Food Pic of the Week

Jim Ramen

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Random Thursdays

  • Is it me or does there seem to be an increase in beagles in NYC? It makes me miss my beagle, Bacchus.
  • Do the Spaniards celebrate Halloween like we do in the States? Since I will be in Madrid during Halloween, I was thinking that I could dress up as a bull or a matador. Yes, I know that it’s super obvious. Perhaps, the BF and I could do a couple’s theme bull + matador costume.

Yes, I know that it’s super obvious. Perhaps, the BF and I could do a couple’s theme bull + matador costume. Ole!

  • I still have not bought a new pair of shoes. 
  • Oh, I need to file my taxes this weekend – the interest on filing late are going to be a bitch. 
  • I really have to do my training runs in the morning. It’s too tough to muster up the energy to do them after work.
  • I really want to eat something random for dinner (e.g. cereal, pancakes, a salad). 
  • Man, Wednesday Zumba class is way harder than the one Monday. But, the Wednesday’s instructor plays songs that I know (and not a whole bunch of reggaeton). 
  • Why is reggaeton still a thing? 😉
  • This week at work has been so tough. I can’t seem to finish everything on my To Do list and I hate working from home after 7 PM.

Why didn’t I sign up for this sooner?!!!

Today, or maybe tomorrow, marks my first week as a Citi Bike member. Basically, Citi Bike is a bike share program, which has been around for YEARS. I‘m always late to the game for these kinds of things. This program is so convenient for quick (and not so quick rides) around the city. Also, the cost (~$179/year with tax) of the program is pretty cheap, relative to the costs of repairs and maintenance for my bicycle. A monthly subway pass cost is about $122/month, so it’s actually cheaper than commuting via the MTA. Also, you do not have to interact with as many nuts and crazies on the trains and busses. Well . . . There usually aren’t too many nuts and crazies on the busses. 

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Of course, the program works if you are in specific regions of NYC and New Jersey. So far, I have not had any issues finding a bike or dropping off a bike. We’ll see how my positive attitude towards this program changes when winter arrives. 

Pros:

  • There are a crap ton of dock stations.
  • Although I have a bike that I used for commuting, sometimes it’s a pain lock it. Additionally, if the area is shady as hell, I have to remove the front wheel so it will not get stolen. Also, when I go out drinking, it is annoying to ride home drunk or try to convince a cab to let me put my bike in the trunk. 
  • Using these bikes instead of my bike will save my bike on some of the wear and tear caused by NYC’s rough streets. I have a nice road bike with very thin wheels, so getting 1-3 flat tires a week and replacing a tire or two  every year are fairly common.
  • The app makes it really easy to find bikes.
  • There is a rewards program. If you pick up bikes from docking stations that are too full and drop them off at stations that need bikes, you can rack up (no pun) points that can be redeemed for free day passes (for friends) and weekly extension of yearly plans.  Recently, The New Yorker posted an article about folks who hack the system ( *** ). Welll . . . I don’t think it’s really hacking.

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Cons:

  • The bikes are heavy, but that’s something I probably will get used to, since I have a couple of uphill climbs commuting to work. I guess that they have to be heavy and clunky for all of the wear and tear that they are put through. 
  • The bikes have only three speeds, but I think that there should be one more speed for an extra burst. 
  • Sometimes, the bikes are a little raggedy. A couple of times, I had to switch out a bike because the pedals were making weird noise or the brakes were not working very well. Brakes are important in NYC. 
  • The bikes have reawakened my bike/road rage issues. Top offenses – cabs, tourists taking selfies on the bikes (oh, that would have been a good idea for this post), people walking in bike lanes, people biking AGAINST traffic and the list goes on. Basically, I am annoyed with everyone who is not me. 

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Of course, after praising this rideshare program, this happened. Not, a single damn bicycle outside of my office building. At least there was another docking station a couple of blocks away. 

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NYC Marathon Training Update XIII

I feel like I’m kind of going through the motions with this year’s marathon training, which necessarily is not a bad thing. Maybe I need to sign up for a race or two to shake up the route. For example, I do not really feel like writing about my weekly workout so I’ll just write about my long run.

Planned 13.1 miles/Completed 12mi

Finally, fall is here . . . well fall in the cultural meaning, and I am enjoying the cooler weather. Plus, I’m seeing some improvement in my times during my long runs because my body is not constantly overheating.

This long-run took me through three islands – Manhattan Island, Randell’s Island, and Roosevelt Island. Well, technically it took me through four islands, but no one really considers Queens (a part of  Long Island) as an island.

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The first three miles of the run was a bit of a struggle because I got a little confused with my route on Randell’s Island. I was under the assumption that I could run the entire Robert F Kennedy Bridge across the island into Astoria, Queens, but you have to get off of the Bridge run through the island and get back on the bridge. Randell’s Island is quite beautiful with plenty of spacious and green fields. Outside of the men’s shelter, I do not think that there are any residential houses/apartments on the island.

Next stop, Astoria Queens.

I forgot that a portion of the of RFK Bridge is part of the Century 100 mile bike tour.

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You have to go slow on this part because the bridge has stairs. From my memory, I believe this part of the tour is at mile 70 – 75. Maybe, I’ll sign up and the Century tour next summer.

I must have been insane to do my first Century tour on a mountain bike. After biking 100 miles  (technically 110 miles, because my group got lost in the Bronx) with my arms and hands in the same location, my arms were numb for almost 30 minutes.

Back to the story at hand.

Astoria has been one of my favorite neighborhoods since moving to NYC. I think part most of it has to do with the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden ( *** ), which is an AMAZING Czech beer garden. I think that it’s the oldest beer garden in New York City. Many fun and crazy times at that place.

Even though Astoria is one of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC, I still have not figured out its street layout. Manhattan, with it near perfect numbering system for its streets, has spoiled me in terms of directions. I got mixed up with my route a couple of times, which messed me up for a couple of miles. I’m one of those folks that if I deviate (or forget my route), I get really stressed out. Sometimes, I feel running is one of the few things that I can control, and mixing up my route takes running out of my control.

Next stop, Roosevelt island.

This sliver of an island in the East was my home for 5 years. Roosevelt Island has been dubbed “the little apple in the big apple”.

The functional little lighthouse.

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My old apartment!!! I really miss this place.

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All in all, this was a nice low-mileage long run. I made it a point to incorporate a climb on the Queensboro Bridge at the end of this run. Going forward, I am definitely going try to incorporate the Queensboro Bridge (or another tough climb) around miles 13 – 15.

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As I have mentioned in the past, the Queensboro Bridge always kills me in this marathon. Ok, maybe kill is too strong of a word, but I usually walked this bridge in past marathons. Although I may not meet my 4hr time goal for this marathon, one of my other goals is to run the entire length of the Queensboro Bridge.  

Since this was a low-mileage long run, I decided to do a 4-mile bike ride back to Harlem as a “cool-down”. The weather was AMAZING this weekend. 

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After this workout, I went downtown to celebrate one of my good friend’s birthday at Villa Cemita ( *** ). I think this friend drinks as much, if not more, as I do. 

Of course, this celebration involved bottomless brunch of margaritas, mimosas, and mimosas without OJ ;). Although the service was a little slow (Y’all can’t be messing around with a 2hr bottomless brunch, people wanna DRINK), I enjoyed the restaurant, and my chilaquiles were DELICIOUS. For normal people, folks would go home after a bottomless brunch. Not us knuckleheads. We ended up going to a couple other bars, I know that I had a few shots and a bunch of gin and sodas. Brunch started at 2:00 pm, and I arrived home at 9:00 pm so it pretty much was a boozy day. I’m a little afraid to look at my bank statement from the weekend. 

Hopefully, yall had a great weekend. 

Random Thoughts – Life Post

Yay, me:

I think that I have gotten back into my marathon training groove.

Boo me

Ummmm. My chunky ass has gained 6 pounds since June. I guess that I visited theyou-cant-gain-weight-if-you-never-weight-yourself-roll-safe-with-reece-simpson-5ZY05 buffet one too many times during our all-inclusive vacation in Cancun. Let me stop, I visited the margarita bar one too many times. I think that I may start intermittent fasting again, at least on non-running days. I did see nice progress before the Mexico vacation.

 

-Politics (not the crazy stuff that’s going on in the upper level of our government).

I’m one of those folks who feels that tangible changes take place more so on the local level of government. Hey, I’m a bit cynical about what’s going on in politics these days on both sides of the of the aisle. Believe it or not, I actually have a desire to participate in an elected capacity in local government. I’m not at all interested (at least now) in doing something on the state or national level. I don’t need anyone bringing up my random, crazy, drunken Facebook posts from my 20s and throwing them in my face. Hmmmmm, at least I do not have any dick-pics out there.

Anyway, I got way off topic. I was going to share my experience of attending my first community board meeting in my somewhat new neighborhood. Holy hell, it was too damn intense. One woman actually said to another man: “if you want me to move then make me.” Ok, it was the first meeting since the end of May, and I guess a lot of folks were sitting on their anger regarding issues in the neighborhood all summer. Anytime I think about joining a new organization, I try to come with angiphy (1) open mind, but I usually give about 5-10 side-eyes and about 11-12 eye rolls. Overall, I found the meeting to be a little all over the place. An agenda was followed but people were speaking for way longer than their allotted time. A 2-hr meeting became 3 hrs, I was too tired and too through. As soon as they adjourned the meeting, I got out the hell out of dodge. I really wanted to introduce myself to some of the board members, but I was in hanger mode. Plus, some of the people were a little too intense for a Monday evening. Perhaps next month’s meeting will not be too crazy. Also, the board has quite a few committees that cover different topics (e.g. health, education, transportation, housing, parks & rec, etc.), so I’ll probably see what the health committee is talking about.

Email overload:

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Ok, this weekend, I am going to go through every single email message and block or unsubscribe to irrelevant senders/vendors on my personal account. I get so much junk and useless emails that I accidentally delete important stuff. I can’t remember the last time that I’ve used a damn Groupon or anything from Living Social. Actually, maybe I’ll sign the BF and me up for one of those wine/paint night events. Case in point, I know that NYRR sends reminders about selecting baggage and transportation options for the NYC Marathon. The other day, I randomly was like “I don’t think that I signed up for my baggage option”. Yeah, I did not and the deadline had already passed. Fortunately, NYRR let me email my option to check a bag and select my ferry.  Y’all know that I’m gonna need my cigarette and tooth after the marathon.

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Desk Job Exhaustion:

Since I’m an administrator who pretty much sits at a desk all day. I really need to incorporate a few walks during the day. You know, a few walks outside of my smoke breaks. In my defense I do take the stairs up/down and my office is on the 8th floor.  I promise that I’m trying to cut down

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When I get home, I am so exhausted from sitting for most of the day. As a scientist, conducting experiments constantly had me moving around and standing up. It’s weird (maybe not so much) that I am more tired arriving home at 7:00 pm from a desk job than arriving home around 10:00/11:00 pm back when I was working in a science lab.

Yesterday, I bit the bullet and signed up for the Citibike program so maybe I’ll go for a 30 min bike ride during my lunch break.

NYRR 9+1 for the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon:

Crap, I need to register for three more race and volunteer for one. I don’t know I have enough time in the year to obtain guaranteed entry into next year’s marathon. Eek. 

NYC Marathon Training Update XII

Yet, another struggle of a training week. 😦

For some reason, I am still in a workout funk regarding my weekday runs. I cannot seem to get up early enough to do my runs in the morning. When I do wake up early, I BS around the apt until it’s time for me to shower and go to work. When I plan to run after work, I’m far too tired (or I just do not care) to run. 

Also, this week, I was hit with some very bad news. I learned that one of my students who completed the postbac program that I direct was murdered in Chicago. He moved to Chicago on Friday to begin his Ph.D. program at Northwestern and was hit by a stray bullet on Sunday. You always hear about how dangerous Chicago is, but you never realize it until it hits close to home. It’s such a shame because this clearly was a case of him being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was going to purchase hangers and other things for his home. It’s not like he was involved in any nefarious activities. Ugh so sad and tragic. 

During the week, I did not do a single run. However, I did fit in a long run on Saturday. I was supposed to run 19 miles but I ran only 16 (I had a D’oh moment for this long run). What did I say for last week’s update? It’s fine as long as you get the long run in . . . Or something to that effect. 

The plan:

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This was my 19 miles proposed route, which would have taken me through Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and back to Manhattan. 

This is what had happened:

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I must have messed up somewhere, because I clocked “only” 16 miles. Yes, I could have run three more miles, but I had a mental block. When I mapped out my route, the plan was to hit 19 miles right at Crunch Fitness on 59th street. I was planning on stretching, foam rolling, and steam rooming at the gym after the run. Once I crossed the 59th Street Bridge and saw the gym, I did not care to run a single meter further. I think that I lost the three extra miles somewhere in Brooklyn. 

Anyway. 

Training wise, I thought the run was productive because I incorporated a few bridges in the run – two of which, the Pulaski Bridge and 59th Street Bridge, are on the NYC Marathon course. Well, the Pulaski Bridge is not much of a bridge in terms of elevation. 

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One other cool thing about this run is that the 59th Street Bridge, which is crossed around mile 15, is a killer for me during the marathon. I tried to mimic the NYC marathon by having this bridge towards the end of the run. I was kind of proud to say that I did not have to walk while crossing this bridge (or the Williamsburg Bridge). I even did a few fartleks on the 59th Street Bridge. In the past, I usually had to walk most if not all of the 59th Street Bridge during the marathon. You know, my “I’m over this bullshit” phase of the marathon. 

Ok, I like I may have slowed down a couple of times to take a couple of pictures of Roosevelt Island (my former home for 5 years) and the tram. 

Random: Shouldn’t this restaurant be called Next to the Bridge, rather than Under the Bridge. 

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Actually, I take it back. Maybe they mean under the bridge in terms of geography. Since it’s on 58th Street and the bridge is on 59th Street.

During this run, I ran through one of my favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan, the Lower East Side/Alphabet City. 

It’s called Alphabet City because the avenues are letters of the alphabet. New Yorkers are soooo inventive.  

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A portion of Alphabet City is known as “Loisaida”, Splanglish for Lower East Side. 

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One of my favorite bars/clus/lounges, Baraza, used to be near this block. Why do all the good places have to close? Baraza had great Latin music, stiff ass mojitos (they pretty much were all rum), and random sketchiness. All in all, a good combination for boisterous and disastrous fun. 

Oh, my D’oh Moment: 

During this long run, I was thinking why the fuck would my training plan have me do an 18-mile long run, then a 19-mile long run the following weekend. I was like C’mon Hal!!

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When I got home and looked at my calendar, I saw that I was supposed to run 13, not 19, miles. Technically, I ran three more miles than I was supposed to. We’ll ignore how many weekly miles I was supposed to run. 

Random Thoughts: 

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Ok, the BF is going to Spain at the end of October/early November for his father’s 70th birthday. I probably will sleep well because I will not have to hear his snoring (he’s actually snoring as I type this entry). But, shit. I wanna go too. Here’s the thing, the trip is from Oct. 28th to Nov. 4th. Just in case you did not know, the NYC Marathon is Nov. 4th. If I was training for a half-marathon, I totally would blow of the half and go to Spain for the week. If I were to fly out the evening of the 28th (a Sunday) and return to NYC on the 2nd, would that give me enough time to recover from jet lag and get back on eastern standard time for the marathon? You know what, I just looked it up and daylight saving time is Nov. 4th, so I would gain an hour. Any thoughts from my jet-setting marathoners. 

I still have not purchased a new pair of running shoes. 

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Raggedy shoes, but decent arm definition.

 

For these last two long runs, I have been playing around with my food (i.e. solid vs liquid food). Going forward, I will rely more on solid food rather than gels. Mentally, my body needs to go through the process of chewing/digesting food. 

Real talk, I have got to cut down on smoking cigarettes. Normally, I do not feel the b76d32e14b55e1c4e42bec57b534092d3768674495bfefdee745d8a823444310effects (or rather I ignore) that smoking has on my runs. However, I definitely felt some burning in my lungs during my ascent on the Williamsburg and 59th Street Bridges, ~miles 9.5 and 15. 

 

 

 

For some reason, I like the design of this shoe store, Kicks USA. 

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Goal for the week:

  • Simple, get my damn act together. 

 

NYC Marathon Training Update XI

Total Distance Ran/Planned: 20.7 mi /26 mi

There really is no point in doing a day-by-day rundown of my training “failures” this week. Buuuut, I did manage to do a 17 mile long run. Don’t folks say that the long runs are the most important runs for marathon training?

Aside from a 3-mile run on Monday, I did not do any runs this week because I was feeling some pain in my Achilles. It was a weird pain, because I experience tightness in both legs. The pain would start off kind of intense in the morning, then become dull throughout the day. I Youtubed some exercises that may help reduce this pain.

On Sunday, I was supposed to run 18 miles, but I ran only 17 . . . Close is better than nothing. I kind of “enjoyed” this run and tackled it as if I was running three separate 6-mile runs.

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I really enjoyed the running along the west side of Manhattan, but the east side was really tough because the sun was quite intense and there was not much shade. On a personal note, this run was nice because it allowed me to briefly run down memory lane.

The Frying Pan

The Frying Pan is a fun club that is in a tugboat. I remember spending many Friday nights here, circa 2005. The only annoying thing is that this club was so far west (for us) because my grad school classmates and I lived on the East River.

The Hudson River and a view of the Freedom Tower from the Westside Highway.

Bridges on the East River – Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queensboro. For this run, I wanted to include a trip across the Queensboro Bridge since it is part of the NYC Marathon. Unfortunately, mile 17 put me in Murray Hill which is about 30 blocks from the Queensboro Bridge. During my run, something told me to cut across Manhattan on 14th Street, rather than running to the tip of the island. Next week’s long run is a 19 miler so I guess I can incorporate the Queensboro Bridge then. 

I met a friend near the Staten Island Ferry.

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Oh, look it’s the place where I spent most of my 20’s during graduate school. NYU School of Medicine’s Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences in the house.

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Man, this doggie is pretty strong.

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A few things from this run:

  • My speed was not nearly as fast as I would have liked it to be. A LOT of people were passing me. My original goal was to complete the marathon in 4 hours, but at this rate, I’ll be grateful if I can finish in 4.5 hours.
  •  I’m at the distance where I need to bring my running ‘fanny pack’ on my long runs. 
  • I had to poop TWICE during this run. 😦  I hate using public restrooms to poop, but I could not ward off the call of nature this time. There have been times when I have gone home while bar hopping to take a dump. I was quite surprised that the restroom on the Westside was really clean . . . For a public MEN’S restroom in a park.

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  • Speaking of poop, this flavor tastes like crap.

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  • Pizza is always great after a long run. Casa Pizza  ( *** ) is a random place for a quick slice (or in my case, two slices). Also, the pizzeria has so many varieties of pizza, which is something that I appreciate. During this visit, I think that I counted 13 different types of pizzas. 
  • When I finished my run, I wanted to do exactly what this doggie was doing – laying in a puddle of ice-cold water. 

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Goals for the upcoming week:

  • Buy a new pair of shoes. Yes, I know that I have mentioned this a couple of times in the past, but a brotha has been busy.  
  • Figure out an appropriate eating pattern during long runs. As of now, I eat / gu every 6 miles; however, I know that I need to take my fuel during the long runs. 
  • Register for some NYRR races. 
  • Hill work on the Queensboro Bridge. I even planned out my run that will include two difficult bridges. But, I’ll get to run in three boroughs and along a nice chunk of the NYC marathon. 

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One consideration:

Last year, I could not train as much as I wanted because of a super demanding and worthless job; a search for a new job; and the intense heat. The longest distance that I ran during last year’s training was 16 miles. At least I now know that I am at a distance where I know I can finish a marathon. Now, I just have to figure out how to finish the marathon in faster manner. 

See you on November 4th, 2018, Staten Island Ferry!!!

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