26/30 Book Review: Eat and Run


Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman
Nonfiction/Running

Summary

For nearly two decades, Scott Jurek has been a dominant force—and darling—in the grueling and growing sport of ultrarunning. Until recently he held the American 24-hour record and he was one of the elite runners profiled in the runaway bestseller Born to Run.

In Eat and Run, Jurek opens up about his life and career as a champion athlete with a plant-based diet and inspires runners at every level. From his Midwestern childhood hunting, fishing, and cooking for his meat-and-potatoes family to his slow transition to ultrarunning and veganism, Scott’s story shows the power of an iron will and blows apart the stereotypes of what athletes should eat to fuel optimal performance. Full of stories of competition as well as science and practical advice—including his own recipes—Eat and Run will motivate readers and expand their food horizons.

Ultrarunning Education

2017 is my year of intense ultrarunning education. I’ve become suddenly obsessed with this sport, and I have a lot to catch up on. I was introduced to the ultrarunning community through YouTube, so I knew about today’s top competitive runners before I learned about some of the greats like Scott Jurek and Dean Karnazes. But I’m catching up!

I enjoyed Jurek’s back and forth narrative of discovering running, finding his rhythm, and competing at top levels. When you see elite ultrarunners, it can be difficult to imagine the journey they’ve taken, from their first run to record-breaking feats. This book is a good reality check, an examination of the gradual improvement that leads to such astonishing performances.

Jurek talks a lot about his nutrition, especially his transition from meat and potatoes to full veganism. Perhaps that transition is a revelation for some runners, but I think many of today’s runners will be more familiar with the benefits of healthier options. That may be a reflection of the changes Jurek and others introduced, combined with general societal awareness.

Conclusion

Great read if you’re a runner or you love stories about sports psychology. Ultrarunning is a uniquely challenging mental endeavor.

Tired Legs, Sloppy Trails


I ran today for the first time in a week. Last week I came down with a cold and decided to skip 2 runs and rest. With the end of the semester, a full-time job, and a move this week, I had plenty of other responsibilities to sap my energy! But I’m on the tail-end of the sickness now and I really wanted to get back to training. So tonight was a short warmup run and I’m hoping to do a long run tomorrow and jump back up to my target mileage.

[Sidebar: I’m really close to hitting 50 miles for the month. If I’d stuck with my training program, I’d have passed that mark easily, but now I’m scheming how to get a run in on moving day. That’s a shocking and encouraging number to me, so I’d really like to experience that milestone.]

So after work tonight I loaded the dog up and headed out to my favorite local park. It’s a great place with a dog park and miles of trails. We’ve had a few days of rain, so I knew the trails would be pretty messy and they were! My legs are covered in dirt and mud splashes. I had a nasty side stitch partway through and I had to stop a few times–to deal with dog or observe wildlife or whatever–but it felt great to get back out.

[Sidebar again: speaking of wildlife, check out these photos and video from the park! Continue reading

Tired Legs, Unrealistic Expectations


Let’s talk about this video.

Key points: relatively fit non-runner trains with a coach for 10 weeks and then runs a 3:30 marathon (five minutes faster than her Boston Qualifying time.)

First, major kudos to Michelle. She should be incredibly proud of the training she put in and what she achieved. It’s huge and nothing I’m about to write should demean that.

But let’s talk about what this means for other people. Because while this was a personal journey for Michelle, it’s also a Buzzfeed video, which means millions of people will likely see it. Continue reading

Tired Legs, Peaceful Mind (part 2)


(ICYMI: Tired Legs, Peaceful Mind (part 1))

My Run Affecting My Mind

I’ll be honest, this part is a little harder to nail down, but I’ve noticed a few general changes.

Full Range of Emotions

For me, a balance of variety and stability in life is vital to functioning well. Too much variety and I’m out of sorts. Too much stability and I become Continue reading

Tired Legs, Peaceful Mind


(ICYMI: The introduction to my running journey: Tired Legs, Happy Heart.)

My 10k training program* has dramatically improved my fitness already, but I’m starting to notice mental benefits too. Elite athletes care a lot about the mental aspects of their sports, but the rest of us focus more on the physical gains we can make. My mind comes into the running game in 2 ways:

  1. my mind affecting my run
  2. my running affecting my mind in the rest of life

I was going to address both in this post, but this is already 1000 words long and I decided that you’re very nice to read my posts and I shouldn’t push my luck. So today we’ll just hit Part 1: My Mind Affecting My Run. Part 2 coming later this week.

*very informal, loosely based on a free program available from Hal Higdon.

My Mind Affecting My Run

All sports are mental, certainly, but running has some unique challenges. For one, it’s not a team sport and your practice times aren’t scheduled (unless you work with a partner). So you have to motivate yourself to run, no help from your team. Then, there are no external Continue reading

Tired Legs, Happy Heart


I have always been a runner.

I was a runner when I played soccer. I was a runner when crazy waves of restlessness hit. I was a runner when I was so angry my body felt like it was flying to pieces.

I was a runner when the air was warm. I was a runner when I had a dog. I was a runner when everyone else was safe at home.

But I was never a consistent runner. Months could go between runs. I never ran very far. I ran a 5k race three years in a row, but never trained.

Last year I ran 3 5ks as part of my New Year’s resolution/goal. But I didn’t train much for those either.

This year I decided to train. I’m running a 10k in April. 6+ miles is farther than I can get up and run without some prep. At least, farther than I can run without embarrassing myself.

So I looked up a training program, read a few books, and started. Continue reading