There is nothing funnier looking than someone dressed in a wetsuit with their cap and goggles on. Especially when they are walking around their front yard(which does not have a beach). Yesterday we practiced our transitions and taking our wetsuits on and off. So both of us were dressed in our wetsuits, caps and goggles standing on my street as my neighbours drove by giving us funny looks. My neighbours must think we're nuts!
We set up our transition stations in my garage and started on the street and said "Go!" and ran up the drive way to our transition area. I have always used the step and pull method which has always worked well for me. After pulling it all the way down to my ankles I step on one side with my other foot and pull that ankle out and then switch, usually back and forth two or three times. This frees up my hands to start putting my helmet on or jacket if I am going to need one. I'll have to blog about transitions sometime because this is a very easy way to take a lot of time off of your race. You should all be practicing your transitions...
Back to wetsuits- I have been lucky to accummulate three wetsuits. My very first wetsuit I got with Team in Training when I did my first season with them as a participant and raised money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They set you up with an Orca wetsuit in your size to keep. On my second or third triathlon I tore it while putting it on the night before the race(Note: Acrylic Nails and wetsuits don't mix). I had to run down to Sport Chalet and get wetsuit glue but the tear was all the way across my crotch. I laid it on my table and glued it and hoped in the morning when I woke up it would look Ok or atleast be functional for my race. It was glued together and functional but looked awful. I wore it with a giant smiley face of dribbling glue across my crotch and got all kinds of looks. I wore it for the rest of that year doing my first Olympic distance in it. It didn't really show up in pictures so that was Ok.
Before the next season I treated myself to a new wetsuit. I stuck with Orca since I liked the first one and I got one of those with red shoulders cause I thought it looked cool, I love red by the way and I am all about looking good at these races- there are lots of pictures taken:) So, I sported my new Orca suit for the first time at the Ironman California 70.3 last year and it worked well because my husband could spot me in the water with the red shoulders. It felt very similar to my first wetsuit.
I recently was lucky enough to get a T1 two piece suit for $50.00. At that price I took it even though I have a fairly new wetsuit just to try out a different kind of suit since all I had worn was Orca. It is Farmer Johns on the bottom and then a long sleeve shirt pulled over them. I think I like it better than the one piece Orca. I have a very long torso and having the top seperate feels much better when I am swimming. I wore it in La Jolla for the first time and felt like my arms could move a lot better. I am going to try it out at the California Half this year and I'll let you know how it goes. The only thing I have to get down is pulling that top over my head in transition.
The nice thing is with all of these extra suits I have started wearing my first Team in Training Wetsuit(the one with the tear and glue) as my pool wetsuit to get some practice swimming in a wetsuit once a week. I started this last night. Talk about funny looks...when you start putting your wetsuit on at the edge of a heated pool and waddle over to jump in wearing a wetsuit...now people definitley think I'm nuts! What a difference wearing a wetsuit is though... I was doing 800m and I took 2 minutes off of my normal time on each one. My arms were getting much more tired though wearing a suit so it will be good to practice in one once a week. It feels harder to swim in a wetsuit because your arms feel like they have to work harder but it must be easier because you are faster. Your feet floating is a definite advantage. You definitley get pretty toasty though!
If you have an old suit pull it out and do a few laps at the pool next time your there- you'll get some funny looks but who cares? It's good practice!