Quote of the day


Joseph Campbell

Monday, June 30, 2014

It's time. Swim time. Run time. Bike time. Laugh time. Donate time.

I just spent the past weekend in Vail, Colorado on a much needed "retreat" from Ironman training, work-related challenges, personal hardships and.... from the linear path my life had recently taken.

Since returning from Lake Placid, NY where I had trained on the Ironman course a few weeks ago, I was feeling exhausted. I wasn't sleeping well and felt stressed- body, mind and spirit.

After a weekend that consisted of equal part rest and PLAY, I am finally beginning to feel like Emi again.


Great view at the top of Vail mountain after run/hike up!

That's me running!

Gerald Ford Amphitheater
Colorado Symphony+Chorus
Beethoven's 9th

Closer view of the talented musicians
Vail, CO

Yes, I am still fatigued but I've been Ironman training for seven months and, well, that's to be expected.  What's important is that I'm in a better state of mind and feel ready to take on this Ironman challenge with all I can give.

The plan between now and July 27th is to:
  • eat well (fresh, healthy, good food)
  • rest enough (8 hours of sleep per night!)
  • follow my training plan (my coach, Jen Gatz, is fantastic and knows what she's talking about)
  • listen to my body (give her a break if she tells me she needs one)
  • give my friends and family love and attention (I must not lose perspective)
  • continue to fundraise for MentorCONNECT (please, please donate TODAY!!!!!)
  • focus on finishing this Ironman dream one STRONG step at a time.

Heaven on Earth
The top of Vail mountain
Vail, CO

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Happy Father's Day! I know so many wonderful fathers.  Of course, carrying a wee bit of bias, the most wonderful of them all is mine, Colonel Bernard W Berger, MD.  

I spent the past few days in Lake Placid, NY training on the Ironman course I will be racing on in July.

The Adirondacks are breath-taking and I enjoyed the fresh air and simple pleasures this area had to offer.

The weather was not the most agreeable but we made the most of it.

Thursday was gloomy with on-and-off showers so we swam in the "not-so-mirror-like", Mirror Lake. There was quite a strong current and 1.2 miles of the 2.4 mile swim was into a dramatic chop. We were being slapped around relentlessly by white caps and no doubt I swallowed a few pints of Mirror Lake.

Still, I had a lovely swim.

On Friday, it was pouring rain. Dumping. We decided to take a long run and ran a tough 18 miles around the ironman course. I appreciated what it felt like to run the final 2 miles UPhill back into town. This is a two loop run course. So, for the race I will "rinse and repeat", as my coach says. That's going to be a grind, especially after the bike (see below).

On Saturday morning, the rain had finally stopped and the sun popped her head out for a bit. This was as good a day as any to ride the bike course...twice.  Two loops, 112 miles, which included screaming downhills on not-so-smooth pavement, false flats and an infamous 20 mile section of climbing heading back to town the tail end of which includes the "three bears". This is a series of 3 hills right before the turn-around in town named "mama bear", "baby bear" and "papa bear". Riding the loop twice ("rinse and repeat") means this course takes you again through these climbs, with a total elevation gain of nearly 5,000 feet...and so, there are really 6 bears. Rawwrrrrr!!!

By the time I returned to the biggest climb/bear, "papa bear", on the second loop, the rain had been pouring down on me for about 45 minutes and the pleasantries of riding on such a beautiful bike course had faded. My quads were screaming and my fatigue had set in. The only thing I could do to trick my mind into grinding up this final climb was to think of "papa bear" in a different light: to think of "papa bear" as my own father and embrace, respect and LOVE the climb.

And so I did.

I can only imagine what it will feel like to swim 2.4 miles BEFORE biking this course and run a marathon AFTER it. This will indeed be an epic race.

Happy Father's Day to all the stupendous "papa bears" out there. You are loved.