Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Superhero for a Day

Tiptoeing through the Tulip Library
I don't know much about DC. But I do know a lot about being a superhero. For example, anyone crossing a street in high-waisted, pink, elastic underwear over black tights and a Superwoman In Training t-shirt is impenetrable to oncoming cars.  I also know that anyone in superhero tights can get a bunch of tourists to do almost anything. This is but a taste of our DC Challenge Scavenger Hunt yesterday afternoon. Over 400 teams gathered at 1pm in The Yards Park, adjacent to the National's double hitter which was coincidentally in the same area on the same day. I haven't clocked it yet, but I'm pretty sure we scurried about 9-10 miles on foot around our nation's capital, solving 11 out of 12 clues of landmarks to be photographed. The only clue I solved was thanks to Google's brilliant search engine which identified the tulips in front of the only 'bookless library' as the Tulip Library (not the National Archives which we found ourselves circling for several long minutes trying to locate tulips...)
The Libery Bell, Union Station

 All teams received their clue list at the same time then broke after the countdown to solve the clues and plan the fastest route. We were Team Superheroes In Training. Shira, aka Francis, was our team captain, supplying sunblock, bananas and clementine's before the clues were handed out. Captain Marvel Morgan, aka Ben, was amply prepared with his hydrating supply of rum and diet in his camelback. Batman, aka Alejandro, was our 'scouter' who sprinted ahead to affirm our suspected destinations and dear Eric was himself, the fifth member who was shang-highed into join our team only one day prior, bringing his awesome can-do attitude. (We lost two team members, Kara and Mollie, as the race organizers pushed the event back one day due to heavy rains all day on Saturday and the girls couldn't make it on Sunday. We missed you, girls!)

Japanese-American Memorial. Francis: "Quick guys, run this way FAST to throw off that team behind us!"
 It's true that DC is a small city and I couldn't imagine doing this in say, New York City. You also absolutely needed to know your history. The clues were tricky and between Ben's Political Science degree, Alejandro's International Relations degree, and Francis' general ingenuity for ... everything, we were able to solve all of our clues within the allotted 3.5 hrs and cross the finish line just in the knick of time. Eric and I mutually agreed that if we were our own team, we wouldn't have made it beyond registration, and/or the nearest bar touting Sunday afternoon drink specials. Tourists didn't hesitate to ask why the heck we were racing. I couldn't help but snicker when a little boy told me that he just saw these 'silly' Elmo people run by.  I replied, "Oh yes... they must look ridiculous!" I'm pretty sure I made a gaping little girl's day when I said, "See? You can still dress up when you're an adult!"

Red River Inn
  The finish line brought plenty of food and beverages (four dining carts and your choice of beer, wine and soda with your drink ticket). Plenty of ice cold water was supplied as usual. We sat on the water and consoled our aching bodies and weary brains. The weather was absolutely beautiful; cool in the breeze and warm in the sun. My friends and I soaked up the proud moment of being Washingtonians as we sat on the harbor. Dusk brought a chilly breeze and as our team departed for our last Metro ride of the day, we agreed that the DC Challenge is a MUST-DO in 2012.

Washington Monument
Ulysses Grant Memorial and The Capital

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