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

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,388 ratings  ·  147 reviews

A New York Times bestselling author takes readers inside the Ironman triathlon.

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

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 15th 2011 by Viking (first published 2011)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  1,388 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: athletics
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
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked this for some strange reason. I'm not a runner anymore, but I kind of felt a longing for it (my knees are not what they used to be.) I think the one thing I liked the most was this one simple message: We all will find time in our lives for the things that we deem to be important.

The normal, ordinary people that this book follows through their ironman training found time for this sport and this is not an inexpensive sport. So even though money was tight, they and their supportive familie
Malin Friess
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 50-books, 2011
Basically a narrative pulled from the triatheles' blogs. The information about Ironman itself was interesting.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
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
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013
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
Aaron Maurer
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've had this book on my "To Read" list for nearly seven years, and I'm glad I finally made time to finish it. I don't know what it is about the Ironman race, but I've been fascinated with it ever since I was a teenager. Something about it just pulls at my heart, and I found myself tearing up several times as I read this book. The personal struggles of these people are just so raw and real.

I don't have any plans to complete my own Ironman anytime soon, but I know that one day I'm going to do it
Ingrid Hughes
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Loved reading these stories about everyday Joe's going to work, raising kids, stretching the check book and fighting through crazy training commitments to compete in their first Ironmans. Inspiring and very real and raw!
Danie P.
Oct 03, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've read a fair few books about triathletes and even more about runners. The vast majority of them have been memoirs, and with a couple exceptions, fair to mediocre. You Are an Ironman, by contrast, is written by someone is has never done an Ironman triathlon; instead he profiles several athletes attempting their first Ironman. I think it's hard for a single amateur athlete's training to maintain sufficient interest to be a great book. (My Year of Running Dangerously is a notable exception.) Mo ...more
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book a lot. If you're thinking of doing an Ironman and don't know what you're getting yourself into then this is a must read. Especially because you get to see things through the eyes of six people.

I agree with others, that at times the characters' stories can blend together. I also think that these people seem a little bit more accomplished than the "weekend warrior" title before they began their Ironman quest.

Lots of positive things to say about the book. Yes, real peopl
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
So, my goal for my 50th birthday is to do a half Ironman. Yes, I am intimidated by it. I'd be lying my butt off if I didn't say I was. I have been trying to read any type of motivational "you aren't crazy for having that on your bucket list" material and this book was the logical first choice. What this book did was to show me through people, who had far greater challenges than I have, not only competed in one FULL Ironman, but made it part of their lifestyle. It helped to curb that intimidation ...more
Christie Bane
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I want to be an Ironman; that is no secret. This book fed the fire by telling the stories of a bunch of regular people who set out to do Ironman Arizona (or IMAZ) in 2009. It told the stories of their training, their struggles along the way, and that long, long 10 to 17 hour day that was Ironman. I don't know why reading about how difficult Ironman is -- not only the event, but the training! -- makes me want to do it even more, but that is definitely how it works. The fact that the book was abou ...more
Lisa Bricker
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Someday, I may read or watch something about Ironman that doesn't make me cry at the finish line scenes. But it wasn't during this one. I wish Steinberg hadn't relied so heavily on the participants' online accounts of their journeys--it honestly felt a little lazy to me at point. I realize there were six of them and that several kept very detailed blogs and that I DID appreciate hearing their own voices. But sometimes it read like a collation of material rather than a synthesis. If only I hadn't ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This book took forever for me to get through. I listened to it and the reader wasn’t a good fit for this book. I do always prefer the author to read her own book because you get all the right emphasis. Something just felt off. But perhaps it was all the reading of journal entries that made it awkward. Or maybe it was all the jumping around from person to person. I don’t know, I just couldn’t get into it until race day. Then it was engaging and inspiring. I was choking up while running myself.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the accounts of ordinary people rising up to the near-impossible. Thought it was a little frustrating how many of the typical training/prep traps the characters fell into; felt like I was reading an online forum at times...but I suppose that just means it was accurate. Also in the end it wasn't very relevant to my Ironman race day experience. Might be fun to re-read now that I have the perspective of having done an Ironman though.
Tom Ransohoff
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although fitness buffs might get more out of this book than others, you don't need to be a triathlete (I'm not - yet) to appreciate the stories of these six otherwise normal people who embark on a seemingly insane quest to complete an Ironman. The story of their year of preparation and performance at the big event is well told by Jacques Steinberg. It was an engaging and inspiring book.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction-other
I enjoy hearing about people exercise. This book didn't inspire me to train for an Ironman (I would never want to have to deal with the costs of the bike and the gear and the logistics). However, it did inspire me to start training for a 5K. So I've started up on my couch to 5k app. :)
Caitlin Foisy
Jan 01, 2018 rated it liked it
interesting look into the world of ironman from the perspective of average ppl. I found it hard to keep track of all the athletes but loved the final section and was all caught up in the drama when they finally got to the race!
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-fun-uni, 2017, running
Emotional and quite a bit inspiring, but also a bit hard to keep track of.
Darrin Edwards
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!!! Very easy to get into. I started it on a plane and read it as often as I could. Very timely subject for me and I enjoyed getting to know each person in the book.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book is repetitive and honestly pretty boring. Even if you're interested in triathlon... the writing is just not very good.
Wendy Jansen
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Although I am an Ironman, and had reason to really get into this book I found differentiating the characters confusing which made it hard to relate to them.
Martha Karen
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t recommend reading this in a public place - it made me tear up so many times! Very inspiring.
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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

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