People | UltraChef
I had the pleasure of interviewing Aussie Patrick Bowring, a fierce ultra marathon runner and chef – who goes by the name Ultra Chef. Based on the beautiful Mornington peninsular of Victoria, this positive cat who balances work, running, and a healthy family life with his wife Jo Twentyman, and two daughters Violet (age 4) and Poppy (age 2). The man’s a triple threat doing three extreme sports at once, running, cooking, and parenting. Patrick is all about giving back to the sport he loves, and has been coaching other athletes over the last year. He is currently building his website, which will feature all the epic things he does including coaching, food styling, recipes for runners and videos. We are stoked to have Pat join the Ciele community and grateful that he took the time to share his story with us!
When did you start running and what inspired you to start?
I started running in 2012, my life at the time was spiralling dangerously out of control. I finally came to the realization I needed to make some serious changes, so I started to run. I made the decision to turn my life around when years of ‘burning the candle at both ends’ wasn’t working. Stopped drinking and smoking and started to train for my first marathon, after completing it I was hooked. The harder and longer the event are where my strengths lie, having placed in the top ten for every 100+ kilometre event I have entered. One day, my wife and I met on the beach; she looked at me and told me she was pregnant with our first. We had been trying for years, I took it as a sign and a real motivator for me personally to sort out some demons. My family support me so much and continue to be my true inspiration.
As someone who works so closely with food, are you especially conscious of how food affects your running performance?
Absolutely, the cleaner I eat the better I feel. Feeling mentally strong is so important to get the most out of my weekly training sessions. If I’m looking down at a dish I’ve made with heaps of vegetables, herbs, wild rice and spices I already start to feel my body thanking me.
Do you notice a difference in your endurance in regards to what you eat?
Yes, anything natural with good sugars such as fruit. We in Australia have such a dynamic range of fruit all year round. Munching on local berries or a ‘borrowed’ fig from a neighbouring farm on my long runs is great to keep my energy up during a longer run.
Do you plan pre and post-run meals? If so, what are they?
Most of my pre run meals are usually spelt oats with coconut and honey if during the cooler months of the year. Or a Fruit shake in Summer, usually packed with berries! My post meals can vary quite a bit. Usually depends on where my run ends. If its at my car at a bottom of a mountain it could be a banana, or if I finish at my restaurant it might be a plate of steamed vegetables with quinoa and hummus. As a chef im quite spoilt for choice but as long as I get protein and carbs back in me to speed up recovery.
What do you eat/drink while doing a ultra long distance run?
During a ultra I eat usually fruit shakes I make the night before. They are usually a blend of fruit, vanilla beans, coconut water and chia seeds. I wrapped each bottle in a really offensive graphic design tape, it stands out when I come to an aid station so even if I’m getting a bit delirious I can still find them. I call them my “Jungle juice’ with techno tape Shakes.
Unflavored Tailwind powder added to water – composed of electrolytes and sugars.
Banana, coconut water and peanut protein for straight after I finish.
How did you get into cooking? And how are cooking and running connected in your life?
I fell into it really, I wasn’t exactly an A grade student. I found other out of curriculum activities a lot more appealing. I worked behind a bar and then found my interest in the back of house, where my love of food started. I worked my way up from washing dishes to working at one of the highest awarded fine dining restaurants in Australia. Cooking and running are connected especially in a high pressured restaurant environment. Your on your feet up to 15 hrs a shift with no break, constantly having to make on the spot decisions. Your working in extremely hot conditions and eating standing up, everything you basically have to face in ultra running.
What tips do you have for runners who want to integrate more healthy, nutritious meals into their diets?
I would say experiment with what makes you feel good. Everyone is so different and its such a personal thing, wether it’s a high carb, meat, or vegan diet i always suggest to my clients to just eat healthy. You have to have the right mix of variety to keep it interesting and most of importantly be good for your body and mind.
Haha, I usually have what my next event is written there. Because I was in between Ultras and didn’t know when my next event would be I wrote ‘rest and recover’. The last Event was a 144 kilometer race through the Alpines in Victoria with 10,000 meters of elevation gain! One of Australia’s hardest events going around I managed to snare a second on the overall standings. Rest and recovering after events like this and even your weekly runs is paramount for time in the game, everyone wants to run forever right?
Truth. Thank you for sharing your wise words and brilliant tips! Keep up.