Photo shoot redux and age

I’ve been looking at all those hundreds of pictures of myself that were taken at the photo shoot last month now that I have good internet connection and some free time.  (Don’t even pretend you wouldn’t do the same.)  Two of my friends had me read Tina Fey’s chapter on photo shoots in Bossypants — after listening to me go on about sagging skin and unflattering bikini bottoms for a little too long.  (It’s just weird to see yourself from that many angles is all.  It maimed my perception of my appearance from smiling snapshots and the bathroom mirror.  It’s what it must be like for those ladies on that TLC show “What Not To Wear” when they see themselves in that 360 degree mirror under florescent lights — only without the dread that everything in my closet is about to be made fun of and thrown out.)  (Don’t judge my TLC indulgences.)

Anyway, Fey writes how one photographer told her, “Lift your chin, darling, you are not eighteen.”  Did you know about this chin-lifting-age-defying technique?  I probably would have tripped on a rock in the trail and fallen on my face if I’d tried it, but good to know.  She continues:

Trying to Enjoy It (Proceed as if You Look Awesome.)

This requires a level of delusion / egomania usually reserved for popes and drag queens, but you can do it.  It’s like being a little kid again, parading around in a nightgown tucked into your underpants, believing it looks terrific.  Your “right mind” knows that you look ridiculous in a half-open dress and giant shoes [bikini racing kit], but you must put yourself back in third grade, slipping on your mom’s quilted caftan and drinking cream soda out of a champagne glass while watching The Love Boat.  You have never been more glamorous.

I wish I’d read that chapter before the bikini shoot.  I would have brought a cooler of cream soda.

Anyway, have you read the article on by Matt Fitzgerald about how Haile Gebreselassie might have been over 40 when he set the marathon world record of 2:03:59?

An admission, or the discovery of real proof, that Gebrselassie was over 40 when he set his existing marathon world record would require us to explain how it is possible for a 40-year-old man to run 26.2 miles faster than any younger man ever has….

In reality, getting older only makes you stronger until it makes you weaker. Every runner starts to slow down eventually. But perhaps Haile Gebrselassie is living proof that most runners start to slow down almost voluntarily, for psychological reasons, before they have to slow down for physical ones. Perhaps in most runners the hunger weakens before the muscles do. Maybe they start to slow down when they do because they expect to.

Which brings up the fact that Rocky Raccoon is 3 days after my 40th birthday.  So you should sign up to run either the 50 or the 100 and come celebrate with me.  Eliot is arranging a surprise party for me afterwards.  Texas is lovely in February.

Running log: 40 (whole freakin’) minutes!

Food log: (this will not include nutrition taken in during workouts) (and, of course, I didn’t take any in to fuel my 40 minute ultra) (and, of course, of course, this is not prescriptive. I keep this log to help myself stay away from tortilla chips and diet soda) (okay, so I drank 2 diet sodas today)(yes, I know it’s not good for my bones, I’m working on it)(Sheesh!)

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11 Responses to Photo shoot redux and age

  1. Gene Taylor says:

    I like the lift the chin thing. I noticed some swinging skin in the mirror last time I got my hair cut. I may need to try that.
    Great job on doubling your running time in only two days!!! At that rate of progression you will be running over 42 hours a day by the end of the first week of August.
    Keep it up,

    • lizahoward says:

      Not quite an exponential increase today at 60 minutes, but at least I’m almost up to a time when I can consider taking a gel. Thanks for the good thoughts. I tried the chin thing this morning. Eliot didn’t think it made me look twenty.

  2. Mia Phillips says:

    So, no Leadville?? I think I missed that post. 😦 I will miss you this year. There is a 100 miler here in Missouri the first weekend in November (I think), the Ozarks Trail 100. Obviously, I won’t be doing it, but I hope to be there. Generally, great weather and always a beautiful trail.

    • lizahoward says:

      No Leadville. 😦 😦 I will really miss seeing you. I’m going to try Javelina this November, so we will have to figure out a way to make our paths cross another way. I need a costume suggestion for Javelina. How has your training gone for Leadville?

  3. Tim Smith says:

    Good hopping along Ike with ya! Looking forward to Rocky!

  4. George Zack says:

    Ah, age. Youth is so wasted on the young. I am pretty sure your photo shoot is still much better viewing than the most of us 40 somethings, running around in Euro split shorts with more hair on our back than our heads, compression socks, etc, etc, etc.

  5. Trevor says:


    I have been reading your blog since I saw your fantastic win at last year’s Bandera! Thanks for the write-ups. You are a big inspiration!

    I live in Austin and had my eyes on running Bandera 100K and then RR100. Those would be my biggest runs to date, save a 60K in August and Cactus Rose 50 in October. I was looking for some advice from a pro, and since you know both courses(I think) I thought maybe you could give me some advice. If not, thats cool too. If so, my questions are: Is this a crazy pursuit? Could one potentially recover from Bandera in time to run RR100? Could Bandera serve as a training run for RR? If I should have to choose 1 race, which would you suggest?

    Any thoughts, comments, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    • lizahoward says:

      So nice to hear from you Trevor. I talked with the guys at the run this morning about running both Bandera and Rocky and we came up with “it depends.” I ran both last year and I didn’t feel like Bandera impacted my Rocky performance at all. I recover pretty quickly though and recovery rates seem to vary a lot. I certainly think you could run both, but if you don’t recover easily, Rocky could be a bit of a death march at the end. I don’t think Bandera really serves as a good training run for Rocky because the terrain is so different. That said, you would get experience managing that many hours running — with food and hydration etc., which is very valuable for the 100 mile race. As far as which race to choose if you felt like you needed to choose… Is running 100 miles the biggest goal? What kind of terrain do you like running on best? Will you be able to come down here to train on the Bandera course? Dealing with any injuries that might be exacerbated by training for one course or the other? Bandera is my favorite. The San Antonio crew will be heading out there a lot come November. Let me know if you’d like to come along.

  6. Trevor says:


    Thank you so much for your insightful words and advice. I will keep those thoughts in mind as my training progresses. Bandera does seem to be the most interesting of the races for the terrain. I guess RR would be more for the “100 mile” marker. Thanks also for the gracious invitation to tag along on a training run! Good luck with your recovery and upcoming races!

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