Rest Day Book Review – Eat and Run

Feb. 28, 2014

Rest Day Book Review! Today we’ll be reviewing Eat and Run, by Scott Jurek and Steve Friedman. (2013). 288 pages.

eatruncover

This book is not really a cookbook or nutrition book, specifically. Instead, it’s primarily Scott Jurek’s autobiographical memoir of becoming an ultra endurance runner. But he does talk quite a bit about nutrition, and so I think it’s fair to include it in this nutrition month. For example, the book talks a lot about his evolution in to a strict vegan as well, including a time period when he was also raw, but he is not strictly raw anymore.

You may have heard of Jurek through the book Born to Run, which was wildly popular and which features him quite a bit. If you have NOT heard of Scott Jurek, he is one of the world’s best ultramarathon runners, having won several 100 mile races, like the Western States 100, and also longer races like the Badwater ultramarathon.

Jurek starts where you would expect: he talks about his upbringing, which was pretty rough due his mother having severe multiple sclerosis and the family not having much money. His mother’s illness is something that repeatedly gives him motivation and strength throughout his training, and difficult races, and he also earned a masters degree in Physical Therapy which was inspired by his mother.

Jurek got into endurance running indirectly as a cross training activity for cross-country skiing. He’s one of these people with a pretty natural gift, winning or nearly winning every race he has entered, even when just starting out. But he never comes across as arrogant in the book, which he totally could do if he wanted to. For example, he talks about waiting at the finish line of each race, even sleeping there on-and-off, waking up to greet each finisher of a race that he won. I think his lack of arrogance is also true of the book and the way it’s written, as he really seems so approachable.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about the book, though I admit to finding myself insanely jealous of Jurek. Like many people who are gifted with whatever they do, they make it sound so easy! Like one race where he sprained his ankle but kept running. Yeah…I’m a mere mortal. Impressive, don’t get me wrong…but almost impossible to comprehend. Also, and this is not a criticism but more of an FYI, you’ll not really get any specific advice about running, as it’s not a book about how to become an ultraendurance runner. Which is fine with me!

One thing I really liked about this book was that he ends each chapter with a training tip or recipe. It’s a really nice way to connect you to him and his life, rather than just reading about him. And they’re all reasonable. It’s not like “here’s a tip for you to try at miles 120 of  race…” The other thing I like is that he makes it sound sorta easy to run an ultramathon. I, for one, have no intensions of running an ultramathon, but he inspires me when I think about Ironman, given that it is also an ultraendurance event.

Here’s a sample recipe from the book – Pancakes, of course! I haven’t made them yet but I plan to :)

8 Grain Strawberry Pancakes

1/4 c. spelt flour
1/4 c. buckwheat flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. oat flour
1/4 c. millet flour
1/4 c. rye flour
1/4 c. barley flour
1/4 c. corn meal
1/4 c. ground flax seed or chia seed
2 stp baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 c. non-dairy milk
3 T olive oil
2 T agave nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tsp. coconut oil

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
Combine wet ingredients, then add to dry ingredients.
Fold in strawberries.
Grease skillet with coconut oil over medium-low heat.
Pour 1/2-3/4 c. batter for each pancake.
Makes about (10) 6-in. pancakes
Top with maple syrup or fruit sauce; for serving

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