I would have to say that hands down, running is my favorite form of exercise.
I run (well, jog) almost every day, even in Tahoe in the winter (I wear Yak Trax on my running shoes so I don’t slip on the ice and snow). I love that running clears my head, keeps me relatively slim (even drinking wine and eating sweets like they are going out of style all through COVID), gets me out in the fresh air, and doesn’t cost money! It is truly the easiest way to exercise in my opinion and you can do it whenever you want – you don’t need to sign up for fancy group classes or have special equipment – you just need a t-shirt, leggings or shorts, and some sneakers! And right now since gyms are all closed with COVID, it is the perfect exercise.
Running has sustained me through most of my adulthood. I started 20 years ago as a way to relieve stress in law school, and I still crave it every single day. Now that I am in my 40s, I only do 2 or 3 miles (at most 4 miles) but to me, that is the perfect amount of exercise, and because I don’t overdo it, I don’t really get injuries. I just don’t feel right until I have gone out for my daily jog. It helps me mentally as much as physically – it is meditative and gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing. I think it has kept me looking and feeling younger than my years. Because I only usually do 2 miles, it only takes me about 20 minutes and I usually do it right before I shower in the morning. I wake up, I put on my running clothes, take the dog out, make breakfast for the girls & get them ready for school. By about 8:30 every morning, I am out there in the fresh air doing my beloved run.
I have run almost every day for 20 years!
I just realized the other week that even though I am probably the least athletically inclined person on the planet, I have been running almost daily for 20 years! I started in the year 2000 when I was 25 and in my last year of law school at UCLA to help relieve stress and for weight control. I would run on the treadmill every morning at a gym on Wilshire Boulevard, looking out the window at all the cars driving by. Then, when I graduated and moved to San Francisco to start working in my law firm, I would wake up early and run from my apartment in Russian Hill down to Crissy Field in the Marina, circling the Palace of the Legion of Honor and back up through Pacific Heights for a 4 mile loop. On my longer run days I would do 7 miles and run all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge and back! It was absolutely glorious and weirdly my runs make up some of my best memories of living in San Francisco.
Running in London!
When I moved to London for work in 2005, I lived in Notting Hill and I would run around Hyde Park and Green Park early in the mornings. Some days, I would pack my skirt suit and clean underwear in a running backpack and run to work – all the way to my office at the law firm near St. Paul’s Cathedral! I would shower there! It was only 4 or 5 miles so it was doable for me! I loved those runs in London. Other days, I would duck out at lunchtime for a quick run – a 2 or 3 mile jog along the Thames, showering afterwards at the Fitness First gym in Paternoster Square by St. Paul’s (and on rainy days I would run on the treadmill).
My 7 years in London are filled with so many running memories! I started doing races: I ran the Copenhagen half marathon and the Berlin half marathon. I would also get up early on work trips to Paris, Moscow, Kiev and even Istanbul and run around the neighborhoods! When I met my husband Matt, we would go running through London together on dates! He also loves it. I even ran on the morning of my wedding day in the English countryside (near Henley on Thames) with two of my bridesmaids. I ran almost daily through both of my pregnancies up until the last trimester – and I am convinced that is why I had easy and quick natural deliveries with both of my daughters.
When I was working 18 hour days in the law firm, there were many days I couldn’t go out for a run, and I felt terrible and depressed and just lethargic and sad. On the days I was able to get out for even 30 minutes, I would feel a thousand times better and would be back at my desk with more energy and focus. Running has helped me during the most difficult periods in my life – loneliness when I was single and working so hard as a lawyer in my 20s and early 30s, through my parents’ divorce, breakups, and fights with my family. It always clears my head and resets my brain to a more positive state.
Running in New York City!
When we moved to NYC in 2012, I ran mostly indoors – when I was working at Deutsche Bank on Wall Street. Every day (if I could) I would get up from my desk at 11:45, hurry to the Equinox Wall Street gym which was a block away, change quickly into my shorts and t-shirt, sprint on the treadmill for 20 minutes, quickly shower and dress and hurry back to the office where I ate a salad at my desk! I loved it! It always made me feel fresh and rejuvenated for the long afternoon! After I stopped working in 2016, I would run at the gym in our building, or outside along the Hudson River in Battery Park by the Statue of Liberty. Every single time, I would pause and marvel that I got to see Lady Liberty just across that water.
Running in Tahoe (and on snow and ice)!
When we moved to Tahoe this summer, I continued to run on the lake path every day as I always do in Tahoe in the summers. But then when winter set in and it started snowing, I had to stop running! It was just too icy and slippery! I was pretty devastated, until I met a neighbor who was wearing these things called Yak Trax on her running shoes! Once I got myself a pair, and a pair of waterproof trail running shoes, I was back in business and have been running my 2 miles every day all winter long! Yak Trax are strap-on cleats that prevent you from slipping on snow and ice. I can’t run as fast with the cleats on, but I don’t slip at all. Plus the hills make a great workout even if you run at a slower pace. So if you live in a snowy climate and you like to run outside, don’t let the weather stop you! Order some Yak Trax from Amazon and you can still run no matter what the weather! Well maybe not DURING an actual blizzard, but certainly on clear days even if there is snow and ice on the ground!
Tips for beginning runners
If you are thinking of starting a running regime (which I believe you can do at any age), I would recommend starting off VERY slowly. Decide you will run for 5 or 10 minutes only, and then start jogging at a slow pace. The best trick my friend Matt Drake told me (another lawyer at my firm I used to run with in my 20s) is to set a manageable goal (maybe a time goal like 10 minutes, or maybe a distance goal like 1 mile) and even if you get tired, DON’T STOP running. No matter what, don’t let yourself fall into a walk. Just slow way way down, you can go super slowly at a snail’s pace, but keep up the running movement. Once you have “run” the 10 minutes, psychologically you’ve done it and you realize you can do it! Then gradually build up your speed and time. It’s easier than you think! Like anything it is just practice! I was always the last girl picked at PE when I was young, I was a terrible athlete. So I like running because I can do on my own time, at my own pace and I am only accountable to myself.
Running is something I look forward to every day and I can honestly say I have never once regretted going for a jog. Especially during quarantine and this past year, my daily run has become more important to me than ever! I would encourage you to try it if you have any interest at all! It truly is life changing in the best possible way.
Thanks for reading!
All photos by Chloe and Lily Bonner!
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Laura congrats! What a great post and also super inspiring. I loved hearing about all the wonderful places you have jogged! What a great experience having lived in SF, NYC and london. I can totally realte to the last girl to get picked at sports thing. I have only just gotten into sports the last decade or so. tennis is my thing, but you inspired me to try Running from your stories. I began slow and it has gone well. I think the going slow and not stopping helped and also making a small goal- like 2 miles. Thank you so much!! I love that as you said running can be done anywhere, and it is so energizing. Keep it up. Whatever you are doing, it’s working! You look 20 still. xo Kim