Twice in my life I’ve been wait-listed: in 1988 by Boston University and last month by USA Triathlon when I qualified just-by-the-seat-of-my-tri-suit for the Age Group National Championships, to be held in Burlington, Vermont on August 20th. For those of you not in the know (i.e., 99 percent of my friends and fam): to qualify for Nationals a triathlete must show a certain level of proficiency at a sanctioned event. Running friends: think “BQ”. Non-running friends: think…ummmm…high-school science fair maybe? Truly interested souls (i.e., .01 percent of my friends and fam), can see qualifying criteria here.
Qualify I did—barely—when I placed in the top third of my age group at the Cohasset Sprint Triathlon last month. This was super-exciting, as I crave a chance to ride with cyclists who pedal at my speed. I know this will sound cocky though it’s really not: I don’t encounter a lot of competition on the bike in most races. Due to waves and other factors, I often never come across the handful of women who end up beating me on the bike. I am lucky if I get to momentarily jockey with some low-numbered boy in a zippy-yet-goofy Spuik (before he, wrapping his final loop, leaves me, starting my first, in the dust). At Nationals, I hoped, I’d find a like-leveled peloton in which to play. (Note I did *not* say I need more competition on the swim or run. I get plenty of that at my local races thankyouveddymuch!)
That’s why I was completely crestfallen when my giddy post-Cohasset attempt to register yielded a “you’re wait listed” message. Yes, the USA Tri website took my credit card info but then promptly informed me that the field was full and I’d race only if someone bailed.
I figured the chances of that happening were slim to none (who in their right mind would say nah to Nationals?) but thought what the heck I’ve gotta give it one last try. So I sent the folks at USA Tri a little love note, letting them know that at the Marlborough Triathlon last week I did a wee bit better than top third. You know, just in case they cared 🙂
As of last night, I am both pleased and terrified to report that my love-letter worked. Yes, I am now two for two in being rescued from the wait-list abyss:
From: Christine Johansen (cjohanse) [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 11:58 AM
To: National Events
Subject: wait list question for August 20th Age Group Nationals
I am on the wait list for age group nationals. What are the chances of getting a slot—can I get an idea of how many are waiting ahead of me? I also don’t know if you pull people off the wait list on a first-come basis or by times…since getting wait-listed (for top third at Cohasset) I also placed first in my Age Group at the Marlborough Triathlon as well so wanted to tack that on in the event it matters as slots become available 🙂
Thanks in advance for any information you can pass my way!
From: National Events [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 10:58 PM
To: Christine Johansen (cjohanse)
Subject: RE: wait list question for August 20th Age Group Nationals
You are on the participant list and good to go for Nationals. Good luck in Burlington!
National Events Coordinator
As for BU…bygones. This wait-list chick made ya’ll eat crow when her GPA qualified her for that pretty little “magna cum laude” on her sheepskin. You Ivory-Tower-Wannabes got your comeuppance, yes you did.
As for USA Triathlon…OMG! What have I done?!? While I never doubted I could hack Comm Ave, I gotta say: Mav and I are a little intimidated about scrubbing with all those Cervelos next month. It’s fascinating–in a very scary way–to ponder whether stiff competition will make me soar to new heights or wilt. And I shake in my Sauconys when I think about running a flipping 10K after the .93-mile swim and 25-mile bike (it’s an Olympic distance race) with all the Maserati-quality runners who are bound to be there.
I’ve told the coach. I’ve told the kids (well, I’ve told the one who isn’t in some jungle in Ecuador…I get Daughter #1 back on Tuesday, after a month-long mission trip that seems to be lasting a year instead. Hurrah! Emma come home! I miss you!)
Bigdeepbreaths! Big-BIG-BIG-SMILES! Burlington, Vermont: batten down your Green Mountains…here Mav and I come! 🙂