Getting my life back on track

Now, that the excitement of the United NYC Half Marathon is over, it’s time to get back to business. Buuuuut, what is my business? I really have no idea of where to go to next in terms of running and general fitness. Well, actually, I would like to drop a few pounds by the end of summer. I’m thinking around 10 – 15 pounds. Wasn’t that my plan at the beginning of the year? 😉 Over the past couple of months, I have been a little a lot laid back with working out and watching what I eat/drink, which have manifested itself into a larger beer gut.

Although I do not have anything major to train for. Note: I need to register for some NYRR races so I can do 9+1 for 2020’s NYC Marathon. I do have a long-term goal of becoming a better marathon runner. I mean, can a brother become a sub 4-hr marathon runner? I have an entry for the 2019’s NYC Marathon, which gives me about 8 months to become a better marathon runner (hopefully, no injuries will derail me). The plan for this week is to come up with a couple of preseason workout regimens (and actually stick to it/them) before I start my marathon training in the summer. Although I did not perform as well as I would have liked in the United NYC Half Marathon, it is a nice feeling to know that I can run 13.1 miles without much training.

Please hook me up with any long-term marathon training plans that you may have. All suggestions are invited and welcomed.

Personal Health:

I have a couple of things that I need to take care off.

I got a new tooth. So that is off the list. 😉

Visit a goddamn podiatrist. Actually, once I finish this entry, I am going to find one. For the past year or so, I have been dealing with a soft corn (technically a heloma molle) between my pinky and ring toes on my right foot. I did not want to put the images in this post, but you can check out what they look like here ( *** , *** ). This issue is caused by the constant rubbing/friction between my fourth and fifth toes. Yes, I know that I should have gotten this taken care of while ago, but I did not want to miss the NYC Marathon or last week’s Half-Marathon because of foot surgery. You know, it’s better to “ignore” an injury than dealing with it, which is a Y chromosome thing. Also, the pain is pretty manageable depending on the type of shoes and socks that I wear. The most common way to fix a soft corn is to have some bone shaved off of the fourth and fifth toes to provide move space preventing the two toes from rubbing on each other.

I have been trying to cut back on the cigarettes. Before going to work, I leave my smokes at home so I will not smoke during the day. It has been going ok for the past 1.5 weeks. It’s actually getting to the point where it’s going to be impossible to buy cigarettes in NYC.

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Race Report: Ted Corbitt 15K

Date: December 8th, 8:30 am

Distance: 15K

Place: Central Park, New York, NY

Weather: 29 F, 54% humidity

Finishers: 4,971 total (2,553 men / 2,418 women)

Official time / pace:  1:31:02 / 9:46 min/mi

Swag: Long-sleeved tech shirt

 

This 15K race honors the life of Ted Corbitt, who was the first president of New York Road Runners (NYRR) and the first African-American to compete in the Olympic marathon. During his life, he ran over 223 marathons and ultramarathons, so many cool achievements!!!

Going into this thing, I was not really feeling the race because the weather report called for mid 20 F temperatures. Y’all know that I don’t mess around with super cold or super hot weather. However, I am glad that it did not rain or snow.

I was not feeling mentally strong going into this race, because of a couple of struggling ass short runs during the week. I did a (near) 5 mile run on Thursday, and it was so much of a struggle to finish. WTF? I just ran a marathon last month, but I was struggling to finish a 5-mile run. Since this race takes runners through two loops in Central Park, the plan was to run the first loop and do 400m and/or 800m walk/run intervals for the remaining distance.

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Getting to the start was a little of a struggle because I did not set my alarm the night before. Why do I self-sabotage myself so much? I woke up at 6:30ish in the morning and was like I can sleep for about 15 more minutes. Yeah, I guess that 15 minutes became 60 minutes. Well, why did you do that? The race starts near 102nd St. in Central Park, and I live in Central Harlem in the low 120s. Basically, the distance is about a mile or so from the start. I am so glad that I laid out all of my clothes the night before. At 7:30 am, I started preparing the coffee, took a poop (while smoking a cigarette), threw on my clothes, hopped on a Citibike, and biked to Central Park just as the race was starting. I did not mind starting near the back of the pack (even though I was assigned to the B corral) because I knew that I was going to be a little lot slow for this race. Come to think of it, I did not stretch before starting.

Ok, let’s get to the damn race.

The race started off really slow even for being near the back. I think the cold made folks a little cautious about slipping. Also, I think many folks are still coming off of the marathon and were doing this race to finish up their 9+1 requirements for next year’s NYC Marathon. I think that I had the perfect amount of clothes for this race/weather. I never felt too cold or too hot.

Head: a Baseball cap and a head/ear band

Upper body: A singlet, two long-sleeved technical tees, and a very, very light hoodie

Lower body: A pair of shorts, tights, and over the calf socks

Hands: I only needed my gloves for the bike ride to and from Central Park

The crowd was pretty packed for most of the first loop (~4 miles). I decided that it would be too much work to zig in and out of the pack to pass people, so I figured that I would just “enjoy” the race. Although the weather was below freezing, I’m really glad that it was a sunny morning. Actually, it was a very picturesque run. Too bad that I could not take many pictures . . . dumb iPhone. I remember last year that it snowed a little bit towards the end of the race so this year’s race was leaps and bounds better than last year’s.

Finishing the first loop, we were able to see some of the elite runners finish. Man, they were so freaking fast. Ok, the annoying part of the run where I wasted some time.

I wanted to shoot a quick video of the top three runners, but my phone died. It’s getting that time of the year when my phone does not do well in cold temperatures. Before shooting the video, the phone’s battery was at 60%. After the quick, five-second video, the battery went to 2%, and the phone died. I am so glad

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that I had my iPhone external battery/case. If you are in the market for a case/external battery, I highly recommend this case from Gasopic ( *** ). I completely charged my phone back to 90% and there was still 75% of reserved juice in the case. Although it’s a little bulky, I love this thing.

I think that my second loop went better than the first. Although I have not really investigated my splits, I definitely was passing folks and did intervals between two light posts starting at mile 7.

Interesting randomness:

  • I ran a better marathon this year.
  • I ran a faster Ted Corbit last year.

What’s the point of this info? I figure since I was in better shape this year, based on my marathon finish, I would do a better job for this year’s Ted Corbitt run. I guess that you can never use one metric for predicting your finish for a run.

Last year’s Ted Corbitt 15K

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This year’s Ted Corbitt 15K

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Eh. Oh well . . . what’s done is done.

With the conclusion of this race, I earned my 9+1 guaranteed entry for next year’s TCS NYC Marathon. 

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Man, there were so many people waiting in a line to take a picture with the 9+1 sign. I swear, NYCers love to wait in lines for the most random shit. I pretty much took a selfie and kept it moving. It was far too cold to be bullshitting around in a line. 

I hopped on a Citibike and rode my ass home, and the BF had breakfast waiting for me!!!!

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  • Anyone else doing NYRR’s 9+1 program for next year’s marathon? If so, which race was your favorite?

NYC Marathon Training Update #XVI

Planned miles/Completed miles: ??? miles/21.6 miles

We are getting into the home stretch.

Unfortunately, I could get in only three runs due to my head cold. But, I was pleased that I managed to get in a 15-mile long run. Although I had a decent week of running, compared to last week, a couple of issues is beginning to concern me.

  1. The pain in my pinky toe.
  2. The slight pain in my left shin that I really hope is not the start of a stress fracture. It would be horrible to have a stress fracture a few weeks before the marathon.

Wednesday: X-train and “Hill” work

Since the Queensboro Bridge always have been the thorn in my side for the NYC marathon, I want to incorporate this bridge in my runs for these last few training weeks.
Before the run, I did a 3.5-mile bike ride from Harlem to the Crunch Fitness that’s next to the bridge.

Because I got to the gym a little late, my run was a simple in and out run across the bridge.

Friday: 3-mile easy run

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Nice, flat easy morning run in Central Park. I even rewarded myself with a big ass iced coffee with no milk or sugar. Delicious.

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Saturday 15.4 miles/Grete’s Gallop

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The plan was to run 12 miles but I ended running three 3 extra miles. Yay me. 

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The plan was to wake up early, run 6 miles before the race, and run the 10K. Unfortunately, my poop schedule would not allow me to leave the house early enough to run the six, pre-race miles. I ended up running 4 miles before the race, the 10K, and another 5 miles. 

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Since my last race was in August, it was kind of nice to actually run with a large group of people in a competition. I purposely made sure that I started the race in the last corral because I wanted to run at a slower pace. It’s really hard to run at a slower pace because I kept fighting off the urge to pass folks on the course.

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For the most part, I think that I’m on course for a 4.5-hour marathon. Next week’s 20 miler will give me a better indication of the likely hood of meeting the 4.5 hour (10:17 min/mi) goal. 

After the race, I ran around Central Park for another five or so miles. I probably could have added one more mile so the total distance would have been 16 miles, but I wanted to stop at 7/11 for a nice Slurpee. Unfortunately, I was greeted with this sight at 7/11

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You mean to tell me that NONE of the Slurpee flavors were ready. Not even, nasty ass pina colada. C’mon!!! 7/11 is known for Slupees, beef jerky, cigarettes, and scratch-off lottery tickets. 

But hey. When life throws you lemons, you gotta make lemonade. Basically, I made a Gatorade slushie when I arrived home. 

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I think this weekend gave me a little confidence in completing this marathon. Although I will not be able to meet my initial goal of 4 hours, I hope that I can nail a 4.5 hour marathon. Even if I don’t, it’s still all good in the hood. 

I really hope that I can fit in some runs during this week because I will be in San Antonio for work. I did find a couple of routes near the convention center and my hotel that I can attempt while I’m there ( *** ). 

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It looks like there be some interesting things to see on this route – La Villita, the Alamo, Pearl Brewery, San Antonio Museum of Art, Cathedral of San Fernando (the oldest cathedral in the nation), historic houses in the King William district.

Random Thoughts Thursday

  • I love working out in the mornings. Too bad I’m not a morning person.
  • Kinda excited that I have my corral assignment for the NYC Marathon (Thanks, Danielle’s 2018 NYC Marathon Journey) Man, shit is getting real. Now, I wish that I had trained harder. Oh well, feet smell. 

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Why do they always put my slow ass in the first wave? I guess that I wasn’t slow 6 years ago.

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m so glad that fall is here!!!

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  • Next week this time, I’ll be in the Lone Star state . . . San Antonio, Texas to be exact. It’s for a work trip, but I’ll be sure to find some time to have some fun. Plus, my roommate from grad school will be attending the same conference, sooooo game on.  This roommate and I have had an interesting friendship. Our 16-year relationship has been full of plot twists. Started grad school as best friends, became enemies (for about a decade), then frenemies, and now friends again. In my defense, a lot of our drama was caused by other folks. 
  • Speaking of San Antonio, Texas. If Yolanda Saldivar did not murder Selena, thegiphy world more than likely would not have experienced JLo’s “singing”. That’s ANOTHER reason Yolanda should rot in jail for the rest of her life. 
  • Speaking of trips. I went against y’all’s advice and decided to book a trip to Madrid right before this year’s marathon.

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Hell, the tickets were dirt ass cheap. The plan: Madrid (and some random country town) from Oct 28th to Nov. 2nd; a 5K race on Nov. 3rd (I plan to walk/slow jog most of it); and the marathon on Nov. 4th. I figured, screw it. I have a ton of vacation days – 23 plus the two days that I accrue each month until June. There’s no way that I’ll be able to use up all of those days with my job’s responsibilities in 8  months. I think that I may do a few 4-day weekends, here and there. Ok this has gotten long. 

  • Random fact: Did you know that there are no official lyrics to Spain’s national anthem?
  • I think that I’m going to buy a basic coffee machine for my office. As a matter of fact, I’m going to pick up one after tomorrow morning’s workout. I notice that I do not eat as much during the day when I’m caffeinated. I guess that I could buy and drink a crap ton of diet coke. 
  • I wish that I renewed my Front Runners: NY membership this year. I guess that I could still do it, but what’s the point when there are only 3 months left in the year. 

Random NYC Marathon Wish List

Now that we are about 30 days away from this marathon, there are some key items that I’ll need to be the “best” marathoner that I can be. 

  • An iPhone charger and case. 

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This is essential so I can have enough battery juice for a 12+ hour day. The NYRR has not released the start times for each wave, but I’m scheduled to take the 5:45 am Staten Island Ferry. I just purchased one before our Cancun trip in June, but it does not charge any longer. 😦

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Plus, I need to be able to text about all the “fun” I’m having while running a marathon. 

  • A box of Gatorade gels. 

It’s cheaper to buy them in bulk from Amazon. 

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  • Some crappy clothes

Crappy “throw away” clothes that I can wear for warmth while waiting for my wave to start. Usually, I hit up a TJ Maxx for those items. 

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  • Speaking of clothes. I need a few new jock straps. 

The ones that I have are ratty ass hell. This brings to another question. Word on the street is that many men “free ball” while running. I would assume/hope that their running shorts would have some type of support. I do not think that I could run 26.2 miles with my kibble and bits bouncing all over the place. 

  • A good book

Although I’m a very chatty person, I am not very friendly first thing in the morning. So, I’ll need something to do to pass the time (besides rolling my eyes at and hating on people) while commuting from Harlem to Staten Island, traveling to the marathon village, and waiting for my corral to open. 

  • Some damn Nicoderm Patches

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I have been smoking way too much since I have started this desk gig. When I was a scientist, I did not have too much time to smoke because I was running 80 million experiments at one time. Now, I have a lot of downtime as an administrator. I am beginning to feel some of the effects of the cancer sticks during my runs. But then again, I kind of agree with Miss Piggy. 1pp6ox

Actually, maybe I will try to quit after the marathon. The Nicoderm patches really screw with my sleeping and eating patterns.

  • Registering for races so I can qualify for next year’s NYC Marathon. 

Why do I torture myself? I really have not been on my 9 races + 1 volunteer gig game for guaranteed entry into next year’s NYC marathon, which has to be completed by December 31st. As of now, I have only four races under my belt. 

Long Break

Since I was blabbing about it, I decided to take a quick break from this writing this entry and register for the remaining races. Ugh, I just had to drop ~$150 bucks on these races. Why is a 5K race forty-five damn dollars?!!! Maybe it’s because of the street closures and overtime for the cops. Here’s my upcoming race list:

-NYRR Grete’s Great Gallop (10K). Sat., Oct. 6th

-Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K, Sat. Nov. 3rd. I may be a little crazy signing up for a race the day before the marathon. Buuuuuut, I think that I will just do a few sprints during the race and walk/easy jog most of it. The cool thing about this race is it has the same finish as the NYC Marathon. 

-TCS NYC Marathon, Sun., Nov. 4th

-Race to Deliver 4M, Sun., Nov. 18th

-NYRR Ted Corbitt 15K, Sat. Dec. 8th

If all goes well with these race (i.e. not getting plastered the night before and missing them), I will not have to run the Jingle Bell Jog (5K) and the Midnight Run  (4Mi) on Dec. 31st. The Jingle Bell Jog is a great race (the entry fees go to charity), but it’s ~$50 and I would have to drag my ass all the way to Prospect Park by 8:00 am. It was sooooo cold during last year’s Midnight Run that I almost skipped the race. 

  • Post Marathon reservations

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Like my previous marathons, I love to celebrate with a huge ass steak and plenty of gin and sodas and/or margaritas. Perhaps, this post-theme will be mojitos or sangria. Hell, I’ve already requested off for the Monday after the marathon. 

I know this was a half-assed list of essentials, but whatever. 

What are some of the essential items that you need for a half- or full marathon?

NYC Marathon Training Update #Whatever

Actually I know the number, it’s training update # XV.

These couple of weeks have been a disaster in terms of my training. But what else is new? Two weeks ago, I had pains in my lower back and inner calf. This past week, I had a terrible head cold with a horrible sore throat. I probably need to lay off of the cigarettes. Needless to say, there was not much of any running going on for the past two weeks. To make matters worse, we are 35 days away from the NYC Marathon and I do not feel ready at all. Ok, last year, I was not ready at all, but I went into the marathon knowing that I was going to be a hot mess. This year was supposed to be my redemption marathon.

  • Maybe, I don’t like running as much as I thought I did.
  • Perhaps, I’m psyching myself out.

During my sickness, the BF did take care of me with plenty veggie soup, some ginger tea concoction, and Ny-Quil. As of Sunday, I’m feeling 20 times better. I guess his treatment regimen is  healthier than my treatment of booze, cigarettes, and Tussin DM.

Monday, I had four of these huge frozen margaritas from a new Mexican place in our hood.

Aren’t cold things good for your throat? My dinner pretty much was those margaritas. Oh and for dessert, I had a couple glasses of wine. You know, for the antioxidants. They say that you should drink plenty of liquids.

The rest of the week involved more boozing and hanging out. Oh btw, this pizza place is Amazing.

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Koronet ( *** ) has pizzas the size of your face, and the pizzas are pretty good. I mean, the slices are longer than the goddamn tray.

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Actually, I guess that I should make this comment consuming the pizza while sober. For me, rat tartare would taste amazing in an inebriated state.

Needless to say, no real running was accomplished during the week.

I did accomplish ONE marathon related thing. I FINALLY bought a pair of new running shoes. Happy, Runralph ( *** )?

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They are pretty much the same shoes that I had but in a different color. I wish that Iimg_2415 could be one of those folks who could try out new brands of shoes. The salesman was making all of these suggestions based on my messed up feet. But, I can’t stand laying out $130 – $150 only to hate them, return them, and go through the process again. Lucky for me, I was able to buy the last pair of size 12s, wide 2Es in a non ugly color. Because those periwinkle shoes looked like vomit.

I was kind of pumped buying these shoes so I went on a 6 mile run to “break them in”.

Random: I thought my NYRR membership gave me discounts at running stores. I bought the shoes at the damn NYRR Running Center, which is sponsored by New Balance, but there was no discount. There was only a rewards program that I will never earn enough points to get anything. . . except for annoying ass emails.

Well the salesman did hook me up with a picture frame from yesterday’s Bronx 10 mile run – a race that I did not run.

However, I ran the Bronx 10 mile a couple years ago so I’ll use that picture for the frame.

Actually, I registered for the Bronx 10 mile last year. I didn’t make it be because I had too much champagne and gin at a bougie ass wedding reception the night before. I mean there was an after party to the open bar reception. The reception was so classy that Hendricks gin was the well gin. Sooo yeah, there was no way that I was going to travel from Bed Stuy to the Bronx at 6:00 am to run in the Bronx.

Plan for the Week:

As of Monday, my throat is feeling way better and I am not feeling any soreness from my inner calf from yesterday’s run. My lower back is another issue. We are in a new month and I am going to be as dedicated as I can for the remaining days in my training plan. Technically, my training plan extends beyond the marathon because I plan to run the perimeter (31 miles) of Manhattan sometime in December.

Concerns:

  • As of today, 17 miles (three weeks ago) has been my longest run. I was supposed to run 20 miles this past weekend, but that did not happen.
  • I have four weekends remaining.
  • Should I attempt the 20 miler this weekend? Or, ramp up with a 12-15 miler? The later would give me the opportunity to run the 20 miler on Oct 13th or the 20th. Either way, I’ll have 2-3 weeks of tampering, which is way more than I’ve ever had for a marathon.

Actually, I will do the ramp up this weekend since I’ll register for Grete’s Gallop (10 K). I still need to run 4 more races in addition to the marathon to qualify for next year’s marathon. Ugh. I have a feeling that I will be running the Midnight Run Race on Dec. 31st.

But one thing for certain, FALL IS HERE!!!! YEA!!!!!

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.