Mary Eggers

General

Run 716 Race Report

Sunday morning I jumped into Run 716 in Buffalo. It is a first year 15K put on by Score This !!!! that began at the Flying Bison Brewery downtown, and it was amazing. My friend Jamie texted me the day before with an “I’ll do it if you do it”.

I thought for a moment. It’s been almost a year since I have raced, and while I am building really well towards this marathon, I am not in race shape. But I am at the point where a recovery week entails a long run of 9 miles…. so I am well on my way (I am heading towards a fall marathon). Plus, it was the chance to run with my longtime friend. I also wanted to know if I was REALLY okay with having a race result that was an easy run. I always say I am not attached to numbers and placings….. but am I? There was one way to find out.

“I am in.” I told him. Bonus: it was to benefit the Food Bank of Westen New York. A race put on by Score This !!!, for a great cause, on a great course with a great friend…. how could I refuse that?

I felt excited to put a number on. I felt excited to realize that a 9-mile long run is a recovery week. As I said it’s been nearly a year since I pinned a number on (aside from the Buffalo Marathon relay).

We did a 10 minute warm up, caught up with friends and then…. the race was on! I ran with Jamie who is coming back from injury, and we ran a nice easy steady pace. It was the perfect morning. Running and great conversation. I’d much prefer running 15K and catching up, then sitting at a bar and doing it over a beer. This is just my scene, my jam.

I felt awesome the whole time. I am at the point where easy running feels easy again. This time around it’s not “wow I can’t believe I ran this far” … it’s …. “it feels good to be back to this, but this time so much healthier.” Mentally and physically healthier.

I have always been the athlete who refuses to live in angst about fitness, performances, or lackthereof. I have always been the athlete who loves to experience joy and life at it’s fullest. Now dont’ get me wrong, there are some amazing athletes who THRIVE on being angry. I like to use that with certain athletes. Piss them off I say, they run amazing!

But me…. I thrive on happiness. Every race picture I have ever had taken, I am smiling. I smiled the whole way on Sunday. Even when I am in the hardest effort of my life, I smile. Coaches have told me it means I am not working hard enough, but even when I am drooling blood, I will smile. I just learned to stop allowing external forces tell me how I feel, how hard I am or am not working, and I bring it from within.

For eight miles, I wasn’t working that hard. To be at that point fitness wise…. that was a HUGE VICTORY. It has taken me months and months to build to this point. I started with averaging 8 miles a week, and now I am up to nearly 40. I started at the beginning again and I have carefully and conservatively built my fitness. I have been through too much to rip myself apart. This is based on intuition, and extreme listening to my body.

I designed the plan, and Curt consults me along the way.

Now at mile 8, I had that feeling. I almost cried. That feeling of I think I can pick this up a bit, should we test the legs, how many people can I pass in this final mile? It got me so excited. So I went. The thought of you haven’t done ANY speedwork never entered my mind. I just ran. I found that feeling of nudging up right next to the red line. I stayed just a bit behind it, but I FELT IT. It felt GOOD.

Run 716 was an awesome checkpoint for how things were coming along. Our pace would put us at a 4:30-4:40 marathon (theoretically) if we ran the marathon tomorrow. My long run is up to 13 and I have hit 40-mile weeks. I hit 40, brought it back a little bit, and I am going to brush it again this week. I am running 5-6 days a week. I am riding a TON, with some 200-mile weeks in there, and I am finally back in the pool. The 6-month break was exactly what I needed.

I am down ten pounds. I am working a really amazing program to improve my body composition. I literally eat whatever I want, no kidding. No pills, powders, shakes, products. Real food, any food I want. Including brownies. And bread. I have learned so much, and when I am done working it, I will share. With my disordered eating history, it’s truly the most freeing program I have ever done. So stay tuned.

In a few weeks, I am embarking on a 200-mile bike trip along the Erie Canal. Panniers and all. I can’t freaking wait.

This new chapter has been amazing. I am loving the process and loving the progress. I am being careful and conservative and taking the proper time to build this foundation. I know what overtraining feels like and it took me a long time, many doctor visits and a boatload of bloodwork to even diagnose it. It took a lot of stepping back, walking, and life changes to crawl out of it. I know there is a better way to build an Ironman than that. It’s called intuition and experience.

I would highly recommend this race. The race crew, volunteers, Police…… I felt like there were just as many of them as there were athletes. Just when I think Score This !!! has hit their peak, they come along with a race like this and smash that thought. No one puts on races like they do. No one. PERIOD.

Thanks for the below photo Diane Sardes! Please note that our feet are off the ground. That might be a first in my running HISTORY!!!

run716

Thanks Jamie for talking me into this event, and for letting me run with you!

General

Placid

There is just something about the Adirondacks. The people are laid back and conscientious. Everyone around here uses glass instead of plastic. There is a little more care when they slide you your cup of coffee across the counter.

“Have a nice day.” They say…. and they mean it. They look you in the eye and they take the pause. And when you say it back to them… you mean it too.

The cabin we are staying in has no television, like last year. We prefer it that way. We spend our day out and about. Catching up with athletes and friends, fishing, swimming, riding, running. Hiking. Anything but being trapped by a screen. To be fair, we aren’t a TV sort of family at baseline, but across the blue line, it’s like we are with our people.

Here … we share a beer or two but no one takes it to excess. You can sit down and enjoy the deep taste of a good lager and not worry about it getting crazy.

I appreciate people like that.

As always it’s good for the soul out here. To know that Luc feels it means we have done something extremely right with our parenting (or maybe really really wrong!). While we were running he pointed and said to me “Mom, look at the mountains!” and that made me smile. I want him to always appreciate that. I want him to appreciate that life is more than the silly things we are tempted to fill it with.

That’s why we come here.

I wrote the above while we were up in Lake Placid last week, and forgot about it.  Before I found it I hit the submit button and registered for my 9th Ironman, my first in 5 years.

And I almost threw up.

When I read the above words, it brought me back. To a lot of things. Placid is just so damn special, and hitting submit was scary. It hasn’t felt scary since my first one. IMLP is part party, part reunion, and part race. I have been away from it long enough to overcome the way I took it over the edge. I have been away from it long enough to forget much of it, and I never want to forget what this damn distance teaches me.

As I was there last week I felt this feeling, it was deep within my soul. I thought it would pass and it didn’t. And I had to follow it because that’s what I do.

I wrestle with doing it all over again. It feels so thrilling yet feels so selfish. I turned to a friend and confessed that I should be doing something more important than Ironman, like taking care of children in Haiti.

You care about children in Haiti.  You just have chosen to give your time and gifts to people closer to home.  Which, in turn empowers the people closer to home to be a positive force in the lives around them and so on…. eventually the ripple makes landfall in Haiti.  Look you can go clean brush burns in Haiti but your talents have the greatest impact just the way you’re using them.  

You’re not struggling with some sense of guilt that you’ll be dedicating time to IM for yourself are you? 

You’ll inspire 20 people to move, 40 people to contemplate moving and 60 people to aspire to just do more.  In turn, 120 lives will affect  120 more…. before you know it 1000’s have chosen to be a better version of themselves and all but that first 20 will think to thank you.  

All because you decided to be “selfish” and do another IM. 

All of these things are important to think about and I like to think we’re lucky we do.

He’s right. We discussed my why and I had a few and one of my biggest ones was that I just f*cking love this race when I am not totally over the edge about it.

Because I can get that way.

I don’t give a sh*t about Kona, that’s not why I am toeing the line again. I have never accepted my Kona slots, Kona is where I surf. Placid is my jam, this is where my heart is. I don’t give a rats ass about time. I care about the journey and the experience. I took that away from myself during the last few.

My last Placid finish was 2007. In 2008 I was carried off the course in an ambulance (that was an expensive ride!). I went on to complete Ironmans in Florida and Canada, as I swore this one off. That was back in the day of the 3,000 person mass start.

As we watched the race last week Luc extended his pinky finger out to me and said “Promise me you will do this race next year”. I promised. For the record he remembers none of my previous 8 races, even though I carried him across the finish line of most of them!

If you have never been there, this will all seem like insanity. Maybe it is. But it’s what I love. I have been spending time out on my bike and I love it again. I have been slowly building towards this marathon and I love it again. Easy runs are feeling easy. My health is strong. My heart feels full and I …… geez I just don’t know.

Next July is a long ways away. I have adventures and my return to competition coming, starting in September. A lot can happen between now and then, so focusing on keeping things one day at a time, is how you prepare for an Ironman.

This isn’t my first rodeo. It’s my 9th. I am not chasing my past self, I am creating my future. I am an athlete, and this is what I do. There’s no denying that.

There is just something about it up there, that draws me in and allows me to learn, to trust, to have faith, and to believe. It’s magic.

“Your heart is pure, trust that when it wants something, it ain’t just selfish impulse” 

Thank you for totally getting me, my friend.

I think I just needed permission to follow my heart.