Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Dizzy Donut Challenge; a race within a race

When I first learned about the Krispy Kreme Challenge and that an inaugural running of this event in Huntsville was going to be taking place in late November I was fairly excited.  The “Challenge” is very straight forward: Run two miles to Krispy Kreme, eat a dozen glazed donuts, run two miles back to the finish; all in less than an hour.    The Challenge originally started in Raleigh, North Carolina to benefit NC Children’s Hospital; in Huntsville the Challenge benefits the United Cerebral Palsy foundation.  In 2004 the Raleigh event hosted only 12 participants; last year had over 5500 runners!   

Unfortunately it turned out that the Dizzy Fifties 50km  was to be held on the same morning as the Challenge!  So for a short moment I thought that I wouldn’t be able to do the Krispy Kreme Challenge but then I got to looking at the possibility of running both events somehow.  As fate would have it, the Dizzy Fifties was to start at 6:30 a.m. (to maximize the amount of available sunlight this late in the year) and the Challenge to start at 8:00 a.m.  As the Dizzy Fifties 50km course consists of a short 2.3 mile “Little Loop”, followed by three repeats of the North (4 miles) and South (5.59 miles) Loops there was opportunity to run some of the early sections of the course and then go do the Challenge and then return and finish up what was left.  

So, the “Dizzy Donut Challenge” was set: run the first 6.3 miles of the Dizzy Fifties 50km course, jump in a car and drive to the start of the Krispy Kreme Challenge, complete the Challenge and then drive back to the Dizzy Fifties race site and finish up our remaining mileage for a total of 35 miles.

 Long story short, Kathy and I completed the Dizzy Donut Challenge.  My cumulative time was around 7h 43m and Kathy finished a bit later in 8h 13m.  I was rather surprised at how quickly I got through a dozen donuts.  The first 5-6 were very easy but then I felt full and it was tough to get the remaining donuts down.  Taking a page from the professional eaters, I started smashing and dunking my donuts in cups of water.  While disgusting, it was much easier to get the donuts down as there really was no chewing involved! Yuck!  Running 2 miles on a very full stomach wasn’t too bad and after a quarter mile of easy running, just to be sure I wasn’t going to toss my donuts, I was back running around a sub seven minute per mile pace to the finish.  Once I returned back to the Dizzy Fifties race site, I had a good next 15 miles running with Dana Overton while Kathy had a bit more trouble.  So in this stretch I got ahead of Kathy and really felt pretty good.  However, it started to get a bit warm out and I hadn’t had anything to drink during that entire 15 mile stretch.  I made a huge tactical error by downing a full bottle of water!  That really started my stomach sloshing and it was all I could do to just keep moving forward and not throw up!  So that next North loop took me forever as I had to gingerly walk every step.  Any bouncing would about set me off! Ughhhh!  By the time I started my final South loop I felt a bit better (I’d learned to just take small sips from my bottle) and I was able to shuffle along some and finished the Dizzy Donut Challenge.  Kathy ran the final North and South loops very strong and made up almost twenty minutes on the lead I had on her with ten miles to go.

All in all it was a fun experience.  I mean, how many opportunities does one have to run a race within a race?  While I don’t think I’ll be doing the Dizzy Donut Challenge ever again, I do think I’d like to give the Krispy Kreme Challenge another go now that I know a little more about what’s involved.