A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey (New York, NY: Center Street, 2012), by Chrissie Wellington, is a fun read, and very surprising in that it completely matches her public persona, the girl-next-door. The girl-next-door that is a world-record holding triathlete who competes mostly at the long course distance of course. Not in my neighborhood.
Wellington is very self-effacing, puncturing any ego-inflating experiences by referring to herself as “Muppet,” a childhood nickname earned by her clumsiness.
”I need to address some of the flaws in my personality…[o]ne of them is my tendency always to try to gain the approval of others. I guess it’s a reflection of my lack of self-confidence—needing constant reassurance. Strange, because I am sure that that’s not the perception most people actually have of me.”
Wellington is very candid about her longtime struggle with an eating disorder, with an ongoing struggle to accept it and move beyond it. It is triathlon that helps her through it, with a gradual acceptance of her body and realization that food is the fuel that will improve her athletic performance.
Plenty of race experiences are shared, but those looking for training plans will come away disappointed. As Wellington rightly notes, each person needs to come up with a plan that works for them.
The thing about this book that is most pleasing is that it does not come across as a cocky champion lording it over the have-nots (as other world champion triathletes have done in their own books). Wellington really does come across as a normal person, although most people will never reach the levels of accomplishment in triathlon that she has. She’s a good example of a well-rounded person who just happens to be at the top of her particular athletic focus.
Chrissie Wellington is a quadruple World Ironman Champion (2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011). Prior to her athletic career, she worked for the UK Government (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Defra) as an advisor on international development policy.
(Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Center Street. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)
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