Archive for December, 2006

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Weekly Check-up

December 30, 2006

First recovery week under the belt, and things feel well. A total of 13 hours of easy didn’t feel quite that easy as I am recovering from pneumonia. Fortunately I seem to acquire pneumonia once a year (pediatric emergency nurse…), that gives me the “bragging rights” (aka stupidity) to be able to train through it. Lightly of course, no interval stuff here…. okay except in the pool. I have convinced myself that as long as I get an equal amount of rest, then training is permissible.

The pneumonia has resolved, I am breathing easy, down to a few coughs a day, and feeling much better. There is always that strange sense of victory, kind of like when you drink an obscene amount of liquor as a college student…. you know it is horrid for you but you live to tell….. that’s the way I finished the week.

Cresting the New Year I am looking forward to a slower work schedule, as I drop to one day a week in the pediatric emergency dept. This allows me to focus on my boys, the Ironman year, my business and my yoga teaching. And trust me that’s an empty plate for me.

A quick review of systems here:

Swim: Felt terrific in the pool despite being sick. Got to train in between Heidi Grimm and Kelly Bergkessel this week, so that it in itself is awesome. Got an extra swim in this week also πŸ™‚ Good for a recovery week.

Bike: oddly low mileage for me on the bike, again that’s what recovery is for. I am utilizing the spinning bike and the trainer on which I can measure slope, cadence, speed, and wattage. I haven’t paid much attention to watts this week.

Run: Just 3 runs this week, 5 miles and 2 X 10 miles. All easy pace. I am savoring the grey winter days that I missed when I was injured last year. The cold crisp air and the snow is finally here.

Yoga: Made it to 3 classes this week, and almost have my forearm balance away from the wall.

Strength: Finally widdled my functional strength training program down to the exercises I love and that work within the timeframe.

Nutrition: Eating well, aiming for 5 fruits and vegetables per day. I began a course of pro biotics this week, recommend to me by my naturopath. I will check weight next week, but all feels well.

Next week brings specific workouts, and an increase to 15 hours. My Thursday 3:30 ride on the trainer is something I actually am looking forward to. A year ago I was in the Boot, and now I am not. That is progress.

So Happy New Year to all of you, I hope it brings with it everything you dream of! But for now, time for a quick nap before I hop on the bike.

πŸ™‚ Mary Eggers

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Breathe

December 29, 2006

“Inhale lift…. exhale fold forward……. inhale to standing……. exhale fold forward……… inhale lift halfway……. exhale vinyasa……”

She teaches us to breath cues, we have all done the poses and the sequence thousands of times, but nothing can match or replace the sound, synergy and energy of 40 people moving and breathing together.

I stand in between Abby and Angelo tonight, and it is if the three of us are dancing to the same song, our asanas move together, our energy is blended. It’s a connection that does not require words, or explanation. It is a connection that just takes place within four walls, and on top of a yoga mat.

Within my practice I was taken to the edge. I know with progress there is pain. With joy there is grief. With happiness there is sorrow. With each push there is a pull. Every action has some sort of reaction. Maybe it lies within our physical self, and maybe it lies within our metaphysical being. For me tonight it happened in both places. Yet other Thursday nights I feel like there is a cork blocking my connectivity to myself and to my fellow students.

The heat was terrific, ninety and climbing. The sweat was dripping and without the music it sounded like rain was falling.

“The winds of grace are always blowing…….. you just have to raise your sail….”

Tonight I raised my sail. I floated from bakasana into headstand back into bakasana, I felt myself float from there into chattarunga like I was a feather. My forearm balance felt effortless, like nothing in the world could weigh me down.

And as we all laid together in Savasana, forty sweat drenched bodies lying on the floor, in silence breathing. The hamster wheels in our minds stopped. It was as if we were lying in the eye of the storm where there was stillness, clarity, and presence. Nowhere but here in a world where we are used to being everywhere but here.

Equanimity in it’s most true and raw form.

Breathe.

πŸ™‚ Mary Eggers

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Walk through the fire my friends…….

December 28, 2006

Every one’s a buzz with new year’s resolutions. You see it everywhere you go, reinvent yourself, discover a brand new you, out with the old in with the new……..

How about we change our thinking. Why are we always trying to change who we are, forget what we are about, become someone else. Is it because we are that unhappy with who we are right here and right now?

Everything we need, everything we want to be, everything we need to get there… we already have. We don’t need to develop inner strength, we have it. We don’t need to develop confidence, we already have it. They are hidden.

If you have seen the movie Shrek, then remember back to the scene where Shrek explains to Donkey, that Ogres are like onions. They have a lot of layers.

Well so do we.

How about this year instead of trying to change who we are, let’s uncover who we are. Peel back the layers, push back the clouds that hide the sun, clear the mist. Your most beautiful strong self has always been there. Through our life we have somehow learned the art of squashing our own light. We have somehow put clouds in the way of our sun. The way out of this is not to walk away from it, it is to walk INTO it. Step into the fire.

“If you want to heal, you’ve got to feel”

How many times have you been through something in your life where you want to be numbed from it, don’t‘ want to think about it, you want to run from it? Think of how your true healing happened. It happened when you stood in front of it, and bravely walked through it. You felt the pain, you felt the burn, and guess what. You lived, you survived, you came out the other side. And you came out of it better, stronger, healed.

So whatever is standing in your way as we ring in this new year, make the resolution to walk through it, rather than away from it. Walk through the clouds and you will find the sun. That light has been shining all along, it never has dimmed. It just has been clouded.

So get your shine on friends, and let this be the year that you shine brightly and brilliantly!

πŸ™‚ Mary Eggers

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Reconnecting

December 27, 2006

I had such a lucky morning today. Beginning with Masters Practice, which begins at 5:45am. My friends Kelly Bergkessel and Heidi Grimm were in town and thus in the pool with me. The Stud Lanes were loaded to the brim, and we had a terrific workout. It was awesome to see how much Heidi has improved in her swimming.

Later on we gathered at the Bagel Bin for breakfast, and I got the chance to catch up with Heidi and share some good conversation with Kelly and some of the other team members.

So much happens in the pool that doesn’t need to be communicated. for 6 years I have shared some intense moments with these people, in the form of intervals. Pushing each other to our personal best, laughing with each other, attempting insane drills, you realize how connected you become with one another. But then you realize how little you know about them above water.

That’s why taking the time to reconnect over a coffee and a bagel is so wonderful. Knowing more about your team mate, other than their favorite suit, brings it home for me. I know they are pushing to hit 1:10 for a 100 freestyle because they are training for an event, or preparing for a business presentation. That feeling of success carries with them all day long.

As 2006 draws to a close, take the time to reconnect. With old friends and with new friends. Those people you might not notice otherwise, often they have an amazing story. Those people you hurt with, laugh with, they are more than just people in your lane. You are part of a community, and that is irreplaceable.

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All Systems Go

December 26, 2006

The preparation phase of training has officially been completed. The past four weeks I have been rejoined with my coach Doug Bush http://endurancefactor.com/, and all has been going well. My volume has ranged from 9-13 hours, I am feeling good, and best of all my Achilles tendon feels terrific. I have not been able to let go of my “Achilles tendon fear”, but I hope that will come soon.

We are taking somewhat of a recovery week this week, of just about 12 hours, and then with the beginning of the new year we dive into some very specific training. Please remember how long it has been since I have been in really specific training. As I stumbled through injury last year it was “ride by the seat of my pants” training. Just getting to each starting line was in itself the victory.

Along with a return to training I have set some specific goals for myself. I think that many times when we set goals we need to say them out loud. For me that makes it real, holds me accountable, and then whether I hit the exact goal or not, I am not afraid to put myself out there.

So here is the 2007 list of goals:

My A Goals are:

1. I had my body fat tested in Florida, I’d like to get down below 10% (I am currently 12%)
2. Gulf Coast 1/2 Ironman: Sub 5 hours and nail nutrition
3. Eagleman 1/2 Ironman: Sub 4:50 and nail nutrition
4. Ironman Lake Placid (best time here is 11:23) goal time is below 11:45)
5. Ironman Florida: Sub 11 hours

My B Goals are:

1. Capture as many local titles as I can (depending on how many local races I do! HA HA!)
2. 1/2 Marathon time sub 1:40

The structure of my week essentially remains the same. I swim 2-3 times, bike 4-5 times, and run 4-5 times. I strength train using functional strength programs 2 times a week and I practice yoga 2 times a week. This will be the first year I can have a concrete training schedule, I am very used to the shuffle.

Most importantly in my training is the space between my ears. Emotionally, mentally I am in a very good place. I feel clear, I feel focused, I feel ready. That is for me the most important aspect of any program. Walk through this training with doubt and fear and it will surface on race day.

On race day I am completely unaware of my competition. Frankly I don’t care who is in the rack with me. Afterwards I do look through results as I admire the faster competitors, definitely. But when I am racking my bike and donning my wetsuit, I feel like I am in the eye of the Storm. The world can swirl around me but I am here, right now, with my task at hand. If that means I win, I win. If that means I get my butt kicked, then I get kicked. The only thing I can control is how I react to what happens to ME in the race. I can not always control pace, weather, drafting, etc. But I can control what I do with those circumstances.

I am looking forward to, and craving a few weeks cresting 15 hours per week. I am looking forward to early morning rides on the trainer, I am looking forward to trudging through snow. It all means one thing…… I am on my way back.

πŸ™‚ Mary Eggers

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Treasure

December 26, 2006

“Good morning Mommy.” Luc pried my eyes open at the sleep in hour of 8am. To me waking at 8am is like normal people sleeping in until noon. But I have been sick the past few days with bronchitis, self diagnosed and treated of course. I am after all a nurse and everyone knows we don’t GO to the doctor when we are sick! Antibiotics? Heck no, I have to have a SERIOUS infection! HA HA!

“Mommy we have to play with my train!” he cheered pulling my hand and pulling me out of bed.

Ah yes, Christmas was a success. We spent Christmas at my parents house about an hour away. Their house has become Grand Central Station for the holidays and I love it. My sister and her fiance were home from France, and my aunt was in from Pittsburgh. During the day random people stop by, and there is an overload of cheer and good food.

I was very good on the cheer and food, I even dragged Amy and Yann out for a run on Christmas Eve and a long run on Christmas Day.

A magical moment happened at 3am. Luc stole into our room and crawled into bed between us.

“Daddy.” He said waking my husband.

Hmmmmm?” Curt moaned.

“Daddy have you been good?” Asked Luc.

“Of course I have.” Curt replied. I giggled inside. As Luc settled himself back into slumber, he softly began to sing to himself .

“Better watch out, better not cry……..”

Nothing can replace the magic in our son’s eyes as he descended the stairs on Christmas morning. Santa had set up a train for him, all he had been asking for was the Polar Express. He screamed in delight as he realized he HAD in fact been good, and that Santa in fact HAD bought him his train!

Since we have arrived home I think the train had traveled 3,000 miles. The Polar Express has captured all of our hearts. It represents the magic of Christmas, the possibilities of what may lie ahead, and it brings us together. Under the Christmas tree we hover, watching it go round and round and round……….

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Dirt Girl

December 21, 2006

Three hours, 6 crashes, no broken bones, log hopping, tree hugging, switchback mastering, hill descending, and I have finally earned the title of “Mountain biker”. It has been a long time coming and a long time earned, and while I still have a long way to go, I came come far according to my husband.

If you have not been to Dyer Road Mountain Bike Park http://victormtb.com/ then take off your “road mind” and get over there.

How lucky can I be on a Sunny Thursday in December, just a few days form Christmas, with temps in the 50s? Spending three exhilirating hours with my husband traversing trails I may not have done alone.

At one point I was riding down a steep incline and realized that my front brakes were failing, I looked at a bunch of trees and then before I knew it I was stuck. Front tire down, rear tire up, leaning head first into a bunch of small trees. Midair almost! Thrilling!

Five minutes later my bar end hooked a tree as I flew over the handlebars and landed on my back. Luckily my shoes came unclipped.

The trick for me is to let go of my road mind. The crashes will happen, yet they are not going to happen at 25 mph, along a busy road. They happen at 11mph at most, and the soft roots around cushion your fall. I learned how to jump big logs, I learned how to grab onto a tree if I thought I was not going to make the turn. And gasp, I didn’t die, my arm did not get ripped off, and I found myself screaming in joy as I descended hills that at the top…… I could not see the bottom of because it seemed to be concave.

What a wonderful way to spend the morning with your spouse, and a wonderful way to spend a three hour ride. When given the choice between computrainer and sunshine, I will pick sunshine every day. Allowing myself to let go of wattage, cadence and heart rate to breathe fresh air and spend time in the quiet silence of nature…… it helps restore and recharge me in ways I can not describe.

So now I am a bona fide mountain biker, or so they say. Hooray! Here’s to new adventures!

πŸ™‚ Mary Eggers