My review of Eat & Run by Scott Jurek.
I am predisposed to like Scott Jurek. To begin with, he's from Minnesota and I generally like Minnesotans. My wife is from the same area of Minnesota, I got married there and lived there for a couple years. Secondly, he's a very sincere guy who genuinely wants to better himself and make the world a better place. Third, he's a Wendell Berry fan and anyone who likes Wendell Berry is high up on my list of people I like. Fourth, even though he's a preachy (he tries not to be but is anyway) vegan, he still drinks beer. Finally, he was always a good son to his mother who was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis for most of his life. That counts for a lot.
So I couldn't wait to read this book for the obvious reason - he's won about twenty-five 100 plus mile races and this is obviously someone I can learn a thing or two about running from. I also felt like, based on other things I had read about him, that he was a genuinely thoughtful person who has acquired a bit of wisdom along the way. I found that to be mostly true. The problem is, it takes a certain amount of time to become wise. Most folks in their twenties have very little wisdom. Their job is basically to shut up and look good. Most people (like Jurek) have acquired some wisdom as they approach forty. The problem is, they often confuse their little bit of wisdom with a lot of wisdom. But I give Scott credit for trying and he really works hard to reach for the deeper meaning in things.
OK, some things I liked about the book...
1. The recipes. And it didn't bother me at all that they were sprinkled through the text rather than all lumped together at the end. I think he wanted drive home the idea that eating a certain way is central to his life and not an afterthought. We Americans tend to regard food and the whole eating experience purely in functional terms. We have to cram in the calories. We always eat on the run, eat in our cars, at our desks. Food is purely fuel. I think Scott looks at it the way a lot of Europeans do - as a part of a life well lived and deserving of a lot of care and reflection.
2. The race descriptions. He is one intense competitor. Anyone who can run a 65 minute 15k from like mile 85 to 95 of Western States blows me away. I have to admit that as I approach my first trail ultra in December, I'm more fired up than ever now. A little more humble and terrified too.
3. His description of his friendship with his friend and pacer, Dusty Olson. This would be a book in itself and it makes you think about all the things that go into success at the highest level, in any endeavor, beyond pure talent.
In short, Eat and Run was well worth my time. I found it to be much better than most running biographies I've read including Alberto Salazar's recent effort.
Y'all should read it.
P.S. After reading this back to myself, I think I might write another one where I just make fun of vegans. It would be satisfying to pass Jurek about 80 miles into, say the Hardrock 100, knawing on a turkey leg.
AM: Washed and vacuumed car, mowed lawn and trimmed bushed, Jogged to the gym and back and lifted weights.
Medium-long trail run up at Alta Ski Area at 6 PM with the Alta XC team for anyone who wants to come.
PM: Did me an eleven mile trail run up at Alta. Only had to run through a couple small snowdrifts.