A Beautiful Work in Progress by Mirna Valerio

By Audrey Andrews | June 3rd, 2020

A Beautiful Work in Progress by Mirna Valerio is the culmination of years of blogging and writing columns. Valerio is well-known in the long-distance running world and an epitome of inspiration. 

Valerio is Brooklyn born and raised. She enjoyed an active childhood and adolescence, but fell out of her workout routines when faced with full-time work, childcare and life responsibilities. After suffering an anxiety attack, Valerio’s doctor warned her that she would not live out her years if she did not address her health. 

Valerio immediately went back to running. Her first mile was hell. Then she ran again. And again. And again. She ran half marathons, found her way to marathons and ran her first ultra.  All the while, Valerio chronicled her story on her blog: Fat Girl Running

The Mirvavator” became Valerio’s nickname. Her encouragement of all athletes and people, especially via her presence on social media, opened the door for everyone to join the very white and predominantly male world of running. The media picked up her story and she became a fresh and inviting image of a long distance runner. 

Valerio perfectly captures the thoughts and emotions of trail running in A Beautiful Work in Progress. The fear of sticks and shadows (all of which are monstrous bears, of course) can be debilitating. Tripping over the flat, featureless ground is common. The self-doubt that inevitably creeps in wanes and waxes; food and water typically help. The tears at the end of an accomplishment, a distance or time or route you never thought possible, are part of the joy of running. 

While Valerio’s story is beautiful, A Beautiful Work in Progress is not well-edited. The individual paragraphs are great, but the narrative is not constructed properly. Overall, the book jumps around and is difficult to follow. But, the book remains a must-read for runners. 

Although A Beautiful Work in Progress is not a literary masterpiece, it is a worthy read for those who hit the trail or would simply like to be inspired. 
Valerio continues to recount her adventures in Women’s Running. I’d highly suggest checking her latest work out.

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