Thursday, June 23, 2011

Did I Really Just Do That?

After being stuck at home on the nicest two days of the week watching the watch dog who was watching the guys installing my new door (yes, it took two days to install and paint a new door and they haven't even put on the door knocker yet) I conned my vacationing husband into riding with me to the local beach.

You see, I have not done one single lake swim in my wetsuit yet.

Prior to this week, all of the "good" days were spent riding - training for my 'A' list ride - and the not-so-good days were spent either spinning or in the pool at my clubhouse. The clubhouse pool is outdoors and has been cold (really cold) so I figured it was good enough to get used to swimming outside in cold water without actually having to trek to the beach. Indeed, there were days when I was the only one in the water. The pool siders that watch me, knowing what I'm doing and why, often simply offer words of encouragement.

Plus, I kept thinking about how ridiculous I would look at the beach in a wetsuit and just wouldn't deal with it until now. Now, besides safety concerns, I understand the value of swimming with others.

I talked my husband into accompanying me saying he didn't even have to sit at the beach, he could just sit in the car listening to the radio while I did my thing. It's amazing what you can accomplish with a team player that knows he just has to ride the bench. At least I had someone looking out for my gear and wallet.

On the way to the beach at Lake Pearl it started raining. That wasn't what I was hoping for but I figured as long as there was no thunder, I was still good to go. Upon arriving at the first beach, there was a "Road Closed" sign and a police office there to make sure only locals were entering - not a good omen. At the second beach, the gate was locked and the usual, "this beach is only open when lifeguards are on duty" sign was keeping us out. Evidently, lifeguards don't like working in the rain.

So much for my cold water, lake swimming ambitions.

Now what?

The pool at my clubhouse uses a chlorine cleaning system - not good for wetsuits. The pool at my gym uses a salt water system but the temperature is always at least 80 degrees - not great for working out or jumping in with a wetsuit. I was down to one last desperation option to get an idea of how my suit feels when wet and I took it.

My husband asked, "You're not really going to do that, are you?"

"I don't see where I have much of a choice any more."

I got home, got into my tri suit, squeezed into my wetsuit and jumped in the shower.

I loosened the collar and allowed the water to get into the suit. Just as advertised, I could feel the suit starting to relax. Making circles with my arms and then using a freestyle stroke, I suddenly felt comfortable that I would, indeed, be able to swim in a wetsuit. Is it going to be a great swim? Heck no, but I'm sure I can get through it.

Standing in the tub, the last test was getting out of the suit. Well, it's going to take some practice to get it done quickly but, seeing as how I managed to get out of it without killing myself while standing in a porcelain tub, as long as I don't have to hurdle any 3-foot barriers on my way to T1, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to manage removing it while standing in sand or on concrete or whatever.

Now if only my prescription goggles would get here before Sunday, I'd feel so much better.