When you get to meet your heroes / Mirna Valerio

Confession: I struggle with crowds. I struggle with small talk. When I meet someone I admire, I struggle to find the words to adequately convey just how thrilled I am/in awe of them I am/how awesome this moment is. As excited as I was to go to an event at the Bloomington REI to see Mirna Valerio, I was not looking forward to engaging with these obstacles. But I knew the benefits would outweigh the demands, so I put on my big girl panties and marched through those doors.

Mirna, y’all. She is just as warm, kind, engaging, and kick-ass as you would expect from a woman who does ultras for fun. Her message, that there is so much power in visibility because seeing is believing, well, it spoke to me, resonated deeply with me. Because that’s why I am here, right? Both to be seen, and to see others who inspire me that I can do those things too.

I’ll be perfectly honest, I didn’t really know that it was also going to be a listening session about improving activewear options for “plus-size” women. (Timeout: can we just talk about how TERRIBLE that term is? If approximately 70% of women wear a size 14+, how “plus-sized” are we really? And I’m not necessarily advocating for similar “cutesy” synonyms, like “queen” or “luxury”. I am a woman. I wear clothes. It’s my size. there’s no need to separate us out into a separate section or make us feel different. They’re just clothes/ it’s just a number. /rant). It was so lovely to talk with others about what we loved from our activewear, and what we were missing (spoiler: POCKETS). REI and Columbia seemed truly concerned and wanted to know from us so that they could do better to serve this growing market.  I look forward to their collections in the future.

And the icing on the cake? Meeting my InstaFriend! Tracy is a Bad Ass Mother Runner, and it was so lovely to put a face with an avatar. True story: We had both mentioned we would be there, but hadn’t met before. I kinda knew what she looked like, and then I happened to sit right down next to her without even realizing it.  What a wonderful case of serendipity!

This day gave me so much energy and lift for so long after; it still lights me up when I think about it.  We are powerful.  And there is power in visibility.  So get out there and be seen, doing that thing you love, no matter what the haters say!

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