In "You Are an Ironman," bestselling author and New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg strives to understand the drive six individuals feel to feverishly train and push themselves as hard as they can to be able to be able to complete the world's most formidable triathlon.
Can good-natured laughs be mined from the Ironman experience? Late-night talk-show host Craig Ferguson found some when he welcomed Jacques Steinberg to his couch early Wednesday morning, to talk about Ironmen, "You are an Ironman'' and how exactly Jacques came to be Jacques.
"Every Ironman has a story," Steinberg said in an interview yesterday. "In so many instances they are gripping and moving. I think the best non-fiction writing is when it reads like fiction writing, but the facts are true. I knew I didn't want to write a memoir. I thought 'What if I could write something suspenseful about an Ironman?' That's why I chose first-time competitors — I thought it would be fun for the reader to ride along with them as they trained and then competed."
"Anyone wondering who might take on such a grueling challenge and what their motivation might be would do well to read Jacques Steinberg's account of three men and three women, most of them in their 40s, who fork over a nonrefundable $525 a year in advance to sign up for the 2009 Ironman Arizona. Through interviews and their entries in blogs and training diaries, the reader follows the six as they put their normal routines on hold and adopt rigorous training regimens in preparation for the big event.