Saturday, March 22, 2014

Moe’s Burrito Dash

Win $1000

3 miles warmup easy
5k (ish?) race in 18:20 with 2:05 burrito split
3 miles cool down for 9 miles total
Cool video recap here

In the last 3 years, I have won a total of $4000 at the Moe’s Burrito Dash.  I am very lucky to live close to Columbia, SC, a town that really supports sub-elite runners like myself.  I love how the Moe’s team here has built up a unique race that forces us to go outside of comfort zone and stomach a burrito in the middle of a 5k race.

This year the awesome race director decided to distribute the wealth:  he reduced the prizes for the top three overall (from $2k for the W to $1k for the W) and provided $100 cash to the age group winners.  I told him afterwards that I loved how he did that and he told me that he wanted to provide incentive for all levels of runners to come out and enjoy a burrito in the middle of a race.

Since my friend Nick won his age group, I saw firsthand how great it made him feel.  When he got his check, his smile was so big and he said giddily: “Something like this has never happened to me before!”  That moment itself was absolutely priceless.
Nick’s SnapChat to his friends
So - about the race itself.  I left my house at 6:40AM with Adrienne and Nick in my car and we made the short trip to Columbia in no time.  We registered for the race and I scoped out the competition...At that point I hadn’t seen any familiar faces from the years past (2012 and 2013) and I was feeling hopeful about my chances of success.  

After a relaxed warmup with Nick and Adrienne, some solo strides and drills, Nick and I toed the line together, ready for the burrito.  At this point, I had scoped out two women who run in Columbia, SC. I recognized one of them (Kenzie) from the Heart and Sole Women’s 5 Miler and I introduced myself to the other (Caroline).  I discovered that she ran at Arkansas when I was at Wake.  She is on her own journey to achieving PRs in the post-collegiate race setting, so it was fun to chat with her and tell her that it’s totally possible!

My strategy to get the win was to go out as hard as possible so I could have a good cushion coming into the burrito eating competition.   At the start line, I knew that my race strategy was still the right way to approach the race.  The gun went off, and a pack of all the elite men took off, leaving a large gap between them and me.  Corey Tretskey realized he went out too fast and after 800 meters had conveniently tucked himself in behind me, making me do all the work.  Since I was all pissed that he was totally drafting off me, I completely forgot to catch the first mile split. 
The start
Corey and I both came into the burrito stand at the exact same time and he went to the right as I went to the left.  I started walking as soon as I entered.  I grabbed a burrito, unwrapped it and began taking bites while simultaneously walking down the line to grab a water bottle and then finally ending at the judge’s station.  Adrienne was there taking some pics and offering some nice words of wisdom :“Caitlin, remember your strategy!” while I stood there, taking the race entirely too seriously and stealing furtive glances towards the stand to see where my closest female competitor was…all while scarfing down the burrito.  I gagged once, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as last  year when I was rushing because Laurie finished her burrito in like 45 seconds.  The two Columbia girls came in when I had just two bites left, so I calmed down a bit. 

However, I caught Corey stealing a glance at what remained of my burrito and he knew he was out to beat me.  This made me mad and excessively competitive again, and I watched as he took off when I still had one more bite to go.  I finally finished, about ten seconds later, and yelled “welcome to moe’s” and took off in a mad sprint.  I spit out a couple leftover bits of rice and beans as I exited the eating station and hoped I wouldn’t throw up.  

The next 1.5 miles were not as miserable as I thought they would be.  I actually felt pretty darn good and had a feeling that the win was in the bag, so as I rounded the final straightway into the finish, I let up a little.  I stopped trying to catch Corey and I started to feel a little vomit come up.  I really didn’t want to throw up across the finish line like last year.  I normally would not let up in the final 100m of a 5k race, but vomiting is never fun, even if you win $1000 in the process. I crossed the finish line and did not puke - SUCCESS!

The next two girls came in sprinting against each other around 20:00 and it was really fun to see them battle it out as friends and training partners.  Nick came through just a couple minutes later, looking fresh. 

Afterwards, we got in 3 miles of cool down and Nick convinced himself that since his mouth is so big, he obviously had a faster burrito split than me, even though he didn’t time it.  He probably did eat the burrito faster than me.

For the third year in a row, I had an absolutely blast at this race and met some new ladies in the process.  I was extremely happy that Adrienne and Nick came because eating a burrito without an audience just isn’t as fun.  Adrienne got to see both Nick and I chomp away at our burritos and had fun comparing our strategies (namely, my serious demeanor versus Nick’s laid back, fun approach).  I’ll probably drive all the way from Durham to do this for the fourth time in a row next year, assuming I don’t have any Duke MBA commitments. :)

Adrienne, me and Nick post-race


Post a Comment