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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Chicagoan to continue triathlon journey at Gay Games 9
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2014-07-15

This article shared 5100 times since Tue Jul 15, 2014
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Mikey Apuada was at Soldier Field in Chicago for the opening ceremony of the 2006 Gay Games. He enjoyed the moment, cherishes the memory, but never competed in those Games.

This time, when Gay Games 9 is held in Cleveland in August, he's competing.

Apuada, 36, who lives in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood and works as a physical therapist, will participate in the triathlon—his fourth tri this year ago, his 11th overall, and one of three he will be participating in over a six-week stretch.

Clearly, he's hooked on the three-sport event.

"I'm always competing against myself and always trying to get a better time. More important, triathlons are helping me maintain my health," said Apuada, who has battled weight and high blood pressure issues for about 10 years.

When he started with triathlons, for instance, Apuada was about 30 or 40 pounds heavier, pushing 200 pounds—and he's only 5-foot-5. Plus, he had high blood pressure.

Doctor told him, he either was going on medicine or would have to lose weight.

Apuada, who is openly gay and partnered for three years ( with Brian Tremont ), is now about 160 pounds.

"I needed to get my health in line," said Apuada, who attended St. Joseph High School in Westchester and then the University of Illinois.

He also needed to learn how to swim, which he wasn't very good at when he started his tri adventure.

Lessons and coaching have helped him significantly, he said.

Apuada, for instance, has twice participated in a tri through Team In Training, an endurance-training program that supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

"I can't wait for Cleveland," he said. "I'm more excited than nervous. I guess I'm just nervous, as always, about getting injured. But I know I'll finish, and it means a lot to me to be participating.

"The opening ceremony is Chicago was amazing. I'm sure Cleveland will be just as great."

Apuada also participates in four other gay sports leagues locally: volleyball, darts, billiards and bowling.

Apuada, who ran the Chicago Marathon in 2000, said running is his best of the three tri sports, following by bicycling. Swimming is now not a distant third sport.

"One of my favorite tri-related stories was at the 2013 Leon's Triathlon, [held in Hammond, Indiana]. The weather was cold and rainy, and I ended up falling during the bicycle portion. Such a bad fall that I now still have [scars]. I was halfway through [the ride], in the middle of nowhere, with no spectators anywhere.

"Luckily, this one man and his young son were nearby, and came over to help me. My bike was mangled, and he fixed it. I thought my leg was broken. Thankfully, it wasn't."

The pain was numbed by the cold, he said, laughing.

That was one of his best, favorite tri stories—so far, at least.

"Just to be part of the Gay Games will be amazing," he said. "I wish I could do more [events] in the Games."


This article shared 5100 times since Tue Jul 15, 2014
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