The First

I mentioned in a my Becoming a Runner post (here) that one of the things that helped me the most when I first started running was training for the Sound to Narrows, so I could run it with my Dad.

I remember growing up my Mom and Dad waking up early one weekend each June – crazy unpredictable Washington weather and all –  to go to Vassault Park so he could run this race. My Dad has run many races (including the Portland Marathon, which was very helpful in my training), but I distinctly remember him recounting this one. Particularly, he liked to talk about the Hill.

The Hill is at the tail end of mile 6, and is probably the scariest, most intense hill of the entire course. The rest of the course is equally hilly, but it’s hard(er) to notice that when you’re running through beautiful scenery. Hearing him talk about it, I knew I wanted to conquer that hill one day.

So, in June of 2014, that’s exactly what I did – I signed up for the longest race I had ever thought about running, and had the opportunity to make it up that hill (with the added bonus of getting to run in the same race as my Dad near Father’s Day).

I definitely was not fast, and had to trudge my way through most of the race, but I was so proud that I was able to run up that hill (and the 5 others along the course… did I mention that this is one of the hardest 12ks out there?). It was really the first time I truly felt like I a runner, and I haven’t looked back since.

Looking back through my phone, I found our finish line photo from that day. You can definitely see which one of us had run long distance races before in this photo! What you don’t see here is the prior photo of me bent at the waist trying to will my breathing to slow down, haha.

photo-jun-14-7-33-20-pm

Even though I was a hot, sweaty mess (emphasis on the mess) after this race, I wouldn’t have traded one second. And, thanks to my Dad (and Mom) encouraging me to sign up for this race, I caught the running bug – who’d have thunk that the girl in the picture above would go on to run 2 marathons (and hopefully more)? Certainly not me. Glad I didn’t let that stop me!

Here’s to great running memories, and making many, many more!

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