Thursday, April 9, 2015

ITU Worlds Short Course: Making the team

One of my long term goals has been to qualify for Team USA in some aspect of triathlon. I looked into it last Fall and decided my best bet was in Aquathlon (no, I don't know how that's pronounced either) because my bike is my weakest leg and because I do a ton of "Splash and Dash" races and most people don't do them at all.

To make the World Team, this is exactly what is said on the web site:
The 2014 Aquathlon National Championship in El Reno, Oklahoma will qualify athletes for the 2015 Aquathlon World Championship. At the Aquathlon NC, the top 10 in each age group, rolling down to 14th place after applying the age-up rule, will qualify for the World Championship.
 The top twenty athletes per Age Group in the USAT Aquathlon Annual Rankings on 12/31/14 are eligible to qualify for the 2015 Aquathlon World Championship. We will offer spots to the top two and roll down to 20th. Note: All spots are subject to availability on the roster.
So this was my interpretation: Get a Top 10 finish in my age group at Aqualthon Nationals or get picked based on rankings.

Unfortunately, 2014 Nationals had already happened by the time I read this. Darn.

But there was that second way: Be ranked in the Top Twenty for your age group and then either be the top two or have the top people reject their slots and enough people after them also decline so that the spot rolls down to you. I checked my ranking for 2014 and I was twelfth in my age group. I was eligible!

Technically. But what were the chances one of those two slots would roll all the way down to twelfth place? Not good, I figured. Better luck next year when maybe I could improve my rankings or somehow swing a trip to Oklahoma for Aqualthon Nationals, was my thinking.

And then I forgot all about it.

Until today. Today I got an email entitled "Team USA Chicago - Aquathlon Rankings Spot Awarded". What the...? Normally you don't get an email telling you what your ranking is, but I figured that's what the email was about.

Then I read the magic words:
Dear Athlete,

Congratulations! You are being contacted because you have earned a spot on Team USA for the 2015 ITU Aquathlon World Championships. 
Whoa. What? Am I reading that right? I read it a few times in a row just to be sure. Yep. I read it correctly. I did it! I made the team! It was one of my goals for the year and I haven't even raced yet. Whee!

Then I read the rest of the email and I started to see that just being offered a spot wasn't all there was to it.

You see, it seems not only do I have to pay a $50 non-refundable fee to "reserve my spot," a fee that doesn't even count towards my registration fee (of an unknown amount) that I also have to pay at a later date, plus the cost to get myself to Chicago for the event (to be raced on an unknown course), but I also have to pay for my Team USA uniform. Which it is required that I wear to race. And will cost me $200-300. They don't know exactly how much yet.

So add it all up and it's a lot of money. (And a lot of unknowns.) Maybe I shouldn't do it. Oh, who am I kidding? You know I'm going to do it!

I have months to save up and figure out how I'm going to make it happen. And to get faster so I feel good about my performance. Heck, last year I didn't even run a 10k in any of my Aqualthons and that's the distance I'd have to run at Worlds.

I would like to get my 10k time down under an hour and my 1.5k swim time down under 35 minutes. Those were my goals for the season anyway.

I also have to decide if I'm going to do the Open Sprint Triathlon that is also happening at Worlds that anyone can sign up for. After all, if I'm going to spend hundreds of dollars on kit, I might as well get some use out of it, right?
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