Mary Eggers


Grief & Gratitude

My mother in law passed away Sunday morning, peacefully and on her terms. As much as we were prepared for it…. we weren’t. I had the fortune of knowing her for nearly 20 years and I don’t care how old or sick or whatever someone is…. the end is the end of a legacy.

For some reason…. it always amazes me that the world continues to turn. I remember feeling that so deeply when Heather and Mike died. How on earth is this world turning still? Why are these cars even driving down the street…. why are the clocks even moving forward?

But they did. And they do. Time continues to March on and as I always say… it never gets better… just further away.

My colleagues convinced me to take my allotted bereavement time and as much as I fought that (of course I felt it was a sign of weakness) I conceded and I am so grateful I listened. I spent some time in the woods with my dog. With my husband and son. Not doing anything particularly exciting, but just being there and not worrying about what feels like the trivial things in life.

A few days later my doctor notified me that all of my tests had come back perfect. Eye exam. Neuro exam, everything. Seems this was another case of exhaustion… good Lord I am good at that and I am lucky… really lucky that I break down the way I do. Others develop stress fractures and really get broken.

The first thing I did was hop on my bike. Just for 30 minutes. The watts were more difficult (it’s been a month!) but it felt oh so good. Tomorrow I will swim for the first time in a month to end the longest swim break I have ever taken.

Running…. that’s been where I have been (and I DID get out on the SUP! I KNOW RIGHT! Booties and gloves and a whole different kind of wetsuit!!!!!). I joined a trail running class at one of our awesome local running stores and ran into a whole bunch of people I knew, yet have never had the chance to hang out with.

For half a second I questioned my decision to not race a triathlon in 2016. Then I came to my senses. This happened for a reason and I needed to listen. Curt is coaching my running, and I am really focused on improving this discipline this season. And SUP racing. Cycling and swimming will be in there minimally but I am sticking to my plan.

It’s been so so good to do something different. It’s been so good to change the focus. It’s been so good to look around and see faces and experience people that share my love of moving.

I am so well aware of the platform I have been fortunate to have thanks to triathlon. It’s something I will never abuse nor take for granted. In the trail running class I knew many knew who I was…. I was asked if I was leading the running groups and I so happily said “No… I am here to learn”. If nothing else I hope that I am showing someone that taking a step back can be great for stepping forward. That it’s okay to change direction. That it’s okay to take a chance.

It is not lost on me the amazing people I have gotten to experience through this sport whether it be through training or coaching or social media. Those connections enrich my life more than I can explain.

So this week has been of good news and of loss. We lost someone we so deeply love, I got a reminder of what happens to me when I burn the candle at both ends, got the gift of movement back and my decision for 2016 was confirmed. I find all of this so exciting to be honest. I don’t have to worry about proving myself to anyone or myself. I have done that. I can truly step back and see that the world is my oyster for whatever I choose to do with it.

Explore. I am choosing to explore. Through the woods, on the lakes, through the people I get to have in my life. Through grief and gratitude. Through pain and healing. Through tough love and sincerity. It’s a good place to be.

So what about you? What’s on your docket this season? Same old same old? What if you moved in a different direction? That could be Ironman or no Ironman. That could be running trails or running a marathon. That could be SUP’ing or grabbing a road bike.

It could be turning the camera around… instead of taking a photo of yourself looking in the mirror. You’d be surprised what you would find if you stepped back and saw the world as it’s meant to be seen. Actually you will be amazed.