Amy Moritz's Reviews > Heart of Iron: My Journey from Transplant Patient to Ironman Triathlete

Heart of Iron by Kyle Garlett
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's review
Nov 06, 2011

really liked it
Read in November, 2011

As I started reading this book I realized who Kyle Garlett was. He was the dude on NBC's coverage of Ironman who was pulled out of the race because he missed the swim cutoff by seven seconds. SEVEN SECONDS. This was my own worst fear as I prepared for my first Ironman -- missing the swim cutoff. (It continues to be my biggest fear in pretty much every triathlon I do.) But I knew very little about Kyle's journey and his memoir proved sobering, inspirational and a fantastic read.

I have to admit, some of the popular culture references went over my head and even the ones I got seemed to be a bit too frequent for my personal literary taste, but his writing style is conversational, drawing the reader in with a good chat rather than a pensive and reflective memoir. While the book cover and title play up Kyle's triathlon training, the majority of the book covers his health battles from four go-rounds with cancer to a heart transplant. He went through bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy and chronicles them with truth and honesty but without too much emotional overkill. The journey he shares is not just about battling cancer or training for Ironman. It's about learning not how to "fight" but how to survive. He tells people to live each day as if it's your first, rather than your last, a different twist on knowing how important your attitude is regardless of your situation in life.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book came midway where Kyle succinctly describes his philosophy on attitude and choice:

"There will always be something big and important and stressful going on in your life. It may not be as serious or debilitating as a battle with cancer, but if it's the thing most dominating your life, it's imposing. To you it is everything, and for that you need offer no apologies. But in spite of its presence, you can always choose to be happy. It is your choice to remain positive, upbeat, and focused on the good. Your attitude is entirely within your control."

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