Monday, July 6, 2015

PEOPLE ARE WATCHING

If you are someone with a fitness habit, people notice and sometimes in creepy ways:

At Black Rock Lake in early Spring, blending in
A few months ago I took a quick break during the school day to run a few loops around Black Rock Lake in Mountain City, Georgia. The trail is fairly short, .85 miles around. There were several people out walking and fishing as it was an unusually warm day at the the start of April. My plan was to run four loops and do some sun salutations on the fishing platform afterwards. On my third loop, an older woman I had passed twice called over to me loudly,
"HOW MANY?"
"Four," thinking she was asking me how many I was planning to do. I was wrong.
"Well I counted THREE!" She yelled, somewhat indignantly.
"Uh, I'm doing four though. Have a good day, ma'am"
So you're counting my loops?

Some weeks after this exchange, I was at the local post office rushing to get my son's camp forms in the mail. It was already extremely hot out and happened to be a recovery day. A mail carrier whom I had never, ever seen walked into the small post office after bringing in some baby chicks that he hadn't been able to leave on the porch (I do live in rural Georgia). "Good afternoon!" I shouted.  He then looked and me, cocking his head and remarked in a gently lilting North Georgia Mountains accent, "I didn't see you out there exercising today yet. Better git out there before it gets too hot!"
Hunh? Have we met?

OK, I get it. It's hard NOT to notice me in my small town in the Appalachian foothills. I'm big, I'm black, and sometimes I run with an intricately carved walking stick.
Daily Pre-Dawn Campus Run


And this at least once a week a student says "Ms. Valerio I saw you out there again this morning. It was like 5:30. Are you NUTS?!? Don't you like to sleep?"
Get back to bed so you don't fall asleep in my class later on.

 
Another Gorgeous Early Morning Campus Run

If you are someone with a running obsession and a blog, people notice in very awesome ways:
    I was sitting in a gender and sexuality workshop in North Carolina (I'm also a diversity practitioner. I know, I have a lot of jobs) with a group of educators in late January of this year. The presenter had asked us to unplug from our devices while she spoke. As a mom of a kid who always happens to get sick when I'm away, I keep my phone on at all times. So like the students I teach who smile at their crotches thinking I don't know they're texting or Instagramming, I too stared at my crotch when I got an email notification, thinking it was someone from my school asking me yet again to come pick up my son because he was sick.

    Wait, what? Hunh? WHAT? The WALL STREET EFFIN JOURNAL? (Actual language edited for public consumption) When I got an email from Rachel Bachman, a writer for WSJ asking if she could talk to me about my blog and my experiences with running for an article she was working on, my heart stopped beating for a few seconds and this time not from some imagined heart attack. I ran out of the room hyperventilating and hastily replied in a toned down, more professional version of YES! OMG! YES! NO WAY! HOLY CRAP! ME????

    After a phone interview the very next day and the sharing of more information and photos, a short  photo shoot was set up with the enormously talented Tammi Nowack, photographer, friend and neighbor. This was moving entirely too fast.  Disbelief abounded.

    The article "Weight Loss or Not, Exercise Yields Benefits" was published on February 9 of this year, to my absolute delight and astonishment. Things started to change. Hits on the blog increased and my Facebook BLEW UP. People wanted to read what I, a fat girl from Brooklyn, had to say about running and fitness.

    I'm not gonna lie, it was very cool (and continues to be) and I was HYPE for days afterwards.

    Things calmed down a bit and I was back into my routine, training for the Lenape Trail 34 (which I DNFed because several polar vortices had decided to mess with my plans), prepping my Spanish students for their AP exam, finishing up with the school musical production, and getting ready for Spring break.

    Amenability and Anxiety
    And then on February 27th, the day before I would head back to Brooklyn for some racing and respite, this happened:

    I had just gotten ready to go for a short afternoon run when my phone buzzed with an email notification whose subject line was "Runner's World Story"; I thought that it was odd for my weekly Runner's World email to be in my work email. Hmmm? Had I signed up for more emails? I took a second look at the email and gasped.

    John Brant, the long time writer at Runner's World (who wrote that lengthy piece about the pit bulls who had attacked that family on a trail run a few years ago) had just asked me if I wouldn't mind being featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine. "Would you be amenable to this project?" he asked.

    WOULD I BE AMENABLE TO THIS PROJECT??? HELLZ YEAH, I WOULD!

    Again, toning down what could have been an incoherently incredulous and happy response, I replied with something to the effect of "Sure that would be great-thanks and I'm so honored-let's chat next week..." not having ANY idea of the awesomeness that was to come.

    We spoke the following Tuesday, with my family in Brooklyn keeping a close ear on the barely audible conversation, something about the concrete and metal walls in the projects....

    Could he come down to Georgia and hang out for a few days, interviewing me, observing me at work, running with me? You know, fly down from Oregon? Maybe he could come and hang out with me while I volunteered for the Georgia Death Race?

    Was he for real? He was going to fly out from OREGON? To interview ME? My son wasn't impressed in his typical pre-teen way. "Runner's World? Never heard of it. And anyway mom, that's like, stalking."

    We made arrangements for him to come to the North Georgia Mountains the week before Easter break when I would have a few long blocks of time to "hang out" and run before, during, and after my work day.

    I looked forward to this meeting with both excitement and tremendous anxiety. Was he really coming? I wouldn't believe it until he actually showed up. Would he be disappointed in what he thought could be a story, but really wasn't a viable, marketable story? Would he ask me questions that could potentially make me very, very angry or insecure?

    John Brant and I after a run around Black Rock Lake
    Nothing of the sort happened. John arrived on a Tuesday night and we met for some joe at a local coffee shop in Dillard and we hit it off immediately. Conversation was easy and relaxed. What I didn't realize (but should have, duh!) was that he was observing my every mood, expression, the way I walked and talked and interacted with everyone I would encounter over the next few days. He accompanied me to Spanish class and Chorus, and then we would run in the afternoon and then again the following morning at six.

    I enjoyed the back and forth of our hours-long interview, the serious, funny, and even probing questions. The opportunity to talk about my running, musical, and teacher life with an award winning journalist and sports writer who was interested in me was thoroughly exhilarating.

    I would still be in a state of disbelief. Would he really write the article? Maybe he had just wasted four days of his life hanging out with this teacher of adolescents?

    Again, I returned to my routine. I DNFed at the Double Tap 50K, did long training runs on the weekends, got nominated for a musical director award, hung out with my boy, and prepared for the end of the school year. Two weeks before school ended, I got a call from the photo editor at RW. Would I be available for a shoot with the incredibly gifted documentary photographer Bryan Meltz the following week? Another editor sent me a 20 page single-spaced fact-checking document to look over and revise, and would I answer this question and could I verify that? Also, could I scan a million selfies and pics and label them all by yesterday?

    OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGTHISISREALLYHAPPENING
    And it's the end of the school year and I'm totally stressed out and hubby is sick and I have a toothache and a cold and OMGTHISISREALLYHAPPENING


    Bryan Meltz, Photographer
    Somehow I managed to do everything they asked of me amid exams, final projects and papers, meetings, toothaches, writing report cards, deep cleaning of the house, and everything else that comes with being the subject of a photoshoot for a major magazine.

    The photoshoot was an experience like none other. My own personal paparazza! SHIT JUST GOT REAL (in your best Kevin Hart voice...) Bryan arrived at 5:45 in the morning and almost immediately started clicking away while I ran with colleagues and students, and then stayed for almost 11 hours artistically documenting every aspect of my day. What an absolutely heady experience!

    Fast forward to a few days ago when someone on the NBMA (National Black Marathoners Association) Facebook happened to post a pic from the magazine and asked if the person in the article was part of the group. I responded with a a resounding YES! That's ME!

    The response both in real life and on social media has been incredible and overwhelmingly positive. I am on cloud nine, and cannot sleep yet again because of the excitement. A few people on the trail at the Finger Lakes 50s this past weekend stopped and asked me if I was the one in Runner's World. One even asked to take a selfie with me! Wow.

    John Brant's ability to tell my story in such an exceedingly honest and beautiful way tugged at my heartstrings. His writing is evocative and descriptive, giving the reader a real window into someone who loves running for the run of it but, non-traditionally so. I love that he did this for me and for all of us who need to see more people that look like us in both print and electronic media. I love that the Wall Street Journal AND Runner's World took huge risks in focusing positively on people who are not thin but are seriously active nonetheless.

    I am truly grateful and humbled beyond words.


    Photo by Bryan Meltz










    64 comments:

    1. At six foot six I get that a lot also

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    2. Very exciting times for you! Congrats!

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    3. Just saw your article in Runner's World. I applaud you! Healthy and active can be any size! I am just up the road from you in Franklin!

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      1. Awesome! Always looking for more running partners!

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    4. Congratulations! Just read your article in Runner's world! Healthy is attainable at any size! Love running in these mountains, I am up the road from you in Franklin.

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      1. WOOHOO Appalachia! Aren't these thar mountains wonderful? Maybe our paths will cross at some point soon. Thanks!

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    5. Just read your article in Runner's World. Yay for you! I love it when we as women can prove the doubters wrong. If you don't mind, I think I'll stick around and read a bit. Keep on running!

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    6. I read your story in RW. I loved it! You are an inspiration. I finished reading every word of your story, then got off my ass and went for a run! Thanks so much for getting me motivated. I'll be visiting your blog from time to time. Chris Day

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    7. I get comments about my running from people I don't know or from people I encounter on a regular basis - creepy! Can't wait to read the RW article! Love ya!

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    8. Your article really resonated with me. I run and work out. I eat healthy foods in moderation and I never.lose.weight. Your attitude has sparked something inside of me that needs to love myself regardless. Keep running and writing. You are truly an inspiration!

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    9. Super congrats on the RW story! Loved every word of it. You're awesome ;-).

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    10. I stayed up late last night reading your article in RW. I love you! I run because I enjoy it and I like feeling strong. I don't run in an effort to lose weight. I want to share your story with everyone I know.

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    11. Congratulations!!!

      I'm a teacher too, and it's hilarious when my kids see me running or they find my weightlifting videos on Instagram.

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      1. That's awesome that you do weightlifting videos!!! Link? I wanna share!

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    12. Congratulations Mirna! I'm so so happy for you :)

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    13. Mirna, you've inspired me to run/walk again since reading the piece about you last Sunday. I do not like to run but at 5ft 6in and hovering at 200lb, I need to do something. When my husband tries to wake me and I think about ignoring him, I think, "Mirna is probably already out or already done with her run." So I roll out of bed and go. Thank you!

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    14. I am not surprised at the interest :-) I don't know you except for exchanging encouragement and smiles at the NJ Ultra Fest. Your light shines brightly even in brief encounters. Hope the mud-fest was fun. It was like that a few years ago though the mud seemed to set up a bit by the third loopy. Best to you.

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    15. I just read your story in RW and LOVED it---not blowing smoke, but truly one of the best features that has been written in that magazine. As a mere mortal, I often don't connect with the stories in RW--but I was so happy to read your feature! And I've added you to my "reader"

      Quasi related--I was married in Asheville a couple of years ago and we would drive through Rabun Gap on all of our visits up to the area. Without fail, we would always remark about how beautiful the campus of your school is---what a great place to run!

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      1. RG is a great place to run--the school, the roads, the trails. I'm in love! Thanks for the kudos! I love what I get to do and the fact that the article reached so many people in different ways makes me so incredibly happy with life!

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    16. I am new to your blog - after reading your story in RW! Loved it and truly admiring. I started running last year when my daughter was just one and am still running. I'm not the skinny type either - and your article and now your blog has truly helped me in accepting that I'm not the 'skinny runner' that everyone thinks a runner should be. Thank you so much!

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    17. You are so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story. This fat girl is getting her running shoes out after a hiatus of over a year.

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    18. Your Runner's World story is uplifting, real and empowering. Looking forward to reading your blog from now on!

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    19. Ok, I tried to post yesterday 3 times, heres goes again........ I also read about you in RW this weekend and am in awe of you. You are a beautiful, amazing inspiration to so many people. I have always called myself a "fit fat person" and cant seem to get people to get rid of the negative connotation behind the word fat. I am fat, its not bad, it just is. But Im also fit. My 210lb butt has run 2 half marathons, a handful of 5 and 10ks and managed to place top 3 of my age group twice in a row at a 2 mile fun run (out of approx 20). You are the embodiment of what I try to strive for. In my 3 years running, Ive been very off and on, partially due to injury, and partially due to the friggin polar vortex in Michigan, however, you encouraged me to lace back up and get back out there. Ive mostly done road running, however the tiny bit of trail running Ive done makes me want to do more.Im not in love with running, but Im not terrible at it. I also love hot yoga and rock my short shorts and sports bra. Thank you for bringing light to us bigger girl athletes, you are amazing and inspiring!!!
      Tanya

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    20. I'm sure you're in the zone and that's why you haven't noticed them! I couldn't tell you much about the people I ran by tonight, but they may remember me!

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      1. I am definitely always in my zone. Lots of folks, even my colleagues say that they saw me here, or there and I have NO idea where they're talking about!

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    21. I haven't purchased a magazine in a long time, let alone a running magazine, but I buy them at the air port just before a trip. When I landed in Vegas, I had lunch and found the article about you in Runners World and have to say that I'm inspired. Your story is a great one and I'm glad that you shared it.

      I have been discouraged about my running. Last year I took on too many miles too soon, and in January I had major non-running related surgery. This year I'm focusing on training smarter.

      I haven't lost weight while running and have found this to be frustrating. I love running, and it's done great for my insides, but I'm not seeing results. Meanwhile, I have friends walking a few days a week and dropping pounds like I drop sweat. This article was a turning point for me and it's good to know that I'm. It alone.

      Thanks again.

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    22. I just read your article in Runners World and I loved it. You're awesome! Just keep doing your thing. I love that RW profiled you. Not all runners are ahem-skinny white people in their 40s w 8 min paces. Some of us have color and hips :) Seriously great article. Thanks for sharing your story.

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      1. Thanks Diana! All types of people are runners. Strange that only a few get represented in national media. This is a start!

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    23. You are great! I love it... finally, A REAL RUNNER... someone I, most, can related to. I am not a size 5, nor and I thin... I have some meat on the bones- some areas are thicker than others, BUT... I LOVE to run. When my "associates" hear me discussing exercise or when they walk past my desk and see a race registration pulled up they ask with a surprising tone "YOU run.. like, run-run"?! Before I assumed they asked for various reasons; My nationality, I complain about the heat and being hot or maybe because I don't 'appear' to be an outdoors-sports kinda gal.... WRONG, it's because of my 5'2", 155lb frame that I rock, gracefully might I add. I have shared your blog, article in runner's world with these folks, and let's just say... I don't get the surprised reaction anymore. Way to go... you ROCK!

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    24. As a 5'5" and 235 pound runner, I am never the smallest on the trail. In 2014, I ran the 25K Superior Trail Race and finished LAST, but finished! Thank you for staying on the trail!

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    25. I read your story in RW yesterday. You are an inspiration! I run mostly in my neighborhood. It is populated with lyth bodied young mothers pushing their infants in jogging strollers, decked out in their cute sports bras. They make it look so easy. And they are intimidating. I see them zip by my kitchen window and for a fleeting second I am jealous. Then I remember "I am a runner too". I started on the treadmill in our neighborhood gym at O'dark thirty so no one would see my plus sized body running. I hate treadmills! One morning I woke up and instead of heading to the gym I ran around the block. I loved it! I love to run! It changed my life. I am not fast but I run! Thank you for sharing your story. For showing the world that runners come in all sizes, but that doesn't make us any less of a runner! You are amazing!

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    26. I just read your article and wish you were my neighbor! Would love to go running with you!! Bookmarking your blog now :) Have a great day!

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    27. I finished the article and hope it isn't too creepy to echo all these comments and say how amazing you are! Not for existing while fat but for setting goals and achieving them and living your life by your rules. You inspired me to try harder and finally break a goal I set for myself three years ago when I started running: run a 12 minute mile. Well I went out today and pushed myself and I ran a 10:34 and a 11:25, two personal bests. Thank you for inspiring that! And you should have gotten the cover! (I wrote the editor to tell them as much!) I hope you get a book deal soon!

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    28. Hi Mirna - I just read the piece in Runner's World and immediately jumped online to check out your blog. Thank you for being so honest and so real in your interview. I am a 5'2" 180 lb 36G cup Northwesterner who loves to run, kayak, hike, bike and who owns her own gardening business. I've never run a longer race, but I hope to someday. I constantly get stares from people whether it's lifting a wheelbarrow full of soil or finishing up a 5k to the sound of, "Wow I can't believe she can run that fast". It's hard to find gear such as running bras that will fit me, but I started running as an adult and got addicted. That said I have perfect blood sugar, cholesterol etc. And my doctor says she doesn't know how I do it. Anyways, all this is just to say that we're out there and we are all so inspired by your story. Thanks for being generous enough to share your experiences. Cheering you on from up here in the rainy northwest!

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    29. Mirna, I just finished reading your article and was in tears! As a black woman myself who has always struggled with weight, but who absolutely LOVES running, it was so refreshing reading your story. I've been a long time subscriber to Runner's World, and have never seen this topic covered. Your personal story is an absolute inspiration! I live in Colorado, and while I might not be what most folks expect to see out on the trails, its empowering to know that there is someone else out there running...for the sheer joy of it...regardless of their color or size. Thank you for sharing your story, your voice, and your passion for the sport. Blessings!

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    30. I read the RW piece and had to find your blog to read more about and by such an amazing, inspirational woman. I think it is high time I laced those running shoes again and got out there! I look forward to following your blog and continuing to be inspired (not because you're "running while fat" but because of your myriad talents and the way in which you set and achieve goals). Thank you.

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    31. Dear Mirna,

      I wish I could email you about my excitement over just knowing that you exist in the world! It is 3AM during what has proved to be a very SLOW night shift here at the Philadelphia hospital where I am a nurse. I have read your ENTIRE blog this week and can confirm that you are, indeed, "flippin' fabulous"! I was really hitting a mental wall with my running and physical activity and feeling like some sort of amorphous blob in tights on the trail. Reading about you in RW and devouring your blog made me take a step back and realize that running can be for more than weight loss and that I don't need to be some Olympic gazelle to feel good about getting out there and getting it done. I was 313lbs this time last year and now I am 288lbs and my body can do so much more and I haven't given it any credit or respect for the hard work we've accomplished together. Thanks for the hard dose of reality! I really love your use of the "selfie" as a self-affirmation tool and think that frequent photos might help me stay connected to my journey as well. I'm all signed up for my first 5K in October and really excited to come to know some of those feelings of exhilaration, joy, and pride that you talk about in your posts. As an African American woman, I am also glad that you have broken the silence about exercise and health and movement regarding our community. In Philadelphia, we have a growing community of women of color who exercise through groups like CityFitGirls and RUN215. Mostly, I was just so ecstatic to see someone who reminded me of myself. Sometimes it's just so nice to know that someone else has contended with the stares and snickers and snide comments and lived to tell about it. So many cheers for you - love and gratitude as well.

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      1. Aww man, it didn't load my identity! From Susanne Johnson - I'm @purlbeforeswine on IG.

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      2. I love this, especially the image of the "amorphous blob in tights on the trail" because that's me too! I hope you have a great time training for your 5K and will take pride in knowing that you are out there doing it while many of us are too afraid. GET IT!

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    32. Mirna,
      I just read the article in Runner's World magazine and I would like to thank you for lighting the fire under my butt! You are the inspiration I needed to get back running. I liken it to the old saying "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear". Thank you for being my teacher!

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    33. As to the first part of your blog entry, I think people who workout in public become part of other people's daily routines. They see you everyday and notice when you're not there. It's community-like without really being a community!

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    34. Mirna, I'm a personal trainer and lifelong runner. I grew up pacing my dad on trails of ultramarathons in the 1980s, back when it was a seriously fringe sport. Just last Monday I posted a blog entry about the Health at Every Size movement, which I was introduced to by a client. https://onbalance.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/health-at-every-size/ Last Friday, I was on a plane heading to summer vacation, and I picked up my Runners World and read the article about you. I immediately tore it out and mailed it back to my client in Austin. Thanks for the inspiration, wisdom, and infectious smile. May good health and great happiness be yours.
      Cheers,
      Karen
      PS-- If you come to Austin, I'd love to go for a run with you.

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      1. Thanks so much! Also, I love the "Health at Every Size" entry on your blog especially the line "weight is not an indication of personal value." Also, the notion of moving intentionally throughout the day is so incredibly important for everyone, no matter what size. Thanks for the link!

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    35. Thanks so much! Also, I love the "Health at Every Size" entry on your blog especially the line "weight is not an indication of personal value." Also, the notion of moving intentionally throughout the day is so incredibly important for everyone, no matter what size. Thanks for the link!

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    36. Mirna,

      Such a great RW article and a wonderful blog. Thanks for being such a positive person and ambassador for running. I would rather read about people like you than any elite runner with a negative attitude. I am much more interested in your running and fitness approach than your size, but your story is encouraging to people who might not think running is for them. I got the confidence to train for my first marathon when I watched the Houston Marathon on tv and got to watch all the "normal" people running, not just the leaders. It was a revelation that you didn't have to be an Olympian to experience the joys and accomplishments of distance running. Your story is sure to inspire many to gain the confidence to start. Thanks for being such a positive force in the world.

      Muna in Austin

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    37. Mirna,

      Are you tired yet of people telling you how awesome you are? As soon as I read the RW article (which I've done about half a dozen times now) I called my running pal and told her to read your article first! You are a sunny, fierce, determined, inspirational spot in an otherwise predictable sport. You've probably received a hundred or so invites to run with people...here's another. In mid-Sept., my running pal and I will do a 24 hour trail run. It's not a race, but will cover part of the 100 Mile Wilderness, my favorite section of trail on the Appalachian Trail in Maine. I'm working out logistics now, hoping to have 2 legit support stops set up for us. It would be an honor and a wicked good time to have you join us. I will be inviting a few other women who might be crazy enough to try. :) Either way, you're simply awesome.

      Dawn Schillinger
      dawn.schillinger@gmail.com

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      1. OH my goodness! This is something I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do but unfortunately I have school obligations--like a 5 day backpacking trip with my sophomores mid September. Can I take a rain check! Maybe a next SUMMER raincheck??? How cool would that be? And thanks so much for your comment. It made me smile!

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    38. Absolutely! I will let you know how it went...assuming I come out of the woods whole! Ha!

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    39. Congrats and please keep inspiring us! I saw your story at Runner's World and came over to check out the blog. I'm your newest subscriber! Have a great day super woman, Cintia from SimplyCintia.com

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    40. Count me as yet another stranger who needed to let you know what your Runner's World piece meant to them! I was touched so deeply reading it, seeing so many familiarities to my own path (even down to considering a career in opera while in Ohio). Running has become one of the biggest loves of my life, and as I train for my first ultra, I find myself struggling with my body and my negative feelings toward it. This summer has brought the silliest feelings of mediocrity! But they've been so hard to shake. Reading the RW piece - and your words - filled me with such joy. Thank you for being a beautiful, sparkling inspiration at a time when I, conveniently, needed it most.

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    41. Just read the Runners World piece and found my way over to your blog. How refreshing to read the extensive article and not just a token light touch on a larger size runner (they also just put up another facebook feed on their latest cover runner who is larger size). I really enjoyed reading about all of your amazing successes throughout your life. It is great to read about the whole person/runner who has many passions and talents with running complementing all other aspects of their lives. This article is what young women of all races and class need to read for inspiration. We may not be able to live up to everything you have done and become, but how great it is to imagine the possibilities and also imagine that yes, it is possible to embrace and become good at something like running and love our bodies for it even if they don't fit the usual thin, muscular stereotype image. Thanks for getting your amazing self out there (from an average, slow, 52 year old white lady who started running again 3 years ago in my efforts to stay healthy in my older years).

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    42. I just picked up my copy of RW August issue and initially flipped through the pages before reading it cover to cover. Your article attracted me because you are an inspiration to all, a role model, and an amazingly motivational woman!! You inspire to "Just Do It!" and just be you because life is beautiful and wonderful when we accept ourselves. Thank you for sharing your inspiring message.

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    43. Saw your article in RW online. This is both encouraging and discouraging to me. I am also 250 lbs, aged 63, with arthritic knees. Just started in January- have done 2 5Ks and a 10K- working on my first half marathon in November. Can only walk 20 minute miles on a good day- but hope to do the Boston Marathon in 2-3 years. It's encouraging to see someone my weight running ultra-marathons. It's discouraging to see that running and a sensible diet might not help me lose 100 lbs. I've already been told that my knees might not let me get to the 10 minute mile I need for Boston. Anyway will follow your adventures. If you want to follow mine- I'm at Maryrosesgarden.blogspot.com

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    44. i actually came across your blog very randomly by hitting "next blog" at the top of mine. I never do that, but I was feeling crazy today I guess :) LOVE IT. I was thinking as I was reading "she sounds like the lady in runner's world" I haven't even read runner's world much lately I just happened to randomly pick it up in a waiting room last week. Congrats on an awesome article. :)

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    45. I just read this article and had to look you up - what an inspiration, no matter what your size, getting out there every day like that. I love to run (well, most runs, anyway, some of them are all sorts of awful) when I actually get out and do it, but that doorstep mile is oh so long. Looking forward to following your journey here on the blog.

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    46. I have been stalking my local Barnes and Noble for weeks, waiting for them to get THIS copy of the magazine with you in it. Finally, I gave up and checked the magazine website this morning and there it was! There you were. I am 300+ pounds and there is a runner inside me who is working on being brave enough to just go out and start doing it. Thank you for . . . everything. Being in the article, writing this blog, your Beachbody coaching, everything you do. And for mentioning where you get your gear, complete with links. It's disheartening to go into plus-size women's stores and not see a single thing to work out in and then go to Dick's and sports stores and still . . . not a single thing that fits.

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    47. Read the article. Loved it! I have been athletic my whole life, running off and on since I was in my early twenties. Ran my first half marathon two years ago to help lose baby weight that wouldn't come off and then got pregnant last year and gained all I lost back and then more. Running again this year and training to do another half. Weight is very slow to come off and it has been very frustrating. I am also much slower than I was before I got pregnant the second time. Your story was an inspiration to me as well. Running tomorrow with much more enthusiasm. I'm a teacher too!

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    48. I'm so happy to have found your blog through the RW article! I wrote about the (re)start of my running journey at the first of the year (http://www.xojane.com/healthy/running-at-250-pounds) , and I learned there are so many more of us out there!

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