Clearly, the title says it all. But let's take it from the top.
I woke up around 0700 this morning to begin my final preparations. I had a single serving of some wheat crackers to jump start my metabolism.
I then proceeded to drink roughly 168 ounces of water in the next 3 or so hours to stretch out my stomach. Makes sense, right?
I got to the point where I was going to the bathroom every 20 minutes, so I stopped drinking water at 1100 (about 2 hours before the challenge would begin).
Also at this time, I ate 3 sugary gummy candies, again to kind of kick my appetite into high gear. By this point, I was pretty hungry, and the tease of these snacks only served to magnify that feeling.
And then, just like that, it was time. Everyone assembled at Old Shawnee Pizza. Once we were all there, we ordered. Quinn and I, without the slightest hesitation, ordered our 18'' Biggin challenges. I got mine with just Italian sausage and he got his with half chicken and half pineapple. Here we go...
Still brimming with confidence from the Johnny's pizza warm up, we waited for a while for the pizzas to cool down. They looked big, but we weren't that worried. I mean, we had a full hour. And let me remind you that I casually ate the Johnny's 18" pizza in 28 minutes. So even if this one was thicker, surely it wouldn't take more than double the amount of time.
At this point, our pizzas were sufficiently cooled down. We alerted the staff that we would be beginning, and they started the timer.
It was on.
After our first slices (there were 16 slices, which should have been our first red flag), Quinn and I kind of looked at each other with an "uh oh" expression on each of our faces. This pizza was definitely thicker than we had anticipated. Still undeterred, we ate on.
I'll take this opportunity to mention that the pizza was actually very good. It had so much cheese and sausage that it was, at times, hard to detect the slightest hint of crust. That's alright in my book!
But apparently not for challenges.
When I got to about 7/16 of the way through the pizza, it felt like I was already hitting a wall. I could tell that Quinn, who was a couple slices ahead of me, was feeling the same way. Our eating paces slowed to a crawl, and it was all but over at this point.
For the next 30 minutes, we tried everything we could to force more pizza down, but it just wasn't working. Quinn said he was feeling pretty full, and this is obviously to be expected. And while I, too, was feeling full, it was more so the richness and thickness of the cheese that was getting to me. I wasn't feeling incredibly stuffed, but the taste of all that cheese combined with the sausage was just getting too strong. To confirm this theory, I scraped off all the cheese and sausage from one slice, and I had no trouble downing the now naked crust in under 10 seconds. But then I was left with literally a clump of cheese and meat. But at that point it didn't matter.
We were now down to our final minute, and Quinn had the better part of 3 slices left. He was close. I finished with around 4 slices remaining, so I wasn't that far behind. But I won't say that leaving 25% of the challenge uneaten is a near miss. I guess it would have been worse to have eaten like 15 slices and missed it by one slice, but at least that scenario offers more hope of future vindication. If I hope to ever be able to complete this challenge, I would need to put in some serious work, but what that would comprise I have not the means nor motivation to complete.
As we left the restaurant, heads down in shame, we lamented our loss. Both Quinn and I agreed that it wasn't the most filling challenge ever. I mean, we both felt relatively fine. Heck, we even agreed that we could both eat some ice cream or something. It's just that the flavor of the cheese and the pizza as a whole became so overpowering. If there was a way to change the flavor mid-challenge from cheese to something else, I think we both could have finished it. But I guess that's why they call it a challenge. If everyone could do it, it wouldn't be a challenge.
The only reason this was an epic failure of epic proportions for me personally was because I was so confident going in. Never before have I been so sure I would be able to complete a food challenge than today, and to have that confidence just so utterly and unabashedly shattered before my eyes was a real gut punch.
After I got back home, I just sat in my car for a while contemplating the events of the last few days that led to my confidence being so utterly and unabashedly shattered before my eyes. The real question in my head became, "Do I even get huge?"
So, what's next? How about we start by making good on that ice cream.