A tri relay is kind of like a regular Olympic triathlon – a 1300 meter swim, a 28 mile bike, and a 10K run – but instead of doing the entire race solo, you run it with one or two teammates!


Well, in our case, we ran with a total of FOUR teammates because…


Our swimmer is pregnant


I had an absolute blast racing the Assault on Cherokee Olympic Triathlon with Jen and her husband’s brother’s girlfriend, Laura.  This was a very spur-of-the-moment race (I agreed to do the run leg on Friday!) but I’m so glad I did it.  I really needed to get a long run in because I have my own full Oly tri next weekend, and it would’ve been hard to push myself like this alone.


Jen’s husband, Jeff, and his brother, Dan, also raced.  Jeff has done an Ironman and Dan actually WINS local half marathons.  Yeah.  So this race – with it’s impossibly challenging course – was basically no big deal to the boys.


Meanwhile, I was quaking in my sneakers because I had heard the run was SUPER hilly!


First up: the swim.  Jen’s tactic was to hang back and go slow.  It was exciting to watch everyone take off (and get to stay on dry land).


Go Jen + Baby, go!


She came back in about 30 minutes.  She beat four people!  I was super impressed.


Transition 1 was so far away (at least a half a mile uphill), so we walked to T1. 


When you do a triathlon relay, you have to ‘pass off’ the timing chip.  So Jen ripped off her timing chip and handed it to Laura, who was ready to tackle the very hilly 28-mile course.


While we waited for Laura to come back, Jen and I sat on the sidelines and cheered on all the triathletes.  People coming off the bike looked like they were dyyying.  It was very hot and humid, and everyone commented on the hills.  Note to self: avoid triathlons if their name begin with “Assault on…”  Seriously.


By this time, my breakfast (cereal and Greek yogurt) wasn’t holding me over anymore, so I ate a Hammer gel.  There is something so gross about eating gels when you’re not in the middle of cardio.  I told Jen a funny story about how I once got so hungry on a shopping trip that I ate a Hammer gel from my purse; turns out she’s done the same thing, but on an airplane. 


Laura came back after 1:52!


I ran with her through transition, grabbed the chip, and took off.


The course was really pretty, which helped me forget the soul-crushing climbs.  At first, I tried to think of the hills in a positive light, reasoning that what goes up, must come down.  But the downhills were so steep that my joints took a pounding.  I ended up walking up and down the steepest of hills.


I eventually lulled myself into a meditative state, staring about 5 feet in front of me and focusing only on my breathing (no music allowed on the course).  This helped me forget how much I was suffering and pick up my pace.  I even managed to pass a few dudes!


The course was short (5.84 miles as opposed to 6.2) and I finished in 58:57.  My goal was to finish under hour.  Even though the course was short and I wouldn’t have made my goal for a 10K, I was proud.  This is definitely a confidence boost for next week’s race.


I immediately inhaled a banana.  I was STARVING.  My body was very confused by eating so early (5:15) and not racing until 10:30.  I didn’t really factor in the time that I’d be sitting around.  I should’ve brought my breakfast to the race and eaten during the bike portion. 


The boys CRUSHED this race, by the way!  Jeff was one of the first people out of the swim, and Dan flew on the bike and the run.  I was super impressed (okay, okay – and slightly jealous of their mad brotherly skills).

IMG_7663 IMG_7680

We all said goodbye, and I hopped in my car and drove an hour to my house.  I stopped at Moe’s and picked up an amazing tofu and pinto bean burrito.  I think I would’ve gnawed off my arm if I hadn’t! 


What a great morning.  I’m so glad I spontaneously signed up!  Sometimes, no-pressure races are the most fun – don’t you agree?



  • Kelly July 31, 2011, 2:09 pm

    HOW FUN!!!!!

  • Hillary July 31, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Dan WINS half marathons? Oy. People like that make me feel sluggish! Haha. Glad you had such a great time—looks like a ton of fun and a great challenge!

  • kris (everyday oats) July 31, 2011, 2:18 pm

    I really enjoyed reading about this tri…Sounds like it was so much fun! Great job!

  • cathy July 31, 2011, 2:24 pm

    way to go! all (four) of you! (and the guys, too!)
    the best races are when you put no pressure or expectations on yourself – and often, you then do better – or feel better – than you thought you would!

  • Melissa @ TryingToHeal July 31, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Glad you got over all those hills! next time you have to run them and it gets hard, just start counting to 100 and do it over and over again. I swear it makes the time fly by and takes away the anxiety of running up the hill!

  • Molly @ RDexposed July 31, 2011, 2:46 pm

    The only time I can eat a whole burrito is during half mar training!

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food July 31, 2011, 2:49 pm

    I totally agree about the fun races being the best! And what a great way to have Jen participate in something that’s safe for her and baby 🙂

    You go girls 🙂

  • Freya July 31, 2011, 2:54 pm

    Oohh congrats on the race! I’ve never done a ‘fun’ race before, but now I really want to!
    I gotta say, Dan on the bike? Best. arms. ever. Oh my!

  • Aja July 31, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Congratulations on the race. It sounded like fun despite the crazy weather and hills. I hate hills. My neighborhood is filled with them, so I don’t run out there very much.

  • Army Amy* July 31, 2011, 2:59 pm

    Burritos are my fave post-long run food! I just got a Freebird’s burrito earlier today following an 11 mile run.*

  • Kate July 31, 2011, 3:06 pm

    Sounds like fun!! Great pace on the run- with those hills it definitely counts as a full 10 😉

  • Kate July 31, 2011, 3:06 pm

    Sounds like fun!! Great pace on the run- with those hills it definitely counts as a full 10k 😉

  • Gina @ running to the kitchen July 31, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Nice job to all of you! Sounds like a fun race. I’ve never done a ‘no pressure’ kind of race but it seems like it would be a good time!

  • Aine @ Something to Chew Over July 31, 2011, 3:44 pm

    What a fun event! Great team effort 🙂

  • Baking N Books July 31, 2011, 3:54 pm

    LOVE love love that first pic! And the one with you “high-thumbing”…and the last one 😉

    Great race! And JEN?!! Rock-STAR!! Is she always this athletic? Wait till the little one comes out 🙂

  • Corrie Anne July 31, 2011, 3:59 pm

    How fun to do it with friends!!! And a great way to get training in! So brave to do it with baby! Woohoo!

  • Allison @ Happy Tales July 31, 2011, 4:50 pm

    Aw it sounds like y’all had SO much fun! I love that you had a team of 4 🙂

  • yolie @ practising wellness July 31, 2011, 5:19 pm

    congratulations to you allll thats super cool! 😀 xyx

  • Luv What You Do July 31, 2011, 5:33 pm

    I do agree!
    How fun to do a relay! I would love to have tri friends to help me out with the swim and bike. I hate the up early and waiting time, so I try to bring breakfast on the go. It’s always hard to find something portable and pre-race appropriate. Good luck with the olympic next weekend! I’m already stressed about my first olympic tri in 2 weeks!

    • CaitlinHTP August 1, 2011, 10:43 am

      You’ll do great 🙂

      • Luvwhatyoudo August 1, 2011, 9:45 pm

        I am actually going to try to use a wetsuit to help with the floating. Funny, because I hadn’t thought about it when I saw your post and then next day was offered one to borrow.

  • Paige @ Running Around Normal July 31, 2011, 5:40 pm

    Nice job! A relay sounds like so much fun. Here in Illinois, we don’t have to worry about too many hills! 🙂

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife July 31, 2011, 5:44 pm

    WHOA, fun!! It looks like it was awesome. And NICE job!!

  • Allie July 31, 2011, 5:56 pm

    That sounds like a lot of no-stress fun! Awesome 🙂

  • Kelly July 31, 2011, 6:07 pm

    Looks like a lot of fun! I hope there were no kickers during the swim portion- don’t want the baby to be kicked by a leg 🙂

  • cj weaber @ http://cjh002.wordpress.com July 31, 2011, 6:10 pm

    congratulations on another great finish!!!

  • maria @ Chasing the Now July 31, 2011, 6:11 pm

    Great job Caitlin! Be confident for your upcoming race!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin July 31, 2011, 6:13 pm

    Nice job on tackling those hills. You finished with an awesome time! 😀

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) July 31, 2011, 6:36 pm

    How fun to race with a baby on board 🙂

  • Kris July 31, 2011, 6:44 pm

    What a great race! Congrats on the strong run. 🙂

    Hills are not my friend either – I live in the prairies, there ARE no hills!

  • Mary July 31, 2011, 6:44 pm

    Great job on your tri! You did my least favorite portion – the dreaded run. I’m glad to see you getting your running legs back! I did a sprint this summer – much easier thanks to all your advice:) – and a 10k, but I don’t think I’m ready to do a 10k after biking 24 miles yet. I am doing 2 more sprints this summer. A relay might be the way to go for an Oly for me. I did the Warrior Dash today. Super fun and challenging in it’s own way, but seriously MUDDY!

    • CaitlinHTP August 1, 2011, 10:43 am

      Congrats on the Warrior Dash 🙂 So fun!!!

  • Sophie July 31, 2011, 7:02 pm

    Oh that sounds like so much fun 🙂
    I’d love to do a relay tri (the cycle leg), then I could actually take part in one!

  • Kristen @ notsodomesticated July 31, 2011, 7:09 pm

    Congratulations on an awesome race!! Sounds like you guys had a blast!! 🙂

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg July 31, 2011, 8:44 pm

    Great job on the run!

  • ashley @ cooking for john July 31, 2011, 10:13 pm

    great pace for the run! a tri relay would be a lot of fun, i’ve never done one.

    that burrito looks awesome. i mean awesomesauce. 😉

  • Chelsea July 31, 2011, 10:16 pm

    A race with friends looks like so much fun! It’s a great way to cheer on your friends and be THERE for them.

    I had a burrito like that today too! But mine was freebirds 🙂

  • Ali @ Ali Runs July 31, 2011, 10:19 pm

    Glad that you had such a great time! Hills suck, but at least you stuck with it! 🙂 Congrats!

  • Laura @ Cookies vs. Carrots July 31, 2011, 10:52 pm

    This looks like so much fun! I think your time is great for such a hilly course! Way to go!

  • Joyce @ Jranola Joyce July 31, 2011, 10:59 pm

    Yay for burritos after races! haha 🙂

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing July 31, 2011, 11:32 pm

    I can’t imagine doing all of that ALONE!!! I am IMPRESSED by triathletes.

  • Mariel July 31, 2011, 11:48 pm

    Wow! Looks like so much fun!! I wish I had race buddies near me to do something like that!!! Question: where do you buy your Hammer Gel/Gu/etc.? I look all over and can never find it!

  • briana August 1, 2011, 12:06 am

    the race was called “Assault on Cherokee”?! am i the only one struck by this?

    • CaitlinHTP August 1, 2011, 10:40 am

      The park is called Cherokee Park, so an “assault on” is tackling the hills in the park.

  • Khushboo August 1, 2011, 2:20 am

    I enjoyed reading this, I felt the excitement as u changed between each leg! Nice job!

  • Hayley @ Oat Couture August 1, 2011, 3:02 am

    Ah it looks like a lot of fun!! Not so much fun that I would want to attempt one! 😉 But still fun! 😀 Congrats on achieving you goal of less than an hour! Well done! 🙂

  • Amanda August 1, 2011, 6:00 am

    I love race recaps!

  • Amanda August 1, 2011, 6:01 am

    I love race recaps! : D glad you had fun!

  • Sarah@The Flying ONION August 1, 2011, 8:48 am

    I love your race recaps. They’re always so inspiring and motivational! I’m hoping to sign up for another local 10k or half soon. 😀

  • Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa August 1, 2011, 9:18 am

    Sounds like a fun/hard race!

  • Bee @ B*tchy Bee August 1, 2011, 9:59 am

    That looks like so much fun!!

  • kristenq August 1, 2011, 11:17 am

    looks like a great race~! I would love to do a relay tri, so fun! awesome job!

  • Meredith August 1, 2011, 11:41 am

    That looks awesome! The course sounds tough, you all did great!

    P.S. Love your Lululemon running top! I want to pick one of those tops up next time I’m in the store.

  • deep south runner August 1, 2011, 12:16 pm

    Looks like so much fun!! Great pictures!

  • Amber K August 1, 2011, 12:22 pm

    Racing for fun is basically the only way I’d do one! But a relay with friends would be the best.

  • Kristen (inspiredbydooce) August 3, 2011, 2:42 pm

    I need to do more fun races! That looked like a blast.

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