Archive for December, 2008

Round 1 – Finally Done!

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , on December 27, 2008 by brianestover

Swam in the last suit today for round 1.  Round 2 begins tomorrow.  Really fast suit, really fast times.  I should have swam faster or managed my time better today since I’m out of time to write right now.

I’m going list the suits alphabetically and the times from the fastest swam to the slowest swam.

 

Suits swam:

Aquaman

Blue 70

Desoto

Nineteen

QR

Synergy

Xterra

Zoot

The times:

4:25   4:27   4:29   4:29   4:30   4:30   4:31   4:31   4:32   4:32   4:32   4:34   4:32   4:35   4:40   

 

That’s 8 suits tested but one of the above suits was removed due to it being way to big.  I included the suit and it’s time in the list.

One suit didn’t arrive at Trisports.com in time to get tested, hopefully I’ll test that suit early in 2009 and retest the ill-fitting suit again.

Round two begins tomorrow.

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Day 4 – Wet and not just in the pool

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , on December 26, 2008 by brianestover

A cold, rainy, grey and windy day here in Tucson today.  Too bad all those other suckers at the pool didn’t have wetsuits.  They looked real cold running from the locker room to the starting block area, in the rain. Too bad the lifeguards didn’t make them sit under the lifeguard stand for 5 minutes for running on the pool deck. I see standards have fallen since I’ve last life guarded.

So how did day 4 go?  It was bad and good.  Bad because even though the sizing charts on one suit said one size, that size is way to big on me. On this suit, sizing down should be recommended, and I’ll tell you which one it is after all is said and done.  It was so big on me that I removed it from testing.  It’s just not fair when every suit has been pretty spot on for fit to have something that is way to big in the testing.  Based on the only 400 I swam in it, that this suit could be really fast if it fit correctly.  It split out 4:34 but filled with water on every turn, you could feel the ocean of water in this suit rolling from side to side just a fraction behind you.  Not to mention the extra 1.5inches of rubber I could grab at the shoulders.  I’m going to see what I can do about getting the proper size then re-testing this suit.  Like I said it has all the makings of a good wetsuit with thick rubber where it’s needed and flexible rubber where it’s needed.  Coming off the turns I popped to the surface like a cork and was able to get right into swimming. 

After removing the previous suit, I got to swim in one of the suits that really intrigued me. It went on easy but needed some fine tuning to get it to fit correctly.  What really matters is how did I swim in the suit.  Fast. Real fast actually for a more precise answer.  If we were ranking the suits on one round only, this suit would move into the leader board position.  It has a mere :01 lead on the next fastest suit.  This suit swam different then the other fast suit. The previous fastest suit felt fast, like you were motoring through the water and the splits on the clock showed that.  it almost encouraged you to take it out fast and go for the swim of your life right off the bat.  This suit felt good, but not fast. It felt like you were swimming well but not swimming like you were shot out of a cannon.  I couldn’t see the clock going into the turns because my right goggle filled with water.  So I was swimming blind on how fast I was going.  But when I finished and looked at the clock, it had tied for the fastest 400 I’ve swam in the testing.  That includes having one crappy turn where my push-off was next to nothing. The second swim was only :01 slower. So it’s neck and neck between these two suits.  

Round two, as a reminder is the same as round one, 2×400 on the 6:00.  The only difference is the suits get reversed for round two.  If it was swam as the first suit of the day in round 1 it goes last for that day in round 2.  Only one suit so far on tap for tomorrow and we’ll see how that goes, unless the delivery guy reaches into his truck and drops off a box for me this evening.  Then it’s onto round two!

Day 3 – Done!

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , on December 24, 2008 by brianestover

It seems that the City of Tucson is undergoing some budget problems.  They have closed all but 3 of the year round pools.  And to further save money, the pools are closed today and Christmas day.  Next week they are closed the 31st and 1st.  So this testing is taking a bit longer to accomplish then I originally thought or planned. 

But some thoughts on day 3.  The wetsuits I swam in yesterday were completely different.  One was all fancy (even the lifeguards noticed that it was the fanciest of the suits I’ve swam in) the other was plain, maybe the plainest wetsuit in the testing lineup.  No fancy anything.  But it was well constructed, thick rubber where it was needed, thin rubber where it wasn’t.  No fancy this or that.  In fact putting it on, it reminded me of my old, poor, self destructed wetsuit. So I had high hopes for it when I swam it.  It swam well, in fact both suits swam fairly well, but fancy was :02 slower for each 400 then the plain Jane suit.  There is still round two to go for both suits, so the jury is still out.

I think manufactures feel they need to have all the gizmo’s on their suits to compete for the high end dollar.  Fancy doesn’t always = fast. This thought,  that I need to compete with the Jones’s, is a sad statement for both the consumer and manufacter, when fancy stuff is more important the fast stuff.  When manufacters feel they have to load their products with gizmos that don’t help you go faster and may actually make you slower just to compete for your dollar, especially at the top end of the retail cost structure. It’s a sad statement by the consumer when they blindly buy what they think is the fastest product,  even though it may be slower then something less costly.  More is more unless it’s less. Which in the case of many of the products we consume as triathletes, more is less and less is more.

I want the fastest wetsuit for me for when I race, not the coolest wetsuit.

Merry Christmas everyone.

INSOMNIA

Posted in Random Stuff on December 23, 2008 by brianestover

What’s more fun then not sleeping?  Well um, hmmm, more fun then not sleeping? Is there such a thing?  Insomnia is something I’ve been dealing with for a long time.  It can cause quite a disruption in one’s life.   Last night was awesome then it sucked.  I talked to my sister (the awesome part) who lives halfway around the world from me, actually 3 quarters since she is 17 time zones away.  I took one of my drugs while talking to her then battled staying awake for 45 more minutes.  Hit the bed, opened up suduko and it seems I filled in 6 numbers then fell asleep…..with the light on, none of which I remember. About 3 hours later something caused me to awaken.  About 4 hours later I started to drift back to sleep.  15 minutes after that my alarm cat started to nuzzle my face. About 5 minutes after that he went off.  My cat is, well, vocal.  And fat, but more vocal then fat.

So after having obligations that kept me out of the pool Sunday, today was a bust as far as training.  I did get a ton of errands done so there is the silver lining.  Now I’m a few days behind my original testing schedule.  Quite frankly I was glad not to swim yesterday, this is a huge amount of swimming for me for the winter and lots of it way, way faster then I’d normally swim it.  I was dragging ass yesterday from all the swimming.

So tomorrow it’s back to the pool! Tonight though, it’s time to make some orzo with stir fry vegies on top and a beer.  

Here is a pic of the noise machine for you cat lovers. He talks a lot, is crate trained, fetches and comes when he’s called.  Not too bad for a cat.

crate-trained

Day 2 – DONE!

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , on December 20, 2008 by brianestover

WOW!  That’s all I can say about one of the suits I tested today. Holy crap this thing was fast. You know how people drive on Sunday, nice and slow, in the right lane where slow people should drive, well this suit felt just like that.  It just didn’t feel fast. At the hundred I checked the clock and thought maybe it’s time to get some prescription goggles.  At the 200 I thought maybe the second hand on the clock was sticking again like it did a few months ago (when I swam :35 for 100yds thanks to the sticking second hand).  I was doing math after the 300, figuring out my average pace for 100 and realized about 350 in (yeah my math skills aren’t super awesome) that this suit was crushing it.    I swam my fastest 400 by several seconds in it.  The second 400 in it tied for the next fastest time with another suit.  I completely died on that last 400. That last 400, I was flying.  In at the 200yd mark well ahead of any of the other 400s that I’ve swam in this test so far.   Didn’t even feel like I was swimming that hard. About 275 the wheels started to come off and by 350 the lifeguard was tossing the rescue buoy in after me.  Even imploding and swimming a huge positive split, the suit swam tied for the second fastest 400 of the test.  It just didn’t feel fast but I keep looking at the clock and thinking no f*cking way am I swimming this fast.  I’m interested to see what this suit can do in the second round when I swim it first for the day.

But it’s still early in the test, I have 5 or 6 suits to still test.   So we’ll see how round one shakes out. Then round two will begin. 

That last 400 is really tough when you’ve done 3×400 and have been swimming them like you are doing 1×400.   The scary thing is some ex-college swimmer was holding 1:10-:11/100 in the lane next to me.  Even with a wetsuit I was barely out swimming him.  Damn you ex-college swimmers.  Why do you have to be so fast in the water?  Why?

On a side note, I’ve realized at this point in December, I’ve logged more yards in the pool then all of last Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb combined.  Actually, this week I’ve logged more yards then all those months combined.  This should bode well for me, maybe not so well for the rest of my age group, in the early season tri’s like Oceanside 70.3.

The Wetsuit Testing Begins!

Posted in Swimming, Triathlon, Wetsuit with tags on December 19, 2008 by brianestover

Wetsuits. If you do triathlon you need one. My wetsuit self destructed a few weeks after my last tri when I was doing some open water swimming.  Zipper broke, a few seams split.  It seems it was one swim too many for the old suit.  It served me well, helping me exit 1st out of the water a few times, and in the lead of the lead pack a few more times.  I was convinced that for me, it was the fastest of the wetsuits I tried on several years ago.  I’d get another one just like but that model has been “upgraded” ie, redesigned, new an improved, etc.  sigh. 

So what happens when I need a new wetsuit? I head down to my sponsor Trisports.com and arrange to get a suit in every brand they carry in my size. From them I get a Blue 70, Zoot, QR, Synergy (which after seeing this video  I’m a little curious about the new player in the wetsuit market) and a 2XU . After posting on slowtwitch.com my desires to test wetsuits, the good folks at Desoto sports, NineteenWetsuits, and Xterra wetsuits contacted me about getting into the trial.  I also contacted Aquaman since I’ve always have been intrigued by their suits.  They had to ship it in from France since they had none in the US in my size. A Big Thank you to them for this.

I established some protocals to follow for the testing to keep it above board.  First I’m blinded to the suits I’m swimming in for round 1 until the day I test them.  I’m smart enough to figure out the last two suits but have only a 50/50 chance at guessing which will be swam first.  There will be two rounds of testing. Each round is going to consist of 2×400 scy on the 6 min.  Two suits will get tested per day. The suits have been randomily selected an neither I nor the selector knows which suits are going when.   After I finish round 1, round 2 will be reverse order of round 1. Each suit ultimately gets 4×400 of swimming.  This should help eliminate fitness gains and give each suit a fresh swim.  The first and last swims I’ll be swimming without a wetsuit to establish a front and back end barometer on how fast everything was/is.  Warm ups each day will be kept the same and I’ll be swimming 200yds after switching suits to make sure it’s on properly. 
This should give me a good idea as to what is the fastest wetsuit for me (not for you since we all swim differently) as well as how much faster I swim per 400 with a wetsuit vs without.  I wish I could say I’m in great swim shape, but alas, since Soma Half ironman in late October, I’ve been averaging 1 swim per week for an average of 2200 yds.  This is well below my season average of 1.5 swims per week and 7500-9000 yds that I would normally do.  
Yesterday was the first day of testing and I swam without a wetsuit.  I split out 5:07 and 5:10 for my 400s.  The :03 drop off (and the times) really tells me that I’ve not been swimming too much lately. Amazingly it correlates to the training log which says the exact thing.  Brilliant! and I’ll be having a few Guiness tonight to celebrate that stunning discovery.
I’m a pretty consistent repeat to repeat swimmer, able to swim +/- :01 for repeats all day long. Since Thanksgiving I’ve swam a couple of times. Once the main set was 3×600 on the 8 minutes every 100 was split out at 1:20/100 pace and 4×200 on 2:55.  The first 3 were at 2:37 the last was 2:36. 
It’s freezing cold in Tucson today, but in a wetsuit the fear I have of actually getting into water shouldn’t be a concern.  Yesterday it was all of 50F and windy.  Try standing on the pool deck wearing goggles and a swimsuit. Brrr. Not so fun. I don’t know why I hate getting into the pool so much. But alas I need to get over it quickly since I’ve got a bunch of wetsuits to test.