Mary Eggers

General

Preview

I was scheduled to run Seneca7 with the Score This !!! team this past weekend, an event I was looking SO forward to… for everything Seneca7 is. Unfortunately a gastrocnemius strain put the kibosh on my participation. To say I was bummed was a gross understatement. I definitely shed tears. But…. I won’t compromise long term health and long term progress for short term rewards. I will never stroke my ego and lose those long term gains. Therefore when I develop an injury…. as frustrating as they are, especially when you are doing everything right (for once)…. I make good decisions.

I got myself over to Dr. Kenny Tsang, a sport certified chiropractor, ART practitioner who is also certified in Graston. He’s worked with many athletes on our team and he’s incredible. He knows athletes… he knows me, and I trust him completely. A few painful sessions later, I am re-educated on fascia, the importance of muscle fibers sliding over one another, rolling the ever living shit out of my body again, and was able to only miss a few days of running. No days missed of cycling, SUPing, weight training…. or even hiking.

And yes, I am SUPING! The water is cold but I have gear to take care of that!

The take home here though: when you take care of things before they become big things….. healing actually CAN happen!

I had an unplanned day off, like totally off. My work was complete… papers written…. so Luc and I took to the trails for two hours. We are preparing to begin hiking the 46 Peaks and we are getting ready! The beautiful thing about being a former Ironman athlete with a son who is a runner…. endurance isn’t an issue, nor is nutrition. I am the expert at fueling things that last forever. The cool thing about hiking though is…. I don’t need nearly the amount of fuel as I do for training. And I needn’t eat one single gel.

YES!

While our big challenge isn’t the fueling or the endurance, it’s the reading of trail maps, traversing inclines and descents, and that kind of thing that we need to learn. Two hours of rigorous hiking was awesome. Especially with Luc. The phone was off. Satellite GPS on. Just us and the woods. Throughout the next few weeks we are acquiring more gear, more difficult hikes, and we aim to do our first peak in June.

I have been advised to be flexible on dates of climbing, to be mindful of weather, which was good advice. I was also advised to not view this as an athletic endeavor, even though it is. What was meant… was there are no hard fast time rules to be had out there. There are lessons. There is no medal, or accolades… there are… as I said lessons. The lessons and experiences are different for everyone.

Our biggest priority is safety. If you know me I am a bit of a safety nut (I am a Peds ED nurse, I see bad things happen when safety isn’t followed). Through our next weeks of preparation we are honing our safety plan, sharpening our map reading skills, learning our GPS and satellite phone, and we’ve got our trauma kits too. Yeah, we are getting ready for anything. I love and hate that part of myself, but as an ED nurse….. you walk into any situation on earth and before you say hello you have identified every possible thing that could go wrong and how you would save it. I can weave a splint out of bark, dirt and secure it with a rock if I had to.

The unexpected day off …. was needed. My grad school semester is winding down, our nursing students are winding down their semesters…. and in just a few short weeks I will be on my own summer break. We have some adventures planned…. our Lake Placid training camp, SUP races, Ironman coaching, a ton of family coming to visit, beginning the 46 peaks…. and a cross country trip. If there was ever a year to step back from triathlon competition it was this one. A friend told me a few months ago that she thought we all should take a season away. I listened to  her then….. but I 200% agree with her now. I haven’t done this in 15 years and already I feel my fire rekindling.

In the meantime though I still have work to do. Things are going better than I expected.  My health has rebounded, I am feeling stronger than ever, my passion for all of the things I get to be able to do has grown. On this triathlon hiatus I have become a much more effective coach, I feel the deepest connection to our team than I have ever felt. Ceasing to burn the candle at both ends has benefitted me in ways I never realized it would. What they say about taking care of yourself…. is absolutely true when it comes to the rest of your life.

I no longer overextend. I allow myself time to reconnect and disconnect. I have slowed down, allowed people around me to help me. Life is so much richer when you don’t try to do everything at once.

This is really going to be one excellent summer. Fasten your seat belts. It’s about to get crazy.

General

Where does this lead?

I have been a competitive athlete for as long as I can remember. Much of my life has been spent in “training mode” under someone else’s program and guidance, which has shaped so much of my life in positive ways. And some negative. That’s part of the journey. Over the years I have ranged from super focused to waxing and waning. I have committed completely and committed half assedly. As I look back on everything … I have done it all. Regrets? Zero.

The journey I have been on this season is one that is truly incredible and completely fulfilling. For once I can let go of the need to be doing X Y and Z to prepare for whatever race. I can actually take the time now….. to really focus on the beauty of being an athlete.

I am spending 5 days a week in the gym weight training, 5 days running, and 2 days doing some easy cycling. I am not in the pool yet despite having the luxury of swimming outside in Rochester NY. This remains the longest swimming break I have ever taken, yet so necessary (I did swim once). I need to let that come back to me as it does. When it does…. and truthfully…. IF it does.

I have been working with my most favorite strength coach in the WORLD (Steve at Midtown), and he’s assembled a really solid program for my strength. Midtown has a ridiculous weight training area complete with turf that allows room for running drills, sled work. They have TRX and all that stuff. Right now he has me doing a session with the Kinesis tower and some formal weights, and alternating that with the sled, boxes, bosu, gliders, balls, VIPR…. the list goes on. Previously I would only strength train 3 times a week for 30 minutes….. because well triathlon takes time and I had another workout to get to. But these days I am spending thoughtful and purposeful time in the gym (45-60 minutes a day!) and in a short amount of time I see and feel the difference. It’s GREAT to actually take the time to work on my weakest links.

As we were plotting out my running progression I immediately felt a sense of…. man that’s not happening fast enough…. only to be answered by “fast enough for what?”. Right…. no events in the immediate future to prepare for (except next week). So again…. I get to be thoughtful and purposeful in how it all happens.

It feels awesome to slow down and take the time. Both literally and figuratively. The beautiful thing about all of it is…. I feel so content and in love with my athletic accomplishments and journey thus far, I have been able to do so many things…. the future feels like my oyster. I wake up each day wondering…. what’s next?

What’s next in the immediate future is to continue working on this path as I have some fall related running goals (no marathon) I am working towards. Today…. yes today…. I am taking out the SUP. I am excited to build on last year’s SUP struggles and successes as I enter into a level of actual SUP racing. I get my new race board on May 1st!!!!! The struggles I went through last summer with my board were so worth it and I knew it at the time. I know those difficult days make you better in time.

My health has quickly rebounded. Like real quick. I don’t think I am quite “there” yet but compared to how I felt just a month ago…. I feel terrific. I didn’t go crazy in one direction, I just continue to eat healthy, stay well hydrated and sleep a lot. I take no big expensive supplements. No way.

All in all…..  I am feeling hungry more than anything. Hungry to master new skills and have new adventures. Do you know I have never hiked ANY of the 46 Adirondack Peaks? I have never skied or snowboarded anywhere outside of Rochester or Buffalo? I have gone surfing and cliff jumping…. but only in Hawaii and Florida?

I have never seen the Grand Canyon. I have never been to Yellowstone.

I have been to Germany but never to Paris where my sister lives. I have not learned how to rock climb. I have never SUP’d in the actual ocean.

I have this eclectic mix of experience and inexperience when it comes to experiencing the world. We are going cross country this summer (To Omaha for Nationals to be specific…. Curt is racing) and I have begun to map out adventures along the way. When I took my eyes off the road that I have only seen between my aerobars an entire universe has opened up.

Does it mean I am done with triathlon for good as an athlete? I don’t know that. I really don’t. I don’t even worry about it.

Lake 2

What I do know is that I refuse to get to an age where I ever look back and say “I wish I would have …..”. I haven’t done that so far and I am planning on never allowing it.

There is a huge adventure side of me that’s matched with a certain 15 year old kid who is also interested. I need to show him these things. I need to experience these things with him. Years from now I want him to tell his children that we had some epic adventures.

I am not the only one who arrives at this point in their athletic career, even though I don’t know exactly what “point” this is. I know I am seeking new adventures and I take a lot of paths to try to scratch that itch. Nothing is more exciting than trying new things for the first time. Nothing is as educational as falling and struggling in those new skills. I know that right now I crave experiences over competition. That’s something that’s been rumbling for the better part of a year now. That’s still a new feeling for me, one that I am not quite sure what to do with except…… learn new things.

While I search and explore…. I am continuing to take the time. At the gym. With the weights. Building running with a nice and slow progression. I am running on beautiful trails, next to beautiful lakes, and even down beautiful roads. I am on a path, one that I am not sure of the direction its taking….. but I don’t necessarily need to know that right this minute. Right now I am going with it.

And it’s awesome. Stay tuned.

Lake 1