One of the things I like most about Heritage Bank is the culture of celebrating our differences—the things that we do away from work that make us stronger individuals personally and professionally. For me, that’s being a mother, running and hiking.
Being a mother is my number one priority. But over the years, running is the hobby I’ve learned the most from. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t see myself as a “good” runner. To me, running is the great equalizer as it’s more mental than it is physical. And while it can be intimidating seeing all those fast and fit people, it’s more about getting out there and pushing yourself to be the best you can be.
Over the weekend, I raced the Backcountry Rise 20 Miler. It’s a big 20 mile loop that has incredible views of Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood. The total elevation gain is 4,800 feet and there were some pretty difficult trails. It wasn’t my best run but I had fun doing it and I’m proud of myself for finishing.
As a mom, I don’t just run for myself anymore, I run to set a good example for my kids and to teach them good habits. But I also run because it affects every aspect of my life. The healthy lifestyle gives me more energy so I can come to work happier, and training for races helps me set training goals, which feel great to accomplish. And even without the challenge of an upcoming race, I feel like I’m always learning little life lessons when I’ve got my running shoes on.
Of course I love the idea of sharing the outdoors and physical activity with my family. That’s where hiking comes in. Hiking is great for some of the more obvious reasons—it allows you to unplug, get away from the city, see beautiful landscapes and come back refreshed. But it can be tricky to find hikes that aren’t going to require you to carry your little ones when they decide the hike is over. That’s why I’ve discovered some great family friendly places for both parents and children:
- Crystal Mountain Gondola where you can see alpine lakes, snow fields, mountain wildlife and summit views without having to carry the kids up.
- Indian Henry Hunting Ground near Mt. Rainier. At the end of July or beginning of August there are wildflowers blooming and the wild blueberries are so sweet you can smell them in the air. Bears like them too, so don’t forget the spray!
- Mount Ellinor on the Olympic Peninsula. It’s a quick way to get up a mountain and see the whole Puget Sound. This one’s a bit steep, so best for kids who are a little older.
- Staircase Rapids in the Olympic National Forest. It’s a nice short loop trail that’s very kid friendly and has a bit of everything—forest, rapids and even a suspension bridge.
I started at Heritage Bank as a teller right out of college. Since then I’ve built a career here, taking on different roles and responsibilities before ultimately landing at my current position as the Executive Assistant. The role itself is great for me because it’s different every day and keeps me on my toes. I also love the culture here. We respect each and every one of our unique talents that we bring to work every day.
See you on the trails!
About the Author
Cortney Suderman is the executive assistant at Heritage Bank. She started at Heritage as a teller right out of college and has held a number of other positions.