Interview with a Nutritarian: Augie
It’s not everyday that one is introduced to a legend, but today you are about to meet one. His name is Augie, and when he was celebrating his eightieth birthday two years ago, he was glad that he'd made the conscious decision, more than a decade earlier, to make health and fitness a goal for his retirement years. Augie ran his first marathon two days after turning 70, and ended up running twenty-nine marathons by his eightieth birthday; including running in the Boston Marathon three times. It was during that time that he also started researching nutrition in earnest, and started following Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations as outlined in Eat to Live. Just two weeks ago, at the age of 82, Augie finished his first 50K run (31 miles) in Florida! Welcome to Disease Proof, Augie.
Tell us about your recent 50K.
The 50K was a heat endurance event, because it was a sunny, 83 degree day in Florida. The aid stations were about 4 to 5 miles apart, and I drank a bottle of water between each one. By the 9.5 mile mark I was feeling the beginning symptoms of heat exhaustion so I put six ice cubes in a zip lock bag and placed it on top of my head; holding it in place with my cap. I refilled these ice bags at each station.
I was doing a 1:1 run/walk pace pretty much all the way to the 26 mile aid station, the marathon distance. (Strangely, at this point I felt like I was at mile 20 of a marathon.) From there I went to 30-40 second running surges interspersed with 90 second walks to the finish line. My time was 7:33:22; and there were only 59 of us at the start.
Now I can say that I’ve completed a total of 40 marathons and beyond, (eleven marathons since age 80); plus, twenty-two, half marathons and many 5K’s to 20K’s. Hopefully I’ll still be in good condition to run a 50K again next year.
Do most know your age at these events?
Ha, that question makes me chuckle. The 70+ age division runners are very competitive. Many times, before, and even during a race, a runner will come up along side me and ask my age. When I tell them, they are relieved, because I’m not in their age group for awards. Most times I’m 1st place out of one entrant in the 80+ age group.
How far do you run/walk daily to train?
My goal is to average 18 miles per week, and I’ve done this for the past twelve years. I run no more than 3 to 4 days per week, because longer distances provide better training than frequent, shorter ones; plus, rest days are just as important as running days.
Tell us about your nutritarian journey.
My dad died at age 84 from colon cancer, and I watched him slowly fade away for two years. He was a heavy steak and potato eater, and I was following the same path. I knew that eating beef was his problem, although I didn’t do anything to change my own eating habits for several more years. However, it planted the seed to change, because deep within I knew there was a better way. It wasn’t until I retired that I decided to make health and fitness, instead of golf, my retirement hobby. I researched several books before discovering Eat to Live seven years ago, and I was convinced that it was the best of the best. I’ve read it at least ten times since.
I’m 5’ 6.5”, and my weight at age 70 was 166 lbs. (I’ve never had any health issues or taken any medications.) I dropped to 150 lbs by age 75; and then after I started following Eat to Live, I lost another ten pounds over a two year period of time. Today, at age 82, I’ve maintained 140 lbs for the past five years.
In the beginning I had severe withdrawal symptoms from comfort foods and salt, and that detox time was like going through boot camp. However, the discomfort was short lived, and now I'm thoroughly enjoying my 80’s. My priorities, as always, are family, travel and fitness. (This coming June I will celebrate 56 years of marriage to my dear wife, Josie.) I hope you all don't mind me tooting my own horn, but I think Eat to Live has been a big part in being able to do what I've done. It’s never too late to start eating for health!
What do you eat the day before and the day of a race?
In my early marathons I was brainwashed into needing a pasta dinner the day before. As the years went by, and now with the experience of 40 marathons and beyond, I find that my normal meals are sufficient; although I eat a larger portion, eat earlier, and go to bed earlier the evening before. For me, the breakfast that morning is far more important and lasting into the marathon: a bowl of rolled oats that soaked overnight in pomegranate juice with a handful of frozen blueberries and a banana. It’s very filling and lasting.
During a marathon I’ve experimented with everything. I’ve finally settled on Medjool dates, pitted and individually wrapped in wax paper. I wear a fanny pack with a water bottle holder, my supply of dates, a cell phone, napkins, and band aids for emergencies. I’ve found 8 to 10 dates to be plenty, and I drink plenty of water.
What are your success tips for nutritarian eating?
To be successful, you must have a deep passion, reason or goal to be healthy; and a firm belief that you will see results to get through the initial detox stage. If you follow Eat to Live, you’ll be guaranteed to see results. Today, to maintain the nutritarian eating-style, I continually remind myself, “I don’t want the health problems that my friends have who eat the standard American diet.”
What advice do you have to become more physically active?
When I started running I had no idea where it would lead; I only knew that aerobic training was necessary. I started running at age 68 and gradually worked up to running three miles at a time. I had a dream goal to run a marathon to celebrate my 70th birthday. (I’ve read that we are all capable of achieving seemingly unattainable goals.) When I achieved that goal, and experienced the thrill of accomplishing something that I didn’t think I could do, it moved me to set other goals.
Find a passion.
Set a dream goal that stretches your limits.
Push and challenge yourself to successfully achieve that goal.
Go for it!
Thank you Augie for setting a high standard of “senior achievement” for all of us to aspire to ~ what a great inspiration you are for our retirement years ahead!