Today’s workout was a quick one: 25 minutes of zombies intervals again. I’m lucky I made it there at all. This morning was a cluster! Anyway, since it was so short I made a point to work extra hard, and fit 2.3 miles into that time with sprints up to 9:00 pace. Whee.
Being fat and active and aware of the perception that others have of you can lead to some interesting feelings. I heard about the feature on Mirna Valerio in Runner’s World and was really excited to go read it– I’ve been an avid follower of Mirna’s blog for some time, and was eager to see her get recognized for her badassery. But once I read it I was really disappointed.
Mirna says, explicitly, that she loves her body. I love my body, too, and appreciate all that it does and all that it’s capable of doing. I’m afraid the article didn’t have the same kind of love, respect and appreciation for bodies that they feel are too large. At one point, they refer to Mirna’s size as a disease– let me just quote it: “By making peace with her obesity—or, more accurately, by fighting her disease to a kind of enduring, vigorously active truce—Valerio draws kudos from a formerly skeptical medical community.” Hold up! What’s the deal with describing a healthy, active person as having a “disease” just because the number on the scale is larger than they think it should be? (I have serious, serious issues with the medicalization of obesity. I will save them for another rant.)
The article veered back and forth wildly, going from describing the marginalization that fat runners face from the running community at large, to consulting with obesity doctors about the terrifying obesity epidemic. Personally, I felt the net result was tone-deaf.
And I don’t say this to minimize Mirna’s accomplishments and her struggles and hard work to get there! She’s trained hard to go kick that 50k’s butt, and I hope everyone’s as excited to read about it as I am! Her experience is such a positive one and I was sad to see so much body hatred injected into her story.
For me, I do want to inspire people to be active, but I don’t want to be some kind of inspiration object, if that makes sense. Someday I hope that being fat and active will be more normalized and folks’ mouths won’t drop open when Mirna runs by and we won’t get disbelief when buying running shoes. That we won’t be “fat runners” but just runners.
(This is really complicated stuff with a lot of thinking about intersectionality needed. If I’ve screwed up, please bring it to my attention. Thanks!)