Is not the same as this…


But in many ways, it’s better! 


The Ramblin’ Rose triathlon series is the largest all-female tri in North Carolina and the state’s second largest triathlon, period.  The atmosphere was tremendously supportive and welcoming.  Women of all shapes, sizes, and ages tackled today’s race.  It was inspiring to see 10 year olds, 70 years olds, super athletes, and women on weight loss journeys on the course.  


Because the race is designed for newbies, there were many hybrid and mountain bikes on the course.  Some women swam in bikinis.  I understand how intimidating triathlons can be – so much expensive gear – so it was very neat to how accessible Ramblin’ Rose was!


Backing up…


Even though I hit the road with more than enough time to spare and ate my peanut butter sandwich in the car, I hit major traffic and was nearly late.  I ended up parking in a lot that I knew wouldn’t be released until the race closed.  I dashed to registration without a second to spare and high-tailed it to transition area.


Another cool thing about Ramblin’ Rose was the neat ways women marked their bikes.  Trust me – it’s hard to find your stuff amongst 1,100 other bikes, especially when you’re tired.


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After setting up my gear, I headed over to the pool.


Here’s how this pool triathlon worked:  When I signed in, I had to choose a ‘wave’ for the start, depending on how fast I thought I could swim 250 yards.



I choose wave 8.  I thought it was a optimistic estimation, but I also didn’t want to sell myself short and end up crawling other other women.


The organizers set us up by wave, and then we walked in, single-file, across a bulkhead the separated the pool into two sets of ten 25-yard lanes.  When it was your turn, you ran across the timing mat, jumped in the pool (no diving), and began to swim.  They waited 10 seconds between each swimmer.


When you got to the end of the first lane, you had to duck underneath the buoys and swim up the other lane. 


I was SUPER PUMPED to get into the water.  Lakes make me nervous, but man – pools are my thang.  I jumped in and swam like somethin’ was chasing me.  I ended up passing (and by passing, I mean crawling over, unfortunately) TWO women in the process.  On my 8th lap, I could tell my form was suffering because I’m not used to sprinting such a long distance.  I told myself, “Just 50 more yards,” and hung on until I reached the ladder and blasted out of the pool.  I ran out of the pool house, back to transition, and hit the swim mat in 5:24. 


I really tried to speed up transitions and was on the bike quickly.  The bike was 9 miles so I felt comfortable pushing as hard as I could.  Honestly, I was back before I realized what was happening.  I finished the bike in 26:53.


And then – it was time for the run!  My favorite leg, of course.  My game plan for the 2.0 miles was to run as fast as possible.  I wasn’t worried about burning out – I just wanted to finish the damn thing.


The two miles flew by – and in 18:06, I was done.


Here comes the finish…


The entire thing took 54:38.  My secret goal was to finish in under an hour.  And I was the 108th finisher out of over 1,100 women!


Instead of medals, Ramblin’ Rose gave out branded water bottles and a lovely charm.  Cute, huh?



Please ignore my horrendous nails.


The finish line party was excellent (loads of yummy snacks like bananas and Lunabars, which I attacked) and fun booths with free massages and branded gear for sale.  Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the latest issue of Endurance magazine – with my mug on it! 

IMG_1549308669_196358987096636_107679745964561_505791_3657741_n (2)

Endurance just did a cover story on Operation Beautiful!  It was very nice of Endurance to comp my race entry, too.  


In summary, I would HIGHLY recommend Ramblin’ Rose to anyone who is interested in doing triathlons but is scared of open water or feel intimidated by a co-ed group.  It is a wonderful first triathlon.  The race was well-staffed and organized.  This year, there were/are races in Nashville, Raleigh, Rock Hill, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, and Durham.


You know what the BEST part of this race was?  There was no cut-off time.  The course stayed open for as long as it took for everyone to finish.  I have NEVER seen this before and really appreciated it (even though it meant I sat in a parking lot for three hours, starving for a real meal, because I started in the first few waves – it was worth it!).  When Ramblin’ Rose says they want to encourage all types of women to be active and do tris, it isn’t lip service – they REALLY mean it.  From the bumper of my car, I could cheer on the final women, and it was so truly uplifting to watch them finish. 


I finally got my real meal when I got back to Charlotte – I had a veggie burrito and a cookie.  YUM!

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Have you done a women’s-only race before?  What did you think?


PS – My friend Tanya is giving away a free entry to the Ramblin’ Rose Durham half marathon, if you’re in the area!



  • Lisa September 25, 2011, 5:12 pm

    What fun! I have done a few women’s only tris and the atmosphere was fantastic!

  • Kristen (inspiredbydooce) September 25, 2011, 5:14 pm

    I loved the Women’s 5k that I did. Loved it!

    Congrats on such a strong race- two days in a row? That’s awesome. If I had been there and had seen you at the race I would have asked you to autograph my magazine 🙂

  • Army Amy* September 25, 2011, 5:14 pm

    Great job! If I ever get the nerve to do a tri, I think a race like this would be perfect!*

  • ellen September 25, 2011, 5:15 pm

    great job! and nice cover 🙂 i did a she-rox tri a few years ago. it was my first and definitely had a very very low intimidation factor (though i think i prefer co-ed). my favorite all-female event is the nyrr mini-10k in central park. i run it almost every year…

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 12:55 pm

      I’ve heard good things about she-rox, too!

  • Courtney September 25, 2011, 5:17 pm

    This sounds like my kind of race! I wish they had them in Chicago 🙂

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) September 25, 2011, 5:17 pm

    Wow great job!! Love that this particular race caters to all types of athletes – from the beginner to the more elite.

  • Kayla September 25, 2011, 5:17 pm

    I ran my first 10K today and thought of you and your double tri weekend! Kept me going! Looks like you had fun!

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 12:56 pm

      Way to go on your 10K!!

  • Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete September 25, 2011, 5:20 pm

    This sounds a lot like my first tri! I did the Meek & Mighty Triathlon (part of the St Anthony’s Triathlon weekend) in St Petersburg, FL. It is a 250 yd pool swim, 5.4 mile bike and a 1 mile run. Perfect for a triathlon newbie. In fact, I just might do it again next year to get me ready for my first tri season after having a baby!

  • Kara September 25, 2011, 5:20 pm

    I’ve never done an all woman’s race or an all inclusive type of race like that. It seems fun though!

    Did the bikini clad women stay that way for the bike ride and run? Now that would be a true endurance event….

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:08 pm

      I’m not sure – i hope not!

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas September 25, 2011, 5:22 pm

    Now this would be the type of tri that I would like to do! Since I’ve never done one before.. I feel like this is something I can totally manage!

    How awesome that Endurance did a cover story for Operation Beautiful!!! Great pic! And greate race!

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) September 25, 2011, 5:22 pm

    Congrats on your race! What a great weekend you’ve had. I’m so impressed with your swim time. You were almost dead on with your estimation…and I bet it made you go faster too. When I estimate for a running event I always estimate a bit ambitious too. 🙂

    I’ve run an all-women’s half marathon and I loved it for the most part. It’s always great to see so many women with similar goals busting booty. I did see some creepy men lurking throughout the course though, so that wasn’t a great feature!

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:09 pm

      Oh man I remember your creeper!!! That was scary.

  • Joe Nuss September 25, 2011, 5:28 pm

    I am so glad you enjoyed the race! It was an awesome day! Here at Endurance Magazine we’ve been pouring our hearts & souls into Ramblin’ Rose since 2006 when we held our first race in Chapel Hill and I’m so glad you captured some of that love in your post about what we do. After everyone was gone, our team stood around the parking lot in our soggy sneakers and sweaty clothes completely unable to stop sharing all of the awesome stories of the amazing women we each met during the day. Thank you for coming out and sorry I never caught back up with you at the race – I wound up at the finish line and had a hard time leaving!

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:09 pm

      Thank you again Joe!

      • September 28, 2011, 7:13 am

        Caitlin/Joe – I lived in Chapel Hill for 5 years before moving here to The Netherlands, and hope to return there someday. In addition to a healthy outdoor lifestyle (shared by the Dutch – they are ALWAYS outside being active), one of my favorite things that I miss dearly is Endurance magazine. Sigh… So I KNOW what a cool honor it is for you to be on the cover. You rocked the sprint and you rocked the cover. Kudos to you and Endurance magazine!

  • Jacalyn September 25, 2011, 5:28 pm

    Congratulations on being a triathlon monster this weekend!
    So inspiring.
    My first triathlon ever was a women’s only PLUS it was on Mother’s Day, so it was super special for me. I didn’t have to worry about being drowned. Notice how women are nicer than men? I have literally been pushed by men in half marathons. I knew if I had that kind of experience during my first tri, I probably wouldn’t want to compete again. I am definitely a supporter of women only events!

  • Jill September 25, 2011, 5:31 pm

    I agree with everyone who said this sounds like the perfect first tri to do. I’ve never done one but would totes try that distance- and having all women would make it even better.

    I’ve done a few all women races: the More half marathon, the NY Mini (10k, the oldest all-women race in the country I believe!). I also did a 1 mile race yesterday (intense) that had gender-specific start times, so it felt like a women’s only event. I think it’s a nice vibe to have women only, but then again I do LOVE passing men on the course! 😉

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:10 pm

      1 mile race would be super intense. I would freak out!

      • Jill September 26, 2011, 2:04 pm

        It was a completely different experience than a regular race. I’m not used to PUSHING the entire time I’m running! That said I really enjoyed seeing how fast I could run, and think I will train for it next year, to see if that makes a difference.

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 25, 2011, 5:31 pm

    No Cut Off time and women of all ages and fitness levels who were participating…that’s awesome!

    Congrats on your Tri!! And on the Endurance Mag feature…sweet!

  • Erin September 25, 2011, 5:32 pm

    I live in NC too and have been thinking of doing this race – there’s on in Raleigh where I live although it was too late for me to sign up this year. Next year’s goal!

  • Hillary September 25, 2011, 5:36 pm

    This is definitely my kind of tri. My boyfriend goes to grad school in Raleigh; maybe I could head out there and complete it!

  • Gillian @ That's G September 25, 2011, 5:40 pm

    Two tris in two days? Beastmode!

    I’ve never done an all-women’s race before, BUT i’ll change that on Oct 16th with the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco. Looking forward to it!

  • Ashley @ My Food 'N' FitnessDiaries September 25, 2011, 5:40 pm

    Awesome job! It sounds like a fun race. Way to push out two tris in one weekend – very impressive!!

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) September 25, 2011, 5:47 pm

    Very cool on placing so high in the field! The Huntersville aquatics center is one of my favorite – I’ve trained there while on business in Charlotte and judged a bunch of synchro meets there. Apparently a bunch of the 9-12 year old synchro swimmers who train in that pool were doing your tri. Cool stuff.

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:11 pm

      I saw LOTS of 10 year olds!

  • Sana September 25, 2011, 5:53 pm

    I am usually last in races and it’s so nice when people wait!

  • Karlee @olivewineandfood September 25, 2011, 6:00 pm

    you are amazing. that sounds like my kind of race! i want to find a long swim/short run race.

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats September 25, 2011, 6:17 pm

    That race looks like so much fun! I wish they had some over here in the Midwest – That would be an awesome way for my to attempt a tri! I definitely can’t afford the gear and it really does seem intimidating, but that looks like an event I could definitely tackle!

  • Grab An Apple September 25, 2011, 6:21 pm

    I did the SheRox triathlon in Philly this past August. It was a really welcoming experience and so much fun. Best of all, I convinced my mother to join me-she did the duathlon while I did the tri.

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:11 pm

      Aw how fun 🙂 I would love to do a mother daughter race.

  • Alett September 25, 2011, 6:21 pm

    What a super cool race! Well worth doing back to back triathlons for sure! By the way the water bottle and the charm are super cute.

    There is a women’s only triathlon up here that is held in Hopkinton, MA (the same town where the Boston marathon starts). It is 1/4 mile open water swim though, 10 mile HILLY bike, and 5k run. I really love doing the race because women’s only races have a totally different feel; so supportive in a different way.

    Congrats on your back to back tri weekend.
    : )

  • Crystal September 25, 2011, 6:27 pm

    Unrelated subject, but just so you know, your blog was mentioned as informative reading material in my GOTR coaches weekly warm up email ;)Thanks for inspiring me to sign up to coach!

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:13 pm

      That is really nice 🙂 Thanks for volunteering with GOTR!

  • Chelsea September 25, 2011, 6:27 pm

    Do you typically stay until the awards ceremony? I usually leave but I’m thinking about maybe staying at one now since I know you stay in your car haha. I just usually go with my boy-friend (races that are on Saturdays) and he has to high tail it back to work lol. Maybe my next Sunday race I’ll stay longer!

    That’s so exciting about being on the cover! Did anyone come up and say something to you lol?!

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:13 pm

      No… With my hat on and my sweatiness, I don’t think anyone would’ve realized it was me!

  • Candice September 25, 2011, 6:34 pm

    That sounds like a great starter tri!! Tris really can be intimidating, it’s important to just make it fun to! Way to go!

  • B n B September 25, 2011, 6:49 pm

    That looks like a fun event. Way to go on reaching your goal – you did so well.

  • kristen September 25, 2011, 6:53 pm

    great job! man you killed each leg!
    I have never been in a womens only race- but it sounds like fuN!

  • Briana September 25, 2011, 6:58 pm

    Great job Caitlin! You continue to inspire. I just competed in an all-women sprint triathlon today in Massachusetts! Very empowering. It was my first tri and I place 15th/100 in my age group! I can’t wait to do another.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) September 25, 2011, 7:03 pm

    I would love to do a race like that! I don’t have a fancy bike and I’m terrified of open bodies of water, so if I ever did a triathlon, this looks like a good one 🙂

  • Amy@ahealthyandhappyheart September 25, 2011, 7:08 pm

    You are a super women! I totally love this idea! Perfect for a beginner or an advanced athlete…congrats!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 25, 2011, 7:19 pm

    Woohoo congrats on your awesome time!

    I love all the decorations and balloons on the bikes. 😀

  • Melissa September 25, 2011, 7:23 pm

    I did a womens’ 10k this summer! I loved the atmosphere, but it was about 100 degrees outside, which really put a damper on things 😛 I’ll try again next year and see if I feel better about that particular race.

    Amazing job at your tri, by the way!!!

  • Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas September 25, 2011, 7:41 pm

    I will be doing my first womens-only race this November and I am SUPER excited!!! 🙂

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife September 25, 2011, 8:23 pm

    I’ve done a small sprint like that (small meaning not a HUGE race) but it was co-ed. I loved how easy it was to understand what would happen.

    GREAT job! You totally did 2 tris this weekend <—that rocks!

  • Megan @ On the Road Again September 25, 2011, 8:30 pm

    Congrats! Sounds like an awesome race. I’ve always been wary of womens-only races for some reason, but this one sounds really good!

  • Suzanne September 25, 2011, 8:33 pm

    What a great event! I would be much more inclined to do a women’s only tri like this one! Magazine cover looks good!

  • Lindsay September 25, 2011, 8:36 pm

    I did Iron Girl in Columbia, MD a few years ago. It was my first tri and it was awesome!

  • dana September 25, 2011, 8:41 pm


    I did the Iron Girl Triathlon in MD. It was great being in an all-woman race. There were a lot of women encouraging and cheering for others.

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:14 pm

      IronGirls are awesome.

  • Mary September 25, 2011, 8:44 pm

    Great job on your 2 tris – way to rock out those swims! I also want to thank you for all your great posts and advice and let you know I finished my first half marathon yesterday in 2:11. Your advice has been very helpful. BTW you look awesome on the magazine cover!

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:16 pm

      Congrats on your half marathon 🙂 Way to go!

  • BroccoliHut September 25, 2011, 8:54 pm

    You might have just inspired me to sign up for the Raleigh Ramblin Rose in October!!

  • Marian @ marianwrites September 25, 2011, 8:55 pm

    I love this! It’s things like this that make me just want to yell GIRL POWER! Congrats on your amazing time, Caitlin! xo

  • Dee @ GFGradNut September 25, 2011, 9:05 pm

    So this has nothing to do with racing, but I had to tell you, I made your pancake truffles this morning and, ummm, they were freaking DELICIOUS!! (I added cocoa powder too. Seriously, so good).

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:16 pm

      I need to make those again some – so good! glad you enjoyed them.

  • Katie of Cabbage Ranch September 25, 2011, 9:08 pm

    Sounds like a great race! If I ever find one like that around here, I might try it!

  • hemp jogger September 25, 2011, 9:10 pm

    what an incredible theme for a race. love woman empowerment! and btw, AMAZING JOB! you rocked it girl.

  • Erin September 25, 2011, 9:28 pm

    Women’s only races are super cool! Congrats on a great finish time!

  • Jaclyn @therealhealthwife September 25, 2011, 9:30 pm

    I was at Luna’s Living Cafe last week and saw the Endurance Magazine on the rack outside and got so excited to see you on the cover since I read your blog everyday! Congrats on 2 tri’s in one weekend, that is amazing!!

  • katie @ KatieDid September 25, 2011, 10:01 pm

    I meant to comment the other day, but I saw Tanya on the news all the way up here in Vermont! I shouted out “I know her!” haha. Sort of I guess… but I was excited 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:16 pm

      Yay! How awesome.

  • Dee September 25, 2011, 11:40 pm

    This is so awesome!

  • Samantha @ Mama Notes September 25, 2011, 11:42 pm

    Yes! I did a womens run here in ANchorage and it was SO awesome. Probably one of myf avorite races ever. All proceeds went to Breast Cancer, but what was cool is that there were no entry fees. There was a suggested donation, but it wasn’t required. That way anyone from any economic background could participate. there was a 1 mile and a 5 mile. I also got my best time from the 5 mile 🙂 Recap is here:

  • Mary September 25, 2011, 11:53 pm

    Caitlin do you know that when I swam competitively I swam 500 meters in about 5 minutes? that is an AWESOME time on your swim! Rock on girlfriend!

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:17 pm

      Damn girl, seriously? There is no way I could do 500 meters in 5 mins!!

  • Luv What You Do September 26, 2011, 12:14 am

    Congrats on teh cover! YOu are a celebrity!

    The rose charm is such a special keepsake!

  • Khushboo September 26, 2011, 1:17 am

    Wow another amazing race- well done!

  • Socal Rachel September 26, 2011, 2:27 am

    Congrats on the back-to-back tri’s! Congrats on making the cover. I’ve never done a tri though I want to, just not big on the swimming thing.

  • Mina September 26, 2011, 2:29 am

    Great job on the race! After reading about all of your tris, it’s really inspired me to try experimenting with things other than running!

    I have a slightly random question though. I remember awhile back you said you were gluten intolerant or allergic, i’m not sure which one (but they are different), and I was wondering why you seemed to have returned to having gluten in your diet? I am a nutritional science major, and I know that if you have a proven gluten allergy, it can wreak havoc on your GI tract and immune system to consume gluten. were you ever officially tested for gluten intolerance, allergy, or Celiacs?

    • CaitlinHTP September 26, 2011, 1:19 pm

      I am trying really hard to avoid gluten but its difficult. I hardly ever eat gluten at home (frozen pizza is the exception). I struggle with it outside the home. all the toast, cereal, crackers, etc you see on the blog are gluten free.

      i had a saliva test that revealed an intolerance.

  • tina September 26, 2011, 7:11 am

    I did the Philly Women’s Sprint Tri last year & loved it! It was my first (and so far only) triathlon. Women of all shapes, sizes & abilities participated. I was totally inspired by women 20+years older than me & a good 50+lbs heavier than me kicking butt & still taking the time to cheer on & motivate racers who were struggling! The bike was longer than most sprint tris (17miles) but it was a largely fast, flat course with great views of Kelly Drive, Boathouse Row & the Schuykill River.

  • Sam September 26, 2011, 11:02 am

    Awesome!!!! Good job 🙂 That looks like so fun and I like the whole atmosphere you describe of it being so accepting.

  • Jessica @ Fit Chick Wannabe September 26, 2011, 11:56 am

    Great job!!! I really need to find a tri like this in my area, because I am TERRIFIED of open water, which is what is stopping me from doing one.

  • Carolina John September 26, 2011, 1:15 pm

    That’s a great swim time. I think my 250 time would also be around 5 minutes. And it’s good to see your transition times getting faster too. You really put together a good race there!

  • Amber K September 26, 2011, 1:27 pm

    That sounds like a really awesome race! Glad to know there are some that anyone could enter.

  • Allie {a teaspoon of LIFE} September 26, 2011, 4:56 pm

    Great times lady!!
    I have never heard of an all girls race or a race with no cut off. I want to do this tri so bad now!!!
    Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  • Shannon December 11, 2012, 4:34 pm

    Congratulations! I am working out with several teachers from the school where I work, and we signed up to do the Girl Power Triathlon in New Orleans in March 2013! None of us have done any type of event like this before. We are all in need of Divine intervention!!! We havent worked out in 15 years or more! We do good to float! Any suggestions?

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