Mary Eggers

General

Seven hills of hell

As I was running I could see it coming, the transition of the weather. It was Saturday, the day we went from summer to winter in the course of 12 hours. I don’t dread those transitions, I welcome them. I planned my long run for that window. During those 90 minutes I could see the clouds rolling in, the wind kicked up and the temperature dropped about 40 degrees.

For some reason, I love those kinds of runs.

I ran a route I named “the seven hills of hell“, which is several miles of relentless hills (obviously). It takes me past a farm I have been running by for years. At the top of the hill next to that farm is a light pole. No matter what I always stop there for a good minute, and I just look. From there I can see the city of Rochester behind sprawling green farmlands. Actually, in autumn it’s a rainbow of colors. I never…. EVER pass that moment up. If I ever did a race on this route, I would still stop.

There are two big beautiful sheep dogs, and through the years I have run this route, they come to the fence barking each time. I call to them every time, I feel like we are old friends. I have been running this route a long long time, and well, you see things on runs. You see people. Like the guy who wears the shirt that says “no directions”, or Richard who runs with a stick. Today I saw a father raking leaves into a huge pile his two daughters were playing in and a little girl sitting on her daddy’s tractor while she watched him rake. She sang “you are my sunshine” in such a beautiful little voice that it became a strong contrast to the weather rolling in.

I like the transitions of weather like that, because it’s a reminder that life is fluid. It changes. It’s never the same. I think of all the things I have been through in this life… thus far…. and I think about how sport has been my constant. Regardless of what is happening I can open the door and move in some way, and life gets processed.

Grief and loss have followed me for many years, in several different forms. When I can be outside and move, it helps me heal holes in my heart that can never heal. It helps me feel around their edges, bask in their depth, and allow myself to continue to move through things. You can only move through things, you can never get over them.

The transition of the weather reminds me of the transitions of life. They aren’t always easy and they aren’t always pretty. Sometimes they roll in like thunder chasing the wind (reference from my favorite LIVE song). I want to always run towards them and not away from them. I like to face them head on rather than create the story of what I think they mean or think they should be. So I will take the opportunity¬†to do that with something as simple as the weather to work that experience.

As I ran I felt the whole reason I do all of this come to the surface again. All of this allows me to explore and to practice life and to feel my thoughts in a better place than laying on the couch. When I am in motion the business of life slows down, falls down to the road, I get to … I get to … just be. For a while at least.

With the temperature dropping my dreams turned to winter. Strapping skis on my feet and flying through the air with giant snowflakes melting on my ski goggles. No longer do I limit myself, I am in search of experiences that allow me to experience the world in full color.

A friend recently commended me for my love of all seasons, I felt happy that was his perception of me. It’s how I really feel. With different seasons comes new. We get to see the process of loss and of rebirth over and over and over again. The biting cold helps me feel alive and reminds me that with the right gear I can withstand anything thrown at me. Hot or cold, it doesn’t matter, there is beauty in everything and there are also lessons in everything.

Gosh, that’s so like life isn’t it?

There have been times the seven hills of hell have broken me. There are times I have broken the seven hills of hell. There are times like now, where we are working together, not to claim an athletic past but to build the future in a more beautiful meaningful way. I have run this route 200 times, at least. Each time I am taught. Each time I learn. When the lessons stop, then I can stop. Therefore, I will be going forever.

This morning I woke to a winter wonderland. I fondly kissed sumer goodbye on Saturday, and today I found myself skiing and snowshoeing the trails. Blazing the trail, I was the first one out there this season.

I like to blaze trails. I like to be the first to slice through the snow. I like to take the dare and do what I was never suppoused to do.

Gosh, that’s so like life…. isn’t it?

 

 

 

General

Coming home

I always say that the days are long and the years are fast. That was true when our son was a baby and man, it’s true now. We are now parents of a 16-year-old, and a really great 16-year-old. Next year at this time we will be visiting colleges, and likely he will be doing the driving!

Things are going well around here, we are gearing up for our first swim camp of the season, planning our Lake Placid Camp (June 22-26, stay tuned for registration), I am finishing up my second to last semester of Grad school, training is going well and I AM DESPERATE FOR SNOW!!!!!!

A few weeks ago I was walking by a group of students in our nursing lab. One of them is a yoga teacher at Breathe, the studio I called home as a teacher for ten years. She turned to me and said “You know you are always welcome to come back”. For some reason, she stopped me dead in my tracks. I totally lost my train of thought. I wanted to tell her how I retired from teaching yoga. But Breathe has always been my home and good LORD do I miss it and … wait… WHAT?

I sent a note to Cyndi and Carly, and to make a long story short…. I am coming home. I will be teaching one class a week at the Pittsford location, Thursdays at 6pm beginning mid-December. Until then I am going to warm up with some assisting and co-teaching beginning the last week in November.

I stepped off my teacher’s mat a few years ago because my cup was empty. I had nothing left to give. It wasn’t hard to do because I was so fried. I think it’s always good to step away from things you love for periods of time to do that recharging. I have done it with yoga, nursing, triathlon. When I come back I am wiser, and I have more to give.

I am not one of these people who creates “five-year plans”. Nothing I am doing now has ever been a long term plan. I landed in my incredible position in nursing education because I saw an ad and threw a Hail Mary pass. I landed in Grad school because I happened upon my program while googling skis (I don’t know how THAT came together). I taught yoga previously because I was asked. I am teaching again because…. well because the opportunity presented itself. If you don’t jump on these things as they present themselves, life will pass you by.

I always say that I am not your typical yoga teacher. I can barely touch my toes. I have never studied in India. I don’t speak all Sanskrit. The truth of the matter is…. I am just the GPS on the dashboard. YOU are your yoga teacher. I am just the guide. Some days on your mat you feel like putting the top down and letting your hair fly, other days you buckle in a little bit more. It’s not up to me where you take your practice, it’s up to you. It’s not up to me to tell you what to find on your mat, it’s up to you to discover it.

Breathe is a Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga studio. Click here for an example of what Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga looks like. Scroll ahead to 5:32 for the full effect. I love this style of yoga because it’s athletic, it is flowing. Vinyasa, just means flow. It’s a bit more freestyle. It’s fun.

There is no such thing as being “good” or “bad” at yoga. It’s not about achieving a certain level of flexibility. It’s purely a moving meditation. It’s turning off your head and just moving.

It’s truly that simple. And that’s why I love it.

I can’t wait to get back on that mat. I am ready to come back and really deepen my practice both as a teacher and as a student. It’s been a missing link with me for a bit now, and it’s time to plug that hole.When I walked into Breathe this week, it felt like I came home after being away for a while. I can’t thank everyone enough… for holding that space for me.

Everything else is going well. Training under Curt has ben going smooth. I love the HECK out of my cyclocross bike, I don’t think I have ever had so much fun on two wheels (and I mountain bike)!. My skis are ready, my snowboard is ready, my snowshoes are ready. Fitness is coming along and I am feeling great.

In January I do another round of bloodwork with InsideTracker to see how things are progressing and as long as that stays good, 2017 will be an awesome year!