What It’s Like To Be A Professional Triathlete

  • By Jené Shaw
  • Published Jul 29, 2013
  • Updated Jul 21, 2015 at 3:36 PM UTC
Illustrations by Leigh Guldig.

On the mentality:

“I can relate to the Lance Armstrong thing. Not because of the drugs, but because of the two different ‘characters.’ He’s obviously got a split personality, and you find yourself creating a character just to get through the day. If it’s a six- or seven-hour day of training and you’ve got intervals and this and that, you’re in this zone just to get through it. If you’ve spent six or seven hours in that character, sometimes that character is driven by anger or hate or frustration, then it’s difficult to come out of that and be this happy, spunky person. I’ve struggled with that. Say you’re on a group ride and you have intense intervals … and you have these people rolling up to you and asking, ‘When’s your next race?’ And you’re like, ‘Fuck, I can barely turn the pedals. I do not want to talk about my next race.’ And then you feel bad because these people are so nice, it’s not their fault, it’s your choice that you’ve chosen this career. So you go back and forth between this guilt and this kind of drive to want to improve all the time. It’s really bizarre. After a seven-hour day, I’ve literally given it everything I’ve got. So by hour 6 and 59 minutes I’m fucking dead. You walk up these stairs and you’re just … grumpy. Then I think, ‘What kind of life is this that I spend so much time being grumpy?’ That side of it is really hard.”

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FILED UNDER: Features / InsideTri

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw is a contributor for Triathlete magazine, a six-time Ironman finisher and a USAT Level 1 certified coach

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