Tri-suits, hikes and testing

4:08 PM

Please forgive the atrocious picture of me. Clearly I was not planning to be photographed, hence the hideousness that is me. However, on the day this photo was taken, something very exciting had happened. My tri-suit had arrived in the mail!!!! This was huge for me, and I pretty much stripped down and tried it on right then and there. And had the kids snap some pics so I could zip them to Kyle for his thoughts! 

I am super excited about this suit. It was highly recommended by Triathlete magazine, of which I am now a subscriber, thanks to my sweet husband! I don't know how much detail I've gone into this on the blog, since I've been horrible about keeping it up to date. Long story short, when I started seriously running last year, it was with the intent to run a marathon and have a strong running base to segue into the world of multisport. Triathlons, here I come! 

I was waylaid by knee surgery and only managed to run the half marathon in March, but I did ok for my first half, and continued on with my plan to train for a triathlon. Starting out, I planned for a sprint tri: 400m swim, 13 mile bike ride, 5k run.

I basically told Kyle - You're doing this with me. And he said, ok. So he got himself a good pair of running shoes and has been training alongside me. He's much stronger on the bike than me, but there's more cycling than anything else in the tri, so he'll be happy. 

We initially planned to do a sprint tri at Lake DeGray on May 3. This means an open water swim, which requires (or it's at least very strongly suggested) some open water practice before race day.  The only problem is that up until May, open water swimming is chilly. Meaning you need a wetsuit. But they're expensive, and is it wise to purchase 2 wetsuits before you even do your first tri? So, after deliberation, we moved our first tri back to the following weekend, May 9. It will be the same distance, only the swim part will be in an indoor pool. 

Sorry for the bum shot, but the back of this suit is so cool, I had to show Kyle.  
The thing about a tri suit, for those who don't know, is that you wear it the entire race. You swim in it, cycle in it and run in it. If you need a wetsuit, you pull the wetsuit on over the trisuit. And then take it back off before you hop on the bike.  The suit has a tiny little chamois (pad so your rear isn't totally killed on the bike seat), and pockets on the shirt and shorts for gels/goos/etc. It's designed to dry quickly, and fit very snug, so that you can easily swim in it, etc. 

I was worried about the minimal padding, but the thing about cycling is that you just have to get tough. I'm learning there are things you can do (chamois butt'r, body glide, noxema, etc) to keep from getting too much chafing, but as far as the pressure of your bones on the hard just ride more. The more you ride, the tougher you get. I can testify to this. My first few hour+ rides with Kyle had me squirming in agony towards the end, even with my well padded cycling shorts. I just kept getting back on, though. And purposefully doing my indoor training rides without cycling shorts - just to build that toughness. Yesterday, after an hour + ride wearing this tri suit - no pain at all. I'm getting tougher!!!

Back to the tri-suit story...After trying on some Orca tri suits at our nearby Orbea store (and despite being relatively fit, looking like a beached whale in these clothes....), I did some research and found a few women-specific tri-suit makers. Soas is one of those. They're made to fit and perform well for women, and they happen to be gorgeous as well. 

As an experiment, I wore the kit to the gym this past week, cycled for 30 minutes and then ran and hopped in the pool and swam another 30 minutes. The suit worked beautifully.  I was a little concerned that the back of the shorts would slide down on the turns at the end of the laps, because a masters swimmer at our gym has been working with me and Kyle on improving our turns (no, we're not doing flip turns yet....but we are working up to it) and you push off hard - but I didn't find that to be a problem at all.  It might be because the top is long enough to lay down over the waistband of the shorts, so the water flows over them, rather than pushing at them.  In any case, I had no problem swimming in it.  I haven't run in the suit yet, and the reason for that is a whole other story. Teaser: a heel issue. But I did do an 18 mile bike ride with Kyle last night and the light padding on the shorts wasn't a problem.  I also love the sleeveless aspect of the top. I have issues with things rubbing my armpits, and for that reason, can't stand wearing traditional cycling jerseys. But tri suits are pretty much all sleeveless, since you'll need good range of motion in your shoulders to swim. I told Kyle I'm probably always going to cycle in a tri suit. He was ok with that. 

As an aside, the Soas tri suits do have a built in bra; however, I wear a good sports bra under it, because I need the extra support right now. When I stop nursing, we'll see where things end up. But I do not want there to be bounce when I run. And my test cycle/swim the other day did include this sports bra underneath, and it wasn't weird at all. Thankfully!

In other, non triathlon related tales, my family and I went to Petit Jean a few weeks ago. DD&F was having their annual retreat, and as an employee, they invite me to come along. Since I'm nursing Wyeth and homeschool my kiddos, they are generous enough to ensure that my accommodations also accommodate my family. Kyle takes off work those two days and is the mommy/teacher while I get to do business-related things. It has worked out well the past several years. 

This year, after the retreat wrapped up, we took the kids on a hike that the DD&Fers had taken earlier in the day. It was a trail we'd never done, and probably one of the more beautiful trails. The weather was crisp, but not cold. The creeks were gushing water from recent rainstorms, creating many waterfalls, and everything was lush and vibrant with fresh spring growth. It made for a gorgeous hike.

Sadly, in all our packing, I completely forgot the carrier for Wyeth, so Kyle held him. Talk about cross-training! It also happened to be Wyeth's nap time, so he fell asleep mid-hike. 

We also failed to bring Dorien adequate shoes...I do not recommend flip flops on hikes, but we made do. The Keens worn by Brooklyn and August were perfect. Especially since they couldn't resist some splashing in the icy water!

Look at how beautiful that is. I was so moved to praise God for the beauty of His creation!

Brooklyn has adopted a "pose" that she pretty much always assumes in her solo photographs.  

Admiring the water gushing under the bridge...

Upon our return home, the following Monday marked Brooklyn's standardized test day.
Public and private schools take several days to do standardized testing each year, but as a homeschooler, you don't have to do anything until 3rd grade. And it's a one day thing. You sign up, pick a location, and show up.  I was blown away by just how many homeschoolers were there to test! The line extended out the church doors well down the parking lot. 

One mom standing in line commented on how much longer the line gets every year. 
Interestingly, this is the final year testing will be required. August was all excited about testing next year, but apparently he won't have to. Our state just changed the rules. Not sure why. I'll be curious to see how Brooklyn did.  She's super smart, no doubt about that. She's just never been tested, so I'm curious as to how she does on tests. 

Here she is - all eager and cute and ready! We prepared some snacks, No. 2 pencils, and a sweater in case she got cold! I always remember classrooms being freezing. She told me she didn't realize until afterwards that the kids testing with her were all homeschooled. I think she was a little surprised. 
We dropped her off at 8:30, her testing began at 9, and we picked her back up at 11:20. She had fun!

Until next time....

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