So far this summer, my second summer as an age-group triathlete, I have completed two triathlons, one Olympic distance and one Sprint. Wetsuits are an important component in the sport of triathlon. This is what I have learned so far regarding wetsuits:Lesson #1:
You will not save $ by buying a kayaking wetsuit.
The kayaking wetsuits fill with water and function in the water as a big floatie or other personal flotation device. When swimming in the kayaking wetsuit, it feels more like you are paddling atop a surfboard than performing a freestyle stroke.Lesson #2:
Decide the night before the race whether or not you are going to wear the suit.
Otherwise, you will not get any sleep…dreaming of a wetsuit that fills with so much water you float away downstream and never finish the race.Lesson #3:
If, when you get to the transition area, you ask someone who looks like they know what they are doing whether or not you should wear the kayaking wetsuit for the swim, they will look at you as if you are simultaneously crazy and pathetic.
Most will tell you to wear the suit, assuming that you must be an awful swimmer (translation: one who needs the equivalent of a boat to make it through the water) if you are even considering wearing the suit. They will say, “I absolutely think you should wear it; it will give you some buoyancy and that will be a big help.”Lesson #4:
Keep trying until you find someone who takes you seriously…look for someone wearing a spectacular $600 wetsuit like the woman who I met on the bus ride over to the swim start…our conversation follows:
Can I ask you a question? Do you think I should wear this wetsuit?
What is that?
A kayaking wet suit.
Well, it depends on how good a swimmer you are. That is going to fill with water because of the low cut. If you don’t need the buoyancy, I wouldn’t wear it. It will slow you down a lot. You need a tri suit.
Although many people claim wearing a wetsuit will shave up to 15 percent off of their time, it really depends. Mine only improves my time in the mile by a minute—because I am a really strong swimmer. And, it takes me longer than that to get it off.
Want to know why I wear it?
Her (gesturing along her torso as if she were introducing a new car on The Price of Right):
Because it is quite slimming.
Put the wetsuit in the “Special Needs” box marked with your wave number at the swim start where everyone is putting all sorts of things they want to get back at the end of the race, such as sandals, sweatshirts, etc.Lesson #6:
Don’t expect to ever see that wetsuit again.Lesson #7:
Look around smugly at all the women in wetsuits stretching along the water’s edge, knowing they probably don’t look nearly as good and intimidating without the wetsuits as they do with the suits.Lesson #8:
Don’t share your anxiety or newfound knowledge with your friend who has worn her wetsuit happily for seven triathlons over the past several years.
If you do, you may get the following e-mail from her after the race:
“Hey, did you ever get your wetsuit back? I left mine at the bottom of the river. I felt like it was restricting my movement so I took it off about half way through the swim.”Lesson #9:
Swim your butt off, and when you see some of the people you asked for help in the transition area struggling to get their wetsuits off, look at them sympathetically as you ride away.Lesson #10
Keep in mind that these lessons have not been tested in water below 74 degrees.Lesson #11
Check out the photos taken of you as you emerge from the water.
Then start surfing the web for deals on tri wetsuits.
To read more of my ramblings on triathlons, see playing dress uptriathlons
Labels: fitness, multiples, parenting, training, triathlons, triplets