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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Review: Finding Ultra, Revised and Updated Edition

Finding Ultra is Rich Roll's book about how his alcoholism nearly ruined his life, his subsequent rehabilitation, and his late blooming to become a world-class ultra-marathoner in his 40s as a Vegan.

A ton of the book is devoted to his descent into becoming a full-on alcoholic and his recovery. I am reminded of John T. Reed's statement that the only way to guarantee that you won't be an alcoholic is to never try a single drop. His constant relapse through much of his adult life is a reminder of how much this addictive and poisonous substance can destroy your life.

Roll's ultra achievements are pretty amazing, though I'm not sure it's super worthy of emulation. I'll note that just as his alcoholism probably had some genetic components to it, so did his subsequent rise to the top of the ultra ranks: even as a teenager he was already winning swimming races. It's also clear from his experience crashing his bike in unchallenging situations that he never bothered actually learning how to ride his bike, a common situation amongst triathletes, whose races rarely involve pack riding or technical descents but are rather a test of mental toughness and endurance.

Much of the book is devoted to his "PlantPower" approach, which apparently involves using a Vitamix blender to blend a lot of raw vegetables together with various seeds, etc into smoothies. He goes out of his way to mention that he's not actually sponsored by many of the supplements he mentions, but I didn't do any fact checking.

It's an OK book. I didn't come away feeling like it was time wasted, but I'm not going to go looking for other books or podcasts by him.

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