Book Review- The Long Run by Matt Long

 

If you’re ever looking for motivation, inspiration or just a great book to read I strongly recommend The Long Run by Matt Long.

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We always hear people saying things like, ”I want to get in shape, but I need to lose weight first,” or “I would love to workout, if my back didn’t hurt.” These are fine examples of many excuses we always hear people say. Some excuses are more ridiculous than others. I personally am not much of a reader, but when I was introduced to this book I was told, ”you can’t just workout your muscles, you have to workout your mind also.” So I read it. It was a real eye-opener.

Around the time I read this book I was working 10-12 hour shifts 6 days a week, weighing almost 230 pounds wearing XXL t-shirts. For a person who should be weighing 180 pounds it was quite an issue. I knew I had to do something. My mother used to say, ”your father started to have back pain when he started to get fat.” Doctors would always prescribe him painkillers. Finally, an athletic doctor told him, ”you only have pain because you’re overweight. Lose it and your back pain will go away.”

I don’t want to spoil the story lines of this book because I would like that you actually read it, but there are many things Matt Long says that make a lot of sense.

The first chapter was amazing. He did an amazing job of putting you in the driver seat. It starts off with him running the New York Marathon trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and he beats the NYPD running team in a display of good old NYFD spirit. He mentioned that when he started to take sports serious he was around my weight and height. That right there made me say, “no way! I can do it too!” He also mentioned his back pains disappeared once he got in shape. Already interested, I read the whole thing and was amazed.

This book is the true story about an NYFD hero and responder to the September 11, 2001 attack on New York, known as “9-11”. He was a very athletic person. One day on his way to work riding his bicycle, he got run over by a bus making an illegal turn. It nearly killed him. A normal person would have most likely passed away. His body and pelvis were crushed, with the bicycle between him. They think that because he was an extreme athlete, his heart kept pumping, even when he was almost out of blood in his body. Well it took several months of recovery in the hospital. Meanwhile, the only thing on his mind was the finish line. Doctors, friends, and family were telling him “be happy you are alive” and “you might never walk or run again.” He would not accept those results. He pushed himself mentally and physically, never giving up his dream and goal to cross a finish line again.

Well, it wasn’t too long before he completed a marathon again, and shortly after an Ironman competition. One of my favorite parts of this book is towards the end when he gave a speech to all the new firefighters about the importance of being fit for the job. It was a very powerful speech. The reactions and looks he got from them, I can feel it almost as if I was there.

After I read this book, I realized my excuses were not valid. This guy was able to do what he did before the accident, and then get run over by a bus, break his pelvis, bones, and completely damage his organs, get a colostomy procedure, and still say, ”no! This can’t be, I’m an athlete I need to run, I need to compete.”  He pushed himself through countless hours, days, and months of physical training and muscle rehabilitation; pushing away friends and family to stay focused and get back on his feet so that he could accomplish his dream goal a few years later. My excuses were “chicken chit” by comparison.

I realized then what I had to do if I was going to change; I needed to step it up and believe in myself. The following week I went for what was a really hard 3 mile run, then a six mile run, my first 50k two months later, and almost a year later I completed a 100 mile race. I also dropped 30lbs. and wear “loose” large t-shirts now.

Matt Long, if you ever read this, I want to say “Thank you, your story changed my life for the best.”

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