I am trying a multisport event for the first time and am not sure how to transistion for this race.
Just swimming and running in a cold lake.
Should I wear a wetsuit? But do you put it back on for the 2nd swim portion?
I've never been swimming in the cold water before, so I am very nervous. Any suggestions, and experiences are welcomed!
Congrats on your decision to try something new! It's always scarey when you are trying something for the first time. When I'm not sure about a new event I try to find the race pictures from previous years. If its a small race there may not be any so you can always try to email the race staff with your questions - try to email them right away, they'll be swamped the closer it gets to race day and you may not get a reply.
Not sure how cold the lake will be, but my coldest swim was 1mi at 63 degrees with no wetsuit. For a 400 meter swim, I would skip the wetsuit unless its going to be freezing. For such a short swim its not worth dealing with the wetsuit in your transitions - especially trying to get it back on for the second swim. You'll have adrenalin to keep you warm!
The best thing to do would be to go to the lake for a practice swim ahead of time. Swimming in a lake is a lot different than swimming in a pool and it will give you an extra boost of confidence if you've been in the lake before the race.
On race morning make friends! Talk to people who have done the race before and ask if they have any advice for first timer. You'll probably also find a few other first timers and it always feels good to know your not the only one who doing the race for the first time.
Good luck and have lots of fun!
I agree with Julie Ann about looking for photos or checking with the race staff. 400 meters isn't very far even in cold water; it should take less than 10 minutes (fast swimmers in the 3-5 minute range). However, try to find out how cold the water is. Some races require wetsuits with cold water (50's-low 60's). USA Triathlon has temperature ranges where wetsuits are ok (up to 78' F or 84'F but not eligible for prizes) or prohibited (above 84'F). There are some wetsuits out there that are two piece that would work for wearing the top only so it is easier to get out of and keeps your core warm. You might find some locally or online to rent. Getting a full wetsuit on the second time while wet will take more time than the actual swim leg. You can also look at neoprene swim caps that keep your head warm if that is an issue for you.
Since you wll be wearing what you are running in (presumably) your transition area should have towel and shoes (maybe hat, sunglasses, energy gel, if needed).