We are all creatures of habit -- habits of thought, habits of action, rituals, ... It's just that some of us have habits that are more interesting and significant than the habits of others. Acclaimed concert pianist, Ronald Kmiec, 65, of Carlisle, Massachusetts is one such person. Ronald has a habit of taking a daily run of at least a mile every day -- as in 11,687 consecutive days, or one day shy of 32 years, without missing a single day's run. During this running streak that would make Cal Ripken take notice, he averaged 3.8 miles per day and ran a total of 44,438 miles (Ronald also has a habit of keeping meticulous written records).
Any accomplishment of consequence is going to involve overcoming obstacles and unexpected challenges. Ronald's running streak is no different. In order to keep his streak alive, Ronald has had to run through severe weather, illnesses, and injuries, including a meniscus tear, a torn hamstring, a fractured ankle, stress fractures and broken ribs (can you say, "OUCH"?)
On Thanksgiving morning of November 22, 2007, however, Ronald met his match. As he started the annual Feaster Five race (a five-miler), he immediately felt intense pain in the center of his chest which persisted unabated for the first three miles. Of course, he finished the race because that's one of his habits -- to always finish what he starts (for example, he's completed all of his 369 races over the years except for the first one, which just happened to be a marathon which he was ill-prepared to run). In the ensuing days after experiencing the pain, Ronald continued his daily runs despite the discomfort in his chest and the feeling that something was seriously "wrong." Finally, his wife of 33 years (another streak of which he's proud) convinced him to go see a doctor and find out the problem.
Ronald was not prepared for the doctor's pronouncement that he had had a heart attack. It turns out that he had a 95% blockage in one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart. He consequently had a coronary angioplasty and a stent inserted into his artery, ending his amazing running streak one day short of 32 years.
Find out how iron-man of a runner, Ronald Kmiec, could have a heart attack in "I Think I'll Go For a Run Today -- Times 11,687 (part 2)."
Ed Mayhew, speaker and author of Fitter for Life and Fitter After 50