Double Ironman Win and the Courage to Recover
Meredith Kessler. Double Ironman Win with a Purpose:
While many in the purplepatch team were down at Wildflower, Meredith Kessler was winning her second Ironman event of 2012 in one of the toughest Ironman races ever contested (conditions). Ironman St George is already designed as a challenging course, but Saturday delivered some extra fun and games with extreme chop in the swim, as well as very high winds on the bike. Conditions were absurdly challenging for all competitors, with reports of 35 mph head winds, buoys and swimmers going missing in the swim, and race splits well slower than expectations. Anyone finishing should be congratulated beyond the normal admiration that is deserved for completion of an Ironman.
For Meredith, this event was important, but not for the chance to win an event or become the champion of the last running of the race. Last year Ironman St George and the heat of the day, left Meredith is hospital following a collapse at mile 22. This signaled a series of collapses in Ironman events and a journey to overcome the challenge of heat and nutritional failure. Following a series of experiments, and a fair few failures, we both found some of the answers we were looking for.
We chose St George as an opportunity for a little redemption, but also a chance to overcome her persistent obstacle of performing in heat, as well as refine the Ironman nutrition. We hoped for a steady and controlled effort throughout the day, and if the chance presented itself, a solid but controlled performance. The conditions did not provide such a smooth ride, but Meredith executed with great professionalism, remaining as smooth as possible and then running within herself to maintain a controlled lead. To stay in control throughout the day, pass the challenge without hiccup of nutritional distress, and record her third Ironman win, made the trip highly valuable.
Meredith comes out of this Ironman win with knowledge and control over her biggest challenges. It wasn’t the biggest field in the world, nor her biggest race of the year, but it was a massive result for us as a coach-athlete team.
As the Hawaii Ironman is not Meredith’s key focus for this year, we have the luxury and opportunity to build a season of racing, over making every decision based on a single event. What now? Meredith needs to recover. We then build for yet another Ironman next month at Ironman Coeur d’Alene. With two down already, you might wonder how she can do such a thing, so here is the process of thought and framework to build a plan:
1. The most important element between now at Ironman Coeur d’Alene is recovery. Meredith has to recover first, and allow healing and rejuvenation.
2. The second most important variable is to maintain fitness. While recovery is key, she cannot race an Ironman if not fit. This is the key balance, and something that needs to be accomplished with finesse.
3. Finally, we need to sharpen and improve. Some intensity and Ironman specific work is needed, but it is a very different build that her last Ironman races.
Not all athletes can successfully complete this schedule. Meredith is highly resilient, but also smart in recovery, and it takes a lot of courage to recover enough to maintain such a race schedule. So, well done for another victory on your professional journey Mere. Your plan and approach is different from many others, but the evolution continues