Friday, October 11, 2013

"A Life Without Limits"

I'm not a big reader. Honestly, I shy away from books at all costs. The extent of my "reading" is to occasionally flip quickly through magazines, observe the pictures before quickly tossing them aside. Me and books just don't get along. But as I was driving home to Virginia Beach back in early August, something in the back of my mind told me to pick up this book:

I'm getting better at listening to my intuition, so without hesitation I found the closest B&N and just bought it. Less than 24 hours, the book was finished...I was quite captivated! With the Ironman World Championship in Kona coming up this weekend, I broke this book back out and figured it's perfect timing to finally share my thoughts.

Book Review

Chrissie Wellington is four time Itonman World Champion (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011), however, she's so much more than a decorated athlete. In her book, she quickly captured my intrigue with her sense of adventure, vibrance, confidence and maturity. Her enthusiasm is such that you can literally feel her smiling through the text as you read it! It's easy to get wrapped up in the adrenaline of her epic adventures and she quickly establishes herself as someone who refuses to settle for the status quo! Even so, she makes herself vulnerable to the reader through her stark honesty regarding her struggles to fit in with others, in battling an eating disorder, with establishing herself as a pro-triathlete and with her clumsiness. No one ever said success comes easy and she makes this very clear to the reader by sharing how she has grown from both her successes and failures.

More than anything, the book is laced with valuable life lessons and take-aways for the reader. From honoring and respecting your body to choosing your battles wisely when it comes to willpower, discipline and where you invest your greatest energy, Chrissie imparts invaluable wisdom from her journeys in becoming a World Champion athlete. These pieces of advice are beneficial for everyone from the recreational exerciser to the ambitious age group athlete. Here are a few of my favorite nuggets of wisdom as I like to call them:

"Hard work and an open mind--it's the only way to realize the potential that is inside every one of us."

On limits: "It's up to each and every one of us to turn 'I can't' into 'I can'...The brain is constantly trying to superimpose limits on what it thinks we can achieve. We should constantly question it, fight it...The key is not to be afraid of failing."

On weakness: "We all have weaknesses...Acknowledging those weaknesses is vital to our development. Some are real and can be overcome, but some are not so much weaknesses as imperfections- it is our perception that makes them so... Pick your battles, accept yourself for who you are."

On recovery: "I would go so far as to describe recovery as the 4th discipline of a triathlete... It's the periods between (workouts), during which your body adapts and regenerates."

On injuries: "Only after my arm had been reset did I do what I should have done from the outset- relax and realize that this injury was actually an opportunity to vary my training. Think about what you can do, rather than worry about what you can't."

On nutrition: "I am amazed at how many people neglect this part of their training and fail to fuel their body with what they need in order to function effectively. The basic principals are these: keep it simple, eat natural foods as much as possible, balance input with output and have everything in moderation."

On pressure: "The trick is to understand which pressures are necessary and which ones are dangerous decoys, the ones that suck the life out of you for no reward."

What I love most about this book is that it's clear that Chrissie's career and success are build upon a foundation of sincere desire for adventure, yearning for freedom and most importantly, a love for the sport. Even more so, Chrissie uses that platform of success to make a difference in the world, which was truly her ultimate goal from the beginning. Role models don't come better than that. Thanks Chrissie for being such a great ambassador for female athletes!

Final Thoughts:

Do what you love and love what you do.
Be persistent in your goals.
Dream big.
Believe in yourself.
Give back to others.

"Seize every opportunity you have, embrace every experience. Make a mark, for all the right reasons."

"Never, ever give up... and smile!!"

Feeling inspired yet? If you're down for watching, don't forget tomorrow is the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona. Either way, I hope you do something great with your weekend!

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