This post is very late, but I didn’t want to skip it! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Chrissie Wellington. I think she is an incredible inspiration and had quite a fascinating and atypical path to Ironman success. We met Chrissie for the first time at Nytro, our local bike shop, where she was signing autographs. At the time, I didn’t know all that much about her other than the fact that she had never been defeated at the Ironman distance and was a 4 time world champion.
However, I learned a lot more about Chrissie when we she came to speak at the San Diego Tri Club’s June Meeting. Mike had already purchased and read her recently published book, A Life Without Limits, but I hadn’t had the chance to start it yet so her story was mostly unfamiliar to me.
Chrissie’s talk was led by Bob Babbit, founder of Competitor. Bob basically led Chrissie through a lot of the stories from her book (so Mike told me and I later learned when I read it), starting with her fairly normal childhood, her beginnings in sport, her atypical entrance into the world of triathlon and her incredible accomplishments as a pro. Every topic was accompanied by an honest and entertaining antidote and it was quite captivating to listen to her tell her stories.
A common theme among all of Chrissie’s stories was her constant quest for perfection. Chrissie is very honest – she admits to struggling with both bulimia and anorexia at separate times in her life and she confesses that she has always been riddled with thoughts of self-doubt. She has been an overachiever in every aspect of her life – from her student life, to her professional life and most obvious, in her athletic career. Although the way that Bob Babbitt told the stories of Chrissie’s accomplishments it sounded like all of it came easy to her, in reality her success is largely derived from her intense determination to be the best. To call Chrissie Wellington hardworking would be an understatement.
I won’t ruin the book for you by recapping the stories. I will say, however, that the most prominent things I learned from reading Chrissie’s book are 1) being a professional triathlete is even more intense than I ever could have imagined, 2) mental toughness is equally important as physical prowess, and 3) Chrissie (or any triathlete for that matter) doesn’t stop for the porto-potty for ANYTHING during a race (I told you she was honest). For more information on any of these three revelations, I recommend purchasing this book.
After the talk, Chrissie posed for a picture with every single person who wanted one. Then she signed an autograph for each and every one of us. We got our book signed. She also brought along a journal and asked that each of us sign it, if we wanted. I wrote her a message letting her know that she inspires me.
Chrissie Wellington is not only an inspiration because she is a 4 time Ironman World Champion, but also because of her incredibly positive attitude. Chrissie is constantly smiling (hence her twitter handle @chrissiesmiles) and she seems genuinely excited to meet each and every one of her fans. She has a very positive outlook on life and has used her fame to promote “development” as she calls it (we Americans would call it charity).
Chrissie writes on her website, “Champions come and go, but to me the real judge of my success will be whether I actually do something positive with the opportunities I have been given, and I sincerely hope that, as World Champion, I can be a role model and ambassador for the sport that everyone can be proud of. ” Personally, I believe Chrissie has achieved her self-proclaimed standard for success.
Have you met Chrissie or read her book? Do you have an athlete that you particularly admire?