Marathoner Dorothy Beal has a message for all the runners out there: Don’t let a race photo steal your joy. 

The blogger, mother of three and running coach based in Leesburg, Virginia recently went viral after posting powerful side-by-side photos to Instagram, both of which were taken during the same race. 

“In one I looked happy and strong and in the other I was left questioning if there was a part of my body that didn’t have cellulite,” Beal said before explaining how hard ― but rewarding ― this particular race was for her. 

“If you had asked me after if I had a good time I would have said YES!!” she wrote. “I still felt that way in the days following the race UNTIL I saw the photo on the left and then insecurity set in and I thought about how that day was not fun. But that’s silly, because it was fun…A race photo is ONE SINGLE moment in time and I let one of them steal joy from me.”

Beal added, “Most times we don’t look great while we run, but that’s not why we run anyways, we run to FEEL like I look in the photo on the right – HAPPY.” 

Beal’s post resonated with her 44k Instagram followers, who shared their own struggles with race photos. 

“Thank you yes I have one from [a race] I trained so hard and the pic they took made me look awful,” one commenter wrote. “It really did steal my joy and accomplishment so thanks for this reminder.” 

Another fellow runner wrote, “I had the same thing after my first race I hated how I looked in the photos but I just remember what a feat it was! Glad I’m not the only one it momentarily got down.” 

The response to the photo proves that the activity is about more than just a race picture. Running is an incredible exercise that can do wonders for a person’s wellbeing. Research shows it can drastically improve your physical and mental health.

Beal’s side-by-side photo is also just one example of the many body-positive posts Beal puts on her Instagram page. In an emailed conversation with The Huffington Post, she explained her new “MOVEment,” called #ihavearunnersbody, which is all about revising what exactly a “runner” looks like. 

“I’m constantly told that I don’t look like I run,” Beal said. “A) there is no such thing as a perfect body and B) anyone who runs looks like a runner. So yes I have cellulite and I’m not a featherweight, but my body and these legs have carried me through 32 marathons and over 100 races of various distances.” 

“We are thin, we are thick, we are small, we are tall, we are black, we are white, we are every color in between, some of us have abs and others of us have bellies, and many of us have cellulite BUT we are ALL runners,” Beal said. 

The HuffPost Lifestyle newsletter will make you happier and healthier, one email at a time. Sign up here.

Source