I joined Portland Fit in 2013 with the goal of training to run my first marathon. I had walked the Portland Marathon twice before, with the help of a friend’s mom who was a marathon walker. I never thought I could run a marathon - I was more of a hiker and walker. But after hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011, I entered Portland a 3rd time, and ended up jogging about 23 miles of the course (with backpacking as my training), because walking on the pavement was hurting my legs.That made me believe and dream I could do it! But I needed a structure to keep me on track, and some support. I was scared. I saw an email about PFit, and loved that it included all paces, walkers and runners. I followed the schedule to a T, doing my long runs alone on vacations, and track work at the local park. I got stronger throughout the season, and improved my time by 47 minutes! Plus I made friends, and had a new healthy hobby.I started assistant coaching in 2015, after two seasons of PFit. I stepped up as a head coach in 2017. I love having a go-to fitness routine that is flexible. I can run road or trails; solo or with friends. It’s easy to bring running gear on vacation, and explore a local recreation path or join the local running club. Most of all, I’m grateful for the sense of community and friendships I’ve gained from running!My first five marathons were the Portland Marathon (walker in 2008, first real run with Portland Fit in 2013). My goal for 2018 is to work on my 10k speed and gradually add distance while recovering from a knee injury. If all goes well, I’d love to run the Marine Corps Marathon in the fall.