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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Random Thursday

  • San Antonio is a lovely city.
  • The Alamo at night
    • I really enjoy the face-to-face experience involved with recruitment and mentoring young scientists.
    • I kinda want a martini.
    • I also kinda want a nap. I guess hanging till 2:00 am after a cross country airplane trip and having to wake up at 6:30 am wasn’t a good idea.
    • I can’t believe that I went to a bar called Cowabunga.
    • You know that you are in Texas when your uber driver picks you up in a pickup truck.
    • Doesn’t this cake look nasty ass hell. Also, it did not help that there were at least six flies in the display. img_2915
  • I guess Iberia Air thinks that I’m German.
  • NYC Marathon Training Update XIV

    Man. Are we already in week 14 of training for this damn marathon?

    This past week was quite a struggle, because of a couple of setbacks. Most of these setbacks were experienced during the reattempt of my weekly long run. 

    1.I have been dealing with a nagging pain in my inner, left calf muscle. I did not notice this pain during my speed and short training runs during the week, but it hit me during my “long” run. 

    2.My lower back has been “acting” up a little bit. It has not been an “Ouch, I cannot move” type of pain, but more of a “Bitch, you may want to skip this run before things get worse” nagging pain.

    2.5.I think that I may have to get surgery on my pinky toe, or rather a bone that is in between the pinky and ring toe. 

    I was quite disappointed in myself this week because I wanted to hit 20 miles for my long run. 😦 Saturday, I was not feeling the long run at all. It was my fault because I did not leave the apartment until around 11:00 am so I was pretty much checked out before I even began the run. I took the bus to my starting point at 59th Street and 1st Avenue (I was going to incorporate some hill/bridge work in the long run); told myself screw it; and rode a Citi Bike home. Actually, I enjoyed a fish fillet from McDonalds before riding the bike home. At least, I did a 4-mile bike ride. 

    The next day, I went to Central Park to try the 20-mile run again. Things were going well until I got to the third mile. That’s when my calf started to act up. Since it was not a stabbing pain, I was like maybe I can push through the pain a little more. The pain did go away (or maybe I mentally blocked it), but my lower back started to feel weird around mile 6. At that point, I figured that it will be better just to end the run. The slight pain in my calf and lower back aside, I just was not feeling the run. Those setbacks were quite annoying because Sunday’s weather was perfect (for me) for a long run. 

    Obviously, this was an extreme kick in the face to my ego. Here, I am 40 days away from my marathon and I could barely complete 7 miles. 

    Going forward, I’m a little concerned because I had a couple of failed long runs, and we are about 40 days away from the big day. I still have some time because my 20-mile run is scheduled for this weekend. I bumped up the 20-mile run because I want to attend my beer club’s Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday. Today, I plan to do an easy run just to check in with my body, but maybe I should take a week off. Honestly, I think some of my back pain can be attributed to sleeping on sleeping on the sofa for a couple of nights. Maybe I should spend today doing my back stretches and do the easy, check-in run tomorrow. According to my training calendar, this week is relatively easy – Monday (5 miles, easy), Tuesday (5 miles, pace), Wednesday (Rest), Thursday (3 miles, intervals), Friday (Rest), and Saturday (20 miles)

    Yeah, this was more or less a rambling post rather than a training update. 

    Let me see what y’all folks are talking about. 

    How and why did you get into running?

    Some random at the gym asked me this question last week. I gave him my quick and easy answer, but I had some time to ponder this question a little more. The reason for the quick and easy answer was due to us changing in the locker room. Most folks know that I’m NOT a locker room chatter. running-into-people-from-high-school.gif

    When it comes to the locker room, I’m an in and out kinda guy.

    High School Years:

    In high school, I was an avid runner. Ok, avid may be a bit of a stretch, but I was a slightly above average long-distance runner in track and cross country. Actually, I started my short-lived career as a sprinter in track and field. However, I was not very good at that. As a matter of fact, I pretty much sucked. We had a fairly medium sized track team, and the coach of the sprinters more or less provided support to the superstar guys and the pretty young women on the team. Clearly, I did not fit into either category. Technically, I was the only eighth-grader on the team at the time, so that was another strike against me. Side note: My high school used to have a middle school component to it. When it moved to another city, they decided to do away with the middle school, once the eighth graders finished. That was “great” because we were at the bottom of the totem pole for two years in a row – 1st as eighth graders, then as freshmen.

    One practice, the long distance coach pulled me aside and asked if I wanted to do long distance. Now, feels so weird to say long distance because long distance for track and field was the 800 m, 1600 m, and 3200 m distances. He asked me this, not because he saw amazing potential in me, but did not think it was right that the other coach ignored most of his athletes. I have a feeling that there were other things too. I was kind of sad that I had to move the long-distance side of the team, but I did what I did what I had to do. I probably would have gotten cut from the team had I stayed with the sprinters.

    Ok, I was not sad that I could not cut it as a sprinter, I was a little sad that I was no longer a part of a specific community.  My high school, technically I was in middle school at the time, was made up of 1-3% African Americans. Pretty much 90% of the time, I was the only black person in my class. That isolation increased, as I started to take more advanced classes in high school. *I still miss AP Latin every now and then.*  I know many folks will ask “why do you have to bring race into it?”

    • First, *eyeroll*.
    • Second, learning who you are is hard enough as a teenager. It becomes more difficult if you are a minority teenager. One key example was Thursday night TV shows. Martin vs Friends; Living Single vs Seinfeld; NY Undercover vs ER, etc.

    Having to leave the sprinters, which were comprised of many of the black and latin students from my high school and coached by a black man (maybe he was biracial), felt a bit like I was being rejected from my community.

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    Ok, back to the damn story. As a long distance runner, I really thrived under the guidance of the coach and the older athletes. Actually, the long-distance runners, most of whom did NOT look like me, were nicer and more supportive the damn sprinters, who did look like me.

    Anyway, I went on to run track and cross country for the rest of high school. I found that I liked cross country more than track because there was a change of scenery (running through forests, trails and deer poop) at every meet. Also, the members of the long-distance component of the team were a little more relaxed than the sprinters. 

    Wow, the high school part was kind of long.

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    Shutup, Seth.

    College years year Week:

    Since I ran track and cross country in high school, it was pretty much assumed that I would do it in college. I already had an academic scholarship to attend my college (also, my mom did not want me to be a college athlete), so running cross country would be more of a hobby. Yeah, that did not pan out very well. You know how I’m always complaining about the heat? Could you imagine me running in New Orleans with HEAT AND HUMIDITY? Because it always was so hot and humid, cross country practice started around 5:30 AM. Waaaaait, I’m a college student and I’m expected to wake up super early? Yeah, I’m gonna pass.

    Basically, I was on my college’s cross country team for about 8 days. I do not think that I ran for leisure at all in college. Wait, I don’t think that I exercised at all in college. I was lucky enough to remain skinny during my college years with minimal effort. Actually . . . I was a nerd in college, so I really did not drink until my junior year. I think that kept me from gaining the freshman 15.

    Jumping to 2011:

    Ok, fast forward to post-graduate school life. Actually, let’s spend a quick moment in graduate school. During grad school, I was really into cycling. I did a couple of century tours and cycling was my preferred mode of transportation to and from work (as well as bars). I’m kinda lucky to be alive because there were quite a few times I rode my bike home while bombed. This was during a time in NYC did not have many bike lanes.

    One wintery mix morning, I was about to mount my bike to ride to work and noticed that BOTH tires on my bike were flat. I was super annoyed because that was the second flat in a week’s time. Also, I was not in the mood to change two tires. Since I was already wearing my cycling clothes, I decided to run to work. Running 3.5 miles from Roosevelt Island to the UES is not that difficult, with the exception of crossing two bridges.

    But, my “love” for running had returned. A feeling that I really did not have since 1998.

    So there you go. See that definitely would have been too long of a story to tell to a half-naked man in the locker room.

    How did you get into running?

    (Lame) Food Pic of the Week

    This past weekend, my “sister-aunt” was town, and she visited me uptown in my new hood of Harlem. *I call her my sister-aunt, because she is mom’s sister, but she is only 12 years older than me”. We tried to eat at Red Rooster (a more extensive rant on that below); however, we settled for Corner Social – a place that I have visited a few times.

    Corner Social ( *** ) is your typical American-style restaurant with a touch of southern flair. In my previous experiences, I recognized that the restaurant served huge portions of food, so the price point versus quantify of food was fine for me.

    img_2241

    Or so I thought.

    I order a fried fish “platter”, which was about $23, and this is what came out.

    fried fish

    Fried fish and romaine lettuce

    When that mess came out, I was like:

    • Oh, so the rest of the food is going go come out a little later?
    • Maybe the rest of the “real” food is under the lettuce.

    Hell, the restaurant could have supplemented that strugglin’ ass fish and lettuce plate with a piece of cornbread. Needless to say, I was very disappointed with the amount of food on the plate. Well . . . there was plenty of lettuce. Part of that annoyance could have been attributed to having ran a 12-mile race ( *** ) a couple of hours earlier.  Here is the thing. If this dish is NOT a salad, then lettuce should NOT be the main ingredient. Although my dish was a struggle, I ate the  rest of my sister-aunt’s shrimp and grits (and her friend’s toast and bacon), and was very pleased with grits.

    Also, the plating of the food was nice.

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    Time to Rant

    Red Rooster: what is it with over-hyped restaurants? I will warn that this is a bit of a hater rant, because I have not actually eaten at Red Rooster. I have said this before, there is no way in HELL that I will wait more than 45 minutes for a table at a restaurant or entry into a bar/club/lounge/crack den in NYC!!! There are way too many comparable options in this city to wait more than 20 minutes for ANYTHING. Like I mentioned above, I figured since and my aunt and her friend were tourists that I would take them to Red Rooster, since EVERYONE raves about this place. Honestly, I wanted to see what all hype was about too. Ok, I get to the restaurant and wait in the line, because I did not have a reservation. I was behind about 10 people, but I figured that the wait would be for about 3-4 tables, since most of the people were in groups. The line did not move for about 15 minutes, so I asked the hostess about the wait for a table. The hostess told me that the line was for PUTTING YOUR NAME ON THE LIST TO WAIT FOR A DAMN TABLE.

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    Also, the wait for a table could be 1.5 – 2 hours. What?!!! You mean these idiots were planning to wait over 2 hours for table, then wait another 30 – 45 minutes to order and receive your food. To me, that’s insane. After hearing that, I immediately told my people to meet me at Corer Social where I got that struggling plate of food.

    I guess this is one of those place where you have to plan your hunger around getting a table. For example, I plan to be hungry at 1:30 pm, so we should arrive to the restaurant at 10:30 and begin the process of waiting for a table.

    Word on the street is that Red Rooster is the restaurant of one of the Top Chef winners. Iimg_2242 do not care if Jesus, himself, was mixing drinks at the bar, an over-priced plate of food is not worth all of that waiting. Plus, the restaurant is too damn loud. Then again, I could be wrong, because I have not tried the food.

    Another thing I’ve noticed with my limited/jaded view (due to my cheapness and general hater personality) of the NYC dining scene is that folks lie. By “lie”, I mean folks will front and say how great restaurant is, because they do not want to hurt their egos over waiting 2 hours, spending a ton of money, and leaving the restaurant still hungry and/or sober. I added in the sober part, because you know cocktails probably are around 20 bucks.

    What’s was your most underwhelming dining experience?

     

    Random Thursdays: Running Edition

    -When people walk in pairs or groups of three, why must they take up the ENTIRE width of the sidewalk? Single file, folks. SINGLE FILE. People are trying to run pass you.

    images.jpg

    -On that note. Why don’t folks know how to properly walk a dog? You are supposed to hold the leash like this:

    leash11

    And, the dog is supposed to be either at your side or behind you, so you can establish/maintain your alpha dog status. I do not know maybe some folks like being the beta dog.

    -Corral issues. As most know, many races have a corral system for arranging runners based on their speed in previous races or their predicted finish times, which is great. For NYRR races, the corral system is based on your best 5K race’s time, which is an issue on to itself. Back in the day, I mean like in 2010, I pretty much was running at a 7 min/mi pace, so I’m usually placed in the B or C corral, depending on the size of the race. Last week’s race had about 5, 000 runners, so I was in corral B.

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    Here’s the thing. I know that I’m no longer a 7:00 min/mi runner. Soooooo, now I take my black ass to a higher (or is it lower) corral, like E, F,or G. I will be honest, sometimes I doi-dont-understand-how-someone-can-have-so-little-self-awareness not have a choice, because my ass typically is running “late” for these races. During last week’s race, I went to the F corral. Why were people, who were assigned to the F corral, walking within the first mile? Ok, if you know that you plan to walk most or all of the race, why not go to one of the last corrals? It’s call self-awareness, people. 

    -Best speed work prep for a marathon 0.5 mi, 1 mi, or 2 mi intervals?

    -I really need to up my efficiency for my morning runs. This week, I woke up at 5:30 am and did not start my run until ~8:10 am. Ok, you can subtract the 30 min bus ride to the gym, but that still gives me more or less 2hrs of wasted time. I know part of  this is my poop schedule. . . I’m one of those folks who has two morning poops. FYI, my morning double poops always have been a thing with me, since as long as I can remember.

    -I want to incorporate “new” routes into my training plan.

    I’m thinking something that would involve a run from NYC to the Palisades cliffs in New Jersey.

    09trip600.1.jpg

    Randall’s Island

    New York Scenic Shots

    A lower Harlem – Manhattan “perimeter” run ~18 miles

    Screenshot (22)

    -Next week, I really need to buy a new pair of shoes.

    img_1935

    -How do city runners run in and around the city? I cannot stand the constant stop and go when waiting for traffic lights to change. Maybe, I can do “city” runs for my easy runs where stopping more or less at ever other corner will not be big issue.

    -Random selfie of me trying to be chipper at 6 am.

    img_2210

    Random Thursdays: Music Edition

    I do not have any random thoughts in my head, so I’m going to do a simple music edition for Random Thursday.

    To play this game:

    -Open whatever music app that you use to listen to your tunes.

    -Put it in shuffle mode

    -Note the first 16 songs that are played.

    1. Comunmixta – Sol Pereya
    2. I Fought the Law – The Clash
    3. Who’s to Blame – Ozomatli
    4. Click Clack – Missy Elliot
    5. Island of Wonders – Nelly Furtado (I was just asking what Nelly is up to these days)
    6. Don’t Let Go – En Vogue (It just wasn’t the same when Dawn left the group.)
    7. Hey Mama – The Black Eyed Peas (I gotta say that during the summer of 2003, you couldn’t go anywhere in NYC without hearing the Black Eyed Peas)
    8. Lethal Industry – Dj Tiesto
    9. Nel Modo Piu Sincero Che c’e – Laura Pausini (I cannot wait to see her concert in August. Hopefully, she will sing more of her spanish hits than the italian ones)
    10. Tu Boca – Shakira (This song probably is one of my least liked on this particular album)
    11. Flip Flop Rock – Outkast
    12. The Brainwasher – Daft Punk
    13. Voluntad – Julieta Venegas
    14. Rollin & Scratching – Daft Punk
    15. Black Ice – The Goodie Mob
    16. Why do the Nation Rage – Handel’s “The Messiah”

    In a random note, I think that I have figured why my phone goes through so much battery power during my runs. Yes, one reason is running multiple GPS apps at the same time. While doing this challenge, I noticed that many of these songs were not downloaded onto my phone. I guess when I had to get a replacement phone in November, all  1,749 songs were not downloaded to the new phone. Since these songs many of the songs were not downloaded, my phone uses cellular data to stream these songs from The Cloud.

    What are your top 5 songs?