They gave us one hour, but we were done after 45 minutes. We walked out of Pizza Casbah with bellies swollen to their limit and sat on the curb until we could move.
How did Matt Miller and I, Nic Turiciano, end up here? This column is supposed to be fun and enlightening, but at that moment, sitting on the Mason and Laurel curb, all I could think of was how much I hated my co-columnist, Kate Bennis.
I was thrilled when she suggested we tackle a food challenge, exuberant when she decided on the Pizza Casbah 30-inch pizza and then let down when she reminded me that sheâ€™s a vegan.
Her loss, I thought, but it turns out that 11 pounds of pizza isnâ€™t something that can be scarfed down. Unfortunately, that was something I had to learn for myself.
Miller and I watched two episodes of â€œMan v. Foodâ€ to train for the event. It was while watching Joey Chestnut devour a five pound burrito in three minutes that we decided we had a chance at summiting our mountain of dough, cheese and sauce.
The rules to the challenge were simple: two participants, one hour, five toppings and the victims arenâ€™t allowed to get up from the table. The cost is $50, and if you win you get your money back as well as an additional $10.
We walked to Casbah with lifted spirits. We thought that our 15 minutes of fame had arrived. We thought we would be heroes. We thought we would get the girls, money and glory that are synonymous with gluttony.
And then we walked in the door.
I was starring into the eyes of an 11-pound, 30-inch monster, and itâ€™s then that I started to have my doubts.
Only one picture showed an empty box held up by two seemingly happy men. I asked the Casbah staff about these two titans. Out of the 17 groups to try the challenge, these two were the only ones to ever succeed.
It was with this disheartening news that we sat down at the booth closest to the door. We were sectioned off from the general population and given a pitcher of water. Then the pizza came out from the kitchen.
Spread across two large pizza boxes, the mega-pie took up the entire table. Miller and I shook hands, wished each other good luck and then set to work.
At first we attacked the pizza with a steady ferocity similar to that of a college kid eating a pizza on a Friday night. It was after the first piece that we both began to visibly slow down.
Invasive cameras were constantly being shoved in our faces thanks to Nick Lyon and Kate Bennis. Customers would walk in, look at us, be disgusted by us and then carry on with their lives.
It was around the 30-minute mark that I was beat, finished, strong-handed by the coronary killer that lay in front of me. I looked at my partner and saw he was feeling similarly. We puttered out for the next 15 minutes, sporadically taking bites even though we knew there was no point.
At 45 minutes we threw in the towel, boxed up our leftover pizza and walked out the door with our tails between our legs and our stomachs in our throats.
Sitting on the curb, we wondered aloud: Why had we tried? What was the point? Will we ever feel like normal humans again? Will we ever look at pizza the same way?
All told we threw up roughly seven pounds of pizza. The leftovers are still sitting in my fridge, and despite my financial situation, I think their next destination will be the dumpster.
Entertainment Editor Matt Miller contributed to this report.
Columnists Kate Bennis and Nic Turiciano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.