Friday, April 24, 2015

Why did you take your Pro Card?

21 April 2015-

I figured since I have been asked "Why did you take your Pro Card?" quite a bit over the past few months, I would take the time to expand upon that frequent question. I used to ask professionals the same question when I was an age grouper dreaming of one day racing as a "professional" athlete. I would get various responses from "I want to race the best", "I want to start first and get done early", "I want to save money on entries" to "I want to have a reserved porta potty and avoid the lines".

I have written about this twice before, back in 2011 "Kona Post Race Thoughts" and in 2013 "How I qualified for my Pro Card and Why I Will Still Race as an Age Grouper". Looking back and reading through those posts a lot of the reasons that I wasn't ready to turn pro have been "solved", and it seems that now the time is right.

Timing was one of the biggest reasons that I waited. After qualifying twice in 2013, I did not believe I was ready, which I elaborated on in the above mentioned blog. The timing finally came together, and in my opinion, the stars aligned. I transitioned out of the Air Force in August of 2014 and the transition to start training and racing full time was the best time for me to make the jump to the professional start line. I waited until after Kona as I wanted one last crack on the big island.

When I made the decision to take the jump to be on the start line with the best in the world, the main reason was regrets. I didn't want to look back 5, 10 or 15 years from now and go "Man, I could have raced with the best in the world, but I didn't". I want to look back and go, "I had an amazing opportunity and I gave it everything I had". So that is what I did, I left the Air Force last summer and did not seek another full time job. I did not leave the AF for the simple reason of wanting to race professional, I left the AF because I was waking up every morning not happy with having to put on my uniform and go to work.

If I was happy with my career in the Air Force I could have very easily stayed in and raced professionally, however that was not the case. The Air Force left a very bitter taste in my mouth the last 1.5 years in, but that will have to wait for another blog. I was however very fortunate while I was in the AF and they were very supportive of my triathlon endeavors, and I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for my support network within the service. So for that, I am thankful to the AF.

I now wake up every morning and am happy. I have the amazing support of my wife and family as I take this leap into the pro ranks. If it wasn't for them, I would not be taking this chance, but luckily my support system is amazing. The plan is to give it a go for 2 years and see where things shake out at that point. If I am still progressing upwards and our lives can still support my racing, then I will continue on.

So here we go.............Only time will tell how this goes.
 My first "pro" race was in Lanzarote at the Spanish Long Course National Champs. I hadn't technically taken my elite license from USAT, but the race had an Elite field. Ended up 8th on the day just 3 weeks after Kona.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Best of luck dude! - Rich

TJ Lonergan said...

Onward and upward!!

Dan Frontera said...

Brad, you just expressed how so many of us feel....no regrets...no looking back and wishing I had done something more. I'll be leaning on your advice as I embark on the next chapter of my journey. Grateful to know you, now Eagle up and go Crush it!

amptriathlete said...

So proud to count you as a true friend. I look forward to cheering you on throughout the year and years to come brother.
Do what you feel, I say and you felt it was right. Eagle UP!