At the end of Kona last year, I chatted with my coach about the possibility of going Professional in 2018. As most of you will know, I 'bit the bullet' and decided to take 12 months unpaid leave from my normal Monday-Friday job and give Triathlon a bit more of my attention.
Some people may view this decision as a 'no-brainer', however for me it was actually very hard. I worked hard for a long period of time to be in a position where even turning pro was a feasible option, however my 'normal' life had also ticked along nicely and this added other factors which needed to be considered.
My journey into Triathlon is not like many other pro's. I haven't come from a high performance background. Rather I left school, went to Uni, became a Teacher and went back to school and started getting back into Triathlon as a hobby. My view of the world is very different having worked a full time job for 6 years while doing Triathlon's on the weekend. I managed to get engaged, get married, save a home deposit, build a house and fund 2 Kona trips. I needed my full time job to fund the 'life events' which were all very important to me. So when the decision to go pro came around there were other factors I needed to consider. My wife's well-being, our financial well-being and many others. This journey is not just about me, but its about my wife and the family I one day hope to have.
Bree was incredibly supportive and encouraged me to chase my dreams. Having completed a lot of 'my life event' goals I felt as long as I could still provide what is needed I was finally in a position to give it a shot. I have to be honest, I cringe when I hear of athletes who have nothing behind them - no degree, no work history, no home - just Triathlon. There is such a small percentage of the 'lucky ones' who can make a decent living from our sport that I felt I NEEDED to have a life set up, IF it didn't work. Don't get me wrong - I am working my backside off to make it happen, but I wanted to be prepared for if it doesn't.
Does that add more pressure to me to still work as a teacher some days - YES. Do I wish I had financial sponsors which would pay me - Hell Yes. But hopefully these things will come in time. For now I am happy with the life I have set up with the help of my wife and enjoying the next 2-3 years and seeing where I land in this sport. My journey has been different and I hope to compete as a Pro for many years to come whilst supporting my family, but I feel should injury, burn-out or I am just not good enough I have a life which I very happy with at home :).