Hooray! I have successfully finished my Six Mile July Challenge! That's right. I traveled by foot a minimum of six miles each day for an entire month. The grand total came to just over 190 miles. That's the equivalent of seven marathons, the distance between New York City and Baltimore, or the length of Massachusetts from east to west. As I wrote before, it was not always easy, but I've proved it is possible.
I underestimated how good it would feel when I finished this challenge, but as the digital girl voice in my Nike+ came through my headphones, telling me I had just completed a six mile run- the one that meant I had completed the challenge I began a month ago, I couldn't help but run faster, grinning as I completed the remaining half-mile that took me from the center of town toward home. Doing this, winning Earndit for July was more than a challenge. It was a promise.
Why? I think I have always had a competitive streak, but it runs deeper than that. Winning top points for Earndit this month was a promise, and I believe that the most important promises to keep are the ones we make with with ourselves. This promise thing isn't a new revelation for me. I have a history of making- and keeping- promises with myself.
When at 21 I was told I had the 'choice' of completing a year-long non-cycled chemotherapy regiment (the other choice was to wait and see if the cancer came back post-surgery. Not exactly a viable option!) I promised myself that if I started the program, I would finish it, knowing full well that only one in three people who started taking the drug actually completed the full year of treatment. twelve months later, I was in the minority as one of the finishers.
A week after I completed the treatment promise, I made another. I bought a membership at the YMCA and decided that I would never take my body's ability to do miraculous things for granted. After all, it had fought cancer, recovered from three surgeries all less than a month apart, and endured twelve months of toxic immunochemotherapy. If my body was capable of doing that, the least I could do was love it. I was never a runner before cancer, but somehow I tied running to loving and appreciating my body. Starting to run was a turning point for me. It marked the start of a life of living after cancer. That's why I believe that while treatment saved me from cancer, it was running that saved me from treatment. It's been nearly three years since I promised to honor my body, and I feel I have kept that promise.
When you take into account the scope of the previous promises I have undertaken, Six Mile July may seem slightly less impressive. But whatever your thoughts are, I encourage you to make promises with yourself. Start small and make a commitment you can keep. Take a walk after dinner each night this week. Eat more vegetables, join Earndit. But don't just do these things, make a change into a promise. Write it down, tell people, make yourself accountable. Start small and you might just be amazed by what can be accomplished when you keep a promise with the most influential person in your life- You.
Hope, Love, Run,
and thank you, Earndit :)