This blog recounts my fitness journey into the sport of triathlon and the gifts God has blessed me with while on it! May the movements of my life boldly proclaim that the sparks we encounter in scripture will kindle hope in our lives!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Neoprene and More

Just trying them on!
As I looked forward to the girls being occupied at VBS (vacation bible school), I began to schedule how I would spend my time for 3 hours every day that week!

I had injured my leg and couldn't run at all. (I'll get to that in the next post.) My best options for training were to bike and swim. I reserved 3 of the days for biking and swimming. Charis and I made plans during one of them to shop for a wetsuit. The other I was trying to leave open to be "spontaneous". I'm still workin' on that!

Charis had received a referral from someone to a particular shop for us to try on wetsuits and so our adventure in neoprene began!

We trekked out to the shop on Monday. It was about a 30 minute drive.

The sales staff was very friendly and helpful. It wasn't their fault that wetsuits aren't really marketed to women that aren't over 150 pounds! Fortunately I had already learned about the Athena and Clydesdale racing I didn't find the shopping process entirely shocking.

Let me explain. When you enter a triathlon, they typically ask you to identify what group you should be placed in.

There's the Elite group. That one should be self-explanatory. Professional racers and folks that have an athletic bent beyond most.
Then there are the age group categories. Also self-explanatory. Last year I raced in the 35-39 age group for a few races.
You can also choose a "buddy wave" in some races. These folks are typically more casual racers (which Charis and I discovered rather quickly at our first tri!), or they might want to race "with" a friend but don't fall within the same age group as that friend.
Then there are the Clydesdale and Athena categories. Essentially these are categories for "bigger athletes". Good grief. A woman can qualify for an Athena entry at just over 150 pounds!!! You don't have to enter these categories, you can enter as an age grouper, but they exist.

At the time I shopped for my wetsuit I weighed about 187 pounds. I knew that wetsuits were marketed toward "average" sized athletes. This could get tricky.

Sure enough, the sales clerk brought out the only wetsuit they had that was technically my size. It was almost $700. I had no intention of spending that much but, I figured I should be a sport and try it on. Charis tried on the same one in her size and one other. She was much closer to "average" than I!

No dice. We left without the suits, but some fun pics of our shopping trip and hysterical memories of the grunts and groans and the sweat equity it can take to get a wetsuit on. It's not a delicate process, let me assure you!

We did some fun biking that week and swam. I don't recall that as much as my next trip to shop for a wetsuit though. My friend Becky accompanied me this time. To a different shop. I wasn't about to chance having to ask a male sales associate to help me get into the thing!

 This is the wetsuit I ended up with.

We found the wetsuit! Pulled it right on. It was less than 1/3 of the price of the other I had tried on!

We had extra time after that so I decided to try on some tri suits as well.

You don't HAVE to have a tri suit to do a triathlon, but they sure do make it more comfortable. You wear them for the entire event. They are made out of fabric that wicks away sweat and water. They feel seamless so you avoid chafing. Best of all *insert sarcasm here* they fit like a second skin! Eliminating drag and all that...

No kidding, I tried on about 14 different suits. One-piece suits, two-piece suits, skirted suits, suits with an extra bra, suits that zipped, suits that didn't, suits that had no color and suits that screamed color. One of the suits I tried on caught my attention. Of course, it was one of the most expensive. However, when I looked in the mirror at myself I was kind of astonished. I looked at Becky and she looked at me. "I look HOT in this one!" I said. "I think that it has to be the one!" she said. Success.

My tri suit. Well, you get the idea...

The cool thing is. I'm WAAAYYY hotter now! I tried that suit on the other day. I have to get a new one. It's too big...I'm fairly certain it's the same story with the wetsuit...

I registered in the Athena category for an event this summer. Just for fun. I "figure" it's one more way for me to "Embrace the Athlete"!!


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