22 May 2012
Chrissie Wellington's "A Life Without Limits"
Just over a week ago, Chrissie Wellington came to Arlington to do a promotional book signing for her new book A Life Without Limits. Chrissie Wellington is basically triathlon royalty, with that whole never losing an Ironman thing going for her. I will freely admit that the possibility of getting my finisher's medal from her at Timberman 70.3 last year constituted at least 50% of the reason I signed up for a half Ironman scheduled for four weeks after my Ironman. So it was a no-brainer that I was going to go to this book signing. As fate would have it, my friend and fellow triathlete Tim was coming in town that day for a last minute business trip (he, too, did Timberman for the sole purpose of getting a finisher medal from Chrissie Wellington), his flight perfectly timed to arrive at Reagan National 30 minutes before the book signing. I even got to the airport ON TIME to pick him up, that is how dedicated I was to getting to this book signing event.
The book signing was uneventful, she was super nice and full of smiles, gamely posing for photos with each person and signing a few hundred books. I saw a bunch of other triathlete friends, so all-in-all, a good afternoon.
I really enjoyed the book, I was surprised at how honest she was during parts of it, especially about other triathletes and her coaches, and how she felt during the early days in the sport. She didn't say anything mean or bad, but rather provided a very honest look, it seemed, at how hard it was to fit in, to find the right coach, etc. And how to deal with the pressure of winning triathlon on the biggest stage in the world, especially when she went from being a nobody to a somebody in between the 9 hours when she started the race and when she finished it. She also shared some of the things she does to keep herself mentally focused and in the game, both during races and during training.
Unlike Chris McCormack's book, she didn't just talk about her life in triathlon - she spoke about her various travels, her time in Nepal, her interest and work in International Development. Before she won Kona at age 30, she had already lived a pretty full and amazing life. She was also self-deprecating, from the book, it sounds like she is pretty accident-prone, which isn't really convenient in triathlon. She went into most of her races with some sort of nagging injury or health issue and it's just amazing how she was able to put it out of her mind and push through it all and win Every. Single. Ironman. she's ever done. I was on the edge of my seat reading about her 2011 win, which is the only one that really came down to the wire.
Anyway, pick the book, it was an enjoyable read for sure.