For this year's race season, we've stopped Storming the Castle and instead we are Draggin' Ass.
Get it? We're dragons! Draggin' Ass. Dragons. Hee! No, we are not dinosaurs...see, we have wings!
We tested our new costume concept at the year's first race, the Scavenger Dash. We also lived up to our name by completely dragging ass through the whole course.
The race started with Jill, the race director, giving us a clue over the loudspeaker as to where we will find our clue sheets. Our strategy for this race was to follow Paul Kent, the guy who beat us last year. We positioned ourselves right next to him. Jill announced the clues were to be found at the Hackett House. Christy started to look it up on her phone, but Paul said he knew where it was and to follow him. He must have guessed our strategy, or perhaps he's just a really nice guy! The horn sounded and we were off. Well, Paul was off anyway! And a bunch of other teams were off but we were already draggin' ass. Paul's team was well into their clue solving by the time we ran the three blocks. We immediately revised our goal from finishing top 3 like last year to not being last.
We opened our clue envelope and sent a picture of the clues to our internet supporters, Aimee and Wayne. My first glance at the clues showed that we needed to go to Tempe Beach Park for #2. It was nearby and I crave immediate action so we gave up on our strategy to follow Paul and headed off. We also figured that, as the first 3 block run proved, we'd never be able to keep up with him anyway!
The clue was to find a specific tile on the wall of Tempe Town Lake and do a crayon-rubbing of it. As we ran (walked) to the park, we read another clue that said we needed to make a sand castle at least 8 inches high. There are a few tiny sand patches at Tempe Beach Park (not a lot of beach there despite the name). We did this task first, crossing clue #1 off the list and allowing Wayne and Aimee time to solve the other clues. Despite our team name change, it turns out we are still Storming the Castle.
The tile on the wall was very difficult to find, but only because we were not aware that the tiles decorate the wall on both sides of the Mill Ave bridge. We ran the length of the wall on the west side of the bridge and did a rubbing of a tile that other teams were choosing, even though we were 90% sure it was wrong. Wayne and Aimee had solved the clues by this point and Wayne decided we should skip #12 which was the southern most destination. However, since we weren't finding the right tile, it looked like we'd have to go there anyway. Ergh. We gave up on the tiles and headed to the bridge to go to the other side of the lake and find #11, the Trees of Life.
Well, what do you know? There were teams on the east side of the bridge looking at tiles. Duh. We quickly found the tile that we were sure was 100% correct and we crossed #2 off the list, kicking ourselves for wasting time looking in the wrong place.
While we crossed the bridge, I was on the phone with Wayne. A team in front of us took the stairs down from the bridge to go to the park area on the north side of the lake. Should we follow?? Wayne told us not to go to the lake, but to continue to the next stoplight at Washington. Aimee had sent a picture of what we were looking for, but with it being so bright out, I couldn't really make out the picture. Christy argued that Aimee's directions were to stay on the lake. I argued that Wayne said to go to the light. We went to the light. We stopped at a bus stop art/statue and looked to see if it matched Aimee's picture. Nope. But when we looked at the lake from that vantage point, Christy could see the statues we were supposed to go to. They were right on the lake, where Christy wanted to head in the first place. Ergh. More time wasted - should have listened to Christy/Aimee!
Thankfully, that was the end of our mistakes - best to get them out of the way early!
The next stop was #10, Macayo's. This was the starting location for our Tempe Twilight Town Trek, so we knew exactly where we were going. We got to do our first challenge there! There were two tables set up a few feet from each other. On the first table there were bowls of Skittles. One teammate had to inhale through a straw and pick up a Skittle. The second teammate had to transfer the Skittle to their own straw by inhaling it off the first person's straw. The Skittle then needed to be transported to a bowl on the second table. This was pretty hard at first when you are out of breath from running (walking). There were a whole bunch of teams trying to fit in between the two tables and people kept running into each other. Since we are pretty pushy, we were able to jump right in and claim a spot. We only dropped one Skittle and finished ahead of most of the teams that were there before us. I stole a few red and purple Skittles and we headed out. Mmmm, Skittles.
Our next stop was #7, Jaycee Park. It was about 3/4 of a mile away. We caught an Orbit bus for 1/4 of a mile, which was sooo worth it even though it was such a short distance. We got to catch our breath and save a few minutes, which we then spent by stopping at the park's restrooms for a potty break. The challenge at the park was for one teammate to verbally guide their blindfolded teammate to 5 scattered buckets to collect a rock from each bucket. Christy and I are pretty good at this and we finished quickly.
As we left the park we continued to try to complete #6, which was to take a picture of both of us and two strangers all blowing a bubble at the same time. Since the start of the race we had been hollering out to everyone we passed, "Do you have gum??" Finally we found some kids who had 4 pieces of gum and who were willing to play along. We reimbursed them for the whole pack which helped with the willing to play along part. The boy was terrible at blowing bubbles in time with the rest of us, but we finally got a passable picture.
We headed to Zia Records for #3, to take a picture with one teammate and the founder of the Theory of Relativity.
Nearby were the bunny statues, clue #8, which apparently all Tempe races must use as a clue destination. We used them in our TTT race and Urban Dare used them in their last Tempe race. You just can't say no to huge rabbits! The next stop on our route was #4, Devil's Advocate. I had it marked on my map as being right near the bunnies, but I have seen the bar before and knew that couldn't be right. We looked at Aimee's text again and realized that I had mapped it wrong. We had to go a mile away. Ugh! We couldn't run a full mile! We hoped for a bus, but none came. Ugh. We ran about halfway and then gave up and walked. Seriously, dragging ass!
The challenge at the bar was to move 3 empty pop cans from one table to another and stack them into a pyramid. To do this, you could only use your mouths and a piece of uncooked spaghetti. You put the spaghetti in your mouth, threaded the pop-tab and the other teammate took the other side of the spaghetti in their mouth and you very gingerly carried the can to the next table. When our first piece of spaghetti broke almost immediately, Christy realized that the 1/2 piece of spaghetti would be far more stable than a full piece. Genius. The first two cans went easily, but putting the third can on top was not so easy at all! Our base cans were too close together so the tabs were in the way of setting the third can on top. We tried to shimmy them around a bit with the third can, but they were pretty close to the edge of the table and it was obvious we were only going to knock down the whole thing. Uh oh! And then, the piece of spaghetti snapped in half and dropped the last can! Uh oh! Disaster. Except...the falling can somehow managed to push one of the base cans just a little bit and the third can landed squarely on top of the two base cans! It was absolutely improbable, but sometimes you get lucky! :)Our next stop was #5, to find a Frank Kush statue at the stadium. The stadium was .8 of a mile away, which for our lazy, out-of-shape selves seemed really, really far away. We chose to wait for a light rail instead of running. We might have been able to run there faster but running that far also might have killed us, so it was probably the right decision. Christy and Frank:
We had one more stop to go, checking the Solar Time at 6th Street Park. We had also used 6th Street Park in our TTT race and though we didn't remember the exact thing we were looking for, we still thought this would be easy. It turns out that both of our memories failed us and we were each remembering different parks. Since we weren't at the park I was thinking of, I wasn't even starting to look for the sundial. The description we found while we were waiting for the light rail said something about "a trellis and a band shell doubling as a sundial" so when I did start to look I was going to look for something big. As we were running (walking) Christy pointed to a statue we were passing by and said "is that it?" "No," I said and kept running (walking). We weren't even at the right park, after all! She stopped and sure enough, it was Solar Time. Yay, Christy! It's nice to have no idea where you are supposed to be, only to find out that you are exactly where you need to be! This is neither a trellis nor a band shell:
We snapped the picture and headed to the finish line, which was thankfully only two short blocks away. Christy grumbled that because I was excited I was going to run fast. It's true, I found my second (ok, ok, first) wind and we sprinted back. We were the 8th team to finish. With Jill, the race director:Jill checked us in with the comment that she had expected more from us. :) Since we had revised our goal to be to not finish last, we were pretty pleased with a top 10 finish. Wayne was waiting at the finish line and he told us that The Unicorns had finished just 30 seconds ahead of us. Ergh! When it comes to mythical creatures, aren't dragons supposed to be stronger/faster/better than unicorns?? C'mon! We promptly blamed this defeat on Wayne for sending us too far in search of the Trees of Life.
Mostly we were just chagrined because the Unicorns, who were absolutely adorable, had cuter costumes AND they beat us in the race. Gr. However, in the costume contest, our funny punny name earned enough laughs and applause to garner a tie with the Unicorns for Best Costume. Yay, us!
Many thanks to Aimee and Wayne for being our internet support - they were awesome! (Despite our good-natured Wayne-blaming). The overall distance was 6.5 miles; 5.5 miles on foot, 1 mile via public transportation. It was a really fun race, we met a lot of cool people at the post-party and we won a free entry to next year's race. Not bad at all for draggin' ass!