Archive for July, 2010


Wilson Wet and Wild Triathlon 2010 race report

July 31, 2010

I have just heard that my issue of Triathlon Plus is now available in Barnes and Noble. Get em while they are hot. I think they are like nine bucks!

I was supposed to race Steelhead today. But I was not able to fit a 9 hour drive into 3 hours and race day check in was not allowed. I needed to race, Curt is racing in Ithaca on Sunday….. so Wilson Wet and Wild became the race to do. I have won this race a bunch of times in it’s old venue and it has a beautifully disproportionate bike to run… meaning 20 mile bike / 3.5 mile run (typically in a sprint race the bike is 12 and the run is 3.1). I knew the advertised 600 yard swim would be long….. so I was all set to go.

This race is put on by WNY triathlon and I will be very honest, I worried about this race. Some of their races have had the reputation of having an unsafe bike course. Personally I have not experienced this in their races but I had heard that in this race in 2009 it was an issue. I knew the bike course, and I know that it is also my responsibility to be safe out there. In no race, not even Ironman is it ever safe to bomb through an intersection without looking. NEVER. While a safe bike course is the responsibility of the race director, they can’t guarantee it 100%.

A few years back I was in the bike portion of a race, and a guy and I were having a ton of fun cat and mousing back and forth. About 1/4 mile from transition I backed off a bit and began to spin and get my feet out of my shoes. He happened into the intersection first, which not only had a red light, but about 8 police officers protecting it.

A car ran the red light and through the barricade to cross the intersection, hitting this guy, who luckily “only”  broke his arm. In all honesty before this incident I bombed through intersections as races like it was my right. Never again. And I haven’t lost a race because of it.

I’m also a second chance kind of a girl. Many people have given me second chances and I choose to believe the good side of people. I wanted to give this race another chance from all I’d heard.

Surprised that I would be allowed to sign up race day, I began to make my way to Wilson NY at 5am this morning. Half way there I realized by roof rack was hanging off my car, with my bike on it!!!!! Luckily I fixed it and then only had to stop about 5 more times to keep fixing it before I arrived in the quaint little beach town of Wilson NY.

I went completely old school for this race. I am a member of the QT2 Elite Triathlon Team, and we wear our uniforms for races which consists of a tri top and tri shorts. I hate tri shorts of any kind, especially during a sprint race. I like to wear a Speedo. I hate anything on my legs. So the wonderful ladies as Splish made me up a QT2 speedo suit with my name on the butt.


It’s been so long since I have raced a sprint, and a local sprint I felt unprepared. No X lab on the back, one water bottle, nothing special. I had my garmin just to record distance and pace. No HRM. I thought about wearing my aero helmet but I hate it. Scrap that!

It was awesome to step back into the local scene. I saw people I haven’t seen in ages. It was like a reunion!

The water was perfect, 76 degrees. warming up I noticed several high school female swimmers. HOORAY! I thought to myself…. I planned on tucking myself right in the middle of them and catching a nice draft! There isn’t a lot of strategery in these sprint races except pick a good line and a good draft and go!

The swim was actually about 875 yards. A 600 yard swim would take me less then 8 minutes.

It was uneventful, the girls gave me a pretty good draft and as we rounded the final buoy into shore I realized I was just getting started. So much long course racing was definitely showing up! come on, one more loop! 9:03  minutes??? That’s all????

We ran onto the beach and ascended about 30 stairs, hopped into transition and got on my bike. This was a 20 mile bike and as usual I knew if i was going to win it’d be on the bike. Especially this one. So I tucked in, kept my cadence at 90, and rode strong. No one passed me.

After a quick T2 I headed out for the run. I tucked my garmin in my sportsbra. This was not a day to be looking at pace but a day to get accurate distance measurements so later I could see what I held or didn’t hold. I was curious as to where my running was after the injury. What injury? Everything felt great. I have been racing in the K Swiss american flag shoes and I love them.

My run was awesome the first 1/2 mile. Then we hit the trail! Oh man. I am not a good trail runner!!! I did well picking up my feet and holding my running form, but I am not good at off road!!!!!! I only fell twice, literally landing flat on my face both times!!!!!!!!! There was a turnaround and I did see the ladies were not that far behind me! So it became a game of staying out of their sight. I knew I wasn’t going to run something record-breaking, but if I could stay out of their sight I’d be a leg up.

I was glad I had brought my garmin because the run was about 3.5. I ended up running high 7’s which was slower than I would have liked, but it was trail and I fell so when I look at the files it all actually looks good.

I was able to hang on and come home with the win. There were some pretty amazing ladies very close behind me and it was an incredible honor to race with Marit (now I know two marits!) and to see so many old friends.

The volunteers, road marshalls, and the police allowed this to be a beautifully safe day. The race management was excellent and treated everyone like a rock star.

It felt good. It’s been a  while. My comeback is coming along. I can’t thank my coach …. Jesse Korpelnicki…. enough for coaching me for the past 1+ years. When I signed on I understood this would be a process, I understood I needed to be patient, I understood there were many things I needed to do. There still are. This is turning out to be a solid year and while that’s all awesome, I know I have a lot more to go. I shouldn’t call this a comeback because I am not aiming to return to the athlete I used to be…. I am growing into the athlete that I have always been. And I couldn’t do it without the Wizard and the entire QT2 Team. I also couldn’t do it without the Train-This team. They know why.

And I could do nothing without my husband and son. The true wind beneath my wings. They know that I know that they know. That we know.

No, this wasn’t a world championship, but it was what I needed. Low key, old school, just a girl and her bike with a little swim and a little run. Grassroots, simple….. relaxed. I never take these races for granted or the incredible people I get to compete with when I come home!

Thank you all for the many kind words, facebook comments and well wishes. Whenever we all race I feel like we support each other as a community, a family. That’s why I fell in love with this sport, it’s all of you who give so much to one another that’s so addicting. Thank you for sharing it with me as well.

We are going to be adding as many sprint races as we can to the schedule. I want to race where my little heart leads me. And right now it’s leading me back home to Canada, where it all began. 

 I need to hurt more on the run and I need to red line more often. I was happy with my stats….. we’ve just come off a run injury and have done nothing but base since April. Let the good times roll.


Racing and tubular changin!

July 31, 2010

I get to race today! Hip Hip Hooray! Truthfully I feel like I have been racing, but I haven’t done much of it this year. That little injury got in the way. Boo. I did forget to tell you that I am not racing Steelhead. I overlooked a big scheduling snafu and needed to make an eight hour drive in 4 hours and they would not allow any race day check in.

So that went out the window.

I am racing a small race over in Buffalo this morning, a little sprint. It makes me realize how much I don’t race locally these days, something I am correcting….. right now! Fill me up with some racing this month! I hope!

So until the finish line, I have a special little treat for you today!

I love tubular tires. Why? E.A.S.Y. Why carry spare tubes and wrestle with tire irons when you can rip off a tubular? They are also a lot sturdier (in my opinion!), and in a pinch you can ride them flat. When I won the Cazenovia tri in 05 (or was it 06)…. I rode 12 miles of that course on a Zipp 404 rim.

The debate continues over whether clinchers or tubulars are better.I like tubulars, but head on over to Slowtwitch to see an ongoing debate. My answer to that is simple: the fastest tire is the one you like, and are comfortable with changing.

Some cyclists may find my gluing and changing tire methods a bit ghetto. I find that my style is easy and works.  I learned through listening to others, being taught by my husband…. and by trial and error.

You will find your own style, tire, method of changing and gluing it. Here is a little video of how I glue these babies on!


The Wizard = 2…. Eggers = zero

July 30, 2010

It’s not bad enough the Wizard beat me in the Mirror Lake Swim challenge. 57 minutes and it all came down to 15 damn seconds. It’s bad because rumor has it he was a tennis player in high school. Seems to be no confirming or denying that’s a fact or not. But it’s embarrassing. Beaten by a tennis player.

No deal. Game on. Then I got the following email yesterday:

Don’t think I didn’t notice the coffee you were sucking down on race day morning by the bike out when I saw you!!!  I’m always watching….

AH! For crying out loud. Well, at least he didn’t see the subsequent two additional cups of coffee I sucked down after that.

Okay okay. Okay. Okay. It’s time. I have to do it. I have vowed to do it before, I do pretty well for a bit and then I work a night shift and fall off the wagon. The Wizard is right though, it needs to be used smarter. We can use caffeine to help us and with my levels of caffination lately …. well let s just say it ain’t helping me. And I am not trying hard enough. At all.

It’s not like I drink 8 Venti’s a day. Maybe 2. Maybe 3. I drink 2 Venti’s when i work my night shift. I know I have to cut down. I know I need to use it as a tool rather than as a crutch. I just love it. I don’t get a massive wake up from it, I just love the taste. Black. Straight up. Pure.

How much do i want to achieve this goal at Ironman Florida? What is this worth to me? How much do I want it? Do I want it enough to give up my coffee? At least for the next 12 weeks? The answer came fast and easily. Yes.

Why? Why give this all up? Below is copied from his blog on the topic, which can be accessed by clicking here. Otherwise, read on:

Caffeine can be a great tool for athletes of all abilities used to enhance performance. However, when abused (or not used as a tool), it can be a detriment to your training and racing.

What I typically recommend for caffeine use (if an athlete would like to use caffeine as a supplement) on both a macro, and micro level is as follows:

1) Keep total daily intake below 200mg unless its race day. This is the ADA recommendation (for healthy adults) and helps avoid receptor up-regulation that weakens the affect of caffeine when you really want to use the extra push. It also helps keep you from lying in bed each night with your eyes open.

2) Use it as a tool! That is, save coffee or caffeinated products for before/during, key intensity based workouts. Don’t waist it (and encourage receptor up-regulation) when just sitting around the office. What I have found, is that chronic usage during the day can really impact an athlete’s ability to performance best effort workouts in the evening due to a skewed perceived exertion. Like most drugs, you then need another big dose to even feel like yourself…not a good cycle!

3) During the day while not working out, if you need a pick up, consider using lighter caffeine products like green tea. This avoids the receptor up-regulation described above. Green tea also provides tremendous antioxidant properties which as athletes, is a really big plus to mitigate free radical damage produced by all of the aerobic oxidation that we create.

4) During the final two days before a key event, limit caffeine to 100mg at 2 days out, and 30mg the day before. This ensures that your race day boost is felt in a big way.

5) Increase caffeine intake throughout workouts and races, such that peak serum caffeine levels occur as your peripheral system becomes the most fatigued (ie, at the end of the session/race). Early caffeine consumption on long days (5+ hours) typically results in over pacing the early portion of the event/session and subsequently leads to a significant drop off in pace later in the day as the peripheral system becomes fatigued. Use caffeine to help continue stimulation of your core system as this fatigue sets in.

6) Lastly, excessive caffeine and/or coffee can really do a number on your gut…reducing your ability to absorb key nutrients, and also just plain irritate it. This is a common cause of race fueling difficulty (habitual caffeine intake) that many seem to miss.

In summary, caffeine can be a great, undeniable performance and training aid when used properly. However, it can also be a slippery slope that any serious athlete should avoid being pulled into. I hope these recommendation from both a macro (day to day) and micro (within each session) perspective help clear up some of the confusion (and/or my logic in this area).

I’m on board. I am starting with one small cup in the morning within a 60 minute workout window for the next 7 days. I will allow myself one cup to begin my shift at work. I only work at the hospital 12 hours a week so this is doable. I may consider switching to decaf, but really…… decaf? It’s better to go green tea.

So hang on tight, this is just another notch in the preparation for Ironman Florida!


Nutrition made easy

July 29, 2010

As life is settling back to normal…. well my version of it, we’ve begun to look forward as you know. By the way if you’d like to read some terrific race reports, hop on over to Train-This and become our fan on FaceBook, we’ve got em all linked there. Then get out the tissues. And yes we are taking athletes right now for our Ironman Lake Placid 2011 Team, and for our entire 2011 team for that matter. Just shoot us an email at mary “dot” eggers “at” gmail “dot” com. The best way to contact me is through email, often times I am in places where I can’t pick up the phone.

Stay tuned as this week we will go through some of the power files from my athletes at Ironman Lake Placid. Those who used power did so extremely well. I will use their files to show you how a good Ironman bike ride is executed and why power can be so helpful.

As I have stated before I take an extremely hard stance on nutrition, especially as it relates to training and life. I am this way because my body has been through some serious things and the true way to repair it is from the inside out. The human body has an amazing ability to heal with two things: nutrition and patience.

Questions this week ave revolved around nutrition (and as always keep the questions coming!). Nutrition and a busy life to be exact. When you eat well you save three things: time, money and energy. Since I have been eating in the core my grocery bill has dropped by about $40.

So what is the Core all about? Well of course I would recommend going straight to the horse’s mouth: The Core Diet Website. The Core was developed by my coach, Jesse Korpelnicki, founder of QT2 whom I refer to as The Wizard.

If I had to break it down to simple terms, as if I am the cliff notes version of the Core, I would break it down into these nuggets:

1. Eat four fruits per day: This is easy. One of my favorite ways to get em all in at once is to throw mango and strawberries into the Magic Bullet with some water. Blend for 10 seconds and then go. Don’t have a Magic Bullet? You need one. It will change your life.

2. Eat four vegetables per day: Believe it or not this is easier than it sounds. I blend a serving of baby spinach into my whey protein drink every morning (another Magic Bullet specialty). You don’t even taste it. 2 cups of lettuce = 2 servings. 1 serving of broccoli in the evening…. done!

3. Get your carbohydrate sources from the good sources: This sounds hard, but isn’t. I have been a swimmer all my life which means that I grew up on bagels and pasta. Those are great sources of carbohydrates, but try placing them in a workout window instead so that you can use them.  Eating a  big hank of carbohydrates outside a workout window is going to raise your blood sugar, prepping for a workout almost….. and then kabam. Crash. Carbohydrates are necessary and important, did you know you can get them from fruits and veggies also? and did you know that when you place carbohydrates within the workout windows you can actually use them for what they were intended for? FUEL!

4. Protein ain’t just for body builders. I often have to laugh. In locker rooms I often hear chatter of women afraid to lift weights because they don’t want to look like steroid girl, and don’t want to eat protein for the same reason. Especially as an athlete protein becomes extremely important in the rebuilding of the muscle fibers we constantly break down. Protein doesn’t mean shakes and bars either. Tuna, chicken, beans, fish, they are all good sources. Ever see those Tuna packets in the tuna isle? Often times mixed with mustard or something? easy to carry around and eat whenever. To look like a bodybuilder you have to eat and train like a bodybuilder. You won’t look that way by eating protein and lifting weights.

5. Use coffee wisely: The vice of Mary Eggers. Let me be honest, I am a work in progress when it comes to coffee. When the Wizard asks me how I am doing with the coffee… my interpretation of this is have you had enough? The Wizard’s interpretation of this is … have you cut down? When I answer good…… my interpretation of that answer is…. I have almost had enough coach. I am almost at full throttle. He’s right, and the true time to cut it down is the week before a race. I will paraphrase the Wizard here…..  when we show up to an Ironman, we’ve had a big cup of coffee, Mike Riley is screaming in the microphone, and we are nervous. Our heart rate is high. The cannon goes off, the swim is exciting, we exit the water and we are still jacked up. Then we hit hour four, five and six of the Ironman, where it gets lonely… and then we start to shut down…. so by clearing the system of caffeine the week before a race we set ourselves up to use caffeine wisely. When we need it. When our peripheral system begins to shut down. So we build into caffeine during 70.3 / Ironman races through the use of 1 X and 2 X caffeinated gels and such. Use it to help you when you need it. We can also use it before key workout sessions but want to be careful as to now allow it to block our perceived exertion. So think about when you take that cup of java, and I will be cutting down and posting my progress.

Along with these points are the good old standards: lots of water every day, a multivitamin and  fish oil.

I take some time each week to get everything I need ready for the week. Many days I have 30 seconds to spare. It would be easier to skip it all and just drive through Tim Horton’s three times a day. I have said it before and I will say it again, when your body has been through what mine has….. you take the time to do this. If I have time, you have time.

I carry a Timbuktu bag and in it you will always find: a packet of tuna, raisins (a nice high alkaline food that is excellent in the post workout window), and a protein bar of some sort. That way if I get hungry I don’t hit the drive thru, I hit the bag.

I carry around a Nalgeine water bottle. I refill it 3 times per day.

Wegmans has started to make these really neato little travel sized bags of salad toppings. Garbanzo beans, onions, everything you need to top your salad. I buy a bunch of those and grab and go. I also have my sweet baby lettuce divided into containers so I can grab and go. Top that salad with some perdu pre cooked grilled chicken and bam!

Sometimes I buy packets of apples already sliced. A banana goes anywhere.

I teach yoga at a studio where fresh organic food is readily available. Now that Breathe packs their fresh food in containers I can grab a Buddha Bowl and go. Grilled tofu… never thought I’d eat but Santino has it ready to go at all times.

Nutrition is one of the four pillars of things that matter on race day. Nutrition also matters in life. Eat every 2-3 hours. Eat often, eat well. Keep your blood sugar stable and you will not only notice a difference in the quality of your life, but of your performance!

Lastly, I was asked why I think athletes who claim to not pay attention to nutrition are attention seekers. Good question. It’s like the people who post their weight on FaceBook. They want the reaction. “Wow, you are so small.” Or “Wow, you do so well and don’t even pay attention.”  Or how about the athlete who claims to never train then pops off a 34 minute 10K.  Don’t go looking for it from others. Look for it in yourself. Have a leap of faith. Trust you. Don’t rely on the outward reaction of other people to bump your self-worth. You will find that the same knife will cut you too. Oh, I have been around the block a few too many times! And I am a jerk. But I am honest.

Tomorrow: training and racing fuel !


Ironman Lake Placid 2010

July 28, 2010

I can’t tell you the emotion I feel after an Ironman as an athlete…. it’s overwhelming. When I coach Ironman Lake Placid, it’s tenfold. I can’t explain it. It’s actually how I feel each and every single time one of my athletes races. I have been told I am too close to my athletes. If I part ways with an athlete the athlete tends to feel the awkwardness more than I do. I am a people person. I believe in people. I love the journey I get to take with them. I get invested. It’s never burnt me more than it helps me as a human being. I love my athletes.

If I get too close, if I care too much….. I would say it’s not a bad problem to have.

Ironman Lake Placid. I can’t describe the emotion I feel for the day. But the following pictures help to tell the tale. Thanks to Evie and Alexa for sharing these. They are only a small window of what happened that day. I think this small window represents a pretty amazing team.



Jochen, Me, Jackie and Alexa in the am

Jochen Hoppert. I love his name.


Turbeau Curbeau Matt Curbeau


Don Ehinger, the white knight



Mike Corona!

Mark Stevens


Flip the switch

July 27, 2010

The month of July is the craziest for me in terms of coaching. Our two biggest races of the year with our largest number of athletes. Musselman and Ironman Lake Placid take a bite out of me both physically and emotionally. On our entire team we have almost 40 athletes and a majority of them do one of these 2 races. This year they were 2 weeks apart but next year we are back to the seven day differential. 

There is still much of the season left to go. We’ve got teams competing at Ironman Kentucky, Syracuse 70.3 and I am taking a bunch with me to Ironman Florida. 

Speaking of Ironman Florida….. it’s time for my own switch to flip. I have been a QT2 athlete for a little over a year now, and I love the role of being an athlete as well as the coach. What I have learned from Jesse and the QT2 philosophy has changed everything for me. 

We’ve got a little over 12 weeks until race day. I’d like to take you through this 12 weeks with me, show you how it all works, and see how we tweak things just so to get the desired results on race day. Now if you visit the QT2 website then you will see all of this information available, so I am not sharing any giant secrets of QT2. As the Wizard says “It’s not the secrets that matter….. it’s how you use them.” 

When it comes to competition and Ironman it can seem almost too big to make sense of. One of the many things I love about QT2 is that The Wizard breaks it down into understandable tangible segments. 

We are  taught that our race day performance hinges on four things: Preparation, Nutrition (daily), race day nutrition, and pacing. Blow one of these four, and everything else will likely crumble. So we will walk these through together as well as outline my own performance indicators as we travel through the next 12 weeks. 

1. Preparation

This is training. This is yearly volume, critical volume, whatever you like to call it. Our year is planned out in december. There is not a lot of deviation. This week I am on a rest week, which we do every 3-4 weeks. I just completed a very big base phase that took me from Texas 70.3, through an off season break, and until now. In there we did have a 5 week stint on the run injury protocol due to some Achilles tendonitis. It has since resolved and I am inching my way up to 40+ miles per week of running. currently on a “normal week” we are sitting between 18-20 hours. Next I begin some intensity work which will likely include hill bounding and who knows what else. base training is boring, but it’s the most important part. 

2. Nutrition

Some athletes pay no attention to nutrition. The excuse of not having time is probably the lamest excuse I have ever heard. That’s an excuse I put into the category of attention seeking.  Come live a day in my life and understand what it is like to not have time.  Chocolate milk takes 5 seconds to make. 30 min of prep on Sunday night for a week fo grab and go meals is doable. 

I pay close attention to nutrition. If your body has endured what my body has…. then you would as well. Throughout the past year I have been eating in the Core. (which is not Atkins by the way). My body fat has decreased from 20% a year ago to 16% this past weekend. Our aim is 13% by November and we are well on our way. I feel incredible. I feel put back together. I feel good. I spent a long time not feeling good. When I am feeling good and taking care of myself I am a much better mother, wife, coach, yoga teacher, nurse, athlete and everything else I do. 

Lamb cake..... not in the core.


Now with those two keys in mind, (we will review the other two another day) there are a few pieces of preparation to hone in on. We call those performance indicators. When we know our performance indicators we can use the triathlon calculator The Wizard developed to very accurately predict our finishing time in 70.3 and Ironman events. In every race I have done, we’ve been able to accurately predict my finishing time. In the 2 races I didn’t hit the time, it is traceable to either not executing the race plan or making a nutritional mistake. If you don’t think this matters or is accurate…..  ask Cait Snow (one of our QT2 coaches, has won IMLP, runs a 3:03 off the bike in Placid where she just finished second, and is top 15 in Kona annually.). 

Right now here is where we sit with my performance indicators: 

I do an 800 yard swim instead of a 400 yard time trial, which last was a 10:23. My goal for Florida is 10:10 or below. Swimming for me is a matter of choice. I was a collegiate swimmer so this is something I have the power to turn on and off. I have to turn it on at the right time. Which is NOW. 

My 20 min power is sitting at about 250 watts. 

My 5K time based on my training paces (which for a zone 1 run…… almost equal to a typical Joel friel zone 2 endurance zone) is about 8:30, which translates to 21 minute 5K. Through training and body composition we should be at about 20 min by November. But again I will walk you through all of this as we go along. 

To sum it up here is what we have: 

Body comp = 16%….. goal 13% 

800 time= 10:21….. goal 10:10 

5K time= 21 min …. goal 20 min. 

Once we nail these parameters we should be set up for a PR at IMFL. My best time there is a 10:58, and actually as we stand now I am currently at a PR itself. But I am not content with that. I want a bigger one. 

So this is where we are at. Join me on the next 12 weeks. I will detail it all. Ironman Florida….. here we come!


Nine years in the making

July 26, 2010

I am home. I am exhausted, exhilirated, inspired, emotional. Ironman does that to me. Coaching 12 athletes through an Ironman is harder than doing one, at least on the day. I cried. I smiled. I felt so much emotion. I am not one of those coaches who watches the start and then leaves. I am there at 5am collecting special needs bags and I am there to see the last one finish. The last one was Mark, and I don’t think he ever saw me screaming at him. He was in the freaking ZONE!

I have so much more to say about Ironman Lake Placid. I jammed that trip full. I love this feeling of tired. Like I played and played hard. Thanks to Kim, T Bone, White Hot and Ultra Adam for being my support crew through the day, and to the QT2 folks as well.

When Luc got home from summer school he wanted to ride. I keep getting asked by others if it ever gets old. NO. Three weeks later, four days of hard training and no sleep. When Luc asks me to ride it makes me drool in excitement.

5 miles today. We took off the balance bar. As we were riding through the apartments by our house I got out the video. And yes I do work hard on this Blair Witch Project videography skill I have.