Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Official Book Review: You Are an Ironman

2.4 miles in the water, 112 miles on your bike and 26.2 miles in your running shoes. Could you do it? Anyone who has ever trained for a race has probably asked themselves that very question. If you're like me, your response would be something like this: "Yes, I could...if I knew how to swim the strokes. And if I had the time to train." I supposed I could learn the strokes, and I could probably find the time to train, but let's be honest. Becoming and Ironman is fairly low on my list of things to do. A short triathlon? Maybe someday. I might rather do a marathon, though.

Regardless, all three events test the participant's commitment, physical strength and mental health.

Such is the point Jacques Steinberg set out to study in his new book, You Are an Ironman, which follows "six weekend warriors" as they chase "their dream of finishing the world's toughest triathlon." You'll enjoy this book even if you don't have any desire whatsoever to compete in an Ironman. All 290 pages will truly inspire you to get up, get active and to chase your dreams be they good health or a faster 5K.

You'll meet Scott Johnson. He was born with Cystic Fibrosis, survived a double lung transplant and is now a triathlete.

Take a look at Steinberg's recent appearance on Today for a hint at Johnson's character:

But Johnson isn't the only star of Steinberg's book. Brian Reece hadn't set foot in a gym in over 30 years, but was told he was "a heart attack waiting to happen." He completed his first triathlon less than two years later. You'll also meet Laura Arnez (a mother), Tom Bonnette (a teacher) and Tracy Tucker-Georges (a nurse)...all regular people like you who simply decided to take their training up a notch. Or rather, to take their health and fitness up a notch.

And finally, you'll meet Seth Cannello. A cancer survivor whose previous treatments would surely come back to haunt his ability to train. But Seth, along with the others, persevered in the face of the Ironman. I won't tell you who crossed the finish line, nor will I confirm or deny that any of them actually did. But that's a mute point, really. What matters most is that they overcame their own selves to train for such a race, sacrificing time and money along the way.

Their journeys are exciting, sometimes amusing.  And, of course, extremely inspiring. Once again, this book is a must-read. Even if you never, ever in your life wish to participate in an Ironman event.

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