On Friday evening, Fleet Feet Sports in the East Village hosted the inaugural Carbs vs. Caffeine 5 mile run. This was unlike any race I had ever run. We split into groups by choice: carbs or caffeine. Team carbs had 6 members, and their task was to run a 5 mile route with stops in three pubs along the way. They were to have a drink (ideally beer) and then head to the next stop. Once they completed the three stops, they were to head back to the store.
I choose team caffeine, and our task was to run a different 5 mile route which had three stops at local coffee shops along the way. We were to have three coffee drinks and then run back to the store. The first team with three members returning would be the winner!
Our team had only four members, so we were at a disadvantage, but we were ready for a challenge. After a few group photos, the call went out and we were on our way! I was rested for this run and it showed as my first mile was 7:58, and that led me to the first coffee house. I turned around to see where my other three team members were, but they were no where to be seen! Did they take a wrong turn? Did I?? I decided to go have my drink and hope that they would show up and that they weren’t lost.
I realized as I walked to the counter, that an iced coffee would go down faster than a hot drink, so I ordered a small iced coffee. I quickly downed the drink and took off again. I still didn’t see any signs of my team. I wondered where they were.
Miles two and three were going pretty well, until the skies opened and the rain started to fall. I was careful to dodge slick areas, road construction and other obstacles, and still made times of 8:11 and 8:15. I finally made it to the second stop, and discovered that they made iced coffee shots! That was just perfect! I slammed my shot and headed back out into the rain.
I was at the turnaround point, and was heading back towards the last stop when I saw another team member! I told him I was happy to see him, as I thought I had screwed up. He laughed and said “No, you’re just pretty fast” as he passed by. He headed on to the second stop as I, more determined than ever, decided to out run the rain.
Miles four and five came in at 8:18 and 7:59! But, a problem had arisen … I could not find the last coffee shop! There are lots of little shops in the East Village, and I got some strange looks as I stared through the windows, soaking wet, panting, with this “Team Caffeine” bib bobby-pinned to my shirt. I finally gave up and asked someone for directions, and tried to ease their concern by telling them I was in a scavenger race of sorts. I found out I was a block away!
I finally found the shop and walked in. As I headed to the counter, I heard someone ask “What took you so long?” I turned to find my other two team members! I was in shock! “How did you get here so fast?” I asked. They laughed and told me that they made it to the first coffee house, and then the rain started. They decided to run to the last coffee house and wait. Once we got back to the store, they would announce that they did not complete the race, so that way everything was honest. I said the main thing was to have fun, and winning was not important. We finished our coffee, and I took off to the store.
I was amazed to find out that I was the first one back! Then my partner, who did finish the run came in. Then the last two members walked up, and we explained what happened. Everyone was laughing and then team carbs started to show up! We chatted and laughed with them and then there was a raffle for prizes. Almost everyone went home with something, most of all a newly formed bond with fellow runners.
If you live in the Des Moines area, please stop by Fleet Feet Sports. It is owned by great people who love and support the running scene, and they are friendly and knowledgable. They also love to help their customers, from the beginning runner to the advanced athlete, and to give back to the community.
Live healthy, be happy!