“What I like about running is that it doesn’t require much talent, just stubbornness,” she said.

Ms. Jaffe’s athletic calling did not get off to a sterling start. A self-proclaimed klutz, she was kicked out of ballet classes as a child for mixing up her left and right. Her aversion to exercise only deepened, and for much of her life, housework and trips to Fairway constituted Ms. Jaffe’s most strenuous forms of cardio. Between her work as a pediatrician and the demands of motherhood, there was little time for sleep, let alone sports.

Ms. Jaffe, 65, running around the city block where she lives on the Upper West Side. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

As the years wore on, however, Ms. Jaffe’s health began to falter. She had given birth to four children, and had noticed her bones weakening and her blood pressure steadily rising. Determined to enhance her fitness but unwilling to shirk her maternal duties, Ms. Jaffe struck a compromise: She would try running, though she would never stray more than two city blocks from home. If an emergency ever arose, her oldest child or a babysitter could find her without even crossing the street.

“Maybe it’s a little neurotic,” she admitted, “but it’s comforting as a mother.”

Ms. Jaffe struggled initially with cramping muscles and heavy breathing, barely making it one lap. But she eventually settled into a rhythm. It now takes her roughly one hour to complete her regimen.

Source: The New York Times
January 5, 2017
By Noah Remnick