“Truly inspiring. . . . Highly recommended.” —Library Journal
Runners, cyclists, swimmers—athletes of every kind—are you an Ironman yet?
An inspirational, unforgettable, informative collection of personal stories about the experience of competing in one’s first Ironman-distance triathlon. This is the ultimate test of endurance: a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run, all raced end-to-end in one grueling day—and these stories tell it straight: what to expect, how to prepare, what was rewarding, what was miserable, how 140.6 miles will change your life.
This book is not a how-to or a technical guide. It is pure, heartfelt human experience. Each athlete’s story is compelling and dramatic in its own way. Collectively, the stories are both instructional and uplifting—for anyone even dreaming of attempting this forbidding challenge.
These stories come from men and women of all ages and abilities. Some are stories from the champions, and some from those who did not finish. Together they testify to all the joy and agony of the race; and they provide priceless personal advice on nutrition, equipment, clothing, mental preparation, emotional fatigue, terrain, and weather.
An unforgettable ode to an extraordinary endurance sport—a book for anyone who wants to become an Ironman.
“Ironman is similar to having your first baby—being in labor that long and dealing with all the pain.” —Susie Burgess
“I wasn’t scared. It wasn’t impending doom that kept me awake. It was more child-like excitement. The impatience of eager anticipation for Christmas morning.” —Kevin Jermyn
“I saw the marker for mile twenty-five. What a beautiful sign. Nothing could stop me. If every muscle in my legs cramped I could still drag myself on my elbows for 1.2 miles.” —Jane Fratesi
“All these people, with all these dreams, laying on the side of the road moaning. I could feel their pain too and there was nothing I could do about it. I saw someone vomiting and thought that could be me in a half hour, or five minutes.” —Rick Olson
“I began to cry the last five hundred meters. The end was so overwhelming—the feelings that have been numbed by training and racing catch up to you.” —Katja Mayer
“My mother’s biggest fear when I told her we were doing the Ironman was that I’d go to the bathroom on myself on national television.” —Karen Smyers
“One of the things an athlete must do before attempting an ironman is to strengthen the body core. This won’t take a membership to a gym. You can’t get it in the weight room. I’m talking body core. You’ve got to get right with God because you’re going to pray out there.” —Elizabeth Johnson
“I was sure I was in Hell. All I needed was someone to drip water drops on my head and shine a bright light in my eyes. It was no fun.” —T. J. Murphy
“To tell the truth, it was not the exultant finish or peak experience I expected. It felt more akin to being beaten and left for dead, but somehow having survived, and not knowing if it was for better or for worse.” —Dakin Ferris
“At one point I could look—as far as I could see—not a soul, not a car, not a cyclist, not an aid station, not one damn sign of life and I turned around and looked back, and it was the same thing. I thought, “How barren and desolate is this experience?” —Scott Tinley
“When I finished it became very clear to me, right away, that I needed to go back. There was more to explore.” —Lyn Brooks