I had the opportunity to read the book "You Are an Ironman", by Jacques Steinberg, while still on a high after recently completing my first Ironman 70.3 triathlon. The novel interested me because my normal reaction when I am asked if I would consider doing an Ironman is "Are you crazy?!", knowing how much time it takes an average person, like me, to train for a half distance race and watching so many friends who have trained for and completed full Ironman races.
The book chronicles six people who, for various reasons, decide to sign up for the 2009 Ironman Arizona, which a few of my friends also did. As we travel through the various minds and thought processes rationalizing each individual's decision to make the ultimate commitment by paying a $525 registration fee, it is clear that Ironman does not have a "typical" demographic. The participants come from all walks of life: married, single, old, young, physically fit, wanting to get fit, and varying levels of financial success.
I found the book very enjoyable; however it is not a training guide for those who hope to one day complete an Ironman. Training for and completing an Ironman is a personal journey for the average athlete; this was demonstrated by each separate story line throughout the novel. There are mental and physical hurdles along the way, and I discovered many parallels between my own experiences and those in the novel. Meanwhile, I mentally celebrated each milestone and success leading up to the ultimate achievement with the people profiles.
Tracy's story in particular resonated with me. She was a parent of teenagers and also worked full time, so she was balancing training with work and parent duties, as well as fighting her own internal battles. She was a training partner and great support for her friends who were training for Ironman Arizona 2008 but she professed she was not a runner and had her own doubts whether she could finish one herself.
As I read the race day account of Ironman Arizona, I felt like I was at the start of the swim hearing the boom of the cannon and feeling the electricity in the air. The race was quickly in full swing, carrying the reader along, feeling each racers struggle throughout the day to realize his or her potential to reach the finish line and hear the words they longed to hear, "You are an Ironman".
I think it's a great book for anyone, but especially for those people looking for a challenge but are afraid to get off the couch and try. An accomplishment so grand that it's rewarded with the saying "You Are an Ironman" can be attained if you really want it no matter who you are.
We had our friend Dianne read the new book from Jacques Steinberg, You Are an Ironman because of her recent triathlon distance upgrade and accomplishment. We picked her because she could relate in a sense. You see last year our friend Dianne got talked into joining several other local friends in upgrading to a new triathlon distance by taking on the Ironman 70.3 Boulder race.