Mark Covert has run at least one mile per day for more than 41 years. He's laced 'em up hours after hemorrhoid surgery, aboard a cruise ship and despite a broken foot.
That's nearly 15,000 consecutive days and far north of 130,000 miles for the 59-year-old track and cross country coach at Antelope Valley College in California.
Decades of braving elements, injuries and fatigue. Close encounters with cars, canines and hornets.
The reasons are myriad. Health and fitness, the endorphin rush and spiritual awakening to name a few.
Ah, but when do dedication and discipline morph into obsession? And when does obsession become folly?
Typing one-handed, modeling a hospital gown straight out of GQ and awaiting the pain meds to hit overdrive, methinks I have some insight.
Now I have long been a klutz. A faceplant into cement stairs sent my baby teeth flying. Tripping over a garden hose broke my left foot.
With that history, you'd think I would have known better than to run in this weekend's snow and ice.
As Dad often remarked when report cards arrived, "How is it that you pass math and English but flunk common sense?"
Somewhere in the heavens he voiced that sentiment again Sunday morning when I fell running.
Hadn't hurt that much since a Novocain shot in the left foot.
Haven't been this sore since a Virginia Tech basketball player — one of the Jackson brothers — hurdled press row during a 1996 game at George Washington and knocked me straight back, smacking my head against the floor.
Haven't been this red-faced since Bucknering a ground ball to first in a youth baseball playoff game.
Fortunately, no surgery or hospital stay. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I learned my lesson.