run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Review: Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

Or... Why Scott Jurek and I are meant to be BFFs.

When I found out that Scott Jurek had a book coming out, I preordered that shit as quickly as possible and FINALLY last week, I got it! And... it only took me 3 days to read it.

by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman

Before I read the book, I knew there were 3 things that I loved about Scott Jurek:

1. He likes to run. A lot.
2. He's a vegan.
3. He's friends with Dreamboat:

 I'd travel down the road and back again.

Those three things are good enough for me to be like... yeah, he'd be a cool dude to share a beer with.

But, after reading the book, I am now completely convinced that he and I were meant to be BFFs. Let me count thy ways:

1. He likes to run. A lot. - Me too. Most of the time.

2. He's vegan. - Me too. Most of the time.

3. He's friends with dreamboat. - I WANT to be friends with dreamboat.

4. He does yoga. - Me too. 

5. He meditates. - Me too.

6. He's into existentialism. Me too. When we stop talking about running, Dreamboat, and vegan burrito recipes, we can discuss authenticity and despair in my favorite book, The Moviegoer!

7. He's into Pranayama. - Me TOO! Nadi Shodhana 4ever!

8. He's into inspiring quotes (or at least there's one at the start of every chapter)- Me TOO! I've got them posted all over the place. There's even a Rumi quotation in the book. DUDE. I LOVE Rumi.

Scott, call me. Seriously.
My heart is true. I'd be a pal and a confidant.

Okay, I should probably give a REAL book review, instead of talk about how I became Scott's #1 Superfan after reading this book.

When I ordered the book, I was kind of afraid that it was going to be 200+ pages about how great a vegan diet is. And, while I'm very passionate about and interested in veganism, the idea of reading 200+ pages JUST ABOUT THAT sounded pretty terrible. And while yes, there is a vegan recipe at the end of every chapter, and he does discuss how he became a vegan and how it's affected him as an athlete, in general, the book isn't a diet book. (whew).
 And if you threw a party and invited everyone you knew...
You would see the biggest gift would be from me.

He starts the book talking about his family and home life as a kid growing up in Minnesota. His dad was a total hardass, his mom was awesome, but eventually got sick and Scott was kinda forced to grow up a little quicker than most kids. It sounded tough, and you definitely get a sense that the struggles in his childhood fuel him today.

The most enjoyable parts of the book for me were the "race recaps." Most of the chapters are about a particular race. And while yeah, a lot them are about races he wins and sets the course record in, he also talks about races he doesn't finish (DUDE! I've had a DNF, too!), so it's not entirely... hey look how awesome I am!
The book is really well written. Kudos to Scott for finding a good sportswriter, Steve Friedman, to actually write the book for him.
And the card attached would say...
Thank you for being a friend.

If you have any interest in trail running or ultra running, or hell... I'd say running in general, then I'd definitely pick this book up.  I wouldn't necessarily say it's inspiring... because, he's a way tougher guy than I could ever be and obviously has natural talent that I lack. But, it's like... we all know that one guy/girl in our running community (cough KoB cough), that has done a shit ton of cool races and works his/her ass off running and training... and all you want to do is sit down with them and pick the shit out of their brain. You want to ask them every detail about every race, how they trained, how they fucking gutted it out and finished, but you don't want to seem like a creepy stalker. So, you can read this book and while it's not the same as sitting down one on one with a badass... it's still a great read.

I'll end the review with my favorite quotation from the book:

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. 
-Ernest Hemingway.
 Oops. How'd Dreamboat get on here again?


Carina said...

Haha. Great review, I'll have to check it out. Is The Moviegoer really your fave book? Never heard of (or obviously, read) it. If so, will have to check that one out as well!

Matt said...

Did you see him at the Chicago expo when we were there??