Coolibar Athlete Sarah Gay: Triathlete

Mar 15, 2013 No Comments by

I’m your typical working wife and mother of two young children ages 16 months and 3 years.  The outdoors has always been a major part of my life, as have many different sports. 

Throughout childhood, I was a competitive synchronized swimmer and as a teenager competed at the national level.  In high school I played field hockey, as a college student at the University of Arizona, I played lacrosse, and as a young adult I worked as a ski patroller in Lake Tahoe.  My current favorite, though, is triathlon.  I did my first sprint distance tri in 1998 and was hooked from the get-go. 

Even from the start, I had a dream of completing an Ironman at some point which has turned into a goal of completing an IM the summer I turn 40. Today I am training for my first half Ironman distance tri in June 2013. I love triathlon because it combines three of my favorite sports (if you threw skiing in there, too, I’d definitely sign up for that race!) and the feeling I get when I cross the finish line is like no other!  I feel on top of the world, like I can conquer anything. 

Training for this race is motivating me to get back into shape after having kids. I also hope to set a positive example for them by showing them that staying physically fit and having fun outdoors while remaining sun smart is essential and easy. Sun protection is important me because, with one exception (a weakened immune system), I have every single risk factor for melanoma. I am fair skinned, have had more blistering sunburns than I care to admit, am outside any chance I get, have lived in Arizona and at elevation, my mother is a melanoma survivor (yay!!) and greater than 50 moles?  Try greater than 500, or 5000?  I have no idea, there are too many to count!  In an effort to beat the odds that aren’t in my favor, I have no choice but to stay protected from the sun.

Professionally, I work as a pediatric nurse practitioner where education and awareness is part of my every day life.  Granted, in pediatric cardiology sun awareness isn’t always the first thing to be discussed, but when parents ask, and they often do, about how to care for their child’s new surgical scar, sun protection is on the to-do list!  If I can continue to fit in little tidbits of sun protection education at work, at home and in the local triathlon community, then I will have done my part in bringing awareness to an often overlooked, but very common, health problem.

Sarah Gay

, Coolibar Athletes
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