Hopefully, I have not lost anyone with the brief recap above, but if so, please simply revisit http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=11260
and join the 485 viewers so far who have tremendously enjoyed
living my abject swimming meet misery in a vicarious way.
But enough about the distant past. It is time now to move onwards towards recalling in detail the marginally less distant
I retired early, hooked myself up to the CPAP machine, read some more of The Girl Who Played with Fire
in a bed where bad things are done
, nodded off, and dreamed of my new residence as a swimmer, that is to say:
Picture courtesy of the magnificent Chicken of the Sea, a woman who I hope, like all women readers of my vlog, will not be offended by the pervasive male notion that there is no worse place for a male athlete to reside during a meet than the Platypusary; and no better place to reside in celebration of meet accomplishments afterwards than the same. Alas, for Jimslie, the timing of his residency here was precisely the opposite of optimal.
As I slumbered, I am not sure what exactly the energetic Livingston girls were up to, though it is possible they were filming a television commercial for cold creme. Which one is the daughter? Which one is the mother? Who knows? They look like mono-zygotic twins, one of whom has had a gene mutation shortly after the first cellular replication of the zygote, a mutation leading to hair color the likes of which is rarely seen outside of Lucille Ball and/or Carrot Top.
I got up, as is my new wont on CPAP, around 6:30 a.m., crept downstairs in my pink socks, read The Washington Post
, and gave myself a pre-meet pep talk:
You suck. You are a bad, slow, pathetic worm of a swimmer. You have been deluding yourself for years thanks to those ridiculous body suits you have been wearing. You are not a swimmer at all. You are not even much of a body kayaker, but without your body kayak, it is a wonder you can swim at all. I am surprised the lifeguards let you dive in without first mandating a deep water test.
But on the plus side, with this meet you have a chance to set a new personal low water mark. You are swimming so slowly that only an utterly incompetent person would not be able to improve on your performance in the future. Of course, the odds are overwhelming that you are just such an utterly incompetent person.
There's something about my daily affirmations that almost always perk me up. When Leslie, Rich, Michelle, and I headed back to The University of Maryland's world-famous
MIDOL Extended Relief (R) Natatorium Complex
, (call me old-fashioned, but I really this corporate purchasing of naming rights for athletic facilities has gone too far), I was determined to show the world what I was really made of--putrescent foul-smelling pustulent rot!
At the meet, another familiar forumite had arrived to cheer on her fellow losers:
Alison Simpson SwinShark Moore and I do an impression of narcoleptic lemurs on meth. We are two of the very few forumites who are 100 percent committed to President Obama and continue to send his re-election campaign as much money as we can possibly afford. Why? Because we both know we will be going on welfare soon.
After the joke photos have been taken, Alison and I turn serious. We point out each other's respective swimming infirmities. In Alison's case, it is a recently removed Manitou from her right ankle, a "cyst" that had threatened to grow into a malevolent Indian Midget God; in my case, it is an enormously fatted gut filled with visceral fat, precisely the sort of victual favored by Manitous.
After warm-up, I noted that my legs--though a bit less cramp-prone than the day before, thanks to A) the pink socks, and B) Leslie's kindly agreement to raise the air-conditioning setting up to 67 degrees as opposed to 66, my toes were nevertheless continuing to move under their own volition
, that is, with no conscious input from me. This desultory shifting around, though normal enough in my restlessly flaccid manhood, is nevertheless not the norm in my toes and invariably presages problems with cramps.
I thus initiated a series of stretching maneuvers and anointment of the piggies with hot water in the shower.
Jimslie shows the other Jimslie how to stretch the pectoral muscles beneath freshly shaved moobs (male boobs). Note how the other Jimslie has absolutely no need to shave her own foobs thanks to the continuing legalization by FINA of enormous technical body suit covering of female flesh. Really, if FINA had any interest whatsoever in fairness, Leslie, Eney, Michelle, et al should be forced to wear male jammers and modesty pasties. Note: I may have to vlog in the future about my campaign to mandate FINA-approved pasties for female masters swimmers. If I forget to do this, please remind me.
As I climbed the blocks for today's first event, the 400 m freestyle, I felt my thighs cramp slightly. I told myself the following:
- Don't dive with gusto or the lifeguards are going to have to use the hook on you.
- Swim the first 50 slightly out of your comfort zone; the next 100 easy; the next 50 slightly outside your comfort zone; the next 100 easy; then build the last 100.
- If you suck, you will have established a new time you can beat in the future. If you don't suck...well, you are going to suck.
Last year's time, in a B70 at Indy, was:
Leg Cumulative Subtractive
1 35.14 35.14
2 1:15.38 40.24
3 1:54.79 39.41
4 2:34.19 39.40
5 3:12.20 38.01
6 3:49.58 37.38
7 4:25.50 35.92
8 4:58.31 32.81
Imagine my delight, therefore, when I looked up at the scoreboard for this year's race and saw that I had beaten this (albeit slightly) in a pair of jammers! Woo, thank god, hoo!
Leg Cumulative Subtractive
1 34.84 34.84
2 1:14.68 39.84
3 1:54.11 39.43
4 2:32.32 38.21
5 3:10.71 38.39
6 3:48.23 37.52
7 4:24.40 36.17
8 4:58.22 33.82
Adding to my delight here was the fact that my second 200 split was only .1 slower than my actual 200, with a dive, the day before, adding more evidence that the cramps and missed turn, more than total suckiness of body and character, had accounted for yesterday's pitiable performance in my best event.
And adding even more accelerants on my smoldering bonfire of joy and redemption: thanks to this year's relatively pedestrian swims in the 400 in my age group peers, today's 4:58.22 actually put me in third place nationally in the event rankings (though I understand another fellow, who swam worlds masters, is also ahead of me):
1 Wood, Larry W56 4:53.58 TXLA USMS 2010 Summer National Championships
2 Guadagni, Peter M55 4:57.40 WCM USMS 2010 Summer National Championships
3 Thornton, James58 4:58.22 TPIT 2010 Colonies Zone LCM & 6th Annual Terrapin Cup
If I'd known how close I was to glory, perhaps I would have swum a few more of the 8 lengths outside my comfort zone.
At this point, I was a little confounded. My 50 was decent, 200 awful, 400 decent, and 800/1500-1600 awful. Part of the reason I came to this meet was to see what effect the FINA suit change was likely to have on my swimming performance. I haven't swum LCM enough to really have a great sense of what various times mean, and I figured this would be a good way to cushion myself against what I thought would be a severe blow of at least 2 seconds per 100 (and maybe more) of slowing down this coming SCY season.
But to date, the data only told me that the suit changes makes a +6 sec. difference per 100 m in the 200; a +.5 sec. difference in the 50; and a -.01 difference in the 400.
Perhaps my final event, the 100 M free, would yield more definitive data?
Last year at Indy, once again, in full B70 knee skin regalia, I swam this distance in:
Leg Cumulative Subtractive
1 29.82 29.82
2 1:00.87 31.05
And the year before, in this exact same U. Maryland pool, while wearing a Speedo Pro (that was stolen at the meet), I did it in:
Leg Cumulative Subtractive
1 29.69 29.69
2 1:01.63 31.94
When I climbed the blocks this time, my toes were twitching violently, and my arches were in that pre-spasm phase. Again, I reminded myself not to dive off the blocks too hard for fear of triggering cramps, and not to go out too fast for fear of dying prematurely. I knew I would be going considerably slower in my jammer than in yesteryear's full body suits.
The question was how much slower?
My seed time was just under 1:05, and I wondered if--rather than sandbagging--I had inadvertently anti-sandbagged.
Somehow, I managed to finish the distance without cramps, and when I looked up at the scoreboard, I once again found reason for pleasant surprise:
Leg Cumulative Subtractive
1 30.09 30.09
2 1:01.84 31.75
This time was only .97 slower than last year's effort in a B70, and .19 in a Speedo Pro. It also, I was delighted to discover, ended up beating all the women in the entire meet. Among others, I absolutely crushed top place female finisher, Fall Willeboordse,
Women 40-44 100 Freestyle
Pl Name Age Club Seed Time Final Time Points
1 Willeboordse, Fall 44 AGUA 1:00.90 1:01.86 9.00
Who knows how many more hundredths of a second I could have beaten Fall by if she had been wearing a jammer, too, and the pasties I will devote much of next year lobbying FINA to adopt, provided someone reminds me?
But that is neither here nor there.
For now, it was time to celebrate my emancipation from the Platypusary of swimming and into the Platypusary of life!
To the victor goes the spoils. Not that I in any way think of Michelle as spoiled.
So, what did this meet teach me? What life lessons can you, my readers, take from my own experience in travail overcome, adversity leap-frogged, glory obtained via alternative routes?
Let me sum up for you:
- If you are having trouble achieving glory, lower your standards for defining glory. In my case, if you can A) beat Leslie, Eney, and Fall in any event whatsoever, and B) swim in jammers somewhere only one to six seconds slower than your best 100 times in a cheating suit, then you, sir, are a resounding success!
- Positive affirmations are not necessary and, in fact, counterproductive to success. The old chestnut about "you can only achieve what you believe you can achieve" is absolute rubbish and squanders necessary psychic energy trying to talk your mind into something it knows to be false. Better by far to simply redefine and cognitively restructure misery in positive terms. Just as insomniacs often find relief by trying to stay awake, so do swimmers swim better when they prepare themselves ahead of time to swim horribly!
- After a meet such as this one, filled as it was with corporal, mental, emotional, spiritual, and psychosexual challenges, make sure to keep your eye on the road when driving back. I rear-ended a very angry woman while wool-gathering briefly on an entrance ramp.
- Finally, sitting on a guy's lap while fully clothed will not lead to panky or , for that matter, hanky--just the sort of sustained happy memory in the mind of the aged man such as me that will keep us asking for ventilators a little bit longer than we should.