Exactly 2 weeks ago, I was so excited to listen to my new audiobook, “Find a Way” by Diana Nyad during my run at Rose Bowl. For anyone who has not heard of Diana… she is the only one (male or female) in the world, who has successfully swam 111 miles, nation to nation, Cuba to Florida in an epic feat of both endurance and human will, in 53 hours on September 2, 2013, at the age of 64. Ever since I heard of her success, I’ve followed her. Words cannot explain how much I am amazed at her as an athlete.
I didn’t really know much about Diana other than that she is an endurance swimmer until I started listening to her audiobook. So 2 weeks ago, no one warned or shared with me her background. On my 5th mile run at Rose Bowl, I couldn't help but tear up as I listened to her audiobook. I CANNOT believe that she had a similar childhood as mine. I can relate to her and I am sure she would say the same thing to me if she has time to hear my story.
This week I received an email from Rose Bowl that she will be a guest speaker in my neighborhood tonight. I was so excited to go, and took in everything she said. There was a long line of people waiting for her to sign her book. So on a sticky note that I placed on the page where she would sign, I wrote my name “Shangrila” and “You’re my inspiration. I wanna be like you.”
When it was my turn to get my book signed by Diana, I did not really know what to say. I was star-struck, if you know what I mean. We took a picture, which is the one that I posted here. I told her how her audiobook made me tear up just 2 weeks ago, that I was so happy to finally meet her in person and that I wanna be like her. I also mentioned, “I just broke a world record last October. I hope someday I’d be an inspiration and help people in a large scale just like what you do. I wanna be like you.” She started asking more… and to my surprise… she said, “What?! You’re already doing it!” and asked another person, “Could you please take a picture of us?” omg Diana, you’re so humble!!!! I gave her a couple of sentences about me and we both gave few hugs. Not just a hug between a fan and an athlete… the hugs were authentic and I could tell.