View RSS Feed

Most Popular Blogs

  1. Albatross

    by , March 15th, 2011 at 03:31 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)


    At length did cross an Albatross,
    Thorough the fog it came;
    As it had been a Christian soul,
    We hailed it in God's name.

    It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
    And round and round it flew.
    The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
    The helmsman steered us through!

    And a good south wind sprung up behind;
    The Albatross did follow,
    And every day, for food or play,
    Came to the mariner's hollo!

    In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
    It perched for vespers nine;
    Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
    Glimmered the white moonshine."

    `God save thee, ancient Mariner,
    From the fiends that plague thee thus! -
    Why look'st thou so?' -"With my crossbow
    I shot the Albatross."


    --from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    Sometime late on Friday, after I have interviewed an ophthalmologic researcher at the National Eye Institute about trends in retinal detachment in healthy men who may or may not play paintball, take drugs to build muscle and other drugs to conceal the first drugs, compete in mixed martial arts competitions, platform dive and/or bungee jump regularly, or blow their noses too violently, after all this, and responding to the Fortress's beseeching Facebook hollo's, I shall make the drive from Pittsburgh to the Vienna Compound for grilled protein, Maine Moon Cattery, reunion with several dear wee girls, a sheathe of papers on overutilization rates by clinical somaticisers (may opt to leave these at home; will gauge Leslie's mood first with regards to her receptivity to self-improvement catalyzed by me), possibly a new HTC 4G Thunderbolt Verizon phone, and the hopes of a nation on my shoulders, and--if I can cajole my lovely bride into supplying me with some--a cache of scones and sticky toffee muffins to give to Facebook fans of the Old Economy Cafe.

    I shall not bring a cross bow.

    I may bring some bird seed for any or all fair weather albatrosses blown off their natural peregrinations by Japanese earthquakes and what have you.

    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!

    Yesterday, I forced myself to go to practice. I said to myself, "Jim, if by some miracle you can complete all these 100s tonight on the correct interval, then you must sign up for the Albatross meet, hosted by the Ancient Mariners! If nothing else, you owe it to show your appreciation to swimmer-poet Jeffrey Lil' Devil Roddin, who you talked into marriage, and whose appreciation for you knows no bounds!"

    But I was certain I would not make this grueling set:

    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.

    But practice was so crowded last night that a swirling motion of bodies--no doubt abetted by the Coriolis forces so familiar to toilet flushers here in the Northern Hemisphere--allowed me to drag and draft along like a cork in the wake of my betters!

    I made the whole practice.

    I came home and, with 17 minutes to spare before the deadline, I signed up for the 50, 100, and 200 SCM freestyles.

    Paul Trevisan (60 and thus no threat to this Fina 59 year old!) and Leslie (now Fina 50) are both going after world records.

    I am going after the Albatross meet record for the 200 SCM freestyle in the 55-59 age group.

    Equally worthy goals, I must say! And I do not have to race Leslie in any head-to-head events, so for now, at least, my .001 second advantage over her in our last competition of note (the 50 SCY butterfly) still stands with me, the underexercised, still shining in the Glorious Winners Circle!

    Leslie has promised to grill a fine feast for me on Friday night.

    My only request:

    Do not serve up the kindly Albatross! My stomach is still much too delicate to digest it.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  2. An albatross around one's neck...

    by , March 17th, 2011 at 03:06 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    ...has been defined thusly:

    A burden which some unfortunate person has to carry.



    As I head out to compete at this weekend's Albatross meet in the Greater Maryland area, could this unfortunate person be me?

    The origin of the phrase apparently stems from the same magnificently melodramatic poem (Rime of the Ancient Mariner) referenced in my previous vlog entitled simply Albatross (link here for those who want to read and/or reread and or rereread and study: http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=14471)

    Specifically, the poet Coleridge (coiner, as well, of the phrases pipe dream, suspension of disbelief, and Achilles heal) wrote of our wearily Ancient and accursed Mariner:

    Ah. well a-day. what evil looks
    Had I from old and young
    Instead of the cross, the Albatross
    About my neck was hung.


    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!

    Dream?



    Or pipe dream?

    Check back here frequently to find out!
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  3. I know that I shall meet my fate

    by , April 15th, 2011 at 02:10 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)


    At approximately 3 a.m. on Thursday night, Jim Thornton awoke from uneasy dreams possibly triggered by Mucinex, Ambien, Nyquil, Zocor, Effexor XR, and three porkchops, to find his manhood sporting a small dried-blood-consistent scab of sudden but completely indeterminable nature that had bloomed in the night on the very center of the far reaches of his manhoood....

    (For the rest of this story, please wade through my swimming-related stuff and resume the saga at the bottom on this short vlog....)

    *

    A quick vlog, primarily pictorial, as I ready myself to make the drive, wizzened, coughing, and tic-riddled, to Colonies Zones where, to paraphrase the great William B. Yeats:

    I know that I shall meet my fate
    Somewhere in chlorine gas below
    Those that I swim against I do not hate,
    Those that I swim for I do not love;
    My country is Sewickley Heights,
    My countrymen Sewickley Height's less affluent,
    No likely end could bring them loss
    Or leave them happier than before.
    Nor law, nor duty bade me swim,
    Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
    A lonely impulse of delight
    Drove to this tumult in the pool;
    I balanced all, brought all to mind,
    The years to come seemed more coughing fits,
    A waste of sputum the years behind
    In balance with this meet, the previous and next meets.


    Speaking of which, since my lofty status in the hierarchy is not going to last much longer, let me print the current Event Rankings for the swims I have done thus far (and, due to illness, extremely unlikely to duplicate at GMU if, in fact, I even survive the chill waters at all):

    USMS Times Reported for Men SCY 100 Free Ages 55-59
    2011 Season (2010-06-01 through 2011-05-31)

    # Name Age Time Club Meet
    1 Mann, Michael T 56 51.99 CMS COMSA Short Course Swimming Championships
    2 Groselle, Jack R 56 52.45 SYSM Peter Cath Memorial Inter-Squad Swim Meet
    3 Trevisan, Paul T 59 52.48 1776 North Carolina Sunbelt Championships
    4 Waterbury, Stuart S 57 53.52 CMS COMSA Short Course Swimming Championships
    5 * Thornton, Jim 58 53.68 SEWY AMYMSA Championship

    USMS Times Reported for Men SCY 200 Free Ages 55-59
    2011 Season (2010-06-01 through 2011-05-31)

    # Name Age Time Club Meet
    1 Abbott, Rick E 55 1:53.14 AKMS Alaska 2011 SCY Championships
    2 * Thornton, Jim 58 1:57.93 SEWY AMYMSA Championship
    3 Colella, Rick 59 1:59.27 PNA 2011 Northwest Zone Short Course Yard Championship
    4 Blatt, Michael J 55 2:00.28 VCM UCLA Bruin Masters SCY Swim Meet
    5 Wood, Larry W 57 2:00.98 TXLA South Central Zone Championships

    USMS Times Reported for Men SCY 500 Free Ages 55-59
    2011 Season (2010-06-01 through 2011-05-31)

    # Name Age Time Club Meet
    1 Mann, Michael T 56 5:11.42 CMS COMSA Short Course Swimming Championships
    2 * Thornton, Jim 58 5:22.45 SEWY AMYMSA Championship
    3 Buckley, Tim P 55 5:26.91 FMT UC-Irvine Masters SCY Swim Meet
    4 Wood, Larry W 57 5:31.98 TXLA South Central Zone Championships
    5 Karas, Paul G 55 5:33.32 MICH Lake Orion Liquid Lightning's 2011 Masters "Kickoff"

    USMS Times Reported for Men SCY 1000 Free Ages 55-59
    2011 Season (2010-06-01 through 2011-05-31)

    # Name Age Time Club Meet
    1 Buckley, Tim P 55 11:16.26 FMT UCLA Bruin Masters SCY Swim Meet
    2 * Thornton, Jim 58 11:18.15 SEWY AMYMSA Championship
    3 Karas, Paul G 55 11:22.21 MICH Lake Orion Liquid Lightning's 2011 Masters "Kickoff"
    4 Wood, Larry W 57 11:26.20 TXLA South Central Zone Championships
    5 Martin, Jack R 59 11:51.97 1776 2011 OCY Unofficial Team Championships

    USMS Times Reported for Men SCY 1650 Free Ages 55-59
    2011 Season (2010-06-01 through 2011-05-31)

    # Name Age Time Club Meet
    1 Karas, Paul G 55 18:46.75 MICH West Bloomfied High School - Winter Meet
    2 Wood, Larry W 57 19:02.08 TXLA South Central Zone Championships
    3 Gudman, Jon 55 20:01.29 OREG Oregon Masters Swimming SCY Association Championships
    4 Thornton, James 58 20:03.90 1776 CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY 15th ANNUAL 1650 Yard SWIM CHALLENGE
    5 Penn, William J 59 20:07.78 PNA Beat the Clock -South Sound Masters Swim Team

    Also, for SCM (which presumably could last a little longer since there aren't too many SCM meets left till fall):

    USMS Times Reported for Men SCM 50 Free Ages 55-59
    2011 Season (2011-01-01 through 2011-12-31)

    # Name Age Time Club Meet
    1 Reider, Pete J 56 27.31 TERR Albatross Open
    2 Thornton, James 59 27.52 1776 Albatross Open
    3 Hoffman, Daniel R 55 29.43 MICH 4th Annual Milford Meltdown Masters Swim Meet
    4 Henry, Robert M 58 30.58 JAM SVY SCM Masters Meet
    5 Morrison, Jeffrey W 56 31.20 PNA Anacortes Short Course Meters Meet

    USMS Times Reported for Men SCM 100 Free Ages 55-59
    2011 Season (2011-01-01 through 2011-12-31)

    # Name Age Time Club Meet
    1 Thornton, James 59 59.15 1776 Albatross Open
    2 Karas, Paul G 56 1:02.84 MICH 4th Annual Milford Meltdown Masters Swim Meet
    3 Mead, Jeffrey D 55 1:03.02 DCAC Albatross Open
    4 Sussex, Steve A 56 1:04.62 PNA Anacortes Short Course Meters Meet
    5 Jarow, Jonathan P 55 1:06.79 ANCM Albatross Open


    USMS Times Reported for Men SCM 200 Free Ages 55-59
    2011 Season (2011-01-01 through 2011-12-31)

    # Name Age Time Club Meet
    1 Thornton, James 59 2:13.04 1776 Albatross Open
    2 Jarow, Jonathan P 55 2:32.64 ANCM Albatross Open
    3 Ryan, James 59 2:37.13 GSM SVY SCM Masters Meet
    4 Walters, Mark C 59 2:44.15 GERM Albatross Open
    5 Levine, Steven M 59 2:52.34 GSM SVY SCM Masters Meet

    Notes:

    1. I am 99 percent sure that my SCY times posted above will count for USMS Top 10 consideration, though my name in the event rankings seems to indicate that USMS has never heard of this "Jim Thornton" fellow who evidently swims in some part of the world where Amish children splash about in their mudholes, inhaling fracking fluids. Time will tell.

    2. Even if my SCY times above do count, they may not make the TT, given how very fast my pig-in-the-python demographic of ex-Mark Spitz-and-Gary-Hall-inspired age group swimmers is. Normally, I never make the TT past the first year or two of "aging up," and I am, at 58 (FINA 59!) woefully long in the tooth for the 55-59 age group.

    3. The only hope I have is that it does seem my times may be slightly less affected by the loss of the B70 body kayak than I had previously thought--and my competitors conceivably might prove more hindered then they hoped by their own loss of boats. During the regular season, I was a good 2 seconds off in the 100; but my time at Clarion is only about 1 second off from my CZ time last year. My 200 at Clarion, however, remains at 4 seconds off last year's kayak-aided 200. However, both my 500 and 1000 were significantly faster. More investigations along these lines in a future vlog (and a tip of the bathing cap to Water Dog who specifically asked me to undertake a mathematical analysis of this.)

    4. The day after our Clarion meet, which was almost 2 weeks ago, I got the worst cold I have had in years, and it has not gotten much, if any, better. Not laying ground work for excuses here, but if I can even finish my events at CZ, I must say that someone should forward this to the Vatican because they might want to send out a team of "miracle investigators" to validate what would surely be the most heroic water-related event since Jesus took his famous walk.

    4. To make things even worse--and now we are returning to the cliff hanger from above--I woke up at 3 a.m. on Thursday with this weird scab on my unit. Because I am not sure what words this vlog will allow me to use sans censorship, I will call this body part what my white-collar-in-the-making former 5th Grade student, Jay R., called a "penious."

    So anyhoo, there was this small but painful scab on the middle of the center part of the meat of the end of my penious that was approximately this big:

    *


    I had no idea how I could have cut myself because I am much too old to have sex anymore, and my sansabelt trousers sport the kind of safety zippers designed to prevent precisely this sort of injury in FINA 59 guys like me.

    I managed to tell myself, "Well, it must just be one of those things. Don't worry about it."

    But a few hours later, as I was having breakfast with my pugs, Lefty and Biscuit, I called my brother to ask his advice. He told me, "You really should get it checked out."

    The idea of having to pay money to a doctor made me scrutinize the scab more closely. With reading glasses, I began fiddling with it.

    To my horror and disgust, it wasn't exactly flat up against the skin. With a wee bit of tugging, I could get its outer edges to elongate a bit and actually pull away from the skin.

    My immediate diagnosis: a skin tag that had somehow turned overnight into melanoma.

    I got stronger reading glasses.

    And that is when I saw the little legs.

    I hope, upon reading this, that your skin is crawling even .000001 percent as much as mine was at that moment!

    Take some anti-seizure medicine with vodka to stop your skin from crawling.

    The good news: I had written about tics before, and knew you don't want to "disturb at tic" by tugging at it too hard, lighting it on fire, screaming obscenities, etc.

    I couldn't find tweezers, but I was able to use my unmanicured fingernails to achieve purchase and lightly but firmly begin to yank!

    With what tenacity that little mote held on to my penious for dear life! If only some human would show even the tiniest portion of attachment to this part of me!

    The penious skin pulled a half inch away from my body before finally, mercifully, the tic on my dick, without a click or a hic, let go of the stick! (Sorry, was channeling Dr. Zeuss there momentarily.)

    I was afraid perhaps I had broken off the thorax and abdomen (if, indeed, tics have both these) and left the head embedded in the other head.

    But thanks to the miracle of the Verizon Thunderbolt 8 megapixil camera, I was able to snap a closeup of my little friend. It seems, to this layman, in tact. Thanks again to the Thunderbolt, I was able to post the picture on Facebook within seconds, where the comely entomologist-swimmer Stephanie Dold quickly identified it as ioxedes scapularis ("A female," she wrote, "you should be flattered!").

    I also emailed the picture to my friend, Dr. Paul Oyler, who warned me to be on the lookout for "a red flat eruption evolving from the center of the bite." (I am hoping that Stephanie might help me monitor for this.)

    The bottom line here: I do need to start the trek soon to the Compound in Vienna, and my short vlog seems to have taken on a slight life of its own.

    But I am either:

    --truly sick (I do believe this is the case--green sputum still erupting from the lungs and nose; tic's former purchase point looking ever-so-slightly bull's eye-like in terms of the rash it has left)

    or

    --I have developed a case of delusional hypochondria, a real and extremely common illness amongst our ranks of masters swimmers, I am sure you will agree. Time, or more precisely, times will tell soon enough.

    By the way, I saved the tic just in case I go on to develop that form of dementia/insanity that has caused hundreds of thousands of Russians to be committed to sanitaria. I do not know if the tic is still alive in the little empty antidepressant pill vial where I have incarcerated him in tissue paper. But if he is alive, I suspect he looks a bit like this, albeit smaller:

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  4. Jimmy'z Jammerz Home Modeling Kit

    by , June 21st, 2011 at 10:45 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    If perchance you are not one of the 486 viewers (and counting) who have read my most recent swimming-related vlog, "My god my output has been....", please do so now IMMEDIATELY by clicking on this link:

    http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=16213

    Familiarize yourself with the details of my new start-up swim-suit-apparel-cum-advertising company,
    Jimmy's Jammerz.

    Then, if you are the skittish sort who has trouble making decisions on your own, talk it over with your financial adviser (if you must) as to just how whopping your initial investment should be.

    Many pick hugely whopping, though the best and the brightest minds have consistently opted for guargantuanly whopping.

    (I don't mean for this to seem like some cheap salesman's trick, but the truth is that the smart money interest to date has been overwhelming. Do not wait too long to divest your offspring of their college money! He or she who hesitates is, well, I'm sure you know all too well the opportunity costs of hesitation, fellow parents of highly indebted college students!)

    In today's installment of what is fast becoming the vlog equivalent of a prospectus, I now present to potential suit buyers and stock purchasers alike my user-friendly system for modeling the message you would like me to wear on my suit at the next competition, be this something recognized and/or sanctioned by USMS, or perhaps more likely, recognized and/or sanctioned by USMS and then, with nary an explanation, de-recognized and/or de-sanctioned after the fact. But this is a subject for a future vlog and probably does not warrant more than a passing mention at this point.

    To make best use of this complimentary Jimmy's Jammerz Home Modeling Kit, all you will need to supply is:


    • a pair of sharpened scissors,
    • some Elmer's Glue-style paste (suitable for eating if you happen to be a disgusting girl named Mary Borie who was a classmate of mine at the Sewickley Academy Kindergarten in 1957),
    • a craft table,
    • a good source of overhead lighting,
    • a pair of archival-quality latex gloves of the sort used by professional philatists,
    • some acid-free sheathes of construction paper upon which to place my body and the shifting array of suits I will be presenting in coming vlogs.


    Here is my front view:



    Here is my hindquarter view:




    As mentioned in my last vlog, Michael P. McDonnell (AKA bzaks1424 on these forums) is the ideator savant who came up with the germ of this concept. In Michael's honor, I will now post his original suit proposal below.

    With your scissors, ever so gingerly cut the front and back views out and then use the tabs to see what this suit would actually look like on me, that is, a swimmer who (according to the Event Rankings section of USMS), posted the third fastest 1000 meter freestyle in the Nation in his age group, though this time, which is no longer there, would later be de-recognized, again, for reasons that make no real sense unless the infinite vagaries of spite and misanthropy somehow figure in!

    But again I become sidetracked and unglued!

    Fortunately, unlike my tenuous hold on records in the 2010 SCY Top 10 roster, the combinations of tabs and a nice shellacking by Elmer's should guarantee this grrrreeeaaatttt! inaugural suit will remain permanently affixed to both my front and rear nether regions!



    Note 1. As always, infinite thanks to my twin brother, John "RustyScupperton" Thornton, whose wizardry with art projects left me behind with the paste eaters in Kindergarten and never looked back.

    Note 2. Please visit my vlog again soon, and feel free to refer your business associates in this direction. I do not want to give too much away yet, but let us just say that interest from a large number of Fortune 500 companies has been robust.

    Not that I am in any way stuck up about "prestige" and "solvency" and other measures of the companies I represent in the pool.

    Honestly, I would feel just as honored to wear the Acme Grease Axel & Flange Co. corporate logo as Coco Chanel--if, that is, the price is right.

    And I am sure it will be!

    More suits soon to sweeten your growing collection!

    And speaking of sweetening, rumors of Kristina Ulveling joining the modeling staff are, in fact, more than just rumors. They are remote possibilities.

    That could happen.

    Barring restraining orders.

    Boy, I never noticed before how good glue smells.


    Categories
    Uncategorized
  5. Four New Jimmy'z Jammerz and CremePuff's Debut

    by , June 23rd, 2011 at 10:01 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Jimmy'z Jammerz is proud to announce potential advertising interest from the following Fortune 500 Companies, each of which might well, one can imagine, be hoping to capture the coveted 55-59 male demographic:


    • Burger King
    • Avis Rental Cars
    • Kimberly-Clark
    • Eli Lilly


    Please add these suit cut-outs to your burgeoning collection.


    It really
    does take two hands to handle a Whopper!




    You'll try harder when you're No. 2, too!
    Or in my case, No. 3, but who's counting? (Evidently not USMS, at least not in the 55-59 men's SCY 1000 freestyle!)



    Don't let a colostomy or incontinence keep you from competing!

    As this handsome line of Jimmy'z Senescent Swimmyz shows, swim diapers aren't just for the wee ones anymore!





    Now you can be ready whenever the mood strikes (though hopefully
    not while wearing this handsome skin-tight Jimmyz Jammer in public!)



    SPECIAL BONUS COLLECTIBLE HIS-AND-HERS SUIT BUNDLE
    :


    Hey! What just struck me? Oh, yes! The mood!
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  6. Vicissitudes

    by , July 12th, 2011 at 04:45 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    "Life," my dear father used to say, "is vicissitudinal."

    And so it is.

    Brief vlog today with only the most tangential of references to swimming.

    The swimming reference has to do with the fact that so many of our fraternity here--CremePuff, Bobinator, Ande, and countless others--have pugs as pets. There is something in the breed that seems to make a perfect companion for masters swimmers.

    Whereas all dogs offer their human packmates unconditional positive regard, pugs have one additional advantage.

    No matter how bad you might be swimming at any particular juncture in your life, your pug(s) will never beat you. Even if they could, the wouldn't. But that is moot.

    Because a pug can't beat you at swimming.

    Also, they are exceptionally friendly dogs, as the video below begins to suggest. They make friends with anybody they encounter.

    Between not beating us in swimming, and providing companionship to people who, let's face it, can be hard to like because of our competitive natures, the pug is the perfect match

    And herein lies the most recent trough in life's vicissitudes.

    Our beloved dog, Lefty, familiar to many of you from previous vlogs, is in the veterinary emergency room, receiving anti-inflammatories and electrolytes and no shortage of tests. He tested positive for Lyme Disease, which may account for his sudden inability to put much weight on his back left leg. He also has low thyroid levels, which I suspect our friend Leslie can explain is no picnic. These combined anomalies might also account for his fever, lethargy, elevated white blood cells, and assorted other problems.



    My son Ben, who was in the fourth grade when Lefty was whelped, tries to ease his abdominal pains and calm him.



    Ben lets Lefty know he is loved, as both of us in the hospital waiting room become increasingly verklempt.

    These test findings, however, do not account for Lefty's loss of appetite. I have never in my life seen Lefty not hungry before. His gluttony is at the heart of what Lefty is: an eater, a scrounger, a beggar, a relentless snorfler for morsels of unattended foodstuff, no matter what form these might take. I have seen Lefty vomit and then, without a moment's hesitation, begin lapping up what he so recently lost, as if he could not conceive of any victuals within his reach being allowed to stay outside his stomach.

    This hunger of his, I think, may be at the root of his main problem. To wit, he has long had a taste for guinea pig poop, something that I find utterly revolting but which Lefty and his bride, Biscuit, and others of their snub-nosed, child-faced, Chinese-bred ilk consider a delicacy.

    Last week, Lefty may have snarfed down some new guinea pig bedding in the course of snacking on this repugnant delicacy. Alas, the bedding in question was an artificial kind we hadn't used before, designed to absorb liquids.

    Indeed, Lefty's initial X-rays showed that his stomach was distended to the size of a softball (quite big for a 22-pounder), swollen up by a mystery bolus he could rid himself of neither through mouth nor the normal point of egress.

    Many dogs, I learned from the vet, also get in trouble by eating Gorilla Glue, which turns into something like cement in their bellies and must be extracted surgically. It's possible, she told us, that the bedding might be creating a similar blockage.

    Lefty was weakened, in pain, and almost 12 years old--not an ideal candidate for surgery.


    Lefty, dehydrated and feverish, pants to cool off.


    The good news is that he had a good night at the hospital, and this morning's X-rays indicate the wad of stuff has broken up and will likely pass naturally, obviating the need for surgery. When I spoke with the vet this morning, she told me he had even eaten a little, which she said was good because it would help with the intestinal motility, etc. and get the bad stuff out of there.

    They are keeping him another night, hydrating him with more electrolytes, starting doxycylin for his Lyme Disease, and giving him some anti-inflammatories for his sore hind leg. (The doctor told me one of the symptoms of LD in dogs is "wandering limb pain"--they limp on one leg for a few days, then this switched to another leg. Lefty had shown some signs of this.)

    Though Lefty is not an on-screen character in this movie (a somewhat cowardly fellow, he lets his bride Biscuit take the lead in confronting wild animals, like the time she attacked a rabid raccoon, precipitating our need for a family pack of rabies shots).

    But you can feel Lefty's presence here, hovering by the filmmaker's leg (i.e., me.).



    Last week,I happened to glance out my window and saw Biscuit had made a new woodland friend: a baby ground hog. My son Jack and I went out to see if the little creature was rabid, but it seemed quite healthy. Biscuit has caught squirrels and birds before, but she showed no predatorial behavior towards this little one. We think that the long companionship between our pugs (Lefty and Biscuit) and our pigs (Linus and Spaceman) may have left Biscuit thinking that this wild rodent was another guinea pig, mercifully one with no need for artificial bedding. The short YouTube video to follow documents the nature of their interaction, proof positive, I would argue, that pugs are the world's friendliest dogs!

    For what it's worth, Lefty is doing considerably better, and we hope he will be okay very soon. They are keeping him one more night. I shall keep you posted.

    In the meantime, please watch this little movie and forward it to your friends. It's just about the cutest thing you will ever see.

    With luck, yesterday's trough will begin to give way a new and building wave peak in life's relentlessly vicissitudinal way!

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nJNsYSayag"]YouTube - ‪Biscuit the Pug and her Baby Groundhog Friend‬‏[/nomedia]
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  7. Lefty Lazarus

    by , July 15th, 2011 at 11:30 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    When my son Ben and I carried Lefty, trembling and feverish, anorexic and unable to stand without help, from the grounds of our estate, it crossed my mind that Lefty might not ever return again to Pugs' Escape at the Maplery. Ben later confessed that he also wondered if Lefty was dying. For 12 years, this wonderful little pug chap had been a constant and comical member of our family, his life as a dog paralleling Ben's odyssey from the 4th grade to the cusp of college graduation; Jack's trek from kindergarten to the start of college; and my own pilgrimage from monkey-grilling Oddventure writer to bankruptcy-fearing worrywart.

    As noted previously in Vicissitudes, we first took Lefty to a local vet who ran a variety of tests but concluded that she did not have the expertise and apparatus to know for certain what the main cause of his suffering was. A quick test of Lyme Disease was positive, but she feared that a more life-threatening problem was a possible bezoar of guinea pig litter. The X-ray of Lefty's stomach showed his stomach was so engorged with stuff that this normally small oblong organ had been shifted over to the right and was swollen to the size of a softball. Moreover, his liver was inflamed and his gall bladder was riddled with stippling, whatever that means.

    {Bezoar, by the way, is a term I'd never heard until this whole ordeal began. To save you a trip to Wikipedia, here's what it means:

    A bezoar is a mass found trapped in the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastrointestinal_system"]gastrointestinal system[/ame] (usually the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stomach"]stomach[/ame]), though it can occur in other locations.

    It comes from a Persian word meaning "protection from poison," and therapeutic bezoars were once prescribed to absorb poisons in the gut before they could dispatch the poisoned. The term "caveat emptor" actually comes from a famous 1603 lawsuit in which a man sued another for providing him with a fraudulent bezoar. But enough on this subject.}

    Lefty's bezoar was by no means therapeutic. The local vet referred us to an emergency veterinary hospital about 45 minutes away. Not only did this have more sophisticated scanning apparatus but there was a staff surgeon on hand in the event opening up Lefty's stomach to remove the contents proved necessary to save his life.

    By the time we got there, Lefty was suffering greatly. His eyes were cloudy and smeared with mucous. His body was hot and he could not stop panting. His back legs were trembling nonstop as if he were shivering to keep himself from freezing to death. His breathing at times seemed ragged. I could not help but remember the death rattle sound of my father's last hours of breath.

    An incredibly nice vet, Dr. Lisa Sepesy, met with us and went over a treatment plan. If you are a fan of Law & Order, Dr. Sepesy looks a little like that affable middle aged blonde woman who plays the medical examiner.

    She explained that she wanted to run more tests--she suspected Lefty might have thyroid insufficiency and a urinary infection along with his other problems. She said they needed to keep Lefty hospitalized overnight. Ben and I both gave him a kiss and surrendered our buddy to the ministrations of veterinary science.

    Lefty's bivouac at the hospital would eventually last for two days. But as early as the first night, Dr. Sepesy phoned us to say he was improving.

    She had put him on intravenous fluids and started him on an antibiotic for his Lyme Disease. She also gave him anti-inflammatory medicine--doggie NSAIDs--for his joint pain. By the first night, Dr. Sepesy said, he was feeling better enough to actually eat a little. And though he had not yet evacuated his bowels, the occasional wafting of flatulence suggested that his system was not 100 percent blocked.

    Dr. Sepesy called again the next morning with more good news. X-rays now showed the bezoar had begun to break up, obviating the need for surgery. She wanted to keep him one more night to further hydrate and medicate him and see if peristalsis might further progress his internal burden towards liberation.

    It did!

    On the morning of the second day, she called to tell us Lefty was doing much better, still limping a bit but eating and showing signs of liveliness. He could come home!

    She arranged for us to pick him up at 2 p.m.

    Ben and I drove back to get Lefty, glad that he was doing so much better, both of us incredibly anxious to see him. The vet had cautioned us he was by no means 100 percent, and that he would need to be on medicines for the next couple weeks, and furthermore he could not "overdo it" with exercise. Keep him inside resting most of the time, with occasional quick sorties outside to relieve himself.

    As we drove back to pick him up, Ben and I both wondered if Lefty's brush with pain and mortality would leave him changed. Would Lefty, in other words, still be Lefty? Or a sobered shell of his former blustery self?

    As is, I suspect, the case with many dog owners, we had embellished Lefty's Christian name over the years with various additions and refinements.

    We had added, for instance, a last name: Lumpkins, i.e., Lefty Lumpkins. And for those occasions that required more pomp and circumstance--for example, during the annual televised Westminster Dog Show--we gave him a title, Sir Lefty Lumpkins. For our Hispanic friends, he became simply Senor Lumpkins.

    Besides wondering if Lefty would still be Lefty, we also wondered if he would still be Sir Lefty and/or Senor Lumpkins.

    I used my camera phone to document our moment of reunion. Here is video of Lefty emerging from his recovery room. He is doped up, a bit wobbly, and discombobulated by his changed environment. But both Ben and I could tell immediately: Lefty was still Lefty!

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkhkIkvsYNc"]‪Lefty Lazarus!‬‏ - YouTube[/nomedia]





    Ben holds a revitalized Lefty as Dr. Sepesy tells us which medicines to give Lefty and on what time schedule. Ben, who is wearing a BallouSkies charity wrist band on his arm-- http://www.ballouskies.com/ --later says that Lefty's I.V. bandage reminds him of the elbow brace that Allen Iverson wore when playing for the Sixers.




    Like Allen, Lefty wears his therapeutic bandage on the front right limb.

    I realize this vlog entry has gone on at some length here, and it hasn't mentioned swimming yet. So let me just mention that.

    Swimming.

    Now back to Senor Lefty Lumpkins. In the interest of keeping this account as complete as I can make it, here is Dr. Sepesy's summary of Lefty's travails and instructions for his ongoing treatment at home. I will also appendage the various tests and other expenses associated with his care:





    (Please note the highlighted sentence above. Most pet owners believe their pets are the best, but here we have a woman of science, with an extensive background in animal analysis, officially proclaiming that Lefty is a sweet dog.)





    (Note: in addition to the $2286.08 paid so far to the veterinary hospital, the original local vet charged $241.)

    When we arrived back home, a real estate agent had arranged to show our house to a prospective renter (we're trying to rent our ancestral home, Pugs' Escape at the Maplery, in order to pay our usurious health insurance premiums), so I carried Lefty up to a platform we built in the woods. Biscuit, our other pug, joined us, wagging her tail somewhat nonchalantly at Lefty's return. Within several minutes, both pugs were using their compact four-wheel-drive style bodies to snorfle around the surrounding hillside. Lefty then circled several times and...evacuated his bowels! He looked so happy and relieved!

    Ben started to laugh. "Well," he said, "that was a $2500 ****."

    Actually, $2527.08.

    And worth every penny we don't have.

    At this point, Jack and his rocker musician friends also joined us on the platform and suggested throwing a Concert for Lefty to help pay the bills.

    The real estate agent never showed. We carried Lefty down the stairs, I fixed his dinner with its extravaganza of medicinal condiment additives, and we tried to coax him to go to sleep. Debbie had bought him a Beanie Baby to carry around in his mouth and throttle, a cute little koala bear. Lefty curled up next to the koala and sort of rested for a little while, then he started begging for Milkbone treats. I gave him one or two or maybe five.

    The next morning, I went down to kitchen, prepared to clean up whatever combination of revolting byproducts had left Lefty's various orifices overnight. To my delight, there were no accidents of any sort upon our kitchen floor. Lefty stood at full attention, trembling with excitement and total alertness, his signature voracious appetite having returned in full force.

    Back in his puppyhood, Lefty got so excited at the prospect of being fed that he emitted these loud humorous yawns, as if anticipation of eating was tapping all the energy he could muster: a narcoleptic's catalepsy. Debbie found his yawns so adorable that she began to reward them.

    Now, whenever Lefty believes food is imminent, he emits these wild yawning sounds that have nothing to do with sleepiness.

    This morning, Lefty was yawning up a storm! He seemed more full of vim than he had been in years.

    There was only one disconcerting sign: Biscuit was nowhere to be found. Unlike Lefty, who has never figured out how to open the kitchen door, Biscuit has mastered this trick and goes to sleep in the living room if we forget to prop a chair against the door. I searched the house for her but could find no signs. Then I looked in the garage and around the immediate outside vicinity. Again, no Biscuit.

    Yikes! How awful the prospect to bring Lefty back from Death's doormat only to have his healthy bride disappear forever!

    I made Lefty's breakfast of beef Alpo, pills, and elixirs, put Biscuit's breakfast in her bowl where he couldn't steal it, and hoped she would eventually show up. While doing some work in my office, I noticed Ben wasn't in his bed, which is very strange given that it was 8 a.m., and he usually doesn't get up much before 1 or 2 in the afternoon. That's when I realized where Biscuit might be.



    Ben and his two friends, Will and Nick, decided to camp out on the platform the first night of Lefty's return. Knowing that Lefty was doctor-ordered to take it easy, but still wanting some dog companionship, they had carried Biscuit's dog basket up with them, where she spent the night. Though I told Lefty to stay at the bottom on the hill, he climbed up most of the way -- I carried him the last six steps --and began snorfling around the boys and his pug bride. I left them all to continue sleeping up there. A half hour later, Biscuit and Lefty both showed up at the kitchen door. I gave Biscuit her breakfast and gave Lefty some treats and tried to get him to rest.



    Lefty proudly displays his koala bear and front leg bandage, the latter which somehow worked itself off overnight.

    Epilogue: Lefty has continued to improve ever since he got home. This short video (please excuse the poor focus) gives a sense of his return to his former self. Perhaps it is the effect of his drugs, but since this was taken yesterday, he has become, in anything, more robust than I have seen him in years.

    Jack, my younger son, said when Lefty was in his most extreme extremis, "He's a resilient pug. He'll be okay."

    Jack was right, and I suspect this resilience applies to more than just pugs. We are all, in our fashion, resilient if mortal creatures. None of us can escape our fates forever, but until that day comes, perhaps the lesson of Lefty is that we won't give up the ghost easily, no matter how much we may sometimes feel inclined to do so.

    Welcome back, Lefty! Welcome back everyone who has sidled up to the brink! Let us all resolve to live our lives as best we can without needless worry!

    Just stay away from the temptation of guinea pig poop in whatever form this might take.

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct28vaVKbcs"]‪Lefty the next morning! Lefty's back!‬‏ - YouTube[/nomedia]
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  8. friday and Saturday Swims

    by , July 24th, 2011 at 12:40 AM (Swimming, Life, and Other Stuff!)
    Friday Solo @ Carmel Aquatic Center in scy:
    **500 Freestyle swim
    **10 X 50 Free Drill/Swim (1-arm / fist / finger drag / catch-up)
    **Broken 1650 (11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1) rest :20 through 7 and :10 for the rest.
    **10 X 50 Kick @ 1:00
    **100 IM easy and out.
    Carmel is getting drained and cleaned so this was my last swim there till August 8th. I hate losing a pool!
    [B][U]Saturday [U][B]w/buddies at the Monon Center:
    **200 Swim / 200 Kick / 200 Pull / 200 Swim
    **300 Swim / 300 Kick / 300 Pull
    **4 X 200 Pull @ 3;30
    **3 X 150 Free Pull @ 2:15
    **2 X 100 free @ 1:40
    **1 X 50 Pull
    **10 X 50 Kick @ 1:00 mixed
    **8 X 25 iMO @ :40
    ** 4 X 100 IM

    4,300 scy

    I just returned home from the new Tom Hanks movie; It was a "slice of life" tale of an 'out of work" man who ends up with more than just a new job and education!
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  9. Revolutionary Aqua Shoe Glove

    by , July 24th, 2011 at 12:41 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Yesterday, Bill White and Mark Scholl, their cups overrunning with sweat and hubris, arrived at the Y tennis courts at the generally agreed upon time of 8 a.m. for what I had hoped would be a Super Men's Best of 11 Set Championship match against the indomitable Irishman, John Delaney, and myself, a superb but psychologically frail athletic specimen.

    John and I arrived fashionably late at 8:45, which I am certain Bill and Mark believed was a strategic decision to tire them out via exposure to the pitiless Heat Dome that is currently slow-cooking us here in the Middle Atlantic States.

    Actually, though it may have served this function, both John and I had arisen early to the pitter patter of rain drops and figured we should give it time for the courts to dry out. Mark and Bill, who live across the Ohio River, had experienced no such rain drops and didn't believe they existed.

    But enough preamble.

    The basic gist is that our nemeses were nicely warmed up, and they took the first two sets 6-3 and 6-1 respectively.

    John and I both felt thoroughly beaten down. There is something about a drubbing that tires you out more than the actual activity itself. It is, I think, akin to the learned helplessness of domestic abuse victims.

    But then something amazing happened in the third set.

    The tide turned. We won 6-3. And in the fourth set we won 6-1--the score equivalent of a palindrome.

    Though I argued the fifth set would not decide anything--we were, after all, playing the best of 11--no one else seemed to want to play that long. I suggested that if the match was still going at 5 p.m., we could call it, but again, no one but me intended to suffer the brain damage such would certainly wreak on the wetware of our fast desiccating neurons.

    So the 5th set was to be the deciding one.

    It proved remarkably competitive, with the lead see-sawing back and forth and forth and back. At 7-7 in games, John suggested we play a tie breaker, but Bill, Mark, and I didn't really want to do so. The compromise: two more games. Either a winner would emerge or we would tie.

    But that would be that.

    I managed to win my serve. Score: 8-7. The worst we could do was a tie.

    But then we won Mark's serve, and the match was ours!

    Bill and I immediately headed for the Y's hot tub, which may seem counter-intuitive given the fact that we were already boiling hot and drenched in sweat. But we have discovered a dip in the Jacuzzi post-tennis allows us to do something throughout the remainder of the day that would otherwise be impossible.

    Walk.

    Ten minutes of swirling therapy on the dogs later, we went up to the pool to take a dip and cool off.

    Bill, who wears these horrible discount tennis shoes that rather than cushioning the beating his feet take on asphalt courts only accentuates this, needed to limp to the pool in thonged sandals.

    Before jumping into the deep end, he took these off and placed them on his hands and used them as swimming paddles.

    This is the inspiration for today's vlog: a revolutionary new Aqua Shoe Glove that, with just the slightest tinkering by scientists, would provide active triathlete types the perfect solution to beach run-swimming.

    To wit, how often have you wanted to go for a nice long jog along the beach, then swim back only to be stymied by this question:

    What do I do with my shoes?

    This new approach will allow you to run as long as you want in cushioning footwear, then either take said footwear off your feet and place them on your hands (as paddles) or leave them on your feet but convert them to
    adjustible length swim fins via the retractable flipper.

    If any of my vlog readers have connections to industry and would like to pursue this incredible idea further, I hereby publicly assign to you 1 percent of all moneys collected after the first 2.5 million dollars, this as an incentive to you to pick up the ball and carry it for me.

    Thanks!

    By the way, I could have definitely used the Revolutionary Aqua Shoe Glove later that afternoon when the lovely Heidi Kafka of Chicago, Illinois, convinced me to take her to North Park, a favorite swim stomping ground of her youth in our neck of the woods, and the two of us swam 3200 meters in the 85 degree human bullion, me riddled with nonstop toe, arch, foot, and calf cramps.



    A typical thonged sandal modeled by a professional foot model whose prominent blue veins are deliberately suggestive.



    The same thonged sandal converted by the ingenuity of Mr. Bill White, chemical engineer, to a swim paddle.



    A sketch currently en route to the US Patent office for the Revolutionary Aqua Shoe Glove that is likely to change forever how active humans move at beaches. Please contact author for how you can earn 1 percent of anything over the first $2.5 million in revenue that I receive.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  10. 100-meter pool

    Last night I had another fun pool tourism outing—this time up to Crotona Park pool in the Bronx. This is another of NYC’s sprawling WPA-era pools. It dates from 1936, and measures a whopping 330’ x 120’, with varying depth of up to 4 feet. It’s a bit of a hike to get to, but it was worth the trip. I met friends Hannah and Kathleen up there, and we had the whole pool to ourselves for the evening lap swim, from 7-8:30. There were more lifeguards than swimmers!



    Hannah has an amazing streak going—she made a New Year’s resolution in January of 2010 to do at least 2 lengths of butterfly at every swim workout, and has kept it ever since. Things get a bit harder in the summer, with lcm lengths instead of scy ones, but she’s proved up to the challenge. Last night’s super-duper-long-course pool seemed daunting, though, so she proposed starting off with the fly to get it out of the way. Here’s what we did:

    400 s-d-lcm broken IM (chat / breathing break at walls)
    400 broken rev. IM (ditto)

    One interesting feature of the Crotona pool are the two pyramid-shaped structures situated in the middle. Our next few sets took advantage of this:

    200 figure-eight swim around the pyramids

    2 x 100 close-eyed FR swim [This was to see if we went straight—with such a long pool and nobody besides ourselves to run into (yes, we did), it seemed like a good opportunity. I opened mine to check halfway through the first length—perfect! Filled with overconfidence, I then proceeded to veer off 45 degrees on the next 50---I grazed a pyramad after almost clearing the far side of it. The return trip was better.]

    2 x 100 sprint set (easy from walls to pyramids, sprint between pyramids)

    200 warmdown

    (That workout looks short, but there was a lot of chatting between swims, plus a fair amount of admiring the moon and the surroundings, so it took us about an hour.)

    This morning I did an uneventful workout at Riverbank pool.

    Tomorrow I’m swimming a series of races (3-mile, 1.5-mile, 0.5-mile) in Lake Quassapaug in Connecticut. This will be my first time there—I’ve always heard fun things about these swims, and am looking forward to going.

    Happy holiday weekend everyone!
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  11. More pool tourism

    To mark the end of summer we had a final outing of the pool tourism club—this time to the Red Hook pool in Brooklyn. It’s another of the 10 NYC public pools originally opened in 1936, and has similar dimensions to the 100 pool I swam in on Thursday—this one is 330’ x 130’, with a maximum depth of 4’. It also features those odd pyramids sprouting up in the middle of the pool. After our swim today, I noticed a 1950s-era picture of the pool in the lobby that showed these as circular ledges that bathers could sit or stand on, and jump or dive from—I think they were topped with pyramids sometime since then for safety’s sake.

    Getting to the Red Hook pool isn’t straightforward—there are no subway stops right near there—but it has become easier since an IKEA store opened on the Red Hook waterfront several years ago. Today I was able to take a Water Taxi ferry from lower Manhattan to the IKEA store, then walk several blocks to the pool from there. On the way I saw a sign for a cow crossing—not something you see every day here in the city.




    The good thing about Red Hook is that there are designated lap swim lanes set up all day long. At most city pools you have to hit the morning or evening lap swim hours if you want to actually swim. At Red Hook the lanes are set up the short way, so each length is about 40 meters long, rather than 100m. There are no lane lines, so swimmers tend to regard the black lines on the bottom as lane dividers, and circle swim between rather than around them. My group of 4 shared a lane with a couple of other polite swimmers for most of our session. Here’s what we did:

    400 mcm (medium-course-meters) warmup

    80 dolphin dives
    80 breaststroke

    80 one-armed fly, alternating arms
    40 fly
    40 one-armed fly, alternating arms
    40 FR with dolphin kick
    40 BK with dolphin kick
    40 corkscrew with dolphin kick

    40 breaststroke, alternating 3 strokes w/ dolphin kicks 3 w/BR kick
    40 twirly breaststroke
    80 BK/BR

    320 FR catch’em swim (swim until first swimmer catches last)

    (I’m probably leaving out about 4 x 40 other drills/play I can’t remember)

    320 warmdown
    80 dolphin dives

    Then we got out, visited the sprinkler area (those were cold—no wonder no kids were playing in them!), then got dressed and headed over to the food trucks.

    As wonderful as the pool was, the food trucks were actually what drew me to today’s outing—my friends had been exclaiming over the pupusas they ate out here since last summer. We found the right truck, and I ordered a couple. Pupusas are filled cornbread treat, and ours were served with a red cabbage slaw. I went for the plantain-cheese and the chicken varieties, and both were wonderful. A strawberry shake completed the food-truck feast. If triathlons were composed of swimming, eating, and napping, that would be my sport.

    It was a beautiful day and a fun outing with friends. I was glad to get in a final outdoor pool swim to celebrate the end of a nice summer.

    My last two outings have allowed me to add a couple more pools to my NYC list--here's the updated version (and thanks to pwb for the idea!):

    New York City pools I’ve swum at (asterisked = outdoor pool):

    Manhattan
    1. West Side Y (25 yd), W. 63rd between Bway and Central Park West
    2. West Side Y warm-water pool (20 yd?)
    3. Riverbank State Park indoor pool (50M), W. 138th Street on the Hudson
    *4. Riverbank State Park outdoor pool (25yds)
    5. Asphalt Green competition pool (50M), E. 91st and York
    6. Asphalt Green warm-water therapy pool (15m?)
    *7. Asphalt Green outdoor pool (25yd, now gone)
    8. John Jay College Pool (25y) 59th and 10th
    9. Baruch College Pool (25m) 24th and Lex
    10. City College pool (25y) W 145th and Convent Ave.
    11. Columbia University (25y) 116th and Bway
    12. NYU Palladium pool (25y x 25m) 140 E. 14th St.
    13. Vanderbilt YMCA (25y) 224 E. 47th
    14. Chelsea Rec Center (25y) W 25th between 9th and 10th
    15. New York Athletic Club (25y) Central Park South @ 7th Ave.
    *16. John Jay Park Pool (48y) E. 77th and York
    *17. Hamilton Fish park pool (50m) Pitt and Houston Streets
    18. Reebok Club pool (25y) 67th and Columbus
    19. Chelsea Piers (25y), W. 19th Street on the Hudson
    20. JJC pool (25y), 76th and Amsterdam
    21. Manhattan Plaza (25y), 43rd and 10th

    Brooklyn
    1. LIU—Brooklyn (25y) Flatbush and DeKalb
    2. St. Francis College pool (25y) Brooklyn Heights
    *3. Red Hook Pool (40m)

    Bronx
    1. Lehman College pool (50m)
    *2. Van Cortlandt Park pool (50m)
    *3. Corona Park Pool (100m)

    Queens
    1. Flushing Meadows Corona Park pool (50m)

    Staten Island
    1. Wagner College pool (25y?)
    *2. Lyons pool (50m)

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  12. Victory Most Glorious!!!!

    by , September 10th, 2011 at 05:36 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  13. WETSUITS....

    The days are getting shorter, and the water is getting cooler. OW swimmers look upon this predictable change with mixed emotions.... the 2011 season is ending, but it is also an opportunity to prepare for 2012. There will be a short "optimal" window to get those long qualifying swims knocked off.... one less thing to have to squeeze into the early spring.

    Some CIBBOWS swimmers will go for weekend swims all winter long, braving water temperatures into the low 30's. Yes the swims will be brief; measured in minutes, not hours, and warming time will exceed swim time by a large margin. Others, will fade from the OW for the comfort of a familiar pool. I will be primarily a member of the latter group, but my respect and admiration belong to the former. I would join them more often if only I lived closer to NYC.

    It would be great to see a larger group commit to year round OW swimming in Brooklyn... even in rubber. I donned a wetsuit a couple of days ago... one that I have owned for a while but had never worn. What was the inspiration to suddenly don rubber? I was supporting some friends on a swim in Lake Memphremagog. I was aboard a pontoon boat, it was quite windy and getting cold... the temp dropped to the low 40's. Right out of the gate, a couple of waves soaked all the extra clothing I brought with me... by 2 AM, I was freezing, and the wetsuit seemed like the best option to keep me warm. It did, but additionally, it kept my arms and legs quite compressed, adding spring to my steps. I also noticed that the suit had textured forearms, no doubt to give a swimmer added purchase to every catch. All in all I would have to say it is a great design, promising added buoyancy, warmth, compression, a low coefficient of friction, and increased grip in the forearms. No one dares to claim that such equipment doesn't offer a huge advantage to its wearer, but there are many who expect wetsuited swims to carry the same weight as those done in traditional swim attire, sorry, they don't. So... how does this wetsuit swim? I don't know... I never got in the water.

    The charge of "elitism" isn't quite accurate, its just calling it what it is... which is different than a swim done traditionally. In his essay http://www.icontact-archive.com/9BwG...HympOPZ9dU?w=2 , Scott Zoring makes the case that activities done while wearing a wetsuit shouldn't be called "swimming". Though I may not agree with the terms he has chosen, I do believe that there should be a distinction between traditional and assisted or aided swimming. Once again, it has nothing to do with elitism or excluding wetsuited persons from participation, but rather just creating clear categories so that we may choose who and what to follow based on our own interests and preferences.

    Other sports have very specific terminology to describe the "style" by which one participates... take rock climbing: Free Climbing, Aid Climbing, Sport Climbing: are all different techniques. Generally speaking, it would be frowned upon if someone claimed to have climbed a route "Free" unless they had followed the rules of "Free Climbing", not to mention that it would be misleading to others who attempt the route with false information.

    Thats all I'm going to say about it. Please check out:
    http://www.freshwaterswimmer.com/ and http://loneswimmer.com/2011/09/09/ch...suits-at-dawn/

    for more on the subject.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  14. Whetter

    by , October 4th, 2011 at 09:23 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    As in appetite whetting.

    I've been a taciturn vlogger of late, the consequence, in large part, of having to finish some articles to pay my indentured servant's burdens to the overloads who own me.

    One such article is for AARP: The Magazine, a periodical I fear I am way too old to be writing for.

    Gerontologists divide the Golden Years into four rough quadrants:

    Young Old
    Middle Old
    Old Old
    Walking Dead of Maui Taui

    The latter, of course, is more a state of mind than a chronological condition.

    Most people don't recognize it, but I can assure you, we who fall into this category recognize each other.

    Largely by smell.

    But enough shilly shallying. The topic of the article I just finished the first draft of is tendinosis, the affliction that characterizes many of the most common chronic sports injuries, from Swimmer's Shoulder and Tennis Elbow, to Runner's Knee and Achilles Heel.

    As a frequent sufferer of SS and TE, I made a trek to see an excellent doctor at UPMC's Rehabilitation Institute, a fellow with his MD in physiatry (or physical medicine) and his Ph.D. in anatomy.

    Eventually, when my article appears, I will include a link to it so that those of you who are not yet Young, Middle, or Old Old, or Walking Dead of Maui Taui, can access it without an AARP card.

    But for now, and as indicated earlier, as a way of whetting your appetite, let me just publish four ultrasound images of my right elbow, right shoulder (Supraspinatus tendon, i.e., the rotator cuff most likely to wear and tear from swimming), my left shoulder, and finally my twin brother John's notion of what really causes Swimmer's Shoulder.

    In an upcoming vlog, I shall wax at length as to why these images are, in fact, so fascinatingly paradoxical.

    And on this note, I ask you all to now begin whetting yourselves.

    Thank you.



    My right elbow, which throbs riotously on my many mis-hit one-handed backhands as well as my second (usually slice) serves. The doctor-anatomist assured me he could see no evidence of structural damage.



    My right shoulder. I am right handed, do much more with this arm than the other one, including playing tennis and--in the old days--breaking my falls when, as a frequent inebriate, I followed the drunkard's path.

    This shoulder does show signs of a small, partial tear in the supraspinitus, though the good doctor was quick to add that such a condition is more rule than exception in active fellows my age (59 as on Sept. 24; FINA 60 on Jan. 1).



    My left shoulder, with RC so perfectly in tact the doctor described it as "pristine"--the kind of supraspinitus tendon most commonly seen in Tarzan-like specimens in their teenage years.



    Finally, my twin brother John's concept of what kind of abuse would have to happen to my left shoulder to convert it into the sad shape of my right one. John is not a doctor. I'm not one either, not exactly. But I have seen plenty of oddities in my decades of fake clinical practice and know-it-all blowhardery based on five minutes of Googling Medline.

    I have never seen a tiny digging fat man shoveling away at a pristine supraspinitus.

    But I cannot rule out the possibility.

    *
    Oh, I almost forgot.

    Here's the paradox I invite you all to ponder.

    It's my left shoulder that hurts when I swim.

    The right one feels fine.

    Updated October 4th, 2011 at 09:31 PM by jim thornton

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  15. TT Outrage: the Prologue

    by , November 5th, 2011 at 10:08 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Prologue: 1962

    A highly competitive 10-year-old mathlete (in the days before mathletes technically existed) named Jimmy Thornton sits at his wooden desk, distracting himself from anxiety by reading the words carved into the wood by previous generations of students. One strikes his fancy.


    Foetus.

    Hmm, thinks young Jim, didn’t Stephen Daedalus find a similar word etched into his desk in Dublin? But no sooner has Jim begun to calm himself with literary references than the gravel throat of Mr. Glarow, 5th Grade math teacher, intrudes, reanimating all his prepubescent hormones of anxiety and dread.


    “Your performance on this test, class, was as usual abominable,” Glarow says.

    A salt-and-pepper crowned and tweed-coated Pittsburgher in his mid-50s, Charles “Chuck” Glarow is a distinguished looking fellow with more than a passing resemblance to William Hopper’s character, Paul Drake, the private investigator for Raymond Burr’s lawyer, Perry Mason, namesake of the original B&W TV version of the legal drama.


    Jim thinks to himself that no matter how much authority Mr. Glarow
    looks to possess, he is simply incorrect about at least one of his student’s mathematical performance on this particular test, which was not really a test at all, but rather a species of child’s play for Jim, just as all the other so-called tests this year have proved to be child’s play, leading to a cumulative 100 percent perfect average since the first day of class back in September.

    The melancholy groans of his fellow students only make that tiny portion of Jim’s brain that is properly described as sociopathic smile. Clearly, they are examining their grades on something that for them has proven, in fact,
    more than a test: a trial or tribulation, perhaps, or maybe a sentencing--and are now finding that their formerly average F’s—50 percent, say, or maybe 45 percent marks—have plummeted even closer to Absolute Zero.

    Young Jim’s anxiety dims as he finds himself thinking about the genius of the Kelvin scale.
    Oh, what a foil for my own perfect score these dullards’ best work will serve!

    And then the unthinkable happens. Mr. Glarow, who despite his rugged good looks, who despite the endless stories he tells about hunting bears in the mountains of West Virginia every weekend during bear season, who despite these and many other claims to manliness, still lives at home with Mother,
    this Mr. Glarow, this oddity and enigma of a private school fifth grade mathematical instructor with an arsenal of weapons at home and, presumably, an endless supply of freshly laundered underwear cleaned by Mother, hands an exam paper over to young Jim—a lad who does not punch other kids, who does not speak out during class, who does not outwardly do anything whatsoever that might be construed as “bad” (although on the inside, it is a different matter, oh, a very, very different abattoir of a matter, young Jimmy will not deny this!)—and in this moment of handing over the examination paper our earnest outwardly beatific knowledge-loving catenary-curve-graphing mathlete begins ever so quickly to dissociate.

    At the top of the paper, in giant numerals as red as arterial blood, a scarlet number, so to speak: 90%.
    Dazed to the point of vertigo, Jim forces himself to focus. His sharp eyes, their pupils constricted to mean needle pricks by humiliation, scans down the pitiless manuscript, searching for errors. Finally, he finds the problem that he has somehow, against all odds, “missed.”

    Ever so quickly, like a human ENIAC, he does the recalculations ten times in a row, lickety, at it were, split. Ten times he gets the same answer: the answer is 5. Jim looks at his answer on the paper. The answer here, too, is 5.


    The right answer, Jim knows, is 5; the answer he put down is 5; there is absolutely no wriggle room here, no reason in all the known, parallel, and largely speculated upon universes, be these 3D or 2D--no, none, zero reason to mark this problem wrong.


    Jim’s senses clear. His eyes dilate. Mr. Glarow, the tormenting, mistake-prone, stylishly dressed, bear killing Mama’s boy ignoramus, is going over the test, problem by problem, asking the herd of braying dullards to explain what they did in getting their comically boneheaded wrong answers.

    Soon, Jim knows, he shall reach problem No. 7: the problem whose answer is 5, whose solution Jim has clearly written as 5, whose method of solution, the “work” portion of the “show your work mandate” required for full credit Jim has shown in all its jejune ridiculous completeness…


    “All right, then, class,” says Mr. Glarow at last. “What is the correct answer to Problem No. 7?”

    Jim’s hand is instantly aloft, waving—but not obnoxiously, not one of
    those wavings accompanied by sounds of mmmm ahh mmmeee mmmeee, like a hungry dog anticipating the dog food bowl’s deposit by its jowls, not one of those waves at all, but rather a respectful wave, a salute almost, a collegial wave of the sort that one reasonable human being might use to gently gain the attention of another human being, the second human being having made a monstrous mistake, but the first human taking great pains to just alert him of the error without characterizing the nature of it, as monstrous and imbecilic and offensive to the gods as surely this particular-character-defect of a mistake this whopper is, i.e., the one made by Chuck Glarow, dashing in his tweed coat and umbilicus ascot, the private school teacher and injustice administrator nonpareil—to this self-same character Jim says, “Mr. Glarow, sir! You seem to have made a small error here on my test sheet. For as you can clearly see, I put a 5 as the answer for No. 7 and you inadvertently marked it wrong. See: a 5!”

    And just like that, Mr. Bear-Killer Glarow descends furiously upon the sparrow of a boy, and picks up Jimmy by his blond hair, literally drags him from the desk where Foetus is carved, jerks him into the air, yelling, “That is not a 5! That is an S!,” which, in fact, doesn’t sound at all like an S, so heavy is the air now humid with raging spittle everywhere, as if the Blessed Mother’s Son has suffered a stroke and can only twist his voice box into screaming, “That ish an Eshhh! An Eshhh!”

    And flinging Jim around the classroom like a flimsy fabric remnant, all in one motion, the innocent and infallible mathlete’s pupils constricted again to the tiniest apertures imaginable, as if his eyes are conspire to allow him no more than the merest impression of his misbegotten unjust fate, Mr. Glarow seizes with his free hand a piece of chalk, screeching a gigantic S that snake-curls its way across the far reaches of the blackboard, the class all the while agog, and no sooner has the S taken shape then the teacher cracks his student’s head upon the pitiless slate at the top of the S, and shoves the boy’s hair against the chalk, and in one curvilinear motion erases the whole obscene letter, yelling, “Essshhhh! Esssshhhhh! I’ll show you what happenshhh to thoshhe in my classhhh who answer math problemshhh with an Esshhh inshhhstead of a Five!”


    And he throws Jim under his desk, seals any possibility of escape by sitting his 190 lb. bulk on the desk chair and scoots halfway into the hollow space, as all the while the classroom of dullards—finally awakened to the one subject they love now and will always love—wake up and snigger at the sheer delightful cruelty of it all!

    But Jim, staring out at his peers from the small open slatted space beneath the desk’s front, sees that for all the joy his comeuppance has brought them, it has unnerved them, too; for how can even the stupidest among them now fail to see that nobody, nobody! escapes forever the power of mean-spirited authority when it decides to slither out and take exercise in the way it invariabl prefers to take exercise. Even Glarow himself, Jim is suddenly certain, whose mother’s hold has never loosened around his lunatic neck.

    At this moment, Jim turns his neck to see if kicks—surely easily deliverable, sight unseen, within the desk’s little prison chamber—will soon enough start raining down upon his kidneys. But Mr. Glarow’s legs, he sees, are wilted, their fury spent, his simian, tweed-sheathed arms slumped over in the evacuated space between his legs.

    It is there, between in the spaces between the teacher’s black-haired fingers, Jim sees the tufts of his own blond hair alternate like torn trophies.


    Note: I invite you to check back soon to see how uncannily this vignette relates to USMS.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  16. Outrage No Mas

    by , November 21st, 2011 at 12:53 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Enough dragging things out.

    I want and need to move on, so I shall try to finish this Triptych of Outrage as quickly as possible. So here’s what happened:

    1. After the Clarion University snafu/cluster**** last spring, I was determined to never again make the mistake of counting on a local meet to be sanctioned, recognized, or whatever else is required to have times count for Top Ten consideration.

    2. Last summer, knowing I had no chance of affording to travel to Auburn, knowing furthermore that I’d be taking my son to college the same weekend as the annual U. MD meet where I usually swim my one USMS LCM meet per summer, I opted to go instead to another annual meet up in Cleveland.

    3. This is in a very nice pool and used to be run by Jack Groselle and O*H*I*O masters. The one time I had swum it before, all my times counted.

    4. The drawback, in the past, had been that it was a 1-day meet, which makes it hard to try for the free style quinella (50, 100, 200, 400, and 800).

    5. But this year, to my delight, I found the meet was being turned into a 2-day meet, name changed to the SynergyFest Inaugural Swim Meet. It was officially sanctioned by the Lake Erie LMSC. Sanction number 18-072923111-LCM.

    6. So I signed up, booked the absolutely cheapest hotel room I could find within driving distance, and signed up for the 5 offered freestyles (I will paste in my results at the bottom of this.)

    7. The meet, unfortunately, was not terribly well attended, probably because they also scheduled a 2-mile open water swim in Lake Erie at the same time as the pool swim, forcing devotees of both to pick one or the other.

    8. According to the meet’s predicted timeline (and I may be a few minutes off here, plus or minus), warm ups started at 9 a.m., the first event of the day would start at 10 a.m., and all the day’s events would be done by approximately 6 p.m.

    9. Unfortunately, the actual timeline was more like this: warm ups 9 a.m., first even 10 a.m., meet over 10:45 a.m. It was absurd! The starter tried to drag things out a little bit, but with only one or two heats for most of the events, the amount of rest between swims was minimal.

    10. On the second day (and again, please forgive me if the details here are a little off), I swam the 800, had about 40 minutes of rest, swam the 50, got out of the water, and was told the 200 would be starting in approximately 4 minutes! I saw on the event sheet that there was going to be a 200 backstroke/OPEN later on, and this would provide me with about 15-20 minutes rest before what is usually my best event. So I asked the meet judge if it would be okay to swim my 200 free then instead. I explained that I was really hoping to make a Top 10 time, and I thought having more than 4 minutes rest after my 50 (and earlier 800) would optimize my chances.

    11. The judge okayed it. Again, I told him I was really trying to make a top 10 time, and I asked him if switching to the 200 OPEN would screw this up. He said no.

    12. So I swam the 200, did reasonably well for me, and drove back to Pittsburgh, confident that this time, at least, I had given myself a fighting chance of picking up a few Top 10 times that would absolutely, 100 percent, no-snafu possibilities anywhere on the horizon, count—provided, that is, my times were good enough to count.

    13. I will now paste in my meet results and the Top Ten results that were just certified a few weeks ago.

    14. Please glance at these and then return for a final word or two about what happened.






    The keen observer will note that my name doesn’t appear in the 200 in the TT list even though my time of 2:18.10 would have just squeaked me ahead of the legendary Larry Wood.

    The keen observer will also notice that my name does appear in the 400, though this is very unlikely to last.

    Why?

    Here’s why.

    When a forum poster pointed out that the preliminary LCM listings were up, I immediately checked to see if I had made any TT times. The area of the website read as follows:

    2011 USMS Top Ten LCM for Men 55-59
    This is a preliminary top ten listing for proofreading purposes only. Report any errors to Mary Beth Windrath.

    Noting that my 200 wasn’t listed, I immediately emailed Mary Beth, who is an unflappably kind person with what seems like a thankless job—collating TT times and making sure they all comply with rules that people like me, evidently, have never heard of.

    When I wrote Mary Beth, I was as confident of 100 percent vindication as I was when I told Mr. Glarow that I had, in fact, written down the correct answer of 5 on my math test, only to learn that he thought I had written an S.

    Here is our email exchange:

    Hi, Mary Beth,

    Can you check the LCM 200 free in men 55-59? I swam a 2:18.10 something at the Synergy meet in Cleveland (which is where my other TT times came from in the 100, 400, and 800), but for some reason, the 200 was left out of the preliminary list.

    Thanks for taking a look. From Event Rankings:

    6 Thornton, James 59 2:18.10 1776 SynergyFest
    Inaugural Swim Meet

    Hi Jim,

    Event 15 was 200 Open, which is not a valid event for Top Ten, so none of the times from that event can count. That's why you don't see it. Only distances and strokes listed in article 102.5 are considered for top ten and records.

    Sorry about that!
    Mary Beth

    Are you kidding me?

    It was freestyle! They never said anything about this not counting at the meet.

    There were a total of about 35 people at the whole meet, so the events had approximately 5 minutes between them. I asked the guy if I could switch from the 200 free to swimming it in the 200 Open so I could get 15 minutes rest after something else I had just swum.

    He said that was fine, never mentioned anything about it not counting. I only went there to try to get some TT times.

    This is a case of where the USMS rules are just, in my opinion, utterly mean-spirited to swimmers who don't have the money to travel to big meets.

    What is the rationale for this?

    PS Sorry for seeming peeved, but I would have been 3rd in the 1000 SCY free, too, last year, but the meet got invalidated because of weird bureaucratic minutiae. I just feel the slogan, "We do it all for the swimmer," which I heard endlessly at the one convention I attended, is a total misrepresentation.

    Jim

    Hi Jim,

    You're not going to like what else I have to tell you, but I wanted to give you a heads up. The 400 Open was also listed as an event in that meet and the swimmers show up in the preliminary top ten, but will be removed for the final top ten. If it's any consolation, the times still are showing up in the event rankings.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

    Mary Beth

    Thanks, Mary Beth. You have been very kind about this, and I realize that with situations like this, you have a thankless job. I might write a vlog about this, but I will make sure to state clearly that you were extremely decent about it.

    I just think it's an absolutely ridiculous rule and that they should come up with some other way to designate non counting swims--a 400 Fun Swim, for instance, where it's clear to the participants that the race won't count for anything.

    My problem is I live in Pittsburgh, there are virtually no USMS meets nearby, so if I ever want to try to make the top ten, I have to drive to Cleveland or DC. This summer, I drove to Cleveland for the two day Synergy meet, which was clearly sanctioned, etc. So few people attended that there was often only one or two heats of each event. I think I swam the 50, then had 5 minutes before the 200, which I really wanted to try to make the Top 10 in. I asked the meet director if I could switch and have it still count, and he said yes.

    I think there was a similar rational for the 400 Open vs. the 400 Free--no rest between events. And by no rest, I really do mean minimal rest. With only 35 people at the whole two day meet, it ran awfully fast. Warm ups were at 9:00, and the timeline said each day would end by 6 p.m. But both days the events were over by around 10:30.

    All this comes on top of last spring's meet at Clarion, where the pool was measured, there were two certified officials, there was a USMS observer, etc. But someone failed to turn the paperwork in, so my personal all-time top finish in the TT didn't count either.

    I just feel the rules are stacked in the favor of regions that have tons of USMS meets and/or swimmers wealthy enough to travel, pay for hotels, etc.

    I shouldn't be so petty, but there you have it.

    Jim

    Hi Jim,

    Small meets are always tough for everyone to get enough rest, especially if they really want to do well. For this particular meet, we've since notified the official folks about alternative ways to word the meet information, so that times would be valid for top ten. Let's hope that in the future they change the way it was handled. Unfortunately, sometimes we only really learn things the hard way.

    If you have suggestions on how to get the word out about "open" or "Choice"
    events not being valid for top ten, please pass them on. Or perhaps you have a suggested rule change.

    Good luck at future meets.
    Mary Beth

    Okay, I am more or less spent. I only ask that someone familiar with the rules explain why “Open” events can’t count at least for freestyle. Obviously, you can’t expect a time to count if you are using fins or a pull buoy or an underwater torpedo sled. But are there really meets anywhere that allow such items? Assuming you aren’t using some illegal device, is there anything else that can invalidate freestyle (for example, does the 15 m underwater SDK limit apply to freestyle?)

    I propose that in the future, the word OPEN (which many of us grew up thinking simply meant that the event was “open” to any age group) be changed to UNOFFFICIAL. Otherwise, it’s just too confusing to the odd individual like me who does not enjoy curling up with a rule book.

    They say that “once stung, twice shy.”

    I have now been thrice stung.

    They also say, “a nerve struck too many times dies.”

    I greatly fear my USMS nerves are dead.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  17. A Christmas Workout

    I’m still feeling under the weather and not able to swim any actual workouts, so I’ve resorted to writing imaginary ones instead. Following up on the Thanksgiving turduckens, here’s a 12 Days of Christmas workout, inspired by [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showpost.php?p=255996&postcount=41"]a comment [/ame]on the Thanksgiving workout forum thread. I posted this workout there, but decided to put it up in expanded version here as well.

    12 Days of Christmas Holdiday workout, done as 12 rounds on 1 day
    On the first day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    A 50 dolphin kick on my back

    On the second day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    2 x half-pool sprints [2 x (12.5 sprint / 12.5 easy)]
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    On the third day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    3 lengths back [75 BK]
    2 half-pool sprints
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    On the fourth day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    4 breaststroke pullouts [2 x 25, with 2 pullouts per length—surface for breath in between and exaggerate glides to see if you can make it to end of pool by the end of the 2nd pullout]
    3 lengths back
    2 half-pool sprints
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    On the fifth day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    5 streamline jumps! [in deep end of pool]
    4 breaststroke pullouts
    3 lengths back
    2 half-pool sprints
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    On the sixth day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    6 fly stroke cycles [ie a 25 fly for some of us]
    5 streamline jumps!
    4 breaststroke pullouts
    3 lengths back
    2 half-pool sprints
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    On the seventh day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    7 lengths of freestyle [175 FR]
    6 fly stroke cycles
    5 streamline jumps!
    4 breaststroke pullouts
    3 lengths back
    2 half-pool sprints
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    On the eighth day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    8 dolphin dives [or 50y of dolphin diving, at 4 per length]
    7 lengths of freestyle
    6 fly stroke cycles
    5 streamline jumps!
    4 breaststroke pullouts
    3 lengths back
    2 half-pool sprints
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    On the ninth day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    9 breaststroke kicks [25y BR kick]
    8 dolphin dives
    7 lengths of freestyle
    6 fly stroke cycles
    5 streamline jumps!
    4 breaststroke pullouts
    3 lengths back
    2 half-pool sprints
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    On the tenth day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    10 strokes of corkscrew [25y corkscrew]
    9 breaststroke kicks
    8 dolphin dives
    7 lengths of freestyle
    6 fly stroke cycles
    5 streamline jumps!
    4 breaststroke pullouts
    3 lengths back
    2 half-pool sprints
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    On the eleventh day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    11 fathoms sculling [that’s 25y scull, if you can manage 1.5 fathom push-offs]
    10 strokes of corkscrew
    9 breaststroke kicks
    8 dolphin dives
    7 lengths of freestyle
    6 fly stroke cycles
    5 streamline jumps!
    4 breaststroke pullouts
    3 lengths back
    2 half-pool sprints
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    On the twelfth day of Christmas, my swim coach gave to me
    12 lengths IM [300 IM]
    11 fathoms sculling
    10 strokes of corkscrew
    9 breaststroke kicks
    8 dolphin dives
    7 lengths of freestyle
    6 fly stroke cycles
    5 streamline jumps!
    4 breaststroke pullouts
    3 lengths back
    2 half-pool sprints
    And a 50 dolphin kick my back

    The workout totals 4350 yards, if you stick to the yardage suggested in the brackets. Plus 40 streamline jumps. Happy holidays!

    [My actual swimming today was more boring: 1300 yards easy, on my own at the Y. I’m still struggling with a cold and some asthma symptoms it triggered. I tried the “freeze a cold, starve a fever” approach over the weekend, and went out to Brighton to swim in the ocean. I managed to do my December loop, but failed in my bid to make my cold disappear. It was still worth it though, because my time in the ocean was at least a respite from the violent coughing spasms I’ve been having. I guess there’s something about immersing your face in water that stifles the impulse to cough--from an evolutionary standpoint I can see how that would be advantageous. For some reason it doesn’t seem to work as well in the pool--too bad!]
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  18. Merry Christmas from Me and Kurt Dickson's Family!

    by , December 25th, 2011 at 10:06 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  19. TT Blogs 2011

    by , January 1st, 2012 at 05:15 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    The competition was, as always, extremely tough this year in USMS blogging. There were a number of familiar names in the Top Ten this year, and a few surprises, too.

    Congratulations to all those who made Top 10 based on the three statistical categories from which the record books are written:

    1. Total number of entries (the Clydesdale Cup, named after the sweaty little workhorse that pulls its weight steadily, ploddingly, and largely without whinnying lament)
    2. Total number of comments (the Pretty Pony Puff Princess Award because this is, let's face it, a popularity contest/gauge of the blogger's appeals to swimming cliques)
    3. And finally, Comments to Entries Ratio (the Thoroughbred Championship Prize, i.e., the only one of these Top Ten blogging categories that really means anything--an excellent proxy for literary excellence combined with swimming magnificence and genuinely deserved adulation. Interestingly, this is also the only category that the USMS leadership is seriously considering awarding the winner with All American Prime status, the "Prime" meaning that it is just a notch above ordinary All American status.

    I am sure everyone is very nervous, so I won't drag things out any longer. Let me now open the envelopes in sequence.

    Total number of entries


    Congratulations to our perennial Clydesdale Cup winner, Leslie "the Fortress" Livingston! You go, girl! Did anyone else think they had a chance? Neighhhh!

    Total number of comments


    Oh. My. God. ! The Fortress does it again, easily capturing the Pretty Pony Puff Princess Award with nearly 13,000 comments! If you could bottle this kind of well-deserved popularity, you couldn't keep it on the store shelves!

    Comments to Entries Ratio


    I can't believe it! Honestly, this is embarrassing! Had I any idea that I was even in contention for the top award in swim vlogging in any medium across the world and in any language, I would never have covered these blogging awards in my, well, er, I guess I have no choice but to call it what it is, my top-Thoroughbred-Championship-Prize-winning-All-American-Prime-Potentially-Earning blog! Thank you all SO MUCH for this!

    It's going to take some getting used to this idea that I am a National Treasure. Please, give me a little time.
    The cat of deserved fame may have my tongue for a little while!

    Meanwhile, feel free to discuss amongst yourselves this incredibly good news about me--a brilliant end to 2011, and even more brilliant start to 2012--in the infinite commentary space below.

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  20. Mixed Speed Play, Thursday, Jan. 12

    by , January 12th, 2012 at 04:08 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim/SCY/Solo:

    Warm up/Transition:

    600 various
    6 x 50 fly drills
    6 x 25 shooters w/fins @ :35
    6 x 50 free w/paddles @ :50
    50 EZ

    Speed/Power Sets:

    6 x 25: power kick to 15 meter on belly + over kick free, no breath, to wall @ 1:00
    50 EZ

    6 x 25: 15 m "floating" shooter @ 1:00-1:15
    -- float at 15 meter mark, explode into fast shooter to wall, cruise back to 15 m mark
    100 EZ

    6 x (25 "barge" kick w/fins + 50 EZ)
    -- "barge" kick = hold kick board horizontally with hands and keep underwater and kick
    50 EZ

    6 x 25 free w/parachute & paddles @ 1:15
    50 EZ

    4 x 25 back shooter w/parachute & fins @ 1:25
    -- parachute broke on #5 . tried to tie it, but it wouldn't hold
    50 EZ

    6 x (25 AFAP free w/fins + 75 EZ) @ 3:00
    -- went low to mid 10s
    -- might have done 7, lost track as I was wondering if the noodler in my lane was ever going to leave so I could do fast 50s
    50 EZ

    2 x (50 AFAP fly w/fins + 150 EZ)
    -- went 23 lows
    50 EZ

    Total: 3800

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

    Did a longish speed workout today. Had a good chunk of time and took plenty of rest. The mix of different things made it very fun!

    Read a couple interesting USAS links by email:

    The Secret to a Good Kick, which has a video comparing flutter kicks:
    http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsA...=4065&mid=8975.

    Best Barbell Exercise:
    http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsA...=4071&mid=8712

    I also read this snippet about working on your SDK. So true!

    "We are frequently asked for dolphin kick training tips and ideas to improve under waters. We have found that the keys to a strong dolphin kick are core and leg strength, ankle flexibility, and executing quick, snappy kicks that finish all the way through the toes. Based on these keys, we recommend using both vertical kicking and a monofin to improve dolphin kicking.
    Doing sets with a monofin will not only build strength in the appropriate core and leg muscles needed for dolphin kick, but it will also improve ankle flexibility. The key with using a monofin is to start slow and build up to larger sets as the swimmer becomes stronger.

    Sample Monofin Set:
    8 x 25 @ 1:30 all out kick for time"
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
Page 11 of 20 FirstFirst ... 789101112131415 ... LastLast