Mary Eggers

Date archives October 2013


Day 25.

Day 25 of Whole30. Part of me wonders how the heck I have done it. I have a major sweet tooth. I grew up on bagels. But I have not had any grains, sugar, or dairy in 25 days. Again half of me wonders how… and the other half of me says…. because you chose it.

Many things have changed in the past 25 days. I can categorize them into things I have, and things I haven’t. Let’s begin with the have nots.

What I haven’t:

I haven’t been hungry, except when it’s time for a meal or post longer training session… you know the normal times people are hungry.

I haven’t eaten three square meals a day as Whole30 suggests. I eat 5-6 smaller ones. I am a working mom, a wife and an athlete. I sometimes eat on the go. For me eating more frequently worked.

I haven’t eaten a grain, dairy or a shot of sugar in almost a month.

I haven’t felt deprived. I have felt….. nourished.

I haven’t been off the scale. Weight loss is around 10.

I haven’t felt bad. I somehow escaped that 3-7 day period where people say they feel terrible. But my diet before this was pretty good, and I don’t drink (not because of anything except that I do not drink and drive, not even “just one”  glass of wine. Just a personal thing).

What I have:

I have been tempted by big frosted sugar cookies once. Two days ago. I almost broke.

I have learned how to cook. This is my greatest accomplishment.

I have tried several new foods. Kiwi, sweet potatoes, and other fruits and veggies. Nature makes some really good stuff!

I have felt very good. I feel nourished. I feel quietly proud that I have chosen to take such good care of myself.

I have felt detoxed.

I have struggled a bit with some of my long runs nutritionally. That forced me to pre and post fuel very well and to utilize Lara bars.

I have been teased. Some people eat a muffin in front of me with statements like “Oh sorry Mary… I eat inflammatory grains.” To which I smile. I don’t care what you eat…. I care what I eat.

I have surprised myself.

I have felt calmer (even though I am really laid back to begin with). I feel healthier. I feel …… good. Like a good good. Not just a good.

I have enjoyed this process. It hasn’t been easy but it was certainly worth it.

As I approach day 30 I am beginning to think about what life after Whole30 will be like. I didn’t do all of this work and come this far to go back to my old eating habits. I feel too good. At the same time I like a good brownie every now and again. There is a happy medium and there certainly Paelo brownie recipes out there.

Regardless of the brownie issue I will do some sort of Paleo diet. I might add on another 30 days to this and do it again as well. My training begins to ramp up again the week after next so I have to continue and explore a good way to fuel. Lucky for me there are plenty of athletes from Ironman to Ultra runners who have been able to do this and do it quite well.

In my opinion it remains a choice and a very very personal one. Many have jumped on the bandwagon because of weight loss. I promise you that pounds will come off. Do it for a bigger reason than that. Do it for your health if you do it at all.

Did I feel deprived? Never. In fact…. after a two hour training session this morning I came home and made this. Sweet potatoes, 2 eggs+ 1 egg white and a smoothie of 1 mango, 1 kiwi, 1 cup coconut milk and kale. Not deprived!

breakfast 2

Should you Whole30? Good question. I don’t know. That’s for you to choose!


Swim tips

The past few Sundays I have been doing some 1-1 swim coaching. On deck… with triathletes who want to improve their swimming. It’s been awesome.

We meet right on deck. Then I have the swimmer swim 500 yards (or 5 X 100, 2 X 250… whatever they are comfortable with). During that time… I observe. I take notes. I record above and below the water. I need that much time at a minimum to get a clear picture of how someone swims. There are times when I don’t catch something until the last 50.

After that I review with the athlete the good points about their stroke. Everyone comes to me proclaiming to be a horrible swimmer. It’s usually not true, so I highlight the positives. Then we move on to the top three things they need to work on. For everyone it’s different. Some swimmers cross over, some catch really wide. Some propel with their feet.

I don’t like to give an athlete 18 things to work on. Three is a good number. I try to show them a video while they are in the water of what we will work on first. Most athletes really have no clue what they look like swimming. My left arm recovers straight. Through high school and college it happened. We never fixed it because I was a good swimmer and I caught good water. But if you ask me… I think my left elbow bends. I really do.

So we look at the video and from there cycle through some drills. I try to get at least ONE thing corrected while they were in front of me.

After about 30 minutes of drills I send the athlete to shower and change, and we meet in the lobby where we upload and look at the videos a bit more closely.

Then I send them an analysis…. it took me a bit over a week to get my first ones done as I played around with how I wanted it to go….. but they get a  link to the video, a detailed analysis with screenshots of their swim. They get suggested equipment, drills with links and videos and six workouts to help them work on things identified and improve their swimming.

I am loving the opportunity to be able to do this.

Swimming is more art than science… at least in my opinion. You can’t take two swimmers and try to put them in the same box. You can’t ask them to catch at exactly the same angle, rotate to the same degree. Especially because those two swimmers are different people with different body histories. One might be 5’1″ and the other 5’10”. One might have a metal plate in their elbow while the other is a pure runner. You have to watch each swimmer and create a swim program to match what they need.

“Blanket drills” aren’t appropriate. Assigning all of your athletes the same set of drills to cycle through just doesn’t work. You have to know how they swim and you have to know that tossing a pair of paddles on, banding their feet and ramping up their swim volume won’t accomplish anything. Those are good tools, but they don’t teach someone HOW to kick, or HOW to catch.


Here are some of the points I find to be critical in the swim:

1. The catch. We all know this one. It’s how you catch the water. Click here for a great drill and video on exactly how it’s done.

2. Propulsion: We are so focused on the catch and banding feet that we forget where the power in swimming comes from. When swimmers pick up the pace you don’t see a mad splash of arms and legs. That’s because they get that propulsion from their hips. Click here for a great video and drill set to teach you how to do that.

3. The kick: The kick IS important in swimming. Banding feet and expecting an efficient kick to develop isn’t the answer. Learning how to use that kick is. Most runners get propulsion from their feet, so they are the ones who need to really utilize propulsion from the hips and they are the ones who really need to focus on a purposeful useful kick. Click here for a good drill on kicking, that in my experience really teaches athletes to kick from their hips.

When making stroke changes I recommend starting with a shorter repeat, like a series of 50’s until you really get the new habit down. 10X 50’s can become 5 X 100’s, then 2 X 250’s then a 500. The shorter repeats initially … even if the rest period is an open turn… serves as a reset. The new habit stays fresher longer.

Don’t assume you are doing something when you swim. Get a video. Even an iPhone video is good.

Have patience. As with anything worth achieving…. swimming takes time. The needle moves slowly.

If you are interested in a 1-1 swim session with me, here are the details:

  • Swim sessions are held on select Sunday’s at Nazareth College, here in Rochester NY
  • I video above and below the water.
  • We work on several drills, then take a look at the video.
  • You get the video and a comprehensive written analysis that breaks down your stroke, gives you drills, sets and equipment suggestions.
  • Cost: $100.

I am now booking through January. Please contact me at info at mary-eggers dot com (notice the hyphen between mary and eggers) to schedule a session!