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SBS at Big Sur: A Story in Photos

May 18, 2010
When Dimity and I got to run with Deena Kastor in March, there was a professional photog snapping us at practically every step. Afterward, looking over the photos with the group of gals we’d run with, Dimity turned to me and snapped, “Sarah, you’ve GOT to learn to smile while you run!” I had to agree: I looked like a glum-bum in almost every shot. Well, I must be a quick study because when I sent a link of marathon photos to Dimity, asking her if she thought I should splurge $50 and order all of them as digital images, she immediately emailed back, “Sure, they look great. You’re so smiley!” “:>)

So rather than bore you with the blog post I originally wrote (zzzzzzz!), I decided I’m going to share a bunch of Big Sur race photos with you. In part because I can’t believe the race was already 3+ weeks ago and partly to show that I now can run and smile at the same time. Can walking and chewing gum be far behind!?

Trust me: In the world of stern Sarah, this smile rates as a Julia Roberts-esque grin!

Despite being chased by sweaty, shirtless man, I'm grinning!

Even at the time, I knew the arm raise was idiotic, but all the cool kids were doing it at the halfway point on iconic Bixby Bridge.

Sure, this photo is dark, but check out my calf muscles! Sweet!

Jubilant at the finish, despite missing coveted BQ.

Other than smiling, what sure-fire tricks do you use for getting a good race photo? Dimity writes a bunch in Run Like a Mother–like taking off baseball cap, which I did at finish–but we can always use more tips. Please share.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2010 6:55 am

    I wear sunglasses – it keeps the dark circles from being too anxious to sleep the night before from showing 🙂

  2. May 18, 2010 8:25 am

    Love these! It’s wonderful thing to run 26.2 with a grin. I just saw some from my recent 1/2… I was SO freakin’ serious. I’m usually totally Happy McDorkerson. I didn’t like this new look. Although…. I met my stretch goal so I guess Serious McFierceowitz has her place. I think if I had noticed the photographer I would have faked some grins but he was like a Ninja! So, I guess my advice is that if you see the camera… FAKE IT…. and when you get past the Kodak moment, resume your natural state of brute.

  3. Tryna permalink
    May 18, 2010 8:26 am

    My first marathon finish is a great picture of me looking down at my watch. I know that happens a lot, so I always tell people to look up at the end.

    Loved the race pictures.

  4. May 18, 2010 9:04 am

    My best tip: Enjoy the race, it shows through in the pictures! These are great pictures of you, your calf muscles and sweaty, shirtless man : )

  5. May 18, 2010 11:47 am

    Wow awesome photos. I have become a photog spotter. In races I will often move to their side and strike a pose so they will snap numerous photos. Bright colors help as well. In Eugene I was so machine-like that I only got Finish line pictures and do not remember seeing any photogs along the course.

    FYI I almost wore those same sleeves in Eugene but opted for the Moeben butterflies instead.

  6. Julie from PDX permalink
    May 18, 2010 1:09 pm

    SBS, I don’t think you really ran one of the most difficult marathons in the country, because you look amazingly relaxed and happy!! I love seeing all the carnage around you (i.e. people walking and some looking like their guts are turning inside out) and you are simply out there for a Sunday fun run. Nice. Great job!!
    And as for dorky arm-raise/fist pump, I’m a dork, and I love it.

    • bowenshea permalink*
      May 18, 2010 2:51 pm

      In defense of the walkers: Big Sur is a unique marathon in that it has numerous races taking place on same course at same time (just starting at different points along the point-to-point course). A 21-mile race, a 10.6-mile race, a marathon relay, a 5K, and maybe one race I’m spacing on…Anyway, the majority of people who do the 21-miler, for instance, walk it. Thus the folks you pass along the course aren’t necessarily marathoners. In fact, only fraction are–3,000 out of 15,000 racers total.

      But thanks, Julie, for your nice comment. It was nice to have some marathon photos in which I don’t look like an extra from Night of the Living Dead. At Eugene last year, I smiled and put on good face for photogs on course…yet ONLY race photos of me on record are of me hobbling toward finish line. Ugh.

  7. sarah permalink
    May 18, 2010 2:58 pm

    GREAT photos! you look awesome, totally relaxed and looking like you were on a fun run, not a marathon, chasing BQ!! I love, love, love your finish shot, it gave me chills! thanks for sharing SBS!!!

  8. Joanne Godfrey permalink
    May 18, 2010 3:32 pm

    Proud to say I was there and my 1st thought was that you looked sooooo relaxed and excited and strong…Wendy is correct, enjoy the race, your expression said it all. Nothing else compares…aww shucks I am getting choked up typing…maybe it could be me someday…

  9. Joleen permalink
    May 18, 2010 5:24 pm

    I always look so frickin serious during race photos too…not to mention the unnatractive cellulite that the photographers have a talent for catching on film….I try to relax and be natural. My trail running photos are WAY better than road races…the pace and feel are just differrent on the trail. My genuine love for the sport seems to be obvious on the trail!

  10. May 18, 2010 8:33 pm

    your pictures look great!
    i always smile big and wave. next time i will try the take off the hat trick. at the end of my last race it looked like a salt lick so perhaps i would have been better off taking it off.
    i’m new to your blog and since i am currently sidelined (and whining) with a hip stress fracture i will live vicariously through your running here.

    • bowenshea permalink*
      May 19, 2010 11:47 am

      Laura–
      I’m sorry to hear you are on the injured-reserve list. I trust you’ve got a copy of our book, Run Like a Mother, and are reading the Injury chapter!? Dimity has been in your shoes several times so you’ll get needed empathy.

      Funny you mention salt lick: I was sooooooooo salt-stained at end of Big Sur. Not my face so much as my clothes. My black capris looked almost tie-dyed. I had friend take iPhone photo of me while we waited in Subway post-race. Shocking people in line behind me didn’t lose their appetites! “;>)

  11. realrellim permalink
    May 19, 2010 11:19 am

    During the race I either keep my lips closed when smiling (or it looks like I’m grimacing at the camera) or I go for the “serious runner concentrating on race” look.

    • bowenshea permalink*
      May 19, 2010 11:43 am

      Oh, yes, I usually specialize in the grimace-instead-of-smile look. And since I look serious 98% of the time anyway, I also am a pro at looking like that while running. Lately 4-year-old John has been asking me, “Mom, why are you mad?” when I’m actually NOT mad. I realize he’s just reading my stern face. Oy. Gotta get me a smile coach!!

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