Mary Eggers

Date archives May 2016

General

The long haul

“Two down…. two to go.” I said it aloud to myself as I crested the hill. It was my first hill repeat session in what feels like ages. It was hot as balls out, evening, and as sticky as cotton candy on your hands long after the cotton candy has been eaten.

But I love that shit, and as I said… I haven’t felt that in ages. I haven’t DONE that in ages.

Those hill repeats were ugly, they were messy, but they made me feel alive again. The time SUP’ing and skiing and wandering has done me a world of good. It has allowed me to appreciate the gift this sport has been to me. To my life.

I got to do this particular hill repeat session with my 15 year old son, who runs a 6:09 1600, and I don’t. He dropped me like a bad habit. I apologized for all of those Ironman finish lines I dragged him through, he said “Revenge is sweet Mom”. I get to do these with HIM. Never in my wildest dreams of parenthood did I dare to dream my teenage son would not only want to run with me…. but be invested in this journey.

There’s this one house on the route of hill repeats, with that one guy who is always tending to his lawn. He wasn’t out there on the first two repeats but he was out there for the final two (I run the same hill, this week it was four times. Next week, 5). He smiled and waved….. it was like reconnecting with an old friend. You know, the ones you haven’t seen in a while, but the moment you do it’s like you’ve never skipped a beat. I have missed him. I have missed his flowers. I don’t even know his name. I didn’t even realize that I missed him.

The third time up the hill was when I began to question if I was going to throw up. It made me smile because I love that feeling of being on the edge of breaking and getting stronger. When you just rip off your shirt and stash it on someone’s lawn (or in someone’s mailbox) because it’s so-freaking-hot- and you just don’t care.

It’s cliche to say but I don’t care. I am lucky. For whatever reason after my surgery last year I fell into a hole…. and it was likely from a long bout of overtraining…. I really questioned my place in this sport as an athlete. I played and wandered and took a break. I skied and SUP’d and rested. It all came to a big head this past winter and I took care of longstanding issues of doing too much and neglecting myself.

And quicker than I have ever expected…… I have rebounded. It took great patience. There were big and deep dark moments behind this big smile of mine. Stepping back was difficult and painful and I was ready to retire from competition if that’s what I needed to do. I was that done.

A friend wrote somewhere that she recommended everyone take a year away from the sport, especially those of us who have been doing it for so long. Of all things through the past year…. that struck a cord with me the most. By the time she had said it I was 6 months into it, and it really all began to make sense.

I am so excited. I am so freaking excited to be back at it again. Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say. In the midst of all of that, people had suggested I take a break, that I step back, and I rationalized all of it. I’ve been training 20+ hours a week my whole life, I am fine. I know how to work through fatigue like this. I just need to do some race to really motivate me. La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-. I would have never admitted it during. But hell I admit it now. I needed to step back, especially for my health. In my 20 years as an athlete (more if you count my youth), 12 years as a coach and 15 years as a NURSE I have never seen anyone train themselves OUT of injury or illness. Not even my own self. You have to allow the body to do what it needs to do. I learned the hard way, but I did it, and it worked. The nurse in me knew that. The athlete in me didn’t want to admit it.

Regaining my health, being able to guide our Valor Triathlon Project athletes, announcing athletes through finish lines, getting back on the roads…. and let’s face it… SUMMER…. have all been what have brought me back to what I love. The chance to go to Nationals …. the nudging from my family and those I love to never give up on myself…. all of it together.

Through all of this there has been one thing that has never wavered. My belief in myself. I have always felt that my best performances…. whatever sport those might be in…. are ahead of me. I believe that with my heart and my soul. I searched for the perfect coach, the perfect training plan, and the perfect goal. I searched and searched and searched.

I realized that I needn’t go further than my front door. I have everything I need right here. Starting with an unrelenting belief in myself.

The fourth time up the hill I felt that cross between exhilaration and exhaustion. That feeling of getting stronger both physically and mentally with every step I take. I was drenched and boiling and as sticky as all get out….. and I loved every second of that feeling. Once I crested that hill the skies opened up and rain began to belt down on me. In a movie-like moment I threw up my arms and just let it soak me to the bone.

It just felt awesome. So painfully awesome. This stuff… it just makes me so happy.

That feeling…. is why I do what I do. That feeling…. is what I have missed. I love turning myself inside out. I love the way it feels. Nationals is going to be ugly, and that’s how it should be. This road back is a long one and it will take more than 12 weeks.

But I am in it for the long haul.

General

Summer

I’m just a few days into summer and man oh man oh man…. it’s awesome. Switching my nursing career focus to education (I still do a few hours a month in pediatric emergency) was absolutely the right choice for me. It happened on accident. I saw an ad…. applied after the deadline…. threw a huge Hail Mary. Little did I know that would drop me into some kind of wonderful. Literally.

Make no mistake…. there are great challenges working in education. Great challenges. They are the kind of challenges that raise your bar eight ways from Sunday and make you get really comfortable with being uncomfortable. They are the kind of challenges that cause you to deeply love your students and believe in them, when they can’t believe that tomorrow will actually come.

This is my first full graduating class. We started together, and I am helping to send them off to the world. I will hereby declare this might be the best selfie I have ever captured, totally on accident. There is a lot of emotion here.

Classof2016

As we speak this photo is being printed and framed. I want to remember these kids forever and ever. However much they seem to believe they learned from me…. it’s nothing compared to what I have learned from them.

Because of them I now know where my nursing career is heading, and for the first time  I have nursing related career goals. I finish my Masters of Nursing Education next year and begin my Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Nursing education and leadership in Sept of 2017. I don’t even know which part of all that to capitalize. I hereby vow…. you are never to address me as Dr. Eggers. It’s Mary. Period. Or Miss America. NEVER EVER DR. Got that?

My first day of summer vacation I slept 20 out of 24 hours, and I am not even kidding. My family was worried “We weren’t sure when or if we should have called 911“. As the reformed queen of non sleeping…. I almost ordered myself a wooden bowl that read “World Champion of Sleep”. Hot damn it felt good to do that.

Last week I headed down to the Geneva Bicycle Center and got my first ever road bike. YEAH! I know! I have been riding for 20 years, and I have ONLY owned time trial bikes, and mountain bikes. NEVER a road bike. As you recall from last week…. I have been riding a lot but over the past 3 years very little of it has been on roads. I have excellent road skills…. I can ride cobbles, I can scoop water bottles off the ground…. but the loss of three dear friends has affected me deeply. Mike’s amazing Mom gave me the nudge and the blessing I needed to get back out there.

The awesome gang at GBC set me up on this beauty:

newroadbike

I will still race on my time trial bike…. but my outdoor training will be done on this fine sweetie. My first ride out I felt awesome. I can NOT BELIEVE HOW AWESOME A ROAD BIKE IS! I have been under some kind of rock for 20 years. It feels good to be out on the roads again. There is a lot of fear, but I am working through it with three Angels on my shoulder.

Things are feeling good now that I have clicked back into multisport mode. I love the feeling of getting into race shape. Those initial gains come quickly, so you see almost instant results. I don’t have a lot of time…. realistically not enough to get into my best shape ever. But what the hell…. I can’t wait to toe the line with the nation’s best regardless of what shape I get into. What started me in this sport 20 years ago has been rediscovered … and what I am aiming for in fall and next season has begun to already take shape (and involves no Ironman!!!!!).

Summer…. oh how I have needed you. More than I ever knew.