This morning Laura and I met at the other 14th Street Y for a swim in our wetsuits. I got there before her and started putting my wetsuit on. I was not having a easy time of it at all. I did the plastic bag over the feet trick, which really worked wonders. But the first time I tried that on my right leg, somehow the wetsuit flipped inside out on my leg, so I had to take it off and start again. By the time Laura got there to meet me, I was so hot and frustrated with the whole thing that I wanted to give up. I really was sweating with my clothes on underneath the suit.
Laura just looked at me, told me to take a deep breath, relax and try again. She was right. It got a lot easier when I wasn't as frustrated. I had pulled the suit up as high as I could on my calves so that it would be a lot tighter in the crotch than it was the last time we tried this. Last time I was carrying a lot of extra water, so I wanted to make sure that the suit was up as high as possible. Finally, we both got into our suits, zipped up and walked out to the pool. Of course, not only was this a big test for my wetsuit, it was also a big test for my new goggles.
I jumped into the pool only to discover that the water was HOT! I wasn't very happy about that. I had printed out a 2,000 yard swimplan.com workout, but I knew that wouldn't be happening today. Instead, I did a 200 yard warm-up of freestyle followed by 50 of one-armed free. Then I decided that I was warmed up enough to time myself doing a 400 (the sprint triathlon distance) and see if the wetsuit made any difference at all.
Last week, I had done this in 8:35 and had swum pretty easy. Today I decided to swim a lot harder and see what happened. So, I'm not 100% sure that it was all wetsuit related as I know that I was also pushing myself harder today than I was last week, but I finished the swim in 6:49. I think 1:46 is a huge difference, although I know a vast part of it is effort that I put into the swim. However, at the end of this swim, I was dying. I was so hot from the water and the wetsuit, I was actually a little worried that I really was overheating. The whole time I was just wishing that I was wearing my regular bathing suit.
After doing the 400, I spent some time cooling off by talking to Laura for a little while at the end of the pool. Then I decided that we should spend a few more minutes swimming, so I went ahead and did 350 more for an even 1000 yards (0.57 miles). I think the actual time swimming was about 20 minutes.
I know that today wasn't my best overall effort in the pool, although I was really happy with the sprint-distance time. I did discover some very important things. First, that I need to get some body glide. Second, that I should tuck my shirt into my shorts to prevent more bunching. Third, that I should wear my hair in a high ponytail, otherwise it gets caught in the back of the wetsuit (even when under a swim cap). Fourth, my new goggles are great! Fifth, wearing wetsuits apparently makes people want to look and point at you like you're part of a circus sideshow act. Sixth, I do not really ever want to go back to this other 14th Street Y and I'm glad that we only have one more free visit there. All in all, it was a really good learning experience and I'm sure that any practice getting into and out of my wetsuit will be helpful on the day of the race.