-- Ernest Hemingway --
Well, the Great Urban Race got run yesterday. I want to thank all the people who contributed to St. Jude! My goal was a measly $250, and we ended up with $400. Contributors were Angie, the Mensa group, the Hairless Hunk, Daughter and Hercules, myself, Piper and the Angel, and a large contribution from a reader of this blog who wishes to remain anonymous, but which blew me away.
I was surprised that although there were several hundred teams, only about 24 of us signed up for St. Jude.
Here's the St. Jude hero cape:
I wore it for all of about an hour, then packed it in my backpack (that's why it's so wrinkled). It fastened around the neck with velcro, and either it choked me or the velcro chewed my skin.
I drove to northern NJ late Friday night, where I was joined by my teammate. I screwed up. Somehow the pants and shoes I had selected to wear didn't make it into my bag, so I ended up wearing a dress! and sandals to trek all over Manhattan on Saturday.
Here's the clues (click on and use CTRL + to enlarge):
We used the whole first hour doing internet searches to figure out the clues. My team partner had a Blackberry, but (surprise) it developed a bug and wouldn't scroll. So he hooked the Blackberry up to a little notebook to do the searches, but it was essentially a dialup connection, and it was slow. If we ever do anything like this again, step one will be to scout the vicinity of the starting point for WIFI a day or two ahead of time.
We had to take a picture of us doing the tasks. This is us at Clue #6:
Me doing the 200 meter track for Clue #9 (man! I look even shorter when I run!):Teammate doing the rock climb for Clue #9:
Feeding each other messy chocolate Chinese dumplings at Clue #8:
The dumplings were filled with liquid chocolate, which squirted out when they were bitten (surprise!). The sidewalk was covered with chocolate, and as we met up with other teams along the course, it was easy to tell who'd completed #8 - one of the members would have chocolate down their front.
We made it through #1, 3, 6, 8, 9, and a third of #11. We did do #5, but accidentally went to the corporate headquarters, not the store, and could easily have completed #10 a dozen times, but ...
...the teammate got discouraged because we had to turn in our photos and packet at 5 pm, and by 4:15 we had completed only five (or six if we added #10, which would have been easy) of the 11 required tasks. You got a half hour penalty for each uncompleted task, so we'd have ended up with a time of 7.5 hours, which he didn't see as in the running, so we just went to the car and didn't turn in our photos.
He pointed out how many teams seemed to have done the tasks in order, instead of grouping them by locale, like we did, which meant that heading north, then south, then back north again, it would have been impossible to finish within 5 hours, and that many teams seemed to be socializing and sightseeing instead of moving. Given how much territory had to be covered, there was no time for lollygagging. So I think that even with penalties for the five undone, we could have come in at a respectable time. Middle of the pack at least. So I was mildly annoyed that we didn't turn our stuff in.
But - I wasn't there to compete. Just to do it for the experience. I was all for continuing after 5 pm, in fact, just to find the rest of the places, but he was tired, so we went back to the hotel, had a dinner of takeout shrimp in the room. He was sound asleep sitting on the couch by 7:30, only halfway through his dinner. I watched a "House" marathon, and woke him at 10:30 pm, when he discovered there was a Vikings pre-season game on TV. I fell asleep during the game, and he got back to sleep at about 2:00 am, I guess.
Maybe we're getting too comfortable.