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Ironman Pro Racing - everyone has an opinion so here\'s mine

Sunday night I was in a bad place.  I just heard about the changes from Ironman for pro races and prize purses.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s the press release:


 I was hurt, mad, disappointed that Ironman once again is changing the game on me.  I mean, I JUST had my first big payout and was starting to see the light at the end of the debt tunnel.  I was already thinking about my schedule for next year, hoping I could cherry pick my races to get a little more money and finally be in the black.  Then maybe I could get one step closer to quitting my job, you know that one necessity you need if you are actually going to “make it” as a professional triathlete.  Then after THAT I’ll be able to race with the top girls, RIGHT? Now those “easy paychecks” are gone, just like my dream of being a “full-time” pro and really being able to compete.  I tossed and turned all night, then woke up on Monday morning ready to write a scathing review of the changes and why they are unfair to newer pros.  But when I put fingers to keyboard, I couldn’t get out more than a couple sentences.  I wasn’t able to put together a coherent position.  I mean, I had all these ideas and arguments in my head, but they weren’t coming together.  I decided to sit on it another day and give everything a little more thought.


Today I woke up and realized that the first idea for this blog is exactly why you DO NOT write blogs or even get super involved in social media when you are at the end of a big week of training.  I was tired and instead of seeing that this is actually a fair and positive step, I played the victim.  If my husband had just had some cake handy I probably would have never gone down the negative rabbit hole.  Luckily a recovery day and some good sleep got my head back on straight.


After some serious thought, here’s what I think about more money, but at fewer races.  First, yes, it might be tougher for us new or up and coming pros to get paid.  We might have to hang on to our “real” jobs for awhile.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t progress.  Pretty much all of us got to this level with full-time jobs so why can’t we keep going?  Sure, some people have family money, rich spouses, or even big nest eggs in the bank from their previous life in investment banking and don’t need to work in the beginning.  It might seem unfair that the rest of us can’t dive in head first without risking financial ruin, but that’s life.  Some people were born with legs the length of my entire body, but I’m not going to complain about that.  Instead, I’m going to focus on what I do have and make the most of it.


Next, we should definitely be happy that Ironman is paying more overall.  This is a great thing for those athletes that have risen to the top of the sport.  They have worked their tails off and DESERVE to get paid more.  Now we might be able to argue that Ironman could afford to add even more loot to the pot, but one step at a time.  At first I thought this was a bogus setup – I mean the “rich” are just going to get richer, right?  Most of these so called “rich” triathletes have been racing as professionals for 6-10 years.  To say they have paid their dues is an understatement.  No one actually comes out of nowhere, even if it seems like that is the case.  And this is going to give the money to the people who deserve it.  Yes the fields will be deeper and each race will be tougher, but the top athletes will be getting the paychecks – it’s hard to argue against that.


All hope is not lost for us newer pros trying to work our way up.  We can stop trying to play the “which race will have the fewest competitors” game and focus on training and racing our hearts out.  When we do finally get to the top those paychecks are going to be big and we will have earned them!


In the mean time we need to be grateful for what we have.  Even if it’s not our only one, we have a “job” that keeps us in shape, get’s us outside, and allows us to be part of an amazing community.  We get great gear for free or at a discount from sponsors.  Let’s be honest, we’d be racing either way so it’s awesome to get free or reduced entry to most events.  And of course as many other people have pointed out, there are plenty of races outside of Ironman that pay money, maybe we just need to shift our focus a bit and do a little research on the USAT site.  We can also go crawling on our hands and knees to Rev3 and beg for their forgiveness!  In the mean time, chin up new pros.  Keep working hard and chasing your dreams!  We’ll get there.



6/29/14 - Ironman CDA - 3rd


8/17/14 - Lake Stevens 70.3

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