Jessica Rossing got her start in the world of triathlons in 2007.

"I went to the Timberman Race with the [Duluth Tri] team and Rod [Raymond] got me an entry and I did my first and finished third in my age group," Rossing said of her first race. "So I did a few more, did well and I enjoyed it."

From there, she was encouraged to try out for the USA Nationals and she did. After qualifying for nationals, she also qualified for the World Championship.

"That's when I seriously got into triathlon and how I got to where I am now," Rossing said.

The racing season started for Rossing in April when she went to Miami and won the Nautica South Beach Triathlon.

"[I've] had a few good races and a few bad races, but that's life," she said of her season thus far.

But no matter how she finishes, she has promised herself to gain knowledge at each race.

"I learn something from each race on how to become a better triathlete," Rossing said, "physically and mentally."

On Sat. Aug. 10, Rossing competed at the USA National Championships in Milwaukee, Wis.

"Nationals is the most important race of the season," Rossing said. "It is a test of how good I am compared to the rest of the women in the country. The best of the best come to this race. So it means a lot to be able to race with such amazing athletes and see where

I fall in the mix."

Competing against the best in the country gives Rossing insight to her strengths and weaknesses as an athlete so she can work to continually improve her game.

"The energy at Nationals is so high, it's a very cool thing to be a part of," she said.

As a triathlete Rossing is skilled in not just one sport, but three: biking, running and swimming. She said that the most difficult aspect isn't the physical one, but the mental game.

"The most challenging aspect to this race is the mental game during the race," she said, "to keep positive and focused while pushing your body past its limits. It's scary to get so close to your edge, but an exhilarating rush at the same time."

Triathlons have taught Rossing the importance of perseverance.

"[It's] knowing that you just have to break that physical barrier of what is comfortable," she said, "pacing yourself right in each discipline, giving yourself enough juice to make it in the run."

It's also taught Rossing the importance of listening to your body and using the right body parts for the right exercises for optimum results.

"On the bike I focus on using my hamstrings and glutes as my strength so that I can use the power from my quads for the run," she said.

"It's a constant mantra of focus for me to be present and attentive to my body. It's a like very intimate dance with lots of footwork. You need to so conscious of every little thing."

To end her season, Rossing will be going to London to compete at the ITU World Championship on Sept. 14.

Duluthian Sarah Packingham writes about sports for the Budgeteer. Contact her at budgeteersarah@gmail.com.