EPISODE 12: FUELED BY PLANTS: SCOTT AND JENNY JUREK

Featuring: Scott and Jenny Jurek

 

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This week's podcast episode features a candid conversation with ultrarunners, Scott and Jenny Jurek. Scott's record-breaking run of the Appalachian Trail is chronicled in his latest book North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail, and in the upcoming film The Game Changers.

Support for this week's episode comes from Nutramilk - the easiest and fastest way to make your own plant milk at home!  Enjoy a $50 discount and free shipping with code PLANTSTRONG.

Seeking a solution for making the plant-strong lifestyle convenient and inspiring?  The Plant-Strong Meal Planner offers 1000s of recipes customized to your preferences, an integrated shopping list and grocery delivery!  Our Engine 2 Coaches are on hand to offer support and answer any questions - all for $1.90 a week when you sign up for a year.  Visit our Plant-Strong Meal Planner today!

Scott Jurek Website

Game Changers Movie Website

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Scott Jurek Bio:

Named one of the greatest runners of all time, Scott Jurek has become a living legend.  He has claimed victories in nearly all of ultrarunning’s elite trail and road events including the historic 153-mile Spartathlon, the Hardrock 100, the Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon, and—his signature race—the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, which he won a record seven straight times. Scott has also taken the running world by storm with his 2015 Appalachian Trail speed record, averaging nearly 50 miles a day over 46 days—and the United States all-surface record in the 24-Hour Run with 165.7 miles: 6.5 marathons in one day.


Transcript of Episode 12: Fueled By Plants: Scott and Jenny Jurek

Rip Esselstyn: Support for today's episode is brought to you by the Nutra Milk. I know that kitchen counter space is prime real estate and in order for an appliance to make the cut in any house, it has to be super useful, not just a dust collector that rarely gets plugged in or hides away in a cupboard. I can share that since adding the Nutra Milk to our kitchen, we have taken an immense amount of joy in making and creating our own oat milk from scratch. I love plant-based milks but our family had a serious oat milk habit that was costing us over $150 a month. Now, we make our own in the blink of an eye and it has made my Rip's big bowl cereal something that I've eaten every day for the last 30 years for breakfast even better. Believe me, your kitchen counter will be glad you made room for this blender. visit thenutramilk.com and use the code PlantStrong for a $50 discount and free shipping.

Rip Esselstyn: In this first season of Plant-Strong, we've showcased a lot of uplifting conversations to help inspire Joe Inga, our Bronx firefighter as he adopts a plant strong lifestyle. Today, I want to invite you to listen in on a very candid and longer conversation with someone who inspires me. And that's Mr. Scott Jurek. Scott is by far one of the toughest Plant-Strong athletes on the planet and the most accomplished ultra distance runner ever. He has won more races than I can name, but just to name a few, The Spartathon 153 mile race from Sparta to Greece, he's won that three consecutive times. The Hard Rock 100 mile race, the former American record holder for the greatest distance covered in 24 hours, Scott ran 165.7 miles. And he also has won the Western States 100 mile Endurance Run seven consecutive times.

Rip Esselstyn: And reading his latest book North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail takes you right alongside his harrowing efforts, almost a last hurrah to break the world record of 2189 miles in just under 46 days, eight hours and seven minutes. And as you're going to hear, Scott goes deep, deep into the pain cave. So deep in fact that his wife, Jenny, wasn't sure if he'd ever be the same. You'll hear Scott, Jenny and I reference many of the people who helped Scott along the way on the Appalachian Trail using their nicknames such as Hordy, Speed Goat, and many others. I would encourage you to roll with it and imagine yourself out on the Appalachian Trail, the Green Tunnel, for close to 50 days, averaging over 50 miles a day. And when all is said and done, covering over one million feet of elevation.

Rip Esselstyn: Scott woke up one day reflecting on all of his athletic achievements while he was in fleece line slippers making pancakes one Sunday morning in Boulder, Colorado. And he looked around and thought, is this what I've become? A Sunday morning pancakes kind of guy? I think that a lot of men can relate to this place where we've landed in life. We used to thrive on adrenaline. We couldn't get enough of it. And I can tell you personally as a firefighter, there was nothing as exciting as going code three with lights blazing and sirens blaring, not knowing what exactly we were going to find when we arrived on the scene.

Rip Esselstyn: Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with domestic bliss and family time and being comfortable. But there's something to be said for plunging back into the unknown, setting a goal that scares you and going after it. When was the last time that you did something that pushed you to your physical and mental limits and got you out of your Sunday morning pancake comfort zone? Personally, I am focusing on breaking the world record in the 200 meter backstroke for men age 55 to 59. I'm terrified and over the moon excited at the same time, and I know that I will be entering my own pain cave of sorts as I push myself to the brink.

Rip Esselstyn: I'm releasing this episode ahead of the holiday week in hopes that you'll take us with you as you head out on your next adventure and push yourself out of your Sunday morning pancake comfort zone. Thanks for listening.

Rip Esselstyn: There's so many like amazing quotes in here. One of them is, "This is who I am and this is what I do." You had to like remind yourself this several times, right?

Scott Jurek: Oh, definitely. I mean, that comes from my buddy, Horty. I won't ruin the whole story, but there's a point where I'm really badly injured where things are looking super bleak, and it happens early on and this is where I had basically a really bad mid quad tear. And then on the other side, I had runners knee patella femoral pain. So anybody who's had the kneecap tracking problems that runners have, that's what was going on. So I had two bad injuries, one in each leg. Limping was almost impossible. Just getting down the trail was extremely rough. And then lo and behold, Horty comes out and helps me in this section.

Scott Jurek: And again, he and I have a love hate relationship, I mentioned this in the book where, so Horty always like has this what I call half sage advice where you're like, okay, it's kind of the advice where like, okay, some of it's good, some of it's not. It sounded something really simple and like something stupid where Horty is, but the more I thought about it, it was really critical. It just really came, it distilled things down. And that's what I had to do on the AT, I had to distill life down to just putting one foot in front of the other each day getting out the van door, another 50 miles another, another 48 miles, another 59 miles, 54, whatever it was, and I just had to keep doing that.

Scott Jurek: So his advice of like, this is who I am, this is what I do, sometimes you just need that simple advice and that simple mantra versus something complex because life was pretty, it got really hard and sometimes there was a complexity to it out on the trail. But in general, it just came down to me putting one foot in front of the other and figuring out a way through.

Rip Esselstyn: And figuring out a way through, I mean, this was the rainiest June in 300 years I think you wrote. Not only are you having to, like, get out there and go 40, 50, 59 miles a day, but you're also having to like fight the elements. You got to go through "Rockovania", right? You've got to go through "Vermud." I mean, you wanted a test and you wanted to suffer. I mean, it sounds like you got it in spades and then some.

Jenny Jurek: It's funny because the locals would show up and they'd be like, oh, the next section is going to be flat, more runnable. Tomorrow, you're going to hit some easy running. And we kept looking forward to that and then every day we'd be like, oh my gosh, this is epic. Just because we were so new and everything was so fresh to us. You know like, your local trail might seem like you could do that with your eyes closed, but to somebody new, you're like, oh. So we never really got into a groove where it was like, oh, cool, this part we can just kind of tune out and just like free wheel just run smoothly. Every day was kind of like strenuous and stressful. It was never really, really-

Scott Jurek: It was a grind. And that's when when you do 50 miles a day, there's nothing easy about that. Like, sure, you can have better days or days and times where you're like feeling good or Jenny had days where everything clicked along strategically or like, oh, she found the places easily or found the great grocery store or that sort of thing. But in general, because you're doing these huge distances, these huge physical challenges each day, it's not like, oh, now we can coast or now it gets easier. And the weather and all of those elements just magnify everything. So if you're suffering somewhat, you're now going to suffer tenfold or fivefold, whatever it is. It adds another five, 10 pounds to your pack. When in actuality, it isn't.

Rip Esselstyn: I mean, look at anybody that's been on a camping trip and all of a sudden it starts raining, and it just makes everything that much gloomier and darker and more depressing. Again, I mean, I just can't imagine what a tough June that must have been for you guys.

Jenny Jurek: Yeah, I mean, it was hard for me to watch them like every morning try to get himself mentally psyched to put on the same wet, dirty socks, wet, stinky clothes. His pack was wet. Nothing ever dried out. And so, just like the morale was low every morning. And so it was hard for me to be like, get up, go, you're late, tick tock, tick tock, you know, start your day because I knew how hard it was just to motivate to get out of the door of the van.

Rip Esselstyn: So one of the one of the things before you popped over on your run, is we were talking about you guys as a team. I mean, what do you think makes you and Scott such a great team?

Jenny Jurek: You know, I think it's just that we're good friends, like we're best friends. And I know that sounds cliche. We'd been friends for years before we started dating and like we just kind of knew each other and had this different kind of rapport. I think just having that basis of respect and like admiration and just like, there's always been like ease when we hang out. And I think that really helps when we talk and when we have discussions or like arguments. It's no drama, or low drama mostly.

Scott Jurek: We have our ups and downs. It's not like perfect, but you're able to, you have to be able to ride the different highs and lows. And I think what's good about, like Jenny could be hard on me at times. You have to know each other really well and I think that's important with any team is you've got to know your team members. Or if you don't know them, you still have to have respect and you have to have understanding. And I think that's what we were good at. And being adaptable and just being like, okay, well, Jenny's not psyched about all the people...

Rip Esselstyn: It was so apparent in the book that you were just like so struggling with all the people that wanted a piece of Scott and wanted to run with Scott, and they would drive five hours, a father and son and they'd knock and like, you know, I mean, and you're just like, oh, not again, oh my God. But at some point, I feel like you're like, all right, I just got to like kind of roll with it and be okay with it.

Jenny Jurek: Like now I'm always embarrassed when people bring it up. And I'm just like, you really said that.

Rip Esselstyn: But you were being protective.

Jenny Jurek: I was being protective and it was stressful. When we wrote the book, I didn't want to change, you know, I didn't want to like soften it. Like I wanted to be real and like, this is real, this is how I felt in the moment. And like, in hindsight, now, I'm just like, I should have been like nicer. But it was stressful because I didn't have time to do anything. I didn't have time to chit chat. I didn't even have time to like clean anything. I had to just like do my thing, figure out where to go, drive, find gas, find ice, find a place where I could wash the dishes. Just everything was so stressful for me. So all the people who are like, so, how's he doing? I'd just be like, don't ask me. But yeah, that was stressful.

Jenny Jurek: But then once I got, there was more people came out to help us and once I got a little more help, and then we got our rhythms out and once we kind of got out of the south into more populated areas, it was more fun for me to like meet, and we met a lot of great people and I loved, some of them were still like family.

Scott Jurek: We still get Christmas cards from them. Like the woman who brought us like a bag of just vegan groceries, stuff that we hadn't seen in a while. Again, some of these are like, but Jen was like, well, like, I haven't been able to shop for any of this stuff because they just weren't those kind of stores. So these people that just out of the goodness of their heart, and that's what the Appalachian Trail is all about, from Trail Angels and all the history with the through-hikers. Yes, maybe I got a little bit more than that because people were following along and could come and search us out. But yeah, the vegan donuts, all these things that you take for granted, if you're out on the trails, because trail angels are all over the place on the Appalachian Trail.

Rip Esselstyn: I don't know if it was Horty or if it was Speedgoat but one of them, basically, they came and first you were like, and then after a while you're like, well, I'm really glad this person's here. And they were like saying, all right, Scott, if you want to even think about the record, you got to do this, you got to do this, you got to do this. And you were willing to say, okay, I'm going to like move over, I'm going to let them kind of make some make some of these calls. And I think that Scott referred to it as nickel and diming and pennying your way to get the record, is that right?

Jenny Jurek: Yeah and that's another thing is just we were out there doing our thing and then all of a sudden, Horty and Speedgoat come and there's all these different people and there's so many cooks in the kitchen. Horty's telling them how to do it. Speedgoat's kind of telling. And I was like, hey, wait a minute, I'm in charge. But then after a while I'm like, oh, no, no, these guys know what they're talking about and these guys know how to talk to Scott because I don't really know how to push him to keep doing these things. But it was great to just kind of hand over the reins to those experienced like mentors and really just learn from them. And Speedgoat, yeah, he was one where I was like, no, no, I don't want because, you know, this is his baby and I didn't want him to come in, and I didn't really know what his intentions were, his motives were.

Rip Esselstyn: It was probably to learn the trail even better so he can get the record the next year.

Jenny Jurek: But honestly, he was just so psyched to be there. He was like, oh, finally, somebody is amped on my project. So I think he really, he really just loved the energy, and then his energy was just so great for me to have around. It was invaluable.

Scott Jurek: And that's an example of the sport of ultrarunning, like, yes, when we're on the race course, you know, it comes to blows and we'll just, we'll beat the heck out of each other. But then after the race, we'll have a beer. And like Karl's one of those buddies where like, yeah, we're serious competitors but that kindness of him coming out came from the best place. And it also added this fun dimension for Jenny. It added a lot of fun because he's just a geek about this stuff and Jenny's just like, finally, somebody who's like totally geeking out on this and can take a little load off of those things and then she could lighten up and just have a little fun and be like okay, I don't need to be stressed because Karl's like okay, we got to go down this road, we're going to take a right. He just knew like all these like, you know, he could recite off, is it 32A or 32B, some forest roads.

Jenny Jurek: He knew the exits.

Rip Esselstyn: He has dialed in is Topher because it sounds like Topher at the very end was like, he had it dialed in like crazy.

Scott Jurek: Topher's got the CEO mentality and Topher came in not knowing the AT like Karl but researched enough and then had apps with numbers so he's like, you know, he's used to looking at crunching spreadsheets and like he could tell me like, hey, realistically, this is not going to happen. So, bottom line, he's the bottom line guy, like he could tell me exactly like if this, if you don't get on the trail now, we're not going to break the record. It was a matter of like, so, he could really look at it that way where Speedgoat knew all the ins and outs. Topher was just really good at analyzing the data and information available, but Speedgoat, I mean, he's like a bloodhound who could sniff out the At anywhere. Like he would know.

Rip Esselstyn: So of the 2189 miles, how many of those miles would you say you ran by yourself and how many were with these guys? Strangers that wanted to run with you, Jenny, do you have any idea?

Scott Jurek: It's a really good question and only a couple people have asked me this and it's really tricky. I would say, I would say I probably ran close to half of it by myself and the other half with people. Because there were stretches, like later, I would say I had somebody with me a good chunk of the time. The last third, second half, it was a good. But then the first parts of it, very little.

Jenny Jurek: Yeah, there were two weeks when it was just us. I would only run like five to eight miles in the mornings. And then like occasionally, a through-hiker would run with him, run a little section and stuff.

Scott Jurek: Or hike with me for a section.

Jenny Jurek: I would say maybe half he ran by himself.

Scott Jurek: 40% on the lower end, like maybe it was. Because it was surprising. Like yeah, there were a lot of people that would come out.

Rip Esselstyn: One of the quotes that one of these guys threw out there, I think it might have been Timmy, but he said, you know what, this is like watching three movies. It was Forrest Gump, it was Groundhog Day, and it was The Truman Show. Can you can you explain how that's the case for people?

Scott Jurek: Oh, definitely. And that was that was our buddy. Fat Boy [Godale 00:18:29]. Fat Boy, his way of like summing it up was by movies. It was Forrest Gump-ish because sometimes I had 30 people. Like I ran across the-

Rip Esselstyn: Was it the Rip Van River?

Scott Jurek: Yeah, exactly.

Rip Esselstyn: That's like seven miles from the farm where we have Plant-Stock.

Jenny Jurek: Oh yeah. Yeah, we didn't see you out there, Rip.

Rip Esselstyn: I know, I wasn't there. Sorry.

Jenny Jurek: No worries.

Scott Jurek: It did have this feeling and it had an energy. Like I said, people were like feeding off of it, I was feeding off of theirs. It was cool to be around like. There was an excitement happening. And so, it was that kind of Forrest Gump feeling of like, we got to follow this guy. We want to be a part of it. I wanted to hear from them. I fed off of their stories, people tell me like what has changed in their lives and like how they used to weigh 150 pounds more and just all these amazing stories that gave me motivation.

Scott Jurek: And then of course, The Truman Show because Jenny can relate to this.

Jenny Jurek: Every day the same, Horty would knock on the door and be like, let's go to Maine. It was like the same awful alarm clock sort of thing.

Rip Esselstyn: Is that Groundhog Day or Truman Show?

Scott Jurek: That's Groundhog Day.

Jenny Jurek: Yeah, and then The Truman Show was that everybody else was watching, following the tracker, following social media. Where I was, I was always in the woods, like at the trails ahead, no service. And so people knew more than I did where he was, when he was coming. Like I'd be waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting and then five cars will pull up and they're like, oh, he's five miles out, he'll be here in an hour. Like cool, great, thanks for update. And then people would be like, oh, yeah, my son posted a picture on Facebook with Scott so I know he'll be here. So it was like everybody else was watching live real time and we're just kind of in the bubble not really knowing.

Rip Esselstyn: Well, and at one point, you and Scott had a blow out where you started running and you were like, okay, I'm going to break him and then Scott, you're like, I can't believe that he's catching me and he caught you. And then you're like, you grabbed the tracker from him and you're like, it's the tracker or me, you decide.

Jenny Jurek: Rip. So much detail. That's exactly what happened. I was just out, I was like, I was so mad because, you know, I mean, we just never had any time to talk, never had any time to kind of just like vent to each other. There was never any private moments in the end. And so, there was one time when he just kind of like disrespected me. And I was just like oh no you didn't. Like in front of all of these people, strangers, and then also some of our good friends. I was just like, hahaha, and just like took off.

Rip Esselstyn: You didn't care that he was probably ...

Jenny Jurek: Broken.

Rip Esselstyn: So broken and messed up.

Jenny Jurek: No. That time I was Just like, I was just like, I don't care if I sabotage this. You just have these emotions. I was done. I was like, I just spent the last two hours washing your dirty shorts and here you are like just you know. He was joking, but we didn't have time to like iron that out.

Scott Jurek: And that's what's hard because I was having to be on with all these strangers. I was performing my athletic endeavor. On top of that, I was not entertaining, but I just couldn't be myself with my buddy. And that was like when Jenny and I could be ourselves as a couple, like when we ran together with no one else around us or my buddy, when I could just really tell him how I'm feeling. I had to like put on this game face for all these people. I'd still be real but the reality is, I'd have to tell them sometimes like, hey, I need a break. You guys have to drop back for a little bit now and just let me kind of like sort things out.

Scott Jurek: So it was a little crazy and that's where, it was hard because for Jenny and I, the whole Truman Show analogy, we were living a different life so to speak. Like, I didn't know what was happening on the outside world except when people, I'd ask them, like, sometimes I'd want little pieces because what I was experiencing was so far removed from that. We never looked at, I never looked at the news, like Jenny sometimes would look at social media but it wasn't like she was pouring over the news. And so, people would give me bits and pieces. Or people would be like, oh yeah, the next episode of The Game of Thrones. I'm like, hey, I haven't like listened or watched any of it.

Scott Jurek: There were these things like, yeah, we definitely were detached from the outside world, which was so cool because that's when you do these things. You want to be detached. If you go to a meditation retreat or you go to something like this where you're out in the woods and you're just kind of disconnecting, like you're purposefully doing that. There's a lot of value in that. But then there was also the stress of everything happening around the outside.

Rip Esselstyn: I can't even imagine and I don't think, so do you guys, looking back on it, did you have any idea the depths of the the pain cave and the suffering that you guys were going to go through?

Jenny Jurek: I didn't. I mean, the way he talked about, he was like, oh yeah, I got this. Here's the number crunching, here's spreadsheet. We'll be back in time for your birthday. I just thought it was like, we're going to go on a fun adventure. I knew it was going to be hard but I didn't realize it was going to get dark.

Scott Jurek: I definitely knew it was going to get dark. And I probably sugar-coated a bit for Jenny because I tried to say oh, it's going to be like a fun family vacation. Yeah, I'll be able to knock this out. And that's that confidence, like you have to have that confidence. I had to put some of my old self of like, okay, yeah, this is totally doable, I know I can break this record. I have Speedgoat out there being like, dude, this is really tight. And I'm like, yeah, I know, but I'm like, I can bust this out. That's the mentality you have to have.

Scott Jurek: But then on the other hand, I did have respect for it. I knew it was a trail that I still had to pay respect to. The Appalachian Trail doesn't have horse travel, it's not switched back as much. It's foot travel only. So, it gets tricky that way where it is, it is a trail that's going to take a lot out. And I knew the experience together was going to push our relationship. I knew a lot of those things. I just didn't know how far. I wanted to get uncomfortable and I knew it was going to get gnarly at times.

Rip Esselstyn: I have all these quotes in here that I'd love to read but it's just, it gets uglier and uglier and uglier and uglier, until at some point, I think you said or somebody said, you know what, Scott wasn't at one with the trail, he was becoming the trail. You were like becoming this this feral creature, right?

Scott Jurek: Definitely.

Rip Esselstyn: That was like, yeah, you were turning into the trail. And I just was like, oh my god. You referred to him like as a piece of driftwood. He looks like an old piece of driftwood. I just kept thinking of Gollum, he's like turning into Gollum on the trail.

Jenny Jurek: He was. I mean, he was so dirty, just like dirt embedded deep in every like wrinkle, his fingernails. He smelled like compost. He kind of had this like ranky fermented stink about him. He was like, he'd like do all these weird like facial ticks and his hands were kind of shaky. And I think just, you know, the cumulative lack of sleep and obviously the miles. He was just so used to living on the trail. He would just like stop to pee and like not even worry that like 20 people are behind him watching. I'm just like, whoa, okay, really going for it here. It's funny to laugh at now, but at the time, I was really worried. Like I was worried that he wouldn't come back. He had just this like look in his eyes that was foreign to me after knowing him for so long. Like I saw him at races and stuff, I'd never seen this-

Rip Esselstyn: But I think that's just a testament to how deep you went. Do you feel like you've ever gone that deep before?

Scott Jurek: Oh, this was on a next level for sure. You can't even compare the physical challenge but the mental challenge. There's nothing else I've done probably in my life that compares in terms of athletically and physically, mentally.

Rip Esselstyn: But so I think that that's, I mean, that's why you were afraid that maybe can he come back from this, right? It's like Rocky Balboa going 15 rounds with Apollo. And at some point you're like, he's like, you know, cut me.

Rip Esselstyn: One of the most common questions that I get from athletes is how to properly fuel. So, before we dive back in, I want to talk candidly about how I've made it easier to eat this way for thousands of people with our Plant-Strong meal planner. We know that making a big change can seem overwhelming and it isn't easy coming up with new menus week over week over week, or to stay inspired in the kitchen. Now, whether you're fueling a week at the office or a week on the Appalachian Trail, the answer for us is always the same, we just eat plants.

Rip Esselstyn: Now, to help inspire you, we've created a simple and inexpensive solution. It's called the Engine 2 Plant-Strong Meal Planner. It's filled with hundreds upon hundreds of recipes and we're adding new recipes all the time. And it has the really savvy ability to customize your plant-based life based upon your individual preferences, your household size, and any allergens you may have. And it's staffed with the absolutely friendliest Engine 2 coaches to help answer any and all of your questions. I would invite you to visit mealplanner.engine2.com. It's just a buck 90 a week when you sign up for a year. And you can save $10 off the annual plan with the code PlantStrong, one word. Now, let's return to Scott and Jenny and the Appalachian Trail.

Rip Esselstyn: Let me read this passage right here. "It's a strange thing, but even though I remember feeling triumphant and optimistic when Special Forces and I summited and then began our descent, I would later hear that this was the point in the journey when I really started to frighten people. Strangers stared at me when I picked up my food with my dirty fingers and shoved it into my mouth. They said I looked like a shadow of myself, a weaker, sicker version. My skin was stretched over my cheekbones, and I had grown scraggly facial hair, more than a Heisenberg but not quite a beard." And that's before it really starts getting ugly, right?

Jenny Jurek: Yeah, that was the start.

Rip Esselstyn: That was the start of it.

Jenny Jurek: Things got worse from there.

Scott Jurek: That's why when you said earlier like you can't imagine things getting worse but like that's what kept happening. Like, yes, there were some highs for sure. Like, people would join us. Our buddy Timmy who came out like he helped reset things. There were those individuals that helped us, like Special Forces where we'd get like moments of hope, but then things would just get so, I mean, the lack of sleep and just everything started to chip away to where there was nothing.

Rip Esselstyn: Well, that's the thing. The cumulative effect of the stress that you're putting your body under, you know, the fact that you're basically wasting away just because you're expending so many calories even though you're eating what, 7000 a day. And then the fact you're asking your body, you go 59 miles, you get four hours of sleep, and then you got to wake up and you got to go 59 or 50, whatever you got to do. And your body's not able to really recover during that sleep phase. And then you have this part. I think it's the last seven days, you call it, the long last day if I'm not mistaken, right?

Jenny Jurek: Oh yeah.

Rip Esselstyn: I mean, that, that is where I'm like, oh my god, it can't get any worse, then it does. It gets worse and worse. And you talk about how, you know, I was so looking forward to actually becoming trail hardened and having my body kind of get used to this and you just get, you started getting buried and buried and buried. And you said, you know, he's basically digging his own grave.

Jenny Jurek: Yeah. I mean because like you said, in the whites of New Hampshire, that was like an all time low. But then that wasn't even close to the lowest part. That was just the start. Like things got so much worse from there. Every time I saw him I'd be scared and I just wanted to like slam the door shut, lock the doors and drive away.

Rip Esselstyn: Did you ever just look at him and just start bawling like oh my gosh, what's happening?

Jenny Jurek: No, I didn't start, I never started bawling because, you know, it wasn't that kind of like oh, I feel, it was more just like jaw dropping kind of thing.

Scott Jurek: And she couldn't let that on to me. I mean, that's that, you talk about team and like, Jenny is here like managing this whole thing. You can't have the team leader being like, oh, crying. That's not a position that you can-

Rip Esselstyn: But the team leader is also your wife.

Scott Jurek: Exactly. That's the thing. And so, like in the inside, yeah, she might have had that. But on the outside, she had to make this sound like, okay, fire up everyone, like we got this.

Rip Esselstyn: I'm reading that and I'm like, okay, if I'm Scott Jurek and I push myself that hard, I can't do it. I can't wake up after two hours of sleep on that long last seven day stretch and doing that again and again and again again, and put one foot in front of the other. I mean, you talk about how one point, you're standing there. There's a route in front of you, and you're like, should I go to the left, should I go to the right? How do I lift my leg? And then you trip over it, right? You're that decimated and obliterated. But I don't understand. What drove you to keep going? Was it you didn't want to disappoint Jenny? Was it you wanted the record? Why?

Scott Jurek: I think it's a combination of all of those things. Like the record was the impetus for sure. If I didn't have the record looming out there, I would been like, you know, let's take this casual. Why push? So I think we all, everyone needs a record, a goal or something in their life that is looming out there. It's not always your focus because some days it was like, I couldn't even think about the record, I just had to like, okay, how am I going to stay alive right now or get down this section of trail, put one foot in front the other. But we need something, an impetus to push us further.

Scott Jurek: And I think that's what the book is about, that's what this journey. But for everyone out there, there's always a little bit more in us than we think. And that's where I was squeezing out like, I mean, I was squeezing out the towel or the sponge like, and there was like just moisture coming out of it. But there was still something to squeeze out. And I think that's the testament or the lesson here for me is that even all of these athletic events that I've accomplished and thought I went to deep and dark places, this was something that was going to bring me further. And even when I thought I was at the brink, when I couldn't give any more, still had something in there. That's why I think I do these things. When I look back at it, that was the importance. Like if I didn't have that, it wouldn't been as-

Rip Esselstyn: You certainly were, you weren't back home in Kansas making pancakes on Sunday anymore, were you?

Scott Jurek: No, it wasn't.

Jenny Jurek: But that morning, I mean, like you talked about, that last night he rolled into the van and he thought he was going get four hours of sleep and Topher was like, one hour.

Rip Esselstyn: You're like two, two dude.

Scott Jurek: I don't want to ruin it for people but like, it almost got to a point like I almost wanted [crosstalk 00:34:51]

Jenny Jurek: Toph was in tears.

Rip Esselstyn: He said he gave you that talk and then he went to his car and started bawling.

Jenny Jurek: Yeah. It was so emotional because we still had this big mountain to climb. There was no time, and Chrissy was crying, our friends there were just like, because he was basically stumbling on pine needles at that point, just like couldn't even function as a normal human being. But then that morning, you know, two hours of sleep, he rolls out like fresh as, you know, like our first day. I think about like, LeBron James says never underestimate the heart of a champion. And I feel like that, Scott, he had all these years, he knows that feeling, he knows he's so close. He knows how to get it done. No matter, like, if his body is saying no, something in his heart was just like, I'm going to do this.

Jenny Jurek: His whole attitude switched. He was like laughing. He was climbing up that mountain like better than I've ever seen him climb. It was just like, this is what I do, I'm a champion. And this is, oh, I'm going to ride this to the finish. And I was like, you got this. It was totally revolution.

Rip Esselstyn: And that is I think a great transition to I want to read this because this is insane. "Back on day two, Jurker had told a reporter that this would be his masterpiece. I'd cringe. But in a way he was right. He'd gone to the graveyard and come back. He'd messed up and learned along the way. He pushed his body beyond what was possible and put it all out there for the world to see. In one sense, it was the most beautiful expression of his running career." I mean, wow.

Jenny Jurek: That's how I felt. I was blown away. I was like, here's my husband, here's my best friend, this person I've known for so long in such a close and intimate way, we were always together. And I'd never seen this before, I'd never seen this side. I've never been so inspired by this person that I know so well. It was just, like I said, yeah, it was so beautiful.

Rip Esselstyn: Scott.

Jenny Jurek: And not to be cheesy or anything, but it was like, it was a really special moment to see and witness.

Scott Jurek: And why we're writing about this, for those listening, we trade voices, so Jenny and I share voices in the book. I think the ability for her to describe things too helps with the book. And writing the book was 10 times harder than the AT it seemed like. We went through three different drafts. When you read phrases now for because like Jenny and I haven't like read it in a long time so it's fun to like hear some of these phrases because we really, we put it out there in the book. That's what we did on the trail as well. And it's one of those things where, yeah, just until, you can look back at it now and be like, that was amazing. But at the time, and that's I think, for everyone out there, like life is going to get tough, life does throw a lot of roadblocks in the way. It is a grind. And some way, somehow, you have to put one foot in front of the other and you get through it.

Rip Esselstyn: Yeah. I want to read another passage if you guys don't mind.

Jenny Jurek: Is it mine or Scott's?

Rip Esselstyn: Well, we'll find out. "Looking back, I could see we were under-prepared and naive. We thought we'd have this romantic and healing adventure for our tight family of two. But I realized that we would never be standing here if it weren't for the countless strangers who'd come out to help. They felt like family too and I felt content. My heart was full. I'd stopped thinking about my yearning for a baby, which had cast appall over the drive out east. Jurker and I had everything we needed and more. I had seen this man who I spent practically every hour with at home transform into someone I didn't know and then reemerge as someone better. He'd needed this journey, he'd needed to return to the edge. He had slowly transition from ultra running legend to my domestic dream, and he needed to once again feel what it was like to suffer."

Rip Esselstyn: "Elective suffering is such a strange thing. At its essence, pushing his limits was a way for Jurker to learn more about himself and our relationship. Like Dean Potter once said, 'I willingly expose myself to death consequent situations in order to predictably enter heightened awareness and it often leads to a feeling of connectivity with everything.'" I mean, that is such a powerful quote.

Jenny Jurek: I mean, RIP Dean, such a powerful man, just like this life force that was, that is just missed, but he was such a mystic and we really admired the way he carried himself and lived his life. Those guys were so similar. They had a lot of brotherly ...

Rip Esselstyn: And there's a really amazing section in there where you talk about, where you and Dean and Scott, you're in Yosemite and what are you climbing?

Jenny Jurek: Half Dome.

Rip Esselstyn: Half Dome. Scott, you were not having fun.

Scott Jurek: I was definitely out of my element. I knew that but I was like, I'm going to do this for Jenny because it's her birthday. I'm going to haul up all her stuff. And yeah, it was, it was one of those things, we won't ruin it for everyone, but they definitely have to read that because I think it's a moment of like me showing a real weakness of mine. Like I'm not, like Jenny's super comfortable on the rocks, like pulling herself up on a frayed rope or half frayed rope to get up stuff.

Rip Esselstyn: You're just as much an adventure seeker and liver of life. I mean, fashion designer, right? Didn't you used to like, or still design clothes for Patagonia and now your own line? Yes, no?

Jenny Jurek: I freelance now. I worked in-house for Patagonia for three years and then now I freelance for other brands and stuff. But, yeah, I mean, I'm a climber, I'm ultra runner, I think that's where we find a lot of common ground is just that we both like to push each other, and also just like help each other achieve their goals. Like climbing Half Dome was one of my dreams and Scott, he was like, let's do it, let's make this happen, let's curve out a weekend. And then he did, he hiked, I won't ruin the story but he's just a champ and always like helping me achieve my goals.

Rip Esselstyn: Yeah, yeah.

Scott Jurek: That's how it works. Like Jenny has a respect, like she doesn't always like to push herself. I like to say like, in the book, we mention this too, where, Jenny doesn't like to hurt as much as I do. Like, she's a little-

Jenny Jurek: I'm casual.

Scott Jurek: She's more casual but she still has that respect and understanding of like what it takes or why somebody would do that. And I think that's important for when people embark on goals or try to, whether it's change anything in your lifestyle. So you're somebody who's changing your diet, like, it helps to have family members who, okay, maybe they're not fully on board but they at least respect, like, okay, I'm going to respect that you're going to try this and do this and not like bring you down. I think that's the most important thing when it comes to a friendship or relationship of any type. You have to be able to be supportive on whatever level that is.

Rip Esselstyn: I think we can we can talk about this, it won't ruin it for people, but you got the record?

Scott Jurek: Yes. And most people know that. That wasn't really hard, like some people like they followed online and social media, and they're like, oh, I don't need to read the book, I like followed along, I lived it on social media as it was happening. But people that do read the book after like, whoa, there were so many things we didn't know. And that's what we really tried to do. Really tried to bring out like the motivation and inspiration for people that may never want to do the 2000 mile Appalachian Trail but they want to, or go after a record of that type, but that they could get something from it.

Rip Esselstyn: So 46 days, eight hours, seven minutes, you broke the world record by three hours. Did you even know you had it with a day and a half to go or did it literally come down to-

Scott Jurek: It literally came down, it literally came down to that last morning. And that's where like, if you had asked me like, everyone's just like, whoa, what a finish, that was awesome, did you plan that? I'm like, no. You don't try and plan like suffering....

Rip Esselstyn: And then to me one of the most miraculous things is, and then you beat the record on Jenny's birthday.

Scott Jurek: Oh, yeah.

Rip Esselstyn: What a birthday present.

Jenny Jurek: I know. A happy birthday.

Rip Esselstyn: It was a beautiful day.

Jenny Jurek: It was a beautiful Sunday I think. Just Bluebird summer day. It was awesome. I mean, because we could have had horrible weather. But that last week when he was really hurting, we had great, it was the only time in our trip where we had-

Scott Jurek: A good block. That was amazing to be able to share that with Jenny. Like, even though things were tight, there got to be a point like, not until those last five miles where I knew, okay, unless I really mess things up, it would be hard to not break the record and that's where we could finally just enjoy that last five miles together. Climbing the highest peak in Maine, the views you get, it's just amazing.

Rip Esselstyn: When I was done, I was thinking, God, you know, imagine if you guys would have reconned better. You had only reconned 1% of the trail before you did it, which I mean, ludicrous. And if you would have gone southbound, if you didn't have the torrential rains, all these other things. But hey, you went northbound, you kind of held fast to your theory and your guns and you bloody did it, right? You bloody pulled it off.

Scott Jurek: Close. Tight

Rip Esselstyn: The heart of a champ. Do you have, and I mean this, do you have nightmares of those white blazings, and maybe you're out there on the trail?

Scott Jurek: I definitely had some dreams like right after. I definitely could see how, again, I cannot, I haven't been to war, I haven't done some of these things or been in really severe life threatening conditions. I mean, you're a firefighter, you've been in situations, so those kind of, but this was close to that in that I did have a little PTSD after, where I would be out on a trail just hiking with Jenny a week or two weeks after and I'd be like, whoa, I was right back in the AT, like just brought back.

Scott Jurek: I had definitely some nightmares early on where I'm like thought I was sleeping on rocks in the middle of the night and stuff like that. It's kind of worn off and now I guess what I remember most if I do have like dreams or bring back, I remember the hard stuff for sure but there's a lot of great stuff of like, wow, that was freaking awesome. I'd like almost go back and like have that same experience.

Scott Jurek: Again, even though it took a lot of years now to be like okay, I think I might want to do something like that again, at the same time, there's so many fresh memories and so many cool things. I was actually in Vermont this past weekend and I thought to myself, it'd be so fun to come back out here with the kids and bring them back. And Jenny and I haven't spent really any time on the trail, besides I helped my buddy Karl the next year break my own record. Jenny didn't get to experience. But we haven't gone out together besides last year on book tour for North.

Rip Esselstyn: So you haven't gone out together since then?

Jenny Jurek: On the AT.

Rip Esselstyn: On the AT.

Scott Jurek: We went to Springer Mountain with Raven and Evergreen last year on book tour because we were in Atlanta and had enough time, we went up to the mountain.

Rip Esselstyn: So for people that don't know, so, you know, going in, you had had two miscarriages. And now today, 2019, you guys have a family, you have two children. I mean, how amazing.

Jenny Jurek: Yeah. It's been a wild ride since we finished the trail. And so yeah, there's so many-

Rip Esselstyn: Another journey.

Jenny Jurek: Another sleepless elective suffering journey.

Scott Jurek: Why did we do this again? So overjoyed for sure. But then also comes with its own set of challenges. Yeah, you know that and anybody who has kids or takes care of somebody's kids or family's kids, yeah, it's amazing.

Jenny Jurek: But we would like to go out and hit the trails with the kiddos right now. It's a little bit hard when our little one isn't walking yet. So we're kind of carrying all the weight right now.

Scott Jurek: That's 55 pounds, like on top of everything else. And we go really light.

Jenny Jurek: We do our own adventures, we might try some bike packing instead of backpacking.

Scott Jurek: We could do some day hikes on the AT and stuff like that. But yeah, I was out there like, oh man, I can't wait to show the kids these little sections. And Jenny and I to go out and experience this. Because it was really touching last year being out there on the summit of Springer and being like whoa, like three years earlier, we were out there.

Rip Esselstyn: Help me, is Springer where the tower is? No, that's Strutter or?

Scott Jurek: So Springer is the start of the Appalachian Trail outside of Atlanta. It's where things, and it's not this epic mountain or anything. It's actually, you can barely see anything from it. It's mostly treed in and it's only 3500 feet or something like that. It's relatively low. But it still brought back at least goosebumps to us because-

Jenny Jurek: I mean, it's not an epic mountain per se like if you're used to big mountains but there's something really special and like powerful about this.

Scott Jurek: Like people were setting off that day on their own through hikes, like they were starting that day when we were there. We got to talk to them and like, it's just like, oh man, I wish we could join you right now.

Rip Esselstyn: Didn't you say this is the oldest mountain range?

Scott Jurek: The Appalachian. So it's debated amongst geologists like what's older. There's talk like some of the Ozarks and parts of the Ozarks might be older. But compared to even the Himalaya and all these mountain ranges that everyone's like, oh, because they've been worn down so much over geologic time. But they had been, a lot of geologists say they were probably higher than the Himalaya and some of these mountain ranges that we think, but they just been worn down. So they have this feeling of just rugged worn down mountains that are only at their highest 5000, 6000 feet. But they still, they still have this, like you can tell there's something rugged about them. And when you're on them, you know too because you're just climbing these-

Rip Esselstyn: We say, so it's nicknamed the Green Tunnel. Is that because like of the 2189 miles? How many times are you like completely exposed and you don't have trees and that kind of a canvas above you?

Scott Jurek: I'd say maybe 20% of the time.

Rip Esselstyn: That's it?

Scott Jurek: Yeah. Maybe 30.

Rip Esselstyn: So is that good or bad? Does that protect you a little bit from the rain?

Jenny Jurek: Really nothing can protect-

Scott Jurek: Eventually the rain comes down, comes down hard.

Rip Esselstyn: I don't want to backtrack too much here, but I do want to say, one of the things that I thought was super touching that you guys did is you guys made a point I think to cross every state boundary together, 14 states, right? I mean, was that pretty important to you guys?

Jenny Jurek: Yeah, it was. It was just like this little tradition that we do. I think I missed one. But, yeah, it was just a way to, it was a tangible way for us to track progress. Doing the grind, you're kind of like, but the state border crossings was kind of monumental.

Scott Jurek: And Jenny didn't get to run with me as often as she did early on because it was just, there were too many things going on. She couldn't break away, I had so many people around me. So we didn't get to share, but one thing we wanted to share were those state crossings. Like Jenny said, it was really, especially to just get a little bit, again, it was like glimpses of hope of like we're making it, like we're doing this.

Rip Esselstyn: Fuel. I have done a couple 24 hour mountain bike races in my life. And at some point, my stomach just this like, ah, you need to fuel yourself. But you're like, your stomach, I don't want another gel, I don't want another Clif bar, I don't want another whatever. Did you just have a tough ass stomach?

Scott Jurek: I have a pretty good stomach, I'd say over the years of racing, I've been able to. But dehydration does set it off. Anybody can have stomach problems even if you have an iron clad stomach. So the one thing about the Appalachian Trail, because I wasn't, I was pushing myself but just on a different level so I wasn't pushing myself at 100 mile race pace each day. So, I never really got to a point where I was extremely dehydrated. And that's what will set off the nausea and the stomach issues most people experience in ultras. There can be other things but if you're on a 24 hour bike race, you're probably having stomach issues due to dehydration because you're always walking that fine line of like hydrated, not hydrated. And like as soon as you go toward the dehydration side, you get further in the hole. After a while, nausea sets in.

Scott Jurek: So for me, actually, I didn't really have any bad bouts with nausea because I was-

Rip Esselstyn: That's incredible.

Scott Jurek: Because I wasn't pushing my pace, I was pushing hard, but keep in mind, I was doing 50 miles a day so I couldn't run as hard as what I would do in say a 100 mile race, so it was like a little different. And because the AT doesn't lend itself to a lot of running, it was a lot of hiking. So there were some days where I was definitely feeling like, okay, I need more sodium, I need to be more aware of things, but never really ran into those issues.

Rip Esselstyn: So to me, one of the most crucial things in you being successful is your feet. I mean, did you get blisters? How many pairs of shoes did you take? I know the story about the size 12 pair that you gave to somebody and you're like, oh, where are they? Oh, that's right, I gave them to that guy.

Scott Jurek: My feet did actually, I mean, they had their moments, I had little spots. Jenny was worried about one spot and I was too where it just looked like it had got infected. Because your feet never, they never really get to dry out like Jenny said. At night is the only time they dry out. There's just a lot of potential for things to happen. So, not so much blisters but just the sheer fact of being wet all the time and the skin not being able to dry out, that's something that you deal with when you're on the AT. So it's a real balance. Because some people get serious like trench foot and can get where the skin just literally falls off and you see these crazy blisters on AT through-hikers. And some of them look like-

Rip Esselstyn: Did you have a special kind of pair of socks?

Scott Jurek: I didn't actually. And that's, like after a while [crosstalk 00:53:25], doing this for so long, Jenny was like, what do you need all these socks for? I brought enough socks just in case. But in the end, I would just wear the same three, four or five pair and circulate them. Sometimes they'd get shredded and I've got some really hardy socks from Brooks that I use. But at the same time, just the trail and the mud in there. And then after a while I was like, I don't care what I put on my feet, I'm just going to put-

Rip Esselstyn: How many pairs of shoes did you take?

Scott Jurek: I took probably I think over 10 pairs, 12 pairs but I actually only ended up using eight, and I gave some away, other people used. Because, again, I'm one of these guys that likes to just use shoes because it was on the trail too, the uppers would wear out from time to time. But in general, I was able to put 500, 600 miles on each pair, or 400 something.

Rip Esselstyn: Last thing I'm going to ask you. You refer, or maybe it was you, but you refer to the AT as a life course, not a race course. I think that's so apropos.

Scott Jurek: It's true. It was one of those things where, again, it's not a race, it was like something I was challenging myself with the record, but because it had so many layers, because it had so many lessons and challenges, it wasn't like the typical race that I was used to or race environment, competitive environment. It was completely something else. That's why I wanted to do something like this. I wanted it to be more of that soul searching kind of experience.

Rip Esselstyn: If you guys as a team had to do one of three, and you can't answer till I'm done, all right? A, do the AT again. B, write another book. C, have another baby. And you can have D, none of the above.

Jenny Jurek: No, definitely do the AT again.

Scott Jurek: Definitely the AT again for me too.

Jenny Jurek: But just casual. Like we would do it again together or as a family. I mean, I think it'd be fun if our kids when they graduate high school, they go out and then we go south, you know, we kind of meet on the trail or something. But I never want to write another book. I'm also done having children.

Scott Jurek: I don't have to bear the brunt of carrying a child and going through the birth process but definitely the AT. I definitely feel like we're at a spot maybe where we could do another big adventure run. Maybe not the AT again, but something different.

Rip Esselstyn: Yeah.

Scott Jurek: Yeah.

Rip Esselstyn: All right, Scott, Joe is getting ready for this triathlon. I would love, you know, he hasn't run in 12 years. You have got six tips and best practices. I'm going to tee you up and then if you could just talk about each one for just a sec. First one is connect.

Scott Jurek: I think the biggest thing with connect is making sure you have a support system and connecting with others around you. There are going to be those days where, yeah, you can train by yourself and everything's going to go great. But sometimes you need that social interaction. So I would say connect with those local groups, whether it's, you know, if it's a running store or a club, maybe it's a triathlon club or something like that. But having those times where you get together with other people so that you can connect with them, pick their brains, feed off of their energy, I think that's really important. I've really benefited from that over the years.

Rip Esselstyn: Yup. Love that one. Stretch.

Scott Jurek: Yes, stretch is an interesting one. This is where I tell people, focus on the areas where they're tight, whether past injuries or postures you have to do for work that puts you in a vulnerable position. You don't have to have the flexibility of a gymnast to run a marathon or to do a triathlon, but you do have to have flexibility and muscle groups that are problem areas. So, I always try to tell people like spend that five minutes on those areas that you know are tight or where you've had injuries or know that they could be detrimental.

Rip Esselstyn: I know you and I both are fans of Jim and Phil Wharton and their stretching books.

Scott Jurek: Definitely, I'm a big fan of the active isolated method just because it's easy and the Whartons are where I first learned that years ago. Just because again, people don't have time to stretch for 20 minutes typically. If you set aside 20 minutes, great, but if I could get my physical therapy patients stretching a little bit, okay, if they can do this method because it's only two second hold, you repeat it, use an active contraction on the other side of the muscle group you're stretching. So, I would say check that out because it's an interesting method that a lot of people haven't heard about before.

Rip Esselstyn: Three, equip.

Scott Jurek: Yeah, equipping yourself with equipment. Like equipment and equipping, that's something where people think, oh, running shoes and all that, but I think of equipping yourself too with the right mindset, with the attributes you're going to need for the endeavor that you're going to encounter. So, think about all of the aspects. And this is where I'm a big fan of looking at the body and fitness and performance. Not just say on running miles or getting those laps in the pool or the miles on the bike. It's really about what are you doing to fuel your body? What are you doing from the sleep side of things? What are you doing to minimize stress so that recovery can happen?

Scott Jurek: So, as much as on the AT I wasn't getting the best recovery, equip to me means a number of things. Yes, you got to have the right equipment, and I love the fact that running and a lot of ultra endurance sports are simple. But equipment comes from, and equip comes from so many different levels.

Rip Esselstyn: Four, fuel.

Scott Jurek: Fuel is everything. I mean, we wouldn't be on this podcast probably if to talk a little bit about a plant based diet. And for me, this is where I thankfully got into looking at my diet at a young age, when I started realizing like fast food five times a week wasn't going to cut it. Eating a diet focused on meat and somebody who didn't like vegetables, I had to find. So I think for fueling, not only fueling on the race course and making sure that you feel things from a carbohydrate and water and electrolytes, you have to think about, again, the big picture long term.

Scott Jurek: Joe's running and competing his first triathlon here, but it's what about after that. What about the everyday living? And for me, I feel like the plant-based diet has helped me from a recovery standpoint, but also for just longevity. Like, we want to be younger, more youthful. We want to be, I want to keep running until, like I said, my legs don't allow me to do that. And that's where I feel like the benefit of a plant-based diet. So fueling not just on your runs and your rides, but fueling in everyday life and that every day diet and what are you doing to fuel it properly?

Rip Esselstyn: Five, strike.

Scott Jurek: Yeah. The foot strike is really important. It's something that a lot of people get hung up on. People will try to say, what's the best way. I like to say a mid foot strike is the best so that you're setting yourself up for basically keeping your body and your center of mass over the foot strike. So, for most people, I tell them a mid foot strike. So think about foot flat, you don't want to strike out ahead with your heel. And forefoot running, yes, you could do that for shorter distances, and some of the best runners in the world can do that for a marathon. But pretty much forefoot striking is going to lend yourself to a little more stress on the achilles tendon, the calf and the gastroc soleus muscles.

Scott Jurek: So, I try to tell people find that middle point, that mid foot strike where you're landing foot flat. And that'll help you keep your stride rate up. So, with the foot strike, stride rate should be 85 to 90 stretch per minute. But really thinking of an efficient, you're almost like, your legs should almost be circling like a bicycle wheel. You don't want to be landing too far in front or too far behind.

Rip Esselstyn: And lastly, number six, recover, which you had a hard time doing.

Scott Jurek: Exactly, on the At. Yeah, don't do as I do. Take my advice, believe me. Recovery is really key. And I think recovery can mean so many things to people. Yes, for athletes, for individuals, they know about recovery, so cycling your training. This is where being in touch with your body and even more than just the word recovery, I think listen to your body. Recovery doesn't happen if you don't listen to it. You might not have the Appalachian Trail speed record hanging over your head and limited time. Most people have time to, whether it's sleep, whether it's changing your training if you're not feeling like it, pull back on certain days, listen to your body. And when you feel good, yeah, you can push it.

Scott Jurek: But I think the biggest thing is we don't tend to recover in life as well, whether it's stress. Try to manage all those aspects because you can't be the best when it comes to your ride or your run if you have a lot of things going on. And I've had days where work or family are stressful and know that this isn't the day to like push it workout wise, and just kind of listen to that, what's going on with your whole body situation.

Rip Esselstyn: I've had some really good athletes that have said, you know, anybody can get out there and just pound, but it's the really, it's the ones that have the discipline to actually take the days off, recover, allow the adaptation to occur that become some of the greatest. Do you have any advice for Joe? So do you know who Joe Inga is? Have we talked to you at all Joe?

Jenny Jurek: I don't think so.

Rip Esselstyn: So he's a Bronx firefighter that reached out to me for help in January. And season one of this podcast is, I'm kind of marshaling together a lot of my superhero friends that are plant based to help Joe. He's trying to be plant based, he's trying to lose weight, he's trying to regain his lost health. And he's got a triathlon in September that he's going to do. He's psyched to kind of get out of this sick zone that he's been in for a long time.

Jenny Jurek: I mean, I'm not a professional, but my little secret is I do listen to music. I have a little bit of some power songs queued up. And so, just sometimes when I'm just not feeling it, just a certain song that makes you laugh or like gets your booty moving is helpful to me. Maybe just have like a little power playlist.

Rip Esselstyn: Yeah. Yeah. Good. And you guys have been eating plant based as a couple since you've known each other or how long?

Jenny Jurek: I was actually vegetarian first. I was vegetarian-

Rip Esselstyn: And you say that very proudly.

Jenny Jurek: Well because people think, people are like, so Jenny, you're an adventurer yourself. And I'm like, hey, I was doing ultra before I met this guy. Well, not before I met him, but before we were hanging out. I was vegetarian since I was 14. And then when we started dating, I was kind of just the lazy like veggie burger and ketchup kind of person. Then he's such, he kind of won me over with his cooking. And then it was easy just to make the switch to vegan when we started dating.

Scott Jurek: So going on 11 years, 11 years now. And I've been plant based, it's coming up on 20, 20 years.

Rip Esselstyn: Yeah. Yeah. Joe, you can do this. You can absolutely do this. All right, Scott and Jenny, thanks for taking time out of your morning to come over here. I really appreciate it. You guys, this book, North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail, I devoured it in about two days. You've got me inspired. Next time I go to the farm-

Scott Jurek: You got to get down on the AT definitely.

Rip Esselstyn: Get on the AT with my whole family.

Scott Jurek: Oh, for sure.

Rip Esselstyn: And we'll be thinking of you guys and the journey that you guys had. Thanks for sharing this with the world.

Scott Jurek: And it's out in all formats so people who are audio book listeners, Jenny and I actually read it. And so, you can get that aspect as well. It's an ebook, and yeah, we're pretty excited. And if you haven't read Eat and Run, that's a great primer if you want to read them in sequence, my first book, so you get a primer and then read the next phase of life. They can do that as well.

Rip Esselstyn: If people want more information on you guys, is there social media channels you guys have or website?

Jenny Jurek: I'm mostly just on Instagram, Jureks on the Run. And then he has, yeah, a website.

Scott Jurek: I've got a website, Scottjurek.com. Facebook, Instagram. We've been fortunate to have just all the people out there who've been an influence on us and been inspired and to do their own thing and go and inspire people and that's why I love about passing on the goodness of healthy living. So to tell Joe like, he's got this because he's got to inspire other people. So he's got a lot on his shoulder. So I think that can be a good reminder that he's going to change lives as well.

Rip Esselstyn: He's going to inspire people and he's trying to do this in a firehouse.

Scott Jurek: Oh, definitely. That's not easy.

Rip Esselstyn: A bunch of firefighters that are paleo, keto, right?

Scott Jurek: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Rip Esselstyn: You guys, you're gems. Thank you. Feel so lucky to have you guys in my life.

Scott Jurek: Well, thank you, Rip. We feel the same, and like I say, it's always good to connect.

Rip Esselstyn: I love Scott and Jenny and their zest for life, adventure, and their passion for living a plant strong life. If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of their book, North. I'm pretty sure it will inspire you to get outside of your comfort zone, explore your limits and think about your life the next time you're making pancakes on a quiet relaxing Sunday morning.

Rip Esselstyn: I want to thank my co-creator of the podcast, Scott Battishill and 10-Percent Media, Laurie Kortowich, producer extraordinaire and the Engine 2 director of events, Bumble Media for this podcast production, and Brandon Curtis for everything in between. Thanks to Whole Foods Market for believing in me and giving me a platform for the last 10 years. Special thanks to Joe Inga, our Bronx firefighter for your courage to not only change your life, but also allowing us to share your story along the way. And lastly, I want to thank my father and mother, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. and Anne Crile Esselstyn, as well as all the Plant-Strong pioneers, who have been pushing this boulder uphill for more than three decades. As they say, we are standing on the shoulders of giants.

Rip Esselstyn: And remember, if you're digging the show, please rate us on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts. And with that, let me say peace, Engine 2, keep it plant strong.

Ami Mackey