Supersuit = SUPERPOWER

Wild Hares

By Jenni G.

I haven’t been progressing as fast as I thought I would by now in my swimming abilities. The Stoneman Sprint is only two months away and I still am stuck at 200 yds. I’ve been struggling the most with breathing and relaxation in the water. As I may have mentioned before, the water and I are natural enemies. I don’t trust the water and I’m sure the water feels the same about me. We grudgingly tolerate each other. Every swim I have is a struggle-to survive. I am desperate for a breakthrough. I have read books, watched videos, asked questions, done a thousand drills. Nothing is helping to get past this mental block I have about breathing.

I decided to take the hit and purchase a wetsuit. I was reluctant to make this splurge so early in my training for fear it would become a crutch. But, from what everyone says, they help with buoyancy, which makes the swim a little easier, which would (in theory) allow one to swim farther. So, because I want to swim better, stronger, faster, easier, and because OWS will start in a few short weeks (brrr) I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about.

The Supersuit arrived on Saturday afternoon, right before I needed to leave to meet my bike partner for a ride. I had a few minutes, so I tried it on. I had heard stories about how hard they are to put on and take off. So I braced myself for the struggle.

I gotta say, the darn thing looks amazing on the hangar, so slimming and svelte. Not to be overlooked are the righteous graphics across the chest and hip. As I gazed upon my new purchase, I started regretting that plate of spaghetti I had just had for lunch. I hope that thing stretches – ALOT. Hmmm.

The product description totes the brand I chose as having “femme fit” and has all these advancements in design that allows more flexibility and so on. It has this long zipper with an even longer pull rope. I was able to get the thing on by myself and I zipped it up. Holy cow, the neckline was high and choking me. When I closed the Velcro flap, it was right under my chin. Down the back, it seemed the neckline was pulling really low. I looked down and it seemed kind of poochy right in front. I unzipped it, crawled out and took another look. Ooops. I had it on backwards. I was wondering there for a minute what kind of “femme” they used to produce that “fit”. Anyway, so I got it on again the right way. Ah-hah! Now I see what that long pull rope is for. I had almost cut it off because I thought I was going to trip over it as I was running from the lake to the bike station. That would have been a mistake, I think.

On Sunday, I wore my suit to the pool for my workout. Being the curious creature that I am, I was dying to experience the power of the Supersuit. I have heard stories of athletes refusing to swim “sans suit” in a race. Surely, a wetsuit can’t be the “end all, cure all” to this swimming struggle of mine.

Note to self: It would be wise to visit the ladies room BEFORE wedging into my suit.

Alone in the locker room, I soon realized I would need help getting the zipper up, being as it is not as easily accessed as when I had it on backwards. LIFEGUARDS!! Of course! There are ALWAYS lifeguards and obviously, I have no shame. As I was getting trussed up by the lifeguard (one arm yanking the zipper up, one arm and one foot braced against my backside) in walks Anne. And look, she thoughtfully brought her camera to capture the antics.

Here I am with the friendly lifeguards. I think it’s a good idea to make nice with the people who you depend on to save your life. I think I livened up these two kids’ otherwise boring Sunday afternoon at work. I’m sure they got quite a kick out of seeing me bob uncontrollably down the swim lane.

Note to self: The lighting at the pool is not especially flattering against black rubber. Wear goggles as much as possible to conceal your identity.

little piggyI slid off the side of the pool into the water. My ears heard for the first time the unmistakable sound of rubber against ceramic tiles. The minute I jumped into the water, I felt the shift of power and control finally swing in my favor. Buoyancy? Please. I was sitting so high in the water I was almost dry. Cold? HA! I was toasty warm and completely cozy inside my Supersuit. No longer would I dread that first heart-stopping submersion into frigid water that Joe amusingly refers to as “balmy.” Nope. No more superficial frostbite for me. I lifted my legs to test the “bobber” quality. My whole body flipped over on my back and I had a momentary feeling of being involuntarily carried away by the current in the water. I felt like an up righted turtle. The Supersuit is like a giant magnet, pulling you up above the surface. This time, the magnet was on my side, effectively disarming the other magnet that has for the last four months been pulling me down to the bottom of the pool. SUPERPOWER.

Note to self: Maybe a large red and white bull’s-eye painted on my chest would help the rescue squad spot me helplessly floating in the middle of Lake Springfield.

I started my sweet spot glide warm up. It took a few laps to find my new sweet spot because it sure wasn’t where I had left it. My weakness of the month is bi-lateral breathing. Ever since I started swimming in January, I have only been able to survive lap swims by breathing every second stroke on the right side only. The minute I try to roll to the left, my lead arm drops, my legs drop and begin to thrash and I end up sucking water. I thought I would take advantage of the invisible hands now holding me above danger to work on this. I can’t say it was an instant success, but I did have the opportunity to feel what correct balance is like on the left due to the fact that my head stayed above the surface and I could breathe. Wow. Long story short, I hated to get out of the water.

After 45 minutes, I could feel myself getting tired and my stroke overall was getting sloppy. I pushed another 15 minutes and reluctantly got out of the pool. Squeeeek. Flop. Flop. Flop. Flop.

I love my Supersuit. This is far and away the BEST investment I have made so far in my tri gear acquisitions. I figure, even if I don’t feel ready to swim 500 yds in open water by end of July, at least I can gracefully float my way thru the swim, unlike the disastrous and humiliating display at the Try the Tri. Sheesh. I still have the nightmares.

– Jenni G.

PS. It’s always a plus to have an understanding significant other for support. I have to give the man credit. For four months, he has had to put up with the constant smell of chlorine everywhere-in the car, on my hair and clothes, in the bathroom where I hang my suit, on my gym bag. EVERYWHERE. Now, he has been presented with a wonderful new aroma cocktail – chlorine laced with neoprene.

“Wild Hares – Guest Star Blog”  is written by our favorite rabbits.  We will display a new blog post, every week or so from one of our viewers.   Email Dan for more information on how you can be a “Wild Hare.”