From the August 2009 issue of Runner's World
When did you start running?I grew up in a running family. My parents caught the running craze in the mid '70s and we grew up doing family runs. I've been running now easy for 35 years. Do you remember your first race?My dad was a track coach and he'd get all the neighborhood kids together and take us to Anchorage for track meets when we were very young. Anchorage is 50 miles from Wasilla. And ever since we were little we'd do 10-K races as family fun runs.
So you grew up running with your siblings? Yes, and my siblings and parents were better runners than I. My mom and dad were marathoners and one of my sisters is a marathoner. Dad ran Boston a couple times, mom would win her age group or at least get a ribbon in the big races, and I would just try to keep up.Sounds like your skills were more suited to basketball?Well, I appreciated the fact that in running I needed guts more than anything. I could do fine just being really determined. I was thankful that I didn't need a whole lot of skills to run. And running was your first athletic activity, even before basketball? Yes. My parents instilled in us that fitness and running were going to be a part of our lives growing up. My siblings and I are all still very active. A lot of days I look forward to getting out to run and think and plan. Was there ever a period when you didn't run? Only when I was too pregnant to run. During each of my five pregnancies I worked out until right before the babies were born. A few summers ago I trained hard and ran a sub-4 hour marathon [2005 Humpy's Marathon in Anchorage]. That was a pretty intense summer of running. There have been other periods where I haven't had the time to get out there and run as hard, so it's waned on and off over the years. (continues, great interview)