Everyone loves a good list, and after four previous rounds of my blogging extravaganza “week of lists” posts, I’ve pretty much confirmed the old (if slightly modified) adage: If you write them, they will come. Again, seven days, seven lists: and this time the topic honours my starting-this-week marathon training efforts for the summer of 2013, locked in step and stride on this, the week of lists number five, the Twenty-6-Point-Two Miles Edition.
Blogs are interesting when they tell stories. Photos help make stories interesting. And when you’re training for a marathon (or any race, event, or noteworthy goal for that matter) there are certain definitive moments that both tell the story and mark the adventure for what it’s worth. I think there are at least…
6 Photos That Could Sum Up Your Entire Training Season
We hate them when we take them, hesitate to share them, but they form the opening credits of every success story of physical fitness. While snapping a few pics of who you were before you hit the trails may seem a little bit too much like part of a late night advertisement for one of those ab-erobic-super-diet-pillz deals, you won’t regret it in a few months when you are trying to explain your transformation to other people. And, just to be clear, I’m not advocating some kind of skinny bias here: it’s just a fact that training for and running a big race WILL change you, so why not embrace your starting point?
Every training season is a balance. On the one hand there are klicks and klicks of lonely footsteps down snow-covered, wind-swept, or rain-drizzled trails. On the other hand, you’ll have awesome runs with new and intersting people. These could also be photographic moments that define a training season. The team photo, that gathering of sweat-soaked victory back at the shed, where someone spontaneously pulls out a camera or their iPhone and grabs a blurry shot of everyone improptu huddled together. Or, the (much harder to capture, mind you) photo of a lonely runner on the trails: if you are fortunate enough to trod on something like the wide variety of trails to which I have access, propping up your camera in auto-mode for a few timed-selfies is not only easy, but rarely will someone be around to gawk. If you are training in a more crowded or urban enviroment then hey… don’t be afraid to ask a friendly stranger to snap some pics of you on the run. It may seem silly at the time, but you’ll cherish those pics later.
Still life is a touchstone of artistic expression. Objects can evoke emotion and tell stories about a thousand words not quite seen and out of frame. The classic training photo is the “dirty” shoes pic. Or, if you prefer, the worn-shoes, the dangling shoes, the resting shoes, the feets-less shoes sitting on the porch between runs shoes. One nearly-constant between all runners (well, except for some of those hardcore barefoot folks) is the bits of plastic and leather we strap to our feet, and when we take them off between runs they yearn to tell tales of their travels.
Of course, one day the BIG day will roll around and not only will you be decked out in your best-worn and most comfortable race gear, but you’ll be at the peak of your fitness. There are two moments worth capturing on every race day (and luckily there is probably a photographer — or even an company — hired to help you grab those pics. As your running, strugging, enduring the long haul of footstep after footstep, you will undoubtably encounter someone crouched on the side of the course snapping photos of every runner, burning through digital memory with wanton abandon. Smile. Just smile. Strike your best pose. You can probably download that photo from somewhere later. Likewise, someone else will probably be crouched a few meters behind the finish line, snapping an even more frantic collection of every single runner to beep their RFID toe tag across that annoying rubber mat. Throw your arms in the air. Cheer. Smile. Your training story jsut had a happy ending. You may as well have the photo to prove it.