Mary Eggers

General

Game on

We’ve been here in Lake Placid for over a week putting on our final training camp, putting the finishing touches on my training for Ironman, and just chilling. I love Lake Placid if that’s not obvious. I have been here three times in the past month, I have ridden and run this course a million times. I know every pothole, every raindrop, and every wind gust.

I did my final long run in the afternoon this past Sunday with my husband riding ice out to me every 20 minutes. If somehow the earth tilts and the equator runs through Lake Placid on July 22, I am ready. I am ready for anything.

This journey back to sport has been awesome. I have loved it. When I walked away from this distance and sport a few years ago I did so with relief that it was over. I dreaded the long rides. I dreaded all of it. This time I have longed for it. I have enjoyed it. I have cherished it.

I don’t expect to be training for another Ironman for a while after this. I have some new goals to chase in some new distances. I feel that urge to chase again. I feel that urge to find the best within myself again, at shorter distances.

This whole journey back has been so much about love. Not only my love for this sport rekindled, but love all around. From friends. From strangers. From everywhere. Past performances have stayed there. Expectations have remained realistic. I am expecting to be around the 13 hour mark in this race. I have gone faster. I have gone slower. This feels great to be right here.

My self esteem and worth is not defined by a finishing time or a placing. It’s defined by me. I am legit because I declare I am legit. I understand the privilege of this more than ever today.

The Buffalo Triathlon Club community lost an amazing man last week. None of us understand it, but the rising up of beautiful people has been amazing. Joe was planning on coming to talk to my nursing students this fall, about sobriety and the role that our sport has played in his life.

As we were setting up the talk, he kept emphasizing that it wasn’t the Ironman races or the medals or the times that helped him so much. It was the relationships that came with this sport. Now, a week later I realize what he was telling me. I am listening. And I understand the message. I will never forget that again.

In that theme, I extended the final trip to Lake Placid to spend some time with Luc. He’s the wind beneath our wings and my biggest inspiration. As he’s graduating next June, things will be different next summer. I wanted to spend time, he and I, in our favorite place without the rigamarole of the Ironman atmosphere in our favorite place. Life worked out so we could come up here and experience what we love about it here.

There are some new chapters ahead for all of us and I can’t wait to get them started.

But first….. a few more days of chilling in Placid. A few more miles on the course. Some fireworks over Mirror Lake, and then it’s time to come home. We will be back in a few weeks for the big dance, and to collect a medal I have been waiting ten years to come back for.

 

General

Soul filler

There was a point where I was cruising down that descent, that I relaxed. My guard is never let down, I am always on yellow alert. But there is something about that section of road, where you are just flying (in control), with the river on your right, a mountain on your left and scenery in front of you that just makes you feel alive.

There is just something about tuning out all of the noise our lives create and tuning in. On two wheels. For six hours at a time. The friendly nod of a fellow cyclist. The smile to the fly fisherman doing their thing. The understood look of a weary hiker getting to their car after an equally long day on their trails.

It’s like this unsaid language between all of us.

That’s what has brought me back here.

My second weekend in Lake Placid in as many weeks brought what Lake Placid brings. Different adventures. I got to spend this past weekend at a camp put on by  Maria Simone and her husband Jon of No Limits Endurance Coaching. In all of my years and the many camps I have attended, this was the best one. I got to spend time around people I would have never met otherwise, and I got to gain inspiration from the eyes of people who are first timers and those with immense experience.

It was just amazing. I am arriving home with miles, with smiles and with this feeling that in 6 weeks I will have the privilege of spending 140.6 miles with some absolutely amazing people.

I have loved loved loved this process. I am where I need to be. I am a long way from where I was a year ago. I am healthy. I am handling 7 hour training days incredibly well. My fitness feels deep and I feel durable and strong. I am handling the hard days and dark moments. I am careful about riding the highs. I have no idea what race day will bring, and right now I don’t even care.

I am too busy being right here right now.

A few weeks ago I ran the Buffalo Half Marathon as a pacing test after a long ride. Everything went spot on. I hit every target and felt real good doing it. The following weekend I was in Lake Placid riding in the rain and shifting wind, relearning the course and the intricacies that go along with it. This past weekend, as I said, the same.

There is just something about the smell of pines and the Adirondacks. The people. The feeling.

There is just something about feeling fit again and not worrying or caring about who you are now compared to who you were. But being who and where you are right now.

A big theme for me this year has been…. stay close to those who feel like sunshine. It’s been the best thing I have done. From who I train with, to my social media. I snoozed, unfollowed, or muted like crazy. Now on my feeds are the people I find to be inspirational. Most of them aren’t even athletes. Social media is part of our culture and who we are, and I found the golden ticket to make it work for me. Each time I look…. I am touched by stories of perseverance, hope, love and dream following. And no bike selfies.

Perseverance, hope, love, dream following….. that feels like sunshine. Through this process of healing and find my way back to me…. it’s what is mandatory for me.

I am headed back to Lake Placid again soon, just a few more times before race day. At no other time has my life aligned like it does right now for this to happen. It likely never will again, so I will smoke it while I’ve got it.

There is such beauty, strength and healing in those mountains, in that water. I can’t tell you how many times I have stood there, in the middle of whatever I am doing. I Take a deep breath and look around. I let it all soak in.
 
I have realized that if you allow it in, it will fill your soul.