I never thought I’d say this, but I ran one hell of a race (dressed like a bloodthirsty honey badger after eating a vegan tako).
Yeah, I think the whole sentence is what I never thought I’d say. MAYBE I thought I might have run a race (or swam, or biked, or crawled one)…. but NOT dressed like a honey badger, and NOT with a tummy full of treats.
Saturday morning, I met at my teammate’s house bright and early to put the final touches on our costumes (ok, let’s be honest, mostly my costume… I’ve got a flair for the flamboyant) before carpooling in the direction of downtown Durham. Our goal? The Doughman, an event that may have been the first thing I put on my Triangle Bucket List.
We registered our team bike (a road bike… remember that, as it comes into play later) and checked out the scene.
There were amazing costumes by some of the other teams. It was clear that folks had gone all out and, despite the fact that I probably looked like a road-killed skunk, I was channeling my inner bloodthirsty honey badger. And I was feeling great.
The organizers of the race called the teams together for a few announcements. First things first, they covered the rules. I can get behind that, everyone needs to know the rules. Then they covered some other stuff.
For instance, if you’d raised $250 or more as a team, you got a “time bonus” of a 2 minute head start. If you raised $1,000 or more, your head start was 5 minutes. We’d raised $160 as a team and, in my opinion, that’s awesome. I’m so thankful for my loved ones who donated, and I LOVE that we raised money for SEEDS. But the entire time the organizers were talking about the time bonus, I felt a big whopping pile of guilt being ladled onto those of us who didn’t raise enough for a time bonus.
Look at all those teams hopping up to the start early, all of you other teams… Maybe next year, you’ll think of that when you’re raising money.
Whoah. Wait a minute. Is my money not also doing great things? That wasn’t all that was said to us, and I feel like we were basically made to feel like second-class citizens for not meeting THE QUOTA. If there’s money you NEED us to raise, make it a requirement. Otherwise, don’t give us hell for not doing it.
ANYWAY, Team 38’s lead leg, Paul, faced a daunting meal before his 8.5 mile bike ride. From Dain’s Place: Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich with Homemade Marshmallow Fluff on Fresh Bread (contains nuts)
He chomped it down, hopped on his bike and got to getting. And then, the unthinkable happened.
The chain on Paul’s bike fell off the moment he started riding it. LUCKILY this happened inches away from the starting line, so Ben QUICKLY jumped into action and fixed it. But it didn’t bode well for the bike ride.
See, the thing is, according to Ben we “broke the first rule of races”. Don’t change something on Race Day. Paul had never used a road bike before, just mountain bikes. Uh oh.
I waited. I was the second leg and, after 27 minutes, the first speedy racers came in from Leg 1. I was getting fired up. I stretched. I jumped around. I ran through the course in my brain. And I waited.
According to Paul, since he wasn’t accustomed to gear changing, every time he had to go up a hill, he had to walk the bike. And then re-mount it. Translation? Slow and (semi-)steady.
Mercy rule, they let me go at 1 hour in…. And THEN I was off! Ahead of me? 1.8 mile run followed by a “water activity” (paddling across a pool in an inner tube!) after eating a treat from Kokyu. Ahead of me was their V-Tako: Soy Nuts, Sprouts, Vinaigrette, Cilantro, Kokyu Chili, Sesame Kimchi’d Radish.
I ran the short distance from the corral to the table and had at it. My first instinct? TAKE A HUGE BITE!
WOW! That was a spicy tako! The initial HUGE bite was the hardest to chomp on, knowing that every time I bit down, a burst of spicy Kimchi was coming at me. I wised up after the first half of the taco, ripping it into small pieces and chasing each bite with water. FINALLY, I got it down. Well, mostly down. I had to take a last few swallows when the judge asked me to show him my mouth. Oops…
The run BEGAN!
I jumped out of the gate FAST, much faster than I’m accustomed to running. I knew the course, I was ready for this. What I was NOT ready for was how very lonely it is out there when there aren’t any other runners. Since that whole “mercy rule” was instituted, it was just me and one other runner, one who was faster than I was. He sped by me (though, I WILL say I ate my tako before him, HA!) and, since I didn’t bring my iPod, I was alone with my thoughts. I know it was only 1.8 miles but, for me, that’s more than I’d ever run before practicing the route earlier in the week. After speeding the initial uphill + downhill portion, I looked at my HRM. Where I was at 10 minutes in my practice round, I was at 7:45 during the actual race. So when it came to the uphill portion, the quiet, the loneliness, and the TAKO got to me. There were a few portions that I had to walk (namely uphill, right across from the Durham Bulls stadium). I couldn’t help myself, I was sucking wind and thinking to myself “Whoah, there’s phlegm and cilantro in my throat.” I know that is gross, and probably TMI. Sorry. But the moment I saw the YMCA in the distance, I knew I’d made it. So I hauled ass to the Y, yanked all my clothing off (don’t worry, I had a bathing suit on!), tossed my HRM to the side, and hopped in the pool.
I HATE that I don’t have pictures of this, because I imagine it was hilarious. But I placed my butt in the inner tube and paddled my honey badger heart out. And I ran the last 50-70 yards barefoot, clutching my shoes and clothes.
My final leg time was 20:05. For eating, running, and paddling, that sounds GREAT to me. To give you a range, the fastest time I saw was 12:41 (Damn Bull City track team speed demons) and the slowest I saw for my leg was 30:40, so I feel comfortable in the middle of the pack. I really think I could’ve gone faster if I’d run the whole thing, but morale wasn’t as high without any volunteers out to cheer me on, or fellow runners to feed off of their energy.
Katie’s leg started off with a doozy.
From Nosh, Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper Spread (contains nuts).
It was delicious. Not that I ate many bites of it….
Alas, I didn’t get any pictures of the only meat-item of the race, but Ben had the pleasure of eating Old Havana’s Cuban Sliders on Gugelhupf Brioche with Maduros.
He ran like the wind (the fast wind) and actually had like, the 4th fastest time for his leg of all the teams. If we were ALL Bens, we would’ve won that trophy, I’m sure. We’re not, but I love him for keeping us in a position of honor for the last leg. They saved the best, of course, for last.
The DESSERT LEG!
On the menu?
Leg 5, team sprint: The Parlour, Mad Hatters, LocoPops & Daisy CakesMeal: Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream with Strawberry Swirl; Chocolate Walnut Whopper Cookie; Water-based Raspberry Coconut Popsicle (vegan); Strawberry Cupcake with Almond Buttercream Icing
I decided to take control of the strawberry cupcake with almond buttercream icing. I knew, if I could dominate anything, it was a cupcake especially with almond flavored ANYTHING.
I dove right in.
I’m pretty amazing at eating cupcakes fast, I learned and, after the rest of the teammies wolfed down their dishes, we sprinted to the finish line.
Team 38/81 came in 58th place…. But I know we’re #1 in your hearts.
It was brutally hot, it was tough to down food then go running, and bike issues got us down initially. But, on the other side, it was exhilarating, it was hilarious, it was delicious, and it was a blast! I would TOTALLY do it again. In a heartbeat.
I feel so lucky to have amazing buddies to make up a dream team, and I LOVED the chance to Doughman-ate the Doughman!
I am the Dough(WO)MAN!!
Craziest competition you’ve ever been a part of?
Eating, running, racing, swimming, I’d love to hear about it!
Would you ever do something like the Doughman?