the tri gear search begins

It’s always a big question and headache for me to try to find tri gear that will fit me.  Even something as simple as a running or cycling singlet can be impossible to find in a color or cut that is attractive and durable, let alone affordable.  Last race i wasn’t able to modestly fit into the singlet i had worn for my first triathlon and i wasn’t able to find anything serviceable locally.  I’m not sure why i didn’t just wear something from Old Navy, but maybe they hadn’t started carrying my size at the local store yet.  I know my running shorts were bought at Wal-Mart.  If i can buy locally i want to, but i also want to read reviews and get the cheapest price.

Lane Bryant, while i am willing to pay for their bras when they are on sale, has expensive “Active” clothing that is mostly more form than function.  There is some clothing in the size and style i want but not the price range.  I am very dismayed by how dependent the brand is on black, white, and pink.  Colors that i look good in are more rarely offered and sell out quickly.  I’m not sure their sport bras have sufficient support for me to run in, and i’m unlikely to buy anything in hot pink or black.  I don’t look good in most pinks and black is too hot in the sun.  It is Lane Bryant, however, that put me onto the idea of wearing a rash guard.  This one is very beachy, and i do like it, but i don’t really want to pay $65 for it. I doubt i would look good in that particular yellow and the blue looks too green for my tastes (this is always a real headache for me to judge while shopping online as pictures aren’t always true to the colors and i have very specific/picky feelings about wearing certain colors).

Most tri tops and cycling singlets do not come in plus sizes.  The ones i did find had a homemade and/or ill fitting feel to them and did not appeal to me.  And again, why do they always have to be in black or pink?  I became frustrated after searching for hours and getting nowhere.  Some plus size athletes have resorted to having their tri-suit custom made.  That sounds pricey and i don’t feel like i’m ready to seek sponsorship.  I’m just doing this for me and things are rocky right now.  Just like last time, i’m finding that i’m not actually making enough money to be in training, not really.  So when i look at things like activity trackers, heart rate monitors, and the like, i get the feeling that while those things would be nice to have they are way too expensive, the technology isn’t quite where i want it to be yet, and i have no business buying any of it.  I need slicks/street tires more than a slick new watch with bells and whistles.

So hugely expensive singlets that don’t even come in my size or a color i feel comfortable wearing are definitely out.  So what have i found?  As far as rash guards, Kanu Surf swim tees are inexpensive and a 2X might fit me (3X or 4X would be preferable).  They come in a wide range of colors, so that’s something.  Land’s End has a variety of rash guards that have an ethnic influence that seems fine for the beach but i’m not sure i would want to wear on race day.  They cost more than i would like to pay but less than many other rash guards out there.  Land’s End has a reputation for durability i think, though i have never bought anything that they made.

Land’s End also put me onto the idea of a Neoprene Rash Guard that looks great but doesn’t come in my size! ):  This is actually more like a jacket than a rash guard and leans towards wetsuit territory.  I guess there are thinner and/or shorter wetsuits out there called spring suits?  I think they’re for surfing, kayaking, water aerobics, etc. (i guess this is actually just another name for a Shorty?).  I’m not really sure what the options are other than i want something warmer but am not really looking for a full wetsuit.  So i went off on another tangent looking for cheapish layering options.  Roxy, Ripcurl, and Billabong have attractive options but are letting me down size wise.  As far as wetsuits, XCEL appears to have made women’s plus size wetsuits but are no longer in women’s sizes. Henderson made and is continuing to make plus size wetsuits for women.  XCEL also made this longsleeve top that i like a little but is over $100.  I don’t know if i’ll be able to find what i want in my size for a better price.  A part of me is wondering if a wetsuit would improve my performance or make me overheat.  The spring suits probably wouldn’t fit me very well but appeal to me because i have always wanted to learn how to surf, whitewater raft, freedive, kayak, among other things.

I am once again struck by the fact that Amazon has a search function that is lacking in some ways.  Of course they’re not the only website with this problem.  I’m always thankful when i can search a section (i.e. swimwear) by size.  I am far from deciding on anything and probably won’t buy any of what i found.  I am simultaneously feeling hopeful and frustrated.  Most of all i wish this insomnia would go away.  I hate daylight savings.

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