Thursday, April 30, 2009

first day of school

That damn dog better not be licking apart my favorite black danskos. I hear something suspicious going on downstairs, scrape, chew scrape. Welcome to spring and pre fixed dog in heat. If it turns out my Danskos knock up my dog I am going to be seriously pissed off.

Or I will be basking in yet another pair of Danskos forever.

In other news that makes you want to step off of the earth, grab a hold of the sides and just shake the whole damn planet screaming


My son begins his new school on Monday. On Tuesday we had the big meeting, which I call the DumnF*** round table. In a second you will see why.

In the Individual Education Plan (IEP) they "grant" kids like Luc special permissions. For example; how many times he received speech therapy or occupational therapy per week. He gets a 1:1 aide (an assigned BFF!).... and the very best one I have ever heard in my life.......

"Do we want to approve permission for Luc to carry a teddy bear on the bus?" Before you laugh, my little guy has some sensory issues, he uses a soft blanket when he's anxious. So they thought if he wanted to bring his bear on the bus...... he could.


"Can we make sure that's a small teddy bear?" another teacher asked. "We don't want him to use it as a weapon."

Warning to all parents: my son might attack your child with a teddy bear. Please arm them properly with a stuffed dog. Don't dogs eat bears? Better yet, have them bring shark bait in their lunch box, but don't forget to get permission.

If I ever got off the bus crying because I was attacked by a teddy bear, my Dad would just have kicked my A**. And for the record, just trust me that my son will be attacking no one with a teddy bear. He knows better. Period.

So the vote (yes..... VOTE) was taken and SMALL teddy bear approved.

"Can we just then vote on an iPod please?" I threw out there. I do not want to receive a call at work, oh Lord I can see it now..... "Mrs. Eggers we have had to suspend your son..... he brought an iPod on the bus and it was not in his IEP. Therefore we have to consider it a weapon. Suspension from home for a week."

You think that's funny. But you don't live in Western New York. That isn't an exaggeration.

So the vote was taken and the iPod was approved. So I got a little snarky. Is he allowed a baseball cap? A jacket? Underwear? Should he pass through a metal detector before boarding the bus..... because last I checked our national security was on level hot pink for children on the autism spectrum bringing deadly weapons like stuffed bears and iPods..... and god forbid..... don't say it....... what if they brought a BOOK ON THE BUS???????????????

In all fairness the people making this decision are from the school we are leaving. It's the school I run out of every time we are there with my middle finger so high in the air that the children look up to see what I am pointing at. (Santa! I scream!)

Some people think they are talented in the special education department...... and they are not.

It would be me thinking I closely resemble Jennifer Aniston. (I am a brunette but otherwise I can see why you think that I do look like her)

The folks at the new school...... at least for now, but I remain a skeptic (go through this crap with special ed enough times and you learn that what people say and what they do is bigger than yin and yang)...... the folks at our new school actually seem to get these kids.

There is a room they call "Mission Control". It's a room with a children's spinning bike, a skateboard ramp with skateboards (actual real live skateboards...... are those approved?), swings, beanbag chairs, everything that a kid like mine might need if he needs to take a break from class.

Encouraging movement........ wow, this is freaking genius.

They have "several opportunities for movement" all day long.

We need to have an opportunity for movement? This is what this world has come down to? Every 8 year old boy in freaking America should have 99.5% of their day be movement.

Notice this: the boys who don't sit still in class....... how many times has their teacher suggested to the parent that their kid needs medication....... when I would lay money down on the fact that recess is very restricted. Gym has been cut down. Sit still young man. Or risk being doped up on medication.

Boys don't need medication...... they need movement.

And last I checked a Masters in Education never included MEDICAL DOCTOR.

One teacher ONCE suggested to me that Luc needed to be medicated. Never again has a teacher suggested that to me...... they now.... know better. If anyone needs to be suggesting a child be on medication it is a D.O.C.T.O.R. AND AND AND a full developmental and psychological evaluation FIRST.


Because with all due respect Miss Teacher...... when I come into your classroom and tell you how you ought to be teaching...... I expect you react the same way to ME. There are children who need medication. Mine might be one of them. But you with your Masters Degree in EDUCATION will not be making that decision.

Look at how many children are ON medication now as opposed to when you were in high school. There are kids who need it..... and then those who do not. Realize this: for the ones who do not....... when you introduce a medication into their system you change them.

Back to Mission Control. In the same breath that I find it sad that there is no opportunity for children to move and play in our schools, I am so delighted that this new school has the opportunity for movement around every corner.

In my son's old school there are stop signs at every corner of the hallways. We walked through the hospital yesterday and Luc asked why wall corners don't have stop signs on them in hospitals.

OMG! FOR FREAKING REAL??????????????

Because LIFE doesn't happen like this. And in the end it is not the responsibility of our schools it is the responsibility of PARENTS. My son wont' attack your son with a teddy bear because HE KNOWS NOT TO. HE KNOWS BETTER. My son won't jump you in a hospital hallway because WE TAUGHT HIM SOMETHING VERY SIMPLE: right and wrong. Nice and Mean. Good and Bad.

Remember the good old days? The days where you were terrified to act out in class because if your teacher called home....... your ass was grass. You heard your Dad come home from work and call your name and you shook with fear. The Principal was never my PAL. Now every one's BFF and emailing one another. The Principal never called my house.... if they did...... I'd probably impale myself on something because that's essentially what would have become of me.

We don't need to medicate kids, we need to reestablish authority in school. Screw calling a child's parent to tell them they need medicated, parents need to again be PARENTS and teachers need to be teachers.

The good old days of Ferocious Ferraro..... Sister Virginia..... my GAWD if they said jump I'd say how high. If they were around today there would be lawsuits because they'd make kids afraid. Parents would be up in arms.

I blame it on everyone. Society. When I was young my job was to go to school. My job was to work hard. If I didn't attain a certain grade average I lost the ability to swim. If I wanted to smoke I could smoke but I had to maintain my position on the swim team and maintain my GPA.

(I smoked once before practice.... never again). I didnt' have yacht club, hair club, this and that. My parents made it very clear to me what was expected of me. A step out of line and I was dead.

My goodness. What are we creating in this world? Children who rely on medication rather than self control and willpower? Children who are square pegs forced into round holes?

The second wave is coming. There are talented people out there who see the Forrest beyond the trees. One of those people is my friend Wendy, Doctor Wendy. She's one of the few who gets it and she teaches the upcoming generation of Masters prepared educators (teachers) to see these kids not as something that they need to control, but that they need to water and allow to bloom.

So Monday morning Luc will be on the bus of MOM (my car), with whatever he wants (within reason, come ON). He can carry a bear or an iPod without approval. We will walk into a new school with a lot of hope, a lot of experience and ready to begin with a clean slate.

And hope that for now we are in the right place. In the meantime I am continuing to do what I need to do on my end. Being a parent and not my son's BFF.

Monday, April 27, 2009

the bear cage

This morning I stepped into the bear cage for a six month stay. I locked the door behind me and I threw the key away. I then declared that in November at the finish line of Clearwater..... one of us gets to emerge. If I were a betting girl I would be betting on me.

I just might have the Bear's fur in my teeth but he's taken enough bites outta me.

Six months is a long time to spend in a small cage with a bear. There is a lot to be learned in this cage. From raw animal fight to strategery in ducking the swinging of his paws. From resting when he's sleeping to pushing through when I want to give up. He's got a lot of lessons within him, as do I.

Some days I will eat the bear..... and some days the bear will eat me.

But one of us gets to come out in November.

On tap for this week is 6 easy hours. Talk about what I don't want to hear. I want a good solid 20 hour ass kicking week. But we won't go there until the fall.

"Keep the cat in the bag this week." Said Coach. "Monday morning be ready to hit it spot on."

I listened to the plan as it was laid out before me. I liked it. I liked it a lot. I took notes, I prepared for our next conversation on Wednesday with my list of homework assignments.

"Trust me, 6 hours this week." Trust you? Oh believe me I do. It's what makes me such a coachable athlete. My college swim coach always said I was his most coachable athlete. In a letter of recommendation he wrote me this:

"most coachable athlete I have ever coached. She puts her head down and does her work without asking why. An amazing team player with focus and the ability to follow directions and trust a plan." I was never the home coming queen, so I don't have those photographs to post on my wall...... so I have that letter.

So when Coach asked me if I had any questions I told him "No sir." He won't get many questions out of me. I trust the plan.

Jesse will be the first coach I have worked with who didn't know me beforehand. The few coaches I have worked with knew my story, the eating disorder....... so I had to go through the story. Tried to keep it simple.

How do you go through a story like mine.... with the 2008 addition of health issues..... and convince someone you aren't a head case? You don't. They will make their own assumptions. Rather than be ashamed of my story I have become proud of it. All that..... and I am still here.

Nine lives my ass.

This morning in the pool, the bear took a bite and he won. Bear .... 1 point, Mary..... zero points. There will be a lot of days like that. He will take more bites out of me, and I have a feeling the bites I take back are few and far between. As I learn what I need to learn and do what I need to do there will be days where I hold him by the neck and say "Down boy! DOWN!". While I will savor those, I will move forward knowing the next bite is coming when I least expect.

This bear represents everything I am afraid of, and everything I truly am. What's your bear? What brings you to the surface? What ignites that raw animal instinct within, what forces you to have the most honest look at yourself, what is the one thing that you are committed to staying in the fight for?

For all of us it is different. Different story and different character. Identify it. Give it an image, don't let it be elusive like the black smoke monster in LOST, who shows up every now and then......... give it a name, an image, get into the cage with it. Spend a good six months in the cage, with no way out but on your own.

And let's see what happens.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

being prepared

Yesterday was a taste of summer, and I found myself riding my trainer. At least my trainer is pretty much outside. Believe me I would have rather biked on the roads..... the sun beating down on me, the wind through the vents in my helmet, I would have even welcomed the crosswinds.

Friday evening was one of those nights as a Pediatric Emergency Nurse that doesn't just send chills through your spine and make your hair stand on end..... it was one of those days that will remain with me forever. So much passed through the walls of our Pediatric Emergency department. Life changing events for so many people. And at the same time people's lives are being changed forever.... for the worse..... we get angry parents screaming at us because they took an ambulance in for diaper rash..... and they've had to wait for 20 minutes.

Yes. That really does happen.

Because of what we went through on Friday night I couldn't get on the roads on Saturday afternoon. Fear? Absolutely. And no one died on Friday because their bike was hit by a car or anything like that.

You are frequently taught about the fragility of life on days like those. When my gut instinct tells me to stay on the computrainer.... then I stay on the computrainer.

The first real day of spring is almost as dangerous as the first day of winter. People are out driving like maniacs, especially the teenagers.... senior year is a dangerous year. Everyone drives faster, more dangerously, the later in the day the worse it is.

After a week or so it calms down. I have learned the hard way the days to be careful of.... no matter what part of the town you live in...... are the first day of Spring, Memorial Day Weekend, and always always know when proms and graduations are.

It's a hazard of doing what I do. It's in my nature to assess the danger of a situation the moment I walk through the door. I subconsciously find the AED in every single public place I enter. I unknowingly look around in every situation I am in, and assess the danger. I'm not the mother who disinfects the shopping cart or makes Luc wear a helmet on the playground. It's more of a subtle awareness.Because someday you will be in an emergency with me and you'd better hope I know where the emergency stuff is.

When you watch life and death pass before your eyes, when your gut instinct tells you to ride the computrainer when the sun is shining..... then you ride the Computrainer. I don't know why I did, I just did.

A day or two..... and it passes. But you never forget what you see.

When you are out riding, be safe. Get a Road ID. Around Western New York the ambulance corps are partnering with Road ID, this is our single best way of knowing who you are. When I am out riding I always carry a photocopy of my license, my insurance card, and a list of emergency contacts.


If you are out running or biking alone, you get hit and are knocked unconscious..... we do not know who you are. When you are brought into the Trauma Bay you are named "Trauma AA"..... or whatever Trauma you are that day. We don't know who you are, who your emergency contacts are, etc.

You will remain Trauma AA until someone decides you are missing. Therefore, when you are riding, you always tell someone where you will be going, your route and when to expect you back. I once knew of someone who passed away after being hit by a car. 12 hours passed before anyone realized he was missing.

Without an insurance card you can't be registered into the system, While that seems minute.... even if we have your name the chances of you receiving a medical bill for the million dollar care you received is less. That seems trivial but when you are fighting insurance companies and your credit rating a year later, you will be glad that you just had a copy of that stupid insurance card on you.

Without a name we can't call your next of kin. Who again won't know you are in the hospital until they realize you are missing. Would you rather them call the police and every hospital looking for their spouse who is not identified, but listed as Trauma AA, and when you call you can't get information because of patient privacy laws.......

Getting a call from the hospital is so much less stressful than them trying to find you.

See how much easier you can make things by just carrying a few things?

Make a photocopy of the license, insurance card, and any pertinent medical info. If you are in a big bike crash you will be given an antibiotic. In most cases Cefazolin. It's kid of a standard. Vancomycin if it's a big dirty crash.

You are allergic? Trauma AA didn't come with ID or anything else...... in about 5 minutes we'll also be dealing with an allergic reaction to an antibiotic we didn't know Trauma AA was allergic to.

See how messy not carrying anything can be?

Put these items in a snack sized Ziploc. Carry with you at all times. No exceptions.

Yeah....... a lot of doom and gloom to think about. It's reality. It's life. Something as simple as carrying identification can mean the difference between your loved ones getting the chance to say goodbye to you..... and identifying you in the morgue. You might have died doing something you loved..... but think about them.

With all that being said, be careful out there. We have a right to the road but we are smaller than cars. Be proactive. Be smart.

And please get your road ID. And then hopefully you will never need it.

PS: Best place to carry the copies of your license and insurance card and emergency contacts..... pin to the pocket of your bike jersey. Your clothes will be searched for that reason. Do not put on your bike, likely if you get hit you will not be in the same place......... bike won't be checked! Keep on your person!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

first day of school

Ergomo now reading my HRM and downloading. Computrainer communication to laptop.... that's the last thing on my list. I feel like I am transferring schools.

Luc and I...... we start our new schools on the same day. We are both sharpening our pencils, buying some new clothes, new sneakers....... sometimes the first day of school gives you the feeling of being able to create on a fresh clean slate.

We both could use a little bit of that right now.

Don't get me wrong.... I have loved having him at home with me. When I finish my Masters in 2 years and we make the leap to that exotic move..... we will likely do it again for a bit. What I realized about being at home with him.... is how much time is wasted in his particular classroom. Hell, maybe all classrooms for that matter.

We get his work done in less than 2 hours. Then we go outside to play. We come to school for speech and OT and while the other kids are sitting in class..... we head over to go miniature golfing.

I kept thinking I was doing something wrong.

But when Luc tested to finally...... finally..... FINALLY be AT grade level for reading.... for so long he's been "just below".... now he's AT and he is beginning to read Harry Potter.

Incredible what a little attention will do for us.

So we've decided on the school. We've thought a lot about it. We will give this until the end of June and reevaluate. It holds a lot of promise.

As for myself I am studying hard. Preparing well. Getting in the easy workouts that will hopefully yield me good baseline test results the first week. I want to impress my teacher and I want to be liked by my classmates. I know I have a lot to learn and I am ready to be taught.

This life is truly what we make of it..... isn't it. We don't often stand at the intersection of possibility and opportunity. And when we do we must take the chance.

If not now..... then when?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


"Starting" in two weeks...... to some seemed like a wait. Thank goodness I have this 2 weeks to get ready. 2 weeks of endurance work (whew). Two weeks to get things working, in line, downloading, getting used to a new work schedule (no more nights), get new run shoes, bike is home and back together, read read read read read.

There is much to be done.

I told Coach yesterday that I feel like I am a third string football player allowed to join the Steelers midseason. Like the rest of the team will look over their shoulder and say..... "who's this girl?". And I am the girl so honored to just have the chance and the opportunity to be able to play on the same team with such a group of fantastic athletes.

This is a chance I will not blow. This is a chance I am taking so damn seriously. You don't get these kinds of opportunities every day. And while we are targeting a good day at Clearwater in November..... my attention had been turned to 2010 and beyond.
As I was gathering data as to where I live, what is available to me.... I realized just how lucky we are here in Rochester NY. Yeah, we are a small city close to the City with a gigantic football problem (Buffalo, my hometown)..... we have a lot of things to do here.

In the summertime I have:

Open water swimming..... 2 great lakes 20 min away

From my doorstep I can run 100 miles of flat (run trail) or 100 miles of hills depending on whether I turn right or left.

From that same doorstep I can bike those 100 miles of hills, or drove 20 min north to ride completely flat.

I have an incredible Masters Team and a lot of pools.

I have 50 miles of hilly trails 4 miles form my house.

I have my choice of hills for hill repeats.

3 outdoor tracks within run distance.

Good roads. Good people. Good community.

In the winter there's just as much to do: skiing; both X country and downhill, snowshoeing, sledding, snowboarding.... you name it and we've got it.

As we are shedding the winter and spring is upon us...... I remembered that everything comes down to what you make of it.

Including this opportunity I have been given. AS I work through the orientation process and am getting things ready I can't tell you the load of stress that's been lifted from me. Just from managing my own training.

I tend to put myself last in the line of my athletes, in terms of reviewing, analyzing, etc. I tend to put myself last in terms of taking care of things. Don't we all (I know, call be a MARTYR!)

As I work through this process and look at where I have come in relationship to where this is headed I can't help but smile and feel really good about it. Easy to say when the real work has not started yet. We have a lot to do. Testing, analysis, planning, and most importantly executing.

But like any good rookie I have my ears open and my mind clear. This isn't my system, this is Coach Jesse's system. Like any good rookie I am absorbing and learning all that I can. Teach me, work me, show me what I need to do to have my good day in Clearwater. I think we have all watched this train crash enough times.

It's time to watch it run smooth and run fast.

Before I get to that however...... I am in the back of the classroom that's full of superstars.... soaking up every single minute of it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Camp Agenda

2009 Weekend at Placid Camp agenda

Hotel: The Alpine Inn

3pm: 90 minute ride. Click here for the map
5pm: 30 minute run
6pm: 30 minute swim
7:30pm: Dinner at Mr. Mike's Pizza
Intermediate / Sprint / 70.3 Folks:
9am: One loop, or variation of the one loop course of Ironman Lake Placid.
30-60 minute transition run, personalized.
4pm: Mirror Lake Swim clinic: review open water techniques, swim one loop
of course, videotaping.
7pm: Dinner with optional UBU ale at Lake Placid Brew Pub.
Ironman Folks:
8am: 2 loops of Iornman Lake Placid Course
30 minute transition run immediately following.
4pm: swim clinic or stand in the lake.
7pm: Dinner with optional UBU Ale afterwards :-)
Intermediate / 70.3 / Sprint folks:
8am: 90 minute ride
10am: Run
Ironman Folks:
8am: one loop of the bike course minus the out and back.
30-60 minute run off the bike.
11am: Breakfast at Golden Arrow!
optional swim afterwards!

dog update

My bike should be home from N'Orleans today. I shipped it a month ago. A MONTH. With that said, the service of having the bike ready for me at pick up and handed off after the race, in the particular situation that I was in..... quick travel...... was worth it. If I do N'Orleans in 2010 I will plan a longer trip and fly with my bike. I love my P2K, it's got 650 wheels and truth be told (I am 5'11") I felt like 650s and I were a match made in HEAVEN.

Good thing testing doesn't start this week.

I have had an answer to the coffee situation.... and we are just not going to talk about it this week. Just understand if you see me order 2 Venti Pike Place's instead of one. We will talk about it later.

It has been brought to my attention that I have not posted any Cocoa the dog updates. Today I will take a new dog picture.

Having a dog has been great. She's almost six months now and it's hard to remember she's still a puppy, she's BIG! And she's the most perfect trail running partner there has ever been. We don't run long with her, an hour tops, and never 2 days in a row. Each day we hike with her. And she swims like a fish. The prefect triathlon dog!

Her temperament is sweet, and of course she's high energy (she's a LAB). Her and Luc can have wrestling matches all day long. She knows how to sit and she knows how to lay and she comes when she is called (so far).
She's absolutley my husband's dog. She's his little girl.

Soon she starts dog school (we know it's really for owners) and gets fixed. :-(

So nothing too exciting. I am thrilled she doesn't need to wear a cone (yet) and she doesn't poop in the house anymore. Thanks to my friend Jen H. who taught me the 'hang a bell by the door trick'. Yes, a jingle bell hangs from the doorknob and she hits it with her nose when she wants to go outside.

More than anything she's turned us all into hikers. I knew she would. Luc can navigate anything with a compass..... I can't navigate jack s*** with a compass..... and Luc's got a sense of direction that might rival a deer's. We'll be camping all summer long on our various vacation trips and hiking our little brains out.

So..... the dog's great!

Monday, April 20, 2009

don't ask...... don't tell

One of the contributing factors to my inclination to work with Coach Jesse was his attention to nutrition. As a girl with an eating disordered background this is the part that coaches stay away from. But we know that optimal body composition is ...... optimal in competition. Pounds equal free speed if you are higher than idea. If you go lower than what you should....... lost pounds add time.

It's a fine balance. One I am very willing to walk. Analyze me, pinch me, prod me, tell me what to eat.

One of the first questions I was asked by friends was...... what if Jessee tells you that you must give up coffee?

Okay, first of all I am going through a revolution. New terminology, new planning systems, new philosophy, a higher emphasis on things like nutrition than ever before. These next 2 weeks are not vacation weeks, they are orientation, preparation, and information exchanging.

I am not going to go ahead and be stupid and ask if coffee has to go. Come ON! Give me some CREDIT!

We will follow the don't ask..... don't tell policy.

For the record however..... I shall state that right here....... if Jesse says "Mary the coffee has to go."........ then the coffee has to go.

I know. I know. I know. I know. I know. I know. I know. I know.

But what is it worth to you?

Why hire the fancy pants coach who is willing to take you on mid season and bring back a struggling athlete? Why lay myself on the line in so many ways if I wasn't willing to do whatever I needed to do to get myself back again?

What is this comeback worth to me? Is it worth giving up my dark roast?

Yes. It is.

But we will cross that bridge when we come to it. I have several more bridges to cross during the next 2 weeks. Like getting my computrainer to communicate with my laptop again (serial port to USB..... !!!!.....!!!!!......!!!!!). Ergomo is downloadable again. Garmin smooth functioning. Heart rate monitor on both of these devices..... not so happy. Downloadable HRM on the way. Note: the more information your coach can have about you, the better. It's one thing to say "Stayed in HR zone 3" it's another thing to show it.

I don't care if I have to wear a downloadable leash. This is what I am here for.

It will be a busy two weeks.

PS: On the topic of nutrition, I have a favorite breakfast to share!

Steel Cut Oats .... organic !(I make a big batch on Sunday night and grab a scoop every morning)

topped with:

1/2 banana
organic cranberries
a dash of cinnamon
flax seed

A super duper power packed breakfast to fuel any athlete!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

teacher's pet

Well.... it is official..... I will be working with Jesse himself. Gulp.

When I originally wrote to Jesse I never imagined he would personally take me on as an athlete. The guy coaches Cait Snow...... I am not in her league (in case you didn't know that ;-) I was actually getting psyched to possibly work with Cait Snow. I just never imagined that working with Jesse himself was a possibility.

We talked on Wednesday, exchanged some more information and then this email came yesterday: I think you have a lot of potential, and seem to have the right ingredients to bring that out with proper guidance.

I know full well that this guy is not hurting for athletes, or dying at the chance to bring a has been like myself back to life..... to be given the chance to work with the top dog here....... brought tears to my eyes.

I am not over yet.

I have always felt that I had potential. That I was not tapping it from myself correctly.

Now believe me I wish I was like my husband. Began the sport at age 35, and was the last man out of the water. Five years later he won that race five years in a row. At age 52 he goes 9:55 in an Ironman. He's qualified for Hawaii every time he's tried. He's medaled at worlds.

And never been coached.

But he always believed in himself.

When I begin to feel like maybe 35 is the sign that I am getting old...... I look at him (yes, do the math we are a few years apart. Call Larry King.) I don't think Curt truly understands what it is like to struggle. Not that he's never struggled in this sport, but actually........ I will say it...... he hasn't.

His worst races were a few Ironman races that he didn't hit his potential. But he';s never puked on a course. He's DNF'd once because it was too damn cold. Even when competing injured he's still on the podium. He's one of those people who doesn't understand why people need coaches. Right now I am working full time (as a nurse out of the home, as a coach at home), homeschooling my son (he begins in a new school in 2 weeks), helping with my mother in law. Geez on paper that doesn't look so busy.

Be the parent of a special needs child navigating the special education system in a medication nation (not my kid though) which means red tape + bureaucracy + too many captains on the ship and that equals a load of stress and frustration that I can't even describe.

If you have ever been someone who has ruled the podium, and then fell off of it...... you know what I mean. It is like you keep hitting the same wall from different angles.

My breakthrough in 07 was my 10:58 Ironman. 2008 became a disaster for reasons we don't need to revisit..... but one thing I know is that I am not over yet.

These few seasons of missed performances has taught me so so so much. The lessons were worth the failings. As I make my climb back up believe you me...... I will never take a good performance for granted again.

I have always believed in myself...... which is why I am still here after all of this. I know in my heart I have the ability to achieve my goals..... and now I have the chance to make that happen.

Fresh eyes. Someone who thinks I have potential. A coach that's so highly respected I have received 59 emails, most from people I do not even know, commending my decision and requesting I keep you up to date on how this all goes. You want to know what it's like to work with Jesse..... I will let you know. Believe me this is not an oppertunity I am going to blow.

From what I have experienced of Jesse and his company so far: professionalism, optimism, realism, and an eye for potential. (of course I will say that).

This is an opportunity I will be working hard to earn. I know he doesn't need me as an athlete. I know there are athletes much more talented than I who he could turn into Ironman champions. I know that I am just a small fish somewhere. I feel very grateful to be given this opportunity.

I have so much to learn.

We officially begin in 2 weeks. Which means I have 2 weeks to get things ready. I can go easy in all workouts from now until then. I have to ensure my Ergomo is functioning and downloading, my Computrainer is running squeaky clean, that the HRM components of everything is working correctly, oh...... and I have to get my bike back from New Orleans.

Yes, it is still not home yet. (I am riding little blue), but please let's not go there.

Friday, April 17, 2009


The email came this morning....from the new coach...... would you consider an Ironman in June of 2010.....

Oh for God's sakes. I thought. Please.... please don't ask me that.

When that damn word is stated...... IRONMAN....... I get the same thrill seeking flutter in my stomach every single damn time. Does he now understand that Ironman and I broke up? We've got a lot to fix first before I put my money down next to an M Dot.

But...... I have a feeling a lot is going to get fixed. I even laugh at myself for saying that like it won't be me doing the work. But seriously all I will have to do is bust a gut and follow directions. My new coach has no clue that I am the world's best direction follower.


I am telling you I am the dream athlete to coach. I don't ask a lot of questions, I don't even really ask what the plan is although I will know it. When I am in a coach athlete relationship I simply look at each day's workouts, own the goals and do the work. At least that's my perspective. :-) HA HA!

When it's my only responsibility to hit watts, paces, heart rates, download and send them I am excellent at it.

My pet peeve in my own training is rescheduling. I like a basic week to stay a basic week. At this moment my schedule is such..... that it can. No surprises week to week. Busy is busy but when it isn't a rotating and revolving busy it is so much easier.

Back to that Ironman word. Ironman and I had a bad breakup last season if you remember...... I barely do. What keeps me from jumping in is not the fact that I have an Ironman DNF. Seriously when you have done four Ironmans that sting is not nearly as bad as it would be if it were #1. What puts fear in my heart is the fact that I am missing, in terms of memory, big chunks of that day.

Like most of 67 miles on my bike. Or when Jason pulled off my wetsuit and I don't even remember the conversation we had.

Taking a hill at 53 miles per hour in the pouring rain..... and kind of remembering that I was seeing double...... so aim for the middle......

The missing memory is what scares me. Am I afraid to toe the line with 2000+ people?

No. That does not scare me.

So when he wrote the word Ironman I almost shit myself. Partly in fear and partly in excitement. Could Iornman and I have a reunion? Could we kiss and make up?

Good Lord it is a year away. And it makes me smile in excitement.

I think it is the hope of a new relationship with this coach, new opportunity, a new system, and the hope that this struggling athlete could in fact make that comeback she so dreams of.

But for now..... can we just not say the "I" word?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

new kid on the block

I don't intend to be secretive...... just superstitious. I am sleeplessly excited to announce that I am going to be working with the folks at Qt2Systems. A ton of thought went into this, and one of the biggest factors was the importance that they place on body composition and nutrition. That they are taking me on this late in the season means I have a lot of work to do, an orientation to do, testing to do (which is good, because I was going to be testing next week anyways)..... teammates to meet,

And I have a comeback to make.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

the four words i needed to hear

Came to me yesterday:


It was like music to my ears but only it was happiness to my eyes. The fourth of five coaches who I emailed for help emailed me back. And I think we are a good fit.

This is a big decision for me. I have only worked with a few coaches: Doug Bush, Rich Straus, and Trevor. I have had great experiences with all of them.

. Who looks for a coach in April anyways?

Someone who has a good base built. Has time to hone in on the lofty goals she's set for herself, and who is in the position of not really needing a coach. Or so I think. I also love to learn. There is a lot to learn and the coaches on my 'bucket list' are coaches I would love to attend seminars of. I'd pay to listen to them talk about themselves all day. I'd never even ask a question. I have so much to learn.

When this potential new coach said he was excited I thought.... geez..... someone might be excited to work with me??

That's what I think about all of my athletes. It excites me to work with them. It excites me to instant message with Kim when she's running pain free or she's put in a great bike. It excites me to see Alan nail his 1/2 and Dennis tell me he threw up in his mouth. It excites me to send Sarah to running camp and Amy Mo to a 1/2 Marathon that's not an easy one. That kind of Sh** makes my heart beat fast. It really excited me when Jason pulled himself out of a flu that kicked his ass so bad it almost reached through the computer and hit me across the face. When Mary Beth freaking gets it done. Or when our Minnesota Girls Teresa and Heather reach across the country to train with us. Or Donna who just kicks ass...... does. It seriously excited me when I saw Jeremy on the bike at the first Trainer Tuesday..... man he looks lean and mean. How about Kim M. who has this absolutely killer freaking work ethic?????

I hope I am not leaving anyone out here....... but it excites me to have the opportunity to work with every single one of them. Some of the coaches I hear about may act like their athletes are a pain in their ass. That frightens me.

To have another coach look at my story, my results, my highs and lows, my power, my V dot....... and become excited because this is a problem they can fix? Wow. That feels...... great.

Now the grass is always greener on the other side. I have spoken with some of the athletes on the team. I have contacted a few people who have had experiences with these guys and they are all good.

And I am not on 'the team' yet. But I have a feeling that if I do hand myself over to this coaching staff that it will be a massive stress alleviated from me. At a time when I need it most. Home schooling is all great.... if you aren't a working Mom. But we are close to the end of that tunnel as we have a beautiful new school waiting in the wings. The stress comes from the bureaucratic nightmare it takes in New York State to make things happen at all much less late.

But that's another rant. If you are the Mom of a Special Needs kid in NYS.... email me. I have some advice for you. :)

After tonight I will know a little more, have more information.... and I know that my gut will lead me to the right decision.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Can you believe it? It feels like we just began! The final installment of Trainer Tuesdays is tonight! Bert's Bikes 6:30pm! See you there!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

random words.... random pictures

The wonderful friends I met at New Orelans 70.3!!!!!

Ahhhhh......... the best part about a rest week is getting back to work on Sunday. I took a week off essentially, not quite by choice but when I am sick..... I am sick. A few liters of IV fluid after the race and then again at home..... did I not jinx myself by bragging about my health?

Never again.

As I move forward to the next section of the plan I am building towards the Musselman, one of my favorite 1/2 Ironman races. I have good and bad memories of this course and this race fires me up.

I have added a bunch of running races to my May schedule to HTFU my run. I feel like racing now. I feel like running. I am glad that I waited until I felt the mojo to get out and hit that pavement.

Here is Donna and I by Lake P. Which wasn't dirty at all!!!!!!!!!
A lot of my bike work will remain on the computrainer. While we find out if Luc is accepted at a wonderful new school, I tend to get the most value from indoor bike training in terms of time and intensity. I have a lot of work to do on all fronts. My race data proved that I am right where I need to be in April. Worlds is still 31 weeks away and I needn't be PR'ing today. In November I will be aiming for it.

Actually July I will be :-)

This week I did contact a few coaches who I consider to be on my "bucket list" of people I dream of one day training under. I got some really good feedback. I wasn't sure if I am in need of a coach or just someone to give a few objective pieces of advice. In just a few words I was fortunate to receive some very good feedback about my program, my volume, my goals, my progress.

I really miss the coach athlete relationship and if I had things my way I'd be back underneath Coach T's guidance. He's my number one for sure, however he's in grad school, working, and being a father. Can't bother him right now. I have what he taught me, I have what I know.

I have to remain objective with myself, it's not easy because you want to hammer yourself with volume and you can develop tunnel vision as to where you are heading. I have created the next block with some very deliberate check points where I will literally stop and reevaluate the situation and how I am or am not progressing.

The best piece of advice I received was....... am I too tired with the volume I am currently holding?

Seems so easy, doesn't it. I am good at functioning at a high level when i am tired. Sometimes I get so tired I don't even know I am tired. That's where the coach / athlete relationship comes in wicked handy.

A view of the French Quarter

So it's interesting that the advice I take most to heart has nothing to do with how much I am working..... but how much I am resting.

I am one of those athletes who is incredibly coachable. I love to be told what to do. I am not a headcase..... believe it or not. I tend to crash often and rest too little. I like to work and I like to work hard. My biggest dream in life would to be to spend a year with Brett Sutton. Man I would love that kind of beating for a good year.

I didn't write to him. I was afraid he'd email me a bunch of F Bombs. I appreciate those of you who didn't write me that. :)

I work best with male coaches who don't hold hands, who give it to me straight and are tough on my mentality as well as physically. That's the type of swim coach I thrived under. I don't know why. Give me work and I will rise to it.

I take criticism very well. I mean honestly...... I can look in the mirror every day and tell myself GOOD JOB...... it's when I receive honest feedback...... that I truly thrive.

So I appreciate the feedback. The sarcasm, the honesty, and the brutality. It's what makes me a better athlete. It's what makes me a better coach. I love to learn and I know there is a lot I have yet to learn.

So onward we go through this education by fire. On so many levels. Thanks to those who took the time to listen to my questions this week. I am very grateful.

Time to HTFU and get my ass in gear. Thanks for the kick guys.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Weekend at Placid 2009 Training Camp

Only 2 months away!

What you will be signing up for:

A really fun weekend with really fun people. A chance to swim bike and run in the beauty of the Adirondacks. Whether you are headed for Ironman Lake Placid, Timberman, Ironman Wisconsin or just your neighborhood sprint triathlon we are planning a weekend of training and education and fun!

Swim stroke analysis and video! How to navigate any open water swim! How to draft on the swim! Bike work, descending, climbing skills! Running off the bike! Long run, short run! How to fuel it all and pack a lot of training into just a few short days!

Race strategy, friend making, beer drinking..... an Uphill race of Whiteface Mountain if you'd like..... 8 miles at 8% grade..... or drink an UBU while you wait for us at the top!

Click the information tab on the right, but this camp will cost about $200 and it will be the BEST value for your hard earned dollar! In these economic times we all deserve a break...... not a freaking BAILOUT!

So come have fun with us! Email me at maryeggers "at" gmail "dot" com.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

the key

If you have followed my race performance through the past few years it's been hit or miss. I am not a 5:25 70.3 girl. I am a sub five hour girl. Time and time again something.... insert that here..... seems to happen. I was beginning to believe I had a really bad case of bad luck.

The training is there. I have the power files and garmin data to prove that I am hitting what I need to hit in training. We all know that training does matter on race day. It's about being able to pull it together.

And for whatever reason.... whatever flavor of the day..... something happens to prevent me from pulling it together. There are things in my control, and some things out of my control.

It's not a total surprise that when I take a little down time I get sick. I am still sick. You can say that a bad case of G.I. -itis isn't under my control. But it likely actually was more within my control than you can imagine.

My husband gave it to me straight the other night. He told me that he was tired of watching me miss, when he knows that I am prepared. He gave me his thoughts on why he believed this to be the case.

It came down to one word. One very simple word. A word that I can not get out of my head.

He is right.

And it has nothing to do with swimming, biking or running. And the word is not believe (though that is important).

The other night we listened to Chris McCormack speak. He was excellent, not what you might expect him to be. He began to speak about Craig Alexander. He told the story of how Crowie used to finish dead last in World Cup races. He talked about how Crowie just seemed to really suck. No one believed in him, but he believed in himself.

Today he's the Ironman World Champion.

One word. Again it isn't believe. (but that's a KEY!).

Lucky for me it is April and there is a fresh layer of snow on the ground. As I review my power and garmin files from this race I am where I should be for April training wise. It's a long season and I have some new.... actually old ammunition under my wing.

Had I had this happen in a race in May I'd be playing some quick catch up.

That's what you do with races. You take a good detailed look at what worked, what didn't. You have to take a look at how things are running on and off the field. It's off the field "stuff" that can be the biggest hindrance to our performances even though we can hit the numbers in training.

Monday the next block begins. The block for the Musselman. I am the first winner of the Musselman 1/2 Ironman and I still hold the amateur record (damn you Kim Loffler :-). I am capable of faster.

Thank you husband for taking me by the shoulders and turning me 180 degrees to the left. The street I have been looking down..... is not the street I should be looking down.

I certainly believe in myself, else I wouldn't still be at this. My day will come. That race is on the horizon. It isn't something I need to do that involves swimming, biking in running.

It's so much easier.

Monday, April 6, 2009

still not home yet

Greetings from the Atlanta airport! I had a nice cushie bed last night and a good night of sleep. I am still sick however. After visiting the Aero Clinic and a little Zofran I feel like I might not hurl for a good 20 minutes.

But sick or not as I look at my data I am so pleased. I hit my paces both on the bike and the run (while I was running). Anyone who has to stop every mile or so to empty our knows how both frustrating and exhilarating it is!

I feel very excited as I am planning my next block and reviewing the race. It's so early to race but a great opportunity to test things out.

I thought the race was incredible. Sure it can be annoying to have to take a bus here and a bus there. Their buses were tour busses and it was all really well organized. Except for post race. The bus took you from the finish to transition and then you were on your own.

There are a lot of cabs around, and they are good prices.

This race had over 3,000 people in it. I don't know about anyone else but I saw nor did I experience any drafting. There were a few small rollers and some wind that broke things up....... I only saw one marshall...... but kudos to the race director for planning the waves the way he did and to all athletes for ..... riding legally.

See... it really can happen!!!!!

I would definitely recommend this race. I would stay in the French Quarter..... rely on cabs, and ship your bike to Bike World. They made everything so much easier. They have good rates and good service. And they are so nice.

It's tough to do a race in April but it felt so good to get outside. It felt great to be kissed by the sun and this event gave me some good data to plan from. Early enough that I can make a few minor changes yet stay on the same track.

After all 7 months till Clearwater.....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

quick recap

Greetings from N'Orleans!

Lets start with the good news:

Despite what you might think.... I had a pretty darn good day. I had a good swim, a conservative bike, and I had a great run. I nailed my run pace when I was running. Its when I was walking that it screwed up that run split!

I am not sure if it was because I have been sick, I have a dose of heat stroke, or just.... because but the nausea I have been feeling the past few days remained with me on the swim, bike and run. The run was hotter than hot. I had to walk a bit at each aid station to vomit, and get water and ice on me.

Honestly, other than that.... my legs felt great! I was running my running pace! I was so happy about it and then mystified why I was getting sick.

I am so glad I came here. I really thought this race was exquisitely done. The finish in the French Quarter was the best I have even experienced. SERIOUSLY. They aligned their busing schedule beautifully.

After the race it wasn't so great. Donna needed to get to rollwdown (Thank GOD I have my 70.3 spot)..... and I needed to get to the airport. Our friends were in the French Quarter. I gave my bike to Bike World (Incredible people) and hopped into a cab with my bathing suit on and some shorts.

Arrival at the airport was less then glamorous. And smelly. Seriously.

I made my flight, but it was delayed which delays my connection in Atlanta. So tonight I get to stay in a cushie hotel in Atlanta, enjoy a business class ride home..... tomorrow at 3pm. and I have my airfare to Clearwater.

Honestly I don't care where they put me or fly me because I am sick still. Here in the airport with a raging sunburn (I GLOW) I have overdosed on Dramamine... and Excedrin...... so tuck me in to a comfy bed in a hotel tonight and let's call it a night. After what I have been through, why is a little flu virus kickign my ass?

Did I not foreshoadow this? I should have never bragged about my health!

More detailed report to come tomorrow. Way to go everyone....... AMO, DONNA, KIRSTEN, I was so Happy to meet you Kerri! And to all our girls over at Oceanside.... RR, Marit the Kona girls, Jen H..... girl we must have the same thing.... and a big one to Mrs. Beth Shutt..... I you not only finished, you freaking rocked it and you have rolled right over that Steelhead thing..... I call those demons!

I also made my flight!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Today was pre race prep and hurricane learning day. In fact I am so interested in the Hurricane relief effort that I keep forgetting what I am here to do, race. I'm here with my teammate Donna, who's friends Kirsten, Ammo, Christian, and gang have taken me under their wing.

I have known these people for 2 days and feel like we've been friends forever.

Kirsten by trade is an architect but came to N.O. three years ago to help with the hurricane relief. She showed us pictures and diagrams which helped me to understand the magnitude of what happened here.

Because really guys.... we have no clue. we really don't. Where I am in the French Quarter was not touched. And N'Orleans is a lot bigger than the FQ. Its a small drop of what this place is.

Today at the swim start I understood exactly what a levy was, took pictures and Kirsten educated us on how things were flooded as opposed to what we think we know.

We know nothing.

The bike course will take us through where they haven't gotten to in terms of relief. So during the race I get to actually see it with my own eyes. I won't be able to take pictures. But I will see it.

The spirit here is about rebuilding and regrowth. The people are excited to have the race in town and I am signing up for 2010 here. For sure.

As we were driving back to our hotel I keep thinking about how one of my dreams is to go to Haiti and do some work there. I think that before I can do that.... I need to take a look at what's happening in our own country. I saw pictures of what happened to schools. What if I focused my efforts on helping the children of my own country before in another country? I can't express enough..... what happened here is above and beyond what we know, or what we think we know.

I want another week here. I feel there is a way I can help. It's made the wheels in my head to begin to turn. There are things I can do in places like this.

OOOpsss..... I am here to race. It seems so darn insignificant right now but I am here for a reason. We have 3,000 athletes descending on a City that needs us. With 3,000 athletes it means family and friends coming along which means hotels and tourism and economy boost.

So while I am just here to race my dollar being spent in the streets here is helping these people. They are appreciative of our being here.

New Orleans seems to be a very grateful city.

Donna and I are checked in. We swam in the Lake. We are heading to bike check in.... in about an hour. Then to dinner.

My biggest stressor tomorrow is making my fight. It will be a damn miracle if that happens.

Till then I shall be signing off. It's time to shut down and get ready. Because while I am here for a race.... my dollars here and the fact that we are all here are appreciated more than any city I have ever been to.

That's a great feeling.

Tomorrow will be a great day. For all of us. We get to swim bike and run through the ruins and finish in the rebuilding.

Many of our lives are like that...... aren't they? At some point we have a storm blow through. And we rebuild. And we shine brighter. I know that in the past year or so that's happened for me.

Maybe it has happened for you.

Just like it is happening here in New Orleans.

Friday, April 3, 2009


This place is neat. N-E-A-T-O.

My trip here was not.

Strip searched at security, dog S*** on the floor at the gate, roller coaster ride to Atlanta, barfing in the Atlanta Airport, better flight to NO, almost puked in the shuttle to the hotel.

When I wanted to lie down, room not ready. I picked a cool hotel though.

So I took a walk, found some water and Motrin and within an hour I was me again. The streets are filled with people. A jazz band on every corner. Cafes with open windows. And sunshine. Smiling folks everywhere.

Simply put, this place has a lot of soul, history, culture and character. I am so glad I cam here.

Oh my GOSH I am here to race! So much to do tomorrow. Sunday the big victory is going to be me making my flight.

But first we have a race to race. And smiles to smile. 70.3 miles of opportunity, privilege and possibility!

I am seeing why this is called the Big Easy!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

final call....

I have the perfect solution to my traveling woes this weekend. I shall travel in my wetsuit while wearing my helmet and running shoes. And race suit. And race belt. Why not throw int he timing chip?

My bike is built and ready to be ridden in New Orleans. My bag is packed, I just have a few more things to add in. Yes, I said BAG. One bag. All my gear. I will be walking around N'Orleans in my bathing suit.

To all of my amazing friends around the world...... best of luck at N'Orleans and Oceanside 70.3, and to all of my athletes here at home who are running the Spring Forward 9.5 miler.

Thank you most of all to my unbelievable husband Curt and my son Luc, you guys are the wind beneath my wings!

Safe travels, next update from the Big Easy!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

go to your brother

I learned a really interesting lesson this week, yet at the same time I can't properly articulate what that lesson was. It made me once again realize how lucky I am to have the father that I do. He taught me so many things, simple things, that have shaped my life in a good way.

He taught me to be habitually early. So I am. I am never late for anything.

He taught me to "kill people with kindness". When people are escalated and angry, the way to talk them down is to not escalate with them. No one can remain agitated at someone who won't engage with them. When you are arguing, do it kindly. You will never find me in a shouting match with anyone..... and the kindness thing.... hard when you are not feeling kind.... but works every time.

He always told me to be honest. He told me that telling the truth is always the best thing to do, even if it is hard. The repercussions of not telling the truth are always more painful than not.

I have always tried to listen to my Dad, and I have always tried very hard to live those lessons he taught me.

I was involved in three interesting social situations this week that involved a common theme. A group, a leader, someone who offended, and the reaction and confrontation of the leader to the group.

In all three circumstances, the leader addressed the problem to the group as a whole, through a mass email. Not the person doing the offending. These three situations were in three different areas of my life, and in one of them I was the offender.

In my situation an idea that I had was overheard by the leader. It was interpreted as "stepping on the toes" of the leader. I didn't intend it to be, and I think that's true for most of us. Sometimes we have an idea and simply don't see it the same way that someone else might. A half hour after I made the statement of the idea, I had a conversation with my leader. It would have been the perfect opportunity for the leader to say "Hey Mary..... no deal on your idea."

But instead later in the day, in the form of a mass email it was stated that my idea would not fly. It turned out I hadn't thought of that perspective. However I was saddened that there I was, standing right in front of my leader, and it wasn't brought to my attention.

Would I ave been offended? Gosh no. You can't take everything personally. Because my reaction was this....

"Geez..... I didn't think of it that way. That's a good point. Policy respected, sorry about that!" In fact, I contacted my leader and did say that. I also expressed the hope that after all this time they knew me well enough that I could be called out on something.

The second two situations involved me as a part of the group that was addressed for someone else's actions and / or comments. To my knowledge the leader had not spoken to the offender. In one of the circumstances I thought...... I bet that the offender doesn't even get that this is addressed to them!

These three circumstances made me sad. Is this what we have come to as humanity? Relying so much on email and non confrontational communication that we have completely lost the art of being honest with one another face to face?????

As I spoke with a few people last night they laughed at me. "You must not be in corporate America." They said. I was given several examples of how this kind of thing..... this rather than approaching the offender........ sending out a group email........

Now in my circumstance it probably was beneficial to have the group told about a particular policy. But I just don't understand..... I just don't comprehend...... why it wasn't told to me face to face. I don't know about you but when I have an issue with someone I will go to them. Not to someone else.

Chances are that I or they just didn't "see it that way", and no harm was intended.

So what are we afraid of in this world? Have we lost the art of interpersonal communication?
Are we going to get stuck in technological and cold world where we tell one another if we are happy or sad through a text, an email or Face Book?

Will hugs become virtual hugs?

While I am sad that this kind of culture exists, I am glad that I don't have to exist within it. We call coming to one another..... come to your brother.

So go to your brother today. Don't hold up feelings of being hurt and being insulted. You can do it in a respectful manner that highlights your feelings and allows the other person to not get defensive, but to see your point of view.

Go to your brother. I promise you that if you do it right ......... the art of people, the art of communication.... it will come back.

Thanks Dad.