Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fantastic Finish

The Phillies' recent flirtations with making a post-season appearance are over. They're in, after a fantastic September that captivated my attention. The last time they had this kind of success was when I was moving in to my freshman dorm.
When Philadelphia sports teams do well, Philadelphians seem to be nicer. Maybe we'll have a chance to slow down the record-breaking murder rate this year!

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MS150 City to Shore

City to Shore
Originally uploaded by reflexblue

Totally unprepared I was to ride my bike for 150 miles in two days. It was another foolish attempt to push my body physically, and my body responded! I needed about 6 hours to reach Ocean City, New Jersey from Woodcrest train station, and 30 minutes less to get back the next day. I even did a 5 mile run on the boardwork after the first 75 mile ride.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Health Care, Not War

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Vietnam Develops Taste for Luxury Goods

Associated Press

Vietnam Develops Taste for Luxury Goods
By BEN STOCKING – 1 day ago

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (AP) — In a country whose peasant army once marched on flip-flops cut from old tires, Gucci beach sandals priced at $365 can come as a shock.

But the luxury market is booming in Vietnam, where Ho Chi Minh's communist revolution exalted equality and the common man just a generation ago.

As the country begins to embrace private enterprise, its nouveaux riches are snapping up shoes at Gucci, handbags at Louis Vuitton and watches at Cartier, offering proof of how much the country has changed after decades of war.

"I sold a $4,000 leather jacket recently," said Do Huong Ly, a stylish young saleswoman at the Roberto Cavalli shop in Hanoi. "Our customers want people to know that they are high-class."


Sunday, September 23, 2007

GAM 32 y.o.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Confessions of a Lane Six Swimmer, Part 9

Lane Six
Originally uploaded by reflexblue

With Jeff B moving to Lane 5, Brad, Bill, and I are keeping each other on face. More accurately, I try to keep up with them during freestyle and they try to keep up with me during breaststroke. The sets we got on Thursday from Tom drew evenly upon our strength. We did everything in sync!

10 x 75 freestyle (25 kicks / 25 fist drill / 25 swim) - 20 seconds rest
1 x 100 easy
4 x 25 breaststroke kicks
4 x 25 breaststroke drills
1x 100 easy
6 x 50 (25 breaststrokes / 25 freestyle) - 20 seconds rest
1x 100 easy

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Confessions of a Lane Six Swimmer, Part 8

On the Delaware River
Originally uploaded by reflexblue

My first ever 100m freestyle back-to-back! Without fins!
Lane Six was supposed to do 4 x 100 in 2:30 interval.
I did the first 100 in a minute. Kept my interval. The second 100 took me about 1:10. I sat out for the 3rd 100, waiting for my lane-mates Jeff B, Bill, and Brad to start their 4th and followed them. Bill had fins, so he had no problems. I followed Bill to complete the next 100. The first 50 was OK, but I lost my arm strength the last 25. I obviously strugged to finish, but the boys cheer me on so I somehow manage to sprint the last few strokes.
It was wonderful.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New York Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site

First of all, I hate it when people refer to the New York Times as "The Times". Second, I hate the New York Times slogan "All the news that fits to print". Third, I hate the pretention that laced in every article and column. What a bunch of assholes!
With that said, I love reading the New York Times! I'm excited that I can have my weekly doses of Maureen and Frank for free!

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Report: Fake goods problematic in Vietnam

How can this be news? I knew that the Vietnam marketplace was flooded with fake goods when I was a 10 year old boy living in Ho Chi Minh City. It was pretty much taken for granted that unless a brand name product was shipped directly from "the West", it was probably fake. This is not a problem that is unique to Vietnam, but it's certainly more common. Perhaps another Vietnam News article will explain why in another shocking article. 2007-09-17 17:55:10

HANOI, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- The trade and production of fake products, mainly beverages, cigarettes, fertilizers and construction materials, is a pervasive problem in Vietnam, local newspaper Vietnam News reported Monday.

Statistics ranging over the past five years reveal the large volume of counterfeit goods circulating in the local market. They included eight tons of seasoning, 85,000 tons of cement, 50,000 tons of steel products, 25 tons of cosmetics, 35 million doses of pharmaceuticals, 25,450 bottles of alcohol, 50,000 bottles of beer, and 15,000 tons of chemical fertilizers.

In the case of alcohol, the original bottle with a brand label is reused and refilled with cheaper wine of poorer quality, but is usually sold for around the same price, said the newspaper.

Detected fake goods producers and traders are mainly fined. Only those who produce or trade fake goods worth over 30 million Vietnamese dong (some 1,870 U.S. dollars) face trial.
Editor: Pliny Han


American Health Choices Plan

Sept. 17: Hillary Clinton offers a sweeping health care reform plan to ensure coverage for all Americans. (MSNBC)

Hats off to Hillary for confronting her past failure. It is time for Americans to embrace universal health coverage, and when I refer to health coverage, I include both hospital/doctor visit and prescription drug purchase. As better drugs become available we don't need to visit hospitals as often. Thus, no universal health coverage should deny people access to drugs at affordable prices.

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Philadelphia Distance Run 2007

Tallest to shortest
Originally uploaded by reflexblue

Wow, what a fun run! I kept my pace below 8 minutes mile for the entire half marathon. I came within seconds of my PR run last year.

Official Statistics
Clock Time: 1:40:10
Chip (Net) Time: 1:39:52
Placed 1625th out of 11,629 overall finishers
Placed 1327th out of 5978 male finishers
Placed 197th out of 784 males 30-34

5k split = 23:27
10k split = 47:41
10m split = 1:16:54
Average pace = 7:38

Philadelphia Distance Run 2007
It was a great day for runners and spectators. The morning walk to the start was a little chilly. I was planning to wear a long sleeve thermal shirt below my short sleeve technical running shirt. However, once I got to the Art Museum area, the heat from the crowd and my own excitement warmed me up, so I removed the long sleeve shirt.

I lined up with the 7:30 pace in corral #1. Wishful thinking! I was very tight crossing the start line. I had urges to throw up I ran east on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The acidic stomach problem went away as I went around City Hall, easing into a 7:40 pace which I kept for 12 miles until I crossed the finish line.
I made a few attempts to go sub 7:30 to break my PR. I stayed at 7:30 for a mile or so but couldn't go any faster. The last mile sprint put my final time below 1:40 which was about 53 seconds slower than my time last year.

Bengay patches
I thought I was going to throw up as I approached the finish line. I made some nasty noises at the finish line, but nothing came out. After getting some food and water, I was fine. I put on some Bengay patches for my thighs, just because they were given out free.

DC and Philly Front Runners 16 Sept 2007
I found Frontrunners friends from Philly and Washington DC, posed for a few photos, and started looking for my parents. Half an hour later, my cousin Ro came in. Ro improved from his previous half marathon by at least 20 minutes. He can definitely beat me if he keeps training.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fusion My Ass Cross Training - 69 Ways

Sixty-nine days ago, the 8G Apple iPhone cost $599. I had never heard of Senator Larry Craig. I had never completed in an open water swim nor anything trail run longer than 10k.

Sixty-nine days ago I started a training program to get me through the summer distractions. I am happy to have completed my very own Fusion My Ass Cross Training program. No trendy gym needed. I relied on my own to motivate myself. I did it to stay focus. I did it to stay busy. I did it to look good. I did it to stay healthy. Most of all, I did it to have fun.

Day 65 (Sept 10) - chest with Chris
Day 66 (Sept 11) - swimming with the Fins ... learned open turns
Day 67 (Sept 12) - Abs & Ass class; legs with Chris
Day 68 (Sep 13) - swimming with the Fins (end of practice 50's sprints: 45, 47, and 59)
Day 69 (Sep 14) - nothing!

Photo credit: Jason Smith

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Third time a charm ... PDR

Philadelphia Distance Run 2006
I had the most amazing run last year at the Philadelphia Distance Run. With a net (chip) time of 1:39:03, I placed among the top 10% of all finishers last year. I'm set to run this race again this weekend. It's still my favorite race. This year my cousin Ro is going to run it with me. I can't wait.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Fusion My Ass Cross Training - One More Week

12th St Gym
Originally uploaded by reflexblue

The end is near. Philadelphia Distance Run is days away.

Sept 3 (Day 58) - Labor Day Spectacular: Push-ups at home: 50 / 35 / 35 / 40 / 40
Sept 4 (Day 59) - Fins swimming
Sept 5 (Day 60) - Abs & Ass class; shoulders / back
Sept 6 (Day 61) - Fins swimming
Sept 7 (Day 62) - none
Sept 8 (Day 63) - 3 mile run at slow pace; 1.5 mile Swim for Life
Sept 9 (Day 64) - 8 mile run (two laps around Commercial Street / Rt 6A) at medium pace (9 min mile)

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Provincetown Harbor Swim for Life 2007

Provincetown Harbor
Swim for Life is a 1.5 mile open water swim race in Provincetown, Massachusetts every Saturday after Labor Day to raise money for local AIDS, women's and youth's charities. This year was the 20th edition and my first.

The Philadelphia Fins Aquatics had a strong presence at the race. We had 15 swimmers

Dr. Steve & Nick
Roper & Ray
George H
Pat R
Jason K
Keith C
Joe C
Merrill & Caroline

Registration at the Boatslip was a little slow, but I expected that. Putting the wetsuit on was a little easier this time. I hung out with Fins buddies for a while. Many of Fins swimmers were on my shuttle bus. We were then transferred to a boat to go out to the lighthouse which was the start line of the race.

While we were on the boat heading out, we saw swimmers in pink swim caps already heading to the Boatslip. WE MISSED THE START! Chaos ensued. The boat stopped at about 1/4 mile from the lighthouse. One by one, swimmers jumped into the water, heading toward the lighthouse.

I panicked the moment my feet hit water. It was cold. My survival instinct kicked in and I started a breaststroke kick, followed by another. After about five minutes, I saw swimmers in front of me making a sharp turn. I didn't know what was going on, so I stopped to look around. I swam toward a volunteer on kayak and was told to change course to head in land. I was already in the race.

I settled into my comfortable pace, breaststroking my way forward. I didn't see too many swimmers around me. Since I started last, no one passed me and I only passed a few swimmers. The tall Pilgrim monument was my one o'clock landmark. Even knowing that, I was off course by about 10 times, losing at least five minutes.

The Pilgrim monument looked bigger as I breaststroked my way in land. I started hearing cheers from the crowd at the Boatslip. I saw a few swimmers far ahead of me, and a few swimmers behind me. I thought we were the last ones still swimming. Once I saw the finish line, I cleaned up my strokes and went into my sprint mode. I could see the bottom of the harbor. The water was cleaner than water from the Jersey and Delaware shore.

I made it! I got on my feet and ran to the finish line. My official time was 58 minutes.
I started to look around and a lot of Fins swimmers were nearby. I looked back at the harbor and saw many swimmers still swimming in.

I made my way up from the Dick Dock. Took some photos with the Fins. Got in line for the Mermaid lunch buffet, and walked around to socialize. After about 30 minutes, I went to back to my hotel room, took off my wetsuit, and showered.

After cleaning up, I went back down, and guess what, swimmers were still coming in. I joined the crowd to cheer until the last swimmers reached the finish line.

Provincetown Harbor Swim for Life

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Confessions of a Lane Six Swimmer, Part 7

Drills & Intervals
Originally uploaded by reflexblue

Armed with my newly acquired stroke technique, I managed to swim through most of my Lane Six drills and intervals. 4 x 75 in 2 minute interval is fine. 8 x 50 in 1:30 interval is manageable. 16 x 25 in 1 minute interval fine. I definitely can't do 8 x 25 every 30 seconds yet. Coach Tom tried, but none of the Lane Sixers could keep up.

Coach Tom's new favorite drill is fisted entrance. This is not my thing!!! I definitely feel a loss of power each stroke. I'm trying and hoping that this drill will help to increase my pace.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

My Sound of Summer 2007

Hurt - Christina Aguilera
Rhythm of Life (from "Sweet Charity") - London Gay Men's Chorus
Chieu ben doi sim (live) - Truong Vu, Nhu Quynh
(You're) Timeless to Me (from the 2007 film "Hairspray") - John Travolta & Christopher Walken
Not Ready to Make Nice - Dixie Chicks
Khi nguoi yeu toi khoc - Sy Phu
Outsports podcasts
What the Buck YouTube videos

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Balls and Sticks

August 30, 2007 Phillies Vs the Mets
Originally uploaded by montcobob

We spent a lot of time together since April. You charmed me with your explosive talents. You kept me entertained days and nights. You hung in there when things got tough. But ultimately, I couldn't give my heart to you because I didn't want to get hurt once again. You, my beloved Philadelphia Phillies, are pretenders, and until you can prove yourselves to be winners, I will just keep up with you from a distance.

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Fusion My Ass Cross Training - Two More Weeks

The Heat Is On
Back in July, I started a new 10-week training program I called "Fusion My Ass Cross Training". I wanted to set some short term fitness goals to get me through many summer distractions and to prepare for such important events as Boys of Summer swimsuit party and trips to Rehoboth and Provincetown.

150 miles running, 15 miles swimming, and many grunts and shrieks later, I'm nearing the end of this program. It's been such a joy to see how well my body responded to many physical challenges. The journey itself has been a blast.

August 14 (day 38) - Fins swimming
August 15 (day 39) - none
August 16 (day 40) - Fins swimming
August 17 (day 41) - none
August 18 (day 42) - 15-mile run; biceps; abs
August 19 (day 43) - chest / tri; 1000 yards swimming @ 12th St. Gym
August 20 (day 44) - chest again with Chris; 5-mile run
August 21 (day 45) - none
August 22 (day 46) - back / shouders
August 23 (day 47) - Fins swimming (finally learned to stab the water)
August 24 (day 48) - 19-mile run
August 25 (day 49) - none
August 26 (day 50) - arms with Chris
August 27 (day 51) - start of Monday back / shoulders with Chris
August 28 (day 52) - Fins swimming (2000 yards no fins; most difficult sets ever with Tom); chest
August 29 (day 53) - Abs & Ass class; chest again with Chris
August 30 (day 54) - Sprint Triathlon -- 5k run to Art Museum; Fins swimming; 45 minutes on bike
August 31 (day 55) - Arms with Chris
September 1 (day 56) - 1000 yards swimming @ 12th St. Gym
September 2 (day 57) - River Loop Half Marathon

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