the teen and i were kinda excited for a different kind of 5K in pasadena that we'd signed up for a few months ago. it's called the city challenge urban race, and it's kind of like a scavenger hunt - you get a list of twelve different riddle-type things that you have to answer. then you head to wherever it is - a park, a statue, what have you - and take a picture of yourself or a teammate in front of it. plus, the riddles aren't in order, so it's key to take a few minutes to solve each one and then map them all out so that you aren't running back and forth across the whole damn town trying to get all of your photos.
we arrived at the designated meeting place - ixtapa cantina, at the eastern edge of old town pasadena.
inside, we were met by two crew members who handed us our t-shirts and waivers to sign.
fuel for the race.
oh, and the official pre-race pic.
we'd arrived fairly early, not knowing how many people were signed up and trying to avoid any parking issues. so this left us with roughly an hour to wander up and down colorado boulevard, stopping in shops here and there. i totally giggled at these ridiculous-looking shoes:
and side-eyed the hell out of this kid and her mother, wandering around forever 21 barefoot. ew.
we headed back to ixtapa to listen to the final race instructions and pick up our clue sheet, and then we were sent out into the sunshine to begin our journey. there's only one actual rule for this thing, and it basically says that the entire thing has to be done on foot. no skateboards, taxis, buses, rides from a friend. there were actually two versions of this thing happening at the same time - the one we were doing, which was projected to be 3-5 miles (i suppose depending on how well you mapped out your course), and a half marathon-length option that still offered a dozen riddles but spread out over a larger area. so we were free to use our phones to look up answers to the clues - thank goodness, because we wouldn't have gotten half of them without help from our friend google.
prepare for a handful of lame ass pictures of me with that stupid look on my face and the pointer finger(s) out.
once we'd gotten through all 12 riddles, we decided to head out towards the pasadena playhouse. it was under a mile away, with a handful of the other destinations scattered along the way. our first stop was the pacific asia museum:
there was a picture clue that took us a minute to figure out, and even then we weren't 100% sure that we were right. but we headed off in the direction we thought it might be located, and sure enough:
next up, the playhouse.
we had to laugh at ourselves when we reached the bighorn fountain, because we'd passed it on our way to the museum and dismissed it as unimportant. turned out that it was indeed one of the things we needed a picture of. at least it was on our way back, right? d-oh!
we'd passed by other teams who were working on the same list as we were, and decided to head off the beaten path a bit. on our way to the next landmark, we managed to check off another item: any of the old brick buildings in the old town pasadena area. the teen loves her some king taco, so this was extra amusing to me.
as many times as i've driven through this area, i can't say i'd ever noticed the two mosaic wall murals nor the historic theater that they were created in tribute to. huh.
two more landmarks were crossed off at the memorial park across the street. see, i wasn't kidding about the stupid expression and pointing.
this random kinetic sculpture, something i never would've looked at twice before, was next.
and now we had no choice but to head out to the farthest point on our list: the gamble house. it was almost a mile away, and with a couple of gnarly hills to climb no matter how we chose to get there. as we approached it, the entrance was partially blocked by a group of folks we recognized from ixtapa. "have you guys got them all?" one guy asked. i said "not quite, but most!" and over his shoulder he tossed out "oh, we're all done. we already checked back in, too." cool, dude. yay for you. we were just happy to get this one over with.
the teen couldn't help but take this with that group in the background. it was hard to tell if they were being serious or not, but at this point we were right around an hour into the game and hey, they could've totally been done. we just wanted to finish.
except that there was another couple who we kept running into along the way. they were clearly full of themselves as they scurried along, all serious with not a wave or a smile in return to our cheerful greetings. whatthefuckever.
our last clues were in a familiar location: one colorado, which also houses a little cupcake shop i know and love. we got our pictures and jumped back out onto colorado boulevard to make our way back to ixtapa.
we knew that couple was somewhere nearby, but we didn't see them as we scampered through the crowds with our completed list in hand. with the restaurant signage in our sight, we picked up the pace and started getting a little excited at the prospect of perhaps finishing in the top three and winning a medal. and then...
that couple? the one we thought we'd shaken off our leg like a dog in heat? they pushed past us full steam ahead - which would've been totally cool. hey, they obviously really wanted to take first place and were willing to sprint to the finish to get there. except that as they passed us, they laughed. like, a "haha, you thought you were gonna win but you're not, neener neener neener" ugly kind of guffaw as they weaseled their way past us and right in the door.
two seconds ahead of us. two!
they refused to make eye contact with us as we checked in with the race staff, who asked to see the photos we'd all taken along the route. when they couldn't figure out how to access their pictures right away, i held up my phone for the guy to flip through and check off. the woman in the couple was clearly annoyed by this as she let out a huge sigh, snatching the phone away from her husband to take care o'business. we were happy to hear that we'd gotten all of the answers right, while that harpy told the staffers that she thought the clues were just far too easy and that they should have made them way harder. i wanted to rip a nasty, smelly fart in her direction.
the other staffer congratulated us and commented that we'd done a great job of getting through the course so quickly. we were pretty happy with our 1:26 finish time, during which we'd covered just a hair under four miles. and so we rewarded ourselves with a walk back to king taco for a burrito and some nachos.
we returned to ixtapa an hour later to see if we'd managed to place after all - which we did. right behind that couple.
second place. yeah.
which, of course, means that that dude in front of the gamble house was totally lying when he'd said they were all done. how dumb. i didn't get the point of that whole exchange, but i guess i just don't understand why a lot of people say and do the stupid ass shit they do.
in any case, we'd had a great time with the challenge, had some delicious lunch, and took home a medal. considering we hadn't even gone into this thing with a prize in mind, i'd say it ended up being a pretty good sunday afternoon.