Monday, June 20, 2011

Trying to Fit In

As I sat here over the weekend, I decided that I should try on my wetsuit for the upcoming triathlon in Holliston.

Some people know that I battled a nagging hip injury for two years. I pulled a muscle which, since it's the part that crosses the joint, only hurt when I walked, ran, cycled, jumped on an elliptical or sat on my butt. It came down to a strict build/recover system that, while I would consider pretty successful on the recovery side, also came with a downside of gaining close to 45 pounds and while I've lost 15 of that gain this year, I still have a ways to go.

The other problem I have with weight gain began when I started training for triathlons. This always seems to make me gain weight instead of losing it because I wound up starting as a beginning runner which meant my one-hour 600 calorie spin classes and kickboxing classes were replaced with 20 minute run/walks. Combine that with a slowing middle-aged metabolism and I was expanding at what felt like an exponential rate with no real plan to stop it.

The worst of it wasn't gaining the weight. The worst is that I honestly put in the time and effort and I still suck at running. Granted, I suck less than I used to but you still can't call me a runner.

Now that I've pretty much given up the running and just stay on the bike, the weight is coming off rather steadily which is a positive sign for me as I need to get as close to my "race weight" as possible by the Hotter 'n Hell 100 to negate any over-heating issues due to carrying excess fat.

Having said that, I also have to say that I like using triathlons as a fitness test for swimming and cycling. I thought that if things went well this Summer, I might consider entering an Aquabike event in 2012 (that's usually a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike ride). That, along with freezing and bailing on a swim during my only triathlon last year were the main reasons I finally caved and bought a wetsuit last season.

Which brings me back to the wetsuit.

Now, I didn't lie about my weight when I ordered it but I knew I'd be on the heavy end of the fit. This has been a great motivator for me all winter because if I even thought about over-eating, I had that wetsuit number in the back of my mind. In fact, I would encourage everyone who owns a wetsuit to try it on once a month around Thanksgiving and Christmas and see if it brings down your cookie-stealing quota.

Knowing that I have to jump into a lake at least a couple of times this week just to get used to the suit, I decided to watch the video.

Yeah, I don't look anything like her. I just thought I'd use the video with the female model so maybe my husband would start reading my blog.

Standing in the living room of my apartment with my tri top and shorts on, I went through the entire process. If there was going to be an epic fail, it was going to be in the privacy of my own home and not on the beach where people are looking at me sideways for putting on a wetsuit in the first place. I have to admit that even though it was only the second time I'd tried it on, the suit behaved itself.

Two things I noticed. The first is that I needed a LOT more Body Glide going in many more places than just my calves and forearms. I should just slick up any exposed skin. The second thing was that while taking off the suit, I realized I had pieces of the plastic bag stuck to my arms and legs. That would surely slow me down in T1. They didn't mention pieces of the bag getting stuck to your skin in the video but then I realized that she didn't take it off either. I guess I'll be going with the baby powder option instead.

It also mentions on the XTERRA website that the suit will expand a half size after swimming in it. They ask that you swim in it before judging the fit. The whole idea sounds a little scary to me. I kept thinking that, as tight as this thing is, if it expanded inward even a little bit, it could cause problems like a B horror movie.

I guess I'll find out soon enough if the expansion is as horrific as my over-active imagination is telling me.

Pass the popcorn... hold the butter.