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  1. Buck up, Albatrossian! Buck up!

    by , March 14th, 2012 at 04:33 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    It is going to be a bit difficult to write today's vlog, given my recent posting in the No Whining Pledge thread of the discussion forums.

    For those of you who missed it, here is what I wrote:


    When I swam with Pitt masters at the U Pittsburgh pool, there was a morning group (up at 5 a.m.) and an evening group (practice starts at 5:30 p.m.)

    As an unconscious whiner who emitted little whimpers involuntarily, the way a person with halitosis exhales puffs of putrescent breath that he has gotten so used to that its smell seems like normal air, I was informed one day by Pitt's excellent masters coach Jen that I didn't need to be this way.


    There was, Jen told me, a legendary non-whiner who swam in the 5 a.m. practices, a fellow named Rich Durstein who never complained about anything. The man could have a spike through his head and he would not have mentioned it, nor the impact said spike would have on his ability to hold a tight interval.


    Perhaps, Jen suggested, I could try to be a
    little bit more like Rich Durstein.

    I am nothing if not suggestible!


    And from that day on, I determined to Durstein my way through the vicissitudes of life, shouldering no shortage of woe and handicap without so much as a micro twitch of my mouth corners!


    This was approximately five years ago.


    I have yet to meet Rich Durstein; indeed, I have come to wonder if he even exists.


    They say that if God did not exist, then Man would have had to invent him.


    Perhaps it is like this with Rich Durstein.


    I don't know.


    But I do know this: after five years of Dursteining my own way through life's teary veil, the thought of
    ever uttering a whine or complaint has become inconceivable to me. I am, in my own way, a model of Dursteining swimming.

    Take your pledge? No need, my good man!


    This would indicate I am capable of backsliding, of paying attention to my corporal state, my fevers and colics and headaches and cramps, and commenting about same either through soliloquy or groan!


    But I am incapable of doing either!


    Sometimes I believe that when Man felt the need to invent Rich Durstein, Man inadvertently invented me!


    If you would like help following my path, I will do my best to help. My disciple Leslie is making progress. I shall not comment on the nature of this progress. It is not the Durstein way.


    --from [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=20289"]No Whining Pledge - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]


    Part 1. Dispassionately Related Symptomatology*

    *no judgment whatsoever of the sort that might be perceived as "complaining" or "excuse making" or the like is intended; indeed, any such judgment, if espied, is purely coincidental and/or a projection of the reader's own psychodynamic propensity for whining, kevetching, and so forth, certainly not anything that could legitimately be pinned to Mr. Thornton.
    I remain committed to Dursteining, as I have been doing for countless uninterrupted years now, but I do need to cite several medical facts of particular relevance to this week's upcoming Albatross meet. Let me sum up these facts in a plain, unadorned way, using the unemotional language of a long-time coroner who regards each new corpse with the same degree of ennui as its predecessors.

    Thornton, James, male, aged 59, considered 60 by FINA. A generally unremarkable specimen in recent months, Mr. Thornton presents with the following symptoms:


    • Sniffles and a certain gravel in the voice that caused his wife to inquire, "Have you been crying?"
    • Body aches and the episodic appearance of goose bumps, particularly when exposed to a draft.
    • Neuralgia.
    • Inability to walk up a short flight of stairs without a sensation of exhaustion in lower extremities.
    • A sense that his 2-a-day regimen of meals containing at least 8 oz. (and frequently much, much more) or red meat, much of it containing nitrates, may be fueling DNA damage throughout his frail elderliness
    • Unable to complete "child's play" like swimming practices without what he describes as "hog whimpering effort"
    • The following results from his CPAP device (see caption for explanations)




    Thanks to regular use of his CPAP machine, Thornton's AHI, or Apnea Hypopnea Index, is 7.3--most of which is accounted for by hypopneas (delayed breathing: 6.8 per hour, on average) with only a relatively small number due to full-blown apneic strangulation (cessation of breathing altogether: .5 per hour).



    Graphs of Mr. Thornton's generally unremarkable (to knowledgable doctors) CPAP results. It does seem, however, to this layman that Mr. Thornton leaks an awful lot.

    Part 2: Historical Context

    On March 15, 2011, exactly 365 or 366 days ago from today, March 14th, 2012 (Leap Year throws off my ability to calculate), I posted the following Vlog entitled simply, "Albatross" http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=14471. Naturally, the ideal thing would be for my readers to go back in time and reread this entry in its entirety. But I know how short-spanned the modern attentional ability is, so I shall simply excerpt a few of the choicer passages that strangely echo with today's situation:

    It almost failed to occur, this bid of mine to come back from retinal detachment, financial depression, and a recent severe case of incapacitating sniffles.

    Last Thursday, I awoke at 3 a.m., my nostrils spilling twin cataracts of Niagara-like mucous falls.


    Last Friday, I spent the entire day daubing my nasal passages with deeply absorbent tissues, and still these were not enough to stem the flow!


    Why can they not make nostril tampons for men who get colds this severe? Why is this natural market niche not being exploited? Best healthcare system in the world? Sadly laughable joke for those of us who cannot find a simple nostril tampon or maxi pad when we so desperately need them.


    On Saturday, I had not the energy to leave the couch for more than an occasional cheesecake refrigerator run.


    On Sunday, I forced myself to go to the Y where I swam an open turn 1650 in about 33 minutes--and almost could not finish, so deeply lethargic and hypoglycemic and dizzy I was in my cold!


    The entry ends on a high note, with me managing to draft my way to completion of a grueling set of 10 x 100 on 1:25 warm up; 20 x 100 on 1:20; 8 x 100 on 1:15; 4 x 50 on :40.

    It is somewhat analogous to this Monday's practice of 8 x 100 on 1:25, 300 kick, 5 x 200 on 2:40, 3 x 200 on 2:30, 3 x 200 on 2:40, 6 x 50 on :50, which I also made--mostly by the grace of god and drafting.

    Two days later, on March 17th, 2011, I posted again, showing how merely finishing practice had been flukish indeed. Again, best to reread the entire entry-- "An Albatross Around One's Neck" http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=14508 -- but for those of you who are pressed for time, here's the breast meat:

    After Monday's miracle practice, in which I rose Lazarus-like from the sick couch to complete, albeit with drafting assistance, a grueling workout for an aging fellow, my own pipe dreams and capacity for suspension of disbelief in myself convinced me to enter the Albatross meet.

    Alas, at last night's practice, the familiar malaise and effeteness thrust themselves upon me with renewed vengeance. Weak? Check! Shaky? Check! Hypoglycemic? Check! In no condition whatsoever to swim in a swimming meet, even one that did not first involve driving for a minimum of 5 hours? Check!


    Still, a tiny voice inside me has always urged: Forward Ho, Jim!--its sound, if anything, growing louder in proportion to the hopelessness of my mission!


    And thus, sickness be damned, I will soldier on to Bethesda and do my best to set the new 200 SCM freestyle Albatross
    meet record in the 55-59 age group. If I can accomplish this--impossible, I know, but if...--then I shall be forever known not just as a multiple Zonesman but as an Albatrossian, too!

    And it will be the Albatross who must wear me round its pallid neck, not vice versa!




    Heroically, and against all rational odds, Mr. Thornton did triumph last year, establishing a new All Time record at the Albatross meet (albeit one likely to fall this year to the ever estimable Bradford Gandee, 58-year-old youngster) in the 200 scm freestyle of 2:13:04. (Splits 30.66; 33.17; 35.04; 34.17.)

    In the process, he established himself as an Albatrossian for the first time. The question is: Will it be his last?

    Part 3: Analysis

    Does last year's eerily similar, if less severe, outbreak of pre-Albatross meet physical, mental, and spiritual contagion/weakness hold any prophetic powers for this year's bid for Albatrossian Status Redux?

    The financial community would have us believe that "past performance is no guarantee whatsoever we won't lose all your money this time"--and it is not a bad motto by which to live a good American life, I must say.

    However, let me quickly ruminate on a couple codicils to this fall-back position.


    • I do feel sicklier this year than last year, though I am not sure if you could put FINA 59-year-old Jim beside FINA 60-year-old Jim that the former could completely convince the latter of this assertion.
    • I am swimming in a presumably easier age group this year, and the aforementioned Bradford Gandee is no longer a threat (though he might well steal my record.) Paul Trevisan, human beast of sprinting magnificence, will kill me in the 50 and 100 this year just as he did last year. The difference: Paul and I are now in the same age group (he was 60 or 61 last year.) There will absolutely be no Albatrossian status possible for me in the 50 and 100; fortunately, Paul is not swimming the 200 or 400, the records for which are currently:


    • Men 60-64 200 Free 2:29.31 3/21/2009 David Harmon - ANCM-PV (Doable, I hope)
    • Men 60-64 400 Free 5:00.89 3/25/2000 Edward C Morgan - 1776-DV (Iffy)
    • I have also learned a bit this season about how to split such races better, and unless my symptoms disappear significantly by Saturday, I suspect the pressure to not go out too fast will be even greater. Two examples:
      • 200. At last year's 200 SCM, I went out in 1:03.87 and came back in 1:09.21, a differential of 5.33 seconds. In yards this year, I have had better luck with more even splitting. For example, I swam a 2:00.07 in the 200 SCY free, going out in a mid 1:58 and coming back in a mid 2:01, a differential of around 3 seconds.
      • 400/500. I didn't swim the 400 at Albatross last year, but I had my best midseason 500 in years by slightly negative splitting it 10 days ago: AGE GROUP: 55-591 JIM THORNTON 59 M SEWY 5:28.81





        • 30.82


        • 33.36
        • 33.53
        • 33.63
        • 33.39
        • 33.58
        • 33.07
        • 32.88
        • 33.41
        • 31.14



    It was after this meet at Duquesne in Pittsburgh, which was supposed to be recognized for USMS, but won't be, that the symptoms afflicting Mr. Thornton appeared to gain the upperhand. He won't complain about these, of course. But here are the words that clinicians often hear from men and women with such symptoms who are not of such a stoical mindset as Mr. Thornton:

    Ah, the body aches intensify! The gas leakage, too, even though the CPAP is not turned on.

    Indeed, the most you can coax from the likes of Jim Thornton about his upcoming trip to the Albatross meet is this:

    I shall soldier onwards the best I can--Albatrossian Redux or not, I shall embrace my fate smiling (or whatever twitching of the mouth corners I have the energy to sustain)!

    Vomitari, te salutamus!

    This, in the end, has always been an Albatrossian's proudest oath.

    And on such a note, let this vlog simply add by way of encouragement--

    Buck up, Albatrossian! Buck the **** up!

    You have been in this realm before, and by Odin's beard, ye shall be in this realm again!



    Odin, the King of Norse Gods, advises his son Thor (Old Norski for Thornton) to buck the **** up and ready his loins for Ragnarok. Thor replies in the strong but curiously low voice of men like him everywhere: Jeg vil buck den **** opp, far! Og kjempe sammen med gudene i den siste kampen som allerede er forutbestemte vi skal miste. For hva mer kan en rettferdig spør enn å dø seierrik frem?*


    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    *Translation: I will buck the **** up, Father! And fight alongside the Gods in the final battle that has already been preordained we shall lose. For what more can a Righteous Man ask than to die nobly?

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  2. Palate Cleansing

    by , March 19th, 2012 at 12:20 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I'm awaiting the art work for the Sequel to Buck up, Albatrossian! Buck up! (http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=21165) and the invaluable life lessons this recent meet bestowed upon me, your Vloggist Everyman, and hence, by extension, to you, i.e., Everymanandwoman Everyman.

    In the meantime, please enjoy today's palate cleanser of a vlog, which I offer in the spirit of less is more, the less being any extraneous verbiage I have managed to X-out, using the pen feature of the Paint program that comes free with Windows ®.

    This represents the first time in history that the words All, American, Listings, for, James, and Thornton have ever been collected together in a single document, sequentially or otherwise.

    If it can happen to me, it can happen to you, too, Everymanandwoman Everyman everywhere!

    Have an excellent Monday, March 19th, 2012.



    PS: Major thanks to Jeff Roddin for running a sensational 2012 Albatross Open during which his dapper-looking and newly minted septuagenarian father, Hubert (?) Roddin*, set two new national records and his doe-eyed daughter, Rachel-Ray (?) Roddin, had her pre-toddler debutante coming-out party (ostensibly to introduce her to Pittsburgh Society/ineligible bachelors).

    I also got the chance to meet Ruth Ann (?) Roddin, Hubert (?) Roddin's lovely bride and quite possibly my future Grandmother-in-Law, as well as continued my uninterrupted winning streak in all distances of 400 m or longer that I have enjoyed against every member of the Roddin family. The streak dates back to the Chris Greene National Open Water 2-Mile Cable Championships two summers ago. It continued its uninterrupted peregrinations to glory thanks to the lovely Mulie Roddin, my likely future mother-in-law, who has shed the last of her baby bumpage, replacing this with blue-steel core musculature, but somehow still managed to lose to me and my own core, which when lightly flicked resembles a water bed. Not to worry, Mulie--it was still your finest 400 m swim in decades, in my opinion.

    And it goes without saying that my gratitude knows no bounds, as well, to my mither, Leslie Livingston, with whom I co-own a house in Vienna, Virginia, which--unlike my other real estate ventures over the years--has actually seen a modest price rise on Zillow ® recently!

    Nice to know that post-starter mansions in the close-to-Langley area of Washington, D.C., have begun to rebound from our recent economic woe!

    One more little peep of disturbance from the Sino-Islamo-Soviet-Indo-North-Korean-et-al geopolitical realm, and everybody in Northern Virginia's gonna get filthier rich, Leslie and me included!


    Here's hoping anyhow.



    Jeff Roddin demonstrates the perfect racing dive, pike position.




    Jeff and Mulie Roddin at a pre-marital counseling session with me during which I explained to Jeff the unbelievably noxious batch of suffering compounds that would be unleashed in his brain if he blew it with Mulie and did not get married in a timely fashion. Shortly afterwards, my possibly future bride, Rachel-Ray, was born, demonstrating once again that God helps those who help themselves. True, I have been accused of helping myself to too much. But God 'n me don't look at this way.


    ______________________________________________
    * My recent inclusion in the highly rarefied-to-my-ilk world of All Americanism has induced such euphoria that even the realization I am only 10-years-young than Jeff Roddin's father cannot dampen my spirits. It does, however, continue to blow my mind. I thought Jeff was several decades older than me. His gravitas certainly argues for such a premise.
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  3. Comes a flock of Albatrossians!

    by , March 21st, 2012 at 04:09 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)


    Please pour yourself a favorite beverage, be this a goblet of Chardonnay or a punch made from dark roast espresso and Everclear, sit down upon your favorite couch with your iPad 3, other tablet device, or laptop computer, and commit to a good old-fashioned Dickensian style
    meet report that will leave you both inspired and smarter!

    Last Friday, March 16th, I drove down to the Middle Atlantic Compound that I co-own with Leslie Livingston and her family (don't ask: the intricacies of squatters rights real estate law are well beyond the scope of this report, though I will refer interested parties to the Office of Circumlocution for more info). The ride was uneventful; not so the repast of flank steak and asparagus and polenta that greeted my arrival, nor the first two episodes of the show, Shameless, that Leslie and I watched until our respective hypnotics knocked us into our respective rooms to sleep in our respective states of drugged babyhood.


    The next morning, Leslie made one of her smoothies, which include various berries, spinach leaves, aged contents from supplement bottles, potions, lawn waste, unguents, and a few tinctures that I think may have gotten women into trouble in Salem, Massachusetts in yesteryear, though thankfully that is well past us.


    We made our way to the Albatross meet with our respective goals in mind: Leslie to beat her own World and/or National Records in the 50 Fly and 100 Back, and to do similarly well in the 50 Free (she accomplished the first; half accomplished the second; and scratched the third--for more, I recommend reading her excellent blog.)


    My goals were at once more modest and more daring, given our respective reservoirs of swimming talent.


    I wanted to:



    1. Set the new Albatross record in the 200 freestyle
    2. Set the new Albatross record in the 400 freestyle
    3. Do well enough in the 100 to make it into the Top 10 in my new age group
    4. Possibly do well enough in the 50 to do similarly
    5. Contribute to three relays with my 1776 teammates, Dale Keith, Geoff Meyer, and Paul Trevisan, the four of us adding up to exactly 240 years of collective elderliness, thus qualifying to swim in the 240-279 relay category.
    6. Finally, preserve my Albatrossian record (set last year when I was in the 55-59 age group) in the 200 SCM freestyle, though I realized this was no longer in my control. The great Brad Gandee has signed up to swim this, and though his seed time was slower than my record, I suspected that he may well have sandbagged...

    I shall record the various races in the order they took place, with commentary to follow each one.

    100 SCM Freestyle

    Age Group 60-64 - Male

    Paul Trevisan 57.61

    James Thornton 1:00.14

    I came in second to my 1776 teammate, Paul Trevisan, a sensational sprinter who has set a number of World Records in the past and was hoping to break the 100 and 50 records here, too, despite the absence of a tech suit. Paul came close but didn't quite make it.


    What proved somewhat encouraging to me, if not Paul, is that two of us in the 60-64 age group beat most of the other swimmers at the meet in the 100 free.


    The next oldest swimmer who beat me (but not Paul) was Darek Sady in the 35-39 age group--Darek swam a 58.00.


    Two guys in the 25-29 age group beat us both: Bryan Rivera, with a 53.58; and Nick Kaufman-O'Reilly, with a 55.24.


    Commentary:


    Sprinter Paul and Middle-Distance Jim clearly swim the 100 in different ways, beyond, that is, the fact that Paul swims it
    a lot faster!

    Check out the respective slopes of our splits:




    Paul's slope is reasonably steep here, indicative of the "leave nothing behind" philosophy of sprinting the whole race and trying not to die too badly by the end.


    The differential between Paul's 50s was 4.33 seconds. Would he have gone faster overall by saving a little on the front end? Who knows?





    My slope, on the other hand, is less steep, indicating a more controlled approach.


    My differential was 1.98 seconds. Would I have gone faster had I not coddled myself so much on the front half? Again, it's hard to know for certain, but several factors conspired to convince me to swim the race this way.


    First, it's worked for me in various other swims so far this season.


    Second, the difference between my "smooth EZ speed freestyle" stroke and my frenzied "all out sprinting freestyle" stroke is not huge, time-wise, but it is very significant energy-expenditure-wise.


    Third, unlike last year, where I signed up too late to swim the 400, I knew that at this year's Albatross I would be swimming the 200, 400, and three relays. Since I tend to do better, rankings wise, in the 200 and 400, I didn't want to use up too much on the 100.


    All the above notwithstanding, I was a bit disappointed when I looked up and saw that I'd failed to break a minute. At the 2011 Albatross meet, I swam .99 faster, turning in a 59.15, which proved good enough to earn me a tentative 6th place in the World that year--FINA TT rankings:




    My splits last year were 28.47 and 30.68, for a slightly higher differential of 2.21 seconds. One technical flaw this year might have accounted for a bit of the difference--I didn't see the final wall until I was right on top of it, and ended up taking an unnecessary final short stroke. Still, I doubt this made too much of a difference. The bottom line is that I probably tried harder in the 100 last year.



    200 SCM freestyle


    Fortunately for me, Paul Trevisan doesn't like to swim anything over a 100, which gave me a relative free pass in the 200.

    I came in fifth overall for this event, with the only four fellows who beat me (admittedly by substantial margins) were in the 40-44; 35-39; and 25-29 age groups.


    Age Group 60-64 - Male
    1776 James Thornton 2:12.59

    Age Group 40-44 - Male GERM Daniel Bellin 2:01.28

    Age Group 35-39 - Male
    GERM Frederik Hviid 2:00.53

    Age Group 25-29 - Male
    UNAT Bryan Rivera 1:56.99
    CUBU

    Age Group 25-29 - Male
    UNAT Sam Garner 2:08.94

    Despite losing to whippersnappers, I was happy with this swim.


    What was particularly gratifying when I looked up and saw my time was knowing it bested last year's 200, where I'd set the Albatross meet record of 2:13.04 in the 55-59 age group.


    Here are my splits for this year's 200:




    The difference between my first and second 100s was 2.53 seconds. Since the first 100 benefits from a dive, I feel I swam this race pretty evenly, which was my goal.

    Last year's 200 had the following splits (sorry I can't find a SwimPhone graph for last year's results):


    30.66, 33.17 (first 100 1:03.83)

    35.04, 34.17 (second 100 1:09.21)

    Difference between last year's 2 x100s:
    5.38

    Maybe the reason I swam a faster 200 this year is because I saved up a bit on the individual 100 earlier in the day. But I think a more significant explanation is that I simply paced things better this year for my kind of swimming style.


    Could I have done a better time going out a bit faster this year? I am not sure, though I concede it's possible. But more and more, I am beginning to conclude that for my body type, stroke, and energy systems, an evenly balanced swim is the better bet than the "hold on and try not to die" approach.


    In any event, last year's 2:13.04 proved good enough to make the tentative Top 10 worldwide:




    Had I been FINA 60 last year, instead of turning it this year, my 2012 time would have actually been good enough to place No.1 in the world by nearly a second:




    Of course, this year isn't last year, so who knows what will happen.


    My time did set a new Albatross record in the 60-64 age group, plus in the heat after I swam, Brad Gandee ended up having to withdraw half way through the race because of cramps.


    Thus my 55-59 Albatross record in the 200 SCM still stands. Who cares about world placement when one can legitimately boast:
    Ich bein ein duble Albatrossian!

    Men 55-59 200 Free 2:13.04 3/19/2011 James Thornton 1776

    Mr. Roddin, please know that you can stamp Stetari by this 200 Free Albatrossian record for at least one more glorious year!



    400 SCM freestyle

    I signed up for the 50 free, but it was less than 15 minutes away from the 400. The meet, which had started at 3 p.m., was dragging on. Besides Leslie's a.m. smoothie, and a couple of scrambled eggs consumed before we set off from the Compound to the pool much earlier in the day, all I'd had to eat was some Gu Chomps and a banana. My stomach was beginning to roil. It was nearly 7:30 p.m. by the time my heat in the 400 SCM free was ready to be swum.

    I also knew that immediately following this heat, the last of the day, my 1776 teammates and I would be swimming 3 quick relays.


    Call me cowardly, but I decided that if there was ever a time to adopt the controlled pace strategy, this was it. After all, it had worked quite well for the 200, and when I swam that race earlier in the day, I actually felt energetic and good as opposed to shakey and nauseated.


    Anyhow, I came in third overall in the 400 SCM free with a time of 4:48.72.


    The fellows who beat me were:


    Age Group 45-49 - Male

    Jonathan Berry 4:39.19

    Age Group 30-34 - Male

    Jeff "Muppet" Strahota 4:48.06

    I actually spied Jeff on the final length, though I didn't know at the time it was him. I'd failed to secure a counter, and though I was 90 percent sure that I was swimming the last length, there was enough uncertainty about this in my mind that I didn't want to turn entirely to lead in case I had to finish with another 50.


    Nevertheless, I did my best to beat Jeff and almost succeeded.


    Here are our respective SwimPhone graphs:




    Muppet's graph above





    My graph above.



    A couple notes about our respective races:



    1. Jeff told me at the Social after the meet that he always likes to be the first one to touch on the very first 50 of distance races.
    2. His first 50 was 31.75; mine was 34.92. His first 50, in other words, beat me by 3.17 seconds.
    3. By the end of the whole 400, his time beat mine by .66 of a second.
    4. Jeff's last 50 was 35.90, and mine was 34.31, which means I beat him by 1.59 seconds here.
    5. Overall, our average 50s were extremely close: 36.01 for him; 36.09 for me, or 8 one-hundredths of a second for each of the 8 x 50s.
    6. Could I have perchance beaten Jeff if I'd exerted myself a wee bit more, particularly on 50 No. 1? I don't know. The thing about swimming fast at the beginning of a race, at least for me, is that it has a multiplier effect, sort of like the way a tiny millimeter off as a bullet leaves the barrel of a rifle can miss the target by a wide margin, particularly the further away such a target (or final wall) is.
    7. I do think I might have swum a better 400, especially if it had been the first event, not the last individual event of the day. My "meters to yards" conversion time worked out to a 5:28, pretty much the same as my best 500 of the year, albeit in a worse pool but swum first thing in the meet.
    8. Leslie told me she thought I looked "lackadaisical" on the first 50, I am think perhaps I could have gone slightly faster here. When control blossoms into a lackadaisy, is it really control anymore--or something else entirely?
    9. I think for me the ideal way to swim freestyle races 200+ and divisible by 4 is similar to the old school relay order: second fastest guy first, followed by slowest guy, then the third fastest, then the fastest guy as the anchor. Put more simply, grading the four quarters of the race would thus be: B D C A. The difference, of course, between one person doing a long swim and four people doing a relay is that the dive yields such an advantage that the individual race, ideally, should be swum A D C B. Even with the dive, I swam my 400 A D C B.
    10. Conclusion: I probably should swim first 100 a little bit faster, particularly first 50; and start descending a bit more aggressively on the third 100, all the while staying away from teetering over the lactate threshold.

    I didn't swim the 400 last year, but here are the FINA results for 2011's 60-64 age group:




    Who knows how my time will fare in this year's rankings? With luck, I may even get another chance to swim a SCM meet before the end of the year.


    But one thing looks certain: I can add the coveted Albatrossian title for a third time in an individual event!


    Mr. Roddin, sir! At the risk of sounding cruel, please do not dither too long before hiring the masonry artisan to rechisel into the granite tablets a replacement name for Mr's. Harmon and Morgan, former record holders in the 200 and 400 SCM freestyles, respectively!


    Sorry, fellows. There's a new old-bird Albatrossian who is taking over the roost!


    *


    240-239 Year old SCM Relays

    For the infinitessimal numbers of you who are still reading this vlog (thanks, 61-year-old Jim Thornton and older versions of you! I am always happy to see you guys walking down Memory Lane here at our vlog!), I just found out that I have reached my limit of pictures for this blog (you are allowed to add no more than 10--who knew?)

    So let me just make relatively quick work of our relays, which, thanks to my wonderful teammates, earned each of us three more Albatrossian meet records (I am certain of this, though they don't keep records for relays in any spot that I can find.)


    Men 240-279 200 SC Meter Medley Relay

    WORLD: W 2:01.03 12/5/2009 GOLD COAST MASTERS -USA G SCHMIDT, T SHEAD, J WOTTON, C CAVANAUGH


    USMS: N 2:01.03 12/5/2009 GOLD COAST G SCHMIDT, T SHEAD, J WOTTON, C CAVANAUGH Team Seed Finals Points ================================================== ============================= 1 Colonials 1776 'A' NT
    2:09.02 12

    1) Keith, Dale M58
    32.57
    2) Dougherty, Steve M61 38.22
    3) Trevisan, Paul M61 30.36
    4) Thornton, James M60 27.87

    Five minutes later, we swam the 200 free relay. My teammates let me lead off so I could get an official time for the 50, which I had scratched because of it being right before the 400. My lead-off time isn't that great, but it would have snuck into the TT last year.


    Men 240-279 200 SC Meter Freestyle Relay

    WORLD: W 1:49.69 10/17/2009 GOLD COAST MASTERS -USA J WOTTON, C CAVANAUGH, D QUIGGIN, C BURNS


    USMS: N 1:49.69 10/17/2009 GOLD COAST J WOOTON, C CAVANAUGH, D QUIGGIN, C BURNS Team Seed Finals Points

    ================================================== =============================
    1 Colonials 1776 'A' NT 1:50.33 12

    1) Thornton, James M60
    28.22
    2) Keith, Dale M58 28.19
    3) Meyer, Geoffrey M61 28.76
    4) Trevisan, Paul M61 25.16

    Note:
    we missed the World Record by .64 seconds! Those fellows, moreover, swam their time in 2009 and thus almost certainly had the advantage of high tech body suits! We came so close! Who knows, perhaps we will have a chance to try it again, preferably when I haven't just swum a 400 and 50 within the previous 10 minutes!

    Finally:


    Men 240-279 400 SC Meter Freestyle Relay


    WORLD: 4:07.34 W 12/3/2011 VENTURA COUNTY MASTERS –USA G GRUBER, H KERNS, J MCCONICA, M BLATT


    USMS: 4:04.88 N 5/18/2008 OREGON T LANDIS, W EDWARDS, M TENNANT, R SMITH.
    ================================================== =============================
    1 Colonials 1776 A NT 4:13.35


    1) Keith, Dale M58 1:05.08
    2) Thornton, James M601:02.45
    3) Meyer, Geoffrey M611:04.93
    4) Trevisan, Paul M61 1:00.89

    We weren't that close to this World and/or National record, which is confusing.


    How can the world record be slower than the USMS record?

    Anyhow, the faster of these two times, 4:04.88, beats our end-of-the-meet, utter-exhaustion, be-jammered time by 8.47.

    If Paul and I had swum our individual 100 times from earlier in the day, we would have done a 1:57.75 (actually, probably a bit faster because one of us would have had a relay start). The other two swimmers would have had to swim a 2:07.13 to tie—if each swam exactly a 1:03.56, we’d have the new record!

    The point is that there are some new Albatrossians to deal with now in the 240-279 age group.

    Cover your french fries and your eyeballs alike. We are out to peck and pluck out anything we can to feed our insatiable hunger for more glory, and then take flight!

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYW5G2kbrKk"]Flying like a bird | part 14/14 - YouTube[/nomedia]



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  4. Halfway thru P90X!

    by , May 8th, 2012 at 10:34 PM (Chowmi's Blog)
    Well, I am still going strong!!!

    I am halfway thru Week #7 of the 13 week total. This is the 3rd and last week of Phase 2, then the "recovery week" #8. (Plus photo!)

    I think the key is proper modification. This is really hard because most people I have talked to say they started it and couldn't finish and/or got injured. There isn't a coach standing next to you telling you what and how to modify, and a lot of people say they get so competitive they try to keep up with Tony & crew. Plus you have to modify in relation to the fact that you are also swimming. The videos don't account for the fact that you are swimming - training - and that a lot of effort is duplicated, so you are going to really hurt yourself by all the double dipping if you don't eliminate/modify those bits. The last thing is not to think of it as a do-or-die in 90 days. If you think of this as a first round sampler, leaving room for heavier weights, more reps, higher/farther leaps, deeper lunges, etc, then you will probably decrease your chances of getting injured. You have all the time in the world, so think of the program and an indefinate and customizable repeat after the first 90 days! Remember, these guys would look completely foolish doing your job, so it is the same thing when you pop in the DVD and try to keep up with them. They were selected because they are super duper good at it, and have rehearsed the sequences for the video not unlike any other type of performance. You aren't going to get on stage and play Hamlet on the first round, so build up to it!

    +++++++++++++++++++++++
    I am happy to report that I can now bicycle backwards for the full 25 count. I could do cross leg instead of full legs out on the cross over sit uppy things, but that was on my strongest day, and I have only done it once. And I can do all 25 sissor kicks (yes, I wait for the number!). The key is to squeeze your butt and use the raised leg as the balancing end, and the down leg (1 inch off the floor, butt squeezed!) as the elongating move.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I skipped the swim meet on Sunday! I was not well over the weekend, so I bagged my cameo 50 free. I mentally calculated I had a low 28 in me, and then decided the recover period AFTER the race would cost me too much of my P90X consistency.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Here is my workout on Monday!
    SCM, Baylor Fitness Center
    Billy G coached

    Here is Billy's commentary on his 1500 LCM fly: He did it the summer of/after 1980 Trials. Since he was in great shape, and trained with a distance donkey team, he decided to try it. His time was 19 something. He made it completely fly legal. The official, who is always really bored in the D-events, had nothing better to do so he walked with Billy the entire way, just to see if he was fly-legal. Billy's time was a big bell curve. Once he got to about 700-800, he was really disgusted. But he decided to just do another 100, another 100, until he got to 1200 and at that point he knew he could finish, and he started getting faster. His last 100 was not as fast as his first, but again, he bell curved his splits.

    ++++++++++++++++++
    200 swim/200 kick/200 pull

    6 x 75 kick on 1:30
    50 smooth/25 strong

    8 x 125's pull
    4 on 2:00 (yes, I actually used a pull buoy)
    4 on 1:45 (no equipment, swam these)

    10 x 100's swim
    4 on 1:35 descend
    1 on 2:00
    repeat

    I gave it a big decend and went 1:11 and 1:10 on the #4's. Solid and strong, i'd say about 92.5% effort.

    The End

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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  5. Leslie's Core: In Praise Of

    by , June 3rd, 2012 at 03:06 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    After the Greensboro meet, during which I managed to beat everyone in attendance in the 200 freestyle who was also at least 59 years old, I decided that it was time for me to take the next step.

    That next step is to become more like Leslie.

    I think I can say with 100 percent accuracy that our little Leslie, AKA, Leslie "The Fortress" Livingston, is not only a World Class Masters Swimmer but also the Patron Saint of Masters Swimmers Everywhere as well as Mither Nonpareil to a Quartet of Unbelievably Talented Athletic Youngsters: Zach, Ali, Gillian, and her favorite of all, Jimmy, the man child.

    One of the keys to Leslie's swimming success, I believe, was her decision to embrace and excel at something most of us post-40 Masters never learned during our swimming youths: the SDK.

    I was trying to recall the exact circumstances that caused Leslie to pursue excellence in this new "second fastest of all strokes"--and to put it into the pitiless vanquishment of her 50 and over female (and, honestly, male) competitors. (I can't begin to tell you how many chauvinistic men of a certain age were muttering in the Greensboro locker room that the 50 fly and 50 back have been forever ruined for them by Leslie's untouchable World Records! Besides me, there must have been at least one more embittered old jerk doing this.)

    Leslie has told me more than once the inspirational story of how she came to devote herself to SDKs and the core strengthening this requires.

    Alas, my memory is not what it used to be, and what it used to be wasn't all that great.

    For the life of me, I just couldn't remember what this story was. So this morning I Googled "why Leslie decided in middle age to become the best 5' 3" to 5' 4" female SDKer in the world" (or words to that effect) and the following image popped up on my screen, bringing the whole episode back with such detail it was as if it had all just happened yesterday!



    For those of you who may not know, Leslie was a stand-out distance swimmer at Dartmouth University, where she specialized in the 400 IM and 200 Butterfly.

    She attended Dartmouth on a full scholarship because her great great great great great grandfather on her mother's side was a cousin to Jim Thorpe's great great great great uncle by marriage. As most of you know, Dartmouth was originally founded for Native Americans, who to this day are given preferential treatment in admissions process.

    Not that this in any way made up for the savage racial taunts Leslie experienced from her Pale Face classmates. Indeed, for much of her freshman year, Leslie's only friend was her roommate and fellow part-Ojibway, Elizabeth Warren.



    How mercilessly were Les and Liz teased for their high Indian cheekbones and somewhat shrill war cries! In one particularly cruel episode, Harvard boy, Mitford Romney (known to the Sioux and Ojibways at Dartmouth as Two Faced White Weasel Born of Multiple Mothers) lead a gang of privileged white country clubbers to the girls' dorm. As the frat boys held the comely squaws down, Two Faced White Weasel Born of Multiple Mothers pulled out an authentic tomahawk purchased for the occasion at a New Hampshire Stuckey's, held it high above his head, and yelled, "Now I'm a'gonna cut your Sacagawea's off!"

    The next thing Leslie remembers was waking up at age 46, with four kids (the oldest of which she hadn't yet met), a bit of mid-life dysthymia, and a desire to get back into swimming shape. She started swimming at a pool near her house in suburban Washington, DC, where she had been practicing law, wifing, and living a completely unmemorable life for decades.

    The coach suggested she might want to learn SDKs, and Leslie thought it was a good suggestion.

    So she practiced, did exercises to strengthen her core muscles, and over the next four or five years became incredibly good at SDKs!

    It's an amazing story, and I am sure that many of you will find it as inspiring as I have.

    All of which is leading up to a set I accidentally stumbled upon while swimming a solo practice at the Sewickley YMCA pool last Thursday:

    Easy 1000 warm up

    Continuous 50s kick for as long as it takes, performed with a kick board but without fins in the following order--

    First 50, all flutter kick.

    Second 50, 1 dolphin kick off each wall, followed by the rest of each length flutter kick.

    Third 50, 2 dolphin kicks per wall, followed by flutter.

    Fourth 50, 3 dolphin kicks per wall and so forth....adding a single dolphin kick per length..

    Until you kick the whole length only doing dolphin kicks.

    In my case, I finally made it with 30 dolphin kicks per length, which brought this kick set to 1500 yards.

    I finished up with some actual submerged dolphin kicks, swimming 25 yards length underwater (took me 28 kicks to do this.)

    Then the normal cool down procedures.

    I was pretty sure my back would be killing me the next day, but it didn't. DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, kicked in two days later, but not in my back but rather my abs, which became very sore indeed. When I mentioned this to Bill, he said that the pain indicated I was probably doing the SDKs correctly.

    Clearly, I'm far from ready to Venus de Milo my own abdominal regions the way Google has opted to do for World Record holder, Leslie. Nor am I prepared to put on a war bonnet and declare, via blood curdling whoops, my intention to raid the 60-64 Age Group.

    My own great great grandparents were not related to a famous red Indian like Jim Thorpe but rather, I am fairly certain, derived from anonymous pastey-faced European mongrels, themselves beget during one of those frequent collective-horde "love fests" that is a chief reason evolutionary biology has driven human sperm counts to such Zarathustrian numbers!

    Still, I do plan to continue my SDK practicing whenever I find myself solo in a lap lane! Unlike Leslie, I have never had much of a Sacagewea to count on. But as her own experience has so nicely shown us, it's never too late to grow one.
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  6. Experiment in Pain

    by , June 29th, 2012 at 03:15 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    The incredibly kind Anna Lea Matysek sent me this yesterday in response to my Facebook status, which read:

    After suffering a tear-inducing back spasm yesterday morning--four days before the Spire Institute swimming meet--and still suffering greatly from sciatica, pelvic girdle nerve pains, and agony in the lumbar regions--I have decided to try an experiment: I am not babying myself. I am Marquis de Sade-ing myself instead in the hopes this counterintuitive fix will allow me to swim this weekend. In the meantime, if any of my Facebook friends are secret heroin addicts with access to an abundant supply of the elixir AND a clean hypodermic needle, would you consider letting me know how much it would cost to get a little juice in the right spot?

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...pagewanted=all

    Inspired by both Dr. Weinstein and my swimming coach/friend Bill White, who was swimming butterfly two weeks after a severe Grade 3 shoulder separation, I have decided to meet my fate somewhere near the shores of Lake Erie.

    I shall keep you posted, perchance answering the question posed in this self-portrait by early next week.

    The one thought that keeps me going is that if I somehow manage to paralyze myself while diving off the blocks, then at least the pain will go away.

    --A fellow traveler for all the assorted USMS back pain sufferers, Jimmy.


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  7. Thornton's Life of Livingston: New Weight Training Ideas

    by , July 26th, 2012 at 04:37 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I realize that Leslie "the Fortress" Livingston is a much beloved--no, make that a most beloved--swimmer in the pantheon of USMS greats.

    By contrast, I am something of a minor non-entity/known irritant who uses his skills in the latter to win attention, be this mildly positive (yeah, right!) or somewhat negative ("The only thing worse than being talked about," suggested Oscar Wilde, "is not being talked about.")

    To this end, one of the most successful strategies I have discovered over the years has been to Boswell myself to Leslie's Dr. Johnson by which I mean a relationship not entirely unlike the one enjoyed by a helminth in the digestive tract of his human host, only in a literary sense.



    Might Necatur Americanus prove as similarly ameliorative to Leslie's gluten allergy as biographer James Thornton has proven to be in the documentation of her life? The answer in a future vlog (but here is a hint: Yes!)

    As Wikipedia puts it about the exceptional Boswell-Johnson relationship:

    Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1791) is a biography of Dr. Samuel Johnson written by James Boswell. It is regarded as an important stage in the development of the modern genre of biography; many have claimed it as the greatest biography written in English. While Boswell's personal acquaintance with his subject only began in 1763, when Johnson was 54 years old, Boswell covered the entirety of Johnson's life by means of additional research. The biography takes many critical liberties with Johnson's life, as Boswell makes various changes to Johnson's quotations and even censors many comments. Regardless of these actions, modern biographers have found Boswell's biography as an important source of information.

    As even a casual review of my vlog entries will convince you, Thornton's Life of Livingston is, in so many ways, my life's great project and metaphorical case of intestinal parasitism.

    It is, I suspect, no accident that both Mr.'s Boswell and Thornton share the name James.

    But why, one might reasonably ask, would we need to read Thornton's Life of Livingston when Leslie, through her own daily scribblings, is providing a perfectly detailed Livingston's Life of Livingston in her own right?

    And while it is true that you can count on Leslie's own incredibly well-read blog, The FAF AFAP Digest, for the minutiae of her life as a swimmer--the yards doing this, the meters doing that, the equipment used here, the other equipment used there, the dry lands, the wet lands, the pilatic yogic positions, the cornu copiae of physical, psychological, hormonal, geo-political-spiritual miseries racked up as a consequence, and so forth--I maintain that to see the Big Picture of the Life Leslie (or La Vie de Livingston, as Proust might have put it), you really need to start reading Thornton's Life of Livingston much more carefully, more often, and with many, many, many more comments left in the comments section.

    At the risk of seeming impertinent, Leslie is much too close to her subject to see the forest for the trees. Not so I!

    Furthermore, like James Boswell, James Thornton has no impediment with "taking liberties" with the "facts" in order to better capture of the truth of Leslie's life, a truth, I might add, is likely to elude the dear girl herself.

    For who among us can truly claim to know ourselves better than I know you, even those I have barely met?

    With all this as preamble, let me cut to the chase here before I lose too many more of you dear readers, for I do sense a certain restlessness in the ether, a shuffling of papers, a clearing of phlegm from the throat, as if in preparation for saying the likes of, "Okay, well..." or "Gotta nuther call..." or "Shut the **** up, I can't stand to hear any more of this lunatic prattle!"

    To wit:

    Some of you may recall that one of my earliest "chapters" in Thornton's Life of Livingston was the classicly controversial vlog entry, Love Leslie, Hate Jim http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=8731.

    This simply recapitulated the fan reaction to our ***-for-tat argument on the subject of the putative "benefits" of weight-lifting for swimmers that ran in Swimmer Magazine.

    Leslie argued it is essential to do this in order to swim fast.

    I argued that the literature said quite the opposite and that, moreover, it was dangerous.

    I told you so: on the nature of an obnoxious, but not altogether unfactual, saying.

    It appears that I have been correct, at least in the latter declaration, all the while, proving yet again that Thornton knows Livingston better than Livingston knows Livingston--yet another reason why Thornton's Life of Livingston should remain the number one literary destination for anybody with even a passing interest in Leslie, including most of all Leslie herself.

    For this is what happened to the lass:

    While once again attempting heavy weight lifting last week, Leslie heard something elastic snap in her elbow, triggering instant pain. In a text message, she wrote to me that perhaps she would stop heavy lifting forever, that she had, indeed, come around to my way of thinking: i.e., that it is a dangerous waste of time for swimmers!

    Oh dear, further chase cutting, I now believe, has become a matter of survival. The audience for today's musings, I greatly fear, is dwindling faster than the Donner party!

    Absolutely no more preamble then. For those intrepid few who have remained with us so far, there is a payoff--and a sizable one at that.

    Thanks to Bill White's eagle eye, I am happy to propose a much safer couple of alternatives to classic heavy weight lifting that Leslie can take up instead.

    Please check out these two regimens, one of which is great for the arms, and the other which will give even the flimsiest of us specimens the abs and core of Mr. Ryan Lochte himself (who will be appearing soon in an upcoming episode of the Vlog the Inhaler, AKA, Thornton's Life of Livingston and Lochte.)

    (Note: many of you may be familiar with the first exercise regimen. The second one, however, which Bill brought to my attention yesterday, is likely to be completely novel to anyone who has not spent time incarcerated in North Korea. Don't miss it!)

    Safe approach to arm strength training:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0..._n_541956.html

    Safe approach to torso strength training:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/korea...rse-than-the-s
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  8. Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at the Y

    by , August 22nd, 2012 at 11:22 PM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    Had similar chaos today at the YMCA pool, with the swim team using three of the lanes, and then having two lanes open for lap swim, and the other 1 lane space for a swim lesson group. It all worked out well this time, since we knew what to expect. This will be going on for about two weeks like this until the hours get changed around again.

    Swam with Jared

    Warmup/Getting into it:

    5 x 100 Free @ 1:30 (1:09s)
    5 x 100 Free @ 1:25 (1:08s)
    5 x 100 Free @ 1:20 (1:07-8s)

    Our warmup was an undetermined amount when we started. Jared just said 100s, and I went. After 3 of them I asked him how many he wanted to do...he then said "let's do 5 @ 1:30, 5 @ 1:25, 5 @ 1:20." OK, no problem with me. Well...as we started the 1:20s, he was cursing himself for suggesting it. I was having fun with it.


    100 IM semi-strong but with a relaxed tempo

    10 x 50 Flutter Kick w/ board @ :55 (:45-:49s)


    Free Pull w/ paddles Set: (1500 set)
    2 x 50 (on each of the following) @ :55, @ :50, @ :45, @ :40, @ :35
    Jared got out here...I kept going - staying on interval:
    2 x 50 @ :50, @ :45, @ :40, @ :35
    2 x 50 @ :45, @ :40, @ :35
    2 x 50 @ :40, @ :35
    2 x 50 @ :35

    100 EZ and out

    -------------------------
    3700 Yards

    I had fun with the final pull set. Rock n roll taper mode for sure since I have the LCM meet on Saturday. Most yardage I've done in a while, but I was feeling great so I went with it.
  9. Cape Cod Bay swim, part 1

    I returned yesterday evening from an amazing adventure in Cape Cod centered around a 20-mile swim from Plymouth to Provincetown. On Monday morning I picked up a Zipcar, collected Rondi after her early swim at Riverbank, and drove up to Plymouth, MA. It was a beautiful day for a drive, and with a trip to an unfamiliar part of the country and the excitement of the next day’s swim the road before us seemed full of exciting possibility.

    We arrived in Plymouth in time for a quick walk around the harbor and a lunch of lobster rolls before checking into our hotel. Then it was back down to the harbor to meet up with Dave and boat pilots Dan and John. The plan was for Dave and me to swim together, flanked by his boat (Agent Orange), which would be driven by Dan, and John’s Plymouth-based boat. Rondi would feed us both from John’s boat. I made arrangements with the harbor master to park my car overnight near the boat launch while I was away, and went over my feeding schedule and equipment with Rondi. We all discussed boat loading plans (2 am at the boat ramp dock), how the swim would go (route and feeding routines, swim protocol), and contingency plans (where the nearest hospitals were, what to do in case of shark sightings).

    The last of these was a bit of a concern for me going into the swim. Cape Cod’s seal population has been growing rapidly in recent years, as has the number of great whites that feed on them. There had been some sightings in the area, and a well-publicized attack several weeks ago on the Atlantic side of the Cape, a few miles around the point from where we were headed. I tried not to think about all this overly much heading into the swim—the risk of encountering dangerous wildlife was there, but it seemed very minimal, and in any case I knew that open-water swimmers regularly travel through waters populated by all kinds of sharks in places like California without incident. A bigger worry to me was that I would get the shark heebie-jeebies during my swim, and spend considerable time feeling fearful or jittery out in the ocean instead of enjoying it.

    On a happier note, John told us there had also been lots of sunfish sightings in the bay waters this season. I wasn’t sure what sunfish were exactly, but Rondi and Dave seemed to think that was cool, so I decided that they must be a good thing to hope to see during our crossing.

    After the meeting it was back to the hotel. I had a snack, then lay down to try to get some rest before the swim. The last thing I remember before drifting off was wondering what sunfish looked like. I ended up getting a good few hours sleep—I was snoozing by 6:30, and woke up excited and ready to go around 11:30pm. That was a little earlier than I’d planned on getting up, but it gave me plenty of time to have some cereal, get ready, and prepare some hot feeds and hot water for the boat. When Rondi awoke I asked her what sunfish looked like. She found a picture on her phone and showed me (they’re funny looking creatures!), and we decided that its frilly back end looked like a tutu. While I made my final preparations she entertained me with some sunfish facts—they can grow up to 1000kg, they eat jellyfish, and swim really slow. I decided that if I started worrying about sharks during the swim I would think about sunfish instead.



    We arrived at the boat ramp a little before 2, with plans to start the swim around 3am. While I was sleeping Dave and Rondi had festooned Agent Orange with glowsticks that hung down a little over the waterline, to make the boat easily visible to swimmers during the dark. I had brought some glowsticks and battery-powered light strings for John’s boat as well. (Although both boats had various lights higher up on them, it’s nice to have some at swimmer’s-eye level too). Fellow CIBBOWS swimmer Mo arrived—he was another one of the five swimmers attempting the swim—and we loaded up the boats, climbed onboard, and headed down to the start. The other two boats were loading elsewhere, and while we were all starting from the same beach we were not attempting to coordinate the start times. Basically, when your boat arrived and you were ready to go, you splashed. Each swimmer’s time would be kept by his or her boat. We saw fellow swimmer Eileen just leaving the beach as we arrived, and a little ways into our swim we saw Greg’s boat heading into shore for his start. It was nice thinking of all of us out there somewhere, stroking along in the bay, due to converge eventually by the end of the day.

    It was quite dark—the four-day-old moon had set hours before, and clouds obscured most of the stars. The ride out was really amazing, with the three boats motoring along in the dark across the smooth water. Rondi and I sat in the bow of our boat, playing with some glowstick bracelets I’d brought along, giggling, and watching Agent Orange and Mo’s boat trail along behind us. I was feeling excited, a little nervous about the beach start in the dark, and eager for things to get under way. I mentally rehearsed what I needed to do once we got near the beach and slowed down: inhalers, lube (I’d already sunscreened back at the hotel), cap and goggles, attach lights. (I would wear one green blinking light on my goggle strap and attach a steady orange one to my suit so that I would be visible to our boats in the dark. In this, as in so many things, I followed the example of my more experienced swim partner Dave).

    We arrived near Whitehorse Beach, our designated starting point. I was glad to see that our boats could get us very close in to the shore—I had been worried about having to swim into a dark beach, but we were close enough that the sand was lit up from the boats’ lights. I took off my parka—the air was in the low-60s, and I had needed it during the zippy boat ride over--and got ready to swim. I asked John what the water temp was—he got a reading of 63—and debated whether to wear earplugs. I usually don’t if the water is above 60, but I wasn’t sure if the temp would drop as we went into deeper water. When I saw Dave was wearing his, I decided to go with them, figuring that taking them out if I didn’t need them would be easier than having them passed to me from the boat later on. When Dave and I were both ready we jumped into the water and swam, then waded, the few yards to shore. I didn’t want to put my feet down on the dark bottom, but eventually I had to.

    When we were completely out of the water and on the sand, we exchanged a few words, raised our hands to signal to the boats we were starting, then headed out into the water. We were soon swimming alongside each other with the dark water stretching out beneath us.

    Going into this swim I had decided upon four goals:
    · To last more than 10 minutes swimming in the dark (an easily achievable goal to give me a taste of success early on, and something to shoot for in case just I got panicky with the night swimming)
    · To beat my previous time-in-the-water PR of 6h31m (a somewhat more difficult achievement-focused goal)
    · To come out of the water with a list of five things about the swim that were unique, or new to me (a process-focused goal, more specific and measurable that “enjoy the swim and appreciate the experience”)
    · To be proactive and resourceful about fixing any problems or discomforts as they arose (an improving-my-skills goal—I hadn’t been so good at this during swims earlier in the season—as well as what I needed to do to help ensure that I would stay happy during the crossing).

    That first goal was indeed easily achieved. I wasn’t scared at all of the darkness once I was swimming in it. In fact, it was one of the most magical parts of the swim, mostly because there were tons of green glowing jellyfish beneath us. They ranged from grape size to softball size, and it was simply unreal watching them bounce along below us as we swam above. I could feel their squishiness on my fingers as I stroked along. Otherwise, it was pitch black below. It was like swimming in a lava lamp, for hours. Any air bubbles from my hand entry also seemed to glow in the water. When I turned to breathe, I could see the blue light strings on John’s boat and the glowsticks on Agent Orange, and sometimes I could see Rondi’s glowstick bracelets as she moved about on deck. Dave’s goggle and suit lights were also very visible, but surrounding the illumination of our little flotilla was nothing but darkness.

    I felt like we had only been swimming for about 10 minutes when Rondi signaled for our first half-hour feed, and those thereafter also seemed to come jarringly quickly. I was so mesmerized by the light show below that I was reluctant to stop for feeds, although it was nice to see Rondi and have her serve up some warm drinks. Since I had been unsure what the water temp would be going into the swim, I had prepared both warm and cold liquids (a rotation of tea, gatorade, juice, and milk), with some solid or pureed food every 2 hours. We had arranged for me to start off with warm feeds, thinking they might be a comforting thing to have in the dark, and agreed that I would tell her when I wanted to switch to cold. I ended up having warm feeds for about the first 2/3 of the swim.

    For a while my goggles and I weren’t getting along so well. At first feed I told Rondi that I might want to switch to my backup pair at the next feed, but by then they were working fine. Soon though I decided that I would be happier in my more favored type of goggle (I had started off with another model because it had clear lenses, which I thought would be better for the initial low-light conditions). I made the switch and was happier. Score one for goal number 4! I probably could have swum with the first ones for the entire swim, but why put up with something you can fix?

    After a few feedings I gradually began to notice that the sky to my left seemed to be lightening a little bit. Slowly things became brighter, and I could discern the outline of the boats against the sea and sky. The jellies became white-outlined translucent creatures rather than glowing green blobs. Dawn was approaching. The night was behind us, and we would soon be swimming into sunrise!


    (Photo credit R. Davies)

    Cape Cod Bay swim, part 2

    Updated August 25th, 2012 at 08:02 PM by swimsuit addict

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  10. Jimmy Boo Boo Child's Possibly Premature Ejaculation

    by , November 9th, 2012 at 11:01 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)


    It begins!

    All


    All


    All


    All


    All


    All


    All


    ALL (FIRST EVER INDIVIDUAL) AMERICAN!!!!!?





    !


    Let's hope the above ejaculation does not prove premature, for the listings are still preliminary. My fingers have been crossed so long it looks like I have developed arthritis.

    For those hoping to follow in my path to flukish glory in what the current edition of Swimmer calls "the premiere event in swimming, the 100 LCM freestyle", I say it is critical to have a good role model.

    I will happily shoulder that burden for you, just as a little girl down 'Bama way has shouldered that burden for me!


    Note: to see the movie, you need to click on this link. Clicking on the picture below the link won't do you any good.

    I would also like to thank, in as public a way as possible, cinematographer and still photographer nonpareil, John Kuzmkowski.

    How John has time to work on his artistry while simultaneously racking up the #2 position in Go The Distance is beyond me!

    If I were a young girl, and I assure you I am not, I would find this combination of creativity and indefatigable endurance absolutely irresistible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM3wa...ican - YouTube


    Updated November 9th, 2012 at 01:45 PM by jim thornton

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  11. Of Dots, Gluttony, and Muskrats

    by , November 25th, 2012 at 01:42 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    First of all, a very belated Happy Thanksgiving 2012 for all my viewers:


    I ate, of course, the Traditional American Thanksgiving Feed on Thursday, followed by the Traditional American Thanksgiving Leftover Feed the moment I woke up for breakfast on Black Friday.

    And the gluttony has not taken more than a few moments rest ever since.

    I am becoming a bloated monstrosity.

    Last night, for example, I went to the local Bottom Dollar store and found a good price on center cut pork chops. The smallest package I could find, unfortunately, contained four of these beauties. I do not like leftovers when it comes to the other white meat, so I grilled and ate four of these:


    and washed them down with some fizzy water and a whole avacado. Then I went to see Skyfall with my teammate Ben Mayhew and Liam White, son of our other teammate, Bill White. Liam is a boy genius and computer wizard about whom I will soon be writing more TERRIBLY EXCITING SWIMMING TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS LIKELY TO REVOLUTIONIZE THE WAY YOU WASTE TIME ON YOUR SMART PHONE!!!

    Anyhow, at the movie theater, I purchased a box of Dots:


    in the only size available. I gave Liam most, though I concede, not all of the green ones, and ate the rest of the Dots myself.

    Thanks to the way they calculate grams of sugar on the size of the box, it seemed at first that perhaps I had not done myself too much diabetes-inducing damage. But then I realized that they were talking about grams of sugar per serving, of which there were actually five servings in the box.

    Bottom line: as a chaser to my four grilled porkers and avocado, and as a prelude to my later beers and Klondike bar, I had inadvertently consumed 105 grams of sugar, somewhat more than the 25 grams per day recommended for men.

    I will leave unspecified my breakfast and lunch preceding the Pork-Avacado-Dots main meal of the day, but suffice it to say, I didn't starve myself.

    All of which circles me back to why this has relevance to my swimming and, for that matter, the Archimedes Principle.

    To wit, I am becoming so bloated with fat and plumptitude that I greatly fear my recent swimming accomplishment (i.e., that first ever individual All American rating: still not absolutely guaranteed, but looking ever more cautiously optimistic as Dec. 1 hustles towards us!) might be my last one.

    Partly because I must move so much additional fat-weight through the water.

    And partly because the sheer bulk of me is displacing so much water from the pool itself that there might not be enough left to actually swim in.

    All of which further circles me back to my Happy Thanksgiving card, photoshopped by my friend, Bill Robertson, who years and years ago similarly photoshopped a picture of me grilling a monkey in the jungle for use as my annual Christmas card. (Do not worry! I shall post this when the time is right!)

    Anyhow, the creature I appear to be eating in my Happy Thanksgiving card is a muskrat, trapped and skinned by Dan E., a carpenter who does a lot of work for my wife and me at out Bed & Breakfast in Western, PA:


    It occurred to me that maybe I could shed a few pounds if I went on the Modern Paleo Pittburger Diet™, eating only things like muskrats and pine cones that I can harvest on my own from the Western PA hinterlands.



    Muskrat in water



    Muskrat in truck



    Muskrat in me belly
    So far, unfortunately, I haven't managed to make the switch.

    But looking at these last two pictures on a regular basis has helped put me at least slightly off my Traditional American Feed Diet.

    And I hope, perchance, they will do the same for you!

    If you get a chance, please check out my new actual blog, where I am hoping to slowly archive many of my published magazine stories over the years. There are already a couple entries up that have swimming articles available for free .pdf downloads:


    I would be thrilled if any of you out there would consider "subscribing" via RSS to my new blog, known simply as ByJimThornton:


    I'm hoping it might one day prove to be a poor man's pitiable pension plan, cranking out revenue via page view advertising in the neighborhood of $3.25 per month.

    I am definitely going to need the money when the Modern Paleo Pittburger Diet™ inevitably fails and I end up--as we all know I shall--in The Nursing Home For Dot Addicted Fatties™.
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  12. Vlog Aggregator for byJimThornton.com!!!!

    by , November 30th, 2012 at 12:40 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Great news, everyone! And just in time for the free gift-giving season!

    My USMS swimming vlog, the No. 1 Internet source of news about Jim Thornton's somewhat-related-to-swimming stream-of-consciousness ramblings, is now going to serve a second and arguably even more important raison d'etre:

    Driving traffic to my neonatal blog, http://byjimthornton.com/


    The Vlog will, in other words, now serve as a "news aggregator" for the blog, and vice versa. I would explain what this means if I understood it myself, but I don't have a clue. In fact, I am just throwing around words like "news aggregator" in the hopes that they might apply to what I am doing. In any event, whatever it is I am attempting here, I am pretty sure it will work in some capacity or other, without causing the global Internet to crash under the sheet massiveness of my daily drivel.

    Emphasis on the pretty.

    In any event, my new blog, http://byjimthornton.com/, not to be confused with this current vlog, http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=26, will feature some unbelievably enchanting unique content including:

    * Actual .pdf's of some of my magazine articles written over the years. These, unlike most of my vlogs 'n blogs, have actually useful information in them! You can learn, for instance, how to shorten the pain of heartbreak, determine your zygosity if you are a twin, and subscribe via RSS feed technology to http://byjimthornton.com/. And so many more useful things, too!


    Visitors to http://byjimthornton.com/ will be able to effortless click to view and/or save for your permanent electronic library charming and frequently award-winning articles such as the above (which won the 1992 Gold Medal Award for Best Article of the Year, The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)!


    * Actual cartoon novellas drawn and written by me both now in my senescence and during my juvenilia days--watch a mind develop and decay all at a single one-stop site!


    A snippet from the entirely viewable online and/or downloadable for permanent library inclusion of the ongoing cartoon autobiography: Jim! Up Through Screamer.


    * The Thornton Twins Podcast, not yet up, but which should be up very soon--perfect for downloading to your smartphone and playing either late at night when you need a cure for insomnia, or behind the wheel when you need to stave off grogginess and evade vehicular misadventure!


    Women of a certain vintage who have long fantasized about a dalliance with twins are free to stoke said fantasies while listening to the Thornton twins discuss the leading issues of the day in their deeply resonant male voices that only occasionally squeak!

    Go ahead! We do not mind being fodder for your fantasies, though if you have ever been diagnosed with erotomania (ero·to·ma·nia/ (-ma´ne-ah) 1. a type of delusional disorder in which the subject harbors a delusion that a particular person is deeply in love with them; lack of response is rationalized, and pursuit and harassment may occur), please know that John and I are not what we appear to be in this handsome picture from our younger days, but rather are constipated old cranks riddled with disgusting personal habits and you would be much better off fixating on these twins instead:


    Okay. I know what you're thinking. "Jim, you had me at 'Great news!' What do I need to do to make it incredibly simple to follow your new blog, http://byjimthornton.com/, on the Internet? To be honest, I am not that technologically savvy."

    First of all, don't be ashamed! I, too, am not that technologically savvy. And figuring out how to make things as easy and enjoyable as humanly possible for anybody on earth to find and follow me remains an ongoing challenge.

    But here is what I recommend for now, at least:

    1. Check out this blog entry first, http://byjimthornton.com/2012/11/29/...ckerberg-weep/, which will explain how to use RSS feed technology to automatically funnel any new entries into your "reader"--and I even provide links to some good, free readers for those of you who, like me, don't know what "readers" are. Note: there remain some bugs in the system, so please be patient with the RSS feeding/reader thing! Eventually, it will all go swimmingly.

    2. Click on this link next for an easy-to-scroll compendium of the blogs so far posted http://byjimthornton.com/all-posts/ so that you can read each one at your leisure, clicking away with abandon at all the little buttons at the bottom of each entry (share with Facebook, Twitter, G+, email, and the like.)

    Thanks ever so much, my friends! In the month or so I have been working on http://byjimthornton.com/, I have already managed to "earn" $6.50 in eye ball views, assuming some of these aren't later deemed fraudulent! Once the new blog accumulates $100 worth of non-fraudulent eyeball view-based revenue, which I estimate will occur sometime in the third quarter of 2017, I shall cut a check to my Chief Technology Officer, Liam White, for 10 percent of the amount, and use the remainder to buy premium catfood for a much deserved family celebration!

    And you will all be invited!
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  13. My Rudder

    by , December 4th, 2012 at 01:41 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Okay, so maybe today's blog entry is not 100 percent, entirely swimming-related the way yesterday's was.

    On the other hand, it is on a subject that roughly half the USMS swimming population owns, and--at least according to Sigmund Freud--roughly the other half wishes they owned.

    Which reminds me of the classic old joke, wherein a little boy and a little girl are playing doctor.

    The little boy points at his nether regions and sneers, "Na na na na naaaaa na! I have one of these and you don't!"

    The little girl just shakes her head wisely, points to her nether regions, and replies, "With one of these, I can get as many of those as I want!"

    Which to me remains the most convincing of all arguments that Freud's notion of penis envy just doesn't pass the real world test.

    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penis_envy"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penis_envy[/ame]


    In any event, for today's reading and viewing pleasure, I present to the greater USMS diaspora an in-depth meditation on the nature of my rudder:

    http://byjimthornton.com/2012/09/22/...the-squeamish/

    Note: click on the above, not the picture, which will take you nowhere.



    Note: I am pretty sure that the bugs have been more or less worked out of the RSS feed thingy, making it even easier than ever to subscribe, absolutely for free, to my new blog!

    Though for those who can't figure out how to do so, I shall continue my quest to create infinite loops between hither http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=26 and thither http://byjimthornton.com/


    PS I signed up for the 400 and 200 IM and the 800 freestyle at the Hudson, Ohio SCM meet next Saturday. I shall keep you posted.

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  14. Indy, Day 1

    by , May 10th, 2013 at 05:09 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Yes it is! It is sprinters day 1!

    50 back, 27.04, NR

    Great first event for me. My first event at Nats isn't always my best, so I was glad to see this time. Execution was good except I was too close to the wall on my turn. It didn't effect me materially, but might have made the .05 difference in getting under 27. Still extremely pleased. This event is clearly my baby with a 4.5 winning margin. I felt like I had a fast reaction time. But that doesn't seem to be listed in the results. I did really jam my finger on the finish, which required ice and 4 ibuprofen.


    50 evil, 32.80, PR, 2nd

    Really pleased with the time, but my execution was iffy. I dove in and took my bloody time taking my dolphin kick. And I had to short stroke both walls. I pulled ahead on the UW off the wall, but Kim Crouch tracked me down, out touching me by .02. I've never beaten her in yards. My turnover looked slow on the vid too (in complete contrast to my other strokes). Breaststroke is the most aggravating, unsightly, frustrating, bizarre stroke. And hence I am completely happy with my fake evil time!


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Day 1 is in the books and went very well. Teen Fort won her 50 evil so we are mommy daughter national champs. Now off to forum dinner!
  15. To be an aquarium animal

    by , May 30th, 2013 at 04:34 PM (Please tap on the glass)
    Let me start by saying, coworkers if you’re reading this, I do not hate my job. It’s just, well, I feel I have a higher calling in life. It isn’t you personally, but the industry as a whole; construction companies really discourage swimming in the workplace. That’s why I mailed out the below letter a few months back.

    This letter, attached to my aquarium animal resume, was snail-mailed to seventeen aquaria in the US, Canada, and farther abroad hoping for a position as an aquarium animal. I didn’t expect much. I didn’t specify “Must Be Main Attraction”, or “Mammal Positions Only”. I was ready to start at the bottom of the food chain, literally, and work my way up.

    So far, it has not worked out. It’s been dismissed as a joke, or a clever joke, or an annoying joke, or some other kind of joke. The few (four) responses I received were all to the tune of “check our website for openings.” Mr. C.W., General Manager at the Vancouver Aquarium, called the effort “entertaining and innovative,” while Mr. CJ.C., the Seattle Aquarium’s Director of Life Sciences, acknowledged it is “certainly one of the most unique letters [he’s] ever received.” What more does an aspiring sea pen (S. bollonsi, perhaps) need to do to get hired by you people other than write an entertaining, innovative, and unique letter!? I’ve personally stared at your actual sea pens for hours, Seattle Aquarium, and never once seen them produce a work of nearly the same quality. They’re lazier than I am at my real job!!!

    Am I getting too intense? Can you not handle my passion for swimming and for being sea life? That must be it, because it clearly isn’t my qualifications that disappoint you. Confession, Seattle: in my free time, I stalk at your aquatic employees; I know their backstories, their scientific names, where they eat lunch. For example Ada, your sea otter. You want “found hypothermic on an airport runway”? I can do that. I’m hypothermic on nearby Alki Beach three or four times a week, just waiting to be rescued by you. Rescued from this dry, meaningless life they call geotechnical engineering.

    So, aquarists worldwide, have some compassion. I just want an opportunity to be a sea star. Or any other echinoderm for that matter. Give me a chance. You will not regret it.

    Here’s the letter:

    You probably do not receive many requests like this, I understand that most or your new additions are the product of a rigorous scouting program. However, since I fall outside of the usual candidate pools, I feel my exemplary qualifications may be overlooked and would like to inquire as to any opportunities you may have at [Specific] Aquarium.

    My interest in becoming an aquarium animal first came to light as a youth. As many young humans do, watching the sea lions at the Bronx Zoo filled me with the usual why-not-mes and dad-can-Is. It was easy to let others’ disapproval of the idea take hold, as I didn’t even begin serious aquatic-mammal training until the age of nine. After nearly two decades of work, I now possess more aquatic experience than many of your typical employees: five times that of an elderly Giant Pacific Octopus, twice as much as a male Southern Sea Otter, and an amount equivalent to a middle-aged Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin. With my anticipated life-span, I could foreseeably become one of your most enduring exhibits.

    Aside from my proven experience as an aquatic animal, I have many innate qualities that would make me an excellent addition to your organization. I am diurnal and euryhaline, and will swim without complaint in waters between forty-five and eighty degrees Fahrenheit. I travel well without special equipment or handlers, from a crowded public bus to first-class international flights, and do not require special customs clearances. I’m able to draw a crowd to watch my performances, whether circumnavigating Manhattan or demonstrating an Endless Pool at the Seattle Home Show. What’s more, I enjoy sardines and can even make my own Vitafish! Try to get a bat ray to do that.

    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I believe in the mission of aquariums and would excel at furthering public interest in aquatic life. In most exhibits I’ve seen in my lifetime, those on display rarely look interested in communicating with those of us on the dry-side of the glass; and never have I seen any ambition from the wet-side to inform or educate. Even the friendly seals and dolphins, stars of the show, often fail to show initiative or produce results without express directions by whistle or hand signal. Perhaps my most valuable contribution to your aquarium as an aquatic animal would be to clearly communicate both the rigors and beauty of life in the water with minimal managerial input and maximum client results. As a bonus, I can vocalize in both English and French.

    Please let me know if you have any openings, especially in the phyla Chordata or Mollusca (I’m still uncertain of my abilities to be convincing as a Poriferan or Cnidarian). I welcome the opportunity to fill any niche—Eltonian or Grinnellian, or Hutchinsonian—as you see fit.

    On a final note, you will not have to worry about “the Ryan Lochte problem” with me. Hygiene is something I take very seriously—I frequently bathe with soap or sterilize in a high-chlorine solution.

    Regards,
    Andrew Malinak BE EnvEng, BS EnvSci
    Full resume available upon request.

    Updated May 30th, 2013 at 06:07 PM by andrewmalinak

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  16. Monday 10-21-13

    Loose intervals today. I was able to concentrate on my pacing or lack of pacing. Not bad at all , just a lot of freestyle.

    400 swim
    200 IM kick
    400 pull DPS
    8 x 25 @ coaches whistle
    --odds, SDK AFAP
    --evens, choice sprint

    500 cruise w/even pace @ 8:00
    2 x 250 strong @ 4:00
    4 x 25 sprint @ 45
    400 cruise @ 6:40
    2 x 200 strong @ 3:20
    4 x 25 sprint @ 45
    300 cruise @ 5:00??
    2 x 150 strong @ 2:30
    4 x 25 sprint @ 45

    100 EZ
    100 Off the blocks for time
    100 EZ

    4200

    I have been trying to do something off the blocks after each practice while I am tired. Nothing crazy, just a 50 or 100 to see how I am doing. Don't know if it will help much but we'll see.
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  17. Finally got a good distance workout in

    by , November 4th, 2013 at 07:31 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    Today I attempted to do another 1650 swim this time with no issues. Felt good and was on pace the whole time.

    500 free
    500 free kick w/zoomers
    1650 Free for time w/strapless paddels & bouy in 23:08
    350 free easy w/snorkle
    200 free kick w/zoomers
    8x100@1:45 free easy

    Total 4000 yards
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  18. Vandalized, Sat. Nov. 30

    by , November 30th, 2013 at 04:44 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Had a rotten day yesterday. I went to coach a masters practice Friday am between 9:30-11:00. When I came back out, my car had been vandalized, brick thrown through window, other damage and my backpack stolen. Neither my purse or wallet was in the car; no idea why someone would vandalize a car in broad daylight for just a backpack. And I was parked right behind the pool, not in one of the really creepy city neighborhoods. Unfortunately, I'm out over $1000. In my backpack was: a spare Speedo LZR Elite tech suit (from my last meet), Tom Ford sunglasses, a new pair of Speedo LZR Elite goggles worth $75 that USMS had given me to product test, new arena cobra racing goggles, 3-4 pairs of speedo speed sockets, caps including my Aqua V racing cap, nose clips, my new fins and $100+ of toiletries. Probably several thousand dollars of damage to the car. Really really sucky. At least my training suit and shammy towel were on the drying rack at home. I guess I'm going to have to pay for parking from here on out, which will really add up on a daily basis ... Jerks!!!

    As a result of that fiasco, I didn't get to swim yesterday and had taken Thanksgiving off. I made it to Sewickley today. I had a single pair of goggles at home. Kind of a desultory swim. I was still grumpy and there was a huge kids party taking up most of the pool.

    Swim/SCY/Solo:

    Warm up:

    600 various
    4 x 50 scull
    4 x 50 caterpillar fly drill
    4 x 25 shooter + 25 EZ
    50 EZ

    Main Sets:

    8 x 25 burst + cruise
    100 EZ

    3 x (50 @ 100 pace + 100 EZ)

    3 x (25 AFAP + 75 EZ)

    4 x 50 DPS free
    100 EZ

    Total: 2600


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I'm signed up for the Sewickley Y meet tomorrow. I'm not really in the mood for racing. But I'll go to the meet just to get in the water since Pitt is still closed. I will probably scratch the 50 fly unless I can get into an earlier heat. I'm in lane 1 with three ladders sticking out in an all male final heat.

    Updated November 30th, 2013 at 05:10 PM by The Fortress

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  19. Week 62 - Monday morning training camp workout #1

    by , December 2nd, 2013 at 09:12 AM (After a long rest)
    I had a very easy day yesterday. Initially i hung out in the garden raking leaves with my daughter, she is at a great age and still wants to hang out with Dad. Later in the day I helped my son with his homework. It still amazes me how he leaves everything to the last minute; a week off from school and we are starting homework at 5pm the night before he goes back to school. His homework was to apply for a scholarship; he is in middle school so it's definately starting early, but I think a great idea. My kids are both like me, my daughter is the swimmer and my son is the nerd. My son loves math and science and ended up finding a competition sponsored by Raytheon and had a few ideas for how math affects his life:

    http://www.raytheon.com/responsibili...rtn_158801.pdf
    He initially wanted to show how math is used in being a couch potato, he even drew pictures and formulas, but ended up outlining how math is used in video games.

    I had a good nights sleep but woke with a stiff neck again. Going back to my FLOG in April when I did my pre Nationals training camp I had the same problem and suspect its from Fridays kicking with the kick board. I have the heating pad on it as I write and will heat and ice until it feels better. We did more kick today but I tried focusing on not lifting my head too high. I tried using my snorkel but my feet and butt are too high and I don't get any power in my kick.

    Today's workout

    Warm up
    400 free with snorkel
    6x50 catchup on 45

    Main sets
    4x500 pull with paddles descend on 6.30
    200 easy
    10x100 kick swum on 2mins, swum 4 holding 1.30, 3 holding 1.25,2 holding 1.20,1 AFAP.
    100 easy
    10x50 free on 1 min, swum 4 holding 40, 3 holding 35, 2 holding 30, 1 holding 25

    Warm down
    200 easy breathing every 5

    Total 4700scy

    We don't normally swim the 500s with much rest so the descend is usually pretty minimal. My coach wanted a big descend and I went 5.30,5.20,5.10,5.00. I did not feel great at the beginning but got into a nice rhythm and by the end was feeling pretty strong. My pull continues to improve which is great sign. The kick was tough getting going and on the 1.30s I felt quite tired. I held 1.28s on these, then as I dropped I felt better, going 1.22s on the 1.25, 1.19s on the 1.20 and 1.20 on the last one. I was beat after #9 and the last 50 i felt like i was swimming in molasses. My kick has improved but it still sucks and if I can improve this one area I think I will have a great year in 2014. The 50s I comfortably held 30s and on the last three went 28,27,24.

    I am heading back to the pool for a second workout at 11.30 and will do weights and the vasa bench for an hour then do a meet warmup followed by a quality set and a warm down. I will then be back at the pool for my third workout at 4.30pm to train with the senior racer group for a two hour workout. I like the idea of the lower yardage morning workout and a quality set workout at lunch time. The curve ball will be the evening workout, because the kids do some hellacious workouts. I am always up for a challenge but need to listen to my body throughout the week so I don't overdo it and get an injury. I am excited about the week ahead!

    Updated December 2nd, 2013 at 09:26 AM by StewartACarroll

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    Swim Workouts
  20. Monday, Dec. 9

    by , December 9th, 2013 at 02:41 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim/SCY @ Sewickley

    600 various
    100 scull
    4 x 50 fly drills
    4 x 25 shooter + 25 EZ
    5 x 25 up tempo free + 25 EZ
    100 EZ

    Total: 1550


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Had a very fun whirlwind weekend in NYC. Walked around a ton, which was bad for the resting of the legs. Lil Fort loves NY; she can't wait to go back. 4 more days of rest. Not really sure what to expect out of the meet. It has been a somewhat trying fall of training. I'm really hoping to get in some weights again this winter.
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    Swim Workouts