Doughman X Race Report

Tenth year of Doughman in Durham featured a guest appearance of the Carbdashians as they ran, biked, and "swam" in fun-loving food-eating race

I don't remember the last time I did so much running and eating at the same time.

On Saturday morning I raced Doughman, a relay "quadrathlon" self-powered culinary tour of Durham. Heather, Jill, Lauren and I were the "Carbdashians." We went for completely over-the-top outfits: hot pink shirts that said "Keeping up with the Carbdashians" and a graphic I made, sparkle skirts, bling, exaggeratedly bad contour make-up, and wigs. (Well, the other three had wigs. I thought my hair was pretty close in terms of color and length so I did a semi-permanent hair dye to get my hair to proper black and put it into a high ponytail. It was cute on its own but it was a little underwhelming next to all the over-the-top wigs, so that's a lesson learned for next year.)

Crazy Race, Crazy Teams, Crazy Outfits

Anyways, the race itself was a ton of fun. Pretty much every team was fully dedicated to being a spectacle - "RompHeroes" was a team of four men in fitted tacky-print rompers. Bull City Track Club dressed as different breakfast foods. There was a "Ferrell Forever" team in various Will Ferrell outfits: Anchorman, Buddy the Elf, Ricky Bobby, and the "more cowbell!" SNL sketch guy. Seriously, I could write a whole post detailing all the awesome teams and that would be it. Even the mayor was there in a cape that turned out to be the Durham flag!

Mayor of Durham Steve Schewel takes a turn in the kiddie pool for his team's "swimming" leg. Photo courtesy of Doughman

Bull City Track Club dressed as breakfast foods. Photo courtesy of Doughman

A couple of the guys from RompHeroes. Photo courtesy of Doughman

Three team members of "Ferrell Forever" at Doughman X. Photo courtesy of Doughman

Running into a food-eating and triathlon celebrity

Leading up to the race my teammates and I were the creeps who scoped out our competition - checking out the top fundraisers, the creative team names, past race performances, and tallying up which teams were all-female like ours (we figured there were maybe three such teams?). In any case, during our research we found one team with one person's name for all four participants: Yasir Salem x4.

"It must one guy doing the whole race," I mused and then immediately Googled him. It turns out Yasir Salem is a pro: he's a competitive eater and an Ironman racer with a blog and appearances on all sorts of media like Runner's World, ESPN, MSNBC, and Wall Street Journal. 

"Oh man, this guy's legit!" Lauren exclaimed after I shared his website in our little Carbdashian group text. We went through his profile and pointed out Yasir's achievements with amusement and admiration: "He won the world cannoli eating championship!" "He's the Donut Derby champion!" "He's coming all the way from New York!"

So when we saw Yasir at the start line in a triathlon kit and a Grover costume of course we had to say hi!

Yasir Salem at Doughman X. Photo courtesy of Doughman

Yasir and a couple other teams who had fundraised over $1000 for the Durham Bike Co-Op got a five minute head start, so their first competitors lined up at a table with plates of loaded fries from Dain's Place and lots of Dixie cups full of water. We had fundraised $500 so Jill - our first competitor - lined up shortly afterwards for our 2-minute head start wave.

Leg 1 - Loaded fries and 3 mile run

Jill crushed her eating challenge; the plate of fries laden with cheese and bacon quickly disappeared and off she went, long blonde wig streaming behind her. Jill's leg was a running leg: she covered just over 3 miles out to Duke Gardens, through the gardens on a perimeter loop, and then back. She ran fast but even with the 2 minute head start she was not one of the first ones back. Runners from different teams blazed through the transition zones at a blistering pace and Lauren, Heather and I raised some overly-contoured eyebrows at each other in surprise at the serious competition. Durham, it turns out, is full of really fast runners.

Durham, it turns out, is full of really fast runners.

Jill eating her loaded fries at Doughman. Photo courtesy of Doughman

Wool E. Bull (Durham Bulls baseball team mascot) made an appearance to cheer on Jill and other competitors! Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

Jill finishing up her running leg and handing off the baton to Lauren. Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

So hawt. Check out the mad contouring jobs. Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

Gotta get that lip gloss touched up! Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

Leg 2 - Cheese lasagne and 4 mile bike ride

Quickly though Jill reappeared and handed off the Doughman wooden spoon that was the team baton to Lauren, who dabbed lip gloss onto Jill in exaggerated character. Lauren headed off for her plate of food: cheese lasagne from Melina's. Since Lauren was dressed up as Kris Kardashian Jenner - the mom of the Kardashian crew - we cheered "Go mom!" while she worked on her lasagne. Oh gosh, I did not envy her that dish! The lasagne looked tasty, but it was clearly dense and I imagined it would probably sit like a brick in her stomach while she did the biking leg. Soon enough Lauren was off on the green rental bike from Lime Bike. (All bicyclists used a rental bike from Spin or LimeBike for the race, either to promote the new bike-share program in Durham or to level the playing field. Or both.) Lauren had a four-mile route touring Durham and got a healthy dose of some sneaky Durham hills. Durham can surprise you with its elevation change - it's not like Chapel Hill that proclaims its hilliness in its name, or like Raleigh with long, torturous rolling hills - but Durham is deceptive with a few inopportune inclines that can knock the wind out of you. (Don't believe me? Do Running of the Bulls 8K or Bull Moon 5K or Bull City Race Fest - you'll soon know what I'm talking about!)

Durham can surprise you with its elevation change - it’s not like Chapel Hill that proclaims its hilliness in its name, or like Raleigh with long, torturous rolling hills - but Durham is deceptive with a few inopportune inclines that can knock the wind out of you.

Lauren conquering that lasagne! Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

Yeah Lauren! Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

Lauren starting off on biking leg. Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

Lauren is all smiles after her biking leg! Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

Orange rental bikes from ride-share "Spin" at Doughman X. Photo courtesy of Doughman

"I hit every light on my bike route and I was so glad for the rest!" Lauren, who is still recovering from a chronic case of cryptogenic organizing pneumonia, gasped after she completed her leg.

"Oh yeah!" Yasir exclaimed to us after the race. "I certainly hadn't expected those hills! The bike route was tough."

As the competitive teams - including an athletic Duke triathlon collegiate team - came barreling up Ninth Street on the orange bikes I laughed at the sight. It was cartoonish with all these buff athletes pedaling as hard as they could on these rental bikes, turning sharply into the parking lot and skidding into the transition zone. Lauren rolled up shortly and she handed off the wooden relay spoon to Heather while Heather pretended to touch up Lauren's lip gloss. Then it was Heather's turn to tackle some food!

Leg 3 - Pulled pork sandwich and 2 mile run

Heather had this pulled pork sweet potato biscuit from Grub that looked like it would have been delicious if she wasn't trying to shove the food down her throat as fast as possible. Heather remembered some competitive eater tips we found on the Internet before the race and she deconstructed the sandwich, going for the meat and filling first and then dunking the biscuit into water to make it go down easier.

Heather remembered some competitive eater tips we found on the Internet before the race and she deconstructed the sandwich, going for the meat and filling first and then dunking the biscuit into water to make it go down easier.

Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.Heather tackling her pulled pork sandwich with style! Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

The food for each leg at Doughman. Leg one: loaded fries from Dain's. Leg 2: cheese lasagne from Melina's. Leg 3: Pulled pork sweet potato biscuit sandwich from Grub. Leg 4: Daal from Viceroy. Final team leg/dessert: Popsicle from Locopops, churro from Cocoa Cinnamon, cupcake from Cupcake Bar, and doughnut from Monuts. Photo courtesy of Doughman

Once her plate was cleared Heather was off on her two mile run! She looped around the Ninth Street area and back she came, smiling under her glam sunglasses and mop of ombre wig hair.

Leg 4 - Daal, 1 mile run, and "swim" activity in kiddie pool

Finally it was my turn. I clumsily dabbed some lip gloss onto Heather as she handed over the relay spoon, and then I dashed off to eat some daal.

It was around 9:30am or so by the time I ate. I had just eaten a banana that morning before the race so I would be hungry for my leg, and I'd fidgeted in the parking lot during Lauren and Heather's legs, my stomach growling impatiently. So when it was my turn to eat a bowl of spicy Indian daal from Viceroy I was ready! I scarfed down my bowl, pausing just once to drink some water and let the spicy heat in my throat subside. People asked me later how spicy it was, but I couldn't really remember: I was so focused on inhaling the food as fast as possible that, besides the one time I paused for water, the heat didn't even register in my brain. (Answer: so it probably wasn't that hot? I'm not sure, I kinda blocked it out.)

Eating my daal for the fourth leg of Doughman X. Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

Then I was off on my one mile run! I was the "swimming" leg, but since downtown Durham is noticeably lacking in swimmable bodies of water I instead had a one mile run and a goofy activity in a kiddie pool.

The one mile run was fairly straightforward: I just looped around a few blocks: down Ninth Street to Main Street, connecting to Rutherford and then Markham and then back up Ninth Street. I sped along, passing one disgruntled runner and trying to finish with a competitive time, at last totally 8:30.

Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

"Whoa!" Jill said, "That was fast! We definitely didn't expect you for a few more minutes."

I grinned at Jill as I handed off my phone, grabbed an inner tube, and plopped into a kiddie pool. We were suppose;d to spin in the inner tube in the pool 10 times for our water activity. As one of the slower teams (all the competitive teams had far out-stripped out and most had finished at this point) the water levels in the kiddie pools were a little low and my bum bounced off the bottom of the pool with every half rotation. But finally I was done and I got out of the pool sopping wet and immediately we headed off to the final stretch of the race.

My "swim" portion of Doughman. Tell no one of this. Oh wait...did I just post this on the blog? Dang it. Can't deny it happened now. Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

That guy looks exactly how I felt in the kiddie pool. Except I had a lot less water. Photo courtesy of Doughman

Team finish - Desserts and half mile team run

The final food challenge was a variety of desserts and everyone on the team participated. I grabbed the popsicle form Locopops, Heather got the churros from Cocoa Cinnamon, Lauren got the cupcake from Cupcake Bar, and Jill got the doughnut from Monuts. We stuffed the sugary goodness into our mouths and then did the final 0.4 mile lap around the parking lot to cross the finish line holding hands as a team. (But not without posing for some glam shots from the paparazzi first!)

Coming up to the finish line as a team. Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

Carbdashians posing before crossing the finish line. Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

Showing off our worst duck faces. Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

While we were certainly surprised by the competitive teams and our mediocre finish place, we definitely had a lot of fun at Doughman. We ended up getting runner up for the "Spirit of Durham" costume contest after a very spirited team dressed as Lee High Coaching Staff and worked their way through the course with whistles and push-ups and inspirational speeches. Our beloved fans and paparazzi though stopped us several times for photos and the race photographer stopped us to ask for race advice on camera.

The "Lee High Coaching Staff" team - winners of the "Spirit of Durham" award. Photo courtesy of Doughman

"Waterproof make-up!" I exclaimed, staying in character with exaggerated vocal fry. "Like, with the water activity? Waterproof make-up is a must! Like, ohmygoooooooshhhhhh."

Jill, Lauren, and Heather didn't miss a beat, and they all chimed in with their own "Carbdashian" advice.


"Glam style!"

"Extra lip gloss for touch-ups!"

The photographer laughed and we posed for post-race photos with lips puckered in stupid duck faces, doing everything we could to hold it in and not break down into laughter.

Posing with the LimeBike. Photo courtesy of Michael Peace.

"I'm definitely doing Doughman again next year!" Yasir exclaimed as we caught up with him at the finish line. "But I think maybe next year I'll bring some friends."

We all laughed and happily headed to Dain's afterwards for a post-race beer alongside a few other teams, cheering and toasting and laughing as friends and promising to do it all again next year.


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