In my dream, the swim portion was the last part of the triathlon. I had already ran, biked and I was onto the last portion, the swim. I felt confident that I could do it, not fast but I could definitely finish it. Then, I looked in my gear bag and I couldn't find my wetsuit. I ran to the car trying to find it and nothing. I looked around thinking that I was going to get a DNF just because I didn't have my wetsuit. I thought maybe I can borrow someone else's if they are already done, but who would lend me their wetsuit. Would it fit me? Would I drown if I went without one? I had this dream often after signing up for Boise 70.3. I knew I was having a panic attack due to the fact that I didn't own a wetsuit. I grew up in the ocean and I know how to swim more or less in open water but I have not done it in awhile (25+ years) and never in cold temperatures. I knew that I needed a good wetsuit, one of the best ones in the market to offset my crappy/sloppy swimming technique.
The answer to my nightmarish dream was to find a good wetsuit. I read the reviews of different ones and to be truthful I read what the pro triathletes were wearing and it came down to one: Blue Seventy Helix! I thought that if I had IT that it would give me the confidence to get into that cold water and swim like a PRO, it felt to me like the feather felt to little Dumbo.
Knowing full well that the Helix was the one I wanted, I dropped the folks at Blue Seventy an email and talked to them about my passion for fitness and my desire to climb the next step in the triathlon world-doing a Half IronMan. The email may have included something about the fact that I was part of the couch-potato-anonymous group and I was now trying to reform myself. They helped me with sizing, according to my weight and height and gave me recommendations. They were super helpful and helped me out tremendously to get my "dream wetsuit".
When it got home, I took it out and tried it on. My children said that I looked like a superhero! I felt like a superhero, a hot one at that! I liked the feel too! It is the closest that I will ever get to an all "black" tight outfit here in mormonville Utah--think Black-Leather-skin-tight except rubber--nice looking seal for sure! Hey, I think I looked hot...perhaps I should wear it tonight....anyways, back to the review. I could move my arms, my neck, my legs. It didn't rub the wrong way in any place. So far so good. I put it in the closet for a month as I wasn't ready to try it out in the pool--chlorine is not good for a wetsuit so I was waiting for the first opportunity to take it out in the open water.
First time in open water with my dream suit and I was in heaven! After squeezing myself into it, the hard part was just zipping it but I found many people willing to help me zip down. One of the aspects that put the Helix at the top of the list next to the superb insulation was its zipper: to close it, you zip the zipper down and to open you zip it up--it makes taking it off quite easy!
A couple of tips here:
1. use a grocery bag to put the legs and even arms into the wetsuit. Simply put a bag on your foot, then slide it inside the leg of the wetsuit. Do the same with the arms.
2. When putting the arms in, be sure you put it all the way up on your shoulder if not water will leak in through the wrists or move the wrst section up a bit so you have a snug fit around the wrist.
3. Be sure you close the velcro tab properly at the back of the neck, if not it would rub against your neck and it will cause a nice and painful owie.
The actual swimming: I found out quickly that I could float without any effort. Actually, all I need it to do was push my feet down and I could stand vertically without any effort at all. Swimming was a breeze--my arms didn't feel constricted at all. I had read from other wetsuit wearers that they felt constricted when reaching but I had full arm movement. If I had to I could do the backstroke or even the butterfly (If I knew how to do it). The material in the arm area is a little thinner and I think it is what allows me the mobility needed for the freestyle stroke.
Neckline: when you are out of the water, it may feel a little tight but once you get into the water it feels just right. Please see tip above for the velcro strap at the back--go ahead go back and read it if you skimmed through it, it is an important one.
Warmth: the sucker has terrific insulation! If I ever have an emergency situation in the winter, I think I will wear it to keep me warm. Maybe I should get one for my Mom for when she comes to visit, she is always cold. Going back to my first swim, it was in water about 55 degrees (if not a little less) and I was nice and toasty. Be prepared if this is your first time wearing a wetsuit, water still goes in through the zipper area so your back will get the shock of the cold water for just a minute. I wasn't prepared for this so it was quite a shock when I felt the water hit my skin. Still too cold for you? warm up a bit by pouring some warm water down the neckline of your suit, it will keep you warm. I heard stories of some people just peeing in their suit once they get in the water, I am not one of those--I like to keep my pee in the toilet whenever possible thank you very much, hehehe, especially if I am going to be cycling and then running afterwards, last thing I need is the stink of my pee all around me next to my sweat stench. But, I guess if it means winning 1st place then I may consider it but in my case of coming last doesn't really justify a pee in the dream wetsuit.
Final thoughts on my wetsuit: it truly is a dream wetsuit. It fits my needs perfectly and it performs above any expectations I ever had for a wetsuit. Plus, it looks freaking cool with that Helix sign going down the leg. I can't help but think that I am one very lucky person to have such an awesome wetsuit, wearing it down the boardwalk of that Boise 70.3 made me feel like a PRO. Thanks Blue Seventy for making such an awesome wetsuit! I give it 5 stars!!!