every picture tells a story

I raced the Seattle Half Marathon yesterday to raise funds and awareness for Every Mother Counts. I wasn't sure what I was doing with the event until 5 days prior, when I got up the nerve to ask my coach if I could race it. Aka, dig down and go hard. He said sure. I've never lined up without racing. No matter what shape I'm in.

Difference between running and racing to me: painface or no painface. If there's a starting line, chances are I'll get down to my painface.

Take the 5k photo of NYTimes fame (fame is used loosely here and might be an excuse to bring up the fact that I was in the NYTimes). Yes. It is a fun run. For Valentines Day. Yes, I have hearts drawn in lipstick on my legs. Yes, I am wearing a skirt. And yes, I'm also knocking on death's door. Why? Because of this simple equation: (3 months of egg nog + ass sitting) + (startline + dropping a sub 5:20 first mile) = hair on fire scream impersonation.

If there's a start and a finish and someone is timing it I'll get ugly. If you think you can't break your PR, but have never made the above face I have good news: you can break it. I also have bad news: you might need to make the face.

Anyway, yesterday I lined up to race the Seattle Half. I was proud of how the race went for a few reasons:

  1. My mental state was stronger than Bellingham. At Bellingham I was complimenting everyone but me in my head. I was giving myself excuses and 0 pep talk. This race I had lots of excuses I could have taken: I just got over the flu. I wasn't trained or tapered specifically for the race. My feet were wet. My shoe was coming untied... but I shut myself up and only let my inner voice talk if it had something nice or constructive to say. 
  2. I didn't walk. This is a plus that doesn't need much explanation. I took in little sips of Gatorade. I controlled my breathing and my stride when I got tired. No foot cramps, controlled side cramps.
  3. I warmed up calmly. Could have made a more concrete warm up plan, but what I did was good and I convinced myself it was the best thing ever as I lined up.
I finished 2nd with a time of 1:21:54. I'm sick of running in the :20s but this course was hilly so I'll certainly take it with pride. But my goal is to leave the :20s behind. 

No event is complete without the Sarahism. I have a knack for awkwardness. I blame my eternal 13-year-old. This time it's about mascara. I race in mascara. It's just part of race morning. I used to fully shower and blow dry my hair, but I'm over that. The only ritual I cling to is mascara. It gives me the feeling that I've put myself together. 

I wear DiorShow and I have been assured by the Sephora dealer saleswoman that it's waterproof. What little miss thang doesn't know is that sweat + hanging fog will take Dior down. Way down. Down my face, down my neck... dooooown. 

So while I'm feeling pretty good and quite composed, what I don't know is that my face looks like a dethroned beauty queen after a 3 hour crying jag. My friend Dave was the first to alert me to this. He came over to say good job surpressing a laugh before telling me that I had mascara all over my face. Ugh. I just hoped I was moving fast enough that no one noticed.

Then this morning my sister-in-law sees my photo in a CrossCut newsletter and forwards it to me. WHAT the what!? Someone has taken a photo of me full painface, mascara rivers flowing, right at my kick, and published it to a handful of groups on Flickr. CrossCut has favorited it, and included it in an email blast. 

The random awkwardness that is my life... 


  1. Oh my goodness. I love it! You may not...but people will appreciate this greatly :)

  2. I feel your pain. I have yet to take a good race picture because I'm too busy trying not to die. You've got some classics there, for sure.

  3. Gosh, you make me laugh. Love this. I needed this post. on so many levels. To be inspired, to laugh, and to realize that I'm not sure I've ever experienced the pain face which means I've probably never pushed myself hard enough TO experience it but I think I want to try. You even make the pain face look good girl. Love it. Oh, and I always race in mascara too.

  4. I love this post - you made me laugh all the way through. But also, I feel inspired to push harder on all my runs. I'll know I'm not pushing nearly hard enough if I'm not bring out the pain face, heh.

    By the way, nice work...you CRUSHED your run!

  5. Love this post! I feel your pain, but I am sure all runners that ever run a race can totally relate to this. Also, I have finally realized why I don't wear mascara during runs.

  6. Haha, I don't take nice race photos either, but you are freaking fast and amazing so it doesn't matter. :-)

  7. oh my gosh, i loved reading this. i totally agree with what amanda says - you are just awesome! i don't think i've pushed myself to the painface level yet. gotta get on that. i do however have a slew of really horrible race photos including two recent ones that were blasted all over facebook and totally mortified me. but it's the real deal - jiggly bits flap in the wind at mile 23 of the marathon and it aint pretty! :) anyway i miss you!

  8. Convincing yourself that it was the best race ever seemed to have worked, maybe I'll try that next time! 2nd place overall at that hilly billy race is so impressive. You continue to amaze and inspire me Mac attack xo

  9. at least it seems you have a great sense of humor about it!! I don't wear mascara but can't race without eyebrow pencil ... I like my brows to look perf. even though I wear sunglasses to hide my painface all the time. hmmm. luckily the pencil doesn't run, but it smudges!!!

  10. GREAT pictures! I mean just FANTASTIC! You are a fast runner, congrats on your time and finishing another half marathon!

  11. You're so funny... you made my day. I can relate because I have made so many awful faces in almost every race. I haven't tried the DiorShow mascara but I can picture you going back to Sephora after one of your wet races and give the lady a first hand look at what waterproof looks like. Congratulations on your race and, for such a worthy cause, nice work!

  12. Oh my goodness, I just found your blog and I'm so glad I did - this had me laughing out loud, hysterical, and I am so happy to hear I don't have to feel crazy for showering and doing full hair and makeup before a race! I have since let the hair and makeup thing go, but I also won't leave without mascara and some eyeliner!
    I also realize that I have never made the pain face, so I am sure to PR my next half marathon if I can pull off the pain face;) thanks for a great read, looking forward to following!

    1. I think actually I should take a cue from you! Speedy! My face has always been a billboard for my emotions, I could maaaaybe pull the drama level back a little :)

  13. Not sure I've laughed this much and been inspired at one blog post in a LONGGG time... Not sure how your blog wasn't on my reader after I added it eons ago, but you are now. Congrats on the time!
    I'm a habitual mascara race wear-er too. Loreal lash blast waterproof so far so good. it's a biatch to get off though.


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