Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I am studying to become a wildlife biologist (specifically, a mammalogist: a scientist that studies mammals). Not only do I have to complete my bachelors, I have to get field work experience. My job will be research in the field, hoping to discover some new ecological or biological principle, or perhaps a new mammal species, or even how the physiology of mammals dictates their survival and their relationship with their environment. In any case... I need field work experience to really make it in this area of research.

Last summer, I cut my triathlon season short (beginning of July, I did my first Half-Ironman and then 12 hours later I was on a plane to Peru to do volunteer research on mammals in the Amazon). When I returned, after not having done any swim/bike/run, it felt like I had to restart all over again. Almost any fitness I had acquired seemed completely lost.

This year, I have been training since September to do several races (2 Half-Ironman 'A' races, and some other run and shorter triathlon 'B' and 'C' races) in the months of May and June, prior to jetsetting to Australia in July to study abroad for 1 year.

However, last week I was thrown a curveball. My mammalogy professor offered me a job for those very same months: May and June. He is someone I greatly admire, in fact he is the reason why I switched programs, into Wildlife Biology. In essence he made me discover my passion for animals and my need to directly study nature, not just write about it. This job, then, is a 8-week field work experience in the Yukon studying behaviour, energetics and metabolism of red squirrels. It is an amazing opportunity. However, the very idea of abandoning 8 months of grueling, hard training and missing out on ANOTHER racing season has me sick to my stomach. I don't know how I can handle it. The idea of having to pretty much restart, yet again, training after I return really frustrates me.

I have no idea what to do, and I have to make my decision by the end of today. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thoughts?


  1. K,

    It really sucks to have to make decisions like this but IMHO, it really is a no-brainer. To have a chance to gain valuable experience in your chosen field of study, which could help jettison your career? You know what you have to do. Triathlon will always be there and opportunities like this may not come again if you decline.

    And who says you can't still do some running and other exercise to maintain? Congrats on the offer and let us know what you decide! I hope helped (-"

  2. Haha Jeff you are so right and thankfully I made the right decision. I am going to the Yukon, and I have a pretty good feeling I'll be able to get some good training in (the work itself can even be considered "training" - hiking 10-12 hours a day!! Climbing trees!!)