I listened to A Life Without Limits last spring. I was truly captivated listening to her story. I never really had an interest in triathlon, and didn’t know what an Ironman even was, before reading this book. Lately I have been toying with the idea of trying out a triathlon, and this book has helped fan those flames. Like Chrissie, I was a swimmer before I ever got into running. It would be sweet if biking was my “weak leg”…
I almost deleted that sentence because it seems utterly ridiculous to draw comparisons between myself and a world champion athlete… but I actually found Chrissie very relatable. The book was really well written. I’m always skeptical that reading an athlete’s memoir will be a cocktail of mediocre-to-terrible writing blended with a healthy dose of narcissism, and have put back many books on shelves at the bookstore after reading the first few pages and finding just that. This book was co-written by Chrissie and Michael Aylwin, who I just did a quick google search on and apparently is a Rugby sports writer for The Guardian. No wonder it was so well written!
It’s been well over a year since I read the book, so I will give a brief summary: Chrissie Wellington is a retired British Triathlete who won several world championships in Ironman, the longest triathlon distance. In high school she swam, had poor body image, and struggled with food (relatable). I think she swam competitively in college. I believe her first marathon was the London Marathon, which she like killed and finished in like top 10. Or maybe she won? IDK, I just remember she was surprised at how well she did. In my memory that was when triathlon clicked as an option for her, already being a strong swimmer.
From there she raced and won, raced and won, fell in love, raced and won. Intense coach relationship. Pretty typical IMO. She was knighted, so that’s pretty legit!
The lasting impact the book had on me was this: Chrissie is an exemplary human. Iron man is a grueling endurance sport. Even though professional athletes may be naturally gifted, they still bust their a** off for their sport. And that is inspiring. This book is motivation to push your self to you physical limits, and push past those limits, simply for the sake of seeing what you are capable of accomplishing.
I definitely recommend reading this book, even if you have no interest in triathlon. After you read it, you will most definitely have admiration for the sport.
P.S. Did you know that Triathletes use PEE as a WEAPON on the bike leg? LOL. That imagery cracked me up.