You Are an IRONMAN – a book review

New York Times author Jacques Steingberg wrote You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon based on six athletes preparing for the 2009 Ironman Arizona.

The intro to the book is awesome. It really delves into what an Ironman event is all about and discusses why people go on the journey to get to the finish line.

I enjoyed the book because it was completely relatable. The book profiles six regular people through their ups and downs on their way to IMAZ.

These people aren’t professional athletes. They work. Some are parents. They battle injury. They battle health problems, family stress, and regular life stresses. They face their fears. And yet they maintain their goal: to make it to the Ironman and to cross that finish line to hear Mike Reilly announce, “you are an Ironman”.

I found I could relate better to certain athletes, and I enjoyed their segments in the book the best. I also really liked excerpts from some of the athletes’ blogs since it was their true feelings coming out.

Truthfully though, I didn’t love the book as much as I thought I would.

Although I really got into it towards the end when it was race day, I felt like the meat of the book was missing. Yes, their struggles leading up to the race were real. But I didn’t think it expanded enough on their struggles and the emotional battles that ensued.

For example, one lady tore her ACL and couldn’t get to the start of the race. The rest of the book didn’t even really touch on her again until the very end when they author realizes he lost touch with her and sees she’s competing in the 2010 race.

I would still recommend the book. It is inspiring in that everyday people work to achieve their dreams, no matter how far off they seem. (I think any non-professional athlete feels a sense of fear when they take the plunge to sign up for that one great race.)

It shows that courage is all you need sometimes to take the next step. It also shows how athletes at any caliber can become role models for others.

I think it would be a great read for anyone considering an Ironman. But, you can also check out any number of blogs and really get to know someone throughout their journey to their Ironman start line, whether it’s their first, fifth, or 15th shot at it.

Who is more inspiring to you- everyday athletes or elites?

Other book reviews:

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28 responses to “You Are an IRONMAN – a book review

  1. I could use a little inspiration for the winter! I’l have to check out your book list. I’m with you…I really like hearing everyone’s stories in depth and it would be great to see every day people planning and training for IM.

  2. I want to read that book! I definitely find regular people more inspiring than elite athletes!

  3. People like YOU inspire me. Those that still have “real jobs” but dedicate themselves to an endless passion pursuit.

    Great review of the book as well.

  4. Everyday athletes hands down!! Elite athletes are AMAZING, but there is something about people that haven’t been training all their lives and jump into something that amazes me! This book sounds great, I hear you on the meat missing though..that part is definitely essential!

  5. Your reviews are fantastic!

    I also feel everyday athletes/people as more inspiring. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re more accessible and I definitely feel like I can relate more!

  6. I bought this book for my husband, but now I want to read it. Although I’m a little scared because I might just be so inspired that I want to do an Ironman! Truth is, I do hope to do one some day, but realistically that some day is not for a few years.

    • Is CdA your husband’s first? If so, he should really enjoy the book!
      I know you’ll do one in time. I can’t imagine it would be easy with kids, so there is no harm in waiting a few years!

  7. thanks for the honest opinion of the book. at the risk of sounding mean, there are now SO many books by athletes coming out that i wonder which ones are worth it and which ones aren’t necessarily book worthy, you kno? gotta have the MEAT! 😛

  8. I love the stories of normal people, or normal people who became elites. I am married to a non-runner, I teach, I work with individuals with special needs as a second job, and I still find time to work towards my fitness goals (which eventually include becoming an iron man). It is just good to see how other people deal with the same “real life” issues.

  9. I saw someone else mention this book and it did intrigue me simply because it was about everyday people. I think that’s pretty inspiring!

  10. I completely agree with Cait above….it’s so hard to know which books are worth the read. so Thanks so much for this honest review!!!! I like reading blogs more than books 😉 …..well athletic books. love a good novel

  11. Looks like another book worth the read. I definitely enjoy reading and learning more about every day weekend warriors (at least I wish it was only weekends).

  12. I like your review, was honest and gave a good sense of what the book is like. I’ve tried to get my bf to read this…maybe he will next month finally.

  13. I started this book but it didn’t captivate me so I never made it past the first few chapters! I may have to pick it up again and give it another try!

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