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Chrissie Wellington: A Life (Truly) Without Limits

As if I needed more reason to love this woman. Then she writes a book which is literally a peek into her mega triathlon soul.

Her nickname has always been “Muppet,” because she is known for being a bit airheaded and clumsy.  The best part of the book —anytime she does something klutzy or dingy, she’ll write “Muppet!”  Even recently when she lost her passport, she wrote a post on her blog stating, “Muppet strikes again!”


I giggled every time. Muppet!   Also because I have a friend from weightlifting who used to call me a Fraggle.  And since Fraggles are Muppets… well, me and Chrissie – BFFs.

So Chrissie is a bit of a pack-rat, an ex-nail biter and a perfectionist (no kidding). She has a deep vein of humanity and caring that shines through her writing. She speaks of her years battling bulemia and anorexia. It was sobering (and yes, strangely refreshing) to read that someone of Chrissie’s caliber deals with the same female body image garbage that you and I (the normal folks) often battle.

She was going to be a lawyer. Decided against it.  Did I mention that she is also incredibly smart? She writes, “It dawned on me that one of the reasons I had chosen law was just to be able to tell people that I was a [lawyer]….I need to address some of the flaws in my personality…one of them is the tendency to always try to gain the approval of others… it’s a reflection of my lack of self-confidence.”

[Wait… Chrissie has self-confidence issues!?]

You know how she missed Kona in 2010? Because she was sick? Well, she tells you just how sick she was.  That will shut up any doubts about why she missed the race. Let’s just say it’s a nice combo that involved, among other things, the West Nile virus. Only Chrissie would have even considered racing feeling that way.

The book jam-packs her life and rise in triathlon in a very fluid, humorous and enjoyable read.  She has her own Coach Monster, Aussie Brett Sutton – who is a “real” kind of mean triathlon training monster (unlike my tough but sweet Coach M)… but through Sutton’s crazy and ornery ways, he was a big part of  her rise to triathlon greatness.

From "A Life Without Limits"

Her smile, her personality shine through with every paragraph. “Remaining positive really is one of the most precious faculties for any athlete. That, and an ability to stay focused and disciplined.”

Being American, I love the British lingo and find it ever the more endearing (just like y’all find my Southerness, eh?).

It is clear: she makes a choice to smile. To be kind. To be an ambassador.  She chooses to be tough as nails, yet sweet and silly.

Her relationship with triathlete Tom Lowe is adorable, and leaves you wondering, When are they getting married and having mega-triathlete spawn!? Or at least, maybe they can just adopt me and train me! Yeah yeah!  Mom? Dad? I love you!

Chrissie relies on the poem, “IF” by Rudyard Kipling before her races (it’s written on her water bottles). She reads the poem also whenever she needs mental toughness. (I am therefore going to print it out and put on my computer at work). She does some of her “most valuable work on the sofa,” practicing visualization and training her mind for mental toughness.

I knew I had read the poem some time ago during my English studies, but I had to go back and find it. Awesome poem.

Some of my favorite lines:
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you…

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same…”

What a book. Worth a read. You’ll love her more too.

It’s available everywhere and on Amazon.

* * *

Dear Chrissie,

I loved the joyful ride from the mountains of Nepal to your hard-earned win(s) at Kona – and especially the race of all tough races for you – in 2011.
Thank you for being the inspiration who we love… to love.

I want to be you when I grow up.  Okay, I want to be half like you – to be half the triathlete/person you are would be more than enough.  Maybe someday in a perfect world, you and Tom can have lunch with me and the Expert.  And maybe Andy Potts can join us too.


(And thanks to my San Diego friend, Kandi, who sent me an AUTOGRAPHED copy by Chrissie. Love!!)



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