While I love my NTP mentor - there are some questions that he just can't answer.
I am a big girl (220lbs) that's also short (5'2) and I am looking for a wetsuit. I am totally confused about what wetsuit I should be looking for because most of the charts are telling me to get a men's suit. But I'm wondering if it's going to be enough room for my boobs.
I went to the Multisport conferece - and vendors that were selling wetsuits were very utterly unfriendly to me. Which has made me even more nervous about the ability to find myself a wetsuit. Are there any local stores that will be friendly and helpful?
I have been scouring the internet for some fellow fat girl triatheles (there are a whole slew of them for runners) - and I've only found one blog so far. So I feel like I'm just wandering in the dark for some of the clothing.
Yes! Wetsuits for bigger women can be done! I went through this myself last year. Size guides are not so helpful if you're out of their range, but that doesn't mean there aren't suits that fit you. If you have a super well defined waist, a women's wetsuit will probably be better for you because they're cut in at the waist. I don't have much of a waist so I went straight for men's suits and didn't have a problem finding one that fit in their larger sizes (most of wetsuit brands have men's sizes that go up to 2XL and depending on the brand I was either an XL or a 2XL. Women's are less generous and tend to only go up to an XL but some brands tend to be larger than others so an XL may be fine). I'm pretty tall (5'8) so the length on the men's suits fit me well, but there is some room on many suits to cut the bottom if the legs are too long on you, and a few of the brands do men's suits in petite (or the masculine equivalent of petite, at any rate).
Conte's has a good selection of suits for trying on, and they do weekly rentals so you can take one and test it out and see how it moves in the water. I also had success with Tri Bonzai's selection and there are a couple of online rental places that I didn't try but seemed to carry larger sizes as well. Rentals are a great idea until you have a better sense of how the suits are supposed to fit. For example, there were a couple times when I'd try on a 2XL in the store, think it fit super snugly, and then get it out into the water and it was like swimming in a balloon. Not pretty.
Anyway, rather long winded, but hopefully helpful? Feel free to email me if you'd like more recs for clothing, online resources, random advice, etc. etc. (gretchen.s.anderson at gmail). You're right; there's just not a lot online in terms of advice for bigger women, but we're out there!
I echo everything Gretchen said... wetsuitrental.com can be very helpful... I have used them a bunch of times. If you are looking to rent/borrow a wetsuit... or even try a couple on.. I have a few wetsuits that I have collected over the years... and while I can think of lots of adjectives to describe me... small is not one of them! =) Zap me an email if you any more questions...
Thanks ladies! I will email the both of you shortly!
And a shout out to my wonderful stalker-like mentor - Justin. :P You know I love ya!