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The Grace to Race: The Wisdom and Inspiration of the 80-Year-Old World Champion Triathlete Known as the Iron Nun

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Grace to Race: The Wisdom and Inspiration of the 80-Year-Old World Champion Triathlete Known as the Iron Nun.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Sister Madonna Buder(Author),Karin Evans(Author)

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SISTER MADONNA BUDER is 80 years old, has run more than 340 triathlons, and doesn’t know what all the fuss is about. In The Grace to Race, she shares the no-nonsense spirit and deep faith that inspired her extraordinary journey from a prominent St. Louis family to a Catholic Convent and finally to championship finish lines all over the world.

As a beautiful young woman, she became an elegant equestrian and accomplished amateur actress. But as she describes in this intimate memoir, she had a secret plan as early as 14: she wanted to devote her life to God. After being courted by the most eligible bachelors in her hometown, she chose a different path and became a Sister of the Good Shepherd.

She lived a mostly cloistered life as a Nun until her late forties, when a Priest suggested she take a run on the beach. She dug up a pair of shorts in a pile of donated clothes, found a pair of second-hand tennis shoes, and had a second epiphany. This time, she discovered the spiritual joy of pushing her body to the limit and of seeing God’s natural world in all its splendor.

More than thirty years later, she is known as the Iron Nun for all the triathlons she has won. Just five years ago, the age 75–79 category was created for her at the Hawaiian Ironman in Kona, where she completed a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a full 26.2-mile marathon in record time. Now she has set her sights on a new goal: inaugurating another new Ironman age group, 80–84, in 2010.

Sister Madonna holds dozens of records, has broken dozens of bones, and tells of dozens of miracles and angels that propelled her to a far-flung race. "It is my faith that has carried me through life’s ups and downs," she writes. "Whenever injured, I wait for the Lord to pick me up again and set me on my feet, confidently reminding Him, ‘God, you know, my intent is to keep running toward you.’"

The Grace to Race
is the courageous story of a woman who broke with convention, followed her heart, and found her higher mission.

"Sister Madonna’s story is one of purpose, conviction and passion. She dismisses boundaries and proves to us that nothing is impossible. The Grace to Race is both inspirational and energizing; long live the Iron Nun!" —Dean Karnazes, New York Times bestselling author of Ultramarathon Man"The Grace to Race is inspiring and funny. The story of this now-80-year-old nun will make you want to push your body to the limit as you learn to appreciate the miracle and splendor of Creation." —Mary Higgins Clark"Sister Madonna’s courage and wisdom shine through the pages of this warm, funny and inspirational memoir. You'll learn a lot about finding joy, achieving your goals, facing hardships, loving God and the rest of those in the human ‘race,’ and keeping a sense of humor about it all—oh, and about running, too." —Father James Martin SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything"Sister Madonna is a genuine heroine, a person whose example we badly need. Not everyone is going to do a triathlon, of course, or even aspire to a marathon. But just getting out and moving can do wonders, and she's a beacon of hope." —Walter Bortz MD, author of Aging for Dummies, Dare to Be 100, and The Roadmap to 100"Sister Madonna proves you can make records, and break them all over again, at any age. Her spirit is without limits." —Dara Torres, Olympic gold medalist and author of Age Is Just a Number SISTER MADONNA BUDER, also known as "the Iron Nun,"  "the Flying Nun," and "the Mother Superior of Triathlon," is a Roman Catholic nun. She began running in 1978 at age 48. As of 2009, has completed 38 marathons and 325 triathlons. An inspiration to athletes and non-athletes, the religious and the secular, she has appeared in such publications as Runner’s World, U.S. News & World Report, Sports Illustrated, AARP Bulletin, USA Today, the Seattle Times, the Denver Post, Competitor Magazine, Triathlete Magazine, Ironman Magazine, More Magazine, and numerous others  She lives in Washington Sate.

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Review Text

  • By Mom2two on June 26, 2015

    I enjoyed this book very much and I agree with the folks who offered such high praise for it: Sister Madonna is a true inspiration and her story inspired me to step up my game!However, I do have some criticisms:1. The book is edited quite badly. As one reviewer pointed out, the story does not weave smoothly.2. For heaven's sake, how many times does a senior citizen have to be hit by a car, run over, break bones, etc. before she admits she should exercise recreationally only. Or at least not ride a bike anymore! I honestly would never enter a triathlon after reading about how many times she was injured on her bike -- not while running or swimming, but biking. She talks about two bike racers she knew who were killed on their bikes. Yikes. What's worse is the writer avoids going to the doctor so she can race. In one bit she explains how a nurse told her she probably cut into a ligament when she had a food prep accident, but she chose not to go to the doctor because she had a competition. This is pride. We are called to care for our bodies and prize them, and this doesn't only mean stretching them to see what we're made of (which Sister Madonna does wonderfully) but to nourish and protect them. Sister Madonna chooses to ignore her body's own signals because she wants to race. Ironically she advises older readers at the end of her book to be honest about their limitations.3. Sister Madonna missed an opportunity to explain or show us the spiritual significance of running/exercising. She talks about her trust in God when racing gets hard, but there is so much more that is never tapped into. Why does God care that she is racing rather than doing something that benefits somebody in need? She spends tons of money and time on racing -- why is this okay? Nobody is benefiting directly except her. She points out that she encourages others during races. So what? Seriously. Why isn't her time better spent encouraging people who are in a real race for life when they are ill or suffering in some way. Racing is a necessarily egocentric activity. She criticizes the nuns in her first order for becoming too focused on themselves and their own survival after their girls school closed, but in racing she has to do the same thing: focus on number one, on survival. She points out that she has a talent for racing and she think it would be wrong not to use that talent. But, again, there are signs that she is not using her talent prudently because she injures herself so often and doesn't take care of herself. And why can't her talent for athletics be used in other ways? Why does it mean she has to fly around the world racing? Couldn't she coach a girls league and just run/bike recreationally in a more balanced way?

  • By Lucy on August 16, 2011

    Yes, she sort of pumps herself up a bit and doesn't like that in other triathletes.Hmmm...I was reminded of a visit with my 75 year old aunt who talked about herself(in a Wonderful glorious way) and I sat and listened for 6 hours.Trust me when I say: Kona and the Queen K highway is HOT and unforgiving.There is no shade, it's you, the heat and the desert. What she has done (repeat.repeat.repeat races)IS incredible for a Normal person, but for someone her age is AMAZING.I've watched 3 Ironman World Championships in Kona and was exhausted just from theheat and I wasn't competing!The fact that her family had money and her fees are "comped" does NOT get her to thefinish line. We've all seen that rich people don't become perfect~ but, she put in thehard work to get to where she is now. Who cares that her fees/travel is paid for?In Oct, 2003: My husband and I spend a "hard" day watching the Ironman race, having drinksand dinner and wandered the dark streets to the IM finish line to cheer on the triathletes in Kona.In the dark, here came Sister Madonna, alone, jogging the last 2-3 miles. We were side by side,me: full of dinner and wine, tired from the day, and Sister Madonna, up since 4 AM, working the race for15+ hours....We cheered her on in the darkness and it sort of got to me~ The Irony of that incredibleand ~~humbling moment. I felt like: Wow, why can't I be like HER? I felt like a failure.I was 42 (overweight, out of shape) and she was maybe 73? (my math might be off, but you see what I'm saying)Sister Madonna "works out" with me as I train for my first half marathon. She has give me some good advice! :)She says, "patience" and "one mile at a time". Not sure it's her or Her Master!

  • By Witty Username on November 18, 2013

    As a triathlete in the Pacific NW, I'd heard about Sister Madonna. I found the idea of a nun who competed in Iron-distance triathlons fascinating. When I heard there was a book, I jumped at it.I have to say I'm disappointed WITH THE BOOK.Let me be clear. Sister Madonna Buder has an amazing story. Although not an Ironman (yet) myself, to do what she does - and has done for 25 years, more if you include the marathons - is immense and inspiring.Yet in having such wonderful material sitting there, you'd think it would be easy to piece that into a great book. Yet they failed. So very badly. I almost gave up half way through it. My wife did.I.M.H.O. it's very badly written. Although the first half starts with a kind of chronology of her life, later chapters jump all over the place (I admit that I prefer a 'structure' to my autobiographies). Added to which, the writer chooses to focus on some very odd facets of Sister M's life, whilst skating over or ignoring other parts. For example, about the only time we hear of Sister M's training, is if she somehow injures herself! Also, despite some really close races (where Sister M was right up against the race cut-off), there is a distinct lack of drama. Perhaps it's meant to be a reflection of Sister M's persona, but it just doesn't "grip" you.If you like a light-hearted 'skim' through Sister M's life, then you may enjoy this. Otherwise, you'll get as much reading Sister M's Wikipedia page.Rock on Sister M - I hope to run into you (not literally) one of these days.

  • By Debra Rusz on September 21, 2016

    This autobiography is both about her journey to discovering endurance sports and finding her spiritual calling. She has an easy to read writing style and is so humble about the incredible things she has accomplished which she often dedicated to others. She certainly has become a role model for me.


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