Mark Matthews's Blog, page 8

April 20, 2014

The most amazing finish line in the world is about to get even more powerful. In 2013, someone tried to take this experience away. In 2014, thirty-six thousand runners are about to take it back.
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Published on April 20, 2014 15:53 • 29 views

April 18, 2014

The results of my MRI are in. Here are the doctors notes:

Diagnosis: Quadricep Muscle Tear
Treatment: Cessation or decreased running x8 weeks. Stretching, leg press, squats, leg extensions. Biking or elliptical. Naproxen/500mg bid.

Did you read 8 weeks? I swear that said 8, and it couldn't have been 8.  I know it also said decreased running, but it's already pretty darn decreased to 15 to 20 miles a week, so that's not the answer.

No surgery, it will repair itself, and I'm still blessed. Not in a cast and I can cross-train. I'm just a moron for not taking 8 weeks off during this nasty winter, instead of waiting until a gorgeous spring. 

What the results tell me are three things. Most runners know their body pretty well. I had been telling doctors it was a muscle issue, not a tendon or knee issue, but the tendons and knee seem to be what doctors focused on. And the treatment that I had planned back in November, (as I wrote in my last post), of time off running, cross-training, and then a return to light running, was right on.

The second thing it tells me is that I'm an impatient baby and that my time frame for this was not long enough. I certainly never gave it 8 weeks. As for time off now,  I'm still in the deliberation stage, but I've told myself 4 weeks off, then 2 weeks at 5 miles a week, and then 2 weeks at 10 miles a week, and then 8 weeks will be up and I will increase from there. This still fits doctor's orders of decreased running, but I don't know if I should trust myself since it was my best thinking that got me here.

Third thing it tells me is that I ran 3 marathons on a quadricep muscle tear. 

I have two half-marathons to run in 2014 for Runwell, or better yet, a full marathon with a long rest in the middle, and I still will do so, but I am going to pull out of the Dexter Ann Arbor on June 1st, and do Woodstock in September and then Detroit in October.

My last words for the doctor was that the sign up for the Disney Marathon for January 2015 was in five days. My whole family is excited to go to this signature event.  "Sign up!" he said, "even if you're not running until June, that gives you plenty of time."  

Those words I heard loud and clear and there will be no wavering.

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Published on April 18, 2014 06:03 • 36 views

April 14, 2014

Oh, to have young legs again. I would pay 20 grand to have legs of a 20 year old. As long as I could do a payment plan, I would be all in. Probably 25 grand. 30 grand? okay, I'm in for 30. So when a doctor suggests I should get an MRI that will cost me $200 out of pocket, I eventually jumped all over it because damn it, I want some healthier legs....


The problem is that an evil mass of gook from hades has lived in my quad, off and on, for nearly two years. It lives on despite 4 different rest periods ranging from 3 to 6 weeks. After I ran the New York City Marathon in November of 2013, I took 6 weeks of rest, followed by light running, cross-training, more stretching, and weights. Sounded liked a good plan, what can go wrong?

Well, the evil mass of gook returned, and my latest of 3 doctors I have seen is an orthopedic surgeon from the Core institute and a doctor for the Detroit Pistons. (Oh, that's cool, he's important!) (Wait, they're in last place). A nice shot of cortisone chased the evil away, but like most evil things, it wasn't really dead, and it has returned for yet another sequel. Next up was the MRI

The morning of the MRI, I ran a bit harder than I have been. I thought "dammit, I want the evil gook to show itself". I did 8 miles, the longest of my long runs these days, in an hour and 3 minutes on a perfect spring day sporting my Runwell gear. It was wonderful, and as I write this, the evil gook smolders.

They do MRI's on Saturday nights at 8 pm I found out. And the MRI machines even have name brands written in big letters for you to see. Mine was a Toshiba. I imagined walking through Best Buy looking at a Samsung and Sony MRI machine, but then seeing the LG MRI machines at half the cost. I'm now a big Toshiba fan.



I found the MRI experience incredibly relaxing once I got used to the crazy-ass noises it makes, like it is about to malfunction and squeeze me to death. After the nurses told me not to move, put headphones over my ears, and there were no kids or new puppy to deal with, I was good. I could have stayed another hour. Now I wait.

I feel fortunate to be able to run. The injury is low grade, but chronic, and only hampers me from running fast and far.  I'm not fully grounded, and I am still planning on doing two half marathons for Runwell this year.   ("Don't care how, I want it know").

 April 22nd is the sign up for the Disney World Marathon, and my family is hoping to go. There's got to be a Toshiba machine out there that can fix me.
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Published on April 14, 2014 14:14 • 41 views

April 11, 2014

The concept of Beta-Readers is something I stumbled upon after my first two novels were published. They are incredibly precious things, and finding them is like finding a leprechaun, only they hold things more valuable than gold. Without them, On the Lips of Children would have been a much lesser piece.

A beta-reader (as I see it) test reads the first version of a story, points out strengths and weaknesses, problems with characters, story arc, plot mis-steps, and gives a general preliminary reaction.

 My next piece is nearly finished and in its first version, and has a date with editor and writer Richard Thomas who is also editor in chief from Dark House Press, a LitReactor instructor, and a writer of neo-noir transgressive slipstream fiction. (His prose is as lyrical as that sounds.) (It just means dark and strange.)

But first I wanted to give a public shout-out to my Beta-Readers!

Charlene from Goodreads, whose initial praise for STRAY helped feed my ego enough to live on for a month or two, and who is trusted to beta-read for authors way more talented than I. Her critical eye was incredibly helpful. Check out her blog at Char's Horror Corner

Deborah from Goodreads who was born with an impeccable proofreading gene, and who, along with Charlene, gave birth to a different character in the story than the one you would have read about. Their feedback made him into something more plausible, interesting, and in a way, they are his mothers, and me just a neglectful father.

Chris from Goodreads, also known as CTGT provided great feedback, with a suggestion for a rewrite that freaked me out but was masterful. He had great thoughts on the 'meta-fiction' style as well as thoughts on the future cover. (Cover reveal a month from today!)

Author Gary Cecil has been a huge support to me, and is the kind of person I always picture smiling. Some sentences from the story were directly restructured thanks to his feedback which was diligent and awesome.  Check his page out here.

Thanks folks!  (By the way, you have just unknowingly become a beta-reader, and have just read the beta-version of this blog post. If you have any feedback as to how it flows, high points, low points, and a general reaction, then please let me know before I actually publish it.)
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Published on April 11, 2014 08:10 • 42 views

April 8, 2014

If you’ve spent any time in runners’ circles, you’ve heard a quote by George Sheehan.  He is perhaps the grandfather of running writers, the spiritual Obi-Wan Kenobi whose happy ghost looks over us all. Many months ago, Rodale sent me "The Essential Sheehan" to review, and I’ve found it to be a treasure chest of running wisdom.  It took me a while to read only because I did so in snippets, which to me is what makes the book work. It is a series of articles written throughout his life, none of which take more than a few minutes to read, but all of them with something that will make you think and add to your running life.I knew Sheehan was a mind-body-spirit runner, with all sorts of quotes to evoke emotions, but I had no idea that Sheehan was also a great source of training theories that are practical and tangible. He heralded the power of intervals, how to train muscles that need strengthening for injury prevention, and running less junk miles. I was very happy to read him write, in so many words or less, “I can comfortably run a marathon on 30 miles a week” since that is about all I can get to these days.  Some articles were dated and wore their tube socks, but this added to the charm. Other subjects included the communal nature of races, the role of natural highs as opposed to alcohol use, and a goody bag full of spiritual inspiration. This is a book which lends itself to hardcover, to be read many times over and flipped open to random pages, and should have a place on your coffee table, next to your bed, or perhaps the perfect toilet reader. Since some runners may hesitate to buy a hardcover for themselves, this makes it a perfect gift. Huge thanks to both Dr. George Sheehan for his words and to Rodale for this gift.  The Essential Sheehan: On Amazon  
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Published on April 08, 2014 10:30 • 41 views

April 3, 2014

The Boston Marathon is just around the corner. If you are training for it then right now you are in the madness of tapering. You are icing your very real or very phantom injuries preparing to run in perhaps the most anticipated marathon of a lifetime, and to a degree, help a nation face some post traumatic stress.

My typical sentimental hyperbole falls short of what this year's event will mean. How ecstatic that last stretch along Boylston will be. Words fall short. No finish line sucks you into its grasp like the roar of Boylston and that blue stripe.  Especially for those who never got to finish last year. This year will be like none other.  I want to watch while running outside wearing google vision glasses and pretend I am there.  

Oh boy.

And here's another BOSTON I am excited about. A Boston Terrier. Our new puppy.

My family has been waiting for April 5th when he will be 9 weeks old and ready to take home. After adopting our last dogs from shelters, we wanted to choose a breed and choose a breeder, and after much research into the fairly scandalous world of pet sales, found a breeder we trust and the perfect breed. The Boston Terrier.  Here he is, the as of yet unnamed pooch.




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Published on April 03, 2014 06:28 • 3 views
The Boston Marathon is just around the corner. If you are training for it then right now you are in the madness of tapering. You are icing your very real or very phantom injuries preparing to run in perhaps the most anticipated marathon of a lifetime, and to a degree, help a nation face some post traumatic stress.

My typical sentimental hyperbole falls short of what this year's event will mean. How ecstatic that last stretch along Boylston will be. Words fall short. No finish line sucks you into its grasp like the roar of Boylston and that blue stripe.  Especially for those who never got to finish last year. This year will be like none other.  I want to watch while running outside wearing google vision glasses and pretend I am there.  

Oh boy.

And here's another BOSTON I am excited about. A Boston Terrier. Our new puppy.

My family has been waiting for April 5th when he will be 7 weeks old and ready to take home. After adopting our last dogs from shelters, we wanted to choose a breed and choose a breeder, and after much research into the fairly scandalous world of pet sales, found a breeder we trust and the perfect breed. The Boston Terrier.  Here he is, the as of yet unnamed pooch.




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Published on April 03, 2014 06:28 • 33 views

April 1, 2014

April 2nd, no more fooling around.
If I can't have my books made into a movie, at least I can try to make them easily accessible. Here is a list of my freebies on Amazon right now:
FREE: Chasing the Dragon: 
Running to Get High

FREE: Zombie Dash
FREE: Wicked Smart Carnie

The Jade Rabbit   
at .99 cents

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Published on April 01, 2014 23:00 • 23 views
I have had a very hard time holding this secret, mostly because in order to protect myself from disappointment, I told myself it would fall through and never happen, but now that it's a reality I can shout it out loud.

The movie rights to On the Lips of Children have not only been purchased, but a screenwriter, director, and actors have been signed. The script should be done by 2015, with filming by January of 2016, and the movie in the summer of 2017.
It is a dream come true.

 It was through the support of Angelina Jolie herself that helped seal the deal when she agreed to play the role of Lupita, the mother from the underground tunnels. Apparently, Brad Pitt's success with World War Z meant Angelina wanted to adopt her own horror movie role. With just a few hours of makeup, she will be perfect:
Before



After  Many of you runners will be ecstatic to hear that Kara Goucher, the US Olympian marathoner, has agreed to play the role of Erin. Apparently, Kara nailed the jogging stroller scene during screen tests.
 














I am also pleased to announce that Brooks has signed on for product placement. The characters of Macon and Erin will be wearing Brooks shoes, and I will be running in Brooks shoes for the rest of my life, and will name my next child Brooks.
As part of the promotion, I am expected to run the San Diego marathon in Brooks with a bib that reads "Macon," and a make-up artist will be adding burns and exacto-knife cuts all over my body. I'll be a running product placement for the movie, with a surprise ending.
Me, after some makeup, crawling across the finish lineJavier Bardem of "No Country for Old Men" fame will be playing the role of the hotel clerk Marcos...

...and Benico Del Toro will be playing the role of Dante, and apparently is so dedicated to method acting that he will live underground and snort bath salts for a full month prior to shooting.
"I don't always snort bath salts, but when I do, I prefer White Rush. Eat faces, my friend."
Due to its recent success, the publisher of the novel, Books of the Dead Press, is now in negotiations to be bought out by Bantam Books.  "I am incredibly excited to announce our partnership," says CEO James Roy Daley, who then confessed that  negotiations are slow due to the need for a English to Canadian translator.

I can't tell you how excited I am. Looking at the calender, since it is April 1st, the movie should be coming out in, hmmm, let's see....
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Published on April 01, 2014 04:14 • 58 views

March 27, 2014

 The Ann Arbor Marathon is this weekend, and the coolest runner on the course is named Ty and she blogs over here --->  TyRunMan

Why is she the coolest? Because she has a dry wit, a quirky edge, so cross-fit that her downward facing dog twists into a mustard soaked pretzel, and because she donated to my RUNWELL fundraising page.

TY didn't donate for this exposure and heralding her coolness, but, if you want to donate, I will be broadcasting yours to the world (unless you prefer not to). Go over to my donor page, contribute $1, $2, $10, but for $25 or more, I will tattoo your name, product, book, blog, etc... on twitter and a blog post like this one.

As a recovering addict of many years and a believer in the power of the natural highs that running provides, Runwell is an organization whose purpose is close to my heart. The organization raises funds for addiction treatment and raises awareness of the role a running lifestyle can provide for those in recovery. CHECK OUT MY DONOR PAGE HERE


I will be sporting this shirt over two half-marathons this year

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Published on March 27, 2014 05:19 • 16 views