As he did so masterfully in his New York Times best seller The Gatekeepers, 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 17 hours. Steinberg focuses not on the professional 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 of 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.
©2011 Jacques Steinberg (P)2011 Tantor
"Anyone dreaming of completing a triathlon or just seeking to get off the couch and into better shape will find inspiration here." (Kirkus)
I have been listening to a lot of inspirational endurance athlete type books while training for a marathon, and honestly this is not one of the best. There is a fascinating intro about the history of the Ironman, but then it drags into a very long and boring stretch (the vast majority of the book) of basically just doing through the training logs of the participants, and reading their blogs (which in turn are just descriptions of their training). Too many characters that are not distinct enough so in audiobook form it is easy to zone out as to whose cold swim or century bike ride you are hearing about. Lots of stories of minor injuries and getting over them which don't really go anywhere. I will say that it does impress upon you the sheer volume of training that an Ironman requires, which blows my marathon training out of the water.
For this type of book I would greatly recommend Born to Run, Eat and Run or Finding Ultra before this book.
Commuter and lover of audio books.
It was very motivational.
It was great at motivating me to get off my booty and start moving again. WARNING: Don't listen to if you want to be a couch potato!
The narrator persistently pronounces the word "Triathalon"... a pet peeve I guess, but really irritating to me.
The stories in this book are as real life and varied as you can get. It was a fun listen that was easy to get into. It made me feel that the goal of an ironman is possible even for those of us with busy lives and starting points wrt our training. If the Ironman highlight videos on youtube have captured your attention - this listen is for you!
Kirby's reading makes this very personal. His use of tone, inflection and personal flare for speaking like the characters in the book was a highlight.
The entire last chapter of walking through raceday with each of the charaters was a delight. Talk of the comraderie shown on the course and personal moments each experienced definitely changed my view of what racing in an ironman could be - for the better!
I listened to this book while training for a marathon so I had lots of miles to fill. I found it to be enjoyable and inspiring. It is not a "how to" guide for training for an Ironman -- instead it is a collection of stories about regular people who, for whatever reason, decide to train and participate in the Ironman Arizona 2009 race. On occasion it because a little confusing remembering which person was which (there were about 8) when starting a new chapter, but if I kept listening I always figured it out.
Stories are very personal and personable -- I had no problem listening to up to 2 hours while running. I did listen to it on 1 1/2 speed (as I do all audiobooks) because I find that more interesting.
Great book about fairly ordinary people of various ages that have jobs, kids, lives, etc. but decide to pursue competing in an Ironman race. This is the best fitness bio I have read to date. It motivates me to keep working out since these people aren't so different than me. Really enjoyed it.
I love ironman/ultrarunning/cycling/endurance books of any nature but struggled to the end of this one (on 2x).
But it might be a good listen for someone who knows nothing of triathlons or working out in general.
Robot-like reading of a story about regular folks who find ironman. Great concept but terrible execution:
Author reads from blogs for a good portion of it. Including "lol" as "elll-ooo-elll"
Author always includes a textbook-like definitions of what I might consider common terms: Camelbak, black recluse spider, brick workout, Hammergel. Probably beneficial for some, but others can listen to it at 2x and get the gist.
After hearing these stories, I am seriously considering the jump from half to full. I did some long runs listening to this book and quite honestly cried along the way.
I love the stories of Ironman and I appreciated the stories of the average age grouper - like me.
And I find myself wondering how these athletes are doing now.
Decent story and I'm a huge Kirby Heyborne fan but he and the editors of a triathlon focused book should know it's not pronounced triath-a-lon. Drove me nuts. Couldn't finish the book.
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