Saturday, September 11, 2010

The pro photos that I paid for (prepare yourselves)

There was some internal discussion about buying the photos from IMC. The camera loves some people, for example, my mom's husband Sam. I've never seen a bad photo of him. I once got him as he was getting out of a vehicle after a long day on the job, as he was shifting his cap to settle it better. He looks a little startled, but otherwise perfectly poised, and posed. No model could have looked as natural or comfortable.

Unlike me. The camera hates me. As some people have astutely commented, I often look like a cardboard cutout. With a wine glass in one hand. I've never really been happy with the photos taken by various photographers at various races. Jase did well, but it's a measure of his talent that the shots turned out as well as they did. Plus Cath is in a couple of shots so nobody is looking at me anyway. No, the problem isn't them or their equipment. It's the subject.

So when I was looking at the thumbnails of my IMC photos I was really of two minds if I should buy them or not. In the end, I figured there likely wasn't going to be another opportunity to get better photos of me doing an Ironman, and shelled out.

I've put one up in the title but I don't like how the spacing has turned out. I'll probably be playing with that for a bit. Maybe I'll go to a different template. Therefore, with no further ado, here are the best of the race photos. With commentary. I hope you've got a stiff drink to hand.

Here's the swim start. I can see my cap in there near the left, about 10 people back. You can't tell? What, are you blind?

Here's me coming out the water, in the thick of the herd. The green stripe on my cheek is to remind the people at the eyeglasses table to shout at us to get our glasses. As if I need reminding. 

On the bike, still ahead of some people, for a little while. This is on the road going to Osoyoos, not sure exactly where.

Going up Richters Pass. You get a beautiful view of the valley off to the right. So far it's been a perfect day for a bike ride.

The only photo of me on the run. I like to say I'm focussed. Others, less charitable, might say I'm looking dazed.

Crossing the finish line! Only those who have been there know how good it feels, can understand the wash of emotions. Happiness that it's done. Pride in the achievement. Sadness that it's done.

The formal finisher photo. Even I have to admit the look in my eyes is just a bit scary.

It's been a couple of weeks now. One toenail has gone black. The toe that had the blister that never popped just had the skin shift around and form a ridge that any dinosaur would be proud of. The hams are feeling better, though my left leg is still a bit stiff. Left shoulder is a bit creaky. 

All things considered I came out of this very well. There are a bunch of people who didn't finish at all, including some pros. Not that that makes me better than them. It just means there is an element of luck in these things. Luck about not getting pummeled too badly in the swim, or having mechanical problems or flats on the bike, or being struck with biological issues for whatever reason no matter how carefully you plan. But the most important element by far is your own level of mental and physical fitness and toughness. Without that you aren't finishing no matter how lucky you are. Katie's coaching and the day in and out practice is why I finished.

I like to think I know my limits and "raced" within them. The swim was a little bit faster than I expected, but it was really important to me that I got out of the water feeling good and ready to bike, so I didn't push hard. That means I paced myself carefully, not minding that 888 people passed me on the bike. That means I came within 4 minutes of negative splitting my "run" because I started easy at a pace I hoped I could maintain for the whole distance.  (There is a great xl that gives all sorts of calculations about the time and place data, email me if you want a copy, or look for it on slow twitch.) The final result is that I didn't go deep into the well to pull out every last bit of everything there is, just to make it to the finish line. Into it a bit, yes, but not deep. Which is why I'm feeling so good now. I've gone and done workouts with my legs feeling worse than they do now, but I'm enjoying the rest.

Now is a time to take stock and think about where to go from here. While I'm not going to be doing another Ironman any time soon, if at all, I am continuing with triathlon. I want to get faster, yes, much faster, compared to my cohorts. And, I want to see a photo of me running that has both my feet off the ground. I can but dream.


  1. Amazing. Really. I can share some of your feelings after I ran Boston. But you are on an entirely different level, my friend! Well done. Again, and again.

  2. What are you talking about? That picture going up Richter’s Pass is one of the best photos I have ever seen. It looks like Tour de France or something. I would print and frame that sucker large scale and hand it proudly!

  3. Race photos are THE WORST for everyone. I always look 20lbs heavier. Who wants to see a picture like that?!

    Well done, Keith. It sounds like you had an awesome race comprised of intelligent planning and flawless execution. Conrats, you are a stud! Enjoy your recovery :).

  4. Thank god I am not the only one that looks fat lol!
    The bike pics are my favorite, especially the one of you leading the pack! I look forward to reading more about your adventures!

  5. I love the finishers photo at the top...just complete joy in your eyes (OK...and maybe a little crazy too...but WTF, you just finished an IronMan...that IS a little crazy).

    Congrats on the finish. Enjoy the afterglow as long as possible!

  6. I love the bike photos and finish photo the best for sure! Congrats to you on accomplishing this amazing feat! Anyone who can go the distance like that truly amazes me!

  7. heya - i think i got missed by the guys selling photos,,, do you have a link for those ?


  8. love the photos, especially the one of you crossing the finish line and holding the medal. you can feel the joy eminating from the photos! you were fantastic out there!! am still super proud of you and am happy i got to see you finish! ok, getting veklempt now. lol. xo

  9. Ya know, people always talk about how terrible they look on their pictures, blah blah blah and I really don't understand this. It's a race!! You're not posing for the damn picture, they're supposed to look.... well like you're in a race!! I don't buy pictures for the pose or for how I look, I buy em because it helps me remember. Looking into your/my eyes it helps me remember what it felt like at that moment, or what I was going through. I think you're pictures are great Keith, and in 10 years or so(if you've done more ironman's or not) you'll be happy you have them. My two cents for what it's worth. lol

  10. I like your race photos - I don't think they're bad and I'm not lying. I can't wait to read your race report. Looks like you had a great day by the looks of your pics (and of course I tracked you all day). Congrats!

  11. The shot that you say is "somewhere before Osoyoos" is taken on Eastside road before you turn up the hill at McLean Creek. Have a look at this one:

    It is taken by the same guy but from a bit different of an angle. You can see the road across the valley descending into Penticton at the end of the bike leg.

    Not that it really matters but the guy on the blue bike right behind you is my buddy Holger.


Looking forward to reading your comment!