Wait, I have to race?

Ok, so I’m guilty of sidelining the point of my travel.

I have written pretty much nothing about how I’m actually feeling as I get ready for this race. Sorry.

I’ve actually been pretty nervous. Not about the race, but nervouse about getting nervous. For instance, before I raced at Hy-Vee in June I was stressed from finals and hadn’t done many races of that caliber and then staying with someone that actually knew all the competitors (JJ Bailey not only knew who was going to be there, but also seems to actually know something about them) really took me off my guard. I’m used to being completely ignorant and apathetic to my competition. I don’t really like to think about them. Some guys, like maybe Macca, can get up and race on rage and anger alone, but I don’t. Not that I can’t, there was this time I was caught making out in the team van at Regionals an hour before I swam the mile. My coach was so pissed he didn’t talk to me before the race, which in turn made me so mad that I knocked out the only best time of the meet (I was 14, and it’s still my best mile time). So I can race mad, but I find it pretty inconsistent, and prone to mistakes. I was once mad at a ref for a DQ at a high school meet, and it preoccupied my mind so much that I started the anchor leg of a 400 free relay at the 50. (After explaining to my teammate why I landed on him, I apologized for causing us to DQ and lose the meet.) So anger’s not my thing, and neither is trying to predict other people.

Now though? I’m not nervous. I was nervous that I would get nervous. I thought that the grandeur of the event and the number of athletes I’ve seen would make me feel somehow different than I have in the past. Like, maybe some emotion would come out that I don’t know how to deal with. But it didn’t. And it won’t. The thing is, there’s nobody here that I’m afraid of. There’s nobody here that I don’t think I could sit down after the race and have a beer with. And the race is nothing new either. I’m completely prepared. I’ve done absolutely everything I needed to as preparation. I’ve put the gas in the tank, all I need to do is turn on the engine.

My college coach, Jim Bolster, used to tell me stupid jokes to calm my nerves at championships meets (I would get REAL nervous there). My favorite was this one that goes like this:

Q: What do you call a fish with no eye’s?


Ok, so it should be written “no I’s” but then it wouldn’t be funny to read, would it?

So if anything, I’m just ready. I might win. I might be middle of the pack. Somebody might kick my a** out of the water. I may never even have the lead. I may win my wave and be taken down by somebody in a wave that starts after I’m already back in the hotel napping (seriously, the older age groups like 35-39 don’t even start until around 11am and I should be done before 10.). But whatever happens, I’m going to go as fast as I can and leave everything I have on the course. If I do that, there’s nothing I can regret, so why be nervous? I’ve shown a dozen times already this year that I’m capable of leaving it all on the course. It’s just another race.

Alright, fine, so Jim never told me the FSH joke, but the one he did tell me was pretty crude. Maybe I’ll post it after I win. Oh, but if you have a good one for me, it never hurts to have a couple extra. Just in case the nerves kick in tomorrow.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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  1. You’re faster now than you’ve ever been. There is a trail of bodies (and some fans) left out here in CA. I’ll be up around 1am watching your race on http://triathlon.org. We’re all pulling for you and you’ll be fine. Keep the oatmeal out of the lake this time.

    Remember, there can’t be two #1’s – cause that’d be 11. Stay out of the team van this time.

  2. yea just remember, if you’re not first your last! but seriously you are an amazingly determined athlete, and if you want you can win. If you win maybe I’ll have my brother teach you how to run so you can win in style. GOOD LUCK!!!!! and KICK ASS!!!

  3. Ben,
    You’ve swum with me (or maybe I should say I’ve eaten your wake) a couple times at Husky masters at UW. Anyway, just wanted to wish you luck on Sunday. Kick some butt!

  4. Dude, I need to correct a little error in this blog post. As I recall, you didn’t magnanimously explain, apologize and move on when you landed on top of Jeff Yoshida (or who-ever it was) back in highschool. . . . my recollection is that you got mad at Jeff.

    There are a couple of other good Ben-racing-mad stories, but my favorite, the one that really captures your spirit in my mind (and one that still haunts my dreams), is when you would threaten to kill opposing relay swimmers at the State Championship.

    Ben, you don’t justget inside their heads, you rent to own.

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