Friday, September 7, 2012

Meeting Chrissie Wellington

Ever since I discovered Chrissie Wellington while watching the 2011 Kona Ironman World Championships, I told myself that I would like to meet her one day, hopefully at the finish line of an Ironman, most likely around midnight when she usually returns putting medals around finishers' necks. But next thing I know, she decides to take a break and write a book on her life and career called "A Life Without Limits", and that's ok with me, I need a few more years to get to cross an Ironman finish line anyway ;-) As an inspiration, I bought her book as soon as it got announced and counted the days until I could hit the button "Download". No surprise there, once that day arrived, I stayed glued to my iPad's screen, holding my breath, until I finished the book, in less than a week (or was it two days?).

Shortly thereafter, I also found out that she was going to go on a tour to promote her book and one of the destinations was going to be Toronto, yay! Made sure that the date was in 2 of my calendars because I have no more brain cells left. Waited, and waited, and then Chrissie had to reschedule her visit because of a "Muppet moment", but 2 weeks ago, finally (oh the excitment!!), she came to GEARS Toronto for an evening to introduce her book, her passion for the sport, her kindness, and her great humour to her biggest fans in Canada.

I made sure I arrived there with enough time to spare since I had to cross the entire Greater Toronto Area in rush hour and with Chrissie's book in one hand, a coffee in another, I waited for the event to start. I was there first, so I got seated on a couch just across from her, but alas forgot my camera at home and was left with the mediocre pixel count of the iPhone 4 to capture the moment. Not much later, fellow blogger Doug arrived, who I recognized right away, and who had just become first time Ironman at Mt. Tremblant - way to go, Doug! - so I spent the rest of the time chatting with him about photography and all things Ironman (and his shiny new medal).

Chrissie arrived on time, but sporting a hard boot on her left foot, so she joked about being jinxed every time she gets to travel to Toronto, but hey, this time I swear it wasn't me, I even left my Muppet t-shirt at home.

Chrissie in a boot
I was wearing the t-shirt I got at the Toronto Triathlon Festival instead, since it was from my first tri ever, I was rather proud of it. I realized by looking at these pictures how I should have asked for the small size, I look twice as big as Chrissie in these pictures. Well, I wouldn't be surprised if she has twice as less fat anyway, she is really thin and much taller than me.

Once she finished telling us her story and the Q&A session concluded, we all lined up to have our book signed. I kinda jumped the line towards the front since I had been there first anyway, then waited my turn, face flushing red, white and purple the closer I was getting to her. I may have had a hot flash and a Raynaud's attack too. I was a pretty shaky mess once my turn arrived and quickly I told her that I was one of those noobs that didn't know anything about triathlon before seeing her racing in Kona, but that I was determined to finish an Ironman, so she wrote on the back of my t-shirt "You can do it!". She also wrote "Smiles" in the book, which of course, could not be closer to the truth. Look at her smile and look at mine too, I think I may have dislocated my jaw because it stayed like that for the rest of the week.

All smiles!
Not sure what to do with my t-shirt, I haven't washed it since, I am afraid that the sharpie marking will go away, I don't want to take the risk - I may want to keep her scent on as well, look at that hug that she gave me, a full armpit's worth. I think I am in love. Or high, whatever.

But one thing you should know, Chrissie Wellington rocks. And the inspiration that she gave me and the love for this sport that I am trying really hard not to get drunk on, I will pay them forward by volunteering at Ironman Muskoka 70.3 race this coming weekend. Smile on!


  1. Jealous that you got to meet Chrissie! She seems like such a wonderful person, aside from being the greatest female endurance athlete in the world. Great photos, too!

  2. Aw, your girl crush is coming through loud and clear in your pics! LOL I'm glad that you got to meet someone who is so inspirational to your sport! Enjoy the tri this weekend!