July 24, 2011

Urban Adventures - City Chase 2011

Yesterday, hubby and I did one of the coolest things we have ever done together (aside from getting married by Elvis and having babies at the speed of light) - We participated in the 2011 Mitsubishi City Chase!

First thing in the morning, we packed Maddie up and shipped her off with Grandma for her first sleepover -Cate was already over at my folks' place the night before. Hubby and I put on our awesome City Chase t-shirts, packed our backpack full of water, protein bars and sunscreen, and hit the road.

All the Chasers gathered at City Hall to kick off the event. Goodlife was one of the main sponsors and facilitated a Zumba warm-up. Hubby and I were dancing along for the first 10 minutes, but it was scorching out and and we soon retired to the shade for fear of using up all of our energy before the race even started.

Team Carew - Ready to go!

The basic rules of the race are that you have 6 hours to complete the race. You have to get all of the mandatory chasepoints and then some to come up to a total of 10. After 5 hours, they no longer enforced the need for mandatories. You are not allowed to obtain help from people you knew on course, however, help from strangers on course, or people you knew at home is perfectly acceptable. You could only walk, run or take the bus, no bikes, rollerblades, cars or taxis. Our goal for the day was to finish within the 6 hours and if we had time to stop for a pint, then great!

Team Squires - The Competition

After a not-so-short opening address, the race began with a dash to Lisgar Park for the clue sheet. I scored the precious yellow sheet and snapped pictures of both sides and uploaded them to a Facebook event I had organized ahead of time so some of our friends could help us solve the clues from home (completely legit, btw). We quickly scanned the sheet and decided to head towards Queens St. for our first Chasepoint.

Chasepoint #1 - Spin-O-Rama

Live the Goodlife, don't be mean
Head over to the location on Queen
Move your legs to begin
This is going to be a spin.

We weren't the only ones to head to this chasepoint first, but we were lucky that the wait wasn't long. For this challenge, we had to hop on a spin bike and cycle for 7 minutes - easy peasy! It actually worked out perfectly since we used the time to do some more planning (hubby was in charge of the clue sheet and I checked things out on my iPhone). As we headed out onto the street, we realized that another chasepoint was just down the road.



Chasepoint #2 - Super Server

"_______" Canadian Mounted Police
Tree an acorn comes from
Number of countries in Interpol
Establishment in which money is kept

We walked up to the Royal Oak on Bank street and had to face our longest wait of the day... a little less than 10 mins. Luckily, they had a water table, which was greatly appreciated since it was already super hot. For this challenge, we had to pick a card and relay between team members to reproduce the drink that matched our card. Easy enough to do, and so we were off to the next one.

Chasepoint #3 - Hide and Seek (Mandatory)

Armed with a Blackberry you'll begin your grand tour,
Follow the GPS closely at the Rogers near Gilmour.

We ran down to the Rogers on Bank at Gilmour and they had a stand ready for us. They handed us a blackberry and we had to take pictures of nearby stores based on a list they gave us. They were all within a block, so this chasepoint was also another quick one.

We continued down Bank St. while trying to figure out where to go next. As we walked by Frank St. I remembered that one of our support people mentioned a chasepoint on Frank St. We took a left turn as I searched on my iPhone for the corresponding chasepoint.

Chasepoint #4 - Lucky Flip

At the park named after the Canadian National  Badminton Champion in nineteen thirty, you'll play with some animals, but not one birdie.

As we approached, I became so very grateful to be teamed up with my hubby because all I could see were large snakes and tarantulas! Luckily, only one of us had to complete this chasepoint. Hubby flipped a coin to determine whether he would be subjected to the snake or spider - spider it was! He then rolled a die to find out how long he would have to endure it... he rolled a 6, so 60 seconds. Here's a picture of hubby being tough as nails...

Taking one for the team

We ventured back to Bank St. thinking we would catch a bus out to Brewer Park for the first of the mandatory chasepoints. We walked up to the McEwen on Catherine to get some water when I remembered one that another chasepoint was on Catherine St. Perfect - it was on our way and only a couple blocks down the road.

Chasepoint #5 - Work That Pole

etG yxse ta yxi3ts endac dan tnsifse

You guessed it... for this chasepoint, we had to do some pole dancing. In groups of six, we were taught a number of moves including the sexy crawl and the fireman and had to run through them a couple of times. Sadly, I think hubby was better than me (maybe because he has spent more time "studying" it?), especially because I was covered in sweat and sunscreen and I had no grip whatsoever on the pole. We got lucky here because there were two teams comepeting together so they let us jump ahead so that they could stick together.

We headed back on to the street and started walking toward Brewer Park. I checked google maps and found that a bus was coming in a couple minutes, so we took a few minutes to chat with another team at the bus stop and give our feet a break. We had already ran over 5 kms at that point.

Chasepoint #6 & #7 - Urban Rat


A B C D  E F G H I  J  K L M

We let the bus take us into the Carleton University Campus since we raised over $50 and had to collect a chasepoint for that and we were also able to finish another chasepoint at the same location. This one was probably the one that took the longest for us (about 10 minutes). When we arrived, we got a sheet of paper with 10 clips of pictures and questions for each one. We had to go through the tunnel between Leeds and Stanton house and answer questions about the murals. It took us a bit of time to find the right ones based on the tiny black and white images in the dark tunnel. This being hubby's alma mater, he felt the need to point out the spelling mistake on the sheet as we left.

We were now 2 hours into the race and only had 3 chasepoints to go - we were ecstatic! We headed over to Brewer Park for the next one.

Chasepoint #8 - Flick Your Wrist

House of PainT headquarters is in a park.
Find out which one and you won't be in the dark.
Flick the disc, it'll be a lark.

When we arrived at Brewer Park to see our friends Ryan & Katie finishing up. We didn't get a chance to say anything more than hi, so we headed over to start tossing the frisbie. The first part of this challenge required us to throw and catch the frisbie 15 times - sounds simple enough... Unfortunately, my skill in softball does not translate to frisbie and the darn thing ended up a few teams over more than once. It got to the point that one of the volunteers came over and gave hubby more frisbies so he wouldn't have to chase them down after I threw them into nowhere land. The second part involved one of us (hubby, obviously) trying to knock a plastic cup off a stick with the frisbie - 5 or 6 tries later and it was done.

I checked the bus schedule and found out that the next bus would take us to the vicinity of our last 2 chasepoints. Of course, the route did not match the map on the bus stop, so when the bus took a right off Bronson, we jumped off and started running to the next chasepoint. At this point, I had been checking twitter to find out if anyone had crossed the finish line yet, and they hadn't. I tweeted that we had 2 left to go and got some great responses that encouraged me to keep running.

My VERY sore feet

Fueling up

Chasepoint #9 - The Great Arch

(chinese characters...) Somerset (more chinese characters...)

We reached the arch at Somerset and Wellington and had to count various items on the arch. Luckily, the volunteers were forgiving and by the last question we were playing a guessing game with them rather than counting. We were trying to move it along because I knew the next bus was coming in a couple minutes to take us to our last chasepoint. We got our stamp and RAN to the bus feeling like we were on top of the world...

The Arch!

And this is where it started going downhill...

While on the bus, we started chatting with a couple other chasers. They were talking about the 6 mandatories they did... What?? 6??? I thought we only had 3 to do??? I checked our clue sheet and sure enough, we had to do 6... Even worse, I realized that the one we did at Brewer Park was NOT the mandatory. Apparantly there was another one inside the rink and THAT ONE was the mandatory...

I felt defeated. The Leo in me felt that the world had let me down and I lost motivation to continue. We had completed 9 chasepoints, only one of which was a mandatory so that left us another 5 to go! Hubby was his usual self and just kept on trucking, trying to encourage me to keep going.

Chasepoint #10 - Master of Faster (Mandatory)

Columbia Canada had released a clue on Friday night via Facebook -  here's the link.

We arrived at Parkdale Park for the Columbia Canada obstacle course. This was the most intimidating chasepoint so far since it required you to step through tires, crawl under a mesh tarp, do 10 squats with a weight bar and then climb a 10 foot wall... yes, you read that right... I do not like heights. Walking close to the railing at the mall makes me nervous.... Despite my lack of motivation, I got started on the obstacle course. By the time I got to the wall I took in the advice that I got earlier in the day (don't think about it, just do it) and I DID IT! Felt awesome and terrible at the same time.

The Wall (not us though)
I was at a crossroads of what to do. We had finished 10 chasepoints in an amazing time (the first 10 teams hadn't even crossed the finish line yet), but we had another 4 to go. I wasn't sure I was up for it, but decided we could head over to another mandatory nearby. We hopped on the bus and as we approached Preston, hubby said there was one there. We didn't have time I google it so I trusted him and we jumped off after he said "Well, Preston St isn't that long". Fifteen minutes of walking in the hot sun later I told him I gave up. I suggested we go for a pint and plan it so that we show up at the finish line at 3:01pm with our 10 chasepoints. He agreed, but suggested that we try to get this last one in...

Chasepoint #11 - Rock em' Sock em' (Mandatory)

Here is your chance to focus and pull through, one punch, one kick, and maybe a drop of sweat or two. Check in with "LE MADDOG" and "The Professor".

We arrived at the N1 Thai Kickboxing, which happened to be right beside The Prescott. We went in and Rob volunteered to do all the work. He had to do 300 punches, 100 kicks, and 100 knee kicks. I think he thought that if he stepped up for this one, I might go along with doing the rest of the chasepoints. After the kicks and punches, he was obviously getting tired so I offered to do the knee kicks and he didn't decline. We finished up and I think he realized that he wasn't going to change my mind.

We headed next door to The Prescott for a pint, but skipped the meatball sandwich ;)

As we enjoyed our well deserved beer, we plotted our route back to the finish line so we would arrive at 3pm on the nose. Nearing the end of the glass, we realized that the bus was going to show up on Carling Avenue in 7 minutes. hubby tracked down the server to pay the bill and we were off running to make the bus.

Re-cap & Re-hydrate

The bus dropped us off at Slater and Metcalfe at 2:50pm and we slowly walked from there trying to kill a little time. We got to the stop light across the street and decided to cross a little early - what were they going to do? We sauntered over to the finish line at 2:55pm feeling a little defeated, but perked up when they announced that we were in the top 80. We watched the next few teams come in behind us but are pretty sure that we are still in the top 80 after them. The official results should be out on Wednesday this week - I can't wait to see how we placed!

In total, we covered 21.79 kms in 5 hours, of that, we ran and walked (very fast!) for about 9kms. I find that pretty incredible since I only joined the gym a month ago and I can't think of an occasion when I've ever run that much before. The whole time I felt strong and fit. I was proud of what we were doing and happy to have these memories to look back on and tell our kids about.


  • READ THE RULES. Take a bit more time at the beginning, especially if this is your first race. I would not have expected 6 mandatory chasepoints, plus 1 more for the money we raised, only leaving 3 more to choose out of 27.
  • USE YOUR STRENGTHS. I am a details person and hubby isn't. Hubby has more endurance than I do and doesn't get bogged down in the details.
  • USE WALL POSTS. The Facebook event was a great idea, however, a lot of the information was spread out in the comments on photos which made it really slow to open every time I was trying to find more information. Ask your off-site support people to include their findings on the event wall rather than with the pictures.
  • KEEP AN OPEN MIND. You're bound to make a couple mistakes the first year. Forgive yourself and move on. Don't get angry/emotional/bitter because it's not going the way you want it to. Just remember that you're here to have fun. I gotta work on this one...

I can't wait to do it again next year!

Update - The Official Results are in and Team Carew placed 78th out of 525 teams! Watch out fellow Ottawa Chasers, we're looking for Top 20 next year!


Tara said...

You guys did an amazing job! Shawn and I are thinking of doing it next year. We heard fantastic things about it.
Proud of you!

Kataroo said...

I love that you added you clues to the post :) very cool