A quick Q&A with a not-your-everyday runner.
The full-time mom, model, actress and triathlete shares her running essentials and opens up about how she used running to help her through tough times, and why she always makes time for her 9-year-old son, Oliver.
What inspired you to take up running?
I first started running when I was modeling in Milan. I was living with a girl who was a pentathlete so I would run with her as a way to stay fit. Then I started running more and doing triathlons to help me get through an unhealthy phase in my life where I was smoking and going through a divorce when my son was still young. At the time, I couldn’t afford the therapy I needed, so I started running to get me out of that funk.
It sounds like running has been a big part of your life. How would you describe what it means to you?
Running to me is therapy. It’s hard work no matter what. I’m obsessed with riding my bike, but running in comparison is challenging because it’s all in your head. Running is 100 percent you, and it’s a discipline whether you like it or not. You’re the only one in control of your attitude, pace—everything. It covers all the basic elements of therapy, environmentally, psychologically and spiritually.
You travel a lot for your job. Where is the most exotic place that you’ve run?
The Seychelles off the east coast of Africa. Fifteen years ago, cars weren’t allowed on the island—only ox carts—so I’d be running along this gravel road and passing these ox carts; it was pretty wild. Phuket, Thailand was also pretty exotic. I remember being pregnant, sick and not being able to sleep. So, I’d go out for a run-walk on the beach to help me get through the day.
Does your son, Oliver, like running, too?
We love running, walking and hiking together. I let him choose the routes and he’ll go into these spurts where he’ll try to beat me up and down a hill. It’s a phenomenal bonding time together. There’s no better feeling for a mom to see their kids’ pink little cheeks, exhilarated, pushing themselves and working hard for things.
Describe some of your running essentials.
The right running shoes are essential for form and injury prevention, so I love my K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Light. A visor, sunscreen and a good fitting sports bra to keep your girls in place are also important.
If you could choose any soundtrack to run to, what would it be?
The soundtrack to “Inception.” I love running to music that’s dark and dramatic. Actually, when I first started running I would always need music to run to, but nowadays I like listening to myself when I’m running because I use it as a time to meditate and talk myself through challenges.
This piece first appeared in the August 2012 issue of Competitor magazine.