Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's Not About the Bike

The last couple of weeks have been uncharacteristically self pitying weeks for me. I dislike the post surgical restrictions placed on me - I am ashamed of having to use the lift to go up to my second floor office, I miss not being able to run, and I positively hate not being able to carry my child.

Which perhaps is why I picked up Lance Armstrong's "It's Not About the Bike. My Journey Back to Life" last week. Who doesn't know about the legendary endurance athlete, who made the Tour de France his personal fiefdom? And that after bouncing back from testicular cancer. I thought his account of how he survived cancer would help me put my little blimp into perspective.

To say that I was blown away by the book is a bit of an understatement. A more honest and more inspiring account I haven't read in a long time.

Forget the racing and the chemotherapy (neither of which can really be forgotten), he is nothing if not totally honest about everything. IV fertilization, for instance. I know people who have conceived through IV-fertilisation, but I never suspected so much pain and patience went into the whole procedure if I hadn't read what he has to say about it.

Lance Armstrong is a man of many labels - cancer survivor, sporting legend,spokesperson for cancer, cyclist par excellence. But the label  that defines the man who wrote the books is 'honest'. He is honest about his strengths, he is honest about his shortcomings. He is honest about the grind, he is honest in not treating you to the gory details of it. And in that honesty is inspiration.

A few months back, while congratulating me on finishing the Mumbai half marathon despite a bad attack of cramps, a friend passed on the quote that defines an endurance athlete " Pain is temporary. Quitting is permanent." At that time, I thought Lance Armstrong meant the physical pain of overtaxed muscles. Now I know exactly what he did mean.Life is all about staying in the race.
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dipali said...

Lance Armstrong is an inspiration.
Another incredibly honest book I just read, dealing with very different issues, is Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'll have to look for Armstrong's book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

Hope you're feeling better soon!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ dipali - when I see the word "Pray" on a title, I tend to back off, but the book does promise to be good, and I just ordered it. Will let you know how it goes.

@ Elizabeth - definitely worth a read or two - if nothing else, it keeps us from whining. And yes, I am much better, thanks.

dipali said...

My husband had picked it up at an airport, and I was surprised to find out how compelling it was.
(It looked very self-help-y to me, from the cover.)
I borrowed one of her novels from my library, called Stern Men. Very well written

Anonymous said...

Wow... sounds like a great read! I like honest auto-biographies.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ dipali - with Monday being a holiday, I have no idea when I am going to get hold of that book :-(

@ Fiona - read it, you will not be disappointed.


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