Monday, March 11, 2013

March Book Club: A Life Without Limits

Book club time, again! It feels like we just did book club, which maybe has to do with the fact that February is a shorter month.

The book for March was A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey by Chrissie Wellington.  

I picked this book for obvious reasons, if you know who Chrissie Wellington is that is, and I loved it!

Chrissie Wellington is a four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion, but her life didn't start out on that track.  Her autobiography starts out with a brief snippet of her first Ironman World Championship race and then it backtracks to describe her childhood, and journey to becoming an elite endurance athlete.

I enjoyed learning about her career choices, and how these choices ultimately lead her on the path toward the sport of triathlon, and her travels as a young woman.  The first chunk of the book doesn't even talk about triathlons (except for a brief introduction of Ironman) but it was still fascinating. We all come into this sport for different reasons, even the pros.

 Who would have thought I would be doing this?

Eventually, Chrissie transitioned from describing her journey toward becoming a triathlete to actually being a triathlete. She described her training, her accidents, her coaches and her teammates. She originally wanted to pursue a career as an Olympic triathlete, but then was inspired by Ironman Switzerland in Zurich.  That was when she dropped the Olympics and focused on the Ironman.

I thought it was funny that at the beginning of her career as an unknown professional, who ultimately won the World Championship her first time there, that she didn't know a lot about the sport at all. She didn't know the history, the other professionals or even the "voice" of Ironman, Mike Reilly.

Chrissie's passion and her drive were described in detail in her autobiography.  She even candidly talked about how this drive, and desire to control things, developed into eating disorders, specifically bulimia, in her earlier years.  This raw look at her life helped me connect with her as a reader because she felt like a real person, rather than a "star".

The only part of the book that I didn't like was when it felt like some chapters were just thrown in there randomly, specifically when she talks about her training and the heroes of Ironman (although I enjoyed the chapters, I just felt that the book's pace was thrown off a bit).

Overall, I enjoyed the journey of "Muppet" and reading this book couldn't have happened at a better time.  Mike and I start Half Ironman training this week and now I am more pumped than ever!

 Mike's got his game face on

Here are some other book club member's reviews:

Emily at Life, Fitness, and Me!

Now for some questions to ponder and discuss:

The topic of body image, and control, came up often in the book. This is a sensitive subject, but one that many women face in their lives. What are some ways we can stop sending these kinds of messages to younger generations, both those involved in sports and not?

Chrissie's autobiography shares her journey toward triathlon, how did you get involved in triathlons (or running)?

The chapter "The Heroes of Ironman" discusses the age-groupers (non-elites) that Chrissie looks up to in the world of Ironman.  Who are some of the athletes, professional and non-professional, that inspire you?

Do you think it is important to know the history of the sport that you are participating in (such as Chrissie not knowing the history of Ironman when she first started out), why or why not?

Just a reminder, April's book is The Long Run by Matt Long and May's book is Devoted: The Story of a Father's Love for His Son by Dick Hoyt.



  2. I love reading books like this, it's a reminder that we all must start somewhere and work to get to the places we want to be. Great timing you finishing this as you start 70.3 training (no doubt that was planned!), you're going to kick butt!

  3. I've totally been meaning to read this for a while. Thanks for the extra push to get me to do it :)

  4. Great review, Jamie--loved the book! (And need to write my review ASAP.) I loved how honest Chrissie was about everything, especially her eating disorder. And even though she's a triathlete boss, she seems so grounded and down-to-earth.

  5. I loved this book! I'm a big fan of hers and I agree, it was really great to see how real Chrissie is. As for how to instill healthier body images, I got nothing :(

  6. I ran out to the library to see if I could finally snag a copy of this book when I saw it was coming up for March. I lucked out as the last several times I'd tried it had been checked out. I read it in the first 24 hours that I had it. I think her adventurous wanderlust was as much an inspiration to me as her journey to Ironman fame. I plan on doing a proper review on my blog and will come back and put the link in a comment as soon as I get it written (including answering your discussion questions. Thanks!

  7. Here is my review! Sorry I am late, again!

  8. it comes out in softcover in April, really looking forward to reading it. I did just buy the April book and will start it tonight, can't wait.

  9. Great questions! My Running Club is also reading this book and we meet next week. We LOVED The Long run as well. Another great one was Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.