Running Photos are Terrible

Here is the only photo I can find of the Kaiser Half this past weekend. It doesn’t look terrible, but it doesn’t look so awesome either.

I'm squinting so I can see the finish.
I have my eyes closed so I can see the finish.

And, really, the only reason it doesn’t look terrible is because you can’t see the expression on my face up close and also I tend to stop shuffle-squat-running when I near the finish. Most of the time in running races, if you could see the expression on my face it would probably look something like this (from Chicago and actually a different (color) tanktop and pair of shorts, they just look the same):

Not even sure what I'm trying so hard to do here.
Not even sure what I’m trying so hard to do here.

Or my favorite:

About two seconds before I started crying.
About two seconds before I started crying.

And, apparently, that tanktop, despite being my favorite running tanktop and totally looking hot in TRX class, does not do me any favors during a race.

Triathlon photos, on the other hand, always look WAY better. This is mysterious, but clearly it’s also the primary reason to do triathlon. For one, you can count on looking cool on the bike. Throw on some aerobars and who doesn’t look cool on the bike? (OK, actually if there was a photo from my first year when my seat was so low that I actually had to reach up to my aerobars, it would not look cool.)

But, still, see:

Killing it! Actually, I was definitely not killing it, but I look like I am. And, that's the point.
Killing it! Actually, I was definitely not killing it, but I look like I am. And, that’s the point.
OK, actually killing it this year.
OK, actually killing it this year.
See, even if you're not in your aerobars you look badass.
See, even if you’re not in your aerobars you look badass.

And, even on the run, photos from triathlon tend to make me look focused, not necessarily fast — I have got the triathlon shuffle down — but serious and skinny. And, I don’t make weird faces when I’m running in triathlon.

Throw on a pair of glasses and you must be serious.
Throw on a pair of glasses and you must be serious.
OK, yes, little bit of a doublechin, but come on, I look good.
OK, yes, little bit of a double-chin, but come on, I look good.

I really don’t have an answer to why someone would photograph running like a normal person after swimming and biking, but not when just running. I always hope I’m going to look really cool in running photos, too. I go and eagerly check the race photographer’s website. I even tried to remember to smile a few races — although since I have a dead front tooth now I am no longer smiling in photos. Nothing worked.

I should probably resign myself to looking ridiculous. And very pink. Though I am open to suggestions??

Here is the best photo of me from a running race. And, why does it look good? Because you can’t see my face. Duh.

Looking fast. From behind.
Looking fast. From behind.

8 thoughts on “Running Photos are Terrible

  1. I think there is a typo in your title, I assume you meant “Terrible Race Photos are Amazing and Hilarious and Should Always be Framed!”

    Some friends and I have been collecting our worst of the worst photos to make a big year-book type deal. So funny.

    I think the problem lies in the easy cottage industry that has arisen with race photogtaphy businesses. I really don’t think anyone is looking at the digital uploads before they post them online for sale. Which is totally cruel because anyone can look up your race photos! (I gave a co-worker and framed super-awful race photo as a gag gift for Christmas…she’s was gracious, but a little pissed I think)

    1. Oh man, at first I was like shit, another typo!

      I guess I’m just not that excited about looking awful in ANOTHER photo. It’d be new and different if I looked cool 😉

  2. LOL! I think race photographers have NOT figured out that women don’t want to be photographed right at the moment of contact with the ground, when our thigh blows up at impact. We want pictures where our feet aren’t touching the ground, where we look fast and effortless. I’ve had better success getting those kinds of shots in triathlons than run races so either my run mechanics are better off the bike (possible) or the photographers really want to make some $$.

    As for the facial expressions, at least there is no doubt you are working hard! You had the nice serious (but not dying) expression on your face when we crossed paths on the run at Big Kahuna a couple years ago 🙂

    1. A friend and I used to yell at each other during races: “You look like a gazelle!”

      Yeah, I’ve perfected my stoic ‘I-don’t-feel-pain’ face for triathlon but not for running yet. Although there’s a good chance at Big Kahuna I was actually delirious, because I don’t remember the second half of that run at all.

  3. This made my day LOL!
    I have the same “problem” …. i’m actually spending time on the web searching “how to look good on running photos”

    1. If you really want to look good, smiling helps and doing something fun, like wave at the camera or put your arms up, etc. If you’re focused on racing, though, it’s hard to do that.

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