Team USA!

Team USA… That’s me!
 
What a ride this has been. What a fascinating ride.
 
And it’s taking me to Almere, Holland!
 
My goals for 2008 in the sport of triathlon have been set since last November. Back then, just as I was coming off an amazing experience in Clearwater for the IM 70.3 World Championship, it was a great honor to be a part of such a special world event, and I had such a good time and felt so professional, that I wanted to nab another taste, this one even better, at some point along the way.
 
That’s when I set as a number one goal for 2008 to go to Halfmax National Championship, for which I was already qualified, in October 2008 to take a shot at qualifying for Team USA so that I could some day compete at Worlds. I got excited at the prospects of representing the USA. Here was my shot. I’ve had a good thing going, I know it, and so I wanted to monopolize on my opportunity when I had it. This was my chance. Long shot it was, but it didn’t matter, it was what I wanted, it fit the schedule, and it was there for the taking, if I wanted it badly enough and with a bit of luck. To wear the colors red, white, and blue for the USA, in the heat of competition, would be a dream. A super dream. A real dream come true.
 
Ironman Lake Placid 2008 would be second fiddle. I would use it only to gain fitness for Halfmax and a shot at qualifying for the 2009 ITU Long Course Triathlon World Championship. This would also take pressure off IMLP and turn it into a fitness stepping stone to Halfmax and Team USA.
 
So that was the goal… Team USA.
 
This became the number one goal because I knew that competing one day at World’s for my country as part of Team USA would be much more memorable than doing a third Ironman. Not to take away from Ironman, but the truth is that I already have that experience in the bank. Team USA, on the other hand, would be a stretch goal but one, should I land it, I’d talk about and be proud of from here until eternity. I would postpone a next solid Ironman performance, as in to truly race an Ironman, until 2009 when I could pick a faster course.
 
That was the plan. Until yesterday. Yesterday I received the following in the mail from USAT, the governing body of USA Triathlon:
 
“Dear Athlete,
 
Congratulations! You are being contacted because you were selected from the Long Course Triathlon lottery to accept a spot on Team USA for the 2008 Long Course Triathlon World Championships. The 2008 World Championships are set to take place August 30-31 in Almere, Holland.”
 
Team USA… that’s me!
 
The background is that USAT has, as I found out, a qualified lottery where they give out up to 5 slots per age group to athletes qualified for the lottery. Qualifying standards are set, so you must at least be on the faster side and compete high enough in age group; there are no more than 5 slots given out, usually much fewer. The slots are only those remaining that have not yet been filled. But they’ll only do up to 5. I don’t know how many were granted for my age group — and I don’t care – because I got one!!!!!!!!!
 
So yes…
 
I’m going to World’s!
 
In Holland!
 
At the end of August!
 
In 2008!
 
One year earlier than dreamed!
 
And I get to wear, with great pride, the colors red, white, and blue!
 
And I get to march in a parade dressing in a “USA Parade Kit!”
 
Folks, this is my Olympics. It doesn’t get any better!
 
Team USA… yup, that’s me!
 
Many people have made this possible: First and always foremost, Heather, my number one supporter and fan and lover. I love you, girl. You make me want more in life, and you give me the continued motivation and confidence to do it. John, you are as rock solid a training partner and friend. Thanks for being you. Team LIT, you guys have wrapped your collective arms around me and carried me from a wannabe looking into the triathlon world all the way to Team USA! And there are more.

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