Thursday, March 31, 2011

Migraine Madness - Part II

Starting up where I left off...yes, this story is still dull and I still don't know how to correctly use lay and lie. I suck.

Day 8 - I went to work in the morning (I brought my pillow for floor-nap time-outs). I was starting to feel a little better but still did most of my work on my blackberry while laying down on the floor. My boss was not in the office but she would not have liked that! I finally got in to see a regular doctor. My doctor was booked so I went to see her partner. Pat picked me up at work to take me to the appointment. Again, like the Urgent Care and ER, a doctor's office is not really supportive of one's need to be laying down 100% of the time! Dr. Holder prescribed a drug that he said might be able to knock the migraine away. I was so optimistic! I took the prescription in right away and went with Pat to lunch. I was able to sit up some of the time! Wow - look at me, almost a real person again! When I got home, the cleaning ladies were there and the dogs were barking like crazy. I took them outside to wait for the cleaning crew to leave. It was a very uncomfortable 45 minutes. They finally left (with 2 more pairs of my running shoes. I'm guessing one of them wears 6.5 and digs my taste in footwear) and I took the prescribed meds and headed back to my lovely couch. In almost no time, I was in what I like to call a Pain Coma. Laying down didn't relieve the pain. Any movement I made was excruciating. It was horrible. I went to bed very early.

Day 9 - I don't remember how I got Galapogos, but he was at my house. Hmm...Pain Coma. I was still taking the prescribed meds but getting worse and worse. Did I mention Pain Coma? About 4:00 in the afternoon while half-heartedly contemplating beheading myself, Galapogos was cuddled up with me on the couch. All of a sudden he freaked out, his front paws went up to his ears, his mouth opened all the way and his head went all crooked and one of his back legs kicked up to the side. He was frozen in that position and shaking like crazy. Have you ever had a dog have a seizure in your lap before? It is not good. Despite my Pain Coma, I was already on the phone with my vet and in my car before I could even make the decision to do so. I am happy my vet is close by because I was in no shape for driving! When I got there, I started to lie down on the bench in the waiting room. The receptionist, who gets migraines herself, figured it out immediately and took us right into an exam room so I could lie down on the couch in there. Three visits to doctors and no one cares that I need to lay down, one visit to the vet and I was lying down within seconds of arriving. I love my vet! All of the staff and the vet were very understanding of my need to be sprawled out on the couch during the exam. Galapogos was fully recovered from his seizure and $300 later, his bloodwork was being sent to the lab. Pat met me at the vet to follow me home.

Day 10! TEN! TEN days of migraine. How ridiculous can this get? I stopped taking the meds because I felt they were making me worse and causing that Pain Coma. Pat took me into work because I had to send a few emails (omg - the pain of looking at a computer screen is crazy-bad) and do a little paperwork. An hour later he was called to take me to the ER. Poor Pat. We went to St. Joe's with the thought that they have a neurology center attached so perhaps the ER doctors would have some neurology knowledge. I had to wait for about an hour...and of course, there was no place to lie down. Oh, how I wished I was at the vet. I did the best I could by resting my head in Pat's lap. Poor Pat. The doctor saw me and wanted to start me on some IV meds and get another CT scan. I was anxiously waiting for them to take me to a hospital room so I could lay down. Except that at St. Joe's, they don't have hospital beds!! WTF? The pod-like area had two chairs, one reclining chair like a dentist chair (not fully reclining, btw!) and one living-room type leather chair. Seriously? I'm admitted to a hospital and I can't lay down?? At John C Lincoln, they wheeled my bed to take me to my CT scan. At St. Joe's, they put me in a "wheelchair" that had no armrests and no headrest and looked very much like the wooden elementary school chairs modified with wheels and a foot holder. Then the left me in the hallway. This place was crazy. I cried. I'll admit it. The pain and the weirdness and the discomfort really did me in. However, whatever drugs this doctor gave me WORKED. It really felt like the migraine was knocked out and I was left with just a strong headache and absolutely no energy. I could walk super-slowly...but I was upright.

In the days since then (days 11 through 15) I have recovered some mobility but the migraine hangover (look at me learning new terminology!) and the anti-nausea drugs they've put me on have made it impossible for me to relax or sleep or think straight. I can't drive for long distances. I can't be on the computer for more than 30 minute increments. Worst of all, I've got the attention span of a puppy and I feel like I could crawl right out of my skin. I'm still moving so slowly and I can't move my head without pain, so exercise is out of the question but I really just feel the intense need to run and scream and shake loose. ERRRRGGGHHHH.

Remember when I was healthy? Like two weeks ago when I won the Great Urban Race? Jeez. Count your blessings, kids. You never know when your reality is gonna shift into something crazy.

Migraine Madness - Part I

This is going to a long, boring post. You don't have to read it if you don't want to. And reader beware, I am also going to fully flaunt my inability to choose correctly between lay and lie, so therefore I choose indiscriminately. I'm too exhausted to go visit Grammar Girl for help and I'm not up to having her make me feel guilty about mixing my verb tenses, too. My apologies to you for both the dullness and the poor writing quality of my migraine story. Blah.

That is quite a lovely couch, is it not? For 10+ days it was my haven. On Wednesday, March 15, I got a little headache on my way to work. I don't really get headaches so I loosened my ponytail and stopped at Sonic for a Coke. The secretary at my job offered me a migraine pill, which I took. I figured that would be the end of it.

Yeah, right.

By 11:30, I was in the car driving home, trying desperately to stay upright long enough to not crash my car. By 11:45, I was down for the count. I had a headache like never before. I was sort of okay if I was laying down, but standing or even sitting up sent me waves of nausea and felt like my head was being squeezed in a vice.

The next day, the headache was still there. I took a sick day and spent Day 2 resting and laying flat on that beautiful couch and was humored by the fact that migraines are real. I previously had a vague idea that they were conjured up by lazy whiny people who don't want to go to work that day. On Day 3, it was no longer humorous that I was unable to function. I made Pat take me to Urgent Care. It is hard to go to Urgent Care when you can't stand up for more than 5 seconds at a time. They are not at all accommodating with the check-in process. There is no laying down for the blood pressure test. Finally, the put me in a little room. They gave me two shots in the butt. Ow. We went home...and waited...and no change.

On Day 4, Saturday, I made Jamie take me to get the prescription from Urgent Care filled. Target was blessedly fast and I was back on the lovely couch quickly, which was a good thing because I still couldn't stomach being upright for any time at all. I missed the CityScape race, which turned out to be not such a bad thing since Christy ended up having to work that day anyway.

Day 5 - now this was really getting ridiculous. In addition to the pain, I was bored, lonely and frustrated with being unable to do anything. I could look at my blackberry in short increments so facebook was my only means of entertainment. That is pretty sad. And I had to miss soccer! UGH! I made Pat take me to the Emergency Room. Just like Urgent Care, they weren't so accommodating with my need to lay flat, but they finally got me into a room. They gave me some drugs that knocked me out before Nurse Karen was even done injecting them into the IV. I think she might have misread my weight and given me a little too much. They did a CT scan and blood work. Scans were all clear. They asked me if I felt better. Um?? I can't even move my little finger and you just informed me that I don't have a brain, yeah, I'm feeling FINE. :) I slept the rest of the day but woke up that evening with no change in the pain or nauseousness.

Day 6 - I did a little research on my blackberry in bits and stops, as much as I could handle. Migraines typically last from a few hours to a few days.'s been more than a few days! Time to worry? Someone on facebook suggested a chiropractor so I dragged my ass to one near the house. Waste of time and money.

Day 7 - Guess what? We are getting a new roof on our house! The insurance is paying for it and we needed one anyway, so all good. All good unless you have a migraine and there are people banging and stomping and screaming above your head. I rallied my energy and drove to a friend's house where I spent the day in silence. This day also happened to be Pat's birthday. His parents were taking him out for dinner. To surprise him, I had Christy take me to the restaurant to meet them. He had been so nice and supportive of me this whole time, I felt like a jerk to miss his birthday. I laid my head on the table for the entire meal...well, except for the half hour I had to go lay down in the truck. :) Happy Birthday, Pat!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Great Urban Race Phoenix 2011

The first time that we tried a Great Urban Race, we placed third - which was a complete shock since we were relatively new to urban adventure races. Last year we placed fourth - which was very disappointing since the top 3 teams won cash and free entry to the National Championships. This year we were aiming to get back into the Top 3. I like to win free races! The other goal was to win the costume contest.

I modified my dragon costume...again! I made new, more manageable wings that are glittery and shiny! Oooh, shiny! I also bought a felt hat to glue my spiky headdress to so that it wouldn't keep falling off my noggin. I made a cuter belly on a cuter t-shirt. And I made shiny, dragon-wing glasses covers. Well, actually Pat made the glasses covers. I kept him up past midnight on Friday toiling in my costume shop.The final product:
Oops! Christy forgot to put her nose-mask on. :)

The race started at noon from Sliders Bar. The patio was closed for construction so there were 300 people packed into a narrow bar. We tried to work our way to the front, but we weren't very successful. Ugh! After getting our clue envelope it took us a few minutes to get out of the bar. But I was happy to not have my oversized wings from last week!At my first glance I thought the first clue was at Thomas so, as assumed, the race would take us north on the light rail. We headed to the light rail station. I tried to send Kiri the pictures of the clues but they were too small, so I had to read them to her while we were at the light rail stop and on the train. We didn't have to go very far so all our clues weren't quite solved when I decided we should get out early at Roosevelt. There were a lot of checkpoints in that area and I hoped we'd catch another train to go the extra mile up to Thomas. I did this exact same thing (getting off early at Roosevelt) before with disastrous results so I was a little nervous.

We took our picture at #12, the "modern metal marvel" which we know from many other races to be called Release the Fear.Then we (I) made a mistake. I had mapped clue #2 to be north of the Phoenix Art Museum when it was actually 1/3 mile south...right near the Release the Fear statue. Unaware at this time that I was an idiot, we headed north to the Public Library for clue #6 instead. We first needed to solve the scrambled quote to get the author's name from the wall of quotes, but Kiri had already solved it. We then needed to get a picture of "Il Cubo" as proof we were there. What the heck is an "Il Cubo"? And does it say I-L or I-I or roman numeral 2? Kiri was looking it up to see if it was something famous as we ran (past a very large cube) to the info desk to ask if she knew what an Il Cubo was. She looked at us like we were morons and then looked past us to the big cube. Ah. At the same time Kiri was saying, "I really think it's just a cube." Ah. The cube is so big, you can't even see it all in this picture. I don't know how we missed it. Seriously, we walked RIGHT PAST IT!

The next clue we went to was #6, a picture of the letters "IX AR". We had to find the full sign and take our picture with it. I recognized it immediately as the Phoenix Art Museum. Some teams spent time looking for a sign that said Phoenix Arizona. The museum is just north of the library so we continued that direction.We took the picture and then we headed off to clue #2, which in my mind and on my map was just north of us. And this is where we realized that clue #2 was not, in fact, near where we currently were, but near where we were 3 clues ago. 1/3 of a mile backtrack isn't really that big of a deal, but on this day it was particularly upsetting because Christy was really sick and really not feeling much like running. She had been sick for a few days and probably should have been home in bed. But instead I'm running her in circles all around town. And making her backtrack. All while wearing a donkey costume. Ugh.

So we finally find the warehouse/art gallery whose name I never did find out (we only had the address) to do a challenge. They gave us a bag of Scrabble letters and we had to play and intersect 3 of the words given on the clue sheet. We could not find the X at all - I think it was taken out of the bag - but we used a blank instead to play Mosaic, Oxides and Texture. I like Scrabble. That one was fun!

We then headed down Roosevelt to go to the Puppet Theater at 302 W. Latham. The clue was the usual type of clue with hints about the puppet theater, but then it told us the exact address to go to. Why bother with all the hints if you're going to give away the address? On the way there we passed Lola Coffee. Kiri had said this was the answer to clue #3, but she had told us it was the one way up north near Camelback. I had planned to use it as our skip since it was the only one far away from the other clues. On a whim, as we passed this Lola I went in and asked if there was a challenge here. The barista pointed me to the back patio. You know, if I actually read the clues instead of giving Kiri just the highlights, I would have seen that the clue specified it was on 3rd Avenue and that the challenge was on the back patio. :) And if I was using my brain at all, I would have questioned the Camelback answer because no race puts one checkpoint 2 miles away from all the others and I know there is a Lola in the area of the other clues. I'm dumb. At Lola we had to smell 3 teas and identify their flavors. Christy did this despite being sick and she got them all right on the first try! Yay for whims and yay for good noses. Now we had a skip still available to us!

Back on track to the Puppet Theater for #6. There we had to make a puppet using a paper bag and at least 3 of the 4 provided materials - markers, colored balls, pipe cleaners and tissue paper. That was super fun. We drew eyes with the markers and made antennae with the pipe cleaners. At first I used a big ol' colored ball for our puppet's nose, then realized that it would probably fall off and I wouldn't be able to carry it on my clipboard because it wasn't flat. We replaced the nose with tissue paper. Much better! Sorry I don't have a picture of our lovely creation to share with you. It was truly artistic.

Next stop, Easley's for clue #10. I knew the gist of this clue from a blog I read about the Austin race. We'd have to get a fake mustache and then take a picture with someone with a real mustache. Since I knew where we were going and what we were doing Christy didn't read the first part of the clue describing famous mustaches so she was kind of confused when I kept saying we needed to find a person with a mustache. She only read the part that said "Take a picture of one teammate and the stranger showing their style" and didn't get it. We took a picture of the mustachioed store clerk, but decided that maybe he would count as a race participant so we found this guy later on:Next up, clue #4. Christy had solved the math problem for #4 to get the address we needed. Kiri solved it too, but got a different number close to the one that Christy got. Both addresses took us to pretty much the same location so we headed a few blocks west on McDowell. Turns out Christy's answer was correct because outside that building was a crowd of racers staring at the wall. On the wall were two huge posters of the same picture with 3 differences. We had to find the differences and write them on our clue sheet. Christy and I each found one right away but then had to stare at it for quite a while before I found the 3rd one.

Now was the time to see if I made the right gamble with getting off the light rail at Roosevelt. We needed to go a mile north. Running would take us about 12-14 minutes and the light rail would take about 2 minutes. Shortly after we arrived at the platform the magic announcer voice announced that the next train would come in 5 minutes. YAY, we didn't have to run! And while we were there we found the mustache guy from the picture above, plus two things we needed for the tick-tack-toe clue for #9. Us jumping in front of a palm tree:...and a stranger with at least 2 visible tattoos. This guy was a bit taken aback at being addressed by a crazy manic dragon and her less crazy donkey friend asking if he has more than the tattoo on his arm. However, we have found that wearing costumes makes people very willing to help you no matter how crazy manic you are acting. This guy was even willing to take his shirt off completely so we could see all his ink:Those five minutes were used very productively! Next stop, Thomas, for the code-talkers statue. I had guessed right with my first glance at clue #1. Kiri verified it was the statue I was thinking of. These races have taught me A LOT about my city! She solved the code to also verify that we were supposed to jump in front of the statue. These races have also taught us that if you lift your feet up when you jump, the person taking your picture is more likely to catch you in mid-air. Both our jumping pics were done in one try. The team we took pictures of at the statue had to jump about a million times before we got them in the air because they were just barely hopping.

We were already done with 10 clues and only had 2 more to go. We decided to skip the yoga studio at clue #5 because the challenge of "completing a short lesson" could take a long time. Clue #3 was dropping off supplies at Ronald McDonald House. I knew exactly where we were going because I drove by to find the RMH on my way to the race. Since they were the local charity of GUR, I guessed this might be a clue location. Sometimes I am smart! We invoked the GUR rule of allowing ground support to gather scavenger items for us and had Jace bring us the supplies and meet us at the checkpoint. We went right by a Walgreens during our travels and could have bought the stuff ourselves but this saved us 2-3 minutes and you never know when 2-3 minutes might be all you need. To those of you who think this is cheating, I'd like to say that it's not. The rules specifically say you are allowed to do this:
Ground Support can drop off a "scavenger item" to teams along the course.
Scavenger Item (noun): An item found along the GUR race course that is not part of an exact clue location, but can be picked up at multiple locations around the city. (i.e. "Return to the finish line with a takeout menu that has egg rolls listed as an item" or "Return to the finish line with a post card with a boat on it")
Yes, I think it would be more fun to not allow this type of ground support and make the teams do all that work themselves, but since it is in the rules, we use it for the time advantage.

While on our way to the Ronald McDonald house we debated the merits of taking the light rail or the bus back. The light rail might be a 15 minute wait and would be 6 blocks away but it's really fast and would drop us off right at the bar. We would be able to catch the bus almost immediately, if it was on time, and it was only 1 block away but it is slower and doesn't go directly to our location. Also, if we missed it, the next one wasn't for 30 minutes. What we knew for sure was that if we had to run the 2.5 miles back to the finish line, it would take us about 30 minutes. Christy was feeling really bad by this time and was all run-out. We had Kiri call Valley Metro to see if our specific bus was on time. Miracles happened twice....Kiri got to talk to an actual real live person at Valley Metro and they confirmed our bus was on schedule. So we crossed our fingers and went to 7th Street. No bus was in sight. We started walking, just in case we had missed it, but within a minute or two we saw it coming! Yay! Double YAY!

On the bus, we got lots of weird looks. Some guy was asking another guy about where the movie theater was. Since I had a map in my hand, I went and showed him where it was. He naturally asked what we were doing. I explained the race and that our team name was Draggin' Ass and I was a dragon and my friend was the ass. The whole bus was laughing out loud. :)

We passed Sutra Midtown Yoga which Kiri had told us was the answer to #5. The clue was somewhat ambiguous because it said that it was in the heart of the Phoenix Art District, which it definitely was not (though a review on Yelp says that it is and when you google "gem located in the heart of phoenix art district + yoga", that review of Sutra comes up). There is a yoga studio that truly is in the heart of the Art District called Just Breathe. I guess so many teams went to Just Breathe that they ended up taking them all in, making up a yoga challenge for them and giving them a flyer as proof of completion. Hilarious! Good for Just Breathe for welcoming lots of potential new clients.

We had to get off the bus a few blocks before I wanted to because it detours to the main bus station before continuing back to 7th Street. We had to run about 5 blocks back to the finish line. Buoyed by the bus driver and our new friends on the bus yelling "good luck", we took off running. I ran as fast as I thought Christy could go and to her sickly credit, she kept up with my pace. We were both complaining about having to run though! We ran up to the bar and through the finish arch. As the staff wrote down our time and told us "good job", I tried to see if there were any other teams in the bar. The bar was dark and it was bright outside so it was really hard to see. We went inside to do photo-check and I was still trying to adjust my eyes to see the other teams. Finally I asked the photo-check people what place we were. The answer...FIRST PLACE! YAYAYAYAYY!!!!$300 and, more importantly, free entry to Nationals! Woo hoo!

Now if we could get the sweep and win the costume contest! When they called for the costumed teams, I tried to hang back so we wouldn't have to be first. First is the worst. But people were lazy and I'm too excitable for my own good so we ended up being first in line. The bar served as the stage. We were given the mic and had to explain our costumes and tell the crowd why they should vote for us. All I said was "Our team name is Draggin' Ass. I am the dragon and she is the ass." The entire crowd laughed out loud loudly. I loved that! Everyone got it and everyone thought we were funny! Yay, us! There were some really good costumes that followed us, at least 3 of which I said I would not be sad to lose to. In the end, it came down to one of those teams and us. They were dressed as old people. The guy claimed they should win because during the race they were mistaken for legitimately old people while on the lightrail. I have to admit that I saw them twice during the race and I didn't realize they were racers - I thought they were actual old people. The guy also said that he had shaved his head for the race and he'd have some explaining to do at work on Monday. This made everyone laugh again. The funny shaving of the head beat our funny pun and the "old people" earned a much-deserved costume contest win. I was happy enough that we made the crowd laugh and came in second.

It was a great day! Draggin' Ass won a Great Urban Race! Nationals are in New Orleans in November (oooh, alliteration, my favorite). We can't wait!

Total distance - 8.1 miles. 4.3 miles running, 2 miles on light rail, 1.8 miles on the bus. It was definitely to our advantage that this was a shorter race and involved a limited amount of running due to our fortuitous luck with public transit. Our last two races were 6 and 7 miles of running. 4 is much more in our range! It was also to our advantage that Brent and his ringer, Lance of "We Just Want to Beat Jill" didn't do this race and that Paul Kent only does the Scavenger Dash. If all of you true runners in Phoenix want to stay out of clue solving races, that is perfectly fine with me! :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jen's Pet Sitting

You should really consider becoming a client of Jen's Pet Sitting. Then you should consider becoming a reference for just how wonderful Jen's Pet Sitting is. Maybe if you do both of those things, Jen will be just as nice to you as she is to me...and you will get gorgeously decorated, super-yummy sugar cookies, too!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CitySolve Phoenix

Alternate Post Title: "We Just Want to Beat Jill" Beat Jill

Finally, it's March! And March means RACE MONTH! Woo hoo!! The second race of the season, the first one in March, was CitySolve Urban Race. Last year, with the help of bonuses, we placed first. Brent and Wayne (team name: We Just Want to Beat Jill) beat us to the finish line but got no bonuses so they took second. Wayne got sick this year so they were going to drop out of the race. However, the morning of the race, Brent replaced Wayne with Lance. Wayne is an average guy, average speed, average weight - you know, a normal guy. Lance however is a super-speedy marathoner. C'mon...that is NOT fair!

Back to that in a bit. Let's talk costumes. Christy and I tried out our dragon costumes at the Scavenger Dash in January. The color didn't dye the way we wanted it, the pockets in the skirts didn't work quite right, and overall the costume was too blah. We planned on some adjustments this time. First of all, since we are Draggin' Ass, Jace suggested one of us be a dragon and one be a donkey. Get it...Dragon. Ass. Hee! He's funny. I decided to be the dragon and let Christy be the donkey. I got some brighter material for my costume for Christy to sew together, new wings and decorated my glasses. Christy was going to make a similar costume for her donkey, but just in case, I bought her a donkey costume set. Alas, with Christy's crazy work schedule, she ran out of time and couldn't get the sewing done. I understood, but I was sad. I'd spent way too much time shopping and plotting costume contest wins to just let it go. So, I got all the supplies back from her and went to work. It was 10:00 on Friday night.

Arts and crafts are NOT my thing...but with a hot-glue gun and some paint, by 2:00 am I did have something workable. I still fretted about it all night and didn't get any sleep at all.

Here we are....Draggin' Ass:

This is kind of what the back looked like prior to painting the wings green and pinning the spines into place.Not too bad, I guess. I was actually quite proud of how well it turned out considering what a mess I am at crafty stuff.

Back to the race...The first thing they did was the Costume Contest. Yay! 6 teams were competing. There was a cute bride/groom, a girl dressed as a wrapped birthday present with a boy in a Birthday Boy t-shirt and a couple other costumes that I can't recall now. Jason, the race director, had us parade through the crowd. However, he was asking for the crowd to vote on our first walk-through. People can't vote until they see all the costumes so they know who to vote for. Ugh - rookie mistake!! The crowd was confused and gave the same polite clap for all the teams. Instead of having a real crowd vote, Jason announced that since it was their first anniversary, the bride/groom were the costume contest winners. Huh? This wasn't the "Sweetest Reason to Run a Race" contest, it was a costume contest. Ergh. I'm not mad that I didn't win - the bride and groom costume was actually pretty cute and they very well may have won - I'm just irritated that if there is going to be a contest, then there should be a CONTEST.

In the few minutes we had before the race started, I shed my wings and my spines. Christy got rid of her ears, nose and tail. Normally I believe that you must race in your costume for it to count, but since there was no contest, I felt no need to wear those big-ass wings around town.

The race started with a clue written on a big piece of paper that Jason held up that offered a bunch of locations where our clue sheets might be found. "Of all the states that border AZ, which has the longest border?" If California, go to A; if Nevada, go to B; if New Mexico, go to C. I couldn't see the question from my vantage point, so I didn't even bother. When Brent and Lance took off, Christy and I followed them. I didn't even know where we were going.

Lucky for us, and them, they are smart! We were one of the first 3 teams to get our clues. I took a page and called Little Tom. Christy took a page and called Aimee. Tom and I figured out our clues pretty quickly- he just needed to look up some addresses. Christy and Aimee's sheet wasn't so easy. We knew we had to go to Camelback, so we headed to the light rail and figured we'd finish the clue-solving on the ride.

The first stop was a clue that was a long math word problem that eventually said "multiply by 0 and add 14" so that was 14 W. Camelback. I should have looked up what business was at 14 W. but I figured it wouldn't be too hard to find. Except, of course, that there are a bunch of connected businesses at that intersection and none of them have addresses. I am dumb. But lucky for us, Brent and Lance are smart so we followed them into Smeeks and got some candy. YAY!The next stop was All About Comics. The clue was very vague as to what we were supposed to do there. It listed 5 comic book characters and said there was store. So, were we supposed to get a picture of the 5 characters or the store? The clue did not specify, so we tried both. We re-read the clue and still no direction.
After that confusion, we headed back to the light rail. As we approached the intersection, we saw the train was there. We sprinted across the street and around the station. SPRINTED! This was no 100 yard dash. It was more like a 350 yard dash!! Ugh. And as we reached the platform and I was just 5 feet from the pulled away. I wanted to cry.

Wayne and Lance had left before us so we knew they were on that train. And now we had to run more than 2 miles to our next clue while they got to zip there on a train. They were now about 20 minutes ahead of us. We were very, very disappointed. But we started running and worked on our bonuses and random scavenger clues on the way. One of the bonuses was 2 minutes off for every picture you get of a sign saying Kids. We popped into a restaurant and got this:We stopped at a Walgreen's to find 3 laundry detergents with orange and blue on the label. This was one of them:The alternate option to this clue was to get pictures of at least 5 stars total. Wayne and Lance outsmarted us with that and took a picture of them with a flag in the background. I don't think that is what the clue-writer intended but still, I'm feeling pretty dumb.

We went to Taste of Philly and got extra points if we gave a boxing pose. I think Christy is a much better boxer than me:
Next up was Ziggie's Music, which was another one that I mis-mapped. We had to backtrack about a half mile to get to it. The whole time we were running there, we debated whether we should use it as our skip. Christy pointed out that since Brent and Lance were 20 minutes ahead of us, we weren't going to win, so what did it matter? Ah, good point. While we were backtracking we ran into two teams we frequently compete against - "Call of Doodie" who are now the "Zombie Response Units". They are fun and friendly and we always beat them. When they mocked us for having to backtrack, we realized that they were actually ahead of us in the race. Uh-oh!
We headed back to the lightrail to go back downtown. We waited 5 minutes for a train. We picked up the Zombie Response Unit teams at the next stop. Whew - now we were tied! We all got off at Roosevelt and headed to Hance Park to find an Improv troupe. We were ahead of the Zombies at the park so we got to do our challenge first. We had to alternate sentences with the improv guy with his sentence starting with A, ours with B, his with C, etc. In New Orleans we did this same challenge and both teammates had to play. This time only one had to do it, so Christy bowed out. I got through it pretty quickly and we finished as the Zombies came up. We took our picture with the Improv boys......and then we ran off to our next clue, Revolver Records.

I mapped that clue wrong, too. I sucked at mapping this race! I thought we needed to go 3 more blocks south. As we were running I told Christy we might use Revolver Records as our skip, when she cleverly pointed out was right across the street. God, I really am dumb. We got extra points if we lifted our legs and arms and stuck out our tongues.
Next stop, Tammie Coe Cakes. This was another confusing clue. There were two parts, solving a clue to find some names and then a word-search. It was not clear if the word-search was supposed to be words you found at the location or if the words you were searching for was the name of the location. We found Tammie, Coe and Cakes in the word-search so we circled them and hoped that was correct. At Tammie Coe's, they gave us cookies! Sadly, I dropped mine in the street. Boo. Christy said they were good though. :)As we were leaving Tammie Coe, a team we know from our Twilight Town Treks races came running up. One of the guys is named Johnny and his team is "Sweep the Leg Johnny." I love that! They consistently finished in the top 3 at our races, but we didn't want to get beat by one of our races' racers no matter how good they are, so we took off quickly towards our last checkpoint. Christy started cramping so we had to walk. I kept looking back for Sweep the Leg Johnny but they weren't behind us. Weird. (Turns out, he's not so great a mapper either and he got his easts and wests mixed up.)

The last stop was Rose and Crown. The clue was hard for our support team to figure out. It basically said it was a bar that is called the RC and was within 1/2 mile of the baseball stadium and they serve Odell's beer. You can't solve it by googling RC and Odell's website doesn't give you a list of their bars. Little Tom and Aimee were stumped, so I texted 5 of my happy-hour-fun friends and got the answer from 2 of them right away! So drinking is good for something! I might need to buy Aimee and Tom some beers after that one!

At Rose and Crown we had to play darts. You got 5 extra bonus minutes if you hit the Odell logo stickers and 1 extra minute if you hit the dart board. Christy threw 2 darts and missed both. I went to throw the 3rd, but realized that I was too shaky. Christy noticed that the volunteers were allowing me to stand about 2 feet closer to the dartboard than she had been. The dart line was so worn down you could barely see it. Ergh - she probably could have hit the stickers if she was closer! She hit the board on the 3rd try for a 1 minute bonus. We took our picture and were out of there.As we ran back to the finish line we figured that Brent and Lance had gotten 15 minutes of bonus on the dartboard to beat us by 35 minutes. Lance was probably a darts champion as well as a marathoner. Bastard. Turns out, his twin brother IS a darts champion. Ergh. Then I got a text from sick Wayne confirming that Brent and Lance were already finished and won. They beat us by 20 minutes! The same 20 minutes that we figured from the start of the race when we missed the train.

We actually finished 3rd, but our bonus minutes moved us into 2nd place. This really tall team moved down to 3rd, but were pleased anyway since this was the first time they had ever done a race like this and they had only decided to do the race that morning. Nice work, Team Walk Up!The Zombie Response Units and Sweep the Leg Johnny all finished in the top 10! We'll see them all in Las Vegas for the Nationals! And we are changing our name to "We Let Brent Win."

All in all, it was a fun day and a great way to spend a few hours! If you have a CitySolve coming to your it!

Total distance - 12.6 miles. 6.6 miles running and 6 miles on light rail