15 Things on the 15th . . . 15 Facts about Me

Ok, once this entry is posted it will be the 16th; but technically, I wrote the post on the 15th. I got this idea from Tractorsandglam’s blog. 

Here goes. 

  1. Legally, I do not have a middle name. In Ghana, many folks combine their middle names with their last names. When my father immigrated to the States in the early 70s, he did the same. Speaking of half-assed paperwork. On my birth certificate for the place of origin of my father, it has Africa. Really, Virginia?!!! I’m sure that on June 25th, 1980, it was well known that Africa is a continent – NOT a country
  2. My favorite alcoholic beverage is gin. Most of y’all probably already knew that. 
  3. I almost drowned in Ecuador’s portion of the Amazon Basin. It was scary, and I lost a really nice watch. 
  4. I break out in hives whenever I see people with various types of skin disorders. Thankfully, it does not happen that much nowadays. 
  5. I love all of the Friday movies. I can probably recite most of the scripts for Friday and Friday after Next. “ Yes, you did. Cause my sister-in-law’s baby cousin, Tracy. told me that she saw you at the show all hugged up with some tramp. Now, tell me who she was.”
  6. Thanksgiving is my favorite family-based holiday. 
  7. Although I have a Ph.D. in Molecular Oncology and Immunology, I no longer do scientific work. However, I do miss conducting biomedical research from time to time. This reminds me, I have to respond to the reviewers’ comments for my manuscript. Ugh, I’ll do it tomorrow. 
  8. I really wish that I would follow more events in the news. 
  9. I’m an extroverted introvert. Although I can be really social, I kind of hate meeting new people. 
  10. Sometimes, I really hate being the only person of color in groups. 
  11. I think that I sing (and dance) much better than I do. 
  12. I wish that I was about 6 inches taller. 
  13. I really loved Christina Aguilera’s Spanish language album, Mi Reflejo. I think it was released back in 2001. 
  14. I have never seen a single Star Wars or Indiana Jones movie in its entirety. Oh Well. 
  15. I have been in only two fist fights as an adult. Which is surprising, because I do talk quite a bit of shit. FYI: I won one and “tied” for the other one
  16. (Ok a bonus fact). Sia’s “Breathe Me” makes me a little misty-eyed. I think it’s because the song was featured as the last scene during the last episode of “6 Feet Under”, one of my favorite shows of all time. 

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United NYC Half Marathon Training Week 4

61 Days Until the United NYC Half Marathon!!!

Planned mileage: 18.75 miles

Completed mileage: 16.3

It felt nice getting in a full week of running and getting back on track for the United NYC Half Marathon. I will say that I kind of missed it over the Christmas and New Year break. Oh, I would have completed all of my planned mileage, but all of the treadmills were occupied for my three-mile run on Sunday. I did 30 minutes of elliptical work instead.

This will have to be a quick report because I have to start doing some work. Actually, this will be quick because I cannot remember much of what happened this week. I guess that my mind was still in vacation mode for most of the week.

Monday:

Planned: 40 min X-train

Completed: 3 mi run, 25 min elliptical, and stretching

Basically, I did a morning run and an evening workout that consisted of elliptical work and stretching.

Tuesday:

Planned: 4 mi run

Completed: 32 min on the rowing machine and 30 min stretching

I do not really remember why I did not run on Tuesday. Maybe it was raining in the morning.

Wednesday:

Planned: 1.75 miles (7×400 meter speed intervals)

Completed: 3 mi (7×400 intervals) + warm up and cool down

Ok, now my mind is back. I really enjoyed this workout. I performed the 400-meter speed runs followed by 128-meter cool off. I am quite proud that I managed to run sub 2min for all seven of my intervals. Hopefully, I can extend a similar trend once I start doing Yasso 800m intervals in the upcoming weeks.  Oh shoot, I need to start doing some hill work soon too.

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I really love Marcus Garvey park because it has a path that is very similar to a regular track. Oh, and the park is like one block away from my apartment. One loop is a little more than 500 meters, so it is perfect for running 400m intervals with a track vibe to it.

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Actually, the folks smoking cigaweed first thing in the morning is a little annoying, but what can you do? I guess you could call the police, but snitches get stitches.

Thursday:

Planned: 3 miles

Completed: Nada

Eh, I overslept and missed my morning run. Then after work, I decided to get much-needed after work cocktails.

Actually, I overslept because I woke up a bunch of times during the night due to the BFs LOUD ass snoring. How do y’all cope sleeping next to a loud snorer? I need some tips.

The meme is 100% correct.

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Friday:

Planned: Rest

Completed: 3-mile treadmill and strength training

What KOS doing a workout on a Friday night?!!! I guess that one has to do what one has to do.

My local Crunch fitness installed new treadmills that are supposed to closely mimic outdoor running.

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Honestly, I did not really see/feel a difference between this treadmill and the regular treadmills. Maybe I did not play around with all of the “fun” features. It seems as if the person who authorized this purchase for the gym may have gotten scammed. Great, so Crunch fitness will probably raise the membership fees for this waste.

Saturday:

Planned: 7 miles

Completed: 7.23 miles

This run made me feel like such a whiny baby. Well . . . the pre-run made me feel like a whiny baby. Saturday’s temperature was around 31 F, and as most know, I cannot stand running in the cold. I knew that I needed to get this “long” run out of the way. Also, I knew that I needed to do it because I need to start getting used to running in the cold. After bitching and moaning for most of the morning, I decided to get my act together and do the dumb run. And then, the cold weather was not THAT bad. For my upper body, I wore a short-sleeved tech T, a long-sleeved tech T, and very light hoody. Within 200m of the run, I had to take off the hoody.

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I will say that I really enjoyed the run. Aside from the 28 F weather, it was a very lovely day. My run pretty much consisted of running to Central Park and doing loops around the Harlem Meer, which is about 0.8 miles. I really need to decide if I want to report my distance in miles or meters because this back and forth is really annoying me. 

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During my one of my loops, I ran in and around Central Park’s Conservatory Garden. In all of my 16+ years in NYC, I have never visited the Conservatory Garden. The garden is quite nice, but I think the views would have been better in the spring and the summer.

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Sunday:

Planned: 3 miles

Completed: 30 min elliptical and strength training

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Without going into great detail, Sunday was pretty much a leg day.

Although I did not get into it in this update, I have been trying to do daily stretching and core exercises at home before going to bed . . . except on those cocktail nights.

Random: I really want this T-shirt.

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That’s it out of me. I hope y’all are having a great start to your week.

Catch you in the streets.

Food Pic of the Week

I’m still trying to get back into the groove of getting back to my blog updates. 

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Since I’m trying to drop a few pounds, I decided to break my intermittent fasting periods with two scoops of protein powder and then have a nice balanced dinner. Yes, I know this is not technically food, but I needed a moment to bitch about something. This GNC Performance Pro brand tastes like crap. Actually, it tastes like crap mixed with dirt, anger, and evil. Normally, I tend to purchase protein power that Muscle Milk makes, but I was conned by GNC 2 for 1 deal for Performance Pro. Now, I have to struggle through two containers of this crap . . . maybe I will learn to like the taste. Even if this was 2 for 1, I wonder if I can exchange the unopened container for something less nasty like urine, spoiled milk, or raw sheep’s liver?

A Nonrunning post – The Amazing Race

I hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday (or a relaxing last week of December and first week of January). I pretty much did not do anything that I had planned to during my self-imposed staycation, besides watch old episodes of The Amazing Race. I think it is fitting that The Amazing Race should be the subject of this post. Again, I know that I’m about 17 years late talking about this show. But hey, during this staycation, I pretty much watched seasons 2 – 17. Well . . . I skipped the family edition season. 

Just as an aside: Come to think of it, this has been the first time for as long as I can remember that I was not expected to do anything over Christmas break. Yes, I know that this is a 1st world problem. Just looking back on my facebook memories, I realized that I have worked every Dec. 31st since 2003. So yes, I took a little time for myself although I’m a little disappointed that I have gained about 5-7 pounds during this “break” (far too many eggnog martinis, gin and gingers, and champagne-based beverages).

Most of these views may have already been shared by the millions of people who regularly watch The Amazing Race, but I’m going to list some things that I love/hate about this show

Hate: The general ignorance/borderline racism of many of the contestants. 

  • Don’t these folks understand that the entire world does not speak or does not have to speak English? The way how some of these contestants speak to many of the host countries’ inhabitants is downright disgusting. 
  • In one episode the following statements were made. “He [refering to Joan of Arc] was the one that put the animals on the ark?”; “How do they make champagne? Do they mix wine with club soda?” “Man, I did you know that there is a town called Champagne in France?” Where in the hell are these people found? More importantly, where did they attend high school or college?  
  • One of my favorite contestant/taxi dispatcher (Oakland, CA) exchange so far. 
    • [Contestant] Hurry up! We need a taxi, NOW. This is for a million dollars. 
    • [Dispatcher] I don’t care! I ain’t getting any of it. 

Love: The desire to acquire even more stamps on my passport. 

  • I’m looking at you, Seychelles. That place is BEAUTIFUL.seychelles_beach_bridge

Hate: The couples that go on this show to make or break their relationship. 

  • If you cannot stand your partner in everyday, normal life, then you probably will not like the motherfucker after being with him/her 24/7 for ~30 days. One exception: if the couple is kicked off early in the competition because they will not have as much time to get on each other’s nerves. 

Hate: Dumb folks who haven’t watch previous seasons. This sentiment is more for the later seasons. 

  • From seasons 1 – 5, you have seen people drive cars with manual transmissions, bungee jump, climb crazy heights, swim, use road maps, and travel to various African, Latin American and Asian countries. Wouldn’t one learn how to drive stick and how to swim, get over certain fears, and memorize common phrases in other languages (especially Spanish, French, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Hindi, Bengali, and/or Punjabi) BEFORE applying to the damn show?

Annoyance: Especially in later seasons, the show seemed to be more Asian-centric. I swear there was one season that had five episodes in Asia (that could have been due to editing). For a few seasons, the show did not even visit the continent of Africa. Perhaps, it is tough to produce an American show in many African nations. 

Hate: Some of the contestants with disabilities. Hear me out. 

  • Many of the disabled contestants go on and on about showing the world that people with disabilities can do everything that someone without any disabilities can do. However, many use their disability to get every possible advantage. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t, but just call a spade a spade and keep it moving. I understand that production may tell these contestants to talk about their disability throughout the season so the fault may not fall entirely on the contestants. From the grapevine, I have learned that many of these types of shows give you a label and want you to keep it throughout the entire season (e.g. token gay couple, bitchy pretty blondes, dumb jocks, old couple, country bumpkins, etc.).

Love: Watching the whinny contestants bitch, moan, and have potential meltdowns. 

  • Did they think that they were going on a glamorous vacation? 

Love: Phil’s low-key shade with the contestants. ar17-051

Love: TV foreshadowing magic (damn, this could have been a post all on to itself).  

  • Teams that say they have a foolproof plan of getting into the top three, only to be eliminated one or two episodes later. 
  • Teams saying that they are super organized and meticulous, only to lose their passports and all of their money or not read a clue in its entirety. 
  • When you can tell that the episode will have a non-elimination leg. 
  • The team with all of this travel experience will book a connecting flight with a 15-min layover and miss the flight. Since the show pretty much makes sure everyone is on the same flights in later seasons, this really is not an issue any more 😦

One of my friends floated the idea of auditioning for this show back in 2011. It probably would have been a hot ass mess if we were contestants. I can see it now.

Me to my friend: This is some bullshit, and I’m not doing it. It’s too DAMN HOT OUT HERE.

My friend to me: Yeah, this blows. Let’s use the rest of the money to find a bar because I want a martini. 

Me: Word! I hope this city has Tanqueray. 

Phil:  KOS and A, you are the only team in the entire history of The Amazing Race that actively chose to use your money to bar hop and not do any of the challenges on this leg.

Ok, on to Season 18: Unfinished Business. 

I hope your holiday season was a “productive” as mine. 😉

United NYC Half Marathon Training Week 1

LET’S DO THIS!!!

Planned mileage: 12 miles

Completed mileage: 8

Lesson(s) learned from this week:

My hip abductors are really weak/underdeveloped so this is something that I will have to work on in the upcoming months.

Being sick kind of sucks. Also, hot toddies and manhattans are not so great for a cold. I thought whiskey cured everything. Maybe, that remedy works in your 20s and early 30s.

Monday:

Planned: X-train

Completed: 30 min. cardio class

The BF and I attended BLT (Butt, Legs, Thighs), a low-intensity class at my gym. Man, that class really kicked our butts . . . no pun. I thought the class was going to be super easy, but I clearly was in the wrong. Let me step back. The class was not super hard, but I really have neglected those types of lower body exercises for quite some time. I definitely plan to do more of these types of exercises during the week.

Tuesday:

Planned: 3 mi

Completed: 0 mi

Since the BF, his friend, and I went to our favorite seafood restaurant ( *** ) in Astoria, Queens, I was far too hungover to even think about running. Oh, after dinner, the three of us went to my beer club’s meetup at The Freckled Moose, which was a couple blocks away. Basically, on Monday night, I shared a bottle of champagne and wine, then I had a couple of bourbon neats, a few beers, and a couple gin and sodas.

Wednesday:

Planned: 5 X 400 meters at 5K pace

Completed: 3 mi and 5 X 400 meters at 5K pace

Because the distance for this speed workout was pretty short, I decided to add Tuesday’s run to this one. Actually, it was quite refreshing to do some speed work. For the most part, most of my 400 splits were in the 7’48’’ – 8’04’’, which is faster than my normal 5K pace.

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Thursday:

Planned: 3 miles

Completed: 3 miles and weight lifting

Unfortunately, I had to do this run on a treadmill. BOOO, but I was lucky enough to find a treadmill that was under a fan. For some reason, Crunch Fitness seems to have two temperature settings – HOT and HOT AS HELL.

My weightlifting activities primarily focused on the lower body. My exercises included: deadlifts, sumo squats, calf raises, barbell squats, dumbbell side bends, concentration dumbbell curls, dumbbell pullovers. It felt nice having time to combine running and weightlifting. Because of the short distances of the training runs for a half-marathon, compared to those of the full marathon, I like having enough time to combine two or more workouts while training for a half.

Friday:

Planned: Rest

Completed: X-Train,

I tried out a newish class called BOING. Actually, I have attended this type of cardio class in the past. Basically, you wear these mini trampoline boots and bounce around to different music. This class further confirmed my need to work on my hip abductors. Although you are bouncing around, a lot of the moves incorporate front, rear, and side leg lifts. Also, the boots are a few pounds heavier than your normal shoe. The class was really fun, but I was disappointed in myself because I could not lift my leg too high and my hips were pretty sore. Even by Sunday, my hips were still sore. 😦

Saturday:

Planned: 5 mi

Completed: (Unintended) Rest

Since my hips and my right foot both were really killing me, so I figured that it probably would have been best to chill and let my hips and feet rest. Also, I woke up with a bit of a sore throat. Man, I cannot seem to win for this week. Saturday, I pretty much chilled at home to recuperate a bit.

OH, BTW. Where the hell have I been for the last 17 years?!!!! One of my guilty pleasures is Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen, and I watch it on Hulu. After the newest episode finishes, Hulu will randomly select other similar type show. Hulu decided that I wanted to watch “The Amazing Race: Season 1”, and I was not too mad at Hulu for this suggestion.

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OMG, I am hooked. I pretty much watched the entire season in one sitting. Well . . . I did not see the final episodes, because I knew which team won. Basically, I did not like any of the final three teams, but of those three teams, I’m glad the two lawyers won.

One thing that kind of annoys me about this more (well some of the contestants on the show) is that it plays up to the mean, nasty American tourist stereotype. I was really disgusted when one team was saying the native people (I believe they were somewhere in India) were dumb and stupid. EVERYONE IN THE WORLD DOES NOT HAVE TO SPEAK ENGLISH. You are a guest in their country, stop being a-holes. I get that the show is a big race, but it is not their fault that you screwed up the challenge. Also, I really do not like how many of the contestants’ bark commands or requests to the host country’s citizens. Maybe . . . I do not like the show that much 😉

Goal for the week:

Try to do some type of foam rolling and/or stretching every night before bed.

Food Pic of the Week (FPOTW)

It has been a while since I’ve posted an FPOTW. For some reason, I just have not been able to get into my WordPress groove . . . much like my diet plan. 

Tacuba Hell’s Kitchen ( *** )

The restaurant is a kind of bougie-style, slightly upscale Mexican joint. This was my second time visiting the restaurant. For my first visit, I really had to pee so I bought a margarita, which was delicious. Normally, if I have to use a business’ restroom, I will order an item . . . it’s just polite. This was my first time eating at Tacuba. Although the food was good, it was a bit pricey because I have eaten better Mexican food for half the price. In NYC, you pay for a restaurant’s rent, not for the food. 

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Carnitas

I was playing around the small ass tortillas. Then again, I do have large hands. 

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Some drink served in a pineapple

My roommate from grad school and I shared this $24 “adult” pineapple beverage. It seems as it was a $24 thing of pineapple juice. I believe that there are grilled pineapples in there somewhere . . . maybe that’s why it was so pricey. 

All in all, it was an ooooook place that I would visit once in a blue moon. I would not mind getting happy hour drinks, then going someplace else for food. I tend to visit more hole in the wall type Mexican restaurants because the food is cheaper and you get more bang for your buck

It’s on like Donkey Kong

Annnnnnd we’re off. Today marks the first day of my training plan for the United NYC Half Marathon, which happens to be 97 days away. Woo Hoo . . . I hope.

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This time around, I decided to work with the Hal Higdon Intermediate plan for a half marathon. I’ve already put all of the workouts into my Google Calendar. Yay me. To summarize, this training plan has five days of running (one day dedicated to speed work), one day of cross training, and one day of rest. However, I think that I may modify this to alternate between two days of speed work and two rest days.

My overall goal is to become a faster runner because I can do the distance. I hope. I mean, I just ran a full marathon last month. Also, this past weekend, I ran a 15K, which is about 70% of this distance for a half-marathon. Sooooooooo, I need some advice from you expert runners.

Question 1:

This training plan has long runs that are all under 13.1 miles. I’m thinking that maybe I can throw in a couple of long runs that are in the 15-18 mile range. I know some folks do not like to run a longer distance than the race that they are training for; but in my case, I think running further would be beneficial for me. I have completed quite a few half-marathons so it is not like I am going to blow my wad running more than 13.1 miles during the training period.

Question 2:

How much speed work and why types of speed work should one incorporate to become a faster half-marathoner? I’m thinking Yasso’s 800s, some hill work, and tempo runs. Interestingly, the training plan only has 400 m at 5K and 30 – 40 min tempo runs.

Question 3:

Aw, hell. I forgot the other question.

I know that I’m going all over the place with this next point. But, I think that I may have  a-man-with-a-shade-said-duh-memeto add another cross training component to this plan. Yesterday, the BF and I went to the cardio class, B.L.T. (Butt, Legs, Thighs) at Crunch Fitness. Man, that class kicked our collective asses. The class was not hard at all, but I have like no core strength whatsoever. Also, I struggled to do all of the balancing exercises that focused on the left side of my body. Come to think about it, I did not do much better with the right side of my body either.  Actually, as I write this, I think that I should do some core work every day of the week. I mean, these exercises are easy enough that I can do them at home while watching TV or general bullshiting around the apt.

Speaking of TV. The BF just started watching “The Good Place”, and I have to say that I really like the show. I do not know if this is a good or bad thing, but Eleanor Shellstrop reminds me a bit of myself. Yeah, I can be a little self-centered. BUT, at least, I am not delusional enough to realize this character flaw.

Ok, that’s my peace for my training plans for the United NYC Half-Marathon 2019.

See you in the streets!!!