Running around North Seattle

May 29, 2004

May 29, 2004 – North Seattle Street Scramble

Yesterday Jim and I competed in the North Seattle Street Scramble. (http://www.streetscramble.com)

This is an in-city orienteering event. Each team is given a map with a number of checkpoints on it. For each checkpoint you hit, you get so many points. The goal, of course, is to get to as many checkpoints as possible. There are 1000 points possible through 30 checkpoints. The event we did was 3 hours. (There was also a 90 minute category.)

The event started with 20 minutes to look at the map and chose a tentative route. We picked out what we planned and chose a couple points that would allow us to evaluate how fast we were going and hit some extra CP’s if we were ahead of schedule. After a 10 minute briefing about the rules, the event started.

Just like in any race, the first 10-15 minutes are pretty exciting because you’re in packs…the big difference is that every group went a different direction. You’d think you’re alone, and you’d go around a corner and run into 20 people going to the same place. Then everyone would scatter again to re-appear at the next one.

At the third CP, a bit under a mile in, we met up with Sally, who was following the same route for the next couple of miles, so off we went together. This was also where we diverged from our plan the first time. CP4 was about .75 miles away, so we decided to hit it since it was worth 50 points. Off we went, with a bit of a hill in there. (90 feet of elevation)

After a couple more points, Sally went off and we did our thing. We re-evaluated again and decided to add in a couple more medium point stops in. One of them was on a peninsula in a small lake, so we sat and enjoyed for a few minutes. A couple other teams came and went as we did this…the we were off again, heading up one of the the biggest hill of the route, 200 feet in about a quarter mile. (We were a bit over 4 miles into it now.) Ouch.

Well, without boring y’all, we completed another few points that were pretty uneventful The big fun was going across a parking lot at Safeway and deciding to take the elevator in the store instead of walking down the ramp. We figure this saved us a whopping 10 seconds! It was good for a few chuckles, since we figured we were the only team to do it.

The final excitement was at 12 minutes to finish. (You’re penalized 10 points for every minute after the end time!) We decided to hit one last point…we ran to the finish line, synchronized watches and were off again. We made it back with 3 minutes to spare for a remarkable finish.

We were happy since we walked the entire route (Not including running across streets avoiding traffic). We did 8.73 miles per the GPS, averaging 3-4 mph.

The winning teams were all runners. (The over winner on foot hit 860 points, 26 of the 30 checkpoints.)

I definitely need to work on increasing my speed to hit my marathon goal, but then I’m still pretty early in the training. (And the route was fairly hilly.) I only did about 100 feet of race walking, since my friend wanted to see what I learned at the retreat a few weeks ago. I’ll plan on more during the next one.

The only snag we hit was about half way through, we noticed the stopwatch we were using was stopped. It wasn’t a big problem, since we knew the time the event was over at, just didn’t know if my watch was at the same time as the judges.

Anyone interested in seeing our course map can look at this map.