Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Season is Over! or is it???

This past week has been one of the busiest I can remember! Brian and I finished up our season with some fantastic racing and achieved numerous goals. After the great week of racing I ended up securing the Overall Super Tour which will give me the Continental Cup Start rights for the World Cup next fall. This is a goal I have been trying to achieve for a long time and I couldn't be more thrilled. Brian and I also secured the Overall Distance Super Tour and Brian ended his last race of the year for Team Gregg with a 3rd place podium in the classic 50K!!!

Brian and I were originally planning on spending a few extra days in Alaska after the season so that we could visit with friends and explore some of the beautiful mountains! When we found out that Brian's Presidential visit fell between the last races and our trip to the Nana Region for Nana Nordic, we decided it would be the perfect opportunity for me to head to LA and visit my brothers and sister.

It's been 7 years since I visited my siblings in Los Angeles and ironically it's been 7 years since I won the Overall Super Tour too! I packed up my light bag (I only had a few items that would work for the 70+ F temperatures in the forecast for LA anyways) and headed down to a different world.

Camille, Calan and Travis helping me pack my skis for Norway! Not something they do very often.
The best part about being a sibling is realizing how different we all are but how similar we are at the same time! When all 5 of us are together (Gavin couldn't make it from NYC), you can tell we are all related by the way we look, the way we walk and even more so, by the way we talk! Ironically I am the only one out of the 5 of us who graduated from high school. I feel pretty lucky to have had sports as a positive influence on my education. Although school wasn't easy for me, I knew I had to get good enough grades so that I could go to practice and compete at events. Although my siblings have not taken the most conventional route their passions are strong and their competitiveness even stronger! I had a blast offering perspective and wisdom to them, while trying to help them achieve small goals while I was in town! We got a lot done and it feels great!
Our Sibling portrait! 
Calan is my middle brother, he is 24 years old and in the past 4 months he has lost 100 pounds! I am beyond proud of him and I had a great time hanging out with him and seeing what a transformation he is going through. Last summer he didn't even want to join me on the family hike, this spring he was leading the charge!

Calan getting fit.

It's been 7 years since I visited my siblings here in Los Angeles and ironically it's been 7 years since I won the Overall Super Tour too! I packed up my light bag (I only had a few items that would work for the 70+ F temperatures forecast for LA anyways) and headed down to a different world.

Cami and I on an adventure.

Camille is 17 and there is 16 years between us! This spread in our age kind of confuses people when we introduce ourselves as sisters. Despite the age difference we seem to be in perfect sync when we re-unite! My sister is awesome and is a gifted athlete. Although athletics is not a huge part of her life on a regular basis, whenever I am in town she LOVES to join me for runs, events and fitness adventures! She is hoping to get into cosmetology school someday and she is extremely dedicated to her work!


Getting pumped for a race together!
Cami and I headed to San Dimas one Saturday morning and raced in the competitive wave of the Warrior Dash 5K. It's a 5K trail run with 12 obstacles through the route. The course was hilly and the obstacles were way tougher than I thought they would be! I was worried about whether Camille was going to have fun in such a grueling event but when I went back to find her on course she was all smiles and wanted to do another one the following weekend! I won the overall for the women's event so I have an entry in the World Championship Event in October. I am actually thinking about doing it because running speed was such an important component and my upper body strength helps on the obstacles.
Tired, Muddy and extremely happy!

Cleaned up and ready to head back home.

Bus ride with the men's champion and his horns.

 Travis is 20 years old and also has his own athletic talents. He found out I had never really played golf before so he found some clubs and took all of us for lesson. We went to the driving range and then played a game of 9 holes on the Par 3 course! The course was only $2.50 a person and we shared the clubs! I always thought golf was super expensive! I was psyched it was so affordable because it was a lot of fun and Travis is an amazing coach!

Travis preparing to drive!
All in all I had an amazing 5 days with my family and I was sad to leave. I am now heading right back to Alaska to meet up with Brian for Nana Nordic. We are headed to Kotzebue, AK which is a Native Village un-reachable by car. We fly in tomorrow morning and start working with the local kids right away! I can't wait, but I am a little nervous about transitioning back to -10F after the 80F we had on our hike today in Southern California!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Still Racing (up in Alaska)

Team Gregg never too busy for a quick fist bump before the start!
My World Cup season ended on a high note with a top 25 finish in the final 10K Skate pursuit race in Falun, Sweden. The significance of this result is that it is the same format and race course for the 2015 World Championships less than 11 months away!
Psyched to be in Falun!

The Falun Ski Jumps rebuilt for the 2015 World Championships!

Awesome to run into Sarah Willis, who is from Minnesota and now working in Sweden, at the races! She was a huge help and awesome cheer squad!

Post 10K Apple Pie! MY FAVORITE :)

Andrea Dupont (of Cananda) also enjoying a POST-World Cup Finals treat! Yumm!
After packing everything up and heading to the airport in Stockholm I was surprised by Brian in Frankfort and enjoyed a wonderful 10+ hour flight sitting next to my husband rather than a stranger :) We then boarded another plane for a 5+ hour flight up to Anchorage, AK. Our season has been so incredible this year and with each passing venue and race we continue to look forward to our next adventure. The same held true for this final set of races. With the Super Finals being held in Alaska, Brian couldn't help but be excited and his excitement is contagious, so I was equally as fired up!

The Team Gregg band back together!!!

Missed my silly husband over the past two months!

The first race of the series was the 10/15K Skate races. This is our best event to be held this week and we both looked forward to the windy and hilly course. I had a fantastic result (best of the season) placing 3rd behind World Cup overall Sprint Champ Kikkan Randall and World Championship 5th place finisher (in the same format) Liz Stephens! Brian's race was solid but certainly not his best and he looks forward to rebounding each and everyday going forward.

Brian cheering me on as I approach the finish in the 10K Skate!

Our amazing hosts the Burkholders! SO much fun to hang out with them.

Women's Podium

After yesterday's Classic Sprint, which was honestly a bit of a struggle for me, I was able to secure the Overall Super Lead and will now have start rights to the early season World Cups next fall. I am beyond excited about this opportunity going forward.

Brian and I are busy working on the details of our summer training and work schedule and we are getting ready for some even better turnouts for our Run Club Workouts and 5K Event! With so much going on it's amazing to look back and remember how incredible our season was this year and how grateful we are for all of the support from those who were behind us! We love what we are doing and wouldn't want to be anyone or anywhere else in the World!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Racing on the World Cup... AGAIN!!!

I am very happy to report from Oslo, Norway this evening! I am getting ready for bed after a successful race at the legendary Nordic Hollmenkollen Venue that sits above downtown Oslo. The race was a 30K Classic and the course is relentless, apparently it is the hardest in the world in regards to total vertical climb. I felt a bit slow to get going off the line but I felt as though I worked into the race very well and passed a lot of racers continuously throughout each lap. Tomorrow morning we pack up and head off to Falun for World Cup Finals and I am psyched that there are some skate races there!!!

After the Birkie I had a quick turn-around before racing again on the World Cup in Lahti, Finland. I drove home to Minneapolis from Hayward on Monday and flew out less than 30 hours later for Helsinki! I was in Lahti for just about 30 hours before I was starting my first event, a skate sprint and less than a week after the long slow slog of the American Biekebeiner 50K at temps barely above zero! Needless to say, it was a bit of a shock to the system to pack up and fly across the world and race on high speed ice in a sprint after this years super tough Birkie. I did it though, and although I did not have my best results I was pleased with my energy levels and ability to adapt to so many variables!

Oslo has been amazing! The culture, the food, the venue...everything has been ideal, except for the weather! Apparently is has been sunny less than a handful of days since Christmas and this past Friday was no exception. It rained harder than I have seen in a while and the visibility was less than two feet in front of you! Thankfully the morning of the Men's 50K started off with a beautiful cloudless sky for all to enjoy!

I have now been away from Brian since February 2nd and I am missing him a lot. When he left for the Olympics I went home and now he is on the OPA Cup circuit and I am on the World Cup circuit. 5 weeks is one of the longest bouts of time we have ever been apart from each other since we were married and I certainly realize how fortunate we are to both be cross country ski racing together! A little over a week to go!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Birkie, Birkie, Birkie

This past weekend was the American Birkebeiner in Hayward, WI. Although it took place on the same day as the Olympic 30K in Russia, the conditions couldn't be much different. While Brian was about to suit up in a t-shirt and no hat for his 50K, I was bundled up and read to face below zero temperatures with winds gusting up to 30 mph head on! This was by-far the coldest Birkie I have ever done. My feet are still red and swollen a day later.

My was was a huge success! I wanted to ski well on 2/22/14 for a long time and whether it was at the Birkie or the Olympics I would be happy as long as I reached my goal. I was able to hang onto the passing lead group of guys and separate from the rest of the Elite women's pack. I realized that with such a strong headwind, getting away any other way would be impossible.

This was my 3rd Birkie win and I cannot begin to explain how great it feels! I think the best part about the entire weekend was how much fun I had, how many friends I saw and getting up at 1AM to watch Brian race the 50K at the Olympics.

Today I hosted a Fast and Female Event here in Hayward and it was a HUGE success. We had over 75 girls attend and we went over the importance of goal setting and when you muss one goal you canoalways start focusing on your next one.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Full two weeks of Training, Travel and Racing!

Wow! What an incredible two weeks I have had!!! After we found out that Brian made the Olympic Team and I did not we got to work hashing out our next plans. Brian was headed to Sochi to represent the USA at the Olympics and I was headed back to the US to get people excited about Team Gregg and hopefully win some races and make some money :)

Before I left Europe I had the chance to spend another 10 days with my favorite training buddy (Brian). We explored the Italian Ski Trails that meandered through the valleys of the Dolomite Mountains and spend hours running and at the gym! Although one goal was met we still had more racing left to prepare for!

After Italy I dropped Brian in Munich for his Olympic processing and I hoped a plane to Vermont. It was probably one of the hardest good-byes I have ever had to say to him but I am so happy for him that it quickly subsided. I quickly met up with some old friends, the Mallorys, from my high school racing days in Vermont and we traveled together all the way to their house near Burlington. 

I just finished a full week of high volume and a weekend of high intensity racing here in Vermont and I am hoping that my solid results will help me secure the Super Tour overall so I can re-join Brian on the World Cup again this spring :)

I head home tomorrow and I am excited to sleep in my own bed for the first time in 4-1/2 months! I am also thrilled to get to watch the US Ski Team ladies make history on Tuesday at the Olympics!!! Go Team USA!!!

Some photos from the past few weeks below:

Interval Day at the Toblach Stadium!

Beautiful Over-distance Ski 

Psyched to be together!!!
More intervals, testing and coaching each other.

The reward for a long ski up the mountain

The grooming was perfect everyday! These guys get it done early!

Happy to be getting a coffee!

Holly Brooks my roomie from the 2010 Olympics
Goal Reached!
The Mallorys who were the best travel partners I could have imagined coming to Vermont from Munich too!

The Midwest gals all racing for East Coast colleges/ Universities

Dick Drissengacker and Judy Geer (below) the owners of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center! Their generosity this week was amazing!!! Thank you!
Jen Rolfes who I used to coach all grown up and graduating from Harvard this spring!

The Alberta World Cup Academy from Canmore, AB who helped me wax all weekend! My skis were rockets and I am so thankful!