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A Bathroom Surprise

I’m waaaay behind in my blogging and much has happened.  I’m going to try to play catch-up a bit this week.  The posts may not follow a true timeline – but, no problemo.

Silly tourists doing tourist things.

Back in the first week of March, Drea & I took a long-overdue vacation to the Riviera Maya in Mexico.

Now, based on the title of the post, and the fact that we went to Mexico, you are probably making inaccurate conclusions about what this post is actually about.  Rest assured, neither of us were victims of Montezuma’s Revenge or is this post about poop at all.

We had a great time down there.  Really, it is difficult to travel to Mexico (the tourist-safe areas anyway) and not have a good time.

We spent one day walking up and down 5th Ave in Playa del Carmen.  We went to Señor Frogs for lunch.  But, the scene was pretty lame.  Apparently, during the day, Señor Frogs is a pretty family-friendly place.  It’s not until night time that it picks up.  Not interested in hanging with the families and over-paying for mediocre food & drinks, we moved on.  We then found ourselves ordering a bucket of beers at the Tequila Barrel.  We met a couple from Canada and had a nice time chatting and drinking with them.

Drea doing her Vanna impression

At some point, we had asked our bartender for the best places to hangout in Playa.  We told him we wanted the real flavor, somewhere locals would go, as well.  He told us about a few dance clubs that he would be hitting that night.  Those aren’t exactly Drea & I’s scene, but he did seem to have his finger on the pulse of the area.  So, we asked where we could get the best authentic Mexican food.  He immediately started talking about Mi Pueblo.  This excited Drea & I because we had actually eyed this restaurant earlier and thought it had potential.

Mi Pueblo was everything we could have asked for and more.  A quaint little restaurant in the heart of Playa.  Our only issue with the restaurant was that after looking over the menu for several minutes, a waiter dropped an iPad on our table that had photos of each dish.  We had already been having a difficult time narrowing down what we wanted to order because everything sounded delicious.  You would have thought that the photos might have helped.  Nope.  Exactly the opposite!  Not only did they sound good, but everything looked freaking fantastic!  All the iPad did was complicate the ordering process.  Since there were only two of us dining, it would have been incredibly wasteful for us to order one of everything on the menu.  But, that’s exactly what we wanted to do!

The door to a magical land...

After settling on dining options, Drea excused herself and disappeared behind the door that was emblazened with one Spanish word every gringo knows – baños!

Upon her return, she exclaimed “That’s not at all what I expected behind that door!”  Despite that confusing me, I ignored her pleas for me to go to the bathroom.  For the first time in ever, my bladder wasn’t acting like it was the size of a damned pea.  I enjoyed our beverages, our apps, and my main course (all of which lived up to our lofty expectations!), before even feeling the urge.

Finally, I did.

And, holy shit was she correct!

What I found was this beautiful courtyard of this stylishly appointed boutique hotel.  The bathroom was actually a flight or two down the stairs within the courtyard.  (A couple photos are below.)  I really was wishing I had been able to get a peak into some of the rooms.

I was curious about the hotel, Hotel Jungla Caribe, upon returning back to the states.  It looks well appointed, has favorable reviews on Trip Advisor,  and it’s cheap.  Drea & I actually have a wedding to attend in the area next year, and we may try to spend a night or two here.

Looking over the courtyard. (Not shown - the pool)

Love the look of the hallway...

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Travel

 

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An April Fools Day Hike Up Monadnock

On April Fool’s Day, two fools headed up the second most hiked mountain in the world; Mount Monadnock.

Well, that sounded like a good opening line.  In all honesty, there was nothing foolish about this endeavor.  It was a gorgeous morning.  Even if it did start with finding the van encased in a frost that almost appeared hairy on closer inspection.

After heading out from Waltham, and making record time, I arrived in good ol’ Jaffrey, NH around 9am.  As I was spearheading this hike, I had suggested we hike a trail that neither of us had ever hiked before.  The only issue was that I wasn’t exactly sure how to tell Mike, who didn’t have a Monadnock map on him, where to meet me.  I had sent a text telling him to head to the main lot area, but to follow signs for the campground.  Unfortunately, there weren’t really any signs directing you towards the campground.  A few texts later, and I was able to get the right directions into his hands.

Besides, our cars, there were only two other cars in the lot.  That alone was enough to tell me that his hike would be different from previous hikes up Monadnock.  Often times, you end up passing more people than you can count on these trails.  And, had we chosen one of the other main lots, that may have been true for this hike.  But, on the way up, we only saw three other hikers, and one was a woman that caught up to us at some point.

We started up on the Birchtoft Trail, which heads up the east slope of the mountain.  It is quite a gradual incline, as compared to some of the other trails I have taken.  It really wasn’t until we crossed the Cascade Link trail and onto the Red Spot Trail (guess what the trail markers were!), that the real steepness kicked in (about 600 vertical feet in 1/2 mile).  But, this approach still feels “easier” than that of the White Dot or White Arrow trails.  About a 1/4 mile from the summit, the Red Dot Trail merges with the Pumpelly trail and meanders it’s way across the granite to the summit.

As you can tell from the photo above, the clouds had started to roll in by the time we reached the summit, but it was pleasant up top.  I had hiked in only a thermal shirt the entire way up, and only needed to throw another layer of warmth and a windbreaker to remain comfortable as we rested.  The temps at the summit were probably mid 30’s and the winds were very light.

On the way down, we decided to check out the Pumpelly trail a bit further.  I expect that I will be hiking this trail a few more times in the future as I try to find the Pumpelly Cave.  The trail itself, follows a ridge that provides some nice views to the north of the mountain.  About a mile and a half from the summit, we hopped onto the Cascade Link.  The Cascade Link was certainly the more technical of the trails that we hiked this day.

It was a fun day on the trails.  It just made me even more eager to get out and do more hiking.

—–Hike Stats—–

  • Date: 4/1/12
  • Elevation: 3165
  • Elev Gain: 1807
  • Mileage: 5+?*
  • Trails: Up:  Birchtoft -> Red Dot –> Pumpelly.  Down:  Pumpelly –> Cascade Link -> Birchtoft

*Something that drives me bonkers about the maps handed out by the Monadnock Park Staff is that it does not include any trail mileage. Yes, there is a 1/2 mile representation in the legend… but most good hiking maps have the mileage markers for each trail printed near the mid point of the trail.  Given that this is the second most hiked mountain in the world, attracting tons of families, and first-time hikers annually, you think that the maps would be better.  Seriously, NH Parks & Recreation, get on that!

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Hiking

 

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This is a sweet video on the proper mechanics of running. And, given that I am sure I have fallen into horrid form during my years of (lack of) training, it is a helpful video for me.

51feetunder

Have you ever run barefoot?  Or been curious about the “how’s” & “Why’s”?

Check out this great video from the folks at the Natural Running Center, and Dr. Mark Cucuzzella.  Barefoot running or not, this video has some great points about form and biomechanics which every runner should be aware of.  Give it a clicksee…

Vid graciously stolen from Runblogger, and Running & Rambling

Have a good one kids!

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Random

 

Some Progress… I Guess

Alright.  Everyone reaches this point while getting in shape.

I’m seeing some progress.

I’m about to embark on my first tropical vacation in what feels like ages.  Being wintertime, I had to try on a ton of summer clothes to make sure I could still fit in them.  And, believe me, when I got back from Colorado back in mid-January, there would have been some serious doubts as to whether they would have fit.  Back in January, I was squeezing into all of my pants – a size 34. Shit, I was probably pushing the need for size 36 pants… but there was no fucking way I was going to allow myself to get bigger pants.  Thankfully, last night, I was fitting comfortably in them all… even requiring a belt for some.

I’m seeing some toning in my chest… I think.  I’ve previously joked with Drea about having moobs.  They were only A cups.  But, still.  I’m seeing more of a progression to actual pecs.  Again, I think.  It could be my imagination working overtime because my muscles feel tighter in general.  So, I’m seeing some progress, and I was even feeling pretty good about it…  and then, I stepped on the scale.

(sing it like Rage Against the Machine) "KNOW YOUR ENEMY!!"

The scale is the enemy.

I’ve been watching what I eat.  (mostly.)  I’ve been working out regularly.  But, the scale is not moving as fast as I would like.

I’ve stalled a bit the last couple of weeks.  Admittedly, there have been some counter-productive events: Superbowl, and Valentines Day, a weekend away with the guys… and now an all inclusive vacation to Mexico.  Holy shit am I going to have to work extra hard the next two months in order to hit my weight goals!

So, my attitude towards my progress thus far is… meh.  But, I’m firmly fixated on my goals.  And, I’m going to continue striving to hit them.

Scale be damned!

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Fitness

 

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“I forgot the vegetables!”

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Weird Lion Statues outside the gym I visited. There were a series of four different lions... something to do with the neighboring Jewish Center

This past weekend, I went down to my friend’s house in New Jersey. Originally, we had planned on a boys ski weekend to Killington, VT. But, since there has been a serious dearth of snow in New England, and because we were being cheap decided to save the money, we instead got together at Brian’s house.

Upon arrival on Friday night, Brian & I got down to the business of drinking catching up. We don’t see each other nearly enough with him living four hours away. And, we are guys. So, we don’t talk on the phone all that much. He and his lovely wife shared the exciting news that they are expecting and had just passed the all-too-critical first trimester. (As if I needed another reason to raise my glass!) After she retired for the evening, Brian and I continued to solve the world’s problems as we are want to do fueled by Fat Tire Ale and late at night.

On Saturday, I made the most of my Gold’s Gym Travel Pass & hit the gym in the morning. Afterwards, I sat around like a sloth and watched Brian handle his meat. (That’s how we do it.) He had picked up asparagus, a giant phallic butternut squash, three or four different types of sausage, baby back ribs, chicken wings, pork belly, and short rib meat, and was applying various dry rubs.  It was probably going to be too much food for four guys (and one knocked-up chick) to consume all of it.  But, you can bet we were going to try.

I had brought down a couple of growlers from Trinity Brewhouse in Providence. One was their IPA (it’s kind of their signature beer), and the other was the Redrum Imperial Red Ale. On their website, the Redrum is described as:

Redrum Imperial Red Ale
This ale is brewed with English 2 row pale, caramalt, crystal malt, chocolate malt, wheat malt and germented with a California yeast strain. It is then bittered with Columbus, Nugget, and Chinook hops and then dry hopped with Cascade, Chinook, Centennials and Nugget hops. Unfiltered.
85 I.B.U.s – Columbus, Nugget, Chinook, Cascade, Centennials and Nugget Hops – 9% Alc.

While Brian was prepping the BBQ, we started in on that growler. As you can imagine, it was delicious! By the time, Ryan & Chris arrived, we were enjoying our final sips of the Redrum. The growler was kicked. But, the pace of drinking was picked up from that point forward and I was happily left to the IPA by myself.

Not too long later, Brian began serving the first of three “flights of meat.” Everything was perfectly smoked and absolutely delicious. I was certainly enjoying the variety that was available. It was too much… but, while you are drinking and eating slowly over the course of several hours, nothing went to waste. It was sometime during the third flight that Brian suddenly exclaimed: “Oh shit! I forgot the vegetables!”

So, it certainly wasn’t the healthiest of evenings. But, it was wonderfully healthy for our friendships.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Beer, Food, People

 

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Battle Ropes

Yesterday, the trainer at my gym introduced me to battle ropes.  Holy freaking workout!

For those that don’t know what battle ropes are, here’s a great video I found on them:

I love the fact that it is a core workout, in addition to the (obvious) arms workout.  I was only doing three sets of 20 seconds with 20 seconds rest in between.  And, then I repeated that later in the workout.  By the third set (both times), my waves were getting smaller and smaller.  TOUGH exercise.  And, I loved it.

I am definitely going to be mixing this into my strength training.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Fitness

 

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Flogging Molly – HoB Boston

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They are such a damned good live band!

(Obviously a horrible iPhone pic – uploaded from the road)

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Music

 

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