(sorry if you’re eating while reading this. Or, actually, don’t eat while reading this)
If you know me at all you know I like to run, AND I like to eat.
So, when my friend Baker reached out on Friday to tell me they didn’t have any female competitors in the Hot Dog Challenge, I almost instantly said yes.
Note 1: Baker is one of my amazing friends (though ALL my friends are amazing!) who is also one of my favorite runners. He’s done it all and always in the most chill way, which is really not normal for a fastrunner/ironman/etc.
Note 2: So, Baker and some friends are the New York Rogue Runners, they put up insane challenges/runs/etc that might not be all about speed races… which is the type of fun I like besides running.
Note 3: The Hot Dog Challenge… pffff. It’s a crazy “race” where you run through the park and midtwon, around 5 miles and you eat TEN hotdogs. The official map and rules are all here; basically: all or no toppings allowed, no puking, all of the dog and bun must be eaten before you keep moving, and you get assigned a referee who will check on all of this.
Well, so I said yes Friday morning (race was Saturday at noon) pending long run time. Blaise hadn’t confimed yet what time we were doing our ten miler, which was going to be at Half Marathon pace plus + 10 seconds. By lunch Blaise confirmed we’d do it earlier, which I thought would build my appetite for the Hot Dog Challenge at noon. Then on Friday we had ramen noodles for lunch, and I added a pork bun, so lots of salt and fat, and by 3 pm I started to feel like crap! Then, I met my other friend for dinner and decided to take it easy: frittata. Ha.
When Blaise and I met for the 10, I thought I’d kill it. I was so ready mentally. HA. Really HA. I was slow, heavy and felt like I didn’t even have ten in me (though I love how every run always still surprises me!). Luckily, Blaise felt the same way so we plodded along and got exactly 10 miles at 8:15 average in the trails. Not so lame but not really what I wanted. Well. Whateeever.
I had 1 hour to kill before the noon Hot Dog Challenge… I was hungry, but what do you eat between 10 miles and 10 hotdogs? Yeah, nutella. Had a few spoonfuls, that I thought would rev up my metabolism… Riiiiight?
Hot Dog Challenge Start!
I made it to the park and I was already freezing (might have been really tired too). Baker gave us maps, read the instructions, assigned referees (Yo Rachel!).
All six competitors and the race director (Baker)!
All I was the only woman competing, so provided I ate all ten dogs, didn’t puke and finished, I’d split the total cash prize (of $350) with the male winner. Best shot at winning a race EVER!!!!
I got a bit scared in the last hour, I am not gonna lie… I can eat a LOT, and a LOT of MEAT, but the buns scared me… also the speed at which I’d have to eat it. I can eat a lot but it’s because I eat slow… I got a bit stressed for a second and started plotting strategies, I’d sprint right out, get to the cart first so I can order first, and would have few seconds advantage. Once you have that advantage, it’d carry through to the next carts… right?
Hot Dog Challenge is ON!
We decided we’d START at a cart with a hotdog. Pffff. My strategy was out the window!
Five boys and me. I was sure they could all chow down faster and yes, I was the last one to finish DOG NUMBER ONE and leave. Frustrated already.
I get moving, and 10 seconds later, I am running at 7 pace and telling Rachel, my referee, I feel great, I don’t even feel this dog on!
Well, 3 minutes later it reached my stomach or something, but I had passed two of the other 5 contestants during the run part!!!! I spot Neal up ahead, cause he had a super bright yellow shirt, and I figured I wouldn’t catch him before the 2nd cart but I wanted to stay with him.
We get to the 2nd cart, in the 7th Circle of Hell, and I am 4th, behind Neal. Those dogs were NASTY. GROSS. And we’d have to eat 3 dogs in the next 3 blocks…
I got FRUSTRATED… my eating was SO slow, I swallowed the rest of it whole.
Thinking it was down, I started walking towards the corner.
I can’t. I can’t breathe. It’s STUCK. The stoooooopid thing would not go up or down.
I chug the water. Nothing. I try to swallow it, over and over, nothing.
I had no idea what to do, and couldn’t even look up for help. I remember raising my hand up like I can’t breathe.
I didn’t want to puke and get disqualified, but I had no idea what else to do. I started feeling dizzy and like I was sick and panicky.
Next thing I know, I am on my knees and hands, in the middle of Columbus Circle, and there’s half hot dog, with bun and all, standing up and tall in the sidewalk. Mocking me. I had not chewed it AT ALL. The untouched half of a dog+bread+mustard is sitting up there straight, looking up at me like I was a loser. I certainly felt like one, and he knew it.
Who can here say a wiener mocked them and made them feel like a loser? This girl!
I was FURIOUS.
I was also shaking and dizzy.
Right then, an old lady scolds me for leaving that thing there. I had no idea what to say or what she was talking about, I was bit out of it, heart racing and all.
I love NYC. I love that everyone will just come and tell you how they feel. I still walked away from her in a daze.
Anyway, I was out, furious for three seconds, and decided in the spot I’d referee just to keep going, what else would I do if not? I was sent to guide Neal, as he was alone.
Neal was a trooper, he had done this thing last year so he knew what he was up against. I have to say he smiled through the whole thing, even though I was feeling bad for him.
Neal with the Ritz behind him, AND in front too! 😉
He smiled, he ate at his pace, he chatted with people, and he seemed fine, almost like he was enjoying it, even though he was different shade of gray with every dog… I navigated, tried to spot the hotdog stands and shoved people away from the sidewalks.
Everyone was curious though, we had race bibs on, maps and eating dogs… we got all sorts of questions and comments.
When we got to the 3rd card on Columbus, two carts after “my incident”, the people there were commenting that “Elizabeth was throwing up”. Well, that’s ME ladies and gentleman, I had to announce to my audience. I was instantly famous this weekend in Columbus Circle, by name and all. Can Meb or Kara say that?!??!
While running with Neal though, I was feeling like crap. I am not sure if it was the 1.5 dogs I had in me, or the throwing up that made my stomach a mess. I felt the whole burn, acid throwing up thing, but my tummy, who is always a champ, was not happy… I started feeling very happy with myself for not putting all those other doggies in there… What a wimp, right?
So, we run the last miles on Fifth Avenue, JUST like the Fifth Avenue Mile, same thing, and we met with everyone else there… I was the only female, the only non-finisher so I felt like a big loser, but I really had no idea what I was doing and was overeager… which means.. I will claim my REDEMPTION next year!!!! I will definitely make a point to chew my food. Not that complicated, right?
Everybody else did great and they all finished. We then all went to a bar, where they all had some beers, got medals, I had some fries, and then I proceeded home to whine and call myself a wimp for the whole day.
PS: If you want to read more, Baker’s post is here.
Original post with comments is here