Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Swim for Jim! 2007


I did it! I swam the entire one hour for 2,600 yards. I kept my pace for the entire 56 laps. You knew I could do it, didn't you? You said if I could run a marathon under four hours, I could swim for an hour straight. I'm also raising a lot of money for MANNA, one of our favorite charities.

Since you've been gone, the other coaches stepped up and improved my techniques. I still need a lot of coaching, and they're doing a great job. I also stepped up as a team officer to coordinate many activities, including the one-hour swim to honor you.

The team is strong, Jim. I hope you're smiling.


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Monday, January 29, 2007

Spring Marathon Training, Week 2

Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: 4 miles
Sunday: 8 miles

I have come to realize that the only way I can complete my mid-week runs is to get up at 5 AM and run on the treadmill before work. The Sunday run the only time I ran outside. I finally run pain-free, so completing 20 miles last week was a breeze.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007


It's been a week since I went through another half-baked attempt at improving my diets. That means, bye-bye Wendy's and hello, protein shakes! It's not really a strict diet. I still have some junk food, but in smaller doses. It is not easy though, as I have to plan my meals for the next two days. I even packed lunch once or twice this week. Because of the high protein, low sugar, carb, and fat diet, I'm hungry all the time. I keep dreaming of bread pudding all day.

We'll see how many more days until I break down and tell myself how ridiculous this diet is!

Liquid Diet


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Serena Williams Bandwagon

I've thumped my nose at Serena Williams' fat ass, wild shots, and simply disappointing results the past two years. I have hoped that she would return to form. She's doing well in Australia, and the quote below reminds me of why I love Serena.

"Yeah, I have it in me," Serena Williams said. "I believe in my game, and more than anything I believe in me. It doesn't matter what people say or people write. At the end of the day, I'm my biggest fan."

PS -- I rarely answer phone calls, instant messages, text messages, or emails during Grand Slams unless it's Eric who is my tennis buddy.

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Death Brings Out A Dirty Family Secret

A son of my parents' best friends died last week while serving in the United States Air Force. My parents have been over to their friends' house daily to provide support and to help with the pending funeral. My parents suggested that I called the soldier's family to offer my condolence, and I promptly did.

I spoke to the soldier's mother. She recalled how the boy flunked out of college and she sent him to the military to learn disclipline and to have a nice future. She said last time she spoke to the boy, he talked about what he would do in four months once he'd leave the military.

I cried with the soldier's mother. I suggested that after the funeral, she should go with my parents to Philadelphia to see me. I'd take them to a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant near my apartment.

We were ready to hang up, and she told me to hurry up and find a wife.

I was stunned. Speechless.


She hung up.


So, my parents share with their friends about my career and my many interests, but they conveniently forget to mention to their best friends that their son is a homosexual.

I came out to my parents 12 years ago. They had a diffcult time at first but I thought that they have come around to embrace me for who I was. I didn't realize that my parents were practicing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

My closet is wide open. I need to help my parents with theirs.

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Spring Marathon Training

Yesterday I started a new six-week marathon training program. The main goal is to increase my endurance for the last 10k of the marathon. The first run in this program was an easy 3 mile run to test my body. My right calf is a little sore from the Arizona race, but the rest of my body is pain-free.
Cross training and dieting are parts of my training, thus I need to manage my schedule a little better. Perhaps morning workouts twice a week will help, but I haven't committed to this yet!

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Fins Swimmers to Host Event to Benefit MANNA

Vote FINS Swim Team for Philly Gay Calendar Best Sports Team
Philadelphia’s gay swim team, Fins Aquatics Club, will host its annual fundraiser “Swim for Jim! The James A. Robles Memorial One-Hour Swim” on Sunday, January 28, from 9:00am to noon, at the Friends Select School, 17th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

During the event, participants will swim as many laps as they can within a one-hour period to compete with other swimmers across the country. These results are then mailed into United States Masters Swimming (hence the national name of “Postal Swim"), with awards granted by age group and gender. The Fins have chosen to re-name their version of the fundraising event to honor the memory of the team’s recently deceased head coach Jim Robles, who was also one of the founders of the team.

Fins President Brian Cahill said, “This was one of Jim's favorite yearly events. To further honor Jim, we are expanding the event to include fun relays for non-swimmers, with music, snacks and lots of energy.” With the usual Fins flair the team has added a few fun activities and relays that less serious swimmers can choose to enter, costumes are encouraged.

This year, in honor of Robles, Fins swimmers have chosen to donate 100 percent of the money collected to MANNA (Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance). MANNA is a Philadelphia non-profit group which promotes wellness through nutrition in communities living with, affected by, and fighting HIV / AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illness.

Fins Head Coach Jen Hensell said, “The postal swim is a way for me to promote a team I love and to raise money to help a charity that does an amazing and kind service for so many in need. Also it is a way for me to give back and thank an organization that helped a dear friend of mine in at a time that he needed most.”

Hensell, who is the coordinator of the event, said, “Fun is always a part of anything Fins related. There will be a drag relay and possibly a kiss the lifeguard booth.”

Vote FINS Swim Team for Philly Gay Calendar Best Sports Team

The Fins Aquatics Club is Philadelphia's gay and lesbian masters swim team. Our members range from swimmers who have never competed to first time competitors to national record holders. The club welcomes swimmers of all ages, skill levels, genders and orientations.
The team provides challenging, well-organized, coached work-outs. Some members focus on local, regional, national or international swimming competitions and/or triathlons. Others swim to keep fit.
When we aren't working out, we often hang out together just for fun, whether for meals after practice, bike rides, participating at Philadelphia's various gay festivals or for other special events.
The Fins Aquatics Club is affiliated with International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics and US Masters Swimming.

FINS Aquatic Club
Website: http://www.philadelphia-fins.org/
Contacts: Brian Cahill (267) 971-7932 or bjcahill3@verizon.net

Swim for Jim! James A. Robles Memorial One-Hour Swim Fact Summary

Where: Friends Select (17th and Ben Franklin Parkway) Pool (bottom floor)
When: Sunday, January 28th, 2007 9am to Noon
What: A Fins hosted swimming fundraiser for MANNA
Why: To honor our dearly beloved swimmer and coach James A. Robles
Who: Contact Jennifer Hensell (hensell@mac.com) to participate or volunteer for the event. Brian Cahill (bjcahill3@verizon.net) for any team related questions
How: There is not cover charge but a collection jar will be available for donations during the event. All Fins and participants will have pledge forms and donations will accepted until February 28th, 2007. Raffles and games will also happen during the event as other opportunities to donate to MANNA.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Alternatives to Sex

Stephen McCauley's Alternatives to Sex: real estate, nervous breakdowns, cleaning, vacuuming, drinking, spilling secrets, and making human connections.

My alternatives to sex: swimming, running, weight lifting, and dieting. I suppose I'd do some cleaning in my free time, but I don't really get a kick out of it.

Alternatives to Sex was the first book I read this year. It has so many funny one-liners that I'm already using. A wonderful thing about this book is that a character from another McCauley's novel makes an appearance! I don't enjoy the Boston / Cambridge area that much, but McCauley manages to make me want to imagine living there with all these odd characters.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Arizona Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Arizona Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
Originally uploaded by reflexblue.
It was on a personal record pace through the first half, but my lack of training became evident and I slowly faded away while dealing with leg cramps. I still had my third best time overall, and was 30 minutes faster than my most recent race.

All things considered, I'm proud of my strategy and results, and wouldn't have it any other way.

Bib 2086
ChipTime 3:46:45
ClockTime 3:47:32
Overall 1439 out of 6944 finishers
SexPl 1068 out of 3584male finishers
DivPl 157 out of 487 male 30-34 finishers
pace 8:39

10k 50:27
half 1:46:17
20mi 2:44:29
age grade 55.41017

The next marathon training session starts this weekend!

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Life Is Grand!

Life Is Grand!
Originally uploaded by reflexblue.
Return to the Grand Canyon.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Confessions of a Lane Six Swimmer, Part 1

Lane Six is the slowest lane for the FINS, and I'm currently the slowest person in Lane Six. It's not something I should brag about, but it gives me a reason to strive to get out of this spot.

I still struggle with keeping my body horizontal to the water surface. My legs sink and drag along. I can swim a 50-yard freestyle lap now, but I need more than 10 second rest before the next lap. I probably need 60 seconds. I do a little better during freestyle drills especially kicks since I can rely on my marathon legs. My best set is still breaststrokes, when I am actually the fastest person in my lane.

In summary, I know a thing or two about spreading my legs for the breaststrokes, but I still have no idea how to stick my ass up in the air for freestyle.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Most Played Songs

My most played songs fit into three categories: Mariah, Vietnamese, and Broadway. One thing in common is that they are mostly sappy romantic ballad. Now if I can get Mariah to sing a Broadway ballad in Vietnamese, I'd put "play one" in non-stop repeats!


1. “Thuong Nhau Ngay Mua” (80) – Lam Thuy Van & Trung Hanh – This sappy Vietnamese ballad took me my storm in late October 2006 and shot right to the top of my list in six weeks.
2. “Seasons of Love” (72) – the film cast of Rent – I was looking for something to make sense of where I was in the world, and this song hit the right chord.
3. “Quen Di Tinh Yeu Cu” (69) – Trinh Nam Son – I totally have a crush on this 1990s Vietnamese-American singer / songwriter.
4. “We Belong Together” (66) – Mariah Carey – This was my song of 2005 for many reasons. I still pause to reflect when I hear this song. So much drama packed in four minutes!
5. “How Can I Not Love You” (62) – Joy Enriquez – Not too many people know this sappy ballad from “Anna and the King,” but I associate this song with a special moment in my life.
6. “Café Mot Minh” (61) – Ngoc Le & Phuong Thao – My parents went to Vietnam and all I got was a lousy CD, and this amazing song.
7. “Never Too Far” (57) – Mariah Carey – I’d suffer through Glitter again just to experience this heart breaking ballad.
8. “Lullaby of Broadway” (56) – Jerry Orbach – A love letter for the old days of Broadway.
9. “Kiep Ngheo” (56) – Thanh Thuy – I made an ill-advised attempt at singing this tango tune at a wedding. I was lucky YouTube wasn’t around, or everyone would think that all gay Asians had Dow syndrome.
10. “My Saving Grace (54) – Mariah Carey – I first heard this song on Oprah, I thought Mariah was going through a seizure.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

New Toy for Kitchen
Originally uploaded by reflexblue.
I'm setting out to ruin a sacred institution known as New Year's Resolution. Every year around this time, millions of Americans suddenly decide to ...

1. Lose weight
2. Stop smoking
3. Stick to a budget
4. Save more money
5. Find a better job
6. Become more organized
7. Exercise more
8. Be more patient at work / with others
9. Eat better
10. Become a better person

I always tease people with such timely resolutions, spend a ton of money to achieve these goals, and forget all about them after Valentine's Day.

However, I do see their point. January 1st is a convenient start. But for those who are selecting one of the above 10 common resolutions, I'd say why not go for all 10? Isn't it like throwing darts against a board? The more darts you throw out, the better chance that perhaps one of them will stick?

I'm most definitely following my own advice. Yes, I'm starting all 10 resolutions! Will it be possible for me to stop smoking when I don't even know how to use matches? Of course, my dear! I will avoid second-hand smoke! Since I already have a job I love, perhaps I can help someone else find a better job!!! We'll see how many days until all these ridiculous resolutions become pipe dreams.

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