Sunday, June 21, 2009

City Chase Race Report, Part One

*This is going to have to be a two-parter... it's just too long!*

It looked like it was going to be a very wet day in Toronto as we headed downtown for the City Chase. To top it off, the (mandatory) shirts were white this year - so we could also refer to this as Wet T-Shirt Contest 2009.

My teammate Patricia and I were returning chasers and ended up spending the day with a team of virgin chasers - my friend Dave and his friend who is also named Dave. We met up at the starting area and decided that four heads were better than two. We had the benefit of familiarity with the event and they had the benefit of a Blackberry! (Last year we were constantly calling my husband asking him to Google things for us in order to decode the clues and locate the challenges - yes, this is allowed.)

A brief overview of the City Chase:

The City Chase is a unique urban adventure that requires participants to exhibit teamwork, resourcefulness, determination and the ability to make decisions on the fly as they search for ChasePoints scattered in unknown locations throughout the city. Chase Points are designed to test teams with a variety of physical, mental, and otherwise adventurous challenges.

To conquer this 4-6 hour urban event, 2-person teams will run, walk and use public transit to navigate their way throughout the city, while calling family and friends for help, accessing the Internet, and even employing assistance of total strangers.

The event kicked off in high gear when we were informed that we would have to complete a scavenger hunt of sorts and return with 6 "items" (of 9 listed) in order to receive our clue sheet. We were encouraged to team up with another pair, so this worked out great. Our 6 items were:

1. a photograph of one participant mooning the camera while a non-participant stood beside him (yes, I do have the photo but I don't think Dave would appreciate having it posted here - haha)
2. a page from a newspaper dated two days ago
3. the number of the next Air Canada flight for Quebec City from Toronto
4. two participants with their tops and pants on backwards
5. memorized lyrics to one verse of If Today Was Your Last Day (I had to recite it)
6. the bible verse number for a passage that was read during the introduction

It took us about 15 minutes to achieve the above and we were handed our clue sheets - a double sided sheet of paper covered in complete gibberish! We then spent about 30 minutes going over the clues, figuring out as many as we could and charting a rough map of our route in order to accomplish 10 (of 40).

Finally, we were off! We ran down to the lake and hopped on a streetcar, which would turn out to be the only time we used public transit all day. (It's much more fun to run!)

Chase Point #1: Runners

"In Liberty Village you'll look high and low for coded signs while you're on the go. The Metro parking lot is where you will check in where friendly staff will get you set to begin."

One partner has to pull the other around a few blocks in a rickshaw while looking for posted signs containing letters, which we would then unscramble in order to receive our point.

Once again we were allowed to work with another team and the Daves were kind enough to pull us ladies.

We only missed one letter on our first lap and were able to figure out the word: Adventure!

[From here on out we made our way on foot from challenge to challenge. Someone would always say "It's not too far" to which the general reply was "Yeah right, I've heard that before." We were running a few kilometres between each one, mostly in the rain. Fortunately we were having so much fun that we didn’t even care.]

Chase Point #2: One and Two and...

"Show off your groove at Danceology."

Here we learned a mini version of the merengue and we were advised that plenty of hip motion would get us our point. We paired up with our partners (Patricia led!) and swung our hips around the room until they gave us our stamps.

Chase Point #3: Reach for the Bell

"Find a big wall with safety ropes to prevent a bad fall. You'll feel a great thrill when you reach the top, ring the bell and then you will drop."

We each had to scale a 30-foot indoor rock climbing ball, one partner removing a bell from the top and the other replacing it - all within 10 minutes. It was pretty difficult and I was pretty shaky, but we totally did it and had a blast doing so.

All strapped up:

There I go!

Chase Point #4: The Plunge

"At Trinity Bellwoods Park we'll see how you fare, as you jump off a tramp and fly through the air. Land the jump right and a stamp you will get, fail to stick it and you're sure to get wet."

We had to pull on a (sopping wet) velcro suit, run and jump off a trampoline, fly 15 feet over a pool of water and hopefully stick to the velcro wall. It looked like so much fun - until I saw someone slip on the wet trampoline and twist her ankle right before my turn. Here I am, trying not to be nervous. You can see them wrapping the injured participant's ankle behind me. Yikes!

Here I go...

I did it! (yes, that counts. They were pretty lenient. And yes, the lower half of my body is in a pool of water. If I wasn't already soaked, I was after this.)

Chase Point #5: Strike a Pose

"Just a lunge east of Spadina at Lu-lu's store, hold a pose on the mat on the floor."

There were yoga mats set up outside of Lululemon and at first we thought, "No problem! We've all done yoga." Not so easy! Patricia had to go in the store and memorize three yoga poses. Meanwhile, I had to find a non-participant to actually complete the poses with me. I had to ask a lot of people before someone said yes. Apparently not many people want to do yoga on the sidewalk in the rain with some disgusting, soaking wet runner.) A really sweet girl finally said yes and agreed to help the Daves as well.

What a good sport!

Part Two


I had a REALLY hard time getting out of bed this morning when the alarm went off at 6AM, but I managed to get up and meet my group at the conservation area for a 19 21K run. The route was slightly longer than anticipated, which was okay except that it was really hot and I had run out of water at 16K. I was a little tired throughout the run, but my legs felt okay for the most part. My arms and shoulders, however, were killing me. Between the rock climbing and Chase Point 6 (stay tuned), I can't remember the last time I worked my upper body so hard.


Unknown said... what a hoot!

Lindsay said...

looks like a super fun time! i really like the jail suit for the velcro jump.

(sorry but i had to skip past that last post in a HURRY. big scaredy cat! lol)

Jess said...

That sounds like SOOOOO much fun!! Can't wait to hear about the rest of it.

Arcane said...

I've been following the City Chase thing the past couple of years. It does sound like a lot of fun. Can't wait for part two!

Unknown said...

I live in Toronto and just found out about City Chase today from your blog! Damn- sounded like fun!
I did the Mudrun as well- I loved to hear you confirm that it wasn't actually ten km... Figured my time was too good to be true!

Maybe I will see you at another race this summer!

teacherwoman said...

How fun! I look forward to reading the 2nd part!

J said...

Such a cool race, Can't wait to hear about the rest of it! I wish they had a cool race like that close to me! Hopefully you will be less sore tomorrow!

I Run for Fun said...

Sounds like a lot of fun and adventure. Waiting for Part 2.

Anonymous said...

this is so fun!!! I've never heard of a 'race' like this, very cool :) you're getting creative with your selections, I love it!

and you woke up to run 21K the next day?! that's crazy!

Being Robinson said...

you find the most incredibly fun races to do. you deserve some sort of award! that looks like a blast.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like crazy fun!! Can't wait for part 2.

Mel-2nd Chances said...

The velcro wall looks like fun!! Shame that it was rainy most of the day, but I'm sure you guys all shared many laughs. Great job!

RunningLaur said...

Wow, that's some group of activities!

chris mcpeake said...

sounds like you had a lot of fun. Great that this event happened before the strike.

Sarah said...

WOW! I can't wait to read part 2!

Heather said...

That sounds so fun! Can't wait to read about the rest.

Laura said...

That sounds like such fun.
You are a machine.

X-Country2 said...

I TOTALLY want to do a race like this some day. It looks like such a great time!

Runner Leana said...

There is something about the City Chase and bad weather that seems to go hand in hand. This year the Chase was the day we had alternating snow, hail, rain and sunshine.

Looks like a lot of fun so far! Glad to hear the jump off the trampoline went off without an incident for you!

Chic Runner said...

WOW! that sounds like the craziest race ever! Too bad the weather wasn't too great but it sounds like it was still a lot of fun! :)

Felice Devine said...

Wow wow wow! So cool!

Hope your arms and shoulders are feeling better!

joyRuN said...

That sounds & looks like sooo much fun! Not so much that tarantula pic from your previous post though ;)

Road Warrior said...

What a cool race. You've certainly had a great summer of these so far. Can't wait for part two w/ the tarantula!