Thursday, December 28, 2006

Two Weeks Until Marathon No. 12

Playground 2
Completely fallen off of the training schedule. I've been running, but mostly just doing "Run N Snap" with my cousins, posing for photos after running a few hundred yards. They will also race with me in two weeks.


Friday, December 22, 2006

YMCA ... Confessions of a Wannabe Swimmer, Part 10

The Scientist
Originally uploaded by reflexblue.
Wide awake after a night of debauchery in New York City, E. and I decided to hold our own swim practice! We roamed mid-town Manthattan looking for swimsuits, caps and googles at nine o'clock on a Sunday morning. We found a Sports Authority store, and had to wait until 10 o'clock for the store to open.
Once we were let in, we charged upstairs to find the swimming section and grabbed what we needed. We were on a mission! We went to the Vanderbilt YMCA and immediate started our practice. E. was in Lane 3, and I took over Lane 4. I swam 1,800 meters breaststrokes while E swam 2,600 meters freestyle.
This YMCA pratice and my other swims at the 12th St. Gym, along with my twice weekly practices with the FINS, give me at least three good practices a week. I'm moving better. My endurance is improving.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

2006: Year in Review

Let's wrap it up. 2006 was good to me. I was given many opportunies to pursuit many of my dreams. I built on my strengths, overcame some of my fears, and had a ball or two.

Photo copyrighted by Mike LaMonaca

Road Races
Marathon: six races in six states, three personal records, two races in eight days. My personal favorite marathon race in 2006 was the Chicago Gay Games Marathon where I ran in circles looking at other hot gay men.
Other road races: One 5K in which I finished dead last, two 10K, and a half marathon. My overall best result was the Philadelphia Distance Run in which I placed 1,176 out of 11,119 finishers.

Soccer Tournaments
Swallow Falls
Keystone Classic: my rare participation in an indoors soccer tournament. Someone on the team gave us the flu after the trip to Lancaster, PA.
Chicago Gay Games: Amazing time bonding with other Philadelphia and Washington DC players. I played strong the whole week, but missed the penalty kick shoot-out and got my team eliminated from the tournament.
Pumpkin Patch Tournament: We flopped. I sucked.

New Adventures
I got involved with politics and helped dumped Senator Rick Santorum. Rock climbing is once again a part of my workout.
I joined the Philadelphia FINS Aquatic Club, and swim with the team twice a week. I'm the slowest swimmer on the team, but I still got myself elected to serve on the FINS executive board.

New Toys
I got almost everything I wanted: iPod Video and a black MacBook, both of which I use every day. I also acquired tons of sports equipment and accessories: Garmin ForeRunner 305 GPS device, a road bike, four pairs of running shoes, road bike shoes, rock climbing shoes and harness, triathlon suit, four pairs of googles, two wetsuits, and six Speedo swimsuit. I also got about 20 t-shirts which I didn't directly purchase. They were mostly from road races that I participated. I plan to give most of these cotton t-shirts away. Any takers?

Pop culture
Miniature Love
The movie I enjoyed most this year was "A History of Violence". Favorite theater production was the old Broadway song-and-dance "42nd St." The only book I read cover-to-cover was "Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock". TV shows I watched regularly were "Desperate Housewives" and "Survivor". My favorite blog was Diminishing Returns.

People in My Life
Summer Celebration!
I'm grateful to be surrounded by smart, beautiful, passionate, talented and funny people such as:
The one whom I talk to every day about everything. He's my workout buddy, travel partner, and even shopping buddy.
The one who hosts fabulous parties and makes sure I am a part of all his events
The one who puts me on a Jeep in a gay pride parade
The one who got me to join the gay swim team (and passed away a few weeks ago)
The one who strong-armed me to volunteer for political campaigns to support Bob Casey, Ed Rendell, and Pat Murphy
The ones who got me on two boards of directors
The one who ran three marathon races with me and keeps inspiring me to keep running
The ones who welcome me to their FINS family
Hopping on the Cole Train
The ones who came to my birthday party
The ones who contributed to my fundraise for the Human Righs Campaign
The ones who came to visit me (and forced me to clean my apartment)
The ones who made me a part of their lives

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

4 Weeks Until Marathon No. 12

Week 6 (Dec 4-10): 15 miles
Week 5 (Dec 11-17): 25 miles

What Really Happened:
Week 6: 6 miles on Monday Dec 4, 3 miles on Wednesday Dec 6, 10 miles on Sunday Dec 10 speed-walking around mid-town Manhattan.

Week 5: Couldn't do any short runs during the week. 13 miles today in my very own Rocky River Half Marathon.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Captain Nguyen Dinh Bao: He Who Stayed in Charlie

Captain Nguyen Dinh Bao: He Who Stayed in Charlie
Lately I've been pondering about the Vietnam War, or what some Vietnamese refer to as the American War. My knowledge of the war consists of what I've been told, what I read, and what I saw in movies, and what I heard through songs.

Kon Tum and Pleiku are places we heard in reference to the Vietnam war. Fierce battles took place there, including the one on Charlie Hill where a South Vietnamese commander famously died. There is a popular Vietnamese song written about this battle: Nguoi o lai Charlie -- Those Who Stayed in Charlie.

My view of the war is very different from that of my parents who lived through the war. My father was a officer in South Vietnamese Navy. I often see the war as an unnecessary tragedy. My parents see the war as a fight between good and evil.

One thing we agree: "Nguoi O Lai Charlie" is a great song from that era. I like its campy propaganda and how pop music is used to sell the war. The song is a reminder for me that war is always a bad idea.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Death by Neoprene

Gurrl, I almost died last week while trying on my new triathlon wetsuit in my own home.
I was very excited that the wetsuit I ordered came in the mail. I put it on immediately after I opened the mail package. The wetsuit fit perfectly so I pranced around my bedroom pretending to swim, taking some webcam photos. Then I started getting hot. I wanted out of the wetsuit. I fumbled around trying to take the suit off but I couldn't get the damn suit out of my shoulders. I started to sweat.
I couldn't breathe. I hyperventilated and had a panic attack. For a brief moment, I considered calling for help. I started evaluating the three people who had keys to my place, trying to pick the one who would not burst out laughing in my face while I'd sweat to death. I even considered calling '911'. I couldn't tell anyone that I was stuck in a wetsuit so I turned to the one that never failed me: myself!
I tried harder to pull the neoprene off of my shoulder blades, which were covered in sweats. After I struggled for a few minutes, the wetsuit came off my shoulders, and the rest of my body was freed.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wet Gratitude: Confessions of a Wannable Swimmer, Part 9

Vote FINS Swim Team for Philly Gay Calendar Best Sports Team
The best thing about the Philadelphia FINS Aquatics Club is its wonderful membership. Besides looking amazingly sexy, this is a bunch of fun and social people. We often go out for dinner after practices. We have fun socials. Someone on the team is always inviting others to join them for social events. When we need to get serious, you can't find a more determined group of people. We brought home a few dozen medals from the Chicago Gay Games this summer. We raise money for charities. We are pulling together to organize a memorial celebration for our head coach who recently passed away.
Now you can vote the FINS Swim Team for Philly Gay Calendar Best Sports Team!
Click here to vote

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

torcetrapib heart breaker

The news that Pfizer halted torcetrapib trials sent shockwaves around the world last weekend. Well, among the few who knew what torcetrapib was. This heart drug candidate was supposed to raise levels of good cholesterol, or HDL, and become the next blockbuster drug after Lipitor goes off patent in 2011. In fact, Pfizer had planned to seek approval only for a combination therapy with torcetrapib already formulated with Lipitor, which is indicated to lower cholesterols ALONG WITH DIET AND EXCERCISE. After much protest from the medical industry, Pfizer reluctantly agreed to seek approval to sell torcetrapib by itself, so doctors would have an option of prescribing torcetrapib with a cholesterol lowering statin, perhaps a generic version of Lipitor (storvastatin calcium) after 2011.
Well, torcetrapib is no more, due to high fatality incidence compared to placebo data.
I'm still shocked.
Oh. My. Heart.


Monday, December 04, 2006

6 Weeks to Marathon No. 12

Bridge Run

I'm slightly ahead of my modest marathon training program. Ran 6 miles on Black Friday along the rolling hils of Lancaster County, through a cute covered bridge. Tourists on horse and buggy rides waved at me, probably hoping that I were an Amish boy.
Last week, I ran 12 miles v. 10 miles in my training program. I fell apart after 3 miles during the Front Runners Philadelphia Monday Fun Run. It was a bruise to my ego. I recovered by Wednesday, and had a great Rocky 5-mile run on Saturday.
I just hope to keep up my training schedule in December when I'm not partying or going on a shopping spree.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sushi Dinner Dates

In the middle of a sushi dinner date recently, I suddenly had another revealation: I don't care for fancy dinner dates, and I hate sushi. I'm more in my elements when I wear t-shirts and jeans, talking inappropriately about gay sex and advanced calculus. For a first date, I'd rather go on a bike tour, fun run, or shopping!
And no more sushi! I started eating Japanese food to fit in with a certain circle of urban gays. I'd find raw fish bland and disgusting. I don't care for the taste of wasabi, and miso soup either. So goodbye, sushi, I can't pretend to like you anymore. I'd rather have a slice of pizza or a bucket of fried chicken!

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Friday, December 01, 2006

The reality of AIDS

I lost a dear friend to AIDS this week. He was on an advanced drug therapy. He was healthy one day and the next day his brain started to shut down. That's the reality of AIDS.