Friday, July 14, 2017

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon GreatnessEat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Once again, my marathon training schedule had eaten through my downloaded audio books, and so I grabbed this one on Audible. It was a great choice for the situation. You can't complain about a 20 mile training run while listening to Scott's experience running 50, 100 or 135 miles... and winning! The insider look at the life of a world-class ultra runner is definitely motivational.

On the other side, a large portion of this book was devoted to promoting vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. That was interesting, but less so than the running part. I can appreciate how Scott feels it contributed to his success, but I can't help but feeling like he was crazy every time he started talking about it.

And then there was the personal life part of the book. I don't know that it was meant to be a subplot, and it was somewhat subtle, but when I stepped back from the story, it was about all I saw. How did his running affect his view of the world? While he was a professional athlete, how did he contribute to society, and how did he detract from it? Were the relationships he touted throughout his story the type of relationships I want my cross country running sons to seek out? For me, none of those answers were positive ones, and it shaped my view of the whole book.

So at the end of the day, while I found the book to be motivational from a running perspective, for me this was a story about how to succeed at running while failing at life. It shows how to justify a lack of focus on others by focusing on "finding" yourself. Being "present" is not necessarily bad, except where being "present" keeps you from planning for the future. While I'm sure Scott is a nice guy to talk to, he is not a role model for my kids, or for me for that matter. My life is defined by my commitment to my wife and my family, not to my profession or hobbies. That sounds a little pointed perhaps, but it is how I felt about it as I listened to the story, pounding out mile after mile by myself, hoping to succeed at a personal goal while not costing my family too much.