Contrary to Billy Crystal in the old Saturday Night Live skit, “Fernando’s Hideaway,” I’m convinced that looking “mah-velous” is not that important.
I have evidence to prove it. This picture was taken of me near the START of the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon. Now, granted, most of the blame for this disturbing image must go to the photographer, and I am positive that I didn’t really look that bad. Bad, yes, but not that bad. This imposter has no neck or chin and a cone-shaped head, apparently… [Note: I’ll never know who took this shot since it came from the race photography company.]
Anyway, most of the time when I’m running I have a feeling I look pretty darn nasty. Especially toward the end of a long training run—like the 16-miler I did last weekend—well, you get the picture. Or, maybe you don’t so here are some key features of me at my running best and my photographic worst:
- A fuel-belt wrapped around my waist carrying four bottles of water and the remnants of sticky calories in goo form. An emergency napkin or paper towel sticks out randomly, too.
- Shirt and shorts soaked to the skin due to 2+ hours of profuse, but oddly soothing sweat. Even on a cool day, I sweat.
- Shirt tucked in on one side to keep the itchy part of the fuel belt away from my delicate skin.
- Shirt un-tucked on the other side so that I look partially stylish. I’m not kidding about this. No one tucks their shirt in anymore. No one.
- A ball cap on my head--to protect my scalp from the sun--which soaks up sweat and then drains drip-by-annoying-drip about four inches in front of my eyes. Like mosquitos I can’t swat away.
- A drooping lower lip that makes me look like I’m beaten, but actually indicates the complete opposite. When my lip falls I know I’m in a good zone (or at the dentist).
- Lower legs built like tree trunks due to poor circulation and sporting a few choice bulging veins. Wouldn’t it be nice if those bulging veins were muscular and not varicose?
And having revealed this reality to you, I have one more.
I. Don’t. Feel. Bad. At. All.
I can do this. I’ll do it as long as I can, and I don’t really care how I look. I feel just fine, thank you.
And it’s better this way.