One of my favorite aspects of being a blogger is the interaction I have with the online community; whether it be discovering some of the endless variety of viewpoints expressed by other bloggers; or building relationships by trading comments on my posts and those of others; or joining different groups on Facebook; or by taking part in some interesting activities within specific platforms, such as you find on Twitter; there is ALWAYS something fun to do, and someone to learn from and share what I have learned.
A particular favorite has been the #runchat Scavenger Hunts – I am a huge fan of scavenger hunts; I have attended hunt-themed birthday parties, took part in several during my college years (including a phony event staged to cover up some “alleged” campus vandalism that may or may not have actually occurred), and now a virtual hunt with thousands of players…who wouldn’t be excited?
So when the fine folks over at therunchat.com announced a Holiday-to-Holiday Hunt, running from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I was all over it – and today, I got my last item. That’s right, I have completed the list, and that right early! I thought it would be fun to share the hunt with you, so let’s start with the list:
This list was created by tabulating votes on items submitted by the participants…in other words, we did this to ourselves! Some of these are readily available, common things every runner sees while logging their miles; others presented a bit of a challenge – I will admit, some of these required creative thinking, and I had to create a few new running routes to acquire them, since one of the prerequisites of the challenge is you have to take the picture while you are on a run…no fair driving by something and snapping a shot!
So, here are my entries, in the order I acquired them, with a brief explanation of where and how I got them – if you haven’t finished your hunt, maybe this will help inspire you! (If you follow me on Instagram you have already seen all this, but the story is part of the fun, so read on!)
1. Body of water
It’s no accident that Houston is known as “The Bayou City” – we are criss-crossed with waterways. Here we see Buffalo Bayou early in its course, out on the west end of the city. I captured this shot while running 12 miles on the Tour de Hershey run last weekend with The Houston Striders, my road running club.
2. Picture with a runner you don’t know
Same day as the previous picture. I had finished my run and was hanging out with the others, waiting for the 18-milers to complete their run. This very nice woman and her friend were just passing by, minding their own business, when some guy (me) approached them, explained briefly about this crazy online scavenger hunt, and got them to agree to take this for me – runners are pretty friendly when you give them a chance!
3. Inflatable holiday decorations
Everyone has at least one neighbor who goes
berserk all out at every holiday, and I’m no exception. This family lives on the street behind me, and I knew I could count on him to provide at least one item on the list for me. I made sure to take a long walk around the block one night to catch his yard in all its glory. (Turns out he gave me three, see the next entry!) If you can’t tell, that is a giant inflatable dinosaur wearing a Santa hat, poised to climb down an inflatable chimney – although any child seeing him pop out of the fireplace would probably need therapy coupons in their stockings 🙂
4 & 5. Santa (or someone in a Santa hat) & A snowman
I had considered using Dino up there for the Santa hat entry, but once I saw these two standing on the other side of the same yard, I just had to bow to circumstance – some things are too good to pass up!
6. Railroad tracks or crossing
I had a couple of options for this item, because I do hill repeats on a railroad overpass a few times a month; but lately I have been running the trails at Memorial Park, and this line runs at the far end of the trails, so when I came out and saw it, I jumped at the chance – all that trail work has me in no big hurry to run the hill any time soon!
7. Mile marker or historical marker
I took a liberal interpretation with this one, and shot a picture of a trail marker instead – perhaps the caption that someone has added (Jesus Rocks!) was what inspired me…because He does rock, indeed!
8. Animals on a farm
The picture I posted on Instagram is cropped and enlarged, so it’s much easier to see the small herd of cattle grazing back there. This was one of the hard ones, because I live inside the city limits – not exactly farm country, y’know? But sometimes a series of facts comes together just wonderfully:
- The city line is only a short distance away from where I live, and this property is located just beyond that line;
- The local high school has a Future Farmers of America program, where students earn cash and scholarships by raising animals for auction at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo;
- Said show and auction occurs in February every year, so in December there are always animals on the property;
- One of my usual running routes is at a city park, only 1.5 miles away from this farm, so I added an out-and-back leg to my normal run just to get this shot – and to get some decent distance in as well!
Found this one in the same park where I began and ended the run mentioned in the last item – nothing like making the most of every moment! We runners have a complicated relationship with these semi-outdoor facilities – we hate to need them, but we can’t live without them. Well, maybe we could, but the general public would not be nearly as understanding; and who wants to deal with more, uh… issues than we already do?
10. Local coffee shop
I was kind of stumped on this item, because I tend to stick to the freeways, and get my coffee where it’s convenient – and then I remembered…a friend of mine turned me on to this place about six months ago; it is a far cry from Starbucks, let me tell you! Located in the heart of the Heights neighborhood, Antidote is a one-of-a-kind place: picnic tables on the side of the building, a variety of pastries to go with your espresso or latte; and if you need something with more kick to it, a nice selection of craft beers, in bottles or on tap, and wine by the glass at very reasonable prices; whatever ails you, they have a cure 🙂 Again, I had to create a running route to get the shot, but in the process I discovered another really nice city park with access to several miles of hike-and-bike paths; if you get bored running in this city, you just aren’t trying very hard!
So there you have it: my 2013 Holiday-to-Holiday #runchathunt in all its fullness. I hope you have found some inspiration to get out there, chart some runs, take some pictures, and get in on the fun – the contest runs until 9am on Dec 26, so there is still plenty of time to get your entries in! And, as a bonus entry, you too can post a blog about your hunt…I hope you do, I would love to see it! You can see other runners’ entries by searching #runchathunt on Twitter or Instagram – some of the stuff others have posted is hilarious!
Do you ever participate in social media events?
How about scavenger hunts, real or virtual?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!