Becoming an Ironman

Jan. 17, 2014

Friday Rest Day Book Review! This Friday’s book review is Becoming an Ironman – First Time Encounters with the Ultimate Endurance Event by Kara Douglass Thom (Editor) and John Collins (Forward). 288 pages.

becoming an ironman

This book is a collection of short stories detailing the experience of many athletes during their first Ironman Triathlon. The cool thing about this book is that it includes stories from athletes with a wide range of finishing times. Some did very well, startling themselves and the elite competition (Ex: Troy Jacobson). Others told their stories of barely finishing within the time frame, and Thom even included the stories of some people who got a DNF (Did Not Finish). Some are inspirational, such as Rick and Dick Hoyt‘s story, a man with an amputation, and woman who was born without the lower part of her left arm. They also include some stories from some of the early years of Ironman triathlon (Ex: Scott Tinley).

This book was one of the first I read about the Ironman Distance, and it was so interesting I could hardly put it down. This was mostly because of all the variety of the stories, and certainly that includes the really fast athletes, but in all honesty it was a great deal due to reading those stories of average people who struggled. It’s certainly inspiring to read the stories of gifted athletes who do great, and I’ve read many of those books, but those book aren’t ME, you know? I’m average. I’m not shooting for a 10-hour finish or to qualify for Kona. If you too many of those stories, and then you go look at your own paces and time estimates, you can really start to feel down on yourself (or worse – set yourself up for a huge disappointment because you start to think you can do as well as the pros because they make it sound easy). Reading about other average people can help keep you in perspective, and can make you feel like you really can do this race. This book did that for me!


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