Safe Swim Love

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If you’ve been reading for a while, you may already know that I have a love/hate relationship with swimming.


Swimming is fun and challenging.  I loved to do training swims for my Olympic Triathlon, which I completed last March.


I HATED the idea of swimming in cold, dark, murky Florida lake water.  ‘Cause, you know, it’s totally filled with gators.  I would see them on bike rides and hikes in the lakes ALL. THE. FREAKING. TIME.




I am just not that brave.




There are not alligators in my area of North Carolina.  Which means I can swim in a lake without being totally scurred of them (literally, the two triathlons I did, I had major panic attacked each time).  This thought got my brains churning about maybe signing up for an AquaBike (swim, bike, swim) or a Triathlon and just sit out the final leg.  :) 


After all, I’m out of running commission due to the nagging knee injury.  It’s coming along, slowly + surely (with the assistance of daily acupuncture), but I definitely do not foresee running in my immediate future.  :(  Gotta rest it though, if I want to get better ASAP.


Swimming it is, then!


Meet:  the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.  It’s clean, family-friendly, and totally cute.  Only $5 for a guest to do laps.


I found the bumper stickers in the parking lot to be quite motivating!

IMG_2484 IMG_2483 IMG_2485 IMG_2486 

And the pool itself was clean, which is a HUGE plus in my book.  Pools can be sketchy, but MCAC was great.  They even had all these paddles, water running belts, and buoys that people could use.


I swam 1,250 yards (most with a buoy between my legs)!  I was so proud. :)  I started off with a goal of 500, then decided to do 750, then 1,000, and then I got REALLY tired at 1,250.  Good times.  It took me about 35 minutes.


A while back I had Ryan from Greens for Good do a guest post about swimming – you can check out her tips here.  I re-read them before going to swim today and it helped a lot!


Pre-swim smoothie of almond milk, a banana, dark red frozen cherries, cocoa powder, and chia seeds.  So good. 


And then, bless his soul, the Husband made this dinner.  Beautiful, right?


Hummus-stuffed mushrooms, broccoli, baked tofu spiced with herbs, carrots, and sweet potatoes.  The mushrooms were AMAZING – the Husband simply washed the portabella mushrooms, smeared some hummus in the cap, and roasted at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.


They were mind-blowing. 


And the Husband just surprised me with a bowl of  Ben and Jerry’s.  ‘Shrooms + ice cream?!  He’s a keeper for sure.  🙂



  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife April 11, 2011, 8:26 pm

    I LOVE swimming, but i would NOT swim with alligators–I see your point, lady!! Nice job on the swim! I have to get back to my training swims, I love it!

    P.s. your husband is def a keeper if he does ice cream and dinner. wowzers! Let me know if you sign up for a tri…we could be like virtual training buddies. haha.

  • Errign April 11, 2011, 8:28 pm

    I do not love swimming laps, etc, but I’m so glad you’ve found a place to do it sans gators!

    And the husband…def a keeper!

  • Heidi @ Food Doodles April 11, 2011, 8:29 pm

    Omg yum. I’m trying those mushrooms for sure 😀 Open water swimming kinda freaks me out too and I live in Canada. I’m pretty sure we have nothing to fear up here but it’s still creepy. lol.

    • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday April 11, 2011, 11:04 pm

      Nothing to fear unless beavers and seals give you a fright. 😛

      Actually I’ve seen water snakes in Lake Erie while I was swimming. Don’t ask what the hell I was doing swimming in Lake Erie in the first place.

  • Anne April 11, 2011, 8:29 pm

    I totally have to try those hummus stuffed shrooms! Too bad my hubby doesn’t like them 🙁

  • Parita @ myinnershakti April 11, 2011, 8:31 pm

    Whenver some mentions swimming, my mind automatically goes back to my days at the YMCA and suicides…I hated those! Good for you though…I love how you never give up! And mushrooms stuffed with hummus?! Genius!

  • Lili April 11, 2011, 8:33 pm

    AquaBike seems to be a great idea. You inspired me to give triathlon a try. I’m planning to do a (first time) Sprint one this summer w/ a friend 🙂

    Also, I cant run either right now – which has been one of the reasons to think about swimming and biking. I have been biking outdoors with a friend on my lunch time at work! And will start swimming at my pool as soon as they start heating the pool up where I live.

    Swimming in gator waters is scary. I am from South America and I remember seeing a lot of gators in lakes as well. So I don’t blame you for not ‘being that brave’ .

    wow this was a long comment. Good luck w/ your training 🙂

    • Caitlin April 12, 2011, 7:51 am

      We can be injured together if you want!

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 11, 2011, 8:34 pm

    good for you for getting swimming!

    I don’t think I could ever go swimming anywhere near alligators!

    I actually get scared whenever I train in Lake Michigan even though I know there’s nothing scary in there! 😛

  • Baking 'n' Books April 11, 2011, 8:40 pm

    Perfect. But then smothered in cheese sauce and mustard for me. I really need to quit the excessive condiment over-load 🙁

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul April 11, 2011, 8:41 pm

    great thing he’s a keeper since you’re married! teehee 😀 ohh woww I’v enever seen gators in ‘person’

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) April 11, 2011, 8:42 pm

    The MAC is an awesome pool – I travel to Charlotte for work every so often and love that place (as well as Huntersville). Swimming rules! You should totes sign up for a masters meet, they’re a hoot.

  • Abby April 11, 2011, 8:44 pm

    Hummus stuffed mushrooms sound amazing! 🙂 What a great guy!

  • Charlie April 11, 2011, 8:44 pm

    I love to swim but have no idea how to do it the right way. I want my boyfriend to show me (he’s a lifeguard & swimming teacher) but he has an operation to the shoulder in May so it’ll have to wait!

    Hummus stuffed mushrooms sound soooo good!!! Say thanks to the husband for the idea :).

  • Kristy @ KristyRuns April 11, 2011, 8:45 pm

    I’m definitely going to have a nightmare tonight about getting chopped by gators. Thanks. 😉

    Can your husband talk to my husband about that whole cooking dinner thing? K. Thx.

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine April 11, 2011, 8:46 pm

    Confession: I really, really hate swimming. I’m actually pretty good at it and swam competitively from childhood to high school, but I just don’t like being wet and being out of breath under water always makes me anxious. I think you’re incredibly brave for already completing an open water swim in potentially alligator-infested waters!! Good luck with the continued swimming!

  • Lauren April 11, 2011, 8:46 pm

    Eek, I’d be scared of gators too. I’d love to do a tri, but it has to be mid summer because the lakes are too cold to swim in until early June here. PS: Don’t forget Ben & Jerry’s free cone day tomorrow!

  • Jaime April 11, 2011, 8:47 pm

    umm, that dinner looks SO GOOD. nom nom nom……

  • Laine April 11, 2011, 8:48 pm

    I never thought of hummus stuffed mushrooms. I am so going to try those.

  • Julie @ Shining From Within April 11, 2011, 8:50 pm

    Mmmm. Definitely trying out those mushrooms. I want ice cream, too! It’s a warm sunny evening. How perfect 😀

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing April 11, 2011, 8:51 pm

    I was on the swim team in high school and while I enjoyed it, I was slowwwwww. I’m definitely no competitive swimmer, but at least I had fun!

  • Krystina (Organically Me) April 11, 2011, 8:52 pm

    Hummus stuffed anything is fine by me!

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 11, 2011, 8:55 pm

    Did you wait 30 minutes after that smoothie to get in the water??? 😉

    • Caitlin April 12, 2011, 7:50 am

      Hahah yes mom.

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg April 11, 2011, 8:59 pm

    Those mushrooms look delicious!

    I so want to get into swimming more — it always wears me out in a good way.

    I would be TERRIFIED if I saw a gater in real life!! Yikes!

  • Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews April 11, 2011, 8:59 pm

    What a great idea to put hummus in the mushrooms! I may do that tomorrow night.

  • Megan @ On the Road Again April 11, 2011, 9:00 pm

    I totally understand your love/hate feelings for swimming. I did my first tri last summer, and it took me for.e.ver to get used to the water (I used to plug my nose to go underwater until just prior to the training!)

    And yeah… holy motivation in the parking lot! It’s amazing how much those little stickers can do for you!

  • Brittany April 11, 2011, 9:05 pm

    yay! this makes me happy 🙂 One of my favorite parts about when i used to swim competitively was practicing with the buoy for long swims, and using the short fins!
    I’m thinking about doing an Iron Girl Triathalon– hopefully sometime next year or in 2013!

  • Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) April 11, 2011, 9:09 pm

    I’m glad you found a great place to swim! Oh and yeah, that husband is definitely a keeper! Have a great night!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey April 11, 2011, 9:16 pm

    I love swimming – it’s such a great workout!

  • Marci April 11, 2011, 9:19 pm

    I took up swimming last summer and used the tips on your tri page. I haven’t done it this season yet because I don’t like the getting in the pool part! And the swimsuit part. I used to enjoy once I got going and did an aquathlon race last august (swim then run., the bike part scares me! I hope you enjoy it!

  • Ashley @ Feeding Ashley April 11, 2011, 9:25 pm

    I love to swim. I haven’t in such a long time. Hummus stuffed mushrooms sound amazing!

  • Lindsey April 11, 2011, 9:25 pm

    Great work getting in the pool! I don’t like to swim. But I have found that swimming on a regular basis while I’m injured really helps me deal with the emotional side of injury. If I’m getting as much exercise as possible, I miss running less. So, I get my butt out of bed early 3 times/week! Keep up the good work!

  • Dee April 11, 2011, 9:29 pm

    I need to learn how to swim! But I’m just so scared of drowning. Lol. I mean… 🙁

    Mmm… those shrooms do look great!

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 11, 2011, 9:46 pm

    AWESOME idea with the swimming! What a great low-impact activity to get into while you’re recovering! Can’t wait to follow how it all goes.

  • Imwaytoobusy April 11, 2011, 9:54 pm

    Oooh…cherries and cocoa!? I’m in!

  • *Andrea* April 11, 2011, 9:55 pm

    mmMMM that dinner looks great!!!! did he cook the hummus in the mushrooms??

  • Chad April 11, 2011, 10:00 pm

    I want to slap myself until my face melts for not thinking of doing this hummus stuffed mushroom invention. Why isn’t there a Nobel prize for food?

    • Caitlin April 12, 2011, 7:49 am

      muahahha funny comment!

  • Kacy April 11, 2011, 10:08 pm

    I really want to learn how to swim better, but it terrifies me for some reason!

  • Carlee April 11, 2011, 10:10 pm

    Oooh! Hummus stuffed mushrooms! That DOES sound good!!

  • chelsea April 11, 2011, 10:11 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how fast swimming comes back?!?! Swimming always feels so good. I would be terrified to swim in Florida.

  • Natalia - a side of simple April 11, 2011, 10:14 pm

    Tomorrow is Ben and Jerry’s free cone day! There are two down the street from me. You bet I’m going to both 🙂

  • Kristen April 11, 2011, 10:16 pm

    I love swimming!
    I have been swimming since I was 5. I even swam a little in college and coached. If you need anything please let me know!
    And 1250 yards- thats amazing!
    (1650 is a mile!)

    And swimming wiht alligators, NOOO way haha

  • Sarah for Real April 11, 2011, 10:30 pm

    Did you use the bouey to float your legs because the swimming hurt your knee? I’m having that problem with my knee but hadn’t considered doing a swim with just my arms.

    • Caitlin April 12, 2011, 7:49 am

      A little bit – I was trying to stabilize.

  • stace April 11, 2011, 10:43 pm

    Congrats on 50 laps, that is great!! I swam competitively for a lot of years but I don’t think I could crank out 50 now days. I need to find a pool because I enjoy swimming.

  • Christy April 11, 2011, 10:50 pm

    I really want to get back into swimming. Well, I never was a swimmer to begin with. I know how to swim for the most part. I just don’t know the techniques of all the strokes and what not. Do you have any advice on how to start swimming?

  • Trish April 11, 2011, 11:23 pm

    When I lived in Boston I would visit NH and go in the lake. Not a problem!

    Now I live in FL. I will not go near the water. At all. Ever. There are big scary things in the water down here! Big things with big, sharp teeth!!!

  • Veronica April 11, 2011, 11:31 pm

    So I’ve been thinking, as a vegan, what does your HUSBAND eat all day? You do a great job of chronicling your 3 meals a day, would you consider “A Day in the Life of….” post on your husband? I’m really curious what The Dr. eats and also pretty curious about what he does all day.
    (And if you’ve already done this before, please point me in the direction of that post! Thanks!)

    • Caitlin April 12, 2011, 7:42 am

      I have tried to get him to do this but it just never happens (the Hus is kind of shy if you haven’t noticed). Honestly, he pretty much eats what I eat, but in giant portions and instead of yogurt, he eats a PB sandwich. LOL

  • Lana April 11, 2011, 11:34 pm

    I’m totally putting hummus in mushroom caps and baking them!!! That sounds delish! and 70.3 miles?!? I can’t fathom running that. I’m so glad you found a pool!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) April 12, 2011, 12:02 am

    Oh my gosh- I almost screamed when I saw that photo of the alligator! One of my biggest fears is open bodies of water- I actually get panicky when I see anything filmed underwater (even Finding Nemo- sad but true!) so for that reason, I don’t know if I could ever do a triathlon. Bummer, because I would LOVE to do one!

  • Rachel @ The Perseverance Diaries April 12, 2011, 12:32 am

    I’m originally from Florida. Those alligators are no joke! I used to go kayaking only to scream loudly for twenty minutes straight every time I saw their scaly backs surfacing on the water. Creepy!

  • Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama April 12, 2011, 1:06 am

    OMG! Alligators would freak me the eff out!!!

  • Khushboo April 12, 2011, 1:39 am

    Now thats what you call true love :)! I have the same relationship with swimming! It’s always seems like such an effort yet i always feel great afterwards! It was SO hot during my run today and the only thing getting me through it was the idea of jumping in the pool. Swimming has never felt so good ha!

  • Hats @ See How She Runs April 12, 2011, 4:58 am

    I think you were so brave to push yourself to swim in those lakes!

    I used to be a terrible swimmer. A couple of years ago I went on holiday with some friends and whilst I was fine splashing around and having fun in the pool, I couldn’t pluck up the courage to swim in the Med. I knew I was a weak swimmer and the idea of attempting to keep up with my friends scared me. So before we went away again the following year, I got my ass down to our local leisure centre and swam. I strength trained. And when we went on holiday, I swam perfectly confidently in the sea. It felt awesome! (especially knowing how scared I’d been the previous year) It might not sound like a lot, but I was proud of myself. I’m still not a good swimming technique-wise (I swim breast stroke and keep my head above the water) but I’ll work on that.

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday) April 12, 2011, 5:42 am

    I love that idea for the mushrooms! They would be so cute as a side dish for stuffed peppers!
    Don’t you get bored during swimming? I wish they had waterproof headphones!

    • Caitlin April 12, 2011, 7:40 am

      I wish they did too. I do think it’s a tad boring but I try to pay attention to form and that takes up a lot of mental energy.

    • Liza April 12, 2011, 8:25 am

      They do have waterproof headphones!

      My brother is a swimmer and listens to music all the time. A lot of them have little clip like things that you can put your nano or shuffle in as well!

  • Carol April 12, 2011, 6:03 am

    Those mushrooms look great!!! Can’t wait to try that recipe:)

    So happy you were able to get out swimming! I wish there was a clean pool near me:) I have been really enjoying my bike rides while my Achilles heals.

  • Haleigh April 12, 2011, 6:28 am

    I used to love swimming, I was even a lifeguard for 3 years. I need to try to get back into it. I’m glad you found a fun alternative to running!

  • The Teenage Taste April 12, 2011, 7:10 am

    Ohmygosh! The gators would definitely scare me! An indoor pool sounds like a much better idea! 😉

  • Molly April 12, 2011, 8:23 am

    GAH! It’s been 11 months of fightiing my knee injury. I’m a stubborn sally and should just go to PT, right? haha

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 12, 2011, 8:37 am

    Oh my gosh, I would NEVER swim in an area with alligators. That’s so terrifying!

  • Ali @ Ali Runs April 12, 2011, 9:14 am

    I LOVE seeing bumper stickers like that anywhere! I was in my school parking lot the other day and saw half-ironman and ironman bumper stickers! I almost wanted to wait until the person came out just to see who they were. Very inspiring!

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me April 12, 2011, 9:21 am

    Wow that gator picture is really close!! I couldn’t go in that water either! Way too scared!

  • Cindy Robinson April 12, 2011, 9:28 am

    Good for you for listening to your body and doing some low impact swimming. I hear ya on the gators, I’m a Florida native. I cannot pass a retention pond, river, lake, or any tiny body of water without rubber necking in hopes of spotting a gator. So I’m there with ya on the swimming in open waters and experiencing some anxiety. Awesome you don’t have to worry about that in NC! I can swim, but not the best lap swimmer, any tips on how I can improve my skills in my pool to beat the heat in this weather? Thank you!

  • Ashley (The Vegetable Life) April 12, 2011, 10:12 am

    Hummus Mushrooms?! … such an awesome idea!!!!!!!

  • Stefanie D April 12, 2011, 10:18 am

    i have been doing water aerobics for 20+ years…deep impact..caitlin you should try it…you will luv it!

  • Marg April 12, 2011, 10:27 am

    I’m from Louisiana and I’ve seen my share of alligators in the water too! I’m in Texas now and they’re here also, but not as many. I still go wakeboarding in the lakes, but I know I’m not in the lake for long so it doesn’t bother me too much. I don’t think I could swim across the lake though, you are brave!

  • Miranda @ working mom works out April 12, 2011, 10:37 am

    Oh my gah! Gators!!! Yeah, no thanks.

    Swimming is a great workout. I hope it takes away some of your non-running anxiety.

    And sweet husbands FTW!!!

  • Kamaile April 12, 2011, 10:53 am

    I just started swimming lessons this month. I love/hate it too but I know I’ll love it once I get the kicking, breathing & arms working all together! Your dinner looks amazing!

  • DC Runographer April 12, 2011, 11:06 am

    I’m training for my first tri and have started swimming recently. I totally understand your love/hate feeling because I have it, too.

    I have read some of your tri training posts; would love to see some technical advice on the swimming aspect.

  • Emily April 12, 2011, 11:11 am

    i don’t even like swimming in tris where there might be snakes or eels in the water but gators?? they don’t actually do tris with gators, do they?

  • Kishore April 12, 2011, 1:42 pm

    The alligators looks deadly.

  • Michelle @ Lifewithacrazypup April 12, 2011, 4:03 pm

    I wish I liked swimming. It’s not that I hate it, I just don’t know how to correctly breathe, so I find that I’m exhausted in two seconds flat.

    I love that your husband cooks for you all the time. You always talk about him with such love 🙂 It makes my heart smile.

  • Nathalie April 12, 2011, 4:23 pm

    Urgh…I when you wrote about your fear of open waters before I totally did not make the connection that you were from Florida where you have alligators and other dangerous creatures! OMG! I get freaked out by murky lakes/the sea in the UK…your post is kinda putting that into perspective 😉 I’d love to get back into swimming, but am put off by the local-ish pool…doesn’t seem sooo tidy unfortunately, bah…but I will look elsewhere and read your older posts on the subject! I love how you’re keeping your blog so interesting and diverse 🙂 x

  • Jolene ( April 12, 2011, 10:52 pm

    Definitely a keeper 🙂

    Glad you will be able to swim without the fear of getting eaten!

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