Mary Eggers

General

From here

Spring break has been good to me. It’s exactly the break I have needed. I am a busy person, we all are, and I am lucky that I get to choose to be busy rather than do it out of necessity. But still, I find the time to do everything I do, becasue I love it. Pure and simple.

I am coming down to the final weeks in my Masters of Nursing Education program, my cap and gown have arrived, and I have officially been invited to graduation. Recently I learned that this degree puts me 3/4 of the way through a Family Nurse Practitioner program that I have been eyeing (another Masters degree). I love nursing education, and I love clinical practice and I firmly believe the two belong together. I know that in ten years I would regret not going for this, so I am going for this. Beyond that a Doctorate is only 2 years, so I am considering that, but first things first.

So the end of one chapter is almost here, and hopefully the beginning of another!

Last November I set a winter goal to become proficient at downhill skiing. It took me months, it took me many many trips to the mountain, it took weeks of weekly lessons, but I did it. In fact yesterday while I was skiing, an instructor stopped me on the connection between two trails. He told me that it had not gone unnoticed, the amount of skiing I have done this year. He said that he didn’t know me but he and many others have seen me come daily and ski, and ski and ski, and he wanted to let me know he’s seen how far I have come.

It’s a good thing my ski goggles are mirrored, because I would have been mortified if he had seen the tears pouring from my eyes in response. When I took this on I didn’t know there was fear hidden within me, I didn’t know what was going on when it bubbled to the surface. I didn’t know how to work through it except to just keep showing up. Most days I ski alone because I just have to do my own thing at my own pace.

His words meant so much. I have been so in love with the attitude of everyone I have met through this journey. When you ski alone you ride the lift with strangers, and you get to know many people in that 5-minute trip up. Last Wednesday I ignored the travel ban and had the chance to ski in the best conditions (I am told) that the mountain has ever had. I have never been around so many people who were so happy in my life. I felt so at home.

So I did it. I became proficient. I am still the slowest skier on the mountain, but that’s no matter to me. I have my season pass for next year and I will continue on this journey. The best part? Luc has asked to learn.

Luc isn’t the type of kid who could have been thrown on skis at 2 years old and taught. With his sensory issues, the snow was horrifying to him back then. Unless you have been through sensory issues with kids, you really don’t understand. You just don’t. He’s the kind of kid who truly must be ready.

He’s watched me work this ski thing, he’s looked at my pictures, he’s listened to my journey and he finally said, I am ready in December. That’s the best piece of all of this. Now I know who I need to teach him, I already secured him skis and I can not freaking wait.

So what’s next?

While I have never stopped training multisport training, my desire to compete in swim bike run comes and goes. For twenty years it burnt so strong. My triathlon career has been wildly successful and taken me places I still can’t believe I got to go. The places I have been, the podiums I have stood on, the people I have met, it’s been unreal. Truthfully I do believe I will swim bike run in competition again, I just don’t have the feel for it right now.

I have been searching for the next big thing. When you have done so many Ironmans, when you have been through what I have been through…. it’s hard to find the next big thing. It’s actually a good problem to have.

It came to me a few weeks ago…… what if I spent a season running? What if I ran a marathon this fall? I haven’t run a marathon unless it’s been preceded by a 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike, since 1996. I have thought about run focuses before, but I haven’t been able to truly step back from multisport.

For some reason, now I feel like it. Now seems like the right time. Running truly fits with my insane schedule. Sure I can make the time for 15 hour training weeks, but I have been there and done that. And while I have no intention of giving up my wheels or water…… what if I took the time to really build my run up, over a long period of time, slow and steady and … well what could I do????

So that’s the theme for this season. Answer that question. I don’t know the answer, but I am eager to find out. No longer am I attached to the outcome, but the process. The process of all of it is what I love the most. The outcomes are the bonuses.

So it’s going to be another busy ten weeks before summer comes. Time to lace up my running shoes and get started.

General

Stella!

I skied up to the line where the chairlift would come behind me and sweep me off my feet. “Enjoy!” Said the liftie “we haven’t had these conditions, ever!” 

I smiled as I joined three strangers on the chair, we pulled the bar down and I think we all had the same expression as we rode up. Our smiles were ear to ear underneath our gear. 

“Do you BELIEVE THIS?” The guy next to me said, “it’s knee deep!”

Management left most of the trails ungroomed so we could enjoy the rare powder. It was a lifetime first for me, skiing in snow that deep. It’s not for the faint of heart, it’s a grinder. Grateful for my continued cycling and fitness, it suited me just fine. 

I couldn’t even SEE my skis those first few runs. A month ago my teacher taught us how to ski the powder. Today it paid off in dividends as Stella graces us with a ridiculous amount of snow, never mind that it’s March!

It was my goal to become a proficient skier by March, and here I am. I am only skiing a few blue trails (two) and sticking to the green, but my god I realize the progress I have made since December. 

I have never had to work through fear like that, I have always been fearless. The experience of getting to the other side of fear was brand new for me, and it was a fear I never realized I had. It took getting out of my head, showing up, and just getting in the miles. I am still quite slow, but right now it isn’t a race.

The thrill of learning new skills has repeatedly captured me throughout the past few years. Speed skating, snowboarding (haven’t mastered that yet), cyclocross, XC skiing, SUP’ing…… that thrill makes me feel the way Triathlon made me feel for so long.

Don’t get me wrong, Triathlon does make me feel that way…. in spurts. I am constantly wondering if I am in fact retired or just continuing on a break. I have never stopped multi sport training, but I don’t miss the grind of long course. Instead of six hours on a bike (inside or outside) I love six hours on skis, or a few hours on my board. 

I don’t miss that grind. 

I don’t worry about what it all means either. I keep fit and embrace these new adventures, I love following their path. I love the people I am meeting along the way. This spring I’m taking a mountain bike class, and learning to roller ski (to translate into XC skiing!!!). We are going to start hiking the peaks too. 

In the past I’ve turned down those opportunities because “I have a six hour ride”, and at that time it was a good purpose and a good mission. But now….. I want the experience of skiing in snow so deep I can’t see my skis. Of being in the middle of the bay with my paddle board on a bridge run. Of new adventures, new skills. 

The thrill of exploring gets me in the feels. I’ve done the same thing for so long that I’m good with seeing what else is out there. As I have said before the journey my athletes are on is what means the most to me these days. Their podium finishes are more important than my own. Their goals are sweeter than mine in that realm.

I am just going to keep exploring and see what happens!

Between you and me, I was in tears yesterday as I realized that I achieved this goal of skiing. It’s not because of the improvement, it’s because of how hard it was to overcome a fear I didn’t know existed, didn’t understand and didn’t know how to handle. 

The only thing I knew to do was not think about it, and show up. It worked itself out. Here in the other side, it feels amazing. Like I want to lay in the snow and cry.

Another guy I rode the lift with made me promise him I would someday go out west and ski, I had told him I was a newbie. “It’s the closest you’ll get to heaven without dying.” He said. Which made me wonder…. could I ski in Utah? Vermont? Placid??? Could I develop that level of proficiency? 

Only one way to find out.