This story is certainly part of Health’ s  #RealLifeStrong   series, exactly where we are celebrating women who stand for strength, resilience, and grace.

Misty Diaz was born with spina bifida, however it wasn’t until she was in the girl 20s that she met another individual with the condition.   “ I used to be going around thinking I was the only one who seem to had this disability, ” the lady says.   Now at thirty, the L. A. -based sportsman travels around the country  running races— and inspiring others with (and without) disabilities.

Spina bifida is a birth defect that will affects the spine and spinal-cord.   In Diaz’ s situation, it damaged her L5 backbone. “ It affected my strolling, my growth, and my urinary, ” she says. As a result, Diaz  stands at just 4’ 4”, weighs in at 80 pounds, and uses crutches to get around. That hasn’t ceased her from completing 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, and even extreme obstacle classes.  

Two  in years past, Diaz became the first adaptive sportsman ever to finish  the Red Bull four hundred , a 400-meter  sprint in the ski jump at Utah’ h Olympic Park in Park Town. When she first heard about the particular race, in a  video on  Facebook, she  knew right away the girl had to try it. Diaz began training  her upper body with lots of rowing plus lat pulldowns, so she might make it up the near-vertical incline  upon crutches.   She reached the very best in 35 minutes.   Within 2018, she shaved 10 entire minutes off her time.  

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Diaz  wasn’ t always an sportsman. After  her 28th– yes, 28th – surgical procedure,   a bad breakup, and a have trouble with severe depressive disorder , Diaz was craving a large life change. She remembers considering, “ ‘I can either stay in this example hoping for a different result, or I could take the [discomfort] that will I’ m going through and sensation, and I could try something totally different. ‘” That’s when she found out fitness.

Diaz began with small, doable goals: The girl first milestone was making it through her  apartment to her mailbox. After that she wanted to walk down  the girl entire block;   then towards the nearby beach. “ I remained consistent, and I was loud regarding my progress, ” she states. “ Positive energy fueled me personally to want to keep doing a little bit a lot more. ”

A little bit more ultimately became  a charity 5K stroll. She showed up to the race inside a purple tutu, red lipstick, as well as a collared shirt. “ I had no clue what I was doing, ” the lady says, “ but I in no way once took into consideration that I acquired crutches. I started when everyone started, stopped when everybody ceased, and crossing that finish series was like the threshold of beginning my life all over again. ”

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Mike Tittel/Red Bull Content Pool

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That first race inspired Diaz to sign up for a second one– and set a little more effort into training now. “ I had never been in the gym, but I got a fitness center membership, ” she says. “ You can’ t just Search engines ‘ how do you use a treadmill in case you’ re on crutches’ – you’ re not going to find something, ” she says. Stepping in to a gym was overwhelming, but the girl tackled it the way she will any obstacle: Take things gradually, learn from what non-adaptive people are performing, ask questions, and use her problem-solving skills to figure out a way she may mimic the movements.  

Being super-friendly didn’ big t hurt either. “ I would you need to be like, ‘ Hey guys! ’ ” she says in an uptempo chirp. “ I became buddies with the gym manager who can see I had trouble reaching things. ” The manager gave  the girl guest passes so friends can come to work out with her, cost-free. “ I was so grateful, ” Diaz says. “ Plenty of individuals would have given up on their first plus second visit, but I found exactly what worked for me. ”

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The girl second 5K turned into more competitions, including half-marathons, and eventually obstacle events. Now, she says, she’ s i9000 done 70 all over the world. Races provide her an unique way to connect with others who might usually be a little more careful around someone with her problem. “ People might be intimidated about me, ” she recognizes. It’ s one of the reasons her trademark reddish colored lipstick became such a racing basic piece. “ It gave people a good in, an ice breaker. ” A compliment was an easy discussion starter, and she says she’ s i9000 built racing friends off of an easy, “ I like your lipstick. ”  

Thanks to the online connectivity of social media, she’ s produced virtual friends around the world, too. Mom and dad will contact her, inspired in order to race on behalf of their child with spina bifida. She also mentors  children with the condition. “ I contact them spina beautiful, ” the lady says. “ It was never the thing to be ‘ the girl along with spina bifida, ’ but I simply knew if I kept up the race, slowly but surely I would start to uncover reasons for myself, and I might possibly be in a position to help other people. ”  

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Paul Tittel/Red Bull Content Pool

“ When I meet someone along with spina bifida I want them to realize that anything is possible, ” Diaz states. “ You can still accomplish whatever you want to, you just might have to try a small harder. ”

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