1/18/17

Athlete spotlight: Sara Bard - The inspiring triathlete courageously living with stage IV cancer


Name: Sara Bard

Age: 54

City/State: Saint Joseph, Michigan 

Primary sport: Triathlon

How many years in the sport: 15 years, on and off

What Trimarni services have you used: Training plan (transition plan and strength training plan) and will be attending upcoming Greenville Skills camp in May.

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Describe your athletic background and how you discovered your current sport?


I ran and swam during college and probably raced one of the very first triathlons back in 1983. I won the whole thing, which now looking back is pretty funny. I think it was because I was the only one who could swim 500 yards Having 5 children limited my workout time, so I just continued with the sport of running, which is so much more time efficient than biking or swimming. When the kids got older, I did triathlons sporadically. We moved to Saint Joseph, Michigan in 2003 and discovered an awesome triathlon community and triathletes who raced all distances. We are home to the Ironman Steelhead 70.3 which brings us all together to volunteer and to participate in a great event. Recently, our triathlon club, The Tri-Avengers got started and I joined. It is great to have this community of people cheering for one another in the sport. It has made a huge difference in my desire to compete in triathlons again.



What keeps you training and racing in your current sport?


The Tri-Avengers tri-club and the fantastic athletes here in Saint Joseph.

What do you do for work?

I'm a retired RN and I home school my youngest daughter. I am currently a Challenge B Classical Conversations tutor for her age group.



How does your work life affect training and how do you balance work and training?

Being a tutor has taken a lot of time. I think it is good for me, as I know my training hours are limited. I like to have all workouts done before 8:00 am so we can get school work going. Waiting until evening to workout is usually a big fail for me. I like to be in bed by 8:00 pm.

Any tips/tricks as to how to balance work and training?

For me it's getting up early. If I don't....It's usually not going to happen.


Do you have kids?


I have 5 kids from 26-13 yrs old. Only 2 living at home.




How do you balance kids and training?

The kids don't really affect my training now since they are grown. The youngest is a diver, so my husband and I will try to fit our strength workout in while she is diving. My advice is to workout while they are doing whatever they are interested in. But with kids, this is where getting up early works for me. Thankfully, my husband likes to workout in the evening, so when the kids were little, I would go out in the morning to workout and he would go out in the evening to workout. We also invested in a running stroller when the kids were little.


How do you balance your training with your partner? 

We do some triathlons as a team, so it works well. He is a great biker, which is where I am weak, and I do the run and swim.



Do you have a race day lesson learned that you'd like to share?

Some days it just doesn't go your way and you have to be okay with it.


What are your top 3-5 tips for athletes, as it relates to staying happy, healthy and performing well? 

1. Be thankful for what you have. 
2. Get up early. 
 3. Go to bed early.


How would you define athletic success as it relates to your personal journey?

I was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroendocrine Tumor cancer in 2013. I was training for a half marathon and kept having trouble with diarrhea while running. Short story...went to our local GI doctor and 2 weeks later I heard those dreaded words, "You have cancer." To say it was a shock would be an understatement. This type of cancer (similar to what Steve Jobs had) is a slow growing cancer. That's good and bad. Good because you have times when it is stable, bad because chemotherapy and radiation don't work. It started in my small intestine and has metastasized to my liver. I had a large surgery on my liver Jan 2015 and I'm so thankful that I have been stable since then. I have some intestinal issues and fatigue, but overall, I'm doing well. I thank God he has given me what He has, to my family and husband who motivate me to keep moving forward and I'm thankful for triathlon and my triathlon community that keeps me going.  The sport of triathlon has helped me overcome the shock of being diagnosed with stage IV cancer. I have had 2 big surgeries and after the first one, I knew I did not want to stay in convalescent mode any longer than I had to. Training for the next triathlon helped motivate me to get up and do what I could do with my body.

What's your favorite post-race meal, drink or food? 

It's a coke...full on....not diet.


What key races do you have planned in 2017

First one on the agenda is Blackwater Milton FL April 1. When I had my last MRI and labs, and all was stable in October, I celebrated by registering for that race. I grew up near there and I will be able to visit my mom. I also love the Battle of Waterloo Triathlon at Grass Lake Michigan. I especially like running through the park while swimming through the park lakes. It's funny to see people who don't like things touching them while they are in the water and then do the swim with lily pads and seaweed. I grew up in Florida, so I have a higher tolerance for strange things in the water with you.




What are your athletic goals for the next 5 years?


I only plan one season at a time right now. I actually live in 6 month cycles and plan my training and racing based on MRI and lab results.

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