Mary Eggers


The patient road back

One of my favorite quotes from Gordo goes something like this: Fitness is like a styrofoam cup, it takes a long time to turn it inside out. Do it too fast, and it will rip. You are the styrofoam cup.

There are may times in my career I have ripped that cup, sometimes it was physically and other times it was emotional. It’s ultimately what led me to a 15-month retirement from this sport to begin with. I was just plain…. ripped. I think that’s common for many athletes. Don’t be ashamed of it, don’t regret it. The lessons in there are just too valuable to feel anything but grateful for. I promise…. triple promise you that if you do step back….. if it’s meant to come back it will come back. And by stepping back I mean letting fitness GO. Like GO. I wasn’t riding my bike 20 hours a week, I was riding 3 times a week for 30 minutes. I was hiking, I was skiing. I was SUP’ing. When I am telling you that I am rebuilding…. I mean I am rebuilding an entirely new base of fitness.

It’s awesome.

After 20 years of pounding down hours, the rebuilding is humbling and so amazing all at once. I started running regularly in May and four months in I am continuing to just chip away at building mileage. You forget what it’s like to be sore after a 60-minute run, or a lifting session, but this time around I am savoring it. I never want to forget that again.

I am working with my husband Curt, as my coach this season. Honestly, I have been begging him to coach me for YEARS. As he’s grown into his coaching career and seen the results of his work, he’s finally agreed. For him it was confidence. I have nothing BUT confidence in him.

People question whether you should or should not work with your spouse as your coach. My answer to that: it depends and I think it is important to understand whether it is good for your relationship, or it isn’t. That understanding is more important than whether you should.

We’ve been married for 16 years and if you know us, you know that we truly respect one another. I have no problem handing him the reigns. I have seen first hand what he’s done with his own career and the athletes he guides, so it’s very easy for me. I don’t question anything. In fact, he’s been amazing at pulling me back. Daily he reminds me that we are still in the rebuilding phase. Get the flow back. Get the feeling back. Sleep is more important than training. I am aiming to be trained not tired (thanks for that phrase Ericka!), and to have fun. Mountain biking over the trainer when possible, and technique in the pool.

I have even given Curt control of my swim. In the history of my triathlon career, I don’t think I have ever given a coach my swim (except Masters). In the pool is where I have made some strange gains. I am purley focused on technique right now and swimming some intervals I haven’t seen in YEARS, without working. But that’s where I really should be in the pool, with my background. Historically my swimming decays when I work too hard for it yet comes around when I feel for it.

I think because of just how we are with one another, the coaching relationship works. I have no problems deferring to him. I do what he says. To me, he’s a proven athlete, coach, and most importantly human being. I don’t think I respect anyone on the planet more than him.

So thus far, it’s been incredible. I am lucky in more ways than one.

My work with InsideTracker continues, and next week I will run through the next piece of discovery from my blood work. Working with them has been a literal game changer. When you truly start to understand what is happening in your body and you do the work to repair it….. everything else falls into place. But more on that later on. I am aiming to retest in January, and I have to admit I wish I could test weekly because I feel really REALLY good and I want to see what my bloodwork has revealed. As I have mentioned I was not in bad health, as many athletes are I was in this purgatory of unwellness that many athletes find themselves in, that our medical doctors aren’t always in tune with. They are educated to treat the ill, not the unwell. This work has inspired me to go on after my Masters concludes next summer for my Post Masters FNP, because I really want to expand my ability to help athletes in this category. More on that later!

Yesterday I got to run here and stopped on a bridge for a moment to soak in this view. Moments like this give me pause, and fill me from head to toe with gratitude for what I get to do in this life. I realize the privilege (not the right) so deeply that it makes me ache.


The road back…. the true road back… it takes time. It takes a giant amount of patience. But like anything if you truly love the journey you are on if you truly want to achieve what you state your goals are, if you have an answer to “how bad do you want it”…… it will come. In time. You can’t rush the process, you have to respect the process. My self-esteem and self-worth have never been attached to podiums or times. Being around so many people for whom that is the case, I again realize my fortune.

Part of me can’t wait for 2017, but Coach reminds me that it’s already in progress. One step at a time, appreciating the journey so much more, will allow my dreams to become reality. I trust in that, always.