Mary Eggers


Home again

I have found myself at the coffee shop lately while I am home, it’s a place I can get some work done without distraction of the million people we are staying with here. The ability to work remotely during summer has it’s benefits and this coffee shop is one of them. While I was growing up it was where a local paper was published for many years, I love the history it holds. Both physical and the strange small reminder of my childhood that it holds.

It’s strange being home for an extended period of time. Typically I do day trips. It’s been a long time since I have spent any length of time here. The theme feels like reconnection. With family. With friends. Friends of childhood and friends I know from my triathlon world. Those worlds have been colliding, in a great way.

I have mixed feelings about being home again. I have the luxury of having a completely different name than I grew up with. Growing up I was called by my middle name, and now I am called by my first name. I took my husband’s last name which has kind of given me a new identity. It’s not that I want to forget who I grew up as. I had a good childhood. But we all endure things, things that are difficult. Sometimes those things leave scars and change us. They are hard at the time but they shape who we are, therefore we don’t want to lose.

I have some scars, as we all do. Many are from those tumultuous years I spent deep in the hole of my eating disorder. If you know anything about EDO’s it’s so so much more than binge and purge. I have been in recovery for 22 years….. but as with anything…. and with anything we overcome…. there are those things that remind us of what we were like at our worst. I think I spent a lot of time running away from my past, and in recent years I have run towards it. I don’t regret anything I have been through or have done, good bad and ugly. It’s part of who I am.

I have loved heading out on runs through my old town. I can’t help but smile, I love these streets. I love running into old friends and having that middle of the road catch up and hug. It’s happened each time I head out. ¬†There are people I am delighted to see. There are people I pray I avoid and I pray don’t recognize me.

On Sunday I met up with some of my triathlon buddies and spent 3 hours riding roads I grew up near but I never traversed. I wasn’t a cyclist growing up…. so I had no reason to be out there. We climbed climbs that I wished I had known about sooner. We rode through farm towns and communities…. stopped at what felt like an old fashioned corner store. It was my first group ride in 3 years, another check of the box on this journey back. In traveling those roads I felt the fitness continuing to rebuild. I love the feeling of beginning again on all levels.

In the ¬†evening I headed out for a run, saw an old friend and felt so blessed….. and I know that’s a cheesy thing to say, but it’s how I felt. I ran though the cemetery and paid a visit to a friend we lost long ago, and then I felt brave. There is a street that I avoid and I won’t run down, a painful memory always surfaces…. all these years later I still feel that feeling. That pain. I thought it was time to head down it. Halfway down, I turned back. Not ready. Not now. I think we all have those things that we just aren’t ready to do yet. We all have our battles. We all have our pain. Without the difficult times the good times would never happen and the beautiful things never appreciated.

As I sit in this second story window bar of the coffee shop and look out over town it feels strange to be home. It’s incredible how this town has changed and evolved. It’s interesting how some of us have rebuilt their homes here and how we come back and see what has changed. It’s healing in some ways and painful in other ways. I often wonder if I would ever move back here, I don’t think I would. This makes me realize how rooted I am in Rochester. It’s close enough from home, but far enough. Nonetheless it’s good to be back, running around town (literally) and exploring.






Lake Placid nourishes me every time, and it helps me find incredible clarity. If there is something I am unsure about in this world…. a trip here helps me sort it all out. The past week we have been here has done exactly that for me.

I love riding the Ironman Lake Placid course in the reverse direction, which means yes…. I ride UP the infamous 10K descent. My friend Molly and I began to do this a few years ago and once we got to the top we realized how, once we wrapped out heads around this climb…. it wasn’t bad at all.

I am not in typical Lake Placid course riding shape. I am less fit due to the break I took this year. By break let me be clear….. I was training about 8-9 hours a week. I am not a closet trainer. About a month and a half ago I decided this is the life I love to lead and began my climb “back”. Rebuilding fitness has been slow but so amazing. I am not one of these athletes who … WHOOPS….. I am “out of shape” and ran a 19 minute 5K WHOOPS! I work for every second.

To be very honest I am loving every second of this climb back to race fitness. It’s going to take a long time. I am preparing for Nationals in August. Most people train FOR Nationals, I am using Nationals as my race “back”, and it won’t be pretty. But that’s the point.

As I rode towards the descent (ascent?) yesterday I felt no dread. I felt excited anticipation. The other day I had my bike roof rack put on my new car, which felt like another piece in the “I am back” puzzle. This…. this climb…. this would be the final piece in KNOWING in my heart that I am on my way back.

As I got to the bottom in Keene I couldn’t help smiling. You can approach these comebacks in one of two ways. You can constantly compare to the athlete you were…. or you can celebrate the athlete you are becoming again, and the future you are building as that athlete. While my triathlon career has been awesome….. I celebrate what I have been able to do in this sport all the time….. I don’t find the comparison or longing for the past… I don’t find that ever creeping in. My heart is so focused on this process and what I am rebuilding, and I am so grateful it’s happening THIS way.

The climb is about 10K UP, it takes about 30 minutes. I loved every second of it. EVERY SECOND. Being that it was Monday morning, I was alone out there. Cars were sparse. The sun was shining and although it was early it was hot. The wind was blowing at me.

I still couldn’t stop smiling.

Not much dialogue went through my mind. That’s one of my greatest assets as an athlete. There are spaces between my thoughts and I can be empowered by the feeling. Don’t get me wrong, my legs felt it. They felt it in a way they haven’t before. I am typically more fit when I do this climb, but I am glad I was experiencing it like this.

On this morning the climb back was literal. The views were stunning. Every now and again I glanced down at my stem cap which reads “Mike, Heather, Gary” and I knew my three angels were with me. One pedal stroke at a time, one mile at a time, I got to the top. There were tears of happiness in my eyes. Three months ago I had no desire to ever do this ride again. Today I plotted when I would do it next. I felt trashed, I felt stronger, I felt the desire. And that’s what I was here to look for. I didn’t know if it was there, but it was.

We came here before camp and we are remaining after camp, because there are things here I need. People I need. Reconnection I am finding with my sport and with myself. There is just something about this place that has brought me back here a bunch of times annually since 2002. I have history here, and I will never forget that.

We have been having a LOT of fun here. We did a small hike to prepare us for an upcoming peak, we have been swimming, biking and running….. and SUPing. This guy SUPS next to me while I swim and the confidence I have seen in him with this board….. is more than we could have imagined. More on that, another time.


The climb back was literal yesterday. It was hard, like…. real hard. But that’s what makes me feel alive. I came here for clarity and to see if what I was looking for was out there. It was.