Archive for August, 2007

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Yipeee! Day Three!

August 31, 2007

Day three pictures available here

Welcome to day three in Hamburg Germany, and welcome to excitement. I awoke at the typical early hour ready and willing to tackle the bike course. For this time I had done my homework. I memorized every road, I drew it on the map, I created the cue sheet and taped it to the Handlebars. And at 6:20am we were off and riding. The streets were busy but the drivers were all nice. Today we would navigate correctly.

And then…. a group was ahead of us and Curt caught up to them. He signaled to me that they knew where they were going. And in no time we missed the first turn. I called ahead but no one responded. Irritation filled my body. The streets over here were too, too busy.

More riders pulled up behind us. I told them we were going the wrong way. But since Curt was sticking to them, so too had I. When they finally realized they were so off course, it was just too late to salvage the ride and get Curt home on time. By now it was 7am and traffic had picked up quite a bit. I convinced Curt to turn around, we could try cycling along the wonderful bike path that we had found uesterday.

On the way back I turne doff the Power Meter. I turned off the watch. The stop and go and insanity of being lost… just too much for now. I was losing enjoyment of just cycling.

But a few moments later I found it again. The brick path was wonderful. Nothing I could go aero on or even hit a “Sweet Spot Interval”… but a place I could spin and enjoy.

So today became a day to turn off the watches, the paces, the intervals… and today became a day to just relax and enjoy. Every time, it happens the same way. The moment I jump off of it, is the moment I touch down.

Suddenly I could feel the pace during my run this afternoon, along the same path. I admit yes I had the Garmin on, but no I didn’t look at it. I just ran and relaxed.

I don’t know how much time it took for swim 4,000 yards in the heaven that Baderland pool allows us. I just swam

Today also brought an exciting day of racing. The junior women & men raced this morning, and the Under 23 men & women raced late this afternoon. It was inspiring to watch the desire, passion and dedication on the faces of these “kids”. All races were very exciting and the weather was awful! Rain and wind and just a peek of sunshine. Yet these teams pushed on and raced their very best.

Tomorrow we ride ealry again, and then hang out for the Citizens Race called the City Man. Should be very good!

πŸ™‚ Mary

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Day 2 pictures

August 30, 2007

Apparently we were having some trouble with our Easy Share, we made a switch to Snap Fish and added a few…. enjoy!

Click here for pictures!

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Welcome to Germany, Mary!

August 30, 2007

Day two here in Germany and Mary Eggers finally decided to show up. In an unforeseen state of circumstances my alter ego “Crabass” decided to take the usually giddy Mary’s place for a day, and we can finally bid goodbye to Ms. Crabass and say Welcome PowerButt. Call it jet lag, call it what you want, it isn’t like I have not traveled through tiem before. Hawaii is much further than Germany and you even have to ride a damn goat to get there.

Day two in Hamburg Germany has been of course full of adventures! We began the day at 6am as we took on the ITU World Championship bike course! What was intended to be a smooth ride thorugh the city was anything but as I made the mistake of becoming the follower. For tomorrow I have learned and memorized the way and we shall not get lost. Did I mention yet that it is freezing and rainy here?

One notable thing about Europe is their respect for cyclists. I live in the suburbs and I can get to the country in minutes. As I ride along country roads at home with our wide shoulders I can stay off the road. Still that doesn’t stop the motorists from beeping because I might slow them from getting to church on time. Well this morning I rode thorugh the city streets in Germany, thousands upon thousands of cars passed me and not once, not once did I get beeped at, swerved at, anything! There are no shoulders, just 2 lane roads and I rode as far to the right as I could. Cars politely moved over to the other lane, never tried to share the lane, they slowed down, and not once did I hear a horn. Incredible!

My only regret thus far with cycling is that after an hour the streets get clogged. Tomorrow’s goal is to find roads where I can ride longer and harder.

The scenery along the bike course was stunning. Yes all city riding but the architecture of the buildigs and especially the bridges was intriguing, I’ve never seen buildings with such intricacy. The bridges own their own unique flair and I wondered if these were built a hundred years ago. That was the kind of architecture they had.

During our ride a group pulled up to us, and a girl announced to me “I did the Portland Triathlon.” Not sure what to say I simply replied “I did Lake Placid.” With a laugh I rode on, not certain of the etiquette here at the World Championships. Forgive me for picking on the short course athletes, becasue I mean no harm at all. Call me an Irongirl who feels a little out of place with all of these fast twitch fibers and lack of X Labs. Out of my own lonliness I am finding myself picking on them. Occassionally I see the Ironman label on another, and we share the common smile.

Now relaize if I ever switched over to short course I would completley admonish all Ironman athletes! The door swings both ways!!!!

After an amazing breakfast at out hotel Curt and I ran the run course. I have been to some world championships and this run course might be the very best. We ran along the water on a crushed stone / dirt trail. Nice and wide and lots of people on it running, walking, biking, everything. I found the perfect place for the remainder of all of my runs. I can run 12 miles here and feel comfortable.

There was an open water swim scheduled for today but as I mentioned earlier, it is wet and freezing. We headed over to Baderland once again to meet with 50 meters of bliss. I felt great in the water and while I did not pack my swim gear, I did treat myself to new paddles, a buoy and goggles at the Expo. Some girl in Europe shop for rings, I shop for gear and gear alone!

Baderland houses all kinds of athletes, from children to the elderly. I am having the most fun interacting with the U23 crowd. None of us speak one another’s language, but there is a common bond, a shared smile. These kids are part of the new generation that grew up with triathlon. Most of us dabbled in one discipline and got into triathlon later.

On tap for this evening is a dinner with our friends Tom and Eileen (Tom’s one of the fastest 60 year olds on earth) and Curt getting his feet up!

Tomorrow’s goal is to head out for longer workouts. I feel comfortabe now goign it alone! So Curt will ahve to do what he does worst, get some rest!

On a final note… I can see why my sister Amy moved to Europe (France) years ago. I am learning that Europe ahs this unique flair, this attotude of culture and history. Chaos but at the same time you see people spending time with people. I don’t see many on their phones, blackberrys or even at a cafe with a laptop. The mix of history and modern life. The accessibility of everything. The fun.

There just might have to be an Ironman trip over here someday. We will just add that to the list!

πŸ™‚ Mary Eggers

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Welcome to Day Two!

August 30, 2007

It’s the start of day two here in Germany….. here are some great pictures from day one!

πŸ™‚ Mary Eggers

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Greetings From Hambugh Germany!

August 29, 2007

Good evening from Hamburg Germany, home of the 2007 ITU Triathlon World Championships! Curt and I touched down in Germany this morning at 8am. Which for us was 2am! A long flight and small airplane gave way to a 60 minute trek through a bus station, train station and through the streets of Hamburg with a bike box and luggage!

We settled in to our beautiful hotel right in the heart of Hamburg, and resisted the overwhelming urge to sleep.

First order of buisiness was to swim. Without any difficulty we took the U1 train over to the pool. A 50 meter indoor pool with free access to athletes all weekend. We found ourselves swimming with some of the under 23 kiddos from Venesuala. They were all geared up in their ITU suits and ready to race this weekend.

While it was the worst swim of my life, 50 meters with no lane lines and hour 30 without sleep will make things interesting indeed! After our swim and crashing for a nap, we went accross the street to run. Right accross from our hotel is a neat park, almost like Central Park, and it is full of running trails and pathways.

There are billons of poeple out and about here. And while there are quite a lot of smokers, I have to give them credit where credit is due. They are out walking.

We have had some trouble communicating as our German is horrid and all the Germans speak very good English, but at times there are the words that just get mixed up. The train system is fabulous and easy and the food is outstanding. I just never know what on earth I was ordering!

The race site is simply gorgeous, and we are in for an amazing weekend for certain. We get to open water swim tomorrow and we will attempt an early morning bike.

Our greatest challange will be biking, as the streets are crowded and there are no clear places to get out to the country. But we will find it!

More to come tomorrow!

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Becoming a Runner

August 28, 2007

In the past 23 days I have run 22 times. That’s a run a day and when you miss one day because for once you drank too much… it means a double run. Now a daily run doesn’t mean 120 minutes a day at a 6 minute mile. In fact it means the opposite. Some runs are 30, some 45. But right now on EZ run days they are at a certain slow pace. We’ve begun to delve into the land of pickups, which means during a 45 minute run I will pick up to R (race) pace for 30 seconds at a time.

When you have spent your triathlon career with a stellar swim bike combo and a die on the run tradition… you have to one day accept that no amount of cycling will make you a runner. Running makes you a runner. Risky? Only if you don’t listen to your body.

So much has changed within me as I have been running frequently. My right Achilles was very tender on the way to IMLP. (Last year I tore the left). As I have been running daily the pain has subsided. I am feeling very strong. My mental attitude towards my runs has been reinvented. For once in my life I freaked out when Monday I had no run scheduled. And then I laughed. Who would have thought?

Like I keep saying… what I was doing wasn’t working, so it was time for something new. With luck this all will enable me to have a great day at IMFL. Beyond that I know my 2008 season will be a much different season than seasons past. But I am willing to take the gamble. I am willing to take that chance.

While we are in Germany Coach T cooked up a good block of training for me. Daily swimming and of course daily running. Mid length bikes with sweet spot targets. You will notice a lot of pacing going on here. It’s there for a reason.

IMFL is no joke. Some people believe it is an easier Ironman. I don’t consider 112 miles of straight pedaling to be easy. In fact I don’t consider 140.6 miles of anything to be easy. Each Ironman has its own unique flavor. Remember you are talking to the girl who has done IMLP 3 times. 10 minute break on each loop of the bike! That’s 20 minutes out of 6 hours I don’t pedal!

So take each Ironman for what it’s worth.

This morning we are off to Hamburg Germany for the ITU World Championships. On this trip I get to be the Tri Sherpa, as it’s Curt’s day to shine. I packed up both of our bikes last night without a hitch. Everything is ready to go.

We are scheduled to arrive in Hamburg Wednesday morning at 7:40am. In a sleep deprived state we hope to find the pool, get in a swim and a run before checking in to the hotel. I have everything mapped out so with luck, we won’t have to think too much!

I will have laptop on hand and hopefully will be sending out some updates. Until then.. Bon Voyage!

πŸ™‚ Mary Eggers

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The Space Bewteen

August 27, 2007

Sunday afternoon I had my longest ride since Ironman Lake Placid on tap. On the parkway with Coach T. Now Coach T is one hell of a triathlete. One hell of an Ironman. This season he’s taken a bit of a break and he’s getting himself back in shape. My days of riding in front of him are going to be VERY short lived.

This was a 3.5 hour pancake flat ride with the meat and potatoes of it being 120 minutes at tempo wattage. That’s slightly faster than 70.3 pace, I was both scared and excited for it. Anyone who knows me knows I am a climber. But Ironman Florida is anything but hills, so this is where I need to be at right now.

The first hour was an easy spin and it drove me nuts. I wanted to fly but with Coach T behind me I didn’t dare. After all, why bother getting a coach if you are going to throw it away? I ahve been guilty of that before and it hadn’t worked. So trusting the plan has been my new motto.

Finally the 60 minute mark hit and I was off, jumped right into tempo range and felt great. Mentally I broke it into four 30 minute segments. It felt good to ride hard again. It felt strange to have no hills, no 10 minute descents to rest my legs. I came to the realization that IM Florida would be all about focus, and that’s what Coach T is teaching me.

Pace and focus.

Because it is easy to ride hard. But riding alone, and riding at a certain effort level takes a certain amount of focus. I looked behind me and Coach T was not there. Like I said before my days of that happening are short lived. I can’t even revel in them because when this man gets in shape I am dead.

My mental game plan was mantras. Focus was one of the obvious ones. And then a little phrase I learned form Lisa Bentley,

“Race with heart…. Finish what you start.”

Amazing how you can repeat that over and over to yourself for over and hour. Amazing how repeating that to yourself for 120 minutes can eliminate the mind from drifting anywhere else. My mind wanted to drift, but I quickly reeled it back into it’s place. Between my ears and focused on the road.

When we were done Coach T came rolling in, smiling. He claims to have one speed… slow…. but don’t ever listen to him if he says that. Like I said I am soon dead on these rides.

I was surprised at how quickly I recovered form this effort. I was surprised that my evening run felt so good. I am surprised how good I feel today. Perhaps it is excitement about leaving for Germany tomorrow…. perhaps things are beginning to come together.

This morning I finally cut off my Ironman Lake Placid silver bracelet. It’s been a month and the celebration has ended. A new focus has begun. A focus of training, a focus of mind. A focus on the possibility.

You just never know what can happen when you focus.

πŸ™‚ Mary Eggers