I almost followed in my nephew’s footsteps this morning. Remember, he was the main reason for the first article, I am Invincible.

I recently joined a typical group of Boulder triathletes and swimmers for a few laps (1000m) in the Boulder Reservoir. The last couple of times doing this, I have been wearing a sleeveless, DeSoto, two-piece wetsuit. This wetsuit choice is in anticipation of very warm waters for the Boulder IM (which, is a wetsuit legal race).
By lap three I started to feel funny. I could not figure out exactly why, but something was different. I did not feel extremely cold, but was not warm. When I finished and stood up after 4 laps, I felt a bit dizzy, but got over the rough bottom without falling. I had the top of my wetsuit off at that point, and I started to shiver. The water temperature was probably about 70 °F (21 °C), and the air temperature was 5-10 degrees less.
Some of the stronger swimmers had passed me without wetsuits. That got me thinking about the comment Dr. John Hughes made about my original article on our Facebook page. He asked why ‘triathletes’, most of whom are considered fit, have more trouble with the swim than just ‘swimmers’. The wetsuit, as he mentioned, has been suspected, but I don’t recall any thoughts about body fat. And that’s what I pose now for consideration. Body fat is not something that swimmers need to worry about much. “Fat floats”, as an old swimming friend of mine used to say. But triathletes do obsess about it somewhat, or at least don’t worry about it. Mine is less than 9% by this time of year; not much insulation.
So combining, inappropriate training, the lack of an appropriate warm-up with low body fat, and a slightly constricting wetsuit does seem to be a recipe for trouble. And it can happen to someone who has over 20 years of racing experience. I did not do do a warm-up that morning, which is often the case when training, but I’ll always do one at a race (and plan to adjust going forward for my training!).
This is an official apology to my nephew for laughing at his mistake. Having gotten out of the water at 7:30 that morning, it took over 2.5 hours to recover and feel better.
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