Finding Ultra, Revised and Updated Edition: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself
Inspiring memoir about alcoholism, self-discovery, and finding a way out of a sedentary lifestyle and into ultra endurance competition.
Rich Roll is one of the O.G. podcasters. He was podcasting early on like Tim Ferris and Joe Rogan. I knew from the podcast that he was intelligent and curious, a good interviewer with an East Coast Ivy League background and a new-age-y California/L.A. hipster vibe. Equally comfortable exploring spirituality, nutrition, therapy, and extreme ultra endurance sports training, he is sincere in his curiosity and humble about his achievements.
In the podcast Roll drops anecdotes about his recovery from alcoholism and some of the endurance events he’s been in, so I was intrigued to learn his full story via the bestseller “Rich Roll – Finding Ultra“.
I listened to the audiobook version and let myself listen only when I was running easy or long. The book certainly left a lasting impression because when I revisit some trails or roads I can remember exactly which part of the book I was listening to on that spot.
The audiobook is narrated by the author and he writes compellingly about his life so far. For the endurance athlete the chapters covering his transformation, training and competition are extraordinary. All my runs felt relatively easy by comparison with whatever paincave Rich Roll was in at that point in the book. The 5 ironmans in 5 days on 5 islands in Hawaii was memorable for the description of epic type 2 fun (suffering).
The other major theme in the book is Roll’s alcoholism. He doesn’t spare himself in describing this phase in his life. It’s helpful for anyone who hasn’t struggled with this personally to better understand what addicts go through and to feel compassion for them. For anyone who has dealt with this personally I would think it’s inspiring and hopeful.
An interesting thought that he confronts in the book is whether he simply replaced his alcohol addiction with an exercise addiction. As with other questions he considers such as spirituality and veganism, he is sincere and thoughtful in his writing.
Highly recommended for long or easy runs or for downtime (make those chores or long drives fly by).