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

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  720 ratings  ·  92 reviews
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 ...more
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Published September 20th 2011 by Tantor Media (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,269)
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Rachael
I read this book one month after my husband completed Ironman Madison, so I still had Ironman on the brain! Steinberg's profiles and characterizations really rang true to what I witnessed my husband going through. Steinberg captured authentic emotions in this report. If anyone is thinking of doing an Ironman, this book is a must-read. As the author is quick to point out, it's not a "how-to" book. But getting inside these people's minds and seeing the obstacles they faced is enlightening. And for ...more
Jody
I've done one Ironman and am training for another. Plus, I read this book during a training weekend in Mont Tremblant (the site of this year's Ironman). So, clearly I'm biased to like it, and I did. I do have to admit that following 6 different people made it difficult to keep them straight at times. And the author jumped between people's stories pretty rapidly, so that didn't help matters. I think better organization would have helped keep the narratives clearer.

There were a few things in the
...more
Keith
I love reading stories of how other people have fought and trained and overcome great odds to accomplish a goal. I am a runner and it is truly inspiring to hear the trials that others go through, not just in their training, but in their personal lives as well. Nobody trains in a bubble, so life will inevitably take a turn that you weren't expecting and push your goals further away. In this book we see several people who didn't let that stop them from achieving something amazing. Ironman is a tit ...more
Malin Friess
5 STARS FOR YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

On June 4th 2011 I completed a the deuces wild half ironman triathlon in Arizona (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile trail run). After jumping in the water for the 1.2 mile swim I quickly found my fingers hitting the dirt, I was heading the wrong way into shore. The women jumped in the water 5 minutes after the men and most of them passed me at the first turn. It took me 57 minutes and some help from a Kayaker to keep me going the right way. Need to learn h
...more
Aaron Maurer
I just completed my first marathon and have been thinking about entering the world of triathlons. This big goal of mine is the Ironman despite the fact I don't currently own a bike and can barely swim. I have started to read up on the sport and while at my library I came across this book.

This book was just what I needed. It follows the journey of six normal people who all have obstacles and challenges of their own. Through reading their journey of committing to the race, training, and finally ge
...more
Dee
I’ve never hidden the fact that one of my goals prior to my 40th birthday (although still a ways away) is to do an Ironman. And after meeting up with a few Ironmen at a reading conference I went to in October (hang on, they find time to work and read/write)…it just sealed the deal. So my goal for 2013 is to do a half-ironman (Beach 2 Battleship in October), with a full Ironman in 2014 (still trying to figure out which one)…and then I came across this book in an audible sale and for 4.95, I figur ...more
Amanda
Obviously this book appealed to me since I am training for an Ironman, but I have to say I was disappointed. The author is not a triathlete and so although he made a valiant effort to immerse himself in the subject, there were things in there that really bugged me (like when he said a 10 minute pace was impressive for a marathon - not an Ironman marathon - just a marathon). And it felt like he focused way too much on all the various illnesses and ailments of the participants he followed. Enduran ...more
Danie P.
Terrific book about ordinary people training for the ironman. My favorite section was their stories about the actual competition and how they completed the race.
Suzanne
Basically a narrative pulled from the triatheles' blogs. The information about Ironman itself was interesting.
Kerri Thomas
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the fact that it jumped back and forth between charectors. It kept my mind engaged as I think reading continuously about one athlete would have become long winded and I would have lost interest. It was hard at times to keep them all straight and I found myself on a couple of occassions, flipping back to the beginning to remember the story behind the person. I actually liked being that engaged in the reading. Very inspiring and I really liked the focus on all ...more
DJ
The author follows various triathletes as they start and complete the Ironman Arizona 2009 triathlon.
It has been highly recommended by several triathlete friends of mine. As I started to read it, (quick reading, only took me 5-6 hours total over two days), and I was already immersed in the stories, back stories of the athletes. As I started to read the stories, many parts of the stories co-relates to what I go through with some of my trainings. However, I'm kind of taken back by the injuries th
...more
Amara
I talked about this book to everyone I ran into while I read it. These stories were so relatable (looks like that isn't a real word) as these were six "average Joes" that took this race on. I did have a little trouble keeping the people straight from each other for a while, then they quickly emerged as very different personalities overcoming very different problems. It changed my life view into one a little less whiny (I hope). None of them had a free pass once they started training. Life showed ...more
Jenny
Not a bad read. The writing had me expecting that any minute now one of the people was going to face some incredible catastrophe or die during training. But despite the continual hinting of doom on the horizon, they trained (it was hard, it took a lot of time) and then raced (it was hard, took all day) and crossed the finish line (except for two who had injuries, both of whom completed iron man triathlons the next year).

I was impressed by the cost of an Ironman (The Arizona ironman is over $500-
...more
Christina
The best part of this book is also it's biggest weakness: it follows six ordinary people in their quest to become an Ironman. Having so many different people to follow was great in giving the book depth and interest, but having so many characters made it hard for this reader to follow. I kept forgetting which character was which and distinguishing details about them were spaced throughout the book. Because the book kept jumping back and forth between all of them, it was hard to remember which on ...more
Drew
Originally posted on by blog at http://131runner.blogspot.com/#!/2013...

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
...more
James
I really enjoyed this one. I love hearing about ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. All but one of the six athletes profiled seems to have had a compelling motivation for running (cancer survivor, double-lung transplant, emergency room scare, overweight as a teen, be an example for others). Interestingly, the one who didn't seem to have a motivation other than just love for running and being with people is the one who blew her knee out and wasn't able to race after all. The flow ...more
Tim
Aug 17, 2012 Tim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: triathletes and their family members
Shelves: non-fiction
Easy, entertaining reading. I completed it cover to cover during a cross-country flight. The pace of the storylines and personal accounts kept me easily engaged. I participate in triathlons and have often considered training for a full distance ironman event. This book offered up the challenges and rewards of such an undertaking in a way that was both approachable and interesting.

I spend a lot of time networking (electronically and in real life) with other triathletes. If you are familiar with
...more
William
Jacques Steinberg has written an exciting and inspiring account of six regular people and their efforts to train for and finish an Ironman. Like the author, none of the persons profiled was a long-time athlete. Almost all had come to participate in running later in life, often as a result of some kind of crisis. It follows their training and its conflicts with their "regular" life, their injuries and achievements along the way. In many ways, the book reminded me of A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Mil ...more
Rachel
Not the best but not the worst. If you want to train for any endurance event it will still get up and motivated.

You are an Ironman by Jacques Steinberg is a journalistic look at what it takes to become an ironman when you are just a regular person. The story follows six people over one year as they train for the Arizona Ironman. It is their first time training for the full distance but they are all relatively seasoned athletes who have run marathons, half-ironmans, and other races. I typically e
...more
Sarah Eckert
Awesome! Very inspirational!

I want to do an Ironman, now. Well, not now, now (I'd have to train -- and learn how to swim -- an Ironman swim is 2.4 miles. I think I heard the most efficient stroke is the crawl, so I'd need to know how to do that right . . . but there was one guy in the book who breaststroked the whole thing, so I guess it's possible).

I also looked at my schedule for this upcoming year and I don't think I can even fit in a sprint triathlon (if I could learn to swim. There's a spri
...more
Terra
"You Are an Ironman" - based on the title of this book, which is not on the NY Times Best Seller List, you would assume that the audience this novel is intended for are triathletes and aspiring triathletes. I enjoyed this book, but felt that the author would drag the reader on long winded tangents. Also, he felt that he needed to explain everything. Examples: he explained what a Garmin Forerunner is about three times, defines road rash at least twice, etc. I don't own a Garmin Forerunner, but I ...more
Katie Hall
I really enjoyed this book. I've never done an Ironman, and now I never want to do one, but it seemed like a pretty realistic portrayal of all that goes into training and completing one. Following 6 different people as they train for their first Ironman, he doesn't gloss over the hours of training, the guilt of being away from family, the expenses, the anxiety, and the other emotions that crop up over the way.
Norman
WARNING: I've been looking at IRONMAN 70.3/140.6 registrations ever since I finished the book a couple hours ago... Reading can be dangerous.

Incredibly enjoyable and inspiring read, highly recommended to everyone. All of the Ironman hopefuls are "real people" that I could relate to or at least empathize with, especially as an amateur athlete myself who is looking to test himself with personal challenges and understands how powerful these journeys can be. Each individual's story is unique with di
...more
Ronnie Guymon
This is a great motivational book for those of you interested in triathlons. As the title indicates, it's not about elite athletes, rather it's about people who have full time jobs and families who still train for an ironman. When you finish, you will probably look into how you can do an ironman yourself. There is a little language.
Caitlin
Great story about six people preparing to compete in the 2009 Ironman Arizona. All of their stories were different, and inspiring in their own ways. I really enjoyed reading it, although I don't see myself trying for an Ironman anytime soon. :)
Kate
I read this book as I was beginning to prepare for my first ironman. Stories of everyday people overcoming the obstacles and doing what they never thought they could.
Heisenberg185
This was a really good read. You got to know the "characters" and their stories - some in more detail than others, and some were more interesting than others, but it made the story engaging. As any summary of this book will tell you, it is not at all about "how to" train for an ironman level triathlon. It is all about what drives individuals to struggle for such a lofty physical goal, what happened to them in their training and on their journey, and how they ultimately performed in the event.

If
...more
Byron
I don't know that "inspirational" would be the right word, but certainly very encouraging to read about these ordinary people who set for themselves an extraordinary goal and set out to accomplish it. Success was by no means guaranteed, and even when it got to race day you still wonder about a few of them. It was neat to get a behind-the-scenes look at the race itself as well. I enjoyed reading this one, and quite honestly it has got me seriously looking at triathlon myself. I've had Ironman on ...more
Adam Hannemann
I picked up this book last winter and was very exited to read it as I was getting really into triathlon. I wanted to read this book to see how other "common" triathletes handled training for their Ironman events.

While not the world's most exciting book as it pretty much ended up being work hard, train right, have a little bit of luck, and you might be able to complete an ironman triathlon.

I enjoyed the read and will probably read it again, especially if I'm looking for some motivation. If you
...more
Katie
This would be a 5-star book were I not already an avid blog reader of many triathletes. Although I LOVED the stories, and loved the progress and pace of the training coverage, I didn't enjoy the way so much of the book was excerpted from blog posts! I read these books for the editorial drama, not text-speak.

But I still cried multiple times, because the athletes' various stories truly are inspiring. And if I ever make the jump from half-Ironman to full, I'll partly blame/thank this book.

Great rea
...more
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Jacques Steinberg is the author of The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College, a New York Times-best seller. He has been a staff reporter for The New York Times for more than two decades, and is currently a national education correspondent for the paper. Steinberg also moderates The Choice, the Times college admissions blog, which he created for the paper in spring 2009. H ...more
More about Jacques Steinberg...
The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College

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