Groff said she always has been known as a "swim-bike" triathlete, so her goal at the Olympics was to be among the top group of runners at the end.
"If anything, I set my sights too low because I should have been shooting for the podium,” she said. “You know as the race went on, the runners started dropping away from the group — and of course, you’re counting. Then all of sudden, there are four of you and you can do the math. One person is not going to get the medal.
"All of a sudden, the lead group drops me and there’s a gap," she continued. "They say the worst place to finish is fourth because you’re the first one off the podium. Of course it’s a disappointment and it hurts, but it isn't awful because my goal was to be an Olympian and then to be in the top pack of the runners."
Groff finished the triathlon season in October as seventh in the world among women, but she hopes to get even better.
"I'm still excited about my running training because I still have so much room for growth,” said Groff, who is dating a professional runner. “I don't get excited about swim training anymore. I've done too many laps in my life to still be excited about going back-and-forth in a pool. But run training gets me going.
"I just have so much more room for improvement," she continued. "In my heart, I know I can do better."
Groff said she’s planning to qualify for the Rio Games in 2016 and a trip to the podium will be her main objective.
She’ll always have time for her hometown, though.
"It is just so amazing for me to be speaking here," said Groff, who visited the Clark Sports Center on Thursday night and dropped in on Cooperstown Central later Friday. “I just think it is great for anyone growing up to be able to hear from an Olympian from their hometown that they, too, can do it. I would have liked to hear that as a kid. The fact that it’s me who gets to be the one to speak to them is just a fun aspect for me."
Maybe that’s because Groff is still a kid at heart.
"I nap, I snack, I wear the same clothes as a kid," she said while pointing to her Olympics sweatshirt. "I'm going to hate it when I have to go out in the real world.”