Caitlin needs little introduction in the health blog world. She’s the blogger behind Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful, and a newly-published author. Maybe you’ve seen one of those positive Post-it notes on a mirror somewhere?
Hello, No Meat Athlete Readers! I am so happy to be writing a guest post for Matt while he enjoys being with his new baby.
My name is Caitlin, and I blog at HealthyTippingPoint.com and OperationBeautiful.com. Healthy Tipping Point is a food and fitness blog, and over the last two years, I’ve documented my journey as I went from a newbie, meat-eating runner to a marathoner, triathlete, and cyclist vegetarian. I also blog healthy recipes. If you’re interested in checking out my healthy vegetarian meals, check out my breakfasts and lunches/dinners. My favorite recipes include my Perfect Baked Tofu and my Pumpkin Spice Toasted Quinoa.
Recently, I raced in my first Olympic Triathlon. The journey to this triathlon began almost two years ago, when I decided to do a sprint triathlon. I was a newbie when it came to racing – I only had a 10K and a 15K under my belt. I remember standing at the water’s edge and FREAKING out. My husband and my dad tried to calm me down, but there was no stopping the hysteria rising in my chest. I was breathing way too fast before I even got into the water.
The sprint swim was only 0.25 miles, but I had a panic attack almost immediately. I flagged a lifeguard and got towed to shore. I exited the water feeling… beaten. Embarrassed. Weak. The worst part of that triathlon was that I quit because I mentally couldn’t handle the pressure. I would have felt better if I had undertrained and was physically was incapable of doing the race. Instead, I let fear overtake me, and I got sucked in. I fed my negative emotions instead of rising above them.
For a long time, I said I’d never do another triathlon. But after I finished my first marathon (another goal I doubted I could ever obtain), I decided to tri, tri again!
To help myself better prepare, I swam… a LOT. I usually swam three days a week, doing the race distance (1,500 meters) as often as possible. I only had 8 weeks in between the marathon and triathlon, and swimming served as a great recovery exercise. My friend Ryan taught me some invaluable swimming tips (who knew my form was completely off?), and I began to feel very comfortable in the pool.
However, two weeks before the race, I pulled a muscle in my arm. Unfortunately, I’ve been injured enough from running (I suffer from runner’s knee) to know that I needed to take time off swimming, which meant I couldn’t do a practice open water swim. I was nervous that I would miss my trial run, but I had to do what I had to do to keep my body safe.
On the morning of the triathlon, I was terrified. I have such an intense open water phobia, but I knew I needed to face my fears and finish the race. I told myself it was OK if I was the last one out of the water… and you know what? I was the last one out. I’m used to blowing past people in races, but I didn’t feel bad to be so behind the pack. I was trying my hardest, and in my heart, that’s what mattered.
Moral of the story? Finishing last doesn’t mean you didn’t finish strong. The race truly is about yourself and your own goals and abilities.
Rock on, No Meat Athletes! Rock on!