For the month of April, our little blogger endurance book club read The Long Run by Matt Long. It is a book about a marathoner, Ironman, all-around endurance athlete, Matt Long.
The book starts out with his epic Boston qualifying New York City Marathon finish, where he came in 4th among all of the firefighters. There is a war between the firefighters and the policeman for the marathon to see who "wins" and gets bragging rights for the year. With the help of Matt, the firefighters were able to pull out a win that year.
After his Boston qualifying finish, Matt starts to plan his next goals, which include running in Boston and another Ironman, where he hoped to qualify for the Ironman Championships in Kona. He had other firefighter training partners who were also looking toward Boston or an Ironman, and one morning during a transportation strike in 2005, they made arrangements to meet for an early morning swim. Because of the strike, Matt was riding his bicycle (a few more miles cannot hurt, right?) to meet them when he was struck by a bus.
The extent of his injuries was traumatic. His bicycle seat destroyed his pelvis and gut. He had broken legs, ribs, everything. He was given 60 units of blood in that first day in the hospital. He was given a colostomy to get through the fact that his insides were completely destroyed. He had many many steel rods inserted in his body to try and hold him together. They did not know if he was going to survive.
But he did. Once he got through the initial surgeries and procedures, he fought hard to be "normal". To live the life that he wanted for himself. To be an athlete again. That was his top priority. He wanted to walk. He wanted to run. Cycle. Swim. Compete.
The remainder of the book is his road to recovery. And him truly getting back to being the athlete that he once was. It is interspersed with storied about being a firefighter on 9/11, family relationships and dynamics, and his own personal relationships and friendships. The story is strong, and it reflects him being strong, OR allowing people to help him when he needed it most.
The ambition and dedication of Matt has been quite inspiring to me. I am "out" of training right now, other than training to be a mom, and this has added to my desires to get right back at it once Addie is born. He has worked through extreme hardships and problems in order to just live a normal life, and I struggle mentally to get through a run longer than a half marathon. I will definitely have to start thinking twice about the mental blocks that I occasionally have when I am out for a run because nothing can compare to what he went through physically. And if he can do it, I absolutely can.
Have you read this book? Have you overcome physical limitations to do something that you never thought was possible?