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Wet Suit freaking me out
CREATED: 09/17/13 by MikeTri REPLIES: 17
MikeTri    JOINED: 5/23/13    POSTS: 9
Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/17/13 11:48 AM

Team DC Tri
Need some advice. I currently swim in an Exterra wet suit...when I hit the water the compression across my chest is like I'm being squeezed by a boa constrictor and I start to hyperventilate. I've tried a larger size and the same thing. At the Nation's Tri booth an Exterra rep told me that it was psychological and I needed to swim more in my wetsuit--okay...point taken but is there any suit out there that is less constrictive in the chest. I know this is a subjective judgment but any starting point would be much appreciated.

Thanks!!

kev7's ravatar kev7    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 452
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/17/13 12:34 PM

My wetsuit is super tight! I really have to squeeze into it but I am fine once I am in the water.

DeSoto makes a two-piece wetsuit that is supposed to be more flexible and you can mix and match top and bottom. A friend has one and really likes it.

http://university.tri-sports.com/2013/06/29/t1-first-wave-concept-5-wetsuit-2-pieces-better-than-1/

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1285
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/17/13 1:32 PM

When in the water, grab the collar with your hand and pull it down to let water in. That will help get rid of some of the compression/suction feelings. Wetsuits are meant to be tight fitting. You don't want a loose fitting one (i.e., scuba dive/surfing wetsuits) because it will allow water in and create drag.

The point that the XTerra rep made about swimming more in it, is dead on. My wetsuit felt like how yours felt when I first swam in it. After awhile, it felt like a second skin.


--Tuan

MikeTri    JOINED: 5/23/13    POSTS: 9
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/17/13 2:16 PM

Kevin and DSG...
Many thanks!
I really appreciate it and most of all that there is a way out of this box. Good Racing!

Mike

siehndel's ravatar siehndel    JOINED: 11/25/05    POSTS: 1060
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/17/13 4:31 PM

Also, every brand tends to fit a little differently. I rented a suit before buying and I really liked it. Then I bought an Xterra because the price was right. I found it to be tighter in the neck and by association, chest.

I eventually got used to it but if yours is too unbearable, maybe try out another brand. You can always sell your Xterra and get a few bucks back for it.

-Travis

HappyRunner's ravatar HappyRunner    JOINED: 1/15/11    POSTS: 185
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/18/13 1:53 PM

DeSoto makes a two-piece wetsuit that is supposed to be more flexible and you can mix and match top and bottom. A friend has one and really likes it.

+1 There is something about having two pieces as well as the top moving independently from the bottom that I find much less claustrophobic.

IronMike's ravatar IronMike    JOINED: 6/11/13    POSTS: 48
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/19/13 8:19 PM

@MikeTri, here's a wild suggestion: swim without a wetsuit. ;)

MikeTri    JOINED: 5/23/13    POSTS: 9
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/20/13 10:01 AM

Travis and HappyRunner, Many thanks. I'm going to check out the Desoto.

Iron Mike....I prefer to swim without a suit but i'm in for the Beach to Battleship IM next month in NC--first one-- and the water temp will necessitate a wet suit.

IronMike's ravatar IronMike    JOINED: 6/11/13    POSTS: 48
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/20/13 10:55 AM

@MikeTri, what's the water temp going to be?

With enough sensitization (say, at Mason Neck), you can be ready for cold water. And by cold, I mean down to 59 degrees. ;)

trisha's ravatar trisha    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 133
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/20/13 2:15 PM

I have a 2 piece desoto and will add that being able to unzip from the bottom up adds a little ability to temporarily adjust/loosen in the water - you can't really pull that trick with a regular wetsuit. Also, desoto has amazing customer support and will let you try their stuff and send it back if it doesn't work. Give them a call to help you pick out a size.

The downside is it's tough to use wetsuit strippers, so you'll just have to undress yourself!

kst718's ravatar kst718    JOINED: 8/29/11    POSTS: 95
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/20/13 7:28 PM

My dad felt exactly the same way when he first started swimming in a wetsuit. He sized up and said it feels better, and also said that from a mental perspective, just standing and splashing around in the water prior to swim start made him feel a lot calmer. While I haven't had chest/neck issues, I have felt constricted in the shoulders. I switched to a sleeveless wetsuit, which is more comfortable but colder and less fast. However, just this week I learned how to make a full sleeved wetsuit roomier in the shoulders: pull up the legs to the high ankle/low calf (cut the bottom if needed), then pull up that extra material all the way to the crotch, giving you more room in the torso. Then do the same with the arms - sleeves to mid forearm and pull up the extra material to give you more room in the shoulders. So much better!

Good luck at B2B - I'll be there for the half distance aquabike!

HappyRunner's ravatar HappyRunner    JOINED: 1/15/11    POSTS: 185
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/20/13 10:14 PM

kst718 wrote:I learned how to make a full sleeved wetsuit roomier in the shoulders: pull up the legs to the high ankle/low calf (cut the bottom if needed), then pull up that extra material all the way to the crotch, giving you more room in the torso. Then do the same with the arms - sleeves to mid forearm and pull up the extra material to give you more room in the shoulders. So much better!

This pretty much sums up the the Desoto two-piece advantage, imho. The Desoto top moves freely from the bottom and so the shoulders are not tugged down. Some say this actually helps swimming form and economy as the reach is free and unrestricted. Desoto sells each piece separately so both the top and the bottom and be different sizes if necessary.

Agree with Trisha that you pretty much have to take the top off yourself in transition, but I still have the strippers do the bottoms!

MikeTri    JOINED: 5/23/13    POSTS: 9
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/23/13 2:01 PM

Team DC tri....
Thanks so much...I have a lot to work with here...I'm going to try a little alteration surgery on my wet suit that KST suggested and if that fails, it's on to the Desoto web site for a customer assistance number.

Iron Mike...I'm not quite desperate enough to fill a bathtub with ice cubes for cold water sensitivity training!

IronMike's ravatar IronMike    JOINED: 6/11/13    POSTS: 48
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 9/26/13 9:19 AM

@MikeTri, no ice cubes needed! Just spend the last few minutes of every shower slowly lowering the temp. Soon you'll get used to lower temp water. And really, 70's and high-60's isn't cold. ;)

I did the shower thing for a few weeks before my 10K in the UK. I wore a farmer john (since I'd never done the distance before, they wouldn't let me swim 'naked' but since it was a farmer john, I had to do all the paperwork as if I were swimming naked. The irony). The water was 14.5C (58F). About 30 strokes in I didn't feel the cold anymore. 2.5 hours later when I got out I was cold, but drank some hot chocolate and put on a sweatshirt and I was good.

Point is, the cold may not be as big a barrier as you think. With some "cold" water acclimation, you can start doing tris w/o a wetsuit. One less thing to worry about! Just a thought...

Cheers,

MikeTri    JOINED: 5/23/13    POSTS: 9
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 11/07/13 4:50 PM

Hey All
I just wanted to say thanks for all your input regarding my wet suit issue. I wound up going the Desoto route and using a two piece...it was great. Proud to say I was not the last person out of the water for the full IM swim--wound up doing it in 1:52---finished the race in 15:56:00...my first one. Was awesome!
Best and have a great off-season.
Mike

HappyRunner's ravatar HappyRunner    JOINED: 1/15/11    POSTS: 185
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 11/07/13 5:02 PM

Woot! Most excellent! So where's the race report?

siehndel's ravatar siehndel    JOINED: 11/25/05    POSTS: 1060
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 11/07/13 8:08 PM

Great job, Mike! Ironman really is an incredible experience.

Enjoy the off-season.

MikeTri    JOINED: 5/23/13    POSTS: 9
RE: Wet Suit freaking me out
POSTED: 11/12/13 2:19 PM

Happy Runner...
Because you asked...Here's a short recap I did for my swim coach. Hope you find it of use...interesting.
Best,
Mike

Coach
I took a look at my Garmin and except for a couple instances I ran pretty straight line--tribute to you for sure. Here's a quick snapshot. I was real worried about my IT band and hamstring...Saturday before the race I went out for a very light three mile run and wok up on Sunday with my right leg locked up at the hamstring..Mon and Tuesday I could barely walk...On Thursday I went for a massage..spent and hour just on my legs and lower back. it really helped. I also had a massage on Friday...I started to feel better. I told myself it is what it is and just get in the water and see how far my leg would go. In the end...no problems...I took a LOT of advil and also about 10 salt pills plus had chick broth at every mile of the run..three peanut butter scoops (chunky) in the morning...two goos post swim and five on the bike--two PButter sandwiches at the 56 mile mark--and water/gatorade at every stop..lots of it. No cramping no feeling of bonk. that was my nutrition for the day.


lots of lessons learned. This was a well organized race...didn't know it at the time but was voted the 5th best in the world. YOu were supposed to get a push from the incoming tide during the swim...I asked the swim organizer when the tide came in and he told me "8:30..just in time for the half iron swim start"...I thought "what good does that do me starting at 7:30?" never felt the tide but i did manage to swim pretty straight, keep my heartbeat from racing in the early goin...slow and easy and got it done---one issue I had was that as the sun came up on my right side it blinded me when I tried to sight on land--we were swimming down a channel...so I just did 15 strokes and looked ahead...15 strokes and looked ahead. I also did a couple breaths off my left side in your honor. They had hot showers at swim out to wash the salt off...my 20 minute T1 is a direct result of enjoying that hot shower...I was not the last full iron swimmer out of the water---an early psychological victory!

dead flat bike course...but the wind was a killer...blowing headwind that took you from 18 or 19 mph down to 15 or 14 mph at times. I would get those bike overshoes next time...my feet froze for the first half of the bike--56 long miles. Made sure I was over hydrated . Would take three water bottles at the aid stations--drink two, rack one...by 11 am it started to warm up and was a beautiful day..but that wind hardly died down. At mile 82 I was having fun. I came across a guy with a flat...I pulled over and he need an inner tube...this was his second flat of the day. I decided to chance it and tossed him mine.... He was back on the road and about 10 minutes later passed me with a wave and a thanks. I also made sure to thank the volunteers at every stop--they were great.

Run was the run....I tossed on a heavier shirt at T2 because sunset was approaching and it was going to be cooler. I wanted 6 hrs to do it and had time in the bank to stretch that an extra 30 min...ran the first 13.1, then fought through the next five. The last 8.1 were run a mile walk two, run one walk two..then walk until I got to the last mile...then ran it home...crossing the finish was fantastic...It's after 11:00 pm and the finish was still packed with people...about 150 yards out I ran by a bar with everyone outside on the porch screaming..hands out for a high five and that just propelled me home....I ran into the finish chute high fiving the right side, then bounced over to the left side and high-fived a bunch of people, then there was an attractive blonde I reached over and hugged :) ..it felt like Times Square on V-J Day....everyone started yelling my name (race bibs had your first name in big letters over your number)...I walked up to the finish line, took a couple seconds to stand there and take it in...yelled out "this is for you, mom"...then stepped on the timing mat. Awesome.

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