Archive for March, 2008

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Why

March 30, 2008

I just took a look at my schedule of training for the week and it thrilled me to the bone. I am well aware to the non Ironman fanatic that this might seem a bit much. Heck, my life to most is a bit much. But you know what I long for? I long for someone to just get it. I long for someone to just take it as it is.

People believe that I am not able to rest. That I am not able to lie on the couch and watch TV, that I have a complete inability to put my feet up. That my head is swirling a thousand times a minute and I just can not stop.

I don’t even try to explain it. This is my life. This is what I do. I am an athlete. I LOVE TO TRAIN. A 2 hour run for someone who does not train as much as I do is going to sound completely insane. A 2 hour run for someone who has trained 15-20 hours per week for the better part of 10 years, it is a walk in the park.

A 2 hour run is not at mach speed. It’s at e pace. It’s like walking easy for walkers. I can do it when I am sick. I can do it when I am well. Because I am a superstar? No! Because I am accustomed to it. My body is used to it. It does not hurt to run two hours.

It used to. It used to hurt a whole heck of a lot.

But fitness is an interesting thing. It is bankable. It is progressive. It has cycles. There are peak weeks and there are recovery weeks where the body absorbs the heavy load. The people who are out there grinding out the same week, same workouts, same intensity all the time without a proper progression are the ones who get hurt, the ones who get burned out and the ones who don’t make progress.

I am a thrill seeker. I love the excitement of the gun firing. I love the energy of running into a shark infested ocean with 2000 people. I love the feeling of jumping on my bike and riding with my heart on the handlebars. It strips away the layers, it strips away my story.

It puts me face to face with me.

I love running stride by stride with someone and never saying a word.

I love in my yoga practice when I can feel the energy of the people around me. Like our breath is one breath. Like our movements are one movement. Like the joy and the pain and the ups and the downs are combined into one.

It puts me face to face with me.

It’s not a form of self sabotage. If I can’t do it, I don’t. It’s a form of therapy. I think a bout a lot during these miles. I create during these miles. I spend time with me during these miles. And I dream about a lot during these miles.

So what is my dream?

My dream is always the same. The last 30 seconds of every single race. Especially the Ironman.

In the Ironman the finish line looks packed with people in stands on either side of me. It’s my very own red carpet. I can see the hands waving, I slap hands as I run down the chute, I feel the excitement, I relish in the energy.

But each time I hear nothing. And it always happens in slow motion for me.

It is my moment of glory. The moment that answers the questions … am I fit enough? Am I strong enough? Do I believe enough in me? Can I stand on my own feet and can I completely occupy my own skin and love what I feel?

What do I have inside of me and am I willing to be torn completely apart to find out?

Do I have that much courage?

It brings to light the moments during the year of preparation…… the rides in sub zero temperatures, the runs on pure ice. The workouts that have been so hard and so hot that my cloths get strewn all over the lawn and I lay in a bathtub of ice and I love what I feel.

What do I feel? The absolute purest most vivid feeling of being alive.

I admit, sometimes people can find that by reading a book. Some people can find that by going for a walk. I can actually do that as well.

But nothing, absolutely nothing can make me feel every inch of myself like a finish line.

It’s been in the pool, on a bike, and through trails and woods and streets that I have found everything I have needed to find in my life. I have found friends. I have found enemies. I have fallen in love, I have had my heart shattered out here and then I have gotten up and done it all over again. I have found sisters and brothers that I was not born with. I have found solitude and quietness in my brain. I have dreamt big dreams and I have let go of unfulfilled ones. I have found health and I have even found illness. I have at times tried to outrun illness. And then I have found my way back again.

So this is my life. This is who I am. I am not running away from someone I wanted to be, I am not running towards someone I want to be. I am not running from a problem or running for an answer.

I am stretching out my arms holding my head back and I am screaming as loud as I can.

I know that makes me scary.

I would rather be thought of as someone who frightens people and someone who lives big and someone who is willing to risk her heart, risk her body and risk her soul. Than be thought of someone who had…. potential.

I am not sorry for that. There are those who can’t take it and they run. And there are those who can just take all of me and love me no matter what.

NO MATTER WHAT.

I can not remember how the quote goes exactly or who it is by but here is what I truly, absolutely and whole heartedly believe……

“When I die I do not wish to arrive at the gates in a pretty white dress with my hair perfect. I wish to skid in by my back wheel, bloodied and bruised to the bone screaming …… WOW……… what a ride.”

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Spinning

March 27, 2008

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning I teach a spinning class at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It’s a college course believe it or not! These kids get to choose form over 400 wellness courses that include Hip-Hop, Cardio Kick, Fencing, Beer tasting, you name it. RIT is a gorgeous campus with a gorgeous athletic facility. A pool to die for. And I get called “Professor Eggers” which I hate by the way.

Each trimester I get a new class, and each class is very different. My first trimester there class was at 9am and getting anyone to make eye contact with me was a challenge. Second trimester class changed to 11am and it was a small fun group of kids. Third trimester same time, and the kids were great….. except one. This guy drove me nuts. He hated spinning. He would say it out loud. He would complain that spinning interfered with his Frisbee training… and he was serious.

Now this trimester I have 31 of the coolest kids on the face of the earth. There are a few form previous trimesters even. They scream, they answer, they have fun. They are so enthusiastic. This morning this guy who would appear to have been some sort of high school varsity athlete in his day came up to me after class. He shook my hand, introduced himself and state dhow much he loves spinning. He was in fact an injured lacrosse player interested in getting into road riding. He loved the music, loved the class. Another guy gave me great music suggestions. They make me feel young(er). They make me feel cool.

I am cool to the college kids!!!

The best part is this….. RIT has a school for the deaf. This trimester I have five deaf students and an interpreter! It’s opened up an entirely new world for me. What’s spinning without music and how on god’s green earth does this woman take what I say and put into sign language????

She does it beautifully, and she dances around to boot.

At a time when I needed it most, I found the most amazing group of kids. Eager, full of life, full of happiness. They don’t even realize the gift they are giving me each and every single day that they show up. They climb with intensity in their eyes and fire in their hearts. They scream out loud in the middle of a 28 minute climbing set.

It’s funny because just when you need it, life will somehow find a way to give you exactly what you need. Sometimes you don’t’ realize it is what you need, you look away and then life has to get your attention by dropping a brick on your foot. Or in my case on my head.

Thus far this trimester (all 3 weeks of it) have been the medicine I have needed. This morning I brought them bagels and you would have thought I would have paid their $45,000 per year tuition they were so grateful. Maybe they don’t eat because they are paying that tuition.

So this morning we rode, we rode hard and we rode well. We rode as a team and they smiled. The ones who couldn’t hear the music, in a way I envied them the most. Truly and honestly they were in the perfect place.

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Shaken

March 22, 2008

The news of Marit’s accident has shaken me so seriously to my core. At this moment I do not care what bones of hers are broken, I am so grateful she and Elizabeth are alive. I don’t know what happened down at Camp HTFU last month but I feel like we are damn sisters.

I know Marit and I will be talking soon, I just want to catch you at a quiet time when things have settled.

A few years ago I was a “survivor” of a horrific bike accident. I used to ride with Dr. Les and the Tuesday TNT group on Tuesday mornings. I am a self admitted crappy drafter, so I’d hang back about 10-15 yards from the group. They were all experiences cyclists, some had TT bike,s some had road, so to keep things safer I just held back.

One day in may, there was a crash. I can still hear them all hitting the ground.

Les crossed wheels with someone.

Everyone was thrown all over the place. My friend Cindy was laying motionless on the ground. Out of eight I think 2 of us did not go down. Less was in a heap.

I got to Less and rolled him over, it was clear he was broken. Very clear. I held his head still and I choked back tears as Johnathan called 911. I didn’t even know where they were. As I spoke to Les I looked to Cindy who was still motionless.

I was so scared.

I am an ED nurse, but at least when you come to me you are in my environment. Out here I was terrified.

It only took 10 minutes but it felt like 80, the ambulances arrived. I don’t remember what happened after that.

Les can’t ride to this day. We swim together and I know how he misses the open road. Cindy was all right as well and she’s still riding.

Broken bones heal. Spirits heal as well.

But nothing has ever erased my memory of that day.

In the movies when people crash and fall it is in slow motion, hell there’s even music.

In real life….. it’s immediate. It’s over before it happened. What I will never be able to overcome is the sound of them all hitting the ground.

And the feeling of why I was not hurt. Why not me….. why Les? It’s a strange survivor like feeling, a feeling of guilt. You were spared but you are not sure why. The one who was injured didn’t deserve this all, but why did you deserve to be all right???? They are the better person. They have bigger guts and the most perseverance.

It’s a feeling of guilt I will never shake as I swim 2 mornings a week with my friend Les. To sometimes see him still in pain as I continue on the journey without interruption.

I think of Marit a lot during the day. Her fighting spirit, her tenacity. I also think of Elizabeth too. Because i know what that feels like. I know what it feels like to be spared. It feels like luck + guilt + destiny. Like there is a lesson to learn and we might not be sure what it is. But we are a little more careful from then on in.

Stay the course sisters. We’ll get there.

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What If?

March 18, 2008

I don’t know where these words are from. They might be a compilation from what I heard this weekend, a poem someone write that I am stealing, words that I read…. I don’t know.

But what if we stopped waiting for everything to be just right … in order to be happy?

What if we stopped waiting….

Until we had a baby.

Until our kids went to school.

Until they left for college.

Until we bought a house.

Until we paid off the house.

Until we lost 10 pounds.

Until we gained 10 pounds.

Until we bought the car.

Until we paid off the car.

Until we got married.

Until we got divorced.

Until we were 30, 35, 40, or 50.

Until we got that bike.

Until we did the Ironman.

Until we took a vacation.

Until we graduated form college.

Until we changed careers.

Until we had enough money.

Until we didn’t have enough money.

Until we found our soul mate.

Until we lost our soul mate.

Until we got promoted.

Until we got fired.

Until ….. until …… until….

What if we stopped waiting for that magical day to arrive. What if we threw all of this out, this is the story we carry around…. what if we threw this story out, put a smile on our faces and were happy today?

That’s what I have done. I stopped waiting. I did it a while ago and guess what? It is awesome.

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There’s Been An Accident

March 18, 2008

Those are the four worst words you hear or read. In triathlon, in life, anywhere. But I am sad to report there has been an accident in San Diego and our friends Elizabeth and Marit were involved. Both are okay, Marit is broken. Please click here for the story and stay tuned to Jen’s site for the latest developments.

I will say this….. Elizabeth I am grateful you are okay. I know the emotional part of an accident can be just as horrifying as the physical. Marit I am devastated for you. But I do know one thing, your tenacity in training will be what gets you through this. And know we are all her to support both of you.

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From The Heart

March 12, 2008

I had to tell one of my athletes this morning that she needs to turn off her head and begin to come from her heart. I don’t know if that advice was for her as much as it was for me, but it was something we both needed today.

I had my bike test today, my last one was January 9th. That one awarded me a good raise and I was feeling great this morning. After a good swim practice I cleared the house and got myself ready. I was feeling psyched.

My iPod was loaded with motivating tunes (I still can’t hear hours later), my Ergomo was calibrated twice, and I was feeling good. I took a few pieces of tape and I taped up Mister Ergomo, so that I would not see watts or heart rate, just elapsed time.

Today I was riding from my heart. And that I did.

I rode and I rode like a woman possessed. I dug deep into my heart and I thought of the goal finishing time I have for myself at Ironman lake Placid this year. I thought about nothing else but that number.

And I stared at a crack in the wall. I don’t think my eyes moved off of it.

When it started to hurt I pushed harder. This was the effort I should have put forth at Camp HTFU….. but then again….. maybe it wasn’t.

It all came down to this.

I definitely threw up in my mouth.

When it was done I cooled down, removed the tape and downloaded the results. I wiped my eyes. What did that say? I highlighted the test again, and again, and then again.

I just earned a twenty one watt raise.

I was calibrated and I was calibrated correctly.


An email form my athlete came through. She asked me to define how to come from the heart. I smiled. I knew she would ask me that. I told her this:

It can’t be defined. It’s a feeling you have in your heart…… I know that in your Spinning you have been able to find it, that feeling like you are riding like a woman possessed, like there is no end …. like anything put in front of you , you can ride right through. That place where there is no thinking, no analyzing, no questions, just you and the bike and that feeling in your heart. How do you find it? Let go.”

I swear to you that the moment I jump off of something is the exact moment I will touch down. Today that’s what happened for me.

And as victorious as it felt, it means nothing, unless I do something with it. It’s all great to be a champion in your garage to the sound of your iPod. Unless I can use this fitness in a race it doesn’t matter what kinds of watts I generate here.

And that, is where I learn to move from my heart, and not my head. And I learn to put it together correctly, like I did before I got stuck in my head. Stuck on numbers and just plain self.

This is about letting go. Letting go of the fear of failing, embracing the life of taking the chance, and giving Ironman Lake Placid my best ever shot. I want this fifth Ironman of mine to be the finale… for a little bit. What it will take are days like today. A lot of them strung together. Add into that an ability to let go on the day that it matters most…. and the rest will be history.

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Brighter Than Sunshine

March 11, 2008

Things are looking up in every single way. The evenings are brighter and even though there is 200 feet of snow and ice all around…. spring is coming.

My body is responding to rest and I am back to the grind. I am rested today.

In a month I begin a new schedule at work that does not involve nights, weekends or holidays and is still just 2 days per week. And that means that I get to have regular sleep on a regular basis.

The best part of everything right now is that we had quite possibly the best and most hopeful meeting about our son yesterday that we have ever had. Ever.

That’s what happens in life, it’s cyclical, it’s revolving. One down gives way to a rise, which could steady out into a flat or give way to a bit of a dip. Our emotions will follow suit but we keep looking to the horizon.

Right now my horizon says Florida and it says Gulf Coast. Which means racing, and sun and Ashley and Marit. Eight weeks and we’ll be there on the beach in the salt water and having the time of our lives.

I can’t help but feel lucky as I sit on the computrainer and get lost in LOST.

But before that we’ve got a girls weekend coming up in a few weeks. Four girls and 30K Around the Bay. The title makes it sound like it’s somewhere warm, I assure you Hamilton Ontario is not the tourist destination, but it’ll do. We’ve got a lot more HTFU’ing to do.

Including a bike test tomorrow. Me my Ergomo and the dream of a new and improved FTP.

Tomorrow I will do the reaching.