More race ‘rap ups!

We’ve had a flurry of activity over the last couple of weeks and want to get everyone caught up on our doings.

First we start with the Bay Days 5 miler in Bay Village – a longstanding race on the running circuit:


I suppose everything is a PR if a distance is new to you! This race started out a bit slow for me (not enough warm up? not enough nutrition? not enough sleep?) Regardless, thanks to a few CTC members, I pushed harder miles 2.5-5.
Team makes a huge difference, as do fans…and I was happy to see both team member volunteers and team fans out there cheering. I’ll need to find another 5 miler sometime this summer!

We think Rood had a report from Bay Days as well, but it got lost in translation.

Next we head to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Muddy Paws 5k, where Jen P took to the trails:

This was a fun race for a good cause! The morning was beautiful for it too. I was glad I made the venture down to the CVNP for the event and hope to do so for some more fun trail races!

Next up, Team Kostura hit it up in Avon Lake for the Smiles for Sophie 5k:

Bridget: This was a great race with a great cause…confronting pediatric brain cancer. It was well organized, there were lots of kids activities and even a post-race birthday cupcake. It was a lot of fun!

Bridget running in the Avon Lake sunshine

Bridget running in the Avon Lake sunshine

Brian: 4th race pushing Carolynn, and she is definitely getting faster! Good race for a good cause, and very well run. There were a lot of things for racers and spectators to do before and after the race.

Brian and Carolynn enjoying the post race!

Brian and Carolynn enjoying the post race!

And finally we head further west to Lorain where Mike Schaefer and yours truly raced at the Summer Sprint Triathlon:

Mike: Same old Lorain race and I had some cheap local fun despite the wet roads and wind. I had a great swim (first guy 40+ to T1) so I probably handled the waves better than most. I experimented with bigger gears on the bike, and seemed to go well but I paid for it a little on the run. Then again, maybe I’m just not recovered from all the wine tasting earlier this week!! I barely missed 2nd OA by ONE SECOND to a a guy in an earlier wave, but I’m still very happy to be on the podium. Thanks to Jeanne and my sister for cheering and taking pics!

Krol: Even though this race in my hometown has been around for a few years, it’s never quite worked out for me to be able to race it.  Had no idea what to expect with not having raced in quite a while and fighting continued knee problems.  What better way to give it the ol’ college try – little swimming, tons of biking and virtually no running.  Swim was a little wavy which always helps me, and I manage to keep Schaefer within shouting distance at the swim exit.  T1 was a little slow as I debated whether I wanted socks or not. First half of the bike was windy and started to suffer the last mile before the turn around, but was absolutely able to hammer the way back and put the new bike to the test.  Another leisurely transition where I got harassed by DeBonis and got caught up on Mike’s take down of the bike rack.  Just missed having brunch while I was there.  I wasn’t expecting to be able to run at all especially pushing into the headwind for half the bike but I actually didn’t feel too bad. Of course that also equated to running about 8 min miles.  I actually felt pretty good the first two and kind of blew up the third.  Managed to come across the line 8th overall and but my lack of running cost me three places by HUNDREDTHS of seconds!  


Great job everyone!!


Kona Kualifyin’!

SSSMST’s Jeanne DeBonis has been on a absolute tear this season, with overall victories and National Championships to her palmares.  Her latest sortie was toward the Pacific Northwest and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for Ironman Coeur d’Alene, where she had a date with destiny to try and punch her ticket to the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii later this year.  Let’s hear how it went!

Ironman Coeur d’Alene (IMCDA) 2014 was my first Ironman since dropping out of Kona in 2012 with what I thought would be a career-ending hamstring tendon injury. I had done this race in 2009, and, although I finished, I suffered severe hypothermia (body temperature of 90.3). This year it wasn’t as cold, but the race was plagued by high winds gusting to 30 mph – causing a very rough swim and headwinds on an already-hilly bike leg. The conditions resulted in a 23% drop-out rate.

As for my race.. IMCDA 2014 was the first time EVER that I panicked and reconsidered entering the water at an Ironman start. The 2.4-mile swim was two loops with a short beach run between. The swim start is a rolling self-seeded affair – like a marathon start with faster swimmers up front, slower swimmers in the back. The way out was a mess because we were swimming into the swells. I stayed on the outside to avoid getting clobbered, and for the first time in a race, I noticed people grabbing onto the support kayaks. My swim took 1:04 (slower than usual, but faster than 2009).

With temperatures in the 50s for the bike start, I decided to wear wool socks, gloves, hand warmers, a bike jersey, and arm warmers. The 112-mile bike course consisted of two loops starting in downtown CDA: a short out-and-back with a steep hill along the lake followed by a longer out-and-back with long rolling hills on US 95. The second part went out into the wind and local Cleveland triathlete, Ben Norton, summed it up well: “We were going downhill, PEDALING, at 13-14 mph.”

Keeping it real on a tough bike course under tough conditions

Keeping it real on a tough bike course under tough conditions

My goal on the bike was to go easy and not feel anything for the first four hours, but I NEVER felt good on the bike (bad taper perhaps?). My legs were fatigued and my hamstring hurt like it had only partially been rehabbed. I backed way off. Heading out on the second loop, my husband indicated I was third in my age group. I tried to pick things up in the final 15 miles – but I now know I need better bike-handling skills going downhill in the aero position with the wind. It was so windy that last years mens winner, Ben Hoffman, crashed and shredded his tire when an age-grouper was blown into him (amazingly, he still finished third overall this year).

When I pulled into transition, I was still in third place, but now only three minutes behind the age-group leader. Knowing the Ironman marathon can be undone in the first mile, I had promised myself I would not go out faster than an 8-minute pace. The soreness and fatigue in my quads dissipated (surprisingly) at the run start, and the day had warmed into the high 60s. Excited at the thought of being “IN” the age-group race, I went through the first four miles at a 7:30 pace and passed both women in front of me.

But the 26.2-mile IMCDA run course is too loops with a 6% hill, so I got the run under control and focused on proper nutrition. At mile 8, I had put ten minutes between me and second place, but my legs were sore and cramping. At the half, my husband said I was running at least a minute-per-mile faster than the other women in my age-group. But by mile 18, I was struggling with stomach issues (my biggest problem in Ironman), and had to stop and walk a few times.

I knew it was my race to lose – or WIN – so I had to figure out how to get through the final 8 miles. And I chose to do something I’ve never done (willingly) during an Ironman: I ate pretzels. My nausea vanished, and I was able to get back to running in time for the hill. But the weather had one last trick. When I hit mile 23, the wind kicked up and it started to rain. It didn’t last long, and shortly after, a rainbow appeared and that was all I needed. I focused on letting the crowd support carry me through the last two miles.

You are an Ironman....Champion!

You are an Ironman….Champion!

20 months ago, I never thought I’d see another Ironman finish line, and here I was IMCDA W45-49 age group champion – and Kona qualifier – a month after turning 49. I can’t say enough how much it’s helped me to have a team and teammates like SSSMST this year – I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it without their support. (Especially Kevin Krol who dragged me through so many long bike rides in windy conditions this spring.)

Age Group Podium!(Jeanne center-left)

Age Group Podium!(Jeanne center-left)

On to Kona.

Awesome, awesome job!!  We knew you would do it!

Mohican Endurance & Fat Little Buddies

More halfsies and 5k racing to be had out there.  SSSMST’s Mike Schaefer, Joe Bush and Aaron Henely trekked down to Mohican for the inagural Mohican Endurance Festival Half Iron.  A bit of local racing history comes with it:  Pleasant Hill Lake, which is on the west side of the Mohican State Forest was a long-standing fixture on the HFP Powerbar/Clifbar series’ in the 1990’s, and also site of what would have arguably been the hardest iron-distance triathlon back in 1999 – the Mohican Pineman.  After a long hiatus, HFP brings back triathlon to the Mohican area, and if past races are any indication, this one promises to be a suffer-fest!  Lets’s hear from Schaefer, who used the course to his advantage in setting a half iron PR:

Great race. I swam and rode with Henely. We had a good group on the bike and it helped a ton but it was a BRUTAL course – at least 6 climbs when I was in the 39×25 for a long time. The run was even tougher. Out and back, partly on trail, but even the road portions included some major climbs – one was over 2 miles long! Henely got away from me immediately on the run but then he ran off course.. (Follows down flags from yesterday’s trail race.. When he finally got back on course I was 2 miles ahead on my way back (at mile 7), so he cashed it in and paced me the rest of the way. He pushed me perfectly and gave me splits I needed to go sub -5! I only walked a bit on the last 3 steep uphills. Overall It was of my best races ever! Really feeling bad for Aaron as he would have been about 4th OA, but he had a hell of a workout! 

To the off-course go the spoils

To the off-course go the spoils


We also had Team Kostura out in force at the Fat Little Buddies 5k in Olmsted Falls:

Bridget: After a very hot race, a lady came up to us raving about SPIN, how she bought her bike there and that a couple of her friends were going up to buy bikes. Nice work SPIN!!!

Brian: This was a fun little local 5k. Bridget and Carolynn got to race in their new kits, which attracted some welcome attention. I also got to see some old friends out on the course, and do a little promoting for Spin and Second Sole. Always good to get out.


I love my new kit!

I love my new kit!


Great job all!!


Champions (National!), Among Us

Now that the dust has settled, we’ll be giving some major kudos to one of our own.  Brian Stern and Jeanne DeBonis were recently in Grand Rapids, MI for the Grand Rapids Triathlon.  Stern was there to raise his usual bit of hell.  Jeanne, new SSSMST’er, old skool triathlete, was simply looking for a race to gauge fitness and usher in the start of her taper for Ironman Coeur d’Alane later this month.  Well, it turns out this little training race was for just about all the marbles – Long Course National Championships!  You can guess what happens next…..

Early this year, I registered for my first longer-than-Olympic-distance race after 1.5 years of injury rehab. The race I chose was the Grand Rapids Triathlon (half-ironman) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I missed a tiny little detail: it was also the USAT Long Course Age Group National Championship (Brian Stern clued me into this oversight at our first team meeting). Yep. I accidentally registered for a national championship while looking for a low-key-let’s-get-back-to-longer-distance-racing-without-expectations kind of race.

Wet running shoes.....not easy to get on!

Wet running shoes…..not easy to get on!

But if you’re looking for a good early-season multisport race, the Grand Rapids Triathlon is several: a half, an Olympic-distance tri, a sprint tri, an aqua-bike in all three distances, and a splash-and-dash. If I had to name a drawback, the only thing I can come up with is that the venue has limited space – meaning there’s a cap on the number of athletes that can participate, and there’s no parking anywhere near the race site (but they do have shuttles from the parking lots).

Hauling ass on the run....and loving it!

Hauling ass on the run….and loving it!

By the time I arrived on race day, I was suffering from lack of sleep (due to nerves the night before) and a head cold (due to.. um..contagious sick people). That morning, however, I felt better than expected, and I knew I would finish even if I had to walk and/or take pit-stops. Actually, the only really bad thing was the rain – it poured from about 5:00 to 7:00 a.m., and the roads were wet and slick through half the bike leg. At least it dried out by the run leg for the long-course athletes.

(l to r) Jeanne, Stern, and newly christened local pro Nick Glavac

(l to r) Jeanne, Stern, and newly christened local pro Nick Glavac

I started with the 40+ women in the fourth wave and got through the swim in one of my personal slowest times ever for 1.2 miles (note: Stern and others thought the course was long because swim times were slow overall). The bike leg was a single loop out-and-back course with long rolling hills – nothing too steep. I had my second-fastest 56-mile bike split ever – 2:37 – but it was only good for 15th fastest of the women. I made up the time on my run leg, averaging 7:12 miles with the 5th fastest run of the day (again, for women) on the 13.1-mile two-loop course. Surprisingly, my finish time of 2:46:21 landed me fifth overall and first in my age group.

Top of the podium!  Only missing the spraying champagne bottle!

Top of the podium! Where’s the spraying champagne bottle!

Age group winners got awesome “National Champion” Rudy bike jerseys and the race served as a qualifier for ITU World Championship in Motala, Sweden. I have yet to decide whether I will take my slot. Right now, I’m still high on being named a USAT Age Group National Champ.

Major congratulations going out to Brian and Jeanne!  This is a first for our team – a standing National Champion!!!!  LOVE IT!!

Lula 5k/5mi and Maumee Weekend

Over the last few weeks we’ve had some major goings-on and over the next post or two will be bringing the first phase of race season to a big crescendo!

First, we visit Rocky River, Ohio and the Lula 5k/5mi.  This race benefits Girls with Sole ( which offers free fitness and wellness programs to girls that are at-risk or have experienced any kind of abuse.  Girls with Sole was founded by friend of team Liz Ferro, and we encourage supporting their mission.  So, off to the races!

Offering a 5k and 5mile running race through the lakeshore residences of Beachcliff I, SSSMST was out in force for both races.  Lets hear from our 5k runners:

Jen P: As always a fun race -lots of friends and teammates and for a good cause! I was quite surprised I was able to run as well as I did considering the minimal training I’ve been doing lately. Thanks to one of our head sponsors Second Sole in RR for being a sponsor of this race.

Brandy: My streak of fast running continues post-baby. I planned on pushing the baby through the race, but my husband agreed at the last minute to keep him while I ran. So I pushed myself through the race and ended up with a PR! I was hoping I might win one of the coveted hand-painted trophies, but alas I was only 4th in my age group. A loss by 12 seconds!! But, a 26 second PR, 8.5 months post-baby? I’ll take it.

Krol: Still testing the legs……great little race.  Eased into the first mile, pushed the second mile, and backed off the third.  

And our 5-milers:

Rood: Great Race, Great Cause. Pouring down rain.

Patrick K: Great event, huge crowd. Good to see lots of Second Sole supporters out. I enjoyed the rain that started at mile one. I also appreciated the tow AROOD gave me from mile 4 to 5. He pulled a nice stunt to push me in the finish corral ahead of him. Good to be racing!

And lots of folks began their multisport season in earnest at HFP’s annual flatland-fest at Maumee Bay State Park:

Timmy Walsh: A fine way to kick of Father’s Day. Conditions were prime for a fast race day. Many of my teammates and clubmates delivered, me not so much, nonetheless I loved it. The cheering sections were deep, mainly made up of fellow multi-sport athletes of the kid version, who were a day removed from their Saturday races. How fun is that?

Rood: Another great race and another great weekend.
Rood Boys, My Dad and I camped out at Maumee State Park for the weekend.
On Saturday- Rood Boys and Luca Lamastra took on the 10 and under kids Duathlon. Man was that cool. It is so exciting to see kids racing their hearts out! One Proud dad.
Sunday was a perfect day for racing, a sprint at least. It was plenty warm to go any longer.

I had a good race. I ran well in the opening run.
The bike was interesting. I rode my brand new 2014 Spin Bike Shop Ridely XFire cycle cross bike (with slicks, of course). I thought at the time this was a good move— but man the winds of Maumee had me wishing I could “get more aero”. I may need to dust of the TT bike for the next race.
Second run- I was joined, and quickly passed by Henely. Dude ran a blazing 18:15 off the bike.
This was great weekend. The racing was great. It was great to share the road with SSMSMT legends like PK, Walsh and Brandy (check out Brandy’s bike split, btw). It was also fun to share some campfire stories with Team Henely and Team Lamastra.
I gotta add, camping and racing is just not the same with Kevin Krol.
I will be back at Maumee next year.

Patrick K: Awesome way to spend fathers day morning, back on the race course. Lots of teammates and family at the race, made it a great time. Apparently training really pays off (I really need to be swimming & biking more to get better results). Swim was a little rough since it was my first time in open water since this race last year. Bike was probably too comfortable. T2 was a bit hectic, I had to bunny hop a shoe as I was dismounting and I owe an apology to someone for stiff arming him in transition (in my defense, he never looked behind him before he turned his bike in to my run path – oops). Decent run. Great to be out there racing multisport again.

Brandy: This was my first multisport race post-baby, and so my first multisport race in just about two years. I dusted off the tri-bike a couple weeks ago and got on it 3 times before the race. After a short brick on the Wednesday leading up to the race, I told my husband, “I think I’m going to push it on Sunday.”
So, I pushed it, and went ahead and won that duathlon (1st female that is, 6th overall finisher)! I was in 3rd place after the first run, and passed the closest female on a road bike, and the next female on a mountain bike with slickers on. It felt a little unfair as I breezed past on my tri bike, but whatever! I’ll take the win! :)

Way to go team!!!!

Island Lake Tri….for the WIN!

We’re still playing catch up here in the interwebs.

New SSSMST’er Jeanne DeBonis trekked to that state up north to partake in the Olympic Distance version of the Island Lake Triathlon. Jeanne’s been immersed in volume, building up to her Ironman next month in Coeur d’Alene.  You can guess what happens next…..

This was my first triathlon of 2014, my first since London in September 2013. and the first since I’ve almost fully recovered from a major hamstring tendon injury (that took 1.5 years of rehab). I chose this particular race because it was close to home on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and I needed to get in two more days of long training. As luck would have it, the weekend weather was perfect, and the race took place in a very scenic location – Island Lake Recreation Area in Brighton, Michigan.

I did the Olympic distance triathlon – there’s also a sprint – and all the legs are two loop courses. The bike course is mostly flat, slightly rolling, and the run course is hilly with some cross-country parts. And Although it was a “shakedown” race and I struggled to stay on course in the swim (swimming into the sun and being consumed by seaweed), I led from start to finish – it’s only the second time in my life that ever happened.

The only negative thing about this race is the lack of a USAT official. I got caught in a pack of drafters (all men) on the bike and one of them yelled at me for blocking him (after drafting off me), almost causing me to crash into another one who was passing on my right. I had a verbal outburst that went on for about a half mile – reading them all the riot act for drafting and called them all “cheaters.” I rode into T2 still ranting, but determined to chase them all down on the run – which I did. My run was slow and I wasn’t completely satisfied with my time, but it was hard to argue against a fun race with great weather and a nice course for a first tri of the year. And the awards were bottles of wine!

Jeanne, hauling ass on the run!

Jeanne, hauling ass on the run!

Pointing out drafting....(Aussie would be proud!)

Pointing out drafting….(Aussie would be proud!)

Winner, winner, wine for dinner (she chose red, noted by all the white still on the table behind)

Winner, winner, wine for dinner (she chose red, noted by all the white still on the table behind)









Awesome job Jeanne!


The “Playing More Catch Up” post

We continue our posts involving SSSMST members racing far and wide with some various posts from running race and a triathlon (whooo, that’s early for these parts!).

A number of us ran at the Blossom Time run in Chagrin Falls last weekend:

Brian Kostura:

Beautiful day for some racing. I really enjoyed pushing my daughter through her first official race…she slept through the first 5 miles, to then wake up for the last quarter mile, clapping along with the crowd!
Good showing by the blue and green once again!


Despite being around for 30-odd years, I’d never done this race! Great crowd support, undulating race course to keep you honest. Race got a bit warm in a few sections where there was no shade, but luckily there were several sections that were. Having nursed a blown hammy for a month and preparing by not running, I just wanted to go out, run without pain or soreness and have fun. Mission accomplished. The course was really a lot of fun, and was actually pretty tight, so there were always people around (either crowd support or other runners). Legs have been shelled the few days after but was happy to get out there and just run.


Beautiful day, great ride out there, great race and lots of SSSMST peeps!


Patrick at the Race for the Place in Beachwood:

This was an amazing morning for a great race and a great cause. The Race for the Place benefits the Gathering Place and the 5k & 1 mile brought in over 4 thousand entrants. Amazing. Obviously the cause touches close to home. I haven’t raced in a long time, so it was good to put a little pain back in the legs and have a good result. Even better to be racing with Erin and have the kids and grandma along to cheer. Katie & Joe were out supporting the cause too. Nice work & good times. Pretty flat course and lots of family entertainment, I recommend adding this to your race list next year!

Others went to do various multisport events……

Stern was down at Rev3 Knoxville:  Hilly but not raining or cold like last year. Solid race.

Then he was at Clay’s Park Tri, along with Scheafer and Henely:  Good group of racers at Clays Park. Just missed third place overall by 2 seconds and Aaron almost caught me (12 seconds).

Scheafer:  Results are posted. I had dead legs today. Lost 2min to the Stern and Henely on the bike which isn’t typical. Still recovering from the Rite Aid 10K PR I guess, but the race was great – nice course and well run. Can’t beat it for $50

We also had a contingent at the Hy-5, Westlake 5k presented by Hyland Software (one of our sponsors!)….

Brian Kostura: Awesome turnout by the blue and green! We had 15+ team members onsite volunteering, cheering, and racing. The event brought in 915 participants, and raised $25,000 for Metro Health! Such an awesome event, and the rain even held off just long enough to keep the participants dry.

Special Thanks to Second Sole for donating Gift Cards and coolers full of Nuun.


Anna Brown: Third year pacing the 10 min/mile group, love it! Lots of race/running newbies. Hopefully I was able to get some of the first timers in under their goal times. I know I motivated at least two women who told me they almost kept up with the pace but would be back next year to beat me to the line. They called me the “10 min/mile lady” and I think I am ok with that.

Timmy Walsh: What a great event, I loved it! Morgan and I joined Brian & Carolynn and Jackie Czarnota pacing the 9 min runners and had a blast; we were joined at mile 2 by a 9 year old who took over the pacing until he finished with a mad kick, oh to be young again ;-) Thank you Hyland for putting this event on; I see first hand those that benefit from the proceeds down at MetroHealth.

Another running race preceded by a ride.  Rood took on the Akron Rubber Ducks 5k: This was Awesome!. I left Rocky River at 6:15am with a bike escort from Brandy, Ryan and Marty. Thanks for that. 50 Miles later Marty and I rolled into Downtown Akron and the Start Line of the First Ever – Akron Rubber Ducks 5k.
Note: Coffee is hard to find in Akron on Sunday Morning.
The 5k was a cool course that looped the Rubber Ducks stadium and grabbed some miles on the downtown Akron Towpath.
Like a complete knucklehead, I ran the first 60 seconds of this race like that was as far as I needed to run. I went through the mile a squeak under 6:00 minutes ( well, Jocelyn’s GPS said~5:42). And boy was I hurting.
Jocelyn passed me just after the mile- on her way to finish as First Overall Female. She got to throw out the first pitch for winning the race.
Prizes were bats and balls used by Rubber Duck Players. My kids got play catch on the field before the game.
Really Cool. Must do race.




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