Friday, July 31, 2009

food for thought

Since the day after Musselman it was back to work for me. I experienced no soreness or residual fatigue after the race, which solidified the fact that I paced it perfectly. To quote Coach Jesse "You had a great well executed race at Musselman!" That's exactly what it felt like. A well executed race. I am still smiling at how good it felt to be in control of it rather than barfing on the rocks like I have done for too long.

These are the lessons we learn in our sport.

Just for fun, here is Jesse's report of IMLP and the accuracy of his coaching.

I have gotten a ton of questions abut nutrition in the past few weeks. The nutrition that Jesse / QT2 has you follow is very solid and stresses the importance of health first. There are a lot of guidelines but a few I would like to share with you:

1. We get out nutrients from wholefoods especially fruits, veggies (BERRIES) rather than from a vitamin or crazy supplement.

2. Aim for four fruits a day and four veggies a day.

3. They have greatly increased my lean protein. In addition to chicken and such I drink a Whey Protein shake, I shouldn't even call it a shake, it's the power and water (boring, but I choose it to be. You can dress it up ;-)

4. 80 oz of water per day (that's 2.5 32 oz Nalgene bottles) in addition to what you take during training.

5. Eat every 2 hours.

6. Fuel before during and after every single workout. Every single one.

7. 2 grams of EPA / DHA Omega 3 per day

8. Concentrate on low glycemic foods usually under 55 throughout the day when in non training periods. We call it "eating in the core".

9. Stay with foods with less than 15 grams of sugar per serving.

The first thing you will notice eating this way is that you literally eat all of the time. You feel incredible and you lose weight. Your energy is stable, you don't have those mid afternoon crashes.

for me this takes a lot of planning. But that's what I like, that's what works for me, so sitting down every 3 days and planning my meals, every single one.... works for me. My life is really busy so planning helps me. Some people do better on the fly..... I don't'. It's as simple as that. If it works, good. If not, what does?

My in training nutrition looks something like this: for a 60 minute bike I take in 24 oz of Power Bar Endurance and 3 shot blocks at 30 minutes. In the window before the workout I eat something higher glycemic like a Nature Valley Bar, and in the hour after the workout I take in a recovery drink, there is a protocol of what to use depending on how long / intense the workout is.

Like I said I feel like I eat all of the time. There are times I just don't' feel like it. But I have to keep blood sugar stable. This system allows me to lose about 0.5 pounds a week. I have 9 more to go before Clearwater (which adds up to be a drop in 30 seconds per mile running).

Now realize also...... I have a bad history of an eating disorder. The weight we are getting to is not the weight I will stay at, we get down, get there and get out. That's for a purpose. It is a fine line because of my history but I am in the point in my recovery where I am able to do it. Jesse knows all about my eating disordered history and in all honesty...... this is the nutrition program I needed when I was first in recovery. replacing the micronutrients and stabilizing my blood sugar, focusing on health rather than on calories.

This is the nutrition program that should be in place in the darn hospital. And it's nothing he invented, it's just information he has assembled. You know my resources:

The Ultramind Solution

The Paelo Diet for Athletes

Look those up on Amazon.

My goal and my health is extremely important to me. My health is even more important. I am willing to be anal about that. I am willing to lie in bed each night and ask myself if I ate four fruits and four veggies per day. Did I give my body the best possible nutrients that I can?


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

throwing eggs against the wall

I watched a great lecture by Jack Daniels (the running coach) this morning. He talked about throwing eggs against the wall. I will elaborate on that in a minute. Over the past week I have done a lot of observing and a lot of listening. In lake Placid I attended a terrific free seminar by Rich Straus and Patrick McCrann of Endurance Nation on their "Four Keys". While I have read and re read their articles about it before..... you have to see them present it. They are a great duo.

One of the things I did during Ironman Lake Placid this weekend was simply observe. At the top of Papa Bear I tracked 30 athletes. both men and women, in addition to my own athletes who were out there, and the QT2 Team. I wrote down numbers and times. I wanted to see how the athletes who came up Papa Bear first on both the first and second loops, fared in the marathon.

Here are my results:

92% of the athletes who came off the bike first (of my little randomized personal study) were walking by mile 14 of the marathon. Many walk the hill, which is where I was stationed during the Marathon, and a lot of people walk that. I noticed that this 92% of the people I was watching did not run down the hill as they headed out onto their second loop. I called this group the "Great bike split group."

The QT2 team, the team of which I am a part of.... had incredible races. Most qualified for Kona. Cait Snow ran her way off a seventh place bike to second...... I knew that was the strategy for her.

Of all the athletes inside and outside of the 30 I was watching not one of the QT2 Athletes came up Papa Bear out of breath. They all looked in control, they all were steady, and they were not bombing up the thing as most were.

During the marathon from my vantage point on the hill not one of them was passed by another runner (doesn't mean it did not happen elsewhere) and not one QT2 athlete walked that hill. If you know who they are and you look at their splits.... the entire team is controlled on the bike and deadly on the run. As I am part of this team I understand how they pace their races and I am psyched. That's me someday. Someday soon.

I am a classic fly on the bike and die on the run. At the Musselman it was all I could do to slow down that bike and ride in control. I don't ride a 2:45. I was BORED. But it's part of the big picture and the big plan.

So the lesson I learned was: yes, people do not pace their bikes well. It shows up on that marathon. The people who I knew who insisted on these 3 hour long runs..... didn't seem to help their marathons.

Back to Jack Daniels. In his lecture he stated that a lot of coaches simply throw eggs against the wall. Meaning: they train their athletes as hard as possible, and hope that they don't crack. That is so absolutely true in this coaching world you would not believe it. I watch it every single day. I read about it, I hear about it. I see it result in more burnout and injury than I can bear.

I am a coach in progress and by no means do I tout myself to be the end all know it all coach of coaches. I don't really want to be either. I want to continue to learn how to build the best athlete that I can build with what the deck of cards we have to play. I really don't want to have the presence of the big Tri Teams out there. Train-This is small, it's connected, it's got a lot of depth. I take my athlete's programs very seriously. I take their programs personally. The challenge for me is to blend training with life, with recovery and progression and not throw each person against the wall so hard that they fall asleep at their desk by 9am or they can't pick up their children.

Training should have a progression and a purpose. It should have challenges and tests but not every single day. Throwing yourself at the wall only lasts so long.

The same thing with Ironman pacing. It's controlled, it's got a purpose. And I am talking about the age group athletes. I don't coach any pros, I am not even qualified to touch a pro..... I imagine they pace their day a whole lost different. For the most part the professional athlete's (with exception of course) job is to train + recover + race. So their lives are very different.

The pacing strategy of Ironman is one of the most interesting pieces of this puzzle. How I can apply it to my athletes is another piece. It's fascinating. It's just as fascinating to have watched the race in action, not distracted and not on television.

Watch an entire Ironman race, and study random splits. You can just see where pacing errors are made. Look at many of the top athletes (not all)..... look at the equality of their swim bike and run.

We can throw eggs against the wall and hope they don't crack. That's a popular strategy for those who want to make money and be popular and who don't really care about the quality of an athlete's life and well being. Or we can give it progression, purpose, recovery, allowing someone to live their life unaffected or not demolished on a daily basis.

And we can pace the Ironman, pace the training, pace life just so...... to keep it full of meaning and keep it fun.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

we've got ourselves a game

I ripped this off Chuckie V's Blog. Man this is good.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ironman Lake Placid Descent

The big bad descent of Ironman Lake Placid. It's all you hear about. Never mind the 30 minutes of climbing to get to it, never mind the 8 minute climb into Wilmington. This descent takes a bad rap, like the big bad wolf or the black bears that were supposed to haunt me in Lake Placid.

I duct taped my video camera to my aerobars and took video of it. My memory card held all but the last 3 or so minutes I think. You Tube wouldn't allow such a long video to be uploaded in one piece so I split it into 2 roughly 5 minute segments. I added some audio not sure if you'd be able to hear it or not..... you can! And you can also hear my snot rockets. Sorry I was out for a three hour ride.

There are 3 segments to this climb, each are marked by a yellow diamond with a truck signifying the downhill begins. The first section is the easiest, I topped out at 48 miles per hour on the second and third parts.

And the camera I used is found here. It's waterproof, Chuckie V reccommended it.

This is raw raw footage, but it's kind of funny. At least I think so :-).

I got a text message from an old friend this morning who competed yesterday.... it read..... "Ironman is not the same without you. Thank you for getting me into this sport." I smiled. Ironman does that, it brings a bit of nostalgia, at least for me it does. Ironman represents different things to different people. To me as an athlete it is much more than the setting of a goal and realizing of the dream. It's the journey I must take that makes it so deep. Part of that journey is the connections we have with each other.

One year ago I left this race in an ambulance. Yesterday one of my friends suffered a similar fate but has far worse injuries than I did. He crashed on the descent, going 50 MPH. He was on track for a sub ten Ironman. Stellar swim. First loop he came up Papa Bear smiling and waving and looking as relaxed as can be. When he went missing on the second loop we learned he was in the hospital with a broken collarbone, abrasions and a concussion. And a broken heart.

While truthfully we are so very very lucky he survived a bike crash at 50 mph,..... and I just need to say that he is not new to cycling or Ironman or even that descent...... he's experienced...... I know exactly what it feels like to go through a year of work and then.... then this.

When I saw him last night I felt gratitude. Gratitude because he is alive.

I don't care how many medals and sub whatever Ironmans you can do, because without YOU it means nothing.

Last night his father thanked those of us who stopped by. He pointed out how his son's accident made him realize how connected this community is. "You're not deep with each other....." he said "But WOW do you care about each other."

That's what this sport is all about. each other. That's what I could not convey last week when I had encountered the face of absolute and pure evil.

That's what I felt this morning when that friend who I just have grown apart from sent me that text. We are connected. We are family. That's the simple truth.

Ironman Lake Placid was a gorgeous day. I have billions of pictures and I will get those up when I get home. The Train-This Team enjoyed yet another 100% finisher rate. The times are not exact but here are the results:

Jochen Hoppert 10:56 (first Ironman)
Jeremy Hammond 12:30 ....... 1 hour and 40 minute PR
Kim Ammon 12:54
Jason Fitzgerald 13:XX
Alan Hayter 13:14, and he finished with K Dub. That was very special.
Mary Beth Tonkery 14:22.

I got incredibly emotional at the finish line. Not because I wanted to be out there. I love coaching this race. I love coaching this race more than doing this race now. I got so emotional because...... we are connected.

Kim is the girlfriend of the friend who crashed, it was Travis. I think of anyone she had the toughest day. Her race was going according to plan. when she completed one loop of the run course she realized Travis was not out there. I knew she'd be asking. I consulted with her Mom and aunt Donna..... I basically asked for permission to lie to her.

"WHERE IS TRAVIS!" she screamed at me. I swear I was fighting tears.

"HE'S FINE! KEEP GOING" I shouted. She told me not to lie to her, I knew she knew something was wrong. I waited for her to come down the hill and I told her I had spoken to him..... I hadn't but I knew he would want me to keep her going in any way possible. When she realized that he was not in a hospital alone, that he had family with him.... she relaxed.

Kim is the one who survived a horrible car accident a few years ago so of anyone in the world Kim knows how precious life is. Of all people I knew that in a time of crisis Kim knows this is just a sport. I wanted to take her worry away, I wanted to take her fear away. So through tears I told her that I had spoken to him and he said he was fine and to keep going. I really believed he would have told me that.

She kept going. She put her head down and she finished this race with that kind of news. He was fine, he is fine else I would not have let her continue. I saw him last night. He's hurting. He will heal. He will come back.

It's Monday morning in Lake Placid and I am about to head home. I got to meet the QT2 Team, I got to meet many many beautiful people from Syracuse...... the best part of encountering the psycho from Syracuse last week is the amazing people I have been able to meet. (and by the way.... Syracuse you spoke, and trust me, it was listened to). I got to meet Kate O and I got to meet Danielle. I got to hang with Heidi Grimm. A swimmer I used to coach 15 years ago..... found m.

As a coach this race means the results of a years worth of planning, working, and becomeing family with my athletes. Their victories are my victories. Their high moments are my high moments. Their lows are my lows. I love my athletes.

I loved watching the QT2 Team rock their days. Cait Snow and her cadence of 105 ran her way to second place. I saw races get executed by this team and I am so very inspired by them all. It,s a direction I am heading and I am so honored.

I am headed home, I miss my husband and son more than I can bear!!!! And by the way..... camping went just fine!

Off to Rochester. sunburnt, smiling, tired and blessed.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


It's Saturday in Lake Placid and you know that means one thing..... one more sleep, one more wake up and it's the day so many have been waiting for through the past year! A year ago these folks stood in line and set a goal, tomorrow they get to realize and savor an entire year's worth of work.

I have six athletes competing here and about a trillion friends! Our team:

Alan: Alan is the father of Tina who competed here in 2006. Alan has a special weekend this weekend. His whole family is here because Tina..... gets married here on Monday! He's been juggling taper with wedding rehearsal so on Monday night, he will finally get to recover.

Jochen: This is Jochen's first Ironman. He's one of those guys who is .... relaxed..... cool..... and he missed athlete check in yesterday. No problem. Jochen called up the athlete coordinator and he can register today. I bet a lot of that has to do with his laid back demeanor.

Mary Beth: This is MB's first Ironman, she's a nurse a mom and a wife! Her kids and hubby are here to see MOM BECOME AN IRONMAN!

Jason: Another first time IM ...... the Cheeseburgler. At our training camp last month he suffered such a bonk that he stopped along route for a cheeseburger. He didn't have enough cash and tried to take a cash advance on his credit card, the seller of the burger felt bad for him and just gave him the damn thing. Best part..... he had a Diet Coke with it. Sometimes we don't think when we bonk!!!!!

Jeremy: This is Jeremy's second Ironman, first being IM Kentucky. Jeremy is a good 5 pounds lighter than last time and he's so in the right place I could freaking BURST!

Kim: This is Kim's first Ironman, and this will be emotional for Kim. In 2002 she was critically injured in a severe car crash that she was in a halo, and shes got several bolts and plates holding her together. She's a high school swimmer and has worked harder than anyone I know to make such incredible gains in swimming, biking and running. Her bike has improved so much that people are dying to know her secret. She just..... trained. I think her finish for her and for her family will be a highly emotional event. They almost lost her. It was that bad. She's been my travel partner a lot this year and I have to say that she has a grasp on reality and the preciousness of life like no one else I know.

They are ready. They are rested. They are laughing and smiling. I will be in this venue from 4am until well past midnight. I never leave until all of my athletes are home.

I got to meet Kate Oliver yesterday, and I will be watching for her in her pinkness. Jen H I will send you updates. I am better than Ironman dot com.

This should be a very interesting women's race as well. Cait Snow, Sam McGlone, Kim Loffler...... it will be awesome!

The weather is good, a little rain but lots of sun! I think the warmth mostly comes from the people that are here. Lake Placid is a very very special place.

On the docket for today:

QT2 Breakfast and meeting Coach Jesse. ED: I am way too chicken to show up with coffee and a bag of chips!

Riding one loop of the bike course: I am duct taping my little video camera to my aerobars to film the descent. 50mph of descent! I will post it tonight right here.

Tail O'The Pup. Dinner at 7:30. If you are around, please join us!

Camping is going just fine. It did rain last night but I was totally dry. People called offering floor space..... camping is fun gang!!!! I swear!

That's all for now, stay tuned!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

camping in the core

Okay fine... there's the hair! Caught in the act packing my apples with my Batman Ring.

I'm not a new camper by any means. In 2007 I camped at Eagleman 70.3 with the Wev and Ja Boon. We camped in actual tents right outside of a high school. Never mind the tornado that whipped through that night and rolled my tent over a few times. Nothing like taking refuge in a High School!

Oh yes, I know exactly how to rough it.

My friend Steve complimented me at work last night. "Of all the girls I know, you would be the most fine!"


So what does a camping triathlete need, who eats in the Core and who is bringing 2 bikes, coaching the Ironman and the forecast calls for nothing but rain for the next 5 days? You bring your camping mojo.

As I hear there are a few rules for camping in Lake Placid. Well, really just one giant rule. DO NOT LEAVE FOOD OUT. NEVER NADA, not even a cracker. There are bears out there. Black Bears! I taught my son that black bears are not like his black bear. These black bears not only eat children but I hear they also have an affinity for carbon fiber bikes and powermeters.

I have assembled all of the necessities. I have a tent. A tarp. A thermoelectric cooler (a cooler that plugs into your car and keeps all the foods you need on the Core diet.... fruits, veggies, Greek yogurt.... salad salad salad.......) cold! You need a good sleeping bag. A cooking kit. A lighter and some matches. You need a good raincoat and some rain pants. Seam sealer. A coffee maker. (I still have one morning cup of coffee a day).

Lucky for me, I am a massive skank..... and I won't bring a lot of training clothes. I will bring just a few things and wear the same bike shorts daily and probably even to swim and run. Maybe I will bring 2 pairs just to be fancy.

Maybe bears don't like Stinky girls. I am preparing for 5 days of being soaked to the bone, I am planning on coaching Ironman in my wetsuit, and I am planning on having a boatload of fun.

When I am in my tent in the middle of the night I will not think :


Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Aside from coaching and screaming all over the course on Ironman day (I will be the screaming chick on the mountain bike.... okay one of the 800 of those.....) and we will be at Rich Clark Hill. You will know it when you see it..... aside from that there are 2 things I am looking forward to:

Meeting the QT2 team and Coach Jesse.

Saturday night dinner at Tail O' The Pup.

Oh yes, Tail O The Pup. If you have ever been to Placid then you know what I mean!!! After enduring Coach Jesse's surprise phone call and pop quiz on how many carbs I was up to on Saturday for carbo loading...... by 8pm on Saturday night he will be all tucked away in bed.... he's racing Placid and there will be no Saturday night phone call "Send me yesterday's menu" quiz.

For one meal I will go off the core and I will eat a..... (gasp)...... hamburger. have to. It's Tail O' The PUP!

Damn I am so psyched to NOT be racing Placid!!!

So it's off to Placid we go! I will count how many old Finisher's shirts I see around, how many compression socks I see..... and how many nuttos are out practicing the descent on Saturday!

I will bring you coverage of Placid like you have never ever seen before! The truth of Ironman Lake Placid! Uncovered, uncensored! So take the weekend off kids. Cozy right up to the laptop. The burning questions will be answered......

Will Mary get eaten by a bear?

Will Mary have flashbacks of the Blair Witch Project?

Who will wear the most absolute outrageous outfit in the Ironman?

Who is really winning the race? Is Ironman dot com FIXED???????

Stay tuned.

Placid OR BUST!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

getting to work

Before I begin I have to send out a massive THANK YOU to all of the folks from the Syracuse area who have sent the kindest emails over the past 2 days! I have gotten 46 emails and I apologize for not getting back to you all yet! Please know that I KNOW the psycho swimmer from Sunday does not represent the Syracuse people, that was the main theme of almost every email! It did not affect my race whatsoever, you have to just let that kind of evil go..... because that will be taken care of .... you know.... karma! When I think of Syracuse, I think of Julie Rosa. NOW THERE.... is one heck of a CLASS ACT. She beautifully represents what you are all about!

I have to wonder though, when sooooooo many people from your community feel the need to apologize for your behavior..... what does that say about you and your reputation?

Good luck with that!

It was back to work for me this week, and it's been an exciting week already. This Sunday is Ironman Lake Placid where we are bringing yet another team! Did I mention that at the Musselman every single athlete earned themselves a PR? I'm so proud! I will get the homepage updated soon so you can check it out!

I will be heading to Placid tomorrow, and setting up camp there for the next 6 days. I'm back in training and we are now.... getting to work. My first 3 months of working under Jesse and QT2 yielded exactly the race he predicted it would. It was an exercise in pacing and nutrition and I nailed it. It's a good sign of things to come. Soon, I get to unleash. I get to race my bike like I always have. Form my heart and from my soul.

We've got specific work over the next 12 weeks heading towards the World Championships. In the pool, on the bike, and on the run. I am enjoying my last few easy swims, that's for sure.

I am so excited I could burst!

As I swam in a picture perfect lake this morning I had tears in my eyes. I am on the comeback trail. I see where this 2009 and 2010 plan is heading. I am seeing it take shape. Last night even Curt was fired up. How on earth did I get so damn lucky?

Perhaps it is because I have paid my dues, I have paid some pretty high dues in my life. If you know me, then you know what those dues have been. I thank you for all of the love that got me through so much last year. Thank you for the support and the cheers and the cheers this Sunday that said "Welcome back!"

We are not there yet but we are on our way.

Thank you so very much to all of you! I am blown away by the kindness of everyone!

And I will be reporting from Placid!

Monday, July 20, 2009

musselman weekend in pictures

My race report is below..... but here are some great pictures of the day! MUSSELMAN 2009!

Best Race Poster Ever!

Dad and Luc!

Ironman Lake Placid athletes Mary Beth and Jason prepping for the Mini!

Old Man Curt Eggers smokin the run, after he gave Luc this high five he accidentally punched me in the gut. "Accidentally"

The ladies from Park Ave Triathlon Team post Mini Mussel!


Ed after the Half Ironman with Kim! Kim wore her QT2 gear and it got me all pyshced up, like I had a personal rep from the team cheering me on! (oh the head games we play)

People keep asking me how Kim got so fast on the bike. The secret: she trains on Luc's bikes. No lie.

Prepping for the kid's race, my favorite thing is his sternal scar! How many kids can say they lived through that? How many adults can?????

Our family. My hair....... well I just went 70.3 miles so this isn't the best representation of how it looks!
Swim start of the kid's race!

Post half Ironman ice baths. Read the fine print. You have been warned!

A very happy finisher, notice the finisher medals! THEY WERE SO COOL!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Musselman 1/2 Ironman Race Report

Our goal was sub 5:10 and when Coach Jesse set that in stone this April I was disappointed. But I am a sub 5 athlete.... I was reminded of the debacle of my 1/2 Ironman and 70.3 resume of the past few years. Throw in 2 good Ironmans and it was time to put Mary back on the school bus.

I was 5:08 or 5:09, results are not posted yet. Never in a billion years did I think I'd love to hear that time. What that represented to me today was more than you can imagine. It's the beginning of the comeback I have dreamt of, it was the nailing of nutrition and the nailing of pacing.

Sometimes we go into races with the goal to win, or podium. For me it was difficult to go into this race, a local race nonetheless..... where I know that beating me is considered to be a big feather in one's cap (which I am very honored by).... and not be shooting for the win.

Since NOLA I have been working with Jesse Korlpelnicki of Quantitative Triathlon Systems. Jesse coaches a lot of elite athletes most notably Cait Snow..... winner of IMLP 2008. He's completely changed everything for me, and he began with my diet. Thank you for the very kind words about me being leaner .... yes I have lost 10 pounds since then. I have 10 more to go before 70.3 World Championships. I can say that losing 10 pounds was very easy. I adhere to the Core Diet as I have outlined before.... and I don't stray from it. It's how I like to eat, it's what I eat, and it works beautifully.

Yes..... I care that much about my goals.

For a little added weight shedding I donated one foot of my hair, an exact 12 inches to Locks for Love. I was called into the stage as a volunteer at the pre race meeting and someone said.... is that Mary Eggers? To which I received the kindest applause. Yes, it was me and I did chop the locks.

I live in a beautiful community.

Onto the Musselman. If you have not been here you need to come. This year almost 2,000 athletes descended on Geneva. If you have never done a race by Jeff Henderson you must. We stayed the weekend to make it a family trip (less than an hour from home). Curt was racing on Saturday, I raced Sunday. Luc participated in Mussel Fest on Saturday, Luc also raced Sunday as well. It's the kind of event everyone can come to. Hosted in Seneca Lake State Park this race and this race committee is ahead of it's time.

Did you read the fine print on your meal and parking tickets? That's Jeff Henderson. Awesome.

I ate my QT2 assigned breakfast, and headed down to the race. I felt calm and excited at the same time. We have such a beautiful triathlon community around here and so many from other states visited us as well.

The swim course was changed and I loved it. It begins in Seneca Lake State Park and then turns into the canal. Before the swim I chatted with Syracuse triathlete Julie Rosa, who was last year's winner and Double Mussel Champ. She's one of those girls you love to compete against. A heart of gold, sweet as can be, and she loves the sport.

I had a great swim. I felt awesome. 15 minutes into the swim however I noticed a woman swimming into me. Our wave was not that big. We had the entire lake. She kept swimming on top of me. I chalked it up to her not being able to see the buoys and accidentally swimming into me due to the current.


Until I felt her hand slam down on the back of my head and rip my goggles off.

Heart rate to 190. Are you kidding me? I stopped, replaced my goggles, took my hand to her left side, and shoved her over. Are you kidding me? In 12 years of triathlon, five Ironmans, countless national races I have never experienced such a malicious and cruel move.

Even when I got that grade 3 concussion in Placid last year. EVEN IN THE SWIM IN PLACID.

You attack me..... you'd better believe I am going to move you over at the very least. You are lucky I don't return the favor.

Several minutes later she swims into me again. I grabbed her around the waist and then moved her to my right. From then on in we had no problems. Until the exit. As we exited the water she ran by me and shoved me with her shoulder.

"Next time don't shove me." She cries out. Who the hell is this woman? I thought????? I did call her a B****. Had to. No one that I know in this area would act like that. No one in this triathlon community or nationally would do that. Later on I realized who it was...... and it made sense, It's her reputation actually. So much her reputation that a few people from her hometown approached me after the race and apologized to me for her behavior. She's known for it, has been for years. A mother no less.

As I got onto my bike I took solace in the fact that karma..... it takes care of behavior like this. When I am a jerk.... it does so for me. It kicks me and kicks me hard. It will also for her.

My instructions on the bike were very strict. Knowing I was shooting for a 2:43-2:47 was hard to swallow, I ride in the 2:30's. Jesse has set a plan for the season and for 2010. It takes baby steps, very purposeful progressive baby steps. This was part of that progressive plan. This was my first race under him, I wanted to follow directions in taking those steps.

I took my nutrition as directed and felt awesome. The bike was uneventful except for the people I saw being rude to volunteers. I then made sure to thank every single one. I wish people would comprehend the meaning of the word volunteer.

It means someone dedicates their Sunday morning to you. They don't know you. You don't know them. They could be doing a thousand other things.

I reminded myself that karma would take care of it. It always does.

The course is beautiful. Rolling hills, Lakes, plenty of wineries. Good roads, well marked. The weather was smiling on us as well. Low 70's and mostly cloudy. Spectators lined the course in various spots. Amish were traveling to and from church.

At one corner I came upon a couple I used to have a business relationship with, and have since parted ways. I am protective of my business and of my family, and we were not a good fit. I was appreciative of the guy as he understands sportsmanship. He clapped and gave me my splits. The girl crossed her arms and sneered. The reason I mention it..... is that I began to giggle so hard I almost missed my turn. Maybe that was her purpose.

I thought it funny the behavior I was running into this weekend. Wait till I tell you about how badly the girls who work for Score-This were treated on Saturday as they were handing out chips!!!!!! The thing I adore about our sport has always been the people. Everyone is just.... kind to each other. You don't have to be BFF but we are all good to each other. The select few I kept seeming to find...... you know.... will be taken care of. God forbid you have an Ironman coming up and act like that.

Ironman loves to take care of that kind of stuff. Ironman loves to B*****-slap. Did it to me twice. It isn't fun.

I rolled into transition in third place, I had gotten to ride a bit with Julie Rosa... love this girl..... and I wanted to come in behind her. Knowing there were uber runners behind me I set out to again follow my plan. The girls who passed me were either faster or I would see again but I had to stick to this plan.

My Garmin wouldn't locate. I had located 5 times in the past 2 days but it wouldn't. I turn it on while running out of T2.... so I pressed start anyways and stuck it in my pocket. I began running my feel and I felt GREAT. My running cadence was falling between 90-95. I FELT GREAT!

That feeling, new entity for me.

By mile 3 I realized I was wearing a watch on my wrist. I began to time my miles and I was on time. Nutrition was going great and i was not throwing up!!!! At mile 7 or 8 I saw Travis E. running the course..... I screamed to him.... I AM RUNNING! I AM NOT THROWING UP!!!!! I know he knew how big of a deal that was to me. My cadence was good, I couldn't stop smiling, I was hitting the pace and nutrition goals and I was happy.

By Mile 11 I had tears in my eyes. I would be under 5:10. I laughed as I thought..... wow, not too long ago I'd be embarrassed to even write that. If you know what I went through last summer (just check the archives) then you understand. As athletes we have peaks and valleys. And I am finally leaving the valley as I climb a new peak.

As I approached the finish line one of my athletes Sarah ran by me. She had begun four minutes ahead of me and I caught her on the swim. I knew this'd be a PR for her, she was tired and I began yelling motivating things at her.


OH MY GAWD, I immediately thought as I saw the finish line! WHAT DID I JUST SAY!!!!!!!


I crossed behind her and we hugged a big big hug. She's getting closer to me and that makes me so happy. We sat down in the Musselman ice baths and I apologized for what I had said..... I can't believe I said that! I told her...... with 100 yards to go! WHAT A JERK!

She assured me that I was motivating her. She PR'd again. All of our athletes PR'd. Ken by 20+ minutes and came in soon afterwards. It was a great day for all of our athletes. As was Saturday. One of our girls even did the sprint and the aquabike today!

It was awesome.

I believe I was 2nd in my age group, I didn't have time to look or even attend the awards...... as we had the kids race next. That report complete with pictures...... tomorrow.

I hit my pacing and my nutrition spot on. Jesse claims never to be more than 2% off in his predictions. He was right again. All I had to do was do what I was told. And I did.

I don't get a week off. Monday I head right back into a base week. The plan has a purpose and a progression. It's very specific. I like specific. I care that much about my goals that I will be specific.

I am very proud to be a member of QT2. I am very proud to have Jesse as my coach. Stick around kids because this is just the beginning. I know what's coming and I can't thank you enough for taking the journey back with me. It's been a great ride so far.

Congrats not only to the Train-This Team who absolutely rocked this weekend, The Eggers' boys did as well, and all you awesome folks of Rochester and Buffalo. It was awesome to see all of you. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your cheers and thank you for your huggs.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Hello from wonderful Canindagua NY! I can't even ever spell the name of this beautiful town correctly and it's just 25 minutes from home, 10 minutes from Geneva.... where it's MUSSELMAN WEEKEND! So much going on this weekend with the Mini Mussel on Sat, the 1/2 Iron on Sunday and then MUSSELKIDS! Something for each of the Eggers!!!!!

We decided to make the weekend of it and grab a hotel room for a few nights. Next week we will be roughing it in a tent in Placid as I bring you daily coverage that you can't get on Ironman dot com! The real story!!! HA HA!

Taper this week went fine, all went fine, bike is ready and I am ready.

Curt and I got to talking about distance triathlon last evening. Exciting pillow talk 'round here! As a coach I have learned so much about distance, as an athlete I have learned so much about distance and it's always amazing to me how many people try to replicate race day Ironman or Half Ironman conditions in training.

Last week we talked about the three hour run. Why do people insist on that 7 hour bike ride and that three hour run? We know by now it serves no other purpose than possibly benefitting your mind. Maybe if you know you can ride 7 hours..... 6:15 won't seem so long? With a three hour run are you aiming to see if you can feel what the wall will feel like? I guess........ um.....NOT!

Here's the simple truth. You can not replicate race day conditions no matter how far or long you go in practice. In this case, practice does not make perfect. Practice, that kind of practice makes breakdown and injury.

The bogeyman.... he's gonna come. It might be at mile 15, 18, 22. On race day when he shows up..... you need to be prepared to face him. To look him in the eye and just .... just take it. He wants you to walk, slow down, rest..... the devil on your shoulder....

It's not easy. It never will be easy. Not for you, me, Chrissie Wellington..... sit down kids..... even for Lance Armstrong. No matter how many times he wins the Tour it never gets easier.

He just has learned how to dig deeper.

He knows how to look the boogeyman in the eye. He knows how to respond. No XX hour ride or XX hill repeat has ever created that.

It's the consistent miles and specific training that have armed him with what he needs, the tactics, tools, strength..... to face the boogeyman.

In this final week before Ironman Lake Placid I urge you not to look at how many times you rode 6 hours. I urge you to go into your little Training Peaks account and look at your actual versus planned for the past EIGHT months, not four months..... EIGHT MONTHS. It won't matter what your total volume was...... it will matter how consistent you were.

That consistency and that actual.... getting in training frequently and consistency, following your plan, that's money in the bank. You've spent months making deposits in the bank of iron in the form of consistent earnings rather than one big bonus.

Those earnings are the ammunition in your fuel belt, your back pocket. Now get off your feet, recover and taper. Let go of the worry. Trust in what you have spent the better part of a year focusing on.

The boogeyman is going to present himself. You don't know when, where or in what form. Don't get caught up in that part of it, you don't have control over it.

Get caught up in how strong you are and just how beautifully you are about to face him.

Now..... it's Musseltime. And I am ready. My deposits have been made. We will not be making a full withdrawal however, that's for November. We are making a secure transaction.

And it's code word..... is boogeyman.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ready to go

I have a full day off today except for working. I have everything ready to go days in advance. My plan is simple and I keep memorizing it. All I have to do.... is do what I am told. As I think to what is in store for me on Sunday I think abut the plan that I have trusted. It is much more about executing the plan than anything. Save the ass kicking for Clearwater. I have won races, I have lost races. I have DNF'd races, I have qualified for Hawaii. I have been to World Championships...... so this Sunday I have nothing to lose by sticking to the plan.

Bike for show, run for dough.

Yesterday I headed down to the Geneva Bike Shop in Geneva NY. It's the official bike shop of the Musselman and recently named in the 100 best bike shops in the country. Jim Hogan is the owner and while he knew I was coming I don't think he wad ready to spend 2+ hours on my bike.

I have been without a true bike mechanic for a year, I have bounced around to a couple of people but I have not found my new bike home. I like an old school bike shop feeling and when I hung out at Geneva Bikes yesterday it's what I found.

You'd think a shop in such a small town would be hurting for business. Not so. Sure there were a few triathletes trickling in but there was a grandmother buying bikes for the granddaughters. A couple in town to rent bikes. A guy who was on his way to work who broke something.

This is what an old school bike shop is like. Come on in, have a seat... how are the kids?

Each adjustment and fix Jim made he found something else. I'm hard on my bike. At one time 3 guys were working on it at a time.

I will say I have found my new bike shop and my new bike guy. This is my new home.

It was good to be in Geneva yesterday. A small town with a hometown feel. A beautiful lake. Musselman posters everywhere. Locals stopped to ask me..... are you coming down for the race? Unlike what seems to be a growing hatred for Ironman athletes up in Lake Placid year after year, Geneva is excited for us to come for the sixth year in a row.

They can't seem to wait.

It will be an Eggers family weekend here. Curt is doing the Mini Mussel on Saturday, I am in the half on Sunday and Luc is in the Musselkids. Festivities are lined up on the waterfront the whole weekend to include music, wine and kite flying.

You just gotta come.

Lots has changed since NOLA. I am 10 pounds lighter. I am with a new coach. I am training smart and recovering well. I am in a very good emotional and physical place.

Sunday..... I get to kick off my racing season. I can't wait!

Signing off until after the race..... thanks for the cheers!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

fastest bike split of the day!

How many times have I heard this? Seen this? It's my darn trademark. It's where I have won every race I have ever won...... on the bike. Fly on the bike.... die on the run. I'm a classic at it.

Next Sunday I check my ego at the door of the bike course and I get my mind wrapped around the runner that I am becoming. The choke collar will be on. "I will be analysing that power file." Coach reminded me tonight. We will be setting up for my first ever strong run and well paced 1/2 Ironman race. It's no secret I have not paced myself at this distance well. That changes right now. I am on the way to the World Championships and the ability to pace will begin right now.

Next Sunday is about pacing + nutrition+ execution. All I have to do..... is what I am told to do.

Excellent. I can do that. Ego.... check it at the door. Done.

As Trevor used to say..... bike for show..... run for dough.

My 3:03 (yes.... three hours and three minute) ride was done along 20A in Orchard Park, towards Warsaw. If you know that area then you know it makes Placid seem rather flat. 10-15 minute climbs and 5 minute descents. It's gorgeous but tough. There were times I saw 36 for cadence. 5.6 for speed. I was nailing my nutrition to the wall. I was eating at my highest heart rate and smiling. Bring me a damn steak!!!!!!!

This weekend it feels like I consumed more PowerBar product than whole food and peed on myself more than in a toilet. I bring new meaning to the word STINK.

The 30 minute run felt like a breeze. Cadence 96. Did you know that Cait Snow, 2008 Ironman Lake Placid Champion (and my teammate.... sorry but I have to make a reach here....) runs with a cadence of 105?

Coach is teaching me that I need to think like a runner. Gone are the days of having that fastest bike split of the day..... and just holding on for the run praying I have built enough cushion. In 2004 I came off that bike so far ahead of Donna McMahon, and she ate 12 minutes out of my 16 minute lead....... she just ran out of real estate. I am learning to think like a runner.

Part of my mental strategy on the bike will be to rev up for that run. I have an assigned pace and I am to hold that pace. I am to take nutrition as I am told to. I am to sit on my bike seat and get passed if I get passed and let it happen. Get ready for the run.

Truth be told I am feeling like a runner, I have never felt that before. My E paced has dropped to 8:30. My cadence again is averaging 96. I am enjoying running more than ever before. I loved hill repeats. I am looking forward to being on the track post Mussel for the first time.

"We've just gotten started here." I was told. This is the stuff I have signed up for.

Like I said..... that bike ego will be checked right here and right now. "Nice bike split" is something I don't want to be known for. "GREAT RACE." Is what I want. Equal splitting in all 3 disciplines.

6 days till race day!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

transition tips

Here is a great 8 minute video demonstrating transitions!

Friday, July 10, 2009

how to slice a mango

This is for Damie!

black flies in summer

Needing to put myself in a spot where things would be tough, after my tempo bike ride I headed down to a trail near my house. In one direction it was shaded, in the other direction it was open. Green and trees on either side but nothing to cover overhead. Crushed stone provided the perfect surface and black flies. There's nothing like running 1 mile repeats when being circled by black flies.

Perfect, I thought. Make it tough.

The workout called for 6 X 1 mile repeats, alternating zone 1 and zone 2 (Friel's z2-3). Repeatability is what I was after so after my warm up I ran each mile in the same place even though with my Garmin I could have done them anywhere. Zone 1 this way, zone 2 that way. A few goals were on tap today, go by HR, cadence > 90, and nutrition.

As I ran the first 2 I noticed that the smell of dog%^#% was an enhancement to the wrkout.

During my second repeat it was time for a PowerGel, washed down by Power Bar Endurance (love this stuff). Thanks to Fleet Feet Rochester for having so much in stock and in so many flavors. I can't find it anywhere else and I really love to buy local.

My HR was 164 and I took down that gel, laughing in the face of it. My stomach was rock solid. I could have eaten a steak during this effort.

"You will never throw up in a race again." Coach told me a few months ago. I smiled. This training the gut stuff is working. I don't necessarily believe that it is the products although Coach believes these products to be superior. I think it is losing the anxiety about throwing up or having GI issues. Many time, I don't know what %...... GI issues are caused by anxiety and stress. Not all of the time..... but many times.

I have not done an official study but very often when I see a child under the age of 14-15 with GI issues, I notice that they have overbearing helicopter parents. Not all the time.... but a lot. I began to wonder how much my own anxiety about having a GI issue in a race in fact contributed to the issue itself.

The second thing..... you gotta train your gut.

So the gel went down and so did the Power Bar Endurance and the effort remained strong and not even a burp could get in my way.

I was delighted that I had legs after the bike I just did. I was thrilled that after the entire 2:30 effort of bike / run that morning I escaped the feeling of standing on the edge between bonking and passing out. I was awake, alert, I could have easily done math calculations.

No bonk in sight.

I am amazed at how if I take in nutrition during the workouts.... I don't gain weight. Losing still in fact! More during .... less at rest. I know this isn't rocket science but for someone like me to really make that connection.... it's huge. I know I am not alone in this feeling.

The black flies swarmed. The sun blazed down on me. No hat, no sunglasses, I wanted to put myself in the four corners of hell. While I hit my parameters and goals for the workout, I didn't feel like I was running beyond myself. felt like I was nailing it.

I had only one thought, "I can't wait to race."

That's what you have to do at times in training. You have to put yourself into tough situations and see how you fare. Can I deal with black flies, can I escape allowing the small things to irritate me? Can I run in the sun with sweat dripping in my eyes. Can I take in nutrition in the most delicate parts of the effort? Will it all come together or will I fall apart completely?

I am finding myself again. Not my old former self but my new self. I always knew there was an athlete in here that could achieve her goals and the armor has started to chip. She's not fully out here yet but damn, by Clearwater you bet she will be.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


"We are just getting started here." Coach emailed me the other day. I smiled so big.

A friend emailed me last year before Gulf Coast 1/2 Ironman..... "Think Musselman 2004", that was the year I won the Mussel and I set the amateur course record (which still stands). My reaction to that email was.... good lord I hope not. I executed that race terribly. I threw out my nutrition and only took water for the 13.1 mile run. Yeah I had a good run and I won but oh my gawd did I almost die during it. I never want to feel like that again, it wasn't going to the well, it wasn't HTFU'ing and it wasn't going into the box of hurt.... it was entering the stupid store.

Who throws out their nutrition? In the garbage. Gone. Don't need it!


I have never truly executed a 1/2 Ironman well. I can nail an Ironman and I can nail the short distances but this distance has eluded me. Until now, until I am focusing on it. 1/2 Ironman / 70.3 has always been part of something bigger. On the way to the Ironman.

My 2009 goal was to learn to execute this bastard and it didn't start very well. However that experience led me to QT2, and in case i have not mentioned it before.... I love it here. We've got very specific pacing plans for this race, execution plans that won't yield me the time I won this race in, but will help me gain so much more on the way to Cheatwarer.... oops... Clearwater.

Thus far I have learned so much, and as you may know the majority of my lessons have been nutritional. I love the way Chuckie V recently stated it in his blog:

"Eat more during, eat less at rest."

The more during is something I have never done, like I said before I am known for doing a 3 hour workout on water. Tuesday brought a wonderful brick workout. A 2 hour tempo bike and a 1 hour endurance run.

Jesse (for reasons I will learn during our next chat) believes in certain products and is pretty strict about using them. While the critic in me wants to say... well QT2 is sponsored by them.... knowing Jesse there is a very good reason for this. I trust my coach. If he says use a product ... then I use a product (do you have a bridge to sell me?) and I know the reason will be explained to me.

Exactly as prescribed I took in my nutrition for the three hour event. While this might seem like rocket science I know..... but I felt incredible at the end. I was awake, I was alert, I was ready to get started. I nailed all the things I needed to nail. I had taken in solids at a high heart rate and I did not puke. That was the biggest victory yet.

I am a new berry eater, I just learned how to slice a mango! Remember that I am a swimmer, I could live on bagels and bananas all day long! So if I can convert, you can convert. Here's my fruit salad snack: strawberries, mango, blueberries. Rich in antioxidants and sweeter than sweet can be:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

getting ready

That's how summertime should be, and is. Gathering at the beach, digging holes, connecting them, and playing in the water. And that's exactly what summer has been. Luc knows none of those kids in this picture. He has this gift of making friends wherever he goes. His summer program began yesterday and he arrived home with awards form speech therapy, and the news that he had passed the deep end test at his pool. That means diving board and that means cannonballs. Two deep end tests in 2 days. He's got no big interest in riding his bike but just add water to this kid and we've got a kid who is at peace.

In the lake yesterday he just started to do fly. I asked him where he learned that. He said Michael Phelps. Then he asked to join the swim team. My dream come true!

Earlier that day I spent the morning swimming in the lake, around here we are so fortunate to have this lake as well as Lake Ontario to swim in. It's an incredible gift. Between lakes and my outdoor long course pool I won't be swimming inside until September!

I've got a big week ahead of me before we bring it down a notch for the Mussel. I've entered into a new block of training and I adore it. I've got bags of Happy Ice on Standby. If you are not an ice bath taker I promise you that 15 minutes in ice will make the biggest difference in your day.

Here's what I like to do:

If you can find a garbage can tall enough to cover your hip flexors, it's a little more bearable. I found one and I am 5'10 and a half!

1. Get into the tub or the garbage can without anything in it
2. turn the water on, to cold.
3. Have your kid start to pile in the ice.

By getting in first and then adding the cold I have found it much easier to bear. I wear warm clothes on the top (and my bathing suit). 15 minutes at 58 degrees and your legs will say HAPPY while your mind will say BRAIN FREEZE.

As we are just a few weeks away from Ironman Lake Placid, I thought I would share a few resources about the course and Ironman in general from my favorite mentors:

These are from Gordo

Pacing your first Ironman

Golden Rules of Your first Ironman

Ironman Lake Placid briefing

This is from Coaches Patrick McCrann and Rich Straus of Endurance Nation

IMLP Preview

Sunday, July 5, 2009

training the gut

It was one of those rides where everything just clicked. My eyes were set about 2 inches beyond my front wheel, I was hitting the targets and nutrition was spot on. One of the things we are working on this season is training my gut. I've thrown up in so many races and when Jesse took me on he promised I'd never throw up in a race again.

Sign me the hell up for that. Too much of my gut juice has been left along side the road.

We have to train the gut like we train the body. You don't just embark on a 6 hour ride without building up to it. Then why do we seem to only execute race day nutrition on race day, and wonder why our stomach is not agreeing? I am the guiltiest of that. For reasons I know and some I don't I rarely use nutrition during training. Nothing for anything under two hours. Race day comes and whoa.... why is my stomach so upset?

Hindsight is always 20/20.

Now I don't go more than 30 minutes without something, which when you are dropping pounds was something I really resisted. But I trusted the plan, and the weight is coming off. Four more pounds till the Musselman, and it's been easy. I eat all of the time.

The nutrition component of the QT2 is not something that Jesse pulled out of thin air. It's the Paleo Diet, the Ultramind Solution.......... Jesse sums it up really well right here. Another good resources is this one right here, as the aim is to keep your blood sugar stabilized all day long. Low glycemic foods are what you want to be eating except for certain windows that revolve around training. Stay with foods with a GI index below 15.

Jesse outlines that in the before mentioned article, but here are the key points:

During the one hour before your workouts have a higher glycemic carbohydrate such as a grain to specifically fuel the workout (not too concerned with nutrient density at that time).

Fuel your workout with sport drinks, gels, bars, or grains

Following your workout, refuel your body with a good, high glycemic recovery drink that includes protein.

Continue to refuel after the workout with grains and lean proteins during a window after your workout that’s as long as the workout was.

Following these windows, go back to eating in the Core (i.e., fruits, vegetable, nuts, and lean meats). These are the highest nutrient foods and are also low glycimic. Why fuel your body with high glycemic sources if you are not going to use them? Therefore, people that don’t exercise should eat in the core at all times.

One time not to worry about the core is while carbohydrate loading for a specific race. At that time grains have a specific purpose to fuel your effort the following day.

When you do a nutritional analysis with Jesse you get a manual which contains several protocols on fueling for workouts and fueling for races and outlines nutrition before and after training....... the best part about it is that he reviews it with you page by page by page. He brings in terrific analogies, he teaches the way I learn. No wonder he makes such a great coach.

Yesterday I was eating 1/2 powerbar every 30 minutes for the 2 hour bike and 1:05 run, which both finished with tempo efforts. Never before in my entire life have I been able to hold a tempo effort and a solid food. As Jesse said ..... we are training your gut for 2010 (more on that later, but it is not IMLP).

Yesterday nutrition felt great. The efforts all felt great. MY RUN FELT GREAT. I felt like I was in control of it. I felt like I was owning it. As my in-training nutrition is improving my workouts are much more productive. I am recovering like a CHAMP. I used to hobble out of bed. Not anymore. I attribute that to ice baths, good post fuel nutrition (really..... that has an impact) and being all around healthier.

That's what this nutrition really revolves around. Health. I've got my health back which regardless of anything else is the truest gift.

If you are ever interested in a nutrition consult with Jesse and QT2, it is a service they offer.

For $260 they offer a personalized weight loss plan.

For $260 they offer Nutrition Maintenance plans.

Race fueling consultations are $160

At first sight they might seem pricey but trust me on this one: it is worth every dollar (all of these services are included if you are coached by QT2). In all honesty when I first looked at the price of coaching itself I puked. As I am deep in the trenches of this I get it.

I am treated like I am Jesse's only athlete. When I have a question my answer is to me before I even hit send. Jesse calls you once a week, he likes a lot of contact with his athletes. He holds you 200% accountable, as he gives you 800% detail.

I'm in the right place in so many ways. I see now that the best performances I am capable of are ahead of me. In 2009, 2010 and in 2011.

Two weeks to go.