Saturday, October 27, 2012

Product Review 26 - Blue-Seventy Axis Wetsuit and Some Swim Analysis With and Without Wetsuit

I have not done a product review in a long time, so I thought I would review the wetsuit I bought in 2011, did not use it much in 2011, but I used it a lot more in 2012.  The wetsuit I bought was a Blue Seventy Axis wetsuit.  Additionally, over the last year, I did some 1000 yard TTs, in the pool, both with and without the wetsuit and I thought I would share that data.

I have owned 2 wetsuits prior to the Axis wetsuit.  Both were QR wetsuits.  My first wetsuit was a UltraJohn and my second wetsuit was a Hydrofull.  The UltraJohn was inexpensive and a good wetsuit if you have never worn a wetsuit and just starting in triathlon.  The Hydrofull seemed great\good at first.  The problem with the Hydrofull, after a few uses, was that it seemed too big in my shoulders and arms, and the rest of the wetsuit fit fine.  It felt awkward because of the upper body portion of the wetsuit was too large.  The Axis wetsuit fit right everywhere, and has continued to fit well.  It is tight, but in the way a tri wetsuit should be tight.  Also, the Hydrofull developed a tear in the crotch early on, the Axis appears to be a much "tougher" wetsuit.  In 2012, I think  I wore the Axis in every race, and there were no issues.  The only thing I think I will do in the future is cut the leg bottoms so they do not go down to my ankles.  I will probably cut up to my calves, so that it is easier to get on and off.   I am very happy I bought this wetsuit and replaced my old QR.  This is a much better wetsuit.

On to some swim time comparisons for wetsuit and non-wetsuit.  The debate over whether wetsuits actually improve swim times should be over, they do help you go faster.  The best way to compare non-wetsuit swim times to wetsuit swim times is by using pool times.  Open water distance is difficult because getting the exact distance each time is difficult and makes a true comparison difficult.  I used 1000 yard TTs to compare non-wetsuit and wetsuit swim times.  I have a number of non-wetsuit swim times and then during the same week I swam the 1000 yard TTs with and without wetsuit, and swim cap.

No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 12/19/2011 = 15:47  (1:35/100yards)
No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 1/16/2012 = 15:55  (1:36/100yards)
No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 1/20/2012 = 15:27  (1:33/100yards)

No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 2/13/2012 = 15:29 (1:33/100yards)
Wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 2/15/2012 = 13:58 (1:24/100yards)

Wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 3/14/2012 = 14:22 (1:26/100yards)
No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 3/16/2012 = 15:32 (1:33/100yards)

No wetstuit 1000 yard TT - 7/18/2012 = 15:10 (1:31/100yards)

Fastest time without wetsuit = 15:10 (1:31/100yards)
Fastet time with wetsuit = 13:58 (1:24/100yards)

Comparing fastest to fastest, I am 7 seconds faster per 100 yards with the wetsuit.  Compare slowest to slowest, I am 10 seconds faster per 100 yards with the wetsuit.

My slowest non-wetsuit time was in Jan and was 15:55 and my fastest was July at 15:10, it was nice to see a 45 second improvement in the pool with no wetsuit.

I am definitely faster in a wetsuit.  I think that most people would agree they are too.

I have heard people argue that they are slower without a wetsuit, but can get through transition faster.  In other words Swim + T1 with wetsuit is slower than Swim + T1 without wetsuit.  Even if this is the case, the wetsuit can be an energy saving device.  The wetsuit, because it is slicker through the water and increases buoyancy, means that you have to put less effort into the swim, which can be beneficial to a better bike and run.  The less hard you have to work on one leg, the better off you can be in another.  That being said, practice getting out of your wetsuit to improve T1, that way you can gain time all the way around.

I know these topics have been covered over and over again, but I keep hearing people bring them up.  Whether they are new to triathlon or not, the topic continues to come up.  So, I thought going over it again on my little blog would not be a bad thing.  Since I am bring up stuff that has already been covered, nothing beats getting personalized swim lessons, to improve efficiency, and putting in the yardage

Thursday, October 18, 2012

2012 Transition Pictures

Every year I take pictures of my transition setup, this year is no different. Last year was the first year that I posted the pictures.  Below are 1, 2, or 3 pictures from my transition setup for each race in 2012.

St. Anthony's Triathlon

Gear West Duathlon

Manitou Sprint Triathlon

Lake Minnetonka Triathlon

Lake Waconia Triathlon

MinneMan Triathlon

Heart of the Lakes Triathlon

Chisago Sprint Triathlon

Brewhouse Triathlon

Maple Grove Triathlon

St. Croix Valley Triathlon

Dousman Duathlon

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Look at 2012 Goals

I accomplished none of my goals for the year.  Not surprising.  I did not put in the proper training to accomplish the biking and running goals.  I think the goals that I have put in place are well within my ability.  I just did not put in the time and proper intensity, to accomplish the goals.  My fastest open 10K, in 2008, was about 46:30, so under 45 minutes is not unreasonable.   I have gone 23.5MPH in a TT in 2008, so basically my goal is to get back to that shape.  My 2.5 hour goal for Olympic distance is not unresonable.  My best Olympic Distance is 2:31:00, and I have done a number of them at 2:35:00 or less, so I think I can cut a minute plus and go under 2.5 hours.  Again, it is a matter of putting in the correct amount of time and effort.
I think my transition goals need to go.  I think transition goals are kind of dumb.
I need to think about my 2013 goals, and make sure I set goals that fit to the amount of training that I am prepared to do.
Below is my goal table and results


Every year I make goals, and post them on a whiteboard so I can see them everyday.  Also, next to the goals, I put reasons for my goals.  The reasons remain, basically, the same from year-to-year.
Here are the reasons this year:
Sunrises, being able to see sunrises
Feeling of accomplishment
Challenging myself
Health (physical and mental)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

September 2012 Racing and Training Summary

September was one triathlon, that went badly, and one duathlon, that went well.
I worked out as normal the first two weeks, up to the duathlon, after the dualthon I started to dial it back.  From the middle of September until  January I am going to cut back on working out, especially swimming.  I tried, and I think I succeeded, in focusing more on the run between St. Croix Valley Triathlon and the Dousman Duathlon.
I added something new to my data tracking.  I went back to 2007 and added my strength training time and my "other" time.  Other is elliptical, and water jogging, when I was injured.  I think I do, and have done, enough strength training to include that in my training time.  It took a little while to go back through all my log books and gather my strength data and put that into my spreadsheet.
October through December I am going to take it a little easy, so my time will be down.  I am going to focus some more on running during this time.  In October I am going to do the last two Salomon Trail Runs, and hopefully by the end of the year I can add a 5k or two. 
You can see that this is my lowest September on record.  Should not be too big a deal.  I think I need a break at the end of this year.  I felt myself getting tired, fatigued, and also a little tired of some of my workouts.
I am going to try and add some product reviews by the end of the year, goggles, wetsuit, and shoes.

Year-to-Year Comparison of September (Click to enlarge)

Totals Since 2007 and Monthly Averages

Total Since 2007 andYTD Total