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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thing 27: Urban Dare Revisited, Dominated and Won

You didn't think I trained for the ten miler just to run a ten miler, did you?  Oh no, it was all training leading up to Urban Dare 2009.  And guess what?  It was worth it, because we won.

Let's backup a bit here.  Urban Dare is a scavenger hunt/amazing race activity that GFD and I did two years ago, and totally failed miserably.  You can read about the entire pathetic experience here, but in sum, it took us over four hours and we technically never completed the race.  We vowed to do better the next time.

Then I went to Seattle and missed Urban Dare 2008.

Which bring us to last Saturday, a sunny and clear day perfect for the race.  I was in literally the best shape I've ever been in my life, having taken to the gym the day after Urban Dare 2007, and having kept it up pretty regularly, for the most part.  GFD and I also had a system this year, basically a solution to all the amateur mistakes that we had made two years ago.  I was wearing spandex and sunscreen.  We were ready.

The starting point this year was at McFadden's, where we all congregated to get our t-shirts and do some trash talking.  Then out to Washington Circle, where, like two years ago, we were released for the race depending on whether we go the correct answer to a multiple choice question.  This year, neither David nor I had any idea what the answer was (Treaty of Ghent?), but were already standing in the "B" quadrant so we just hung out there.  And we were right!  We ran to grab our clue sheet, and then got to work.  

I don't want to divulge too much of our patent-pending, 100% effective strategy, but we solved all the clues before we left.

Then we were off.  Our first stop was to run about a half mile straight north, to take our picture was "the gentle giant that defeated the British empire through peaceful means," the Gandhi statue west of Dupont Circle:

Then we ran to just south of Dupont Circle, to take our picture with the statue of the "only U.S. poet to he honored with a commemorative sculpted bust in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey in London."  Our picture with Longfellow:

Then over to the Jefferson Hotel (which is currently under construction), which was "the hotel where Dick Morris got in trouble for sucking a call girl's toes."

We look pretty judgemental about toe sucking, don't we?  

Then it was a couple block north to Scott Circle, "the memorial to the person create homeopathic medicine," where we had to do a dare.  We had to hop on one foot twice around the statue, shouting "yellow" and "purple" as we went.

Next stop, the statue of Samuel Gompers who "founded the American Federation of Labor and served as its president for over 30 years."  This was another dare -- we had to throw beanbags until we got one in each of three holes.  David rocked this one and we were back off and running in no time. 

Further down Mass Ave (and yes, we jogged this whole time), and we took our picture with "the memorial to all victims of communism":
Then up to Union Station for our "bubble dare". This was pretty gross. I had to retrieve a piece of bubble gum from a pile a whipped cream without using my hands, and then blow a bubble.  See how sweaty I am this point? Imagine running three miles, being salty and sweaty, and then diving into a pile of whipped cream.  I was sticky and pretty gross at this point.

Then we took a bathroom break.  That's right, we were so confident that we nonchalantly took a pause to visit the restroom and the water fountain.  Then, back to running. 

Next up, we hit the memorial to those that had been in Japanese internment camps in WWII.  This dare was similar to the one we did two years ago, so we knew how it worked.  We got our word, "mendicant," and then had to add up it's point value based on the value of the letters as they were scattered around the memorial.  This year, no homeless man blocking our view, and we finished this dare in no time.

Down Pennsylvania Avenue now to the memorial to General Mead, who "commanded the Union forces at Gettysburg":

Then a few more blocks down Penn Ave to the memorial for General Winfield Scott Hancock, who was the failed Democratic presidential nominee in 1880.  Here we had to do a wheelbarrow dare, so David got on his hands while I held his feet and walked him once around a set of cones.

Here is were, by a small stroke of luck, I almost fainted.  Ok, so I may have the endurance to do ten miles, but by this time it was 1:30pm and it was HOT outside.  I was thirsty.  I started to see spots and probably should sit down.  I crouched while David bought a bottle of water from a street vendor, and then the 36 bus was coming right then, so we hopped on, hoping to get a bit of air conditioning and a small rest.

Our next stop was the Treasury Building, and the 36 bus goes all the way down Penn and stops on 15th Street next to the Treasury, so what the heck, right?  David was afraid it might slow us down, so we kept an eye on other Urban Darers as they were running down Penn Ave and wouldn't you know it but we ended up passing the team that ultimately came in second!  That bus was our lucky break.

We hopped out at the Treasury and got our picture with "Genius of Finance" Gallatin:
Then we got our second lucky break, the 5:00 Bonus photo.  "Get your picture with the memorial where a topless woman is handing a sword up to her hero," for which we could get 5:00 knocked off our final time.  We had a hunch it might be in Lafayette Park, and we were debating whether or not to run around and try to find it, or just pack it in and go back to McFadden's when we looked up and the statue was right in front of us:

Then we ran the eight blocks down Penn to McFadden's, where, much to our utter amazement, we were informed that we had actually come in first place. See how amazed I am?! I still can't quite believe that we went from being miserable failures at this thing to winning a Super Dare three-day cruise in the Bahamas for free!!

Plus, it gave me lots of fodder for my annual birthday scavenger hunt.

Two years ago:  Our first pathetic attempt at Urban Dare.


Jonathan said...

It is so exciting to read this! Congrats on the victory! A friend and I are competing in Urban Dare Dallas for the first time tomorrow and we are very excited! Our goal is have lots of fun and learn as much as we can. Then study hard and work hard the next year to kick butt in Urban Dare 2010! Thanks for posting your race accounts for the 2 years, I really enjoyed reading it. Jonathan -

dc365 said...

Jonathan! You have exactly the right attitude, and I'm so excited for you. David and I could never have won without learning the lessons from our miserable (but fun!) failure in 2007. I've published your comment because I'm a sucker for flattery, but if you'd like to recomment without your email address, please do and I'll take this one down. Best of luck!!

Anonymous said...

I ran this in 2008 with a good friend of mine. We finished towards the end after botching two clues. First, we needed to get a picture next to the bell forged by someone I forget (Stow? it was a liberty bell reference). Unfortunately, there are two liberty bell replicas in DC. In case you ever need to know where they are, one is between the White House and the Treasury building (now completely blocked off), and the other is at Union Station. We were standing next to Union Station at the time so of course we ran all the way back downtown to the White House. Our next clue took us back to Capitol Hill so it was loads of backtracking. It was hot. I was sunburned. Then, we screwed up our last clue. It was a prohibition reference so we went to the 21st Amendment bar in L'Enfant Plaza. Of course, the real end was at the 18th Amendment on Capitol Hill. Even though we were terrible, the beer was cold, we had laughed our heads off, and a good time was had by all. -Kim