Meet the Team: Lake Placid 2013 – Part 1

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Ironman® Lake Placid. It’s mere mention is enough to make lesser mortals quiver in their boots. But for TeamEN, it’s just another run in the park. And swim. And bike. The 2013 Lake Placid is this weekend, and TeamEN is representing huge this year, with nearly 80 members racing one of the premier Ironmans in the world. Now, even though we’ve had record high temps, race day looks to have cloudy skies and some rain in the forecast, with temps only in the 70sF. Not a bad way to spend race day. No matter what the weather, let’s meet the TeamEN members racing Lake Placid this year.

P.S. – There are so many TeamEN members racing this year, we had to split this post in half, so please head over to Part 2 and Part 3 to meet the rest of the team!

P.P.S. – Are you going to Ironman® Lake Placid? Then make sure you attend the 10th Annual 4 Keys of Ironman® Execution Lake Placid Talk. It’s free

Liz Jackson - Lake Placid 2013 - Team Endurance NationLiz Jackson

I’m from Raleigh, North Carolina and married to a man who is 27 states into his goal of completing a marathon in all 50 states. Lake Placid is my first IM. I did some sprint triathlons a few years ago but really got into the sport last year with my first Olympic (my very first OW swim) and then a HIM. After that I decided that this is the time to go for the long-admired goal of doing an IM. In June I completed the inaugural Raleigh 70.3® and had an absolute blast, but I don’t really have a ton of race experience. My race day goals are: a) have fun and appreciate the opportunity to be out there competing; b) give my family & friends support crew something to cheer about; c) finish!

Dan Vescuso

From Boston, first year doing any sort of endurance training, and participating in my first full IM at IMLP. My goal is to have a great time and to finish while the sun is still up!

Mary Russo

I am from the Jersey shore and started racing triathlon three years ago. I completed two half ironmans and plan to complete a full Ironman® in 2014; either Lake Placid or IMFL.

Gran Stauffer - Team Endurance NationGrant Stauffer

I currently reside in Rochester, NY with my lovely wife Norma. This will be my 4th Lake Placid – considered my home course and I absolutely love it. I’ve done countless loops of the bike course and knowing it like the back of my hand, the entire ride is now flat since I know exactly how to ride it (thanks Patrick). The run’s a different matter – the last hill coming back into town at mile 24 is always “up” and always “sucks”. Race day goals are simple = finish the day without seeing the inside of an ER (done that a few times over the years) and wear the biggest smile crossing the finish line. As no matter my time, completing a full IM is a victory in my book (of course if I don’t PR, I’ll be pissed). See ya out there!

Chris Love - Team Endurance NationChristopher Love

Live in Connecticut. First triathlon was around 2000 although this is only my second year of long course, and this will be my first full. I am doing this race with my daughter Bridget. One way or the other the goal is to cross the line right next to her!



George Jordan - Team Endurance NationGeorge Jordan

I am a physician living and practicing in Elizabeth City, NC. I have a wonderful supportive wife and 2 great kids all of which have done triathlons. My athletic background is in swimming so triathlon seemed like a cool way to incorporate a know skill with a bike and a ride to lose weight. After losing 40+ lbs and managing to get on the podium of a couple of half iron distance races I am now fully addicted to sense of accomplishment and feeling like my 50+ year old self could run my teenage self into the ground. It also helps to hear someone on an loudspeaker says “you are an ironman.” Yes, I know it is primarily ego driven. Lake Placid will be my 4th irondistance race. The first was IM France, then Vineman, and then IM Florida. My typical goals are first to cross the finish line standing up and be able to hub my wife and kids without going to the medical tent. Next would be a solid 4 hour marathon. Way down on the realistic goals is Kona so I have gotten into the habit of going to the draw down just in case. But, WTC gets my money every year because I know I have a better chance at Kona in the lottery.

Frank Zaffino

I am from beautiful State College, PA. with my wife and two children Melissa 8 and Gavin 6. I have been doing triathlons since 2009 after ten years of running marathons. This is my first official year with EN after about a year of hearing about them through my friend and fellow EN member Paul Takac. I truly appreciate his persistence because I have been impressed with the advice and training I have received so far. Hopefully, all the hard training pays off this year at LP. I typically have three overall race day goals for a Marathon or Ironman. The first goal is to finish, you never know what may happen so I always have this as my first goal. Second goal is to do better than last year’s race. Last year I finished LP in 11:40, so anything better than that would be great. I feel that I am trained for a better race time this season with all the EN love and training! Lastly, my super, perfect, where the stars line up day would be to qualify for Kona. Other goals are to make improvements in the transitions and to finish the marathon in 3:30. Other than that I don’t really have any other goals!

Joe Grey - Team Endurance NationJoe Grey

I am from Buffalo, NY. I have been doing triathlons for 5 out of the last six years, taking last year off due to shoulder surgery. I did my first IM at Lake Placid in 2011. This will be my second and last, at least until I retire. I cannot handle the training time on top of the work time. This year I have no specific goals except to finish healthy, or as much as that is possible. If healthy, then maybe I can better my time from 2011 which was 13:23. Sub-13? I do plan on enjoying the day, the scenery, and the crowd.



Kerrie Freeborn - Team Endurance Nation Kerrie Freeborn

I’m from California but live in Washington D.C. First IM and my only stated goal is finishing before all of the time cutoffs!






Todd Ackerman

This is my first IronMan. I ran the LA marathon in March of 2012 and it went well enough that I thought I’d try an IronMan.

Robert Sabo - Team Endurance Nation Robert Sabo

I am from Margate, NJ and I have been doing triathlon for 28 years and have done 7 prior IMs. I would like to execute well and perform to my abilities. I feel more confident than I ever have going into an IM. I hope to have a PB and go sub 10:30 and have a run with sub 8’s. My other goal is to enjoy the day, the prize for all the training, and try to smile as much as possible. The support of my family and the EN crew will make it happen.



Ryan Miller - Team Endurance Nation Ryan Miller

Look at that picture – doesn’t it look like someone who knows how to get stuff done? Well thats what I do – I get stuff done.

Thats me from IMLP2012, a fresh 4 weeks after joining EN. I was even borrowing the top just to get EN mojo on the course, because I knew I’d need it! See, the thing was, I had followed my own training plan, and was making up workouts as I went along, having no idea how that would translate into a race. But that didn’t stop me from gettin’ it done. It’s just that it took me about 13 hours and 45 minutes to do so.

This past year with EN was a completely different story. From the November OS to the bike focus block to the get faster plan and finally the IM plan – my workouts have gained focus and I’ve improved by leaps and bounds as a result. My only hope is that I don’t go screw it up! Which is a very real possibility. Thats the downside to being a guy who can get stuff done – when I do something, I do it with vigor. That usually means either great success, or abject failure. So in a way, you could say I live a very balanced life. It’s really less a question of whether I’m ready for the Lake Placid course – the real question is whether the Lake Placid course is ready to maybe be made a mockery of by this middle aged technical consultant who does triathlons because it’s the only non-contact activity that can still be considered, in some circles, to be hardcore?

Anyway – I’ve been playing this triathlon game for about 4 years now. I’m currently pushing my 37th birthday, and I got into triathlon after spending most of my 20’s doing the typical 20’s thing – going to work, getting lazy and putting on weight. The multi-sport discipline of triathlon has given me a way to be a much healthier person while not allowing myself to get bored with doing the same activity over and over. I live in the Boston MetroWest area with my wife and our two dogs. So if you happen to see a totally Fred looking dude on a roadie with hairy legs, in a tri kit, and with all kinds of crap hanging off his bike (bento box, spare tire bungied to the seat post, seat bag, helmet with rear view mirror, speed/cadence sensor, wired PT) going around the Wachusett Reservoir, that is probably me. Wave and say hi!

Jonathan Brown - Team Endurance Nation Jonathan Brown

Hello All, I have been involved in triathlon for the last 4 years. After drinking and smoking for almost 10 years, i decided to get healthy and lose some weight. This put me on an unexpected path to Ironman. So here I am about to embark on my first Ironman. In 8 years, i have lost 40 pounds, ran 8 marathons, finished 3 HIM, and I am much happier with myself.

I have a few goals, 1) Survive, 2) Finish with a massive smile, 3) Enjoy the day 4) Remember at least three funny signs held up by spectators.



Mike Nardone - Team Endurance Nation Michael A. Nardone

I am from Derry NH and have been in the sport since 02. This will be my fourth time at Lake Placid and look fwd to another good year. I will take next year off so I will savor the moments and go with what the day brings and execute the plan. I will miss the mass swim start this year, it was always fun to expierence. Stay healthy all and be safe out there!



Ken Cestari - Team Endurance Nation Ken Cestari

Age: 61
Hometown: Shrewsbury, NJ

First year on EN. I’m a real latecomer to all of this racing stuff and did my first race since high school at the ripe, young age of 59 at the Indian Trails 15k in NJ. A few weeks later I did my first Triathlon, a sprint distance at Bassman in South Jersey and I was hooked.
I’ve done 4 HIM but Lake Placid will be my first full. I still can’t believe that I’m doing this stuff. Just a few years ago I had to touch bottom when I went for a “swim” in the ocean. Swimming is still a struggle but I figure by the time I’m 70 or so I will figure it out 🙂

At Placid my goals are to just get through the swim alive. Then on the bike and run just “execute, execute, execute”. Focus on my numbers and really try to nail the nutrition. My big goal is to not suffer on the run, to soak in the whole Lake Placid experience and finish with a smile.

Brian Pautsch - Team Endurance Nation Brian Pautsch

I am 38 yrs old and am married (Tracy) with 2 kids, Ethan (8 yrs old who also loves swimming and triathlon) and Hannah (6 yr old dancer and gymnast). This will be my 3rd Ironman. My first two were at Florida with a personal best of 11:48. I am racing Lake Placid and Wisconsin this year (I guess I needed a bigger challenge). I have been with EN since Sept of 2010 and have become much smarter every year.

I had shoulder surgery over the winter and originally had goals of simply finishing my races strong and injury free, but my training has come together really well over the past few months. My current goal is to execute the race as smart as possible so I have a strong and consistent run.

I really don’t have any time goals. I put so much pressure on myself the first year and even more the 2nd year. Lake Placid is such an beautiful venue and has so much history…it’s Ironman® USA! I just want to take it all in and have a great day, but I will race to my full potential. I also have a lot of family coming to the race. I look forward to seeing them throughout the day.

If you want to know how my day went, look for me at the Lake Placid Brewery after the race!

Meet the rest of TeamEN racing at Ironman® Lake Placid!

Part 2 | Part 3


Are you going to Ironman® Lake Placid? Then make sure you attend the 10th Annual 4 Keys of Ironman® Execution Lake Placid Talk. It’s free




Coach P

All stories by: Coach P

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