September 14, 1998
photo courtesy of Sara Graham
For Sara Graham winning a gold medal at the Nike World Masters Game was a dream come true.
by Deborah Stone
At the Nike World Masters Game, held in Portland recently, Sara Graham of Woodinville competed in the women's triathlon and won first place for her class.
Graham, who has been a triathlete for the past ten years, fulfilled her life-long dream.
She says, "I have always wanted a gold medal and have been working towards this for many years. To stand on the winner's block, hear the U.S. national anthem and be presented with the gold medal is a dream come true."
The Nike World Masters Game is held every four years in a different country and is for athletes age thirty and older.
In Graham's class, 35-39 year olds, there were thirty women competing in the triathlon.
The events included a 1.5k swim, a 40k cycle and a 10k run.
Graham finished the race in 2 hours, 20 minutes and 12 seconds, six minutes ahead of the second place competitor.
"Cycling is my forte," comments Graham. "In the cycling time trials the week before the Game, I placed first, so that gave me some confidence going into the event, but I still felt worried about the run. Last year I suffered a hamstring injury during the Seattle Half Marathon, and I really haven't been able to do much running at all."
Graham is a Seattle area native who has been living in Woodinville for three years. She graduated from the UW with a major in kinesiology and over the years has worked in various health clubs as a fitness director.
Currently she is at Gold Creek Sports Club in Woodinville, teaching aerobics and conducting a fitness and weight-loss program for members.
She has competed in many local, regional and national races, as well as in the Iron Man event held last year in Canada, where she finished second in her age group.
A mother of two, Graham finds time to work out five to six days a week with a training program that includes swimming six to ten miles a week, running fifteen plus miles a week and biking 150-200 miles a week.
She tries to encourage other women to cross-train for both the fun of it and the variety it provides.
"Cross-training is never boring," says Graham. "It keeps me interested and allows me to use my body in different ways. I tell people to first build a solid aerobic base where you can go one hour without stopping at an activity. Working out five days a week is optimal and always pick a day of rest. Of course eating right is very important, too. If you seriously want to compete, it's good to train with various teams in the areas."
Graham is sponsored by Alki Bike, Cliff Bars and Bigfoot Bagels.
"I need to put a special plug in for Bigfoot Bagels," says Graham. "They provide me with my bagel power!" To women who've toyed with the idea of entering a triathlon, Graham has one last word of advice: "It's not as hard as it sounds. Go for it!"