Mary Eggers

General

Fill your cup

A few months ago I needed to refill my cup …as I told you about last week. During that time It was definitely refilled, but it took some major shifting. Shifting in and out of habits, people, everything. I took a really good look at who was in my life and what came from that relationship. I took a really good look at the conversations I was having. I took a really good look at what I was reading, how I was deriving my inspiration, and how I was coming to view the world, my life, and my sport.

I backed away from people that were negative and toxic. Immediately I could feel the weight lift from my shoulders. I had some people in there who just thrived off tearing others down. That is not who I am or need to be around.

I stopped reading triathlon blogs and cleaned up my social media so that I didn’t read everyone’s workout logs. I am a coach, I read workout logs all day long. I don’t care if you ran 800 6 minute miles in your bare feet. I get it, you are a hero, the world knows. What I do love to see on social media…. I love people. I love your daily inspirations, I love your photos of amazing places, families, I love stories that grab my heart. As an experiment I reorganized feeds and follows and all that to make each time I log in…. an experience of connecting, learning, and becoming inspired. People get so funny about social media. Here is a secret: design it to fill you up with great stories and things you find inspirational….. and it will.

I found blogs that tell me a story. I don’t care about how many watts you held for an Ironman or what your nutrition was.  I want to know what drives you from your core. What your why is. I want to know what it’s like to stand on the top of a mountain and see the sun rise, from YOUR point of view.

I have a handful of coaches that I follow. Some are in triathlon, others are not. Principles of training are well documented and not really new, but I like the reminders, the insights and the philosophy of certain ones. Sarcasm and negativity…. are just not me. it’s not how I learn. There are a lot of coaches, especially in triathlon who engage in online bullying, intimidation, and just being mean. I don’t learn from 140 or less words meant to demean and one-up. I learn from straightforward teachers who are positive. Period. I have found a great batch and I draw from their insight and experiences. They fill me up.

I commute 40 min to work each day, through back country roads that afford me views of sunrises, farm country, and a sky that goes on forever. I knew that was a prime opportunity to be taught. So for 40 min each day I began to listen to podcasts, interviews, and books. I began with triathon related ones, and quickly grew bored. There was nothing new in them for me. I found several that just seemed to rip other athletes and coaches apart … and that’s not something I find interesting.

I have read, and read and read. Books. Articles. You name it. I am not all that interested in learning how to unleash my inner champion as I am learning about people, what makes them tick and how they overcame things in their lives.

Here are a few of the podcasts / books / articles I love:

Rich Roll Podcast: His guests range from spoken word poets, to ultra runners, to sports psychologists to recovering alcoholics. I learn something new each time I listen. Here is a really good one.

Tim Howard, The Keeper: I listened to this on audio book, and loved it. It’s the story of Tim Howard our goalie (keeper) for our national soccer team. He struggles with OCD and Tourettes and makes history on the soccer field.

The Mind Sport Institute: I have learned more about mindfulness as it applies to sport here than anywhere else. Click here.

Bear Grylis: A Survival Guide for life: I was surprised by this audiobook. This guy has been through some tough situations and in the thick of horrible, he never gives up. I didn’t’ think id’ like a Hollywood book, but I did.

Philip Yancey: The Jesus I Never Knew: I am not super religious, I don’t subscribe to one particular way of worship. I am very faith based, and I found this book to be surprisingly insightful.

Serial: Trendy or not, it’s good.

I also got back into meditating. Through my years of teaching yoga my meditation happened in my practice, in my teaching. Towards the end of my yoga teaching career in June… I was even too empty to feel the effects. I was just going through the motions.

I stepped back onto the mat as a student.

I also found a great phone app of all things, called Headspace. For me meditation isn’t and has never been sitting on a cushion, floating on a cloud and burning incense. In reality…. meditation is just about being in the present moment. That’s it. It’s that simple. When I am free of clutter and my head is clear I perform my best in life, in career and in sport. When I can fully engage I am at my best. Meditation helps me dot hat. Headspace helps me organize it.

I began working with a coach and team that is by far the most positive group of people I have ever met. I feel that… if i was with them and my arm just……fell off….. they would find the way to view it as the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Relentlessly positive, beyond supportive, they grab you by your whole self and put everything into allowing you to shine super, freaking bright. They do it without being false or misleading. It’s simple: live life and believe. It’s an entire new refreshing beautiful world to me.

Those are some of the things I have done to help refill my cup. There are more, but we each have to figure out our own way. What aligns with me may not align with you. Understand what you are looking for. Determine what is and isn’t’ necessary in your life on all fronts…. and then grab it like it’s everything you have.

The past few months have been amazing. I have learned, grown, distanced, gotten closer. Right now my cup feels pretty damn good.

General

True gifts

This year I got the greatest Christmas gift. My sister in law donated to Teens Living with Cancer and Madi’s Medical Fund. I did the same for her, so it turned out to also be the greatest gift I have ever given.

I asked for that because truly…. I have everything I could possibly need. If you know me at all you know I have so much love for these two entities.

Two years ago I raced Lance Armstrong and Craig Alexander. That year we somehow raised $100K for Teens Living With Cancer. Of all my wins and podiums and accolades this is my greatest life achievement. I took a lot of heat for racing Armstrong, but I really didn’t care. I would sell my soul to the devil himself to get the necessary funding for these kids or someone I love.

What makes me sad however is that two years later, the question I get asked all of the time is where I stand on the Lance Armstrong situation. Not one, not one person has ever asked what we did with what we raised, and no one has ever asked…. how are the teens in this photo?

lance and kids 1

Some are continuing remission. Some are married. Some are in college. Some are no longer with us.

During the time since this photo was taken some have been fighting tooth and nail to defeat cancer. What have you been up to in the past two years?

The money went directly into the programs that Teens Living With Cancer runs. A direct result of this event was that a chapter of Teens Living with Cancer was opened in Buffalo in partnership with Roswell Park Cancer Institute. (We are all based in Rochester, this event happened in Buffalo and was linked to Roswell).

Recently TLC partnered up with the Wilmont Cancer Center here in Rochester also.

I don’t mind the questions. It’s part of what you sign up for when you dare to do something like this. You become prepared to take the good with the bad. Your skin has to be thick and you have to remember the reason why you are doing this in the first place. Together we all did something that made a difference, and continues to make a difference today.

I am proud of that. I am proud of how we all came together for that. It was nuts, wasn’t it?

Madi’s Medical Fund is a gofundme campaign started for a beautiful ten year old girl named Madi. She is the daughter of my high school friend Tom Miller. We graduated OPHS in 1992 and he was always one of the good guys. Throughout the tumultuous years of high school cliques and growing pains he’s the guy who was truly….. and I don’t say this to say this….. he was truly kind to everyone. High School was rocky for me at best, I struggled with an eating disorder and some other issues.

Tom didn’t need to know details but he would always…… always be kind.

Last month his daughter was diagnosed with not one malignant brain tumors, but two. The campaign was started to help off set the medical expenses that insurance doesn’t cover. It blows my damn mind that a guy like Tom, a TEACHER, who pays into the system, pays his taxes, does the right thing, still needs help.

This is beautiful Madi. She’s ten years old. She plays soccer. As Tom describes her: “Madi has had an amazing spirit and positive attitude as she begins this battle toward recovery.  I never thought I could be so proud, or inspired, by my little girl.  Through great challenges we are learning a lot about ourselves!

madi

The class of 92 has been doing what we can to help. The goal is $16K, and in a few short weeks $11K has been raised. I know the generosity of people out there. I have felt it firsthand. When we raised 100K we did it on a whim. NO strategy, no fancy marketing gimmicks. We just asked and when you could, you donated. $1 here, $2 there. Together we really blew the roof off.

We can raise $5k more, can’t we?????

Please consider donating a few bucks. We don’t need to empty 401K’s to help one another out. We just need to come together. I don’t have a celebrity to race against this time. I don’t have the devil himself to sell my soul to (because believe me I would if it would help this family). I don’t have anything fancy.

I just have you. And you just have me.

I have come to learn that in this life we have to rely on one another. There is no superman swooping down for the save. There is no magic spell that will make this all go away. There is us. That’s all. But if we come together, as we have done before….. we can achieve great things.

There is nothing that I opened on Christmas Day that compares to generosity. There is no present that compares to the gift of seeing Madi and the Teens get something that I take for granted. Nothing.

Today…. what if we drive by the 50% off sign. Today…. what if we give instead of receive? When we get to those pearly white gates…… those video games and those boots and those iPads aren’t coming with us. But we are, God willing.

So please donate. Click here to do so and subscribe to Tom’s updates. He writes with beautiful honesty. The least we can do is be here for him.

Tom, you let Madi know that we love her, and we’ve always got her back.