An Epic Swim

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I have a good workout and a wonderful dinner to share!  🙂


Today’s workout was a back-to-back run and swim.  First, I started with Legs Day of the Intro To Iron Pumping Challenge:


Day 2: Legs

  • Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio
  • Lunge and Lift:  3 x 12 (novice system) for each leg
  • Stability Ball Hamstring Curl:  3 x 12
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 10 with 30 lbs 
  • Stability Ball Calf Raises: Skipped
  • Step Ups: 3 x 12 with two 12 lbs weights for each leg 
  • Straight leg pullover crunch: 22 with 5 lb weight


And then I actually left the gym to go on a short run.  The weather was nice, and I would always rather run outside then on the dreadmill.  I did:


  • Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Duration: 15:00 minutes


And then I came back to the gym, changed, and did an EPIC swim!  As you all know, I have a slight fear of the swim leg of the upcoming triathlon (it’s in March) because I was disqualified from my first triathlon because I had a panic attack in the lake

tri 014

That was a sprint triathlon (0.75 km) and I’m signing up for an Olympic one (1.5 km)…. so not only do I need to conquer my fear of swimming, but I need to go BEYOND my fear and swim double the length


The thing that really freaked me out during my first race was I didn’t really think about:


  • You can’t stop swimming and hang onto a ledge.  It’s a lake!
  • You can’t see the bottom.  It’s a lake!
  • Yes, your feet will brush against slimy, scary things.  It’s a lake!


One of my goals for training this time around is to NOT stop swimming during training swims.  If I need a break, I should float on my back, just like I’ll have to do during the race.  I used this technique and managed to do .75 km without stopping to rest!


  • Distance: 750 meters
  • Duration: 17:40


Obviously, it’s easier to swim in the pool, but that time isn’t SO bad! :)  And the experience kind of reminds me of learning how to run – at first, I would run and then take walking breaks as needed.  Now, I swim and take floating breaks as needed.


Post-workout snack was Pumpkin Yogurt and about 1.5 servings of granola;


And dinner was a lovely whole wheat pasta with artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, Brussel sprouts, and a cream sauce.


The vegetarian’s meatball:  steamed Brussel sprouts.


I’ve found the key to using artichokes and sundried tomatoes when they canned and packed in olive oil is that you have to rinse them over water and then pan-fry them in a wok.  (I get both in LARGE containers from Costco, which is why I eat them all the time.)  If you don’t rinse, they are too greasy.   And the frying brings out the flavors more, I think!


Dessert was three chocolate seashells:


I’m happy, full, and sleepy! Have a wonderful Sunday night.



  • Runeatrepeat January 24, 2010, 8:03 pm

    I love Costco but haven’t checked out the artichoke hearts there yet. I say sun dried tomatoes are nature’s pepperoni 🙂 Yum!

    • Angela (Oh She Glows) January 24, 2010, 8:06 pm

      nature’s pepperoni is an amazing analogy!! I love them too.

  • Bec January 24, 2010, 8:03 pm

    congrats on the great swim! Its so cool to read about your progress 🙂

  • Evan Thomas January 24, 2010, 8:04 pm

    hehe, what a clever way to think about brussels sprouts as veg-balls

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) January 24, 2010, 8:05 pm

    I LOVE artichokes and you have reminded me to buy some! I didnt know Costco had them…will be on the prowl 😉

    Congrats on your amazing workout. I love how much you are changing it up lately.

  • kate January 24, 2010, 8:05 pm

    haha a veggie’s meatball! love it.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite January 24, 2010, 8:07 pm

    great job on the swim!

    I LOVE brussel sprouts!

  • Sonja @ ActiveFoodie January 24, 2010, 8:07 pm

    Yay, congrats on your swim! I remember the feeling when I was swimming again how great it felt to go a little further each time. Swimming kicks your booty! I know you will do great at your tri!

  • Erica January 24, 2010, 8:11 pm

    I started the iron pumping challenge this week and LOVED it… it worked seamlessly into my half marathon training program. Other times I’ve tried to add strength training to running, my legs have always ended up exhausted and running has been too difficult.

    I have a quick question. I have been doing these stability ball hamstring curls for awhile, and 3 x 12 seems easy. is there some way to add some more resistance to the move without having to use the awful hamstring curl machine at the gym? i hate that machine … 🙁

    • gina (fitnessista) January 24, 2010, 8:37 pm

      yep, just do it with one leg at a time. KILLER! make sure you keep your hips high off the ground as well 😀

      • Erica January 24, 2010, 8:56 pm

        Ooh great – thanks! I can’t wait to try this!

  • lauren @ Eater not a runner January 24, 2010, 8:11 pm

    I love chocolate seashells! Always a good choice 😉

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 24, 2010, 8:12 pm

    Go you on conquering your fear! I’ve always been afraid of swimming and the thought of swimming that far in a lake is incredibly scary. But you can do it! You are really working hard, I admire you!

  • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run January 24, 2010, 8:15 pm

    Great job on the swim. I love the floating idea, I am totally going to do that!!! My triathlon is not until April, but I have to figure out how to do 1.5K. The longest open water swim I have done prior to this is 1/3 mile, and it was hard because I didn’t really train.

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 24, 2010, 8:20 pm

    I love those chocolate seashells!

    Sounds like you’re really working hard and taking a very smart approach to this whole swimming thing. Good for you!

    Have a great night, friend!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is January 24, 2010, 8:20 pm

    That is so awesome about your swim! I think you will nail the swimming portion this time! 🙂

  • Kristin January 24, 2010, 8:21 pm

    Did you know that doing back to back tri workouts are called “brick workouts”? I think that sounds way more bad ass than back-to-back. =)

  • Laura Georgina January 24, 2010, 8:21 pm

    Way to go! I’m also looking to start training for a mini-triathlon, but the open water swim part freaks me out–for the exact same reasons you listed. You’re making great progress 🙂

  • Nicole, RD, LD January 24, 2010, 8:23 pm

    The swim is what’s kept me from doing a tri, but I think I’m nearly over my fear. They just look like a blast! Dinner looks yummy!

  • Joanne January 24, 2010, 8:24 pm

    Great attitude: Jump right into the fire even though it scares the crappola out of you. Swimming would do that to me as well.
    I’m still trying to concur my fear of long running miles.

  • Swimsutra January 24, 2010, 8:24 pm

    Congratulations on the strong swim! Given the endurance that you must have to achieve all of the athletic accomplishments that you’ve blogged about, I’m sure you will be an incredible swimmer once you conquer any lingering anxiety about it! Even As a biker, runner, and swimmer, but never at once, I’m super impressed with tri-athletes.

  • Joanne January 24, 2010, 8:24 pm

    Oh…I love the vegetarian meatball: brussel sprouts. I’m with you on that on. 🙂

  • Ellen Collis January 24, 2010, 8:24 pm

    Yeah, I don’t know if I could handle slimy, scary things rubbing against my leg while I swim! Eek! I know you’ll conquer your fear though—sounds like you’re doing great so far! Is it also a challenge not running into the other swimmers?

  • Lauren January 24, 2010, 8:26 pm

    Great workout! You will do so well with this triathlon because now you know what to expect and you will be properly trained for the swimming part.

    I love that- “Brussels Sprouts- A vegetarian meat ball”

    You’re too cute!

  • loreejo January 24, 2010, 8:33 pm

    Congrats Caitlin on the swim; as a new runner, you’re so encouraging to me. Also, you are killin’ it with the vegetables! Every time I see you eating more and more of them I want to giggle. Good job! 🙂

  • Holly M January 24, 2010, 8:34 pm

    Try pan roasting brussel sprouts with mustard and a little bit of brown sugar.. so good!

  • Haleigh January 24, 2010, 8:34 pm

    Congrats on the strong swim! Open water swimming freaks me out too. I had to swim in a lake to pass my lifeguard exam in high school. It came with a lot of anxiety but with practice, I passed!

    I adore those chocolate seashells! One of my favorites!

  • Bernadette January 24, 2010, 8:37 pm

    I had the same experience with my first Triathlon and one thing I would say is part of my problem was that it was EXTREMELY hard to gauge how far you had swam in the open water… because you don’t have anything in your line of sight that you are ‘passing’ like in the pool, you can see lights, people, clocks on the wall… all these things help you gauge how fast or slow you are moving but give you a sense that you are at least moving forward. None of that is there in the open water and it made a HUGE difference for me. I would recommend a couple open water swims before the day of your triathlon so you can get a feel for that.
    Kudos for you for making it happen, I have not yet been willing to ‘jump’ back into the Triathlon thing.

  • Sara January 24, 2010, 8:41 pm

    I would love to do a triathalon but I really worry about the swimming portion. I have never done much swimming so I don’t know how good I would be! Your dinner looks delicious!

  • Sarah January 24, 2010, 8:41 pm

    Great job on the swim Caitlin!!

  • Mara @ What's For Dinner? January 24, 2010, 8:50 pm

    Great job swimming, and the eats look fab 🙂

  • Gabriela January 24, 2010, 8:51 pm

    SUCH a good idea to use brussels sprouts as meatballs…I must try that! Sounds like training is going great 🙂

  • Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle January 24, 2010, 8:53 pm

    Great work on the swimming! I agree that going out in the open water is sooo different and nerve racking the first time. Do you think you will do some practice swims on the actual course before the race?

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) January 24, 2010, 9:02 pm

    Great job on the swim! I can swim but find my endurance is SO low when it comes to doing laps. I prefer to just play around in the water. 😉

  • Lauren January 24, 2010, 9:16 pm

    I have a membership at LA Fitness as well and I’m assuming their pools are all the same length-could you tell me that what it is? Thanks!

  • Jenna January 24, 2010, 9:19 pm

    I really wanna try pumpkin yogurt!!
    Dinner looks great!

  • Amy January 24, 2010, 9:24 pm

    Hey Caitlin!

    I know that Florida weather might not be conducive to wetsuits, but they REALLY help with increasing buoyancy when swimming in a lake.

    I rented mine from Xterra for my race, which was MUCH cheaper and easier than buying, and they come in all sorts of styles, as far as sleeveless/long sleeve; above the knee/to the ankle.

  • Tiffany @ A Dantat's Life January 24, 2010, 9:24 pm

    congrats on a great swim! and thank you so much for posting about your pumpkin yogurt (whenever you did the first time…), it’s SUCH a great and filling snack!

  • Marisa (Loser for Life) January 24, 2010, 9:26 pm

    Okay, the “Yes, your feet will brush against slimy, scary things. It’s a lake!” would be a MAJOR deal breaker for me! KUDOS to you, Caitlin! You are AWESOME for doing this!

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place January 24, 2010, 9:30 pm

    Great job on the swim. Swimming in lakes freaks me out, too. You don’t realize “hey, I have nothing to hold on to” until you REALLY need it. I’m sure you’ll rock this next tri!

  • Emily Eats and Exercises January 24, 2010, 9:32 pm

    I did my first triathlon in the fall (and I can’t wait for more!) Swimming is actually my best of the three, but I still found it pretty intimidating. I think now that I know what it will be like I’ll be less freaked out. Around me there are some swim workshops you can sign up for to practice open water swimming with a bunch of other people. Something to think about?

    One of the coaches said to me that there are 2 things to remember: “breathe and make forward progress.” If you need to rest you can usually do some easy breast stroke, you still are going forward but you can spot easily and rest if needed. Breathing is good advice too of course. 😉

    • caitlin January 25, 2010, 9:39 am

      there is a lake here in florida where you can do practice open water swims – i will definitely be hitting it up soon!

  • Susan January 24, 2010, 9:32 pm

    Yay for epic swims!! I thin that’s a stellar time! However, you forgot to add that people also swim ON TOP OF YOU in the lake 😉

  • Molly @vegandorm January 24, 2010, 9:34 pm

    It’s so funny – I grew up swimming in lakes and creeks. I’ll swim in a pool, but it reeeaaallly grosses me out. For most people, it’s exactly the opposite! I’d much rather swim with the fish and algae then with the chlorine!

  • Matt January 24, 2010, 9:41 pm

    I think the worst thing about swimming is getting in the COLD pool!

  • Ash @ Good Taste. Healthy Me January 24, 2010, 9:50 pm

    Good for you! I’m a terrrrible swimmer so the thought of doing a triathlon never crossed my mind. I would panic immediately without being able to reach out and hold onto something!

    It’s awesome you’re taking lessons and really working on your technique!

  • Kathleen January 24, 2010, 9:52 pm

    Congrats on your new approach to the swim and your awesome swim time! Go you! You rock!

    Ps, your pasta looks yummy!

  • Marissa January 24, 2010, 9:57 pm

    I had brussels once and they tasted like snot. I don’t think I cooked them right.

  • Jane January 24, 2010, 9:57 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I have been hoping that you will make a video showing strength training moves with free weights….I have some but I don’t really know what to do with them! Just a wish/request! Thanks.

  • Steph @ My Life In Motion January 24, 2010, 10:11 pm

    I buy my artichoke hearts frozen from the grocery store. Then, I just defrost how ever many I need and there’s no oil….only water. I need to find some sun-dried tomatoes, though. Those could be good in a lot of things!

  • Katie O. @ Fit to Wed January 24, 2010, 10:26 pm

    Wow, nice job today- you got a killer workout in!

  • Jolene ( January 24, 2010, 10:43 pm

    I absolutely LOVE brussels sprouts – they are so good roasted with butter!!

  • Mary (Food Fit & Fun) January 24, 2010, 10:47 pm

    Swimming sounds like so much fun. I wish I had someone to swim with…it makes it more interesting! My friend and I would swim together in college. I am awful at swimming but would love to get better. Triathlons sound so much fun. I make a very similar pasta dish on my blog with artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, and whole wheat pasta in a white wine sauce. So delicious! Love those artichokes!

  • Jenn ( January 24, 2010, 11:00 pm

    I haven’t gone swimming in yearssss, except the bath tub. 🙂

    Love the pasta with brussels! Looks great.


  • caronae January 24, 2010, 11:23 pm

    Congrats on doing so AESOME with your swimming. I really admire you for getting out there to do it after you freaked out doing the first tri! I’m a swimmer and I haven’t even had the courage to do a tri! Go Caitlin!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) January 24, 2010, 11:27 pm

    I love the analogy of learning to swim with learning to run. I’ll have to remember that when I start training for a triathlon sometime within the next two years.

  • Amber K January 25, 2010, 12:08 am

    Yum brussel sprouts! You inspire to cook even more than I already do. It looks FANTASTIC!

  • Penny January 25, 2010, 12:23 am

    If it makes you feel any better……I am 27 years old and can’t swim. At all. 🙂 I have a panic attack standing 10 feet AWAY from a lake.
    Your pasta looks SOOOOO good. I LOVE brussel sprouts.

  • Run Sarah January 25, 2010, 12:42 am

    I find stopping freestyle and switching to a slow breaststroke helpful in open water swims, as it also helps orient you as you can keep your head up longer!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) January 25, 2010, 1:10 am

    what a great day! so glad you did well on the swim, and had a great dinner later too 🙂

  • Heather I. January 25, 2010, 2:26 am

    Congrats on the swim! Steamed brussels sprouts are so good! And, I’m looking forward to trying the pumpkin yogurt sometime soon- I can’t get over this pumpkin kick, it’s awesome!

  • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete January 25, 2010, 3:27 am

    Good job on the swim! I’m glad that I helped you get motivated! I need it too sometimes! I always dread going to the pool b/c it is my worst sport. Once finally get there, I’m fine though. Happy Swimming! 🙂

  • Freya @ January 25, 2010, 4:13 am

    well done on the swim!! I have a fear of swimming in the sea, but it’s SO unreasonable – it’s cos I’ve read so many books on sharks and shark attacks (I love sharks) tht now I know too much and am terrified!Stupid seeing as there are no sharks off the coast of England…
    Your dinner looks great, what was the cream sauce made from (other than cream)?
    Have a good evening 🙂
    (oh and nice to see the chocolate seashells getting some action, they’re one of my favourite kinds of chocolate :D)

    • caitlin January 25, 2010, 8:56 am

      Oh, it was really Alfredo sauce from the jar. Sorry!

  • michelle January 25, 2010, 6:49 am

    Super proud of you! WTG! My tri fear is the bike part. While I’m a beast in spin class I’m VERY clumsy and can see myself flying off the bike (bad childhood experiences). Seeing you take on something that scared you in the past makes me think I need to get on a bike… really. kudos! 🙂

  • alexe @ soyaetchocolat January 25, 2010, 8:23 am

    I wish I was able to conquer my fear of swimming in open water like you! I had my first panic attack in the middle of a big Olympic size pool when I was 17 (after 5 years of swimming classes, duh!)… Since then, I can’t swim in lakes, oceans or big pools. I hope I can follow your lead and try to beat it!

    • caitlin January 25, 2010, 8:57 am

      Aww! I feel so bad for you. Maybe it’s a good idea to try exposure therapy if it’s really severe. I can swim in a lake, just not in race situations… well, I mean.. I CAN DO IT, I just haven’t yet. 🙂

      • alexe @ soyaetchocolat January 25, 2010, 6:29 pm

        Thanks! Good idea about exposure. I’ll wait for the lakes to unfreeze though… 😉

        I’m sure you’ll do great in your next triathlon! You seem like a girl who goes and gets what she wants. Now that you are aware of your fear, nothing will stop you!

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) January 25, 2010, 8:27 am

    Vegetarian’s meatball..bahaha Love that.

    Great job on the workout, too! Especially the swim. You’re gonna rock it, Caitlin!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers January 25, 2010, 8:48 am

    Floating on your back in training is such a great tip to help become more comfortable in open water!!

  • PippaPatchwork January 25, 2010, 9:58 am

    Good pastas are one of my favorite meals, and yours looks delicious! And by the way I LOVE that you buy in bulk from Costco. Definitely the way to go 😉

  • Kloé January 25, 2010, 10:28 am

    That’s so great you are doing a triathlon! It’s something I really want to do eventually, once I learn how to swim! I can only imagine how scary that would be, not to have a ledge to hang on to! Good Luck,


  • Heather (The Single Dish) January 25, 2010, 11:17 am

    Good creamy pasta on a Sunday night is perfect!!!!

  • Carolina John January 25, 2010, 11:44 am

    Great swim! I”m about to take off for a 1000 yd swim here in just a few mins.

  • Jenny January 25, 2010, 12:20 pm

    I think it’s so awesome when we realize that there is a certain “method” we can use to learn new things. It’s so true that applying the “run/walk” mentality can help in more areas than just running!

  • Therese January 25, 2010, 2:13 pm

    Caitlin! Where are you finding canned pumpkin??? The Colonial and downtown Publix stores don’t have it, and neither does Super Target. GAH! It’s so elusive right now!

    • Caitlin January 25, 2010, 2:33 pm

      I bought 8 cans back in December to stock up!

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