Name: Jené Shaw
Title: Senior Editor
Cue Europe’s “The Final Countdown.” It’s race week!
My friend Mike sent me a text message the other day that summed up my own mentality pretty accurately: “Part of me is like, shit, I have an Ironman, I need to focus. But then the other part of me is like, ah, whatever—chill out.”
Yes. Chill. Out. Obviously nervousness creeps in here and there—it will be in full force come Sunday morning when I just keep thinking, “why do you do this why do you do this”—but my plan is to procrastinate dealing with those feelings until the absolute last moment.
One of the things I need to chill out about is my bike’s endless mechanical issues. I’ve dropped hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on it in the last month, and I’ve made more trips to the shop than I can count on two hands. My mechanic and I are now on text message terms because we have to communicate so frequently. Does your bike have a name? You can call mine “Shitty Shitty Bang Bang.” My hope is that all the kinks are worked out and it will magically work perfectly on Sunday.
I’ve received a couple of reassuring emails this week. My friend Erin: “You’re going to get tons of sleep this week and be so refreshed you won’t even feel the first 134 miles.”
And yesterday I got the sweetest note from Shelley Harper, a stud swimmer-turned-triathlete who I recently wrote about for the magazine. She wanted to pass on a quote her college swim coach gave her before NCAAs her senior year. I loved it and sent it to Julia, who printed it out for her cube (she also references this in her blog, but so what, you have to read it twice.)
“We never know how good we are, until we are called to rise.” –Emily Dickinson
Shelley said it taught her to be open to the possibility that she could surprise herself and be better than she could have ever imagined. As much as I shy away from getting too #cheeseball, I know that accurately sums up why I started doing triathlons in the first place—to surprise myself. Considering I couldn’t swim with my face in the water four years ago and “ran” my first marathon in over five hours, I’ve come a long way (my high school friends will gladly tell you stories of my unathleticism). I love crossing finish lines because they’re just like a big ‘ole pat on the back, courtesy of moi.
Gearing up for Sunday, I’m feeling mostly excited. Little do my teammates know, but the real key to race success comes in the form of a pair of unattractive tapered-ankle blue sweatpants I once bought for $5 at a store called Big D in New York City. “Big Blue” make an appearance at every race, and I’ll be sporting them along with my custom SOAS flip-flops (that HAVE MY NAME ON THEM) on race morning as I try not to freak out.
Holly and Julia, get ready: You have some big, sweaty finish line hugs coming your way.