It was the beginning of senior year, a friend told to me I had a long stride, was a really strong hiker and that I should try out running. So I signed up the cross country team. I liked the outdoors, was in decent shape, why not. Well after the first week of whining like a baby, getting shin splints and being extremely annoyed by how fast and effortless the gangly 8th grade boys that trained with us ran, I had had enough. I never liked suffering and senior year was supposed to be fun. So I went up to the coach and told him I couldn’t hack it, I was out.
As an experienced coach, and not new to whiners, he told me to ice my shins, not to worry about the 8th grade divos, and to give it one more week. If I still hated it, then he would let me go. Fine. One more week. I can do that.
And what do you know, the shin splints went away, I still wasn’t keeping up the pre-teen little snots, but I started to feel it…the runners high! I was actually able to go out and run for an hour, it was amazing. I finished out the season and running became something that was stayed with me for years to come. Oh and yeah, that’s me on the top row, the guy not smiling, we must have taken that photo during the first week.
Now I just photograph others running, it’s way easier…
Laura Davis is a fitness model and running coach and we wanted to put together a set of photos for her portfolio. We shot the first set in the Skyline hills on the very trails that I knew so well as a high school teen. Then we teamed up with one of her running partners, fitness model and coach Lache Kamani and headed out for some urban landscapes. I asked Laura to write a bit about her running story, which is far more inspirational than my teenage sob story above. Enjoy.
When people ask me why I run, the first thing I tell them is that it’s okay if they don’t. You have to be a little bit crazy to love running, I tell them. It’s a sport of pursuing pain.
But I also tell them that as a coach, I’ve spent years helping people to understand what there is to love. I’ve logged over 30,000 miles since I became a runner, but it wasn’t always that way. I started out as a sprinter who couldn’t imagine making it more than once around a track. A friend convinced me to give distance running a chance, and I’ve never looked back. Running hasn’t just taught me how to win races or run faster times; it’s taught me discipline, how to reach my goals, how to silence the whiny voice in my head that says I can’t do it.
There is no point in running if you don’t know your motivation (and that motivation is different for each runner). I run because I love racing, and I can only race well if I have trained well. But it’s not the only reason I run. My head is never so clear as when my feet are padding a trail of fallen pine needles on a foggy morning. I never feel as good as when I cross a finish line knowing I’ve done my best. On the days when life beats me down, when it takes every ounce of will to lace up my shoes and get out the door, running is what shakes me loose. Uncoils me. Sets me free.
Laura Davis is a running coach and personal trainer who has coached high school, collegiate, and elite athletes for more than a decade. She was a scholarship athlete at the University of Wisconsin, where she was a Big Ten champion and Boston Marathon finisher. She is currently accepting new clients, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org