I am a three time marathoner that has decided to try the tri thing. I am so excited! Currently registered for the Women of Steel in May, and then the Daybreak in June. Daybreak will be an OWS and requiring a wetsuit. Any recommendations? Should I go full sleeve or would sleeveless be okay? I am totally clueless and don't know what I don't know, so any recommendations would be great. Also doing the Bear Lake Brawl Olympic distance in August. Thanks in advance!
Water will still be fairly chilly in June I'm betting. Go full-sleeve. Last year I rented a wetsuit from Salt Lake Running Co ($50 or so) and it was great - then later in the year they had a wetsuit sale so I just bought one (minus the cost of the previous rental - nice!). Or you can rent from a few other places I think. Mostly they do weekly rentals so you can get one a few days before the race and be able to practice in it (which is KEY).
You might check out Xterra's website as they often sell old model wetsuits at pretty good prices. What to get can be a matter of personal preference.
Full: Slightly warmer, chafing most likely to occur around the neck, more resistive to the front crawl arm motion. If you really dislike being cold for long, a full might be the right choice.
Sleeveless: less resistive to the arm motion since there are no sleeves, not quite as warm. Chafing likely to occur around the neck as well as the arm holes. If you'd rather be a little cool rather than a little warm, sleeveless might be the right choice.
Keep in mind that all wetsuits work by trapping a thin layer of water between you and the wetsuit which your body can easily heat up. So...you're first minute or two in either is likely to be "refreshingly" cool...Also keep in mind that the wetsuit is snug around your torso which some people find a bit claustraphobic and the anxiety meter might peg if the first time you swim in it is in the open water at the start of a triathlon. Also keep in mind that the extra bouyancy will alter your position in the water which might be a bit unnerving as well. If you are prone to chafing, many people use body glide. I've slapped a piece of duct tape on the back of my neck before getting wet instead. Do NOT use petroleum-based products with a wetsuit. Some people use cooking spray and/or plastic bags to help get them on.
Wasatch Running, Salt Lake Running, SBR (in Orem), and I believe Pool N Patio (in SLC) all rent wetsuits. Most rentals run Wednesday or Thursday through Monday morning. And most/all of those shops sell wetsuits, including their end of season rental suits. I would recommend going to several places and trying a few different brands on. Be prepared to sweat like you're running a marathon--getting into/out of the wetsuit could be considered the 4th sport of triathlon. All of those places also sell the body glide and triglide (a spray version similar to body glide--but I like it better), and you will find that the different brands have a very different fit. You'll also be able to pick the brains of some pretty knowledgeable people in the process.
Then, keep your eyes open for open water swim clinics in the late spring. I know Desert Sharks Tri Club has done a good clinic in the past, complete with demo wetsuit use included for the clinic. There are someother groups that do some clinics as well, but I don't know if they plan on doing them this year.
I have tried the Blue Seventy Sprint wetsuit and currently have the Xterra Vortex 4. Both really close in performance and price. ($180-200). You really can't go wrong with any of the normal brand names (Blue Seventy, Xterra, Orca, 2XU). Go full sleeve.