I used to think of myself as tough. Then I heard about Scott Jurek, who takes “tough” to a whole new level.
In his autobiography Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, Jurek relates how in 2007 at age 34, he sprained his ankle two nights before running in Colorado’s Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run.
That’s 100 miles at an average elevation of more than 11,000 feet. But for Scott, it turned into a walk in the park. By race day, in his words, the ankle was “purple and swollen to twice its size.” He still shattered the race record by more than 30 minutes.
Two months later, he was back at it in Greece’s 152-mile Spartathlon. This time, he’d stubbed and broken his pinkie toe nine days earlier. Again, he won.
Instead of seeing his injured toe as an obstacle, Scott says he was grateful for it:
“… the longer and farther I ran, the more I realized that what I was often chasing was a state of mind … where the beauty and timelessness of the universe, of the present moment, come into sharp focus… My broken toe helped me do that.”
Either of Jurek’s injuries would have had me hopping around on crutches! To him, however, they were merely steps on the journey to ultramarathoning-legend status.
Scott developed his determination early in life. His mother suffered from multiple sclerosis. When he rebelled against an unpleasant chore, his father would simply reply, “Sometimes, you just do things.”
Raised on classic Midwestern food, he remembers nightly dinners featuring locally-raised meats or fresh walleye fried in butter.
As his mother’s health failed, he took over much of the cooking. But by his early 20s, he had transitioned to a plant-based, largely raw diet. He now credits it with much of his athletic success.
What he learned in his Mom’s kitchen, however, has carried over into his own. For anyone who’d like to learn how to eat to achieve the pinnacle of human athleticism, he ends of Eat & Run‘s chapters with one of his easy-to-follow vegan recipes.
I can personally recommend his 8-Grain Strawberry Pancakes. Loaded with healthy whole-grain carbs, they’re a delicious way to refuel after a run!