Episode 56: After graduating in 2000, Meredith Kessler used her graduation money to purchase her first triathlon bike and entered in a full Ironman two weeks later. From that moment on, she caught the spirit of Ironman competition and has not looked back.
Since that first Ironman in 2000, Meredith has completed 70 full Ironman races all over the United States and the rest of the world and she is an 11-time full distance Ironman and 23-time half-distance Ironman champion.
I wanted to get to know how Meredith raced on average 7 Ironman’s a year, was back racing the full distance just 5 months after giving birth to son, Mak, how she uses Chi swims to meditate and how getting Corona Virus and the vaccine has impacted her performance.
What I’ve Been Watching
I love new technology, and I love things that can improve our health, so when there’s a combination of the two, I am always interested. In the book ‘Lifespan’ which I recommended a few weeks ago, Dr Sinclair talks about the key role tech in our longevity, and one example is how we can use it to learn more about our own DNA. If you know more about your DNA, you can understand which food groups are good for you, and which are to be avoided. A brilliant explanation of this was in BBC’s Click a couple of weeks ago, so if you are interested, I’d suggest you give it a watch here. It is fascinating, and it is accelerating.
Running and Raising Money
On Sunday 3rd of October, I finally got the opportunity to run The London Marathon. At the start of the year, I set myself a clear goal to run a marathon in under 3 ½ hours and as the year went on, I ran 26.2 miles on a number of occasions, but never got below 3.48, so I knew London was my last chance to hit the goal. I set off at an 8-minute mile pace, which would deliver me in on my targeted time, but with no real idea as to whether I’d be able to maintain it for the duration of the race. Previously, the longest I’d held that was for 13 miles, so to hit my time was going to be a struggle.
Through the excitement of being allowed out and about in London, the euphoria and enthusiasm of the crowd and the inspiration of some incredible runners, after 13 miles I was feeling good. So good I’d got my pace down to 7.40-minute miles. Was I going too fast?
As the race continued, to my astonishment, I was confident I could maintain that pace, and I might blitz the 3.30 target, and I was feeling good. That is until I started to do the comparison of the distance I had run on my watch compared to the distance I still had left in real life. I was having to weave through the crowds, and it seems that has quite an impact on your distance over a marathon. I was knocking out 7.40-minute miles but was potentially going to miss my 3.30 time.
At 23 miles, the point where the marathon fatigue really starts to bite, I realised I actually needed to up my pace to ensure getting to the line on time. Mentally I was too tired to do accurate maths, so I decided it was better just to run as fast as I could, give it everything I had and let nature take its course; and it worked, just. By the finish line I had run 27.12 miles, nearly a whole mile further than the required, and as I fell across exhausted, I could see a time of 3.28.
Elated and exhausted, I considered the result. Had I not set that goal, would I have hit a sub 3.30? My initial theory and calculations had failed me as due to the extra distance, 8-minute miles were not going to be enough, however despite that, the power of setting a clear goal and having complete focus on it, brought it home. My 26.2-mile time of 3.21 was far faster than I thought possible, and I have no doubt hitting the big goal was what dragged me over the line.
So, as we head towards the end of the year, what goals do you need to hit to consider 2021 a success? And what goals can you start to construct for 2022. The more specific and simple they are, the more chance you have of hitting them.
Whilst I originally ran the marathon for SPARKS (now part of Great Ormond Street Hospital), our charity for this year is CALM to help support people affected by and bring awareness to suicide. If you would like to help us support either charity, just check out our JustGiving pages here.
Podcast and Coaching
A couple of years ago I interviewed High Performance Coach Claudia Costa on the Fit Finance Sessions Podcast. She was my coach for some time, and now after the birth of her son, Theo, she is back coaching again. Cláudia is one of the few High Performance Coaches personally trained by Brendon Burchard, whom Forbes named “the world’s leading High Performance Coach.” HPC is a research-based 12-week program that helps you reach high performance in all areas of your life. The best in the world all have a coach, so, if you too think you too would benefit from one, and would like to find out if HPC will resonate with you in your current life, you can email email@example.com and sign up for a FREE strategy session with Cláudia.
TED Talk I’ve Found Interesting
The hard choices – what we most fear doing, asking, saying — are very often exactly what we need to do. How can we overcome self-paralysis and take action? In his incredibly powerful TED talk Why you should define your fears instead of your goals, Tim Ferriss encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls “fear-setting.” Learn more about how this practice can help you thrive in high-stress environments and separate what you can control from what you cannot.
Quote of the Week
“Pressure does two things – bursts pipes and creates diamonds. Which one are you?”
- Brian Cook
Finance Theme I’ve Been Considering
With so much public debt it’s not surprising that we’ve seen tax rises already confirmed, namely National Insurance and Corporation Tax. With a budget looming and therefore potentially more tax rises to come, what might be likely targets? If I were a gambling man, my money would be on Pensions allowances or tax relief and Capital Gains Tax, as they seem like the taxes that people have been preconditioned to expect.
As such, if you have unused ISA and pension allowances, it really does make sense to try and shield your money from the tax man as much as possible, and to get them used up if you possibly can. Use it or lose it as they say!