I never knew I was going to be a professional triathlete. If you asked me back in 8th grade, while the World Cup was taking place in America for the first time ever, I would have told you professional soccer player. I followed that dream through college, and then tried several other routes through life: actor, cook, educator. Somewhere along the way I discovered triathlon, turned pro in this adopted sport, left my teaching job, and now get to swim, ride, and run for a living. Since professional triathlon is a uniquely underpaid professional sport, I also teach others to swim, ride, and run.
It took me a long time to get here—I thought when I started triathlon that success would come easily. But it took more than four years for me to land my first big professional result. Through many mistakes, I’ve learned how to race, how to teach others, how to write, and I’ve finally come to grips with that greatest of clichés: there aren’t any shortcuts, and you have to know who you are. Despite enjoying teaching high school kids, the job never felt like home. Racing for a living, and helping others reach their athletic accomplishments, feels comfortable in a homey sort of way—like I’ve arrived. Now, through the support of sponsors, luck, and my coaching business, I get to live the dream I imagined—in a different sport—back in 8th grade.