No Excuses

by jennifer

Sometimes I’m amazed how easy it is to talk myself out of something. I didn’t run yesterday because my I had a lame-o fashion injury. A couple days ago a cute but completely uncomfortable pair of dress shoes did a number on the back of my right ankle, chaffed the skin right off exactly where my running shoe meets the back of my ankle. I got ready to run this morning, but changed my mind when I put on my shoe and it rubbed the injury. “I’ll run tomorrow,” I said and let myself totally off the hook. Why make the situation worse, right?

So, I proceeded to load up on homemade grilled veggie pizza and sinfully good potato salad.

Then I ripped open an envelope containing an advance copy of “Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness.” The book was written by extreme, elite runner and vegan Scott Jurek with journalist Steve Friedman. I wasn’t home when the book was delivered so I didn’t tear into the envelope immediately like I usually do anytime I get a package that looks like it contains a book. Had I paged through this book yesterday, I would have sucked it up and went out for that run.


I’m in the middle of a lot of deadline work right now, so I couldn’t take the the afternoon off to read Jurek’s book from cover to cover, but I know I won’t be able to wait until all my projects are done to finish it. It’s good. So good, in fact, that after reading just the first couple chapters I went upstairs, changed into my running clothes, slathered my chafed skin with Vasoline, slapped a band aid on it and went out for a run. And I felt fine out there. It’s hard to read Jurek’s account of being laid out flat in 105 degree heat in Death Valley during an ultramarathon and not feel embarrassed about whimping out over a chaffed ankle. He had completed 70 miles “in a place where others had died walking” and had 65 more miles to go. The longest distance I’ve ever run is 26.2 miles during the fall in Michigan.

Well, reading this little sampling of Jurek’s story settled things for me. There’s running until you drop and then there’s dropping out before you even start running and I didn’t want to be part of that camp. A little sore on the back of my ankle wasn’t exactly a respectable reason not to run. So out the door I went. (Thanks for the motivation, Scott.)

I’m looking forward to sampling the vegan recipes in the book because I’ve eliminated most animal protein from my diet and I’m learning to fuel up with healthy alternatives. I’ll be sure to post about how all that goes.

And I have some good news for all you West Michigan runners, Jurek will be in Grand Rapids June 21 for the Dirty Herd group run at Robinette’s Apple Orchard from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. A talk, Q&A and book signing will follow at Schuler Books & Music on 28th Street at 7 p.m. Maybe I’ll see some of you folks there.

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