RALEIGH — I am a failure.
I know this, because I watched a post-menopausal lady eat a dozen doughnuts in the time it took me to eat eight. I then watched her run off while I stood, doubled over, in front of a gas station on Peace Street, trying in vain to keep the pounds of deep-fried dough and sugar in my stomach. I realized at that point, as I regurgitated doughnut No. 9, that I had made a terrible mistake in running the Krispy Kreme Challenge.
I woke up early Saturday morning and drove to Raleigh, parking my car in a deck in the middle of the N.C. State campus. I then trekked over to the area around the Bell Tower to register for the race. I was immediately struck by the utter absurdity of the entire situation–attire was, if I could best describe it, Tailgate-lite: There was a guy in a women’s swimsuit, a couple of ‘Where’s Waldo?’ doppelgangers and an overabundance of body paint. ESPN was there, and there were television crews recording the whole sordid scene. At the registration tent, I found out that there had been a slight mix-up, and I would not be running the race as an actual registered runner. (Don’t worry, I’m giving a donation to the hospital because I didn’t get to pay the entry fee).
I lined up with 5,000 other runners, as well as hundreds of spectators watching from the side of the road. The race began, and, as inspirational music blared (think Eye of the Tiger), we began to run.
My first thought: This isn’t that bad. It was downhill almost the entire way to the restaurant.