Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Scott Jurek ate vegan, won ultras...then got divorced
(Disclaimer:  I am a Brooks-supported athlete; as part of that relationship, I was provided a complimentary copy of "Eat & Run")

I was recently on a few flights making my way home to Wisconsin and en route was able to plow through Scott Jurek's new book "Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness."

It's a fast, enjoyable read. I've been around the ultra scene for a long time and have known some of the greats, i.e. ultra champ Eric Clifton. So it's always interesting to see how the world looks from another icon's point of view.

My thoughts in no particular order:

1) I've been vegetarian/borderline vegan for 12 years and have always been concerned with protein intake.  Jurek advocates for the protein he naturally induces through his plant-based diet.  Maybe that is enough. Maybe it's not necessary to bang down 100+ grams of protein supplement every day. Good info and good advice.

2) I'm buying on big time to Scott's inherent Minnesota work mentality.  The thread of "Sometimes you just do things" was a great precursor to "get 'er done."  Scott's depiction of his early life at home at times seemed harsh, but it's the way we do things in that part of the world. Maybe it's the long, cold winters but we buck up and do it, with few complaints along the way.  Surely a foundation for ultra greatness.

3) Scott mentions his early marriage to Leah, but as the chapters rolled by, she was not mentioned. I knew from other sources that Scott had been divorced.  I thought Scott was going to cop out on the personal aspects of his life and leave readers with a void. I was very wrong.  Scott unpacks his damaged relationship with Leah in chapter 19.  I found it very profound when he stated that Leah believed "I wasn't funny, that I wasn't interesting (p. 193)."  I fear that has been the case for many of us...that we have been able to make peace with, and conquer, a 100-mile course, yet found that we weren't adequate on the home front.  It's painful to be successful at ultra and fail at personal relationships.  Thank you, Scott, for being transparent and sharing these thoughts.

As with most things ultra, we press forward with tenacity and find another way.  Scott found Jenny and seems to be doing well in that relationship. Other aspects of his life are becoming rewarding and they don't have to be about being #1 at the finish line. Let's hope we can all balance and adjust as we move through the years and our love affair with ultrarunning.


  1. His talk in Chicago was pretty good. It was fun to read he stayed at a hostel on the very Island where I grew up! What I am curious about is if he talks to Dusty anymore....

    I went to the talk with a gal from my running group and she was more excited about the recipes in the book (she is newly vegan) than about reading the book itself!

  2. I know I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of that book. Looks really interesting.