Archive for January, 2013

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Special

January 30, 2013

Every so often I cry in the shower. That’s where no one can hear me, my eyes don’t get red and my face doesn’t get puffy. That’s where I can hide my tears and stand in there and let it out as long as I want to and as long as I need to. I don’t cry because I am sad. I cry because every few weeks I need to let it out.

I have no idea what I am doing.

If you live in the world of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Education and Special Needs you know what I mean. Let’s be clear however…. on the spectrum of all of these spectrum’s I have it easy. Our son is verbal, high functioning, social. He is in 6th grade and probably just a grade or two behind. He does not exhibit what we call in this world “behaviors”… meaning he doesn’t act out, does not hit, does not have meltdowns (he used to).

I have fought the educational system and won. I have fought the medical system, the insurance companies, the stereotypes, the bullies. And I have won. We are now at The Norman Howard School where….. well where magic is happening. It took taking one of the biggest school districts in our part of the state to court…. and in two years I am going to have to do it again. And when I do…. I will win again.

Again, my battle is easy compared to everyone else I know who lives in this world. I see the amount of fight and energy that I have to put into all of this and I am stunned at how much more other parents have to.

I cry because I don’t know what the hell I am doing.

If I had to choose this path again I would. I don’t want our son to be anyone except for who he is. He’s been my greatest teacher. He has taught me what it means to love and what it means to fear. He has taught me what it means to stand up for what you believe in.

He has taught me what it means to have faith and what it means to believe in someone so much your soul aches. I believe in him more than I believe in anything else in the world. It’s a feeling that I can’t explain or articulate. It’s just there.

I don’t have a mentor or an advocate. When I called the Advocacy Center they told me this “Sounds like you don’t need us, you do a fine job on your own.” and that was the last straw. That’s what you get from many places that are supposed to be there to help you. Long ago I gathered up records and documents and everything I had and made a decision.

I am going to run this ship and I am just going to pave the damn path.

I have collected advisors if you will. Our pediatrician. A specialist. Friends. Family. People on the spectrum. Earlier this year by fate I met one of the most amazing behavioral specialists I have ever met… someone whose clinical experience and knowledge knocks the so-called-experts clear out of the park. I work with her as a colleague but she’s lent me guidance. Team Luc is comprised of an eclectic group of people who may not even know they are on this team.

That’s how I operate in life though. I pull who I need. You get put on the team. You don’t get asked. You sometimes don’t even know. But you become my go to people.

There is no directions for how to navigate all of this. I work well with protocols. Grey is a hard area for me and it’s the exact place I have been inventing. I don’t have a clue of what I am doing. I am making it up as I go along. What I do know is there is a world full of experts who have told me that Luc will never learn, never excel in school, not have a future and won’t be independent.

Maybe you want to come watch as he tests for his green belt in Taekwondo? His Taewkondo teacher (or whatever I am supposed to call him) would completely dismiss you if you attempted to tell him what Luc can not do. And then Luc would simply show you a roundhouse kick that would stun you.

What I do know is that in our new school he’s growing and he’s learning. While he is learning long division and multiplication tables he’s created power point presentations and can give a presentation to his class without being nervous. He’s joined the ski club and is learning how to snowboard. He’s joined the cooking club and the Art Club.

He’s going to a career day in a few weeks. He talks of being a policeman, a fireman or even going into the Army.

I still cry because I don’t know what I am doing. Like I said I am one of the lucky ones, I don’t have it nearly as hard as many others do. Nonetheless I am navigating through a maze with a blindfold on. A maze where there is no right or wrong way….. because no two kids are the same. I cry because I don’t know what to do with the feelings of being lost and at the same time being found. I don’t know what to do with the feelings of fighting so much and then relaxing. I don’t know how to handle all of this so I do what I always do.

I smile. I forge ahead. I assure him that we got this…. because we do. I continue making this all up as we go along because there is no set rules and set definitions. Hard as they try to tell me how it’s going to be….. they can’t.

I don’t cry because I am sad, or because I am upset or even because I am tired. I cry … just because.

Then when I am done and the cup is empty… I smile. Because this amazing child who is now a young man is the most amazing human being I have ever known.

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Digging for it

January 27, 2013

“I believe athletics expose character. It reveals who you are. The person you are off the field comes onto the field. Then too, some of the lessons you learn on the field you take off of it and into your life. These tests and how you weather them are determined by your character, and this is ultimately where athletics have value.”

Anson Dorrance

This quote resonated deeply with me. It’s in a book I am reading about the University of North Carolina world-renowned soccer coach Anson Dorrance. His coaching philosophy… his view on life…. and of what makes champions… champions. Read it.

As I was reading this book I was brought back to my days as a swimmer. Somehow throughout my swimming career I was fortunate to fall into coaches who coached more than swimmers. They coached us in life. I once heard a football coach answer to someone whether he thought he was an effective coach. To that he answered “Ask me in 20 years”.

My swim coaches… whether they were summer swim coaches, club swim coaches, or my high school and college coach…. were absolutely incredible. I did more than excel in the pool and come out of it with not one shoulder injury. I came out of it a better, wiser, deeper, richer human being. Much of what I do and say today is the direct result of a conversation had on the bleachers with one of my coaches.

My father is the same way. In fact if I had to go through the list of coaches I have had in my entire life…. my father remains at the top of the list. He always taught me that a good coach and a good mentor wasn’t necessarily a great athlete. I don’t know if my father knows how to swim. I do know that he taught me how to compete in the water. How to be tactical. How to swim with my heart and not with my head.

He taught me how to be a competitor and how to accept defeat with grace. He taught me how to cheer my fellow competitors on and at the same time race them neck and neck. He taught me how to win and how to lose. He taught me what that meant in the game of life… where the real events happen. That has in turn melted over into my own coaching style and philosophy.

The hard part of coaching myself this season is that I don’t have those nuggets of wisdom coming my way every so often. That’s one of the reasons I like working with a coach to begin with. Not necessarily for the swim / bike / run…. but for the wisdom, insights and experience that they share.

The great part of coaching myself is that I am forced to dig for it. I am forced to take 100% ownership for my fitness, my mental game…. all of it. So I look for it and I reach for it everywhere I can find it. It’s forcing me to read books…. real books. I can read about triathlon training all day long. I want to know what makes people strong, what makes people tick and what makes people rise above. I have read some great war books (Unbroken, of course). I have read Nomran Schwarzkopf’s  s autobiography (incredible), and I am reading a lot from some of the greatest coaches in the world… of all sports. There are many many coaching legends who offer amazing insight. Look to the greatest athletes of our time and then…. look to those who led them there. Look for the ones who have had the same coach for years. Who have that special bond. There is something special within that relationship. I want to know about it.

The common theme in all of these books, in what all of these coaches write, and in what my own coaches taught me, including what my father taught me…. is that you must be gracious in winning and in defeat. You must own responsibility for yourself, your fitness (mental and physical) and you must commit to what you are doing if you want to be successful. They taught me that the true definition of success is not who crosses the tape first…. but how you live your life, and what you do with the platform on which you stand. It’s a lesson I have taken very seriously and one I hope I have been able to pass on to those under my guidance.

Even just two weeks ago that lesson was confirmed. You can have all the titles in the world….. seven to be exact….. and by not living honestly they mean nothing. Better to be honest and last or an asshole and be first. Because at the end of the day your medals and your wins aren’t going to be etched on your gravestone.

Who you are … will be.

Every day I try to live up to that. I am far… far… far from perfect. But I can always promise this…. I know the difference being life and competition. I can keep them separate and together. I will always treat my competitors well both on and off the field. If you have ever competed against me… you know that. It’s how I grew up and what I was taught.

Had I dared to mistreat a competitor in the pool…. my father would have had my head. To this day…. he still would.

I do believe that athletics expose character. I have seen it in both good and not so good ways. I do believe how you act on the field is a direct reflection of how you act off the field. This one of the eight hundred reasons I struggled with Mr. Armstrong’s confession. I also believe that you learn things in sport that you take off the field. How to deal with being out there and totally exposed. How you deal with success, defeat. How you handle being in the hunt for first place and then losing it. Or fighting like hell and attaining it. I think it’s a two-way street that can’t be differentiated.

Those bleacher talks with all of my coaches would rarely be about swimming. They would be about … how life should be lived. I was fortunate beyond fortunate to somehow land in the lanes of some of the wisest coaches on earth. Again, including my father.

I also agree that athletics have great value for all of the above reasons. Sure I may have excelled in my sport. That wasn’t luck as much as it has been hard work and commitment (you will never hear me say the word sacrifice. A sacrifice is leaving your family to fight for our country. Sacrifice is donating a kidney). Sure luck has a bit to do with it. But one is nothing without the other.

So go out… play a sport…. encourage your kids to do the same. Because what they will learn on that field… can shape who they become. If they are lucky enough to have the right people to mentor them. But always… always … always remind them that what happens in the game or in practice…. will expose who they really are. Be unafraid to be awesome.

Like I said earlier… the bad part of being  my coach is losing that insight that I crave from a coach. The great thing about being my own coach I am forced to look for it myself. If I think about it…. I have the tools that I need. I have my colleagues at Qt2 Systems (specifically Wheeler, Molly and Tara) who are guiding me with training. The insight part I often find from my trainer & friend Steve, who is just awesome, and I am finding what I need from some unlikely places and people, and books.  Some people who don’t even know the impact they have upon me. This whole experience is leading me to learn about people, what drives them from the core and what lights them up. I love it.

When I am the one forced to do the digging and do the looking….. I have learned that I can find some pretty amazing sources to help me on this journey. And that right there….. is exactly what I have needed all along.

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What’s happening!

January 26, 2013

Thank you all very much for the overwhelming birthday wishes! I have made it around the sun enough times to be 39 years old. I am looking forward to forty because I intend to redefine what we think 40 means. But that’s another blog post!

As we head into spring and then finally into race season…. we have lots happening and even more on the horizon. I am pretty excited to be presenting with some great people this spring, as well as continue the partnership I have with Score-This!!! to help you get ready for your best season yet!

Here is what’s going on!

These are my regular cycling and yoga classes during the week:

Cycledelic: (click here for the website!)

  • Tuesday evenings at 5:45pm  & Wednesday mornings at 5:30am.(cycling)
  • Preregistration is appreciated and your first ride is free!

Midtown Athletic Club: (click here for the website!)

  • Tuesday mornings at 6am: Cycling
  • Wednesday evenings at 5:45pm: Cycling
  • Friday mornings: 6am power vinyasa yoga. It’s 60 minutes of very athletic flow.
  • Must be a Midtown member, if you’d like a guest pass please shoot me an email!
  • Stay tuned, some workshops are on the way!

Webinars: I am again partnering with Score-This !!! to bring you eleven webinars this season!

  • Swimming: Get the Basics!
  • Monday Feb 11th, 8-9pm.
  • FREE register here!
  • I will walk you through the basics of setting up a swim season (for triathlon), we will walk through how I do a stroke analysis, how to measure progress and my favorite drills!

Clinics: FREE at Towpath Bike Shop! (Click here for the website!)

  • I am excited to join the amazing group giving clinics at TowPath Bike Shop this season! I will be making some cameo appearances during many of the clinics and will have one of my own!
  • Thursday March 7th at 6:30pm I will be giving a free clinic on functional strength training. I will show you how to use the TRX, what exercises are good for which limiters, and I will show you some of the things I have learned from Steve Lopes and talk about why they are important to a training program.

Stay tuned, we have some more events to add! I am excited to see you out there and to help you get ready for 2013! I hear it’s going to be a lucky year!

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Worth it

January 21, 2013

Thank you Adam Peruta (Ultra Adam) for the update to the header. It’s perfect. check out his website right here!

What’s that saying…. no one said it would be easy….. but they said it would be worth it? Yes. Welcome. Welcome back to my life Ironman.

Ironman and I have a tumultuous history together. I have nailed this distance a few times. I have bombed it a few times. I have barfed through races and I race best when it is hailing. Yes…. hailing. I was once carried off an Ironman course in an ambulance. When Ironman and I are on…. we are on. When we are off….. good god we are off. We lack a steady and stable relationship, reflected in how many times I have walked away from 140.6 miles only to find myself camping overnight again for a spot. Just like someone does for a concert. You can’t imagine how many people I have met sleeping on the ground in an overnight line for the Ironman.

Ironman and I need a good dose of Dr. Phil.

My heart has to be in this for the long haul and this season… it is. Long rides are coming easily. My running is coming around. I am a swimmer so I can save that for a bit but man….. that ache in my legs and fog in my head …. as crazy as it sounds nothing…. nothing feels better than this. You feel shelled yet like the fitness is returning. Bit by bit, muscle fiber my muscle fiber. I see the word Ironman and my heart rate speeds up.

I am starting to stare at that black tape I have on the floor. You know. That tape.

The line

I know I am beginning to feel ready when I place my toes behind that line and I feel the fire. I feel the rev of the engine. I feel the hunger. I feel the desire.

I want to feel what it is like to turn myself inside out, dig the deepest I ever have and stand toe to toe with the biggest competitor I will ever have.

Myself.

There is always the chance it won’t go 100% according to plan. That’s the hard part. All of this time. All of this focus. It could add up to be nothing. That’s a chance I am willing to take. Win, lose or draw there is something for me to do out there and to learn out there. Even after all of these years.

Jesse always talks about athletes as having a “gremlin” or an ax to grind. Some athletes with a storied background find themselves excelling because of the feelings and emotions that come from that background. That’s not true for all, but it is true for some. The idea of the happy gremlin makes me laugh. I have a  billion of them.

I have a billion happy gremlins and with them an ax to grind. Against no one. Against circumstance, happenstance, luck. When I get into that place in a race it’s my way to fight back. My way to face all of it. My way to feel 100% bare naked and then I am not only toe to toe with myself but I am toe to toe with live through this. It’s my way to be as raw as I can possibly be.

Sport does that for me. I don’t even really know what that is.

I am not afraid to fail. And I am not afraid to succeed. Rather than the outcome I connect with the process. The early mornings, the weigh ins. The rain-snow-hail-wind. I don’t call it sacrifice I call it the privilege to be able to commit. No one’s life will be any different because of what I chose to race. My life will always be forever enriched though from the experiences that I get to have through this sport of mine. Finish lines capture chapters of my life. They bookend memories for me. Memories of the process.

The other morning I was running through the streets, well before 6am and my strength session with Steve. The wind was howling. Branches were falling all over the place. It was spooky yet at the same time I felt so safe. I was alone on those streets but I wasn’t alone. I felt like a had a thousand guardian angels looking after me. I love the feeling of getting after it before the rest of the world has the chance to open their eyes. I love the feeling of being in the gym an hour before it opens. No one else around, just focusing on the task at hand. Nothing but net as I like to say.

I love that feeling of walking out of there knowing what I have behind me. Looking ahead and knowing that whatever the day may bring is no match for what I have already done. Another bale of hay in the barn. Another deposit.

Ironman and I have been a few rounds. Seven, maybe eight. When we are on…. we are on. When we are off we are way off. I never know what will happen, but I am dedicated to the process. For this one I am in hook, line and sinker.

It’s almost time to race. Every day I stand behind that line and I close my eyes. I picture the starting line and if I focus, really focus I can hear that gun sound.

BOOM!

And off I run into the water.

No one ever said this was going to be easy. This isn’t my first rodeo and it won’t be my last. I can confirm though…. that it is worth it. Hands down.

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The secret to swimming

January 19, 2013

I have been a swimmer since the age of three, or four. I don’t remember not knowing how to swim. I don’t remember my first swim. My father always joked that he didn’t teach me, he just threw me in, if I wanted to live, I would figure it out.

I guess I learned early how to survive, fight, and rise above. (he didn’t just throw me in! I hear!)

By a complete stroke of luck I swam for all of the best coaches, on swimmer teams, club teams, high school and college. Even Masters swimming… the best. Every single one of them was stellar.  All of my coaches had something in common… every now and then for whatever reason they would pull a swimmer from practice, sit on the bleachers and talk while the team was swimming 1000 repeats (or something long).

More often than not for me…. those talks revolved around watching strokes. Ever since I was 6 I have been watching swim strokes. Early on I was taught and I realized that you could tell a lot about a swimmer by their stroke. Over the years of watching, watching, watching…. I realized how true that was.

I could tell if someone was very careful. They had a very careful stroke.

I could tell if someone was reckless, they had a very forceful and reckless stroke.

Just by the way their hands entered the water….. it was reflective of their personality. It’s amazing, watch that sometimes. What does my stroke say? You tell me.

Swim meets can be boring, most swimmers will listen to music and lay on a gym floor or the bleachers while waiting for their event. You wait hours to swim for a minute. If you are lucky like me your longest event is 11 minutes! YEAH! I was never one of those kids who did the music thing thought. My father taught me to sit and watch.

Over the years….. I have spent thousands of hours watching swimmers swim. Looking at different strokes. Learning flaws and learning how to correct them. I went through the ages of the s-shaped stroke. Then we got on our sides. Now we focus on the catch. I have gone through many swimming evolutions.

I am at my best when I am on deck.

I do great when my swimmers send me video of them swimming. I do awesome when that video is 30 minutes long or I am on deck with them. More can be gained from watching them swim 30 minutes or being there in person. I can analyze video above or under water…… but again I am best in person.

Jennie Hansen (the professional triathlete I coach) has recently had somewhat of a breakthrough in the pool. Around here it’s difficult to coach on deck if you are a triathlon coach, Local YMCA’s don’t allow you to come as a guest and be on deck. Same with the WAC and some other places. What you do then is pretend to be two friends swimming together in the water and giving stroke tips.

Nazareth college allows this and so does some of the high schools. When Jennie and I figured out there was a way for me to be on deck with her, we jumped. Every Monday morning I coach her on deck. It’s been awesome (for me). I love it. I am in my GLORY on deck.

She’s now averaging 20K per week and handling it with no problem at all. Her 100 repeat times….. are much faster than they were last season.

What has changed? A few things.

1. The work of 2012 is now showing up. This is a big part of it. Fitness gains are not made day-to-day. They are made week to week, month to month, quarter to quarter and if a proper off-season is had…. year to year. She put in some good yardage last season and a lot of that is showing up now.

2. Her stroke: Over the past year we have changed three things. We worked on her catch, we slowed down her kick and made it more useful, and we finished her stroke. Finishing her stroke was a big piece. Many swimmers pull their hand out of the water too early and cheat themselves of some free speed.

Try this…. hold your arm out in front of you and pretend you are pushing something down. Now, bring your hand under your armpit and push towards the floor, imagine you are pushing that same object straight down. You are strongest close to your body. Many swimmers get so wrapped up in the catch that they ignore the place they are strongest.

While there are still a few more stroke corrections to make, we’ve made huge gains. for the record, there are always stroke corrections to make. Even Missy Franklin has corrections to make. Getting to the point of no stroke corrections is impossible. It’s the never-ending journey!

Stroke corrections are made one at a time. You never give a swimmer four things to work on. You give them one. We work on that for a few weeks then we add in another. Because of the dynamics of swimming too many things to focus on at once makes a mess.

I am excellent at video stroke analysis. I can measure angles above and in the water. Where I excel however…. is on the deck. Put Jennie and I together in a video (head out of the gutter guys… SWIMMING). Imagine you recorded our strokes side by side. When you bring that footage back to the screen, let’s look at a few things. The angle of our catch, and our kick.

Water is interesting in that it is always changing. When you run around a track it’s the same. You might have wind but it’s the same. In water there is always some sort of “current” that will be dictated by whether the pool is deep, shallow, crowded, etc. Toss in open water and you have a whole new set of currents.

Back to our (swimming) video….. we begin to measure the angles. I am a collegiate swimmer. Jennie’s background is elite running. I was born in water, she was born on land. We might say we want an angle range of X-Y. That’s effective, that works, that’s a good ballpark. But what if we now had a third swimmer in the mix who had rotator cuff surgery a few years ago? now we have another variable to work with. So that angle might fit Jennie and I, but not rotator cuff girl.

Now we look at the kick. I don’t kick at all (I am a distance swimmer) and Jennie used to get most of her propulsion from her kick. We have worked on that and it’s slown (is that a word?) down and become much more useful. I take all those angles and data points and I use them in conjunction with that athlete’s body history and even their personality. how they deal with the changing water. Swimming is much more art than science.

My point here…. Jennie and I come from very different backgrounds. Our video analysis should not be the same and we should not try to make it the same. Swimming needs to fit the person as a whole.

3. Jennie figured out the water: When we run we run on varying surfaces when possible so that we are used to changing surfaces. In the water it’s always a trail run. The water never is the same.  I can tell you all day long to feel the catch, feel the water, but until you figure it out…. my words mean nothing. There is no magic timeline for when one should feel the water.

Jennie has figured out her place in the water. This is the biggest reason her swimming has improved. She’s spent at least 16-17K in the pool per week and while we have upped the ante for 2013…. she can now feel where she is in the water. This is not something that can be taught in a 3 step process. It’s just something that happens. As that has happened her attitude and feelings towards the water has also changed. She may never jump up and down screaming “I LOVE SWIMMING” but she’s coming around.

As I said before swimming is more art than science. It’s not exact, which frustrates people who want it to be exact. It’s an evolution and a process and … well again…. an art form.

How much improvement should we see in her 70.3 and 140.6 races? I won’t put a number on it. The times in the pool add up to one thing, but this is water. With our luck her first 70.3 swim this season will have a wicked current and measure long. If that happens, and she comes out of the water seemingly slower than ever…… we have to then deal with the mental impact of that. It happens for everyone. Once I swam a 36 min 1.2 mile swim. I am normally 28-30. That stayed in my head the whole race. come to find out…. that was one of the fastest times. The swim had been long.

The mental part is always the most important.

I have spent 30 years watching swimmers swim. I have watched thousands of practices, swim meets, video…. you name it. It’s what I grew up doing. If there was a big fancy certification for that amount of experience… there would be many of us out here wearing a gold crown. But those experiences are the most valuable for me to draw on.

So what has happened for Jennie in the water? There is no magic one thing. It’s the culmination of everything.

And a great big dose of one thing…. patience.

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My official… and final statement regarding Mr. Armstrong

January 18, 2013

This will be the last time I write about Mr. Armstrong. My sentiments remain the same about this entire situation: click here for that.

My final comments are these;

It’s not the doping that I find horrifying. It’s the lying, the deceit, and the ease at which it came. I believe it takes an entirely new level of narcissism to be able to do that and live that.

How do I feel? I feel like I believed in Santa Claus….. I had an idea that it wasn’t real….  and feel heartbroken to learn that it was not real. I feel sick to my stomach to realize that someone is that good of a liar. That shakes me to my core. I feel like I believed in someone and something (the all American story), I defended Mr. Armstrong….. and to put it simply…. I was wrong.

for a while now I have struggled about what to do with these feelings of gratitude I have towards Mr. Armstrong for helping us achieve what we achieved. He did give us a platform on which to stand. I have been struggling with how I categorize that and where I go from here.

I will continue to be grateful. It’s okay to always be grateful.

What I can do from here…. is do it better than he ever could. I can continue to live honestly. I can continue to live to a higher standard and I can be everything he could not be. His actions don’t dictate my future. His actions don’t tarnish the work we have been able to do and his actions certainly don’t bring us down with him.

So from here…. I say thank you Mr. Armstrong….. and walk away. Proud of what we have done, grateful for the platform that we were given….. and praying for him at the same time. He has put himself into a hole that took decades to dig….. and I don’t know if he will ever climb out of. That’s for him to figure out.

I don’t need Mr. Armstrong to continue the work that we do. I continue to do that work and I do it better.

Will I change the top banner in the blog? Likely. Those kinds of things take time…. I am in no rush.

If he came to my door would I let him in? Certainly. I’d slap him across the face and keep my dog in the room. I don’t have trust anymore.

Will I watch the rest of the interview? I don’t think so. I have heard enough.

Here is my advice to you…….  move on. Don’t spend your day talking about him. Don’t waste words on social media about it. That’s space that can be used to positively, instead find something inspiring to share with the world. Be better than Mr. Armstrong ever could be. The easy thing to do is sling shot hatred around. Hate is easy. Hate is a terrible trap. Instead….. go out and be a better person. Put this behind you and walk away. It was a fun ride while it lasted for those who were not in his line of fire. It was a fun fairly tale to believe in for some of us. It’s over. It wasn’t true. The wool was pulled over my eyes.

As we walk away…. let’s look the future. I have been promised that there are some up and coming professional cyclists over there. Honest ones. Ones that can have the same sort of platform and ones that can be our real American hero. The next American who wins the Tour…. clean… is going to need to be ready for one hell of a parade.

As I walk toward that horizon I have gratitude in my heart for all that has happened since March. It’s too heavy a bag to drag around satisfaction and hatred and unkindness. Don’t ask me what I think of all of this…. it’s right here. I am moving on. Don’t bother sending me thoughts to engage me…. they get thrown out before they hit my eyes. I don’t have time for it anyway.

This is my final answer.

It’s time to move on. To build on this platform. To live better and to be better.

We have work to do. And another challenge on the horizon.

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Itch

January 13, 2013

I have this….. this something within me. I don’t know what it is. A fire. a desire. A passion. An itch that needs to be scratched. It’s this ball of energy that sits right in the middle of me. Sometimes it burns so much I can feel it scorching  me. Other times I have had to stoke the fire. It’s been burning pretty hot for a few months now. Ever since…. well you know, I got the green light.

When I swim or bike or run it rises to the surface. When I race I feel like it bursts through. When I have given my full effort and ability at the finish line… of whatever distance it is satisfied. Fed. Touched. I don’t know the word but it has its fix. I have my fix.

Even when I was in those moments this season…. the past few seasons…. it has been there. A bit more dormant but it knew it had to be. It knew it had to wait until it was time. And it feels like time.

I have slowly allowed myself to dream again.

What if?

Could I?

Would it be possible to?

And for the first time in a  long time….. I don’t have an answer for those questions. For those dreams. For a little while the voice of reason took over. Not now Eggers, this is what your reality is. You have to wait. Let’s be sensible and let’s be real about this.

I looked over my season. I looked at my histogram, which is our plan here at QT2 for the season. I put it together myself, my colleagues took a look at it. There is something so incredibly satisfying about creating your own path. I had wondered if I would be able to self coach and then I realized…. look at what you have been through, think of what you know….. of course you can. I have people looking over my shoulder, I have a good team and the path….. well it’s laid out now.

In 8 months (God willing) will toe the start of Ironman number…. seven? Eight? I don’t even remember. Between now and then I will compete in a variety of distances. There is a pretty precise plan ahead of me. Meticulous and well built.

It’s such a privilege to be able to do this. I am reminded of this on a daily if not hourly basis. Another teen was lost to the monster of Cancer yesterday joining the long list of amazing kids who have died too soon. I look at myself in the mirror and wonder how I got to be so lucky. What did I do to deserve all of this privilege that I have?

Knowing some of these teens I would venture to guess they’d laugh to hear that. They’d encourage me to go and live my dreams and follow my heart. My dreams and my heart straddle reality and the pursuit of my sport and often they wrestle. If I can continue to use the platform my sport has given me to keep the reality piece front and center I will have done right by them. Individually they had more insight and wisdom than I will ever have. collectively they had enough insight and passion to light up the world. They are my compass.

Sport can be such a metaphor for life…. for me at least. When I face those moments of difficulty, I may struggle and I may surpass them. It teaches me that I can also do that off the bike. Out of the running shoes. Out of the pool. I have developed strength and resilience over my lifetime in sport that has shaped who I became out there.

At the same time there are lessons I have had to learn in different venues… out there…. that I have been able to bring back to the field.

A friend sent me this quote yesterday, I believe it is from John Wayne:

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

I am not afraid in sport. Typically I am not afraid in life. I might be tenacious and timid at the same time. But it doesn’t mean I am not scared to death. Sometimes you just have to pull on your run shoes, open the door, breathe the fresh air and run out of it anyway.

We can’t control the uncontrollable, believe me I have tried. Sometimes we just have to run straight at it.

That feeling within me, that fire, that drive, that passion. That itch that I can’t seem to scratch unless I am racing, it is gnawing at me in a good way. It’s poking at me. Daring me to dream. Daring me to turn myself inside out again once that gun goes off and daring me to answer the questions:

What if?

Could I?

Would it be possible to?

There is only one way to find out.