I was pleased to see an article this week on the New York Times website about Ultra marathoner Scott Jurek. I find his life fascinating and his outlook on life even more enthralling. My inner hippie resonated with Scott when reading Born To Run and I was spellbound by the article featured in Runner’s World a few months ago, titled ‘The King of Pain’.
This NY Times article was titled ‘Diet and Exercise to the Extremes’ but it was really a glimpse at how much Scott trains and what he consumes in the process.
As a vegetarian I love reading about other vegetarian and vegan athletes so I can say to people “See! You don’t need meat!” To put into perspective what kind of endurance Jurek has: Just today he beat the American record for the IAU 24-Hour Run in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France. In this race runners circle a loop that is slightly less than a mile, continuously for 24 hours and the person that runs the most miles is declared the winner. He completed 162! Now it's easy to see how 40 miles is considered an "easy run" for Scott. Best of all, he does this all with no animal products in his diet.
So, what does Scott Jurek eat? Clearly the man needs far more calories than the average human being so he loads up on quinoa, vegetables, oils, nut butters, sweet potatoes and tofu. The article mentioned that he often has a 1,000 calorie smoothie in the morning full of fruit and protein as well as oils as a source of fat.
Jurek had less than an ideal diet as a kid, as did I. His mom, who recently passed away, suffered from MS leaving the cooking to the kids. I can relate to being self-sufficient with my eating when I was young since my single mom worked... a lot. I lived off of Goldfish crackers, hot dogs and ramen noodles until college. While most people gain the freshman 15 I lost it. I realized what was actually in those foods I was eating and I changed my ways, just as Scott did when he was in college.
Scott Jurek is an inspiration to me not only for his incredible endurance but as a strong, humble and compassionate human being. He is the reason I am certain I can run a marathon. If this man can run well over 150 miles at once, I think we all can run 26.2!
Malibu Marathon here I come! (November 14th, 2010) Maybe eventually I will jump on the vegan bandwagon, but for now I am living an active vegetarian life and loving it. :)