And then - this is the truly astounding part - not only did he get up, but he then proceeded to smash the Badwater record by a full 10 minutes.
Clearly, the dude knows how to handle adversity.
Because we live in the golden age of social media, I found him (read: stalk him) immediately on Facebook. That's where I learned he had recently published not only the story of his racing career but also some of his favorite recipes. What?! Cue the inevitable trip to Barnes and Noble.
The book is great. Really. Scott weaves a compelling narrative about growing up poor in Minnesota, how an unlikely friendship with a colorful, uber-talented athlete set him on the path of greatness, along with many, many challenges he faced. He does it all without a hint of ego, something you get based on his portrayal in "Born to Run." But unlike "Born to Run," which makes you want to fist pump your love for running and yell it from the rooftops, there's a more melancholy tone to Scott's book. His childhood and teen years were shaped by his mother's illness, and at one point, he acknowledges he is a great ultrarunner because his parents "showed him what true suffering is." Ouch. I guess running 150 mile races isn't so bad when one has an emotionally-distant father and a sick mom. Heartbreaking, really. Made me want to give him a comforting hug.
Over the years, he eventually left behind the heavy-meat-and-processed-food diet of his family and became vegan, believing the less animal products he consumed, the faster his recovery. Seeing what he has accomplished, I have to admit, it's a compelling argument. Better even, he notes that is darn near impossible to go vegan without sounding like a "self-important zealot." That's the best phrase I've read describing veganism, because let's face it; the minute you stop eating meat or meat products, everyone wants to know why. And it makes eating out almost an impossibility.
I'm not vegan, as I am not declaring any lifestyle/diet to be superior, but I have tried several of the recipes and they are delicious. Like, shockingly good. So good, in fact, I bought the book as a gift for another runner friend. Since incorporating some of his tips and diet suggestions into my regimen, I've noticed not only the pounds melt away, but also my pace has picked up and I feel much, much stronger. There's always the potential for a bad run (13-miler, I'm looking at you), but overall, I feel strong. Like, freakishly strong.
I think it's the chia seeds.
My favorite recipe? The vegan chili. Brian, ye of the steak and potatoes, LOVED this one, too. Let Brian be your ultimate food critic; if he liked it, it means it's good.
And then, there's his Incan Quin-WOW! I call it my pear porridge. You will call it delicious.
And finally, if you have a sweet tooth like I do, you'll need some chocolate in your diet. I had never considered using unsweetened cocoa powder with beans (yes, beans), but somehow it works. And when I pulled these bad boys out of the oven, I actually did a victory lap around my kitchen shouting, "Behold! I have made brownies from BEANS!"
I'm not going to publish any of the recipes here, mainly because I'm married to a lawyer and know too much about copyright litigation, but I would encourage you to run to your local bookstore (seriously, run there; I bet you can. Leave your car at home) and get a copy. It's totally worth it. You don't need to declare vegan-status or sign up for an ultra race, just incorporate a new recipe or two into your daily life. You can thank Scott for it.