Before the race, we learned that Meredith Kessler suffered a vertebrae break six weeks earlier. She struggled during the run to end in 23rd place—not exactly where the multiple Ironman champion usually finishes—but showed great determination to get across the line. She admits she could’ve taken the easy way out and skipped Vegas or done a race with a less-aggressive field, but she wanted to toe the line, even if it meant her goals had to shift. How did her injury affect her race?
In Kessler’s words:
“Sunday was a pure ‘Just get to that finish line and don’t quit!’ I didn’t want my injury to be an excuse,” Kessler says. “Ultimately, it affected my race, but truthfully I was just so happy to even be on the starting line. As of three weeks ago even, I didn’t think it was a possibility.”
“I think my race result was a culmination of things stemming from the crash and re-building my body and fitness physically. We forget that when our bodies go through a trauma like that, it’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight. Patience is king and the goal is to focus on what you can do vs. what you cannot do. I knew I could toe the line, but I tried not to think about what I could not do in the race and goals shifted.”
“Mentally, I never doubted the ability to finish—even though there are always pockets of doubt in that capacity for us all when we are in the moment—and I think that stems from the 45 full Ironmans I have completed, many of which I have suffered through much like yesterday, despite it being half the distance.”
“I will never know how I would have done without the little blip, but I do know that I will learn from it all and do my best to get back to where I was pre-crash. I’m really excited for Kona and the rest of my season. I feel like Leanda, Kelly and Heather raced for all of us—truly world class performances!”