One of the most common questions I am asked at expos and book signings is: “What do you eat?” As is the usual with me, I honestly care about questions I receive, not just on the surface but on multiple levels. First of all, I want to answer the question to best of my ability. Second, I am hoping to partially anticipate why I am being asked the question in the first place, so I can give an answer which is designed in such a way to best answer the questions burning in the minds of those asking me. Finally, I realize there are two separate ways to answer the question, with one being a short succinct answer with not much meat to it (which most people want) or one which, if I am allowed, will take me a great deal longer to answer but will hopefully address the first two points above.
However, as I mentioned, most people don’t want a long answer. In today’s sound bite world they want an answer that makes sense to them (e.g. “pasta” ), makes them laugh or shake their heads (e.g., “I live on junk food”), or one that fits into what they want to hear (“I eat whatever I want because I run so much!”)
Well, to start I don’t eat whatever I want because I run so much. In reality, I do not really run all that much, (at least not enough that I can eat whatever I want with no consequence.) Also, when it comes to bad food, the analogy I have always used is how we do not put low-grade gasoline in a brand new supped-up Porsche. Why fine tune your body to a high level only to load it with garbage? With regard to the easy answer of pasta, I am a big fan of the noodles and eat carbs of that nature for a variety of reasons (palate, budget, and lifestyle.) And while I definitely could eat better (try eating well when you spend most of your days on the road), I do not live on junk food.
Most recently at the San Francisco Marathon, I was given both the platform to answer this question and the time to go into greater detail. I was able to state that yes indeed carbs are part of my diet, but more importantly, I am a big consumer of protein, specifically in the form of beef. The instant recoil I saw in some of these super fit people made me realize how much of a bad name beef has received. I also found it funny that those who were looking for information upon which to build their own argument for or against running multiple marathons were slightly take aback. This takes me to my biggest hesitation with answering any: “So, what do YOU…” fill in the blank.