Revving it Up!!

The beginning of September brings one of the marquee long course races in the country to the North Coast of America.  Rev3 Cedar Point offers both a full and half-iron distance race format, and traditionally, SSSMST has shown well here at both distances.  This year was no different, with Mike Schaefer finishing sub-5 hours and finishing 23rd Overall (5th age group), Brian Stern finishing 4th Overall, and Kona-bound Jeanne DeBonis winning the women’s race, and finishing a lights-out 10th Overall among all competitors!!!!  Plus, Team Kostura was volunteering at the finish line to greet the final finishers on the day!  Let’s hear how things went….

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Brian: Bridget and I volunteered to work the finish line for the Rev3 Full from 8pm to midnight…oops 1am. Working the finish line after such a long day for all the athletes was an incredible experience. Observing the athletes pure joy and exhaustion as they crossed the finish line up until almost 1am was inspirational. Many of us know what it takes to just complete one of these events, but being out there all day until the very end is a whole new level. It was great to be there to help aide them to the start of their recovery, and Finisher Photo.

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Brian & Bridget working the finish line!

Bridget: I had a great time volunteering at Rev 3. Brian and I were at the finish line from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Having done an Ironman myself, it felt really cool to place the medals around the finishers neck, knowing what they just went through and all that it took to get there. The finish line for the full pales in comparison to that of an IRONMAN. However, the people that were there were energetic and stayed till after 1:00 a.m. to see the last finisher through. So that was really exciting! I highly recommend volunteering for any Full Iron Distance Triathlon. Brian and I had a lot of fun!!!

Top 3!  (l to r): Jeanne, Mike and Brian

Top 3! (l to r): Jeanne, Mike and Brian

Jeanne: Six days after ITU World Champs in Edmonton and beating myself up in workouts during the week, I toed the line at the Rev3 Cedar Point half in Sandusky, Ohio. I was dealing with extreme soreness in my quads that refused to subside by race morning, but the weather made everything a lot nicer – it was a little windy, but skies were clear and air temperature was in the 60s – it sure beat the hand- and feet-numbing 40s we had in Edmonton.

The water was quite rough that morning. We started in waist-deep water, and it took me a minute or two to get a breathing rhythm going, but after that, the only problems I had were in spotting buoys between the swells. The rough water made all the swim times slow, but what I CAN say about the first leg of Rev3 Cedar Point was this: in all my years of triathlon racing, this was THE most fun I’ve ever had in a swim. It was a blast.

The 56-mile bike course started out along the causeway to Cedar Point and continued along the Lake Erie shoreline for several miles before turning south and going through a slightly-rolling rural countryside. I maintained a steady hard effort that put my speed around 20-22 mph. At 2:38, my bike time was slower than I would have liked on what seemed like a fast course.

Coming off the bike, all I wanted was to have a solid, even-paced run. What I didn’t know was that I came off the bike within 9 minutes of the overall women’s leader. I went out in a surprisingly-comfortable 7-minute pace. In the first four miles, I caught two of the women who passed me on the bike. All the women In front of me had started in the wave five minutes ahead of me, and at mile 9, a woman running in the other direction yelled to me that the leader was four minutes ahead. If she was right, I had a shot at winning this thing. I tried to push that thought out of my mind, but at my age – 49 – I know how rare these chances are. I now had to exercise mind over matter because my already-sore legs were really starting to burn and my energy was waning. Somehow, I pushed through the last three miles while slowing and feeling increasingly worse. When I turned toward the finish chute and saw my husband, he looked at his watch and said definitively, “You won!”

Jeanne, at the finish,  leaving it all out on the run course

Jeanne, at the finish, leaving it all out on the run course

There was no fanfare or name-announcing… because I was actually the “second woman to cross the finish line.” I congratulated Heidi Benson – the young woman who crossed three minutes in front of me (unfortunately, the Rev3 announcer mistakenly assumed she won the race), and ten minutes later the announcement came that I had won the women’s race – and finished tenth overall. The official time was 4:50:54.

Top Women (l to r): Jeanne DeBonis (1st), Heidi Benson (2nd) and Erin Kersten (3rd)

Top Women (l to r): Jeanne DeBonis (1st), Heidi Benson (2nd) and Erin Kersten (3rd)

I celebrated with SSSMST teammates Mike Schaefer (5th AG 40-44) and Brian Stern (5th overall an 1st AG 45-49). It may have been just the pick-me-up I needed to get through the final month of Kona training.

Schaefer:  I did it! 4:59:31. I’m absolutely wasted with fatigue but couldn’t be happier. Very wavy swim cost me 5min compared to my 5:06 effort in 2012, but I was taking it slow and “babying” a sore neck that I strained earlier in the week. I didn’t feel very good on the bike, but the wind was favorable and I chased down and dropped a few people just to keep me motivated. By T2 I had made up 3min of the time I lost in the swim and I was keeping fluids and food down pretty well, so I knew I had a the legs to run at least 8minutes faster this year. The run still sucked, but this was no surprise – Fought cramps from mile 7to 11 but kept them at bay by walking preventively before they seized up. Lots of mental games and time calculations kept me busy as it was really lonely and hot in downtown Sandusky. I Really thought I wouldn’t make my sub-5 goal when I slipped behind pace by mile 8, but I kept it close enough to make a late push in the last few miles if only the legs would respond. Mile 9 was also off pace but only by a few seconds. Finally I decided I had to give it a “go”with 3.1 miles left ( if anything just to get it over with!) I had downed at least 10 electrolyte tabs and as many cups of fluids trying to shake the cramps. I also was pouring ice water on my head and face at every stop (except the one at mile 9 where I splashed coke on face by mistake!). Even in this lowest point of misery I mangled to chuckle at myself a little. Finally the cramps eased up (thanks for the electrolyte advice Aaron) and I was able to run an 8:55 on mile 11 and kept it rolling. I managed to run negative splits on miles 11-13 and kicked hard when I saw how close it was to sub-5. I made a brief visit to the medical tent as I was pretty woozy going thru the chute, but a few minutes in the icewater tub and a half-gallon of Gatorade later I was ready to celebrate! I just can’t express how happy I am. What a great end to a great triathlon season!

Tremendous job everyone!!!!!!

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