New Ulm Cathedral High School graduate Greta Sieve considers her high school track and cross country running something she did because her older brother and sister did so and it was "something good to do."
"I was a mediocre runner in high school but I always enjoyed running and going places with the team," Sieve said.
Her passion for running skyrocketed since she ran cross country and track at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.
Sieve runs up the hill on Third Street North in New Ulm.
"At first, I was excited about running fall cross country there because I got to go to school two weeks earlier than most students," Sieve added. "I learned a lot more about training and found that the more miles I ran, the more I loved to run."
She credited St. Catherine Track Coach Mike Henderson for getting her interested in running many distances on the track.
Sieve has run the 400 and 800 meters, the mile, 3,000 and 5,000 meters plus her favorite - the steeplechase - an obstacle race with four hurdle-type barriers and a water jump, similar to the the steeplechase in horse racing.
The daughter of Jeffrey and Susan Sieve of New Ulm and a St. Kate's senior majoring in Occupational Therapy, Greta set six school cross country records last fall.
Last spring, she anchored the St. Kate's distance medley relay team to a new school record, finished 12th at the national meet in the steeplechase and was named St. Kate's Athlete of the Year in 2008-09.
Last fall, wrapped up her senior cross country season finishing 41st among 280 runners in the NCAA National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.
Now competing at indoor track races, Sieve runs about 70 miles a week, usually outside.
"Indoor track racing builds character and gets me mentally ready for the outdoor track season," she added.
Her training includes plyometrics, exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve nervous system functions to improve sports performance.
In plyometrics, a muscle is loaded, then contracted quickly, using muscle and surrounding tissues strength and elasticity to jump higher, throw farther, or hit harder.
Sieve lifts weights three days a week. The number of repetitions and sets varies depending upon date, in order to peak at the end of the outdoor track season.
Ice baths, aka cold therapy or cold water immersion are how she recovers from long runs.
Cryotherapy constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown.
After the skin is away from a cold source, underlying tissues warm up, increasing blood flow, which helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient body recovery.
Crushed ice baths in 50-59 degree F. water for 10-20 minutes followed by a cup of hot tea are said to flush harmful metabolic debris from muscles and reduce inflammation, according to Runner's World magazine.
Sieve said she doesn't follow a rigid diet but enjoys chicken, broccoli, raisins, walnuts, mint chocolate and pasta as a pre-race meal.
She added that getting plenty of sleep and living around notable runners and coaches and occasionally doing training warm-ups with them doesn't hurt.
Team USA Minnesota distance runner and olympian Carrie Tollefson lives across the street from Sieve.
St. James native and Augsburg College cross country and track coach Dennis Barker, a National Junior College All-American in track and cross country decades ago at Golden Valley Lutheran College and 10,000 meter school record-holder at Iowa State University, coaches Team USA Minnesota.
Sieve said she enjoys running around Twin Cities lakes, along the Mississippi River, on bike trails and in and around Fort Snelling State Park.
She plans to continue running in the future, possibly competing in marathons.
Sieve plans on completing her master's degree next year.
With all the running friends and favorite training runs she had there, she said it would be hard to settle someplace other than the Twin Cities.