Monday, September 21, 2015

World Cup Fundraising Campaign

Sitting in the "hot seat" at the 2015 World Championships

This year has been unlike any other for me so far. Starting off the new training season as a member of the US Ski Team brought a ton of excitement and energy to my goals and expectations. Training has been solid all summer and as we roll into fall I am feeling more and more excited about the upcoming World Cup season with each workout!

Back in May I was named to the B-Team on the US Ski Team after a historic finish in the 10 K Skate at World Championships. As a member of the B-Team I have access to national team camps and the USSA Center of Excellence and the staff there.  I am responsible for all of my training and travel expenses, just the race season alone will cost over $25,000 in travel and lodging.  One of the reasons for this is that on the World Cup the standard rate is $130/day for room and board. This far exceeds any of our previous season's budgets where I have been able to do home stays with families on the road and keep costs low.  A thousand thank yous to all of you who have invited us in to your home, sometimes for weeks on end. The National Nordic Foundation (NNF) has stepped up big time to help offset the cost of many of the camps and big races but there is still a need.

Brian and I spent the majority of our spring and summer securing sponsorship's, applying for grants and working with our In-the-Arena project in North Minneapolis. Our sponsors are fantastic and have allowed us to train this summer for success this winter.  I have trained more hours than I ever have before, plus have but an even greater emphasis on recovery to absorb that training.  Last year my recovery was the first thing to go, and it resulted in being diagnosed with shingles just before my first World Cup race.

My community and supporters are awesome and I am asking for your support to help us reach our goals for the upcoming race season. Of course my goals are only half of the equation! Team Gregg has two athletes working hard to reach historic results and although Brian will be starting his season domestically his goals are to qualify for the World Cup and finish in the top 30.  Last year he had the 2nd best US World Cup result of the season with a 35th place.

We have a fantastic new coach, the best equipment and sponsors in the industry and hundreds of hours of preparation leading into this next season. Now we need your help to go all the way! Our goal is to raise $50,000 to make this ski season happen at the elite level. We know it sounds like a lot...but as we get faster we are traveling more and more and our seasons get more expensive. The major goal for this season is for me to make the Red Group and move up to the A-Team and for Brian to secure the Overall Super Tour lead so that next year we are set to succeed at the 2017 World Championships in Lahti, Finland.

Working at the Hoigaard's Annual Tent Sale. Fitting skis, boots and poles while sharing inspirational stories with everyone who came in!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

New Coach!

After returning home from Norway I found myself looking at my training plan and not really feeling like I wanted to get out and train. I was tired, hungry and pretty content to just "chill" out for a bit. I quickly recognized what my body and mind were telling me and listened. I erased my plan and decided to let the week unfold each day.  I ended up taking 3 days off and some other days were as little as 30 min run but I didn't regret or feel bad about missing a single workout.  As the end of the week approached I was asked to lead a group LNR practice in Afton and intervals were on the schedule. I woke up excited to see everyone again ready to get after it again. The workout was not super hard but just enough to get my heart pounding and blood moving after a break. I was back!

Double Pole LNR Interval Group in Afton
My week of super low training allowed my body and mind to recover, refocus and refuel for the second half of the training season. My low hours also allowed me to reflect on the first half of my training season and what my game plan would be to improve upon my weaknesses from Norway. I decided that an area I really had to focus on was my stretching and mobilization. I knew I had tight hips and upper back but I never realized how tight they were until I started working out at the Powerhouse gym (the same gym where Annie Hart has been training and getting ripped!). I spend a good amount of time now smashing, rolling and using pressure point release tools to try and reduce the years tightness from my lack of stretching. Aside from just using the weights to get looser I have also been lifting them to get stronger! I was impressed with Annie's improvements this year and since I am going to be in the Twin Cities for most of the fall I figured I would give the Powerhouse a try! Wow! I am sore beyond belief but I am also feeling great!?!? The gym is also right down the street from my mom's apartment so I get to visit her after my workouts which is a bonus!

I am smiling but this HURTS a lot!!!

Working on my range of motion and flexibility (t.his also HURTS!).
Earlier this summer Brian and I were searching for more consistent wax support. We loved working with some incredible individuals and teams for wax support over the past two seasons. These individuals and teams helped us win races like the Birkie and qualify for the World Cup, World Championships and the Olympics, but it was obvious we were also dealt a bit of luck having such great service at so many venues for so long. It was time to hire our own wax tech. We tried a number of leads without success and saw a post from Tom Jorgenson who had just stepped away from coaching at St. Olaf college here in Minnesota. We contacted Tom and asked if he would be interested in working with Team Gregg for the upcoming season. We also mentioned that we could use a little help from a coaching standpoint. Tom agreed to work with us but we were also already on the road for another 5 weeks so we would have to meet once I returned from Norway.

I am a pretty big proponent of the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I am stubborn, not keen on criticism and very apprehensive about change. Over the past couple of seasons I have found that I have been able to succeed without the input or support of a personal coach. Whenever I work with different groups or teams around the world I always appreciate feedback and new ideas but I am always the one who took it or left it and figured I was on the right track, especially after Falun. 

Fast forward to today and I have been working with Tom for the past week while Brian is back at altitude in Utah (I decided to hold off on some altitude to work on technique and make sure I am really recovered for the upcoming hard fall training). I now "Get It." I now understand what a coach can bring out in an athlete and why athletes who find a good match with a coach are unstoppable.  I don't think I have ever had a bad coach but I also don't think I have ever had a coach who understood me so well and could inspire me do be my absolute best everyday. I wake up motivated and ready to push myself to a higher level, I finish workouts feeling like I have made progress and more than ever I am excited about the upcoming season. I have made huge technique gains this past week and I am sure I have heard the same ideas from other coaches but somehow everything "clicked." I still have lots of room to improve technically (which is a good thing because it means I have room get faster!), but I am also looking forward to improving my fitness working with Tom as well. I realized that writing my own training means I do what I like to do and that is usually what I am already good at. So far Tom has helped me make little adjustments to my training approach that I know will make a big difference this winter. More to come soon!