Tuesday, January 12, 2016


This blog, my life, and most everything I did in it used to revolve around running.

I would eat food based on my run for the day. I would look at the weather for the running conditions for not only that day, but for the week. Laundry was sweaty running clothes. Vacations were filled with runs in some of the loveliest beaches on the earth: Galveston, San Diego, China (yes, China). I've run on cruise ships in the middle of the Caribbean, run in the nastiest of winter and through lightening storms. In all, I ran 13 marathons in multiple cities including Boston, Chicago, New York, Detroit. I would often sleep in my running clothes, so that I could wake up and run first thing out of bed.

Running was the best way to detox my body and brain and let my spirit escape from this carcass, if but just for an hour or three.

Well, now I don't run at all.

A herniated disc from playing hockey has changed all of that. Now I often walk with a limp. I have seen a million doctors, a zillion physical therapists. Running ain't happening.  I haven't given up, but my running life appears over.

23 years ago I gave up getting high off alcohol and drugs, and now I'm giving up getting high all over again. The Running High, however, was quite a bit healthier.

Self-pity is poison. For suckers. I hate it. Doesn't mean the whole thing hasn't torn me up and seem like a cruel joke played by a cold-hearted God. I wake up mornings and imagine that it will have magically fixed itself overnight. It hasn't.


Truth is, I am blessed with much, probably more than I deserve. I remind myself of that.

I've written a handful of running-based books. On the Lips of Children, that fine piece of running horror, was based on a true run I took at 4 am.

The other two running books are free this week:

*Chasing the Dragon: Running To Get High*
Marathon and running tips, and the role that running plays for recovering addicts and those looking for the high of the run

*The Jade Rabbit*
The story of a Chinese adoptee who runs marathons in order to deal with the stresses of her past and her job managing a shelter for runaway youth

Crazy thing is, I am starting to forget the person who wrote these books.



Anonymous said...

Not one to comment generally on any social media but felt bad about what you're going through at present. Just read your marathon book. Can relate on many levels. Resonated more than the vast majority of marathon related tomes. Doing my first in April. Thought I'd check your blog for a running update. Very sorry to hear about the injury. Any chance you can take up swimming? Not the same, I know, but I've had some swimmer's highs. Hope things improve. I know this must be frustrating. I have seven years and know exactly why I run. But my body tells me that it prefers the water to the pavement. We'll see. Hang in there.

Mark Matthews said...

Thanks for reading Chasing the Dragon, and thanks for stopping by and leaving the comment. I am quite sure you can imagine what a life change it's been for me. I've had injuries before, and have had some weeks and even months off, and it was a matter of time and I ran again and came back. This time is different, and I'll have to adapt. swimming is on the horizon for sure! A couple months ago I was feeling a bit better, and I did some elliptical and light weights,and it set me back, so I'm waiting until perhaps spring to do anything more strenuous.
Thanks again! and happy trails!

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