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  1. Monday, March 24

    by , March 24th, 2014 at 04:54 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)


    Warm up:

    600 various
    100 scull
    4 x 50 fly drills

    Main Sets:

    8 x 25 burst + cruise @ 1:00
    150 EZ

    1 x AFAP 50 breast from the blocks + 150 EZ
    -- 34 high-35 flat

    5 x 25 AFAP kick + 50 EZ @ 2:00
    75 EZ

    1 x 25 AFAP swim + 75 EZ

    12 x 25 shooter w/fins to 20y @ :40
    150 EZ

    Total: 2450


    Nothing special to report. Shoulder is still bothering me. Bad timing. Still need to get signed up for Zones. If it's not better by then, it will affect what events I swim.
    Swim Workouts
  2. Monday 3/24/14

    Monday 3/24

    PM only SCY

    400 swim (under H2O turns at far end of pool, open turns at the near end)
    4x75 @ 1:20 kick/drill/under H2O kick w/ fins
    3x100 @ 1:20 smooth D1-3

    4 @ 2:30 pull w/ buoy + paddles + snorkel
    4 @ 2:20 swim w/ paddles
    2 @ 2:20 strong N.S. (1:08/1:04, 1:10/1:03)

    100 EZ

    6x25 @ 1:00 FAST BK w/ fins

    250 EZ

    Total: 4500
  3. Monday, March 31

    by , March 31st, 2014 at 03:55 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Swim/SCY/Solo @ Pitt

    600 various
    100 scull
    100 fly drills
    4 x 50 burst + cruise @ 1:30
    50 EZ
    10 x 25
    odds = 100 pace @ :30
    evens = EZ @ :45
    100 EZ
    2 x (25 AFAP + 125 EZ)
    6 x 50 DPS free and back
    50 EZ

    Total: 2050


    Another taper workout. Will just be floating the rest of the week. I had a massage today and that helped work out some of the kinks from the weekend's meet. My shoulder feels a tad better.

    Final Zones line up:

    50 back, leading off mixed 200 medley relay
    50 fly
    50 free, leading off womens 200 free relay

    100 IM
    50 free, leading off mixed 200 free relay
    100 fly
    50 fly in womens 200 medley relay

    Kind of glad that my first day is all 50s so I'll still have some firepower left for Sunday. I'd like to swim a decent 100 IM.

    If anyone is interested, here are the results from the Dixie Zones: A tad bummed that Sue Walsh broke my 50 free NR by .07. Oh well, not terrible to get trumped by an Olympian.

    Updated March 31st, 2014 at 04:40 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  4. Week 79 - Monday

    by , March 31st, 2014 at 04:31 PM (After a long rest)
    I went to bed very early last night after driving back from Woodlands. My stomach felt much better this morning(still not back to normal) but definately not like yesterday. The pool was setup for LCM and we swam a good workout today.

    Warm up
    400 free with snorkel
    6x50 catchup on 50

    Main Set
    10x300 pull swum, descend 1-4, 5-8, with 9 and 10 fast on 4mins.
    10x50 kick on 1min

    Warm down
    4x50 drill swim by 25 on 1min

    Total 4400LCM

    I held 1.10 pace on the 300's and despite my best efforts to descend I just did not have it today so held a nice fast pace throughout. The kick set I held 50s and felt pretty good. I remember last year when swimming long course that kick was always tough on 1min, but this year I still did not feel great but held 50s pretty comfortably.

    I am really looking forward to a solid week of training this week and hitting the weight room again. Next week I get to swim with pwb in San Francisco and I will also get to swim at UCLA and Santa Monica which I am really looking forward to.
    Swim Workouts
  5. Monday 4/7/14

    Monday 4/7

    PM only SCY

    400 swim every 4th 25 scull w/ snorkel
    12x25 @ :40 odd: under H2O kick, even: drill w/ fins
    4x75 @ 1:00 D1-4

    300 @ 3:30 pull w/ buoy + paddles + snorkel
    4x75 @ 1:00 breathe 3-2-1 by 25
    200 @ 2:20 pull w/ buoy + paddles + snorkel
    4x50 @ :35 breathe every 4
    100 @ 1:10 pull w/ buoy + paddles + snorkel
    4x25 @ :30 FAST FR NO BREATH

    400 EZ

    Total: 3600

    I had planned to do this set twice through, but ran out of time. I am kind of thankful I did, because one round put me on my butt. The quick gear changes and hypoxic work had me incredibly light headed and winded by the end!
    Swim Workouts
  6. 3000-yard swims

    by , April 12th, 2014 at 06:00 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    In the interest of just getting in some low-intensity cardio to help my base I decided to do something I haven't done in a while: a couple of 3000-yard straight swims in the last couple of days.

    Yesterday I did 6 x thru 400 free + 100 back. Today I did 3 x thru 800 free + 200 Back. Both swims were right around 54 minutes (a little faster than that today). I also hit the weights again today after a 2.5k row on the machine (11+ minutes). Felt a lot better today than I did after drylands on Thursday.


    So, as I mentioned about a month ago, I went back out on the academic job market this year... things at my home institution looking really bad (no raises, again; more benefits cuts; enrollment dropping; more cuts to the institution; increased workload; imminent bankruptcy--we've been running off our reserves since the crash; now they're looking at vacating buildings and shrinking the library space?--yikes!). In January and February I interviewed with Baylor University (in my native Texas) and was selected to head their division of Spanish and Portuguese, starting this coming fall semester. The position comes with tenure (so I don't have to go through that again) and is in a very vibrant department... it will be a little strange being in a place that's actually well funded and supports language and culture study, after all the years of struggle at a small state university.

    Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this opportunity, but uprooting the family after fourteen years in the Chicago-Milwaukee area is tough. They are resigned to the move, but not happy about it. Sigh.

    Our real estate agent is coming over on Tuesday for a walk through to see exactly how much value our house has lost in the seven years since we moved into it (we got in high, right before the crash--Murphy's law!). Now we're only about 3 months out from our move and there is so much to do... argh! Guess I'll continue to chronicle the madness here.

    Swimming: 94+ miles
    Rowing: 39 K
  7. Week 81 - Monday

    by , April 14th, 2014 at 09:17 PM (After a long rest)
    I had a decent nights sleep but woke two hours before my alarm was supposed to go off and struggled going back to sleep. I got up and headed to the pool a little early but half way to the pool realized I had given my key up last week because I was out of town and as a result I had to sit outside the pool until the life guard arrived.

    The pool was setup for long course again today and I had another good workout today. I generally felt pretty strong in the water. I have enjoyed swimming long course and I am feeling somewhat adjusted already.

    Warm up
    400 free with snorkel
    6x50 catchup on 50

    Main set
    12x200 pull on 2.40
    10x50 with fins on 1 min swum 25 streamline kick on back and 25 sprint free
    10x50 free on 1.20 swum at 400 pace

    Warm down
    200 easy

    Total 4300 LCM

    I held 2.18-2.20 on the 200s pull and felt good throughout the set. On the 50s with fins I was holding 30s. On the fins at 400 pace I was turning at each 50 and holding 32s.

    Tonight i I lifted and focused on legs. I did 3 rounds with 10,8,6 reps per round at 80%, max, fail by round.

    3x(leg press, left leg extension, right leg tension, left leg curl, right leg curl, free weight left leg lung, free weight right leg lung)

    10 minute on vasa trainer.
    Swim Workouts
  8. Dara, Stump, and Me

    by , February 11th, 2009 at 03:49 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    This just in:

    Charming Stump wins over crowds, judges

    Veteran dog comes out of retirement with record-breaking performance

    At age 10, crowd-charming Stump is 14 years older than I am, that is, after the well-known and oft-verified dog-to-human year conversion is applied.

    Stump has thus emerged as the oldest male Gold Medal winner in the history of competitive sports.

    This just in a long time ago:

    Dara Torres, then 41 and mother of tot, is oldest female in history to get three silver medals in Olympic history. In this picture, Vlog the Inhaler is surreptitiously sucking down great lungfuls of Dara's vapors.

    This not yet in:

    I have another grueling Bill White swimming practice tonight. To prepare for this, I have done my usual of late:

    • worked some in the morning
    • drank 16 ounces of soy milk, consumed one soy yogurt, and interviewed experts on the potential dangers of too much dietary soy
    • took a nap for about 45 minutes
    • awoke 20 minutes ago in a deep stupor of sleep inertia
    • brewed and am now consuming my second round of coffee of the day (it is now 3:30)
    • trying to burst out of my imprisonment of grogginess and effete-dom
    • mentally telling myself that I wil break my own pathetic record in the 200 backstroke at a dinky little Y meet this weekend
    • visualizing how I will do this by kicking SDKs as long as I can off of every turn
    • remembering yesterday's practice when I accustomed myself to flooded sinuses till this felt almost normal
    • and finally, feeling the vapors of ancient Dara fusing with the inspiration of even more ancient Stump, my more proper role model in life because A) he is a male, and B) he is a dog
    • and preparing myself for the missing link transition wherein I become the perfect 56-year-old woman-man-canine chimera bridging the gap between Dara's Silver Excellence and Stump's Gold Magnificence:

    Lordy! Where did this sudden hunger come from?

    (Note: thanks as always to the magnificent Rusty Scupperton for his Photoshopping bewonderment.)

    Updated February 12th, 2009 at 12:16 PM by jim thornton (photo link problems)

  9. Hairstyles for Twins and other Taper Distractions

    by , May 16th, 2010 at 01:04 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Many of you are going to Nationals and hence have probably begun to cut your yardage down for the so-called "taper" period.

    Two-a-day workouts consisting of 16,000 meters per session have been reduced by at least 10 percent. I daresay some of the lazier masters swimmers are swimming no more than 12,000 meters total per day now, all in order to let their bodies "rest."

    Alas, when the body rests, the mind is free to run particularly riotous, or at least that is my experience.

    Perhaps some of you are feeling odd sensations in your shoulders and have begun to speculate on S.L.A.P. lesions and rotator cuff fraying. Perhaps digestive irregularities have caused you to wonder if a diet consisting on 10 percent fruits and vegetables, 10 percent whole grains, 10 percent small sticks you have found in the woods, and 70 percent Activia yogurt has been, perhaps, a bit ill-advised?

    Who wants to swim Nationals feeling slightly bloated?

    Hence your mind ruminates over and over again on whether today is the right time to drop the fruits, vegetables, and whole grains entirely, and go to the oft-recommended 100 percent small-sticks-and-Activia diet?

    If you are thinking such thoughts, chances are you are in need of a major distraction.

    Just as a magnificent race horse can only be calmed down by the presence, in his or her barn stall, of a friendly pony, goat, or some other cuddly friend animal, so does your current swimming thoroughbred status--oh, you know who you are, you magnificent specimens, you!--require the assistance of a little fuzzy animal friend or two to calm you down before your own big show in Atlanta.

    My twin brother John and I are more than willing to be those comical little animal friends for you.

    In this spirit, we have made a short film that is IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO LIKE A LOT.

    It is on a subject that is of no little tangential interest to swimmers, as well: hair.

    To be sure, in this, the final swan song of the high tech body suit for men, the issue of hair is perhaps not quite so feverish as it will be next year at this time.

    But it is still of some interest.

    My brother told me this morning, "You are really going to have to like us to like this movie."

    He may be right. But I am betting that even people who hate us, or at the very least do not like us or are somewhat indifferent to us, will nevertheless like this movie regardless of their lack of affection for the hirsute protagonists.

    To reiterate: unlike some of my other efforts lately, this is a short film that is IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO LIKE A LOT.

    Especially if you watch it quite a number of times and let it grow on you.

    I dare you to prove me wrong.

    Good luck at Nationals; good luck with the small sticks and Activia diet; and good luck managing to stifle your affection reflex for the Thornton twins and their glorious manes of hair from toe to shining heads.

    [nomedia=""]YouTube- How to Hairdress Your Identical Twin[/nomedia]
  10. Groin Disaster!

    by , October 15th, 2009 at 10:57 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Because my idiopathic (as yet) groin disaster is driving me batty with itching, tonight's vlog will be a bit simplified.

    I will be adding no pictures or videos, which I think can only pale in comparison to what your imaginations can supply.

    Moreover, I have lost too much sleep from the itching disturbing my sleep last night that I can't write more than a line or two of coherent prose.

    Thus permit me to approach the topic of fungi invasion of the crease between my left teste and inner thigh, at the very top, the upper left vertex of the isoscelean Delta of Venus (were I a woman), or perhaps the eye bag under Pinocchio's left orb is a bit more like it (were I a man), during a rare moment of Pinocchioian truth-telling, for there is no lie I could tell in all god's firmament that would allow my nose to elongate right now, so fierce is the itching, where was I?--oh, yes, the forms with which I will approach tonight's topic succinctly:

    • a haiku

    • copied comments from my Facebook page, the other arena where I have been soliciting free medical advice, so far without any serious suppliers of same.

    Part 1: Haiku

    Itchy groin mis'ry
    Scalding water from the tap
    Short-lived abatement

    Part 2: Facebook commentary

    (I posted a link to yesterday's vlog-- ; Floyd and Barb both gave it a "like" rating. Then the following comments appeared over time)

    Barb Weidner The ads are for jock itch and genital itch, lol.
    Yesterday at 8:18pm ·

    Leslie Livingston Maybe the ads will give Jim good sources for effective unguents and creams ...
    Yesterday at 10:17pm ·

    James Scott Thornton I think I need to get some Mycolog. Worked like a dream when I was younger.
    22 hours ago ·

    Richard A Skerrett There are tablets you can take that kill from within.
    15 hours ago ·

    James Scott Thornton Are they available in the US? The itch last night woke me up.
    12 hours ago ·

    Leslie Livingston I'm sure they are, Jim, but you have to go to a doc to get a scrip. The tablets work much faster on nasty funguses.
    11 hours ago

    Richard A Skerrett Definitely worth a visit to the doc. The tablets are most efficacious.
    11 hours ago

    James Scott Thornton Doctor appointment: tomorrow, 8:45 a.m. Assuming, that is, that the fungus--like a seed pod from outer space--has not by then completely subsumed my entire being and called the doctor's office back and announced, "Cancel my appointment. Anti-fungals are no longer necessary."
    8 hours ago ·

    Richard A Skerrett I think you have been reading too much science fiction. The fungus is a wily beast but has not evolved into a dialing organism yet - or has it? Maybe they have new strain in the Idaho wilderness.
    7 hours ago

    James Scott Thornton Part fungus, part wolverine, part Jimbo DNA, and part pure monstrosity!
    7 hours ago

    Jack Martin Fungus consists of millions of living organisms. As a form of life you should respect it's right to live and try to coexist with it! War against fungus is not the answer. Try to see the world through the fungi point of view! If the world didn't have fungus we wouldn't have penicillin!
    6 hours ago ·

    James Scott Thornton I would love to find a PETA member who would come and scrape off every single little fungi from my groin and save same from the horrible death I am praying modern medicine will bring them...

    You do raise a good point, though, Jack. I am being selfish, aren't I?

    Yikes that itches!
    6 hours ago

    Jack Martin "Selfish" is probably not the right analytical framework in this situation. I think we need to look at it through the cost benefit analysis which will be used in the new government health care package. Example: An 80 year old man needs a hip replacement for $100,000, he is only expected to live another 3-4 years, so a hip replacement is a waste... Read More of money. The money is better spent on psychological counseling for 100 career criminals, in order to convince them that rape, robbery and murder are, although an understandable reaction to their deprived childhoods, improper reactions to the stress of modern society.

    In your case this analysis progresses as follows: Jim Thornton's groin; no value to society and little value even to him (57 years old, 2 kids, etc., his groin has done all it's ever gonna do). The value of a new form of fungus: heck for all we know, this particular strain may cure cancer! Result: the fungus lives, Jim's groin?
    3 hours ago

    James Scott Thornton Jack, I can see why you are such an excellent prosecutor! A steady, rational, inarguable accumulation of factoids that lead to one inescapable conclusion:

    cut out Jim's hip and give it to the old man, then let the 100 career criminals feast on what's left.
    15 minutes ago

    Tom Patterson Just take out Bernie Madoff's hip, give it to the 80 year old and let the prisoners feast on what's left of Bernie Madoff's remains.
    11 minutes ago

    James Scott long as we're dissecting Bernie, can I have his groin for transplant?

    2 seconds ago

    Epilogue...or prologue?

    Doctor's appointment tomorrow at 8:45 a.m. Just took another scalding shower, a trick I learned for ameliorating (temporarily) the itch of poison ivy.

    In addition to the original small lesion, that looked like one of those between-the-toes cracks you can get from Athlete's Foot, like a tiny smirking mouth, I now seem to have developed a major allergic reaction to cheap generic drug store anti fungal foot creme applied to the groin. I followed this up with heavy duty cortisone creme prescribed for a finger fungus, and this seemed to do nothing but further hamper my body's attempt to repel the little invaders. And now, exacerbating it all, third degree burns from the shower in an attempt--as the Japanese poets might put it--achieve the bliss of "short-lived abatement."

    If I had the energy, I would try to add one further form of writing to tonight's vlog: the updated folk song.

    I have only one line so far:

    Where have all the groin doctors gone, long time passing?

    Dr. Dixon! Where the hell are you with my free sample of nystatin-oxycontin mustard plaster?

    Why hast thou forsaken me, Dr. Duxson?
  11. PANE and MLE, Others to form alliance; Thorpe as spokesman?

    by , July 19th, 2010 at 03:24 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    They [noodlers] do seem to have a bitter hatred for actual swimmers.... perhaps that's grown out of the fact that some of them just can't do anything more athletic than that? (Not to say it’s not athletic, but I would venture to guess swimming is harder)

    --Post by
    [ame=""][B]bzaks1424[/"]U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]

    That's for sure, especially in my case! Those noodlers made my life a living hell! And, I truly believe that a big part of it was exactly what you stated. I think they resent the fact that I'm younger, more athletic,
    can actually swim,and, worse yet, can swim butterfly. I really think I was the victim of their insecurities, jealousy, and resentment. Even still, swimming DOES make me happier! There is no way I'm letting the noodlers get me down!

    --Post by
    [ame=""][B]ElaineK[/"]U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]

    on “Does Swimming Make You Happier” thread:
    [ame=""]Does swimming make you happier? - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]


    I think my fellow posters and closet sufferers of noodle prejudice or noodlism need to reserve judgment.

    I will stipulate that PANE, or the Professional Association of Noodle Exercisers, is
    not taken all that seriously in the sporting world, and indeed its bid to become an exhibition sport at the London Games remains a long shot at best.

    However, the sport's reputation may be changing.

    I have it from highly reliable sources that Heather Turnipseed, executive director for PANE and wife of Michael Turnipseed, PANE's CEO-for-Life, are now involved in serious negotiations with MLE (Major League Eating), IFCE (International Federation of Competitive Eating), and AICE (
    Association of Independent Competitive Eaters—“Home of Picnic Style Rules”) to form a strategic alliance/new sports league featuring a fusion of the two fastest growing fitness activities in the US today: noodle aquacize and high-speed hot dog ingestion.

    Executing a flawless backstroke up-the-lazy-river lollagag. It looks easy, but I can assure you it's anything but!

    You try wolfing down dozens of dogs while a hostile crowd yells, Choke! Choke!

    Your humble narrator, it should be pointed out, probably deserves at least a little credit for this new sports league if, indeed, it does get off the ground, promising to give legions of obese aging American's a new venue for athletic competition.

    The rough sketch by Jim Thornton which is on the cusp of launching a whole new Wide World of Sporting Ecstasy and Agony.

    Insiders tell me that PANE and the Hormel Corporation have jointly developed a gigantic, swim noodle/hotdog for use in a new highly telegenic biathlon.

    The giant hot dog, or Frankenfurter, has aspects of both the conventional dog and the recreational noodle. It is made of Styrofoam and pig snouts ground into a fine slurry, then congealed with sawdust collected from the abattoir flooring in a process dating back at least as far as Upton Sinclair's
    The Jungle.

    It's been a while since I read this book, but I am pretty sure this cover art depicts some kind of Slavic fellow wrestling a cow that he thinks is trying to cheat him.

    Competitors in the new duathlon will first execute a series of complex noodle aerobics maneuvers in the pool before quickly moving--either by ladder or hydraulic hoist--to dining tables set up on the pool's perimeter. The first to polish off his or her noodle will be declared the winner, provided, of course, that drug testing reveals no PEDs such as abnormal ghrelin levels and/or leptin suppressants.

    Besides large purses for victory courtesy of Avandia, Alli, and Olive Garden, the new league is likely to attract huge attention if superstar Ian Thorpe decides, as expected, to go pro next year.

    The Thorpedo in swimming shape then, and Noodle Eating shape now.

    Clearly, the biggest worry that league supporters now have is that Competitive Noodling will become so popular with world-class lallygagging face stuffers that the average person who now participates just for fun might become too intimidated to continue.

    To remedy this, United States Masters Swimming is considering adding a Noodle Eating division and using some of its more popular spokespersons to give clinics around the country.

    Nothing, of course, is certain in this unpredictable world of ours. But stay tuned. The following duo could soon be coming to a Noodle Swmorgasbord near you!

  12. Tuesday, Oct. 7

    by , October 7th, 2008 at 03:19 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    SCY, solo:

    750 warm up (swim, kick, drills)

    Hypoxic SDK set:

    10 x 25 shooters with MF on :35
    1 minute rest
    10 x 25 UW fly spin drill with MF on :35 (this is one of my fav drills, hadn't done it in awhile)

    Main set (one of JMiller's workouts modified)(shoulder a bit sore, swam with fins):

    1 x (4 x 100 free + 50 IM on 2:30)
    1 x (4 x 100 kick + 50 free on 2:30)
    2 x (4 x 50 fly or fly drill on 1:00 + 2 x 100 free on 2:00)
    2 x (4 x 50 back on :45 + 2 x 100 kick on 1:30)

    100 EZ
    50 back AFAP with fins from push (cramped) (:27)
    200 C/D

    Total: 4300
  13. Wednesday, October 8, 2008

    by , October 8th, 2008 at 11:32 AM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCY with Carrie

    300 swim, did 150 free/150 back
    3 x 100 kick, 1-2 on back on 2:10, 3 breast kick with board
    4 x 50 as 25 drill/25 swim dps
    8 x 25 on :40 IMO

    Main Set
    8 x 100 on 2:00, odds IM, evens free, (ave 1:30 on IM, 1:22 on free)
    8 x 25 kick on back, on :45 done as 1/2 UW SDK - 1/2 flutter kick on surface
    (Goal was to count kicks on 1st one, then hold that count and try for more dist. Was doing 12-13 yds on 15 kicks)
    6 x 50 back on 1:00
    4 x 50 on 1:15, 1 & 3 25 fly/25 free and 2 & 4 25 free/25 fly

    100 free/DAB to cool down

    2600 yards

    45 minute spin class at noon.

    I had some extra time in the evening so I got out the Monofin and went to the pool for about an hour and did the following.

    Short Warmup consisting of:
    200 swim free and back
    2 x 100 flutter and dolphin kick on back
    2 x 50 drill

    Main Set
    4 x 100 kick w/ monofin on 1:45, odds on back, evens on belly w/board. (ave 1:12-15)
    4 x 50 free on :55
    8 x 25 spin drill w/ monofin on :45, by doing 4 kicks in each position, I can almost cover the entire 25 in 1 cycle
    4 x 50 free on :55
    rest an additional 1:00
    50 fly as 25 at about 90% then 25 afap. went :34
    cooldown with 200 easy free and DAB

    Total 1750 y

    Updated October 9th, 2008 at 01:22 PM by poolraat

  14. The Night Strangler, Part 1

    by , May 9th, 2010 at 11:16 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Too tired to explain, but I will try to follow up soon with more details.

    In the middle of magical thinking.

    A cure! A cure!

    If nothing else, perchance a blow hole?

    On this note, I bid you all a good night. I wish I could go gently into mine.

    [nomedia=""]YouTube- The Night Strangler Part 1.[/nomedia]
  15. Ande's Swimming Blog

    by , September 17th, 2008 at 03:25 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Ande's Swimming Blog

    I swim for Longhorn Masters coached by Whitney Hedgepeth at the Texas Swim Center in Austin Texas.
    Swim: fly, back, free, and IM.
    50's & 100's,
    200's, 400's & 500's Sometimes,

    Events and Times

    Ask Ande

    Swim Faster Faster

    1980 & 81
    Coached by Paul Bergen in Austin, TX, high school JR & SR year

    1981 - 86
    Coached by Eddie Reese at the University of Texas at Austin
    swam 50 & 100 free, 100 fly, 100 back & 200 IM

    On March 23rd, 2005,
    I started posting details about my workouts and meets at
    my last post was September 19th, 2008
    Then it was closed

    Updated December 9th, 2008 at 11:58 AM by matysekj

  16. John Kinsella, James Brown, and a Zonesman

    by , May 3rd, 2009 at 02:17 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I don't honestly think it's swine flu, but it is something, and it is nasty enough to flair the dripping nostrils and curl the vestigial vertebrae in one's lower spine and make one whimper with the shrill sound: Suuuuuuiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

    Under such conditions, you must please forgive the fact that the Trilology cannot hold to its original linear structure but must necessarily and instead jump around a little bit to keep the reader's interest stoked and the vloggist's hopes of survival extant.

    I need, in short, a dose of remembered magnificence, for one short week after this occurred, no traces of it remain in the ruined corpus that is me in my present sickness.

    It it not I but my brain now that is swimming around, looking for an exit from the pool and fast taking on water.

    One moment: must grab a cookie to give the urge to vomit something to do with itself.

    Okay, better. Now, for some bragging that I hope will scare the viruses into abandoning my body out of fear I might one day regain the now disappeared fortitude of last week's quadruple Zonesman...

    John P. Kinsella was one of my adolescent swimming heros, the first human to ever swim under 16 for 1500 long course. From Wikipedia:

    John Pitann Kinsella (born August 26, 1952) was a standout at Illinois swimming [ame=""][/ame] powerhouse Hinsdale Central High School in the late 1960s. As a 16 year-old, he won silver in the 1500 meter at the 1968 games, finishing second to U.S. teammate Mike Burton.
    Kinsella was a member of the gold medal-winning 800 freestyle relay team at the 72 Olympics. In 1970 he was awarded the Amateur Athletic Union's James E. Sullivan Award for outstanding amateur athlete. In that same year he became the first person to swim 1,500 meters under 16 minutes. Kinsella, Mark Spitz and Gary Hall, Sr., were part of Doc Counsilman's team at Indiana, which dominated men's college swimming in the early 1970s. Kinsella was the NCAA Division 1 champion in the 500 and 1650 freestyle events in 1971, 1972 and 1973. After college, Kinsella went on to swim professionally, setting a time record for swimming the English Channel. He is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

    Imagine my discovery of his time in the 500 free at Y Nationals:

    4 Kinsella, John P 56 Cedar Rapids IA 5:45.80 5:26.07 5
    28.58 59.96 (31.38)
    1:32.37 (32.41) 2:05.28 (32.91)
    2:38.63 (33.35) 3:12.34 (33.71)
    3:46.07 (33.73) 4:19.73 (33.66)
    4:53.13 (33.40) 5:26.07 (32.94)

    Granted, John is a bit older and longer in the tooth that I am now. My birth date of Sept. 24, 1952 means that I am almost one full month more youthful and vigorous than he is, chronologically speaking. And who knows what he has done with himself in the intervening years post-English Channel Record Establishment and International Swimming Hall of Fame Enshrinement?

    If I had been him, I might have been tempted to take some time off.

    But I am not him, and thus have spent the intervening years paddling back and forth in the human broth at the Sewickley YMCA.

    Here is my own most recent 500 free style performance:

    Men 55-59 500 Yard Freestyle
    ================================================== =============================
    ZONE: Z 5:27.37 4/12/2008 James Thornton, TPIT-AM
    NATL: ! 4:57.82 5/20/2007 JIM MCCONICA
    Name Age Team Seed Finals Points
    ================================================== =============================
    1 Thornton, James 56 TPIT 5:41.00 5:24.84Z 9
    28.99 1:00.34 (31.35) 1:32.89 (32.55) 2:06.01 (33.12)
    2:39.48 (33.47) 3:13.11 (33.63) 3:47.03 (33.92) 4:20.65 (33.62)
    4:53.52 (32.87) 5:24.84 (31.32)

    Glance momentarily at the final time. Then glance at John P. Kinsella's final time.

    Then glance back and forth in a growing frenzy of ecstasy!

    Another note: look at my splits and how generally mechanical and repetitive they are, a short inaugural surge, perhaps, just to get things started, but then almost pefect metronomic rhythm until the grand finale itself explodes in a froth of glory.

    The great Dadaist himself, Michel Duchamp, famously suggested that there is another human physical activity that we largely desire to be "mechanical and repetitive." I think you may well find that my B70-'d 500, when viewed to a certain accompanying melody, will provide you an inkling into his thoughts.

    Because of various copyright infringement concerns, I am going to ask my viewers to go through a modest hoop at this point.

    I will present two film links now. Your assignment is start the first one, then about 35 seconds later, start the second one. At this point, with both running simultaneously, turn off the sound on the first film, and turn up the sound on the second one.

    At this point, focus your eyeballs solely on the first one (i.e., me swimming) while allowing the second one provide the sound track.

    In this way, you will be able to watch just slightly under five minutes, twenty-five seconds of me giving John P. Kinesella's time a beat down in the 500 freestyle to what I am sure the women viewers will acknowledge is the perfect musical accompaniment to my efforts.

    I hope this makes sense. If you have ever desired in your own life to beat the very best of your era, I invite you to vicariously enjoy my own experience as your own!

    And now....get it on up! The movies, I mean:

    [ame=""]YouTube - Old Man and the B--70, that is: 500 Yards[/ame]

    (Again, this film is your visual beacon--the Money Shot itself--all 6 minutes plus, which includes some preliminary banter by SwimStud and Mermaid, some other ancillary filler, and maybe some fist pumping by me at the end. If you are technically savvy, the actual race starts 37 seconds into the movie, so consider adjusting the James Brown cover accordingly.)

    [ame=""]YouTube - James Brown - Sex Machine (cover)[/ame]

    (This above movie, again, is for sound track purposes ONLY. Press start about the same time the starter's gun goes off in the other film, then ignore everything but Mr. James Brown singing about Mr. James Thornton.)

    Epilogue: If, after watching my performance, you agree with me that I deserve (not for all time, but maybe a couple of days) to get John P. Kinsella's Sullivan Trophy to keep in my house, perhaps we can draft some kind of protest demanding he mail it to me, again, just for a little while.

    I have a spot in my office where I think the Sullivan Trophy would look very, very good and even at home, if you will. Again, I will send it back; I do not believe my recent victory qualifies me for perpetual ownership of the Sullivan Trophy.

    But just a little sharing would be nice.

    Updated May 29th, 2009 at 01:55 PM by jim thornton

  17. Jury Deliberations

    by , November 1st, 2009 at 06:58 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Last week, inspired by Leslie's relentless evangelism for weight training, I began my first tentative steps at countering the considerable sarcopenia of aging that has made me something of a pariah in my nursing home.

    We shall see if this form of exercise eventually makes the attendants less resentful of my frailties.

    I also Googled "advice on swimming with X" wherein X was a long list of possible bubo diagnoses (scabies, shingles, tertiary syphilis, molluscum contagiosum, punishment by God, hysterical pregnancy, character defect, brown recluse infestation, MRSA, groin flu, etc.) If the first medical site Google referred me to said to NOT swim with X, I would check for a second opinion at the next referred site. Then a third, fourth, and in a few cases fifth site.

    Eventually, I found some doctor, somewhere, or at least a homeopathic herbal snake oil sales person, to say that, yes, indeed, it was perfectly safe to swim with X.

    I should add that never once did I have to go to an entirely new page of referred sites before finding a satisfactorily contrarian expert to sanction my return to the water.

    Anyhow, bolstered by science, I weight lifted at the Y then returned to the water on Friday and swam Bill's (as always) excellent practice. The main set here consisted of repeated 400 swim, 200 kick combos, wherein one of the 100s in each were sprints. Total with warm up and cool down was 2800.

    Yesterday, I swam another 2800 on my own--a nicely meditative nonstop set where you take a kickboard and pull buoy and just go 25 by 25, alternating kick, swim, pull, the right implement always awaiting you when its turn comes, for about 50 minutes or so.

    Quick aside on weight lifting. I'd learned from a brutally painful example in my youth to start off with fairly low weights and work your way up over the course of a week or two. Otherwise, you will find yourself unable to scratch your nose, the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) will be so severe two days later. I'd been Nautilusing for about a week, and had stuck to the gradual increase plan--except for one machine. The reason I accidentally overdid it on this one was because it was new to my circuit, and I honestly didn't know how much was too much.

    The machine is that one that targets the abductor and adductor inner thigh muscles. Usually, you see women using this machine a lot, which seems to me to be primarily a super Kegal exerciser. A female friend at the Y today told me as much, confiding that the distaff nickname for this machine is "he loves me, he loves me not."

    Anyhow, with my new and apparently permanent lesion, I figured maybe it was time for me as well to tone up the musculature surrounding my still unclosed groin opening. This was a mistake.

    Today, 2 hours of tennis, more weightlifting, and now a very sore knee from one of the torture devices. I can already hear the snickers from my attendants at the nursing home, their eyeballs becoming stuck in the tops their orbital sockets.


    In any event, regular readers of this vlog may have noticed that the past bit of time has had certain elements of stressfulness for your narrator. Today's drawing is my attempt to bring the inner synaptic world to life in visual form.

    Biopsy results: T minus 38 1/2 hours. Depending on the verdict, I will reveal the diagnosis either here--or behind the shuttered door of the confessional chamber.

    In terms of today's outsider art, I am aware there are certain deficiencies in my technique. However, there are also certain deficiencies in the medium in general, and these are not my fault. I am technologically unable to add an element that could really push this drawing over the edge for even the most picky of amateur art critics.

    If I could add one other sensory input to this proxy for my mental state, that other sensory input being the olfactory one, it would be one of those far northern flowers, which grow in the tundra where no bees fly, and thus must depend upon a different kind of insect for pollination, and thus have evolved the floral scent of rotting meat to bring in the fly swarms: this, then, would be the olfactory input I would chose--a field of these meat-scarlet flowers in full humid summer bloom.

    Breathe in deep with your mind's nose, I beseech you! And we shall await as one the biopsy results.

  18. Obsession de-escalates: Progress?

    by , October 21st, 2009 at 04:33 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Today is one of the last fair weather days we Pittsburghers are likely to see till June.

    Since I live in a sort of woodsy setting, with only one neighbor nearby, and that nearby neighbor apparently out for the day, I took the opportunity to subject my lesion to a new self-help cure attempt.

    Before describing this one-two-three therapy I am attempting, let me briefly describe the theoretical basis for this intervention.

    A one-time frequent poster to these forums, the Mayo Clinic's very own Dr. Tom Jaeger, AKA, Jaegermeister, opined to me through a private message (which I had earnestly and somewhat shamelessly solicted) that:
    A) my pictures of the lesion made him chuckle (what an enormous relief! I know Tom to be the most honorable of all doctors, and surely chuckling at a patient's terminal condition is something he would never, ever do on purpose; thus, from his reaction, I intuited the likelihood that I will live)
    B) that he could not diagnose the condition long-distance, but judging from appearances, he had a "hunch" it was fungal (you will recall that our favorite beloved fake doctor, that is to say, me, came to the very same conclusion last week)
    Armed thusly with this new insight from Minnesota, and inspired by the virtually unheard of appearance of the sun in our parts, I began Sherlocke Holmsing some possibilities.

    Ille: Fungus. Hmm. What do we know about fungus?

    Hic: Well, a mushroom is a fungus.

    Ille: Yes, yes. It is, isn't it? And where do mushrooms prosper?

    Hic: I am fairly certain that mushrooms, like vicious gossip about the size of Jim Thornton's manhood, prosper in the dark.

    Ille: Yes, the dark! And what else?

    Hic: Mushrooms like moisture, as well. Dark, moist, dare I say dank chambers! Like a basement in the Delta Delta Delta sorority house.

    Ille: Yes, they do like such places. Again, the same venue as where vicious gossip prospers, too. So, what do you think we should do about making the mushrooms in Jim's lesion uncomfortable?

    Hic: That is elementary, my dear Ille! Sunburn and dessication therapy!

    Ille: Exactement!

    Today's picture reveals the lesion after:

    1. 10 minutes of full sunbathing on the front porch
    2. a shower with Ivory soap
    3. 15 minutes of high speed fan blown directly upon the lesion
    4. cotton balls to soak up the epithelial moisture

    After the above therapy, I quickly photographed the lesion for today's visual progress report then anointed the area with the second thin layer of antibiotic cream, packed wound with further layers of cotton balls and toilet paper, put on clean underwear to hold the packing in place, and began writing the vlog.

    Life, however, does not stop for a vloggist, but rather continues to crank out new elements to examine and suffer or be delighted by.

    As Epictetus himself so nicely put it:
    Time is a river, and a violent stream, and as soon as a thing is seen, another takes its place, and this too will be carried away.
    One of each of these species of distraction accosted me as I was preparing to upload today's picture.

    On the delightful side, the phone rang, and after a number of cautious inquiries by a female voice on the other hand, it was determined that I am me, at which point the lovely Anna Lea Matysek announced her own identity.

    She was calling to tell me that she is an expert on Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, and that I am not a victim of it. Tragically, her father died from the condition a decade ago, most likely the result of taking and developing an allergic reaction to the sulfa drug Bactrim. He might have avoided the condition altogether except that his immune system was already compromised by chemo therapy for non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

    I asked Anna Lea if it was possible that I had Johnson's-Steven Syndrome instead of Steven's Johnson Syndrome, at which point her husband and (web) master, Jim Matysek, could be heard opining in the background that I definitely appear to have some sort of Johnson syndrome.

    Perhaps not wishing to offend me, he quickly added, Maximus Johnson Syndrome, to which I had no choice but to come completely clean on such a front and add, "It is obvious he has never been in the basement of Delta Delta Delta."

    On the suffering side, our phone conversation was suddenly interrupted by the leaf blowing, lawn mowing sounds of heavy machinery outside my lady-bug-encrusted windows.

    The lawn guy had arrived with his arsenal of plant torturing devices.


    I realized that our beloved Linus, the family guinea pig, whom we will only eat in the absolutely most dire of protein-deficient circumstances , if even then, we love him so much, was outside grazing on the hydrangea and enjoying the freedom that comes from being a guinea pig owned by benevolent owners.

    Our two pugs, Lefty and Biscuit, were out guarding him from hawks. (We are pretty sure that Linus, who cannot see himself in a mirror, and thus has no idea what he looks like, has come to the conclusion that he is a pug. The three of them get along quite well and I am sure Lefty and Biscuit have no designs on making him into a meal, either.)

    Dragging Anna Lea via portable phone out into the cacophony of the afternoon, I ran up to the lawn guy and told him to not harvest Linus by mistake with his leaf blower.

    I wasn't able to find Linus--he may have taken refuge in a burrow. But I suspect he will come back home when it's time for his nightly carrot.

    Okay, now, what I suspect you have all been waiting for: today's lesion update picture.

    Maybe I am deluding myself, but it does look to this fake doctor's eye that a wee, wee, wee bit of improvement is now discernible in the flayed skin.

    Or maybe it's just true that, with the exception of mushrooms, pretty much everything looks better with a tan.

  19. Fry, Willy! -- Jim's Week in Review

    by , February 26th, 2010 at 04:48 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)

  20. Depressing Blog You Probably Shouldn't Read

    by , June 26th, 2009 at 04:27 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I have had a somewhat dispiriting week.

    The somewhat, on retrospect, should be edited out.

    The above two sentences pretty much describe things in a "show don't tell" way--i.e., lots of cognitive verbigeration leading to naught, only ever-thickening entanglements--what my brain has begun to do to me.

    My chief areas of concern:

    • My job and prospects to continue holding onto it, and thus continuing to be able to earn almost half of what we spend each month, and by so doing slowing down--stopping is impossible!--the descent into financial ruin;

    • The health care insurance dilemma, from which I spent all day yesterday documenting my attempts to extricate myself, all strategies stymied and leading nowhere

    • The idea that not only will I fail to preserve what I have inherited and pass this on to my sons, but I will quite likely have exhausted it all well before the Great Resting Reward claims me, saddling them with debts

    • Circling back to work, the inability to come up with an idea or even an approach that will satisfy my editor in his demands for an impossible and shifting needle hole for me to thread, and meanwhile, the clock ticks down on my remaining contract, for which two stories are due, and the likelihood of even selecting one by then is looking more and more uncertain

    • The IRS audit final tally and its promise to break my back

    • The real estate empire, such as our collection of unrented slum properties has become, and its bills that demand payment from various municipalities and school districts, this regardless of whether or not we can collect even a pittance of the expenses involved

    Against this backdrop of impotence and frustration and the urge to do something, anything, but finding that no action leads anywhere but to a downwards spiraling direction, like a screw being permanently stuck in wood so hard that the screw, once implanted, can never be removed, I decided this morning to do the one thing that has given me some comfort in the past: i.e., write something morbidly amusing that summons up this nasty bit of psychic territory in which I find myself waylaid--amusing to me, if not to anyone else, with perhaps just a hint of my hero, Franz Kafka, lurking in the periphery.

    And so I tried my best to write a short semi-allegory: the story of how a fellow like you, feeling entirely well, untroubled by woe of any sort, might endure a fleeting sense of nausea, and when such a sensation first arises, you dismiss it, at least at first, as a trifle; a glitch, one of those myriad little mistakes that occur randomly and transiently in any organism as complex as you are--nothing to it, really!; how it nevertheless comes back a few moments later, a wee bit stronger and more enduring, at which point it crosses your mind that perhaps you could be getting sick to your stomach--a still largely ridiculous thought, of course! the stuff of overly dramatic hypochondriacs; and how once again you dismiss the wavelet of nausea, and once again it builds, forcing you to question your recent meals and encounters with Person X or Person Y who may, without you even knowing it fully, upset you; and it is at this point that you realize that you have begun to sweat a little, despite the chill in the air, and that the saliva has started to run more freely in your mouth, as if preparing for something, and the real fear you have been trying to ignore--that you may eventually end up vomiting, that most revolting and unpleasant of acts--oh the nastiness of acidic bile in your throat and mouth and nostrils, the smell of it!--that this real and unsettling fear is now positively asserting itself, refusing to remain under the rug and out of mind; and you realize with a sudden almost frightening urgency that you cannot let this happen;

    and thus, from a complete denial to begrudging acceptance that vomiting is a possibility, but only if you fail to take immediate measures to stop the whole process before it can progress further--easy enough precautions, to be sure, like the quick and shallow inhalation and exhalation of tiny breaths, panting, really, like a queasy dog, and the keeping of your thoughts entirely neutral, focusing on the crisp dry air of windswept mountainscapes, or fields of mint; but then, of course, such thoughts are bullied away by images you cannot stop--the vaguely off-color fish roll you ate earlier and has become a prime suspect for your poisoning, or more fanciful images of your own unconscious helpless fantasizing, undercooked pork sundaes, say, ladled over with the foul-smelling juice in the supermarket packaging, the expiration date long since past; and try as you might to steer your thoughts away, your mouth is overflowing with saliva, and your pores are ejaculating sweat, and you find yourself heading to the bathroom, where you cough, and heave, and mercifully--nothing! And for one final moment, you take delusional comfort in the fact that this time, you have somehow managed to stave off your fate, that your life will not, after all, be turned on its head in this most revolting of directions, that you will not be throwing up; but then your stomach rolls over again, and your abdominal walls constrict with a muscularity you did not know they were capable of, and the revulsion comes in torrents, fouling and contaminating everything in its path, turning your once antiseptic life into something you would have sworn, just an hour earlier, was unrecognizably unnatural but is, in fact, the most natural thing in the world. In such a moment you realize that this has always been your fate, that it has been your preordained destination forever, and that regardless of what you may once have considered your raison d'etre, it is here, in the mix of surrender and relief and ineradicable stench, you have always been fated to end up.

    But somehow, when I went to save my first version of my little allegory, the good version, unlike the one I have ham-handedly attempted to reconstruct above from my burned out brain's late-Friday capacity for memory, it got accidentally erased on my computer and is lost forever.