In May 2011 I graduated from The University of New Mexico. It was here in Albuquerque that I earned a degree in Architectural Design and a minor in Spanish all while running Cross Country and Track for the University. These five years were some of the busiest and most rewarding years of my life thus far. My choice to compete in NCAA Division 1 athletics in tandem with a very rigorous and time consuming major created many conflicting responsibilities. There were ridiculously long days training and studying paired with traveling nearly half of the weekends of the semester. I graduated with honors and managed to qualify for the Regional Track and Field meet three years in a row in the 3k Steeple Chase, in addition to racing with New Mexico at Cross Country Nationals my senior year.
Once I earned my diploma and everything undergraduate ended in May 2011, I was left feeling athletically unsatisfied. After a week or two off, I started training again. It was aimless at first. Then I decided that maybe I’d race track amateur in the spring and better my steeple and 5k times. I successfully built up my mileage and was getting in great shape, but suddenly I came to a realization in November 2011 that Track was not what I wanted.
I grew up in the Colorado mountains hiking, running, alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, swimming, and mountain biking. As much as I loved track and cross country, I never felt that it was a perfect fit. I even thought back to the end of high school when I had to made the decision to run in college over Nordic skiing. I had unfinished business with the steeple chase, and I was beginning to understand that earning my satisfaction wasn’t in running alone.
On my search to find something fun and new to race, I stumbled on the Mount Taylor Quadrathlon and registered for the February 2012 race. This 43 mile out and back race to the top of a New Mexican mountain involves cycling, running, Nordic skiing, and snow showing. I had never trained on the bike and only had my mountain kid back ground to rely for the skiing and snow shoeing portions of the event. Really, the run was the only leg I was half way prepared to race. Long story it involved some embarrassing biking moments and a frozen hydration pack, I ended up 6th over all and just three places from prize money.
This is when I started thinking about triathlon seriously. This is when I knew that the true dimensions of my athletic talents haven’t been tapped into yet. This is when the wonderful madness of my 2012 triathlon season started.