Sunday, February 8, 2009

Competitive Juice

Note: if you about to eat a meal, I suggest you put this post on hold and read it later.

Yesterday, I ran in the Krispy Kreme Challenge.

For those of you who don't know, it's a race for charity where you run two miles, eat a dozen donuts and then run the two miles back.

It was one of the worst experiences of my life so I thought I'd give you all a play-by-play of my miserable marathon.

Let's begin at the beginning why don't we...

A few days ago, while discussing strategy for the event, a friend suggested, "You know, your stomach is biggest about five hours since your last meal."

I have no idea whether or not that's true.

But taking my friend for his word, at 3:30am the night before the race, I put on my jacket and made the trek to Time Out to eat some Mac and Cheese.

Less than four hours later, my alarm went off and I nearly started crying.

Eyes red and legs tired, I got out of bed, put on some wake-you-up music, and faced the morning ahead.

15 friends and I carpooled (in angry silence) to Raleigh, waited in a few lines, and long after we knew it, were standing with thousands of other runners ready to make ourselves sick.

The race began surprisingly well. I came out of the gates with my head held high and my feet down low.

I don't know how it happened, some call it adrenaline, others call it luck, I call it my competitive juice, but I finished the first two miles in under 15 minutes.

Breathing (painfully) heavily, I strutted over to the donut line ready to take on phase two.

I scarfed down the first cold, glazed donut, realized I was already full and almost started crying (again).

Manning up, I grabbed six donuts, smashed them together, dipped them in a cup of water and began nibbling away.

10 minutes later, after watching most of my friends finish their entire dozen and running off, I finished the smashed six.

Knowing what was ahead, I changed venues to the BP parking lot across from Krispy Kreme. I then smashed the remaining five donuts together, dipped them in water, took two bites...

...and immediately threw up.


From there, I sort of fell into the rhythm of bite, bite, splap... bite, bite, splap...

I actually overheard a bystander remark to his friend, "Hey, that guy sounds like the drum line in that Queen song, We Will Rock You."

They went on for a few minutes, maybe even mentioning "the glaze on my face" and "how big a disgrace I was," but I didn't care and eventually downed the last donut-bite.

A friend of mine (Chris) just happened to finish his donuts at the same time as me and we decided to jog back together...

...nice and slowly.

We lumbered along, getting passed by children on the left and old people on the right.

Embarrassed but determined, we kept our heads down and kept moving forward, slowing down only twice to throw up in a passing bush.

Finally, we rounded the last corner and the finish line came into view.

And that's when the competitive juice kicked in again.

Leaving Chris behind, I began running faster, determined to beat a few of the runners ahead of me. But after passing four or five people, I started getting tired again and thought about slowing down...

Until I saw her.

A fourteen year-old girl who was quickly gaining ground on me from behind.

If I had to guess, I'd say her name was Kelli.

And with 50 yards to go, Kelli caught me.

Terrified, I looked at her.

And she looked at me...

...then smiled.

And that's when I decided that there was no way that this cocky, self-righteous, non-sleep-deprived, joke-of-a-runner, girl was going to beat me in this race.

So I looked back at her with a grimace and choked out, "Good try."

Then I ran.


Harder than I should have been able to, harder than most people's body's would let them.

But hard enough to pass her.

And pass her I did. Just as the finish line approached, head down, arms behind me, using my last burst of energy, I passed her.

Once through the finish line, I headed straight to the closest trashcan and returned to the snare line of We Will Rock You.

After a few verses, I looked up and saw Kelli looking at me, confused, thinking, How could he possibly justify doing that to his body just to beat me in a meaningless race for charity?

And I thought back, You may be standing tall, breathing steadily and I may have thrown up every last bit of food and liquid in my body...

...but I didn't throw up my competitive juice.

I win.

(Alex - 1, Kelli -0)

Note: Yes, I know the aforelinked T.I. featuring Young Jeezy song is about beats and not feet(s) but it just felt so natural.

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