Fear of What?

January 30, 2012

Every now and then that desire to do another Ironman creeps in. The plan was for my seventh to be at Ironman Canada in 2013. There is a group of us going. Ironman Canada is my dream race. But every so often as I am riding on the trainer or running on these … until today….. non snowy streets the desire begins to creep in again. Through the course of my 15 year career I have done 6. I am spaced out well. I don’t overdo it. The training isn’t much different from what I currently do. I know exactly how to balance it with family.

Then I pull myself away from it. Not this season Eggers. I come up with a whole host of reasons of why it should wait until 2013.

Then I go along my way.

Last week…. although it was the week long birthday extravaganza…. and by the way we had a ridiculous turn out for our 38 X 100….. pictures on Wednesday (the camera is in my swim bag which is in the car, meaning….. frozen) it was somewhat of a frustrating week. We all have those. Not every session is the game changer, we have “those days”. And I…. like we all do…… made a flip remark in my training log. Sometimes I forget that Jesse reads it (being my coach, I don’t know why I forget).

It sparked an interesting conversation. One of the things that came out of it was…… I lacked focus in 2011 (my words not his… but he agreed). I also raced well below my potential. That’s a given. I had plenty of reasons why I suppose I did lack that focus. I had some health issues. I sold a business, joined QT2….. I could come up with a good list trust me.

We dove a little bit deeper until the real reason came out.

I was afraid to fail.

Ironman Florida 2010. I walked and vomited to an 11:40. An 11:40 is an excellent time. I realize many would kill to go that over 140.6 miles. Absolutely. I would be lying if I told you that I was happy with that. I would be lying if I told you that finishing was enough anymore. Finishing is always a piece of it. Always. But when you have gone around the Ironman block a few times (or in my case 6) you know the game, you know the risks, you know what you are capable of. On this course I had already broken 11 hours and a 10:30 time….. was not a hope. It was what we were ready for. It was what I was there to do. The nutritional issues I had on race day I had experienced in training, but if you’ve ever had an issue in an Ironman it gets magnified.

Partly because it become the center of our attention.

I came out of that feeling incredibly defeated. Disappointed in myself yet at the same time so incredibly proud that I did finish. It’s a weird dichotomy. So happy yet so unsatisfied. I knew that was a damn respectable finishing time yet I wanted faster. Coming apart like that just plain sucks but at the same time it builds something within you that makes you even stronger than you thought you were.

I was avoiding Ironman is what I was doing. He asked me this:  What are you scared of if you were to go back at it  100 percent?

I am afraid I would fail. I know I am not the only athlete who is afraid of that. I am just one of the few who will admit it. For me, the more honest with myself and with you I can be……..

Jesse had me list 6 things that would happen if I failed. Then he had me list 6 things that would happen if I didn’t fail. Then he said this:

The only cost of failure is that you don’t get the second list of 6….that’s it! The first list is self-imposed, and “Eggers cooked up”.  The second set is REAL.  Let’s print out the second list of 6 and attempt to realize that the absence of those is the ONLY cost of failure. 

Ain’t that the truth. I had to read that a few times because it was true. And simple. I don’t need a coach who is going to hold my hand and tell me I am a good person and that I do a good job. I can tell myself that. I need someone who will call me out when I am feeding myself bullsh*t. That is who I respond to.

I am the same sort of patient. You should have seen my OB/GYN during Luc’s birth. I didn’t need soothing music and a back rub and a therapy tub. I needed clear concise direction. HOLD HER LEG she directed my husband NOW PUSH. Oddly…… it took 17 hours to get that monster of a baby out. Ever freaking since I worry about peeing myself when I laugh yet during an Ironman I pee myself without a second thought.

Whoa tangent.

But that’s what I respond to. That’s what I did respond to. I concocted this story about how I was too busy to focus on myself, which was the cover story for I am afraid to fail and walk through that sh*t show again. What happens if I take that gamble again? Screw the first 6, that’s th story. I printed out the second six and I read it six times. Yes…. this is right……. exactly. I am in a win win situation.

I took a deep breath and took a look at the fall Ironman schedule. With Vegas a bit too late and costly to jump into an M Dot race….. but I decided to look outside the box. Beach 2 Battleship caught my eye. I have coached two athletes through it who absolutely loved it. What if I took a gamble with a non M dot race? What if I go back to something I love so much and find out what’ really there?

Ironman peels me like an orange. It squeezes me out. Nothing is more eye-opening, self learning and as daring in terms of the depths you are willing to reach than an Ironman for me. Good god I love this distance. There I said it. Now that I acknowledged I was afraid to fail…… am afraid to fail…. it’s like the garage door has been lifted off my foot.

Go forth now and go after it. Why not. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain?

2012 is shaping up to be a good one. With Texas, Harryman, Musselman and Vegas (all 70.3) on tap I have some serious work to get back to this week. The winter has been mild, I will be at the National Training Center in a week (QT2 CAMP) and I feel like someone took me by the shoulders and shook me hard, slapped me across the face and dumped a bucket of cold water over my head.

Wake up.

Here we go.

So what’s holding you back from chasing your dream? What’s holding you back from finding your best self? What’s holding you back from __________? Life is too short for this story telling, story creating. It’s time to look it straight in the eye, and grab it.





  1. You will ROCK it Mary!! It is a great race and you will LOVE every part of this race!! Awesome!!

  2. I only do things because I wanna. When I no longer wanna, I move on. No regrets 🙂 Rock on, Eggers, rock on!

  3. Bring it Eggers! Love the guts.

    Just show up and give your best. Don’t sweat the rest.

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