Rich Roll is an ultra distance triathlete, an accomplished author, wellness advocate and entrepreneur. And he’s fueled solely on plants. There’s nothing this guy can’t do – except perhaps tame wild wolves. Enjoy a few moments with this amazing athlete.
Completing the Ultraman (A 320 mile/515 kilometer triathlon) is an incredible accomplishment. What are some of the things going through your head before an event like that gets underway? And what are you thinking about just prior to crossing the finish line?
Incredible fear buttressed by extreme excitement that somehow translates into a weird inner calm. The event is so long and daunting, the only way through it is to erase all thought of what you are about to tackle and just be present and focused on the immediate now – the next swim stroke, the next mile of the ride or the next 100 yards of the run.
After a race, is there a special food you reward yourself with?
After a race like Ultraman or EPIC5, you sort of lose your appetite for a day or so, so I don’t end up eating that much. After a couple days however, I’m starving. I’ll enjoy some of what I call my favorite vegan junk foods – vegan pizza, coconut milk ice cream and french fries – not what I usually eat or recommend on a daily basis but a treat.
In your book Finding Ultra, you speak of your experiences overcoming a number of very personal obstacles. Was there ever a moment you hesitated writing something because it felt too personal?
I definitely had a few panic attacks writing the book. I knew the only way the book would work was if I was willing to be very vulnerable and bring to light certain things about me and my past that I can’t say I’m proud of. It’s the authenticity and darker corners of human nature that have created the emotional connection that people are responding to. I had to write it like it was a private journal nobody would ever read. Every once in while during writing sessions I would have a flash thought where I could see the book on a shelf in a bookstore and all I could think was, “Oh my God, people are going to actually read this?” Then I would have writers block for days.
Let’s say somebody reading this right now is finding themselves in a mental or physical rut. Any advice you can give them?
Mood follows action. If you wait until you feel better to do something or implement a positive change in your life, you will probably never do it. You have to take the action first, and the mood change will follow. Baby steps move mountains, and you cannot underestimate the power of momentum. So the important thing is to make a decision and just begin.
If you wait until you feel better to do something or implement a positive change in your life, you will probably never do it.
OK, serious question time. Imaginary 5K race. There’s you, Brendan Brazier, and Scott Jureck. There is also a pack of wild wolves chasing you. Who crosses the finish line first? Who tames the wild wolves? And who records the resulting viral video?
I’m the guy who’s trying to record a video while being devoured by wolves as I watch Brendan and Scott run off in the distance.
You’ve travelled extensively. Can you name some of your favorite places to run/bike/swim?
My favorite place to swim is Hanalei Bay in Kauai. Hands down the most beautiful beach in the world. My favorite place to run & ride is the Santa Monica Mountains where I currently live. The best cycling I have ever found.
Where is a place you have not been, but would like to travel to enjoy a morning run/bike/swim?
I just saw some images and video of the Challenge Wanaka race in New Zealand. Looks like a magical wonderland.
Most dangerous animal you’ve encountered while out exercising? (Squirrels and little birds count)
I’ve had more than a few close calls with rattlesnakes on my local trails. Still waiting on an encounter with a wild boar on the trails of Kauai.
Current album on repeat?
What are you reading right now?
My dad’s new book, “The Hopkins Touch” by David Roll
Favorite piece of kitchen cookware?
How do you like your caffeine?
1 cup of strong black coffee in the morning
Any animals at home?
Bodhi, our golden retriever
What’s next for you? What are you currently working on?
I recently launched a podcast (The Rich Roll Podcast) which is my new obsession; long–form interviews with some of the fascinating people I have met along the way on this journey. It’s health & fitness oriented but also focuses on holistic wellness, inspiration and how to live a more authentic life. You can find it on iTunes HERE.
Also excited about my line of nutrition products on my Jai Lifestyle website. We have a plant-based protein recovery formula called Jai Repair, which also includes powerful anti-oxidants like resveratrol and also cordyceps mushroom extracts, which help improve lung capacity and oxygen utilization efficiency. In addition we have a B12 supplement, a digital e-cookbook and a meditation program.