Every year the Iowa State tri club puts on an annual donut run to help fund their trip down to collegiate nationals at the end of April. I had been aware of the race but had never had a chance to run it until this year.
What is a donut run, you ask. It's basically a 5k where you get time subtracted from your finish time for each donut you eat along the way. Now you may be thinking that this seems like a really bad combination of activities and after personally experiencing the donut run I can confirm your suspicions.
It was a great day for a race. 50s and sunny at race start, which is darn near ideal in my book. Prior to the race start I set a few goals for myself. I know I can run a 20 minute 5k, but I also wanted to eat a few donuts along the way. Based on the time bonuses awarded, which incrementally increase for each donut eaten, I decided to shoot for 10 donuts.
We took off from the start and things felt pretty good. I passed by the first two donut stations since I figured there was no point piling them into my stomach early on. First mile split was a 6:08. For a moment I considered shooting for a PR, but then thought why miss out on the fun of eating donuts.
I stopped at the next aid station and had my first 2 donuts of the day. This were not the nice little Krispy Kreme's that I was expecting. This were big honking glazed donuts and my first thought was that I would never get 10 of those down. As I sat there consuming my donuts (they wouldn't let you leave the aid station until they were gone) I learned a couple of things from my fellow donut eaters who had obviously done this before.
1. Donuts are dry and hard to chew and swallow. This is where a nice cup of water comes in handy for "softening" them up. It's no milk, but I'm not so sure that would have been any better.
2. Taking the "fluff" out of the donuts is key. Take two or three at a time and smash them together like a big donut sandwich.
Okay, lessons learned. With my newfound knowledge I proceeded to the next donut station and downed a couple more. I met a guy here who was also shooting for 10. Turns out we were running about the same pace too, so we ran to the next station and had a couple more. This is where I started to slow down and realized my eating skills did not match my running skills. He finished his 2 before I was even halfway done with mine.
Okay 6 down, 4 to go. My stomach was starting to mildly rebel at that point and the thought of putting down anymore donuts did not seem appealing. In hindsight I probably should have just ran it on in, but when I set my mind on a goal it's hard to let go. I came here to eat 10 donuts and that's what I was going to do.
At the last aid station I forced down the last of my donuts and it was quite the struggle to do so. It seemingly took forever. There was a lot of people there trying to put down one last donut so at least it was entertaining to have some company with which to commiserate with. After that I ran the last half mile hard, my stomach protesting all the way.
I was shocked to see that my finish time was 32:00. I had turned the auto pause feature on on my Garmin so every time I stopped at an aid station the timer paused. So it had my actual run time at 18:45, which mean I spent 13:15 eating 10 donuts. Man, I'm a slow eater!
Those 10 donuts that I ate were worth a whopping 10:30 in time bonuses so my official finish time was 21:30. So the moral of the story is that it's not worth eating donuts, unless you're a speed eater. Guess I should have just run!
This is one of those races that I just wanted to experience at least once. It's nice not to worry about setting PRs and just going out and having fun for a change. That said, it was also nice to find out that I don't have what it takes to enter any speed eating contests. I think from here on out I'll just stick to running.