Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rollerskiing with Friends

Sundays are the usual day of the week that our CXC Team does an Over Distance workout. These workouts are typically anywhere from 2 - 4+ hours long and are usually down at a very slow pace. Today was a three hour skate OD and I rollerskied with some of my closest friends.

 The  roller ski started today in downtown Afton, which has a population of about 50, at 7:30 AM. I met up with 5 women who I have been training with for the last 7 years here in Minneapolis. Jojo, Katherine, Claire, Katie and Carolyn. There were a few of the other usual girls missing but this was a big part of the "core" group.

Today was beautiful but the roller ski was sad because it would be the last group ski we would all get to do with our friend Katherine. Katherine accepted a job in Washington D.C. and will be moving out there at the end of the week. So today a roller ski full of memories and goodbyes. We met up with another group called the Vakava training group and together we formed a mass of roller skiers totaling around 30!

I cannot emphasize how important to my athletic career and my successes this huge group has been!

Katherine...we will all miss you and your awesome jokes!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Street Skiing

By Caitlin Gregg
After a solid two weeks of training in Maquette, MI and Cabel, WI Brian and I returned home for what is going to be our longest time yet (3 weeks). As soon as we returned we began unpacking and getting the house up and running again. Within an hour the neighborhood kids saw Lahti and knew we were home. Ten kids  stopped over to say “hello” and “welcome back”. While visiting on our porch the kids saw all of our Marwe rollerskis and were really excited to try the “Street Skiing” they see Brian and I do everyday.
Brian and I began outfitting the neighborhood kids with our boots, roller skis (street skis) and poles. The kids were psyched. We could barely get them to stop playing as the sun was setting.
I find the learning curve for kids starting out on  rollerskis pretty incredible. By the end of the evening all of the kids where skating and striding without ever skiing before. There were a few crashes but the thrill of cruising around the block was worth it for them.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Back @ NMU

This past week was one of the best training camp weeks I have ever had. The CXC Elite Team spent a week in Marquette, Michigan a place where I spent 5 years of my life and missed. Marquette is where I went to college at Northern Michigan University and graduated over 7 years ago!!! I cannot believe it has been so long. Looking back on those years and visiting the places I went to class and the trails I trained on, I realized how lucky I was to be a  part of the Northern Michigan family.

On this trip I was able to meet up with my College Coach Sten Fjeldheim. He has changed a lot, as have I, but we still had a blast sharing stories and lessons learned during our time together as NCAA Coach and Student-Athlete.

A lot of people ask about what it was like to be an athlete of Sten's at NMU. There are stories of grueling intervals and the notorious weather scenarios we would do them in. There were big consequences for forgetting something at  practice, being late to a meeting and of course not keeping your grades up. Sten was a tough coach but also knew we were at NMU for and education and he made sure that was always first. Despite all the rumors of how tough it was to be an skier at NMU the truth is we, as athletes, made it as tough as we wanted it! And we all knew that the tougher it was the better we would become.

Since Sten has been coaching at NMU there have been countless All-Americans, National Champions and 5 NCAA Champions in Cross Country Skiing. The atmosphere in the ski room is one of pride in all the hard work we, as members of the team, have contributed to the success of the program.

All of the positive energy, and fantastic weather, made every training session in Marquette incredible and I felt awesome! Sten even came to a couple of workouts and was pleased with how my technique has progressed even since this last winter! I am feeling like my old self again and look to make even bigger gains in the next couple of months before the season kicks off! Just like at NMU I am putting in a lot of effort now and look forward to the outcome later this winter!

Although I did not reach my fullest potential as an athlete while I was at NMU, I did earn a degree. Even more importantly I have learned to balance multiple demands and remain well rounded. I wouldn't trade anything in the world for the experiences and lessons I learned while at NMU. I know I would not have the depth of knowledge and success I have had as an athlete or person if I had not gone to NMU. Looking back on the thousands of hours I spent studying and training in the UP I can hardly think think of anything as awesome as the back drop of Lake Superior.