April Fleet Feet Pub Run

April 12, 2015 in Sponsors, Training

Join the Fleet Feet Team at Nano Brew on April 15th for the Monthly Pub Run. Saucony will be on hand with Demo Shoes.


Preparation for the Toledo Marathon

March 27, 2015 in Racing, Training

Check out BAFF member posting from Jason Stine at SWIFTWICK

Courtesy of & Lisa Evans Photography

















Life is 10% How You Make it and 90% How You Take It

March 28, 2014 in Members, Racing, Training

It’s finally spring and we have our first BAFFlete competing in a triathlon for 2014! Ed Slovenkay is competing in the HITS Ocala 70.3 on Saturday. Ed is a BAFF veteran and has been doing Triathlons since 2005. As most of you know he is one of the most dedicated, hard working and positive athletes out there but he is still a normal guy who enjoys a beer and some Wendy’s after a big race. He was kind enough to answer some questions before his first Tri since his crash. I think everyone will appreciate the insights from this inspirational guy!

Ed, you have a pretty demanding occupation how do you plan your training around a busy work schedule while making time for family?

This is a great question and one that is often asked to me.  I can’t recall where I read this quote but it has had the most impact on me and how I respond every time to this question.  “The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”  Everyone has 24 hours in a day.  It’s what you do with those 24 hours that makes the difference.  I’m not going to lie, it’s extremely challenging to keep all the balls in the air and I’ve had to sacrifice some things I used to do in order to keep peace at home.  Having the races pre-planned & on the schedule is what gets me out of bed at 5am while everyone else is sleeping in order to hit the pool or bike or run.

Even though you are a seasoned triathlete now, I’m sure you were a newbie at some point, what was your most embarrassing triathlon moment?

I’d have to say that would be my first race in 2005 at Cleveland.  I almost drowned during the swim because I bought a wetsuit and never swam in it prior so experienced that tight chest/anxiety that often happens with first timers.  Then I had a flat tire on the bike with no tubes or CO2 which caused me to have to walk the bike all the way back to the Bike Authority tent where Mike V changed it for me so I could finish the race.  It was most embarrassing because I committed preventable, newbie mistakes.

bike pose

Ed Slovenkay

Being involved in the sport for nearly a decade I’m sure you have done many different races, what is your favorite race to compete in?

I think the Triple T is my favorite race to do.  I completed the Triple T in both 2011 & 2013 finishing 2nd in my age group both years.  Prior to that I attempted the Little Smokies race in 2006.  I say attempted because it was my first and only DNF.  Little Smokies is the half ironman race that finishes off the Triple T weekend.  The half race is open to those who don’t do the entire weekend but want to participate.  The triple T weekend (including Little Smokies) is THE toughest racing I’ve ever done.  It is a must do for anyone in this sport and you get a lot of race for not a lot of money.  Many say it is tougher than an Ironman and I have to concur.

You had a nasty crash last year. Explain how you coped with that and how you got back into training.

Another saying that I try to live by is “life is 10% how you make it and 90% how you take it.”  I will admit to being angry and confused after the accident wondering “why me?”  Being in my mid-40’s, I’m already in the toughest age group and did not need any more obstacles imposed on me while trying to achieve my triathlon goals.  That seemingly elusive goal of qualifying for Kona seemed within reach as 2013 was unfolding.  In June of 2013 I finished the Great Western Reserve 70.3 first overall and PRd’ the distance.  My swimming was coming along and power numbers on the bike were the highest ever.  When the nurse informed me the Life Flight helicopter was coming to get me I thought that was the end.  I suffered a subdural hemotoma which at the time seemed like no big deal to me.  In the days and weeks following the accident I heard story after story about people who knew someone who suffered a head trauma and were not as lucky as I was.  I think that impacted me the most during the entire ordeal, knowing things could have been much worse for me and my family.  I think having an experience like this helps you to process adversity while putting things into the proper perspective.  It has never been easy recovering from this.  Then again, nothing worth achieving is easy.  I know that someday I will reach my goal of qualifying for Kona.  Hopefully along the way I can inspire others to overcome whatever challenges they face and achieve their goals as well.

How did you fill your time while recovering? Did you pick up any new hobbies?

The accident occurred during the Tour de France so I was able to watch the most cycling ever in my life.  I also watched a lot of training and instructional videos on YouTube.  I was so bored and wanted to get back to training that I found it healthy to watch people like Dave Scott & Mark Allen talk about training and racing to help me prepare for the next base period.  The only new hobby is that I am more committed than ever to strength training to help my triathlon training.  I watched so many videos and worked on strength training as soon as I was able.  Strength training has had the most impact on my recovery and I even purchased a Total Gym to work with in the basement.

Which of the 3 disciplines was the hardest to start again?

The swim for sure.  With the fractured collar bone & broken scapula I had a tremendous amount of scar tissue which caused me to have a very limited range of motion.  It seemed like an eternity before I could emulate a swim motion again pain free.  In fact, my surgeon laughed at me when I asked him whether I would ever swim again.  He said something that motivated me to push harder than I ever thought possible.  After laughing at my question he said, “well, that’s up to you.”  I took that to mean the real determiner of my future swimming ability centered around how hard I was willing to work and how much pain I was willing to endure.  Another saying that helped me through this time period, “pain is temporary, quitting is forever.

Any words of inspiration/encouragement for anyone who has had a bad crash and may be scared to ride again?

I can honestly say that the first road ride after the accident was the toughest.  I was very scared of bad road sections, cars, descents, etc…I waited to ride until I was cleared to ride again by both my orthopedic surgeon & concussion specialist.  At some point you have to have to just jump in and do it, if you want to ride again which I did want in a bad way.  As I completed more frequent and longer rides my confidence came back and the fear subsided.  I think the fear of getting back out there is a normal part of the healing process, but the sooner you face those fears, the sooner you can conquer them.

You have come so far since your crash and now you are finally going to get back out there, what are your expectations for your race this weekend?

This is not an A race but it is my first triathlon since the accident so the goal is to have a good day with no major issues out there on the race course.  I expect to get through the swim okay even if there is some contact with others at the start of it.  This winter has been brutal on us which has caused me to be indoors for almost all of my long rides, so I hope to be able to get into a groove early on the bike and not blow up.  A successful bike will set up the run and I’ve been running well lately especially since getting my weight down to 165 pounds.  I really want to see what I can do at the end of this race as far as pushing outside of my comfort zone

Thanks for sharing all your wisdom Ed. Good luck this weekend and we look forward to seeing GREAT things from you this season! You are a rock star!!


Baffletes Ride to fight Diabetes

July 3, 2013 in Members, Training

On Saturday a few Baffletes took on the challenge of riding 64 miles to fight diabetes; Josh Zielaskiewicz, Steve Thompson, Katie Zielaskiewicz and Ed Slovenkay.  The weather was perfect for a long day of cycling so many folks came out to help raise money to find a cure for diabetes.  It was the longest ride I’ve done since March and I felt great, even with just over 2,000 feet of climbing.


BAFF Team Rides

June 14, 2012 in Members, Training

The past several team rides have had great turnouts! We’ve consistently had solid numbers in both the A and B groups. If you haven’t joined us yet – give it a try!  Every Thursday, wheels up at 6:30pm from Bike Authority.  Keep up the great work, see you then!

Ed Slovenkay

Ironman St. George, the journey

February 26, 2012 in Racing, Training

banner-imsg I decided to race IMSG in November of 2010.  The location was IMFL and I was there with my family being introduced to a group of Type 1 diabetic adults who were themselves preparing to race IMSG 2011, while being mentors to Type 1 children (one of them my stepdaughter) who were about to partake in a kids triathlon that weekend.  That weekend, the group of adult athletes worked tirelessly trying to convince me to race with them in May 2011.  The problem was that I was already signed up for Lake Placid 2011 and I had previously agreed to only one Ironman a year.

kids-imsg In May 2011 my family and I made the trip to St. George Utah to support the group known as Triabetes, as they participated in IMSG.  I was lucky enough to get to ride on the bike course days before and run parts of the run course during the race.  I had heard that IMSG is one of the hardest courses out there and watching people suffer in 95 degree heat (and suffering myself a bit) on that course sealed the deal for me.  I would make this my next Ironman after Lake Placid.  I was inspired to see athletes racing there knowing that they had to monitor their blood sugar throughout the race in addition to dealing with the conditions of the course.  If these courageous athletes could subject themselves to those conditions in an effort to show their youth counterparts a life without limits, I certainly have no excuse for not racing here as well.

ed-triple-t Since November 2010, I had been scheming of ways to enter the SG race in May without anyone in the household knowing.  I registered for the Ohio Triple T (later in May 2011) as a way to keep my indoor workout focus up so that I would train as if I were racing early May to see if I could prepare, mostly indoors, for THE hardest Ironman.  I dropped hint after hint that I would race SG 2011 but never got the green light on the home front.  I did, however, feel that I was prepared for the Triple T which confirmed that I could get the volume and intensity needed using both a computrainer and a treadmill, both of which are in my basement.  The only missing link as far as I was concerned was guidance from a coach.

Shortly after Triple T, I hired coach Sean Gilbert of Train Ready.  I knew Sean from the bike shop & sponsor, Bike Authority, and had brief discussions with him over the years about certain training topics.  After seeing his credentials and hearing positive things from fellow teammates, I decided it was time to make a move.  When Sean and I first met to discuss goals, I made it clear that I wanted to qualify for Kona.  With Lake Placid only a few months out, Sean gave that familiar grin and said “what do you think your finish time will have to be to get a slot?”  After finishing Lake Placid I understood what the smile was about.  I managed to finish 65th overall, but 14th in my age group.  Only the first 8 finishers in my age group qualified for Kona.  If I had found a way to finish 20 minutes faster, I’d be one of those eight.

ed-imlp And so the journey began for IMSG 2012.  Sean meticulously began de-programming my bad habits and showed me that form and efficiency are the keys to improvement in this sport.  Having trained for and completed 3 IM distance races and confident that it was possible to be prepared for an early May race, I embraced Sean’s training concepts and the challenges of moving things mostly indoors.  In Northeast Ohio we have been blessed with a mild winter this year so I have been able to do all of my long runs outside and quite a few 2+ hour bike rides enduring the 30-40 degree temps.  The real course video feature of the computrainer makes it feel like the IMSG bike course is just another local training ride.  The downside of training in Northeast Ohio is that you really can’t get any open water swimming in during the winter months.  Overall my training has been going very well and thanks to Sean’s guidance, I’ve managed to avoid that feeling of constant overtrainedness.  This year I’ve learned the importance of listening to my body and as a result have not had to skip workouts.  This has made me more confident that I am a few minutes closer to realizing my goal, finishing closer to the top of my AG and securing one of those slots for Kona.