One of the most frustrating things about the triathlon for me is the dreaded wetsuit. I love the buoyancy it gives me when I am swimming in the open water and really do feel safer as a result of wearing it. Maybe it is just me, but I have such a difficult time contouring the neoprene to my body so the suit feels comfortable without suffocating me. I have even tried all the secrets tips like applying body glide, baby powder and KY Jelly on my body before stepping into the lower legs of the wetsuit, and still end up working up a sweat trying to get the suit zipped. Most times, I give up and seek out a helper to zip the suit up.
Taking the wetsuit off is another story. It’s a workout in itself. I don’t have a problem releasing the zipper and peeling it off my torso. That’ s easy. I don’t know what I am doing wrong, but all the layers of neoprene gets bunched up on my calves and suctioned to my ankles. I feel like I have foot cuffs around my ankles and can’t escape. Removing it is so much of a chore for me that my friends have asked me if I had blow dried my hair during swim to bike transition at last years Irongirl. It took me 5 minutes in transition while the average athlete took 2-3 minutes in transition.
Wasting time in transition can add up and end up ruining your overall finishing time and place. I had to figure out a better system this year if I were going to tackle the Irongirl again with limited training.
While I was in Baltimore, I decided that my strategy at this years Irongirl, would be to swim the 400 meter swim without the wetsuit. I figured that this strategy could gain me some extra minutes in the bike or improve my overall finishing time. Either way, it was a win win situation.
I knew that I was not going to be comfortable in a one piece swimsuit if I were to go through with my plan. Even though most swimsuits are made from Lycra and not made of neoprene, it still is pain in the you know what removing the skinny t-back straps over your shoulders when you have to use the restroom.
The only other option was to find a two piece swim suit that I liked to make this plan work.
On one of our daily shopping trips to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, we detoured and stopped at a triathlon store to look for bathing suits. It was a beautiful store stocked with the latest and greatest bikes and triathlon gear and apparel. I found my way to the back of the store looking for deals on the sale rack. I really was against paying full price on something I didn’t know for sure I would end up wearing. Once I discovered the lonely pair of TYR black bottoms with padding in the crotch, that looked to be my size, I decided it was time to head to the dressing room to try on.
Trying on bathing suits is not like trying on a leather coat. I would bet that looking at yourself half-naked in a full length mirror with awful lighting is a horrifying experience for most ladies. I don’t care what your weight and size is, it’s just not fun. I knew that I would only purchase these bottoms if they were comfortable, had full behind coverage and did not give me a muffin top at the waistline.
To my surprise, the bottoms fit perfectly based on my requirements so I handed the cashier payment and walked out the door. I once again thought about my strategy about saving time in transition and decided that it would make the most sense to wear the same outfit in all three events. I started to have second thoughts about the bikini bottoms once I envisioned myself running in them. My mind kept coming up with horror stories about accidentally exposing body parts that were nobody’s business but my own.
I decided that I would take a trial run in these new bikini bottoms, bun huggers, briefs or whatever else you want to call them. Since I was miles away from home, I figured if that if any embarrassment would be had, it would be best done out of town with people I did not know.
The night before the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5k, I tried on several different top ensembles to go with the bottoms. I think I drove my husband nuts asking for his opinions on these outfits because he could sense I was not completely sold on wearing the bottoms.
I ended up wearing the Brook’s technical short sleeve tee-shirt that I received in my goody bag for the race. And I normally would never wear a race tee until after the race is over. I was hoping that by wearing a full coverage top, I would camouflage the bottom half. I even had back up shorts worn over these bun huggers as I walked to the start of the race because I still didn’t know I would go through with the plan.
I ended up stripping off the running shorts right before the race started. All I have to say is that these bottoms were so comfortable to run in. No worries whatsoever once I started running. They remained snug and did not reveal any extra flesh as I had feared about before taking my first stride.
I ended up having a good 5k race by finishing 142 out of 2,689 with a time of 25:21/ 8:10 pace. I was happy about my time after having such a long recovery from my hip injury. I did get a chuckle when another woman approached me and asked if I had won the race. I shook my head with disbelief and said no; but, did ask her if she was asking the question because I was wearing the bun huggers. The woman said yes.
I decided to even include a picture of me wearing my new bottoms. I have to say that I am sold on the comfort and don’t care what other people think.
Have you ever done something out of the ordinary while out-of-town? Tell, tell..share your stories in the comment section.