Krispy Kreme Challenge 2012

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It’s funny cuz it’s us who are chasing the police.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Yesterday Reed and I ventured down to Raleigh to take part in the Krispy Kreme Challenge. I participated in this race last year, when it was raining and cold, so seeing relatively clear skies and warmer temperatures was a great comfort. We picked up our bibs and warmed up for a bit before ducking under the railing into the starting corral. We were a few meters back from the start line, but not concerned as everyone sprints like crazy for the first 400m and then fades quickly. The gun went off and Reed and I moved to the right side of the road where we were able to avoid most of the crowd.

                This year, the running distance was increased to 5 miles (2.5 out and 2.5 back), so it played more into my strengths. Last year I was one of the first guys to get my donuts but was passed by a lot of people due to my slow eating speed (it took me 8+ minutes to eat the 12 donuts last year). My strategy this year was to get as big a lead as possible heading into the eating zone so as to try to negate my inability to eat quickly. By the time we hit the donuts, I was in front by maybe 20-30 seconds. It was pretty cool coming into the eating zone in first. Everyone was cheering and very encouraging. I grabbed my box and starting eating as fast as I could. Since there were just a few of us there at first, several photographers crowded around and began snapping photos of us stuffing out faces. It’s a little embarrassing, since you’re breathing hard, almost choking trying to swallow, and still trying to maintain a modicum of respectability as a human being. Soon enough though, you just ignore the photographers and stuff as many donuts in your mouth as fast as you can. Last year, the donuts were hard and congealed due to the rain and cold and I was unable to mash multiple donuts together because they were so hard. This year was a great improvement as I was able to easily mash 3 donuts together. I then tore the pile in half and dunked it in some water to make it easier to chew/swallow. I used that strategy and was able to get the donuts down in about 4.5 minutes.

                Despite my big eating time improvement, I was still passed by one guy in the eating zone. Reed was also making up ground quickly on me during the eating portion so I was constantly monitoring where he was and trying to keep ahead of him. I managed to leave the eating zone only about 30 meters behind the first place guy, so I wasn’t too worried because I had put a decent amount of time into him on the way down and figured I could pass him on the way back. I passed him after maybe a half mile and thought I was in first. Then I heard people telling me I was in 2nd place, which confused me because I hadn’t seen anyone else eat the donuts and leave before me and the other guy. I thought it might be someone who had not eaten all of the donuts, but wasn’t sure. Either way, there wasn’t much I could do about it so I just put my head down and ran. The worst part about the donuts is not eating them (although admittedly, that part is pretty bad). It’s the run on the way back when, as Reed so accurately put it: “Your tongue feels like a donut inside a bigger donut that’s your mouth.” Your fingers are covered in glaze and when you spit, it’s not spit, it’s glaze. It’s congealed and hard and sweet and disgusting. You don’t have time to get the donut taste out of your mouth, so the way back, for me at least, involved trying not to think about how awful my mouth tasted and how full my stomach felt. Not an enjoyable experience.

                Anyways, as I made my way back along the course, I was passing the masses of people who were still making their way down to the eating zone. Their cheering helped push me along and after a couple of turns, I saw the lead police car turning a corner up the street, which told me the leader wasn’t too far ahead. I kept gaining ground on him and passed him with about 200 meters to go. As I passed him he said he hadn’t eaten all the donuts, which was what I had suspected, but was still nice to know. I crossed the finish line in 1st in with a time of 28:37. The second place guy came in about a minute later, and Reed finished 5th in around 30:20. He and I cooled down and got our certificates at the awards ceremony. We both managed to avoid vomiting which was probably the biggest victory of the day. On a side note, both of us also got a lot of compliments on our shoes (Reed’s were orange and mine were pink) so we hope that people saw our shoes and then looked at our uniforms and thought, “Hey, those Bull City guys have sweet shoes. Let’s go to that store and get us some sweet shoes.”

                I think that about sums up our Krispy Kreme Challenge experience. It was a great time and I’m strongly considering retiring on top (for this race, that is). I don’t think my stomach wants to go through that again, as I’ve been unable to eat anything sweet since the race finished.

 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling great and running really fast in my workouts. I’ve felt good despite the fact that I’m frontloading my weeks and I think that speaks to the strength that I’m building from the high mileage. Last week we ran 5 x mile with decreasing rest. I was running them faster than I did this past fall (which wasn’t too long before I ran 14:17) and felt really smooth and strong. We started at 4:55 with 2 mins rest, 4:52 with 90sec rest, 4:48 with 60sec rest, 4:44 with 30sec rest and finished with 4:38. I felt really good, almost to the point where I could have run another repeat, just maybe not as fast. That made me happy as a lot of people hold the opinion that you should finish your last interval feeling like you could run another. I’m not sure how I feel about that school of thought, especially if you’re running fast. But I certainly believe that if you finish your workout and are absolutely wrecked, you ran too hard. Again, there’s a fine line there, between knowing your limits on a particular workout and staying within them and ignoring them in spite of the fact that it may result in overtraining and hurt you more than it helps. I don’t think I went over that line, or even came very close for that matter, during the mile workout. When I’m running the high mileage and including fast, relatively long workouts (upwards of 4-5 miles of work), it’s easy to become overtrained. That’s something I’m constantly searching for within myself. It’s normal to feel fatigued, but there’s a difference. I’ve been overtrained before and know what that feels like – you never feel good. Right now, I’m not there (I still feel good during the majority of my runs) and I think that as long as I keep my mileage about where it is, while allowing myself a down week every once in a while, I’ll be able to stay pretty fresh this spring while maintaining my strength and speed.

                While the 800s workout 2 weeks ago was very solid and pretty fast, I really wanted to run something a little faster, ideally at or below race pace. Last night we did 4 x (1200, 800) with a full lap of jogging rest. My goal going into this workout was to do some shorter intervals and try to simulate the speed I want to be running in my races. The first 1200 was a bit slow, but I think that was more due to getting warmed up since the next 3 were right where I wanted. The 800s were all under my 5k PR pace (2:17, 2:15, 2:17, 2:12) and the last one felt pretty tough but to be able to run that fast at the end of a long workout is a huge boost. Overall, the workout was exactly what I wanted it to be. I felt strong, especially on the last lap when I ran 66-67 a couple of times and felt remarkably smooth at that speed.

                I’ve got a 5k on the track coming up on Saturday at a new facility in Winston-Salem and am really looking forward to seeing what I can do. Right now, I’m seeded at 14:50, the fastest seed time. I think I can run considerably faster than that, however, and am prepared to push myself, as I am not counting on anyone else to help out beyond maybe 800m. I know I’m strong and after yesterday, I think I’m ready to run fast for a longer time, so I’m really excited to see how it goes.

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About afvarner

Runner. Donuts. Sneakerhead. Not necessarily in that order. Nike Trail Elite. Picky Bars. Gu. Vicory Sportdesign.
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