So I've been trying to find the time to sit down and blog about Pacific Crest 2009 (from three weeks ago) and the Klippenes family reunion. In my dreams it would have been well-crafted and themey, but I don't have the time, so here's the little run down of our awesome time in Sunriver.
We arrived in Sunriver on Thursday in time for dinner with my Dad (Don) and his wife Marcy, and Shane (my brother), his wife, Quenby, and their three girls: Kayla, Maggie and Sydney. We all stayed in a rental house that rambled around an outdoor courtyard and we each had our own little wing. Shane and Curt stayed up late watching Nacho Libre and laughing hysterically, which made me laugh out loud even though I was trying to get some sleep. And my Dad, who despises shopping, took me grocery shopping to three different stores in Bend and didn't even complain one time.
Also in Sunriver, in a different rental house, were my Aunt Jacque and Uncle Jeff Klippenes, my cousin Becca, and my cousin Lindsey, her husband Nick and their little baby Cade. It was our first time meeting Cade and he was so sweet! He fell asleep in my arms one night after dinner and it was like a little slice of heaven.
Friday was pick up race packets, get bikes ready, and get the kids set up for the kids triathlon later in the afternoon/evening. Quenby and I took 6 of our 7 kids on a bike ride around some of the half marathon course. My kids were fighting over who was going to be the leader and just about the time I was going to turn around and go home, Q used the divert and distract method of parenting and came up with a game of leader leapfrog. All the kids forgot about wanting to be leader and embraced the fun game. I sat at the back of the line in awe of her creativity and wishing I had more of it.
Friday evening was Splash, Pedal & Dash, the kids event that kicks off the whole sports weekend. Each kid gets a race number for their helmet and bike, a bib for their shirt, and a timing chip. They finish under the huge Red Bull finishers arch, complete with an announcer marking their arrival and where they're from. It is such a great way to kick off a sports festival and everyone, athletes and spectators, really get into it. We make our kids train for the race, so they were all really intent on doing their best, except Paige, who was simply thrilled to be old enough to participate. The race starts in waves with the older kids going first and ending with the youngest ones.
Kayla and Maggie raced in separate pools and without a race partner that they knew. We cheered them on from the transition area where we were waiting with our kids to make it to the start. Grant and Sydney, who are both 8, raced together for the third year in a row. Grant bought it in the wading pool, much to Sydney's delight, and then they raced it out on the bike and the run. Grant finished 54th of out all 561 contestants and was 8th out of 78 in his age bracket.
Katie surprised me the most. We've always known she was athletic, but I haven't seen a real fire in her until this event. She silently trained for this race, taking a few helatious wipe-outs during training, but she always got back up on her bike and tried again. She and Alli fell into the same age category and I was a bit worried Alli would beat Katie's time. But Katie was all concentration on race day. She killed her race, finishing 155th out of 561 contestants and 3 out of 71 in her age division!!!!! I think in a few years she and I will be running races together and it won't be much longer before she's leaving me in the dust.
Alli, who is usually fiercely competitive and a crazy kamakazee on her bike, was more laid back than I anticipated, which is probably a good thing. She didn't run anyone off the road or cause any wipeouts on the bike route. She competed tough, but also took some time to smile and wave to her fans, finishing with a 332 out of 561 overall finish and a 10th place out of 71 finish in her age group.
Paige was THRILLED to have a big kid number for her helmet and her bike that she can barely ride. Her bib number took up her entire chest and she needed my help climbing into and out of the wading pools that the kids splash through. It takes her a good 10 seconds for each pedal rotation and that's IF she's actually concentrating and trying really hard. She was way too busy checking out all the people cheering her on and commenting on all the athletic skills of her competitors who were whizzing by her to actually concentrate. At the rate she was pedaling, we would have been waiting all night to hear the announcer call her name, so I "helped" her along a bit, pushing her the entire mile of the bike ride. She held on to the handle bars, occasionally pedaling and talking nonstop about the festivities around her. She loved running past all the cheering fans, but tired out quickly and it took a lot of prodding and encouraging to get her to finish the 1/2 mile course. She got a surge of energy at the end and sprinted across the finish line with a huge smile plastered on her face. It was a moment forever seared in my memory. Her finishing time was less than impressive with a 549th place out of 561 overall and 19 of 24 in her division. We talked about how when you start at the bottom, you only have room to go up, but she could have cared less. You couldn't wipe that smile off her face.
Saturday was the Half Iron Triathlon and the Half Marathon. My cousin Becca and I both ran the Half Marathon, me with a knee injury and Becca with a chest cold. Neither one of us had a race time that we were thrilled with, but we had family cheering us on the whole way and offering support on a scenic course and a beautiful day, and that made it more enjoyable.
Normally Nick does the half iron by himself and relays part of the Olympic tri the next day, but he was sick, so he had to cancel on both his events. My brother Shane and my uncle Jeff relayed the half iron triathlon. Uncle Jeff did the 1.2 mile swim and Shane did the 58 mile bike up and over the backside of Mt. Bachelor on a road bike he'd never ridden before and in his Keen sandals because he didn't have cycling shoes, and he still killed it in 3 hours and 4 minutes! The 13.1 mile run afterward gave him some problems with nagging tendonitis, but he was able to finish and we were all so impressed with everyone overcoming adversity to finish their events.
Sunday was the 10K which Aunt Jacque and Marcy walked together. Even though they were doing it as a social event, we all still cheered them on at the finish line! It was also Curt's big race day - the Olympic triathlon. He swam .9 miles, biked 28 miles in the mountains and ran 6.4 miles. He said his swim felt good, but about 15 miles into the bike, he felt his legs losing strength. Competing in elevation is something that you can't factor into your training and it caused him to cramp through parts of the bike and for most of the run. We raced around Sunriver cheering him on at the transition points and he did an excellent job. He finished strong, but slower than his goal.
My Uncle Jeff and my Dad relayed the Olympic tri at the same time. Uncle Jeff did the swim and the bike and my Dad, who wasn't feeling well earlier in the week, rocked the 10K run! It was really great to have so many family members, all participating in events, and cheering each other on. We developed a cell phone information line, relaying info about where people were on the course throughout the day so we could cheer for them and make sure we saw them finish. It was a bit chaotic to try to keep track of all the athletes, but it was really fun and the kids enjoyed it too.
While we were waiting for Curt to transition from the bike to the run, we decided to let the kids ride the bumper cars. Shane, a kid at heart, decided to ride with them, and Q and I giggled and giggled while we watched the kids and Shane ramming into each other and laughing hysterically. It was so much fun, that Shane paid for Q and I to do it again with him. I have to say it was the highlight of my trip. I can't remember the last time I have laughed so hard or long. I could hardly drive my car because I was doubled over laughing the entire time. Something about just being a kid again and letting it all go resonated with me and I couldn't stop laughing!
We took the kids to the pool, caught up in conversation over delicious meals that each family took turns preparing, watched the cousins play non-stop, stayed up late playing dominos and trash talking each other, and overall just had a great time. Oh, and we took numerous staged family photos, all organized by our very efficient Marcy. She is one of the only people I know who can coordinate a huge group of people using a self-timer and still get amazing photos!
From an athletic standpoint, none of had the race results that we desired going into the weekend, but in the end, no one really cared that much. We just had fun. And isn't that the point?