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Longest race report EVAH--Twin Lobster Special rides again!

619 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  evanflein
<p>I've been busy in the last few weeks rehabbing my plantar fasciitis after Boston, and recommitting to my resistance workouts.  Yesterday, though, I took my plantar fascia out for a spin to see how she'd hold up.</p>
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<p>My twin sister, Karin, and I ran the Great Urban Race here in Boston. For those of you who haven't been bored by my lengthy reports of this race in the past, here's a brief description.  Teams of 2 solve clues and run through the Boston metropolitan area to various checkpoints to beat the clock.  Is it a scavenger hunt? A road race?  A sight-seeing tour? Mayhem? All of the above. </p>
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<p>Clues can be solved in any order, and teams can navigate the city by running or using public transit.  Teams are allowed to skip one clue, and deciding which clue to skip can be crucial to the strategy.  If you arrive at the finish line with an incorrect clue, there is a 30 minute penalty assessed. </p>
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<p>I'll get into the race details in the next post.</p>
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<p>Here were the clues we were provided:</p>
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<p>1. Mrs. Reynolds is odd. She likes balloons, but doesn’t like parties. She likes books, but doesn’t like reading. She likes weeds, but doesn’t like flowers. She likes swimming but doesn’t like water. She likes letters but doesn’t like words. She likes noodles but doesn’t like pasta sauce. She likes apples but doesn’t like plums. She likes coffee but doesn’t like tea. According to the pattern in the riddle above, take a picture of all teammates in front of a street sign that Mrs. Reynolds would LIKE as proof of completion. NOTE: the street sign must be clearly visible.</p>
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<p>2. Although an English playwright wrote the original in the early 1600’s, the modern day story might read something like this: Helen loves Bert. Bert does not love Helen. Helen chases Bert and wins his commitment. All ends well. Now it’s your turn to role-play! Venture to the park outside of the South End Library where your task awaits. Return to the finish line with the CSC flyer as proof of completion.</p>
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<p>3. Only here would you find Tom Brady updating his Facebook status while Sarah Palin texts Lady Gaga and Drew Faust on her iPhone. Make your way to this Harvard Landmark, opened in 1960, where you’ll always find a celebrity—even if it’s only on the menu. Take a picture of ALL teammates in front of the location’s sign, featuring the signature top hat as proof of completion. Note: the sign must be clearly visible.</p>
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<p>4. Tom Selleck, Hulk Hogan, Charlie Chaplin and the Pringles Guy all share this common characteristic. Make your way to the district where you’ll find the best selection of colorful and charismatic garments for all your costume needs. When you arrive, head inside to pick up your very own must have accessory. After you collect your disguise from the GUR staff, find a stranger sporting genuine growth somewhere in the city. Take a picture of one teammate AND the stranger showing off their style as proof of completion. NOTE: Strangers must be non-Great Urban Race participants and not employees of the clue destination.</p>
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<p>5. It’s better when you MIX THINGS UP. Unscramble the following letters and make your way to this hidden gem where environmentally conscious tactics and amazing treats FUZE together. Though there are mobile locations as well, head to the headquarters to enjoy a delicious race refreshment. LECVOR OFOD ABL Return to the finish line with a photo of ALL teammates posing in front of the infamous giant whiteboard as proof of completion.</p>
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<p>6. Make your way to the statue pictured to the right constructed by Spanish artist, Jaume Plensa, featuring a mixture of mathematical symbols, return to the finish line with a photo featuring ALL teammates jumping in the air. NOTE: all feet must be in the air.</p>
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<p>7. Solve the equation below to determine the numerical name of this coffeehouse on Mass Ave. Upon arrival, locate the two posters, determine the three differences in the pictures and fill in the blanks below with the differences you’ve discovered. (sorry, I can't figure out how to get all of the algebraic figures in here, but suffice to say, it was complex)</p>
<p>2. ____________________________</p>
<p>Upon approval from the GUR staff, return to the finish line with the three correct answers And a flyer provided as proof of completion. NOTE: only TWO guesses allowed per team.</p>
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<p>8. Definition: a lump, solid piece, or often a metal. This unique store features everything from Rolling Stones collectors’ edition vinyl to classic Bob Dylan CDs, and even hard to find Creedence Clearwater cassette tapes. Celebrities and commoners alike have stopped in to shop the goods and leave a lasting impression. Find this discreet distributor of music and snap your photo in front of the Piano Man’s classic Kohuept album – autographed by Mr. Long Island himself. Return to the finish line with a photo of one teammate posing in front of the album as proof of clue completion.</p>
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<p>9. Don’t blink or you might just miss this lightning Bolt run past you! Seek out his autographed shoe in this South End running store and snap a photo in front of it. Return to the finish line with a photo of ALL teammates posing with the shoe And the flyer provided as proof of clue completion. NOTE: the shoe must be clearly visible.</p>
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<p>10. It’s a hotel, motel, Holiday Inn! Or maybe it’s just a teamporary home away from home for international guests. Regardless, this community is open to travelers around the world. Journey to this Hemenway St. Location and translate the 7 words found on the wall to decipher the secret word. You have TWO chances to provide the correct answer and receive verification from the staff. In order to receive credit for this clue you must return to the finish line with the correct answer AND the flyer provided as proof of clue completion.</p>
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<p>11. The mission of Room to Grow is to enrich the lives of babies born into poverty throughout their critical first three years of development. Parents expecting a baby are referred to Room to Grow by selected pre-natal programs assisting low-income families. Parents receive developmental information, customized support, and all of the needed baby items to ensure a healthy and secure start for their child. Make your way to 142 Berkeley Street with at leats TWO of the following items to donate to Room to Grow: Hardcover children’s board books, sippy cups, pacifiers, baby bib, teething ring. Return to the finish line with the flyer provided by Room to Grow as proof of completion.</p>
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<p>12. Let’s play Tic-Tac-Toe! This clue will require three separate boxes to be complete. Your team must complete three of the nine challenges listed in the Tic-Tac_toe squares to the right. The three challenges you complete must be in “Tic-tac-toe” order –either three boxes in any vertical column, any horizontal row, OR on any diagonal. Note: All required items in the pictures must be clearly visible. Strangers must be non-GUR participants.</p>
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<ul><li>Take ONE picture of a teammate honking a stranger’s car horn.</li>
<li>Return to the finish line with a penny dated between the years of 1961-1979</li>
<li>Take ONE picture of ALL teammates high-fiving a stranger in uniform.</li>
<li>Return to the finish line with a postcard featuring Fenway Park.</li>
<li>Take ONE picture of all teammates posing next to a stranger on a skateboard.</li>
<li>Take ONE picture of ALL teammates posing with a group of 3 or more strangers wearing MIT apparel.</li>
<li>Take ONE picture of ALL teammates posing with a group of 5 or more people wearing sunglasses</li>
<li>Take ONE picture of ALL teammates posing in front of a double decker bus Return to the finish line with a Bud Light bottle cap</li>
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<div id="user_post_message_9374744">The race began at Boston's City Hall Plaza.<br><br><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
(the day was warm and sunny here...this would soon change...)<br><br>
We were handed our clue sheets sealed in an envelope and instructed to open them only when precisely directed by race staff. Robin had noticed ahead of time from GUR race reports in other cities that there was often a clue that required teams to bring items to the local charity partner. So, we looked up Room to Grow's web site in advance, mapped out the headquarters, and purchased a few of the items that they said they accepted as donation.<br><br><br>
Clue 11: Shortly after noon, the countdown began, and we ripped open our clue sheets and headed to Government Center T Stop. As soon as we opened the clue sheet and noticed that Room to Grow WAS indeed one of the tasks, we were off and running. Unfortunately, we didn't have quite the right items requested, so Robin ran to the closest CVS store and purchased a sippy cup, while Karin did more clue solving.<br><br>
Then we hopped on the Green Line and skedaddled to the Arlington Street station. Karin parked herself in front of the Hermes store to do some googling and clue solving on her iPad, while Robin ran to Room to Grow. Many, but not all, of the clues require both teammates to be present. This one didn't, so it allowed us to divide and conquer, with Robin running and Karin clue-solving. Twin Lobster Special was the first team there! Robin told the woman manning the station that we had purchased items in advance, and so that was why we had so many things...crayons, coloring books, pacifiers, sippy cups and baby bottles went into the donation bin, and the woman congratulated us for planning ahead!<br><br><br>
Clue 2. Robin ran back to Hermes to meet up with Karin, who had our next steps mapped out. We ran about a mile into the South End to find the library, and found that our task was to do a dramatic reading from All's Well that Ends Well in front of members of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. The selection was rather bawdy, and we read it with gusto!!!<br><br>
We snatched up our CSC flyer as instructed, and headed off, taking off running about 1/2 mile to Mass Ave, thinking that we would hop on to the No. 1 bus to complete a bunch of the clues across the river in Cambridge. As we were waiting for the bus, we suddenly solved a few more clues on our iPads and realized that there were a few more things for us to accomplish still in the South End/Back Bay/Fens area. Good thing we realized this just seconds away from boarding the bus, so we gathered up our things and set off running. Again.<br><br><br>
Clue 9. Karin realized that this clue referred to Usain Bolt's shoe at the South End Athletic Company. We ran and ran and ran and spotted it up ahead. We were pretty tuckered at this point and a wee bit demoralized that we had to backtrack quite so much, but we tried to smile for the camera.<br><br><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br><br>
Clue 12. Next stop was in the Fens, and the question was, public transit or hoof it? We opted to hoof it, relying on our running skills instead of the vagaries of Boston public transit. The only drawback? GPS! The Boston skyline was wreaking havoc with our GPS, and we were finding it maddeningly difficult to get to what Karin had figured out was the youth hostel on Hemenway Street. We got all turned around, but it worked out serendipitously well because it allowed us to get one component of Clue 12. It doesn't translate well on a message board format (above post), but clue 12 was structured as a tic-tac-toe board, and you had to accomplish 3 of the tasks listed in a manner that created a tic-tac-toe win.<br><br>
The very middle clue was to have our photo taken with a stranger on a skateboard, and Robin thought that was going to be the most important one to get, because then we could get any of the other clues to complete the tic-tac-toe. So, as we were wandering, somewhat lost and stymied by the fencing around the Back Bay corridor that wouldn't let us take a beeline to our destination, we suddenly found ourselves on the Christian Science Building plaza...a haven for skateboarders!!<br><br>
Sure enough, we found 2 young men, who were absolutely charming and perfectly willing to be photographed on their skateboard. Karin even got on one of their skateboards, although she maintained a death grip on the young man's shoulder for balance.<br><br><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br><br>
Clue 10. So, our spirits buoyed by having accomplished this important middle clue of the tic-tac-toe, we ran onward to Hemenway Street. The streets were thick with tourists and students, and we were having to dodge them all.<br><br><br>
We arrived at the hostel to discover that there were foreign words posted throughout the common areas, and we had to translate them into the numbered spaces. This was no easy feat, especially since I believe that one of them was misspelled! They had posted "fluzueg" which basically netted no results for us despite intensive googling. Instead, we opted to try what google suggested that we might have meant instead, the word "flugzeug". Bingo! The word "airplane" fit, and we were golden!<br><br>
I can't recall the other words, but there were Swahili, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Polish words...these translated into the words FRIENDS, EXCITE, AIRPLANE, SMILE, COMMUNITY, CULTURE, and GUEST. We got it incorrect the first time, because Karin had translated the Polish word as FOMENT (believe me, it was difficult to find precise translations!!), which didn't work. But EXCITE did work, and the circled letters from these clues revealed an anagram for the word EXPLORE. We presented our answer to the staff and received our hostel flyer, and we were off and running again.<br><br><br>
Clue 12. Along the way, we passed by a military/uniform shop. Realizing that we could snap a photo for another of the tic-tac-toe clues, we ran in and asked a young couple if they would mind "trying on" one of the uniforms so we could snap a photo. They seemed more than happy to oblige! "Take ONE picture of ALL teammates high-fiving a stranger in uniform". She looked great in the Marine uniform, and I love how her boyfriend photo-bombed the picture!<br><br><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br><br>
By this time, the weather had turned, and it was thunderstorming. Thank goodness for the rainjackets Karin had picked up for us as part of of our "costume". There were a lot of cold, shivery racers who hadn't brought rain gear. In any case, the streets had emptied out, and that made for much easier running! We ran to Mass Ave and finally were able to make our way across the river into Cambridge.<br><br><br>
Clue 6: Karin's googling revealed that this was a sculpture called MIT's Alchemist at the Student Center. So, we hopped off the bus at MIT, and ran to the Student Center, where we found it pretty quickly. One of the tricks of this clue was getting a photo with BOTH teammates' feet in the air. Karin had the clever idea to hold onto the sculpture and jump, lifting our feet up in the air behind us, thus giving the picture taker more of a chance to actually snap us in the air. It worked, and we were off again.<br><br><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br><br>
Clue 1: We were puzzling and puzzling over this clue until Robin suddenly realized that it might be much simpler than we were considering. Perhaps all we needed was to find a street with double letters in it! As we were talking about which streets we might find in Harvard Square that had double letters in it, we were running up to Massachusetts Avenue to hop a bus to Central Square.<br><br>
Duh. MaSSachuseTTs Avenue!!! We ran up the steps of MITs main building and snapped this shot, ran back to the street and barely managed to hop a bus into Central Square for our next clue.<br><br><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br><br>
Clue 7. Karin had solved the complex equation and discovered that the coffeehouse in question was the 1369 Coffeehouse. We hopped off the bus in Central Square and ran to the spot (which is NOT at the address moved years ago). We had to examine two seemingly identical posters and spot the three subtle differences. There were about 6 teams there standing in front of the posters.<br><br>
Robin ran up and immediately spotted one of the first differences over the heads of the other teams: there was a ceiling light missing in one poster. Then she dodged over to one side of the crowd and immediately spotted another difference: the skirt of the woman had a different colored sash, and she called out to Karin (who still wasn't even able to SEE the posters yet because of all of the other racers in front) "I found the second difference". Then, weirdly, almost immediately, Robin spotted the final difference: in the bottom right hand corner, there was a sign that read "He" in one of the posters, but read "She" in the other poster. She called out to Karin, "I found them all!" and Karin hardly knew what to do with that information, because she hadn't even had a chance to see any of the posters yet.<br><br>
We ran over to the checkpoint staffmember, filled in our clue sheet with the answers, and were correct! We were done and out of there before any of the other teams who had been there when we arrived. Freaky. We had run a huge distance from Central Square to the 1369 Coffee House, and we needed to travel to Harvard Sq next. It seemed logical that instead of running BACK to Central Square to hop a bus (as we had seen several teams doing), we might find a closer bus stop if we ran forward...and indeed, there was a bus stop a mere 1/2 block away. We hopped aboard and had a 5 minute breather while we developed our Harvard Square strategy.<br><br><br>
Clue 4. Karin solved this clue as directing us to the Garment District in Cambridge, to get a fake mustache, which we would need to use to get a photo of one of us with a stranger who also had a mustache. On the bus, we found such a stranger, and he obliged by allowing us to snap his photo.<br><br><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br><br>
Clue 3. We were making up some lost time from our extra running in the South End. There were 2 clues we had to do in Harvard Square, and in the 5 minute bus ride, we had managed to snap a required photo and solidify our strategy. Karin had solved this clue as Bartley's Burgers, a Harvard Square institution. We knew the Square pretty well, and this clue was fairly easy, but we confirmed via google before setting off and running in the rain.<br><br><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br>
Thank goodness we had snapped our photo of the skateboarder earlier at the Christian Science Building, because the rain had sent all of the Harvard Sq skateboarders indoors!! What had seemed like a mistake to take us out of our way in Boston might have actually been a huge bit of luck.<br><br><br>
Clue 5. Karin solved the anagram as Clover Food Lab, and we ran there next, right in Holyoke Center. We ran up and took the requisite photo and gulped down some (delicious) lemonade.<br><br><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br><br>
Clue 12. We had only one more item to complete...the third element of the tic-tac-toe!! We had 2 of them done already, so it made the most sense to do the one that would complete the tic-tac-toe...unfortunately, that one seemed like one of the most difficult ones to accomplish. "Take ONE picture of ALL teammates posing with a group of 5 or more people wearing sunglasses."<br><br>
Did we mention that it was raining? NO one was wearing sunglasses! So Robin ran into the Harvard Square CVS and bought 5 pairs of cheapo sunglasses. Then Karin, with her subway mojo, had us off and running to the easiest entry to the subway. We hopped aboard a train that would take us back into Boston, and we tried to gather 5 people who would allow us to snap their photo, and we'd let them keep the sunglasses! I first told Karin to run and get on the car where we saw a mother with pre-teen children boarding. I figured they might be up for some fun! No such looked at us like we were crazed, and said, "NO", while her preteen daughters looked on and had facial expressions like, "MOM, you're such a downer!!" So, we ran to the other end of the car, where we convinced several goodnatured strangers to gather for a photo.<br><br><img alt="" src="" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br><br>
We skipped clue 8, as allowed.<br><br><br>
And we were done! We hopped off the train at Government Center and ran for the finish line...this was a little scary, because of the rain-slick cobblestones and steps and brick plaza. The Big Apple Circus was in town, and we had to dodge around the big top. But we made it! Our unofficial time was 2:53 by my watch, but they haven't posted the official times or race standings yet. At the finish check point, all of our answers were found to be correct, and we received no time penalties. We shall see!<br><br><br>
However well or poorly we placed, we had a ball. And we definitely lived by our mantra of "Play like you're winning...". In these races, even when you are feeling down and demoralized after getting lost or flubbing a clue, keep playing as if you are winning...because you can guarantee that there are other teams out there struggling! Even after heading out to the Purple Shamrock for post-race nibbles, beer, and cider, there were still teams gunning for the finish line as we strolled back through the now cold rain- I hope they warmed up to the same goodies, and had as much fun as we did!<br><br>
--Robin <span style="display:none;"> </span></div>
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