Last night I went to take on the challenge of getting on the wall at OB’s Grill and Bar in Manhattan Beach. To immortalize yourself you need to eat 10 of their tacos. These are not your ordinary size Taco Bell value menu tacos, these are what I would call the equivalent of medium-sized burritos.
One of my soccer teammates, the petite Melissa C. was able to do it, so I thought it would be easy for Big JD to handle. She was talking smack and the owner of OB’s talked a little smack so I had to throw down, right? I even threw in a bit of “I’m from Michigan” to add a little geographic pride to my already overflowing pool of ego motivation.
MISTAKE #1 – Showed up after the place was packed and we couldn’t find a seat. Thankfully, I was there with Rob T., a local who knows tons of people so we shared a table.
I was supposed to do this with two other teammates, but both had scheduling issues and couldn’t make it. Even Melissa was out-of-town and couldn’t be there. I got there and my boy Rob suggested that I go for it, but if I don’t make it, it can be like a training run. I agreed and jumped in and ordered 4 to get out of the gate. I had a good pace and kept up the conversation with the people around me.
MISTAKE #2 – I drank beer…water will be on tap next time
So, the four went down with good pacing. We were off and running.
MISTAKE #3 – I didn’t order the second round of tacos until the 1st was done.
I finally got the waitress’ attention and ordered the next round of three. Taco Tuesday is really busy and I think it took 15-20 minutes to get that order in. That is ton of time for the stomach to communicate to the brain that you’re getting full.
MISTAKE #4 – I was ordering the beef tacos (on Melissa’s recommendation), but the chicken ones seemed a bit smaller. Maybe she was setting me up!
So I got the next three and the pacing was a bit slower, but steady. I got two down and ordered the last three. I picked up number 8 and realized that I had hit a wall. I was chewing more deliberately and breathing to avoid the tacos making a return trip. 3/4 of the way through number 8, I looked at the last two and knew that it wasn’t happening tonight so I threw in the towel. Another teammate Rocco, showed up and was wearing our soccer team’s Mutt Sluts shirt! I saw no reason to go into the discomfort zone when I heard plans to walk across the street to Pancho’s and watch the karaoke…which is a story by itself!
The good news is that I saw the finish line…the goal was in reach. I haven’t given up, but now I know that a bit of training is needed. How does a guy like Kobayashi do it??
Well, mine isn’t a speed contest, but I can take some training tips from the “pros”. To be so close, I just had to Google so I could “gobble” 20% more next time. I found this on Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competitive_eating
“Many professional competitive eaters undergo rigorous personal training in order to increase their stomach capacity, speed and efficiency with various foods. Stomach elasticity is usually considered the key to eating success, and competitors commonly train by drinking large amounts of water over a short time to stretch out the stomach. Others combine the consumption of water with large quantities of low-calorie foods such as vegetables or salads. Some eaters chew large amounts of gum in order to build jaw strength.
Prior to a marquee event like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, some eaters, like reigning contest champion Joey Chestnut, will begin training several months before the event with personal time trials using the contest food. Retired competitive eater, Ed “Cookie” Jarvis, trained by consuming entire heads of boiled cabbage followed by drinking up to two gallons of water every day for two weeks before a contest.”
I also read that many of them physically train like athletes. This is probably so they don’t get overweight and/or develop diabetes. Yeah, some road training is probably a good idea so I’ll get some wear and tear on the ole running shoes too.
I don’t know how these guys do this sort of thing over and over. I certainly don’t know how Melissa did it even once. They had to have hollowed out her leg or something. Don’t worry Melissa…I’ll be on top of you soon. On the wall…geez…get yer mind out of the gutter.