Inspiring others through movement is my passion! I’m a wife, a Mom of 2 kiddos and a Border Collie. They are my world!
I’ve been running for years and been racing for nearly a decade but wanted to make it harder so I added the bike and started Duathlons. I’m not much of a fish, so life on dry land for me. Growing up in Colorado and then moving to Michigan in 2009, I have such an appreciation for the outdoors. Being in nature is truly how I recharge.
Virtual racing this year has kept me motivated but community is where it’s at. I love trying new things and experiencing new adventures and races with my people, the ones I’ve met and the ones I haven’t yet.
I’ll try anything once, unless it involves spiders!
I can’t give anything less than my all, life’s too short to leave anything left in the tank. Everyone is welcome in sport and I’m here to bring anyone in to experience this joy! It’s such an honor to fly with Team Stellafly and a little dream come true!
Basically, a lifelong resident of Spring Lake/Grand Haven, I was involved in sports in junior high and high school. My main focus was high school basketball and tennis. After high school, I continued to play city league basketball, tennis, slow and fast pitch softball. Eventually, in 1981, a couple very accomplished runners encouraged me to run my first 5K. Performing better than I thought I would, I loved the environment and was hooked.
For the next 3+ decades, I participated in over 250 running events. While I never claimed to be fast (nor will I), I hope to say I’ve been competent. In 1997, my first River Bank Run 25K clocked me at a 7:55 pace per mile. My best 10K (Coast Guard Run) was 44:12 and best 5K (Snug Harbor Kick Off to Summer) was 21.48. I know I’ll never see those times again. “The older I get, the faster I was”. Wanting to try something different, in 1996, I participated in my first duathlon (Hackley Health Duathlon at Duck Lake State Park). After completing this event, I decided the next carrot to chase was my first triathlon. Time to learn how to swim.
In 1997, Reeds Lake Triathlon was my first triathlon. Very inexperienced in swimming, I felt as though I was going to drown. Like so many others, after crossing the finish line, I couldn’t wait to sign up for my next tri. Now, after 150+ triathlons, including 10, 70.3’s (finished 7), I still enjoy that nervous excitement of race weekend and race day. The camaraderie in triathlon is unmatched by any sport. I know countless stories of athletes supporting, encouraging and assisting each other during a race. I know, first hand, the benefits of this camaraderie. In 2000, during my first 70.3, Muncie Endurathon (now Ironman 70.3 Muncie), I experienced a flat tire 2 miles into the bike discipline. I had 3 replacement tubes, however, they were in my Jeep. Game over. While walking back to the transition, a kind participant stopped, offered me one of his tubes, Co2 chargers and actually helped me change my rear flat tire. We both went on to finish our races.
I had a 37 year career as a business insurance and risk management specialist. I became a Certified Personal Trainer in 1996. 7 years ago, I retired from the insurance industry and became a full-time race director. In 2009, I was the first RD in Michigan to successfully complete and obtain the USA Triathlon Race Director Certification. As a race director, I get just as excited on event weekend and race day as if I was a participant. When I’m at an event, as a participant, RD or volunteer, I love to encourage and be a cheerleader to the participants. Through the years, I’ve been blessed by SO MANY coordinators, volunteers and sponsors at our events. I’m also privileged to have my daughter, Chelsea Kaminski, loving to help her “Old Man” on race weekend. She continues to be my biggest supporter. All the running and triathlon events have kept me healthy. I have no medications, no medical nor skeletal issues. Like SO MANY others, I feel privileged to be active in this sport, its healthy environment, discipline and camaraderie. It’s my sincere desire to encourage anyone that’s actively or wants to be active in our environment. I’m VERY grateful and honored to be part of Team Stellafly.
My fitness history used to revolve around collision sports. I played football, wrestling, and (to a lesser extent) track in high school, and later went on to play rugby in college and until I was about 33 years old. Having a child at home made rugby difficult, as the team traveled a lot and away games were often out of state. Eventually the rugby era came to an end (though I did play this past Labor Day weekend at a tourney in Santa Fe).
The lack of rugby created a fitness void. I did not do much of anything fitness-wise for four years after. I then saw a photo of myself, my wife, and some friends on a beach while on vacation and I did not like what I saw. I had let myself go. I was over 240 lbs at that time...probably over 250 lbs on a bad week. That was the first time I truly took notice of my physical condition and wanted to make a change. I started moving more, but ended up slipping a disc in my back. This setback put me back even further. I needed months of physical therapy and epidural injections to overcome that injury. I was eventually cleared to move again. I was more motivated than ever to lose weight - I didn't want to be hurt like that anymore.
I started by buying a membership at MVP Metro. The gym was right across the street from my office at the time, so I could not use inconvenience as an excuse. I started by going during my lunch hour 3 or 4 days per week. After several months I started signing up for classes, specifically those with cross-training and HIIT formats. Soon I was going 5 days per week. It did not take long after that for the competitive spirit to return to me. I was not only competing with myself to improve, but I had a group of equally-minded people surrounding me in those classes. We all made each other better. Suddenly the weight started to come off. I felt better. I had more energy. My professional work product improved.
A little over a year ago some friends of mine (Ralph and Jeff) convinced me to sign up for a triathlon. It was decided that I would sign up for the GR Triathlon. This was a different goal for me - I was not used to training purely for a swim-bike-run race. In fact, I really couldn't swim at all (I'm still not good at it...it's a work in progress). I adjusted the training accordingly, and I saw improvement in my fitness. I also started to run some other smaller races in preparation for the GR Triathlon. It took some time, but I found that I thoroughly enjoyed the physical and mental benefits of running, biking, and (to a lesser extent) swimming.
My first triathlon went off well. I was slow in the swim, but very competitive in the bike and run. I instantly got hungry for more. I ran a few smaller races and the Grand Haven Duathlon (4th overall, 1st AG - but it was a small field). My running was feeling solid, so I started stretching out my distance and ran my first half marathon (Grand Rapids Marathon).
My body feels good. I have run over 800 miles this year (which probably beat my previous annual record by 700 or so miles), and I don't plan on slowing. I want to work towards running a marathon, and I have goals of qualifying for Boston 2021...we'll see. I never dreamed that I'd run a 10K, let alone a marathon. But goals change.
Other Info: My family and I (wife Marissa, daughter Sydney - 14) enjoy traveling out west whenever possible. We're hoping to make another trip skiing in Colorado this winter. We're also planning on a trip to Oregon in the summer to do some hiking and climbing. We enjoy everything the western outdoor landscape has to offer. We even did a 6-day, 5-night whitewater rafting trip in Idaho this past summer. I even had a near-death experience when I was pinned against a rock in a Class IV rapid after spilling a kayak. 🙂
Laura Saltsman, age 43, is a widowed mom of two boys (ages 14 and 10) and a full-time Interior Designer at Steelcase. Experiencing a great deal of loss at a young age has given her an attitude of gratitude for each day. She enjoys being active with her kids and sharing her passion for fitness with boyfriend and SF teammate Jeffrey Green. In her early 20’s she discovered the mental and physical benefits of exercise and has weaved a variety of activity through her life including kickboxing, yoga, running and most recently a strong enthusiasm for road biking. In 2019 she ran 14 races, placing first in her age group in both a 5K and 10K, and beat her personal record to run under 8 minutes per mile. She completed her first Gazelle Girl Half Marathon, and first River Bank 25K in 2020 as virtual events, in addition to a handful of virtual 5K races to support good causes. She strives to share health and wellness with others and appreciates all the awesome friendships and amazing opportunities she has experienced through fitness. She is honored to join us and looks forward to flying with the team this year!
I grew up with a pool in my backyard and would spend hours swimming and racing my dad. I swam competitively from 5th grade throughout high school. The swimming pool was the only place I could go where my mind could be clear and all thoughts would be swiped away with a splash of water. But as frustration built with multiple shoulder injuries I stopped swimming in college and started running leisurely to stay healthy. I never thought I’d do a race or enjoy the sport of running, let alone triathlons. Then when I moved to Grand Rapids in September 2018, I was looking for a sense of community and a way to get to know people, so I joined a run club. The support I found through my triathlon and running club friends, gave me the confidence to complete my first half marathon and Sprint Triathlon this year and fall in love with the sport. Now it gives me something swimming once gave me, a sanctuary for my mind, body and soul and a catalyst to form connections with people (a very important value). The most important accomplishment I made this year was qualifying for the New York City Marathon 2020 with my half marathon time with just 7 seconds to spare!
Before moving to Grand Rapids, I was all over the place working with various athletic populations on their sports nutrition practices. I spent some time in Florida working with special forces and pro football athletes, some time at University of Louisville & Central Michigan University athletics and finished off my experience in Houston, Texas at Memorial Hermann Ironman. After working 70 to 80 hour weeks, realizing that this wasn't the life I wanted anymore, I moved to Grand Rapids to be closer to family. Currently, I work at a small hospital as a Registered Dietitian and recently started a private practice using my RD license to help athletes and the wellness client achieve their goals and live a healthier, happier life. I have actually started seeing some StellaFly members !
I had always wanted to be a runner, but for some reason I just didn’t have it in me to run regularly enough to earn that title. I played soccer through high school and part of college, and would occasionally go out to run the well known “5 mile loop”, but I never had the motivation or drive to continue day after day. Finally, my junior year in college, I had a bucket list moment and convinced a friend to register for a half marathon with me. I trained for months, ran the race, and then watched nearly 3 years go by without really running again.
Eventually, I hit an emotionally challenging time in my life. Somehow, running became the escape that I needed, and I threw myself in full force. Running quickly became a lifestyle. It became a huge part of my identity. I went from being a newbie in the sport, to working at a specialty running store, to joining a woman’s elite racing team, to PRing race after race, to placing in my age group, to winning overall female.
Just one year after I started running, I signed up for my first big race - Bayshore Marathon, where I qualified for Boston, earning a spot in the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Unfortunately, due to the traumatic events that occurred that day, my experience is not one that I want to remember. In the years since Boston, the trauma from this day had seeped it’s way into all areas of my life. I had especially struggled with running, training and racing... particularly when it came to crossing the finish line.
Until recently, I had taken the focus off of racing and competing, and put more energy towards helping other runners reach their goals, through pacing several local races each year. This had allowed me to focus on healing my relationship with running and racing, all while sharing my support and enthusiasm to fellow runners.
All of these experiences have forced me to re-evaluate and redefine my identity as a runner/athlete, and I hope 2021 can be a continuation of this journey. I am thrilled to be a part of Team Stellafly, and excited to find my place again in the world of racing.
My goals for 2021:
To run consistently enough throughout the entire year to hit 1,500 total miles.
To complete my first ever triathlon
To complete a road race (cycling)
And finally, I would love to PR!!
I grew up in Dowagiac, Michigan and attended Western Michigan University for undergrad, and the University of Michigan Law School for my law degree.
As a kid and through young adulthood, I was always more of a team sports guy. I played golf (poorly), basketball (almost as poorly) and baseball (pretty decently) in high school. I kept up with rec leagues for team sports through school and as a young single lawyer in Chicago. But things changed a lot starting around 2010. I got engaged, we moved back to Michigan, and married in 2011. By 2013, we were expecting our first child. I was 33 years old, and it turns out my metabolism was slowing way down! With a family and career, I didn’t have the time for those rec team sports, I wasn’t exercising at all, and I was eating like a young man in a mid-30s body, which quickly expanded. I was miserable with myself in mid-2013, and I was about 30 to 40lbs heavier than I am right now. It all came to head when my buddy’s girlfriend rented a boat to celebrate his July 2013 birthday on Spring Lake. It was so unseasonably cold that no one stripped down to a bathing suit or got in the water. I was so relieved and grateful for Mother Nature that day! I vowed, if I was too ashamed to even remove my shirt, it was time for a change.
So I started running a little (very slowly) strictly as a means to burn calories and try to lose the weight, and I joined a gym (since I wasn’t lifting a finger with the weights I owned at home). I learned in October ’13 that I was expected my first child, who would be born in May 2014 when I would be 34 years old, which caused me to redouble my efforts to get in shape. I didn’t want to be an old, out of shape dad for her.
I ran my first River Bank 25k in 2014, which was my first race of any considerable distance. I ran a 2:16+ (8:47 per mile). I was hooked. River Bank 2015 resulted in a 2:01. I ran some half marathons along the way as well. My first full marathon was Chicago 2015, with a goal of sub 3:30, and finished at 3:24:49.
In February 2016, I entered a “Body Transformation Challenge” at my gym, MVP Sportsclubs. It changed everything. The challenge was strength oriented and this was when I learned how important strength is to running. I worked really hard at the challenge (and took first place!). The next half marathon I did with the new and improved stronger me was in March 2016, and resulted in an 11 minute PR from a previous best of 1:39 to 1:28! Since then, I have kept cross/strength training as a mainstay of my regimen in addition to logging the running miles. I have continued to set out for PRs and new personal goals and feats. I’ve run the River Bank every year since that first one in 2014, and I now consistently run it about 30 minute faster than the first one. I’ve run the Chicago Marathon every year since that first in 2015, and have shaved 30 minutes off the first run of that race as well. A huge highlight came when I finally qualified for and got into the Boston Marathon. I actually had to get three BQs within the qualifying window for the 2018 race until the third one was actually fast enough to get in (3:04:27 at the 2017 Last Change BQ Grand Rapids). My first Boston was the downpour of rain of 2018, but it was also my first sub 3 hour race at 2:58:49. I ran Boston again in 2019, I’m registered for 2020, and I have a qualifying time for 2021 with an over 16 minute buffer of my BQ standard, which came two months ago at the Chicago Marathon when I attained a new PR (2:53:52), which also met my goal of qualifying for next year’s New York City Marathon (with more than 4 mins to spare!). I’m at 11 marathons total since I started full marathons in October 2015, with 4 more on the calendar for 2020 (Boston, Whitefish Point in the U.P., Chicago, New York).
Although I will turn 41 in March 2021, I feel like I have more PRs in me and can’t wait to run a full calendar of half marathons, a 25k, and full marathons as a stellafly teammate in 2021! Maybe y’all will even rub off on me for my first Tri one of these days.
(photo: Randy Rikeson)
I am a 1996 Olympian in the 1500 m and my hometown is Cadillac, MI. I went to college at Eastern Michigan and moved to Grand Haven in 2002 where I served in the US Coast Guard til 2005. I am thrilled to be chosen as a ``Fly Guy`` and will where my pink and black proudly. I broke the 4 minute mile 42 times over my 9 seasons as a professional placing 10th in the World twice at the 1500 m run. My method of staying fit is to register for local road and trail, cycling and obstacle course races as future competitions keep my training going. In recent years I have taken on the rewarding role of being a coach of the Chariots of Fire Youth Running Club where I find fun things to do for kids with a lot of energy and a gift for running. I am thrilled to be a part of the StellaFly team, but please don't expect my goals to shift to World Class as training that hard hurts too much at my age. I look forward to meeting you all.
(photo: Randy Rikeson)
I am a 29 year old female and StellaFly teammate with a love for triathlons, CrossFit, and most things fitness related. I cross-train most days with a combination of CrossFit and running—in fact I’m currently on a running streak of 98 days! I am hopeful that this upcoming season will allow me to hit some big goals including both a first trail marathon and 1/2 Ironman. I also got drawn for a lottery spot in Berlin 2020 and hope to goof around for 26 miles on “the other side of the pond”.