Katie Dotson

Where do I put my bike? Where do I get that thingy for my ankle? I forgot my run shoes.  Will you help me with my wetsuit? Wait, how did you get those numbers on your arms? 

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These were just a few of the questions I received the morning of Lakeside of the Smokies.  We had multiple team mates and friends taking their first sprint triathlon and Mike (my husband) and I were overseeing many last minute race details for more than just ourselves.  

Race day was a bit more chaotic than normal,  shorter than typical warmup and an unsettled wetsuit.  

And the gun went off,  er well sort of... it malfunctioned for the ladies start 😂

I'm choosing to overlook the swim.  

First transition went well with only a minor cramp getting out of my wetsuit. 

The bike portion of this race is my favorite!! Rolling hills, a few challenging climes, unmatched scenery, views of the lake and mountains, and more. I had fun, stayed on my hydration and rolled into transition ready to run. 

Like a typical run, it took about a mile to get my legs in the run groove. If you come across me that first mile, I'm usually quiet and focused and my face probably says it all (it's a good thing I don't play poker). Then a switch flips and I feel a bit more human. I pushed on keeping the gap between myself and the runner behind me... and I laid out my plan if I heard them closing in on me.  I rounded the last few turns and finished with a smile.  And hands on my knees.  

I was able to cheer in my two friends finishing their first triathlon. The smiles on their faces said it all... "I actually just did that... like a whole triathlon!" Best part of the day. 

Turned out to be a good race for me too.  I didn't realize I took third female overall until they passed my age group with awards and my name wasn't called! 

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You should invite a friend to join you for your next event.  It's worth the investment (and I know my first time friends are already looking for a second chance to chase that finish line feeling).