What Doesn’t Kill You Does Make You Stronger

Many times in life we face challenges. We question ourselves and what we are capable of and we make decisions that sometimes are made with our head and sometimes made with our heart. Ironman is one of the ultimate challenges that really makes you wonder what you are made of and puts you to the test on so many levels. You have hours, and I mean hours, of thinking, wondering and pondering that ultimately puts you through that “emotional roller coaster” that any ironman can speak too well about. Months of training, testing your limits both mentally and physically, getting up when the clock reads 4:00AM and balancing work, life, family and sanity. Why do we do it? The answer is simple, because we can.

Ironman Louisville was and always will be a special IM for me. Knowing that crossing the finish line was not the end; for me the grand finale was watching Carrie make her way to the finish of one of the greatest tests of human mind and body. I know the sacrifices she made from a family and training perspective to get to that point and she did it, and she did it with a smile (and a look of pain). 🙂

Lining up for the Time Trial swim start was daunting. You get there early so you have a good position in line then watch 2100+ athletes move their way through what they called “the longest conga line of Ironman athletes”.  It was almost surreal.

Morning of IM Louisville

Morning of IM Louisville

At first we were dreading the swim in the Ohio River but it wound up being an incredible swim and so much easier than a mass start. Carrie and I made it out in exactly the times we predicted.

Carrie Swim Finish

Carrie Swim Finish

Kellie Swim Finish

Kellie Swim Finish

Off to transition and onto the bike. This is where many wondered where I was! Thanks to a volunteer ripping off my chip and nicely placing it in my T1 bag I did not get my T1 or bike splits and put worry into many; I know from the 6 voice mails and 2 text messages asking what happened. Sorry to make everyone worry. The bike course was challenging but so beautiful. The rolling hills and constant gearing coupled with the heat made you really focus on strategy, nutrition and hydration. Both Carrie and I made it through the bike with smiles and into T2.

Carrie on Bike Course

Carrie on Bike Course

Kellie on Bike Course

Kellie on Bike Course

After a smooth T2 it was off to the run. The temps were in the 90s (approaching 100) and people were really dropping like flies. I have never run such a slow pace but still wound up with one of the fastest amateur run times. I saw Carrie 3 times on the course and that was TOTALLY what I needed. She had a smile on her face every time I saw her, it was really cool. I saw her when I was a half mile from the finish and she was starting her second run loop and she screamed to me, “See you in a couple hours!”  I finished up strong and with a smile on my face!

Kellie on Run Course

Kellie on Run Course

Kellie Finishing IML

Kellie Finishing IML

After a quick trip to medical it was time to watch Carrie finish and that she did. She turned the corner and was running stong towards her moment of glory, the finish line where her family and friends were watching on-line. Carrie Neveldine, you are an Ironman!!!!!!

Carrie on Run Course

Carrie on Run Course

Carrie Finishing IML

Carrie Finishing IML

There were ups and downs, for me there were a few tears shed when told they could not get me a replacement chip and I would not get a time when I was only a few miles into the bike. Mentally I knew I had to keep going and hope for the best and someone was looking out for me when a chip appeared as I left T2. For Carrie at mile 20 of the run her smile turned into a look of pain and she mentally had to tough it out for the last 6.2 miles and she did just that.

We survived, we are stronger people because of it, we had our moment of glory, we knew the 5 months of training was worth it, we know life now had to go on and it is back to work, family and training all over again. A vicious cycle that will never end, as long as our spirits have something to do with it.

A HUGE THANK YOU to EVERYONE who helped get us to the start line and the finish line. To you we will forever be grateful. For Carrie and I, IML was the “Perfect T2” 🙂

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6 Responses to “What Doesn’t Kill You Does Make You Stronger”

  1. Stepmonster Says:

    Carrie & Kellie:

    You are champions through and through!!!! An inspiration to all who know you and an endless source of pride to your family.

    Love and hugs,
    SM

  2. Awesome race ladies! I heard from just about everyone that it was a really tough day. Way to kill it!

    I’m totally impressed. 12:16 is blazing fast! Heck, so is 15:02!

  3. Great Job!!!! Amazing strength from both of you!

    -Gina

  4. Kellie & Carrie,

    Congrats to both of you. I agree with your stepmonster…you both are an inspiration to all who know you. I thought of both of you today in my last mile when I just wanted to quit and walk and let that negative voice in my head try to beat me. I thought…hmmm Kellie would not quit. Thank you and I am thankful to call you a friend.

    – Donna

  5. Stacey Baldwin Deyo Says:

    You two rock!!! Thank you so much for sending this link to me. I think of you two often and am so proud to congratulate both “daddy & doolie”. Ahhhh, the good ole days!!
    Keep up the awesome job and I look forward to hearing about more of your successes.
    Stacey

  6. I’m a writer from Luco Dei Marsi, Italia just forwarded this onto a coworker who is conducting some research on this. And she actually ordered me lunch simply because I discovered it for her… lol. Actually, allow me to paraphrase this…. Thanks for the meal… But anyhow, thanx for spending some time to write about this subject here on your site.

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