Archive for July, 2007

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Ironman Lake Placid Race Report…. Repost!

July 31, 2007
Holy cow! Thanks to all of you who sent the kindest emails… even today. I can’t believe how many kind people are out there in blog land… so by popular request I am reposting my Lake Placid Race Report. Thank you so very much!
An Ironman means different things to different people. It is an event that unites many of us, creates a family, represents something bigger than ourselves…. pulls us apart in order to put us back together. We each have our own personal Ironman. It might be starting a business, a family. It might be climbing a mountain, riding across the country. It does not have to be the Ironman to find that one thing that makes you keep going in life, in sport, in anything. The one thing that drives you to find out who you really are, to see how deeply you can dig, and again to be pulled apart in order to be put back together again.

I am delighted to announce that for the third year in a row the Train-This Ironman Team has had a 100% finish rate. Each one of our athletes came across the finish line, including myself. For the third time in my life I can proudly claim to have finished an Ironman. My race, detailed below was perhaps the greatest victory I have earned in a few years. I finished in 11 hours and 37 minutes, 12th in my age group out of 127. My biggest goal coming into this race was to be under 12 hours. My day was terrific.

SWIM 58:44I was aiming for a sub 60 minute swim and I had to fight for this one. By fight I mean that the swim was an absolute dogfight. Remember we had 2,500 people starting at the same time and I seeded myself in the front, a little wide to the right. Surrounded by white caps, which were all men, I knew I was in for something.

An Ironman swim is an experience. You will never truly find a groove because it is 58 minutes of flailing, beating, and wrestling. In fact I had to at times remind myself that this was an Ironman swim and not a wrestling match.

The hardest part was the beginning and then the end. The guys were clawing, hitting and pulling on legs, bodies. At 58 minutes I stood up and smiled.

T1There are many exciting parts to an Ironman and the first is the wetsuit strip. After nearly an hour of swimming you exit the water to 50 people who are waiting to rip your wetsuit off. You peel the top down, sit down and they yank it off. After handing it to you, you embark on a 1/4 mile run to transition, which is so lined with people your heart rate launches into zone 5 automatically.

Into the changing tent you have 2 volunteers who kindly help you don your bike gear. My transition went nice and smooth and as I made the run to the bike, another kind volunteer was waiting with my bike all ready to go.

Bike

We could not have asked for a more perfect day here in Lake Placid. Every time I have ever ridden this course it has been in wind, rain, hail… but not today. Today the wind was calm and the sun was shining. The temperatures were cool and I was feeling happy.

A lot goes through your mind on a 6 hour bike ride. My goal on this ride was to keep my wattage between 140-160, and my heart rate no higher than zone 3, with a cadence of no lower than 70. It’s a hilly course with plenty of room to rest.

There is a 10K descent into Keane which I rode on Wednesday in the pouring rain. So today would be easy. I lightly feathered the brakes and hit a new record speed of 55 miles per hour. I had good clean roads, everyone was respectful of one another, and everything was going along fine.

Nutritionally things were all right. Towards the end of the first loop my stomach felt sore. I was using Infinit Nutrition and I can’t say that it was terrific. I was able to pee four times so I knew things were passing through me, but I did have to make a switch to gel and water towards the end. It left me in a slight calorie hole but I did not feel worried.

Another exciting part of this race is the last climb up a hill that someone named “Pappa Bear”. You can see it from the top of “Mamma Bear” and it is lined with people. I knew that Rich Clark would be sitting at the top with his megaphone and the Train-This gang would be there. I got so excited as I rode up it, the cheers were incredible and so spirit lifting.

The top of Pappa Bear enters you through the town of Lake Placid, where you feel like a Tour De France cyclist. Crowds screaming wildly. I was up far enough in the field that I was able to enjoy a solo ride through town. My big secret on getting people to cheer for you….. smile. Smile and they will scream like crazy. And that’s what they did.

The second loop was a bit windier but I felt very in control of my ride. I knew that a 6 hour ride would leave me fresh for the marathon, and I knew I had to stay on top of nutrition. My stomach still ached but I could still pee so I kept getting in as much as I could.

And I rode my personal best of 5:58. I came off the bike feeling great.

T2

Once you dismount the bike in the Ironman a volunteer kindly grabs your wheels and takes your ride away. I ran through the coral, grabbed my bike to run bag and headed into the changing tent.

“Do you have any scissors?” I asked a volunteer.

“Yes, why.” She replied.

“Can you cut my ponytail off?” I asked her.

“WHAT?” She cried.

“My hair is way to long.” I told her as I changed. “I am completely okay with it. Just cut off the ponytail, I will have it fixed tomorrow.”

“You are making an irrational decision.” Another cried.

“I can do it then!” I told then, “Can I have the scissors?”

They wouldn’t give them to me! But it was true my ponytail was hanging all over my back and my hair is way to long for an Ironman. But they would not budge to I bunned it up, threw on my visor and headed out for the marathon.

The Marathon

I wore my Garmin GPS watch, which told me current pace. I had to really hold back through the first 5 miles as I was running 7:30 pace when I was not looking. I was aiming for a 4:00 marathon and by mile 5 I was able to slow it down enough. I knew if I could hold a 4:00 marathon pace I would be in good form to break the eleven hour barrier.

I did feel the marathon legs set in through mile 2 but I was not worried. I knew this was going to be a difficult one. It’s been 4 years since I have done the Ironman and I was ready for anything.

My first loop went exactly as planned. I got 13 mile at 2:00 and I was happy. I walked each aid station and took Gatorade, Coke and water. By mile 9 I did feel like the caloric deficit I had endured on the bike was catching up to me. I tried to be very careful.

When I approached the Hill I again found Rich Clark and the Train-This gang. Anyone who has ever done the Lake Placid Ironman knows who I am talking about. I am the lucky one to be able to call them my family. Once they see you at the bottom of the hill you begin to hear a siren and then screaming and for the next 5 minutes the entire world is cheering you on. O knew where I was, I knew how I felt and I was psyched. On my way down the hill my son Luc got on the mega phone with a loud “GO MOMMY GO!” and that was gold. Curt was there too and I swear it was like seeing heaven itself. When the people you love most are near you…… you feel invincible.

Still there was an underlying feeling of dizziness was looming.

At mile 15 things became strange. It was hot but I got cold. I felt dizzy and thought I’d puke. I started to walk and then Doug Bush, my coach caught up to me. He’s a superior Ironman athlete and I knew I was in front of him. He caught me and began to walk with me. I reported my symptoms and he handed me 3 X 350 salt tablets with the instruction to walk it off.

The next 4 miles were rough. I alternated between feeling sleepy, nauseous, and cranky. My hamstrings tightened. I wanted to stop, I wanted to DNF. I wanted to lie down. Things got ugly. I pulled to the side of the road to stretch out my hamstrings several times. Twice I think 2 of my athletes saw me and I quickly pulled it together. I did not want them to see me weak.

As I approached mile 20 I realized that even though I had walked about 30 minutes total of this marathon since mile 16….. I knew if I just ran the last 6 I could break a 4:30 marathon, which would still bring me in under eleven hours and 40 minutes. And that was glorious.

So I started to talk to myself. Okay Mary….. you want this bad streak to be over. All the bad races, all the puking, all the falling apart. You can put an end to it right now, right here. Let’s put these demons behind us right now. The only one who can do this is you.

And at that moment I saw a can of salt, the big kind you refill your salt holder with. I picked it up and I poured it into my mouth. I tipped my head back and filled my whole mouth with salt, until I felt it hit my front teeth. Then I gulped down three cups of water. I knew this brilliant move would either make or break the day and I had to take the chance.

“That was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen!” a guy next to me cried at my stunt. “You are awesome!” I smiled knowing this would either save me or make me hurl.

5 minutes later I was running 8:45 miles and I was closing in on the finish. I still walked each aid station and made sure to take in enough nutrition. I felt so bad that I told myself to run to mile 24 and walk the final 2 miles home.

The only problem with that plan was that mile 24 was at the hill where Rich was. So I stared up the hill with a purpose and I walk the hill no matter what. So here I was planning on walking the final 2. And at the mile 24 marker the Train-This spectator team was standing and that was my moment of truth.

If you want this streak to truly be over Mary, you will stop your whining and you will run. You are 15 minutes from the finish line and you will run. Your legs feel fine now F$%#& RUN!

The gang standing there joked later that at that moment I wiped my mouth and put my game face on and started to run. And that’s right. I started to run and I ran those final 2, the inner talk now was out loud.

As I hit mile 25 I knew I was under 11:40 and I started to cry.

The Finish

For many of us an Ironman is seeing just how deeply you can dig. You find your edge, you take yourself to the brink and I had done that today. It’d had been four years since my last finish and I still was not confident, that the 2003 finish was not just luck. But here I was four years later close to the same time in different circumstances. I knew it right then and there that Ironman and I can live happily together. I knew that my favorite place to be is in Lake Placid New York. And I knew I was coming home.

Realizing what I had fought through, realizing I had walked so much of the run and was still pulling off a great time… knowing that this time when I came to the brink, I brought myself back.

The Ironman has a way of making you find the deepest part of you and making it then become the strongest.

I came down the hill and there was the Olympic oval. I could hear the crowd and I knew Luc was waiting to make the finish line run with me.

And there he was.

I began to cry again as I grabbed his hand and we ran together. His hand in mine. I saw the clock….. eleven hours and 37 minutes. I had done it. More tears. And then…….

The final 25 yards own the finishing chute for me are slow. Whenever I come down this chute it is so incredibly loud that I hear nothing. It is so bright but I see one thing, the clock. Luc and I ran together and I realized all that I had come through and done for the past year was realized today. No longer was I broken. I had a great day and I had a great race and now the moment was here.

Because he is almost 7 he’s getting so darn big…. I knew this would be the last time I carried Luc across the finish line. Next time he will be too big! Somehow I picked him up and wrapped my arms around him and we broke the tape together.

For the third time in my life I got to hear Mike Riley scream…..

“Mary Eggers YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

Then the whole world came crashing down on me. I fell to my knees in a heap of tears of happiness, pain, exhilaration, everything. My Ironman passion renewed. My belief in myself as an athlete revitalized…. it was as if in this moment of physical collapse everything opened up again. I could feel clearly, see clearly the goal. In fact clarity itself existed in a time when it has not been clear.

Eleven hours and thirty seven minutes.

The aftermath

Things are crazy after an Ironman. Finding family, connecting with people, good luck. The Train-This gang were all dressed in Train-This lime green T shirts so it made that easy for me. I grabbed my dry clothe bag and stumbled into a tent. After I sat down I realized I was in the men’s changing tent.

“Anyone mind if I change in here too?” I asked

“NOPE!” cried another guy. Good I thought cuz I ain’t leaving. Believe me by the time you hit this stage of the race you have peed on yourself so much and been through hell and back, that nakedness means nothing

I found Tom and gang on the side of the road, where I handed Tom my gear bags. Curt and Luc had gone back to the house to sleep, thank goodness. Nothing is worse than bringing kids to the Ironman, it lasts forever!

Tom asked me if I wanted anything to eat. All they had at the post race party were cookies and pizza, which after 11 hours of drinking Gatorade just wasn’t appealing.

So Tom got me just what I was craving…… a hot dog, a bag of Doritos and a quart of chocolate milk. Heaven.

Then one by one the Train-This gang started coming through the finish line. Each one had their won day out there and I tell you it was amazing to see them all out there. To be able to smile and share a high five, a word of encouragement. Again I say it was like heaven.

Today, which is Monday….. Luc and I moved into a hotel right in Lake Placid to enjoy a few days of R&R before heading home. Curt went home on Monday, as he’s preparing for Duathlon Nationals next weekend. My body hurts. It hurts a lot. I was told “That’s what you get for going sub 12!” and I am delighted to wear this badge of soreness.

Luc and I strolled around downtown Lake Placid today, I of course wearing my finisher’s shirt. Everyone in town does. You see the shirt with the familiar slow Ironman walk. Your eyes meet and you share a smile. Nothing has to be said but so much is just known.

At this point you are family. Whether you have met or not you are part of the Ironman family. And it’s a beautiful thing.

As I allow the recovery to begin, I am excited to prepare for another round at the Lake Placid Ironman… in 2008. I am going to again rethink Ironman Florida…. as I really want to get the proper recovery in before a solid training for IMLP 08. I will likely not race in August and then finish up the season with some sprint races; again the proper recovery is key here.

In 2008 I want to arrive at the starting line of IMLP fitter, wiser and stronger. I know that an eleven hour Ironman is possible, even on the Lake Placid course. I know that I can dig and I know that the well runs deep.

And as I am finishing this report on Tuesday morning, from the balcony of the Wood Lake Inn, I am surrounded by the mountains. There is not place like Lake Placid and I hope you get to come here some day. I can not imagine doing an Ironman anywhere else. I don’t know if it is because of the people or the surroundings but this is my home.

Thanks so much for reading, I will have another post in a day or so for all of the people I need to thank, and this report is long enough already.

Onto recovery…….

:-)Mary Eggers

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Oppertunity

July 31, 2007

Mirror Lake on Thursday morning before IMLP 2007

This morning I met Kevin, Kitima and Jeremy for my first swim since Ironman. Funny how things get put into perspective. I did a first bike ride, now a first swim. I almost did a first run last night but decided on a first walk. Welcome to week 2 of Ironman recovery, things are going much better than anticipated.

I fully expected the world to crash down on me Monday… when the Ironman glory wore off, the soreness subsided and things settled down. Rather than the crash, I am experiencing excitement. You see I thought the Ironman Florida plan began yesterday and I got ready.

“ONE MORE WEEK.” Coach Trevor instructed me. I felt like Christmas Day was suddenly moved back a week. And then I saw the plan. I will admit to my eyes popping out and feeling a little frightened.

Tuesday August 14th I have a 5 K time trial. At the track. With Coach. For some reason I had visions of myself running through the woods, dreaming of Ironman glory….. lattes on long rides….. the easy life continuing.

Not so.

If I want a sub eleven performance, apparently I am going to have to work for it. And it made me smile as I looked things through. 5K time trial on a track (maybe Coach will count for me…)… time trial on the parkway on the bike to reestablish my FTP. Running focus, big bike weeks…. oh yes it is Christmas Day!

Which meant that this morning the easy life took priority. The work will be here soon enough. With the gang it took me 60 minutes to swim 30 in a beautiful lake surrounded by beautiful scenery. In what other life could it be 6:30am, as you are in the lake listening to Kitima’s impressions of her mother? In what other life could you appreciate the beauty and the friendships around you, with laughter erupting from the middle of the lake? In what other life could you appreciate this?

Many other lives actually. You see, our lives are what we create them to be. There are mountaintops and there are valleys. While we stand on the middle ground we must learn to appreciate both sides of the spectrum. The hard times, the great times. And this morning was a great time. I felt so grateful for the friendships, for the abilities, and for the opportunities.

The work will be here soon enough, and there won’t always be time for the Ironman. Bigger things will be there, smaller things will be there. But for now, I am wrapping myself around this moment, and loving every second of it.

Thanks for stopping by.

🙂 Mary Eggers

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Focus

July 29, 2007

Seven days ago I was in the middle of Ironman Lake Placid. The pain has disappeared. The heart remains. The desire is burning to begin again with a focused plan for Ironman Florida. I can’t help but wonder… where is the burnout I felt after 2003? The desire not to step course in an Ironman again? Why just seven days later am I dreaming of it again?

I guess that’s what 140.6 does for you.

Curt feels grief for me because he believes I “dropped it” at Lake Placid. I feel elation because I realized I have it. I tasted sub eleven hours… and I liked what I tasted. In fact, I loved what I tasted.

Ironman Florida has the possibility of sub eleven. It also has the ability to be a 14 hour day. Each race has it’s own double edged sword. But the difference here is that I am letting go of doubt and I am embracing possibility.

I am armed with the right tools. I am ready to take the necessary steps. Coach Trevor and I discussed the remaining races that I was planning on, and we cut things significantly.

I had to think about my priority. Is it a good day at IMFL or is it to repeat as champ of the Finger Lakes Tri?

Ironman Florida. I want it. I know if the stars align my day could be a good one.

So the plan wins. My goals win. I win. I am going to finally take this chance on myself and see what happens.

while I am aching to get back to the grind… I am following instructions and being patient. Luc and I took a 40 minute mountain bike ride on the canal together and it felt like heaven.

This week will be full of yoga and open water swimming. And I’d better relish in it because what is coming…. is going to make me go deep. Dark evenings and computrainer rides, or rides in the cold… back to the pool…..

But it all could amount to one thing. And it might not. But still… it might.

Thanks for stopping by,

🙂 Mary Eggers

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Take On Me

July 28, 2007

I can be that annoying little friend that you know. The one who wants to be your best pal, and you want them to be, you really do. It’s a door you are almost afraid to open because you might be afraid of what is inside. It’s safer to remain on the outside, better yet, it’s better to remain 100 miles away. Smile and wave hello.

I wonder sometimes if that’s what poor Trevor thinks of me. Or maybe he is tired of watching me flop. Or I have aggravated him so much with my suicidal athletic plans that he’s finally thrown in the towel.

Trevor has finally agreed to coach me. I screamed YIPEEEEEEEE! And Curt wished Trevor the best of luck, with a wicked laugh and a loud sigh.

As long as I can remember I have thrived working with a coach. Every one of my swim coaches told me that I was an easy athlete to coach. My swim coach Lorie Rick still confirms that. Somehow the perception grew that I was nuts. And while I find comfort in being called nuts (it makes the people you don’t want around you…. stay away.) I have to say it unfortunately is not true. Feel free to keep thinking I am though…… there is nothing more fun than hearing somene say “Yes, that’s Mary Eggers…. she’s a bit nuts though…”

But left to my own devices I will commit athletic suicide even though I know better.

I am quite a coachable athlete. I like structure. I love being told what to do. I don’t bark back. I fill in my log. I am honest when something goes wrong and I am honest when something goes right. I don’t have a lot of questions. I won’t bother you with frantic phone calls and emails. I follow directions. I change what you think I should change. I work hard when I am told to, I rest when I am told to. I give feedback when you ask me to.

I expect what I pay for. If you are training me with power don’t give me a base building ride in zone II. I know my athlete’s power zones and I expect you to know mine.

Trevor knows me and he knows my abilities as an athlete. He knows what it is like to struggle with weight. The man’s lost over 100 pounds. The same things that cause overeating are the ones that cause you to make yourself puke. Eating disorders are similar no matter which way you go.

I think my debacles infuriate him because he knows I am better than that. I know it too. I don’t always know how to pull it out of myself but I know that he can figure it out. As I showed him my ideas for Ironman Florida I imagine smoke coming from his ears. He gets power, he gets pacing (the man’s an incredible athlete if you don’t know that…. sub 11 hour Ironman), and I think he could make himself a pretty penny because of his understanding of athletes.

From Trevor I hope to learn how to be a better athlete, and in turn a better coach.

He and his wife are Canadian….. what more can I say?

So welcome aboard the crazy ship Trevor, here’s handing the reigns over to you. I hope to do you proud, I hope to become your marquee athlete. I hope I can help grow your role as a coach.

And so my faithful and wonderful friends… should you see Coach Trevor on the street or at a race, make sure you give him a hug. He deserves at least that for taking on the named crazy girl in town. We’ll make sure there is a room at the proverbial inn in town, the one with the padded white walls. Because this will either make you proud…. or make you nuts as well.

Thanks for stopping by.

🙂 Mary Eggers

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The Week In Pictures

July 27, 2007

The Eggers’ family vacation began at the Musselman ITU Pro Race, continued through Alexandria Bay (saw the Singer Castle) and then onto Lake Placid. Here is our week in pictures, all 84 of them. Our trip concluded at Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole!

Click
here for the album!
🙂 Mary

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How to Properly Recover From the Ironman

July 27, 2007

There are several rules that one should follow when recovering from an Ironman. These rules need to be carefully followed, especially if you have another Iornman in 12 weeks. The first rule of thumb is to get a proper post race meal. You want to replace those precious lost calories, carbohydrates and electrolytes.

To do that you need to find one of your trusty teammates. As you limp in horrible pain they will inevitably ask you if they can get you anything, anything at all.

Don’t be afraid to grant their request. After all you just finished an Ironman. So go ahead, ask them to get you the post race meal of all meals;

Hot Dog, Cool Ranch Doritos and a quart of Chocolate Milk. Smile when eating. This is the key.

Secondly you need an assistant. A 1o year old child is a good one. They are obedient and they are impressed with your Ironman. Have them walk you to the bathroom, to the bike pickup, help you crawl up a hill. Anything.

Have a friend drive you back to your cottage and try very hard not to fall asleep as you give them the directions. But know if you give the wrong directions it can’t be helped, you just did the Ironman.

When you decide that just 10 hours after finishing Ironman #3 you need to sign up for Ironman #5, make sure you have a team of people to meet you in the line. When you forget your chair remind your friends that you just did the Ironman and need to sit. Their sad legs can stand. Make sure they are agile so they can assist you in watching your six year old child, who was more than delighted to wake up at 5am to sign up for another Ironman. It build character. Remind your child that the Moms in his kindergarten class who don’t do this are really the strange ones. Remind him this is what all normal people do. Someday if he is a good boy, he can do it too.

On day one of post Ironman recovery make sure you eat great food. This means ice cream, hot dogs and definitely French fries. You just did the Iornman and your body is asking for it. All Ironman finishers should grant their bodies wishes at this point.

When you move into a new hotel act happy that they gave you a room on the second floor, only accessible by stairs. Tell the owner that it’s okay, you just finished the Ironman and thought you could use a good workout.

Then when you climb those stairs smile and look like you are walking that way on purpose.

When people ask you if you finished the Ironman, politely tell them your name is Belinda Granger and you won the Ironman.

On recovery day two when you decide to visit the North Pole (this is real…) plan accordingly as it is nestled in the side of a mountain. So that means hills. Tell your child you will work through the rides from the top down. Convince him via sugary foods to sit down after the third trip through the rides, for 5 minutes.

When walking through lake Placid make sure you wear your finisher’s shirt and keep the silver bracelet on. Stop at Ben and Jerry’s as often as possible. Exaggerate the staggered walk, make it look good to the regular people. After all you just did the Ironman and they will be happy to tell you they can’t even drive that far!

Upon returning to teach your yoga class announce that while you will instruct them to touch their toes you will not be able to….. you just did an Ironman.

Allow your domestic excuses to change from “I can’t do that I am resting for the Ironman…” To “I can’t empty the dishwasher… I am resting from the Ironman.”

Other helpful tips;

The first week it is okay to eat ice cream before 11am.

You may wear your finisher’s shirt every single day for 7 days. Please wash it 2 times at least.

You may scout our Ironman jewelry and pay $200+ for an Ironman pendant.

You may not drink Gatorade Endurance formula for at least one week.

Hot dogs are fair game.

And don’t forget the most important rule….. day one you can wear the medal. Day two the medal goes on the rear view mirror, day three it goes on the counter, day four it goes to its display case.

But it is all right however to wake up in the middle of the night, go and get it, bring it back to bed with you and just hold it. After all you just went to the brink and came back, you just found out more about yourself then you ever knew existed, and you just became the strongest person on earth.

And whatever you do dear Ironman Finisher… do not… and I repeat DO NOT open your Ironman gear bags inside of the house.

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What If

July 26, 2007

I am rendering my decision on Ironman Florida just 3 days after Ironman Lake Placid.

I am in.

I thought a lot about it through the past 3 days and I know what I am afraid of. In Lake Placid I am fortunate to enjoy so much crowd support. I know that in Florida Curt, Luc, Jennifer, Tony and Andy will be the only people I know.

The thought of going so far virtually alone is downright frightening to me. But then I thought …
what if….

What if I can go to the brink again like I did on Sunday.

What if I can in fact go to the brink and come back… alone.

What is I can break eleven hours.

What if I don’t?

What if I prepared myself to be on that course alone all day. With no ascents or descents to rest.

What if I prepared myself to withstand the heat.

What if I gave myself the chance to succeed.

What if I gave myself the chance to fail.

What if I just…. believed?

I will do all of that. And I will train alone. I will ride and run …. alone. I will prepare myself for 11 hours of solitude. I will find that place deep within me that wants it bad enough. I will get used to solitude. I will grasp the fact that when I get on my bike I will not see civilization or a hill for a good 5 and a half hours. And I will go to the brink again if I have to.

Until you are really pulled apart like an Ironman will pull you…. you are not truly sure what you are made of. Disclaimer; remember we each have our own thing. For me it is the Ironman. For you, perhaps something different.

I know on November 4th the cheering crowds I get to enjoy at Lake Placid will not exist. My hometown friends will be watching via the Internet. I will just have to tune in within myself to hear them scream.

I am no longer afraid. I am willing to take the chance. Because just maybe, maybe I can nail it.

🙂 Mary Eggers