I mentioned Rich Roll’s Podcast in a recent post and promised to write about him. I found out about him through his book Finding Ultra. I love this kind of comeback story. Alcoholism destroyed Rich’s career as an elite swimmer at Stanford. After some hard years, he recovered from that and was a successful entertainment lawyer in LA, with a wonderful wife and family. His second wake-up call, after maintaining sobriety for years, was when he had trouble climbing the stairs of his house after yet another night bingeing on crappy food. He had visions of not being there to see his young daughter grow up.
So now he cleaned up his diet, becoming whole-food plant based after some experimentation, and also started getting back into shape. He discovered triathlon, of which he was already talented at the swimming leg. Wanting a bigger challenge he skipped right past the Ironman distance to Ultraman, double the Ironman distance. This is a very serious challenge indeed, but after that his friend Jason conceived of an almost unheard challenge, the “Epic5”, ironman distance triathlons on consecutive days on different Hawaiian islands, with all the logistics of traveling in between. This is supported by one crew member, Rachael, although locals pitch in to help on each island. He credits his plant-powered diet to faster recovery during his training and these epic adventures.
This is all a very fascinating read, highly recommended. Rich has gone on to establish a very successful podcast on which he has interviewed many fascinating people on various topics including motivation and healthy eating and lifestyle. I have discovered multiple good authors on the podcast, including Dr. Cyrus Khambatta and Robby Barbaro who wrote Mastering Diabetes. I often enjoy watching episodes while spinning away on my stationary bike. Rich and his multitalented wife Julie (Yoga teacher, artist, and chef) also wrote The Plantpower Way cookbook. You can find out more about all this on his website.
The challenges described in Finding Ultra may seem beyond crazy, but we can all find what works at our level to inspire us. I like reading stories like this because they stimulate me to find a challenge that stretches my reach.