Dana Watt

Hi! I got into triathlons in 2016 because I was looking for a new challenge. I had done competitive swimming growing up and had dabbled in running and cycling, so why not try all three together? It has been a wonderful four years, getting reacquainted with the pool and doubling down on my cycling. My running has been on and off due to injuries, but I still try to do at least one triathlon a year (even if I have to walk the run!!). I’m definitely a casual triathlete, and my favorite part of any race is the beer afterwards. But, I’m a serious swimmer, an optimistic trainer, and I bring my own cheering section (my black lab, Poboy). I pay for my races by working a day job in finance.

When/Where was your first triathlon?
My first triathlon was the 2016 Innsbrook tri. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and saw a serious injury on my way down the first hill. It was definitely a trial by fire and I had to walk my bike up several hills. That set my training goal for next year…to do Innsbrook without having to dismount my bike. I accomplished the goal…but had almost the exact same cycle time as the previous year. This taught me that sometimes our goals are petty and meaningless, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be proud of them!

What is your favorite race?
Every year my friends and I do the St. Louis Triathlon as a relay team, and that one is the best! I get to knock the swim out early and then knock back some radlers while my teammates work. I also love doing that race without a wetsuit, total power move for swimmers in the springtime.

What is your favorite place in or around St. Louis to train?
My cycling friends and I do the Spoede Classic loop all the time (Forest Park through Clayton and Ladue down Ladue Road, then Spoede over to Clayton for the ride back to the park). It is hilly and challenging but short enough to do on pretty much any day, only 18 miles. A great go-to training ride!
Also nothing quite like Whispering Hills on a warm Sunday morning in summer, with the doors open. A great time to drop some laps and get in a full swim workout!

Tip for new (or veteran) triathletes?
Learn to swim without goggles! Michael Phelps once won an Olympic gold medal after his goggles fell off…no excuses!