Reader Review: Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

by Joanna

I found out about this book in a very roundabout way… let me try to chart this out:

  • A friend of mine lent me the DVD Forks Over Knives.  I wrote a blog about it.
  • I loved the DVD and started following them on Facebook.
  • On my newsfeed, there was an interview with Rich Roll, a man named one of 2009’s “25 Fittest Men in the World” by Men’s Fitness Magazine.  In the interview, there was a video about the book, Finding Ultra, and it looked very intriguing.
  • My husband was looking for a few books to read that were sports related.  His friend suggested Running On Empty, I suggested Finding Ultra.
  • And then I read it.  Technically, I listened to it on audiobook while spending 4 hours assembling IKEA furniture, but that’s beside the point….

So here we are.

I really liked the book.  It was narrated by Mr. Roll himself which I thought was kind of neat (although he’s a little monotone, but you get used to it).  He chronicles his life, starting at a young age and learning to swim.  Years later, he becomes a collegiate swimmer, then alcoholic, then workaholic, overweight and then decides that something has to give.  So what does one do during a moment of clarity like this?  Become an Ultraman, or course!  The Ultraman World Championship is essentially a 3 day double Ironman.


Day 1 – 6.2-mile ocean swim in Hawaii, followed by a 90-mile bike ride.

Day 2 – 171.4-mi bike ride

Day 3 – 52.4-mile double-marathon run


Sound like fun to anyone?  After that, he details his journey that his friend, Jason Lester, talked him into doing – the Epic 5: five Ironman distance triathlons in less than a week on the five islands of Hawaii.  Let me do the math for you.  In total, that would be 12 miles of swimming, 560 miles of biking, and 131 miles of running.

Simply amazing what people are capable of accomplishing  He also talks in the book about his nutrition (plant based) and what he needs to keep the weight on, sustain enough energy for all of these crazy challenges, and ensure optimal performance.

The book was inspiring.  Did it motivate me to complete any of this craziness?  No, but it did inspire me to push myself to do more.  Give it a read and let me know if you liked it!



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