Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: "The Long Run"

If you get nothing else out of this post, know this: it is in your best interest to buy, rent, borrow, or download this book as soon as possible. And read it cover to cover.

Yes, it's really that good.

I don't know why I hadn't read it until now, but whatever the reason, I'm glad I finally did.

The Long Run is the emotional true story about Matt Long's life: his upbringing in Brooklyn as one of the 9 Long kids, his perseverence and readiness to take on any challenge, his move to Manhattan, how he opened a bar (and more) with one of his brothers, joined the FDNY, looked for love, and became a tri-athlete. It's also a story about a regular day that quickly became anything but regular and how his life changed forever.

The day was in 2005 and while I won't go into the details of what happened to him, I'll say that I faintly remember that day. It was Woody's first winter in NYC, he was working downtown in the World Financial Center and we were living on the Upper East Side. Thankfully (for me) I was used to walking to work in mid-town but he, like many other New Yorkers, and to walk miles and miles to get to and from work each day when the MTA workers illegally went on strike. Reading this story, I am once again furious at the MTA and their union leader Roger Toussaint, for the upheaval they caused during that week before Christmas and how his vibrant, strong, heroic fireman's life was changed forever. All he was hoping to do that morning was meet up with his training buddies for an early morning run. Only the month before he had finished his quickest marathon, running NYC in 3:13.

Like most books I read, I often read this one while commuting on the subway to and from work. For several days in a row, I had to put it away because I started to tear. His story is heartbreaking, endearing, inspirational, motivational loving, and terrifying, all in just under 300 pages. I love that throughout the book, he is a real guy. I mean, if nothing else, that's who he is. Never does he pretend to be perfect, although sometimes it does seem as though he is, but that's just because of the type of guy he is. His family is incredible, his outlook on life is incredible. It's sad that this is how his story had to be told because even without this tragedy in his life, he's incredibly inspiring.

I don't want to give away too much, but I'll leave you with a little background on how this book happened. If you're a Runner's World reader, you may remember, as I did, reading Matt's story in 2009 as a feature story titled "A Second Life" written by Charles Butler. Because of this great story and Matt's determination to run again, David Willey, EIC of Runner's World, gave the green light on book. Charles did incredible research, speaking with Matt's family, friends, teammates, fellow firemen, doctors, nurses, physical therapists and more, to get the story right. It's a beautiful story and I hope that many people, runners and non-runners alike, take the time to read it because it reminded me how precious life is, how wasteful it is to take a day for granted and how we should set our minds to achieving great things and go after them.

Now go get this book!

The Long Run
By Matt Long with Charles Butler
Click HERE for more information

If you're in the NYC area and able to get out of work early, Matt Long is scheduled to speak at the NYC Running Show on April 22nd at 5:00pm.

Today's Workout -
45 min elliptical
3x12 leg press
3x10 versa-loop front, side and back kicks
4x10 versa-loop side squats
100 crunches
1x40sec plank
2x30 sec side plank
foam roller


Molly said...

I've been wanting to read this, it sounds so inspiring. Good luck today with the MRI!

Anonymous said...

I have heard so many great things about this book and will pick it up to give it a good read!

Penny said...

I started reading this book. But I was to busy to get it finish and had to have it back to the library. Have not had another chance to check it out again.

Anonymous said...

ahh, I can't wait to read that book! And I'm bummed - I'll be out of town during the NYC running show :(

Badgergirl said...

Love. Love. Loved "The Long Run." Such a great book!

Susan - Nurse on the Run said...

I need to read this book, I think he spent time on my unit in the hospital...before I was there, but I heard he comes back sometimes.