Summer Family Fun
The sun is shining in a deep blue sky here in the Pacific Northwest. Infinite shades of green paint the forests where rivers loudly cascade over waterfalls and gently glide past old growth cedars clad in moss. Crystal clear lakes reflect majestic snow-capped mountains. Alpine meadows are ablaze with color from wild flowers. Everywhere is the smell of summer. Wafting from back-yards is the mouth-watering smell of barbecues. You have to love August. These are the days that kids day dream of and can hardly wait for in June when school lets out. Summers here are truly special.
Of course we will pay a price during the long, grey, wet winter time for nature’s splendor now, but that seems too far away right now to fret over. Right now we bask in the warmth and revel in the time we have. Summer is also a time where we look to do more outdoor type activities to shake of the cabin fever left over from the previous season. As educators, we have relished the fact that we are all usually off for the best season together. Now that I am an “administrator” for a school, my summer break is much shorter. “Heavy is he who wears the crown!” We still find much time to have fun as a family, though.
One of the best family friendly activities we have found is road races. Seriously! Not only are they inexpensive, they also provide needed exercise. Plus, they give everyone a sense of accomplishment afterwards. There are many races around the area each summer. One in particular is becoming a yearly tradition, the Great Kilted Run.
The Great Kilted Run is put on by Celtic enthusiasts and sponsored by Super Jock ‘n Jill running store in Seattle. It is, as you guessed it, Celtic themed. Runners wear kilts for the 5K race. Our two boys and my wife all ran this year (I sat on the side-lines). For those who do not own their own kilts, you can rent them at the race. They had along with the race merchants selling Celtic themes items and food. There were also traditional dancers and bagpipers!
This year to make it a little more interesting race organizers placed three swords in the ground about 200 meters after the start. The fastest three runners to first reach the swords got to pull them from the ground and run the rest of the way with them like Braveheart. They even got to keep them. Aaron, our 16 year-old cross-country and track star, got to a sword, which he proudly brought home like a war trophy. He also happened to win the race! In addition to the sword, he won a cool trophy and a $75 gift certificate to a local running store. Last year, he took 2nd! They had to drag people out of the beer garden so he could get his award.
Mishele and Elijah finished a respectable 35 minutes later. Elijah sprinted to the finish carrying his brother’s sword. Aaron had run back to give it to him. Mishele got detained helping a woman with a slight medical emergency, but still finished the race. All in all, we had a good morning.
The next race is the Dawg Dash. It is another annual 5k and 10K run put on by the University of Washington Alumni Association. We will all run that. I just hope they do not expect us to wear dog collars!