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

You Are an Ironman by Jacques Steinberg
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's review
May 31, 2012

it was amazing
Read from May 31 to June 08, 2012


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 how to site out of the water. As they stripped off my wetsuit and I ran to T1 it was very easy to find my bike as it was all alone. I came in ranked 100 out of 107 men. I was in T1 for 5 minutes and 29 seconds (ranked 89) as my hands were very cold and it was hard to put on my bike shoes. The 56 mile bike ride time in at 3 hours 39 minutes (ranked 89). I was improving and I remembered to put on my bike helmet (you can be DQ'd if you leave Transition area without it). Sore feet forced me to take a short break heading up a steep hill and into a headwind. Could have done better if I learned how to use aerobars. I spent just 2:26 seconds in T2..took the time to take off my spandex and put on some comfortable running was getting hot. I finished the half marathon in 2:26 minutes doing combination of walk/run as most were just walking. I thought I was slow, but it ranked 60th. Running must be strongest of the three events.

I finished and said I would never do that again..and for sure never a full ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run).

You are an Ironman follows 5 weekend warriors as they take on IMAZ (Ironman Arizona)...extra tempting as it is so close.

A businessman on the verge of a heart attack
an Airforce man who survived cancer
A woman inspired by her triathlete husband (they don't train well together)
A double-lung transplant man
An overweight california mother

Many of these people don't claim to be athletic. But they signed up, clicked submit, payed their registration, and committed to giving it their best. This book inspires because triathlons have changed the life of so many people. Weight loss, decreased BP, confidence, more energy, better spouses, better parents. I was caught up in their stories and their desire to cross the podium and hear, "John Smith you are an Ironman."

A few themes that resonated with me...

Many triathletes fear the swim..choppy water, people kicking your face, goggles getting fogged up, trouble siting your way. Most just want to finish, The cut off is 2 hours 20 minutes.
Spending so much time training can be selfish.
The biggest challenges are mental..fighting the boredom..right, left repeat...pedal,pedal, pedal...stroke, stroke, stroke.
When it is all said and done...its done. You go get your bike and go home.

My final time in the 1/2 ironman was 7 hours and 9 minutes. The ironman cut off is 17 hours (assuming I could replicate the first half--which would be hard to do..I would have a spare 3 hours to finish). I came in 79th out of 109. 10 DNF.

Who knows....maybe IM is doable?
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