Results Rehash – Stern Sterling in Defeat

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Aaron and Jocelyn Rood finishing the Akron Marathon

Triathlon is a sport of truths. It is designed to find out what, exactly, you as an individual can do. When examining Brain Stern, Triathlon has probably found some holes in his swim/bike/run game over the years, but never in his integrity, nor in his resolve to race fast and fair.

Last weekend Brian’s great season culminated in a trip to USAT’s Halfmax National Championships. He was on pace for an AG podium, a top 10 overall finish, and bonus money from one of his sponsors. When he missed a turn, he finished his race, and immediately reported himself to the USAT official. It was decided that a 4 minute penalty would be sufficient punishment, but after examining the splits and realizing 4 minutes was not enough, Brian had himself disqualified from the event.

Congrats to Brian on a great performance, both in the race, and how he conducted himself as a whole. We’re very proud to have someone like him on SSSMST.

In other news, there was a mountain bike race last Sunday as part of the NEO Power Series. Rob Thompson had a pretty good day despite the wet and slippery conditions, finishing 6th in his Under 35 Expert class.

Scott Zubricky finished up a rough year with a sterling Akron Marathon, where he was joined by Aaron Rood.  Aaron’s marathon PR came one day after the news of his grandfather’s death, so this was an emotional and satisfying day for him.

Read through for those, along with Brian’s Nationals report. Keep an eye out in the coming days for a report from John Willse on his experience at the Leadville 100, too.

Stern at Nationals –

Halfmax Nationals..(the race that wasn’t)
I was prepared to set a PR as I ended my Tri Season with a final Half Iron at the USAT Nationals in South Carolina. But the best laid plans sometimes go astray.I show up on race day and they cancel the swim…so they send a racer every 3 seconds to mount your bike and TT for 56 miles in a 20 MPH wind on beautiful roads closed to traffic (probably the best part of the event). I average 23 MPH and transition to the run course (which already has numerous racers from the Olympic and Sprint events running back and forth).
I bust out with a couple of easy 6 min miles (no effort on this totally flat course) and decided to drop the hammer from then on until my body says no more running mid 5:30’s). In doing so and with all the chaos, I missed a turn that I knew existed and only knew my day was over when I made a turn around for lap 2 ( my time was too fast). I found the turn off and finished the course, went to a USAT official and he said that a four minute penalty would be added to my time instead of a DQ. I checked the distance and knew this was not a fair punishment and asked the race director to give me a DQ. They took me name out for awards and gave the next place 40-44 AG the prize for 3rd master. In doing so I felt much better even though I forfeited a top ten overall finish and a cash bonus from Hammer Nutrition. I know other racers made the same mistake but I needed to clear my mind. I was told a quote that is fitting.
“A man may fail many times but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.”
— J. Paul Getty

Aaron Rood –

This was my fourth year in a row running the Akron marathon.  Akron marathon is an outstanding event in terms of race support, organization, finish line everything.  They really put together a great race.  That is what draws me back.

The Course
Miles 16-22 of Akron are absolutely brutal, and in the past have chewed up and spit me out.  They are mainly up hill and immediately follow 4 lonely miles on the towpath.  The towpath is closed is spectators and is the first section of the race after the 1/2 marathoners turn off.  In the past, this “tranquility” has lead me to go screaming (at a pace way too fast) across the towpath.  So, I know from experience if you run the towpath too fast, you pay for sins on the back end.  Lamastra typically jumps in with me along the towpath to both prevent me from hammering the towpath and then drag me through the pending hills.  He is always very helpful, though I haven’t really run a “pretty” backend of Akron, yet.

The Plan
So, on to 2010.  I spent allot of training time going up and down hills, in hopes that it could be better through the end of Akron.  I also knew going in, based on Jocelyn’s fitness, that if she had a good did day, and I had anything less than a good day I would likely loose to her.  I am still not ready to loose to her.  My plan was to run safe, and conservative.  I hoped to average no faster than 6:40’s for at least the first 10 miles.

Race Week
Week of race, everything was smooth sailing.  Legs felt great, taper was  going fine.Then,  I received a call Friday morning that my Grandfather had died.  I was very close with him.  He lived right next door to me my entire childhood.  He was at nearly every race through my HS running days.  He was a big influence on my life; to him I give much credit.  When I asked my dad, if there was anything I needed to do.  Dad responded: “No.  Just go have a good race tomorrow”.

So, Charles “Jack” Rood – was married to my grandma for 65 years.  He worked the same job, as a die sitter in the plant of 46 years.  He was WWII veteran, earning 5 combat stars for duty in theater.  Normandy being one of the Stars.  Much impression to find there.

Race
I had a good one.  I was able to stick to my plan.  I ran 2:54.37- even or maybe slightly negative splits.  I won my age group, 28th overall.  Some highlights:
•    At about mile 4, I hear a “go Aaron”.  It was Jocelyn.  I was happy to see her.  I check my watch and happier to confirm I was “right on pace” (slow if anything) and she was [apparently] out a bit quick.
•    About mile 8- I pulled over to pea, barely leaving the route.  Some guy in the race actually laughed out loud at me as he ran by.  I made sure I beat him.
•    I had seen Jim several times on his bike in the first 10 miles of the race.  He kept telling me he would see me at the usual spot.
•    Usual spot along the towpath—No Jim.  1 mile past the usual spot- still no Jim
•    I catch a group of guys along the towpath.  I believe I made the 8th person in the pack.  I was happy to set in and enjoy the tow.  This is mile 14.5 or so.
•    Then, it what seemed more like bike racing marathoning, Jim weaves through this pack I am in, and says “hey”.  I am happy to see him.  We see Marty, Jason and Leah and Jason around the same point.   I nod  to them that I am okay.  We pass the 16 mile mark.
•    I hand Jim my watch and the hills start.  At this point I am completely following my “domestique “.  I am not looking at pace, time or effort, just following Jim.  We absolutely shred the group I was with.  At 30k:  Jim and I are together, no one else with us.  Jim tells me later that is fastest I have every run the sand run section.
•    Mile 19.5, Jim admits that he had run back to back 5:40 miles to catch me (on the towpath) as he had been in “John” when I ran by.  Jim is gassed, wishes me well and sends me on my way.
•    My coworker Russ picks up just after I leave Jim.  Russ keeps me moving through miles 20-22.  The miles are ugly – I am hurting bad.  With Russ’s help, we keep even the ugly ones sub 7 minute pace.
•    See J. Halloran  at mile 21.5 – He was like a beacon – brought back some life
•    Mile 22- Jim takes a short cut and rejoins.  Russ and Jim are both with me as “bomb” down the last 4 miles.  I actually felt pretty good those miles.
•    Patrick & Erin, Andrea and others are at mile 25.5 – they are very visible and EVEN MORE audible.  I was very happy they were there.
•    Crossed the line- thrilled with my race and very emotional about loosing my grandfather. I spent several tearful minutes at the line my celebrating grandpa’s life.
•    The best part was the lunch chilli cheese fries and cold beers, with friends, right after the race.

I am every grateful for my athletic accomplishments – I was fortunate to be healthy at the start and able to put together a pretty good marathon.  Having Jim with me and Marty, Leah, Patrick and others there is really the best part.  Thanks very much for the support.

And, oh- I did beat Jocelyn, but to her defense she had a tough day

Big Z –

I went into this race just looking to run well and have fun. Training was a bit different than in the past and went well. I met Aaron and Jocylin at the expo and we went to dinner at the Bricca. I got a good amount of sleep but woke about 3:30 and never slept after that. 4:30 came and I had some coffee and a bagel and banana, my ussual pre race breakfast. I got down to the race about 5:30 or so and parked. Last minute preps in the car and then up to the starting area. Saw Aaron and Patrick before the race while I was warming up. Decided I was going to run with the 3:10, 7:15 mile pace group. Great weather with cool temps at the start kept the mind positive. Met a Mike a Second Sole buddy at the start. It was his first marathon so I tried to help him along best I could. The first 8 miles I ran with the pace group. I was feeling pretty good so I picked up my pace and went ahead. When we hit the towpath I just tried to run steady. I got passed by one marathoner and I started feeling more competitive. We went through the half around 1:33. Still feeling good I kept the pace up. When we hit Sand Run there is the relay exchange. Some Second Sole friends and Jason Halloran were there cheering. I started to slowly pass runners that were ahead. This helped my confidence. I caught up to Jocylin around mile 19 I think and Leah was there. A few words with them and on I went. I am still catching runners and feeling o.k. Jason was here with a little pep talk big help. Before Stan Hewitt is the last hard hill. Through this and now I know it is going to be downhill soon. The last few miles were more mind over being tired. I passed 3 more guys and all I wanted to do was stop. There on the side close to the finish was team cheering us on. This was the push I needed. Finished strong and was quite happy with my time and to be DONE. Thanks to everyone who came down for support. It really helped me along. Congrats to Aaron on his race. This was one of my best marathons.

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One Response

  1. Great race reports Aaron, Scott and Brian! Your effort, preparation and tenacity inspire! Be it the Army, your Life or multi-sport training we must:
    Identify
    Adapt
    Overcome

    Be all that you can be!

    Well Done Mates!

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