Second Place is First Loser
Remember how confused I was that I didn't win a bicycle trip to France from Travel+Leisure magazine? Here's the backstory. Well, I found out what happened. Turns out, I was looking in the wrong magazine: it was Budget Travel that sponsored the contest. Out of the blue, an old friend from high school sent me an email saying that she saw my story printed in the magazine.
Unfortunately, I was basically the runner-up: some guy who got a chance to shake hands with the Pope won the grand prize. How am I supposed to compete with that?!
Still, it is very cool to be a published author. In the contest rules they stated that submissions could be edited for space or clarity and they did take a few creative liberties with my story. For example, they dropped the words "World Championship" before "Ironman Triathlon" - kind of an important part of the story if you ask me! But anyway, here is my not-quite-winning submission: