My mouth is doing the happy dance!

IMG_8032

I love experimenting with different grains, and toasting quinoa is a fun alternative to cooking it on the stovetop.  It’s super crunchy and makes a wonderful granola replacement!

IMG_8029

Ingredients:

 

  • 1/3 cup UNCOOKED quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons flax
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Ingredients for Pumpkin Yogurt

 

Directions:

 

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Mix the first four ingredients together and spread out on greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Serving alongside Pumpkin Yogurt and enjoy!

IMG_8036

I think the word you’re looking for is β€œepic.”  πŸ™‚

 

The #1 Lesson

 

When you are born and raised in Florida, there is one lesson that is drilled into your head, over and over head: Assume every body of water has an alligator in it.

CIMG7302

Gators are quite common in Florida.  It might seem exotic to you, but it’s perfectly normal for me to spot a gator in a lake or the shore.

IMG_5547

[DSCN9967[3].jpg]

[DSCN9988[3].jpg]

(All of those photographs are actual live, wild gators that I spotted on bike rides!)

 

When you’re a child in Florida, your parents’ biggest fear is that you’re going to play by a lake and be snatched by a gator – it happens all the time to kids and pets.  Going swimming in a random lake is out of the question.  You’re taught to never, ever swim in a lake unless it’s an official swimming hole, and even that runs risks because gators migrate.

 

A while back, I watched a local news story about a group of drunk teenagers who went swimming a reservoir at midnight.  The one boy turned around in the water and ran smack into a 6-foot gator, which promptly bit off his arm.  He miraculously survived the gator β€œdeath roll” and even admitted that he was the biggest idiot EVER for going swimming in the water.  With only one arm, the kid said it was totally his fault, not the gator’s.  Basically, he should’ve know better!

 

Why am I thinking about this now?

 

In 5 days, I am swimming 1.5 KM in a lake. 

CIMG7313

Normally, I keep my swimming to dry land, as I did when Megan, Ryan, and I did the Olympic Triathlon Relay (I was the run leg – recap is here).

CIMG7316

But on Sunday… I have to get in the water.  And I’m starting to freak out a little bit. 

 

I tried to a sprint triathlon once before (you can read the recap at the end of this post), but I actually quit in the middle of the swim because I had a panic attack about gators and the murkiness and whatnot.

 

I really wanted to do a practice open water swim to acclimate myself to the water and hopefully get over my paranoia about alligators, but then I injured my deltoid.  I really do not think doing a full-length practice swim right now is in my best interest.  But I might try to go to the lake this week and just put my face in the water.

 

I keep trying to remind myself:

 

  • There will be 100 other people doing the swim at the same time I am.  All the gators will be scared away.
  • If a gator does attack someone, there are 100 other people to eat for breakfast.
  • The men’s wave goes first, and the noise will hopefully scare the gators away before the women get into the water.
  • The odds of me being attacked by a gator during a triathlon are slim to none (I don’t think it’s ever happened before in Florida).
  • I have better chance of being hit by a car on my bike ride.
  • I have a better chance of twisting my ankle on the run.
  • It’s all mental. 

 

Just had to get my FEARS out there.  It makes me feel better to type out all the reasons why I shouldn’t be scared. 

 

Do you have a phobia?  What makes you nervous during races?  Would you be scared of the alligators, too?

{ 156 comments }

 

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is March 9, 2010, 8:02 am

    I would be SO FREAKED OUT about a gator! I am scared to death of creepy animals and bugs, and snakes and spiders. And a gator is like all of those rolled into one. Yes, I would be scared!!

  • Runeatrepeat March 9, 2010, 8:06 am

    I’m scared to even run by this swamp area near Ben’s parents house! I think a gator is going to jump out and drag me into the water. But, I’m a sissy la-la, so don’t listen to me.
    A gator did attack their dog once – but he got away! Crazy stuff in Florida!!

  • Errign March 9, 2010, 8:10 am

    I would be scared too! My mom lives in Florida and I rarely swim there :0 You’ve made really good points about the gators being scared away – you’ll be fine Caitlin πŸ™‚

    Your toasted quinoa looks good though πŸ™‚

  • Tonyne @ The Unlikely Success Story March 9, 2010, 8:11 am

    We have alligators here too, on golf courses in the ponds especially and they get pets quite often, so I am used to those stories!

    I would be a little freaked, but keep in mind you’re small, you don’t have much meat on your bones so the gator might pass you right by. πŸ˜‰

    Just keep repeating your reasoning, it’s all sound.

  • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope March 9, 2010, 8:12 am

    that is one of my fears, too, but not just gators. The water in general. I do not really swim in the ocean unless I can hold onto my boyfriend and put my feet over his. I’m scared i’ll shuffle right over a sting ray. It is stupid, but i’m like…ok, i don’t have fins, i was meant to be on land. lol However, in your case, so many people will be swimming and you’re right, they will get scared away. You just have to remind yourself it is in your head, you can do it!

  • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope March 9, 2010, 8:13 am

    But I don’t think you could ever get me into a lake. The gulf of mexico is one thing, but a lake? HA

  • Emmanuelle March 9, 2010, 8:14 am

    Well at least you can swim, I can’t πŸ˜€ I love water, but my biggest fear? Void. And not being able to touch the ground with my feet while being in water is included on the list of “panic-inducing stimuli”. On the same list is not being able to walk on tranparent glass floor and seing what’s beneath it. Strangely enough, I am not scared of the plane, I love it!

    So ok let’s assume I could swim, hell yes I would be freaked about about a gator! But as you pointed out, there will be a lot of people, so good chances that the gators will be the ones to freak out!

    • Caitlin March 9, 2010, 8:17 am

      Do you mean “void” like… space? emptiness? where do you encounter voids?

      • Emmanuelle March 9, 2010, 9:01 am

        Yes I guess emptiness would do, it’s hard to explain (even in my mothertongue – French – I have trouble explaining it). It’s the emptiness beneath my feet really. I can’t walk on surfaces with holes or made of transparent glass, I am afraid of heigths, etc.

        • Rachel March 9, 2010, 11:12 am

          I have a similar issue… although, I call it a “fear of falling.” I don’t like walking over grates in the sidewalk/street, I don’t like walking next to the railing on the second floor of a mall, I don’t like walking on transparent floors… I don’t mind being high up, but if the wall is a full window wall, I won’t stand next to it. But, if there is a balcony with a brick wall instead of a gate/fence type barrier, I can stand next to it and be fine.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 9, 2010, 8:14 am

    I would definitely be scared of gators! And water snakes too! *shivers*

    I’m really excited to try your quinoa recipe since I can’t eat oats right now because of the cleansing diet from my naturopath.

  • Jo March 9, 2010, 8:15 am

    You’re not alone Caitlin, I too would be freaking out big time. However, you have done a fabulous job of rationalising your fears so well done.

    My phobias? Totally bizarre but sponges freak me out. I can’t even bear to touch them. Also flapping birds since I got a pigeon caught in my bubble perm when I was about 16. Yes, I was in public, yes I screamed and felt like a nob. Mortifying πŸ˜€

    • Caitlin March 9, 2010, 8:17 am

      i seriously just LOLed

      • Jo March 9, 2010, 8:53 am

        Haha it was hilarious though even when I think about it now, I feel myself going red!

        I thought I would share the funny story with my readers so thanks for inspiring me Caitling πŸ™‚

    • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope March 9, 2010, 8:21 am

      That is funny about the sponges, I can totally see that. They are nasty. My boyfriend finds it humorous that I do incredibly disgusting things on a daily basis as an ICU nurse, but I cannot look if he wipes down the counters and puts the crumbs into his hands…*shudder* sooooo gross!!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 9, 2010, 8:15 am

    Yeah, growing up in Louisiana, alligators are a real fear that we face here too. Everyone has a story about knowing someone whose dog was snatched by one…or worse.

    Just remember, there are 100 other people, and you’re absolutely right– all that noise is BOUND to scare them away!

  • anne March 9, 2010, 8:16 am

    uh yeah, i would be shitting myself about the gators. you rock! you’re brave and strong and prepared for this!

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans March 9, 2010, 8:16 am

    I have such a crazy fear of snakes. I don’t trail run here alone here in the desert because I am so afraid of coming across a rattlesnake! I think the fact that 100 other people will be swimming and kicking and another few hundred people will be around screaming and cheering and making lots of noise should definitely be good, happy things to focus on!

  • Matt March 9, 2010, 8:17 am

    Lol when I lived in Houston, there was a gator that lived in the pond right behind my house on the golf course. It came right up to our yard sometimes and it was huge!

  • Ashley March 9, 2010, 8:18 am

    I am moving to Florida at the end of the month and the first time I visited my mother was beside herself at the thought of alligators. I didn’t really understand why until I saw this post. πŸ™‚ I’m not sure how my mother, born and raised in western Pennsylvania, knew all about the dangers of Florida gators, though!

  • Carolyn March 9, 2010, 8:18 am

    Don’t let yourself think about it. You’re going to rock this triathlon!

  • megan March 9, 2010, 8:19 am

    i would definitely be freaking out about that! I have so many fears haha…anything that someone could possibly worry about, I tend to be anxious about as well πŸ™‚ I’m trying to get over it and focusing on prayer and my belief that God is in complete control of my life is the way I get past it. but yes, i would be terrified of alligators.

    • Caitlin March 9, 2010, 8:20 am

      good point… if it’s my epic fate to die via gator attack during the triathlon, what will be will be. also, i bet my blog would become hugely popular in my death.

  • Janna (Just Flourishing) March 9, 2010, 8:20 am

    I would honestly be terrified of gators. I don’t even like going swimming in the ocean because I’m scared something will eat me. But that’s allllll me.

    YOU are going to be totally fine! Mostly because of all the reasons you listed. I think you just have to zone out and then just get er done. Maybe the fact that you want to get out of that water asap will help you swim faster πŸ˜‰

  • Megan March 9, 2010, 8:20 am

    Yes, I would be totally freaked out about the alligators.

    I have a total snake phobia and we have tons of them here. It is so bad that I can’t even stand to see one on tv. The park that I frequent to run and walk my dog at has tons of them and at one point last summer I totally turned around and left the park after a cute little girl came running up to me to tell me that she just saw a snake.

  • whitney @ whitinspired March 9, 2010, 8:20 am

    I think your fear is totally normal. I get nervous as well in the ocean, if I go out pretty far. Except I’m worried about sharks, not gators. There have been several shark attacks up and down the coast of NC in shallow water. I have to just tell myself that it’s not likely and I’m not going to let my fear get in the way of doing something I like. You can do this!

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs March 9, 2010, 8:21 am

    I thought you had to soak/boil quinoa before you could eat it? :s
    I have no experience of gators, but I know loads about sharks (both predators of the water!) and all the points you said would apply – they’d definetly be scared off!
    I’m scared of spiders (cliche) and fire :s as in, house fires etc…but then I suppose everyone is scared of that! I also don’t like deep sea water, I hate not being able to the see the bottom πŸ™

    • Caitlin March 9, 2010, 8:22 am

      nope – you just have to rinse the soapiness off.

  • Rachel @ Suburban Yogini March 9, 2010, 8:26 am

    This reminds me of when we lived in Aus and my brother was playing golf with my uncle up in Queensland. His ball went off into some bushes and off he went to retrieve it. Within minutes my bro came scuttling back without the ball deciding to drop a shot instead. Turned out his golf ball was lying right by the head of a very awake CROCODILE!!!!!

    I have an irrational fear of balloons and clowns πŸ™

  • Sara @ ActiveGal March 9, 2010, 8:28 am

    You are going to do GREAT! Once you face your fears and kick butt you will be so proud of yourself! I have a lot of fears: snakes, heights, I would now have to add alligators, and spiders of all kinds. I have never tried to swim in an open water swim, but I hope to one day!

  • Molly @fuelherup March 9, 2010, 8:31 am

    I grew up spending time at our cabin in Missouri, where we go through all kinds of phases. My cousin’s yellow lab was killed by a mountain lion in the middle of the night a few years ago, and now we have trouble with wild hogs bigger than my horses. I come from a hunting family, so they love that the wild hogs are always in season, but I get scared on my runs. I’m not sure, but don’t gators stay in shallow water? I honestly have no idea, just a thought!

    • Caitlin March 9, 2010, 8:42 am

      nope – they are really good swimmers.

  • healthy ashley March 9, 2010, 8:31 am

    Sharks and gators are my fears. Thaaaanks.

    And I’d DEFINITELY rather be hit by a car on my bike than be tossed around by a creature with fangs.

  • Alice March 9, 2010, 8:32 am

    The thought of seeing gators and other things like that just strikes me as completely insane! That may be because I live in England, and the scariest things I’ve ever encountered in lakes is just slimy pond weed and fish – gators just seem huge in comparison to that!

    I’m sure you’ll be fine. It’s by no means an irrational fear, but it does help when you put everything into context like that. I think it’s just the way we perceive control! We don’t mind driving cars everyday, but as soon as we hop on a plane the nerves kick in. Maybe that’s because we’re not in control of the situation, the pilot is, but we drive and ride in cars all the time, so it doesn’t bother us so much – even though cars are more dangerous than planes! Crazy! πŸ˜€

  • healthy ashley March 9, 2010, 8:32 am

    I just realized my comment might only make you more nervous. If so, just keep in mind I’ll be doing an even longer distance!

  • Jen March 9, 2010, 8:33 am

    Reading your explaination of your cultural fears of alligators helps me understand your phobia. We don’t really have anything like that in the Midwest. I think it’s a natural fear, though, to be a afraid of dying in the water. I think it stems from long ago when we were “cavemen”. Water has always represented danger in some form. Just think how awesome you’ll feel when you conquer your fear. The water is your friend. It’s the best part of a triathlon because it doesn’t hurt. Keep repeating that to yourself. I water is my friend. The seaweed is natural and part of Mother Earth. It’s beautiful and it helps feed the natural world. Hope that helps! I’m so excited for you. You are totally going to ROCK this Tri!

    • Caitlin March 9, 2010, 8:43 am

      thank you!

  • Kailey (SnackFace) March 9, 2010, 8:34 am

    OK, I don’t know why, but I think the gator fear is kind of adorable, and I love that you shared this. I am afraid of falling on my face and smashing my teeth out. It haunts me every single day. That and acid wash jeans. And Crocs.

    So, just to clarify, the quinoa isn’t cooked before you toast it? I’ve been dying to try this ever since the first time you posted toasted quinoa, but I’m always like, “well damn, that’d be good if I had cooked quinoa on hand.”

    • Caitlin March 9, 2010, 8:43 am

      nope – you just need to rinse it off first because there’s a soapy layer on quinoa naturally.

      omg the first part of your comment made me spit out my coffee in laughter.

  • Lori (Finding Radiance) March 9, 2010, 8:36 am

    You’ll be fine. The course volunteers will be all over the lake before and during the swim, so you will feel very safe. Their job is *your* safety so you can concentrate on swimming. πŸ˜€

    When I did my tri – the pondweed was something I wasn’t expecting ….ewwww… so just be ready for that. Hopefully you will be in a later heat so all the other swimmers will have cleared the way LOL!

  • Erica March 9, 2010, 8:38 am

    The toasted quinoa looks awesome! I’m totally trying that!!! We have gators all around our house as well too! I think with all those people they will be wayyy too scared to come near you! Just kick real hard πŸ˜‰

  • Kiersten March 9, 2010, 8:38 am

    If I lived in Florida I think I’d be afraid to go near a lake. My cousin lives in Florida and he has gators in his yard all the time. Yikes! Don’t worry about the race though, I am sure if the water was that unsafe they wouldn’t hold the race there. And like you said, there will be lots of other people there, so any gators would probably get scared away!

  • Marissa March 9, 2010, 8:38 am

    i am scared of them and i don’t live in fl!

  • Christie @ Honoring Health March 9, 2010, 8:41 am

    Heck yeah I would be scared but I think your thought process is very rational and realistic. You are going to rock it!

  • Nicole March 9, 2010, 8:41 am

    I’d probably be afraid of gators, too! I don’t have to worry about that at the moment, though. I have some really weird fears. I’m totally afraid of needles, and it’s so inconvenient. I know lots of people don’t like them, but I just can’t do it πŸ™ I went to therapy for it, actually. They made me watch videos of people getting their blood drawn, ughhhhh. I can, however, get tattoos without a problem! That’s what makes my fear irrational. Tattoos hurt so much more than needles.

  • kk March 9, 2010, 8:42 am

    i have one major weird phobia-umbrellas! i get freaked out when its raining and walking past someone with one because all I can imagine is it poking my eyes out- strange I know!

  • Stacey March 9, 2010, 8:42 am

    Haha. It IS very exotic to me to see alligators in your pics!! I would be FREAKING out. I think the most wild thing I’ve ever seen on a run is a fox, but it scurried into the woods. One time I saw cows that out of fence, but I wasn’t too scared πŸ˜€ The only “phobia” I have is running on an unpaved road…it’s scary and dangerous with all the cars and what-not.
    I think you’ll be fine on your swim! I can understand you being nervous about it though…

  • Caitlin @ Right Foot Forward March 9, 2010, 8:43 am

    I think it is completely understandable for you to be afraid of them! However, under these circumstances, you are right – the chances of anything happening are very low. It is definitely all mental. Just concentrate on all of the preparation that you HAVE done, rather than focusing on the one thing that you haven’t done yet. Think of the swim as your opportunity to show those gators you’re the boss! πŸ™‚

  • Kelly March 9, 2010, 8:43 am

    I was definitely scared of the open water swim in my triathlon, even without gators to worry about so I don’t blame you. However, I think the #1 thing to think about is all the other people around. In fact I’d be more scared to do the practice run than the actual triathlon haha

  • Nikky March 9, 2010, 8:44 am

    I’ve never lived anywhere but Michigan, so I’ve never had to worry about gators, but I basically blame them for every other phobia in my life. As a kid, every single night I had dreams that crocodiles and alligators lived under my bed. They’d chase me and bite my legs off when I was sitting on the bed in my dreams. Eventually they got so bad they had to put me on sedatives. I’m 21 and I’ve never once slept alone in the dark. I can’t even sit alone in the dark for more than a minute or two.

    Yep. But I love reptiles now, I think they’re fascinating. Go figure I can’t sleep alone or watch horror films (at all, but I do anyway and don’t sleep for a week, haha) but my former tormentors don’t scare me at all. Of course, around here they live in zoos. πŸ™‚

  • Jessica March 9, 2010, 8:49 am

    I had no idea you could toast quinoa. I love the nutty flavour it has, and with some sweetness at breakfast, I bet it’s glorious!

  • LindsayRuns March 9, 2010, 8:54 am

    My race fears are all about failing to preform like I did in my training. But hubby talks of moving to Fl post military and your arguement is convincing… No fresh water for me! I’m not afraid of the ocean. I can swim in the waves knowing full well that a shark or other ocean beast could be feet away from me. I’m not saying I’m not jumpy if I get brushed by a fish, but I’m generally not fearful. Scuba diving taught me that!

  • Julie March 9, 2010, 8:57 am

    Please please go get in the water!!!! Try your wetsuit and just get used to it! I would hate to see you panic again when it can be avoidable! I’m wishing you tons of success! Even though you don’t need it you will do great!

  • Penny March 9, 2010, 8:59 am

    I have commented on your blog before about how freaky I think it is to live near gators.
    You are COMPLETELY justified in your fear!!!

    As for my other phobias and fears: snakes and deep water!! I can’t swim because I always freak out when the water covers my head. And snakes…….ugh. My fear of snakes is almost paralyzing.

  • Heather March 9, 2010, 9:03 am

    I JUST watched a show sunday on animal planet claled maneaters and one of the episodes was on gators and that story about that teen boy getting his arm bit off was one of the stories! So scary!

  • Kara M. March 9, 2010, 9:05 am

    That breakfast looks yummy!

    Florida is crazy with all the alligators…saw one get hit by a car right down the street from my apartment!

  • Neely March 9, 2010, 9:08 am

    Caitlin! Do I need to get my 7th generation Florida Cracker boyfriend on here to tell you how gators ain’t no big thing?! I am the biggest weenie there is and I still swim in lakes around here. Now AMOEBA… that is another story. That you should be afraid of. πŸ˜‰

    I have a fear of commitment.

    • Caitlin March 9, 2010, 9:10 am

      amoeba melt your brain!

  • Jordan March 9, 2010, 9:09 am

    I’m starting to have anxiety just reading this. Hell yes I would be scared of gators. We talk about moving down there and instantly worry about letting out cats outside for fear of them being eaten by gators. I’d say just concentrate on swimming as fast as possible so you aren’t the last one out there as lonely gator bait. πŸ™‚

    My phobias are mostly snakes (oh the dreams I have…) and tornadoes.

  • Sammi March 9, 2010, 9:10 am

    I’m sure any possible alligators living in that area will be more scared of all the swimmers than you should be of the alligators. Just try not to think about it during your race! I’m always surprised when you aren’t scared of the alligators you see on your bike rides. I’d be terrified! My aunt has a lake in her backyard and there was an alligator living in there for a long time but they think it must have died. It was so weird having to check for the alligator when letting her dogs out!

  • Nutritious Foodie March 9, 2010, 9:19 am

    I hear you on that! I dislike swimming in the lakes because of the unknown… my husband’s co-worker used to kayak to work on a bayou until one day he was chased by a gator.. he now bikes to work.. lol

  • Michele March 9, 2010, 9:19 am

    Of course I’d be afraid of the gators. Anyone would be foolish not to be. It’s probably best that you didn’t do an open water practice swim. It would have been less safe due to fewer people in the water. The event should be fine — gators will stay away from so many people. Sometimes, caution is best. And best of luck in your upcoming event!!

  • Kelly March 9, 2010, 9:22 am

    Yeah, that would terrify me also. I actually always think about this when you Florida girls talk about your tris. I don’t like lakes anyway because of snakes, but through gators into the mix and you can really count me out. You’ll be great though! Good luck!

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner March 9, 2010, 9:23 am

    Actually I am more scared of cars when biking! That really freaks me out πŸ™ I don’t think you have to worry about Gators with all those other people around. In fact, I think you are going to be AWESOME!!!

  • Raya March 9, 2010, 9:24 am

    Being buried alive is my biggest fear. Or drowning. Anything where you can’t get enough air. And I grew up in upstate NY where all the lakes are swimmable and no one worries about gators. When I moved to FL I was in for a shock! My family and I do go boating/waterskiing/tubing on the Winter Park chain of lakes and have never seen a gator. We figure the rich people pay to keep the gators out. LOL

  • Lauren @ A Fit Foodie March 9, 2010, 9:26 am

    I am terrified of birds and needles. As a RN, I can stick people all day and actually love it because I pride myself in only having to stick once usually. But if you turn that needle towards me then I’m out the door. I’m a horrible patient, I know. Birds make me want to pee myself. I can’t be around them at all. I was flogged by a goose when I was in 4th grade and haven’t been the same since. Especially since my mom made me watch the movie “The Birds” a few years later.

    My fear during races would I guess have to be birds. Haha. But I would be nervous about the alligators too! But you are conquering a fear and that is awesome!!!

  • Andrea (canyoustayfordinner.com) March 9, 2010, 9:26 am

    I would be scared too, but I’m also the person who freaks myself out in the deep end of a pool, so ….
    But really, I think you’ll be absolutely fine. The number of people in the water at one time ensures that you’ll always be surrounded by others. Also, I don’t think the race officials would let anyone go into waters that weren’t clear.
    I have a fear of bugs. I’m such a baby about them.

  • Courtney March 9, 2010, 9:26 am

    My advice is to learn how to swim even faster so you can get away from the gators!!!!!!! :>
    Being eaten alive is my fear…not how I want to go. Don’t want to be eaten by a shark, alligator, bear, etc etc. NO THANKS!
    Courtney
    adventures in tri-ing
    (maybe should be adventures in not being eaten)

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly March 9, 2010, 9:29 am

    I would totally be freaked out!! But there are safety in numbers and like you said…there will be 100 other people with you!! πŸ™‚

  • Britt @ Runnerbelle March 9, 2010, 9:31 am

    I a total worry wart, so I’d be right there with you. One of the things I’m thankful for about living in New England is there are a lot less animals that can hurt you….. When I was in college down south my class had to go camping, we saw a black widow while collecting firewood, I was SO FREAKED OUT! Also I was told there were water moccasins near by too…. fabulous.

    But definitely keep reminding yourself, the men go first and then you’ll be swimming with all those other people. The gators will be LONG gone if they even were around in the first place. Hang in there!

  • Ciorsdah March 9, 2010, 9:32 am

    I’m terrified of Bananas….. seriously. I watched that movie archanphobia when I was little and all I remember is the spider crawling out from behind bananas and ever since then I’l leat bananas but wont touch them in the skin. I have to get someone else to peel the banana for me.

    I’m a freak!

    I also dont like swimming in the open water, for the very same reason. But also because I’m not keen on fish either… they all look a bit scary and don’t like the idea of my foot touching one. I went windsurfing in Egypt last year and freaked out when I ended up in open water!

    Ciorsdah

  • Wendy March 9, 2010, 9:39 am

    I am jealous of your pumpkin! I tried to buy some at my grocery store here in the midwest yesterday, and they can’t get it! So sad. πŸ™ That quinoa looks really good, though. I have a bag and I wasn’t sure how to use it. Toasted sounds yummy!

    Growing up around cattle, we had the fear of bulls instilled in us at an early age. They can be MEAN! The gators would scare the bejesus out of me, too, but all your points about why you shouldn’t be worried about them during your triathlon swim are valid! What if, during your swim, you tried replacing thoughts of gators with something else, liek thoughts of your husband, puppies, etc.? Maybe that would help you to not psyche yourself out. You are going ROCK your tri!!!

    My phobia is really random and weird – nursing homes. Last time I was in one, I almost had an anxiety attack.

  • Courtney March 9, 2010, 9:41 am

    I grew up in Central Florida right on a big river that we swam in all the time (that and the ocean) but the river has both gators and sharks because it is brackish. It probably isn’t the most ideal swimming place, but you will still see tons of people there swimming and playing in the water. Anyway, at least it isn’t gator mating season yet. I went to Gatorland once during mating season and they get down right scary! You will be fine, stop googling scary water creatures! Oh and just to add my biggest fear – worms. It is slightly humiliating to say that, but anything worm like makes me want to cry. Snakes don’t bother me, but worms I can’t handle at all. So at least you are worried about something that can actually, you know, bite you.

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels March 9, 2010, 9:42 am

    Looks like you’ve done a great job of thinking through all the reasons why your fears will not happen!

  • Shayna @ Cuts and Curves March 9, 2010, 9:46 am

    I made a similar quinoa granola. I didn’t love the way mine turned out, your looks so much better! I’m gonna have to give yours a try.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 9, 2010, 9:47 am

    Ok so that is pretty insane that you had to grow up worrying about gators!!! I know that driving through FL you see gators all the time and it freaked me out, I can’t imagine actually getting IN the water after living there. But you are right, you will be FINE!!! I mean… if a gator was going to eat someone, chances are he won’t pick you. haha

    Love the toasted quinoa.. I will have to try that!

  • Morgan March 9, 2010, 9:51 am

    You’ll be FINE, but I understand where the fear comes from! I’ve been a swimmer my whole life and I am scared of open water. I am afraid of the fish touching me, they creep me out! I can’t imagine worrying about alligators, but I really think you don’t have to worry!

  • Kristi March 9, 2010, 9:55 am

    Okay, so I do not live in Flordia-but gators would scare the crap out of me! I have a huge fear of swiming in water that I cannot see the bottom of. I am not sure where this fear came from but I am terrified of deep water when I have no clue what’s on the bottom….. As for you though, I think you will be fine like you said there are 100 other people out there and the men go first. You are going to rock the race!

  • Lindsay Perrone (goodiesgalore) March 9, 2010, 9:56 am

    Your fears are legit but so are your rationalities. If the men weren’t going first and there weren’t 100 other women to eat, I’d say you’re toast. You’ll come out of that water with all limbs intact!

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) March 9, 2010, 9:59 am

    I can totally see why you’d be scared. Living in IL, I know NOTHING about swamps/marsh etc. I completely understand why you’re scared.
    But like you said, you’ll be swimming with hundreds of others! In a safe area. Think of how warrior like you’ll feel afterward πŸ˜€

  • Jess March 9, 2010, 10:05 am

    I have strange phobias: throwing up and caterpillars! Caterpillars make me run REALLY fast though when I see them!

    I used to have a fear of flying long distances…I just did it last week and it was the BEST thing to ever overcome!! I hope you find the same thing with the swimming!!

  • Alison March 9, 2010, 10:06 am

    that is horrifying. you florida girls are fierce! that’d be a great story if you did encounter an alligator. it will be a nice alligator, i’m sure! i don’t really have a race phobia. i just get really anxious before the race. love the quinoa idea–so inventive!

  • devon March 9, 2010, 10:11 am

    I feel like I could’ve written the parts about open water swims and alligators. I am terrified of snakes and gators, and open water swims sound like torture to me. I don’t even like swimming in the ocean that much. It really is mental though.

    Just remember that the noise will probably scare anything off!

  • Kathleen March 9, 2010, 10:12 am

    Hun, I would be nervous, too, but the reasons not to be scared are valid, legitimate, relevant and something to keep saying to yourself! Maybe it will help seeing the men swim and not get eaten by the gators!!! U are gonna rock the swim!

    I happen to be terrified of heights, needles, clowns and germs so at least your fear is something rational! πŸ™‚

  • Emily March 9, 2010, 10:15 am

    Think of it this way – the faster you swim, the faster you will be out of the water! You’ll get a good time AND decrease you’re time spent with the gators. πŸ™‚

    My biggest fear is needles. I am a FREAK. When I got my wisdom teeth out, I had to take 4 Valium pills just so they could give me the IV. Even then, I was flipping out and I made them give me laughing gas as well. Also didn’t work. Finally I said just do it, and subsequently the nurse said “I’m not your mother but I’ll hold you anyway!” and squished my face into her boobs. The last thing I remember is saying to the dentist “Don’t hurt me okayyyyyy”…very slurred.

    Also this year in my genetics class my professor mentioned how we were going to take blood samples from our finger for the lab we were doing. Before he got a chance to say it was voluntary, I started shaking, sweating buckets, and holding back years in the middle of my [college!] class. How am I ever going to give birth?!?!

    • caitlin March 9, 2010, 12:17 pm

      hahahah i’m sorry but the story about the nurse is pretty funny.

  • Emily March 9, 2010, 10:16 am

    WOW I apologize for that long long comment.

  • skinnyrunner March 9, 2010, 10:18 am

    i could not do that. the whole alligator thing would leave me quivering on dry land. i like my arms. both of them.

  • Shellybean March 9, 2010, 10:21 am

    I don’t like murky water…of course I’m from Mississippi and while we have gators, we are generally warned about poisonous snakes (in and out of the water) so I am pretty fearful of snakes.
    I also hate spiders. I’m kind of scared of airplanes but I’ve really improved in terms of flying and my level of anxiety. I used to take meds before I flew, but over Christmas, I flew to Europe and back with no medication. My secret was having my meds with me as a “security blanket” and stocking up on some books I’d been dying to read. I got pretty anxious on the way back for about 30 minutes, but I got through it!
    I’m also randomly afraid that I have cancer or am about to have a stroke and don’t know it. Again, I am much better than I used to be at putting these thoughts out of my mind.
    I’m kicking my anxiety disorder in the butt! Haha!

  • lauren (athlEAT) March 9, 2010, 10:22 am

    I just tried quinoa for the first time last night – your toasted pumpkin variety sounds awesome. I will have to try that. Swimming stresses me out enough that I am not sure I could handle the thought of alligators.

  • Paige March 9, 2010, 10:22 am

    I would not worry about the alligators at all! But I HIGHLY suggest that you do hang out at the lake before the race and get used to the murkiness of the water. It is a whole different ballgame than swimming in the pool. There are no lines to keep you going straight, and it is difficult to keep “on the straight and narrow.” It is easy to get disoriented. If you can just get out there and do a short test run, that would be great!

  • Tracie @hollafoodzone March 9, 2010, 10:27 am

    Regarding the quinoa – it does look good, but when you say “crunchy” do you mean like cereal crunchy or soft pebble crunchy – because I am thinking it would be more along the lines of wheat berry crunchy. Does baking it really soften it up enough?
    Regarding the gators – I think all of your reasons for NOT fearing them are good ones. You can do it!

    • caitlin March 9, 2010, 12:18 pm

      ive never wheat berries but the quinoa is soft crunchy – not like hard little rocks.

  • Nicci@NiftyEats March 9, 2010, 10:30 am

    I think I would be scared of gators too. I lived in Pensacola before, so I never really saw any.

  • Michelle @ G(Y)G March 9, 2010, 10:32 am

    the maple toasted quinoa is blowing my mind πŸ™‚

  • Amber March 9, 2010, 10:32 am

    OK, you have absolutely every reason to be freaked out. Just reading this post made ME really freaked out. I LOVE swimming and going to the lake but I’ve always been a little freaked out by murky water (even though, let’s be serious I live in Canada there’s nothing even remotely close to gators up here) but the idea of ANYTHING coming up underneath me when I’m swimming really, really freaks me out.

    Good for you for facing your fears! You’ll do awesome!

  • Bronwyn March 9, 2010, 10:32 am

    That’s the best fear ever. It’s so cool how different countries/regions/areas have different animals they have to fear. And how exotic it seems to all us others.
    The crowds of people always make me nervous…
    But I’d totally be a little scared of alligators. But it’d be the least of my fears in a group of people.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) March 9, 2010, 10:36 am

    oh, i would be terrified of that too! i didn’t realize that was your fear in the first tri…totally understandable! but you’re right: it’s all mental, and it is so unlikely that a gator is going to pick you out of a group of 100 people to eat. you’re going to rock this tri!

  • Jenn @ Livewellfit March 9, 2010, 10:42 am

    My phobia? Sharks…definitely sharks.

    Here’s the thing with the races: what you said is exactly true! There will be so many of you that no matter how the gator feels, he won’t stay close to a hundred swimmers. πŸ™‚

    It’s very easy to find yourself panicking when you start to think about the what if’s and the fears. In order to prevent my anxiety from rising, I play mind games. Whether it’s immediately stopping my thoughts and replacing them with others or coming up with things to focus on. What do you want to be thinking about in that water? Make a plan so you know what to turn your thoughts to!

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople March 9, 2010, 10:42 am

    I’m from oregon, so I don’t ever think about “gators” but I do fear snake bites. Snakes are fine, if they are caged. But out in the open? no thanks!

    The quinoa looks FANTASTIC! I can’t wait to try it. Is the quinoa fresh from a box/bulk section before it goes in the oven? Or is it precooked?

    • caitlin March 9, 2010, 12:18 pm

      its raw and from the bulk section. you do not precook it.

  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness March 9, 2010, 10:48 am

    As a Florida girl, I kno wwhat you mean. We have a big canal in our back yard and there are a couple of friendly neighborhood gators that live there. πŸ˜‰ We see people jet skiing and even small boats with water skiers in it. We cringe, thinking that they might fall off their skis right next to one of the gators.
    BUT for your race, it’s all mental. You will not be eaten by alligators!!!! πŸ™‚ DEFINITELY not during the TRI. There will be so many people jumping and splashing into the lake that if any gators are present, they will be scared away. The race might also do a sweep the day before and the morning of the tri in a boat, just to make sure.
    I would just be careful if you decide to practice in open water. If you are one person going into a lake, the gators are much less likely to be scared away. So perhaps check with the Tri or local websites about local “safe” lakes to practice your open water swim. I know that there are some bodies of water that do NOT have gators because there is no way for the gators to get there. The canal that I live on goes from the intracoastal to the everglades, so it makes sense. But certain lakes don’t cater to gators (haha it rhymes!) because they have no entry point or exit point.

  • Laura H. March 9, 2010, 10:49 am

    In college I dated a guy who grew up in Florida and he said that his parents made him practice running in a zig zag pattern so he could get away from a gator if one starting chasing (makes it harder for the gator to get you apparently). I still chuckle when I picture a kid doing running drills in the backyard. πŸ™‚

    • caitlin March 9, 2010, 12:19 pm

      haha that is an urban legend!!!!!!!

      • Laura H. March 9, 2010, 12:28 pm

        Oh man! Maybe he was pulling my leg… I’m quite gullible! haha

  • Rachel- No Preservatives Added March 9, 2010, 10:52 am

    Wow- no alligators where I come from. The thought didn’t even cross my mind until now! If I were you, I would be super super scared as well. For me, my issue is bears. Whenever I go hiking, I am terrified, and backpacking in the Smoky Mountains National Park caused a terrible panic attack that I would get eaten.

    You’ll be fine though. It really is all mental.Just keep reminding yourself of those points you just made! good luck! :-/

  • Amy March 9, 2010, 10:54 am

    Do you have the opportunity to get in your wetsuit and feel out the open water? I did that before my first race and it helped. Don’t swim if you don’t want to risk hurting your arm, just tread.

    Also, will you be starting the race in the water (treading beforehand) or will you need to run into the water? You might want to practice transitioning from standing/running to swimming!

    • caitlin March 9, 2010, 12:19 pm

      i’ve worn my wetsuit in the pool and it’s a running start… is that good?

      • Amy March 9, 2010, 12:28 pm

        Running starts are fine, but you’ll probably want to splash some water on you right before the start … so it won’t feel so cold when you run in! Make sure your goggles/cap are ready before you start, too.

        The strangest difference between pool swimming and open water swimming (for me) is the murkiness (?) of the water. I find it helps to focus on the buoys. Let the crazy fast people rush ahead and stay where you’re comfortable!

  • Jacquie March 9, 2010, 11:02 am

    I don’t think it’s wrong for you to freak out. I was born in Florida and was taught the same thing. The house we lived in before we moved up to Maryland was on a lake and we’d have to call “the alligator guy” so he could get it and make sure it wouldn’t harm my dog or me, for that matter, since I was only 8 at the time.
    I used to have a phobia in deep pools about sharks or water moccasins coming out of the drains. Yes it was crazy, but it is in your head and you’re riht, you’re going to be with a lot of other people so no to fret!!! You’ll be fine πŸ™‚

  • Mary (Food Fit & Fun) March 9, 2010, 11:07 am

    Wow that toasted Quinoa sound really good!! I need to give it a try! I would be freaked out as well about the gators. BUT I know you can overcome this mental block! There will be 100’s of people there… you are going to be fine my dear!! haha You are going to kick butt so don’t worry at all about the gators. I would be worried for you if you were swimming alone in a lake with no one else. You’ll be fine!! =]

  • ari March 9, 2010, 11:09 am

    hahah, i was born and raised in south florida and i’m more afraid of sharks than gators! probably because i grew up by the ocean, not inland where there are gators.
    you’ll be fine!!!!

  • Kate March 9, 2010, 11:16 am

    I consider myself a pretty good swimmer. I swam on a swim team for 7 years. But I get totally freaked out by swimming in open water and I generally don’t have to worry about gators. I used to work down at Everglades so I have had some experience with gators and you are absolutely right. They will want nothing to do with all of that commotion and noise. If the people setting up for the race don’t scare them off, then the men definitely will. Mental obstacles are the hardest to overcome but I know you can do it! Start thinking of a calming image you can put in your head if you start to panic, or just focus on the feet ahead of you.

  • Kat March 9, 2010, 11:17 am

    Caitlin,
    You should totally read about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I love it- its helped me a lot to work on my fears. And it seems that, without even knowing about it, thats the approach you take! It is all about coming up with rational responses to irrational thoughts- so good for anxiety and panic. Keep saying them to yourself in the water and you will be fine. Answer the crazy thoughts with the sane ones!
    xoo

  • Joanne March 9, 2010, 11:31 am

    How interesting. I thought you were apprehensive about the swimming leg of the tri because you weren’t a strong swimmer. I’m surprised to hear its about the gators.

    Since I haven’t spent a lot of time in areas where the gator is a common occurance (only on vacations), they aren’t a threat to me. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?

    My phobia when competeing? 1. There won’t be a bathroom facility when I need one (no joke..that has prevented me from entering a lot of races) and 2. That I will be last.

  • Beki March 9, 2010, 11:34 am

    I am Terified of gators and roaches, i know that it is crazy to be scared of a roach but i have been my whole life. I have nightmares about gators, but i always went swimming in the lake anyway. I used to water ski and tube, but then one day we were swimming around the dock and when we got out this gator came swimming out from under the doc. It never bothered us, but i have only gotten in the lake a few times since then (almost 10 yrs ago) and you can bet i am not the first in the water. But i Have gotten better about it in the past year and will swim at the sandbar if other people are out there too and I do still swim in some ponds, springs and creeks but the water is cleaner and not as murky so i am not as scared. I live in South Ga so gators are pretty common here too. I understand where your fear is coming from, But i Am positive you will be fine with other people with you. Its not like its 3 or 4 people swimming, its going to be hundreds so you will be fine! I believe in you! I know you can do it!

  • Vee March 9, 2010, 11:36 am

    Oh, I was wondering why you did not swim in open water before. Now I totally understand. I come from mainland continental Europe and we don’t have anything nasty in our waters and I literally grew up in those lakes (I am a water baby). Shame, I think I would freak out too. I have a phobia of sharks and whenever I go to the sea, I am scared I could get attacked (I surf).
    I’m sure you will be fine, these races tend to be well organized and as you mentioned, there will be a lot of noise involved and any ‘normal gaitor’ will no better than to hang around. You will do great!

  • Nicole, RD March 9, 2010, 11:37 am

    HECK YES I WOULD BE SCARED!!! It makes me squirm just reading about it! I couldn’t get into waters that could be housing a gator! You’re one brave chick!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) March 9, 2010, 11:42 am

    I’m terrified of spiders because I got bit by a poisonous one as a kid. I jump on furniture to get away from them and scream like a banshee.

  • Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle March 9, 2010, 11:45 am

    I would definitely be scared of gators tooo! All your reasons that they would probably be scared away are really legit though, just keep thinking positive thoughts. One of the tris I did was in a gross river and I was terrified of accidentally swallowing the nasty polluted water.

  • Colleen March 9, 2010, 11:45 am

    I am scared to death of onions, if I bite into one and it crunches I feel all hot and clammy and like I’m about to pass out. *SHUDDERS*

    • Faith @ LovelyasCharged March 9, 2010, 11:49 am

      I’m the same way with mayo. If I can taste it in something, I totally revulse!

  • Michelle March 9, 2010, 11:46 am

    Hi there!! I would love to make your quinoa cereal recipe this afternoon, but i was wondering, do i have to cook the quinoa first in water to let it come to full size? Thank you!!!

    • caitlin March 9, 2010, 12:20 pm

      nope, quinoa is raw – straight out of the box.

  • Faith @ LovelyasCharged March 9, 2010, 11:48 am

    Hahaha! As a kid growing up in Florida, my family ALWAYS harped on my for sneaking into the lake behind our house! Agreed on the always assume there’s a gator rule πŸ˜‰ One run I was taking this summer, I was just zoning out and chugging along, I look up, and BAM. Gator. Just chilling a couple yards away. I wheeled around and high-tailed it outta there – I think that was the fastest I’ve ever run before in my life! Maybe that’s exactly the kick in the pants I need every day I go train!

  • Julie March 9, 2010, 11:48 am

    My biggest fear is car accidents. I’m afriad of being hit, hitting someone, or hitting a pedestrian. Years ago when I first got my license I was driving down a main road and some kid that was dibbling a ball lost the control of it and it went right in front of my car. Insticivly the kid runs out to get it THEN decides to look. I hit my breaks so damn hard and basically had a heart attack…I fear it will happen again. Luckily this fear is not dibilitating and I can drive, but I get anxious on busy higways.

  • Jessica March 9, 2010, 11:51 am

    As soon as I read this post, I went straight to my kitchen. Tripled the recipe so that there would be leftovers, then scooped myself a bowl – topped it up with coconut, raisins and walnuts and a big pour of vanilla soymilk. So good, I love it!

  • Steph March 9, 2010, 12:15 pm

    Living in Florida I know exactly what you mean. I used to surf (attempt really) and whenever we were in the water we would count how may other surfers were there and say what our odds were if a we saw a shark. If it was just two of us it wasn’t good but even if there were only 10 other surfers our odds were only 10% that we would get eaten. It sounds crazy but it helped ease my mind… especially when there were lots of other surfers! With 100 other people your odds are only 1%! Does that help? Or did I freak you out some more?!?!?! πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie March 9, 2010, 12:19 pm

    I was totally raised on the same motto of “Don’t go near that water there are Tons of Gators in there!”

    I was rolling on the floor reading your lists of thoughts about the improbability of a Gator attack, especially the part where if a Gator does try to eat someone, there are 100s of others to go after.

    I think its so smart to discuss your fears like this honetly and openly, it certainly makes you less nervous to talk it out.

    You will do GREAT this weekend, and when all else fails- swim in the middle of the pack, Gators will likely go for the outsiders πŸ™‚

  • Maddie March 9, 2010, 12:25 pm

    More of a question than a comment – and perhaps a silly one at that!!

    For the toasted quinoa, do you cook the quinoa first in water (bring to a boil process), or do you toast it from it’s original form just after rinsing?

    • caitlin March 9, 2010, 12:26 pm

      nope, toast in original form after rinsing. πŸ™‚

  • Ellen March 9, 2010, 12:25 pm

    Toasted quinoa, mmm! Once again you thought to make something I never would have myself! I’m abnormally freaked out my mice. I had one chillin’ in my apartment last winter for about a week and I just COULD.NOT.DEAL.

    http://www.firednfabulous.blogspot.com/

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething March 9, 2010, 12:38 pm

    holy cow i would be sooooooo scared! i have never lived somewhere where i would be near gators-eek!
    ocassionally i worry about mt. lions and bears here…….do not like to trail run alone.
    you will be fine though! promise….:)

  • Alison March 9, 2010, 12:41 pm

    Gah, I totally know how you feel. I grew up in Florida and I’m more afraid of snakes than gators; mostly because I kept a safe distance from any water other than the pool. We’re visiting my parents in FL this summer and as I think about early morning runs on the trail by their house, the only thing I can think about is a snake encounter. Shiver.
    That toasted quinoa looks amazing. I’m definitely going to give that a try.

  • Catherine March 9, 2010, 12:43 pm

    Completely terrified of spideys, ah I seriously even hate typing the word because now I’m thinking aboutt hem and ah ok. I also have an odd fear of sharks, and even think about them when swimming in lakes when I can’t see the bottom even though that is so crazy, but when a piece of grass brushes my foot or something in a lake even I FREAK.

  • eatingRD March 9, 2010, 12:55 pm

    That looks so good and inventive! Yum! going to have to try that πŸ™‚ I get so freaked out about swimming in murky water not knowing what’s underneath me, eek! You are going to do it and be totally fine!! I think the best thing to do is actually practice out there like you are and just imagine you’re in a nice clean, gator free pool the day of the race πŸ™‚

  • Gracie @ Girl Meets Health March 9, 2010, 1:00 pm

    Gahhhh :X Not gonna lie…I’d be peeing my pants quite literally if I had to get into a lake in Florida. But you’re exactly right, the odds of you getting bitten are seriously slim to none. Just use it as motivation to swim faster πŸ˜€

    “If a gator does attack someone, there are 100 other people to eat for breakfast.” <—- bahaha, so true!! That reminds me of how my mom used to always tell me as a kid not to be the furthest one out in the ocean so that someone else would get attacked before me πŸ˜›

  • Kate March 9, 2010, 1:02 pm

    Oooh, I would probably be really scared of gators (and snakes)! Here I was raised to be watchful of bears–make noise on trails, no sudden movements, don’t make eye contact, and back away slowly. I wouldn’t know what to do the second I saw a gator. (Though I’m smart enough not to go swimming in odd bodies of water late at night.)

  • Keva March 9, 2010, 1:38 pm

    Thanks so much for the quinoa idea! I’ve got reactive hypoglycemia and most cereals set it off. I’m excited to try this, I’ve missed granola so much. One can only eat so many scrambled eggs for breakfast!

  • La March 9, 2010, 1:41 pm

    Heck yeah I’d be scared of alligators! Whenever I visited my grandparents in Florida I woulld always have nightmares that aligators would crawl out of the stream and eat me!

    My fear is falling into the subway tracks. Cultural, for certain.

    And thanks for the quinoa idea! I love quinoa and have been looking for new ways to use it.

  • Abby March 9, 2010, 1:42 pm

    I have a 12-hour adventure race in and around the South Carolina swamps in a week and a half, and I’m TERRIFIED at the prospect of alligators (I’ve been doing a ton of research on what to do if you encounter one – not something I have to worry about in Philadelphia!)…

    But like you, I’m intent on conquering it- and we’ll both come out on the other end, stronger for having jumped in.

  • Amanda @ Cakes and Ale March 9, 2010, 1:53 pm

    My middle name is Claire! Glad to hear you like it!

  • Jalita March 9, 2010, 2:18 pm

    I guess the gators are like deer in Ohio. Around here you are more likely to see deer. I have a phobia of throwing up (emetophobia) and several other things. I was thinking that when you’re doing the swim int he lake, there will be TONS of other ppl in the water and the gators will most likely be somewhere in calm waters.

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) March 9, 2010, 3:03 pm

    I am a bit scared of heights, and HIGHLY emetophic (fear of vomiting; luckily I have an iron stomach)… but I have learned to deal with my fears. I think you just have to DO IT and get over your fears! You can do it!

    xo
    K

  • Heidi March 9, 2010, 4:03 pm

    Those pictures alone freak me out. Though my biggest fear is snakes, particularly poisonous ones. With the combo of these types of animals in Florida, I’ve long ago determined that I will probably never go there.

    We’re seriously considering moving to an area that is well known for having rattlesnakes and it’s the number one thing that scares me about this move. But I’m trying to be realistic.

    The realistic side of me says that you shouldn’t have this fear for your race. With all those people the chances of a gator hanging out has got to be EXTREMELY rare, beyond extreme. But … I completely understand your fear and I’d feel the same way, if not worse.

  • LadyLara March 9, 2010, 4:22 pm

    I totally hear you on the gators. When I lived in Orlando I’d always go swimming out at Lucky’s lake (I assume you know about him?)… halfway across the lake I’d get tired and totally delirious and start to think I saw dark shapes in the water. It was TERRIFYING! During a race I am sure you will be fine, they’ll be terrified of all that splashing for sure!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) March 9, 2010, 5:37 pm

    I can’t even imagine having to worry about that!! In Saskatchewan the most dangerous thing about our lakes are the leaches … and even then, it is extremely rare to get one on you. I scuba dive, and am constantly thinking about sharks etc. even though there has never been a known case of a shark attacking a scuba diver. They attack people on the top of the water, not down under it.

    I would be afraid like you are about the gators, even though there is nothing to be afraid of – you are right … they will be all scared away. I don’t know about doing a practice swim though … because then you will be all alone, won’t you??

    YOU CAN DO IT! Think, mind over matter. You will be so proud of yourself when you complete the tri!!

  • Niki F March 9, 2010, 6:09 pm

    Ya, I’ll admit, the gator situation sounds a bit freaky to me. I live where there are no such creatures (West Coast of Canada) and I still get nervous about swimming with ANY kind of animals!

    That being said :), YOU CAN DO IT! You are there with lots of others, and the gators will be scared away. Mind over matter! Get in there and kick some butt!!!

    And on to the quinoa. The recipe sounds amazing! And I’ve always loved the toasty, crunchy bits of quinoa I find on the outside of the pot when cooking it. So I KNOW I would love this! And I’m already addicted to your pumpkin yogurt, so I know you have good taste! πŸ˜‰

    Can’t wait to try it!!

  • Chelsea March 9, 2010, 7:43 pm

    oh my goodness, I love your blog. But! I must tell you something! Please try to do an open water swim before your tri. Just 10 minutes in the water, no need to tire yourself out. I’m a great swimmer in the pool but freaked out the first time I swam in open water. It’s an entirely different experience and you really need to practice to get over that initial panicked feeling and not being able to see where you are going/swimming in a straight line/being able to “site” while swimming (where you put your head up while swimming to orient and direct yourself). Can you find a gator free lake to practice in once? Good luck!! You will have so much fun πŸ™‚

    • caitlin March 9, 2010, 7:48 pm

      im going to try this week!

  • Jenna March 9, 2010, 9:40 pm

    you will just rock it out!

  • Lorin March 9, 2010, 11:57 pm

    I live in San Diego and whenever I go into the ocean (especially if i’m sitting on a surfboard) I think some shark is going to grab my leg and bite it off. This actually happened a year and a half ago when a swimming group was training about 2 miles from the coast in the ocean and a tiger shark (great white?) attacked one of the swimmers… :/ scarryy!

  • Michele | aka Raw Juice Girl March 10, 2010, 2:08 am

    I would be petrified!!!

    I commend you for facing your fears. πŸ˜€

  • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete March 10, 2010, 5:34 pm

    Think about this, you just need to swim faster than the slowest swimmer. πŸ™‚ My husband would tell me that when we would go camping with a group of people and I was scared of grizzlies. He said, “Babe, you just need to run faster than the slowest person.” I thought, “Hey, I can do that!” And you can do. You will do great! πŸ˜‰

Healthy Tipping Point