Write “OYSTER” in the sand. Face the San Francisco Bay and bark like a seal. Do a handstand for five seconds. Hold the Golden Gate Bridge in your hands. Twerk. Scrounge for 99 cents even. Run 10 miles. Kayak through the bay. Do some trivia. “Chin” an orange. Slam a beer. Bike 20 miles. Tie shoelaces in an ice bath. Get fish from Point A to Point B. Bowl blindfolded. Scramble some words. Climb a few hundred stairs. Finish. Eat pizza. Sleep like a rock.
Saturday was one of my favorite races of all time — the Oyster Urban Adventure Race. This was the sixth consecutive year I’ve done the race with two teammates — my husband and a dear friend. We all bring something different. The friend brings incredible knowledge of San Francisco’s nooks and crannies (and this year, he bowled a STRIKE blindfolded). My husband brings logistical aptitude (and this year, he managed to get an Oreo from his forehead to his mouth without using his hands). And I bring my gender (and this year, I contributed the handstand and barking). Thankfully, we can all run and bike and keep our spirits up for the 3-4 hours this usually takes.
The first time I did the race, I told a friend “if I could spend every Saturday doing that race, I’d be in bliss.” And this year, I figured out why that feeling was (is) so strong. The Oyster’s tagline is #playfearlessly, and that’s exactly what that 4-hour window gives us grown-ups license to do. Yes, it’s an amazing workout. And yes, it’s fiercely competitive. But at the core, everyone who is out there is playing. I saw a woman with a raccoon bike helmet on. Another team of three men was shirtless and painted their bare chests blue. There are always men wearing tutus. There is pre-noon drinking. Laughter abounds. The day is pure. The fun is clean. And our inner kids shine.
There are tons of urban adventure races you can do. Beyond the Oyster, if you’re interested you can check out the Great Urban Race, Urban Dare, and City Solve. Your body, and most importantly, your spirit will thank you. See you out there!