“I pretty much create my own schedule”, states Misty Diaz matter-of-factly.
“But thankfully I do have a great coach named Michael Ainis, he helped me with one of the hardest half marathons in New York, which was all hills. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I got my best time on that course. I do a lot of cross training too, I kayak and make up my own routines I use trees and outdoor gyms. Yes – trees!”
In itself, this could be almost anyone in America – or the world – today. But Misty pushes harder than most. She was born with Spina Bifida.
Running wasn’t always something that was high on her radar, though. It was only recently that taking to the sidewalks, trails and roads became a way of life for her.
“I started running April 21, 2012. I had about a year under my belt of being sober, and I had so much energy. I remember driving around in Long Beach and seeing a sign for Ronald McDonald 5k walk. They had helped my family in the past so I thought what better way to give back. So I signed up and felt wonderful. Then about a week later, I saw a sign for Seal Beach 5k. I remember thinking If I could walk a 5k, I could run. Not once did I consider the fact I have Spina Bifida and use walking canes. I just signed up; no training, no running buddy. I went home, sat down and Googled training runs and created my own schedule. I went to the gym and started working out. From there, I just kept signing up for races and didn’t stop. As of 10/12 I will have run 32 races. My current goal which I’m almost done accomplishing, was running 3 half marathons in 3 1/2 weeks.”
It’s this passion for running and pushing further that’s seen her set a new goal. In December, Misty will be tackling the Spartan Sprint in Malibu.
“I honestly had been throwing around the idea for a while. Then the Weeple Army invited me to their group and I did two small obstacle races and felt like I didn’t accomplish much. I felt as though I needed something more challenging. So I spoke with a friend who’s affiliated with Spartan, and asked if he knew how to get sponsored. I raise all my funds for my races through sponsors or grants. He thankfully had a code! I just want something that will push me to the edge, push my body further then I have ever imagined. Youd think I would have had enough after 28 operations. I love training and working my mind, so what better way than to get in and try a Spartan race? I want to test my limits, I can’t imagine how I will feel once I finish. The hardest part for us is convincing our minds that we are capable. Many train the body, but forget the mind.”
It’s the mental aspect that is currently proving to be the biggest hurdle. Misty is under no illusions what’s in store for her. When asked if any part of the idea of a Spartan Race scares her or intimidates her, she laughs.
“Yes, the entire thing! But that’s the amazing thing about such an event. Think about that; the fact that we sign up for such events knowing it’s going to be hard and take a lot from us to accomplish and yet we are still willing to sign up and train for such an event. That’s pretty bad ass! I know I can do this, I’m just going to have to turn on a different type of beast mode!”
Misty’s passion for what she does is all too clear when she explains that what she does has now developed further.
“Along my journey I have been able to meet such incredible people, who have been my supporters and cheerleaders. Because of my love for running, I have started my own pending, non-profit, Teamwolfpackfoundation.com.”
“My non profit is to help those with Spina Bifida but not limited to, run 50 yard, 100 yard and 5Ks. I want these kids and adults to feel a sense of accomplishment, to be proud, and excited just like I do. I want them to know anything is possible, if you have the will. I want to do what was done for me and give back. The Team Wolf Pack name started when I started running 15Ks to train for half marathons. I would have a team of 2-3 people behind me running with me. They held whatever I needed, carried my meds and water. When I got tired, one of the runners would get in front of me as a pace leader, or along my side and helped me keep my pace. This is what I want to do for these kids, and adults. I hope this encourages you to continue to run, to keep trying, and to help others. After many years, I finally feel a part of something. I can’t tell you how much that makes me happy. I’m so grateful to be a part of the running community.”
“I leave you with this friends; never ever give up!”
She will know at the finish line. You can too.