You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World's Toughest Triathlon

( 18 )

Overview


As he did so masterfully in his New York Times bestseller 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 seventeen hours.

Steinberg focuses not on the professional who live off the prize money and sponsorships, ...

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You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World's Toughest Triathlon

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Overview


As he did so masterfully in his New York Times bestseller 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 seventeen 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

If you are a glutton for productive self-punishment, you might consider participating in an Ironman triathlon, an endurance event that consists of a 2.4-mile open-water swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and, lest we forget, a 26-mile marathon run, all of which must be completed in no more than 17 hours. Jacques Steinberg's You Are an Ironman gives armchair ironman-athletes an insider's sense of the triathlon by following six weekend warriors as they prepare for and pursue this grueling event. (P.S. Call them crazy, but the number of triathloners is legion and growing: More than 100,000 aspiring men and women have registered at USA Triathlon.)

Publishers Weekly
New York Times reporter Steinberg (The Gatekeepers) collects the personal tales of six people who set the completion of an ironman triathlon as their goal. All completed the Ironman Arizona in 2009 except for one who was injured and unable to compete; the title is taken from an iconic announcer's proclamation as each triathlete crosses the finish line. Their preparation is an engrossing story of pain and perseverance, which, while accessible to a general audience, may be mundane for triathletes. Steinberg, who is not yet a triathlete, states that the book is an "attempt... to capture what this experience feels like, not just for the participants themselves but for their spouses and children." Only one of the triathlete spouses was unsupportive; her voice is largely silent until the end when she "shed the ambivalence, sometimes bordering on hostility, with which she had once greeted her husband's Ironman dream." While the narrative is compelling, more focus on her perspective would have captured the complete experience. Photos. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

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

"Best-selling author Jacques Steinberg might not have an Ironman finish under his belt, but he certainly deserves an honorary finish certificate for his excellent portrayal of our sport. With an outsider's view of multi-sport training and racing, the trained eye and ear of a New York Times reporter and a captivating writing style, Steinberg has managed to describe the world of Ironman in a book that reads like a suspense novel while also capturing the inspiration and emotion of our sport."
-The Associated Press

"The athletes are fascinating in their own right, which helps to create an instant bond with readers and should make the book a compelling and inspirational read for obsessive exercisers and couch potatoes alike."
-Active.com

"... a great new book that any first time Ironman entrant should read."
Kirkus Reviews

New York Timesreporter Steinberg (The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College, 2002) tells the stories of six ordinary people's attempts to complete an Ironman triathlon.

For most people, the idea of the triathlon—a 2.4-mile open-water swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a 26-mile run—probably seems insane. For others, doing all three of those things within a 17-hour span is a challenge to be met. In his second book, which takes its title from the finish-line greeting given to those who succeed, Steinberg attempts to show the day-to-day struggles of several individuals trying to achieve this goal by completing the Ironman Arizona 2009 race. In addition to the strenuous requirements of the race, several of the subjects faced additional challenges, including high blood pressure, recovery from cancer and, most incredibly, a double lung transplant due to cystic fibrosis. The altruism of the participants is of particular note. Many are conflicted about the selfish nature of their pursuit and the time their rigorous training takes them away from their families, but nearly all are raising money or awareness for a worthy cause. The narrative, written in a breezy journalistic style, jumps from character to character as they navigate the ups and downs of their training, competing in shorter races and juggling their other responsibilities. Steinberg lightens his authorial load by liberally quoting from the athletes' blog postings. Though the goal for which they are striving, described by one race official as a "poor man's Everest," may be remarkable, the majority of their experiences on the way to the finish line are more mundane, and none of their personalities come through strongly enough to provide readers more than a casual rooting interest.

The author does not provide deeper insight into the nature of human endurance, but anyone dreaming of completing a triathlon or just seeking to get off the couch and into better shape will find inspiration here.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143122074
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/26/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 308,304
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Jacques Steinberg is the author of The Gatekeepers and a reporter for the New York Times covering education and the media.

Kirby Heyborne, an accomplished actor, musician, and comedian, has received a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards and has narrated such titles as Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Black Swan Green by David Mitchell, and The Genius by Jesse Kellerman.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Left, Right, Repeat 20

2 Lance Armstrong's Not My Hero Anymore-You Are 42

3 Courageous Warrior of Love 61

4 Kids, Don't Try This at Home 82

5 Walking on Air with My Chest Puffed Up 99

6 A Bright Pink Mohawk and a Skirt 112

7 Mommy's Recess Time 126

8 A Saw Blade, Hammer, and Chisel 136

9 The Incline 148

10 This Is Going to Hurt 161

11 His Time to Fight Had Ended 174

12 Rumors of My Demise May Have Been Greatly Exaggerated 183

13 The Yorkie and the Sugar Cookie 195

14 Half of My Peers Are Dead, Half of the Others Are in Assisted Living, and Look What Fun I Have 209

15 My Kayak Angel 228

16 Talking to God 243

17 You Are an Ironman 255

Epilogue 272

Acknowledgments 287

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2011

    Good read for first time ironman

    Enjoyed the book, I read it while training for my own first Ironman. Takes you through a few people's journey through their first Ironman as well. I also learned a few training tips through the characters in the book. Inspirational..

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2013

    You are an Ironman follows six people through their training for

    You are an Ironman follows six people through their training for Ironman Arizona in 2009. This book is more of a memoir than an training manual. The author does a great job of capturing the spirit of the Ironman, explaining to the reader why people do these the types races and their back stories, some of which are funny, some of which are inspirational and some just plain strange (there was one guy who heard about people at his Gym talking about finishing one and just decided to jump right in, or at least that what it seemed like). There are also short inspirational stories about people the athletes meet on the way such as about leg amputee and would be Ironman Rudy Garcia-Tolson. The tales of the would be Ironmen (sorry ladies they’re called Ironmen no matter what sex the competitor is) do a good job of conveying the ups and downs of the training that one goes through when preparing for an Ironman.
    The only drawback to the book was my specific book, was that it was in audiobook format. While I like audiobooks since they allow me to make better use of my time and are a good way to pass the training hours, in this case it made the book a bit hard to follow as the author jumped from one person to the next, so I would recommend that you get it on paper or in your favorite electronic format. Additionally since there weren’t really characters the performance was more of a book reading rather than a performance of a fiction book.
    A mix of fun, and inspiration, if you like endurance sports I would highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    Motivating

    Motivating

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  • Posted January 23, 2013

    I enjoyed the book having completed several Ironman races.  I fo

    I enjoyed the book having completed several Ironman races.  I found the background stories of each participant interesting, but by
    the end of the book couldn't easily recall the background.  The book jumps around giving small snippets of information about each
    participant in preparation for the race, going thru all of the issues that a everyday athlete goes thru, and how other responsibilities can
    get in the way of training an life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Very enjoyable

    Well written, truely an enjoyable and quick read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    Great read.

    Loved this book. Very inspiring. Professional triathletes are amazing, but it is the everyday person that reaches deep within themselves to find a way to make it to the starting line -- and then to the finish that truly impresses me. I am beginning to think that next summer's race calendar may include a triatholon or two.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    An uplifting story of those determined to succeed!

    It was motivating to read about everyday people as they trained, competed, and finished the Arizona Ironman Triathalon. I've now added the goal of finishing an Ironman event to my bucket list!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Stories

    Post ere.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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