I love meeting people and I consider myself to be a friendly and outgoing person. I especially love meeting new runners and hearing about races and past experiences. It's always fun when someone surprises you with a great time, or some crazy distance run. So I mentioned yesterday that on my walk/run/jog/death march I met a woman named Yolanda.
This was when I was initially starting to feel my knee hurting not even two miles into the race yet. Well Yolanda was power walking by me and asked me how I was feeling and if I was okay. She was a very pretty black woman who was super fit and was hitting her stride power walking the trails. I thought to myself that I could probably walk with her so I walked along for a while hoping my knee would feel better. It didn't and then the hills began. We walked along and we started talking. I am a big talking while running or walking in this case and I really enjoyed her company.
She told me about how she was a walker and I'm sure I muttered something about me becoming one after this race. She kept up a great pace though and really powered me up those hills. Our conversation came really easily and I had fun laughing with her and tackling the hills together.
She asked me about what races I've done and what I had coming up and I told her about taking the full marathon plunge in San Diego. She was very encouraging and then I asked her if she had ever walked a full marathon. She kind of laughed and she said yes. I asked her how many she had done. Then the craziest thing came out of her mouth. Last year I wanted to do 50 marathons for my 50th birthday. Honestly she looked like she was barely entering her 30s. So last year I did 50, plus I decided to tack on 15 more. So I finished last year with 65.
WHAT IN THE WORLD. Now many of you may not find this interesting at all but immediately this woman became my hero. She had walked 65 marathons in one year and was awarded the Prestigious Marathon Maniacs Maniac Female of the Year Award.
We continued to walk and talked about her races. Oh, the fact she had walked the Red Rock Marathon in Vegas on Saturday and drove back to LA and then was doing this 50k (30 miles) on Sunday. AMAZING. Hands down the most inspiring person that I could have possibly met in my life thus far.
She gave me an little bit of insight to her training and diet, her family life and injuries that she has over come, and allowed me to pester her with questions throughout the entire route. She was super encouraging to me as well, and told me about some of her races that she had done over the past year. Her perseverance and dedication to the sport of marathoning was amazing and to hear her share her stories was also very inspirational. I was happy that even though my knee didn't hold up during the race as I had hoped, I was more than honored to even be able to walk with Yolanda.
She finished the year with 1,783.48 miles walked.
Proud to have met you Walking Diva!
Here's a link to a story highlighting her achievements from her local city newspaper.
PS Yolanda if you are reading this.. Good luck on Thursday! :)
PPS I have tons of great and exciting news coming your way. Get ready!