Walter Barrera fills a bottle with tap water and electrolyte powder, shaking the solution as he walks down the stairs of his porch. Cold raindrops are falling, and he looks at the gray sky.

“Not good,” the 32-year-old Washington, D.C. resident says, shaking his head because rain threatening a long run is more than just bad luck. It could disrupt the rhythm of his day and his week, and if that happens, what comes next?

A few years ago, Barrera was addicted to drugs. He used crystal methamphetamine, and then he discovered crack cocaine. He was homeless for a time, and then he was a thief. He lived in doubt and fear, in paranoia and darkness, until one morning in 2010, when he went for a run.

-- From the accompanying Washington Post story "Walter Barrera's 12-million step recovery program" (, by Kent Babb, published May 25, 2013

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