I Would Walk 500 Miles...

I wrote the most brilliant blog post today. Unfortunately I was "writing" that post in my head while I biked 6.686 miles. Uphill. In an early morning mix of heat and high humidity. So when I finally pedaled my bike into the garage, got into my house, drank a large glass of water, stripped down, and then showered...that post was gone. I probably sweated it away.

I will do my best to recreate those thoughts (again), but as I sit here, I recognize that it isn't about flowery words and fancy prose, but it's really, simply, the fact that I did it. That I got up off the couch, put on my workout gear, my day-glo orange trainers, and my bike helmet and moved it. To be truthful, I did not move it fast, but I moved it steady.

And while I moved, I used my Charity Miles app. Because #everymilematters.

And the great thing is that it doesn't matter if you run a mile in 7 minutes (I've only done that once-and managed a personal best in a 5k, at 24 minutes even, and I haven't repeated that since) or if you walk a mile in 17 minutes, it's just that you did it.

You did it and made those miles count towards a polio vaccination when you moved and registered your miles with Shot@Life. You made those miles count towards funding important research for Parkinson's when you registered your miles with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. You made those miles count for Autism Speaks, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Feeding America, and so many others. And while each charity counts those miles differently, each charity counts those miles. And with the recent support of American Express and their #passionproject, the numbers of people using Charity Miles can grow as awareness increases which means more miles going to support great causes.

In the course of this year I have biked, walked, bowled, skipped, run, and done the electric slide. I can't tell you the exact total, but since I move every day, I'm sure its close to that 500 mile mark.

In fact. I should keep better track of the miles I walk so I can say on December 31, 2013, "I walked 500 miles and in 2014, I will walk 500 more."

And I will walk (run, bike) those miles as a Charity Miles  "All Star" along with several of my friends. Friends who inspire me when I don't particularly feel like getting off my comfy couch and putting down my coffee cup. Because all I have to do is go online and I can see that they've logged some miles while walking their dog, running a virtual race, or biking to their local farmer's market.

And while I was on what had to have been the tenth hill in my local park I reflected on my year as a novice athlete. I have friends who run because it is their air-they simply cannot go a day without running. They run marathons, multiple marathons, crazy 50 miles in the middle of the mountains and mud races, they run in the light misty Spring rain, and the kind of cold, bitter, fall deluge rain that leaves bruises on your skin. And they love every minute of it. They talk about fancy tech equipment and lovingly tut-tut at me when I tell them my personal best times, as if they are saying "young grasshopper one day you will be able to take the pebble from my hand. But until you have sat in a bathtub of ice after a brutal marathon, you have no right to complain about the side stitch you endured at mile marker 3 of a 10k race."

And sure. I have run races where I limped across the finish line because of a stupid mis-step at mile 7 which torked my knee and made me cry, bitter, silent tears, the entire last 3 miles. But I finished.

And sure. I have run races where at some delightful moment you find you are no longer running alone but running along side some stranger, your pace matching theirs, and for a few glorious strides you are a team. And after the race you find each other in the crowd and hug and high-five and say "well done."

And sure. I have had people pelt me with powder to cover me head to toe like an Easter Egg.

But I have run. I have run because I can. Because I am able in body (even with my oldish knees that occasionally remind me I am older than I think I am) and because it makes a difference.

And it's an easy way to make a difference. I have friends who constantly tell me there is never enough time in their day to do all the things they want to do, much less half the things I do. But there is always time if you are willing to focus your time. I recognize that I have the luxury of being able to spend my time in a manner that benefits me (ie, being physically active) and that other people in other places can't walk not in the way I can or for the reasons I can.

That while I walk and listen to my ipod, Women and children in other countries walk sometimes over thirty miles round trip to get a vaccination or an education.

That while I run, soldiers who walked in a foreign country serving this nation may only now be walking in a rehab clinic.

That while I bike, Parkinson's patients may find their mobility limited and are often so frustrated they choose not to move before the choice is taken away because their brain won't help them move.

This year I have climbed four-hundred steps to the top of a tower and over looked the San Francisco Bay and I have walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. I have walked among the redwoods on the west coast and along the sandy beaches of the Gulf coast. I have walked the halls to meet with Senators and Congressman. I have walked on Wall Street. I have walked on Main Street. I have walked alone. I have walked with friends. I have walked avenues, boulevards and streets paved with cobblestone. I have walked pathways in parks and trails at nature preserves.

I have walked 500 miles.

And I when I'm lonely, well I know I'm not alone. That I'm part of a team, and nothing is going break our stride. We're going to keep on moving.

Me, I plan to walk 500 more. Just wait and see.

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