Mary Eggers

Browsing Category General

General

Reach

As I am coming to the close of Ironman Lake Placid Training week 1.5 (I started on Dec 1st!), I am starting to feel like me again. The past three years of grad school and staying fit, but not competing, feel like a dark cloud that I am leaving behind as the structure begins to take shape again.

I loved the past six months of marathon training. I loved taking six months out of the water (longest swim break of my LIFE), because it allows me to feel it again. In just one week my times are beginning to come down, and that muscle memory is beginning to come forward.

This season I am being coached by Jen and Liz, whom I have known for over a decade. Curt and I decided that it would be best to train under their guidance, and let him be my husband. They are awesome at what they do, and I have full trust that they know me well enough to tell me if I get carried away. I need that firm direction and I need to be guided by those who can give it.

I am eager to share this journey. I don’t like to share it in a bike selfie, share every session, share every darn wattage and pace. I want to share it in a way that we can take on our own journey together. It’s my wish that in 2018 you flip the script and change the game of what you do each January 1st. I want us to find a way we can strive to do better, be better physically, emotionally, spiritually. Be better to ourselves, be better to one another.

I want us to take this journey together. Me, an athlete returning to what I love. You…. maybe you are doing the same. Or maybe your goal is to see what YOU can do. I want you to be curious. The Ironman is just my thing, it’s a metaphor for something in my world. I want you to put an end to the bullshit story that you aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough, etc. I want you to truly be the author of your own story. I have said it before and I am going to say it again: no one gets to write this story except YOU.

So let’s write this thing, shall we?

December is a historically tough month for me. I am 23 years recovered from Bulimia Nervosa and I am one bad day away from a relapse. You are never free from these things, I am a work in progress every single day. So during December I typically cycle through Whole30. When I am laughed at or told, “Come on, everything in moderation” I smile and applaud that if it’s you. I am certainly capable of that but there are times when I am not. It’s not how I am wired. Therefore, I track my nutrition. On paper. I don’t count macros or anything like that but it’s the method I use to keep me on track during a month that can be tricky. I just need to keep myself in check. The past few years this is the system that’s worked well for me. I used to feel shame in needing to track nutrition or to follow some sort of “program”. I enjoy my cookies, trust me, but during this time of the year it’s healthier for me to do what I need to do. I don’t feel ashamed of that anymore. I will not apologize for it, my health is priority #1.

I need my training to be structured, which is why we started on December 1st (plus, for a July Ironman it’s necessary). December would be the worst possible time for me to take complete rest. It’s dark, there is a lot going on, etc. I need the benefits that exercise provides for me during these weeks. I am lucky that I live in an athletic family. No one questions or is upset with me if I am riding 2-3 hours on Christmas Day, even if I am traveling home. It’s normal for me to bring my bike and the trainer and for us to all run together.

I am an athlete. It’s in my blood. Plus… it’s absolutely beautiful outside. And I admit…. I am a little bit “extra”.

So do me a favor….. think about what YOU want to achieve on an athletic level in 2018. Think of something that terrifies you, then latch the hell onto it.

Want to walk a 5K? Click here.

Want to run a 5K? Click here.

Want to run a half or full marathon? Click here.

Want to know where some great events are? Click here.

How about snowshoeing? Join me at this series: click here.

Want to get into Cross Fit? Find a place to get started. You don’t want to compete? No worries, don’t. But get into something physical. There are hundreds of studies that demonstrate the benefits of being physically strong. You don’t need to do an Ironman to get there (it’s really better if you don’t do an Ironman!!!!!!). But find something.

You won’t find a better community of runners than Rochester. So if you are a new runner, check out Medved, Rochester Running Company, #TrailsRoc, Greater Rochester Track Club, GVH, and there are so many more I am not naming. All welcome beginner runners, and are all filled with the best people on earth.

Your progress isn’t going to be linear. Neither is mine. You know that old meme about the road to success:

success

Don’t get so focused on the end that you forget the process. The true victory is in the day to day. Getting up to see that sunrise, or maybe the sunset is your deal. Getting out the door regardless of weather. We know that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.

Take it to the level that’s right for you. If it scares you a little, you are at the right level. Set your sights on something that feels like a stretch, because that’s how we learn who we truly are in this world.

Trust yourself. Don’t listen to any naysayer or anyone who tries to discredit what you are aiming for. I have learned that they do that because it’s something they aren’t brave enough to do themselves. Be bold about this, be brave. If you don’t have someone to share it with, share it with me.

I care. I care a whole lot.

It’s easier to tear ourselves and others down. I am interested in doing the opposite. Let’s get you rolling. If you are stuck, reach out. I can point you in the right direction. I don’t accept that you can’t.

So what are you going to reach for? I want you to tell me ALL about it. Let’s do this.

shine on

General

Philadelphia Marathon Race Report

I went into the Philadelphia Marathon curious.

I wanted to know if I would still love the pursuit. I wanted to know if I would still cry at the starting line when the National Anthem was sung. I wanted to know if I would find the random stranger who I’d never forget. I wanted to know if…. if I could still handle mile 20. I wanted to know if I even remembered what mile 20 felt like, and whether I would say …. screw it… or I LOVE THIS.

I found the answers to all of those questions. Everything went just fine. Smoothly in fact. I loved every single moment of those 26.2 miles. I loved how all of it felt. Dare I say that it felt short? After so many marathons that came after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112, running a stand-alone marathon felt so incredibly good, doable, and yet amazing all in the same breath.

I loved the pursuit of this goal. After spending so many years training 15-20 hours a week, running 40 miles a week with a little swim and bike felt…. again….. doable.

At the beginning of the race, when they played our national anthem, I cried. There I stood with 30,000 runners, feeling so privileged, so happy, so excited, so PROUD to be standing where I was standing. A man put his arm around me and I leaned into him (finding my random stranger right away). When it was done we hugged and wished one another the best of luck.

I loved the course. We ran through the downtown streets of Philadelphia for the first half of the race and I was never alone in terms of runners, and in terms of crowds. The cheers, the music, the atmosphere was exhilarating, deafening, beautiful.

I wanted to grab a random spectator and shake them and cry out “Do you know how excited I am to BE HERE???? I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD BE ABLE TO DO THIS AGAIN.” and I would bet my last dollar that the random spectator would be JUST as excited as I was.

The second half of the course turned onto a parkway and towards a town whose name I can’t remember but whose spirit I will never forget. Mile 20 was the furthest point of the course and this section allowed you to see the runners already on their way back. I was fortunate enough to see the overall female hauling her way home. I was extra fortunate enough to find friends and give them a shout, and the same happened for me.

At mile 18 I felt it. That feeling. The marathon feeling. That ache deep in your legs that isn’t muscle pain, it’s just a grind that oscillates between feeling like your legs will give out on you but at the same time the feeling of strength beyond words. This was the biggest reason I was here. Right now. Right here.

Would I face it with irritation? Anger? Dread like I used to feel?

When I realized that feeling was happening I felt ….┬ápure happiness. To get HERE, to feel THIS, means I had to get to a certain place in my training, and more importantly in my mind. If mile 18 was a hug I would have wrapped my arms around it and held it tight and said “I am so glad to see you old friend.”

That feeling, that pain, that’s what I freaking live for. You straddle the line between giving up and rising up. It’s the place where you realize you are going to make it but you have to get through 8 more miles. This is the place that allows you to stand toe to toe with yourself, and you learn what you are truly made of.

I felt amazing. Absolutely amazing.

At mile 20 I was in the thick of the party, wall to wall people just partying, and us running through it. Captain America handed me a beer and I took it! Luckily for me, I remembered that I don’t even drink, and a beer at mile 20 was probably a bad idea, so I tossed it!

When I rounded that cone at mile 20, just a 10K stood between myself and a line across the road. I stayed positive, I walked a little, but the miles came easier than I expected and my mind stayed ridiculously positive.

When I came to that finish line it was bigger and louder than I expected. Curt and Luc stood 50 yards from that finish line and I got a little emotional as I high fived them.

The rest of that finish line was slow motion. I felt like I was stuck in a moment and through the past week I keep reliving it. It was amazing. Totally amazing. And I ran one minute faster than I thought I would!

Five days later I remain on the marathon high. I have been resting and thinking ahead as I fill out questionairres for this next adventure and trying to answer the question: what is your goal?

My goal for this Ironman doesn’t yet have a time or a placing. I don’t know that it ever will. I want to race Ironman Lake Placid to the best of my ability. I have been away long enough to not even know what that looks like.

But I am hungry for the pursuit. I am hungry for the easy days and I am hungrier for the harder days. The long ones that no one sees, that I choose to execute, where we go into that dark place. I love that dark place like I love mile 18 of the marathon. It teaches me about so many things. It’s a place where I find clarity and I find strength.

It’s a place I have not wanted to visit in several years, and now I can’t wait to find.

I am so glad that I took the step back from all of this. As I have said it was nerve wracking. I knew it might not come back. I knew that if it was meant to be, that it would. I am not interested in chasing the past, I am interested in creating the future. This time, with a level of health I have not had in years.

This time…. I am curious. On this mile 18….. what will I do?