I am coming up with about 1,500 calories. So Yes, I am low on the caloric amount. I am averaging 2 hours of E.A.S.Y. workouts a day.... and I will likely add another Acai juice to this mix. Don't forget I can have as much fruit and veggies as I want. But it is hard to fuel up with 4,000 calories of lettuce!

As someone who has had an eating disorder that was very severe this tests me in many ways. When I get hungry I almost feel that same "high" as I used to.... and if you have ever been there you know what I mean. I think as long as I am aware and don't take that and run.... that I am okay. So being aware.... and holding myself accountable (with you).... is keeping me in check.

There is no way on earth I would do this for more than 3 days. I need protein and I need carbs. My biggest goal in all of this is to detox.... as some of you know I have been chemicalized in some forms this year. I want that all out.

This might or might not be for you. It's very personal and there are many really good reasons as to why this would not be for you. And I would hope you planned better than I have.

Today I feel pretty good. This is usually the day I feel like S*** which makes me feel that my recent diet changes have taken hold. I am not hungry at all, in fact I have to force in the food. This makes me notice how much I can just pop in my mouth at work, or making meals, or even grocery shopping. So it has increased my awareness tenfold.

We are half way there.... so far so good! Now someone please..... pass the lettuce!

Monday, January 5, 2009


Tomorrow I begin a 3 day juice cleanse. Horrid sounding isn't it? Not so. At our yoga studio we do a juice cleanse every quarter. I jump in when I can, as training can be tricky to fit in around it.

There are a thousand juice cleanses out there, a billion detox diets, and I don't believe in any of that stuff. So why would I believe in this one? Because I know it from the inside out.

This particular cleanse was created by my boss, friend, guru, Breathe Owner Cyndi Weis, who is a Registered Dietitian and the brains behind Breathe. She has over 15 years of experience in real world nutrition. She specializes in eating disorders and in sports nutrition. If you have ever had the honor of attending one of her nutrition seminars you will agree..... she makes things very easy. She offers no gimmicks and no tricks. Her nutrition advice has helped me immensely through the years.

The Breathe Juice Cleanse consists of 6 20 ounce prepared and blended juices per day. These are all organic and nutrient dense. All are made fresh.... no powders or anything artificial. They are so nutrient dense I find them hard to finish! Have them hot, have some cold. Check out our menu here.

To supplement the juices you eat fresh fruits and veggies all day long. In total there are plenty of calories but what is crucial is that it gives your body a chance to rid itself of the toxins that we build up through consuming processed foods. And even I had my share of cookies over the holidays.

The one thing I will not give up is coffee. As my physician friend puts it:

"After cigarettes, coffee has been the most studied food for negative health consequences. Despite hundreds of studies, no deleterious effects of coffee have ever been found. To the contrary, the anti-oxidant effects and the mild stimulatory effect of the caffeine may be beneficial. In a preservative laden world, it is also 'All natural'."

Now I am very well aware and ready to confess that I might do anything to justify coffee.

For me this juice cleanse is the natural progression of my primal eating goals. I also like to race the 70.3 distance at a lighter weight than I do the Ironman.... this gives me a good kick start to get all that stuff out of my system. The sugar, the cravings, all the stuff I truly don't need. I find that this completely eliminates my desire for anything processed at all. In fact on day four you have to reintroduce real food slowly or end up in GI hell.

Now as you browse this you will notice an absence of a lot of protein and carbohydrates. This cleanse shouldn't be done for more than 3 days. It isn't a way to lose weight. It is purely a cleanse. If you believe in doing something like this.... then this may be very attractive to you. If not.... don't bother.

I personally look very forward to doing this when I have the oppertunity. Certainly it is tough as you still prepare normal food for the family, explain that this isn't the Oprah take 7 diet plan, or try to explain exactly what a cleanse is.

By day three I feel awesome. Absolutley awesome.

As I start my 12 week block to New Orelans this week, I relish that the training hours don't top 15, and don't have much intensity. So this is the right time for me, to embark on a three day journey.

I will let you know how it goes, if I remember I will highlight some of the juices and I will certinaly keep you up to date on the java!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

the year of heart

I don't know why, but there is just something about the month of January that jazzes me up. Maybe it is because my birthday is January 25th. Maybe it is because this year I am 35 and I am excite for a new age group. Maybe because January to so many of us represents a fresh start and 365 days of possibility.

Looking ahead to the 2009 season.... for me I have some good realistic and very attainable goals. I have a few goals in the reach category... and the Newton 24 Hours Of Triathlon fulfills one of the races on my "bucket list."

Most of all I am very excited as I sit back and take a look at the 2009 Train-This Triathlon Team. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with so many amazing athletes from beginner to advanced. From Sprint triathlon to 5K to Marathon to Ironman. And everything in between.

I have worked with some of these athletes anywhere from 1-4 years. I cherish that athlete and coach relationship that we develop. I feel like I know this team like the back of my hand. I know what workouts will challenge them and which ones they need to HTFU for. I also enjoy the process of getting to know the new athletes. I just love the whole darn thing.

As we sit down and plan seasons and make goals it motivates me as well. They light the fire in me.

Each year we have a bit of a different flavor to our team and I think every year, every season has been so darn special for so many reasons. We embrace a team atmosphere and for those who live locally there are a lot of group training opportunities that this gang sets up. for those who are out of town I look so forward to traveling to races to hang out and enjoy the experience a race offers. A reunion plus a family feeling I suppose.

I could assign a theme to the seasons in some ways. There have been some years where the theme has been togetherness. Integrity. Pride. I'd have to say this year could be called HEART. Each season has a ton of heart, but 2009 it is brimming for sure.

I feel so lucky and honored that these athletes have asked me to help them on their journeys. I take that position very seriously and I treasure it so much. There are a lot of people out there who slam triathlon coaches for whatever reason, slam coaching for whatever reason, I don't get involved in that kind of stuff. I am proud of what I do, I am very proud of the company that I own and the growth it has been able to experience. Four years ago I would have never understood the quality of people I have been able to work with.

That kind of trust is something I never take lightly and I never take for granted.

So here is to another season, in 2009. Here at Train-This we've got all bases covered. Goals have been set, the year has turned and this season.... we will be living more than we ever have!

Friday, January 2, 2009


I stole this quote from Mel's Blog, who I think got it from Mira...... but I love it:

There comes a point in your life when you realize: Who matters, Who never did, Who won't anymore...And who always will.So, don't worry about people from your past, there's a reason why they didn't make it to your future

Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy new year!

Happy New Year everyone!! Nothing like a brand new year to signify a brand new start. It's the day where the world collectively pauses and acknowledges the passage of time. It's the day where we all feel like we have hit that reset button and now have the clean slate. Cherish it, utilize it and make this the year to remember. Make every day of every year the best it can possibly be.

Life with our new Puppy Cocoa is much better than I imagined it to be. After listening to the tales of doom and gloom on how a puppy was like raising another child, someone even said my life as I knew it would be over.... funny how when you take on something new.... and this happened when I became a parent believe it or not.... anyone and everyone was quick to tell me life would change for the worse.

When we became parents it was as if every color was deeper. Every moment was enriched. Even during those six weeks of screaming and colic and no sleeping.... it still was an enriched life.

And so it is with Cocoa. She's exactly what Luc needed and dare I say what Curt and I needed to to complete the family?

She's a darling little pup, mild tempered and sweet as can be. Her energy level increases daily (she's 8 1/2 weeks old) and the nice thing is Luc's energy level matches it. They play and play hard and then they both retreat to their spaces. Hers is Luc's room.

Luc even cuddles up on the couch with her for a nap. Luc is in charge of feeding her and is fiercely protective about that role. Right now we hit about 80% of her poops outside. And yeah, we are outside every hour except at night. Unlike Luc we've been blessed with a little pup who sleeps form 9 pm until 5am. That could be temporary but it's been a week and we will take it for however long it lasts.

Maybe because we have to deal with the school system and society's way of handling special needs, but the dog training.... not so bad. Curt is "Mister Dog Whisperer's" biggest fan and little Cocoa is crate trained, goes into her crate on her own, knows when it's time to go outside, knows how to sit and how to lie down.

Sure she's chewing everything in sight but if you don't want it chewed.... put it the heck away.
I would have to argue that I do have the world's most adorable dog. I have even chosen her middle name to be Puff.
From our family to yours, may 2009 bring you blessings of all kinds. The happiest New Year to all of you!