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. 😉

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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.

Ted Corbitt

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

Screen Shot 2018-12-08 at 6.35.28 PM

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?

Race to Deliver – Race Report

Secondary Title: Trying to get to that 9+1Screenshot (2)

DISTANCE: 4 Miles

DATE/TIME: November 19th, 2017

LOCATION: Central Park, Manhattan

WEATHER: 56F Degrees, 77% Humidity, 20 mph wind

FINISHERS: 2,613 Men; 3,016 Women

MY RESULT: 35:21, 8:51 min/mi

Now, it really is crunch time to enter the NYC Marathon for 2018 through NYRR’s 9+1 program. Had it not been for me hanging out, oversleeping, and missing races, I probably would have my 9+1 by now. But, such is life. Since it is crunch time, I made it a point not to go out the night before the race but I still cut it really close getting to this race on time. There was an issue with the MTA (as normal), because the J and M trains were not going across the Williamsburg Bridge (I had completely forgotten about that). I requested an Uber pool and the app said that I would arrive to Central Park by 8:00 AM. Yeah, I got there at 8:27 AM. I made the mistake of doing Uber pool (Uber pool was $15 versus $32) and it seemed like we picked up everybody. Plus, Maria, the driver, was a bit of a struggle. She was screwing up directions even with the GPS navigation.

I almost missed this race last year too.

img_2262Ok, this is getting way off topic. Back to the report.

I get to the park, rush to check my bag, take a leak and head to the last corral. I wasIMG_2228 lucky that NYRR has implemented staggered starts. Even though the race started at 8:30 AM, it took me about 29 minutes to cross the start line from the last corral. In that time, I managed to do a few sprints and stretch out a bit. Since this was my first race after the marathon and with the rushed morning, I really was not setting my sights too high for this race.

For me this was a race just to run. I had my Fitbit on but I did not really look at it during the run. Since I was in the last corral, the first mile was very congested (there were quite a bit of walkers and kids on the course), and I could not get into a decent groove (not that I was planning to get into a decent groove). Also, I did have slight pain in my lower left side of my back (I have on and off back issues). The pain was not really intense, but it was annoying me enough when I finished. I kind of attributed this slight pain to sleeping weirdly the night before the race and not fully stretching before the race.

The course was a bit tricky, because there was quite a bit of windy rain the previous night, so there were a lot of slippery dead leaves on the course.

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IMG_2236Also, there were some intense wind gusts during the run, and  almost lost my cap a few times.

It was a decent enough race with not much to write about. I think that I had more of an adventure getting to the race than actually running the damn thing.

One thing that I will mention – I love running in Central Park during the Fall (well now it’s getting closer to winter). What’s not to love? You have the crisp air, colorful leaves, and a relatively sweet-free body.  After the race, I chatted with a couple of guys from my running club, which is interesting because I just mentioned that I wanted to get more involved with the group. Perhaps, this chance meeting was a sign.

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I liked it so I put a ring on it 😉

After the race, I got on the wrong train and ended up at the Crunch gym in Union Square rather than the one on 59th Street. At the gym, I did a quick chest workout, suggested by my Full Fitness app, stretched for a bit, showered, and  headed to Brooklyn to teach my class.

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Running aside, I really like this race, because the it supports God’s Love We Deliver. This organization provides meal-delivery services for NYCers, suffering with various illnesses. I believe that this organization has been around for over 30 years. Although I have volunteered to be a mentor for iMentor (the program still has not matched us with our mentees), I still do not feel that I am doing enough for my fellow man. Perhaps, I may volunteer with this organization (or a similar one) here and there. I just check GLWD’s website and I may have to pass on this organization because most of its volunteer opportunities are going the week.

Fall in Central Park

I know a few people run barefoot, but I do not think that I have seen anyone do it in the Fall – more power to him. The sad thing is his feet were less crusty than mine and I do not even run barefoot.

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After teaching, I really wanted pho but the trains were really weird and I could not go to my favorite place in the city. I ended up in Union Square (the second time for the day) and got noodle soup at Republic (***). The seafood noodle soup is delicious; I wish the restaurant had a non-spicy version of it. This plate, or rather bowl, is overly spicy for no damn reason.

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On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest. How much do you like Thanksgiving?