Sunday, July 13, 2014

Alaska Camp with the Ladies

Last Sunday I left Minneapolis for the first time in over a month! It's crazy to think about how much time on the road Brian and I spend, how much we want to just stay in one place for a while after the season is over and than how excited we are to get back on the road and do it all over again!

Camp Time!
Back into the clouds!
This time my travels brought me to Anchorage, AK to attend the USST/ APU and invited guests Training Camp. This camp has been held for the past 4 years but this is the first time I have been able to make all of the details work out so I could join. Last year Brian and I went up to the glacier in August with the Sun Valley crew and I had a blast. I knew this was opportunity I couldn't let pass me by.

So far we have completed the first week of dry-land training here in Anchorage. The sessions were extremely high quality and everywhere you look there were girls who have been in the top-ten on the World Cup, the World Championships and even the Olympics!!! As awe-struck as I am to be skiing along side them, or mostly behind, everyone of the super-stars here are extremely humble and down to earth.

A super fit group of ladies ready for bounding intervals.
World Champion, World Cup Winner and 3 X Overall Sprint World Cup Winner Kikkan Randall sporting her LLBean tote with me on the way to strength! 
Besides the great training partners I have also been exposed to a true "Alaskan Experience" this camp! My first encounter with any wildlife on this trip was actually a Grizzly Bear, this also happened to be the first time I have ever seen a Grizzly Bear in the wild. We were on a group distance run Thursday afternoon, not very far from town, when Matt Whitcomb yelled out "Bear". We all stopped and looked up the hillside to see a huge Brown Bear looking back at us. He moved slow and stuck his nose in the air but seemed like he would rather be on his way than bother with any of us. Thank Goodness! If that bear wanted to, he certainly could be down next to us in a heartbeat!

I was a bit intimidated about running I stayed Very close to the group!
The past couple of days have been filled with various other animal sightings including a mama Black Bear and her cubs and a mama Moose and her calves...all right from our dorm windows on the APU campus!!! Our 4 hour O.D. hike yesterday also allowed us to see some Dahl Sheep off in the distance scurrying along some steep rock outcroppings!

Mama Moose and baby

Mama Moose had a huge nose!
Today is our first off day and the day we fly into Eagle Glacier! This will be my second time in helicopter and I am a little nervous but also really excited. Today I am spending some time with the Moon Family. Stacey and Cheryl have been extremely generous and opened up their home to Brian and I for this trip and I am watching the Soccer World Cup from their comfy living room waiting for the call to head down to Girdwood! Lots of skiing to be done next week and I am looking forward to relaxing back here at the Moon's house when I get back into town :)

Off Day Waffle Party with the Girls!
Our Norwegian guest Celine Brun-Lie brought brown cheese from Norway to share!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summertime fun at Adventure Camp

The past two weeks have continued to be a whirlwind for Brian and I! We started off the first week by bringing the Boys and Girls Club Kids to the City of Lakes Loppet Foundation's Adventure Camp.
The Camp is an awesome opportunity for the kids to be outside all day long while introducing them to all kinds of activities that help keep them healthy. The week was a blast and all the kids were tired in the best of ways come Friday. We hope to bring another crew from the Boys and Girls Club to adventure camp next month as well. A huge Thank You goes out to the Loppet Foundation for providing scholarships for these kids to attend camp. There were lots of donors who made this opportunity possible.

Picking the Kids up at the Boys and Girls Club

The Fruitshare Organic apples ready for camp

The apples are always an instant success!

A good way to start a day at camp.

Brian teaching the kids a few juggling skills.

Orienteering. The first group of the day gets to "hide" the markers for the rest of the campers.

Rollerskiing friends

Ultimate Frisbee.

Our Boys and Girls Club crew was the Green Group for the week of camp.

More rollerskiing practice.

Everyone got their own water bottle to stay hydrated through a long day of camp.

Having fun with the kids on the way to and from Theodore Wirth Park.

Getting the plan for the day.

Making lunches for 11 hungry kids! I have never made so many sandwiches.

Ready to spend the day outside.

Mountain Biking is always a huge hit at Adventure Camp.

Even rainy days turn into fun times.

Learning from the local Olympian!

Lots and lots of biking at camp.

Last day celebration snack brought in the LLBean ITA tote bag :)
Brian and I competed in an off-road triathlon this weekend, also hosted by the City of Lakes Loppet. The triathlon was paddling, running and then mountain biking. I felt great and finished higher and was faster than last year (always a good sign that training is on track!). Brian wasn't so lucky in the paddle and ended up tipping his canoe in the middle of the lake (the wind was very high and the waves huge!) so he had to swin back to shore and start all over! He still managed to catch me with a mile before the finish!

After a few rain showers rolled through the Twin Cities that afternoon (and after a long nap!) Brian and I got to work on our afternoon session of training. We finished the day with a beautiful jog around Wirth Lake with our husky Lahti.

My favorite running partner!

Amazing Minnesota sunset.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Power Squad! The "Physical Support Team" behind Team Gregg

For the past three years I have dealt with a nagging pain in my left upper hamstring. I was in a bad accident in a rollerskiing sprint race that caused very quick snap of my left leg forward before I hit the ground. It hurt when I ran, it hurt when I classic skied and it hurt when I sat for long periods of time. I would often go into a massage therapist and ask them to work on nothing but that of the 3 muscles in the hamstring group was so tight it kept me up at night.

This spring presented a new opportunity in the form of a USOC health insurance plan. Thanks to Brian making the 2014 Olympic Team he was given the choice of whether or not he wanted the coverage (that I as his wife would also receive) that is offered to all athletes who participated in the 2014 Games. For Brian and I it was an obvious decision and we applied immediately. With the new insurance plan activated I made my first Dr.'s appointment while I was still racing in AK so I could get home and see someone as soon as possible.

Fast forward to today and I have found out through an MRI and countless reviews from incredible Doctors and PTs all over the country that I have a partial avulsion at the proximal insertion of my left hamstring. There is a small section still hanging on but the other portion has retracted about a centimeter. Unfortunately the only way to heal an injury like this is surgery and the recovery from surgery is upwards of a year or more for an elite athlete. With World Cup starts on the horizon this fall there was no way I could go through surgery and be ready to compete for a spot on the 2015 World Championship Team.

With the help of Brian and some amazing friends I have decided to GO FOR IT! and not let my injury limit my potential this season. In past years I stayed far away from classic intensity and even further away from classic racing.  This fall I need to come out of gates charging and racing well in both distance classic as well as classic sprinting if I want to make the World Champs Team. I developed a great plan with the help and support of the best TEAM I could ever imagine behind me here in the Twin Cities!

Matt Miller of Horse Power Strength and Conditioning is my strength coach! I started working with him last summer and I LOVE every minute of my time in his gym. The attitude and effort of everyone I meet at Horse Power is incredible and it is hard not to be motivated with this group, This year Brian is joining me and he agrees that Matt has his programs dialed and we are in the best place possible! Matt knows about my injury but pushes me through the training in a smart way!

One of the best coaches I have ever worked with!
Getting Strong for sprinting!
This spring and summer I have also been in the amazing hands of the PT's and PTA's at Ortho Rehab Specialist in downtown Minneapolis.  We have figured out what my limitations are and I am meeting them 3 days a week to push through my weaknesses and become as balanced as possible! So far I have worked with Jennifer, Mark, Brittany, Michelle and Billy and they are all extremely knowledgeable and resourceful! The best PT group around!

Jennifer Martin is a brilliant PT and also a tremendous ambassador for female athletes! She started a great organization behind her slogan "You just got Chicked." I was honored to represent the organization at my recent Ski to Sea race with my teammates and I wear my t-shirt EVERYWHERE now:
Mark is setting me up on the Cybex machine where we tested and measured my strength and weaknesses of my left hamstring and glute.
In the pain cave but getting stronger safely!
Adding Pilates into the routine as well!
Becoming stronger and more flexible!
With all my strength and PT work as well as my time spent outside logging hours of running, bounding and rollerskiing I was in need of a Massage Therapist who knew how to work with athletes! I found one at Podium Sports Therapy with Dana Rutt!!! She is amazing and every time I leave her office I preform better the next day! Brian has started seeing her too and he agrees that she knows how to work on athletes! Dana has been helping me with my tightness and flexibility around my injured leg. The idea is too keep everything else functioning well so that I do not get additional injuries from compensating for my weakness on the left side. Having completed in Ironman Triathlons helps Dana understand exactly where we are coming from in terms of fatigue and the need for rejuvination as well!

Team Gregg with Dana in her foam rolling room! The best recovery room EVER!

Thanks to the great support of the USOC Medical Network I was able to connect with Dr. Andy Klein a local Chiropractor who served as the head Chiropractor for Team USA at the 2000 Sydney Olympics! He is incredible and has great enthusiasm and energy for working with athletes! He has helped insure that through all my rehab my body is staying aligned and balanced! He has a fantastic approach to his work and I have had a blast working with him. I am not sure how but he seems to find the minor details that lead to big blocks in my efficiency of movement.

My fellow New Yorker (NYC) who moved to the Midwest
Of course I would not be where I am today without the unyielding support of Piotr Bednarski and the programming and opportunities from the Loppet Foundation. I have been having a blast working with the local junior and competition team members all fall and early summer and Love sharing my passion and excitement with all of them. I am so proud to call LNR (Loppet Nordic Racing) my home club and represent them around the country and world!

Piotr getting me out on the bike!
The LNR Comp Team joining Team Gregg for a rollerski from Wirth Park!
Last but not least is my awesome husband Brian Gregg who has been the best support out there! We are sharing a pretty unique experience by both being Elite Cross Country Skeirs and chasing our dreams outside of National Team support! We just finished up a 30 hour week and it's hard to describe how tired, hungry and satisfied we are at the end of it. Tomorrow we start off the week with Adventure Camp for the 15 kids from the Jerry Gamble Boys and Girls Club! It should be a great week for them and with a few rest days on our schedule we are looking forward to getting out and coaching them at the rollerski station!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ski to Sea Race

Here is a great re-cap of the Ski to Sea race this weekend in Bellingham, WA. The trip was short but awesome and jam-packed. Both Brian and I have finally recovered from the whirl-wind couple of days filled with family, friends and adventure (perhaps not the most sleep).


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Filling up the hours everyday!

I love spring time in Minnesota! The weather in incredible and everyone is ecstatic to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather (especially this year when there was a record 30+ days below zero!). As Brian packed up and jetted off to his home state of Washington I decided to hunker down and NOT TRAVEL for a couple of weeks! The decision was hard as I knew I was going to miss Brian and our adventures together but I knew I would benefit greatly from some much needed consistency! Brian went off and has been giving talks and presentations galore to his (our) huge support network in the Pacific Northwest! This was our presentation in North Western Iowa!!!

So for the past few weeks I have been holding down the fort (our home) and watching Lahti (our husky). I am desperately trying to d the things that responsible home owners do (especially ones who are not away for 9 months of the year) like grow grass where there is dirt (this prevents the dirt from flowing into our neighbors year every time it rains), raking the leaves out of the existing grass and then staying up on mowing the grass! So far so good, our lawn looks good even if there are a few dandelions that pop up (I refuse to use weed-killer!).

I have also been getting into see the kids at the Boys and Girls Club quite a bit! Our Run Club numbers are growing and we are quickly approaching the need for another sheet which means we are almost at 50 and it's not even June yet. Unfortunately the weather hasn't been cooperating everyday I have been up to the club so we sometimes have to improvise with different activities. I have been taking Crossfit so I used the concept of a workout of the day to try and get in some indoor exercise. Sit-ups, push-ups, burpees, lunges, and balance drills have been keeping the kids' blood pumping when the rain is pouring. We have also had a few days of goal setting, where we talk about short and long term goals and write them down to share on the Run Club board. The goals do not have to be about health and fitness only and I encourage more than one goal as well.

On the days we do get outside the kids have been logging the miles! We have a 2 mile minimum to join this year and with almost 50 kids signed up...we are way over 100 miles total! Just like last year our friend Everett Myers at Fruitshare has been extremely generous and has been donating Organic Fruit for the kids as post-workout snacks!

I have also been spending a lot of time with local training groups throughout the Twin Cities and have participated in a number of locally sponsored events and races. I have said this many times before, but I am sure I could find a different group or person to go training with everyday I am home throughout the summer! This is why I love living here and why I am excited to spend a little more time closer to home this spring and summer! With World Championships at Sea Level I am pretty excited to maximize my training and minimize my travel before then!

My own training continues to go well and my focus is pretty high with World Cup Starts this fall! I am making another big training push this year with a huge focus on technique and strength! I have been nursing a hamstring injury for the past couple of years and this year I have access to great care and support from the USOC doctors because of Brian's Olympic debut :) My "team" includes strength coaches, PT's, Surgeons, Massage Therapists and Chiropractors! This is way beyond any type of support I have ever received and I am extremely excited to see where this rehab can get me!

On Friday I leave to join Brian and the rest of Team Gregg at the annual Ski to Sea race held in Bellingham, WA. Brian and I consider this race to be the first race of the new season! So 2015 is about to start :) I am very stoked about our new partnership with In-the-Arena and LLBean. Our LLBean merchandise just came in and I cannot wait to put them to use this weekend. Two way radios (for splits, general communication at events), A four person rugged tent (for camping at events and training locations), amazing Rain Jackets (very handy for the Ski to Sea race!!!), a Team Gregg Door Mat (so you know who lives at our house!) and tons of great clothes for training and casual wear from the LLBean Signature line! Of course no LLBean experience would be complete without the famous LLBean Tote Bag! Brian and I each got one with the ITA logo and I have been using it almost everyday! They are so cute but totally functional as a heavy duty