No one expected me to make an Olympic team. When I graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2009, my 5000m PR was almost a minute slower than the Olympic standard, and I had never qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Three years later, I entered the 2012 Olympic Trials only five seconds away from the Olympic standard and prepared to contend for a top-three finish. In one of the most dramatic races of the meet, I launched a comeback effort over the final lap to go from 5th place to 3rd place. With a lean at the line, I earned the final spot on the United States 5000m team by .04 seconds and finished inside the qualifying standard by .21 seconds. In that fraction of a second, I took a defining leap in my career. I qualified for the London Olympic Games and subsequently signed my first endorsement contract.
In the past decade I have traveled all over the world competing internationally, won two national titles, returned to the Olympic stage in Rio, and earned the bronze medal at the 2019 Pan-American Games in the 5000m. In 2021 I began coaching runners of all abilities with McKirdy Trained and love working with athletes across the country. I serve on several USA Track and Field committees and sit on the board of directors for the USATF Pacific Foundation. I live with my husband and coach, Drew Wartenburg, in Flagstaff, Arizona. In my free time I love to read, write, mountain bike, and enjoy hikes in Coconino National forest with our dog, Smokey.
The 5000m race at the 2012 Olympic Trials was the defining moment of my career.