On the Sidelines

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I truly had the BEST time today being Ashley’s #1 fan as she completed her first Half Ironman!  I am so proud – she rocked it out (and this was her very first triathlon, period!).


Sometimes being on the sidelines is just as fun as running the race.  😉


Spectator face:


Our day started REALLY early.  My alarm was due to go off at 3:55 AM, but I didn’t get into bed until midnight, and then I got serious pre-race jitters.  I KNEW I wasn’t the one running the race, but I was still super nervous.  Funny, huh?


When it was finally time to get up, I made a Green Monster and two large coffees.  The Green Monster had 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 a banana, and 2 cups spinach.  Mmmm.


I drove to Ashley’s house and then we carpooled to Disney World, where the race was being held.  After waiting in line for the bus, we were carted off to Wilderness Lodge for the Half Ironman.


I’ve raced in a sprint triathlon, a triathlon relay, and an Olympic triathlon, but none of the races I’ve ever been to were even CLOSE to the size of this race.  The transition area was HUGE.  In fact, you have to check in your bike the day before the event!


Ashley laid out all of her stuff, and then we walked over to body marking.


And then it was time to line up for the start!  There were so many competitors (2,200) that there was 16 or so waves!  The race officially started at 6:20, but Ashley’s wave wasn’t until 7:00.


Finally, it was her turn to complete the 1.2 mile swim:


I walked to the dock to get a clearer view of Ashley.  I could find her in the crowd for a long, long time!


While Ashley was swimming, I dug into some of the food that I packed for myself.  I knew I was going to at the course until 5 PM and seriously doubted Disney’s ability to provide inexpensive, healthy, and vegetarian food.  The one thing I’ve learned about healthy eating on the go is don’t expect venues like this to provide much, unfortunately.


My stash:


I started off with an almond butter sandwich:


Ashley popped out of the water just as I finished my sandwich!  You’ll have to refer to her own race recap for official times, but it took her about one hour to swim 1.2 miles.


I followed her to transition and talked her through getting geared up for her bike ride.  And then she was off again!


While Ashley was riding 56 miles (which I estimated would take her at least 3.5 hours), I decided to go back to the car.  I tried to nap in the driver’s seat, but it wasn’t working… so I laced up my running shoes and jogged around the Disney parking lots.  Which elicited a lot of strange stares from tourists AND was just as boring as it sounds.  Fortunately, Disney parking lots are huge so I didn’t have to do much looping.


In the end, I did:


  • Distance: 3.6 miles
  • Duration: 36:04


After my fabulous run, I munched on Israeli cous cous (a pre-made kind from Costco) with arugula:


And roasted broccoli and cauliflower:


Then, I creatively changed in the backseat of Ashley’s car (sorry, Mickey) and headed back to Wilderness Lodge to watch her enter T2.


I was nervous for a while that I missed her, but then she suddenly appeared! She finished the 56-mile bike ride in a little over 3:45.


In T2, I suggested that she start stretching out, and she immediately began doing yoga poses.  Major LOLs!


And then she took off on her Half Marathon(13.1 mile) run!  I was really nervous for her (I’m such a blog mom) because it was SUPER hot outside, and I saw several runners actually collapse on the course.  Very scary!  But she faired well, and everytime I saw her on the run course (3 times!), she looked happy and excited.


While she ran, I munched on an apple and a banana:

IMG_4795 IMG_5013

And I sat under a shady tree and read several chapters of Eating Animals.  I promise to give my full review of the book when I’m done, but basically it’s kind of preaching to the choir for me.  I think it’d be a great book for anyone interested in the environmental and philosophical reasons for going vegetarian, though!


And then… nearly 8 hours after she started, Ashley crossed the finish line!  I whooped and hollared.  She looked SO GOOD for someone who had just swam, biked, and ran for 8 hours.  Clearly, she’s in amazing shape and knows how to listen to her body during endurance events.


I thought she’d want to sit down or relax, but she seemed perfectly fine!  I was AMAZED.  I am dead tired after my long events.


I pretended to do my own version of a triathlon (on dry land, where I prefer it!):








Haha.  That was easy!  Half Ironmans are for sissies.  🙂


And then we drove home!  When I got back, I had two oatmeal chocolate cookies and another Green Monster (I was seriously craving a smoothie after a long, hot day in the sun):


My Husband has been studying for his very last board exam all day while I was out having fun.  Poor Husband.


I’m off to make dinner and fantasize about maybe one day doing a Half Ironman of my own!


Congrats again, Ashley!



  • Maria May 16, 2010, 6:11 pm

    Aw, this is lovely! Congrats to Ashley on such a huge undertaking and accomplishment. And kudos to you for being by her side the whole day. What a nice Sunday evening story. 🙂

  • Kellie May 16, 2010, 6:12 pm

    How impressive! She is definitely one gifted athlete.

  • Julie @ Pickley Pear May 16, 2010, 6:13 pm

    Wow – great job Ashley!! That is amazing! Not sure I would have the motivation to do that…maybe someday 🙂

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is May 16, 2010, 6:14 pm

    That is amazing. Ashley is a huge inspiration!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! May 16, 2010, 6:15 pm

    Just looking at your pictures from today is completely inspiring! Ashley is obviously an incredibly strong, happy athlete, and she is so lucky to have such a great spectator and friend! 🙂 What an incredible accomplishment!

  • Helga May 16, 2010, 6:16 pm

    I think you’re such an awesome friend for being there for Ashley for the whole event! And Ashley is obviously awesome for doing this!

  • Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) May 16, 2010, 6:20 pm

    Wow, 8 miles!! Good for her. That’s amazing!! 😀 Very inspirational.

    I like how you kept yourself busy, LOL. That’s so cool of you to be there for her. We should all have a cheerleader during times like that.


  • Lee May 16, 2010, 6:21 pm

    That’s really great that you were able to support her. I’m sure she was thrilled to have you there. Very cool.

  • Tami May 16, 2010, 6:24 pm

    I am doing my first duathlon next weekend, then my first sprint tri a few weeks after that, I have fallen hard for all the training, nearly addicted to it all. this was so excited for me to read. i have several friends who have done ironman races and lots more who do half iron….someday, someday…

  • Ashley May 16, 2010, 6:27 pm

    What an awesome accomplishment for her, and how cool of you to stay there all day to cheer her on! And I love that you went for a run in the parking lot. 🙂

  • Amelia May 16, 2010, 6:28 pm

    Wow that is incredible! I can’t even imagine pushing my body for 8 HOURS. Good for Ashley! And how wonderful that she had you there to support her! I’m sure it helped to have a friend in the transition areas. 🙂

  • jessica May 16, 2010, 6:29 pm

    You are such a great friend! Congrats to Ashley!

  • Marci May 16, 2010, 6:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing your part of the story. Fun to follow all day on Twitter. So nice of you to spend your day cheering her on!

  • Alison May 16, 2010, 6:36 pm

    Congrats to Ashley! What an amazing accomplishment. She’s lucky to have such a friend/cheerleader in you.
    I loved the pictures of your triathalon, they made me chuckle.

  • Samantha May 16, 2010, 6:39 pm

    That is so awesome, congrats to Ashley!!! And thanks for sharing a spectator’s recap of a friends’ event.

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) May 16, 2010, 6:46 pm

    WOW! Congrats to Ashley, so cool!!


  • Mastering Public Health May 16, 2010, 6:48 pm

    Congrats to Ashely, and very good tips on being prepared during long days out. You sure are a good friend for having the caring and patience to devote your day to being a spectator and fan. She does look incredibly happy and energetic, even at the end of the race! Envious of her endurance… and of your getting to spend the day (in some capacity) at Disney World. Good luck to Husband!

  • K May 16, 2010, 6:50 pm

    You should be a professional triathlon coach! 🙂

  • Jessica @ WHY DONTCHA RUN May 16, 2010, 6:50 pm

    Wow! Way to go, Ashley! 🙂 What an amazing accomplishment. Friends like you to stand on the sidelines and cheer are what make this world go round. 😉

  • Wendy May 16, 2010, 6:51 pm

    Congrats to Ashley – what an amazing accomplishment, and it looks like she had an fantastic experience! I LOVE that pic of all the women lined up by the lake for the swim – beautiful, brave, STRONG, amazing women!

  • Whitney @ Whitinspired May 16, 2010, 6:53 pm

    Seriously. That is beyond impressive. I can’t imagine swimming for an entire hour straight.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) May 16, 2010, 6:56 pm

    WOW!!!!!!! A BIG congrats to Ashley!!!!!! Very impressive, and inspirational!!!!!!

  • veganlisa May 16, 2010, 6:58 pm

    I’m really excited for Ashley but I also want to say how generous it was of you to be there for her all day – talking her through it and cheering. We could all achieve so much more in this world if we had a supportive cheering squad at every corner. Your friendship is quite moving. Thank you for sharing.

    • Caitlin May 16, 2010, 7:00 pm

      aww, well… thanks! i think its all about the fact that i’ve been there… alone on a long course with no one to cheer for me and take my picture. it sucks! LOL i really enjoyed watching ashley. it’s so fun to be there for someone else.

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter May 16, 2010, 7:16 pm

    Congrats to Ashley! That is such an incredible race! I love how you ran around the parking lot. You are such an expert cheerer by bringing your own food, getting your own exercise in and keeping yourself plenty to do!

  • kirsten May 16, 2010, 7:19 pm

    wow! really inspiring, way to go Ashley! and yay Caitlin for being such an awesome friend/cheering squad!

  • eatingRD May 16, 2010, 7:32 pm

    wow, great re-cap, that’s so inspiring that was her first tri! awesome. hehe funny pics, you are such a great spectator and friend 🙂

  • Julie @savvyeats May 16, 2010, 7:44 pm

    Yay Ash! She totally doesn’t look like she’s been working out for 8 hours…I’d look like a mess by that time..congrats Ashley, and way to go being an awesome spectator, Caitlin!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) May 16, 2010, 7:46 pm

    Wow she is in amazing shape! And you are such a good spectator 🙂

  • Ellen Collis May 16, 2010, 7:47 pm

    You are such a good friend—it’s so cute that you got nervous FOR her! Wow, I really do need to see what these Green Monsters are all about. The time has come…


  • Anne P May 16, 2010, 7:49 pm

    Yay good for Ashley! And I love your triathalon in photos 😉

  • Erin May 16, 2010, 7:50 pm

    Wow, what an event. Ashley should be SO proud! And I totally agree about packing your own food. There’s no way anywhere is going to have food as healthy as what you can pack, plus it’s all about saving a few dollars here and there.

  • Katie @ Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Journey May 16, 2010, 7:51 pm

    You *are* such a blog mom, I love it!! Congrats to Ashley, that is seriously a huge feat! And so wonderful that she had you to be her #1 fan!!!

  • Jaya May 16, 2010, 7:52 pm

    Caitlin, you are a great friend. And it speaks volumes about Ashley that she was smiling through her half ironman! Wonderful!!!
    I have that book on my summer reading list and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it. I am determined to get through a HUGE list of food-related books to make sure that I cover as many of the popular culture food resources as I can while I get ready to write my thesis. I know, enviable homework 🙂
    Anyway, I hope that this day just jolted you full of excitement for your EFG (EGF?) ride!

    • Caitlin May 16, 2010, 7:55 pm

      It did get me really excited for my race!!!

  • Melissa @ For the Love of Health May 16, 2010, 7:53 pm

    you’re a great friend!

  • Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind May 16, 2010, 7:54 pm

    Oh, Caitlin, you’ll do your own Half Ironman – I know it! And you’ll rock it!
    And WOW to Healthy Ashley. Seriously amazing!

  • ashleigh May 16, 2010, 7:59 pm

    Congrats to Ashley! She is amazing. What a great spectator you were!

  • Wei-Wei May 16, 2010, 8:02 pm

    Congratulations to Ashley! She’s so lucky to have an awesome friend like you. XD I wish all people were that supportive… Both of you are BADASS! 😀


  • John May 16, 2010, 8:04 pm

    She did great but almost as impressive is waiting for her for 8 hours! You’re a true friend!

  • loreejo May 16, 2010, 8:07 pm

    ashley did awesome and i really enjoyed this post.

  • ari May 16, 2010, 8:17 pm

    i agree with veganlisa, it was super generous of you to give your whole day to cheering her on! i wish we were friends in real life!
    ashley rocked that. and you would too, caitlin! you guys should do one together.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) May 16, 2010, 8:22 pm

    I have never seen a half ironman athlete look so happy!!! What a great effort by Ashley 🙂

  • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run May 16, 2010, 8:26 pm

    I saw your tweets this morning before the race and I got pre-race jitters just reading them! Ashley did amazing and I can’t wait to read her recap.

  • Meghann May 16, 2010, 8:44 pm

    I’m so proud of Ashley!!!!! Now i want to do one!

  • Allie May 16, 2010, 8:47 pm

    wow, huge and fantastic accomplishment by ashley! this really makes me want to try a tri (ha!). she’s lucky to have such a great friend cheer her on for the long haul.

  • Chase (TheChaseProject) May 16, 2010, 8:47 pm

    You are a great friend! Very inspiring! What an amazing accomplishment for Ashley!

  • Angharad May 16, 2010, 8:50 pm

    That.is.incredible! I cannot fathom moving for that long! 8 hours! Unbelievable. I can’t even imagine doing my first half marathon in three weeks, let alone adding 60 miles of biking and that swim! Holy cow.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing May 16, 2010, 8:53 pm

    WOW, that is truly amazing!!! 8 hours?! I can hardly wrap my mind around that!

  • liane May 16, 2010, 8:56 pm

    Ashley rocked her race 🙂
    Going and cheering on friends during their races is so much fun. I know how it feels to be in a race and not have someone cheering me on, so I always try and support my friends when they are racing (unless of course I’m out there racing too!)
    It’s seriously so much fun!
    Last month, friends of mine raced, while I watched their kids (4 and 7), my friends husband looped back to run in with her at the end and it was so cute to see their kids just going NUTS cheering their parents on to the end!

  • Jae May 16, 2010, 9:06 pm

    Lol! you’re so funny! 🙂
    I loved your imitations and I loved how you supported your friend till the end ^^

  • Heather (runningwithsass.com) May 16, 2010, 9:06 pm

    that’s awesome. she is so hardcore! I am dead after just running a half marathon!

  • Natalie @ Keep It Sassy May 16, 2010, 9:28 pm

    She really does make doing a half Ironman look easy!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit May 16, 2010, 9:30 pm

    She looks so happy and energetic in all of those pictures! Impressive. I’d love to do an event like that someday.

  • Jessi May 16, 2010, 9:31 pm

    Wow, that’s so awesome! I’m always so impressed with people who do these things, seeing as how I’m not even a runner…at all….or athletic…or yeah, that’s crazy. Amazing job for her and you’re such a great friend to be there for her through it all. <3

  • Krystina May 16, 2010, 9:40 pm

    Congrats, Ashley! This was an adorable post, btw. You really are like a blog mom!

  • kris | iheartwellness.com May 16, 2010, 9:41 pm

    Hey Doll! I just wanted to stop by and check out your blog! I looked over your puppy page…so cute! I have a wiener doggie too! They are quite the characters, huh?

    Love your blog!


    • Caitlin May 16, 2010, 9:47 pm

      doxies are the best!

  • Abby May 16, 2010, 9:49 pm

    Ashley is amazing!! And she has amazing friends like you, too!!!!!

  • Amanda May 16, 2010, 9:49 pm

    I bought that same Couscous at Costco a couple days ago. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. Tell Ashley she needs to update her blog STAT. I can’t wait any longer! Sounds like you both had a long, tiring, but fun day.

  • Camille May 16, 2010, 9:58 pm

    Yay Ashley! What a super star!

  • chau May 16, 2010, 10:27 pm

    wow amazing ashley! you go girl! 8 hours of exercising? Thats like doing a full time job@! Id burn out in the first hour ;p Thanks to caitlin for the recap

  • Rachael May 16, 2010, 10:53 pm

    Ashley’s success is awesome, and you deserve recognition not only for your support, but for your genuine excitement and pride – way to be a true friend!

  • Mary (food fit & fun) May 16, 2010, 10:56 pm

    That was so nice of you today!! I am amazed at ashley’s performance. I could not imagine that. She looks SO good in all of the pics. Even in the last part for the half marathon…it looks like she is just beginning the half ironman!! Hardly looks tired. Amazing.

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie May 16, 2010, 11:03 pm

    Holy cow that’s incredible! She’s such a trooper!

  • jenny May 16, 2010, 11:08 pm

    Hey! I’m starting to train for my first triathlon and I wanted any advice you had on what kind of bike to get. I don’t exactly have a large budget. How did you find such a good deal on your used bike?

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople May 16, 2010, 11:10 pm

    You’re such a great friend! So glad she did so well! Definitely inspiring.

  • Danielle May 16, 2010, 11:19 pm

    You are an absolute sweetheart for doing that for Ashley. That is a long day, and I can only imagine how happy Ashley was to have someone stick it out and cheer her on the whole way. Yay for both of you!

  • Julie May 16, 2010, 11:47 pm

    Ok, I’m sure you get this all the time, but I *love* your blog. I just started reading and I really enjoy it. Thanks! I’m sure you put so much time and effort into it. : )

  • stephanie May 16, 2010, 11:52 pm

    dude- i want to do a triathlon now!!

  • Kiran May 17, 2010, 12:49 am

    Congrats Ashley! Great achievements & motivation 🙂

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs May 17, 2010, 2:59 am

    Great recap! Ashley sounds like a totally amazing dedicated woman for doing all that, I admire her! And I think (probably like everyone else who has commented….) I want to a triathlon now!

  • Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) May 17, 2010, 3:00 am

    How fun! You definitely are the number one spectator. come watch me run? 😉

    • Caitlin May 17, 2010, 9:32 am

      yes! i will be your photographer too!

  • Jackie (Peaces of Earth) May 17, 2010, 3:21 am

    Your tweets kept me inspired all day! 🙂 She looks so HAPPY!!! Love it!

  • Julia @ www.britbride.com May 17, 2010, 5:18 am

    WELL DONE ASHLEY! Truly inspirational! She is a real cutie!


  • Tina May 17, 2010, 7:08 am

    That was so much fun to read. Good job on your half ironman (;))….but of course HUGE CONGRATS to Ashley. She does look amazing after doing all of that!

  • Diana (Mymarblerye) May 17, 2010, 7:49 am

    you are such a dedicated friend!! No wonder you are friends with Ashley, she always has a smile on her face!!!! BTW you’re looking toned in those “tri” poses Caitlyn. 🙂

  • Mary May 17, 2010, 8:20 am

    Caitlin you were definitely Super Spectator! Congrats to Ashley, she’s amazing!!! what an awesome accomplishment!

  • Gracie @ Girl Meets Health May 17, 2010, 8:34 am

    SO inspiring!! I never thought I’d say this, but it actually makes me want to do some sort of competition. Speaking of which – all of your biking has really sparked my interest lately….

  • Joanne May 17, 2010, 8:40 am

    That’s amazing. Ashley looked so relaxed and was smiling all the time. It was just too easy for her. I’ll have to check out her recap.
    It’s funny you got nervous for her the night before. What a great training partner you are.

  • Ilana May 17, 2010, 8:44 am

    I really loved following your tweets yesterday during htis! It was awesome. And wow, way to go Ashley!!

    My dad is currently training for a Half Iron Man (and he’s almost sixty and never done anything like that before!!), so now I know how to be an AWESOME spectator for him!!

  • Helen May 17, 2010, 8:47 am

    Congrats to Ashley! You were such a great support to her!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) May 17, 2010, 8:51 am

    you florida gals are crazy! she looks like she’s having a blast though…you know it’s good for you when you smile like that! congrats ashley!

  • Michelle May 17, 2010, 9:10 am

    So many inspiring fitness stories here!

    I’m training for a double metric century in a month and my first tri in August! Since it’s national bike to work week, this seems like a great time to point out that a great way to get miles in on the bike is to bike to work! That’s how I’ve done about half of the miles training for my upcoming ride! But always remember to be safe!

  • Lexie May 17, 2010, 9:11 am

    She looks so happy in every picture and makes it seem so easy! What an awesome and supportive friend you are!!

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething May 17, 2010, 9:11 am

    wow she did so great! i can’t believe this was her first tri!

  • Joy May 17, 2010, 9:21 am

    Caitlyn, I know you are working on your swim… have you done the local “Luckys Lake” swim? Its a great way to get some open water practice with some great people, 6 days a week. If you don’t already know about it, you can check it out at luckyslakeswim.com

    • Caitlin May 17, 2010, 9:33 am

      I have not done Lucky’s Lake… I don’t like the idea of swimming in a lake without tons of other people. LOL. I know my friend Meghann has done it a lot though.

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries May 17, 2010, 9:29 am

    You are such a great friend! There are not many people that would wait it out to watch their friend cross the finish line. And, so many congrats to Ashley!!

  • Courtney R. May 17, 2010, 9:32 am

    I finished Eating Animals last week. It gets pretty graphic (and sad) later in the book about the animal abuse in factory farming. I found it pretty hard to get through but my thoughts are the same as yours. I am recommending it to anyone that is on the verge of going veg or at least trying to find sources of local meat. I am reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle now and then up next Animal Factory!.

  • Emily May 17, 2010, 10:00 am

    I’m amazed that Ashley is smiling in every picture! She seems to have a great attitude. It’s a good reminder that running/biking/swimming should be fun!

  • Erin May 17, 2010, 10:05 am

    I LOVED the Twitter play by play! It helped me remember during our family day inside how many things were still going on OUTSIDE despite the heat. Running isn’t for me, but I could see myself as a spectator at friend’s races when my daughter gets a little older. Especially the Disney ones! 😀

  • Kelly May 17, 2010, 10:21 am

    Wow she looks much happier than I would be after doing that. I would probably fall over and collapse, haha.

  • Valerie May 17, 2010, 12:29 pm

    Yay. Awesome job to Ashley! Congrats. And you are a terrific friend. I loved this post.

  • Johanna B May 17, 2010, 12:32 pm

    I love race recaps and this was a good one. Wishing you the best experience possible on your ride next weekend. I’ll be thinking of you.

  • Sarah May 17, 2010, 2:10 pm

    How fun to see your recap of Ashley’s tri!! We were at Disney last week for vacation (staying at the Wilderness Lodge) and one day I saw that they were setting up for the Danskin triathlon at the neighboring resort, Ft. Wilderness. The next day my husband and I went for a run & checked out the Danskin…even cheering on some of the competitors. I felt a little dumb (and I know my husband was humoring me), but having done a few races & enjoying the motivation that complete strangers have given me, I wanted to go ahead and do the same!! It was a fun part of our vacation and I liked seeing some of the same sights as part of Ashley’s big race!!

  • julia May 17, 2010, 7:34 pm

    Woohoo for Ashley! Completing a half Ironman as the FIRST triathlon is just WOW!. I can’t wait to start doing some triathlons too! 🙂
    Oh and can I just say, in a non-creepy way, you have phenomenal legs!

  • Amber May 17, 2010, 10:42 pm

    That is amazing and she’s lucky to have a friend like you!!

    I am reading Eating Animals right now too! A lot of it is brand new information to me and I’m shocked by it. I will often read a few pages and then have to sit back and think about what I just read. Can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

  • Stacey May 20, 2010, 11:28 am

    Love the post! You both are amazing girls…I had to laugh out loud (Lol :D) at the last pic of your husband in the background. Jason sits on the floor with his books too when he is studying haha

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