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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"Anyone dreaming of completing a triathlon or just seeking to get off the couch and into better shape will find inspiration here." ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about You Are an Ironman

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • PS
  • 02-08-13

Eh

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.

14 people found this helpful

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Inspiration: possible...even for weekend warriors!

What did you love best about You Are an Ironman?

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!

What does Kirby Heyborne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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!

1 person found this helpful

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Great book to listen to while running - Inspiring!

Any additional comments?

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.

1 person found this helpful

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Ironman Here I come (someday)

What made the experience of listening to You Are an Ironman the most enjoyable?

It was very motivational.

Have you listened to any of Kirby Heyborne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

Any additional comments?

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!

3 people found this helpful

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Loved this book, keeps me going

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.

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome book, so-so narrator

This book was incredibly motivating and inspiring. I highly recommend it to anyone, whether you've done a triathlon or not. It's incredible what perseverance it takes to go from start to finish, not only on the day of the event, but in the year leading up to it! This book shows that any average Joe can train for a triathlon. What an awesome sport!

I felt the narrator was slightly monotone. However, what truly drove me insane was the narrator mispronounced. "Triathlon" and all other words formed from that word EVERY time! It is pronounced "tri-ath-lon", NOT "tri-ath-A-lon".

Other than that, I really do recommend this book highly.

3 people found this helpful

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Average At Best.

Normally I don’t write full reviews and this review is said with respect to the individuals personal journey. I found the book very tough to get through. I finished the book because I got to the half way point thinking it would pick up, but it never really seemed to do so. Perhaps the voice reading the story had a lot to do with it. Very monotoned. I like tri-athlete store ones and thought this would be a good pick but found it to be average at best.

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Inspiring

Love it! Easy to listen and fun to. # Iron Man Coming Soon! Want to accomplish one day.

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Great stories

It was a good book. Author is a little boring to listen to at times. But overall I enjoyed it.

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Outright Weird

Not sure if this was supposed to be flattering to Ironman hopefuls or insulting. I guess what I learned was Ironman hopefuls get sick alot, get injured alot, don't know how to change a bike tire, seems to exhibit really poor judgment, and most seem like they would benefit from a few years of regular therapy. Was that the author's intentions?

It sure made me look at Ironman participants and Ultra athletes differently. Good luck with that...

1 person found this helpful