Mary Eggers

Date archives December 2015


Coming back

“I can feel it coming back again…. like the roll of thunder chasing the wind…”

As I crested the hill …. running…. the other night I felt some strength surface that I haven’t felt in years. Since 2008 to be exact. That year I went through a health issue… I never like to call it an illness. It resulted in a loss that’s taken me years…. years to recover from. I don’t talk about it, and I will likely never write about it. Not for a long long time.

As I said it’s taken me years to recover from….. through it all I have stumbled eight ways from Sunday. But the other night as I was running I realized….. that the process does take time. That healing does happen. That strength does come back and it can take literal years to happen.

As I have come back to triathlon training I get to experience this in an entirely new way. I know it from the athlete side, I know it from the coach side, but I am experiencing it like never before.

Throughout this recovery, actually throughout my career I have been fortunate to work with some of our sport’s best coaches. As we forge through this season I feel like I am bringing the best of them with me. Last season I did extensive work with my awesome coaches at HPT on running. All of my other coaches tried to fix my run…. but my coach at HPT taught me HOW to run. As I have made this slow progressive return those are the lessons I am bringing with me. On the bike I have found Zwift, and that’s all I need to even say. In the water my swim focus continues as we have slowed me down a bit to really hone technique. I feel it beginning to come together and my health strengthens each and every day. The best part is that I have finally relaxed into it and I am letting it come to me, rather than trying to grab it.

It’s been 7 years of stumbling and slowly forging through…. but it finally feels as if a new path has finally opened.

I feel strength. I feel fitness building inch by inch. I feel it coming along. The excitement of hitting new benchmarks in longer workouts (which are not long yet!). It never feels like I “have” to train. It feels like I “get” to train. I am excited about the opportunity.

As I crested that hill the other night and those words came through on my iPod it caught my attention. That maybe I made it through. That never giving up actually worked. That putting one foot in front of the other was actually the thing to do. To be relentlessly positive and allow myself to work through what I needed to work through….. was the way to handle it all.

Maybe it’s age, or the wisdom that comes with it…. but these days I have a new sense about me. It could be that I don’t give a f*ck about the small stuff. It could be that I don’t get caught up in drama in sport or life. It could be that after 20 years around here….. I am established in who I am and what I am here for. My self worth has never been built on Ironman finishes, qualifications or medals. My self worth has always been based on me, and it has always been. The freedom that has afforded me is incredible.

There are no secrets to all of this. There are no hacks. Each moment…. the good bad and ugly… they are meant to be fully experienced. Fully lived. Never avoided. Never ignored. You have to feel terrible to feel amazing. You have to have your worst days to experience your greatest days.

In training… it’s the same. It’s the day to day work and the culmination of it that creates greater things later on, not independent sessions. Taking the time to begin again and allow that process come and happen.

As Luc and I reviewed his track results the other day we didn’t focus on his placing in his events. On his team he’s finishing as one of the last, but his time was in red. Which means it’s an improvement. We talked about how improvement is a ladder and if there are things we want to achieve we need to climb that ladder, rung by rung. There are no shortcuts to the top. Sometimes we slide, and have to climb the same rungs again. He gets that, and part of that is because I live it. He’s watched me build and rebuild time and time again. I expect nothing and work for everything. And appreciate all of it.

Sometimes you have to endure something that feels completely unspeakable to so completely cherish every small thing that you are so lucky to have in this world. At no other moment in my life, than today do I appreciate the ability to be an athlete. My body has undergone some horrible things and at the same time comes back with strength and durability to climb higher.

It’s taken me years. 7 to be exact and we are not there yet, to work through this. Every day gets better. Every day I get stronger. One step at a time and one rung at a time.

“I can feel it coming back again….. like the roll of thunder chasing the wind.”

I came up over that hill in a way I have not in years. With hope. With strength. Ahead of myself instead of behind myself. No matter what I have always kept going. I will always keep going. This time though… it’s for me.


To reach.

“Maybe today I will qualify for states!” Luc said as he began to make his way to the infield for the 600m. I stood there dumfounded, looking at Curt. The qualifying time for states for this event is a 1:24 and for context no one ran that fast at the meet. Luc had run this event exactly one week before in a 2:13. As we waited for the event to begin I began to roll through my mind how I would approach his reaction when he didn’t run that time today.

There is a fine line between squashing someone’s dreams and establishing a realistic timeline for attaining goals. In my mind there is no goal unattainable. But to go from a 2:13 to a 1:24? In one week?┬áIt was doubtful that would happen and I didn’t know how he’d react.

This meet went much smoother. There are a few kids on the RH team who are being incredibly kind to him. One young man in particular gave him some tips on running the 300 and the 600 and made sure to wish him luck. Luc is used to being in the presence of adults, at all of the 5K’s and triathlons that’s who he tends to be around. So he was surprised and really excited that this young man and a few others were being so kind to him. There are great great kids in sport. And that was what I was hoping for.

Luc did much better with the waterfall start and folding into lane 1 around the first turn. He was still tentative when he went to make a pass and he ran his heart out. When he came through the finish with a 4 second PR in a time of 2:09 his smile said it all. He was thrilled.

“Well…” he said “I am a little bit closer to that state time. It will take some time but every week I will get a little closer.” and he went off for a cool down. I was stunned. Where was the drama, the “oh my GOD I will NEVER make it?” that I see from myself and so many others. I was prepared to talk him off the ledge, reassure him, promise him those faster times will come, but that talk never came.

It wasn’t there. The neat thing about Luc is that he’s so black and white about the world. There is no drama when it comes to things like this. It’s simply…. I will keep working and making small gains.

It’s funny when you become a parent. You think about how you are going to teach your kids all about the world and how to survive in it. Then comes a time when you realize that your children are really here to teach you.

Luc Brockport

Previous to the 600 he ran the 300. 51 seconds and he LOVED it. I have a feeling he might be good at some of the longer distances due to his 5K experience…. but that’s for him and the coach to decide. I became a distance swimmer after many years of being a mediocre 100 yard freestyler and wannabe backstroker. I was put in the 500 one day in high school on a whim and it was then that distance swimming found me. I have a feeling the same will happen for Luc. In fact, yesterday the coach sent him out for 5 miles with the distance crew and he kept right up until he fell back after he got stuck waiting for some cars as the group crossed a street!

The things that are happening because of track are amazing, and the reasons why I think sports are so important for our kids. While Luc has always been very organized with homework and school, he’s even more so. He initiates his stretching and strength work at home and he’s searching for inspirational quotes and stories to put into his binder. He’s learning to be part of a team and he’s becoming part of a community that honestly…. on a team this size that has established social groups …. that’s not easy.

As he was packing his bag to get on the team bus he stopped and said to me “Thank you Mom for getting me on this team. I love it, I am making friends and I am having fun. Thank you.”

I looked at Curt, speechless. What teenager says that? I told him that all I did was push him through the door, the work has been his. That’s the truth.

So indoor track is coming along, things are getting better and more smooth. We re learning the lay of the land and the flow of all of this. He’s integrating into the team and he’s loving the process of all of it.

He’s set a goal. A big one. Whether he makes it or not will be a story told over the next few years, but I am excited to watch him reach as long as that’s what he continues to want to shoot for. There is a lot to be learned from how he tackles this, and I am taking all the notes I can.