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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Against the Odds - Book Review

I was very fortunate to be contacted by John Pendergrass author of Against the Odds recently.  John is an everyday athlete - an ophthalmologist living in Mississippi who is not just a runner but also a triathlete.  Against the Odds is his story of pursuing six Ironman races on six Continents in his Sixties.  That's right...in his sixties!

I really enjoyed reading John's story as he navigated the globe tackling Ironman events.  This book is as much a travelogue as an inspiring story.  It is full of optimism and possibility and that is motivating no matter what your age.  First, there is something that book is not...and that's okay.  This book is not a detailed training plan for completing an Ironman.  If you are hoping to get the nuts and bolts of how to train for an Ironman then you will need to add another book to your shopping cart with John's book!

In this book, John shares quite openly about the challenges and joys of being an Ironman athlete. John speaks candidly about the time challenges that this puts on you as an individual, professional, and family member.  One of the aspects of his story that I liked is that he turns his destination race events into family travel time when possible.  As he shared the story of his race in Switzerland I wanted to join his wife and daughter in their adventures discovering chocolate! Even though I'm a triathlete...chocolate still trumps triathlon!

John's book takes the reader along to Brazil, Switzerland, South Africa, New Zealand, Arizona, and finally China.  I really enjoyed that John spends as much time talking about his travels around these places as he does talking about the races in each.  His travel experiences made me want to travel more just to see the sights.  I'm more excited now for my trip with friends later this year to do the SeaWheeze half marathon in Vancouver!
"Every Ironman story is interesting. I love and admire everyone who competes in one of these events, the details are always fascinating.  There are few dilettantes in the world of this incredible race.  There's no sense of entitlement, no room for whining or victimhood, no place for laziness.  It's just a hard, time-consuming goal to reach, and that's what makes it so worthwhile."  

It's hard to capture and explain why we love triathlon but with the sample above John does a great job of explaining why we pursue triathlon.  It's an addictive sport and the challenges we endure are worth it for the triumphs we experience every time we cross that finish line.

Altogether in the book, one of my favorite passages speaks to experience of triathlon - especially post-race.  "It never fails, memories improve with time, the pain and suffering disappear while the high points grow and endure."  Isn't that the truth! Just think about how you recount a race or even just a training run or ride to friends.  That hill becomes steeper with each story telling until you have climbed Mont Tremblanc in your ride! That final sprint to the finish against a competitor...you relive it in slow motion.  And that is why, without fail, we forget the pain and suffering and we keep signing up for more races.

I really enjoyed reading John's story and it has me ready for triathlon season! Pick up your copy today at Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Whitney- Thank you for sharing! Just stumbled upon your blog while searching for Dr. Pendergrass's book... Just ordered my copy and can't wait to start reading!