Sunday, June 29, 2014

Olympic Day

Jerry Gamble Boys and Girls Club Celebrating Olympic Day
June 23rd, 1894 is considered to be the birth or the modern Olympics.  Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin organized a resolution to reinstate the games that was approved unanimously at the Paris International Congress.  Olympic Day is a celebration for youth around the world to observe the Olympic values of Fair Play, Perseverance, Respect and Sportsmanship. It is also a day to celebrate the International Olympic Committee’s 3 pillars: Move, Learn and Discover.  

Joeseph, Chuck and the Bronze medal
Caitlin and I had fun hosting Olympic Day for all the kids.  We were fortunate to have 4 Olympians/Paralympians for the celebration.  1968 Olympian Len Lillyham, 2012 Bronze Medalist Chuck Aoki (Wheelchair Rugby), 2010 Olympian Caitlin Gregg and Me (2014).  Additionally we had the extra support of Olympic hopefuls with the Loppet Nordic Racing junior team: Sarah, Nicole, Julia, Hannah.  Plus Jennifer, the Physical Therapist who has been working with Caitlin this spring.  Over 100 kids and a beautiful day made for a lot of fun outside in Glendale Park.  Len donated two Olympic jackets to the event.  After we talked about the Olympic values of Fair Play, Perseverance, Respect and Sportsmanship we put the jackets up as prizes for the top male and female participant demonstrating such qualities.  This was a fun addition to the competitions because the prize wasn't just about winning, but competing well.  I am a firm believer that how you compete is more important than winning.

Working on our running starts and sprinting 100m and 400m for time at the running station.

Warming up for our sprints with some light jumps

Caitlin and the girls showing off their muscles and smiles
In addition to Monday's Olympic Day celebration I also got to share the slides and stories from Sochi with the Loppet Nordic Racing Junior Program.   I was about the same age as these kids when my Coach Laura McCabe made the 1998 Olympic Team and remember the impact that it had on me.  I suspect there may be a future Olympian catching the 5 ring fever.

Caitlin presenting our Road to Sochi slides after a 1.5 hour run with LNR

The LNR crew at the Wirth Challet.  Over 150 juniors are training with LNR this summer

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June: An entire month at home!

Who is ready for dinner on the patio?
June and September are my two favorite months in the Minnesota.  The temperature is perfect for training, working and playing outside.  The bike paths, parks and lakes are filled with runners, bikers, skiers, paddlers, sailors, slack liners and more.  It has been awhile since I have had a big chunk of time at home and it is great to have everything dialed in at home.  

One bag for the lunch, one bag for the training gear. #HowWeBean
The past two weeks have been pretty high volume for Caitlin and I.  The Club closes for a week between the school year and the summer programming so it is an ideal time to go big with volume with 55 hours in 13 days.  I am ready for a really easy recovery week now to allow everything to soak in.

Carmen and his new helmet
Carmen is one of our new neighbors and is out on his bike nearly everyday.  He didn't have a helmet, but thankfully we have a supply of brand new ones from a speaking event we did with the American Academy of Neurology.  One of favorite parts of living in Minneapolis is connecting with our neighbors on being active and staying safe.
Caitlin and I with Team Jelly Belly.  The pros are in town for the North Star Grand Prix stage race and we joined them for a casual ride last week.

The Boys and Girls Club reopened this week for summer programming.  Next up is Loppet Adventure Camp and the crew is excited to further their skills mountain biking, running, canoeing, rollerskiing, orienteering, and swimming.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ski 2 Sea and Home Again

I only had a few weeks at home in Minneapolis before heading to my original home in Washington.  I grew up in the Methow Valley in Washington state and this was my first trip back post Olympics to share in person my experience with the community that lit the fire inside of me so many years ago.
Rehabilitation of the Fawn Hut in it's new location
Another perk of being home is getting a chance to do some work on our Cabin, formerly known as the Fawn Hut.  The hut was actually 'free' with the only price being dismantling it and moving it.  We are quite proud of it but to be honest it was a free cabin and we weren't the first people to look at it.  We have made a number of enhancements including insulation and a real door and windows.  I really enjoy working on it but with ski training I haven't been able to do nearly as many projects as I have hoped.

Torin and I speaking to 200 students at the Elementary School.  Same gym as back in the day.

My Olympic and ITA Teammate put it well we he said that the best two things about the Olympics besides competeing:
1. Olympic Processing- you get a ton of really great Swag from the Olympic sponsors.  
2. Olympic School Visits- sharing your Olympic experience with others especially kids.

The Methow Valley School District with less than 500 kids had 3 Olympians represented at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.  This statistic speaks volumes of the support and opportunities of the teachers, school and community.  In addition to sharing our stories of Sochi we discussed the importance and fun of setting goals, sharing your goals with others, supporting others in their goals and working hard.

Afternoon practice with the Olympians
Torin came and spoke to me after the 2002 Games when I was a Senior in high school.  It certainly made an impact and I hope that together we have that same impact on the Olympic hopefuls of the next generation.

Start of the Mazama 10km Trail Race and Pancake Breakfast.
About 20 years ago my Dad started a running race that went from our driveway to Mazama for the annual Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast.  I was too young to run so far, so I did it as a bike ride.  A few years later I did it as a relay team with my twin brother.  The race has grown beyond the capacity of the bathroom at my parent's house and now runs a loop from Mazama.  My friends Sam and Alison organize and run the race now.  I haven't run a 10km in over 7 years, but it was fun to narrowly win this local race and set my 10km PR of 35:12.

Not must rest as I had a special person to meet across the mountains in Bellingham for a Pallaya feast.
A ski race in late May?  Yes, Please.
The Ski 2 Sea is a 8 person multi-sport relay race from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay.  The event kicks off with an 8 km cross country ski.  The course is very challenging and honestly quite similar to the 5km Freestle loop in Sochi.  I competed with the Boundary Bay Brewere competitive open race team.  I have been competing with the same group of guys for the past 5 years and it is always a fun event.

Our team won the big trophy for the fastest overall time

Why stop at a 10km Running Race and 8km Ski Race when you have a 3 day weekend.  Monday's training plan: 100km bike ride on San Juan Island.
We had the whole Team Gregg Family together for the weekend which is pretty special and unique.  This is the first time that Mom, Dad, all the kids, and all the spouses have been together since my sister's wedding.  My training and travel schedule usually dictate many of our family activities and everyone has been so supportive of this selfishness.  We had a blast riding the ferry and exploring the island together.  The day started off in pouring rain as we rode to the ferry but just a one hour boat ride led to blue skies and sunshine.
Caitlin and I touring the 'islands'

We flew back to Minneapolis on Tuesday and are looking forward to over a month at home of training.  I certainly have needed a bit more recovery time.  Lahti and I are doing are recovering in the same way here, but he looked prettier doing it.