Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Report : Doing Ironman Wisconson

The per-month goal this month was to read two books. I chose two books I got for Christmas last year, and they both revolve around Ironman, either training or racing.

The author of this book has raced about thirty triathlons, five of which were at Wisconsin. He's a speedy guy and has qualified for Kona a few times at IMOO.

Overall the book is fine. It has a sort of dairy feel to it, and it could be that he admits that early on. The result of that is that chapters start off with a sort of goal setting or motivational piece, and then the middle and end is a story telling piece. The author's writing style is pretty decent and I found that I could page through chapters pretty easily.

Two sort of nit-picky things about this book. First is that it feels like it was not edited, there are typos, and misspellings. All photos are in black and white, and while I don't really care I get the impression that was because he only had a black and white scanner :) Second, there is a chapter in the middle, which is a just an excerpt from another book. It felt pretty lame.

The first few chapters are stories of the first few times he did IMOO. The formula goes like this:
  • I just did some other Ironman last month, and I'm doing Kona next month, I either need to take it easy and not ruin Kona or push hard to qualify next year for Kona. I'll push it.
  • The swim is the same as any Ironman swim, I like to line up on the side.
  • The transition area at this Ironman is unlike any other, I'll comment on it, but tell you not to think about it
  • The bike course is grueling, I know that because I've done it, but you won't know it until you do it. Don't underestimate it.
  • The run is a run, I'll spend almost no time talking about it except that I like running through the campus a little.
Then there are a couple of chapters about when he went but did not compete. It's basically the same story, he goes to the places on the bike course he knows are hard, then watches as people cruise by. He heads to end of the race and watches people cross the finish line and is inspired by that. I'll echo that, it's neat to stand behind the finish line and watch people right after the finish.

There is a chapter that consists solely of charts and graphs. Except for the first page or two where he describes the page layout and tells you that if you want the rest of the charts to buy another book there is no writing. I flipped through this part pretty fast, every page represents one mile on the bike course, I didn't think it was clear why these miles were chosen, but I assume they are around the hills he always refers to.

Toward the end he talks about prepping for any ironman race as far as packing and supplies and stuff like that. He also touches on race nutrition, but these are generic chapters not specific to any race I think.

Should you read this? It's worth reading if you're going to do the race. It reads well, and despite the overall low production value feel of the book has a good amount of content.

He is clearly a gifted athlete and it's written from his perspective, so I sort of got into the mode of glazing over some of the stuff. For instance when he "took the ride easy" and still achieved an average speed I'd be thrilled with, you can maybe take what he says with a small amount of "but you're awesome." He does share some "human" stories though where he demonstrates that even the guys at the top can have off days or off hours during a race.


Amy said...

So after you read it you didn't say, hmmmm, okay, I will sign up this year?

Jeremy said...