Eat and Run by Scott Jurek

“Sometimes you just do things.” – probably the best line to live by. Whether it is athletics or the hardships of life, Scott Jurek takes us through the unconventional life of a ultra-marathon, super star runner.

Uncovering the life of a super human, ultra-marathon, vegan athlete. Yes, vegan.

4/5 stars
Hardcover, 272 pages.
Read from August 08 to 09, 2016.

“Sometimes you just do things.” – this line, from this novel has not left my brain since I read it. Not only has it popped up during some of my own difficult training runs but it has also helped me though some of the everyday realities of life. I could have said the everyday struggles of life, but that is putting a negative spin on the reality of life. Sometimes you just do things , and there isn’t any better truth than that.

Scott Jurek was an ordinary boy who grew into an extraordinary adult by committing to his beliefs and just doing what he believed he needed to do. Scott is one of the best ultra-marathoners in the world. Not only that, he is a vegan. Yes, it is true. This ultra-athlete contributes some of his success to his diet and shares with his readers that not only is veganism plausible for extreme athletes, but that it is also ideal. Yes, Scott has immense natural talent but the majority of his success come from his demeanor and attitude. This book is the story of Scott’s life, from the childhood that shaped him to his career as an ultra-marathoner.

Now I am not sure I have what it takes to be a vegan but Scott sure inspired me to push my limits. I have always wanted to run an ultra-distance race and this book solidified the belief that I could do one. It has also confirmed my own beliefs about eating real food for fuel. Every runner has to find what works best for them and I know for me, I can’t cope with the nasty tasting gels and some of the energy and protein bars that are provided to keep runners fueled during long distance runs. Now, I don’t know if I am ready to start hauling out my own hummus and pita breads on a run, but I will continue to make my own electrolyte drinks and will attempt to make some of my own fuel for my runs and races.

This isn’t just a book for runners though, as the book is full of outstanding, easy and realistic vegan recipes that anyone can use. Jurek ends every chapter with a delicious vegan recipe that is appealing to all types of eaters. That says a lot coming from me, as I do not cook. I snapped a few pictures of few recipes from this book, this is one of my favourites and I am looking forward to making it once the weather cools off:

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Minnesota Winter Chili

I devoured this book. I remember when I read¬†Born to Run,¬†and just how much I loved it. Well, this book is infinitely better. For one, Jurek is a superior writer to McDougall and has a gift not only for running, but for writing. His story line is seamless and easy to follow, which is the biggest problem I had with McDougall’s book. Additionally, while you get all the details of Jurek’s personal life, he also gives you a detailed experience of his races and what goes through his head during these times. So if you want to be inspired and want to think like a world-class athlete, then read this book. Even if you are not a runner, you will appreciate the intensity, dedication and sheer willpower that Jurek exudes in his running as well as with his personal lifestyle choices.

Fortune favours the brave, and Jurek is one amazing example of this. If you have ever been curious about the vegan diet or how it works with athletes, become inspired, or just want to read an amazing story of human fortitude then this book is for you.

The Complete Book of Running For Women by Claire Kowalchik

A throwback review from when I was still a newbie runner and this was one of the first running books I ever read.

A throwback review from when I was still a newbie runner and this was one of the first running books I ever read.

4/5 stars.
Paperback, 416 pages.
Read from April 20 to June 26, 2013.

As someone who has been seriously running for almost two years I didn’t think that this books would have anything to offer me. I was thankfully mistaken!

This book provided helpful insight for runners of all levels and goals. What I found the most beneficial was the advice that was supplied in regards to maintaining running while staying busy with family and relationships. While I am not a married woman and I don’t have any children I strongly admire the woman who keep running involved in their lives. I struggle to keep up sometimes, so I don’t know how other women manage! Women who run are taking care of themselves and they understand the importance of taking the time for themselves, especially when juggling a career, family etc. Besides the physical benefits of running most women who stick with running, stay for the mental benefits. I know I do!

I also appreciated the scientific explanations that were provided on why men and women perform so differently. The most fascinating was how different our bodies carried oxygen to our muscles and differences in how we store glycogen.

As I mentioned, I’m no where near the married-with-kids sort of life but I actually really enjoyed the chapters in regards to running while pregnant. I wasn’t going to read the chapter as it doesn’t currently apply to me but maybe one day in the future it might. As long as a woman is active before becoming pregnant and cuts her activity levels in half the benefits of running and staying active while pregnant is remarkably impressive. I even appreciated that they stated that while it is beneficial it has to come down to the woman’s comfort level too. If you’re not comfortable exercising while pregnant, then don’t.

The chapter in regards to menopause was another one that I was going to skip but I’m glad I didn’t. My Mom is runner who is at this stage and reading this chapter gave me a good idea of what her body is going and just how important is it to continue to stay active.

The few annoyances I did find with this book was that some of the information was a bit out of date, as the book was published well over 10 years ago so that’s not overly surprising I guess. For example, some of the brands of supplements or clothing that they suggested no longer exist. The one that stood out the most for me was that they suggested that runners shouldn’t do yoga because runners needs some tension in their legs and even implied that their aren’t any professional runners that do yoga. While this may have been relevant when it was published it most certainly isn’t now! The other item that was a bit tedious was that all of race and reference information was for the USA only, which wasn’t helpful to me as a Canadian.

Overall I would still recommend this books for any woman looking to get into running or is already running.