Just when I needed her, in walks “The Mirnivator.” Or I should say, in she runs. In case you haven’t heard of this fabulous woman, Mirna Valerio is a self described “active larger girl in a thinner world” of running. I feel totally overwhelmed these days with the frantic pace of bad news- disasters, tragedies, anger, hurt, everything negative. I sink under doubt, fear, and disappointment. But not Mirna Valerio. She inspired me this week and I wanted to share a bit about her.

     Mirna is a writer, teacher, blogger, and runner. She runs in tough mudders, marathons, and ultra races. She is the force behind the FatGirlRunning blog and has been featured in tons of magazines (Women’s Running Magazine, People, Runner’s World, etc) and supported by outdoor organizations (Skirtsports, Swiftwick Athlete, REI). I saw her story in this video produced by REI:

     I’ve read some of her blogs and she has a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious smile that makes you want to throw on your running shoes and join her. Even in the middle of a muddy 30 mile run, she radiates confidence and determination. Here are a few of the things she says in the video:

“I feel strong, I feel capable, I feel like I’m ready.”

“I’m tired, but, I can do this! Clearly… I’ve done 18 miles already so I can do more. I’m stoked about that.”

“I run slowly, and sometimes I walk, but I run… I may not be fast, I may be the last person, but to me that doesn’t matter.”

     I can’t even remember the last time my self talk was that positive! But Mirna, she has it down. She has found her joy and you can’t help but be swept up in her excitement.

     In the video, she reveals some of the obnoxious comments she gets from strangers. One person was particularly harsh in judgement. In the midst of tearing her apart, he declares “You are a liar and a fraud. You are not a runner… What a joke.”

     How mean hearted does someone have to be to reach out to a woman like Mirna, full of passion for her sport, and tell her she sucks at it? I thought, how cruel to belittle someone doing something they love? And then I had an awful realization. I am that person. I’ve said those things. Substitute “artist” for “runner” and I’ve whispered these things to myself. We are truly our own worst critics.

     But somehow Mirna finds a way to shut out all the voices. She runner girlfights against the world telling her how to live and look. She measures her successes by her own standards. She ignores the critics and keeps going. She celebrated her 50K run and signed up for another one. I’m inspired to try to do the same. She’s the Mirnavator. My goal this week is to channel her voice in my head and have some of her zest for life rub off on me. So here are some doodles in her honor.

running in the forest


Marla Bender

The Mirnavator
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One thought on “The Mirnavator

  • October 4, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    I just love your honesty! 👍😘❤️❤️


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