Rich Roll is an ultra-triathlete who went from his couch to the Ultraman (double the Ironman over 3 days) and eventually competing in the Epic 5 Challenge - 5 Ironman distance races in 5 days.
The most moving parts of this book, maybe because they were clearly so painful to write about, were Roll’s stories of going from a top class college swimmer to drug and alcohol rehab in his early 30s. Rehab and recovery led him, circuitously, to sports and channeling what he describes as his tendency to overdo things in a healthy way. The structure of that story will be familiar to people who read these kind of memoirs, but this lent kind of a Dean Karnazes “well, then I just started running” section to his story.
This book is heavy on the specifics of what it’s like to do ultras in the event, but light on details about the training it takes to get you there. At first Roll was a self-described weekend warrior, and later he worked with a coach to get himself ready for the Ultraman, but saves most of his specifics for his “PlantPower” diet (vegan + as few processed foods as possible, preferably none) which read a little like an infomercial. I would have liked a little more about how one actually prepares, feet on the ground, for an Ultraman, and a little less about how many Vegenaise-and-avocado sandwiches Roll ate on his bike during the Epic 5 (a lot).
Finally, don’t read this book if you are dying to go to Hawaii because it will make you even more dying to go to Hawaii.