Taco Bell 50k Training Day

I have ran many races in my lifetime - some through deserts, some through mountains, some through major cities - and I've always said they are 90% mental and 10% physical. For the first time in my running career I am thinking my next race will be 90% physical and 10% mental. Next Saturday, I will toe the start line for the 1st Annual Taco Bell 50k run in Denver, Colorado.

The Taco Bell 50k is the brain child of Lazarus "Twinkle Toes" Zolnikov. "Zoli" is a mysterious man of Russian decent who is said to reside in the Denver Metropolitan area. Few people have ever seen him, and it is said you will know him by his deep Russian accent. On one occasion, it is rumored that Zoli ate 30 hard shelled tacos in one sitting at a Taco Bell. The Taco Bell 50k is shrouded in mystery, and nobody knows when it will be ran. In fact, just 10 days before the race a FaceBook invite was sent out to select runners notifying them of a "guaranteed entry" into the race.  ONLY 10 DAYS TO TRAIN UP FOR A 50K?????!!!!!


To complete the Taco Bell 50k all runners must

1. Be present at all 10 TB stops along the course. 
2. Eat a menu item from at least 9 of the TB stops. 

3. By the 4th stop, all entrants must have consumed at least one Chalupa Supreme or one Crunchwrap Supreme (dietary restrictions will be allowed within reason).
4. by the 8th stop, all entrants must have consumed at least one Burrito Supreme or one Nachos Supreme (dietary restrictions will be allowed within reason).
5. Drinks do not count as food.
6. Entrants must keep all receipts and wrappers for confirmation of stupidity at the end of the run.
7. An off course bathroom break will be allowed at mile 24 (Wash Park).
8. Finishers will get a t-shirt a few weeks after completion of the run.
9. If you intend to participate, please RSVP your statement of intent. ONCE YOU RSVP, YOU ARE IN. THIS SHIT IS LIKE THE F*(&ING GOBLET OF FIRE.
10. No on course Pepto, Alka Seltzer, Pepcid A/C, Mylanta will be allowed!
11. Additional "rules" may be added, amended, or changed to promote the intent of this run, which is to do something completely stupid.
12. Congratulations?



As I thought about the training I needed to do in just 10 days, running did cross my mind; but really, running 31 miles is not going to be the hard part of this day. Keeping running shorts "clean" could be the biggest challenge. This is going to be a true test of gastric and intestinal fortitude. I have been running some miles for my legs, but today I realized I needed to really get my gut ready for next Saturday. So I recruited my son to go on a "3 Taco Bell" training walk. Sage and I left our front door on empty stomachs at about 1 pm.

We arrived at the first Taco Bell, some 2.3 miles away, ready to engage in a carnivorous delicacy. We each ordered 3 crunchy tacos. Sage opted for no hot sauce, but I wanted to really push myself so I loaded each taco up with a FIRE sauce and a HOT sauce. I really wanted to get my belly dancing. Oh yeah, I also poured a cup full of Mountain Dew down my gullet to really get the belly salsa-dancing.

I noticed a couple things with our first Taco Bell stop: first, Taco Bell is usually on a busy street and the scenery is pretty awful (glad I'm legally blind); second, the counter workers are not always the happiest or most expeditious in their work. These were two new adversities I spied, and will need to devise some strategies to ensure they do not distract my efforts on race day. Sage and I quickly devoured our beef tacos (I think is was cow???) and headed out the door.  There were two Taco Bells that were 1.6 miles away, and we chose the one that would loop us back to our house. My stomach was already making a gurgling sound and I knew that were no port-o-lets nearby, or guardrails (my favorite "relaxation break" place for visionrunusa). 

Sage and I waled diligently down Colorado Boulevard and past City Park - my favorite park in Denver.

We made a turn on to Colfax, a street known for its swanky hipster restaurants, tattoo parlors, and on the East end of Colfax are the "ladies of the night." As we neared our next Taco Bell, we spied a Wing Street location. I asked Sage if he wanted some HOT buffalo wings to add some extra party to our stomachs. He said "uh no", but I was able to talk him into having a couple with me begrudgingly. When I tried to order 12 traditional wings with medium buffalo sauce, I was caught off guard when the cashier asked for my telephone number. Even if the guy was half my age, I was not giving him my number.  Did he think I was "easy", or what? Wow! I don't know if Sage was laughing inside or thinking "Dad is totally out of control" but he continued ONWARD with me. On the next block was an ice cream shop, and I figured some dairy on top of the tacos and hot sauce could get the nausea rolling so we stopped in.

Sage and I both got double scoops. He opted for a double of Orange Crush with M&Ms, and I had coffee with pralines. I was feeling full after this stop. We emerged from the ice cream shop and I think Sage and I had the same thought - "we should have used the bathroom." As the luck of the Irish would have it, on the very next block we saw Taco Bell #2!

In we went for our second dose of Mexican culinary delight! As we walked through the parking lot I was thinking of chalupas, burritos, churros and cheesy nachos......YUM!!!! This Taco Bell was much cleaner and I only had suspicions of cockroaches in the food area. Sage manned-up and ordered 2 crunchy tacos, no hot sauce. I recalled the rules of the TB50k and ordered a Supreme Beef Burrito. I figured this would be sure to cause GASTRIC-GALORE! When our food arrived, I again lathered my treat with HOT and FIRE sauce. As I chomped down the burrito I realized it was a lot heavier that the tacos. Beans, cheese and ground beef were oozing out the back end - presumably foreshadowing my upcoming evening in the privacy of my home. When I finished eating the burrito I felt like I was going to vomit.

I pulled the plug on the training day at Taco Bell #2 much to my chagrin. Sage and I walked home on the 17th Avenue greenway and I was overcome with fear. What would happen to my shorts on race day? Is it humanly possible to consume that much grease and processed "meat" in a 5 hour time frame? Then, I thought of my other competitors - Zoli....it is rumored he is a slight build and eats only vegan foods with parsnip and tumeric.  Then, there was "half-pint M&M"....a small but mighty woman barely tipping the scales at 100 lbs who holds a Ph.D. in something I am too simple to understand. I think my gastric might could possibly carry the day.

As Sage and I made our way home, my belly began to "rock n roll". All I could think about was getting home so I could be the King of my castle and sit on my throne. Oh Taco Gods, I pray that you have mercy on us runners this coming Saturday. Zoli is quoted as saying, "there will be streaking for sure!" There is also rumor that at the end of the race, all runners will burn their running shorts as an offering to the Taco Gods. For the brave, they will do the "Mexican double" and run the Denver Rock'n Roll half marathon the day after completing the Taco Bell 50k. It is rumored that if you are able to satisfactorily complete the Taco Bell 50k, you will be granted an automatic entry into the McDonalds 100k in 2019. Only Lazarus "Twinkle Toes" Zolnikov knows for sure. And we can be sure that the stoic Russian will not divulge his delectable delights until 10 days before race day in 2019 sometime.

I salute you - the strong, the brave, the intestinally masochistic Taco Bell 50k runners.



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