Give Triathlons a Try

in Triathlons

Per a reader’s request, I thought I’d do a little post on triathlons


If you’re a newer reader, you might think I’ve always been all about the running, but I’ve actually done several cycling events and triathlons:



Like many runners, I got into swimming and cycling because I developed an overuse injury in my knees.  I was NOT very good at swimming when I first started and actually have a pretty intense fear of lake water, especially in Florida.  As I child, I was taught to assume that there is a gator in every body of water.  And a gator actually attacked a man in the same lake that I did my triathlons in – FACT.


My first attempt at a triathlon was actually a Sprint Triathlon, which was a 750 meter swim, 12 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run.  I had never swam in a lake before the event, and the moment my face hit the water, I absolutely FREAKED OUT.  I couldn’t breathe, my heart was racing, and… I quit.  I quit the swim portion, rode my bike, and ran.  I was so embarrassed that I quit; it was heartbreaking.  You can read my recap here.


(Side note: Damn.  My 2008 guns are awesome.  I need to start doing push-ups again.)


Anyway, after my first marathon, I decided that I really wanted revenge on my failed triathlon.  I trained diligently in the pool for my first Olympic triathlon, which was a 1,500 meter swim, 24 mile bike, and 10K run.  However, I never made it into a lake for a practice swim.  As a result, once I got into the lake water for the race, I had a massive panic attack all over again.  It was pretty terrifying.


The Race Recap is really descriptive of my crazy water breakdown, but the Race Video is even better!  I always tear up at the 45 second mark when the Husband starts to run beside me.  Plus, my Dad actually caught an epic bike crash on tape (I had a sweet scar from the accident).


Anyway – long story short, I finished the swim, but I was literally freaking out the entire time.  I was the last one out of the water, and I have to say I was SO PROUD OF MYSELF.  I didn’t care I was last!  I had finished my swim!  I ended up passing a few people on the bike (despite my crash) and during the run and finished in 5th to last place.  🙂


I hope to do another triathlon this summer – I’m thinking that I’ll be calmer in non-gator waters.  :)  I really want to conquer my fear of open water swimming.  I’d love to do a tri and NOT panic. 


Here are some very introductory tips to triathlons:


  • Start with a sprint or even a super sprint triathlon to get used to the idea of transitions.
  • Practice open water swimming if possible.
  • If you need to learn how to swim, here are some tips.
  • If you need to learn more about cycling, check out my tips here, including how to buy a used bike and how to ship your bike for travel.
  • You can rent a wetsuit from Wetsuit Rentals.  Check with the race director to make sure wetsuits are legal.
  • Practice back-to-back brick workouts at least once a week.  So swim and then bike, or bike and then run.
  • Practice your transitionsThis website includes a list of gear you’ll need to bring.  I also recommend bringing a bucket filled with water and a towel so you can dip your feet into the water and rinse off all the sand during T1.
  • If you don’t have a trisuit, you can wear a sports bra and bike shorts for the swim – it will dry out.  I actually wore a bikini bottom with strings under my wetsuit and pulled my shorts on over it, untying and slipping off the bottom once I had my shorts on.  It worked!
  • Don’t forget to put your helmet on before you exit T1 or you’ll be disqualified.
  • Be prepared to have people crawl over all you during the swim.  It can be scary if you’re not ready to get kicked in the face.  Start in the back or the sides if you’re super nervous.


I asked two experienced triathloners to provide links to their favorite posts about the subject, too.  Here are some great resources:


No Meat Athlete:


Katy Widrick:


Are you interested in triathlons?  Have you done one?  Would you be scared of the swim or would the bike or run freak you out more?



  • Natalia - a side of simple February 23, 2011, 12:20 pm

    I don’t think I would ever do a tri. Swimming in groups always makes me really nervous, even though I was a lifeguard for 5 years! However, I do kind of want to print out the first picture of you in this post and frame it 🙂

  • Kristy @ KristyRuns February 23, 2011, 12:24 pm

    As a die-hard runner, I am nervous about trying a tri, but also intrigued. Fortunately, my husband is an awesome biker, so he could help in that department. THe problem is the swim. I don’t have access to a pool or lake… It would be quite a financial investment to join a gym or pool… It’s definitely something I want to consider though. Thanks for the post, Caitlin!

  • Freya February 23, 2011, 12:26 pm

    I would LOVE to do a triathlon, but I can’t afford it 🙁 The pool is a 20min drive away and costs £10 a pop (!) and I don’t have a bike. Bah!!

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:01 pm

      Dang, 10 pounds a pop? That is INSANE.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) February 23, 2011, 12:26 pm

    A tri is on my life goals list, but right now my swimming proficiency is beginner — if that. I’ve done a duathlon and bike tour before, and those are enough for now.

    P.S. Agreed about your 2008 guns… I recently failed the 100 pushups thingy and did a review on my blog. I came kind of close, but dang! I think I can get by on fewer push-ups…

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:01 pm

      This motivated me to drop down and do some push ups! Thanks!

  • Morgan @ Becoming Rooks February 23, 2011, 12:28 pm

    Not knowing how to *really* swim has kept me from ever really considering any type of tri’s. There are adult swimming classes near my house that I’ve considered taking, but I always seem to remember after the classes have started!

  • Kara February 23, 2011, 12:32 pm

    I don’t swim, I sink. I also hate riding bikes. So I guess I stick to just straight running 🙂

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life February 23, 2011, 12:40 pm

    I’m really impressed how you tackled tris–it’s a big step and you’ve done it so well!

  • Lauren February 23, 2011, 12:45 pm

    Great tips! I’m considering doing a sprint tri this summer. I’m used to lake swimming, but I’ve never done serious swimming, but I know how tiring it can get. Thanks for all those links, I’m gonna check them out.

  • Lizzy @ runbakerace February 23, 2011, 12:46 pm

    I have been wanting to give triathalons a try! Thanks for the great post and tips..makes it seem much more possible 🙂

  • Alayna @ Thyme Bombe February 23, 2011, 12:47 pm

    I think it’s awesome that you make yourself swim even with a fear of open water. So many people would just never try a triathlon because of that fear and it sends a great message that you didn’t let your fear keep you from doing something.

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:02 pm

      Life is too short not to!

  • Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner February 23, 2011, 12:47 pm

    Congratulations on swimming the entire swim-race part! 🙂

  • Allison @ Food For Healing February 23, 2011, 12:48 pm

    i would totally drown if i had to swim in open water where i couldn’t touch the bottom. I cant swim and i hate deep water. so id be out. I would totally do a bike and run though, i could rock that out fosho!

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith February 23, 2011, 12:48 pm

    I think there are also “du-athlons” where you do a run-bike-run. That would be a good stepping stone for someone who wants to get into tri’s …

  • Courtney February 23, 2011, 12:50 pm

    I grew up in florida and have been afraid of gators in lakes too!!! although i think at this point i’m more afraid of seeing myself in a wetsuit…

  • Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 23, 2011, 12:52 pm

    I’m not interested in tri’s at all — I am terrified of water, especially non-pool water. Plus I can’t swim under water without plugging my nose!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) February 23, 2011, 12:52 pm

    I think I would like the biking part, but swimming and running would be too much. I think people that do these are pretty incredible though.

  • allison @ thesundayflog February 23, 2011, 12:53 pm

    you have no idea how much i needed this. im doing my first sprint tri on august 7th and im terrified. the swim will be the hardest component for sure. i am confident in my running and biking abilities, but im freaking out about the swim. i just feel like there is SO MUCH to think about with all of the different parts, transitions, clothes, gear, etc. i plan on reading all of those links. and i choke back tears every. single. time. i watch that video 🙂

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:04 pm

      Good luck! You will do awesome. Send me your recap when you finish!

  • Arlyne @acokertx February 23, 2011, 12:55 pm

    To all those reading this great post – you CAN do a tri! I never learned to swim as a child. My husband was doing tris and encouraged me to take swimming lessons and join a beginner tri group. I had done my 1st marathon just 4 months prior but I have to say that exiting the lake swim in my first Danskin sprint tri(at age 50)was my proudest moment! And I wasn’t a great swimmer then – did freestyle, doggy paddle, backstroke – whatever it took to get through it. I’m still not a great swimmer but I’ve done 3 other tris since. I too have been the last one out of the water before but like Caitlin, the experience has made me proud to finish and empowered me to keep going.

    Don’t limit yourself, you are capable of more than you think. And yes, please do several open water swims to help get over the anxiety so you’re not experiencing it for the 1st time on race day.

    Good luck to all those tri-ing!

  • Stacy February 23, 2011, 12:55 pm

    Great post, thanks for all the tips! I have really been wanting to do a triathlon and I have already picked out a sprint tri for this Summer. I am definitely most scared of the bike and also just the transitioning between each leg.

  • Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama February 23, 2011, 12:55 pm

    That last picture of you is so cute. 🙂 I would love to do a race with just running and biking (a duathon?) but hate swimming. Hate it.

  • Kathryn February 23, 2011, 12:56 pm

    This is totally off topic but I had to share. I teach a psychology class and had a student ask to give a presentation about eating disorders awareness week before class started. It was all about Operation Beautiful!!! Apparently the school is doing a big kick off event on Saturday centering around OB!! So cool 🙂

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:05 pm

      That is so awesome!! Thank you for telling me.

  • KitKat @ Pursuit of Happiness February 23, 2011, 12:57 pm

    Yay I love tris!

    I did my first one this past August and it was by far one of the most positive experiences of my life! I am already signed up for a duathlon and 2 more tris this summer.

    BUT, I could easily see it being completely different if I hadn’t really prepared. I think your advice is right on target.

    By far the scariest part for me was the swim. We had to run from the beach into a wavy ocean and all I could think was that I was going to drown and that every time I wanted air a wave smacked me in the face…along with 34 hands, elbows, and feet of other racers.

    But I knew it would be terrifying and prepared myself for a little panic when I got into the water. Since I had trained to the book for 15 weeks, done a bunch of lake open water swims, and practices my transitions, I truly knew I could finish.

    And truthfully for the first tri I think the best goal is to finish safely! That in itself is amazing 🙂

    I also found that the people were amazingly supportive. During road races it always feels like people just want to pass you. I had a number of conversations with people during my tri, supportive and kind words and even hugs! I am smiling just thinking about it.

    Anyway someone passed me a really funny Clif bar video right before my first tri…while it’s funny, it’s kind of true. A must see 😉

    Clif Triathlon Training:

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:06 pm

      Hahah I love that video. Thanks for the laugh!

  • Bronwyn Coyne February 23, 2011, 1:05 pm

    I am so intereted in Triathalons it’s not even funny. 😀 It’ll be the next sort of race I do. But I have to heal up my plantar fisciitis first.

  • skinnyrunner February 23, 2011, 1:05 pm

    im not interested in doing one, i dont like to swim, but i think if i did one and got into it, id like it. make sense? yeah, not to me either.

  • Ann February 23, 2011, 1:13 pm

    I think triathlons are not for me, I would not be down with getting kicked in the face while swimming. I do love that video of yours, though. I totally tear up when you’re running down the chute from the water, too! And I love how matter of fact you are about getting back on your bike after the fall. You’re a tough girl!

  • Evan Thomas February 23, 2011, 1:14 pm

    I don’t think I’d ever do a tri. Just not interested in one. I’m not a strong swimmer and never rode a bike so even if I wanted to it’d take a lot of training. Besides, if ice baths annoy me I bet I’d hate the swim 🙂

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) February 23, 2011, 1:18 pm

    Thank you SO much for seeing my tweet and writing this! This definitely helps me out a lot because I am seriously considering doing a triathlon. I am out of running right now with a shin splint(it’s getting better though!), so I am doing a lot of cycling right now and need to start swimming! I’ve been told to do non-impact cardio until I can run again and then take it easy from there. Thank you so much again! 😀

  • Marci February 23, 2011, 1:22 pm

    I have a fear of cycling, but last summer I did an Aquathlon to get comfortable with swimming. It was a 300 meter swim + 2 mile run. Fun and short! And I’m glad I learned more about swimming. Great tips otherwise! It’s a great endurance tri-sport!

  • Erin February 23, 2011, 1:22 pm

    I’m signed up to do my first duathlon this summer. If I like it, I’ll probably stick to those. Swimming is just not fun for me and I can’t imagine trying to train for that.

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! February 23, 2011, 1:22 pm

    Great post! I did my first ever sprint triathlon last summer, and it was honestly one of the most rewarding and challenging athletic endeavors I’ve ever done before. I totally agree with you, Caitlin, about your tips, and here are some of mine, too:

    –practice in open water before your swim! It makes a huge difference on race day.
    –many races have pre-race clinics where the race organizers walk you through the course and explain the rules and regulations of triathlon. I highly recommend this for any race! I did it before mine, and it was so reassuring to know what to expect both from race day and from the course beforehand.
    –practice brick workouts! It’s tough to know what it feels like for your legs to be so heavy after the bike portion, so give it a try. I did about 10 of these before my sprint triathlon.
    –have a feeding/drinking plan in place before the race. This makes a big difference.
    –get to the transition site to set up early! Being prepared makes you feel much more relaxed and ready.
    –stay safe and have fun! 🙂 Enough said.

    Here’s a link to my race recap from the Pacific Grove Triathlon last year: I highly recommend triathlons–they’re fun, challenging, and awesome!

  • Ashley February 23, 2011, 1:26 pm

    I think I would freak out on the bike the most. I’m in my element in the water. Angela @ohsheglows did a try a tri when she was testing triathalons out.

  • Kelly February 23, 2011, 1:26 pm

    Yeah I’d never do one in Florida. That’s brave.

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In February 23, 2011, 1:26 pm

    It’s the swimming part of Triathlons that scares me…I was never on swim team or anything and just don’t have confidence in my abilities! I need to suck it up and take real lessons this summer, because I’d love to try one!

  • Heather February 23, 2011, 1:29 pm

    I’d love to do a tri, but I’m not a good swimmer and scared of large bodies if water. Maybe one day I’m conquer my fears!

  • Lili February 23, 2011, 1:29 pm

    You are amazing! I watched this Wildman Tri video and I even got emotional by seeing you cross the finish line. Also love the “inaction breeds..” message. I just wrote this down in a post it note and sticked on my office wall at work 🙂

    • Lili February 23, 2011, 2:59 pm

      You just inspired me and I found a Triathlon in my area in june. Im thinking about signing up. Do you know if you can ride a mountain bike, or is it usually road bikes in Triathlons??

      • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:07 pm

        I would recommend only doing a sprint triathlon in a mountain bike. It’s going to be hard to bike 20 miles in a mountain bike! So look for something that is much shorter, like 12 or less.

        The link to my cycling tips page has tips on buying a road bike!

        GOOD LUCK!

        • Lili February 24, 2011, 12:33 pm

          Thanks for the tips Caitlin

      • allison @ thesundayflog February 24, 2011, 8:44 am

        im using a hybrid for my sprint tri. unless i become a huge triathlete and need a new bike, my hybrid will have to work for all of my biking endeavors!

        • Lili February 24, 2011, 12:30 pm

          Thanks Allison 🙂 – and yes, its a sprint tri im looking at.

  • Laura February 23, 2011, 1:30 pm

    I did my first and second tris last August. I did the SheRox series and was really happy I chose them because a lot of the people doing them were first timers and just as scared as I was. My first one was in Philly in our nasty river and I was terrified because I didn’t do a single open water swim leading up to the race. The second I got into the warm water, all of my worries went out the window and I was able to trudge through (doing breaststroke, might I add), and finish the swim without any fear of drowning or getting kicked. I think triathlons are great races (minus the hefty price tag), and aren’t as scary or intimidating as they seem. As in any race, crossing that finish line is the best feeling on earth and I can’t wait for summer to get here so tri season can start!!!

    • allison @ thesundayflog February 24, 2011, 8:46 am

      im doing sherox philly in august! gag – the river!!! hahah thanks for posting this! it makes me feel better!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 23, 2011, 1:35 pm

    I did my first triathlon when I was much younger (8 i think) but it was just a kiddies one and the swim was in a pool! I think the open water swim would freak me out the most for sure. However, it’s something I’d like to check off my bucket list. Thanks for the tips Caitlin! This is great advice and I will totally come back to it if I decide to sign up for one!

  • Hannah Hawley February 23, 2011, 1:35 pm

    A triathalon is in my sights for next summer. This spring/summer I am getting up my distance for the biking, distance for swimming, and learning to run! I have several 5k trail races scheduled.

  • Amber K February 23, 2011, 1:40 pm

    I hate swimming and wouldn’t want to do it in the open water with a ton of people around me. Although if I do ever swim it HAS to be in open water as I’m allergic to chlorine!

  • Ash February 23, 2011, 1:42 pm

    You are amazing! I loved the video so much. I am a horrendous swimmer (we’re talking doggy paddle, haha) so I don’t think I could do a triathlon without A LOT of training.

  • Trisha February 23, 2011, 1:52 pm

    I’m a triathlete at heart. I started doing triathlons before I started running a lot. Now I love BOTH! I love the open water swims, even though it scares a lot of people. I was lucky to practice a couple times before my first one, so that does help a lot.

  • Katie @ peacebeme February 23, 2011, 1:54 pm

    I don’t know why but I cried reading this. You look like you are having so much fun! Even describing the scary parts, you just persevered!

    It has been my dream to do a triathlon for years. I have never had any interest in doing a marathon, but a triathlon, yes. I just miss working out so much. Hopefully I can get back there some day.

    You are defnitely amazing for pushing through all that fear!

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:08 pm

      You should do it!

  • Laura I. (G.G.) February 23, 2011, 1:54 pm

    It’s not just the gators–it’s the snakes, the exotic bugs, the tea-colored water and muddy bottoms. (I grew up in Florida too). I live near some beautiful inland lakes here in VA now, but still have trouble convincing myself they’re safe to swim in and not yucky in general!

  • Theresa @ActiveEggplant February 23, 2011, 1:57 pm

    I’ve done two sprint tri’s so far – the first was at Moss Park & I also FREAKED in the water! There’s just something completely terrifying about that murky freezing water! My second sprint was in the Gulf of Mexico this past Oct & I definitely like swimming in salt water much MUCH more! It helps that I am only 5 miles away from the beach and can train in the Gulf on weekends in preparation for race day. I’m already eyeing an Olympic distance race this summer to see if I can handle the additional distance. You should totally come over to this coast and try one out in the Gulf!

    • Theresa @ActiveEggplant February 23, 2011, 1:58 pm

      and by “come over to this coast” I mean make the trip from NC to the Tampa area for a race.

      • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:09 pm

        But there are gators there!!!!

  • Carolyn @ Lovin' Losing February 23, 2011, 2:00 pm

    I did a triathlon last summer and I really enjoyed. Definitely planning on doing another one this summer. I was a chicken, though, and chose one with the swim portion in a pool. 😉

  • Marissa C February 23, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Ugh…I was on my high school’s swim team and I REFUSE to do an open water swim. No way in hell. I stick to sprint tris done in a nice, clean pool. Also, the swimmers are spaced so there is less chance of getting your face kicked off.

    I just cant beat the thought of getting in a lake…maybe it is the nasty fungal infection I got the last time I did!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg February 23, 2011, 2:18 pm

    Man…tri’s scare the pants off me! I really admire anyone who’s able to complete one!

  • Tami February 23, 2011, 2:23 pm

    i tell this story all the time but after hanging around all this triathletes i finally took the plunge…hahaha. i did not know how to swim, as in, i couldn’t make it from one end to the other in the pool, never mind back. i did two sprint triathlons last season so this year i am going to do a half ironman. crazy crazy crazy but its so much fun -17 weeks and counting

  • Jess@atasteofconfidence February 23, 2011, 2:43 pm

    I really want to do a tri someday, but I’m not there yet. I am actually scared of the running! I was a swimmer my whole life, so that is what I am comfortable with.

    • Marissa C February 23, 2011, 2:45 pm

      So was I! The running really isn’t that bad…you can walk it too! See if there are any tri groups in your area. The sprint tris in DFW are usually 50-60% beginners–some who trained together in an official class.

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:10 pm

      Do the couch to 5k plan! It’s great.

      And what Marissa said is true!

  • Allison @ Happy Tales February 23, 2011, 2:49 pm

    Geez, I’d loooove to do a Tri one day, but I also have a huge fear of swimming in open water (esp. in bodies of water that I can’t see down to the bottom, which is essentially every body of water here in the US [that i’ve seen] except Lake Tahoe). And you nailed another fear of mine on the head…swimming around SO many other people and being kicked in the face. Ugh!

    Are you going to be training in open water for your 3rd tri? Or will you just be sticking to the pool? (PS. I’ve been wanting to get into swimming more… if you ever want a buddy to swim with at the Y, let me know!)

  • Maddie February 23, 2011, 2:56 pm

    I made my goal for 2011 to do a triathlon. I picked one I wanted to do and have just been thinking about it. Thanks to your post I went and actually registered! I’m so nervous and excited, but I’ve got 6 months to train, so I think I’ll survive. This post came in great timing!

  • annette @ enjoyyourhealthylife February 23, 2011, 2:58 pm

    When I did my triathlon I was super scared on the bike (I am swimmer, dancer and runner. NOT a biker)! SO that is the fear I am going to conquer before my next tri!! thanks for a great post 🙂

  • Ali G. February 23, 2011, 2:58 pm

    I’m attempting my first Iron Distance Tri Oct 2011 in Wilmington, NC (beach to battleship) there is also a half iron distance and a relay option. I hear this is a great and EASY swim course!

  • Katie G. February 23, 2011, 2:59 pm

    This post could not have come at a more perfect time! I just signed up for my first triathlon with Team in Training for this August. I am terrifed of the swim but I a confident that training through a program will help with my fears and swim stroke (which is currently non-existent!) I bought my 1 piece bathing suit yesterday (for training), goggles, etc. and need to force myself to go to my gym pool ASAP. I will read through all of your posts! Sorry to hear about your open water anxiety. Way to stay confident and positive about your next tri!!!

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:11 pm

      You are going to do great!!! We will prob do some of our training at the same time. 🙂

  • Kira February 23, 2011, 3:37 pm

    I’ve been dying to do a triathlon for a while now! But as so scared. Something about doing three sports in one race scares me to death. But I feel pretty inspired now and definitely want to train for one!

  • Margo February 23, 2011, 3:38 pm

    I’ve done 4 marathons but would love to do a Tri. I’ve been too nervous before, but reading about your experience has made me want to sign-up for one!

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) February 23, 2011, 3:44 pm

    I’m not really interested in triathlons, even though I swim and run quite a bit. I’ve considered run-swim-run races, but they’re hard to find.

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans February 23, 2011, 3:44 pm

    I am considering a sprint duathlon this summer. The swimming part totally freaks me out! I am interested in incorporating more cycling into my routine and might also try a century this year.

  • Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) February 23, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I cannot stand to swim in anything other than a pool. The first time I went snorkling, I had a very similar panic attack but have gone back twice since. I guess you really need to just face your fears head on! 🙂

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 23, 2011, 3:56 pm

    I have wanted to try a tri for a long time. I am TERRIFIED of the swim, as I can barely dog paddle. It is also one of the hardest things is finding a place to practice.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 23, 2011, 4:08 pm

    Ahh triathlons 🙂 My No 1 favourite sport ever!!! My recommendation is to start with a Super Sprint or Enticer race. They are short, snappy, and generally quite laid back and fun!

  • Callie @ Callieflower Kitchen February 23, 2011, 4:16 pm

    Apparently you can read my mind, because just yesterday I decided that I was going to sign up for my very first sprint tri! Thanks for all the tips and links 🙂 Funnily enough I’m totally calm about the swim part because I’ve always been a swimmer, but the running scares me – I’m afraid I’m not going to finish.

  • Christie February 23, 2011, 4:21 pm

    I’m glad you posted this and the links to all the other places. I just decided this week that I want to do one at the end of the summer but I’m going from fitness zero to triathlon hero (haha, so corny!). Anyway, I just came up with a training plan and I’m going to start soon.

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:13 pm

      Ohmigod, can you please start a blog called Triathlete Hero and make Fitness Zero to Triathlete Hero your tagline?

  • Fit Chick Britt February 23, 2011, 4:27 pm

    Tri’s are my favorite races! So much more fun than just running.

    P.S. about those 2008 guns, what was the result of your 100 push up and 100 sit up challenge?

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul February 23, 2011, 4:39 pm

    Oh man you’re so tough! I love the triathlon photos btw. 🙂 It would be SO FUN to try a triathlon, but trust me…You don’t want to see me swim! haha.

  • Casie February 23, 2011, 4:44 pm

    I love triathlon for the reason that you push through so many boundaries and it really tests you. It’s not up to anyone else whether you finish, it’s all up to you and your attitude. I started with a mini triathlon of 150m/5km/1.5km and built up to Ironman. Best experience ever!

  • Maren February 23, 2011, 4:53 pm

    Watching your video really gave me confidence that I could do it! You are so strong and amazing!! I teared up watching the video, too!

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:14 pm


  • Amilia February 23, 2011, 4:58 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    Among the things that I like about your blog:
    1. There is always a new entry every time I open your blog.
    2. You educate me that vegetarian food is interesting. I incorporated some of the food you blog in my “new, refined eating lifestyle”. I also started making smoothies …delicious 🙂
    3. I have started running, and I love it. Then, reading this post, I am interested to try triathlon. I guess I want to complete 1/2 marathon and then full marathon before doing triathlon..
    4. I learn and try to incorporate balance and healthy lifestyle.

    Thank you Caitlin 🙂

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:14 pm

      Wow what a nice compliment! Thank you!

  • Baking 'n' Books February 23, 2011, 5:01 pm

    Just wanted to say that your writing and what you give to your readers is nothing short of amazing. You should be writing this stuff for top-notch magazines.

    The time and effort to get all this together just absolutely boggles my mind. And your not being paid for it (really directly, y’know, I don’t know)…but you listen to your readers.

    But you listen to YOURself and stay true to your interests and what you like as well. That – combined with the information – but also just you being you creating a nice environment and fun zeal to it all – makes this place set in stone.

    …and I’ll never understand how people can wear those skins…;)

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:15 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Susan February 23, 2011, 5:05 pm

    I’m scared of the biking part. I have a very vivid memory of having a bad tumble off of a bike when I was a kid. Just scrapes + stuff, but it was enough to get the adrenaline going and make me nauseous. Since then I’ve been very bike averse. But hey – I’m older now and I think I might as well face my fears!

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good February 23, 2011, 5:49 pm

    That is something that is in dream territory for me. I think it would be such a great accomplishment, but I would have to seriously work on swimming first. I can stay afloat, but I have zero technique and I can’t stand to swim with my face in the water. Your description of being crawled on in the swim portion sounds scary. I would definitely start toward the back. Thank you for sharing your tips! I am seriously considering a duathlon, and if I like that, it will probably fuel my tri-dream some more. 🙂

  • Amanda February 23, 2011, 5:50 pm

    This is an awesome post girl! I did a mini-tri 2 summers ago and LOVED every minute of it! I am currently training for a marathon that I will be running in May..but I definitely would love to do a full tri in the future 🙂

  • Kari @ Human, MD February 23, 2011, 6:04 pm

    I’ve been meaning to do a tri for a couple years! I’ve got the bike and run down fine, but the swimming is holding me back. I was training pretty regularly, even moreso when I had an injury that kept me from running or riding for months. But I started getting migraines somewhat regularly after swimming, and can’t figure out how to prevent them, so I have a fear of swimming now! Once I go to the doc and get a decent migraine medicine I’ll be back in the pool. You’d think that would be easy, since I’m only 2.5 months away from being a doctor myself… but I haven’t done it yet, so no tri until I do.

  • Tricia February 23, 2011, 6:10 pm

    Oh Caitlin! It makes me a little sad that you are afraid of lakes. But I understand. I would be afraid if there were gators in my lake. I learned to swim in a pool, but I learned to love to swim in a lake. But it helps that I grew up right off Lake Michigan. However I could never do a triathlon because I am one of the rare few who never learned to ride a bike.

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:15 pm

      🙂 Up north lakes don’t sound so bad!

      • Tricia February 23, 2011, 11:25 pm

        I don’t think so but since your from florida, the temp would probably make you scream. There is a very short period of time where the water is actually warm! However you get used to the frigid temp.

  • Laura February 23, 2011, 6:22 pm

    I love the race video! I live in Raleigh and am planning on doing another tri this summer, maybe we could compete in the same race!!! 🙂

  • February 23, 2011, 6:29 pm

    Caitlin- My husband is training for his first tri. He’s been eating Protein Bars and all these unnatural things. Do you or anyone have suggestions for an all-natural alternative?

  • Michelle February 23, 2011, 6:32 pm

    My husband was in a tri and a person drowned right under him. It was horried and now he does Du’s.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) February 23, 2011, 6:46 pm

    Damn, girl, you do have some serious arm muscles in that picture! I love it. I would love to do a triathlon, but only if I could swim in a pool. I am TERRIFIED of open spaces of water- I can’t even watch movies that are filmed underwater. It totally freaks me out!

  • Angie February 23, 2011, 6:51 pm

    I was a swimmer growing up and then started running a few years ago.

    Last summer I did my first tris – 4 of them – and LOVED every minute of it! The swim is my “happy place” – I even loved swimming a mile in the Potomac River at Nations Tri (so cool to swim by the monuments), but there are a lot of people who have trouble with the swim. Definitely it helps to try open water swimming first; I did even though I’m a confident swimmer. My husband and I are both hooked on tris – they are a lot of fun!!

  • Ashley February 23, 2011, 7:07 pm

    Thank u for this post! Ive had tentative plans to do my first tri this summer so this is so helpful!!!

  • Rachel February 23, 2011, 8:05 pm

    I’ve probably watched that video 5 times and every time I tear up with a huge smile on my face!

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:20 pm

      🙂 thank you

  • Ali @ Ali Runs February 23, 2011, 8:29 pm

    What a great post! I am definitely thinking about doing a tri this summer. I always love watching that video and reading your recaps for motivation. I think it’s awesome that you overcame your fear!!

  • Lauren (ColorMeHappyGrrl) February 23, 2011, 9:02 pm

    Oh wow thanks for posting that! I got teary when your husband ran beside you too!
    I would be terrified to swim in a lake — you are right about growing up in FL doing that to you. Have you ever been to Buccaneer Bay (the water park by Weeki Wachee?) OMG the spring there is so scary. So yes, the swimming would be the scariest part of a tri for me. Maybe someday!

    • Caitlin February 23, 2011, 10:20 pm

      No I haven’t!! Is it gator infested?!

  • Jennifer February 23, 2011, 9:30 pm

    This post came at the perfect time! I’ve been doing a little reading on triathalons, but still wasn’t sure where to start. The swim part is the one I’m the most scared to try, but we do live near a lake I would be able to practise in. Thanks for all the links, now I just have to get out there and do it!

  • Samantha February 23, 2011, 9:37 pm

    I am very interested in doing a tri. I’ve found good tips here and on Katy Widrick’s blog. My main concern is the swim: I’ve always been a horrible swimmer and would likely need lessons. There is actually a swim class at night at the high school pool where I teach that helps people training for a tri that I am looking into.

  • Rachel @ Healthy Teacher February 23, 2011, 11:08 pm

    I’m not very buoyant or I would try a tri.

  • Jolene ( February 23, 2011, 11:42 pm

    The run would be the hardest for me (I think). My hubby does Iron Man triathlons etc. and it is very motivating, but I don’t know if I would be able to do something big like that!

  • Kait February 24, 2011, 9:05 am

    i LOVE triathlons. I’ve been doing them for the past 3 years and am COMPLETELY addicted.
    come do nations tri in sept! its in dc. the best race ever. i’ll give you a discount code:)

  • Molly @ the F-spot February 25, 2011, 3:05 pm

    I am an avid triathlete! It’s so addicting! Also, the cross-training helps keep me injury-free. I loved the video of you falling off your bike. 🙂 Glad you got back up and rode on! I completed my first Half Ironman last year and tripped over my feet at Mile 7 on the run. I got a boost of adrenaline that helped me get up and keep going! All the gory details — and pictures — here:

    My biggest problem (opportunity) is that I go all out on the bike and don’t leave enough gas in the tank to have a good run. I don’t ever walk, but I feel rotten during the run and it’s no fun. My plan is to work on my pacing for this year’s races. My first event is Wildflower on May 1 (Olympic).

    I’m setting my sights for Ironman Canada 2012!

  • Dean February 26, 2011, 12:17 am

    Perfect timing for this blog as my first tri is 3 weeks away. It is a very easy sprint – with only 150M pool swim. I’ve been doing a once a week swim clinic, but I am still feeling a bit discouraged as it has been cancelled for bad weather a couple of times and I’m afraid I won’t get a chance to build my endurance.

    I am trying out this new adventure after pushing my knee in my first half last year. My second tri is 2 weeks after (also a reverse style with a pool swim at the end), so I sure hope I like it!

  • Lili March 7, 2011, 12:03 pm

    I have a question about swimming clothing Caitlin – The lake where i will swim might not require a wetsuit (it might not be too cold) – do you think if I wear a competitive swimsuit/ or sports bra and the bike shorts, the bike short would make me ‘float’ ?? The Bike shorts that I want to buy are not that short. They are Capri size, I think same length as the one you are wearing in the pic….
    It will be my 1st Tri and im trying to figure out the clothing for the swim/bike transition.

    Let me know if you have any feedback!! thanks 🙂

    • Caitlin March 7, 2011, 8:17 pm

      I don’t think the padding in bike shorts would make you float 😉 Just make sure they are tight so they don’t budge around too much.

      • Lili March 7, 2011, 8:29 pm

        Thanks so much for your feedback. And thanks for this inspirational post about giving Tri a try <3

  • Katie G. August 23, 2011, 1:51 pm

    So I just completed my first triathlon two days ago and it was great!!!! I trained with Team in Training but I read all of your triathlon posts before and during the process! they helped a lot! Thanks!!!

    • Caitlin August 23, 2011, 10:08 pm

      Yay! Go Team!

  • Kirsten August 6, 2012, 4:31 pm

    I just finished my first triathlon with a group of gals from my work at Sweetlife Adventures, and it was uh-mazing! We did the Tri for the Cure in Denver, Colorado and I couldn’t say enough good things about it. Wish I would have found all these tips before! Can’t wait to use them when training for my next one!

Healthy Tipping Point