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'Ironmom' in Ironman competition

Sara Graham

Woodinville triathlete and "Ironmom" Sara Graham, who will compete in her first Ironman competition next month.
Photo courtesy of Sara Graham.

Sara Graham

Graham draws her support from her children, Madeline (left) and Sam.
Photo by Jeff Switzer/Woodinville Weekly.

Ironman competition by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--Balancing a schedule between her 3- and 5-year-olds and teaching aerobics, local resident Sara Graham, 33, still finds time to run marathons and compete in triathlons. As a result, she'll be going to the Big Island of Hawaii to compete in the Ironman Triathlon World Championships next month.
   Ranked the No. 1 1995 Female Triathlete in the Northwest Triathlon Series, she recently placed seventh in the World Championships in Cleveland, Ohio on Aug. 25, followed six days later by a first-place finish at the Titanium Man Triathlon in Richland, Washington.
   Graham continues to build on her 13-year career of track and cross-country, which began at the University of Washington. So far this year, she has racked up three first-place finishes in Washington state triathlons and fourth, fifth, and seventh place finishes around the country.
   "My family comes first," she said, "I do my training on the side." But she finds time to ride three days each week: two days for one-and-a-half hours each, and two-and-a-half hours on the weekend.
   She swims 4,000-4,500 yards four days a week and can be seen working out with her kids, Samuel, 5, and Madeline, 3, on the track at Woodinville High School. She runs while they bike.
   In 1995, she placed first in six triathlons and duathlons and second in three, all on the west coast. In the seven races in which she competed, Graham won the seven 1996 bicycle races in categories III and IV on the west coast. She was one of nearly 20,000 triathletes from more than 50 countries who tried to qualify for the event. This will be her first "Ironman."
   "Since it's my first one, I want to finish feeling as good as I can," she said. "Basically, I want to finish; it'll be a long day. It'd be great if I could do it in under 12 hours."
   The race puts 1,500 triathletes through a 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112- mile bike race and 26.2-mile run, to be completed within 17 hours.
   Training for the event typically takes 18 to 24 hours per week for six to eight months to develop the stamina and endurance needed to complete the 140.6-mile event, scheduled for Oct. 26.
   Graham is sponsored by Bigfoot Bagels in Woodinville, Alki Bicycle in West Seattle, and Cliff Bar, who produce handlebars.