Saturday, April 21, 2012

Moe's Burrito Dash (3-miler) 5k

#1:  Win $2000
#2:  Win prize money
#3:  Don't puke
#4:  Don't lose in the burrito eating part

17:42, 1st Place, $2000
Splits:  5:15, 7:08 (includes burrito consumption), 5:20
Burrito split:  1:46-ish?

How could I not have fun at a race where I walked away with a check for $2,000?  Maybe I did have to shove a burrito down my throat in less than five bites.  Maybe there were at least three other NC races that had prize money that attracted some of the state's best runners elsewhere.  Maybe I found a new niche--competitive eating.

Regardless, this race was definitely a memorable one.  Before the race, Kylee Schuler informed me via Facebook that one of her running buddies (Becca Prichard) would be making an appearance.  I did a quick search and decided she was definitely a contender.  I crafted a strategy in my head to hopefully walk away with the most money.  By 6:30am on Saturday morning, my mom, John and I all piled into my car to make the trek down to Columbia, SC.  On the way, we passed Chad and Danielle in their flashy white Prius.  We waved at Chad, who looked at us like we were woo-hoos because he didn't know who we were.  With plenty of time to spare, we pulled up to the start line and scoped out our surroundings and competition.  I hadn't spotted Becca yet, but I did spot two men--Ryan Woods and Devin Swann--lumbering down towards our way.  As they half-heartedly waved at us, the fastest male runners of NC each quickly assessed their odds of beating one another. John's hopes sank.

During our warmup, I assessed the course, which I had mapped out myself the day before and had deemed fairly flat for Columbia.  It featured a couple more hills than I had hoped for, including a fairly flat first mile with one short uphill, a downhill 2nd mile with a nasty steep uphill right before the burrito station, and a gradual uphill 3rd mile.  After our warmup, I spotted Becca--a fellow redhead--and introduced myself, realizing instantaneously that I liked her.  Redheads unite!

Becca and I situated ourselves behind the elite men and they kicked us off with a countdown to "MOE'S!"  We were off.  I executed my strategy, which was to take off like a bat out of hell, to perfection.  I wanted to gain any distance that I could on anyone who thought they could be a contender.  Surprisingly, I found myself ahead of Chad Crockford in the first 600 meters, and immediately realized that I probably had gone out a little too hard.  Chad passed me and told me that the next girl was five seconds behind me.  Chad gapped me by a couple of meters, but after we passed the mile mark in 5:15, he seemed to ease back a little to help me out.  By 1.5 miles, Becca was right off my shoulder.  Was I worried?  Heck yeah.  Fortunately, Chad provided me tons of encouragement when we approached the really steep hill that was situated right before the burrito station.  I think I gapped Becca a little on the uphill portion, slowed to a walk to grab a water bottle and a veggie burrito before parking myself in front of a Moe's Burrito judge.

I had a brief moment of panic as I struggled to open my water bottle, and even asked my judge helplessly to open it for me.  Instead, they looked at me pathetically.  I finally got it open, took my first huge bite of the burrito, and followed it immediately with water.  Water made it MUCH easier to chew and swallow. The tortilla tasted like glue. I don't remember much else about that burrito. It could have been a donut for all that I care.  I glanced over towards Becca.  It looked like she had eaten the same amount of burrito as me.  I had to hurry it up.  I decided to make my bites even bigger.  After three or so bites, I was much further ahead on my burrito competition than Becca.  A burst of confidence flowed through me, and suddenly I thought to myself: You've got this.  And then, next to me, Devin Swann started to gag.  Chad Crockford started coughing.  I moved a couple of feet further from Devin to avoid the possibility of having puke on me and also from having a gag reflect myself. I ignored them.  After five bites, I took the last bite.  The judges kept urging me to "just say Welcome to Moe's," but I had to get the last swallow in to prevent any rice pieces to get dislodged in places they shouldn't be--like in my throat, nose, mouth.  I also didn't want to risk the possibility of getting disqualified.  As evidenced by the video below (courtesy of my #1 fan--my mom), I dropped that water bottle with a force that said:  I'm gonna win this $hit. A quick  WELCOME TO MOES! And I took off!

And then there was the last mile.  Two guys passed me, a guy in black and a guy in green.  But, Becca didn't.  She admitted on the cool down later that she didn't try as hard once she realized that she was solid for second place.  The last mile wasn't hard on my stomach at all.  It was just hard to pay attention to the race when remnants of rice were still stuck in the back of my cheek.  I coughed a couple of times to try to clear the piping, but it didn't work so well. Again, I ignored it.  With 600m to go, we made a left turn into the last straightaway to the finish, and I glanced back to see if Becca was making any ground on me.  She wasn't, but she wasn't out of contention either.  I pushed as hard as I could to cross the finish line in 17:42.  Becca came in only 14 seconds later.

Overall, this was a well organized race.  Everything started on time and they managed the burrito station pretty well.  The course was the best course one could ask for in Columbia since it's pretty hilly in the downtown area.  If there's prize money again next year, I'll be there.


Emz said...

Holy. Crap.
You are my new hero.

Meenal said...

That's just awesome! GO Caitlin! :)

Hanna B said...

Amazing Caitlin. Congrats! Sounds like a lot of fun:)

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