Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Doing the Most

I know I haven't posted for a MINUTE in the blog that actually helped me gain the lil bit of notoriety I enjoy today. But hear me out--

These days, most of my writing appears in Women's Running Magazine under the moniker Fatgirlrunning, so head over there to read what you've been missing! Anyways, I'm grateful to all of you in my community as your support and love has helped me achieved some big ass goals this year. 

This summer, including a few DNF's...was incredible.

Black Mountain Monster 12 Hr
I did the Black Mountain Monster 12-Hour and achieved exactly what I wanted--my first (and maybe my last) 50k of the SEASON. This makes my ninth ultra. It was pretty tough, as there was mud, rain, sleet, and trolls and all. 
Also, the BMM was the start of filming for a #forceofnature REI short documentary film with the talented Sarah Menzies of Let Media Jenny Nichols of Pongo Media.

I then took a break from racing for a month to amp up my training, increase my mileage, strength train, and write, write, write, mostly for Women's Running Magazine.

Skirt Sports 13er
In June, I traveled to Colorado to participate in the Skirt Sports Ambassador Retreat and then do the Skirts Sports 13er, which contrary to what you might believe is a half-marathon, and not a trek up a 13er... It was incredible in every aspect. Every woman who enjoys running or walking should have such an opportunity to be part of such a wonderful community.

Also in June, I drove up to Massachusetts to attempt the TNF Endurance Challenge at Wachussett Mountain with fellow blogger and friend Latoya Snell of Running Fat Chef fame.
Pre-TNFECS still happy

Right after deciding to call it a day at 15 miles during TNFECS
I knew it would be tough to try to make the 8 hour cutoff but if we don't try shit that seems impossible (and sometimes is) we don't learn shit. I DNFed, had some really low points, enjoyed some amazing views, talked for a while with Dean Karnazes (one of my IDOLS!), hung out with Toya, and collected a bunch of really cool memories and images--mostly about what the human body can really do. 

The following week, I headed to one of my favorite spots for SKIING and NOT RUNNING, Mountain Creek in Vernon, NJ for the infamous Running with the Devil 12 Hour. The course is a 5K loop that contains a 1100 foot elevation gain in 1.6 miles and an equal, steep loss over the second half. My goal for this was to see how much elevation I could do in those 12 hours. I was shooting for anything over 3500, as that was what I had done the previous weekend at TNFECS in not even finishing. I took my time, knowing that whatever I did over two loops would be a PR on this course for me. I was going to stop after I had achieved 4 loops (12 miles, 4400 ft of gain), but was then joyously heckled by RDs Rick and Jen McNulty and friends to get off my ass and do another loop. So I obliged. Total gain 5500 feet and 15 miles in about 10 hours. (I took very long luxurious breaks between loops to take care of nutrition, rest the legs, and shoot the shit with various folks.) It was amazing. And hard. And good to be back on a course where I had only ever done 6.2 miles. And another step toward my big goal.
12 miles/4400 feet in and still smiling at RWD 

The next week, I headed up to Stowe, Vermont to do the Catamount 50K. I eventually dropped to the 25K, like I did last year. I wasn't ready for the quick sand mud which permeated much of the course. And plus, my mom was with me, so instead of hanging out for more torture in the mountains, I hung out with her, exploring beautiful Stowe, eating some amazing food, and drinking some even more amazing Chardonnay. Also, the RD was like, "you out", after 25K and I was like, THANK YOU.

I wiped out many times on my bum

The following week--I know, can you believe this?--I headed up to the Finger Lakes for a third try at the Finger Lakes 50s 50K. I had completed it twice before, so I felt EXTRA ready and EXTRA excited for my third. 

About 7 or 8 miles into FL50s 50K

Only, the mud and rain and thunderstorms and mud and rivers and streams of mud and more thunder had a different idea in mind. DNFed at 25k. BUT, made a ton of new friends from all over! Also, I proved to myself that I could still run and be functional during a five hour long thunderstorm. If you know me, you know what this means. There's an ENTIRE chapter in my upcoming book about my astraphobia. Like, a FULL chapter.

One of the less muddy areas. I'm serious.

And then I finally took a short break of about a week to catch up on writing my bimonthly pieces for WRM, and doing a photo shoot for same magazine, and then flying to Grand Rapids, MI to record the audio for my book! Yeah baby, I got that gig! This also meant spending two nights on airport floors and chairs, spending a night in a hotel room with a stranger (yep...I'll tell that story one day...), and finally getting back to NYC--all the while missing out on TWO Tough Mudders that I was supposed to be doing with friends. 

I know I'm leaving something out--but oh well, maybe that will be another post.

But to get back to the point- 

I am penning most of this post from a not-so-swanky airport hotel in Denver, as I wait for the shuttle to shuttle me back to the airport so I can catch another shuttle to shuttle me and a bunch of other folks to...

Lemme back up:

So just in case you don't know why I'm in Colorado and just in case you haven't been reading my FB and IG and TW posts over the summer.... I'll be attempting the Trans Rockies Six Day 120 Mile Run across, um, the Rockies! This is what I've been training for since late February. 

There will be six days of running and hiking through the mountains at altitude, starting at 8200 feet. Yep, I already have issues breathing so we'll see how that goes...

Although my training fell off a bit in the last few weeks due to extreme exhaustion (training, photo shoots, writing, prepping for school, travel, preparing to launch my book, etc....) I finally feel ready, mentally, physically and even emotionally. And gosh am I excited. 

I am also grateful.

This type of adventure would not have been possible without the extraordinary support I've had from the Rabun Gap Nacoochee School, who generously allowed me to take a leave of absence to do this, my mother, who stood by my side all summer, the Trans Rockies organization itself (Kevin Houda MacDonald in particular, who invited me to join the crazy), and all the amazing companies I get to rep--Merrell, Swiftwick, NY Custom PT, and Skirt Sports... who have all supported me through travel, shoes, apparel, fixing my legs/back, and the unending belief that I, this Fatgirlrunning, should have the audacity to think that someone in my kind of body could even fathom starting this thing.  And here I am.

See y'all on the other side!


  1. I just came across your blog and recognize you from the Catamount ultra in Stowe (in fact I believe I have seen you there at least twice). That is a tough course as was TNF at Wachusett-totally killer. They should all be great training for Trans Rockies which looks amazing. I have been eyeing that one for a while, so go crush it! I will reach out if I see you again next year😀

  2. Good luck with the Trans Rockies run! Keep us updated!

  3. How can you finish Transrockiesrun Stage 6 in exactly 9:00:00 hours and i saw you at the finish line as I finished in 7:36:18.4! That's awesome. How does it work? If you claim to be a runner, you should have a DNF or DNS for the stages you didn't really run - as every other runner does.... why do you get special rules? You may be an inspiration for many people - for me you seem to be a fake, what i believe is sad, because you could give so much to other women that don't have model size - but not by cheating.... feeling sorry for you....

    1. Not sure what you're talking about. I didn't finish and never said that I did. That's why I was at the finish line before you finished. Maybe you should check your facts before assuming I was lying. I am actually VERY open about the fact that I didn't finish. So actually, you can go to hell. Look at my INSTAGRAM.

    2. And for the record I started EVERY DAY. I don't go around pretending, when I DNF I DNF and don't feel bad about it. There are no special rules for me. Neither are there for anyone else. If the results say 9.00 then hats because the Rds put it there. Again, I am very forthright about getting fact that I only completed two stages. So again, I'm not sure where your angry assumption is coming from.

    3. Peter Lanz, you are garbage.

    4. Wow... why do you have to be so mean? Does that make your life seem better? MOST runners that I have met are kind and encouraging no matter what size someone is, a few, like you, have a "better then you" attitude. So, you sir are the one we should feel sorry for.

    5. There always has to be one dumas in the crowd.

  4. Peter, I have to say, you seem very concerned with other people's times. Why is that? Is it because you are not confident in your own running abilities? I'm sorry for you if that's the case. Also, you looked Mirna up on her blog to post negative (and false) information. Why is that? Is it because you weren't celebrating your amazing accomplishments at TRR with friends? I have three suggestions for you, since you seem to be so willing to dish out advice: 1. Grow up, you're acting like a jealous 7 year old. 2. Be kind. You cheapen yourself when you're unkind for no reason. 3. Lighten up. It turns out that even though TRR is f-ing hard, it's for fun, enjoyment, personal challenge, and exercise. This is not life or death.

  5. Dear Peter & Mirna,
    When someone doesn't make the cutoffs, the TRR automatically assigns them a 9:00 for time. For example, on stage 6, I got cut at mile 16 as had been sick that day, so was not able to run all 22.5 miles. I was assigned a 9:00 In The results by TRR. It appears that this is what the race does when you DNFa stage so that you can continue to be counted in the overall results. Also, I was offered the option of getting driven to checkpoint 3 so I could run the last 4 miles & "finish." I assume that Mirna was offered this option too, but like me, didn't take it & stayed true to her claim
    of not finishing. She went directly to the finish to cheer for others, as I did. She never took a medal or pretended to finish. I wish Peter had asked about how it all worked before accusing Mirna of cheating or falsifying. Peter, I do hope that you had as much fun at the race this week as the rest of us did, regardless of finishing time or place. Because that is the point-- to get out there & try; period. Thanks!

  6. Peter - your comments are very unbecoming for a trail runner.

  7. Mirna,
    Such a pleasure to meet you and get to chat a bit at TRR. Here's a link to that song,, told you i'd hit your blog and get it to you. Lucius, Two Of Us On The Run,, ,,,there's no race there's only a runner. Your work is touching people for real, shine your light.
    Peace, Barrett

  8. Hi Mirna: I ran TransRockies and saw you. Having run over 100 marathons and numerous Ultras, including 1st female in a 100 miler, TRR was the hardest race I've done, by far. I so wanted to say hi to you but honestly was so exhausted each day that finding my family and collapsing was all I could do. The day I heard you at the expo, I wanted to say how you represent all of us that are out there doing our best, putting one foot in front of the other. In '10 I was diagnosed with both Lyme and Rocky Mt Spotted Fever. They reeked havoc with my life and running and still cause issues. One major issue was corrected recently when I had major foot surgery this January '17. TransRockies was my first big event post surgery. But around '14, my run times slowed considerably and many people I knew either dropped out of my life or would keep saying "are you okay" "I'm sorry", ect. I have found you learn so much in adversity and what I learned was that I always had the same incredible satisfaction from running whether it was winning a 100 miler, starting with an elite bib# in NYC and feeling good the whole way, or crossing the finish of Boston nearly 1 hour and 30 min slower than my previous times because my foot ached the whole way. A friend once told me that she would have just "quit running" rather that put herself out there like I did, race after race. I remember thinking when she said that "wow, she has missed the whole point of running." It isn't about running fast or winning but rather about getting out there, setting goals for yourself that have nothing to do with other people's goals, doing the best you can on any given day, learning, learning, learning about what helps your running and what doesn't, picking yourself up and trying again when circumstances stop you from finishing, gaining mental and physical wellness, peace and joy, and having fun with a grateful attitude of how awesome it is that we can do any of this. Cheers to you for having found the true joy and benefits of running. And as I ran TransRockies, I repeatedly said in my mind "never again, one and done, this is too hard...". So I've signed up for next year �� and if our paths cross again, I will make every effort to say hi and introduce myself. All the best, Mary �� (Cary, NC)

  9. Mirna, I have been reading your blog for 3+ years now and have never left a post. However, in light of Peter's comments I wanted to let you know how much your blog has inspired me. In the past I was a runner when I found your blog. Now I am a hiker but still continue to be inspired by your blog. Thank you for your posts and please continue to be true to yourself.

  10. Just finished reading your book and loved it! You speak to all of us who don't fit the ideal "athlete" physique. Keep it up, you are an inspiration.

  11. I just want to tell you how much I admire you. I am an old fat lady who is NOT a runner but you give me hope that I can be more fit than I am. Keep on going!

  12. Late night, Sep 15, 2017, in bed, and my wife reading parts of your story to me.
    What a sad commentary on humanity, when you cannot be who you are, because some sad, sick person declares you don't fit the proper image of a runner. How sad.
    No matter how slowly you run. No matter your weight. No matter anything, except for the fact that you are out there. No self-respecting runner would judge you in any other way, and would only admire you, because you ARE out there, toiling away, and loving it, when so many are not.
    God bless you, dear lady, and NEVER, EVER let the words of another deter you. You are too good to let that happen.

    From an old white guy, now over 70, a bit over weight, and way out of shape. A man who used to run quite a bit. Admiring you.
    Tom R.
    Broomfield, Colorado

  13. Thank you, Mirna! 3 months ago I received a kidney transplant and since then I've been trying to decide which sport I wanted to try so I can keep my new kidney. I've always hated running and preferred dancing, however I realize that a team sport isn't for me right now. I just read your book and your story has motivated me to give running a try. I'm about the same age and size as you are, so I will no longer use that as an excuse.

    I'm leaving this comment as a form of commitment to (once I get Dr's clearance) put one foot in front of the other, instead of crossing them on the couch.

    Thanks again!!

    Most Sincerely,
    Monica J.

  14. I'm a fat girl who, until this year, had never run a day in her life. I just did my first 5k yesterday. Today I saw the short film REI did about you. What am inspiration you are! Thank you for sharing your story. Seeing what you're doing encourages me to keep trying, too push harder, and challenge myself to do more.
    Lisa from Denver

  15. I just wanted to say your awesome! and I admire you!

  16. I love you! I want to BE you! I too am a curvalicious girl - and I love being in the woods. I fantasize about trail running - but you inspire me to actually DO it! THANK YOU for you!!

  17. Just read read your fabulous book and decided to check out your blog for the first time. LOVED them both! You are a remarkable writer.
    I'm a runner. Not fast and never will be. And frankly have been struggling personally with how my body is aging. And I'm only 38. Your writing has been a wake-up call for me to stop bringing myself down and be grateful that I can do what I can. It's a privilege to run. No matter how slowly, or jiggly for that matter. I've forgotten that recently until reading (in two days because I couldn't put it down!) your book. Thank you. I'm reinspired to push myself simply because I can and, to savor the process and the knowledge that I'm right where I'm supposed to be, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.
    Best of luck in your future ventures!

  18. You are an AMAZING woman! Keep on doing what you do! ❤️

  19. I wish I had known about you when I was training to box. It was so hard dealing with all the hate and doubts from people. I not only didn't lose weight, I gained fat because of intense 2hr training sessions where I did more than the men because I was "fat". I went into the ring a professional fighter at 295lbs and did 4 rounds without even getting out of breath. It went so fast, I was wishing for 4 more! When I was done training, I had a resting heart rate of 55 and perfect blood sugar, cholesterol, etc. I believe you can be fit and fat because I proved it to myself. Go girl! You are an inspiration!

  20. Hi... Just saw one of your videos on Facebook today, the one where you got the hateful email when running. I am 57 years old and love to run even though I'm not as skinny or as fast as I once was. Just in the last few years I've got back into running and mostly with some other ladies that I met through running. I used to run alone but these ladies have changed it for me and I love it!! Anyway, I know you don't blog often now but just wanted to share a few things with you and didn't know how else to reach you. One funny thing is that I look at your pictures when you are running and think you look amazingly beautiful and strong... I look at my pictures and think "I look fat and like a boy", lol, isn't it sad how critical we can be of ourselves but see the good on others easier? I'm definitely getting better, I did just wear a two piece swimsuit in Mexico for the first time in 30 years! I have about 30 lbs to lose and I might never get there but having fun running and you are an inspiration for me. Thank you.

  21. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING!! Humans are so so bad at accepting people who break stereotypes, but you are knocking the stereotype down and making it that much easier for the next little girl to look in the mirror and see who she really is and what she really wants to do. With all my heart, thank you.

  22. Just saw the video of the Black Mountain run on FB and wanted to say.......GO YOU! And you have inspired me beyond words as a runner, as a musician, and as a healer. I just wanted you to know. Thank you is too shallow an expression for the gratitude I feel. 💜 Cheryl Johnson, not to far from Black Mountain NC

  23. Mirna, I saw your video on Facebook recently about the jackass who emailed you and bashed you during your mountain run. You are an inspiration to me and countless others! I'm 42 and I only started running in June. I had finally got to where I could run 3.2 miles and then 10 days before my first 5k, I injured my knee. I was determined to finish my race, even if I had to crawl across the finish line. My family and I were doing the race in memory of my mother in law who passed away from ovarian cancer two years ago. The race was for ovarian cancer awareness. I saw your video when I was trying to heal my knee enough to get through my race and it gave me the extra push to do it. Thanks to physical therapy and kinetic tape, I was able to finish. I had to walk part of it and I was one of the last ones to finish but I finished! Thank you for being a role model and inspiration to those of us who might not look the most graceful when we're running but we do it anyway!! The fact that you even ATTEMPTED such a grueling feat is amazing in and of itself!

  24. Hi,

    I just happened to read about the email you got at school. I just want to say the I admire your tenacity and believe that you are truly a beautiful and amazing person. The hate swirling through our world today is so very sad and disheartening, but after reading your story and your response you clearly have the upper hand over those sad people. You are following your dreams and plans and I wish you all the best!

  25. You are amazing ! Here in France, i think there would have much women who should know what you experienced. I think the enemy of the body is not fat but sedentarity. Moving is the best way to simply live your life. Keep on!

  26. Mirna, you are an inspiration to me. Fat shaming in the fitness world is unfortunately real. I love how you handle to negative and continue doing your thing. At the beginning of this year, I was 380 pounds and couldn't run, at all. After reading your blogs and following your races, you helped inspire me to get back to my goal of trail running. 10 years ago, I had lost 80 pounds and was a police officer. I was able to trail run and enjoyed every minute of it. Unfortunately, I started to rapidly gain weight and couldn't figure out why. It took a year before doctors were able to tell me that I had a tumor on my pituitary gland. The weight gain was out of my control. I had to quit my job and it took until this year for me to be tumor free. In that time frame, I gained 160 pounds. I'm proud to say that in March I found out I was tumor free. I got a personal trainer and started to get serious about getting fit. I'm now down 62 pounds from just diet and exercise. You stories have kept me motivated. I just finished my 2nd 5k this weekend at 318 pounds. I heard comments and saw the looks people gave me, but I just did my thing. Haters are going to hate. Not sure why. But assuming that big people aren't fit is just an ignorance on their part. So many "thin" people couldn't run a 5k or do what we do. So keep doing your thing. Just remember, you are helping to inspire others to get out and believe in themselves and just do it. Thank you for sharing your stories, triumphs and struggles. You are AMAZING!!!!