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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Vacation Recap: Madrid y Yo

A week before the NYC Marathon, I had this nutty idea to travel to Madrid with the BF so I just wanted to give a quick recap of my randomness in Espana.

Before I begin, I was Mario for Halloween.

Of course, we always have preflight drinks and we decided on Long Island Iced Teas because you get more bang for your buck.

I don’t understand why they were so light in color. Hell, we even got a couple for the road … the flight.

The trip was a little intense because the BF, who is Spanish was going to visit his familyimg_3867 for his Father’s 70th birthday at the end of the week. When his friends from the north of Spain learned about the trip, the BF and his friends decided to combine vacations for 5 days in Madrid. What did that mean? The seven of us shared an Airbnb in Madrid, which reminded me of MTV’s Real World. Actually, that part was not as bad as I thought it would have been. I will say that the six women got ready pretty fast and did not spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Yes, there was only one bathroom.

Since I was the only non-Spaniard in the group, I did not get to see as many tourist attractions as I would have liked. However, I did not make a huge fuss about it.

One thing that I loved about this experience was the constant amount of feedings. That’s one of the reasons why I did not make a big fuss about not seeing everything (or anything) that I wanted. As long as I was fed, I was a happy camper. Almost every bar gives you some small bites when you order a beverage so now I understand why those folks eat so damn late. 

Even on our first day, we accidentally found a bar that served 1€ mimosas ALL DAMN DAY.

I could have stayed there all day.

During our last trip to Spain, the BF and I were in Madrid for less than 24 hours. This time it was nice to explore the city for a few days. Unfortunately, the weather was kind of rainy for most of the trip. Because of the rain, we pretty much had to stay indoors, which meant more beer/booze and food.

Mahou beer pretty much “sponsored” our trip.

For me, Mahou beer is a little too light in flavor. After about two of them, I would have to upgrade to something stronger.

We went to an Asturian (a region in the Northern part of Spain) bar for some cider . . . and more food. This region is known for its cider and the specific way of pouring it. In order to get the full-bodied flavor of the cider, the cider must his the glass at a certain angle. The people from Asturias can pour it correctly without the fancy apparatus. When non-Asturians do it, you just end up with a whole bunch of cider on the ground. 

The bar’s decor was quite amazing and the food was even better.

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You can even eat inside of the cider barrels. Also, somehow we managed to get these funky hats free of charge. This actually worked out quite well for me, because I left my cap at the Airbnb.

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The food, because you know that I’m always ready to eat.

I could have pretty much eaten Spanish tortilla, Jamon Iberico, and octopus/squid every day that we were in Spain. 

Lol. One evening the BF’s friends threw us a “wedding reception.”

I guess that it’s hard to find same sex, interracial cake figurines in Madrid.

The city was pretty fun for sloring. We had an opportunity to partake in some Halloween festivities and other randomness. 

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One thing that I like about Spain (or maybe it’s a European thing in general) is that your drinks are served in huge ass goblets with the mixer on the side. Surprisingly, gin is quite popular in Madrid. Unfortunately, Spain really does not do seltzer water, but I guess 7-Up is fine. 

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Btw, everyone knows that Thalia is the better artist that Paulina Rubio. 😉

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Look, it’s the cancer that I studied during my postdoctoral fellowship. 

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This picture brings back memories of dissecting the tongues and esophagi of mice. 

Some other random sites. 

So that was Madrid. We also went to Placencia, Spain because the BF was going to surprise his parents for his father’s birthday. This is a region in the western part of Spain that many folks do not visit. There’s not much to do in this region, but it is perfect if you want a couple of quiet days in Spain. Lord knows that it was quiet. Oh, there are some medieval ruins but I did not have a chance to visit them. I think the BF went with his family after I left. They always do the fun stuff when I leave the country. 😉

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In terms of cuisine, this area is known for its wild boars. OMG. This was the BEST meal that I had in Spain. The meat pretty much melted in my mouth and the presentation was quite nice. Looking at this picture is making me hungry again. 

Ok, coming back to the States was a HOT mess. We had a lot of turbulence with a lot of folks screaming and crying. The sad thing is that many people were coming to NYC for the marathon; I saw a lot of NYC Marathon jackets and Spanish flags on the plane. The woman next to me grabbed my arm several times during the flight and vomited a couple of times too. At one point, I thought the plane was going to go down. After ~60 minutes of turbulence, there was some more BS. The weather in NYC was really bad, and we had to land in Boston and stay on the plane for about 3 hours. We were supposed to land in NYC at 6:30 pm. Basically, we got to NYC around midnight, and I did not get home til about 2:00. 

What a great way to begin NYC Marathon weekend. In addition to getting home super late, I had to run a race at 8:30 am on Saturday, then run the marathon on Sunday. Although I did not meet my goal during the marathon, I have to say that I’m proud of myself for completing the race with the minimal amount of sleep during the entire week before the marathon and a trans-Atlantic trip. 

All in all, the vacation was great and I cannot wait to visit again. Hopefully, I/we can include Barcelona on the next trip. 

I really would like to rebuild on my Spanish speaking skills. I found it really difficult to speak with the BF’s parents (outside of the general niceties)  because they don’t speak any English. It’s so sad that I let my Spanish speaking skills dwindle. In college, I minored in Spanish and did a study abroad program in Ecuador so I was semi-fluent at one point in my life. Actually, let me correct this statement. My issue is that I do not want to make any mistakes while speaking. Since I do not want to make any mistakes, I tend not to speak as much as I would like. Most of y’all know that I am a chatty MF’er. For the most part, my comprehension is OK (depending on the accent) so I know what going on. But, I can speak Spanish when I’m drunk because I do not care that much about screwing up or making up words as I go. As a matter of fact, give me a couple shots of anything and I’ll chat until the cows come home. That’s why I’m able to meet folks on vacation when I travel solo to Latin America . . . I’m tipsy/buzzed/drunk for most of the trip. 

Training Update – Vacay Edition

Yeah, so long story short, there is no update. Only only runs I did in Cancun was straight to the buffet and the bar . . . actually that should be to bar then to the buffet. Although I did not complete any runs, I did play plenty of beach and water volleyball. Oh yeah, I attended on poolside Zumba “class”. That something . . . right?

I will, however, post a few pics from the trip.

Pre-Cancun:

I almost messed up packing for the both of us. Sunday after work, I planned to stop by my local bar/restaurant for a couple glasses of wine. Damnit, if the bar/restaurant wasn’t having a Tito’s promotion. The promotion was unlimited Tito’s-based beverage with the purchase of any appetizer. That’s like all you can drink “so-so” vodka for like $12. Needless to say, packing for  the trip was a hot ass mess.

Random: The TSA agents at JFK really liked my socks.

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Cancun:

Riu Place Las Americas was really nice. This was my 4th Riu resort (two in the DR and one img_1853other in Cancun), and I have to say that this was the best out of them. Probably, it was the best, because it was strictly adults only. Actually, on the way back to the U.S., the BF was asking how/why there were so many kids in the airport in Mexico. I had to assume it was because we did not see any kids for about 7 days.

Oh, the resort was extra nice because we got a free room upgrade. Yay, us.

We managed to do one-day excursion that included a cenote, Chichen Itza, and Valladolid. The excursion was ok, but a three destination, one-day excursion was a little intense, because there wasn’t enough time to do everything. It reminded me off those big field trips that you take in high school, where the chaperone tells the folks on the bus to be back at a certain time. However, there is that one small group of students that come back late and fucks up the rest of the trip for everyone else. Yeah. so that happened. . .  multiple times during the day. Note, the BF and I were not the late ones.

Not to be mean, I could could have stayed at the cenote all day and skipped Chichen Itza and Valladolid. Not because Chichen Itza was boring or anything. It was super hot as hell, and this black boy melts in extreme heat.

All in all, I ate plenty of food, drank a quite bit (in my defense, the booze was really diluted), got plenty of sun and beach, and even saw a bootleg version of “Rock of Ages” . . . for the fourth time. I will admit that the dancing for the bootleg version of “Rock of Ages” was better in the DR than in Mexico.  Actually, I can understand why the booze was diluted. I mean the bars at the resort opened at 9 AM, and every room came fully equipped with large bottles of vodka, rum, tequila, brandy, and beer. As my aunt said when we were in Cancun three years ago – “This place has everything to get you drunk, but you gotta climb a mountain to get a cup of coffee when you wake up.”

Even had a few opportunities to act like a nut.

Slorin on the left and beach partying on the right.

So those were the quick highlights of the trip.

Oh yeah, I had a birthday (the big 3-8) on Monday. Since I spent pretty much an entire week eating, laying in the sun, avoiding heatstroke, and drinking, I decided to bring in my new year in a relaxed manner. I pretty much laid on my sofa in my undies all day, Hulu-binged “Superstore”, aired out my liver (aside from eating cheesecake for breakfast and chocolate cake for lunch), watched a documentary about WWII, and read a book about Rasputin

 

Random Thoughts/Annoyances Thursday

– [Annoyance] People who constantly use “per our email/meeting *** was said…” I know it was mentioned in the damn meeting. I’m asking just so I am completely in the loop. Don’t be so sassy or passive aggressive.

– This outfit.

– I really should not buy “food” when I’m drunk.

– I really need to find a volunteer project to become involved with.

-[Annoyance] The modern take on speakeasies in NYC. Wait, so I am expected to wait for an hour to drink in a bar where drinks start at $18?!!!

-I love late night ramen.

– What other activities can one do in a Cancun resort, beside drinking, eating, swimming, and visiting ancient pyramids?

-I really need to get my feet “did”.

-I need to incorporate more veggies into my diet.

It has been forever and a day

Man, I know that I have been gone for a bit, but the last couple of weeks have been so freakin INTENSE. Over the past couple of weeks, I was deep into admitting students into my program and planning a 3-day research symposium for the program. There were some highs and lows that I’ll probably write about later.

Normally, Mondays are my training updates . . . this update will be easy, because there was no training. As a matter of fact, I was supposed to run a race yesterday, but I could not do it, because I was waaay to tired. This probably the first time that I have missed a race due to exhaustion. Normally, I miss my races, because I am drunk and/or super hungover. Besides not updating this blog, I have not been able to do any of my normal social activities. Well . . . I did have a few drinks here and there.

The whole point of these more recent training updates was to get into pre-marathon shape. Unfortunately, I am going to have to just ‘”THROW IT AWAY” and basically restart my training plan.

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I have a few ideas for beginning training from scratch . . . again. I plan to use Hal Higdon’s novice training plan (***) as a starting point, with 4 days of running. Actually, I think that I will begin today by doing a 3 mile run to Zumba class. It feels weird doing an novice training plan, since this will be my 3rd marathon, but my body is not at a place (right now) where it should be.

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I have a feeling that this may be one of those run a marathon just to finish it. Maybe, I should stop being negative since the NYC marathon still is five months away. However, I know that it takes a while for my body to acclimate to summer temperatures and it will affect my ability to run long distances. That said, the past couple of days have been really cold for NYC in June. Who knows? Maybe we will have a cold summer this year.

tenorAlthough I have mentioned starting a new training plan, it may be screwed up before I start it, because I’m going to Cancun in two weeks. I am so excited for this upcoming vacation where I plan to eat, drink, smoke . . .  nicotine, (run, maybe), and lay my big ass on a beach. The resort does have a couple of gyms on site, so I will try to stay on my training program . . . as best I can. I will reread runningtotravel’s post on this topic (***).

Oh one small rant. I cannot stand some vacation haters or vacation know it alls. For example, I’ve told a couple of folks about my trip to Cancun, and they respond with something like “Oh that’s not the real Mexico”.

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I purposely wanted to do a simple vacation, where I really do not have to lift a finger to do shit. . . THAT’S THE POINT!!!! For my yearly trips, I typically alternate between adventurous and lazy vacations. For example, last year I visited four different parts of Spain in 10-day period. I was able to see a lot of wonderful sites (and eat delicious food), but the trip was exhausting. Hell, I think that I needed a vacation from the vacation when I returned to the States.  I just want an easy vacation for this upcoming trip.

 

Bah Humbug Training Update

Ugh, my fitness goals are all of the freaking place and nonexistent at the same time. Just last week, I was thinking that I hate not having anything to train for. These series of injuries really have put a damper in my fitness goals. I think the back injury is over and the tendinitis in my left arm is recovering.

Intermittent Fasting Woes

I do not know how well this intermittent fasting thing is going. Just to refresh your memory, I decided to do this fast as giving up something for Lent, which is from Ash Wednesday (Feb. 14, 2018) to Holy Thursday (Mar. 29th, 2018). Typically for this season, one is supposed to give up something for 40 days . . . in my case, I guess that I’m giving eating for 16 hours every day. Although this is a religious tradition and I not super religious, I like to give up something every year just to tell myself that I can live without something. Before you ask. No, I have not given up cigarettes or booze during Lent. I mean, word on the street is that Jesus did turn water into wine, so I’m sure that he probably turned water into hard liquor too. I really do not have any excuses for the smoking vice. Ok, I’m getting off topic.

The point of all of this rambling. Basically it has been about 26 days into the fast, and I have not seen any noticeable changes in my physical appearance. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. I know that 26 days is no time on a diet  on an improved eating program, but I was expecting to notice SOMETHING. I have not actually weighed myself, because I want to save that for the end as a big finale. But, it looks like my big finale will be a bust. . . because I will be busting out of my pants 😉 I really do not get it. I have been working out more or less the same since December, but I’m eating less (and somewhat healthier). I just do not know what I’m doing wrong. Also, it’s annoying that when I see people who live more unhealthily lifestyles than me (yes, there are people who live more unhealthy than I) lose weight by changing one thing.

I swear, I’m going to be very upset if I do not see significant weight loss by Easter aka “Welcome Back, Jesus” Day.

Let me stop there, because I feel like this entry could go down a very dark path, and I still need to saving some hating energy for the rest of the day. . . today is monday Zumba day. I’m going to bring it back to the original idea of this post, training for an event.

The “Event”

As of this morning the BF and I, booked a week getaway to Cancun in June. To be more specific, our trip is in 97 days!!! I know that Cancun is pretty much a typical tourist trap, but I wanted have a super lazy vacation. This means going to an all-inclusive resort, drinking fruity, sugary drinks, laying on the beach, and stuffing my face at the buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well . . . the resort does have a few swim up bars, so that will be my physical activity. Perhaps, I will fit in a SCUBA diving excursion.

Matter of fact, we are going to the same resort where my cousin had his wedding a few years ago. 

The funny/sad thing is that I was drunk in each picture. (Left) I had gotten back to my hotel room at 8 AM after sloring all night outside of the tourist areas in Cancun (Yo queria practicar my espanol). Matter of fact, I have a gin and juice in my hand. (Middle) The family took an excursion to Las Islas Mujeres and I wanted a pic with our tour guide. . . who was a fun nut. (Right) I had had it with family time, so I ventured out own my own on another night in Cancun. The funny thing is that my aunt was stayed up waiting for me in our hotel room, like I was late for curfew. Well I did arrive at 4 AM. LOL, I was so trashed that I need to take a nap on the beach before my cousin’s actual wedding.

TMI warning (highlight this line to find out). Ugh, my goddamn  poop had a blueish color and  I vomited in the ocean. Oh well, YOLO. I had a blast at Club Once/Once.

My updated training goal is to get a least somewhat beach ready by Jun 18th. I kind of have some ideas of how I can improve some physical issues regarding my workouts and (most importantly) my diet.

Question: How do you get over not meeting your physical goals, especially in regards to weight? Help a brotha out.

Random Thursday Update

Intermittent Fast:

So far, so good . . . for the most part. I have not been weighing myself to see if there is anydiet weight loss, but I do “feel” lighter. Well, I feel lighter until downing 1 liter of water to ward off my hunger. Actually, now that I am in week three, I really do not feel intense hunger pangs any longer. Outside of drinking water, green tea, and diet coke (here and there), my first meal of the day is around 3 PM – a time of day that I never thought I could have my first meal. Also, I have noticed that I do get a sense of fullness faster, since I have started this fasting program. For example, today I ate a little more than a quarter of a sub and I was still stuffed after an hour. Well . . . I also did have a small oatmeal cookie. My downfall to this diet will be late-night drinking, because my eyes become bigger than my stomach in those cases.

Foot infection (don’t worry, there will not be any gross photos).

Ok, I totally understand that a Ph.D. in Molecular Oncology and Immunology is not aphd medical degree, even though the field is biomedicine, but cut me some slack. This semi rant comes up, because I had an appointment with a podiatrist to figure out what’s going on with my foot infection (technically an infection between my pinky and ring toes). From jump, one of the doctors (I was seen by a chief resident and the main doc.) asked about my profession. Told her what I do now and mentioned that I used to be a cancer researcher. Asking that is not a big deal, because I know many doctors like (or should want) to know more about their patients’ lives. Long story short, the chief resident starting to give me a crash course about the epidermis, fungal versus bacterial infections, and the healing steps involved with the skin. All of which I know. Remember, Ph.D. in a biomedical field. She cleaned the wound with betadine, an antiseptic, then she started to explain what it was. Um, thanks, DOC. I used betadine to prevent bacterial contamination in cell culture for over 15 YEARS!!!! I know what it does.

Basically, the doc prescribed me more antifungal cream and to keep doing what I have been doing regarding cleaning the infection. Great a $30 copay and $25 cream well spent.

Half-Marathon

Ugh, I think that I’m not running (or walking) this thing. I feel really shady, because so many folks are posting about it on WordPress and on Facebook. And, I’m all like whatever. I guess that’s how people were when I was always talking about running the NYC marathon during the summer.

Vacation:

The BF wants to plan a vacation (oh snap, this topic reminded me that I need to checkvacation how many vacation days I have) . . . Sweet 7 days (I accrue two days for every month I work, with 24 being the max). Any recommendations for us? We gotta act soon because it’s already March and prices are gonna start going up . . . if they haven’t already. I’m thinking of a lazy vacation, so maybe a resort type of thing. He really wants to go to eastern cost of Costa Rica, which I’m not too big on because I’ve been to that region two times. I do not want to be the person who is the “know it all” on a trip. I would like to go somewhere where I haven’t been but I’ve traveled extensively in Latin America and he has not. Cuba has come up, but I do not know if I can travel there anymore (he can go, since he is a citizen of Spain). HA! Just as I was typing this a coworker stopped by and started to talk to me about his weekend trip. Then, we talked about my potential trips, and he recommended Nicaragua.

Quick List for vacation:

  1. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic – easy breezy resort trip. I’ve been there a few times, pretty nice (and cheap) accommodations
  2. Cancun, Mexico – resort trip. Laying on my big ass, sloring, and eating tacos are fun things for me. Maybe this time I can check out some culture.
  3. Limon, Costa Rica – adventure  vacation . . . maybe not.
  4. Nicaragua – adventure vacation . . . need to do more intel

That’s all for me.

Where in the Western Hemisphere would you visit multiple times?