By no means am I fat. But I am nowhere close to that skinny minny girl I was about 5-6 years ago.
So with that...I present to you, the very abridged version of..."Barb's First Wet Suit Experience."
The protagonist (that's me, B) happily walks into their local tri shop all bright eyed, bushy tailed and ever so hopeful with her husband (that'd be Mike). A few minutes after arriving, Intimidating Tri Dude (ITD for short) approaches and offers to help.
B: Hi...I'm looking for a wet suit.
ITD: Well you've come to the right place. What's your height and weight and I'll bring out a sample for you to try on.
blank stare from me
ITD: Okay...come whisper it in my ear so nobody else hears...
...okay. Just look around and I'll be right back.
I take a quick bathroom break because I know this is going to be a rather interesting experience for me and the last thing I want is to be stuck in a wet suit with a full bladder. I imagine it's comparable to having to pee while in your big poufy wedding dress, damn near impossible to get off quickly to handle the matter. After much relief I return to the dressing room and receive instructions from ITD.
ITD: So yeah...just but one foot in at a time...wiggle it up to your crotch as high as you can and then pull the rest on like a backwards vest. I'll be back in a few minutes to help zip you up and go over the suit with you.
B: Okay. Sounds easy enough.
I examine the wet suit. I knew from Mike's experience that this would be a bit of a challenge to get on. By no means will it just slide right on like a glove for a suit at this price point. I'd need to work at it a little bit. I strip down to my skivvies, toss on a tri-top and pulled the wet suit off the hanger.
Hmmm....definitely not like a pair of pants that you just step into. Let's go with the left foot first. Left foot goes in...hrmmm....stuck already?! That's odd. Let's try to shimmy it up my ankle a lil' bit. Hmm..yes...okay...that seems to work a bit. There we go. Argh...what the hell?! My sock is sort of cutting off my circulation. I probably should've taken those off, right? Okay...let's remove those...hrmm...argh...it's stuck between me and the wet suit....what the @#(&...I'm not sure which is more work, taking the sock off or putting the wet suit on...five minutes later we have "sock relief" and get back to business...woo! I can sort of see the arch of my foot now. VICTORY!!!
...okay...let's shimmy this thing up to my calf...tug...pull...oh crap! are my finger nails going to cut right through this neoprene? Just how hard can I pull this sucker without ripping? Hmm...don't want to try too hard on that front...I'm sure that ITD has a you break it you buy it policy. Let's be a little more gentle...pull...shimmy...oh *&%$ are you $)%(ing kidding me?! This $%)(& thing is !@(* near impossible to put on.
B: Uhmm...Mr. ITD? I think you gave me the wrong size.
ITD: Keep working on it, it's supposed to feel snug.
B: But...uh...I don't think it's supposed to feel like my leg is being suffocated. Do you have any Quick John suits?
ITD: No...besides you don't want a Quick John, you want full leg coverage. How far up do you have it?
B: Ummmmmmmmmmmmm....my left ankle.
Somewhere in the background Mike laughs at my misfortune.
ITD: Let me see if we have the next size up for you, but in the meantime keep on keepin' on.
I should mention by this point about 10-12 minutes have passed and I have worked up a full fledge sweat that would rival a 90 minute cardio workout. With one foot through, I start my way on the second leg. I try sitting. standing. hopping up and down on one foot to get this $#(&ing thing on. The same type of success eventually ensues.
So I'm standing there. In the dressing room. Almost to the point of tears. With two of my legs feeling like they're being suffocated. Convinced in my head that this $%(&ing thing is not going to make it past my thighs. I give it a valiant shot. But I honestly don't think there's enough neoprene to make it around my curvey upper legs. I simply can't pull the suit up.
B: Uhmm...excuse me!? Mr ITD...are you there? How the hell am I supposed to get this thing up? I can't get it to move? I've read about people using Pam/Crisco/Baby Oil to maneuver their way into the suit. Is that okay down the line?
ITD: Noooo....you never, ever, ever want to use those things. Let me get some suit juice for you to try.
Suit juice? you've gotta be kidding me.
ITD: Here (as he slides it under the door). Just a few squirts and it should slide right up.
easy as that eh? squirt....squirt...squiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirt...shimmy shimmy shimmy....maybe if i bend my body this-a-way...hrmm....no that doesn't work. maybe if i try it sitting down again...oooooh....that's no bueno...tug....pulll......shimmy...argh....%#!&....stupid #%*#ing thing...siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh...
B: Uhm. This isn't working. I've got it about halfway up my thigh and it's not going any farther.
ITD: Well we didn't have the next size up since we're in the off season. I'm really sorry.
M: Just pull it up, Barb.
B: I can't. I'm dying in here.
By now...20-25 minutes have passed. I'm drenched in sweat. I sit to catch my breath for a moment. Then peel the little success I had down off my legs. I want to cry. I try to convince myself that I really won't need a wet suit for the half ironman...which is a lie. I know I need it. I just can't bring myself to commit to one of these suckers right now. especially when it goes and makes a mockery of your body and simply breaks your heart. I have time. It'll be okay. Maybe some other day I'll be brave enough to just pull the bastard over my thighs all the way and onto my hips. Ah yes...one day I'll make that wet suit my bitch.
But not today.
And with that. The protagonist, feeling slightly defeated but mostly traumatized, went home with her husband.
So fellow friends. I ask you. Can I get away with a QuickJohn suit for my triathlon? Or will I really need full leg coverage? Any advice for braving the beast to just get it on? Attempt #2 cannot go over like this or I will for certain have psyched myself out of a wet suit forever.
Labels: My enemy the wetsuit