Friday, November 30, 2007

Dirty Bird 15k

Eric and I took a road trip to Birdsboro, Pennsylvania to run the Dirty Bird 15k trail race. We are not experienced trail runners, so we were there more for the joy of trail running.

It was a nice drive to the French Creek State Park. I didn't get lost until I reached the sate park, and couldn't find an entrance to the start/finish area. Luckily we allowed time for this exact issue, and the drive was very scenic.

The temperature was in the high 30's at the start.

I went out way too fast .... I was among the top 25 after 1/2 mile which was went we started going off trail. That was the beginning of a long climb, and my body couldn't handle it. So 15 minutes into the race, I started walking. After 5 minutes, Eric passed me. I saw Eric but couldn't lift my knees up. I walked for a few more minutes until we reached the top of the hill.

I started running again, had a gel pack, and my body recovered. Running on rocks and twisty trails were not too different from running while playing soccer. Thus, my footing was fine. I passed many runners including Eric and another Fins, Ironman Brian. I walked a few more hills but for the most part, I sprinted downhill to make up for the lost time.

My time was 1 hours 28 minutes and 43 seconds. I was 133rd out of 458 finishers.

I felt fine after the race, and started running again the next day. The Dirty Bird 15k trail run the happy ending I was looking for to finish my 2007 racing year!

Dirty Bird

Dirty Bird

Dirty Bird

Dirty Bird

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Saturday, November 24, 2007


What movies do you want to see this holiday season? My choice is an Oscar-baiting tear-jerker called "Atonement". A British romance that spans several decades. Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. Tears, girls, tears!

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Home for the Holidays

Covered Bridge
Originally uploaded by reflexblue

I went to my parents' house for three days during my Thanksgiving vacation. My parents were happy to see me. I was happy to see them, but I couldn't have been more uncomfortable if I were at a Republican convention. My parents and I differ politically and culturally, so we gradually avoided conversations that would lead to differences in opinions. We ran out of things to say after two minutes. My three-day stay was probably two days, 23 hours, and 58 minutes too long. The only safe topic seemed to be food, but my parents managed to sprinkle guilt and accusations along with turkey and gravy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Vietnam Imprisons Human Rights Activists

This holiday season, Lê Thị Công Nhân and many other Vietnamese human rights activists are in prison. The people of Vietnam still need the international communities to speak up for those who have been silenced.

Vietnam Imprisons Human Rights Activists
May 11, 2007
By Matt Steinglass
11 May 2007
Voice of America

Two lawyers who ran a center for human rights law and supported alternative political parties in Vietnam were sentenced to prison Friday in Hanoi. Their trial came a day after three other democracy activists were convicted of similar charges in Ho Chi Minh City. Matt Steinglass reports from Hanoi that the convictions are the latest in a crackdown on democracy activists.Lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan are members of the Vietnamese democracy and human rights group “Bloc 8406,” and had organized seminars for students on international human rights law.

On Friday, a court in Hanoi sentenced Dai to five years in prison and Nhan to four years. Head judge Nguyen Huu Chinh pronounced them guilty under Article 88 of Vietnam’s criminal code, for spreading propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Chinh says that the seminars Dai opened in December 2006 spread propaganda against the state, and defamed former Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh.

Dai and his lawyer denied the charges.

Dai says the seminars simply discussed the social and political situation of Vietnam.

Nhan complained that she was not allowed to defend herself properly.

Nhan says the court’s procedure violated Vietnamese regulations, and that she was not allowed to speak during the part of the trial where the accused and their lawyers mount their defense.

Nhan was convicted in part for being the spokeswoman of the Vietnam Progression Party, which was founded last year. Vietnam’s Communist Party is the only legal political party in the country.

The prosecution is part of a broad crackdown against Vietnam’s small democracy movement, which gained strength through 2006. Since the beginning of this year, the government has detained more than a dozen democracy activists.

On Thursday in Ho Chi Minh City, Le Nguyen Sang, Nguyen Bac Truyen and Huynh Nguyen Dao were sentenced to three to five years in prison. They were convicted of collaborating with Thanh Cong Do, a Vietnamese-American active in a US-based Vietnamese political party. Do was expelled from Vietnam last September.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Trail Race

Originally uploaded by reflexblue

I'm not done yet. I have a trail race coming up in a few days! It's going to be my last race this year, and I'm looking for a happy ending!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Support for those running on empty

Thank you -- organizers, volunteers, and spectators!

In the long run, a little encouragement helps marathoners go the distance.

By Melissa Dribben
Inquirer Staff Writer

There's a point along the 26-mile route of the Philadelphia Marathon - give or take a few thousand yards - where runners typically begin to question their own sanity.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Don't Stop the Music

I had moments in 2007 that time stood still, the music took over, and I was alive. These are my songs of 2007
Gimme More - Britney and Todd & Eric Dammann
Hurt - Christina Aguilera
You're Timeless to Me - Hairspray soundtrack
Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna
Rhythm of Life - London Gay Men's Chorus
One Night Only - Dreamgirls soundtrack
Like the Way I Do - dance remade of Melissa Etheridge's song

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Sweet Sixteen

Philadelphia Marathon 2007
I'll remember this marathon. It was the race that changed the course at the last minute. It was the rain that never really came, and the wind that never really left. It was race that I almost didn't make to the start line. It was 26.2 mile race that was 13.1 miles more than I could handle. It was the finish line that I had never been happier to see. It was the finisher's medal that I will keep.

The clock time was about 4 hours 16 minutes when I completed.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Synchronized Swimming Prank


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Food Poisoning vs. Philadelphia Marathon

Sick Day
Getting food poisoning is definitely a humbling experience. I can never forget the Taco Basket Incident of 1998 a day before Thanksgiving.
I had my second incident ever this past week. I was fine on Wednesday night after Ass and Abs class and shoulders workout. I went to Pine Street Pizza to buy a small cheese pizza takeout. I felt unusually tired on Thursday morning. I also felt nauseous. I threw up a little bit of liquid in the shower. I went to work anyway. I started feeling chilled on the train. I ran into a bathroom after I got off the train, and everything came out. I clogged the sink and and to use paper towels to clean it!!!
I grabbed my work laptop and headed home. Due to the mid-day shuttle / train schedule, it would be three more hours until I set foot home. Luckily, there was no projectile incident during this long trip back to the city.
I worked from home on Thursday afternoon, between bathroom trips and fever/chill body temp flux. I skipped swim practice, but managed to haul my ass to the Fins board meeting (my first as president).
My stomach was still acidic and bubbly on Friday, so I stayed home. I totally lost my appetite, so I hadn't had anything besides soy milk for the past 24 hours.
For the first time ever, I thought about canceling my marathon this Sunday. I went to Temple U anyway to pick up my bib number. I still want to run, but it will be a last minute decision.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Confessions of a Lane Six Swimmer

Anh test 5209
Originally uploaded by jasonsmith

I went to all four Fins practices last week! That was the first!
Tuesday November 6th (election day)
Coach: Jen
Swimmers: can't remember anymore!!

Thursday November 8th workout with Coach Tom
Swimmers: Bill H, Jan E, Jeff B, and me. Jeff was late and decided to go slow the entire practice.
3 x 100 (25 kicks, 50 fist drill, 25 swim) I turned the middle 100 into a 50
8 x 50 free; 10 seconds rest.
8 x 75 (25 free, 25 stroke, 25 free) on 2:30. I made up and gained during the 25 stroke
1 x 100 easy
4 x 75 (25 free, 25 stroke, 25 free) on 2:10. Since I blurted out that the previous set was too slow, I was the lane leader for this set.
2 x 50 sprint
1 x 100 easy

Saturday November 10th
Coach: Roger
Swimmers: Jan, Tree, Steve G, and me
I swam 150 yards freestyle non-stop for the first time during the warmup. Don't remember the rest of the sets. Lots of breaststroke drills

Sunday November 11th
Coach: Roger
Swimmer: Ryan (new), and me
Ryan was faster at freestyle, I was faster at breaststroke. The sets had an even mix, so we were able to keep up.
Jen was swimming, but she came around toward the end to give a breaststroke demo. She pulled her groin while mimicing his wide kick!!!

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Philadelphia Marathon: Next Week

The Screamer
Originally uploaded by reflexblue

I'm going to run the Philadelphia Marathon for the 4th time next weekend. It'll be my fifth and last marathon of the year. Did I train for this race? Nope! Am I ready for it? Absolutely! I ran a short part of the course this morning to test my feet. It's going to be interesting to see how this race will compare to the Marines Corp Marathon I ran a few weeks ago.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Go Vertical

Go Vertical!
That's my ass in a harness.

Go Vertical

That's me and my hot climbing partner Chris!

Go Vertical

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Ben Franklin Bridge 10K

Anh 45:11 (personal record)
Mark 46:28
Eric 48:28
Pat 48:30
Jeff 49:20
Todd 49:41
Faiyaz 1:22:48 (first race ever)

Team Bootylicious
It's fantastic to run with a group of friends. It's even more fantastic that I come out on top! Most of these guys swim a lot faster than I, so running is probably the only thing I can brag about. Considering that I ran this race at 49:09 last year, my 45:11 time this year is brag worthy.

Perhaps it was the team spirit ... Perhaps it was a 10k personal record ... this race has become my second favorite race, just behind the Philadelphia Distance Run.

Team Bootylicious (Eric in Red)

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Fins president

It's official ... I'm the president of the Philadelphia Fins Aquatics Club. It's an honor to represent such a great organization. I'm looking forward to an exciting year with many events already under works.

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