A great way to kick off triathlon season (I think… see my ramblings below).


On Sunday, I did the Huntersville Sprint Triathlon.  The race was a 500 meter pool swim, a 12 mile bike, and a 5K run.  It’s one of the first triathlons in the Charlotte area for the 2013, so I was very excited to participate.  Plus – Kristien and Henry came with me, which was really, really nice.


I’m getting to the point with triathlons where I no longer feel satisfied ‘just’ to finish.  I want to do well in my age division.  I have mixed feelings about this new desire – for several reasons.  First of all, when it comes to racing, I have never really been competitive with others.  For a long time,  I just wanted to finish.  First, I had to get over “I am going to die in the lake” and then I had to get over “I am going to crash on the bike.”  Then, I had to get over “I cannot possibly run several miles after almost dying in a lake and almost crashing on a bike.” I am definitely not a ‘natural’ triathlete, and there were a lot of fear barriers to overcome when I first got into the sport.  But I’m not afraid anymore, and I haven’t been for a long time. 


So I transitioned to “I am going to work on beating my personal best.”  This is tricky with triathlons because the distances always vary slightly (I’ve seen sprint tri with 500 yards or 750 meters of swimming, for example).  For that reason, I decided that I also wanted to start doing better in my age division, mostly because I always place near the bottom.  50% would be great!


The trouble with this newfound desire to compete against others is that although I walked away from Sunday’s triathlon feeling really good about myself (I didn’t know my time yet), when I got home and checked my ranking, I felt like poop.  Once again… I found myself at the bottom of the heap.  Hmmmph.


I placed 9th out of 10.


I was feeling pretty down about myself after I checked the results because I REALLY thought I had done well.  So I decided to take a gander at the other female age groups.  The red arrows is where I would have been if I had been in the 20 – 24 or 30 – 34 age groups.


Big difference, right? I  would’ve been 4th / 9 if I was 24 years old, and I would’ve been 10th / 19 if I was 30.  And although I just had a birthday on Friday, I am unfortunately not 24 anymore.  And I’ve still got 353-odd days until I am 30.  So basically, although my ‘would’ve been’ rankings are meaningless, they did make me feel a bit better.  Maybe my age group (25 – 29) is just extremely competitive? Maybe I just didn’t luck out and was up against some really fast women (that is certainly true!)?


Anyway – onto the race.


This race was a pool triathlon.  The way it worked was participants entered the pool according to their bib numbers (which was based on your anticipated swim times) with 15 seconds in between each swimmer.  I was bib #297, which meant that I didn’t begin swimming until an hour and a half after the race officially began.  There was a lot of waiting around, but at least the Hus and Henry were with me, so it was okay.


Henry really liked watching the swimmers!  We just started taking him to swim class, and he loves the water (heck, he swam ‘with’ me two – three times a week when he was in utero!).  Did I mention he has also started to RUN?!  Yes.  10.5 months old and running everywhere.  Lord help me.   Maybe he will grow up to be a triathlete, too!


Each swimmer went up one lane, ducked under the buoys, and then went down the other lane.  I think there were 20 lanes in total.


Finally, it was my time to go!


I am pretty proud of my swim.  I started off too fast and had to pull back after a 100 yards or so, but I did manage to pass not one, but TWO people!  That means the second person I passed had a 30-second head start on me and I still caught them.  I almost passed a third but didn’t quite get there.


My big goal for this race was to work on my transitions.


My first transition was definitely the best – I got out of the pool as fast as possible, ran to the transition area, and got geared up for the bike.  I had the 5th fastest transition out of my age group! 


(Sunglasses in my mouth – told you I was rushin’)


The bike is, by far, my weakest sport.  It was also raining, and I am pretty scared of cycling in the rain, so the bike leg was all-around lackluster.  I was pretty happy when it was over.  My Garmin said it was 12.5 miles, and I finished in 48:14 – second to last.

photo 2 (7)

T2 was rough.  When I got off the bike, I was instantly super dizzy… not sure why as I definitely fueled properly.  But I was so dizzy that I couldn’t rack my bike properly, and I ended up knocking over the bike next to mine.  So then I had to rack my bike and re-rack the stranger’s bike.  My socks were soaked from the rain, so I not only changed shoes, but socks as well.  The dizziness definitely did me in – it took me 2:41 to transition, the worst in my age group.


I was very excited for the run!  I felt strong the entire time and never stopped to walk.  I did the 5K in 27:34, which is always a good 5K time for me, but especially after a swim and bike.


All in all… I thought it was a great race, but like I said, I was disappointed when I looked at my rankings. Upon examining my feelings, I realized that I say I want to do better in triathlons, but saying it and putting in the effort are two different things.  I can’t wish and hope my way into faster times.  So I guess this event was a good thing in the end because I feel more motivated to put in the extra effort and train harder.  This is just my first event of the season, and I have many, many weeks to improve!


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Do you compete against others in your age division or just focus on yourself?  Do you think your age division is more competitive than others?  Man – I think the 25 – 29 age group is tough!  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… I can’t wait to be 30!



  • Rachel April 29, 2013, 2:26 pm

    The fact that you even DO triathlons is impressive to me! So go, Caitlin! And Henry’s face in that first picture is so, so cute!

  • Elise @ Expeditions of Elise April 29, 2013, 2:27 pm

    Caitlin, I love your motivation to continue to build your fitness and improve! It’s inspiring to me to see you be able to juggle your own fitness needs and aspirations with the rest of your life. I feel like all too often when health and fitness bloggers have children, they sort of drop the “fitness” part. That’s discouraging for me because I want to make fitness a priority my entire life, so it’s great to have some examples of people who are able to do that.

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) April 29, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Hehe. Just wait ’till you see the competition in the 30-34 age group at your typical ironman/half ironman. It’s brutal.

    There’s nothing wrong with either participating purely for fun, or wanting to achieve a high ranking. If you want to do that latter, though, you need to commit to a really consistent, high intensity training plan. Because plenty of other women will.

    (Not meant to be harsh, just the facts.)

    • Caitlin April 29, 2013, 2:34 pm

      No – not harsh! Totally the facts. I need to COMMIT. I wish you could train with me!

      • Victoria (District Chocoholic) April 29, 2013, 4:07 pm

        This morning’s workout was 5500m swim. Aaaaaaaaand go!

        Seriously, though, maybe join daily mile to draw inspiration from other triathletes by peeking into their training every day? It can be a serious kick in the butt.

        • Caitlin April 29, 2013, 4:13 pm

          How long does that take you???

          • Victoria (District Chocoholic) April 29, 2013, 5:32 pm

            1:29:32. It was in a long course pool, so, longer than in a short course pool.

            Maybe join us for 100×100 in December. It’s fun.

          • Steph April 29, 2013, 6:05 pm

            2 hours!

        • Alyssa April 29, 2013, 7:49 pm

          Just check out Victoria’s blog for inspiration – just reading it makes me feel lazy when I run 50 miles/week!

          • Danielle April 30, 2013, 3:24 pm

            I agree with Victoria… and 35-39 is also ridiculous and 40-44 is worse. I don’t think anyone is naturally good at triathlon (expect maybe professionals) which is why it is so appealing to so many – most people can do one of the sports fairly well. I have competed at every triathlon distance from sprint to Ironman for a few years now and it’s a constant juggling act getting the training in, but if you want to improve, you have to do the work day in and day out and it has to be quality. I don’t have kids, but I do have a more than full time job, a 90 minute commute each way, and a husband, so I had serious demands on my time. I get up at 4:45am when I have to and squeeze everything in at random times of the day to make it work. I think you should compare you to you and not the rankings- don’t worry about everyone else because you never know who shows up on race day. You can only make sure you are prepared to do you best. You know in your heart if that was case, and if it wasn’t, try harder with the training next time.

  • Candice April 29, 2013, 2:53 pm

    You weren’t too far off the first place women in each category. You should be proud!

  • Katie April 29, 2013, 2:57 pm

    Bummer…yet I’m super proud of you!!! I’m at a point where I still need to focus on what my PR is because if I look at the ranking I would also be super disappointed. I would love to hear about Henry’s swim class at some point!

  • Kristen L April 29, 2013, 3:00 pm

    Great work on your first tri of the season! Even though you didn’t get quite the results you wanted, at least you got out there and finished it. Keep getting out on your bike — I think that will help you a lot with your cycling confidence.

  • Megan LH April 29, 2013, 3:05 pm

    Although they do base rankings on age groups, I think there are other MAJOR factors here like- you have had a baby and are currently a mom. They aren’t excuses but to me they are valid reasons that you maybe don’t get the ranking you had hoped for. It’s extremely impressive that you do what you do balancing everything so well! I just started racing last year (I only run- haven’t gotten bold enough for the rest yet) and I find it exciting yet extremely frustrating to be competitive. I ran a half on Saturday and found myself trying to guess ages and racing against the other women so I could place. It can be fun but it can also suck the excitement out of what is already a major accomplishment. Keep on doing awesome! You (through your blog and book, HTP) have been one of my biggest role models that has kept me excited about running.

    • Caitlin April 29, 2013, 3:09 pm

      thank you for the sweet comment. and thanks for reading my book!

  • Tara April 29, 2013, 3:18 pm

    I don’t think I can do a triathalon due to the mere fact that I don’t know how to swim! I have no aspirations to learn either, I’m not a fan of pools or oceans. Must be the city girl in me, haha. The only way to get better is to practice, so I think you can do a lot better in your next few races. Good luck!

  • Jolene (Homespun Heritage) April 29, 2013, 3:20 pm

    When is the next Tri for you?

  • Ali April 29, 2013, 3:28 pm

    Have you considered joining a master’s swim program? I’ve been reading your blog for a few years and it seems like you really enjoy swimming.
    I used to go to Master’s at my gym 3x/week and it really helped and got me excited to compete with others in my lane. Nothing wrong with a little healthy competition!

    • Caitlin April 29, 2013, 4:06 pm

      I really want to do something like this but Henry makes it so hard to make it to, well, anything on time.

      • Crystal April 29, 2013, 11:42 pm

        Ok, I have to disagree with this. I have 3 kids under 5 and it is harder to get out, but we are almost never late and it is not their fault when we are; it’s mine b/c I am the adult. I make sure we have enough time for things like extra diaper changes, spills, an extra feed, etc. You just have to plan everything. Always. Have you tried planning backwards? That works great for us.

        • Caitlin April 30, 2013, 6:32 am

          I bow down to you :). My issue with timing and Henry is mainly his naps and eating schedule. I mostly follow his cues and it varies so much day to day that its difficult for me to say “oh yes I can definitely make a 9 am swim”

          Afternoons are so much better but my gym doesn’t have child cAre from 1-4 🙁

          • Grace April 30, 2013, 8:26 am

            I thought one of the big benefits of sleep training was a very consistent napping and sleep schedule? I thought that was one of the big reasons why people did it.

            It may get easier when Henry goes to one nap – we never sleep trained (we still co-sleep and nurse at night) but when our daughter went to one nap at 13 months she started sleeping 11am-1pm every day, like clockwork.

            And congrats on your triathlon! You should still be proud of yourself for going out there and doing it, even if you didn’t rank as high as you’d like.

          • Caitlin April 30, 2013, 10:28 am

            It just depends on the way you choose to do it. You can be clock-driven or baby-driven or a bit of both (which we are).

          • Crystal April 30, 2013, 7:51 pm

            Yeah we cosleep, don’t sleep train and boob on demand. I just top him off before we leave and then if he falls asleep in the car on the way super! My gym doesn’t have childcare from 1-4, but all three (and me) nap from 2-4 anyway so it’s not big deal

          • Caitlin May 1, 2013, 6:52 am

            Can I come nap with you???

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed April 29, 2013, 3:28 pm

    I personally don’t bother much with comparing myself against other people and mostly compete against my previous times and paces. 10.5 months ago you were pregnant and now you’re doing triathlons, you rock!

  • KAS April 29, 2013, 3:30 pm

    I think being overly invested in rankings sets you up for disappointment. Your results were your results; you should compare your results to your own personal standards/bests and not the results of others. It’s not just about “winning”, right?

  • Lee April 29, 2013, 3:33 pm

    I just turned 35. One of the things that I liked most (okay, really the only thing) about it is that I’m in a different age group and it’ll be easier to place higher.

  • Katie April 29, 2013, 3:36 pm

    I can relate so much to this post! I get all excited with my time & then I see how I rank & instantly start getting hard on myself! I’m 23 currently so when the age group is 19-24 I typically place well (If you are talking smaller/local races) but when it comes to the age group 20-29 that’s when I typically get down on myself! P.S. Henry is so handsome! 🙂

  • Susan April 29, 2013, 3:36 pm

    When you “age up” everyone else in your age group will be doing the same, so I don’t think turning 30 alone will get you higher in the rankings. 🙂

    • Caitlin April 29, 2013, 4:04 pm

      Oh darn. Good point!

  • Heather April 29, 2013, 3:39 pm

    I think you’re awesome 🙂

    That first picture is going to be one that when Henry is a lot older, he will be like “My mom is SO COOL”

  • MrsCourtneyP April 29, 2013, 3:40 pm

    Wow! 9th out of 10 is still an awesome accomplishment because there are BILLIONS of people on earth who couldn’t get through a tri! Congrats!

    I was signed up to do a tri last August, but I pulled out a week before the race because there were reports of blue-green algae in the lake. While they closed the lake to the public and said it was too dangerous to swim in, they were going to let the triathletes use it. Because apparently all triathletes have an immunity to blue-green algae?

    I found that to be SO irresponsible, so I demanded my money back.

    Anywho, I try not to compete with the other woman in my age group for road races because the 25-30 year-old racers in my community are ELITE runners and finish races with ridiculously fast times. There’s no point in trying to chase them because I am just NOT that fast (and may never be). Instead, I focus on bettering myself with each race and, if I’m feeling the itch of competition (I’m a very competitive person), I just kind of pick a random runner in the race and see if I can pass them at some point.

    A little competition is healthy, but it can be a mentally dangerous place to wander. I try to remind myself that I am first and foremost running for ME. No one else. And I’m not doing it for medals or prestige. Just for the sense of accomplishment and to see what my body is capable of!

  • Alo April 29, 2013, 3:41 pm

    Maybe you need to start comparing yourself to the 50+ age group– then you can REALLY feel good about yourself! 🙂

  • Sana April 29, 2013, 3:50 pm

    I am still at the point where I am just hoping I finish my workouts. I am always pleased when I discover that I did not die mid run 😉

  • Reenie April 29, 2013, 3:52 pm

    I agree… getting out there and doing it is impressive…. great job Caitlin 🙂

  • Jamie April 29, 2013, 4:03 pm

    I don’t do triathlons but I run and no, I do not compete against people in my age group. Maybe eventually (I approaching the 30-34 age group so maybe then? 🙂 but right now I just want to enjoy running half marathons and feel good about doing them at all. I feel like if I get too hung up on time goals I ruin the experience for myself and spend my time beating myself up over my “slow time” instead of celebrating the fact that I ran 13.1 miles!

    • Ashley April 29, 2013, 4:37 pm

      I feel exactly the same way! I’ve been training hard to run a sub-2 half marathon this weekend and I’ve found myself already thinking “well that’s really so slow when you think about it…” as opposed to feeling excited about the prospect of actually accomplishing this goal. I don’t care if I end up in 10,000th place (which could happen, it’s a big race) I just want the sub-2 for ME.

  • Lori April 29, 2013, 4:22 pm

    I wouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You did an amazing job and who cares about the ranking system. You rocked it!! 😉 By the way, Henry is so adorable and I just love that picture of you two.

  • Jessica R @ fromthekitchentotheroad April 29, 2013, 4:25 pm

    I only pay attention to age group standings at smaller races. I am out there racing against myself. It would be harder in the triathlon setting, though. I am a runner and the distances I do are the same so I do have something to compare it to.

  • Liz A. April 29, 2013, 4:25 pm

    25-29 age group is definitely the worst! I busted my butt to PR at our local GOTR race a few weeks ago. Trained my butt off, and was super happy with my time and how much I improved. At the winter GOTR race, I was a running buddy but to my surprise, I still ended up placing 3rd in my age group despite having a 45 minute time thanks to my darling little running partner. This time I figured it would be a cinch to win my age group since so few people came out for the winter GOTR. Boy was I wrong! I had exactly 3 adult women in front of me. ALL of them were in my age group. I was really irrationally disappointed until I did what you did and compared myself to the other age groups. I would have won the 20-24 group by at least 4 whole minutes, and that made me feel a bit better. I think maybe it’s just luck of the draw as to who will be at the race… and maybe just a really tough age group.

    • KT April 29, 2013, 9:25 pm

      I agree about the 25-29 age group being brutal. I think its because you’ve got younger women, less likely to have kids or even spouses yet, with lots of time and energy for training. The 30-34 year olds are more likely to have significant commitments to family (or even more responsibilities at work?) that limit training time.

      But WATCH OUT for the 50+. In my one and only triathalon (I prefer just running), the only women who were absolutely destroying me on the bike were the older women. Don’t know if it was experience, more free time, or more money for better bikes 🙂 but wow.

      • Ali April 30, 2013, 10:01 am

        I think that what is awesome about females in sports though is that we peak later-many times it’s the 30 and over crowd that is the most competitive because of this. True for professional athletes (triathletes and runners come to mind) also!

  • Ashley April 29, 2013, 4:28 pm

    Those photos of you and Henry are so cute! Kudos to you for doing triathlons even as a new mother–wow! 🙂

  • Ashley April 29, 2013, 4:35 pm

    Great job!

    My two cents- unless racing is actually your career I think that your biggest competition should be you. We train to better ourselves, not just to win. It’s always good to check out the rankings and if you’re consistently racing in smaller races in a condensed area I’m sure you’ll find yourself competing against the same people frequently and there might be a little friendly competition and that’s fine, even fun! But where you finish compared to others should be second string to how you performed compared to your past races.

  • duffy April 29, 2013, 4:37 pm

    So first of all, your kid is so stinkin’ cute. He’s really getting to be a charmer.

    Second of all, I feel like you’re on the right track looking at your results, but you’re missing a huge piece here. Don’t think about the “if I were in a different age group…” stuff. Look at the times of the women who beat you and see if you can improve to that level. The woman who won your age group had basically the same swim time that you did, as well as running and transitions. She just later destroyed everyone else on the bike. So plan a course and decide that you need to get to the point where you can do it in X amount of time. If you could figure out a way to take 5 minutes off your bike time, you’d be right up there.

    And finally, well, thirdly, I think you should look at your food. I know you’re transitioning away from food diary-ing, but you don’t eat like a triathlete. You eat like a health foodie. And that’s great, but if you’re getting dizzy on the bike, the first thing anyone is going to say is that you aren’t getting enough calories. I know un-pronouncable foods are scary, but maybe try some Cytomax and a high protein Power Bar the next time you’re out there instead of an Anne P’s bar and water (I’m not bashing Anne P’s bars – just using them as an example). You might honestly see a performance difference.

    It’s just my two cents. I want to see you really crush it for one of these races.

    • Caitlin April 29, 2013, 5:07 pm

      I do Gu and peanut butter sandwiches on race days. I had two PB Sammies, two Gus and a banana. Thoughts??

      • duffy April 29, 2013, 5:25 pm

        Yup – that’s your issue (says the armchair nutritionist). I think what you just described is great for a 5 or 10k, but not for a triathlon of any distance. I think you need more calories, and they need to come from bigger sources (like more protein, way more carbs, etc). They are HARDLY edible if you aren’t working your a$$ off, but those Builders Bars are decent when you really need it.

        Let me look into this. I’m kind of interested – if you’re vegetarian and want to eat clean, how do you eat high performance? I’ll see what I can find. Right off the top of my head, the Vega products come to mind. They’re vegan, and proven to do all sorts of good things for you. I like the vanilla chai protein powder.

        • Caitlin April 29, 2013, 6:38 pm

          Thanks so much! I am going to do some investigating on no meat athlete too!

        • allison April 29, 2013, 6:48 pm

          vega products are AMAZING and they have a line geared toward performance athletes (we sell them at the store and i work with their reps a lot)

        • Victoria (District Chocoholic) April 30, 2013, 7:59 am

          This armchair nutritionist is going to go ahead and disagree. This “YOU NEED MOAR CALORIES ALL THE TIME” mindset is why so many age group triathletes find themselves with higher body fat percentages than you’d imagine somebody with their training schedule would carry. (NOTE: I’m NOT talking about anybody here, but we’ve all heard the endurance athlete chorus of “WTF? Why am I gaining weight?”).

          A peanut butter sandwich probably has at least 300, maybe 400 calories. The gu is another 100. For a sprint, that is plenty. I took in less than that before a half ironman last weekend and was fine. The one adjustment I might make is switching the gu for something with a lower glycemic index, such as sweet potato, as gu taken in at rest (e.g. not while racing) screws up insulin secretion and spikes your blood sugar. Not the desired result.

          Here’s what I think might be at play: orthostatic hypotension. On the bike, you are relatively horizontal. In T2, you go vertical in preparation to run. Going from sitting to standing/going from horizontal to vertical can, in some people, cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, which can make you dizzy. This happens to me switching from the bike to the run sometimes, both in training and in racing. It goes away relatively quickly, but it’s definitely a pain in the butt. Check out your intake of electrolytes and fluids leading up to race day.

          • Caitlin April 30, 2013, 10:29 am

            I think I agree with you Victoria!

  • Jane @ Not Plain So Jane April 29, 2013, 4:41 pm

    I feel the same way about half marathons & marathons. I’ve done a few and I’m getting the itch to get competitive with myself.

  • Nicolette April 29, 2013, 5:01 pm

    I am so glad the “age-division” talk came up! I ran my very first race this weekend. It was a local 10K and relatively small (about 1,000 runners). I didn’t train for it really at all, just did my normal runs and showed up on race day. I felt VERY proud of myself at the finish line for running the whole thing. That, and placing in the top 50%, were my goals. Last night, I checked the posted race results, and found I placed 11th/44 for my age group, and 68th/480 for women. I was SHOCKED! Since I had never raced before, I always just compared my performance to, well, my performance. I ran somewhere around an 8:45/mile pace (I don’t have a watch), which I know is good for me, but I am surprised with where it placed me in my group. This was a big, big boost for me and I am already excited to run more races. I know my ranks will obviously change race to race, so my primary goal remains to improve on my OWN times. I feel (through my limited experience) seeing your rank can be fun, but bettering yourself is goal #1. All the best to you in your future triathlons!

  • Jelena@FabLifePhD April 29, 2013, 6:45 pm

    Last year, I did my first 10K run and my only aim was to finish it. When I saw the list and was 500 out of 650 and then my competitive spirit started kicking. So now I am trying to finish it under one hour

  • jameil April 29, 2013, 6:47 pm

    30 is a whole nother ball of wax! I don’t do tris but for running? SHEESH! I feel like I’m light years from being anywhere near competitive. Granted I’ve been running less than 2 years but still. Now that I’m pregnant, I have to take a break from even trying to be competitive but I’m definitely in the same place as you of wanting to do better in my division. Pre-pregnancy, I set a division goal (finish as far from the bottom as possible), but that’s secondary to my personal time goal. And for a new distance and any race, my goal is to finish strong and not get passed at the finish line.

  • Sean April 29, 2013, 6:56 pm

    Congratulations! Super impressive result.

  • Elyse April 29, 2013, 7:00 pm

    I just wanted to say that you rock! I think it’s awesome that you do tris. I’ve been a runner for years and swim a few times a week. I’ve been thinking about tackling a tri but I’m scared. You have definitely inspired me to seriously consider it. 🙂

  • Sara@RunningInPinkProject April 29, 2013, 7:05 pm

    I find this tri posts really inspiring and I love the first shot of you and Henry. Awesome that hes learning to love the water at such a young age. 🙂

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 29, 2013, 7:12 pm

    Congratulations Caitlin! I love how honest you are. I think we’re similar in that we have high expectations of ourselves and we know what it’s like to perform well in a competitive setting. I think you did great – you’ve gone through so much since your last tri and you should be so proud of yourself! I have a half marathon coming up this weekend and I do have a time goal for this year (to break 1:30), but to be honest, I’m viewing this as a practice run for the other half marathon I’ve registered for in August. Our winter has been looooong so I haven’t had a chance to run outside much. (I’m a wimp when the weather isn’t sunny and warm!) and I know that I can’t expect to perform amazingly well when I haven’t actually run much on a real road this season. Having said that, I’ve been feeling strong in my training so I’m excited to see what the outcome is going to be. Although there is definitely a bit of self-imposed pressure to perform, I am going to keep reminding myself to just have fun with it. Be proud of yourself for what you achieved, and good luck because I can tell you’ve already got another race in mind! 🙂

  • Angie April 29, 2013, 7:17 pm

    Great job on your first tri of the season!

    I think staying fit and doing things to improve your performance are important but unless you really really commit to training (which could mean paying for babysitting and/or coaching) there is a finite amount you can do to improve your placing.

    I try to do at least 1 tri on the same course every year so that I can compare year to year. So last year when I was barely swimming but running a fair amount, I was surprised that my swim time stayed basically the same and my run time improved a ton!

  • Margaret April 29, 2013, 7:39 pm

    (Sorry, I know this wasn’t the point of anything, but, well, math nerd here…)

    If your birthday was 3 days ago, isn’t your next birthday in 362 days? I’m confused where the “353-odd days” came from.

    • Caitlin April 29, 2013, 8:03 pm

      haha yeah… apparently i really suck at math 😉

  • Alyssa April 29, 2013, 7:54 pm

    Personally I hate when I don’t meet a goal and people say “well at least you finished it! that’s still an accomplishment!”. I know they are being nice, but if it’s a distance I’ve done before, then finishing it really isn’t much of an accomplishment. The only way I’m going to improve is to take a good hard look at what I did and change something. So while it sucks to finish a race and then feel bad about your time, it feels great when you actually make changes and do better the next time!

  • Runnergirl April 29, 2013, 8:02 pm

    Great job !! So nice that you had cheerleaders 🙂

    Don’t get too pumped up about moving up in AGs. Generally the 30s-40s are the most competitive for tris/ road races. For men, 40-44 is THE most competitive AG.

    You can’t control who shows up in a race, so you just have to race your best race. At my most recent HM I ran a 1:45:xx and was 6th in my AG. If I was in 25-29 I would have WON my AG!

    I second the comments about Masters. I know it’s hard to schedule training with a baby involved, but if you want to improve you have to figure it out. I work 40+ hpw and train 7 days a week. I do this by getting up and training before my husband and my toddler are awake. Long runs start as soon as the sun rises or during nap time. I want to get faster so I make the time. Decisions.

  • Mary April 29, 2013, 8:25 pm

    Haha…30? I am waiting for about 80…the competition really decreases by then! Great job on your first tri of the season! You are such an inspiration:).

  • Christina April 29, 2013, 8:37 pm

    Good job! Seriously those other girls in your AG were no joke. Everyone ran the 5k in under 30 min?
    30-34 can be rough too. I’m pretty MOP but I sometimes get hardware because so few women show up to some of the tris I do. I was actually just talking to my friends about turning 35, and I’m happy because my times will make me pretty competitive because everyone starts slowing down in 35-39. They were like, “So you will be immune to this age-related slowdown?” Doh!

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs April 29, 2013, 8:54 pm

    Congrats on another triathlon!

    Keep at it, and I have no doubt you’ll be able to reach your goals! You can do it!

  • Lizzy April 29, 2013, 9:44 pm

    As a long time reader it makes me sad that you called out via illustration and words a comparison to other women. You teach so many young girls to adult women that they should cherish who they are and find the beauty in themselves and etc. To do what you did above kind of negates your brand. I agree with some of the other commenters that you should focus on what YOU could have done better and what your goals are for the next one. Kuddos for doing the tri and you still did great!

  • Brittany April 29, 2013, 10:18 pm

    I hate to say it but 30-34 is generally much more competitive for women! I am not excited to age up this year. I was able to place fairly well while in 25-29 and now there’s not much of a chance; it’s the same with for guys too, but continues getting competitive in the 40’s for them, like mentioned above. Maybe people just settle down and get more serious as they age (and have more $$ to spend on nice bikes and wheels!!).

  • Kathy April 29, 2013, 11:10 pm

    Congrats on the race! Just chiming in on the nutrition question. Maybe check out Brendan Brazier’s books. I think maybe you’ve mentioned him in past posts but I would think he’s got it figured out as a world class, vegan triathlete. I’ve tried a few of his recipes…they’re a little time intensive but great fuel for endurance.

    Oh, and Henry’s little cheshire cat grin is hilarious! He looks like he’s got a plan formulating!

  • Courtney April 30, 2013, 12:13 am

    Great job!! I am running my first 10K in just under 2 weeks and am looking forward to finishing…if I have a good time, that’s awesome, but I will be happy just to accomplish my first race. I hope to progress to the point of placing well in my age range…I’m also 29, didn’t realize there was such stiff competition!

  • Karen April 30, 2013, 5:47 am

    I’m also starting out in triathlons. I think it is natural to get over the “I just want to finish in one piece” feeling and start focusing on age group placings and times. However, since your age group only had 10 in it I wouldn’t be too concerned; too few people. Did they give you a place over all females? That might be more useful to look at. If there are fewer than 20 people in my group I don’t worry too much about the placing. Losing (or winning) in such a small group doesn’t really mean much compared to your place in a large race. Know what I mean? Time to get on that bike and train! (Bike is my favorite leg so I might be biased. :))

  • Elizabeth @ Positive Change April 30, 2013, 9:09 am

    Great job on your first tri of the season!

  • Ebernst April 30, 2013, 10:00 am

    I generally think that 30-34 is a more competitive age group than 25-29 but I really think it depends on the race. I’ve found that with some races I’ll end up in the bottom half of the results and sometimes I’ll place in my age group. It really depends on race size and who shows up. At least in NC, I’ve found that Setup races are way more competitive then other races (like FS Series).

    Last year I did an open water mile swim where all of us who placed in the 25-29 age group swam under 28 minutes. It was crazy and I was all like…heck yes ladies we rock.

    But unfortunately it doesn’t matter how good you are at the swim or run…triathlon comes down to speed on the bike (my worst) and that really the only way to see a huge improvement in time.

  • Sarah April 30, 2013, 10:13 am

    A friend of mine and I were so glad to “graduate” from the 25-29 age group because that seems to have the most people and be the most competitive around these parts! I never had a prayer of placing anywhere anyway because I’m not a very fast runner but it definitely feels like an improvement to be in the 30+ crowd now 🙂

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action April 30, 2013, 10:36 am

    I’m sure people have already said this- but I think that a lot of people in the 25-29 year old age group probably don’t have children- so they can invest more time into training and therefore, have a faster time. You’re trying to balance a baby, small businesses, and several blogs. Different priority set altogether.

    It sounds like you did great! Congrats on making it out and giving it your best 🙂

  • Rebecca April 30, 2013, 11:00 am

    I don’t do tris or anything, but if I were to start doing them, I’d be happy just to finish.
    My dad is doing a tri on Saturday and he’s guessing that if the times are anything like last year’s and if he does as well as he hopes, he could be second in his age group, which would be cool. I don’t need him to place, I just need him to be happy that he’s doing it and getting better every time. He likes to place and PR, but I don’t think it bothers him too much if he doesn’t place. He does it because he enjoys it. I’ve heard him get disappointed about a few of his races, but I don’t think it’s because he didn’t place–more because he didn’t do as well as he was hoping to in general.

  • Luv What You Do April 30, 2013, 11:00 am

    So jealous that you already got in your first tri of the year. I’ve got my eye on 3 this season and can’t wait for my first one on June 16th. I have found that the 30+ age group is hard to compete in as well. I am competing against women, many of which who don’t work and have way more time to train than me. I have a full time job and a second hand bike, so it’s hard. The rankings interest me but I really like to watch myself improve as I age. I pick one section to work on (usually bike or swim) and hope to improve in that area!

  • Britt April 30, 2013, 11:39 am

    I had to scroll down before finishing because hahahah it looks like you have The Husband strapped to your chest in the first pic! They’re twins!

  • Ani Danelz April 30, 2013, 11:42 am

    Congratulations!! I don’t think I could ever get myself to do a triathon haha but I mostly compete against myself to better my PR. I am 20, so usually I fall in the 18-24 bracket (or something around there), which I think is pretty tough! I placed for the first time in my 10k this past weekend though so it was exciting and completely shocking!

  • FitBritt@MyOwnBalance April 30, 2013, 11:46 am

    I did my first sprint triathlon last Labor Day weekend. I finished 3rd in my age group. There were not that many competing though (I can’t remember but it was something like 9 people total). I felt pretty good about that but I was more focused on the fact that I ran an average of a 7 minute mile (holy fastness!) and I finished the bike in pretty good time too and I finished within 1 minute of my husband! So to me, those things were more important than my rank in the group. That and the fact that I finished a tri altogether!!

  • Carina April 30, 2013, 1:36 pm

    Looking at those AG results, I’d say, try to be 29 as long as possible. The women winning the 30-34 AG, were about 10 mins faster than anyone in her 20s! That group looks much tougher to me, funny that you reached the opposite conclusion. It looks like your group just didn’t have many people attempting to just finish, which I think is complete luck of the draw.

    I usually focus on AG placement, but of course I also look at PRs and also course records. But I feel AG is the best comparison, because we all encounter the same elevation changes, weather, etc. That is comforting particularly on a bad day or a hilly course, I may be 5 minutes off a PR, but if I’m still at my desired AG level, I feel better about it.

    • Carina April 30, 2013, 1:38 pm

      One other thing to share — I’ve heard if you want to compete for a lifetime, never focus too much on a PR and instead focus on AG. At some point, your 51 year old self won’t beat your 28 year old self, and that will make you quit if a PR is your motivation. But instead, if you aim for say top 10% or 50% or whatever of AG, that can be a lifetime goal.

  • bonnie April 30, 2013, 2:52 pm

    Congrats on the tri! Are you no longer doing mind&body after baby posts?

    • Caitlin April 30, 2013, 7:14 pm

      I think I will write one later this week!

  • Katherine April 30, 2013, 3:03 pm

    You are so bad-ass with your baby on your arm at your races!

  • Hope April 30, 2013, 4:40 pm

    I think you did a pretty badass job considering how busy you are with work and Henry. And speaking of Henry, my goodness is is so freaking cute!

    I’m a little weirded out that you posted the information about all of those other triathletes (is that the right word?). I mean, I know it’s public info but seems like seems like something you shouldn’t do.

  • Sarah April 30, 2013, 9:17 pm

    You can’t control who else decides to race the same event as you – the only person you can really focus on is yourself. Think of the opposite situation – you get first place but the times aren’t great for you – that doesn’t really make you feel any better. focus on what doing well means for you – and sometimes that means you’ll be higher up in a group, other times lower.

    The bike is my weakest event too. I actually commented last week requesting a post on learning how to ride clipped-in? i’m terrified of falling over at ever stop!


  • Cassie April 30, 2013, 11:34 pm

    Your transition times have improved so much overall, though!

    I love the pics of you and Henry at the race. I bet he’ll grow up to love cheering you on!

  • Claire @ Health Nut Claire May 1, 2013, 10:42 am

    Awesome job on your triathlon!

  • Carolina John May 1, 2013, 12:20 pm

    You are in a very competitive age group, and that looks like kind of a yucky day anyway so let’s call that one “a great start to the season” so you can improve in the later races. The M 35-39 age group is also incredibly competitive. But look at it this way, you were only 10 minutes away from taking an award!

    Transition times should be 90 seconds or less, and my T1 is usually a lot longer than T2. Being dizzy out of the water happens to me all the time, but I’ve never heard of being dizzy off of the bike. Maybe you spent too much time in an aero position and didn’t get upright often enough? that should be a good thing. really strange.

    I think you went out and gave it the best effort you could for the day. that’s all you can ask for, the rest just comes from your training. Bike often enough to get your speeds up to 20 mph average. Find a way to run 8 minute miles, or 7 minute miles for a 5k. The #2 girl in your age group also ran a 27 minute 5k, she was just a few minutes faster on the swim and bike. Start putting up 24 minute 5k’s and you’ll be taking home awards before you know it.

  • Ashley May 1, 2013, 2:14 pm

    Awesome job! I’m still pretty new to all of this stuff so I’m still at a point of competing against myself. I’m also 21 and living in LA so every person in my age group is a supermodel fitness junkie so they are a tough group to go up against.

  • Katie May 2, 2013, 5:41 am

    I think you did great, considering the rankings when you cross-checked with the other age groups. Not that woman compete in triathlons, and those who do typically train hard and are the fittest. It sounded like a good first event of the season, and now that you are more aware of wanting to compete, I am sure that you will be putting more time and effort into training and doing even better next time. All the best.

  • SarahNW May 2, 2013, 4:37 pm

    Great job! I have never been a strong enough swimmer to even think about doing a triathlon, but who knows, that could change some day. I’m the only one with control over it!

    Getting dizzy after stepping off of the bike is such a pain! That used to happen to me after spin class all the time. My teacher said that my legs were using more than their fair share of my body’s blood and that my head was getting the short end of the stick. It’s really similar to throwing up after doing sprints – your extremities are taking too much blood and anything in your stomach just has to be evacuated becase your body’s like “digestion?! Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

    Unfortunately the only thing that works for me was slowly lowering the resistance on my bike until I’m basically free spinning – this is probably poor race strategy. I hope some of the other ideas work for you, you’re so inspiring to me!

  • Shaun May 2, 2013, 11:50 pm

    Wow it’s amazing what the human body can do, well not my human body. But thanks for encouragement to do more

  • Jess May 3, 2013, 12:12 pm

    This is my last year racing in my 20’s too and I was totally freaked out to have the big 3-0 written on my calf next year, but after reading your post, I’m pretty excited about it! I’m in a similar place as you and I’m trying to train to do better than “just finish and not be last”. Loved this recap! Awesome job!

  • Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} May 4, 2013, 9:01 pm

    It’s funny that you say the 25-29 age group is the most competitive because I feel that my age group (35-39) is the most competitive, ha ha!

    I do the same thing you do, first I say I just want to finish, then I want to have a good race for myself and just do better than I have previously, but then I end up wanting to place and do well in my AG!

    I tend to be a middle of the pack finisher, I’m working on it. Swimming is my weakest event.

    I chose not to do a pool tri this month due to being injured during a half marathon in March so am not doing any tris until July!

    Great job Caitlin, you should be proud of yourself.

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