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A Wetsuit Dillema

by Meghann on September 9, 2011

I’m at t-minus 16 days until Augusta 70.3.

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Whoa!

Can you believe it’s little more than 2 weeks away? I know I can’t.

I’m getting down to the wire with all of my preparation for the race.

Lately, I’ve developed the habit of reading any race reviews I can get my hand on regarding Augusta. Everyone has the same things to say – fast swim, hilly-but-not -Clermont-hilly bike course, pretty run, great wetsuit stripping staff.. wait a minute? Great wetsuit strippers? That one caught my attention.

I hadn’t really given a wetsuit a thought (it’s hard to when the water is still warm in Florida), but I started to dig and realized I should at least be considering one.

Apparently the average water temp for the Augusta swim is right below 70 degrees – meaning it’s a wetsuit acceptable course. Every race recap I read regarding Augusta featured a blogger wearing a wetsuit, all the photos I saw of the swim start had racers in wetsuits, and every forum I interacted on highly suggested a wetsuit. Crap.

I’m not a seasoned triathlete by any means. I live in Florida where our water is warm and comfortable the majority of the year. And I’m a baby when it comes to cold water. Looks like I had to start wetsuit researching.

My first thought was to rent, so I immediately checked out WetsuitRental.com.

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The site advertised $45 for a week rental. It was a good option, but I wasn’t sold on it.

Then I headed to twitter for a few other opinions.

Someone suggested renting locally, so I called around and discovered the demand to rent wetsuits in Tampa must be really low because none of the race shops offered them. They suggested calling dive shops, but that got complicated since I didn’t know specifically what I needed in a wetsuit besides ‘one you can swim fast in.’ After a failed first attempt, I refused to call anymore.

Another racer told me they would have wetsuits to rent on site, but I couldn’t confirm that through the race site anywhere. I’m not 100% sure when we’re arriving at the race site and I didn’t want to risk them being out or just not there at all.

Then Victoria told me I should just buy one and Xterra was having a good deal.

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A few tweets later and my inbox was full of people forwarding emails regarding the sale.

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I got the hint – I needed to check Xterra out.

I headed straight for the cheapest women’s option (Volt Sleeveless) and figured if I was going to do more than one race, then $99 wasn’t a band investment (considering the rental was $45).

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Good reviews. Good price. Good to go.

I was all set to order when I realized they were out of my size. Bummer. πŸ™

A quick chat with Xterra customer service informed me they were discontinuing the Volt series, so if it said sold out – then they were really sold out. She also informed me going up one size would probably be too big (and take on water), while the size down would be too tight and suffocate me.

I was then given too options: order a size that was too small for $99 (originally $200) or pay $149 (originally $300) for a different suit that was in my size.

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And this is where I hate ordering things online – you just don’t know.

In the end, I realized that size IS important and being comfortable come race day is worth way more than an extra $50. So, I gritted my teeth and ordered the pricier suit in the correct size.

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(I used the code TRIATHLETE1 at checkout for 50% off and free shipping)

$150 is still a GREAT deal for an Xterra wetsuit. I’ll just have to think of this as an investment in my racing future. Just don’t add up how much all the other ‘investments’ have cost me in the last 6 months because you might cry, I know I did. Triathlons are $$$!

Hopefully, this will be my last big purchase before race day. Famous last words…

At least I’m saving money by eating lunch at home today…

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Just a simple salad consisting of:

  • Spinach
  • Chicken Sausage
  • Olives
  • Tomatoes
  • Hummus
  • Blue Cheese
  • Pretzels

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It was good too. I think it was the hummus – hummus always makes a great dressing replacement on salad. πŸ˜‰

 

1 Cait's Plate September 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Love the pretzel addition to the salad. And agreed – hummus ALWAYS makes the salad.

And yikes – triathlons definitely are expensive! Online ordering is always so frustrating and such a crap shoot – hope it all works out!
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2 Shaya (Eye Girl Eats) September 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Hey, and when you’re taking a break from tri’s, you can always pick up scuba diving as an interesting adventure hobby!! πŸ™‚
Shaya (Eye Girl Eats) recently posted..Pumpkin Spice Fix

3 Gavi @ Gavi Gets Going! September 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Wetsuit strippers are AWESOME! It can be really challenging to get your wetsuit off, and it’s amazing to have someone there helping you. I had a similar dilemma when I did my first triathlon, except the water temperature in the swim was 55 degrees, so a wetsuit was not negotiable! It’s important that you find a wetsuit that is the right fit for you and appropriate for triathlons. I hope this one works out well for you! Will you have the chance to take it for a test-swim before Augusta?
Gavi @ Gavi Gets Going! recently posted..Lessons I’ve learned in the past few months

4 Meghann September 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Yes! I plan to take it for a spin before race day πŸ™‚

5 Chloe (In Fine Feather) September 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Just an FYI – lots of places allow you to rent a wetsuit. I did that for one of my sprint tris and it was great because the people helped me find one that fit & also talked to me about when & why I would need one. That way you can shop around & see what ones you like if you decide to make a bigger investment!
Chloe (In Fine Feather) recently posted..Weekend Contagion

6 Meghann September 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I called around, but couldn’t find a place. Where did you rent yours from? How much was it?

7 Chloe (In Fine Feather) September 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I got mine at Sports Basement in San Francisco but I also think that other places (maybe even Play It Again Sports) would have rentals. I believe it was only $25 for an entire week. I just found this wetsuit rental site online too: http://www.wetsuitrental.com/rent-a-triathlon-wetsuit.html

Hope this helps!
Chloe (In Fine Feather) recently posted..Weekend Contagion

8 Carolyn September 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Go ahead and add some body glide to your bag for Augusta and be sure to get the back of your neck and inside of arms near your armpits.

Also, I would recommend some swims in in before the big day.

Or you could be like me and wear it for the first time on a 1.7 mile open water race. But I wouldn’t reccomend it.
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9 Meghann September 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm

haha – I plan to take it for a swim test before hand πŸ™‚

10 Lara @ TresLaLa September 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Famous last words, indeed. I just keep signing up for more tris, just so I can get some use out of my wetsuit! You’ll love yours – I assume it’s the Vortex. I have that with the sleeves, and it’s perfect. Don’t forget to buy some body glide. It goes at your ankles, around your underarms/shoulders, and DO NOT FORGET the back of your neck. Otherwise, OH, the burning*! *not from experience, at all…
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11 Meghann September 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Thanks for the tips! I’ve been reading up on it and plan to body glide my whole body beforehand. πŸ™‚ And I’m using the wetsuit as my excuse to register for more races in the future to get my money’s worth. My dream goal is a full ironman, so when the time comes – at least I’ll have it.

12 Karen September 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Good call on the wetsuit. I dipped my feet in the water after one of my rides in Augusta and it was pretty darn cold. If you have any aversion to cold water whatsoever, you will want to wear a wetsuit. Glad you got a deal on the xterra!
Karen recently posted..Savannah Century…

13 Sana September 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I can’t to read your race recap in 2 weeks πŸ™‚
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14 lyndsey September 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm

When you are in Augusta, eat at Rooster’s Beak! I live in Augusta and will vouch for its awesomeness.

15 Victoria (District Chocoholic) September 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Glad you got it sorted out! And much less stressful than day of rental; you can practice with it in advance (highly advised).

If you have trouble getting into it, spray yourself with Pam first.
Victoria (District Chocoholic) recently posted..Hotel Chocolat: Fruit and Nut Bar

16 Katie September 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm

My dad puts grocery bags tied around his feet to slip them in better as well!
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17 Rae September 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

x2 from Victoria. Also do your ankles, it helps to get OUT of it quicker that way!! I think you made the right choice πŸ™‚ One more tip….watch a demo of how to get into it, you need to make sure you dont use your nails AT ALL or it will tear.
Rae recently posted..Breakfast date

18 Meghann September 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I’ve already watched the demo on the site and plan to watch it again when it arrives πŸ™‚

19 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife September 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Wow, i had NO idea tris could be so expensive! Thanks for the heads up–and in checking into courses about the water temps! hah.

Your lunch looks super yummers!
Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife recently posted..Belly Fat How To Lose It

20 Marianne September 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Ha, too funny! I was on the phone with Xterra today too. I am doing Augusta as well and have been scrambling around trying to find a wetsuit. I got the sleeveless vortex yesterday in the mail and tried to put the darn thing on and let’s just say it was going on! I think my cycling thighs and birthing hips were the cause. I called today to order one size larger even though I fall smack dab in the middle of their recommended size range. I sure hope yours fits better than mine did but at least they have fast shipping πŸ™‚
On top of the cost of a wetsuit, after work I have to go pay for my new bike tires $$$ I didn’t want to risk a flat tire in Augusta after 4 flats this summer!

21 Marianne September 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Oops, WASN’T going on!

22 Erica @ The Squeeze September 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Good job on the 50% off! I love a good sale!

I have a suggestion/comment on your upcoming Ironman. I am a fitness nut but I hate swimming because I am so bad at it. I have never ever considered doing a tri or an Ironman so I have no idea how far you have to run, bike or swim or what comes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd… Maybe you could do a post on Ironmans for dummies? πŸ˜‰

23 Meghann September 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm

haha – I’m still a dummy trying to figure this stuff out, but I’ll try πŸ™‚

24 Katie September 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm

When my dad did his 1st Ironman, my mom added up how much it cost including his bike, gear, race fee, travel fees, etc…and without revealing how much it actually was, let’s just say she had a bargaining tool for spending as much money as she wants on my nephew (her grandson). πŸ˜‰ I will be at Augusta cheering on my fiance and my dad so if you hear some random girl cheering for ya, don’t be scared!!
Katie recently posted..Pumpkin Banana Muffins

25 Meghann September 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm

E-mail me! Maybe we can meet up!!

26 Cara September 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm

If you can, I would definitely recommend trying on the Tri wetsuits, it’s one purchase that is not good online. I think I tried on 8 different wetsuits when I bought mine four years ago, and while trying on wetsuits is far from fun, it was amazing how different they all fit. If you haven’t tried on tri wetsuits before, I would wait until you bust into the one you bought, as you might not know what is and is not comfortable.

27 Kathleen September 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I don’t want to make you nervous with your big event coming up but you might want to have a back up plan. Last year I tried 2 of the xterra wetsuits while training for my first tri. Maybe it was just ne but both of them ripped when I put them on. I was really gentle and even wore gloves when I received the second suit. Keep on mind, I loved the way the brand fit my body. But then decided for how much these suits cost that I didn’t want to have a hole repaired after day 1. Luckily xterra refunded me the money for both suits – then I did a ton of research and purchased a Quintana Roo. The Orcas are definitely great as well. I hope you don’t have the same problem with yours. I know the stores around where I live, let you rent then if you love it they take the rental fee off the purchase price if you decide to buy. Food for thought.
Kathleen recently posted..Life with OINK

28 Emma September 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Are you on a diet? Seems like you aren’t eating enough. You expressed the fact you gained weight and wanted to lose it, but I wasn’t sure if you were dieting now.

29 Stefanie September 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Clipless pedals are the best. I will never ever go back!

30 Rachel September 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I bought the xterra suit and really like it! I think (hope) you’ll be happy with it. I’m racing (ahem, participating) in my first HIM in the Poconos on Oct 2, so it’s been fun watching your training progress. It’s going to be a tough day, but I’ll get through it. Good luck in Augusta!

31 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) September 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm

The price of triathlons is insane! I’ve always wanted to do one, but I don’t think I could afford it. Then again, the cost of the Chicago Marathon and travel is pretty insane and I’m doing it next month!
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32 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen September 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I thought all the gear for running was bad, I guess I can’t complain after seeing all you’ve had to buy for this tri!
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33 Meghan September 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I think that I would need a wetsuit to even contemplate jumping in that water, too πŸ™‚ Glad you made a great investment!!
That salad looks delicious…I loveeee chicken sausage. And hummus in my salad, it blends great with balsamic dressing.
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34 Heather @ Better With Veggies September 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm

I think you’ll be really happy with the Xterra wetsuit – I’ve had mine for about 6 years and it holds up really well. You’re going to be flying at Augusta with the river current + the wetsuit! The times of swims on that course are closer to Olympic tri times than Half Ironman times. Have a fabulous race!!

35 tiffany September 10, 2011 at 1:12 am

make sure you test it out for a semi-long swim and wear a LOT of body glide all around your neck…and probably around your armpit area, too since you have a sleeve-less one
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36 ITri September 10, 2011 at 4:03 am

I know what you’re talking about! You can probably spend the same time and tons of money researching and purchasing gadgets and gear than you actually do training. But I always like to think about equipment as a good investment. So many things we spend money on is actually really useless. But you will enjoy wearing your new wetsuit and will be able to use it for multiple races. Also, think about what you can spend on fitness-club memberships alone… So, good luck with your suit and in the race ; )!
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37 My Traveling Troop September 11, 2011 at 12:04 am

So happy you wrote about this. I’m training for my first triathlon and my head is already spinning at the potential cost of all the equipment, on top of the fact that the race is out of town (which means hotel, gas, etc.)

Anyways, best of luck on your race! And hope you love your new wetsuit!

38 Sophie September 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I can’t believe race day is already so close – it doesn’t seem like I’ve been reading the training recaps for very long! Are you going to get any practice swimming in the suit in before the big day?
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39 Ali @ Ali Runs September 14, 2011 at 8:19 am

Sometimes the extra $$ is worth it! I agree, I hate online shopping for clothes because sometimes the sizing can be a little wonky. Hopefully it’ll all work out though, it didn’t sound like you had any other options.
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