Mary Eggers

Date archives November 2015



That first inhale of the run, drawing in that crisp brisk fall air. The light sound of your feet hitting the pavement (or trail). That feeling of leaving the day and the world behind you as you set out to explore. Or run. Or whatever.

I love seeing my breath as I run in colder weather, and watching the way it fades into the night air.

I love that some folks have their Christmas decorations up. In my opinion it’s never too early. It’s the only 6 weeks of the year that we are unconditionally kind to one another. Play the Christmas music. Jingle the Bells. Wear your Santa hats and wish everyone you see the Merriest Christmas regardless of what they celebrate. In my car the holiday music is on repeat until January.

You just can’t kill kindness. And you can’t wipe out the light. No matter how hard you try.

You can’t wipe out the joy no matter what. If you truly have it within you, no one can take that away.

What you love can’t be taken from you. Because what you love isn’t a thing. It’s an experience.

For me getting back into the triathlon swing feels like nothing short of a love affair. It began with Jim Hogan finding me friction shifting for my CDO1 and continues with me eyeing a PRsix. It continued with me bouncing around a spring race with some old friends. Then I got on Zwift and through the magic of internet I ride with a group of people on a course, every single day.

You don’t know what Zwift is? It’s only the best thing since sliced bread! Click here.

My heart started beating faster with the thought of running through Mendon Ponds Park in the winter. When the road is coated with snow and the usually dark forrest it light because the trees drip with snow. I thought about that feeling of eyelashes being frozen at the end of a long run and seeing people out and about sledding, skiing…. and being one of those people.

If nothing else this swimming focus has brought me around, in my heart and in my soul. All of a sudden I have curiosity about my athletic goals again. Instead of “been there done that” it’s become…. “I wonder if I could.”

Except Ironman. I am really still done with Ironman.

For a few years it was really ugly. Motivation. Desire. I promise when you step back and let that deep reset happen it will come around again. You will go from “Do I want to do this anymore” to “I wonder how it would feel to…..” and it’s so so exciting.

While it’s become so cliche that we triathletes love our gadgetry and out data…. it’s true. I fell into that trap for a few years, a few years ago. It’s a hard hole to dig out of. But it’s a joy robbing experience. Once you come back into the fold with passion and the confidence of an amazing career behind you to stand on…. you can learn to let the numbers go and to allow your heart to fly.

Swimming is swimming again.

Cycling is cycling again.

Running is running again.

No longer to I fret and analyze after a training session. I reflect back on each one with happiness, with heart, with the feeling of curiosity. Inch by inch things are becoming to come together. Fitness takes time. It takes patience. No matter who you are or what “level” you are at, those continue to always ring true.

I have been coaching for 12 years and I can say that 100% of the athletes I have worked with who have embraced the process, allowed for consistency,exercised patience and found meaning within what they do… have been successful. Amateur, professional… doesn’t matter. I can also say for certainty that 100% of the athletes who fall into the hyper-data category stumble more.

Don’t read this to mean data isn’t important. It is. Especially for the coach. In fact I think it’s more important for the coach then for the athlete. But never allow data to dictate how you feel. Never allow data to dictate how you progress, or whether you do or don’t.

All of the above is true for me as well. In fact it’s really most true for me. I have been both of those athletes. I have risen and I have fallen for many different reasons. I am never afraid of either. I am never afraid of what people think of either.

I never worry about what others think of my successes or failures. That anyone would pass any sort of judgement (and it’s happened, many times) says a lot more about them…. than it does about me.

As I have grown up through this sport I have learned that it’s mine and mine alone. The past 6 months have been about me creating my path. My way. The bike I want to ride. The companies I want to promote. I  don’t need discounts, I don’t need to work for free things, I can afford all of my own stuff. I solely sponsor myself.


I can tell you right now how damn freeing that is. If anyone’s logo is on my kit, it’s one that I choose to be there. Most importantly it’s MY logo.

It’s all been an incredible right of passage. For the first time ever I gave myself the opportunity to be totally who I am out there.

It’s awesome. I highly recommend it. In fact, ever since I adopted this philosophy….. click here.… a whole shit ton of things got better.

It’s personal freedom.

As I closed in on the finish line of my run last night I stopped and looked around. Far in the distance I could see the lights of the city. I could see carson the overpass a few miles down the road going to wherever they were going. I could see Christmas lights begin to take shape.

And I realized my watch was still going. Smiling, I stopped it. Doesn’t matter. No piece of data can dictate how that run felt. It felt like I am developing myself as an athlete again. It felt invigorating. It felt like I was shedding the day. It felt I was creating space for me. It felt….. amazing.

No pace per mile, no heart rate zone…. could have told me that.

This….. this is all mine now. My way. My theme. My deal. It’s the best thing I have ever done for myself.





I am a major fan of experiencing experiences. The good, the bad, the ugly. I am against pretending things are okay when they are not. I am against pretending to be happy when I am sad. I am against pretending I am not disappointed in my performance last weekend.

The problem however…. is when you are part of a team that doesn’t really give a shit if you are feeling down and disappointed, they are going to give you a kick in the ass to move you forward anyways. That whole….bring your disappointment sad face oh I had a bad meet with you…. you are moving forward anyways. 

My plan for Tuesday at practice was just to sit in the back of my lane and swim. Enjoy the camaraderie of my teammates, they are the reason I am there in the first place. The great thing about these people, and about Brett and Mike…. is they don’t tolerate crybabies. They make it fun but hard, no coddling. No hand holding.

After the warm up Brett announced we’d be doing a test indicator set, he pointed to me and said “To redeem yourself in case you think you had a bad meet this weekend”. Essentially the team was about to pay for my crab-ass-ness. I wasn’t in the mood for hard swimming. At all. My plan was to regroup this week and decide what’s next.

But the gang had other plans.

“Mary, I think you should swim between Nick and I.” Todd called over from the next lane.

“”Ha!” I responded. He was batshit crazy if he thought I was doing that. Both of them are much… MUCH faster than I.

“Come on over.” He said.

“I should.” I laughed again. Shit. He is serious. Should I go? But I was going to hang back at the end of my lane today….

“Let’s go.” They called. So I switched lane. Shit … I thought. Nick and Todd put me right between them. I told Todd to just let me know when he wants to go ahead… and all he would respond with was “Don’t let me catch you.”

I don’t like to share our team’s swim sets. Not because they are some big secret because after all… it’s not the secrets … it’s how you use them. I just find that it’s their work. If we do a set I want to share I will ask. Essentially the set is a pace set for a 500…. that over time will yield the targeted result. It’s a set to be done over several weeks, or months.

Brett gave me my target time. At the end of a several week progression if I can hold this target time…. it’s a good indicator of what I can swim in a meet. It’s a set of 50’s and my target time was doable. Calculated out and at the end of the progression the time would add up to below nationals.

Oh he’s nuts. I thought as we began. These people are all nuts.

Pot calling kettle!

During the first 50 Todd tapped my toes. I offered to allow him to go ahead. He declined, reminding me to go faster. I had made the time. Then we did it again. I made it again. Then I made it again. And again. Somewhere between the fourth and eighth round I realized I was in it now.

Maybe this is possible.

Maybe in ten weeks I could actually do this.

“It’s your turns.” Todd said, which I knew. “Tighten up.”

“You are swimming a 32, with your turns you are a 36.” Nick said.

They were right.

“We are on the back side of these.” Brett called out, “This is where it matters.” He’s right. This is where it matters.

I was feeling the effects of celebrating Luc’s 15th birthday the day before (cake, pizza, ice cream). I was feeling the effects of swimming on Sunday. But little by little I began to crawl out of my pity party hole. Brett laid out the progression of the set, I was already holding the times I needed to hold…. we just need to allow it to work. We need to give it time to work. I need to keep my faith.

Maybe this isn’t over yet… I thought as I nearly vomited in the gutter.

Back at the Brook… Coach Dave used to use the analogy of a basketball. He would say that the basketball has to hit the ground hard in order to bounce higher. Many times I have hit the ground hard, and if I am patient and persistent I … almost always…. bounce higher on the other side. It takes that bounce, that slam into the floor…. to get your head on straight and your shit together.

Two days after a bad meet I am hitting the times at the beginning of an indicator progression set (if that’s what it is called). I know where it should go from here. That… is what I needed. If you tell me what I need to do…. I will find a way to make it happen. Where I fail is when I am unsure, when I am guessing. That’s why I am coachable. That’s why I crave direction. Tell me what to do…. and I will make it happen.

You know you have good coaches and teammates when they don’t even bother consoling your wounded ego. They simply give you a kick square in the ass, and push you off the cliff.

I am still disappointed, but again don’t mistake that for negativity. Once a few more days pass it’s my best asset. It turns into resolve and resolve turns into work. And work turns into results.

I think it’s important to not skip the disappointed part. At the same time it’s not good to linger there too long.

My endgame to everything I do…. is …. what does this teach Luc?

He’s seen me in this position before. He’s seen me rise above it and he’s seen me fail again. He is watching right now to see what I do as he embarks on his own journey. He is on the JV indoor track team for our district high school, it’s his first time on a team like this. So he’s watching me to see what I do.

In fact…. he’s asking me what I am going to do.

I finished that set hitting every single one. It wasn’t easy. I have a boatload of work ahead of me. That set was proof to me that I am not in a pipe dream (if I were in a pipe dream there is no reason to stop dreaming either). With time… patience…. and work….. this might actually happen. Can it happen in ten weeks? I don’t know. But I am willing to find out.

Big thanks to my teammates, for not holding my hand. For putting me into between you guys and telling me to go. That’s the thing about teams, whether you are a kid or adult. We get by with a little help from our teammates. And while swimming isn’t a first world problem, it’s important to me.

As the old saying goes “How we do small things…. is how we do all things.”

Thank you team, and thank you Brett and Mike.