Mary Eggers

Date archives July 2017

General

Placid

There is just something about the Adirondacks. The people are laid back and conscientious. Everyone around here uses glass instead of plastic. There is a little more care when they slide you your cup of coffee across the counter.

“Have a nice day.” They say…. and they mean it. They look you in the eye and they take the pause. And when you say it back to them… you mean it too.

The cabin we are staying in has no television, like last year. We prefer it that way. We spend our day out and about. Catching up with athletes and friends, fishing, swimming, riding, running. Hiking. Anything but being trapped by a screen. To be fair, we aren’t a TV sort of family at baseline, but across the blue line, it’s like we are with our people.

Here … we share a beer or two but no one takes it to excess. You can sit down and enjoy the deep taste of a good lager and not worry about it getting crazy.

I appreciate people like that.

As always it’s good for the soul out here. To know that Luc feels it means we have done something extremely right with our parenting (or maybe really really wrong!). While we were running he pointed and said to me “Mom, look at the mountains!” and that made me smile. I want him to always appreciate that. I want him to appreciate that life is more than the silly things we are tempted to fill it with.

That’s why we come here.

I wrote the above while we were up in Lake Placid last week, and forgot about it.  Before I found it I hit the submit button and registered for my 9th Ironman, my first in 5 years.

And I almost threw up.

When I read the above words, it brought me back. To a lot of things. Placid is just so damn special, and hitting submit was scary. It hasn’t felt scary since my first one. IMLP is part party, part reunion, and part race. I have been away from it long enough to overcome the way I took it over the edge. I have been away from it long enough to forget much of it, and I never want to forget what this damn distance teaches me.

As I was there last week I felt this feeling, it was deep within my soul. I thought it would pass and it didn’t. And I had to follow it because that’s what I do.

I wrestle with doing it all over again. It feels so thrilling yet feels so selfish. I turned to a friend and confessed that I should be doing something more important than Ironman, like taking care of children in Haiti.

You care about children in Haiti.  You just have chosen to give your time and gifts to people closer to home.  Which, in turn empowers the people closer to home to be a positive force in the lives around them and so on…. eventually the ripple makes landfall in Haiti.  Look you can go clean brush burns in Haiti but your talents have the greatest impact just the way you’re using them.  

You’re not struggling with some sense of guilt that you’ll be dedicating time to IM for yourself are you? 

You’ll inspire 20 people to move, 40 people to contemplate moving and 60 people to aspire to just do more.  In turn, 120 lives will affect  120 more…. before you know it 1000’s have chosen to be a better version of themselves and all but that first 20 will think to thank you.  

All because you decided to be “selfish” and do another IM. 

All of these things are important to think about and I like to think we’re lucky we do.

He’s right. We discussed my why and I had a few and one of my biggest ones was that I just f*cking love this race when I am not totally over the edge about it.

Because I can get that way.

I don’t give a sh*t about Kona, that’s not why I am toeing the line again. I have never accepted my Kona slots, Kona is where I surf. Placid is my jam, this is where my heart is. I don’t give a rats ass about time. I care about the journey and the experience. I took that away from myself during the last few.

My last Placid finish was 2007. In 2008 I was carried off the course in an ambulance (that was an expensive ride!). I went on to complete Ironmans in Florida and Canada, as I swore this one off. That was back in the day of the 3,000 person mass start.

As we watched the race last week Luc extended his pinky finger out to me and said “Promise me you will do this race next year”. I promised. For the record he remembers none of my previous 8 races, even though I carried him across the finish line of most of them!

If you have never been there, this will all seem like insanity. Maybe it is. But it’s what I love. I have been spending time out on my bike and I love it again. I have been slowly building towards this marathon and I love it again. Easy runs are feeling easy. My health is strong. My heart feels full and I …… geez I just don’t know.

Next July is a long ways away. I have adventures and my return to competition coming, starting in September. A lot can happen between now and then, so focusing on keeping things one day at a time, is how you prepare for an Ironman.

This isn’t my first rodeo. It’s my 9th. I am not chasing my past self, I am creating my future. I am an athlete, and this is what I do. There’s no denying that.

There is just something about it up there, that draws me in and allows me to learn, to trust, to have faith, and to believe. It’s magic.

“Your heart is pure, trust that when it wants something, it ain’t just selfish impulse” 

Thank you for totally getting me, my friend.

I think I just needed permission to follow my heart.

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.