When I think back to my college years, I have two distinct sets of memories. One is of the first two years at the Naval Academy. The other is of my time at UVA, which is what I am focusing on here. When I got to UVA as a junior in college it was pretty daunting. By the third year of college, most people are pretty set with their friend groups and social activities – it wasn’t easy to have to make all new friends and break into new social circles as a 21 year old. I am still a little bitter about the fact that no sorority would take me because I was “too old!” In addition to running the gorgeous trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of the things that played a huge part in helping me get through this was joining the Triathlon Club. Only having done two triathlons prior to joining, I was super tentative. I avoided going to the pool with the group as much as possible. I rarely went out on the bike with the group. I could probably count the number of running workouts I did with them on one hand as well.
The good news in all of this is that despite my severe anxiety towards group workouts, the tri club was no less accepting of me as a member. I was able to join the team on a couple trips to races, including a trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2008 for collegiate nationals. Some great memories of college came from this trip, and after spending time with everyone there I realized that I truly had missed the boat on something special. Every member of the group was a great person. I got to know Andrew – who is currently a professional triathlete and engineer for Boeing. There was Rudy – he’s now also a professional getting his master’s and training at CU in Boulder. And of course, Annie — who is to this day one of the best athletes with the biggest hearts I have ever known – and taught me how to love the challenging riding of Virginia. Had I taken better advantage of the athletes that were right in front of me prior to the spring of my graduation, I would wager my progression in triathlon could have skipped a few steps.
A few months ago I had lunch with Brian (RD for the Half Full *and* a UVA alum) and he mentioned that the UVA tri team was looking for a coach. I immediately perked up when I heard this, and made an effort to get in touch with them to see if I could help. It turns out – I can. After chatting with the team it became obviously that the remote coaching which I could provide is exactly what they could use. It would mean a lot of responsibility still falls on them to execute the workouts, but for those who follow the plan and give feedback I will be available as much as my schedule can allow.
I will always look back on my time at UVA and say that I wish I had taken advantage of the triathlon opportunities that were there. But, I am hoping that through coaching this squad I may be able to prevent someone else from having to say the same in a few years. In the past couple months of getting to know this group I have already been inspired by their attitudes and determination. And the icing on the cake is that Collegiate Nationals will be in Tempe, AZ in April – and as we all know Tempe holds a special place in my heart. All of this is just another reason to be excited for 2013!