City Chase Seattle

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Every muscle in my body aches.

Yesterday I participated in City Chase, an "urban adventure" competition running in multiple cities around the world this year. Teams of two have 6 hours to complete 10 challenges (from a menu of 14 choices) located all around the city.

When my teammate and I arrived and met up with a pair of friends-- with whom we traveled the entire day-- we quickly realized as we surveyed the crowd of young, athletic competitors that we had signed up for a very different event from the rest of them. Many of the other teams, with their camel packs and lycra, were clearly there for the "race" aspect of the event. When the perky hosts got on stage to lead the group in a series of warm-up exercises and received about a 95% participation rate, I had an acute feeling of culture shock. These people were serious. We were there to have fun. And to be fair, so were they. Our definitions were just a little different.

The event kicked off with a tiny scavenger hunt as a way to stagger teams out from the start-- answer some trivia, find a couple of goofy things (a stranger the same height as you, a live animal, etc), that kind of thing. Then you received your list of "ChasePoints" and could begin planning your own route for the day, restricted to travel by foot or public transportation. The winner of the event did the smart thing and immediately ran themselves in the opposite direction from the closest ChasePoints, thereby avoiding crowds and experiencing no wait times. The key word there was "ran". Our foursome was on a strict no-running plan, so we want with the path of least resistance and hit the closest sites first.

Here's the rundown of what we did:

  • A photo safari using the provided Palm Centro phone-- both teammates and 2 non-participants doing the can-can for 30 seconds; a teammate kissing a fish; etc.
  • Roll a die. On a 1, eat a Swedish fish and be done. We didn't roll a 1. Our teams rolled a 5 and 6. We had to eat two raw fish. Each. Not skinned, not filleted, not beheaded. Whole fish. 'Nuff said.
  • Kayak around a course on Portage Bay
  • Walk a certain distance on stilts, juggle five balls with your teammate, and either climb a 25-ft rope or successfully walk a tightrope (we did the rope climb, which I never thought I'd be able to do).
  • Take a 14-question SAT prep test at a Kaplan center and get 10 right.
  • Answer some Seattle-centric trivia
  • Draw a nude model at an art academy
  • Complete an exercise obstacle course including 25 push-ups, 25 burpees, 50 jumping jacks, and 50 jump ropes
  • With provided Palm Centros, text trivia questions to your partner who must run around REI and text back the answers

    The winner finished the course in 3.5 hours. We barely made it in 6. And even without any running, I ache in places I didn't even know I had. We had a lot of fun doing it together-- more fun with four of us than we would have had with just two. It was a great way to get some exercise on what turned out ot be a terrific day, with the forecast rain kind enough to wait until after we arrived at the finish. I'll admit, though, that I certainly prefer a Shinteki or SNAP, and after dabbling in this aberrant world of the physically fit, I appreciate our little Game community all the more.

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    Jessica and I went kayaking and I watched for you, but I assume we were there long after you'd been and gone.

    Got to watch a couple of people roll their kayaks, though. :)

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