Today my friend Katy and I completed our first City Chase race. We weren’t hoping to win; we just were shooting for completing 10 challenges in 6 hours to be considered “finishers.”
Our day began at the starting point at Merchandise Mart, where we were asked to provide 8 of the following 10 items:
- a $1 bill with our team’s number on it
- the price for unlimited texting on a T-Mobile family plan
- a photo of Rod Blagojevich
- the current temperature in the city that is hosting the next City Chase event
- the price you need to spend at http://www.merrell.com to qualify for free shipping
- a photo of an item in a TetraPak package (Katy had this because her dad’s dairy company uses TetraPaks, and we got a hint about this one ahead of time.)
- a tattoo bigger than a quarter
- the honeymoon destination of the couple who was married during starting ceremonies
- the lyrics for the chorus of Justin Bieber’s song “Baby“
- a ticket stub
Once we were able to come up with 8 of the items, we then turned them in to a City Chase staff member, and received our clue sheets. The clue sheets would lead us to various Chase Point challenges throughout the city, and we had until 4pm to complete 10 of them.
We read the clues, tried to figure out the task and location of as many as possible, then mapped a tentative route for which ones we’d complete.
Below are the clues/tasks we completed:
1. Snake in Your Pants – Near the Centennial Fountain a stream shoots over the river. Some friends of ours will show you how they slither.
I knew right where this challenge was, thanks to my after-work strolls along the river and random photography sessions in the city. After finding out that the “Paparazzi” challenge at the Hard Rock Hotel was full, we ran straight here (without really considering just what the challenge was).
When we arrived, we learned that one of us would need to lay on the ground with a snake in our shirt, a tarantula on our arm, and a roach on our neck for one minute.
Neither of us were thrilled with the idea, but I decided to step up and take this challenge. (My thinking was, if there was another challenge later on I really, really didn’t want to do, Katy would have to take her turn.)
The snake wasn’t bad at all. The roach was the worst part, but luckily he crawled onto my shirt and I couldn’t feel him anymore. And the tarantula, well, I’m just thankful I couldn’t see it crawling on me.
I completed my 60 seconds of torture, we got our bib stamped, and we headed on our way.
2. Beats – So you think you can dance or you feel as though you have two left feet. Lessons will be held on the 2nd floor of a Congress Street hostel inside where we’ll see your rhythm and beat.
I’ve actually always been curious about the hostel located in the Loop, and was excited to finally get to go inside. This was a great challenge because there was no line and it was quick. We had to learn a 6-step tango move, do a little dip, and we were done.
Challenge two down, and I knew the third was right around the corner.
3. Buckets – These Boyz make street beats with the buckets they hit. Joing them in rhythm at the Eye exhibit.
First of all, thank goodness I accidentally took the Brown line to work earlier this week, or I would have never known where the “Eye” exhibit was!
Set up here were those kids who drum on buckets throughout the city. (I found out later that they are an official group called the Bucket Boys.) Our task was to learn a drum beat (complete with head movements) and perform it accurately.
The line was pretty long, but it was an easy challenge. We got our third punch and hopped on the Red Line to head up north to the East Lakeview Fitness Formula Club. (We needed to stop here to turn in our donations for an extra Chase Point)
Once we made our way to the correct FFC, we ran through this maze of a gym to a tiny cycle room on the other side. We each had to pedal nonstop for 6 minutes to get credit for this challenge. Not bad at all, except the guys forgot to start Katy’s time.
4th challenge down.
5. Special Olympics – You set up an account and asked for pledges online. Hopefully you reached your goal in very little time. You’ll need to show the amount with a print out of your donation sheet and you must turn it in at ChasePoints 2Mile Challenge, Fishmonger, or Community Service to be complete.
At the East Lakeview FFC, we were also able to turn in a printout of our donation sheet for the funds we raised ahead of time, and earn credit for an extra challenge.
Here’s where I throw a little shout-out to all the great people who supported the Chicago Special Olympics, and helped us reach our half-way point early on in the day.
5 down, 5 to go!
6. MGD Twister – Left and right, hands and feet. A gym shoe over the ankle is where you’ll compete. You have another choice because locations there are two, the other’s the official spot for Indiana Basketball in Lakeview.
Thanks to the guy at the FFC cycle challenge who mentioned Kirkwood while we were chatting. I had completely forgotten it’s an Indiana bar, but I knew right where this was (thanks for living in the neighborhood!) and Katy was excited to play Twister. We lost our first game, but won the second, and earned our 6th stamp!
7. Bouldering – “On Belay” is a phrase you’d say as you complete this fun task today. You’ll rise to new heights and far you will see from this east facing wall on Diversey.
I knew where this challenge was as soon as I saw the clue early in the day. We made our way over to the challenge, and I was ready for some climbing (I had practice thanks to my last visit to see my sister and her husband), but the line was really long. And to top it off, if both team members didn’t complete the challenge, you don’t get your stamp. We decided it was a waste of time, and left the challenge, without a stamp.
Still 6 stamps down, and 4 to go.
7. It’s Getting Hot in Here – Child’s pose, downward dog, and the cow stretch will make you hot. You’ll experience them all across from where John Dillinger was shot.
I had a lot of previous knowledge to help me with this one. Thanks to the filming of Public Enemies for alerting me of where John Dillinger was shot. Thanks for going to grad school at DePaul and knowing my way around that area. And thanks to the yoga classes I’ve been taking that helped me with this challenge.
This task required us to study photos of 5 different yoga poses (1 partner pose and 4 individual ones) and then do each pose blindfolded. The partner pose was a little awkward, but the others we mastered right away, and we earned our 7th stamp!
8. CSSC Hard Knocks – Jay Cutler won’t be completing this drill but near Dorothy, The Wizard, and the Cowardly Lion, you will.
It was around this time that we started to realize that I am just as handy as an iPhone. I knew right where Oz Park was because when I used to live in Old Town, this was my favorite park to go to relax or read. I also knew how to get here from the yoga studio because they both used to be on my running routes.
I think this was one of my favorite challenges because it was fun and a little challenging, but not too hard or too time consuming. First we had to run down a line receiving and throwing passes to some local football players. Then we had to run through tires, flip a giant tire, and run a route and catch a pass. Finally, we had to push those padded thingies that I know have a name (but I am too tired to look up online right now). That was the hardest part, but we worked together to earn our 8th point!
9. Sweet Tooth – Is yours a Kit Kat, or maybe a Charleston Chew? Let us know your favorite and we’ll tell you what to do. Their trainers warmed us up today at the start and you’ll go to the location they call Lincoln Park. There is a rule that we must say – this can’t be your final challenge of the day.
We were hoping to take the bus to this one, because we were starting to get really hot, really tired, and really sore at this point. However, the Halsted bus kinda sucks, and we ended up walking/running all the way there.
Once there, we had to pick a candy and then burn off the calories in that candy. (Thanks to the other City Chasers on their way out who told us to pick the M&Ms, which were only 70 calories.)
We both burned our 70 calories on the elliptical and earned our stamp.
This challenge was also a success, because right before this, we realized we’d lost our clue sheet. We stopped to ask another couple who was there if we could see their sheet to find the last ChasePoint we needed to complete. Not only did they give us their sheet, but they also told us that the challenge at Seward Park was the closest to where we were. They sent us on our way, with an hour to go, and a much better feeling about finishing!
10. RAM – Where Clybourn, Orleans, and Division meet, you’ll lace up your shoes and two teams will compete.
Once we got here, I felt pretty dumb that I didn’t know where this was sooner. It was right across the street from my old Dominick’s!
We had to take turns running half way around the circle, answering a trivia question, and then racing to the end to tag our partner.
I knew I was tired at this point, because my trivia question was “What’s the name of the fountain in Grant Park?” and I just kinda stood there, blankly, before I could come up with Buckingham Fountain.
But, we got our 10th and final stamp! We had done it!
Now we just needed to get back to Joe’s and check in at the finish.
We ended up finishing all 10 challenges in 5 hours, 35 minutes!
I’m not sure how many people were able to complete all 10 challenges, but we’re proud of ourselves. Official results will be posted soon.
And here’s a map of our day’s route: