Monday, April 28, 2008

Sweet Corn Saga

Corn Results?

1. Sonya Thomas: 32 1/2 ears (34 before deductions.)(I knew she would do well. I don't see her too often, so I am glad when I do.)

2. Joe Larue: 31 (or 31 1/2) (33 before deduc.) (Big man knows his corn. Local favorite.) (Ate on my left.)

3. Crazy Legs Conti: 30 (31 before deductions)(Good corn eater. Still has the record with 34.25!)

4. Hall Hunt: 29.5 (43 before deductions.)(My brother in law is a produce manager at Publix, so I bought two crates a week to practice for this contest (about 50 ears per crate)). I really wish I could have done better to make him and all my other friends and family who traveled with me proud. They say they are, but it still hurts.)

Justin Mih?

Billy Perry Jr?

Pat Bruss? (Ate on my right.)(The Doc did pretty good for his first corn contest. Don't know his total though.)

Mad Greek (very interesting and fun guy. I enjoyed talking to him a lot before the contest.)

Steve (local who has competed last 3 years)(Glad to see him compete! He is a great corn eater and only lives about 6 miles from the contest.)

Michael "Per Diem" Parish (This guy was in my first ever Nathan's qualifier in Pembroke Pines, FL. I was drinking root beer during the contest and accidentally knocked it over during my eating frenzy. As the contest was still going he reached over, picked it up and set it neatly stood it back up in front of me. How thoughtful is that?!? He is a great guy and always competes well in south Florida.

(Top picture is of my corn. The corn from the 8th Annual Sweet Corn Festival was delicious!)

(Bottom picture is a fine example of one of the top 3 finishers. Yum yum. Gotta love that corn.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

8th Annual Sweet Corn Fiesta

I am very much looking forward to the Sweet Corn Championship. The contest will take place in the Yesteryear Village which is located on the South Florida Fairgrounds in suburban West Palm Beach, FL. I have not competed in any contest since the Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship, so I am very excited to get out to this corn eating contest. I know the corn will be good and hopefully I will have some good old Florida fans cheering me on. I love the cheering of the fans and getting to hang out with the other eaters after the contest. An atmosphere with great fans and competitors always makes my trips on the eating circuit worth every minute.

According to the last press release I have read some of the other contestants will be Joe LaRue, Crazy Legs, and Sonya Thomas. I am not sure who is going, but I have personally talked to Joe and Crazy Legs. I think I heard Wing Kong is going too. All I know is that it is me against the corn. I have to attack each kernel of corn with a pure rage.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rubik's Cube

I meant to write something up the other day about this last weekend, but I didn't get around to it. Not a whole lot happened but I did have a pretty cool experience. I found out about an official Rubik's Cube contest being held in FL. Apparently they only have one a year in Florida, so I decided I had to give it a shot. I found out last minute and drove myself down just for fun. Anyway here is the Rubik's Cube Competition link.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Miami Heat all-you-can-eat, Sweet Corn Fiesta smack talk, 8k run

This last weekend was quite a busy weekend. It started off when I got the call from Dave Hyde from the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinal. He invited me to go to the Miami Heat basketball game and partake in the all-you-can-eat ticket at the stadium. Like any invitation to have all-you-can-eat I gladly accepted. I hoped in the car and drove down to Miami. Unfortunately I didn't make it until half-time and found out that Joe Larue had been there the whole game and had already put down 12 or 16 Nathan's Hot Dogs. After greeting Dave and Joe I got to work (aka started eating). After eating only 9 Nathan's the literally shut the metal grating and closed the AYCE counter. At this point there was still more than 11 minutes left in the third quarter. In order to find more Nathan's I went down one level to another food counter. Since the one and only AYCE counter had shut down I had to talk the workers at this counter to let me get some food. After I explained that I was one of the participants in the Nathan's Hot Dog contest they gave me their remaining Nathan's dogs. They only had 4 jumbo Nathan's remaining, but I was glad to accept them. It was a great experience and my first Miami Heat game, so I thoroughly enjoyed it and would do it again. It was also a great time to talk smack with Joe LaRue about the upcoming Sweet Corn contest in West Palm Beach April 27 at the 8th Annual Sweet Corn Fiesta in Yesteryear Village at the South Florida Fairgrounds. He and I will have our work cut out for us going head to head to head against Crazy Legs Conti, the defending Sweet Corn World Champion. To read the actual Sun-Sentinel article you can click on my link.
As soon as the game was over Friday night I jumped back in the car and drove myself back to Jacksonville. I made it home by about 4am slept for about one and a half hours, woke up, got dressed, and drove over to Orange Park to run my 8k race. Although I was exausted I had plenty of Nathan's Hot Dogs in my belly to give me energy. I ended up having a pretty good run too. I was aiming to improve my 8k pace and finish in 38:00, but I ended up doing it in 36:11. I figure that as long as the pace keeps improving little by little I will do OK in my marathon. After my race I drove to downtown Jacksonville to play soccer with a group from church and elsewhere that meets every Saturday. I played for 2 hours, went to my favorite mexican buffet with the guys, and then went home and slept for about 12 hours. The next morning I woke up early and helped lead music and sang at both early and late service. It was an amazing weekend!
Today I have my long run. I have scheduled out my marathon training to have my long runs on Wednesday. This way it doesn't interfere with soccer on Saturday or church on Sunday. Anyhow, today is going to straight up suck. I have to run 14 miles back and forth this bridge that is right outside the office. I know it sounds rediculous, but I just signed up for the Grandfather Mountain Marathon in NC. Since the marathon will be in the mountains I figured I better train on bridges only. Last week I did 12 miles back and forth the bridge and it wasn't too dificult. It is actually very relaxing and peacful looking over the St. John's river during sunset. Plus I have a great view of The Landing when I run over the bridge. This is where the Jacksonville Krystal qualifier is held, so it gives me motivation to know that hard work will pay off.
On top of all this Patrick called me to tell me how his Acme Oyster Eating Contest went and also informed me that the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest schedule had been announced! What more could I ask for? Eating season is beginning!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Navy Run 10k

I ran my first official race Saturday since Jan. 2006. Of course I have been running a little here and there for general health, but mostly I have been getting my running from playing soccer. I and a few other guys that played in college meet up on the weekends and play some serious soccer for a few hours. But to stay on track...the Navy 10k.
Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30am to get everything together and start thinking about the race. Much to my chagrin despite the early time the temperature was already in the 70s. High temps are never good for a race. I, of course, put on my special running shorts, new high tech running shoes, "Hoover" hat, eye-black, and wristbands.
On the way to the race, I did not run into much traffic, so I made it to the Navy Base quick. Unfortunately, once I got on the base I could not find where the race was. The directions I got said go straight through the light and you will see it on your right. After circling around for about 15 minutes, I found it. Apparently, the directions should have read take a right at the light. Anyhow, I found it. I had about 15 minutes to attach my chip timer and be warmed up before they shot the start gun.
Going into the race, I was just hoping to finish in the top 1/2 and to try to maintain some sort of steady pace between an 8 min/mile pace and an 8.5 min/mile pace. My feet have been hurting a good deal since I have started training a few weeks ago. The bad thing about that is that I know it is the old injuries I suffered 2 years ago coming back. The pain is the exact same and in the same spot. The good thing is that I am still early in my training, so I can be cautious and make sure not to let the injury get away from me. I know that I can't avoid it all together. Anyone that has ever trained for a marathon or a grueling sporting event knows that you cannot ever avoid injuries, but rather all you can do is try to minimize the severity of the injuries you have.
Once I got running, I kept in mind that the marathon was the most important race and it was not until July. I needed this 10k just to get in shape, but not to hurt myself TOO badly. I hit the 1-mile mark at 8:20. "Not a bad start", I thought to myself. It felt like I was running much slower than that so I was fairly pleased. After that, I was curious to know my pace as I ran farther, but reminded myself to keep a slow steady pace and not hurt myself. Right now I just need to run and build up my mileage slowly until I get to the marathon in July. OK. But what was my time, it seems like it has been forever and I didn't see a 2-mile marker. Finally, I saw a 3-mile marker and my time was 25:00. "OK" I thought to myself. I have maintained the slow steady pace and I feel fine. Now I only have 3.2 miles left to go. It is time to start accelerating just a little bit.
From this point on all I remember is a steady breathing. At first I breathed in for 4 steps and out for 4 steps. Then I breathed in for 3 steps and out for 3 steps. I slowly started passing a few people. I breathed in 2 steps and out 2 steps. I was passing more and more people. "This is good" I thought to myself. My legs and feet feel good, keep going. I continued passing people slowly, but surely. Wow! Now my lungs are having some trouble. This doesn't feel too good anymore. I haven't seen any signs for mileages recently. I haven't seen much of anything really. I have been so focused on passing people, I haven't noticed much of anything.
Then I noticed that there was only about 3/4 mile left until I could see the finish line up ahead around the bend. Yes! Almost there! I had a shot of adrenaline go through my whole body. I tried to remain calm, because the finish was still a ways off and now my legs felt like rubber. My breathing was getting much harder and more painful. My nose started burning and my eyes started watering. I just want to keep up this fast-paced jog. I don't know if I can but I will try. It hurt so badly, but I wanted to keep this pace up. This would be my personal challenge. Despite being tired, having rubber legs, and the breathing starting to hurt really bad I want to maintain this very fast pace jog that I am moving at now.
Then I noticed a noise coming up from behind. I heard a steady rhythm of feet pounding. Then I noticed in my peripheral one of the runners I had passed a few moments ago starting to push the pace towards the finish line. I told myself not to worry about them. I told myself to let them go. I told myself to just stick to the plan and keep up my own pace. Something snapped. My brain started screaming at me, “DON’T YOU DARE LET SOMEONE PASS YOU AT THE END OF THE RACE!!!”. Over and over it kept yelling at me. So I took off at a full sprint. For the next ¼ of a mile I ran as fast as I could. My legs, nose and lungs were burning so bad I wanted to cry. I ended up passing him and several others. After I finished I realized I had finished in 48:49. Despite the 8:20 pace at the start, I averaged out to 7:52 min/mile. What started out as a leisurely jog turned out to be an all out hell of a race at the end. I hated it and loved it. I will be running again this Saturday in an 8k this time. My goal is to finish in 38:00.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Marathon training

Now that the Nathan's hot dog season is just around the corner I am thinking of going back to a full-time running regimen to burn off those extra calories. Actually the real reason I am going back to running full-time is a friend of mine wants me to train him and run with him for his first marathon. So, no this does not mean that now I am running full-time that I am not going to be eating any more. I will just be doing both simultaneously. In fact running is how I got into competitive eating.
Back in college I decided that I had a lot of free time. I made a list of things I wanted to do at some point in my life and running a marathon was one of them. I had never done any 10ks or any other races, but I always thought anyone who can run a marathon has some real grit and determination. So with this free time I started running. Along with the hours of running everyday came a huge appetite. Everyday after a run of 10, 15, or more miles I would go back to my dorm and cook enough pasta to fill up several salad bowls with pasta. I would eat and watch a movie until I fell asleep. It was heaven! Anyhow, this may be how I developed such a large appetite and eventually competitive eating. It is also the story of how I started running marathons.
In 2004 I ran my first marathon. Then another in 2005 and 2006. After this I started working full-time and eating competitively on a regular basis. My running from here on kind of fizzled out. This year I am going back to running and I am very excited. I want to run a marathon in July shortly after the Nathan's Hot Dog Contest. I have not decided which one yet, but I am open to suggestions. I am looking for something very challenging. Preferably one I can drive to as well.
In the meantime I am planning on running other shorter races to get in shape. I will be posting the results here on the website. My first race is the Navy Run 10k this weekend April 5th. I just hope I can do OK. I have not run very much since 2006. Actually now that I think about it I am most likely going to get really embarrassed by all of the Navy guys/girls there that run all the time. Wow. Oh well. This will be a humble start. No pain, no gain. Wish me luck.