13 November 2011

Competitive Eating and Ultrarunning

Lately a few of us in Fort Collins have been running and sharing many tempeh burgers together at Avo's. Amongst our many conversations is that of competitive eating. For some strange reason I've been intrigued, mortified, and brought to my knees in laughter when watching people take on eating challenges. Over the last few years I've enjoyed hearing the stories of Fast Ed and Team CRUD in action. When you mix fast running and eating a lot of food the results yield comedy.

Our inaugural event began modestly with the Saltine Challenge. It appears terribly easy but has left the largest egos wishing for a larger salivary gland. Results below:


After being consumed by the jaws of defeat we got serious. To achieve glory one must think, train, and apply that body of work to a given task. Stefanovic began breaking breaking it down through the laws of engineering. Marks began to channel his inner eater. Jones began experimenting with hydration levels. Clark gave up; stymied by weak salivary gland output. I simply instigated and encouraged the team to achieve greatness.

Once the rigorous training period was complete we learned a few things. 1. Get hydrated! All cells need the max amount of water to allow full salivary gland functioning. 2. Two saltines at a time. The buddy system is tried and true. No lonely crackers for this challenge. 3. Look at the others around the table. Do you trust them? If you bite off more than you can chew who can provide CPR or the Heimlich?

The data was tallied and on his second attempt a victor emerged. I'm proud to announce that my taller, faster, curly haired younger brother took the crown! As I write this he is currently preparing to shock the world by dethroning the current champ and CR holder at the upcoming VBM in December. He's been studying tape and learning tips from Joey "The Jaws" Chestnut.

My best guess is that ultrarunning and competitive eating have a lot more in common in their collective communities than most of us might think. Ultrarunners don't bat an eyelash when discussing the latest 100 mile race they completed while eavesdroppers appear slightly shocked. It has to be eerily similar when a competitive eater talks strategy after putting down 77 pieces of pizza in 10 minutes. With Thanksgiving around the corner take the time to eat and be merry. Don't fret- with Chubby Cheeks sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas there's ample opportunity to regain that pre-Holiday figure. Time to eat and run!