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The Walking Diva

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.

HOLY COW.

Proud to have met you Walking Diva!

Here’s a link to a story highlighting her achievements from her local city newspaper.

xoxo

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!

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44 Comments

  • Reply Bootchez

    Oh, wow! I think I saw this same woman walking the Death Valley 1/2 marathon late last year, she totally fits the description! I am way to absorbed in my own misery to talk to anyone while running, and it sounds like I really missed a great opportunity, live and learn . . .

    March 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm
  • Reply P.O.M.

    Very cool story. Sometimes it’s good to “slow down” and enjoy the people around you, huh?

    March 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm
  • Reply Milltini

    I just came across your blog via my real life best bud Bama Belle! This is an awesome story! I do have a question about your knees and running. I have always wanted to get into marathoning–or at least attempt a marthon–but i have major knee issues. i’ve never had a formal injury, but years of wear and tear thanks to gymnastics have taken their toll. I guess my question is this–what do you do to power through knee pain?

    March 10, 2009 at 3:06 pm
  • Reply Christine

    That is freakin awesome. Did she happen to tell you what her favorite races were? haha..check out my blog for more on that :)

    March 10, 2009 at 3:06 pm
  • Reply RunWithMe

    Damn! Yolanda is amazing. Better yet, how lucky that you came upon HER during the trial run. Thanks for sharing her inspiring story…

    March 10, 2009 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Jamie

    That’s amazing! All this trying to build up my running I forget walking is hard work too. Especially over 1700 MILES! Crazy!

    March 10, 2009 at 3:44 pm
  • Reply aron

    WOW that is SO COOL!!! How awesome you got to meet her :)

    March 10, 2009 at 3:45 pm
  • Reply Janice {Run Far}

    she sounds marvelous.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:53 pm
  • Reply Megan

    Wow! What a wonderful story!

    Also want to say congrats to you for finishing such a strenuous trail run!

    I guess i’m sort of “delurking” myself. I read you blog often for running inspiration…and great finds on running gear of course ;-)

    March 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm
  • Reply Denise

    That is really amazing. Makes the trail race that much more worth it to meet someone like that.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm
  • Reply Glenn Jones

    One word – WOW!!!!!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm
  • Reply Bob Hazen

    Great read – if I did 65 in one year, I’d be broken down and dead broke. ;)

    March 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm
  • Reply RunningLaur

    Sorry your knee didn’t behave but it sounds like meeting Yolanda made it all worthwhile. It’s so great that you got to pick her brain through the whole thing!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm
  • Reply Run Saraah

    Wow that is truly an amazing accomplishment. She sounds like such a neat lady. Thank you for sharing!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm
  • Reply Marci

    Wow that is so awesome! I would love to have met her! When I go into the Insane Asylum at MManiacs, I can’t believe the number of marathons some members do! That is so inspirational!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm
  • Reply Nessa

    Talk about inspirational! It just goes to show you can dream at any age!!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:37 pm
  • Reply RunToFinish

    how wonderful to have someone put in your path right when you needed it! I can imagine the race would have been far different without her..she sounds pretty incredible!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:52 pm
  • Reply Brooke

    Incredible! Thanks for sharing this story… It’s such a motivator!!!

    And now I’m really excited to hear your news :)

    March 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm
  • Reply Wearing Mascara

    WOW! She is SO inspirational! How lucky that you got to meet her!!!!

    I’m excited to see what news you have :-)

    Oh and I’m running for an hour tomorrow! Longest ever… wish me luck!

    xoxo

    March 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm
  • Reply Meghan

    I need to be like Yolanda! Had an experience with Target today, thought of you!!

    March 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm
  • Reply runjen

    Wow! That is amazing! Yolanda needs a blog! What a cool experience for you to actually meet someone so interesting during a race.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm
  • Reply Oz Runner

    wow…how cool is that? what an amazing woman…pretty cool that you got to hang with her and pick her brain too…

    March 10, 2009 at 5:55 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    OMG! How freakin awesome! What a fun story to remember when your struggling through a tough run!! Thanks for sharing!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm
  • Reply N.D.

    that’s fantastic- what an inspiration!

    March 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm
  • Reply Alisa

    Holy crap…65 marathons!!!!

    Wow!!!!

    That has got to be the coolest thing I’ve heard in awhile (oh…other than your impending news…hehe).

    March 10, 2009 at 7:34 pm
  • Reply Marathon Maritza

    What an absolutely awesome and inspirational story!! What a great opportunity to get to meet her and talk.

    Great story!

    March 10, 2009 at 7:40 pm
  • Reply ilovesteaks

    Marathon walkers are cool. I’ve walked with a few when I did my extra slow marathons. I think all marathoners have their own unique personal stories. But if you want to find out from the faster runners, you’ll have to talk to them after the race. :D

    March 10, 2009 at 8:39 pm
  • Reply jane in the waiting line

    oh my god. that woman is amazing.

    March 10, 2009 at 9:10 pm
  • Reply Borsch

    OMG! She sounds inspirational!

    March 10, 2009 at 9:48 pm
  • Reply Niki

    What an awesome lady! She must have been so motivating!!

    March 10, 2009 at 10:40 pm
  • Reply D10

    That is crazy! How did she have the time to walk 65 marathons?!?! Good for her. Hope the knee starts feeling better.

    March 11, 2009 at 4:26 am
  • Reply bb

    That…is amazing. I love the set-up she has for all her medals! I’m glad you got to meet someone inspiring like that!

    March 11, 2009 at 5:05 am
  • Reply Manderz

    WOW, What an amazing woman. Truly inspiring!!

    March 11, 2009 at 5:58 am
  • Reply ~Mrs. Guru~

    Wow, that is so inspiring!

    March 11, 2009 at 6:21 am
  • Reply Marlene

    OMG, what an amazing an inspirational story. So awesome that you met her!

    March 11, 2009 at 6:27 am
  • Reply kristen

    Woowza. That is something. I’m glad you were able to meet her and be inspired so you could share that story with us.

    March 11, 2009 at 7:59 am
  • Reply Tara

    what a wonderful and inspirational story! I can’t believe she did 65 marathons last year!! amazing :)

    March 11, 2009 at 8:57 am
  • Reply X-Country2

    Wow, that’s amazing! I wouldn’t have been able to shut up with the questions.

    March 11, 2009 at 9:04 am
  • Reply lindsay

    wow she is amazing! 65 marathons!!! i almost think i’d rather run them so i wasn’t out there for as long, but she kind of sounds like her walking pace is faster than my running pace. :)

    March 11, 2009 at 9:18 am
  • Reply Tara Gibson

    such an inspriring story! that girl is a super woman!

    March 11, 2009 at 9:25 am
  • Reply J

    WOw that is such an awesome story!

    March 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm
  • Reply Angry Julie Monday

    WOW! That is really inspiring. I want to be just like her. Heck, I just want to be like you. I’m scared of doing a 1/2. That is true motivation.

    March 11, 2009 at 1:03 pm
  • Reply Run For Life

    Now that is the most awesome thing I have heard of in a long time!!! She sounds like a fabulous woman.

    March 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm
  • Reply Jill - GlossyVeneer

    I volunteered at the Red Rock Marathon last weekend. You’re totally right, I would never have guessed Yolanda is 50! She totally rocks, I’m so impressed.

    March 12, 2009 at 10:21 am
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