When you think “California” you may imagine palm trees, golden sunshine and bikini clad people scampering around in the waves of the Pacific. This may be true for people in Los Angeles and San Diego, but up here in San Francisco our beach life couldn’t be further from this idyllic image. Our beach trips generally require jackets, scarves, hats and mittens. It’s extremely cold to even LOOK at the ocean, let alone strip down and hop into the 40-degree water. In my six years of living here, I have been in the water once for a total of 30 seconds, and that includes dipping my toes in.
But as you know, I’ve got this triathlon thang coming up, which means I’ll soon be having confront the waters of Northern California. We will be training in the Bay and the actual race will go down in a lake just south of San Francisco, but no matter- it’s still going to be freaking cold.
How am I going to do this? Certainly not in skimpy bathing suit! Instead, I will be jamming my body into the thick neoprene walls of a wetsuit.
A couple weeks ago I went over to Sports Basement in the Presidio to take a peek and try one on for size, just to get a sense of what the wet suit experience was like. I was helped by Lauren, a multi-time Triathlete who has successfully completed many an Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 bike and full 26-mile marathon run!) so I knew I was in good hands.
Lauren started by taking my height and weight (and unlike the DMV, lying about the latter when it comes to a wet suit fitting can result in very unsavory and painful results) then explained how to put the full body suit on. It took me about 10 minutes total to get my body fully into the suit. Imagine pulling on a very very thick pair of panty hose: you have to be delicate, but also use some elbow grease. Oh you wanna see how I made it happen? By all means:
And once I got myself in as much as I could, Lauren helped me adjust the fit and get me all zipped up!
So how did it feel? SO TIGHT! But also, kinda good. It was like a giant bear hug all over my entire body. Or like a really, really good pair of Spanx because it holds you in at all the right places. I wouldn’t go walking around in it, but let’s say the thought crossed my mind and I just decided to settle on some good selfies for Instagram…
Then I had the pleasure of checking out some other tri-gear goodies including a neoprene swimcap (Lola might get cold too!) and a one-piece tri suit that I’ll be wearing on the bike and run portions.
Moral of the story: lots more spandex and stretchy fabrics in my future over here. Special thanks to Lauren for bestowing upon me her experience and expertise in the getting me fitted out for the swim portions of the Tri!