You Are An Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon
Author: Jacques Steinberg
Cross-posted on my Triathlon Blog – HERE
Jacques Steinberg creates a compelling portrait of people obsessed with reaching a life-defining goal. In this instance, the target is an Ironman triathlon-a 2.4-mile open-water swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride, then finally a 26-mile marathon run, all of which must be completed in no more than seventeen hours.
Steinberg focuses not on the professionals who live off the prize money and sponsorships but on a handful of triathletes who regard the sport as a hobby. Vividly capturing the grueling preparation, the suspense of completing each event of the triathlon, and the spectacular feats of human endurance, Steinberg plumbs the physical and emotional toll as well as the psychological payoff on the participants of the Ford Ironman Arizona 2009. His You Are an Ironman is both a riveting sports narrative and a fascinating, behind-the scenes study of what makes these athletes keep going..
I’ve never hidden the fact that one of my goals prior to my 40th birthday (although still a ways away) is to do an Ironman. And after meeting up with a few Ironmen at a reading conference I went to in October (hang on, they find time to work and read/write)…it just sealed the deal. So my goal for 2013 is to do a half-ironman (Beach 2 Battleship in October), with a full Ironman in 2014 (still trying to figure out which one)…and then I came across this book in an audible sale and for 4.95, I figured why not. I have to say that this is probably the best and emotional 4.95, I have ever spent on an audiobook – I was a complete and utter blubbering mess by the end of it. Thankfully, I was sitting in the car by myself, so no one could see.
There was just something about the stories of each individual competing in IMAZ 2009 (held in Tempe, Arizona) that made me feel like I knew them. From listening to entries on their blogs (I even went and looked a few of them up), to their trials/tribulations as they dealt with training, injuries and also life in general. From Scott, the recipient of a double-lung transplant (I mean, seriously – I couldn’t believe it when I heard that), to Bryan, who got into working out and then triathlons after a scary medical diagnosis. Listening to their stories made me realize that yes, I could do it.
Kirby Heybourne’s narration was pitch perfect – I really have nothing to complain about after listening to the audiobook. I loved his narration in Gone Girl, and this just sealed him as a narrator to look for in the future. I highly recommend this book, even if you don’t necessarily want to do an ironman, but just as a motivational read. I can only hope that my journey towards an Ironman is as successful. Oh, and make sure that you have a box of tissues for reading/listening.