Hottest women athletes
Soccer star Hope Solo
I love athletic women. They have changed my life, given me focus and health. They have rocked my boat and satisfied my desires. This is my story of falling in love with athletic women, and why I idolize the women of sport, writes Fila Ferme.
I was sitting on the campus lawn of Vanderbilt University, Nashville trying not to be noticed drinking a can of Miller High Life in a brown bag.
I wasn't happy with my studies, nor the city. I didn't like my classmates, and my health was suffering. I knew I shouldn't rely so much on beer to take the edge off my boredom and frustration, but booze was a cheap and easy escape.
Ana Paula Mancino, model and volleyball player
Serena Williams in heels and party dress
Amy Acuff, high jumper
Brazilian soccer star Marta
Beach volleyball, dude!
The majestic Inge de Bruijn
Then I saw her, a picture of beauty and health, striding across campus in Nike running tights, tight singlet, sports bra, and new running shoes. She was wearing a Padres ballcap with her hair pulled through the back in a ponytail.
She wasn't jogging, she wasn't one of those thousands of men and women who jog a couple of miles and call it a tough workout. She was running. She was an athlete.
At that moment, I knew I needed to know her, and I needed to be around athletic women. And the only way I could do that was to become an athlete myself.
I tossed away the High Life can and went straight to the nearest sporting goods store, where I bought a pair of Saucony running shoes, shorts, and a bunch of wicking t-shirts.
At first, I ran in the evening when it was getting dark. I didn't want people to see my round belly pushing against my t-shirt. I didn't want people to see what an effort it was for me to put one leg in fron of the other without wheezing for breath.
I couldn't even run a half mile without stopping. A mile seemed an impossible mountain to climb.
But what kept me focused was the daily sight of my mystery woman, who regular as clockwork would speed across campus and then head up one of the wide avenues leading to a small university called Belmont.
My task was to find a way to speak to the woman without coming across as weird or a creep or stalker.
I wanted her to know she had turned my life around, that she had put me on the path to better health and a focused life.
It was an honest story, no bs, no lies, but I couldn't help feeling it was slightly creepy. A woman would be right to be suspicious of a strange guy who watched her everyday and was overcome by her beauty.
The stroke of luck I was looking for was pinned to the wall of the students' building, the Sarratt Center. In neat, printed handwriting it said:
Running partner needed 2 times a week. Must be sub-20 mins for 5k and comfortable with 10-mile training runs. Call Laura ......
I was not sub-20 minutes for 5k. I was a 21-minute runner, which wasn't fast but it wasn't disgraceful. Nor had I ever run 10 miles. My longest training run was six miles, which I considered almost marathon standard.
I had been afraid of contacting the track team, which is where I assumed my mystery woman ran, because I knew I just wasn't good enough -- not yet.
But I figured running with this new-found Laura woman would get me in shape.
I called her, told her I was an 18 min. 10 sec. 5-k runner but I had been recently injured and was on my way back to full health. I said I was stuck at 21 minutes for 5k and needed help to take me to the next level. I even told her 10 miles was a little out of my league, but I wanted to work on getting there.
Laura and I hit it off really well on the phone. She said she was really looking for a female training partner, but she realized she hadn't written that on the messages she'd left around campus.
We agreed to meet the next day for a run. Laura said she'd go easy on me. She'd run four miles before meeting me, then run six with me, then leave me so she could jog a two-mile cool down before stretching. Wow, she was serious.
I was nervous all that night. Would I make a fool of myself? Would I be able to keep up with her? Would she see right away that I didn't look like a runner, even though I had been running daily for more than a month?
An hour before we arranged to meet, I jogged for a couple of miles to warm up, stretched for 20 minutes, then kept moving until Laura turned up ....
This is when I knew there was a God... Laura was my mystery woman, my perfect female, my dream athlete. And I was her new training partner.
I ran my heart out for six miles to keep up with her. I was in heaven to be running side by side with her. I could have run for 20 miles that day. From that day on, I decided I was going to be a runner, and I was going to win Laura's heart.
We parted company with Laura saying,
See you in two days, same time, same place.
Over the next week, I listened to Laura's story. She had been a high school track star but was finding it difficult to break into the Vandy track team. Her times were good enough, but she didn't get along with the coach, and then she suffered some serious motivational issues when her sister had died in a car crash in Austin, Texas.
The first time I saw her run across campus was the first time she had run for four months. It was the beginning of her road back to race fitness. She was training independently to get onto the team, and she was so grateful that I, who had nothing to do with the team, was willing to work with her, focus my training on improving her strength and stamina, speed and endurance.
Training with her was ideal because when we got down to around 18 minutes for 5k, it was a good time for her but still ordinary for me as a guy.
To be good as a guy, I'd have needed to be a couple of minutes fatster than that, but I was an ideal training partner for a woman athlete. She could always push me, and I could respond to push her.
No holding back
It wasn't a case of having to hold back to help her. Her maximum was just a bit better than mine, but I was willing to keep working to improve. I had strength she could feed off. I could match her. It was like a female tennis player training with guys to become stronger.
We did long runs together, sometimes 15 miles. We did speed work on the track, 200 meter repeats, over and over again with recovery between. We did hard tempo runs and hills.
We trained in the gym together. We planned our meals and ate healthily, avoiding the tempations of bad food and drink.
Our training sessions were the core of my life. That focus, the disciplined approach to health and fitness, made my entire life better.
My grades improved. I was able to concentrate on tasks for the entire time they required.
I didn't waste time. I didn't slack. I became more confident and outgoing as my body became leaner and stronger.
On the team
Laura made it back onto the track team. She started winning races. She competed at a high level.
And yes, Laura and I did fall in love.
We spent months training hard, hanging out together, studying together, making love, and getting our lives back on track.
She gave me a new life, and I did all I could to bring her happiness and fulfillment.
We have now been married for 10 years. Laura is the woman of my dreams.
By Will Hopkins