Saturday, February 5, 2011

Krispy Kreme Challenge: (Race/Challenge): 2/5/11

Time to eat the doughnuts!
The Krispy Kreme Challenge is one of a kind event that is part of the local Raleigh cultural fabric, and you are almost obligated to take part in the challenge if you live in this area.  Hiroko and I had not taken part in the Challenge since moving to Raleigh from Kasukabe, Japan in 2006.  We set out to change that this year.  I will start by saying that I was NOT the one that wanted to participate in the Challenge.  Hiroko started saying that she wanted to take on the Challenge the moment she her about it.  Hiro loves to eat sweets, and the idea of eating a dozen hot sticky sweet scrumptious Krispy Kreme's as part of a mass social experience just really appealed to her.  I think that for her it was about being part of American culture and fitting in with the community as well as eating a dozen doughnuts!  I always found myself reminding her about the running components of the challenge.  Eating a dozen Krispy Kreme's is one thing, but running 2.37 miles, eating a dozen doughnuts, and running 2.37 again in under an hour, is a whole different animal!  But, she never waivered in her desire to take on the challenge.  Therefore, as 2010 progressed and running became a larger and larger part of my life and Hiroko supported me through each new aspect of my running life, I knew that I would need to repay my debt to her, which is why when it came time to sign up for the 2011 Kirspy Kreme Challenge, Hiroko and I became part of the 7,500 registered participants.  And we decided that if we were going to do the challenge that there would be only one way to do it -- as Challengers!!!  We would do the run, eat the doughnuts, and run back.  There would be no carrying the doughnuts back for us.   We were all in!

The Race Begins

I regretted my decision almost instantaneously upon registering.  I do not have a good track record when it comes to vomiting and had at one point in my life acquired the nickname Puke Skywalker for having lost my lunch atop Mt. Fuji among other notable and epic spews.  About a week ago Hiroko and I came across the ESPN report from the 2009 KKC, and after watching it, I became really nervous about the challenge. I would even go as far as to say that I became something akin to a bitch about it.  Hiroko and I even went to Krispy Kreme and ate three doughnuts each just to see how it would feel, and it didn't feel too good, so I became even worse about the race.  Also the weather was forecasting rain for the day of the Challenge. 

Elvis Loves Krispy Kreme
 And not just a light sprinkle, but a nice good steady rain on a 35 degree morning.  So after week of pissing and moaning about how I wasn't the one that got us into this I set my mind to the challenge . . . rain, cold and regurgitation be damned!  The night before the race I took Hiroko out and got her a waterproof running jacket, and ready myself for my first race in the rain.

It's cold
Runnin' for doughnuts!
This morning Hiroko and I awoke to find that the weather people sure got this one right.  When we left our house to go to the race it was in the midst of a nice downpour that was cold-cold.  We of course accidentally stepped in the runoff at the first street that we crossed just to make sure that we had soaking wet feet before the race even started!  I was not a happy camper until, we saw all of the people starting to gather at the NC State Belltower, then the spirit of the event began to take hold, and I started to look forward to the Challenge, despite the weather, and my certainty that I was about to be very ill.  The crowds was in good spirits and many of the people had come out in costumes: Spiderman, Batman, Elvis.  King Leonidas and Bikini Girl were by far the gutsiest costumes that I saw considering the 35 degree temp and rain. 

Doughnuts Down in a Flash & Hiro's dream!

The girl that gave me my dozen

The start of the race found both Hiroko and I in great spirits and the first two miles were actually fairly easy.  The crowd did slow us down some and came across a couple of people carrying open umbrellas amid the runners, which was just ridiculously selfish, dangerous, and stupid.  But other than that everyone seemed to be having a blast and doing thier best to make this a fun and safe event for everyone.  Hiro and I did the first mile in 9:20.07 and the second in 9:21.14, which were not too bad considering the rain and the crowd.

Some People Go a Bit Far
Still soft and yummy!
1 and 2
Number 1
Then came the doughnuts.  They were not as cold as I thought that they would be and the first two went down easily.  I did them one at a time, and the rain seemed to help keep the moist.  After the first two, I began to smash mine together,  I think that Hiro took that approach from the start.  Doughnuts 3 and 4 were no problem, and I was still enjoying the taste.  People were talking, having a great time, and trying not to think about the next part of the run.  I kept my Garmin going, so I would have an idea of how long I still had if I wanted to get back in under an hour.  Really, the biggest issue I was having was that my hand were so cold that I could hardly use them.  I smashed 5,6, and 7 together and ate them like a hot dog, but the doughnuts were starting to put up a fight and the sugar taste was getting a bit too much.  As I finished 8, Hiro was starting her 6th and having doubts.  She really wanted water, so we moved around looking for water, but couldn't find any until someone gave us a cup that he had not drank from.  Number 9 was the most difficult for me.  10 wasn't much better, but 11 and 12 were fine.  I had swished out my mouth after 10 and the last two went down gleefully.  Hiro on the other hand was struggling and didn't know if she would be able to finish.  She was on 8 and not feeling great about it, so she told me to go on without her. 

4, 5, 6!
Still tasty

11 & 12

I start jogging around the Krispy Kreme to deposit my empty box and go through the gate for Challengers without any real issues.  I wasn't feeling that bad at all.  Honestly, I had been so sure that I would be sick as a dog, but I wasn't.  I felt a little heavy and a bit bloated but the run wasn't that bad.  In fact both the NHL 5k and the Autism 5k were much worse for me.  I had a little problem at the hill on the corner of St. Mary's and Hillsborough St. when I saw a guy lose what appeared to be a full dozen, but even the sight of someone else being sick wasn't that bad.  The worst part of the return was the smell from the IHOP.  The smell of bacon grease was not what I needed while running with a dozen glazed doughnuts in my belly.  But, even that was alright.  Mile 3's time is too difficult to figure with the eating time factored in.  I did it in 25:05.38 and at least 17 mins. of that was eating time.  Mile 4 took me 9:52.99 and I ran the last .74 at a 9.20 pace, which I am proud of considering.
Hiroko struggles

Last bite

Feeling good?

I made it to the finish in just under one hour but couldn't cross the sensor because of a bottleneck caused by people stopping at the finish line.  My official time was 1 hour, 32 seconds, but I consider the challenge completed. According to my Garmin I ran the Challenge in 1 hour and 36 seconds.  However, I had been standing and waiting to cross the finish for awhile before I turned it off.  My best guess is that I did it in around 59mins 40 seconds.
Some People Carry Their Doughnut Back . . . but that is just WEAK!

Belltower in sight

Hiroko was able to finish all 12 doughnuts and complete the race in 1 hour and 4 mins and 18 seconds.  Neither one of us got sick, and we were both kind of shocked by the fact that it wasn't all that bad.  I think that the cold and rain actually helped.  It kept you from getting too hot, the doughnuts stayed moist, and the smells were not overwhelming.  After the race, we both fell victim to a crashing sugar high and feel into comas that lasted around 4 hours.  I don't think that I will be doing this again anytime soon.
Finish Line


  1. Oh my lord!!!! This race is awesome! Although, I'm not sure that I would have as positive of an attitude about the rain. BLEH!

    I went to school at Iowa State, and they do something similar there in Ames, IA. I think that I may have to add this one to my bucket list!

  2. THIS iS MY DREAM RACE! Don't be so quick to pass on it for next year. I'm going to train for this one and we'll see you and Hiro in 2012!!

    I'll bet I can eat 12 KK's in 10 minutes...

  3. Irene, Hiroko says that she wants to do it again, but I just don't even want to think about it for a least another 6 months. I still have yet to eat a doughnut since the race!