Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Clown pants or the boob-smasher?

I own two wetsuits.

Actually, three. One for SCUBA diving, but you can't swim in those, so I'm not counting it.

The first one is the wetsuit that Team In Training issued me last year when I signed up to do Malibu.

The second one is TYR Hurricane Cat 1 that I bought with a team discount (courtesy of the Pasadena Triathlon), because I'd gotten a decent tax refund and it seemed like a good idea.

I spent most of last year using the TNT wetsuit for the main reason that I have boobs, and the TYR wetsuits aren't really cut for women who have much over an A-cup (and even that's probably pushing it). Imagine trying to swim with two softballs strapped to your chest, so tightly that you can't breathe, and that was my TYR experience.

So, instead of having the chest-mash going on, I used the TNT wetsuit, which, since I was between sizes and ordered one up, was always nice and comfy, if a bit loose.

Which was great, and worked for me quite well.

Until this last week, when the ocean here in Los Angeles just warmed up enough to finally start some of the organized ocean swims.

I pulled out my trusty comfy TNT wetsuit, took it to the shore, and pulled it on,  only to have it be too big - and not a little bit too big, either.

It was like wearing neoprene clown pants. I jumped into the water and felt like I was wearing hip waders. When I exited the surf, the suit was hanging off my shoulders, with the torso and legs loose and full of water, which was sloshing around since the ankles were tight enough to keep it all in.

Passersby were pointing and laughing, as were my swim buddies.

So, yesterday morning I dragged out the boob-masher.

It fits much better, almost everywhere. Legs? Good. Arms? Good. Abdomen? Good? Boobs? Bad. So, so bad. Neck? Gaping open, probably because the suit was straining to contain the girls.

So I dove into the surf, and about 10,000 gallons of water rushed into the loose neck of the suit, thus increasing the 'pressing on the chest' feeling, just when the waves started coming so fast that I couldn't get a breath in between them.

So I started to hyperventilate, and then I started to panic.

Panic + Ocean = super bad.

I got enough of my wits about me to turn around and stagger back to shore. Once I got there, I waved the swim group on, since they were waiting for me.

After some fiddling with the neck, I managed to get to where I could dive under the waves without so much water entering - thus alleviating the 'boulder on the chest' feeling. I never got past the surf because I was too busy trying to get the suit adjusted, but I think I finally got it dialed in.

Friday is the next organized ocean swim, so we'll see how it does. I currently can't afford to buy another wetsuit, so I'm going to have to make this one work.

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