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Athletic Inspiration from Two Books

The purpose of TriRiot is to explore WHY people push themselves to their physical, mental and emotional limits through sporting events like triathlon.   Here’s a couple of books that inspire me to keep pushing to my limits.

From the Story of a Cancer Survivor

Bishop's story of beating brain cancer.

Bishop’s story of beating brain cancer.


Nobody asks for cancer.   On the other hand, have you ever heard anyone say they were grateful for having cancer?  I have.  Actually I read it.  Bryan Bishop  has experience with brain cancer.  In his book, “Shrinkage: Manhood, Marriage and the Tumor That Tried to Kill Me“,  Bishop talks about appreciation for his condition because it gave him a new and valuable perspective on life.   My interpretation is that he came away from the experience a better person.  He’s lucky, because he has lived to tell about his fight and many do not.

Bishop’s sense of humor makes this book a pleasure to read.   I found myself laughing out loud at his sarcasm and wit.  But Bishop doesn’t just give a superficial peek at what it’s like to battle brain cancer.  He gets detailed.  For some readers, he may get too detailed.  He gets into the things that really matter:  the relationships, the regrets, the fears, the bowel movements.  He even gives advice based on his experiences.

I like this book because, Bishop made me laugh.  He reminds me that even the darkest moments can yield humor.  I’m not talking about joy.  Just laughter.   The only trouble is that I have to be sure to survive the dark moments in order to look back and laugh.   In the case of triathlon, I can look back and laugh about the time I fell out of a race due to hypothermia.  But that’s a story I’ve already covered in an earlier post.

To the Story of a World Champion

Chrissie Wellington's story of being a world champion triathlete.

Chrissie Wellington’s story of being a world champion triathlete.


Chrissie Wellington, who I consider the best triathlete EVER, wrote something in her book to the effect that a great satisfaction came from knowing that she gave her all in a race.  Winning was good, but pushing herself to her limits was what it seems she wanted.  Wellington’s book, “A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey,” tells how she went from a non athletic young adult to an undefeated champion of every Ironman race she entered.   There’s plenty of detail for the reader to realize that Wellington is an ordinary person with a wonderfully positive outlook on life.  From battling internal fears and self doubt to fighting for acceptance among her peers, there are many of examples that show the human side of this superstar athlete.   Even the details of her experiences with famed triathlon coach Brett Sutton are insightful and interesting.

In my opinion, this woman is a model for all of us: not just young girls, or women, but all people who want to live a fulfilling life.  As I read her words, I could feel her energetic personality bouncing along, guiding me toward a life without limits.

I like this book, because Wellington reveals her thoughts on what makes a good endurance athlete.  For example, she tells us that in order to learn to endure boredom, we must endure boredom.  It’s so simple, it sounds silly.  However, just that piece of advice has helped me tremendously.    Basically, her message to her readers is that we need to get out of our own way and start pushing our limits.

Inspiration From Others

I often find inspiration in the words of others.  Books, blogs, movies, podcasts, poetry are all great sources of inspiration to keep going when the going gets tough.

Let me know what inspires you.

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