Sunday, July 26, 2015

Fast and Female at LL Bean Mall of America

Fast and Female came to Minneapolis for the first time ever with two power hours at the LL Bean store at the Mall of America. Since I have been training at altitude in Utah I made a special trip home for the event.  Fast and Female is a non profit started by 2006 Olympic Gold Medalist Chandra Crawford.  The goal of Fast and Female is to support, motivate, inspire and empower girls age 9 to 19 to stick to sports and the healthy lifestyle.   These goals align well with In The Arena and LL Bean.  LL Bean stepped up today as the presenting sponsor and even made the event today free.

Pretty cool to have all of the women who have won medals at the World Championships to lead the event

Gearing up for a big day and what do you know I am wearing 100% LL Bean

My day started early with my 3 hours distance run in the morning.  Plus I had to round up my Run Club girls who have really been looking forward to the event.  The Boys and Girls club is closed on the weekends which means a few can meet at the Club and others need to be picked up at home.  One family called me that their car had been towed the night before and the kids weren't going to make it, but a special trip up to New Brighton to pick them up and the van was full.  I am also really happy that my neighbor girls were able to come with to the event.
Video highlights from of the event

I came back a day early to get things in order.  I met up with the LNR girls for a group interval session up one of our favorite climbs in Afton.  Sarah just had her wisdom teeth pulled and couldn't train but came out and drove us down the hill.  Pretty cool to see how strong this group of girls has become.
Ladies pushing each other and having fun

Dialing in the training and is intensity especially on days when you are traveling and busy

Monday, July 13, 2015

None of us truly wins, until we all win!!

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.
“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”
So is with our lives... Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all...
-Call it power of collectivity...
-Call it a principle of success...
-Call it a law of life.
The fact is, none of us truly wins, until we all win!!
This story comes from a post one of my sponsors, Ian Harvey of Toko, had on his Facebook wall. Brian shared the story with me after he picked me up from the airport and the message was exactly how I felt after leaving Minnesota after an amazing couple of weeks at home training on my favorite trails and rollerski routes! My training while home in Minneapolis was as productive as it has ever been. I trained more hours, set numerous PR's and enjoyed some of the best summer weather I have ever witnessed since I moved to Minnesota 11 years ago! I am now back in Utah living at 8,200 ft for another altitude block with Brian but I can't wait to get back home
While I was home I found myself immersed in incredible opportunities to train with other skiers young and old! I did time trials, 4 hour runs, strength sessions, and distance all with great company. I guess the part of the story that resonates the most with me is the idea that everyone can raise the bar together if we work together. Collaborating with different age groups, different clubs, different coaches gave me (and hopefully them) tons of new ideas and inspiration! I like that I can truly say that so many people have been a part of my success! Perhaps that is why it was so important for me to share my medal when I got home from the World Championships this year. I hope to bring to the groups as much as I have received over the years!
Double Pole Time Trial with the Endurance United Masters Group!
My long time coach Piotr Bednarski always energetic and always smiling!

Running and Bounding with the LNR/ NMU ladies!

LNR has grown so much! 

Getting ready for the local Tri-Loppet Race with Alice Flanders CXC/ MTU!
My favorite group to train with Vakava Race Team. These guys have been letting me join them ever since I moved to MN! They are the most inspiring group of individuals I know!

LNR Coaches Piotr Bednarski, Dave Chamberlin, myself and Lahti!
My LNR running crew!

Coaching the girls up the Big Climb!

Love coaching these guys!
Making sure coach Lahti has enough water!
Long L-3 Running Intervals with Tom and Jan from Gear West!

Hard L-4 Intervals with the Minneapolis Ski Club!

Fun to share some stories with other clubs in the area!

Fun to learn and connect with other Olympians as well! Kevin Brochman has many of us beat with 2 Olympic appearances!

Loppet Adventures "Adventure Center Day" The community has been rallying and the Loppet Foundation has been working hard to getting a building to base all of  it's programming and activities out of. I love being a part of such an incredible club with visions beyond just racing.

Training with Audrey! She is an animal! Full-Time U of M Dental Student who can still charge for 3+ hours on rollerskis! Impressive. 
Cheryl and Rob just ran the Superior Trail Race at just under 30 miles this past weekend. I helped them on a 4 hour training run! It was the last workout of a 32 hour week for me so I was psyched when I learned they were planning the same workout!

Of course nothing would complete my summer training without spending lots of quality time at the Jerry Gamble Boys and Girls Club. We now have over 135 kids who have run over 1,117 miles since this April when we got home from the season. The hardest part about leaving home is leaving these kids behind! They are so fun and I learn so much from them every time we meet. Thankfully we now have 3 awesome volunteers who help keep Run Club going while Team Gregg is away. We finally decided it was time to update the Run Club chart midway through the summer because so many kids were joining and many were off the chart!
I spent far too long counting, calculating and re-writing names but the new chart is beautiful and it highlights the Run Club All-Stars. The All-Stars have run the most miles so far this year! I also love doing projects like this so I enjoyed every minute (even if I was a little tired for my intervals the next day).
Making the Charts at home late at night!
The finished charts!
The 2015 Run Club charts and Kim Jones our amazing volunteer. She has now given up smoking and has run 20 miles so far this summer herself! Notice that there is still room to grow on the right side of the wall!

My buddy Jackie! She is one heck of a runner! We just have to make sure she stays our of trouble so she can keep coming to practice at the Club :)

Hanging out after practice with the fruit of the day! Once again a huge shout out to Everett Myers and Fruitshare for all the fruit they provide for the kids! 
We don't stop on rainy days! The big "Plank-Off"
Sharing stories and trading cards from my season.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Training and Living at Altitude

I am entering my last of 5 weeks here in Park City, UT. The goal of this long stretch away from home was to gain some benefits from living and training at altitude. Brian and I have been living in a condo at 8,300 ft and after training a bit lower in Park City or even Salt Lake City. We are completely acclimated and I was able to finish an L-3 running workout up high that felt like a sea level pace. Gradually all of my efforts have gotten faster and faster due to a combination of acclimatization and fitness gains. We have been putting in a lot of running and bounding while we are out here in the mountains because we don't get the same terrain at home. That being said we are also taking advantage of the massive climb back up to our condo. We both love uphill efforts and although it's important to get in some undulating terrain similar to race trails, we have plenty of time at home in Minneapolis and before the season to get that in. For now, we are happy to challenge ourselves with new routes and different types of terrain. 

Another benefit of being out in Park City for so long has been to work with the strength coaches at the Center of Excellence. My routine is not too different from what I have done in the past but it is nice to have so many eyes watching my form and technique for every lift and exercise.

Doesn't look too intimidating yet
 The Center of Excellence also has TWO rollerski treadmills. I put in almost 10 hours on this treadmill last week and I can tell the time has been worth it. One of my big goals for the season is to improve my classic skiing and double poling. I can tell what it is supposed to look like but without much coaching or the ability to see video it's been tough to correct. With this opportunity I can have multiple video cameras set up to watch and tweak my technique instantly. I am also able to watch my heart rate and figure out how to ski as efficiently as possible. Next week I will start to include some intensity on the treadmill as well.

Working on the double pole!

 Park City is well known for it's mountain bike trails and last week I found out why! Brian and I rented some bikes from a local shop and had a blast cruising all over. 3 hours went by so fast and my heart rate was up the whole time. I look forward to entering some more bike races in the future but for now I am focused on preparing for the Tri-Loppet coming up in two weeks!!!

Mountain Biking in our Hoigaard's kits.

Liz Stephen, who lives here almost full-time (well as much as you can as an xc-skier) told us about a running race happening at Solitude Mountain. Brian and I were psyched to get in a good trail race while we are out here. The course was 8 miles and TOUGH! There was quite a bit of vertical and a lot of single track. I loved it! I didn't run too fast but it was cool to see Liz and Brian both win the 8 mile and represent Nordic Skiers! We also had Matt and Brian, two US Ski Team coaches, come out and join us for the race! There is another race on the same course in a couple of weeks when we are back out here and I look forward to trying to improve my time.

Bryan, Matt, Me, Brian and Liz.

Post race stretching!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Life in Park City

Happy 4th Anniversary Brian :)

Happy to be in the Mountains again.

My first couple of weeks on the US Ski Team have been amazing. As an athlete I am overwhelmed by the amount of support and opportunities that have been presented to me in just two weeks. My teammates have been incredible and I am constantly inspired by their hard work and talents everyday. Although I wasn't too psyched with my fitness coming into this first camp I was blown away by the performances and technical proficiency of the athletes who I now call my teammates. I am really excited about the year to come.

Testing classic skiing Max VO2 on the treadmill.
The amount of support here at the USSA Center of Excellence or the COE is phenomenal. I have had my fitness tested, my body symmetry tested, my strength tested, my weaknesses revealed, access to a fully loaded weight training facility complete with expert coaches. We have a PT department that is integrated with the strength and conditioning staff as well as the medical staff as well as our coaches. We have our blood looked at, our nutrition looked at a chef who prepares nutritious meals everyday at lunch and sometimes even dinner too! I am beyond impressed and excited to continue working with so many people who can support my training and recovery.

A small part of the weight room.
Jim Stray Gunderson also has a facility at the COE. He is an expert in the field of altitude training and I look forward to talking to him about my training and travel schedule so I can maximize my benefit of living up so high for so long combined with my time at home at almost sea level. Jim let Brian and I hang out in one of his "ice bath" nitrogen chambers. It was amazing and I felt great the next day!

Ready to freeze :)
Our first camp was a mix of testing, distance workouts, speed and a few small doses of higher intensity.
The whole crew out for a distance run.
We had social time too and got to get creative at the Adam's house while we were there for a Pizza Party! 
I made a spicy turtle.
I also made a monster themed calzone (he is on the left)
Brian and I are pretty lucky to get to spend so much time together. We had a fun couple of days once camp was over too enjoy some relaxing workouts, some time with friends and get organized for the massive year of training and racing ahead of us.
Enjoying reaching new heights (peaks)!
Brian and I made the drive down to Salt Lake City for our first lower elevation (4,000 ft) workout. We both felt great which lets us know that the living high concept is actually helping. More on the science and theories behind this in my next post. We have a massive week of training next week with great weather so we look forward to being good and tired! We have multiple sessions on the treadmill at the COE working on my classic and double pole technique. More on this next time too!
Back to work with L-3 running intervals down in Salt Lake City.
Representing Madshus! Always!!!

Park City Bound Part One

This spring was the busiest I have ever had. I have a hard time spending 11 months of the year focused solely on my training and racing and not feel like I want to cram all 11 months into the one month when I am home. I have to say that despite this impossible undertaking, I did it this year! My day planner was crammed to the max with appearances, celebrations, presentations, talks, dinners, fundraisers, guest coaching, friends, family, girl's camp and even time to play with my Husky Lahti and take care of our house and yard after a long winter away! I LOVED IT ALL!!! Everyday I woke up with tons of stuff to do and tons of energy to do it (thank you fitness!). I got out for some runs, rollerskis, bike rides and even to the gym a few times but what I soon realized was how bad of an athlete I was being... I would run from one place to another with little rest, recovery or thought about my next workout or how I would feel. It was a refreshing look into the life of most of my friends, supporters and training partners who have full-time jobs, families and other priorities but still manage to be amazing athletes. I am lucky to be able to spend 11 months of the year as a full-time athlete and this past spring was a great way to check in with my enthusiasm for training and racing for the next couple of years!

Working with the Fast Kids and Anwatin ski team on outdoor circuit strength.

Training time with my favorite training partners! Alice Flanders will be entering the professional skier ranks this year after graduating from Michigan Tech this spring!

Ripping through North Minneapolis with the Husky!
Many months ago Nichole Porath contacted Brian and I about receiving a Stunt Puppy leash for Lahti! When I got home from the season it was waiting at our door step. The Stunt Puppy leash has been perfect for my injured hamstring and provided a great way to run with a "pulling" dog on a leash! Huge Thanks to Nichole for the awesome connection!

I had the opportunity to join the LNR Girlz Camp in Afton, MN for 3 days of BIG HOURS and of course BIG FUN! Kris Hansen, head coach of the Stillwater girls high school team and Jessie Diggins were awesome for letting us stay in Afton and coming out for the workouts!  The camp was a huge success and everyone was tired and even more inspired for the training season ahead!
On Snow Camp? 
Jessie telling us about the running route in Afton State Park.
Big Crew out for a run. 
Fun to have representation from LNR, NNF and USSA!
We biked over 60 miles on Saturday morning! This was the farthest most of these girls have ever gone. 
The Road Crew
Biking up the Afton River Road hill!
The last day featured a 2-3 hour classic ski on the incredible Afton roads.
My Thank You note :)
 With all of the happenings throughout the spring nothing made me as happy as the presentation day at Run Club. All spring over 85 kids came out and ran at least 3 miles. The club as a whole ran almost 700 miles. Our top runner this year was Gregory Wheeler. He ran 47 miles to edge out Lavonne who ran 46 miles. The award was the MN Timberwolves signed basketball that Brian won in the Crunch's 5K almost a month earlier.
Gregory and his new trophy!
Kim Jones has been coming out 3 days a week to participate in run club with her daughter Destanee. We are so grateful for Kim's support and very impressed with her new healthy lifestyle. Kim has ran over 12 miles herself!
After a solid month of working and community involvement Brian and I packed our bags the morning we flew out for Salt Lake City. We left a few days early so that Brian could attend the USSA congress that is held in the spring every year. We left about 40 minutes apart because I was on a direct Delta flight because my ticket was purchased by USSA for my Rookie Camp dates and Brian was on Southwest because it was cheaper. I arrived 3 hours before Brian and was upgraded to comfort plus thanks to a generous gift of Silver Status from a new sponsor (more on this soon!). Brian went through Pheonix and had to stay on the plane during his layover. I felt a little guilty while I ate my free snacks, enjoyed the front of the plane and watched my free entertainment knowing Brian had none of the same. By the time I got to Salt Lake City the rush and non-stop lifestyle that accompanied my spring this year caught up to me. I snuggled up to my ski bag and fell asleep in the middle of baggage claim only to be awaken by Brian kicking me and making fun of how "rough" my flight must have been :) The "crash" hit me hard and I took the next 3 days off and 5 of the 7 I was in Park City that week. Brian was fighting off a cold that he picked up at the end of our epic spring so the two of us sort of felt like lumps all week.

Passed out in the middle of baggage claim on the floor. It was a very busy spring.
Our first grocery bill in Park City!