Most people that race triathlons are everyday people. A small fraction of the people who race in Ironman are able to make a living doing it, but most are what I consider normal, everyday people. Okay, maybe not so normal. The amount of time, money, effort and sacrifice it requires to complete the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run on race day could rival some full-time jobs, and it is amazing to me that so many people take on this challenge. Most of the people who complete an Ironman balance work (those bikes and race entry fees are pretty expensive), family, and anywhere from ten to thirty hours a week of swimming, biking, running, and strength workouts. It is a big commitment, and for most people, it is simply out of reach.
In the book, You Are An Ironman, Jacques Steinberg follows six people as they train to complete an Ironman and he focuses on the challenges and triumphs that occur during the training and the Ironman race itself. This book is more about the background stories of the participants than the training specifics. Among the athletes that the book follows are a businessman on the verge of a heart attack; a schoolteacher eager to set a good example for his daughters; the director of a fitness center at an Air Force base who survived a bout of cancer; and two California mothers, one who had dreamed of becoming a runner since she was an overweight young girl and the other who signs up for the Ironman on a dare. Of special interest to me was the story of Scott and Leanne Johnson. Scott has cystic fibrosis and was the recipient of a double lung transplant. Their story is very inspiring and gives me so much hope.
I love watching the Ironman Hawaii coverage on NBC every year. They stick to a formula, a formula that works, mixing coverage of the pro race with compelling stories of age-groupers, athletes that the average viewer can relate to. These personal interest stories are always the ones that get me. I remember watching the coverage of the 2008 race and being so inspired and motivated by some of the stories, that I signed up for my first Ironman. The training and the race itself was an amazing experience, and while I would rather push my running limits at this point than compete in another Ironman, I'm not ruling out another go at the distance someday.
The personal stories in this book are similar to the stories of the people highlighted in NBC's Kona coverage. They will inspire you, and may even have you pressing that "Register" button.
I was sent this book from the publisher, and I would like to pass it on to one of my readers. If you are interested in this book, please let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also enter this contest by joining the "Members" list to the right (because membership has its privileges), so make sure you are a subscriber by pushing the "Join this site" button. I'll announce a winner next week.
You can order the book from Jacques Steinberg's website.
Thanks for reading.