Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Neoprene: My New Best Friend!

What a great morning!  I had one of my best swims ever!  I know that at this point I am not receiving any physical benefits from this week's training, but, psychologically this morning's workout was a huge boost.

With the water temperature hovering right around the wetsuit limit for this weekend's Miami 70.3 Ironman, I decided it was worth testing out a wetsuit on this morning's open water swim.  While the water is not cold by any standards other than Miami's, I was curious as to the effect the extra bouyancy would have on my swimming (dis)ability.  I'd donned a wetsuit before, but only for snorkeling, and long before I knew how to swim.

The Tri Locos came to the rescue yet again.  You may remember Gerardo, who once loaned me a shoe at a trail run; this time he agreed to lend me his wetsuit for the race.  I tried it on last night and was excited for my upcoming OWS.  Gerardo is a bit bigger than I am, but I thought the wetsuit fit just fine; it was snug enough that I'm pretty sure my wife was ogling me in my skintight superhero garb.  In the morning I was told it was a little big by my swim partners, who each struggled mightily (employing all sorts of tricks using plastic bags) to get their suits on.  While I suppose I could use a suit a bit smaller, for my first time I think I prefer the additional mobility and ease of removal at T1 a roomier fit provides.  Regardless, we set out on the smooth waters of Key Biscayne's Hobie Beach. 

As I entered the water I immediately felt a welcome floating sensation and after my first few strokes I couldn't believe the difference.  My fellow swimmers waited for me to catch up at the first buoy (yeah, I'm that slow, neoprene or not) to gauge my reaction to my unprecedented efficiency.  I was totally jazzed about the benefit of the suit, which well-exceeded my expectations.  It reminded me slightly of using a pull buoy, only a million times better!  My legs were so buoyant it was almost hard to keep on kicking.  

I continued my swim (kindly accompanied at my pace, by the much faster White Lantern, aka Victor) and I put in a solid 47 minutes (25 out, 22 back), making today one of my longest swims ever.  I can't be certain, but gauging by the buoys and landmarks along the way, I'm pretty sure that I covered 1.2m (especially when you add in my crazy zig-zagging).

So now I wait, hope, maybe even pray, that the water will be cool enough for me to break out the neoprene and cruise through my most feared race leg and enter the bike and run with plenty left in the tank.  

Oh yeah, and there's those murmurings about Hurricane Rina too!  Fortunately for me, I've been in Miami long enough to know not to get caught up in the "cone of uncertainty."  Here it is anyway:


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