Friday, March 2, 2012

The best gear lets you forget it exists.

Tuesday was a night of bitterness and hatred - they closed the pool just as I was showering off to jump in, so no Tuesday swim for the second week in a row. Last time it was a fouling, which is unforeseeable, but this time it was due to "dangerously low chlorine levels". Yikes! It was too late for me to move Wednesday's bike workout into that evening, so I just grumbled a lot and went to bed early. Probably for the best with this stupid cold, but there was much gnashing of teeth nonetheless.

After a run, a bike, and a phone call to make sure the pool was actually open I got in the water on Wednesday night and attempted to get some work done. I emerged almost an hour later with my right eye looking like I was trying to do my best Sauron impression - the TYR Nest Pro Nano goggles I was using absolutely refused to hold a seal on one side. Having put a hole in the gasket of the TYR Velocity goggles that had happily seen me through most of the winter right after the indoor tri, I'd returned to the 2-year-old Nest Pros and realised why they'd been relegated to backup wear only. I was hating life through the whole swim, finding it hard to concentrate on my stroke while my right eye was repeatedly swamped no matter how I adjusted the gasket. I've read glowing reviews of these goggles from others, and I'm sure they're great for some people, but not this old pair and not for me!

Now, I race in Sable WaterOptics RS101 goggles from and I do have a pair of Aquasphere Kaiman S goggles from a friend that are so comfy that they're practically the equivalent of swimming in my pyjamas, but I save both of those for special occasions; the former are just for racing, the latter are for those days I really have to convince myself to get in the pool. They're both more expensive than your run-of-the-mill goggles, so I try to leave them alone as much as possible.

This left me utterly bereft of regular ol' workout eyewear, so I popped into my local swim shop - Kazwear Swimwear - to see what Patricia had to offer me. I'd hoped for another pair of the TYR Velocity (and they are an authorized TYR dealer), but she only carried Speedo goggles. I spotted a pair that looked similar, in a women's fit since I have a ridiculously small head and narrow face, and took the plunge on the Women's Vanquisher in blue, with a metallic finish (which I didn't notice until I got them home).

A quick stop at home to change out the nosepiece (seriously tiny face) and get in a quick run, then off to the pool and into the water. First impression is that it takes a pair of new goggles to make you realise how scarred and cataract-ed your old pair were - the optics seemed almost as good as my Sables! The yellow metalized finish made things seem a bit bright and sparkly around the edges of my vision, which was a little narrower than it had been with the Nest Pros, but in the pool who cares?

Into my workout, and the goggles just...disappeared. I completely ceased to notice they existed, and did some of the best swimming (read: fastest times, best form and feel for the water) that I've managed since the indoor tri! I kept it to a shorter workout since my head is still stuffed with goo, but I got far more accomplished than I had the night before while wrestling with uncooperative gasketry.

It's a repeated theme in endurance sports; the best gear is the stuff you simply don't notice. When people find the right saddle for their bike, they'll say "it disappeared under me". When you find the perfect running shoe or shorts, you'll never once think about them during your race. For me, the Speedo Women's Vanquisher is the perfect goggle - the kind you can completely forget about, because it performs its function flawlessly.

When you no longer have to spend time worrying about your gear, you can use that energy for what's really important - pushing harder!

1 comment:

  1. Wish I could find a fitting pair of goggles for my watermelonhead. And, apparently, my eyes are set too far apart..making even the widest nosepieces..useless for me. There was a reason I got laser eye I didn't have to limit myself to prescription based eyewear. search continues.


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