This weekend I pushed myself (and Kevin) out the door to do an open water swim with my wetsuit. I figured I should probably try it out before the Iron Girl Triathlon next week, but haven't tried it in open water yet. The pool at Fort Gordon has been plenty cold enough to warrant a wetsuit, though I know the chlorine is probably bad.
The triathlons I did last year were all during the summer, so I didn't think I needed to buy a wetsuit. After deciding to do a Half-Ironman distance this year, I figured it would be a good investment. I purchased a 2XU ST:2 wetsuit:
USAT rules permit a wetsuit for age groupers when the water is below 78 degrees. As I mentioned, the pool at Fort Gordon where I usually swim is typically about 68-75 degrees or so during the winter. From what I recall, the water temperature at Iron Girl Atlanta last year came in at about 69 degrees last year. I did not have a wetsuit. It was rather cold.
So, in preparation for another cold swim this year, I ventured out to the beach in somewhat cloudy weather, and lubed up. I didn't get a real temperature from the park office, but I'm guessing the lake yesterday was around 68 degrees or so. This swim wasn't really for a good workout so much as just a familiarity swim. I did about 500m or so with different strokes, trying to see how flexible the suit is.
I also practiced not freaking out when my face is underwater, since that seems to be a problem every now and then. I know jumping in with my wave will be a different experience, but now I'm more prepared. I know to breathe as needed, rather than every 4 or 5 strokes as I do in the pool.
After all that, it was time to practice stripping! Obviously taking off a wet wetsuit and a dry one are completely different. Easier when it's wet. I'm always a little scared that I'm going to rip it, even though I know the neoprene is pretty thick stuff. Stepping on the legs while I try to pull my fat calves is quick enough, though, so hopefully I won't be rolling around the ground in transition trying to yank the legs off. Finding a safe place to put it out of the way in transition is another concern; guess I'll work on that later!
I can't wait for this weekend! I'm doing the Run as One with Team RWB here Saturday morning, then it's off to Atlanta to check in! Meanwhile, I'll be making packing lists to make sure I don't forge anything for California, and getting ready to go.