I know I’m not the only one with a terrible #raceface. There are plenty of us who specialise in turning a truly stunning shade of beetroot over the course of a race, regardless of external temperature. I can guarantee that as I cross the finish line, I am glowing like a radioactive Rudolph running on duracel extra. It sucks.
And then there are the rest of the photos, the ones that make us look like we’re suffering horribly doing these things we claim to love. Absolutely busting a gut to chase down the person ahead, crack a few seconds off a PB, or casually about to slide headlong into the river Avon in April…
We’ve all been there. We all laugh. It’s never not going to be funny to see our own, or even our friends, facial expressions as we manage to rock the half gurning smile of someone having a damn good go at whatever activity they’re undertaking.
But then, where does the line get drawn between an amusing teeth-got-left-behind smile, and the over analysis of how straight our teeth look? Or powering down a field lugging a 50lb slab of concrete, what if your double (hell, triple) chin creeps in with the effort? How awful, how humiliating would it be to be caught with sweat running down your neck, soaking through your bra, or with your hair so frantic you blend in with the wild scenery.
I love the anticipation of race day photos a few days after you’ve come down from the highs of the finish line. I’m constantly frustrated by having to remember my race number from days before, just to find the right images. I get to relive that sense of achievement and pride that I felt at the time when I see myself and my friends nailing that final jump over a fire pit…
But. I hate that shame too. The guilt of seeing my wobbly tummy. The dread of my thighs trying to escape compression gear. Horror at seeing my arms, looking shapeless and weak, despite carrying me countless metres through the air from ring to ring, bar to bar across the hanging obstacles of a race…
Hang on though. Literally! If my arms can swing me over the monkey bars, throw me over walls… If my legs can take me miles through dirt and forests, and rivers of mud… If my mind can carry me, and my body can follow… Doesn’t that count for something?
I like to think so. I might look like an ass doing what I do. But I also look badass. And I know which one I feel.
I wrote this after reading Ami’s awesome blog post on the topic of bodies. She’s written a Body Bucket List, and encourages us all to do the same. I’m still working on mine…!