How I Feel Running v. How I Look In Pictures Where I’m Running

Here’s the thing: When I’m running, I feel so alive, so strong.  I feel the sweat trickling down my back and the endorphins slamming into my cells. I feel like I could do anything.  Like solve-the-Middle-East’s-problems anything.  Now that I’m semi-fast runner (8.30 min/mile), I love dodging and weaving and making my way forward.  During a recent 15K race, I actually thought to myself, if this is how fame feels to Kim Kardashian, then I get it.  Grease my ass and snap a picture; I will judge nevermore.

What the ?

What the ?

If I run more than 30 minutes, I start to envision my body lean and fat-free. Like a Kenyan.  I picture myself long, graceful, lithe.  I get a tremendous amount of pleasure during these extended visualizations of my gazelle-like legs propelling me ever onward.

Then, I see a picture of myself running.

Um, what?

Is that how I really look?  It’s not AT. ALL. how I picture myself. Body dysmorphia aside, I look sort of ungraceful.  And way thicker than I feel when I’m actually doing it.  I know I’m not supposed to say that as a feminist, a mother of a daughter, a survivor of bulimia/anorexia, an over-educated woman in this culture moment, an Oprah fan (including, inter alia, Super Soul Sunday).  But, it seems I can’t help it.

Just like the ice bucket challenge, I loved the moment, but the picture drags me into a nasty vortex of body shame/hating.  Makes a girl start to think she should stop looking.



Also, it’s not easy to run with your arms making the touchdown sign.  And what’s that guy on my right (your left) staring at? Has he never run a race next to a mother who just spotted her children on the sidelines?





24 thoughts on “How I Feel Running v. How I Look In Pictures Where I’m Running

  1. You look awesome! And fast! Take a look at my picture from that same race if you want to see someone who looks like she’s hating every moment of it. On a related note, regardless of how great you look, I totally get what you’re saying.

  2. Oooh. You look amazing. I reckon the guy looking is just wishing he was looking so good! But yes, I hear you – pictures of me, like recordings of my voice, never do the real me justice. The camera doesn’t lie? Pah!

  3. that guy cracks me up! and you look rocking. strong is the new sexy – haven’t you heard? and running that fast, no one even gets a good look at you – you’re a fabulous looking blur baby! maybe reconsider the blue socks! hahaha. i’m kidding!

  4. First of all, you run like the fucking wind. Fierce. Second of all, I totally hear you. When I run a race I’m all like, look at me, I’m strong and lean and so very much like an elite marathoner. Then I look at the race pictures later on and it’s like, who the hell is that person with the falling down running tights, red face and way too big thighs?

    • Right? Why do all running tights fall down? Maybe because of my SUPER LEAN hips. Or maybe I never tie the drawstring. Whatevs.

      On Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 1:39 PM, Outlaw Mama wrote:


  5. I can’t handle seeing pictures of myself. I finally put one up on my blog, but when I look at it, it isn’t me! It’s sad how other people can see something good in us, but we can’t see it ourselves. For instance, I think you look amazing and full of energy and athletic and most definitely not thick, not even a little.

    • Thank you. And also, really? Seriously? But mostly thank you. I can see a little picture of you in this email and I think you look adorable….like someone who’s open and takes care of herself and has a little sass. Can you see that?

      On Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 3:21 PM, Outlaw Mama wrote:


  6. Pingback: No Leaving Sandra Bland Behind | Outlaw Mama

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