Saturday, May 18, 2013


You can probably tell that I like books, especially when I’m trying to learn something new. I have a ton of books on running and I love following the Minnesota running scene. So it’s safe to assume I’ve read Minnesota-native, Scott Jurek’s Eat & Run. But actually I hadn’t read his book until just recently. I guess I figured, I don’t run ultras and I’m not a vegan, so his book isn’t for me.

With my recent dietary changes, I finally got around to reading it – and I’m glad I did. I guess I was expecting more of a diet book or an ultra training manual, but really, it was neither. Scott simply tells a bunch of great stories about his running career, while weaving in his experiences with food and how he gradually transitioned towards a plant-based diet.

While reading the book, it helped a little that I “know of” his buddy Dusty that he mentions throughout the book. Back in 2003 I crewed for Dave Dehart at the Ed Fitz 100K. Dave had a great race, if I remember correctly he was 4th in about 6:45. One of the guys ahead of him was Dusty. I seem to remember him dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, baggy shorts and a bandanna. Plus, he always seemed to have a smile on his face, which I thought was odd for a 62-mile race. Anyway, he left a lasting impression on his way to 2nd place.

As I was reading the book, I came across Jess Koski’s name too. He lives in the Duluth area, has written some great Minnesota-related running articles in the past, and Jurek mentioned that Jess is also a vegan/vegetarian. Jess and I happen to be Facebook friends – we’ve probably communicated more through Facebook messaging than face-to-face conversations. So I sent him a note telling him I was reading the book and asked for some advice. He gave me a couple of good tips, but what stands out most was his last sentence, “Even as a runner you’ll lose five pounds in the first month or so.”

I touched on this at the end of my last post, but Jess was so right. Last year I was typically around 150 pounds. During my brief marathon training stint, before getting hurt, I was around 145 pounds. Keep in mind I was running 50+ MPW. Now I’m around 141-142 pounds and I’m only running 30-40 MPW. I can only reason that it has to do with cutting out meat and cow’s milk, and reducing processed foods.

“That’s great,” you say, “but what about race results? Will this help my running?” That's really what runners want to know, right? Well, yesterday we held a 5K at work. It wasn’t certified so I wore my GPS. It ended up being 3.14 miles and I ran 19:38 with splits of 5:52, 6:22, and 6:24. Not very good pacing, but I haven’t raced in a long time.

Anyway, these numbers mean nothing without a baseline for comparison. Well two winters ago I did a few indoor track races, including a mile and two 5Ks. I ran 5:53, 19:50-something and 20-flat. If you’re familiar with age-graded calculations, recently my age-performance percentages have been slipping under 70%. Yesterday’s time calculates to just under 72%. That may not sound like a lot, but the difference between 70% and 72% equates to 10 seconds per mile. That’ll save you over 30 seconds for a 5K or 5 minutes for a marathon.

As with anything else, when you start to see improvement, things start to feed upon themselves.  Needless to say I'm excited to see these numbers and to keep them going.  Now I just need to figure out where I want to take them.  I've been kicking around the idea of running TCM in the fall, but I'm not really sure if I want to run a marathon or not.  I have to think about that some more.  In the meantime, I think I'll jump in the (certified) Brian Kraft 5K and throw in a couple more tempo runs leading up to the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon.

Here’s a trailer for Jurek’s book;


nick said...

I read your blog a lot a few years ago when I was running seriously, but stopped when I went through a low point in running. I just randomly decided to check it out, since I've ramped my running back up a bit. I've also been cutting way down on my animal products consumption, and doing a lot of cross training. Eerily similar. Anyway, thought I'd mention that I like your blog, and thanks for pointing out this book- adding it to my list.

Chad said...

Thanks for checking in again, Nick. Good luck with your diet and running.

Jess Koski said...

Hmmm.. It's rare someone says "Jess was right!" Thanks Chad. Good to see and talk in person with you at Grandma's.