New Year, New Races

Well. 2015 has come and gone. And a lot of things in my life have changed. After the euphoric high of finishing my first marathon, I took a well-deserved break from intense training and focused on a few other aspects of my life. I graduated with my Master’s in Biomedical Engineering from CSU in December, enjoyed a holiday season with family, and landed a job at a biotech company that I love. As my career has begun to pick up speed, I definitely felt the itch to do something on the side and to start training again. I wanted to pull away from the long distance endurance sports and focus once again on becoming fast and strong at the shorter distance triathlons. In February, I started to add structure to my training with purpose other than to “keep that holiday weight at bay”.

For a while, I’ve been thinking about whether to race for Epic Experience for another season. I am so grateful for all the generous donations made by my friends and family in the past year. Together, we almost raised enough money to send one survivor to camp. I realized that I could still do more. Even if I don’t manage to raise as much money as I did last year, I want to continue to bring awareness to Epic, a cause near and dear to my heart.

Celebrating Two Years of Healthy Living
My mom continues to fight her lung cancer every day. She chooses to live and enjoy life to the fullest, and we owe a lot of that to Epic Experience for changing her outlook on her diagnosis. A momentous occasion occurred this spring, which marked the 2-year anniversary of her prognosis. On March 5th, 2014, my mom was given two years to live. On March 5th, 2016, we kicked that prognosis in the pants and said, “HELL NO, Hazel’s not going anywhere!”. We celebrated and toasted to mom’s continued strength and good health.

This is not to say that all is easy. We have had our ups and downs, and our scares… Often times as a daughter, I feel relatively helpless in the situation. I can only be positive and supportive of my mom as she continues to deal with the reality of Stage IV Lung Cancer. One thing I can do though, is raise money and awareness for a cause that has given me my mom back after we thought things may never be the same. I can’t overstate the impact Epic had on all of us, and how much quality of life it has given us. We as a family may not have forever, but we sure know how to make the best of the time that is given to us. Epic has a lot to do with that.

I contemplated what to do with the race season ahead. I want to do well in my races and continue to do all that is possible with my lungs and my heart. I’m currently signed up for three triathlons: Colorado Sprint, Lookout Mountain Triathlon, and Boulder Peak. Somehow, that still didn’t feel quite meaningful to me. Then, I got this email, promoting the Highest Triathlon in the World.

106 West Triathlon is a half-iron and quarter-iron distance triathlon that will take place at Lake Dillon, Colorado, on September 10th of this year. This is its inaugural year, having taken the title of “Highest Triathlon in the World” from the Rocky Mountain Triathlon, which is in Silverthorne (I’ve raced the Rocky Mountain Tri before, it’s not very easy). At a lung busting 10,000 feet, and just two days before my 25th birthday, I decided to sign up both as a birthday present to myself, and as a fun opportunity to challenge my healthy lungs.

On September 10th, a quarter distance triathlon at high elevation will take my breath away. We’re not going to let lung cancer take my mom’s breath away. It won’t be pretty, but it will be beautiful. Thank you for all of your generous support and encouragement. The link to donate to my page is in the upper right of the blog, and I hope to see you during my journey this racing season! Thanks for reading! 


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