Book Review:  A Beautiful Work in Progress (2022)

Book Review: A Beautiful Work in Progress (1)

Hola guys!

Before you start cursing me out, I can explain. I've been pretty busy in my personal life and marathon/ultra-marathon training is no joke. Nevertheless, I have a great way to kick start my blog posts again. Wait for it...

I'm doing an advanced book review. Guys, I lucked up and received an advanced copy ofA Beautiful Work in Progressfrom the incredible FatGirlRunning chic herself, Mirna Valerio.

Disclaimer: Book reviews are a lot harder than I gave it credit but I certainly enjoyed doing it. Nevertheless, check this shit out:

Book Review: A Beautiful Work in Progress (2)

There's a serious back story to this message but you can read it on my next blog post because baby, that's another story of its own.

Anyway, back to the main topic!

​Book Review Time

​Title: A Beautiful Work in Progress
Author: Mirna Valerio
Publisher: Brilliance Publishing, Grand Harbor Press, 2017
ISBN (Book): 9781503943391
ISBN (Audiobook, CD, Unabridged): 9781536685893
ISBN (Audiobook, MP3, Unabridged): 9781436685909

Subjects and Categories You May Find this Book:
Biography & Autobiography/Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography/Sports Health & Fitness/Women’s Health
Biography & Autobiography/Sports

About the Author

​For a moment, I am going to pretend as if I have no idea who this woman is or what she represents to me and give you an unbiased rundown about Mirna Valerio as possible.

As stated in her bio, 'Mirna Valerio, native of Brooklyn, New York, is a Spanish teacher, diversity practitioner, cross-country coach, ultra-runner, OCR (obstacle course runner) enthusiast, and blogger.' For a few years, her story has been featured on platforms such as CNN, Runner’s World Magazine and prestigious platforms like the Wall Street Journal and NBC Nightly News. Mirna is an ambassador to Skirt Sports, a showcased athlete for Swiftwick and a Global ambassador to Merrell.

While her accolades are highlighted through various media outlets, she is a mom to a teenage son, married for over a decade and an avid nature lover. To many, she may be viewed as an overnight success or just another person who is praised through the rise of the body positive movement but her book demonstrates that running was not something she engulfed herself into overnight.

To capture a better idea of who she is, please visit her blog FatGirlRunning or follow her social media links below.

Instagram: themirnavator
Twitter: themirnavator
Facebook: FatGirlRunning

​General Overview

“Runners’ vocabulary is full of acronyms like DNS for “Did Not Start” and DNF for “Did Not Finish,” but when Mirna Valerio stepped up to the starting line, she needed a new one: DNQ for “Did Not Quit.”
Valerio has tied on her running shoes all across the country, from the dusty back roads of central New Jersey to the busy Route 222 corridor in Pennsylvania to the sweltering deserts of Arizona. When you meet her on the trail, you might be surprised to see she doesn’t quite fit the typical image of a long-distance runner. She’s neither skinny nor white, and she’s here to show just how misguided these stereotypes can be.
In this prejudice-busting, body-positive memoir told with raw honesty, an adventurous spirit, and a sharp sense of humor, Valerio takes readers along on her journey from first-time racer to ultra-marathoner and proves that anyone can become a successful athlete."



​General Thoughts

When I received an advanced copy of Mirna’s book, I was overwhelmed with a lot of thoughts. Initially, I was excited about being able to review a book from someone who I consider a mentor. After a few hours, I was exceptionally nervous. I questioned what would my approach be if I didn’t enjoy this book.

If you followed my blog long enough, I am not just a self-professed potty mouth but brutally honest about my standpoint. Thankfully, I absolutely loved this book and in the next section, lemme tell you why!


Over the years, the public entertained several thousand books from athletes who tend to fit a cookie cutter mold of looking exceptionally lean and associated with the stereotype of looking like they only ingest in eggless omelets with lemon mint water, loaded with pictures on the Internet laughing at all of the jokes a bland salad could possibly make. Valerio humbly defies the stereotypes simply from engulfing herself in her passion for running and overall personal health. She touches on a multitude of platforms such as experiencing the physical and metaphorical weight of sometimes being the only plus size runner on a trail run to addressing alarming stereotypes of being a person of color in places well beyond fitness.

Throughout her book, Mirna colorfully shares her worldly experiences of traveling with students, finding a healthy balance of being almost a second mom to hormonal teenagers who are trying to find themselves to venturing to trail runs that might pull most off of the course within 3 miles. A Beautiful Work in Progress allows the reader to not only understand the author but the mindset of what drives an athlete of all sizes. It is a book that allows the back of the pack runners to truly shine through her humor and transparency.

Without disclosing details of the book, she takes us through the not so glamorous aspects of DNF life. Some of you might translate this popular acronym as “did not finish” but she also associates it with being “dead fucking last.” Valerio doesn’t shy away from talking about having moments of being stricken with boredom on the pavement nor sharing some inside thoughts that some of us runners may fear of being harshly judged for thinking if voiced out loud.


If you are seeking a how-to guide, this is not that type of book. Please note that if you read the book, she mentions several platforms where you can seek this information and an exorbitant list of trail races that are worth looking into.

Who Would Be Interested in this Book

  • From people who are entertaining the idea of running to ultra-runners who have several thousand miles on the trails, I think that you will find that this book to be an entertaining read. Although she is primarily a runner, she eloquently bridges the gap between living in an urban environment and transitioning to a rural community.
  • Interestingly enough, I think this book translates perfectly for a teenager who may be going through personal doubts and insecurities to adults who struggle finding their balance between their passion and priorities.
  • Skeptics who are curious about plus size athletes and open to hearing our viewpoints without hostility or abundant load of sarcasm from a jerk like me
  • Folks who are seeking a body-positive memoir that is not overly preachy or fabricating areas of the woes/experiences of being a plus size women of color in a male dominated sportand seeking a book that can brought to a meetup for open dialogue

Ease of Reading

Staying true to her roots, Valerio keeps it extra funky by speaking a few languages in the book. Don’t worry my friends: The translation is either within the same sentence or the following sentence. No Google Translate or Rosetta Stone app necessary.

A Beautiful Work in Progress has a great flow. Within the first few chapters, you will notice that she speaks to the audience as if we’re sitting next to her in a coffee shop. At times, will give us a detailed back story that correlates with an event. Even if you decided to read fragments of the book and didn’t get the opportunity to read it in one sit down (and why wouldn’t you), the book is very forgiving to pick back up after each chapter.

When Can I Buy It?

Official release date: October 1, 2017

P.S. Hell to the no, you cannot borrow or buy my copy. Even if you don't have time to read, purchase it in audio format. Listen to it on your own runs or even when you're drowning out the mundane noise of asshole commuters.


5/5 - Preorder it now!

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