Review: Scott Jurek’s Eat & Run and #20BooksOfSummer

I’ve succumbed to #20BooksOfSummer, more on that later, and the first is Scott Jurek’s Eat & Run which Liz posted to me after she read it. Is there any better kind of friend than the fellow bookworm?

Never say never and all that, but there are two things in life I probably will never do: go vegan or run 100 miles in one day.  (For scale, I just crossed the 300 mile mark for miles, in 2018!) I absolutely never would run an ultra on a sprained or broken ankle, which he did at least twice. That said, Jurek made both seem very interesting. Much like Dean Karnazes’ escapades, I devoured this book and likely would have finished it even sooner given more reading time. In another similarity to Karno’s books, both men have great sidekicks in their crews: I see a lot of Dean’s Topher in Jurek’s Dusty, his former competition turned pacer. If you’re going to do insane things, you might as well have excellent company in doing so.

Eat & Run is part memoir, part recipe book and part look at the insane world of ultrarunning. Jurek transformed from a poor “Minnesota redneck” into a vegan ultrarunner under an oft-repeated quote from his father: sometimes you just do things. I wondered before reading this if Jurek was a child of hippies, hence the veganism, but no he grew up catching & eating his own fish in Proctor, a small town near Duluth. A hand-me-down set of skis lead to his discovering his talents as a Nordic skier and his running career came from a place of cross training for skiing. Even once he left his childhood home, rocky relationship with his father and small Minnesota town, it wasn’t a smooth path as he & his then-wife Leah faced significant debt due to his travel costs. At one point he even made his own gels due to losing a sponsor (wonder if that was before or after he criticized Dean K in part due to his sponsorships?) and camped at the finish line of Western States as he couldn’t afford a hotel.

Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run makes an appearance in this book as Jurek joined him to race the Tarahumara on their own turf after handily beating them in the Angeles Crest race. I really need to read that book. I think what made this such a compelling read is that Jurek didn’t use it to proselytize veganism. He explains why it works for him and the benefits he attributes to it without going over the top. This was somewhat how he weaved in the story of the Tarahumara and their efficiencies in running and living. As someone who has seen improved blood work in the time I’ve been running, I found myself wondering at several points whether the improvements he saw were related to veganism or simply the insane amount of mileage he ran regularly.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading his newest, North, when I have a chance.

Other reviews:

  • Neel at Blog on Passionate Running
  • Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home, a wonderful running book club

***

I’ve read about this challenge on Liz’s blog over the last few years and her introductory post this year finally made me realize how wonderful & freeing this challenge is. 746 Books is the host, and there’s a linkup there. I’m really bad about reading books I’m “supposed to”, so we’ll see how this goes. I’ll link here when I review them, and I’m using the hashtag as a Goodreads shelf. In no particular order other than the first

  1. Scott Jurek – Eat & Run
  2. Joe Biden – Promise Me Dad
  3. Chris Jones –Rise Up!: Broadway and American Society
  4. Bart Yasso – My Life on the Run, June 16-17
  5. Amby Burfoot – Run Forever
  6. Kevin Boyle – Braving the Waves, June 8-9
  7. Rick Steves – Travel as a Political Act
  8. Nobu Matsuhisa – Nobu: A Memoir
  9. Craig Childs – House of Rain
  10. Mike Pesca – Upon Further Review
  11. Terry Waite – Solitude
  12. Chas Newkey-Burden – Running: Cheaper Than Therapy
  13. Mirna Valerio – A Beautiful Work in Progress
  14. William Atkins – The Immeasureable World
  15. Michael Lombardi – Gridiron Genius
  16. Alyssa Mastromonaco – Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?
  17. Daniel Silva – The Other Woman
  18. AJ Mass – Yes It’s Hot in Here
  19. Melissa Milgrom – Still Life
  20. Adharanand Finn – The Way of the Runner

Alternates

  • Will Gompertz – What Are You Looking At?
  • Don Thompson -The Supermodel and the Brillo Box
  • Sarai Walker – Dietland
  • Scott Sherman – Patience & Fortitude
  • Camryn Manheim – Wake Up, I’m Fat
  • Kati Stevens – Fake
  • Andrew Bomback –Doctor

This encompasses some, but not all of the NetGalley titles I have, and is a mix of print & ebooks as I’ve most definitely failed BookCrossing lately. Time for some of these books to move while I’m occasionally carrying a beach tote. Alas, I just got a $47 Amazon gift card from a class action so it’s likely Mt. TBR is going up and not down. I’m making progress with #BeatTheBacklist, I swear! I’ve actually read 49 books so far on the year and am ahead of pace for my 2018 goal.

9 comments to this article

  1. Wendy

    on June 8, 2018 at 07:27 - Reply

    So many books, so little time. I just wasted 2 weeks on The Female Persuasion, after being persuaded (see what I did there) to read it by all the 5 start reviews on Goodreads. Ugh.

    thanks for linking back to me!

    • cari

      on June 8, 2018 at 12:40 - Reply

      Yes, life is definitely too short for bad books. I’ve bailed on some as I decided a few years ago that there’s just no have to when something should be for pleasure. I was pleasantly surprised when I returned to Ali Wentworth’s earlier titles after her recent appearance that I actually enjoyed

  2. Liz Dexter

    on June 8, 2018 at 07:53 - Reply

    Thanks for linking back to me and I’m glad you enjoyed this. I probably WILL do an ultra one day, but not a scrambling over mountains kind of a one!

    I will post Born to Run to you when I’ve read it, by the way. And good list! Amby is off-list for me as it’s a sort of extra and I’ve done my pile out of real books this year, but no idea how that’s going to actually go!

    • cari

      on June 8, 2018 at 12:43 - Reply

      Yeah, no mountains. I’m just still unsure of whether I’m even interested in doing a marathon. If I do, a 50K might happen. There’s one in Central Park but I think nine loops would be nuts so I’d find a different one despite NYC being the “rule” for my other firsts.

      I wanted to do more print books, but as I surveyed my shelves I realized there’s a reason some of these have lingered. Just no interest. Some may need to just go. I’m not sure all of these will happen, so shooting for at least half. My book in my bag today isn’t on the list which is um, poor start, but it’s due back to the library Monday

      • Liz Dexter

        on June 10, 2018 at 11:09 - Reply

        Yeah, I’ve done two non-20 books for 1.5 20 books so far … hm. The Central Park 50k sounds FUN though! And not too many extra miles on a mara, either …

        • cari

          on June 10, 2018 at 23:17 - Reply

          Just realized it’s a 60K, thought it was 50. Here’s the map if you want to toss it on your post 2020 (dare I hope?)/2024 bucket list https://www.nyrr.org/download/file/82727
          Finished one NetGalley and onto a library book so at least my off list ones are otherwise time sensitive

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