Archive for April, 2013

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Poking the bear with a red hot poker

April 30, 2013

I have written about more ridiculous things than a challenge. But a challenge is a challenge and if there is one thing I LOVE it’s a freaking challenge.

This… is called the Jacob’s Ladder. Or it might be just…. Jacob’s Ladder.

Jacobs ladder

It’s a climbing machine. Those wooden bars scroll, like a treadmill. The higher towards the top you go, the faster it goes. If you went to Catholic School (as I so obviously did… Nativity of our Lord!) then you also know the religious reference of Jacob’s Ladder (that’s for you Sr. Rosemary….. I did pay attention!).

We have one of these at Midtown Athletic Club and of course Steve Lopes has put me on it a few times. Two weeks ago I climbed 276 steps in 3 minutes and thought I was a hot shot. (I was hot…. I had a temp of 103 we determined later. Martyr Mary at it again!).  That weekend Steve informed me that Shannon Mullen, star of Rock of Ages (and one of my yoga students for like ten years, plus awesome kiddo) climbed 296! I rolled my eyes. How could this be????? UGH. But for a week I had to keep the HR down, I was sick after all (empathy cue).

But I knew I had to top this. In my head I knew I could hit 300 steps in three minutes. That was the goal.

Enter Spaker. Midtown member and cyclist who informs me he climbed 284. I think. Some number around there.

The bear has been poked. 284? Ten higher than ME? My heart rate rose standing there. Steve taunted me. Spaker taunted me. Which let’s be honest….. I absolutely live for. Both know I have a slight obsessive-compulsive-competitive-vein running through my entire body. Only certain people know how to hit it just right (Steve), and I get all fired up.

Give me a number to beat and I will think about it. All. Weekend. Long. (LOSER!)

But here is the thing: I am getting fired up. Someone is setting the bar and I am rising to it knowing full well I might hit it, make it, or vomit trying. It’s been too long since I have felt like that.

You see Ironman racing is a different beast. It’s a long event that you endure. You visit corners of yourself that you don’t know exist. It’s like a lot of what I have been through in my life. Long painful experiences that I have endured. I have found places of myself I didn’t know existed and I came out of it for the better. Maybe that’s why I love the Ironman so much. Because I am very very good at enduring.

What I miss…. and crave is the firing up-knock-em-dead-push-till-i-puke efforts. I am not excellent at those (yet) but good god do I love them.

I decided that on Monday night at 8pm, after my iAM triathlete class was finished at Midtown Athletic Club…. that I would take down the record. I was aiming for 300 steps in 3 minutes, or vomit trying. I put it out there, took the heat, engaged in the trash talk…. totally unsure of whether I could do it…. and my class was there to witness. Win lose or draw I was going to go for it. I am not afraid to fail…. people think I am…. trust me I fail all of the time….. and I am willing to do it in front of many.

I had this silly idea to put my Garmin on the machine, to read my heart rate. I know my lactate threshold and I thought that if I was at a point where I needed some motivation…. I could look over and see where my HR was and use that as some incentive to go harder. That silly move will be important shortly.

I placed the garmin, wrapped the belt to the machine around me…. took a deep breath, and in front of my class, began the climb.

On the machine you can watch the time and the average steps per minute. Right away I was over 100. As long as I could keep it there I was golden. I got into a rhythm, the gang was cheering. I had this. At 1:30 I felt that first rush of oh-my-god-i-am-going-to-die wash over me like a warm wave of take it easy here Eggers. You were sick….. you are just getting better… this doesn’t really matter….. just ease off. The devil was on my shoulder.

I shook my head as one of my students called out “You are halfway there, you can do anything for 1:30!” they were right. I listened to their words and knocked those thoughts of reclining out of my head.

Make this hurt Eggers. I told myself. Go. Hurt. Vomit. Harder. Die if you must.

I glanced over at the Garmin to see where the HR was…. then I slipped. OH MY GOD WHO DOES THAT? Me. I lost my footing and struggled to regain it as my average slipped to 90! Come on Eggers. My students got on me…. go Mary go mary go mary….  I got it back, over 100.

My heart was hurting me, never my legs and never my shoulders. My heart. My blood felt hot. I went harder. I got to 2:30 and I tried to begin calculating where I would end up. Who cares I thought… climb!!!!

I hit 318 in 3:00.  They cheered. I stopped.  Which was another dumb move because as soon as I stopped is when I almost threw up. (cool down anyone). My head was light, I began to cough like a smoker. Then THAT feeling came over me. You know….. that one. Not that feeling of victory (but let me take this moment to say I crushed Spaker. Crushed. And that feeling is nice!) … that feeling of going so hard that I tasted blood in the back of my throat. That feeling of going so hard that I saw stars. That feeling of going so hard I was about to pass out.

mary's ladder record

I love that feeling. I miss that feeling. I want that feeling again. I love to get toe to toe with myself and I don’t care how I have to get there. A challenge at the gym…. while maybe there is no qualifying Olympic standard for the Jacob’s Ladder…. (oh hell maybe there is…..) if I can find an opportunity to go there I want to go there.

It makes me feel alive. It let’s me touch the center of my damn soul and getting to that place is something I am completely addicted to. But I never find in the Ironman. I am too busy eating and pacing and enduring. Like I have done my whole life.

I want to taste the insides of my intestines again.

The day I signed up for Ironman Mont Tremblant I knew it would be my last Ironman. Not my last triathlon…. make no mistake I am not retiring from competing or coaching. I want to go shorter. I want to go harder. I want to go off the beaten path. I want to run a stand alone marathon. Ride my bike across the country with my family. Swim at Masters Nationals. Compete in events like the Seneca 7 and an urban challenge thing I am doing with the Midtown crew in October.

I want to go to USAT Age Group Nationals. I want to run several half marathons.

I don’t want to pay $800 for an Ironman entry fee (when I began this sport 10+ years ago it was $250). I don’t spend all day Saturday on my bike and I don’t want to. I don’t want to go to Kona. Been there. Done that. The next time in Kona I will be surfing with my husband and son and standing on a volcano.

I have loved the Ironman for over ten years. And I love it enough to know when to say when. August 18th…. will be when. It will be bittersweet in many many ways. This Ironman is special for many reasons. Mostly because of the team that is helping me to get there. If I sat them all down you’d find each person has nothing to do with the other yet as an integral and intricate part of me. And each person is a gift to me and I am holding them all tight because some of them know…. and some of them don’t have any idea of what this particular Ironman means to me.

It’s representative of my life. What I have endured, survived, learned. It’s a selfish endeavor but at the same time the biggest healing project I have ever taken on. Ever. And I don’t think I have the ability beyond these words to convey how much gratitude I have for my team.

When I am issued a challenge like this I love it. It’s what makes my world turn, my heart beat. I want the challenge. I want to feel that burn in my lungs. I want to see how far I can actually go. Sometimes I succeed. More often than not I fall on my face, lay on the ground and yell “F*CK!” but that’s just me really saying…. hell it feels so good to be alive.

I am an athlete and that is the biggest privilege I have ever been afforded. I will slide into that grave someday beaten and worn, ready for an eternal nap. I have gotten to meet and experience the most amazing people ever. They set the bar and I get to come apart trying to reach it. Because it’s freaking fun. I love to talk sh*t with people I respect. I love that people will talk sh*t to me, try to get me all fired up….  and make me work for something.

I call it poking the bear with a red hot poker. Bring it boys. Bring it. And thank you for it.

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Preview

April 29, 2013

May is this weekend and you know what that means! Triathlon season is HERE! I feel like I have been waiting my whole life for this! My triathlon season gets jam packed really quick… because I am an athlete, coach, Score This!!! series race announcer…. and loads more. Summertime is fun time, and I can’t wait for all this to get started. Here is what I will have on tap:

Race announcing: I have been the voice of Score This!!! for several years now…. and I love it. I am the girl on the mic who leads you through race morning, heckles you during your race and announces (more often than not mispronounces) your name at the finish line! Here are the races I will be announcing at this season.

Coaching/ Clinics

  • Transition Clinic Saturday June 1st at the Keuka Lake Triathlon. Stay tuned for more info!
  • At the end of June I will be speaking at a cycling summit
  • I will be holding an open water swim clinic in the beginning of July down at Canandagua Lake. Stay tuned to the RATS site for more info as that becomes available.

Racing: The trick with everything I have going on is…. when do I get to race? My race schedule is always in a  bit of flux due to that fact… but my main two events are the Musselman 1/2 Ironman in July and Ironman Mont Tremblant in August. I will be squeezing (literally) in some shorter distance events between now and then, as they pop up! This is where recovery and restoration becomes really really important for me. I do a lot of traveling around these parts beginning soon…. so that becomes critical. I am also hoping to run the Philly marathon in the fall, as I was unable to last season.

OH! And my first BOOK is due to be released on June 1st. “Mary Eggers Yoga for Athletes” will be a very simple guide for the athlete who has always wanted to fit a yoga practice into their busy training regimen! Stay tuned for that!

So as you can see…. it gets busy soon, but the best kind of busy a coach / athlete / triathlon gal could ask for. I get to do all of this with my family…. as we are all involved in this in some way shape or form! It’s like going to summer camp every year and getting to see all of the amazing people I only see in the summer.

Love. This. Life.

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Keeping it real

April 27, 2013

If there was one thing I have vowed to keep this season… it’s the fun. Sure I am a competitive girl…. but I am also an accomplished girl. I have good things on my race resume and I have been fortunate to be able to meet people all over the world. This sport has been incredibly…. incredibly good to me through the 17 years I have been in it. I can’t believe I have been able to do this for 17 years!

I got pretty sick the past few weeks. After a winter of very solid health I totally fell apart. It was my own fault. During school break I took on too many cycling classes in terms of subbing, and when I take on too much, one thing leads to another and I found myself on that slippery slope. I haven’t been there in a long time. When I was 30 I could get away with that kind of reckless training. But at 39 I really can’t.

My passion is teaching though, and I can’t turn down an opportunity to ride with the amazing people I get to ride with.

I got pretty sick for a good two weeks, yet surprisingly didn’t miss much training. In my opinion… and I am an RN so I take medical credibility here…. I think that if you are baseline very active, then training through illness isn’t a bad thing. I kept the intensity very low, like real low. It enabled me the opportunity to breathe deep, to improve circulation and in the end to recover faster. There were no intervals and one day off. I trained as long as I felt good, which was no more than 2 hours a day. There were a lot of naps however and a lot of really good nutrition. I was right on the edge of falling into that deep hole….. but I didn’t. I have good people around me who know me enough to stop me.

I am just like every body else in this sport. But as a coach and a role model I hold myself to a higher standard. If I am going to preach to you about R&R, then I need to be the example I wish to be. And I wasn’t. The good news is that I am again 100% and I didn’t dig myself too deep a hole that I can’t pull out of.

This is where having a coach is the most beneficial. Through the past 2 weeks I had to pull the plug on 2 of my athletes in terms of training days. There are days when we have to do that, and days where we need to push through. When I am so focused on them, I lose focus on me. Martyr…. I know.

When my husband declared he would be assuming the coaching role of my training…. I was grateful. Coaching is expensive these days and at this stage of the game I know what I need to do and there are better places to spend that money. What I have needed was a consultant, a mentor…. and Curt has provided that for me.

As a husband and wife who have been in this sport for longer than many of the kids these days have been out of grade school…… we have always talked training on a daily basis. But we have made it a point to never dictate one another’s training and to never make it a point of contention. While Curt has certainly helped me with gear issues…. if I have an issue with my bike its ultimately up to me to take care of it. We keep it together yet separate. We don’t train together…. that’s our personal time. We give that space to one another. After 13 years of marriage I think we are doing something right, and for us this is one of those things.

We are also parents, and while our entire family is involved in this sport we like to keep our focus on our son and life beyond sport. I have never been happy when my focus is secular. We have a pretty well rounded life.

Curt, in one week…. has been able to provide me with exactly what I have needed. I wrote the whole IMMT plan out months ago. I create the training blocks. He oversees it and makes suggestions. For example as I have been recovering this week I have to pay attention to my level of fatigue. We decided I would keep everything very aerobic and frequent this week and through the weekend get in some of the bigger miles if my health allowed it. Which it looks like it will!

His training is very simple: consistent and progressive. Just like we plan for our athletes. I like the little things he does however that have already felt to have made a difference. At the completion of recovery runs he has me do five minutes of jump rope. (It helps keeps my achilles strong). My hill run today is not the same hill 6 times…. it’s 3 times through the “trifecta”. It’s a route I have run a million times but never thought of structuring it the way that he does.

He has a well rounded experienced approach that mirrors what I have spent years learning from the best in this sport. While not one system fits every athlete…. it’s always interesting when someone like Curt developed his own style through 25 years of sport….. and it’s what coaches and exercise physiologists write about years later. There are common themes that work.

One week and it’s a good fit. I like the relaxed approach. I like not having my data scrutinized (I do that myself) and I like the ability to say “What do you think.” It’s good for me where I am at right now.

I never want to lose the fun of all of this. I find multisport to be an incredible amount of fun. No matter who we are or what level we compete at…. no one will write on my tombstone “Was really fast.”. What they will write is “Beloved mother, wife, daughter., sister and friend. Fought her heart out against cancer. ” Those are the roles that will be with me forever. This sport will always be part of my life. I have been faster in the past and I feel as I approach 40 I can be just as fast. It comes with time. It comes with patience. It comes with being in the right place emotionally and physically.

Honestly right now I am there. I feel lucky. I see some of these kids tearing themselves up about races and wheels and bikes and this and that. I am kicked back, one hand in my pocket…. knowing that life is bigger than all of that. Oh trust me…. I have been there and been that kid too. I am just glad to be where I am now. We all go through that. It’s called …. life.

I am on the mend. It was a small enough hole that I can crawl out of. I am in good hands. Between my husband and Steve I am in really good hands. I value their insight and I value their opinions, and their experiences. I never take that stuff for granted. If anyone….. including my husband is willing to take the time to guide me…. I don’t take that lightly. I am honored.

We did decide to pull out of the Woodstock half Ironman next week, which was a crusher for me. But to save my trailing volume I would have had to train through it. The water is in the high 40’s right now, and the risk of getting sick again could set me too far back. So we will readjust and likely run a 5K instead and get me out there and racing. I have loved the events I have gotten to race in through the past 2 weeks and I want to get in there and get dirty as much as I can.

At the end of the day…. we have lives. We are not just triathletes. When I personally fall into that secular focus I miss the rest of my life. I lose out on the fun. And I won’t do that, nor will I ever again sacrifice my health for it either.

 

 

 

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Three times a week

April 26, 2013

Not only am I a yoga teacher, I am a vigilant practitioner of yoga. My practice may be limited…. if you are an Ironman athlete it likely is. I spend 18-20 hours a week swimming, biking and running and only 60 minutes focusing on my yoga practice (3 X 20 minute practices). At the same time that I am looking for the flexibility and strength that yoga provides…. there is a certain degree of tightness we as athletes need to keep. For example we don’t want super open externally rotated hips…. it would completely ruin our running bio-mechanics, but at the same time I want to increase my flexibility to I maintain my range of motion to prevent injury.

But that’s not the real reason I get onto my mat. This is the part I have the most trouble talking about. Not because I am embarrassed or ashamed by it, not at all. I can’t articulate, convey, describe or honestly really even teach why I am on my mat. It’s just something that… happens.

I stepped onto my mat for good in 2001 at a time where I needed to believe in something bigger than me. It was a time where many came to their mats for the same reason. To be alone but together. To heal pieces of us that had been irreversibly broken, and there was no guide on how to heal. Like many I got caught up in the what piece of the practice. What is this pose. What am I doing. How does this work? The newness of poses and alignment was something new and something distracting and something I hadn’t done yet. And as an athlete something I hadn’t won yet.

Because I will be really honest. I came to yoga to win.

If the guy to my right did two push ups… I did three. If the guy on the other side of me did a head stand I held it longer. If they jumped back into chattarunga I jumped higher, held longer. After all I am a competitive athlete. Competition is in my blood. I didn’t know any other way and to again be honest…. I thought I could win my fractured self back together again. I was a new mother and a wife and I needed to heal the biggest hole in my heart that ever has and still exists.

I have been through tragic things in my life….. but so have we all. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been to hell and back at least once. If you’re special you’ve gotten to ride the train a few times. Yoga gave me what I had never experienced before.

A place to go.

A community to stand in the middle of. I never had to tell why I was there. It never mattered. We had all been shattered at some point and here we were just breathing and moving together.

And I had never experienced anything like that.

I didn’t have to stand in a circle and say “Hi my name is Mary and here is my story.” My story never mattered. There were too many stories to tell. Too many pieces to collectively pick up. It just didn’t matter. Suddenly I had a place to go and a community to share it with and without having to spill the details I had a place where people got you but didn’t know you.

I have never floated on a cloud. I have never moved from my fourth chakra (I probably should sometime)…. and I have never even tried to put my heel behind my head. Some people do… I love that. I love that in yoga….. just like in Ironman…. you get to take this wherever you want to go with it. It’s your journey, it’s your mat. And guess what?

You can’t win yoga. Trust me I have tried.

But you can win….. peace in your mind and peace in your heart. It’s no coincidence that poses and breath are put together a certain way. It’s no coincidence that yoga has been around longer than you and I and even Lululemon. We can dress this yoga thing up….. we can take it to an entirely different place….. or we can step onto our mat in our garage and in the studio. We can breathe and allow our head to get quiet…. or quieter.

To me yoga is a place. A place I go to three times a week, for a minimum of 20 minutes. Sometimes I cycle through Sun-A and Sun-B only. Sometimes I spend the whole time in an inversion. Sometimes I hit more poses than I could ever dream of…. because that’s where it takes me that day.

It’s not about winning. Finally.

It’s about being right where I am in that moment I am in.

It’s about breathing and moving.

It’s about …. I don’t know what it’s about to be honest. It’s just a place I go three times a week.

It’s the most important place I go three times a week. And I am far from flexible. Because it’s not about flexibility. It’s not really about the poses. I moved from the what (the what being how to do the poses) to the why. To the big picture. The circle of life, the healing powers of a practice. The quietness but movement. The thrill. The defeat. Nowhere else can I experience the range of everything that I experience on this mat.

I have had the same mat since forever ago. I have quotes and words written all over it. It’s been written on a million times…. when words fade I think of new ones to cover old ink. The color fades, like the years of our lives and I write something new.

This is the part of yoga I can’t explain to someone who asks me why I practice. This is the part of yoga that is most sacred to me. This is the part of yoga that brings me back time and time again to this purple scribbled over mat of mine. This mat is a perfect reflection of who I am. It’s bruised. Worn in some spots, barely touched in other spots. It’s weathered many many storms, it’s caught many tears. It holds words of wisdom that sometimes stare you in the face and other times you have to look to find.

But it’s always there when I need it. Three times a week. At least.

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Race Report: The Seneca 7

April 25, 2013

On Sunday we raced the Seneca 7. It’s a 77.7 running race that circles one of our Finger Lakes: Seneca Lake. There are 7 runners, and each runner takes 3 turns to run various distances. The team car (or some ride the course) carries the other 6 runners to the checkpoints, and each team is responsible for timing, nutrition and transporting their runners.

seneca 7 relay

Substitute Chris for Kim, and read it sideways. These were our sections. The distances were perfect.

The short version: we had a blast.

Our team was comprised of athletes I used to coach, whom I am proud to now call my friends. Don, Chris, Alexa, Greg, Amanda, Jill and myself comprised the “Inside voices”… as in… please use your inside voice.

Smith opera house

Chris, Jill, Don, me, Greg, Amanda and Alexa. This was taken pre race at the Smith Opera House in Geneva

There were like a billion teams, and each team had a start time. Some began as early as 7, some as late as 9. We got to the start in plenty of time, all gathered in Don’s Tahoe (Thanks DON).  The day began like this: we were walking towards the Smith Opera House (the start) and we were missing Greg and Amanda. Figuring they were ahead of us…. we kept walking towards the opera house. Suddenly Don’s car alarm began to howl and we realized….. he had locked them INSIDE the Tahoe.

Uncontrollable laughter followed. This was exactly what we were here for.This kind of fun.

the tahoe

Our team began at 8am. We sent Jill off first, and put Amanda on the bus…. as one of the rules of the race to help with traffic was that the cars would proceed directly to checkpoint three. I thought the logistics of this race were VERY well organized.

Our team strategy was this: run steady, celebrate friendship, and enjoy the day. I thought that was perfect. What I liked about this race was that there were teams of varying abilities. Some were ultra quick, some were on the slower side. The waves of runners were staggered so we all got to cross paths at some point, and it felt like a true team effort out there.

The weather was perfect for running. It was a long sleeved shirt, shorts and gloves kind of day.

Jill, Alexa, Greg and Amanda.

Jill, Alexa, Greg and Amanda.

My first leg was 4.9 miles, mostly uphill. Being sick for almost two weeks now worried me a bit. I have gotten in training just fine but was delegated to the couch on Friday and most of Saturday. My only concern was my breathing, but the air was crisp and while I felt a bit wheezey out there….. (I don’t have asthma) I felt strong. I settled into my effort and ran a good steady aerobic paced run.

offocial vehicle

I found there to be a few keys to this race: staying warm, staying loose and good nutrition. This wasn’t the kind of race where you ate like it was an ultra. The longest anyone would run would be 12.9 miles (my portion). It was divided into smaller run sections. My sections were 4.9 miles, 4.7 miles and 4.6 miles. This means I ran about every 1.5-2 hours. It gave you just enough time to throw on warm clothes, eat something light, get to the next checkpoint and be ready to go.

The checkpoints were pretty well organized, there of course were a lot of cars and many teams were biking the course as well. The biking was surprisingly what was dangerous. As cyclists we always complain that we want people to share the road with us…. bike safety ultimately begins with us however. We saw several experienced cyclists riding in the middle of the road, cutting off runners, and we even found one cyclist texting. We called out for him to stop doing that and he replied “I have to log our results!”. When you arrived at a checkpoint you logged into a website via smartphone and “checked in”. We who were driving assigned that duty to someone who was… not driving (genius I kn0w). But this cyclist could have very easily stopped and done that. There was no certain time it had to be done by.

I was shocked someone wasn’t killed out there. One of the things I love about the race director Jeff Henderson is that he’s really open to feedback. The day after the race I took my concerns about the cyclists to him and let me be clear, I am a cyclist…. and I told him I was ashamed of my fellow cyclists, it is not up to Jeff Henderson to force us to ride safely. It’s up to US! He agreed, and told me that so many people rode last year without helmets that he actually had to put “YOU MUST WEAR A HELMET” into the race rules. Really?

If we want to share the roads, it must begin with us.

My second leg was into Watkins Glenn, which meant it was mostly downhill. I welcomed that… for sure!

Poor Don, had to run the leg OUT of Watkins Glenn.

Poor Don

Poor Don

The scenery was beautiful. We stopped at wineries (I even bough some wine), and the views of the lake were just magnificent. The camaraderie in the car was unparalleled. The entire race took us 10 hours and 33 minutes. Not once did we turn on the radio, or the DVD player in the car. We had good conversation…. silly conversation all day long. I have missed these guys so much and it was a day of reconnecting with them on many levels.

The view!

The view!

mary and alexa

on the way home

Alexa took the last leg and we waited for her under this banner, we ran the last 100 yards arm in arm.

team reunification

Here we are at the finish!

77.7 miles TOGETHER!

77.7 miles TOGETHER!

And our finishers medals,  mine says 3 because I was the third runner.

the medal

The Seneca 7 was one of those races that will go down as “Remember at the Seneca 7 when ________”. We ran and we laughed. That pretty much sums it up. We treated it like a solid training day, which it was.

I came out of it much sicker, and to be honest it was worth every single second to do that. It would have been smarter for me not to run…. but sometimes memories like this are worth putting yourself into a hole for. I would make that decision again. That last run, albeit short was tough for me, I was wheezing like an asthmatic (and I don’t have asthma). But that’s what you get with pneumonia.

I am doing much better today….. we had to realign my race schedule and training a bit….. and no worries, I am being a good athlete under some new guidance.

090

When a five time national champion, several time Kona qualifier, man who’s gone sub ten hours at age 54 announces he’s assuming control of your training program…. you don’t fight that. My training has been going just fine, fitness is progressing, everything is on track. I have done well coaching myself but I have missed and craved that interaction with someone who is invested in it as much as I am. For years I have begged my husband to coach me. I put so much time and effort  into the programs of my athletes, as I should…. they always come first…. that I fall to the back. I will say that it is tough having no one check in on you, guide you, etc.

He finally is! Basically he’s just cleaning things up a bit. His style is just like mine, but much more simple. He’s been injury free in this sport for over 20 years. Much of what I have spent ten years learning through coaching…. is what he’s instinctively done.

The first thing he had me do was rest. I still write my own weeks, but he’s checking them over and he’s given me some good insight as to where to go from here. We aren’t the kind of husband and wife duo that fights. You will never see us fight. We respect one another too much for that. You will see us collaborate. I do love collaborating with him, and this whole partnership makes this Ironman feel even more special. Because he’s an integral part of it.

I loved the Seneca 7. Loved it. We will be there again next year for sure. It was a chance to get out and be part of something fun, with amazing people, on an amazing day. That…. was worth everything!

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Seneca 7 preview

April 21, 2013

Today is the Seneca 7!

7 of us will together, as a relay run 77 miles around Seneca Lake, one of the beautiful Finger Lakes. Our team… named “Inside voices” begins at 8am, and each person has three legs to run.

There are a few tricks to a race like this:

1. Nutrition: we will be on the go for 12+ hours, operating out of a Tahoe. Total run time for each athlete is around 1.5-2 hours (cumulative). Today isn’t a license to eat, but a lesson in eating well. In my stash I have a lot of fruit, some lean protein and carbohydrates at the right time.

2. Staying loose: Run, get in the car for a few hours, run, get in the car for a few hours….. combating tightness will be the key. We have sticks and foam rollers and a jump rope.

3. Navigation: There are special rules to this event. We can’t drive on the run course, we have to drop our first two runners off at 7am…. etc. Remaining on course is going to be key.

4. Check points: when we arrive at a check point we have to call in so we can be tracked. We have car chargers for our phones!

Our team is comprised of 7 of my good friends. Our main objective is to have fun. I don’t see that being a problem with this group of people. Last evening we were listing what we were each bringing and after Alexa and I shared our extensive lists Don chimed in this:

“I am in Ohio and I have nothing.” That was around 8 last night.

No big deal!

However it plays out, today seems like an excellent day for an adventure! FOLLOW US here.

Running 77 miles around Seneca Lake with 7 amazing people…. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate life!

 

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The helpers

April 19, 2013

It’s rare when I can’t sleep…. but this week sleep doesn’t even feel important. Nothing is really going through my mind except for the feeling of horror.

I don’t understand evil. Then again who does?

In too many ways it brought , me back to 9/11. I will never forget when the towers fell. Who was in there. Who was on the ground. I ran to the TV and put my hands on it, as if I could stop the building from falling. I can still feel the smooth glass of the screen underneath my hands as I felt my hands separate as I watched the most unbelievable thing I have ever seen…. the most horrifying moment ever… as it all just fell.

That feeling of… maybe it’s shock….. horror….. when the blast happens and you suddenly only have one way texts and voice mails and you call that voice mail over and over and over again just to hear the voice. Because if you hear the voice then it feels like there is hope…. even for a moment. It’s just something to hold onto.

The first person I reached out to was my friend Charlie. Boston is his home, he lives right in the city. He’s an athlete (my Kona travel pal), and he’s a photographer. I knew he had been at mile 11 but I was worried. We all were. Word came in that he was safe, as the texts all began to flood in…..

“He’s okay.”

“We are fine.”

“I haven’t heard from her yet but she was already finished.”

Those kinds of words became comforting. As we turned on CNN at home Luc handled everything very well. He knows Boston incredibly well and he too…. felt the sting of all of this. I assured him our friends were okay, and that more would be ok. As we watched the coverage together the first words that came to mind…. were words that came to everyone’s mind.

“When I was a boy, and would see scary things in the news…..  my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.”  Mr. Rogers

I smiled…. as Mr. Rogers was my generation. While he has passed his lessons and his teachings live on. Who would have thought that he could provide us comfort.

As Luc heard those words he began to point out the helpers. Slowly our attention turned from the bloodstained streets and images of the injured…. to the people, first responders…. to those who ran towards the victims and not away from. As first responders… that’s just what we do.

I have no words. I don’t understand evil. But I do have some photographs. Of the helpers. These photographs were taken by Charlie Abrahams.

look for the helpers.

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Boston 10 Boston 11 Boston 12 Boston 13 Boston 14 Boston 15Boston Start Boston 17 Boston 18 Boston blast   Cathedral

Again, these photographs were taken by Charlie Abrahams.

Thank you…. to everyone who helped our friends and family in Boston on Monday and in the following days. Thank you for posting pictures on Facebook that you were ok. Thank you to google for developing their person finder. Thank you to those who ran towards the danger. Thank you to everyone who offered even a prayer.

Thank you Charlie for capturing these images.

I have no words for evil. I have no thought for it either.

The only way I know to conquer evil…. is to love bigger and live harder. United we stand. Stand up and live.