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.