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Want to know the most physically challenging moment of last month’s sprint triathlon?


Hint:  it wasn’t the swim!


It was the transition from the swim to the bike.  Actually, both transitions sucked, but T1 sucked the hardest.  My legs were SHOT coming out of the swim, I was shaking from nerves, and generally, I felt weak.


My goal before my next triathlon (two weeks!) is to do more back-to-back workouts.  Even if I don’t do them ‘in order’ (i.e. swim and then bike or bike and the run), I know it will be extremely beneficial for me.  And, truthfully, I should be doing back-to-back workouts anyway – I’m only really getting away with it because I’m doing shorter distance triathlons.  If I was doing an Olympic, I definitely couldn’t squeak my way through on single workouts!


Anyway – so today I ran-swam-ran.  This was also a good opportunity for me to practice transitions, since I was so slow in transition last time.  I really want to improve my time, and making transitions faster is an easy way to do that.


I ran to the pool, swam 1,000 yards, and then ran home (probably 2.5 miles in total).  Can I just say that I’m really falling in love with swimming?  So ironic because I used to HATE the whole experience.  But I find it so relaxing these days.


Of course, this meant that I had to carry all my gear with me!  I find the key is tying the straps of a drawstring backpack around my waist.  And bringing as little stuff as possible, of course!

IMG_6699 IMG_6700

Came home and munched on some dates + almond butter for a post-workout snack.


In order news, I had a temporary moment of insanity this morning and checked out upcoming Half Ironmans (a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and half marathon).  I looked at two that are at the end of October – Beach 2 Battleship in Wilmington NC and the Half Ironman in Miami. 


  • Pros:  I’ll be done with my book, which will free up time for training.  I’m pretty sure a race of this distance will require a 1 – 2 hour a day commitment.  I’ll be able to say, “I’m a Half Ironman,” which is pretty badass.  I’ve done multiple half marathons and metric centuries, so I’m comfortable with the idea of running and biking those distances.  And we might want to start a family in the next year, so if I want to do this, it’s now or wait 2 – 3 years.


  • Cons: Um, hello – 70.3 miles in total.  I’ll have to turn my life over to training for two months.  I might drown during the swim.  Race entry is expensive ($215 to $300); plus we’d pay for travel.  A half marathon seems like a far way to run right now, even though I’ve run 13.1 miles more times than I can count.  And most of all, I’m afraid I won’t make the 8-hour cut-off because it takes me at least 4.5 hours to bike a metric and 2.0 hours to run a half marathon… and that’s when I’m doing the events individually.


Thoughts?  Opinions?



  • Tami July 4, 2011, 5:00 pm

    sign up. I did 2 sprint races last year and signed up for a Half ironman for June and then another in Sept. I had a BLAST in the first one, the weather was hot and very humid (it was only 50* the week before) so my run suffered but i am so happy i made the jump to the longer distance. i was a runner and learned to swim and bike last year. if you can find a group to workout with it will make training so much more fun

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:33 pm

      You are a baller, Tami!

  • Samantha @ Mama Notes July 4, 2011, 5:03 pm

    I love swimming too and I find it totally relaxing!

    That’s a tough call…. it IS a lot of money, especially with the travel. I say leave it up to your readers and do whatever they say. ha! 🙂

  • Baking 'n' Books July 4, 2011, 5:04 pm

    lol – you won’t drown silly! I would drown! Eek.

    Tough decision – go with your “gut”. Although I can never distinguish what is my gut or my head or heart anymore really. Meh.

  • Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out July 4, 2011, 5:05 pm

    Sounds like insanity to me! But if it’s what you wanna do, I say GO FOR IT!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) July 4, 2011, 5:05 pm

    That IS tough. With a race, I’d always say you can “walk it,” but not being a swimmer, I know this is much different. I echo the others in saying go with your gut. Do you really want to slug through a ton of training after meeting a serious deadline?

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:34 pm

      It actually sounds pleasurable LOL

  • DadHTP July 4, 2011, 5:13 pm

    Whine! How often am I going to have to suggest a team tri! I be swimming!

  • Cynthia @ Cynthia's Adventures July 4, 2011, 5:13 pm

    Do what you feel is right for your little family 🙂 If you want kids, now is the time to do it as you will have more time to dedicate to it !!

  • Hayley @ Oat Couture July 4, 2011, 5:14 pm

    I say go for it girl!! It sounds pretty scary but it will be so worth it when your done! 🙂

  • DadHTP July 4, 2011, 5:20 pm

    well, if you won’t do that, I can knock at least an hour and a half off your bike time if you let me train you…said consolation prize but…baby?!?!?! I’ll do the team tri with them in 15 years.

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:35 pm

      We do need to do a tri! We need to find one we can both go to, though… obviously.

  • Hillary July 4, 2011, 5:24 pm

    Oy, just the THOUGHT of a half ironman makes me exhausted. A half marathon was PLENTY for me, never mind the bike ride and swim! Then again, as you said, if you’re going to do it, now’s the time! And you’re right—it’s super badass.

  • Katie July 4, 2011, 5:25 pm

    My dad did B2B last year in Wilmington and I have to say, it was the most amazing experience JUST WATCHING it.

    The crowd support, the course, and the beauty of it is definitely something I would say is worth the expensive race registration and it would be a great experience for you. Also, if you ever want to do a ride or run, I’m your girl. I’m training for a sprint in late August so I’ll be working out in the Charlotte area.

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:35 pm

      I loved your video!

  • Leanne (Bride to Mrs,) July 4, 2011, 5:26 pm

    Do what your gut tells you to do! Always trust your instincts.

  • Jennifer Cook July 4, 2011, 5:27 pm

    Do it! You know you can!

    I haven’t even done my first triathlon yet, and I already have Ironman dreams!

    • kyndra July 4, 2011, 5:43 pm

      go for it! confession: i signed up for ironman canada before doing my first tri. heck, i wasn’t even a cyclist at the time. but now it’s less than two months away and i’m starting to feel ready.

      • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:35 pm

        You go girls!!!!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife July 4, 2011, 5:28 pm

    Trust your gut…..but I say GO FOR IT! I am going to do one next year, before our family starts, so NOW or never! There was not one close enough to do one this year, but next year I am all about it. And how cool is that : ” I am a half ironman.” WOW. 🙂

    Love the block trainings, so fun!

  • Mel July 4, 2011, 5:29 pm

    Three months seems short to train for such a long event. On the other hand, working out is kind of your job, not just a hobby, so it’s hard to say.

    An aside, the phrase, “start a family,” always makes me sad. Give yourself (and childfree couples) credit! You started a family a long time ago with the two of you! 🙂

  • Krystina (Organically Me) July 4, 2011, 5:34 pm

    Do it. You’re a powerhouse and can accomplish anything you want.

  • Karin July 4, 2011, 5:34 pm

    I think you already know the answer but I say definitely do it! Especially before kiddos.. You will rock it out!

  • kyndra July 4, 2011, 5:37 pm

    i love swimming and then running home! i have a pretty small hydration pack (a nathan vest, actually). when i take the bladder out , i can juuuuust squeeze in a towel, swimsuit, goggles and cap. it works great.

    bricks are really important and doing them consistently will for sure help your times, even if you just do short course races. i’ve been doing two or three bricks per week (always including a run after a long ride) for the past month or so and i killed my first half iron race yesterday. my transitions were way faster than my last race, a sprint, when i hadn’t really been throwing any bricks into my training.

  • Carla @ July 4, 2011, 5:41 pm

    It really is quite the experience. I did one last summer and I had a blast. It was hard, frustrating, tear-inducing but so, so rewarding. I felt like a real badass afterwards. 🙂
    With your dedication and training strategy, you could definitely rock it! And you’d get a new sticker for your car…LOL

  • Amy July 4, 2011, 5:58 pm

    My only concern with signing up for a half ironman is that you had that recent injury that kept you from running … would it be too much, too soon?

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair July 4, 2011, 6:08 pm

    Half-ironman is totally on my bucket list after following Meghan and Kelly’s training for theres. I say do it!

  • Lindsay July 4, 2011, 6:11 pm

    You could totally do it! Maybe you should contact your local tnt chapter to see if they do one. We did the gulf coast half at the dc chapter. You could be a mentor and be responsible for raising alot less than a typical participant. And it would be fun to share what you’ve learned about tris with others just like you do on the blog!

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] July 4, 2011, 6:15 pm

    GO FOR IT! 🙂

  • Marci July 4, 2011, 6:35 pm

    I have no doubt that you will complete it. Training makes good stories, and you know you can train for it too. Peer pressure, do it!

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:36 pm

      I heart peer pressure 😉

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) July 4, 2011, 6:37 pm

    I think you *could* do it, but it sounds like you’ve been under a lot of stress recently, and as you’ve said, you’re still coming back to running. There are a few April-May half IM races (including one in Spotsylvania, VA, which would be a pretty quick trip for you) that would give you more time to build up your distance – especially running – slowly. I don’t know when you are planning to start trying to get pregnant (and am not asking for another “let’s talk about my vagina” post), but maybe that would work better. It might also give you time to test-run a half marathon in the meantime.

    That’s just what I think, though.

  • Brooke July 4, 2011, 6:43 pm

    I think you should and could do it! It seems like your heart is set on it and the chance for it has opened up so go for it! Personally I would regret not doing it knowing I probably could of.

  • Ken July 4, 2011, 6:54 pm

    I think it would make sense to make it through two sprints at least before trying to push it, especially given your recent injury issues. Seems not very well thought out, at least now.

  • Laura July 4, 2011, 7:04 pm

    When I made the switch from sprint to Olympic distances I felt like it was a whole different game, especially in the swimming – it’s almost 3x the distance! It also really took a toll on my body, especially my knees, and I went in injury free! So I think going from sprint to Half-Ironman now might be too much for your knee, but honestly you’re the only person who knows what’s right for you! Considering you’ve done an Olympic before you already know how much of a toll it would take. If you do sign up I can’t wait to read about your training!

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:37 pm

      Good point. I might want to chill out 🙂

    • Mel July 4, 2011, 9:43 pm

      Wait, the swimming is three times the distance? The oly I signed up for is a 0.9 mile swim. Isn’t the 70.3 a 1.2 mile swim? I think a Half Iron is almost exactly double a standard Olympic.

      Are there any Olympics in the fall you would want to do?

      • Laura July 4, 2011, 10:54 pm

        Oh, nope, sorry, I meant going from sprint to Olympic the swimming was three times the distance. That’s the nice thing about going up from Olympics to Half-Ironman though – the difference in swim isn’t as great!

  • Christina July 4, 2011, 7:23 pm

    In your metric centuries, was that 4 hours total time (including breaks) or just time on the bike? You wouldn’t really be taking breaks in a half ironmans. If it really would take you more than 4 hours to bike that far I’d consider not doing it just because that would be such a long day.
    But the swim shouldn’t be bad! It’s not 3 times as long as an olympic, it’s 1/3 longer! (.9 miles vs 1.2 miles)
    Another option is to just get faster at Olympics and sprints. I was tempted by half-ironmans too but decided to invest less time and money at being better at the shorter distances. I figure if I ever do a half-ironman someday being faster to begin with will make training easier.

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:37 pm

      Thats true, I wouldn’t take breaks during the Half Ironman. 😉

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food July 4, 2011, 7:23 pm

    I definitely think it’s good to wait until you’re done with your book before starting to train. You may just want to make sure that you have a little time to breathe post book because you are always so busy! 🙂

    My first tri was actually an off road half iron that I didn’t train enough for. A good training program definitely takes 1 to 2 hours most days but also a good half day or more for a long ride ~once a week so it’s something to consider whether you want to commit to that as well 🙂

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food July 4, 2011, 7:23 pm

    I forgot to add that I think you will do amazingly if you chose to do it! 🙂

  • Errign July 4, 2011, 7:32 pm

    I say: if you can afford it (both time AND money), then go for it, if it’s what you want to do! I know you like to have races to look forward to and train for. I am kind of leaning towards suggesting you should be totally done with the book before even committing to something so you’re not stressing over lack of training in the early weeks, or something, depending on how the timing lines up.

  • Michelle July 4, 2011, 7:40 pm

    You can totally do it. If you design the right training program that you know will fit for you and you can follow, you are good to go. You have the ability!

  • Susan July 4, 2011, 7:42 pm

    You should look into a 70.3 that is not an official Ironman event. Where I live, there’s an official half-iron event and two weeks later there’s an all-women non-sanctioned charity 70.3. This year, the charity event was $100 less when you factored in fees.

    The all-women event is held the same day as a non-sanctioned full ironman event. Because of this, I’m not sure there’s really an official cut-off. I just know that you have to be on the run course by a certain time and I guess finish the run before they close it for the people doing the full. I was worried about making the cut-off times for the official race so I did the charity event instead. I would have made it, though. 🙂

    Based on what I’ve read about your level of fitness, I don’t think you’d have a problem finishing a 70.3 before the course closed, but take into account where you’ll be racing and the season. Heat will knock you out. It was so hot during my run it took me 3 hours and I was hoping for 2:30. My feet were on fire from the asphalt.

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:38 pm

      Oh man, I want to do an all-girl half ironman. I’m going to look into this. Thanks!!!!

  • Liz July 4, 2011, 7:46 pm

    Go for it!!! Then for the rest of your life you can say you did a half ironman!!

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations July 4, 2011, 7:46 pm

    If it’s something you want to do, just do it. You’ve already stated it’s good timing — book done, no baby yet. Now’s the time!

  • D July 4, 2011, 7:56 pm

    Ahh I am in the minority. I vote no! It sounds like you are rushing things a little.

    A couple of months it really NOT a long time in the greater scheme of things, considering (hope this doesn’t sound mean, just constructive…) you aren’t close to any of those distances in any sport right now. No doubt you would be more than capable at some point, but this sounds pretty soon. 2.5 months isn’t even a long enough time to be appropriately trained for a half marathon (even one without a cut off time) alone. Also, it hasn’t been that long since you were injured. If you get injured again or even just some minor pain that requires 1-2 weeks off, that is a significant dent in an intense 2.5 month training cycle. And if you are worried about the cutoff time, this doesn’t seem like the best idea. Wouldn’t you rather go into this feeling completely confident rather than “hope I make the cutoff”?

    And from a mental rather than physical standpoint, why rush? Then what do you have to look forward to? If you are careful with training now, you have the rest of your life to complete races. People do Ironmans into their 50s! Seems a shame to rush everything.

    Good luck with your decision 🙂

  • Julia July 4, 2011, 8:07 pm

    im two weeks out from my first half ironman… been training since Jan… I’m at that point where I want my life back. Training has literally consumed my life for a while now. I think you should go for it… but keep in mind it gets expensive! You’re blow through tubes, co2 cartridges, nutrition, shoes, and other bike gear like crazy. Plus Training takes on a whole new meaning. I’ve done marathon training before, but half ironman training is…. rough. It’s way more time consuming than marathon training. Let me know if you have any questions! Best of luck to you!

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:39 pm

      I hope it’s all worth it 🙂 You rule!!!

  • Allison @ Happy Tales July 4, 2011, 8:10 pm

    oh wow, it sounds like you have a tight timeframe if you want to fit it in before kids! I’d say go for it. Ryan and I were just in Wilmington for the holiday weekend, and as I was running around Writesville Beach I was thinking how AWESOME it’d be to swim/run there… go for it!

  • Rebecca July 4, 2011, 8:27 pm

    I am amused by DadHTP’s comments. 🙂

    My dad has “Run a Half-IronMan” on his bucket list, and he’s 53 and just started running and stuff like three years ago. You have time. It doesn’t have to be now. Whenever you do it, you’ll have support and will be able to say you’ve done a Half. I honestly don’t care what age people do Half-IronMans, or even Fulls. To me, being able to do one AT ANY AGE is impressive.
    Although, if you waited a few years, you could somewhow incorporate the kids into your training…? Idk, explain to them why you’re doing it and invite them to help you train somehow, whether it be cheering you on or helping you make pre/post-training snacks or counting laps or something. Get them interested in it from a young age, you know?

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:41 pm

      I think it would be difficult to train with young kids – just the amount of time you would have to be away from home… I would feel bad when they are young!

  • cj weaber @ July 4, 2011, 8:47 pm

    I think you could definitely do the race! You have written almost 2 books now, started a movement that spans the globe, helped your husband start a business, and not puked on Meredith on the Today Show! You have done so many things and you can totally conquer a Half-Iron Man! I’m going to say Good Luck in advance because I know you can do it!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin July 4, 2011, 8:49 pm

    Just thinking about doing a half Ironman makes my body ache! But if you have the time to devote to training and you feel up for it, I say go for it. You’d have mega bragging rights after that. 😉

  • Laura @ Backstage Pass July 4, 2011, 8:53 pm

    Go for it! But sign up for one, not two. Choose the one that’s closer to home (which sounds like the one in NC).

  • Jessica July 4, 2011, 8:58 pm

    you could totally do the iron man! you are such an inspiration! you go girl!

  • Rae July 4, 2011, 8:59 pm

    I think if you decide to do it, B2B is a better bet (its flatter of a course and not as much $$ from what I remember). But I am in the cautious camp….I KNOW you could do it, but I think right now yu might not enjoy the training as much as you would in a few years….with rehabbing the knee, buying a house and publishing a book, it might be a bit tough to fully dedicate yourself to the training required for it (when HIM training, you usually need to dedicate about 10-15 hours a week training, with long weekend workouts.)

    However, I know how it is to want to go for something, so if you decide to, i know you’ll do well!!!

    • CaitlinHTP July 4, 2011, 9:41 pm

      You’re probably right – this is why I ask readers!! LOL

  • Jen in LA July 4, 2011, 9:06 pm

    Do it! You know you can totally do a half IM. YOU KNOW IT!!!!! Try to find a training partner? But I’m going to suggest that you really try to find time for strength training so you don’t injure yourself. I am a marathoner and was considering a full IM in 2012, but then we started a family this year instead. DO IT!

  • Julie @ Shining From Within July 4, 2011, 9:39 pm

    Go for it, you only live once.

  • Keri July 4, 2011, 9:43 pm

    You’ve got this covered! Think of how scary it was to do your first half–or even a marathon. Don’t we all doubt if we can do it or not? And then we do. You have! You will totally rock it!!! And we can’t wait to be inspired reading about it 🙂

  • cathy July 4, 2011, 9:44 pm

    you know you wanna! 🙂
    i vote you + dad htp BOTH do it!!!

  • Sarah July 4, 2011, 9:46 pm

    You totally CAN do it, you’d probably love it, and I love the concept of doing it before you have a baby. However, I wonder how congruent these goals are–prepping your body for a baby is no joke and training for a major event like this might delay your baby making. Just a thought!

  • Terry Miller July 4, 2011, 11:05 pm

    Nothing like signing up for a race to focus your training. If you sign up for the race, you’ll HAVE to train. Takes the anxiety out of it(does for me, anyway), it’s simply decided. And a distance like that has to be respected, you can’t just skip workouts. It’s not like a 5k, where you can go in untrained and just go a little slower. No trying to decide if you really feel like doing your workout that day, you just know you will. Since you HAVE to do the workouts, you’ll be highly trained, and you’ll become Half-An-Ironman with 60+ minutes to spare. Good luck, and Happy Racing!

  • Morgan @ Endorphaholic July 4, 2011, 11:12 pm

    I think you should do it! You definitely will be able to finish, you are so strong!!! I’m sidelined from surgery for six months, and if I could have this opportunity I definitely would take it in a heartbeat!

  • Nicole July 4, 2011, 11:14 pm

    I hope a half iron man is an April fools joke.

  • Wendy July 4, 2011, 11:29 pm

    You know, having a baby isn’t the end of being fit. I didn’t START running half marathons until after I had two babies! I say don’t push yourself to meet all your big fitness goals in the next year or so because you are planning to try for a baby. Yes, your life will be different, but you’ll make it work. 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP July 5, 2011, 6:05 am

      Oh, I know it’s not the end 🙂 But it’s definitely a temporary pause. Way to rock it out, Wendy!!!

  • Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats July 5, 2011, 12:54 am

    I think it would be really cool if you did it but I would also be worried about your injury and if it is up to all of that yet!

  • Khushboo July 5, 2011, 1:16 am

    I think you should go for it IF you are physically able to injury-wise, let your knee be 100%

  • Angie July 5, 2011, 4:09 am

    All I can say is wow!
    If you want to do it you should, but if you have any doubt I would wait a while.
    Good idea for the back to back training. I had never thought of it but it makes so much sense.
    Thanks Caitlin a new way of working out to try!

  • AnneJuliet July 5, 2011, 7:39 am

    I’ll be doing beach2battleship – my first halfIM distance!! So, you’ll have a reader/buddy to celebrate with:)

  • Kate Hicken July 5, 2011, 9:06 am

    Hey Caitlin,

    You should do it (I know you have decided not to but…..) I am a very slow runner and cyclist. I did UK Ironman 70.3 which is one of the toughest in the world this year (like 3 weeks ago) and loved it. It was very hard but I didn’t do loads and loads of training but I have never been prouder of myself and my body for getting through it. Now whenever I am feeling down or miserable I can look at my medal and know that I achieved that!
    My times are slower than yours – 2hr 7 mins half marathon but I still did it.

  • Shannon @ Mon Amour July 5, 2011, 9:36 am

    Transitions totally kick my butt too. I really need to work on practicing them, as well as biking and running back to back

  • Ali G. July 5, 2011, 11:58 am

    Go for it!!!
    The first triathlon I ever did was a half. It was incredible and totally doable if you have already done some sprints.
    That was 2 years ago, and I’m doing to the B2B Full Iron in October. See you there?

  • Mary July 5, 2011, 2:04 pm

    You should DEFINITELY do it :). I’m signed up for Beach2Battleship and just started training. I don’t think the cutoff time will be an issue for you, and I was just in Wilmington this weekend and the swim doesn’t look threatening – it’s in the inter-coastal. The downside is cost, but maybe think of it as a vacation?

  • Luv What You Do July 5, 2011, 9:41 pm

    I definitely see the appeal of the half ironman. I think you are making the right decision to enjoy your shorter races this summer and train for the biggie next year!

    I am doing a sprint next weekend and then my first Olympic next month. Any ideas/suggestions for training for the longer run??? You are a rockstar at the pool and that is definitely my weakness.

  • Laura @ Cookies vs. Carrots July 6, 2011, 10:48 pm

    I agree it sounds like perfect timing, and I think if it is something you want to do, you should go for it! You’re right to consider the fact that once you start a family you might have the time/money/desire to commit yourself to this type of thing.

    PS- Dates with sunflower butter are my new favorite snack 🙂

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