For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
The video above shows Kessler on her way to victory at the Ironman 70.3 U.S. Championships in St. George, approximately one month prior to her crash at Eagleman.
Meredith Kessler explains the severity of her bike collision at Eagleman 70.3 earlier this month, which came after an impressive victory at Ironman 70.3 St. George (see above). Kessler has her sights set on next month’s Vineman and Lake Stevens 70.3. Ever the positive thinker, Kessler is optimistic she’ll make a full recovery.
The last thing Kessler recalls is that she “had about 3 miles to go on the bike, was happy, excited to run, and pumped to be in the lead.” Her next memory is waking up screaming in a hospital room as nurses unsuccessfully tried to tap an arm vein. An age-group male, who Kessler says “so kindly visited me at the hospital with flowers—too kind,” admittedly crossed the double yellow line, colliding with her. “I know he didn’t mean it, and he felt really badly—it happens,” says Kessler. “Hopefully in the future, races will make sure no one is in a predicament where this can happen to anyone. It also would be great if the lead female, like the lead male, had a police/motorcycle escort—or anything to, again, prevent this from happening.”
Kessler was told she sustained the worst-case trauma concussion—she landed directly on her head, and it was hours before she came to. “It’s definitely weird to hear about it all now as I don’t remember any of it really,” she says. “I keep getting reminded that this is very serious, scary stuff…but I am thankful and fine for sure and the goal now is to get the beat-up ribs back in action.”
She says her “brain has come back down to planet earth” and she’s been able to swim, bike and run slowly since last Friday, “which is a small miracle.”
“I’m such a meant-to-be person and am hopeful this means that I will come out on the other side even with the hiccups.” Kessler has undergone a lot of cognitive testing “to make sure the brain is firing on all cylinders,” seen a host of neurologists and will get an MRI later this week to rule out any bleeding around her brain. She’s also undergone cup therapy on her badly bruised ribs, a process she describes as “painful as all get out…but totally expected and I’m well aware that it will get worse before it gets better and I can/will deal.”
Always one to see the silver lining in any situation, Kessler says she’s “thankful that we had a mid-season break anyways on the plan,” and the focus has been less on intensity. “I should be good to go, especially if all keeps healing and goes well, for the double whammy of Vineman and Lake Stevens in July,” she says. “Can’t let hiccups slow down the process too much—yes, we have to embrace them and listen to our bodies, but it’s key not to let ANYTHING bring us down.”
Video by Steve Godwin.
Join in the conversation about everything swim, bike and run. “Like” us on Facebook.