I had the good fortune to read this title in advance, thanks to the Kindle First program.
A Beautiful Work In Progress: A Memoir, Kindle Edition, by Mirna Valerio is one of the most inspirational personal accounts I have ever read. It does not hurt that the book details the life of a plus-size athlete. I am a plus-sized, non-athlete, but inspiration can go a long way into shifting thoughts which become actions, so I am willing myself to put these good intentions into practice and get myself started toward better health. Her advice goes so far as to think of oneself as an athlete whether or not any external validation of that is present. Good advice, I think how shortly ago I finally decided to think of myself as a writer– if only because “I write.”
Like the author, Mirna Valerio, I have replaced the goal of becoming “skinny” (whatever that is) with becoming fit and healthy. I think that is more a desirable and realistic plan. Will I be running marathons– most certainly not, I know– no matter how impressive that would be.
She makes it unmistakably clear within the pages of the book and in the speech she gave in September of 2016 (reprinted in the appendix) that we have our preferences. We are not cookie-cutter people in shape, size, nor about personal tastes. My preferred physical activities center around basketball, dance and swimming. I have tried to keep dancing, but the instances of basketball and swimming have indeed become fewer and farther-between. These favorite activities are ones I wish to resurrect in earnest.
Her accounts of some of her marathons were quite harrowing. She is unquestionably a dedicated, determined, and exemplary athlete. In my opinion, the author is a role model and heroine, though she writes her story as though she is neither. Her prose is approachable, readable, and relatable. Reading her account is almost like hearing it from her lips, as her style is easygoing, matter-of-fact, and unassuming. I have gotten to know her more than most other authors, I believe.
The accounts of her many races and her training measures are here, but there is much more in this book. Mirna Valerio is a multi-faceted person. Her intellect shines through as clearly as her athleticism and prowess in her marathon runs. She is a voracious reader, she has taught music and Spanish and traveled a good deal. It is all pretty fascinating.
I am usually one to think “I am not worthy!” when reading such an account of an accomplished person, but I know that she would not want that so I will put that energy instead into making my story come true. After all, this is not the end. I am chronologically further into my story than Mirna Valerio, but this last act could prove greater than the others if I put my all into it and “do not leave anything on the trail” so to speak.
So here am I, despite appearances, a burgeoning athlete. Thank you, Mirna Valerio. I have subscribed to your Facebook and Twitter because I see that your posts are as inspirational as this book, and I will need the encouragement. In return, consider me another “work in progress” and one of your many “enablers.” 🙂
If you are interested in this lively account of a marathoner, then here is the Amazon product page link to A Beautiful Work In Progress: A Memoir.