By Steve Drumwright |
Aug. 24, 2018,
4:50 p.m. (ET)

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She is hoping that there will be some test events at the Tokyo triathlon venue next year in preparation for 2020.

After taking last summer off from triathlon in order to focus on Nordic skiing, Gretsch has had a lighter schedule this summer as qualification for most of the races are based on points from the previous season.

“I’m making sure I am in a good spot for Tokyo and next season,” said Gretsch, who is likely to miss out on next month’s world championships in Australia due to her limited schedule.

Still, it has helped her formulate a training plan to optimize her performance in the summer and winter sports. The two sports use different arm muscles, so she is working on strengthening her rotator cuff to help her performance.

“This season was kind of the first time where I completely switched (my training schedule) in the winter,” she said. “I didn’t swim, bike or run — I think I swam one time all winter, but didn’t bike or run at all — so I think transitioning back into triathlon was a really good learning experience this past season to realize maybe just a couple things I would do differently, but also to realize it’s possible to do that.”

Like many elite athletes, Gretsch has a regular job in addition to her sporting life. She works in technical support for Epic Systems, a company that provides health care software to hospitals and other medical facilities. In order to make her schedule more flexible, she is training to become a consultant. Epic has provided Gretsch with plenty of support, even giving her four months off to train for PyeongChang while making sure she had a job waiting when the Games were over.

“It’s a pretty cool place to work,” she said.

She trains four times a week, which means her day consists of waking up at 5 a.m., leaving for practice at 5:30, working out for an hour, going to work from 8 to at least 6 p.m., training again for about 90 minutes and then going home to eat and sleep.

“It’s not glamorous,” she said with a chuckle about her life.

But it is something she enjoys, even if her vacation time is spent traveling to competitions or camps.

“It’s one of those things where I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t enjoy it so much,” Gretsch said. “Probably to the normal person, going over to Sweden and skiing in a tunnel for 10 days (like she will do at the end of September for a Team USA training camp) doesn’t sound like a vacation, but to me, it is. I love my job, I love what I’m doing at Epic, but I also love training and love competing and racing. I wouldn’t say I’m not taking any time for myself, there’s a lot of part about sports that are selfish.”

Steve Drumwright is a journalist based in Murrieta, California. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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