Actually, aerodynamics and hydrophobia have nothing to do with my recent hair removal. For me, it's mostly a mental thing. It's the way that I signal to myself--and to others, if they are looking closely at my legs and then pondering the significance of their hairlessness; that happens all the time, right?--that work has been done and sacrifices have been made. As someone recently posted on my friend Jordan's Facebook wall, "That sure is a lot of work to justify shaving your legs." Yes. Yes, it is. At the breaking point of a race, I can--and I do--say to myself: "Man up! You shaved your legs for this!" Wait, that feels suddenly very contradictory, particularly if I consider that at the very same moment that I was shaving my legs, my wife (who is female, and who also shaves her legs) was taking yet another pull in her RAAM relay team's 500-mile, 30-hour practice ride. We're just going to overlook that.
Shaving's one's legs is an utterly undignified affair, at least for those of us who have only done it a handful of times. There's twisting and turning, huffing and puffing, and foam and water go everywhere. I think that I got a better workout stretching to reach a runaway hair on my right achilles that was hiding in a strange shadow than I did in the pool today. I've decided that from now on, if I'm feeling intimidated by the look of one of my competitors, I'm going to imagine him balancing on one leg trying to get the hair off his ankles with a pink razor. Consider it the triathlon version of picturing your audience naked before a big speech.
And speaking of pink razors, why is it that my wife's cheap razor works better than my fancy razor? The likely answer is that her razor is designed to shave legs, while mine is designed to shave faces. (Shaving faces, by the way, is SIGNIFICANTLY easier. You only have one face, after all. I never regretted bipedalism until I successfully reached the end of successfully shaving my left leg only to have to begin anew on my right.) Fair enough: a razor made to shave legs probably should do a better job on legs than one made to shave faces. Why, though, do her razors have to be sea foam green or baby blue and have names like "Princess?" Perhaps I have found the product that will make me rich: manly razors that are intended for body shave-age. I'll name it The Velociraptor. You heard it here first.
("We're going to take five minutes off your Ironman swim!")
Tomorrow is the Cheaha Challenge. Next weekend, it's my first triathlon of the season. I've worked hard, I've eaten right, and most importantly, I've prepared myself mentally by performing that most important physical ritual: I have shaved my legs. Let's get it on!