Wow, I may never eat a doughnut again! ;-)
I knew this was gonna be a weird one when I got there. I parked my car a block from the school, and I was getting myself ready when I heard this crazy sound -- two cats were fighting like fricking crazy in the bushes next to my car. One of them had a lower sound - I though it was a dog at first. Anyhow, it was a real battle royale.
Did a minimal 20 minute warm-up. I felt really flat because I hadn't run the previous 3 days. We lined up and were informed that there were several trash bins located along the route in case any of us had "issues" on the way back. It's not often there's such a strong expectation of in-race hurling, but at least they were prepared for it.
I got off to a decent start, and was probably within the first 20 runners or so after a half mile. A quick glance at my watch showed I was right around 6 minute pace. But the flat feeling during my warm-up never left me, and I could tell I didn't have much fight in me. First mile in 6:13, but the last quarter of that had a lot of slowing.
At some point, I was crossing the railroad tracks and the guy next to me said "I'm sure glad there wasn't a train this morning." Well, a few minutes after we crossed, a train did roll through and held up a lot of the runners. Doh!
Ok, enough prelude. I arrived at Krispy Kreme after roughly 2.2 miles. There was a huge crowd on hand of volunteers, as well as people who enjoy watching the suffering of others. I took my box of doughnuts, grabbed a cup of water, and found a clear spot. The run had sapped most of of my desire to slam through the doughnuts, and I wasn't relishing what was about to happen.
My experiments on Thursday showed that one doughnut at a time was actually more efficient than stacking multiple doughnuts, which was what the guy next to me was doing. I tore into that first doughnut with vigor. And nearly upchucked. Those things are delicious, but not after running. I realized that I was no Kobayashi and that this was gonna be a tough slog.
Looking for an edge, I got some more water and left one doughnut soaking in it while I was eating another. Seemed smart at the time, but the consistency of the soaked doughnut resembled coagulated snot -- I actually got that warm saliva reflex that is often the precursor to vomiting. Rinsed it down, took a few deep breaths, and pressed on.
I was measuring my progress against those around me. There was a guy doing 3 doughnut stacks who was there ahead of me, and I was slowly catching up with him. I don't know about elsewhere, but it was pretty causal around me -- a lot of folks who knew each other, talking about how awful this was. I kept getting more water to help rinse, but not as much as I would like -- there was a steady stream of runners arriving just to get there doughnuts and water, and I felt bad taking 3 cups when some people hadn't had one.
My stomach was in a knot as I got deeper into the box, and I felt like I used to feel during one of my epic hangovers (i.e. "I'm never drinking again..."), the difference being that I was still in the middle of the act, as opposed to the morning after. I got down to 2 doughnuts and prepared to leave. I worked on #11 as I walked to the exit. I crammed #12 completely into my mouth and showed them my empty box. I received the highly-coveted checkmark on my bib, indicating that I had eaten all 12.
And then, I started to "run." I was jogging moderately slow, just trying to find a rhythm. I discovered that just the water sloshing around in my stomach was just a big a problem as the huge wad of doughnuts. But I think the worst things (other than that 12th doughnut, which took me almost a mile to get down) were the stickiness in my mouth and on my hands. It was just yucktastic. I stopped at the first water stop and thoroughly rinsed my hands.
At one point, I got back into a decent rhythm, but after a solid couple of minutes, I was at the shore of the River Heave and I did not feel like wading in. I walked for just a little bit, and settled into a jog the rest of the way. The sight of the finish line only inspired the tiniest increase in speed, and finishing did not provide the sweet relief I was looking for -- I actually wished I had hurled.
No telling where I placed. The trip back was a mix of people who ate all 12, ate a few, or didn't eat any at all. And they didn't take our tabs at the finish - it was purely for T-shirts to those who got the magic-check mark and finished under 1 hour (plus some added time due to the train crossing the course). So all I got a 2nd T-shirt (same design, different color) as the shirt in the race packet, and no idea about anything else. Amazingly didn't see anyone hurl, or see any hurl on the road. The stop at KK (plus the train) had really spread people out, much more than you'd usually see for a race that short.
As you might imagine, I wasn't feeling well for the better part of several hours. I went to eat dim sum for a big family lunch (wish I coulda skipped that one), and it was noted that no one had ever seen me eat so little. I was especially repulsed by the desserts. Go figure.
So, now that I write this, it's been two days. I confronted my demon this morning by swinging by the Krispy Kreme drive-thru and getting a couple of doughnuts. You know, just to see if I would experience post-traumatic stress disorder. When I opened my window, the smell, normally the scent of sugary-delicious awesomeness, made me feel a little bit queasy. But one yummy bite, and I forgave Krispy Kreme.
It was "fun". Will I do it next year? On race day, I was like "no fucking way." Now, I'm already trying to plan a strategy to improve on the 13:27 doughnut split, which I think I can cut in half next time. Gotta aim high, right? In the final analysis, eating after running was harder than running after eating -- the actual act of consuming the doughnuts after a medium-hard run was tougher than the run afterward. Maybe I'd think otherwise if I'd really tried to run the last leg hard. It was probably best summed up by the runner I overheard after the race who said, "I ran a marathon last week. This was harder." And stupider.
One final note: The doughnuts were 200 Cal each, and I burned roughly 600 Cal running 4 miles. So for this race, my net calories were +1800!!!