Mary Eggers

General

Life thereafter

2017 has been a bit of a bumpy ride so far. You know what they say though, for every ebb there is a flow. Sometimes you trip and fall on the ebbs, and then you cherish the flows so much more.

Most days I feel like I am standing in the middle of a racquetball court, with those blue balls coming at me from all directions. Ironically it is in those moments, that I can somehow hit the pause button as if to freeze everything in mid-air, and stop to look around.

Doesn’t matter what’s happening, life is still damn good.

I am still hitting the mountain every chance I get. It so happens it’s on my way home from work, so I can steal a few runs at least. The terror of all of it has finally passed. Turns are coming easier. I have skied a few blue square trails and while I have so far to go, I can’t believe that this work has paid off. While this week brought a burst of spring, I am confident my dear love snow miser will gift me with just one more blast before it’s all over.

As with every season, I welcome spring and summer with open arms. They hold the possibility of so much fun. I have a new time trial bike and a new race SUP board to break in.

I remain undecided about my triathlon competition status this coming season. Curt has kept me fit at a consistent ten hours a week. I love to ride that edge of being a good 12 weeks of focused training away from a strong race. My fitness is my health and something I am crazy protective over. It doesn’t matter what’s happening around me, I make time to be stronger every day. If I feel triathlon burnout creeping in I strap on my alpine or XC skis and head to winter. Or grab an extra yoga session. I even have a new something I am embarking on for the next ten weeks, just to see. What will it do for me?

I am addicted to movement, no matter what.

If I don’t race, I will announce more. Race my SUP more. Adventure more. If I do race it will be Nationals and Placid 70.3. I love keeping it open to possibility.

A friend told me to never be afraid to step back from our sport. I have been here twenty years, I have done just about everything I wanted to do here. The joy I get out of coaching our Valor Triathlon Project athletes through their seasons, right now that’s where the thrill of multisport comes for me. Their finish lines are so much more important than my own. I love being part of their journey, I love piecing together and managing what works for and with them. I love getting to know them.

I just love the whole darn thing. When and if it’s my time to jump in, I am fit enough to need a solid training block and I am there. Right on the edge of glory (right Kevin?).

The whole thing about this journey called life…… is that we can’t expect not to constantly change and evolve. We can’t expect to somehow magically arrive at this place where everything is all zen and we are going to ride this perfect little wave of a perfectly lived life. Oh hell no.

Life is messy. Regardless of where you are on your journey, it’s messy. We fall down, we roll around in mud, we get up and dust ourselves off only to fall down an embankment. But we get back up. We hold our heads up high and we try again. At the end of the day, we don’t fault ourselves from hitting or missing the so called “awesome day” mark. I look back and ask whether I treated people well, whether I did my best at being mom, wife, nurse, coach, athlete…. did I give my best? If I didn’t, I take note. I don’t admonish myself. I take note, and aim to do that better the next day. If I really think I hit the mark, I don’t become too proud. I take note and aim to do better the next day.

At the end of each day I wipe the slate clean. I have to. I have spent too many years carrying that damn slate around and let me tell you… it’s fucking heavy. There’s no need to do that to yourself. It’s time to set that shit down.

While 2017 has been a bit of a bumpy ride, in the long run it’s necesary. For some reason. Reasons that I am not privy to know on this side of life. I have an innate trust and faith that these bumps come for reasons and …. well it’s just like skiing. Keep your goggles and helmet on, keep the knees soft as you accept the bumps that you can feel but can’t see. Keep your weight centered, be prepared for the out of control snowboarder to smash into you, and don’t forget to enjoy the view on the way down.

Sport is a metaphor for life. Life is a metaphor for sport. If there is anything I have learned in my forty three years here…  it’s that everyting is a lesson. Hang on for the bumpy parts, let the waves carry you…. and look up.

 

General

Let go

“Follow me down, watch the back of my knee.” My ski instructor directed me. I was in a moment of terror on that hill (which in terms of ski hills, this wasn’t a difficult one, I am a beginner). Honestly, until that moment I finally felt like I was making progress. The rhythm was coming to be, and then in one fell swoop, I absolutely froze. There were legitimate TEARS in my eyes. I don’t really know why, it just happened.

As we skied on he grabbed my right arm “Reach for your right boot” his voice was exactly the voice I needed. Not coddling, not comforting, but directing me. “Reach for your left boot”, and that’s how we continued on.

Right arm right boot, left arm left boot, back of his knee. Over and over. The moment passed. This must be how some people feel in open water, I thought to myself. His method of working through it was so perfect. As much as that feeling sucked, man it sucked hard. Once I was on the other side of it though, it was awesome.

I had worked through some serious fear, and now I knew that I could.

I love shit like this. I love the chance to work through something, anything. Fear. Skill. Ability. Failure.  I love the process of it. That’s why I keep learning new things and finding new adventures. Swim bike and run never scares me anymore (but it excites me).

Going down a hill fast shouldn’t scare me. I ride head first down the descent in Lake Placid over 50 miles an hour on an eighteen-pound carbon fiber bike. This shouldn’t scare me. But sometimes it does. As much as I don’t want to feel that feeling of terror, I do want to feel it. I firmly believe when things scare us we must pursue them. We must push through that wall of fear because on the other side of it, is something awesome. I want that awesome, and I am willing to do whatever I have to do to feel that. I am addicted to THAT.

My ski goals? I want to become proficient by March. Now that I have had a glimpse of that rhythm I want to feel it again. “Now comes experience” my teacher told me. I have flooded myself with lessons, now it’s time to ski.

I joined the ladies brigade at Bristol (that’s where this lesson was), and ironically I skied with three other nurses, who hadn’t skied in a long time. Two of them moved up a group, and I need to get time on the slopes to join them. Just like anything, that comes with frequency, consistency and practice. I have skis and my season pass. Now it’s time to ski.

It’s time to let GO. Let the HELL GO.

When my athletes get hung up on data, I remind them to let it go and go with the flow. At this stage of my triathlon game, it’s easy for me to say that. I don’t have an issue doing that anymore. On skis…. I am overthinking. I am allowing fear to hold me back. Skiing brings me back to what that is like. Take a deep breath, point the skis down and lean into it. Trust myself.

“You have to develop your NO button” my instructor told me.

The NO button comes in when you find that moment right before you allow fear to take over, that split second in which you lean back, panic and tighten up. You have to say NO, you have to say it out loud, shout it if you must. NO. Then you lean forward and commit to it. Commit to the turn, commit to the stance. Right arm right boot. Left arm left boot. Rhythm and flow.

You say NO to the past, to the fear and to the bullshit story that you can’t do this. NO.

With time it comes. Fear will take a backseat as long as I keep getting out there. Like for swimmers new to the water, just keep swimming. Let it come. Let it find you. Find that mantra as my instructor did with me, let it pull you out of the bad moments, know that they WILL pass.

What’s on the other side of that wall of fear, is worth it.