Sarah Mandes

SarahMandesThis month’s Profile features Sarah Mandes. If you frequent local races and don’t know Sarah by name, check out her picture…… are certain to recognize her. If you are a local triathlete, you probably will know her as the seemingly always happy competitor who is typically near the front of every event you participate in!
Sarah had what could have been a career ending bike crash in October as she competed in the Duathlon- a car ignored the cones and turned directly in front of her. She not only bounced back quickly, but displayed remarkable patience by not attempting to train too hard too quickly…..yet still managed to run the Las Vegas Marathon in December and set a PR. She shows wisdom beyond her years (31) and a zest for running and life.- Go SJ…aka IronMandes!!!

Name: Sarah Mandes
Age: 31 (2009)
Nicknames: SJ; IronMandes
Hometown: Ebensburg, PA
Employment: U.S. Air Force civil engineer
I am truly blessed to be the youngest of 11 kids and have 19 nieces and nephews. My mother is the most amazing person on this planet!
Other sports, hobbies, interests, etc.: swimming, biking, sitting in the sun with a good book, surfing, playing with my nieces and nephews, playing anything outside, Saturdays at Desa Mandarino’s pool after a hard race
Most Prized Possession: my sister made me a blanket from Snapfish that has pictures of our family. She thinks it’s goofy, but it’s one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve been given
Favorite Food: tomatoes from my dad’s garden; hot fudge sundaes are a close second

Favorite Movie: The Departed, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Favorite Spectator Sport: football, especially the Steelers
My friends describe me as: positive, intense, fun (I have the BEST friends!)
My trademark expression is: Timing is everything in life
If money were not a consideration, I would love to:
quit my job and open a fitness camp for kids. And visit my family more often.
In the next 5 years, I hope to: be settled, be healthy, fit, and fast
In the next 10 years, I hope to: stronger and faster, qualify for Ironman Hawaii
Personal accomplishments: completed my first Ironman last year (Arizona, in April), SB Tri Club Triathlete of the Year 2008 (extremely overwhelming honor!), graduated first in my program in college.
Personal fact that will surprise my friends: As much as I love it, I am scared to death of the ocean. I almost drowned when I was a little girl and still fear it!

Favorite Running Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider
Favorite Distance and PR (post collegiate): 10 miles, 1:08:52
Best Race and Why: Las Vegas Marathon this past December. I was hit by a car in October and couldn’t run for the weeks that should have been my biggest training weeks. I ran the first half very conservatively, not knowing what I could do. I took off in the second half and ran as hard as I could. I set a PR despite two emergency pit stops!
Worst Race and Why: Easily the 2000 Pittsburgh Marathon. I slammed into the WALL at mile 12; those last 14.2 miles were some of the worst hours of my life. It was a long, cold winter, and on race day it was a record 85 degrees. My body didn’t adapt. I learned a tough lesson on pacing in the heat.
Average Weekly Mileage (last 12 months): 35
Favorite Local Race: Nite Moves. It’s my favorite thing about living in Santa Barbara. I also love Chardonnay.
Most Memorable Running Experience: Ah…there are so many. Big Sur 2007: As I approached the Bixby Bridge, after completing the arduous ascent to Hurricane Point, there was a pianist playing “Chariots of Fire” on a grand piano. That is by far my favorite, most inspiring running song. To hear it at that moment was incredibly intense. The last 1.2 miles of Ironman Arizona were unforgettable in a much different way: running uncontrollably fast, crowds cheering, my family with me as soon as I crossed the finish line. Unbelievably cathartic experience.
Favorite Place to Run: the beach by my house
Glory Days PR: Still coming, I hope! Most proud of my 40:41 10K PR at the Carp Tri last year
Realistic Running Goals for this Year: <4:00 marathon at Ironman Arizona
Wildly Optimistic Running Goals for this year: <1:30 half marathon, 3:45 marathon at IM Arizona
Lifetime Running Goals: <3:20 marathon, <40:00 10K
Local Running Heroes & Why: Desa Mandarino. I don’t know anyone who equals her passion for running and life. She is one of my favorite people to run with because of the way she inspires all of us to love the beauty of every step. Laura Turner because she is a MACHINE! I love the energy she exudes when talking about running long and hard.
Personal Training Tips: Ice baths! If you have problems with motivation, set goals and keep a log – no one likes to see a big fat zero for the day. Also, adopt an attitude of, “I get to run today”, rather than “I have to run”.
Why I Run: For lots of reasons! Mostly because I am an adrenaline junkie, forever chasing the runner’s high. I LIVE for the last .2 miles of a marathon.

I love runners who: get visibly excited about their running when you talk to them
I don’t care for runners who: don’t appreciate what a GIFT it is to be able to run, especially to run well!
Suggestions for local races: add a midnight race during the summer
Suggestions for SBAA: host a few running clinics throughout the year

Add Anything: Work hard to overcome your self-limiting beliefs. I work on internalizing, “there is no reason I can’t run faster”. When I’ve been able to do this, I’ve had incredible races.
Favorite Quote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite” – William Blake
SBAA Member since: 2008


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