A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS - Book Review
Book Review Of: A Life Without Limits
By Michael Aylwin, Chrissie Wellington
Narrated by Imogen Church
From the very introduction to A Life Without Limits, you can feel that there has been a lot of thought and time that has gone into conveying the emotions and story that was the multiple Hawaiian Ironman Champion and World Record holder, Chrissie Wellington.
The book starts of very broad terms and for a short moment, I felt it may fall into the abyss of general ghost written books, talking in very general terms about the widely known aspects of Ironman. But from the outset there was something different in the way that the allure of Ironman was described. Both for participants and spectators, I felt Chrissie put across a genuine reflection of how she recalled her first moments of fully comprehending and acknowledging the sport.
It was outlined that Chrissie started Triathlon at a late stage of 25. From the start of this book and throughout, Chrissy maintained her unassuming position and almost bashful reluctance to acknowledge pivotal moments in her life that would later enable her to set herself apart from the pack. These elements are things that I will further review in another article, but for now, Chrissie is candid and authentic. This humble and almost naïve stance is endearing, even when it is clear she is in absolute control and knowledge of her own abilities.
There are some topics touched upon which are hard hitting and unfortunately common afflictions in the Triathlon scene. Specially she delved into her love of food and dealing with bulimia as a matter of finding a balance between eating and herself. There was a personal connection that drew you in through the book to empathizing with her life and how she eventually dealt with these issues.
It is clear through the book that Chrissie is deeply introspective and I am sure that this was a big concern for coaches through her carrier. She talked at length about finding her path, that she initially was keen to be a lawyer however ended up following her gut and deep passion for people. Through these years and passage of the book, things blossomed into a colorful display of times, places and spaces that she found herself in. Again using her introspective nature, continually drawing back links to how this time and habits she created, both became an asset and also hindrances in her life.
Overall, there was a clear moment in the book when Chrissie set out to run marathons, where she uncovered that there was a substantial amount of talent that was ready to be harnessed. From a developmental point of very there were many clear indicators at time that Chrissie would be a special athlete, however from the point of view of someone living this situation and uncovering their abilities, Chrissie continually maintains throughout the book that international stardom and dominance came as a complete surprise.
The book was a delightful read. I feel that Chrissie really opened up and left herself very bare for the world, offering candid and honest reactions to situations that she found herself in through many stages of her career. The ending was a brilliant reflection of this sentiment, giving an entire chapter to promoting and gaining awareness of some of her most inspirational figures in the sport and their given charities.
There are some gold nuggets that are pertinent to the squad that I felt should be highlighted and great take always:
- Equipment is highly over-rated. Develop your engine and your technique as a primary objective
- Tools such as heart rate monitors and power meters can be a huge distraction. It is far more important to become self-aware than to go out and purchase these items
- Sometimes it is not important if the training is structured or formalised. The key is that the miles are done in the correct way!
- The underpinning skill-sets of the sport are acquired
I would highly recommend this book to anyone in the sport of Triathlon. Chrissie makes it sound so easy and makes it believable that her accomplishments and accolades where almost stumbled upon.