My biggest dream growing up was to make the U.S. Olympic Team. When I found the sport of triathlon I 100% believed it would be my ticket to Rio and beyond. I dedicated my entire college experience to 5 a.m. swims instead of midnight beer runs, training camps over spring break trips, and even took many of my classes online so I could fit them around my training. I felt these were small sacrifices to make to achieve my goals.
ITU Triathlon is a very unique sport. The draft legal nature of the bike means if you don’t swim with the leaders your day is done. I was often on the wrong side of this, with my best professional finish being a 7th place. Not nearly what is needed to qualify for the Olympics. Over time, I got discouraged and found myself in-and-out of the sport mentally. Thanks to Dave Dollinger, I was able to give my Olympic dream one more serious shot last summer. I raced my first World Cup against the toughest competition I had ever faced. I came out of the water 8 seconds behind where I needed to be, and finished the race alone. I’d put everything I had into that race, and came up short.
Racing ITU Triathlon has taken me to some incredible places. I’ve gotten to live at the Olympic Training Center alongside the athletes I aspired to be like when I started the sport. I’ve gotten lost on a bike ride around the whole of Barbados. I’ve experienced a soccer game in Brazil and been part of a World Championship winning team. Best of all, I’ve made friendships that will last forever.
I’m finally okay admitting I won’t make the Olympics. I’ve decided not to pursue ITU racing moving forward, but instead to move up distances to 70.3. I believe this style of racing will better suit my strengths, and give me the opportunity to do more regional races. I’m also very excited to announce I’m racing as part of the Sierra Endurance Sports Team. Matt and Aimee have always been incredibly supportive of my pursuits, and I feel honored to be part of a team dedicated to promoting an active lifestyle in our region.
Here’s to 2016!