Maybe this scenario seems familiar to you: You’ve recently run a race where they had photographers covering the course and you get the email that photos of you are now available for you to purchase online. You go to the site, all excited to see the super cool action shots of you in mid-stride, your rippled arms pumping, your eyebrows furrowed in concentrated effort, your face relaying all the glorious ecstasy and pain of your efforts on that course and you enlarge that first shot and… huh. Well that’s you alright, but what’s with that weird puckered expression on your face and what the hell are you doing with your hands? Do your fingers really spread in that funny way? Wasn’t that shot only taken at mile 3 of the 13.1 mile course, so why do you look like you’re about to keel over and die right there on the road? Could your face be any more flushed? What happened to your hair? Did some other racer reach over and mess with it when you weren’t paying attention? Are your thighs really that fleshy or is that some kind of trick photography?
No? None of this strikes a chord? Well that’s good. Then you need not read on. If you love what you see in those race photos, then I think that’s awesome. But I cannot relate one bit, and I know many other runners who’ve felt the way I have looking at running photos of themselves. The very first time I saw a still of myself in mid-stride I was horrified. Wow, I thought. That’s what I look like? Because that’s not what I feel like. I feel pretty cool when I run. I feel strong, I feel confident (most of the time!) and I feel like I look tougher than I am. But when I see a shot or a video of myself running I feel incredibly self-conscious knowing that the half-prancing, half-flailing woman in the image is really me. Now, ultimately I really don’t care. I don’t ever think about this when I’m actually running. Only when I am reminded through the fine art of photography of how truly awkward I am. I think in my head I just have a very glamorized image of myself, but I think that’s only because running feels so good to do (I repeat, most of the time) so how could I possibly look anything other than awesome while I’m doing it, right? Also I’m just critical of myself in general, but here for so long I had a very false (but positive) image of myself that could not have been further from the truth.
Now related to this topic, is the topic of clothing. We may not be able to help much the little quirks of our bodies moving as we run, but we can chose what we put on our bodies. I normally don’t give much thought to this. I am under no illusions that my running clothes are super cool and coordinated. In fact, I am one of those girls who is afraid of looking too “matchy” so I will make a point to avoid running “outfits” that look like they were made to go together. It’s not that I have a problem when other people wear them but for me I feel like if I’ve made an obvious effort to really match my running clothes then I appear self-conscious. Instead I consciously take measures to avoid appearing self-conscious. So pretty much I end up wearing whatever is most comfortable. This time of year I have my super awesome “go to” shorts that I wear no matter what. And they are kind of colorful, so ideally I would just wear a plain, white or grey top with them to avoid a color overload, but sometimes I don’t think about that. Sometimes I don’t care enough and I end up wearing many, many colors say, during a race and oh, while there aren’t any professional photographers there, a good friend happens to be and gets a bunch of shots of me chuffing along in a blaze of purple, blue and some other color (I’m not really sure what to call it- burnt salmon?) and with my hair in two bizarre, nubby little ponytails that seemed really cute when I first put them in but have taken on a sort of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” effect after they’ve come partly undone and my mascara begins to run. See, these are the things that are helpful for me to see. That is at least something I can work on.
So now that I’ve laid it all out there, tell me- Does it ever bother you to see yourself run?
Tags: race photos
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