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My competitive eating career started and ended in disappointment today.

After six rounds, including four fiery orange habañeros, I did my stomach a favor and quit the Second Annual Bailey Farms Chile Pepper Eating Contest.

And I’m glad I did.

The winner (William Smith from Henderson, N.C.) wasn’t crowned until after an additional six rounds of habañeros and three rounds of ghost peppers, which are the hottest peppers in the world.

I almost stayed in the contest for the seventh round until I stole a glance at my fellow competitors. Three of them had already dropped out and only seven remained. Many of them were obviously affected by the heat. Like me, they were nearly crying and sweating. And then I looked down at William, who was offstage on a motorized wheel chair. He was completely unphased, as if he had just polished off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s instead of a handful of hot peppers. That’s when I knew I didn’t stand a chance.

Check back tomorrow for a full update, including video of the contest.

For now, I need to go swallow a carton of Tums.

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