Plus – a birthday party!


It has been a long, long, LONG time since I set a personal record.  I think it’s been two years!  But yesterday – I finally broke a record.  And when I say I broke it, I mean I destroyed it. My new sprint tri record is about four minutes faster than before.  I’m so pumped.


I recently had an epiphany about fitness. It sounds simple, but I’ve finally really understood that wanting something isn’t enough to make it happen.  I guess this applies to all aspects of life, huh? This is what I was doing:  I was wishing and hoping that I’d be stronger, faster, and fitter.  But I was working out exactly the same way as before.  Basically, I wanted to get better without putting in anymore effort. Hah! Don’t we all?  But clearly, that does not work so well!


For the last month and a half, I really buckled down.  I increased intensity, duration, and frequency (wisely, as I’m not looking to get injured).  I exercised when I would rather sit on the couch.  I did sit-ups during commercial breaks.  I ran for five minutes longer.  I swam two laps more.  I indoor cycled through another chapter of my book.  I upped the resistance in cycling class.  Basically – I tried a lot harder.  And guess what?


It paid off!


I actually did Tri Latta back in 2011, a few months before getting pregnant.  At the time, I was really pleased with my performance – it was one of the first open water triathlons that I did not panic during the swim.  At the time, I felt like I had a really strong race.  But here’s a comparison of my times back in 2011 to my times yesterday.  So much improvement!


I shaved time off every portion of the race!  I’d really happy with my transition times – I made up 4 minutes on transitions alone.  I shaved 1 minute off the swim and 3 minutes on the run.  But here’s what I’m most excited about…. That bike!  17 miles in 58 minutes is really, really great for me!  All that time on the indoor trainer really paid off.  Thank goodness – if all that time and effort in the saddle had been wasted, I would’ve screamed (I hate the trainer!).


And you may remember that my other triathlon goal for this season was to consistently finish in the top 50% of my age group.  I came in #10 out of 20 – goal met!  Wahoo.


Here’s a quick little breakdown of each leg:


Swim – I actually had a ton of trouble on the swim.  I arrived at the race late and the line for the bathrooms was monstrous.  As a result, I got to the beach just a few minutes before we were supposed to start, and I never got my game face on.  I had difficulty getting into a rhythm and flipped over to my back way more often than I would’ve liked.  I also got punched – really hard! – in the forehead by another swimmer (not sure how it logistically happened!), which kind of threw me off.  By the end of the swim, I was glad to get out of the water and sprint up the big hill to transition.


Bike – For once, my weakest sport was the best!  I concentrated hard on making sure I was always in the right gear, and I worked to keep a decent pace.  I passed a few women in my age group, which gave me a big thrill, as I’m normally the one being passed!  Unfortunately, I forgot to pack a water bottle (major fail) so I had no fluids on the bike, and that meant that I couldn’t choke down any Gu.  That was rough – I probably would’ve felt even more awesome if I had fueled properly.


For the last two miles, I biked alongside another women in my age group.  We motivated and cheered one another on.  As we neared transition, she said to me, “Just so you know, I’m going to try really hard to pass you since you’re in my age group.”  I replied, “No, no, no – I’m going to pass you!”  We laughed and both gunned it.  And then I blew past her.  That NEVER happens to me, and it felt so awesome!


Run – The run course was off-road, along a really rocky trail.  I was concerned about rolling my ankle!  The course had two switchbacks so you were always running with and against other runners, which I really like.  There were two aid stations so I had plenty of chances to fuel and hydrate.


One interesting part of the race is that I intentionally left my watch at home.  I had no idea how fast I was on the bike or the run until the results were posted.  I really liked racing this way – it allowed me to race more intuitively. I didn’t feel pressure to ‘race the clock’ – and I think I was faster as a result!


All in all – a great race.  I feel so proud of myself, and I’m really looking forward to my other races this season. I’m hoping to have one event during which I can really put  all my skills together and have an awesome swim, bike, and run.


The best part of the race, however, was going home!  Right after I got back (and showered), I dove into helping set up for Henry’s birthday party.  It was a small party with some family and a few friends.  Oh, and Elmo!  Lots and lots of Elmo.






Emily’s truly delicious Black Bean Burgers


Amazingly, there was no cake smashing!  Henry just dipped his fingers into the icing and licked each finger clean.  I don’t even think he noticed the cake.  Ah well.  The icing is the best part anyways. Right?



  • emily June 16, 2013, 12:05 pm

    Great job on your race!! I remember you saying you struggled with transitions in the past so that is awesome.

    The last picture of the three of you belongs in a frame!

  • Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen June 16, 2013, 12:10 pm

    congrats on your new record! You are such an inspiration!!!!

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) June 16, 2013, 12:16 pm

    Congrats on the killer PR! Your training is definitely paying off

    I know that a lot of people who aspire to do triathlons read your blog, and you’ve done pointer posts in the past, including rule explanations. Although riding side-by-side isn’t a drafting penalty and doesn’t really give you a speed advantage, it is blocking, which is illegal under USAT rules. I’m not trying to say you are cheating (because it didn’t make you faster), but I would hate for you to get a penalty on your next race without knowing, or for somebody to think that side-by-side riding is OK in a race and get a penalty themselves.

    • Caitlin June 16, 2013, 8:42 pm

      Oh thank you SO much Victoria! I had no idea this wasn’t allowed. So good to know because you are totally right – it would SUCK to get a time penalty (or worse) for that. I’ve got to re-read that rule book. I swear, every time I do a race, I learn a new rule. Like I didn’t have the plug in my handlebars, and a ref told me to get it fixed ASAP or I’d be DQed! Who would’ve thought?


      • Victoria (District Chocoholic) June 17, 2013, 7:43 am

        The cool thing about having a USAT membership is that now you get a weekly email newsletter, which always includes a short “rules education” article – so, if you read through those every week, you’ll pick up on all of it in no time.

        Congrats again on the huge improvement.

        • Caitlin June 17, 2013, 8:02 am

          I haven’t been getting that – I will have to check the old spam folder. Thanks!

          • Victoria (District Chocoholic) June 17, 2013, 8:09 am

            (There’s also a “fuel station” recipe posted every week…yum…definitely look for it.)

  • Pam June 16, 2013, 12:16 pm

    Congrats on the new PR! Woohoo!! And looks like Henry had a sweet 1st birthday! What a fun weekend you had!

  • Lacey June 16, 2013, 12:31 pm

    That is fantastic! Great job putting in the effort and improving your time.

    Did you mean you improved your time by 14 minutes? I think you typed four.

    • Caitlin June 16, 2013, 12:41 pm

      Oh I improved my general sprint Tri PR by four. By this course by approximately 15!

  • Ash Bear June 16, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Congrats Caitlin! There were so many great triathlon improvements this weekend! Hard work pays off for sure. What amazes me even more is how wonderfully you’ve done while also having Henry!

  • Holly June 16, 2013, 1:18 pm

    Congratulations on the great race! I did Tri Latta too and loved the whole course.

  • Rachel F. June 16, 2013, 1:37 pm

    Don’t you remember, you PRed your half marathon not too long ago?

    • Caitlin June 16, 2013, 2:00 pm

      No I wish I had! I was pretty close though. 🙂

      • Rachel F. June 16, 2013, 10:19 pm

        Oh oops! I had it in my head that you had. Must have been that I was so impressed that you did that after Henry. Amazing all the same!

  • Sarah @Yogi in Action June 16, 2013, 1:48 pm

    Congrats on a great tri! You definitely worked hard for it- and it’s the best feeling when hard work is paid off.

    And a big Happy Birthday to Henry! Looks like a great birthday party- I love that Elmo continues to be big for children- as I loved Elmo when I was a kid! Some things just never get old I guess.

  • Army Amy* June 16, 2013, 2:18 pm

    Congrats on your new PR! I think the “I want” vs. “I’m willing to work for” phenomenon is pretty common. I’m currently obsessed with Gordon Ramsay’s show Kitchen Nightmares. (He goes to failing restaurants and overhauls them.) Almost ever single owner wants their place to do better, but putting in the work, the elbow grease, making the changes, sticking to them is much harder. Good for you for busting through and putting your money where your mouth is.

    Also, I find it refreshing that y’all opted for a small birthday party for Henry. Not that big parties are bad, but some of these 1st birthday parties look more like sweet 16’s! I think it’s nice to include the close people, celebrate your baby, and skip the pinterest/pro photographer/perfectly themed and coordinated hoopla.

  • Katie @ Live Half Full June 16, 2013, 3:45 pm

    Wow, what an improvement! Great job-you’re an inspiration for me to work harder!

  • Regina June 16, 2013, 4:17 pm

    Congrats! You killed it! And happy birthday to your little man 🙂 I found out I was pregnant just a bit after you announced you were expecting so I followed your pregnancy A LOT during my own (my little man turns one in August–man time flies). Henry just gets cuter and cuter!

    BTW where did you get your shorts? I’ve been looking everywhere for cute shorts that aren’t bootay shorts, to no avail.

    • Caitlin June 16, 2013, 6:28 pm

      Target!!! I also hate booty shorts 😉

    • Laura June 17, 2013, 11:32 am

      J.Crew also has great shorts that aren’t too short! They are all I wear! They come in 3, 5, 7, and 11 inch (I think) lengths and tons of fun colors 🙂

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 16, 2013, 4:49 pm

    Wow, CONGRATULATIONS Caitlin!! Awesome job! Those are some great improvements. I wonder if the shorter transition times are a result of you learning to do all of your daily tasks with Henry in one arm? 😉 You should be so proud of yourself, especially that bike! And an enormous Happy Belated Birthday to Henry. The photo you posted on Instagram of him in the high chair with his cupcake was super cute!

  • Sarahf June 16, 2013, 5:42 pm

    Wow! Congratulations! Now you can sit back and take it asy for a while… but I doubt you will! Happy birthday Henry, those cupcakes look amazing!

  • Caroline June 16, 2013, 6:00 pm

    Wishing isn’t enough to make things happen- it takes lots of effort and hard work. Congrats on a job well done and a new PR for the course.

  • Megan @ The Lyons' Share June 16, 2013, 6:36 pm

    Congratulations, Caitlin! Those times are awesome! My favorite part was your friendly competition with the women in your age group on the bike … THAT is why I love races – so motivating! Way to go!

  • Elisabeth June 16, 2013, 7:11 pm


  • Mary June 16, 2013, 8:28 pm

    Congrats on the race! Last week I raced with my oldest son who turned 16 that day and did his first sprint. We came home and had his 16 birthday party after the race. Just think, in 15 years you could be racing with Henry!

  • Amber K June 16, 2013, 8:39 pm

    Congrats on breaking your record! Love the Elmo party. 🙂

  • Catherine June 16, 2013, 9:08 pm

    Congrats on an AMAAAZING pr! I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now, and I remember when you just wanted to finish a tri… without getting swallowed by an alligator 😉 You should be pretty darn proud!

    Ahhh, I just had my daughter’s first birthday party last weekend. She did the same exact thing with her cake. I expected her to be super-messy since that’s how she is with her regular feedings. But nope, she just dipped into the frosting a bit. Anyway, the birthday boy looked so handsome, and I love the Elmo theme! I have a baby boy on the way now, and we’re trying to decide between Elmo or Simba (Lion King) for his nursery. The adorable pics are making me partial to Elmo 🙂

  • Luv What You Do June 16, 2013, 9:42 pm

    Way to go on your race! Sounds like you trained hard and so it’s wonderful to see it all pay off! I did a tri today too and rocked my bike ride (not usually the case). We had a wonderful group of women cheering each other on, and I loved it!

  • Leighann June 16, 2013, 10:06 pm

    Congrats on the race- that’s awesome!

    What is in that quinoa salad? It looks delish!

  • Angela June 16, 2013, 10:08 pm

    Wow girl way to go!! That’s amazing!! And happy birthday to little Henry.

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed June 17, 2013, 7:41 am

    Congrats! That is so awesome. I’m glad your hard work paid off! I really need to get back into my workout routine!!!

    Happy Birthday Henry 🙂

  • Joy June 17, 2013, 8:56 am

    Congratulations on such a fabulous PR, Caitlin! Knowing that your hard work paid off must be such a treat. It’s always hard when you’re putting in the time, but once you see a fantastic result, it makes it all worth it.

    And happy birthday to Henry. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year!

  • Cheryl June 17, 2013, 11:04 am

    Great job on the race Caitlin! Every segment you shaved off some time, especially the transitions. Oh and a Happy Birthday for you little guy.

  • Ashley June 17, 2013, 11:08 am

    Great job! I love what you said about not being able to just will yourself to get better- I feel like I’ve just recently had the same “revelation” and have already seen improvements in my training. It’s so easy to become complacent with something you’ve been doing for so long, ya know?

    Love all the Elmos too 🙂

  • Julie June 17, 2013, 11:27 am

    Way to go, Caitlin! Awesome job! You should be so proud of yourself! What a fun weekend you had! 🙂

  • Bitch on a Diet June 17, 2013, 12:27 pm

    You did great on your times! I’ve wanted to do a mini triathalon but not sure if I have it in me just yet!

  • Meghan June 17, 2013, 10:00 pm

    Congrats on the new record! Happy 1st Birthday to Henry!

  • Liz June 17, 2013, 11:33 pm

    Wow! You really shaved time off of everything! Congratulations 😀

  • kristen @ livinlifeinlouie June 18, 2013, 11:39 am

    a triathlon and then henry’s first birthday! you are a trooper! I would want a nap after that triathlon- great job!

  • Jill June 19, 2013, 8:49 am

    Awesome job on your race!! You’ve inspired me to try some tris (I’ve now got two Try-a-Tri races under my belt, and am working up to a sprint distance for my next race, in August), and that’s fantastic that you knocked off so much time! That’s a fantastic time on the bike, and well done on trimming down your transition time! I make big plans for being fast in transition and then do silly things like attempt to put a sports bra on over my swimsuit (next race it’ll just be under it) or try to put on socks. There seems to be a lot to learn with each race, but it’s exciting because there’s always room for improvement. Well done!

  • Sarah June 20, 2013, 2:56 pm

    Hi, what training plan did you use?
    Awesome job!
    I live in Raleigh and have done 2 Ramblin rose tri’s and will attempt the real sprint distance this Sept. in Greensboro, Belews lake.

  • Rachel June 20, 2013, 9:36 pm

    What recipe did you use for Henry’s cake (cupcakes)? My son’s first birthday party is next week and I’m looking for a good one that is kinda of kid-friendly.

    • Caitlin June 21, 2013, 7:29 am

      I bought vegan and gf cupcakes from a nearby store. Happy birthday to your LO!

  • Sierra @ Always, Sierra June 28, 2013, 12:15 am

    Congrats on your PR, and great job improving your transition times! Happy Birthday to Henry 🙂

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