San Francisco is notorious for its super-steep hills, but people don't realize that Seattle has some of those too. In fact sometimes you can't get your car up a hill (as we have experienced) and it's not totally uncommon to hear a story about someone losing control of their car (or bike) going down a hill. Just yesterday a co-worker told a harrowing story of her mom losing her brakes going down a huge hill in her minivan - a cop started going after her with his lights flashing as her van slowly picked up speed (up to 70 mph), At the bottom of the hill the van hit a bump in the road and the brakes clicked back into place just in time to stop before roaring through an intersection, and when the cop came up to her and asked what she was thinking she said "I'm thinking you should give me a ride home!" Fortunately the cop believed her that the brakes had gone out (it does seem unlikely that a soccer mom would try to outrun a cop in a minivan) and helped her get the minivan to the nearest car mechanic.
Since the Studly Hubby and I signed up for the Seattle half-marathon, we've been thinking over the idea of running some hills. The half-marathon route goes downtown and includes some huge hills that we've never attempted before. It's not hard to find hills to practice on - all we have to do is alter our normal route slightly. So last night we tried a moderately big hill, about ten (long) blocks going from Lake Union up to Wallingford Square (where the grocery store happens to be, with a huge bag of salt-and-vinegar chips waiting for us as our reward). We conquered that hill and were so excited we actually brainstormed other bigger hills we could do as we were walking home with our big bag of potato chips.