Monday, December 29, 2014

The Art of Pushing Your Limits...

Everyone knows that being an Elite Athlete, or trying to be one of the best in the World at anything, takes a lot of effort and sacrifice. Brian and I have been training and competing to try and reach the highest level for many years and this is certainly nothing new to us. Each year we try to figure out how we can get a little stronger, a little fitter and ultimately even faster! This year was no exception for myself, with World Cup start rights as my first races I was psyched to give it my all this spring, summer and fall to try and make a statement about being selected for the World Championship Team in February.

Racing the World Cup 10km Classic in Davos, Switzerland

Team Gregg was a smashing success last season with our final tally of results placing us second behind APU on the overall Super Tour list for teams! We were successful on the course and off the course by having our most productive year with the Jerry Gamble Boys and Girls Club, participating in local practices with the youth and adult members of the community's we visited and thanks to our sponsors and supporters have managed to stay afloat financially so we could do it all again this year.

Both Brian and I love to be involved with our sport in as much as possible. We feel so grateful that we are able to continue racing in this sport we love, the sport that kept us focused in high school, allowed us to put ourselves through college and has since taken us around the World and allowed us to meet incredible people and make some of the best friends possible.

Team Gregg functions with a delicate balancing act of putting our energy into our training, our advocacy and fulfilling our obligations to our amazing sponsors (who are truly the best!) I thought I was doing a great job of training harder than ever, doing more for my sponsors and giving back to the community more frequently. See this entry.

Turns out there is a limit to what the human body (or at least this human body) can handle. I could tell I was flirting with the edge. I told Brian that I was close to falling off but I stayed positive and pressed on. I knew I would be in Canmore for almost a month and I could take some time to try and rebound by not having as much going on and truly focusing on just training and recovery. I took it easy for a few days prior to my big travel to Europe, but still felt a bit run down.  Unfortunately things got worse and when a painful rash broke out on my neck I went to the doctor in Finland and was diagnosed with SHINGLES! Shingles is an extremely painful and debilitating rash that left me miserable and exhausted.  A round of antibiotics got rid of the rash and I tried to stay positive, and put my all in to every race.  I had great training and wax support from Brian Fish and learned so much by being surrounded by some of the best athletes in the World. I learned a ton, never complained and sucked up my pride by entering events I knew were going to be a bit "rough" on the results list.

Brian and I are now in Hayward, WI preparing for US Nationals in Houghton. Although I didn't race well in Europe there is still a chance that I can qualify for World Championships with some good results next week. I know my training was good this fall and I am sure that the fitness is there. I am feeling much better with each passing day and I am hoping the fatigue from the Shingles virus is behind me now!

Monday, December 1, 2014

So much to be Grateful and Thankful for...

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the upcoming Holiday Season I just wanted to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of my family, sponsors and supporters!!! I am happy to report that despite a number of health scares for my family and friends in the past year that everyone is stable and happy once again! I love hearing from everyone and I am already looking forward to seeing you all soon! I hope everyone who reads this is having a wonderful start to winter and I send my best from overseas :)

I am loving my time here in Finland! Although dark, the weather has been very mild and the snow plentiful so training has been very pleasant. Logistics have been smooth and I am feeling very good. While on the World Cup the USST stays at some of the nicest hotels/ condos I have ever been to! They get 3 catered meals a day with a variety of healthy and tasty choices. Sometimes I have to laugh to myself when people start complaining about the coffee or lack of variety because I think of where I was last year at this time! I was alone in a $30/ night hotel in Bozeman, sick and eating out of a microwave. Which I realize is also much better than some of the kid's situations back in Minneapolis who we work with at the Boys and Girls Club. 
I am so grateful to get this opportunity to travel the World and to get a taste of the incredible cultural and regional difference each place offers! 

Today we pack up and head to Lillehammer, Norway. This will be my first time to this race venue and I am very excited! Although we will be traveling to a new country, the trip is fairly relaxed and straight forward. We are so lucky because the incredible US World Cup staff packs up all of our wax room and all of our personal ski gear!!! All I have to worry about is making it to lunch by 11:30 and then rolling my duffle bag to the shuttle pick-up!!! Once there we (the entire team and remaining staff not driving the cargo van) get a ride to the airport for our flight. I don't even have to check a ski bag!!! When we arrive in Oslo we will be picked up by another shuttle that will take us directly to our next hotel in Lillehammer!!! When we arrive I am guessing dinner will be ready and waiting for us. Life on the World Cup is pretty cushy!!!

This past weekend I got to watch Brian race his first events in West Yellowstone. In contrast to my travel experiences so far, Brian has been working like a dog before his first events. He has been hosting clinics, working at the expo and sorting through all of his fleet and running his own travel logistics. He is truly amazing in that he can do so much and still perform!!! He was 8th in his first race and then 2nd in his second event!

I am so proud of him!!! I almost get more excited for his races than my own at this point. I am so thankful that we can be living this lifestyle together even if it is many thousands of miles a part!