Monday, March 7, 2011

The Long Run

Photo from
 "I'm telling my story so others may see what the body is capable of when you have the will to live"- Matt Long

So I just finished reading The Long Run, by Matt Long with Charles Butler. Matt is a New York City Firefighter, Ironman Athlete, A Marathon runner, a New York Bar owner, a hero, an inspiration but most of a survivor. Remember years back when the New York transit workers went on strike? Matt was a victim of that strike but not because he couldn't get to work but because on his way to work in the mess that NYC was during this time he was hit by a 20-ton bus-while riding his bike, mangling his body and given just a 5% chance to live. The book begins with the famous ING New York Marathon and Matt and his fellow firefighters running the race. Matt finishes in an impressive time, just over 3 hours and at the top of his game and he earned a spot at the most prestigious marathon race...Boston. But just before Christmas his life was more than turned upside down, in fact after reading this book I can't even come up with a term that describes what it did to his life. I could tell you to imagine your worst injury and your recovery and all that you went through waiting until you can run again (for me it would have been my ligament replacement surgery) and then you times that by a gazillion and then just maybe, maybe you would have an idea of what this man went through. I grimaced and my stomach turned as I read the explicit details of his mangled body. I wanted to reach out and hug this man during his depression and realization that he would never be the man he once was, the athlete he once was or even the firefighter he had been. I cheered him on as he decided to no longer be a victim and to go through the pain of rehabilitation and acceptance and move ahead. And finally by the end being inspired by what he has accomplished and what he lived through and in the words of Matty Long know that your body can and will do whatever you want it to. Like I said in my last blog you never know what you can do until you push yourself past your zone of comfort.

I will not tell you much about the book, other than it was fantastically written. And honestly I was surprised because most ordinary people who write books well to put it frankly they suck.(Proof: A Million Little Pieces, Twilight) But this was wonderfully written. I love how he tells his story and then reflects back to other times in his life going back to valuable lessons he's learned or other struggles he had. This book was also written with a writer from Runners World Magazine, Charles Butler, and wow these two men together offered one fantastic story. This is not a story just for runners or athletes. It's a story for anyone who needs inspiration and anyone who likes to get lost in a great book. And this story happens to be true.

Everyone has a Long Run in them whether it's studying for mid-terms, applying for a new job, or just trying to make it through a day as a wife, mother, husband, boyfriend. For me my long run is Saturday...12 miles.

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