An Exception

I hate corny things- baby showers, Hallmark cards, tearful wedding toasts, and Delilah's evening dedication show make me want to vomit. The "inspirational genre" of books is no exception. I'm sorry, you've had to get through some shit in your life, but, as shocking as it is, most of have (we've just haven't opted to capitalize on it). When life hands you lemons, write a book and find a publisher, I guess.

There are always exceptions, though, as I found while reading Matt Long's The Long Run. I started it last week while gearing up for the Disneyland Half Marathon, figuring the story of a man who runs a marathon after being nearly destroyed by a bus would be a nice kick in the ass. While I was too busy training and working to finish it before the race, I still found Long's picture on the cover enough to remind me that if he could run 26.2 miles (and later complete an Iron Man competition) after weeks in a coma and 40 operations, I could finish 13.1. After finishing the book last night I felt like an absolute wimp, but, more than ever, was dedicated to the idea that being healthy and in shape should always be a priority (stop making excuses, people). Doctors attributed Long's ability to make it through his accident to the fact that he was very active prior to it- his heart and the rest of his body were strong enough to survive what would have killed most people.

Long's story isn't corny- he's a NYC fire fighter, marathon veteran, bar owner, triathlete, and Iron Man, for Christ's sake. Sentimental occasionally, yeah, but not in a way that makes you want to reach for the bucket. More than anything, it's honest, reflective, and motivational. Shit happens- you either decide to make the best out of it and keep living, or you curl up in the fetal position and drink whiskey.

Am I a convert? Am I going to rush out and buy every renewed person's book? Definitely not. But, every once in awhile there is someone, like Matt Long, who actually earns the right to tell their story (and make money off it).

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