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Eat and Run: Scott Jurek

Fun Run participants just before the run. Note Jeff Reed representing the VHTRC in the blue shirt!
(Photo from Pacers Facebook page)

Since my earliest forays into ultrarunning, I've admired Scott Jurek. He was the real deal -- winning Western States 100 Miler year after year (7 times in a row!). He was a class act who stayed at the finish line of every race to cheer for every last finisher.

When I heard he was in town to promote his book Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, I jumped at the chance to see him in person. On a warm Friday evening, I donned my brand new red running dress and took my life into my hands the Metro over to Arlington to do a Fun Run with him.

We gathered in the back courtyard of The Nature Conservancy. What an incredible, stunning wildflower garden they have, hidden in plain sight! They even have orchard mason bees. *swoon*

Talking with Scott in the wildflower garden before the run.
(Photo from Pacers Facebook page)

I got the nerve up to approach him before the run and get a photo. Good thing I did, because he was swamped afterward and it was hot and muggy. I would have looked a sight in a post-run photo.

He asked what ultras I had run, and I mentioned Bull Run Run 50 Miler. He had run Bull Run Run in 1999, shortly before he went on to win his first Western States. "That's the VHTRC race," he said, smiling. I was pretty thrilled that he knew our little club by name!

Me and Scott Jurek. He's an amazing ultrarunner and gracious, too.

The run itself was anticlimactic. I didn't try to jockey for position at the front. We ran a section of the paved Custis bike path (sadly, no singletrack trail), ending at Pacers in Clarendon. Pacers had a nice spread for us: fruit, veggies, hummus and some baked goodies. Scott hung around outside and chatted.

Michael Wardian and Scott making plans to run the next day.
Somehow, they forgot to invite me.

We gathered inside the store and Scott spoke about his upcoming race in South Africa for charity, what he eats, how he trains and how he became a runner as a result of cross-training for Nordic skiing in high school.

One thing he said that resonated with me: To run an ultra you've got to be "hungry."  

It's so true. You may possess the training, fitness and ability to run 100 miles but you may not even make it 50K if you aren't focused on your goal. There are always excuses to DNF, and unless finishing truly matters to you, you're likely to succumb to those excuses.

Eat & Run - two thumbs up!

He also mentioned that he was looking forward to one day retiring from racing, and perhaps running the VHTRC Massanutten 100 Miler. How exciting it would be to have him toe the line!

I bought my book, tried on two pairs of running shoes and went for short test runs outside, browsed every item in Pacers (including the mens section) and got through Chapters 1 - 3 while waiting for the line for Scott to sign it. It was worth it.

And now, I can't put the book down. I'm captivated by his life story, his training, his races and his advice on running. His writing style is open and honest and right away, you feel like you know him. There are also a lot of great suggestions on how to become a better runner.

Though I'm not a vegan or vegetarian, I don't find his references to how he came to be a Vegan trite or sanctimonious. As someone who enjoys good food and cooking, I'm finding it interesting.

At the end of each chapter he includes a tasty-sounding recipe, and I'm looking forward to trying a fair number of them. I'll report back on my results!

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