Her Story: Minel Diaz, Going the Distance

Because nothing motivates us to stay healthy and active more than hearing stories of other athletic women, Women's Running brings you Her Story, profiles of women like you.

Minel Diaz
La Jolla, California

Sports: Running, snowboarding

Age: 34
Job: Certified Public Accountant

How I started running: I was never athletic growing up in the Philippines, a country that doesn't really encourage sports. In my mid-20s, after I broke up with my then-boyfriend, I took up running. My friends and family supported me, at least when I was doing two- to three-mile runs. When I started running marathons (lots of them), they thought I was crazy.

Favorite athletic accomplishment: Finishing 18 marathons.
The farthest I've traveled for a race: When I visited my parents, who lived in Rome at the time, I found a race in Padova, Italy, the Maratona San Antonio (Saint Anthony's Marathon). It was a wonderful race--at each of the nine little towns along the route, there was a cheering crowd. I wanted to sprint to the finish, but that was impossible because we were running on cobblestone.

Best advice I got about running: No matter how fast or slow you race, enjoy every bit of it.

Most memorable race: When I set a new PR at the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in 2006. After passing mile 25, I looked at my time and saw that I was way ahead of my goal of finishing in 5 hours, and even on time to PR at 4:30. Near the finish, while everyone else was doing the slow marathon shuffle, I was sprinting, yelling and screaming to everyone, "I'm going to PR!" As I crossed the finish line, I cried tears of joy.
How snowboarding helps my running: Snowboarding makes my legs stronger.

The scariest thing I've ever done: The first time I did a swimming workout in the ocean, I saw sharks below me. They were harmless leopard sharks, but it scared me. Since then, I close my eyes when I swim in the ocean, only opening them when I need to check where I am.

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