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You Are an Ironman

How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World's Toughest Triathlon
Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
4 out of 5 stars (490 ratings)

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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)

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • PS
  • LOS ANGELES, CA, United States
  • 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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Jason
  • Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 10-31-12

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • LovesToRead
  • VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, United States
  • 08-27-12

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 of 1 people found this review 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 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 of 1 people found this review 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 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great story!

Very inspirational. Looking forward to my first 140.6 later this year in Panama City FL.

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Harder to finish than an Ironman

Check out the sample first. The performance was dry and failed to capture the emotion of any of the athletes' accounts. The structure of the book is almost entirely pulled from blogs. The stories shared are solid but done in a.less than engaging way.

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Good beginner book

Good book for beginners to the Ironman world. The voice sounds a bit computerized, but I quickly got over that.

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Wow

Supremely motivational.!! Do yourself a favorand buy this book. you'll be glad you did it!