Mary Eggers

Date archives July 2017

General

Intuition

I was so glad when the clock ticked thirty minutes. I was smoked. It was my second run of the day bringing my total to 12, and 39 miles for the week. On a Sunday night no less. It’s the highest mileage I have put together in a week since 2004. Healthy mileage.

39 miles in one week might be impressive. It’s the weeks of 40 miles over time that really brings out the magic. There is honestly no easy way except to put in consistent work, and the ability to back it up week after week after week.

This isn’t a new concept, but it’s a forgotten one. Lydiard, and my favorite triathlon resource Gordo have it well documented. These days I see athletes get caught up in the quick fix, or the system that gives them the most reward in the shortest amount of time. It works for a while…… then they are on the couch.

It’s taken me M.O.N.T.H.S. to get to this place. Consistent weeks of carefully applying an aerobic load, and recovering to absorb that load. I have come a long way and I have a long way to go. But man I am loving it.

My strength before I got caught up in so.much.data. was my intuition. I learned as a swimmer that there is nothing in this world stronger than it. Nothing. No watch can teach it to me. In fact, the way to learn it, to truly learn it…. is to turn everything off.

Your body knows what easy is. It knows what hard is.

I don’t want to write a race report next season about my normalized power or my Vdot. That’s not racing. Not to me. I will be writing about the chase, the race, the nose to the grind effort that can’t be recorded. It’s that primal instinct that has guided me all my life. And man oh man do I miss it.

To build back to that though…. takes great patience. It takes turning off and tuning in. It takes the easy miles strung together day after day, week after week, month after month. I am loving every second of it.

As I am approaching my first 40-mile week in so many years, I am doing it with caution. After every run I bike 1-2 hours. I roll out my legs like it’s my job. I put in the band work on my legs. Right now everything is to build up for the marathon. And the funny thing is, the marathon isn’t of too much concern to me. I suspect I will run 4-5 hours. It’s the goal I set to help me develop a strong, injury-free, solid running base. I am not a marathoner, I am a triathlete. But this…. this is what’s helping me find my way ….. not find my way back….. but write the next chapter. There are some starting lines coming, soon.

Man I am feeling good. I am having that missing out feeling as I announce these races. Good… I tell myself. That means the fire is still there. It’s just a growl right now and over the next 10 months, we are going to fan it. Nice and slow and steady.

This process takes time. For me it will be over a year. You have to be patient. You have to be emotionally strong and free of ego. You have to allow it to develop. You can not overthink it, in fact don’t think about it at all. Just love the journey and where it is taking you.

Love the possibility again instead of the expectation. Get curious about what you can do if you do it right and you do it in such a way that you never rely on a power meter or a calculator or anything but that instinct so deep within you….. make it so you never have to rely on that ever again.

As I penciled in my paper training log my totals for the week, I smiled (and yes…. pencil and paper). Through a few words, I captured the feeling of being able to complete such a week. I reminded myself that the real magic comes when we string these together, and we are well on our way to chasing some monster goals.

But this time…… intuition leads.

General

Forward

“Good work Mom.” Luc said as we high fived. That run was hilly, it was an hour fifteen minutes. It was our longest run so far as he heads into cross country and I head towards the marathon. We don’t look at pace or even heart rate. We know aerobic, we know easy.

We have slowly built up to 30 miles per week. I am headed to forty, he is headed to whatever his coach feels is a good place for him. I don’t step on his run coach’s toes, but I can add in the support. Luc knows how to run in the heat, he knows how to add electrolytes, carry a handheld, I teach him the background stuff. He listens, he executes.

It’s awesome.

My legs have been tired as I have been adding on the cycling and running miles. I am still SUPing in replacement of swimming, but I feel my swim desire beginning to burn.

Hold off…. hold off.… I remind myself…. right now it’s all to support the marathon. I am good with that. I am even better with what I am hoping this marathon will be. For once I am unconcerned about the time. Four hours, six hours, I don’t care. I will arrive at the start and the finish with solid slowly built sustainable mileage, and I will arrive there healthy.

I am loving the process more than I ever have, and I have always loved the process. I am grateful to not be a slave to the past. Times, paces, sizes…. I don’t go back. I go forward. My career is a storied one and I have loved every piece of every moment. But I have no interest in capturing the past, reperforming the past.

My parents raised me to never be attached to paces, times, placings, size. My parents raised me with a strong self-esteem because of who I am. I am not a result. I am legit because I say I am legit. When I look back on my life I don’t see the collections of medals and plaques…. I see the faces of everyone who has become my family over these years.

That is what this marathon is about. The continued journey. The next chapter.

Over the past few months I have loved folding in the miles week after week. I have loved the feeling the cloud of graduate school left over me. It was filled with uncertainty for my athletic future and it was so darn unclear.

It’s clear now.

I am an athlete and I am unapologetically one. I don’t go to the symphony, and I am not sorry for that. Instead, I am out exploring the world on my feet and on my wheels. It’s just who I am. Uncultured in the arts but cultured in the art of nature and the art of self-discovery.

That burning desire to come toe to toe with myself … is building. Gaining momentum. Gaining power. I feel like it’s “the roll of thunder chasing the wind“. I am craving the feeling of going into that dark place…. and dark places aren’t always bad…. when the going gets tough. I want to experience being stripped down to my core, looking myself in the eye, and deriving the strength to overcome and achieve.

I am back in tune with the meditative experience the long miles brings to me. There is a place out there…. for me it happens after a while… of whatever it is I am doing. Where your heavy breathing, your heart rate and your stride settle into a beautiful rhythm. Your mind quiets and your soul opens. It’s just you out there. Even when you are with someone it’s just you out there. No music. No beeping. No alarming.

I don’t chase after people…. I chase after dreams. My dream is to keep chasing.

Today I am chasing Luc as we run. Two weeks ago I ran on his shoulder, now he’s 100 yards in front of me, chasing his own dreams.

To be out here together, doing that together, is perhaps the greatest gift of parenthood (To be fair I think everything is the greatest gift of parenthood). I don’t take this for granted. This week our routine gets fractured a bit as his cross country club begins, but we got each other this far.

Next spring I will return to the swim, bike and run. It’s a long road to get there but I will. Dreams are taking shape, the ones that make my heart flutter like it used to. Ones that have me again asking the question “What if?”. They aren’t clouded anymore, they are not uncertain.

I am an athlete. I chase dreams. I only look forward.

So here we go.