Gov. Sarah Palin has always been a runner. Her parents were marathoners and high school track and cross-country coaches. “Running was a family affair,” she says. “I didn’t have much choice. Thankfully, I’ve never tired of it.”
Gov. Palin, a mother of five kids, says exercise is still very much a “family thing.” She and her husband, Todd, also an athlete, named their first son Track because he was born in that sport’s season. Gov. Palin (above, near Mendenhall Glacier, outside of Juneau) and her family live in Wasilla, about 45 miles north of Anchorage.
“Conventional running is my sanity,” Gov. Palin says. Having recently given birth to her fifth child, the governor is trying to get back to her old workout routine. She was running 7 to 10 miles almost every day but switched to aerobics classes at her gym when she became pregnant. She has worked her way back up to running three miles every other day.
In the summer, when it’s always light, she’ll sometimes run as late as midnight. In the dead of winter, when it’s dark, she sneaks in an afternoon run, or else grudgingly runs on the treadmill at home or at the gym in the evening. Gov. Palin keeps dumbbells at home, but she says most of her upper body strength comes from snowmobiling with her family. “It’s the best upper body workout you could ever have,” she says. “You’re maneuvering through hundreds of pounds of powder.” (Todd is a four-time champion of the Tesoro Iron Dog, the world’s longest snowmobile race.)
These days, you can’t find people here who have something nice to say about her last decade in politics. Nobody wants to talk about Palin.
There is speculation from time to time about her running for state office, but chances seem remote. Dermot Cole, a columnist at the Alaska Dispatch News, told me Alaskans don’t take her seriously.
“She has long since become part of the entertainment business, which is what she has in common with Trump,” he wrote in an email.
Dave Stieren, a conservative radio personality in Anchorage, told me Palin’s story is full of irony.
“Even though she doesn’t know who Shakespeare is, she’s a figure out of Shakespearean tragedy,” he said. “She’s a person of exceptional means with no place to really call home.”
On occasion someone I know sees her in a yoga class or in the stands at a hockey game. Once, a friend encountered her really early in the morning, with no makeup, in Wasilla Walmart. She looked tired, almost ghostly, the friend said.
Who knows why Palin was up that early, but I imagine it was to shop in peace in her home town. Just like the regular Alaskan she used to be.