The Fourth Event

Posted Jun 3 2013, 7:13 pm in , , , , , , , ,

If you’re competing participating in triathlons, you probably already know about the fourth event. But if you’re new to the sport, or you’ve up until now, participated solely in ‘pool triathlons’ you may not be familiar with the totally exhausting, always challenging, sometimes embarrassing event of…putting on the wetsuit.

At first glance, this piece of neoprene looks harmless. I mean really, how hard could it be to get into a wetsuit?



First of all, the garment in question is about twenty sizes too small. At least it looks this way, although, as you wrangle it over your ass it will feel more like thirty sizes too small.

Second, it’s made of neoprene. THICK neoprene. Ya know, to protect us from certain hypothermia.

Third, the human body is not meant to glide easily into a twenty sizes too small neoprene glove. It’s. Just. Not.

Regardless, the wetsuit is essential. Particularly if you participate in triathlons in Canada where the race season is jammed into the months of May through September and it’s been known to snow at one time or another in each and every one of those months. Sure, it’s rare for it to snow in July or August but even if it doesn’t, I assure you that the lake will almost always feel like the ice just melted (in some cases, that’s an actual fact!) Such is the beauty of swimming in glacier fed lakes.

So, with my race only a few short weeks away, it was time for me to try on the wetsuit yet again, and jump in the lake. Joy.

I don’t mean to make it sound terrible, in fact, donning the suit can actually be quite fun and yet another opportunity to get up close and personal with your training partner as they pinch, pull and yank the suit up and over your ass. (Remember it’s at least thirty sizes too small.)

Actually getting the suit on involves slicking every inch of exposed skin with body glide, which isn’t nearly as sexy as it sounds, putting your feet (and sometimes hands) into plastic bags and then putting on gardening gloves (for grip) to tug, pull, sweat and sigh your way into the suit. By the time you actually get it zipped up, you’re sweating, exhausted and over heated.

I’m pretty sure the strategy behind exhausting yourself with the wetsuit is that by the time you’re stuffed inside, and have completed ‘the fourth event’ you’re actually begging to jump into the frigid waters just to cool off.

Now that I’ve made it sound really fun…are you ready to tri?




5 responses to “The Fourth Event”

  1. This is so funny and sadly, so true! You need to compete in Hawaii where they wear teeny tiny swimsuits. My poor wetsuit is hanging in the garage, where it’s been since my son was born. I probably need a new one. I don’t do triathlons like you, I just use it for the ocean when the water temp is below 75, which is always. And it’s a Spring suit, so I don’t have all the legs and arms to shove into it, but it still sucks.

    I can’t even imagine trying to do this when you’re hot, sweaty, and sticky. They really are thirty sizes too small.

    Good luck in your race! You’ll totally rock it (and the wetsuit).

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Thank you, darlin!
      And yes…it’s true.
      I do need to do a tri in Hawaii. OR I could just go to Hawaii….yes, that would be better. πŸ˜‰

  2. Marianne says:

    I’ve yet to do a tri that needs a wetsuit. And you just wrote why…

    • Elena Aitken says:

      Ha HA
      No way, Marianne.
      You need to get your butt up here and jump in the refreshing, glacier fed lake with me. πŸ™‚

  3. The last time I peeled on a wetsuit was whitewater rafting with you.

    You’re awesome. You go, wordbitch!

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