Monday, April 20, 2015

Welcome Home Celebrations and catching up with sponsors and friends.

 I know I have said it a million times but it feels great to be home! The energy in the Twin Cities Nordic Community is at the highest I have ever seen! The excitement about two World Championships Medals has been contagious and overwhelming in the best of ways. Brian and I have been honored by the outpouring of congrats and we hope we get a chance to thank everyone (hopefully in person) while we are home.

One of our first stops back in the Twin Cities was at the new L.L. Bean Store at the Mall of America. L.L. Bean has been a great supporter of In-the-Arena and we couldn't be happier to represent them. We are particularly found of their home goods and rain gear! It was fun to see the new store after visiting the site last fall with Lincoln while shooting for a video showcasing Team Gregg's ITA work at the Boys and Girls Club and with LNR.
Made it to the Mall of America!
Speaking of LNR (Our home Club Loppet Nordic Racing), We had a wonderful evening sharing the success of our season and the historic medal with the Loppet Foundation last Monday. The event was not about Team Gregg and our results it was about the importance of the Loppet Foundation and all they do for the Twin Cities Community. If you haven't been to a Loppet Event (they have a ton throughout the year!) or have never been to their website you should! The Loppet Foundation is about much more than Elite Athletes winning medals, its about the entire community and promoting a healthy lifestyle to everyone within the community, especially those who live near Theodore Wirth Park in North Minneapolis. This event was held to help raise funds for an Activities Center that will be built in the heart of the Theodore Wirth Ski, Bike and Running Trails. The facility is badly needed to create a gathering area for the many events and to encourage new participants and users of the park. Brian and I are huge fans of the Loppet Foundation and all they do and we were honored to share our passion for their work with the community.

My long time Coach (and Friend) Piotr Bednarski talking about what Brian and I do with the local kids who are a part of LNR, Fast Kids, the Loppet Adventure Camp and the Boys and Girls Club.
At the end of the speech I was totally surprised by a gift from the Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges. It was a proclamation stating that April 13 was Caitlin Compton Gregg Day in the City of Minneapolis. I am extremely honored by the gift.
 John Munger (The Loppet Foundation's Executive Director) presenting the plaque.

 If you look closely and read what the Proclamation says there is VERY LITTLE about my actual ski results, instead it focuses on all of the work Brian and I do to help the community in which we live. This is the best part of who we are as athletes, we strive to give back in every way we can. We are both very passionate about the work we do beyond our ski racing and we know that all of the time we spend helping others makes us better athletes on the race course.
The Loppet Foundation also hosted a wonderful community celebration for me with footage from the World Championship 10K, Posters and cards to sign, lots of cake and of course many member of the ski community who wanted to come out and celebrate such and incredible milestone for our club! It was great to see so many friends and share my medal with the kids and adults who attended. There was a great question and answer time where Brian and I got to engage the audience with stories of our calculated approach to training and racing at the International Level on a fraction of the budget of our competitors. We call it the "Money Ball" approach.

Awesome reception at the Wirth Chalet.
Although many people came to Loppet Hosted Events we were thrilled to join our Local Sponsors for some more meet and greets of their own! Team Gregg has been working with Hoigaard's for the past two years and their support has been a key part of our ability to train and travel so well. We were again more than happy to share stories and answer questions about our training, racing and ITA work with those who came out.
Hanging with some of the Edina Ski Team who came out to see the medal!
Although Hoigaard's is our sponsored ski shop currently we could not be where we are without the ongoing support of the other local ski shops in the Twin Cities. Both Finn Sisu and Gear West have been behind Brian and I from the start and we are forever grateful for their continued support for us and all things Nordic in our Twin Cities Community.
Kevin Johnson from Finn Sisu!
Jan Guenther from Gear West!
Ahvo from Finn Sisu!
Being home as also meant that we can connect with other local sponsors. Fits Socks has been an awesome company to work with. David Olsen has been so generous and one of his friends even made a sock monkey out of Fits Socks (my favorite style and design) for me!
David, his wife, the monkey and me :)
Sock monkey (complete with FIS Medal) chilling with a Pineapple!
Returning home after 6 months on the road also means taking care of appointments that we can't while we are on the road. It was great to get into Dr. Bick's office for a teeth cleaning and check up! Dr. Bick donates his time to help Team Gregg and the MN Timberwolves! He was pretty excited about the Medal and our successful year (and the fact that Brian and I didn't have any cavities!).
The whole crew celebrating!
Of course Run Club continues to operate in full swing. We now have 58 kids on the board, which means they have to run a minimum of 3 miles to join! All together the Run Club crew has run over 300 Miles and it is still April!!! We are on record pace this year and the kids are having a blast!
The run club wall!
Only half the tally!
Every year we try to teach more and more about healthy eating!
Sharing our favorite meals of the day!
We had a special guest join us for run club last week. Lahti came and was a big hit! Everyone got a chance to "runjor" with him. He came home good and tired.

Run Club and Lahti!
Lahti leading the charge!
Our first one mile Time Trial of the year!
Handing out Popsicle sticks as they run through for their second lap of three!
Run Club at the MN Timberwolve's Game. The kids who came to the Crunch Run two weeks ago got to come with us to the game! It was a fun night but the home team lost :(
It's also been great to get back together with our friends and run on the trails of Theodore Wirth right out our back door! Training has started up again and the weather has been perfect!

Brian, Brent and Doug on a long trail run!

Xavier is an LNR Teammate and one of the toughest kids I knonw! I ran into him on the bike path as he was headed out for a 60 mile bike ride in 30mph winds! He also biked to strength last week in 40F and pouring rain (he lives 15 miles away!). He will be really good someday so keep and eye out for his name!
Cruising the Wirth trails with Lahti!
Since it is spring Brian and I try to get out and try new types of training. Matt Liebsch brought Team Gregg over to the Fix Studio for a Bike Interval Class indoors. Larry and Sophie (the owners) have been great supporters and they let us join their class for the day!

Brian, Sophie, myself and Larry in the Studio!
I had so much fun at the Fix interval class I decided to join them for their annual Urban Bike Camp. I had an absolute blast joining almost 30 other riders for daily workouts and skill portions! I learned a ton, got in some amazingly hard workouts and got to ride with super star Corey Coogan (Cycle Cross is her sport) for the weekend! More on this in a few days on

Fun to hang with former skier now biker Corey!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Beyond the results...what keeps me smiling when the season is over!

Fredrik has helped Brian make the 2014 Olympic Team and helped me make history in the 2015 World Championships with my Bronze Medal! He helps us at key races with the best wax support possible sometimes working alone against huge teams of wax techs and coaches! He helped us without really knowing us yet and I will never forget his incredible generosity! Team Gregg owes so much to the kindness of Fredrik and the entire University of New Mexico Nordic Team! Thank you for helping us reach our goals and dreams!
Brian and I flew in late Monday Evening after staying in Sun Valley for an extra couple of days at the conclusion of Super Tour Finals and the 30K/50K Nationals Championships. I was very excited to earn another National Title and have Brian join me on the podium with his 3rd place finish. It was a great end to another incredible year for Team Gregg. We could not have achieved any of our accomplishments without the help and support of so many along the way. Although Brian and I did not attend UNM and we LOVE our Alma Maters UAA (University of Alaska Anchorage) and NMU (Northern Michigan University), we would also LOVE to help Fredrik get some more athletes for his squad! Do not hesitate to contact us ( if you have any questions about our time with him and the team these past two years!
Double podium day thanks to Fredrik and the crew!
Fredrik did an amazing job with our skis but I cannot deny that I also have AMAZING SKIS!!! My Madshus skis have been absolutely incredible all season long (even this fall when I was sick with Shingles I knew my skis were rockets!). From new snow, to frigid temps, to wet snow and even in some of the toughest conditions (new falling snow like Falun!) my skis have been unstoppable! If you are looking for a new pair of skis, boots or poles I would not recommend anything other than Madshus!!!

We had a great ski on Sunday morning with the local ski community and the VAMPS in Sun Valley and we are psyched to come back for the 2016 Boulder Mountain Tour and get in some more K's and share more stories with them! A big Thank You to Mel and Muffy for helping us set up the ski!

Gorgeous Skiing!
The skiing was so great we ended up being out for 4 hours!
Our last day in Sun Valley featured a school visit with Liesel, Andy Gerlach's daughter, and her entire class. Andy has been a sponsor of mine for 17 years!!! That's an incredible amount of time and I am so grateful for his support over the years! I was more than willing to spend a few more days in Sun Valley to share my medal with the 5th graders at the Community School.

Talking about Goal Setting, Healthy Eating and Daily Exercise!
Sharing my own experience and why it is important to BELIEVE in yourself!
Signing foreheads!
Even for other classes!
Sharing my Bronze Medal with the group!
Returning home after a long a successful season is the best feeling. While some athletes head off on vacations, I can think of nothing better than to sleep in my own bed in my own house running with my dog and joining up with my community again. Ski racing is awesome and I am so grateful I get to spend six months a year on the road traveling around the world training and racing. Sometimes after many months of traveling and living out of a suitcase it used to be easy to forget how lucky I am to be experiencing this lifestyle, but thanks to my work with the kids in North Minneapolis I never take anything for granted anymore. When we landed and headed to baggage claim I was surprised by a Welcome Home party waiting for me with signs, bells and cheers! SO AMAZING! I have never been greeted so well at an airport before. It was awesome to get share my medal, stories and get help carrying our huge ski bags and duffle bags from everyone who came at such a late hour!

Welcome Home crew after midnight!!! On a school night!!!
We have incredible neighbors!!! Thanks to Gerald and Kari for the wonderful posters, ribbons and gifts!
My Awesome Friend Audrey (who joined me Sun Valley last week) left us a surprise of delicious food and essentials! Pineapple, bath salt, spinach, beets, cottage cheese and chicken! What else could a girl need :)
Our husky Lahti was also excited to have us home again!
I was pretty excited to see him too! Love this guy :)
Without more than a few hours awake, Brian and I were back at the Jerry Gamble Boys and Girls Club working with the kids and setting up our Run Club for the year. It's not easy but it's by far one of the best parts of my job as an Elite athlete!!!

I have been waiting since the day I won my Bronze Medal to share it with these kids!

I am truly lucky to have two parts to my career, both with goals and dreams!
I love that winning a Bronze Medal at the World Championships has meant so much to so many people! I have received lots of notes and messages from people who are inspired and motivated by my ability to pursue my dream and believe in myself no matter what the circumstances. I hope they realize that you do not need to be a part of a certain club or school or pipeline to achieve great things. I know that the kids we work with throughout the spring, summer and fall are up against much greater odds than I am in my skiing career. Seeing there smiling faces when I bring out my medal is the greatest feeling in the world (even better than standing on the podium itself).

My advice to others who are looking to reach their highest potential is to: find passion in your purpose and purpose in you passion. I hold this motto close to my heart when I am both training/ racing and when I am working with the kids. Without passion or purpose you will not be able to flourish and without both working together you will not succeed.

Below are some links to Team Gregg's Facebook posts and my Facebook post about our last week at Run Club and our first race of the season with the kids!!!