As some of you may recall, I am participating in my first full-sprint triathlon in less than two weeks. (Yikes!) I had a mini-melt down over the ordeal a few weeks ago when I realized I needed to fit my plus-sized body into a wetsuit to race in Mid-Atlantic waters in May.
So, I did some recon and decided to rent a wetsuit from an online provider rather than from a local store. I was not convinced that a local store would be able to provide me with a wetsuit that was LP-sized. The online rental place advertised suits for up to 250-pounds of triathlete goodness (and was cheaper) – I was sold.
The suit arrived on Monday and I was a bit hesitant to try it on. What if my worst fears were confirmed? It looked to be LP-sized, and I had enough time to exchange it if necessary. Bootsie sat in the living room while the ordeal began.
I guess the best way to describe me getting into a wetsuit is stuffing sausage into a casing. Rolls in my legs that I didn’t know existed suddenly became my stomach. My stomach flab pushed up and became back flab. Back flab oozed over the sides and eventually got stuffed around front. In essence, I stuffed my body into that sucker. After a good 5 minute sweat session, I tried to zip ‘er up. Nope. I stuffed more overflow flab places, and still couldn’t get it. Shit. I tried 3 or more times zipping, and almost resigned myself to the wetsuit didn’t fit.
Then, I read the instructions. Title: “Be ready for a workout!”
“After stepping in, set the bottom of each leg well above the ankle. Grasp the inside of the suit as you pull it up. Maximize the room in your suit’s shoulders! Carefully (without using your fingernails), inch the suit up both legs – pantyhose style – repeatedly until you can’t move any more material upward and the suit is as snug in the crotch as it can be. Inch the suit to shoulders. Get help zipping the suit! If no one is available, stand straight with zip pull in hand, push chest out and shoulder blades together. We have a demonstration video on our website.”
Yeah. After attempt 1 and reading the instructions, I determined the wetsuit won this round.
Round 2 happened at 5am Tuesday morning. I was refreshed and determined to figure out if this thing actually fits. I had watched the online video where the super skinny model did not have to stuff her body into the suit. Nevertheless, I tried again. Feet in. Stuffing commenced. Stomach stuffed. Back stuffed. Shoulders set. Let’s zip. I arched, I squeezed shoulder blades, and I pulled the zipper. Finally, after 3 minutes, I got the sucker up!
Fortunately, the picture quality is so poor you cannot see my bright red face with beads of sweat dripping down it as a result of the wetsuit struggle.
Swimming? Yeaaaaaah. About that. I felt a bit constricted, so I may very well doggy paddle the damned race.
Getting the suit off took almost as long as putting it on. I am more than slightly concerned how this will play out in an actual race situation. Hot, wet, tired, sticky, and no using fingernails….we shall see about that one.
Alas, the wetsuit and I are tied after two battles. There are three more showdowns, so it is still anyone’s game!