My alarm went off at 5:45am and I felt a wave of relief wash over me. Most early morning wake up calls are associated with getting up to race or workout. And the weight of those tasks makes me want to snuggle up and stay in bed and continue to hit snooze. A photoshoot day is usually a slow burn start. Drive to the shoot location, sip coffee, grab a bite to eat, pick out outfits, talk shop on photoshoot strategy, play with hair and make up, AND then around 9am go out and shoot.
This photoshoot was different. Our goal was to capture the essence of real running. So, we did just that. We warmed up, we stretched (just a little, because I typically hate long stretching sessions before working out), we did some strides and we started a Lauren Fleshman favorite fartlek workout. After the first warm up mile, shit started to get real. We weren't doing the bouncy run-for-a-photo-run, we were going to hurt and sweat and channel all things running and workout. The real excuses started coming out, my nose was stuffy, I didn't sleep that well last night. How serious were we really going to take this?
The answer? Serious enough that the moments that we ran by the camera crew at sub 5:00 pace, I wasn't thinking about how my stride looked, what I was doing with my face, or if my make up and hair looked the way it should look. I was thinking of running fast and surviving the workout. My eyes were locked on Lauren's effortless stride and I was in the zone.
There have been race photos that I've been critical of in the past. Why did I look like I was trying so hard? Often the face I was making didn't match the story I told myself of running down the finishing stretch. I'd feel so certain there was more gas in the tank, more room to improve for the next time. But the pain face captured in the photo would tell me otherwise. It's kind of a beautiful thing. To capture the true spirit of running. Real running. We are so locked in during these moments. So present. When we cross the finish line, the experience of running hard or racing can translate into a new story in our minds. One of an effortless pursuit, because that's what we're told it's supposed to be right? We pick apart the race and omit the moments of pain and struggle. But the photos capture the feelings in the midst of the hard work, and give deeper meaning to them.
I left that photoshoot feeling honored to be a part of this brand. When you run for Oiselle, you run for a company that believes in keeping it real. No matter the speed or goal, the effort is marked by a willingness to see what's possible. And while sometimes that effort can look easy, other times it looks really painfully hard. No matter which it is, Oiselle wants to capture and showcase it all. And I feel a tremendous sense of pride to be a part of that mission.
Photos by: Amos Morgan