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  1. Thursday Aug 6th, 2009

    by , August 6th, 2009 at 12:27 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Thursday Aug 6th, 2009

    arrived on time

    2009 USMS LCM Nats started today


    6:00 - 7:30
    whitney Coached
    Garrison pool
    swam with tyler, todd, doug & nned
    beside larry mary katie & paul
    dove in on time

    200 swim
    200 pull
    200 kick
    200 drill
    (all 150 free/50 NO free)

    Main Set
    3 rounds of: descend each round rest :30 after each swim
    400 free
    200 IM
    100 best

    assigned: 20 x 50 with fins @ :50
    1-5 kick 6-10 fly/free 11-15 kick 16-20 back/free
    did: no fins, on kick I kicked a 25 swam a 25

    10 x 100 free pull
    1 - 4 free strong interval on 1:20, 1:15 2nd round
    #5 easy

    here's what we're doing tomorrow for

    Fri 8/7
    free swim until 6:25 am; stretch it out, good head position, good body position; get ready to swim FAST

    Main Set
    10 x 200 @ 5:00
    1-5 descend 1-5
    6-10 Hold pace of #5

    100 easy

    5 x 100 @ 2:30
    1-3 descend 1-3
    4-5 Hold pace of #3

    100 easy

    2,700 plus 25 minute warm-up


    looking for a couple SCM Meets in Oct Nov or Dec, we'll see, want a fast pool & a big meet to provide more rest between events


    Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic
    Orlando, FL
    10/17 & 18

    Ron Johnson Invitational in
    Tempe, AZ
    11/21/2009 - 11/22/2009

    SPMA Short Course Meters Championships in
    Long Beach, CA
    Friday December 4 - Sunday 6, 2009
    Swim Workouts
  2. Friday Aug 7th, 2009 Fast Friday

    by , August 7th, 2009 at 10:18 AM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Friday Aug 7th, 2009

    World gym in San Marcos
    lat press 8 x 35 8 x 40 8 x 45 6 x 50
    lat pull 10 x 150 8 x 160 8 x 175
    bench press 10 x 135 10 x 155 8 x 165
    leg press 10 x 180 10 x 270

    arrived on time

    2009 USMS LCM Nats


    6:00 - 7:30
    whitney Coached
    Garrison pool
    swam with amy, tyler, todd, chris, doug, chris & brandon
    dove in on time

    choice swim till 6:25

    Main Set

    10 x 200 @ 5:00
    1-5 descend 1-5
    6-10 Hold pace of #5
    2:33, 2:25, 2:27, 2:25, 2:23
    2:23, 2:27, 2:24, 2:23, 2:19

    100 easy

    5 x 100 @ 2:30
    1-3 descend 1-3
    went 1:19, 1:14, 1:09
    4-5 Hold pace of #3
    went 1:07, 1:03

    100 easy

    2,700 plus 25 minute warm-up


    looking for a couple SCM Meets in Oct Nov or Dec, we'll see, want a fast pool & a big meet to provide more rest between events


    Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic
    Orlando, FL
    10/17 & 18

    Ron Johnson Invitational in
    Tempe, AZ
    11/21/2009 - 11/22/2009

    SPMA Short Course Meters Championships in
    Long Beach, CA
    Friday December 4 - Sunday 6, 2009
  3. Relay Day -- So much fun!!

    by , August 9th, 2009 at 08:49 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Quickie blog.

    First, no cramping today. Made sure to drink a ton of Gatorade. My GMUP buddy also gave me some quinine tablets, a product from Canada that ge uses called "Leg Cramps.". Also just went with the usual lack of sleep.

    These were my first relays ever at Nationals, and I really enjoyed them!

    Wore B70, as I did on Friday.

    Womens 120 200 free relay, 1st place:

    I think we went a 1:54 or so and was told it was
    pretty close to the NR. I led off with a 28.7, a PB for me. Previous best 29.2. Took 4-5 dolphin kicks on start. 3 breaths. Felt pretty good.

    Mixed 200 medley relay, 200 plus, 3rd place

    Swam the fly leg. Had a bad dive, went in a bit sidesways and and to straighten out. Think I split a 30.1. Very safe start for me, as I'm not that used to relays.

    Mixed 200 free relay 200 plus, 2nd place

    My first relay with Jimby, who swam his little heart out with a blowout in his B70. Very exciting finish. The team anchored by Spock on the forums nipped us at the end. I led off again and went a 28.5. Thus time, I took 7-8 dolphin kicks. I guess more is better.

    I got some good feedback on my freestyle from Coach Bill White, also a Bullet. He said my kick was like a "motorboat.". I never knew this! I always thought my flutter kick was weak and that I wasn't kicking enough. This is apparently because I am doing a flutter-dolphin type motion with my straight arm stroke. I never knew that ... I think Chris has mentioned that he does this in free as well. I've heard if some coaches trying to teach this style. I guess I'm happy to hear that's what I'm instinctively doing. My head is also too high, but again, it was opined that this was because I was undulating. My body must be hard wired to dolphin kick.

    Psyched for the 50 free and 50 back today. Not too worried about times, as I've already got good splits from previous swims. Fortunately, though tired, I don't feel totally broken down like I did at Zones. Off to warm up!

    Updated August 10th, 2009 at 12:47 PM by The Fortress

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  4. Sports Nutrition Findings

    by , August 13th, 2009 at 05:32 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    No exercise to report. However, I did expend a tremendous amount of mental energy reading an article in the latest Rowing News magazine. It set forth highlights from the meeting of the ACSM last May. I'm sure many of you have seen them, but if you haven't, here are some that caught my eye:

    1. Many athletes believe they need protein to build muscle. Yet a study showed that taking recovery protein (from Endurox or whatever) had no performance or muscle building advantages. I guess this is distinguishable, however, from its possible muscle recovery properties. This could be some of the research Jazz was alluding to when he announced that protein may not help build strength and changed his diet to exclude most protein, or at least meat.

    2. Fruits, berries and black currants have antioxidant and anti-inflammantory properties. Real shocker there.

    3. Actual food is more health protective than supplements. Q and Jazz say this all the time!

    4. Almonds are awesome, particularly pre-exercise. Must be why Quicksilver munches them at his desk while sipping green tea ...

    5. Athletes who exercise in the heat should hyper-hydrate, but make sure their sport drink contains a substantial amount of sodium.

    6. Man athletic trainers use pickle juice to treat cramps. SwimmerGirlKT mentioned this on her blog awhile ago. Some report that 1-2 ounces can relieve cramping in seconds. The actual mechanism for this is illusive and indeterminate.

    7. Chocolate milk is a good recovery drink. Wow, who'd a thunk?

    8. Glutamine reportedly enhances recovery, yet a study comparing beverages with and without glutamine during and after exercise did not confirm this.

    9. During exercise, an energy bar, sport drink or gel are all pretty much equally effective.

    10. Exercise apparently improves learning based on studies done with younger children.

    11. And check this out:

    "Many youth swimmers spend hours training for relatively short competitive events. A six-week study with 9-12 year olds suggests high intensity/low volume training offers the same benefits as lower intensity/high volume training."

    So don't burn young kids out! Wonder how this applies going forward as the pre-teens age?

    Updated August 13th, 2009 at 05:58 PM by The Fortress

  5. The pool is being cleaned until Monday...

    but that is just an excuse for not swimming a hard work out. There are other place I could go. I really can't say what the problem is except like a pouty child I am stubbornly crossing my arms and saying "I don't want to!" "So there!". The only thing I know left to do that might break the spell is to set a goal and tell me, myself and you that "I pomise to go to the pool on Monday when it reopens." I hope this breaks the spell. I do know that in the past when I wrote it down in this here blog/ made it happen... Hope it works...

    What I have been doing is

    whitewater kayaking at the whitewater center. I gotta get ready for the Gualey River that runs with a big festival in West Virginia the months of Sept. and Oct. It is a beauty of a place up there, but if I don't prepare it could swallow me up.
    I have been studying and training to become an Advanced Open Water Diver. Even though I have now recieved this certificate I still have mucho to learn.
    Been diving off wrecks in the North Carolina Coast. This was awesome... and diving oysters in the Quarry! The Oyster Dive is an event where about two hundred divers showed up and we went treasure hunting for orange painted oyster that were worth nice prizes like dive trips, regulators, BCD's and other neat stuff.
    This weekend if the weather allows we are off to the coast to see another wreck on the botton of the sea.

    But my biggest regret is my swimming seems to be slipping so...
    So with a hand shake I say to you...
    "I flippergirl promise to swim a good work out on Monday."
  6. Saturday's Bobs

    by , August 29th, 2009 at 06:23 PM (Swimming, Life, and Other Stuff!)
    A.M. swim at FPAC. It was COLD and cloudy this morning. I know this is a good thing w/ Big Shoulders coming up but sometimes it just takes me awhile to jump in.
    I had a good swim today. I felt strong and smooth the whole workout. I have been feeling snarky since nationals and even considered not doing Big Shoulders. It's looking like the water will be cold. I've done a 5k in 68 degrees (that was fine), but when I hear it could be in the 50's I feel weak and scared.
    It's times like this when my best advice to myself is "just shut up and swim!."
    Here's my LCM workout today:

    I'll call this "sets of 500's" (each 500 set on 9:30 interval)
    *500 Free swim
    *2 X 250 Free swim
    *500 Free swim
    *5 X 100 Free on 1:45 (pushing it lcm!)
    *500 Free swim
    *10 X 50 Free (cheated and did on 1:00 interval)
    *500 Free Swim
    3,500 LCM (all free, no fins or paddles)

    My shoulder/neck is feeling much better. I selected 3 exercises off u-tube a week or so ago and have been doing them A.M. and P.M. Good results.
    I had lunch out with Sarah W. We went shopping this afternoon for teacher clothes. She is doing a semester of cadet teaching with 5th graders and needed a couple outfits that were not jeans. She is unable to run (due to knee issues) so I didn't go to the XC meet today.
    I was glad to get the workout in, but I really missed my weekly fix of watching her run!!!
  7. Weights + GMU Swim

    by , September 3rd, 2009 at 04:24 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    HS hi row, 140 x 3 x 10
    HS bench press, 80 x 3 x 8
    rear delt fly, 55 x 3 x 15
    bicep curl w/BB, 30 x 2 x 15, 40 x 1 x 12
    leg extension, 60 x 3 x 15
    seated leg curl, 60 x 1 x 15, 70 x 1 x 15, 80 x 1 x 15
    standing overhand single arm push on double cable machine, 25 x 3 x 15, each arm
    hip hinges w/12.5 lb DBs, 3 x 10 each leg
    goblet squats, 40 x 3 x 15
    leg adductors, 80 x 3 x 15
    external and internal rotators, 10 x 2 x 15, each arm
    3 point arm extensions, 2 x 15
    elevated crunches w/med ball, 2 x 15
    dead bugs on bosu, 2 x 25
    decline reverse crunches, 3 x 20

    10 minutes of stretching


    Got in a longer session today, though I still kept the amount of weight conservative as I ramp up again. I've decided I'm going to do more leg work in the gym. In the past, I've done very little -- just squats and maybe a leg press here and there. I'm going to add in leg extensions and seated leg curls with a small-ish range of motion.

    My legs were slightly sore today from the run -- that's what I get for not running for over 2 months ... I could feel my core muscles too; and those are usually never sore.

    Ran across this article/study on ab work. I was a bit surprised by the rankings of core exercise. I would have expected the ab roller and planks to be higher.

    Chlorine posted this on the forum and it also looks worth looking at:

    I'm heading to Mason tonight and will update my blog with my swim later. This will likely be one of my last Tuesday/Thursday night sessions, as my kids' practices/dinner/homework tend to interfere with me getting to these practices during the school year and Mr. Fort is often working/traveling. So I will become a Sunday regular once again. I've heard this Sunday's practice will not contain one stroke of freestyle ...

    I sent in my transfer of affiliation form to re-join GMUP. Though I LOVED swimming with all my Academy Bullets teammates at Nationals. It should be effective by the Sprint Classic. I'll just need to swim the Fall Ball, if I do, unattached.


    Warm up:

    400 swim
    300 kick
    200 IM drill
    100 scull

    8 x 50 kick w/fins @ :50
    2 x (3 dolphin kick on back, 1 dolphin kick on side)

    50 EZ

    Main set:

    6 x 125 @ 1:45 (100 free/25 stroke)
    (I worked the free, cruised the last 25)
    4 x 100 kick @ 1:50
    (I did these fast with fins to get some speed work in and went :59-1:00 backstroke kick)
    6 x 75 @ 1:10 (25 stroke/25 free/25 stroke)
    (I'm not a fan of changing from stroke to free this much. But others love it.)
    extra :30 seconds rest
    6 x 100 pull @ 1:20
    (I did backstroke kick w/fins and held around 1:03s.)

    100 EZ

    Sprint set:

    4 x 25

    #1 UW dolphin kick off blocks
    #2 easy
    #3 fast off blocks
    #4 easy

    20 C/D

    Total: 4050

    Updated September 4th, 2009 at 09:47 AM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts , Strength Training and Dryland Workouts
  8. World Premier

    by , September 3rd, 2009 at 05:14 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    [ame=""]YouTube - Ocean City Selkie[/ame]
  9. Another dover day

    We (Terry Laughlin, Willie Miller, Steve Shtab, Lance Ogren, Mike from near chicago, but i can't remember his last name, and I) planned to meet up for a 10:30 AM swim. Lots of swimmers were already there including 2 soloists from the channel islands, a 6 person double relay from Iceland and a few others that were already in the water. Its a beautiful day, but damn windy with 2-3 foot waves in the harbor. The talk is about weather anyone will have a chance to go out before tuesday (zoiks! tuesday!). We go for a swim... a standard loop with an exra out and back parallel to the north seawall where the waves are the highest... its a washing machine but lots of fun. I know I wouldn't hesitate to go out in these conditions, though the perods on the boat between swims would be less than pleasant.

    At lunch, Terry and I decide to swim again at 5:30.

    We are all hoping for a break in the weather so some of those soloists can get a shot at their crossing.
  10. Bobinator, Wet and Dry: an Introduction

    by , September 10th, 2009 at 04:39 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    1. Preamble to Introduction

    A couple years back, I used to write a column for National Geographic Adventure magazine that I called "Oddventures." The idea was for me to go out and experience various eccentric activities--from powered paragliding to jet-skiing to Siberia, swimming through a feeding frenzy of sharks to blowgun monkey hunting in the jungles of Equador.

    Your standard kind of participatory journalistic fare.

    One time they sent me to set my own personal land-speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats during the annual summer "Speed Week."

    When I was checking into my hotel in Elko, Nevada, home of Floyd "Poolrat" Fisk (who is rumored to be very fond of his tomahawk, but that is an entirely different story), there was this somewhat seedy road person sitting on one of the lobby couches, looking weary and in need of a shower.

    After I checked in, the fellow asked me if there was any spare room in my room. He was pushing 60, had weather-beaten skin, wore glasses and was smaller than me but appeared wiry in a way that signaled sans doute he could beat me up. He spoke with a very pronounced New Zealand accent, something that had not yet been popularized domestically by the arrival of The Flight of the Conchords. If anything, he seemed the sort who might shoot Mauris for fun.

    Anyhow, I let him stay.

    The next morning, when we woke up on our respective twin beds, I said, "Thank god I'm still alive. Don't take this the wrong way, but I was a little worried you might be a serial killer."

    He chortled New Zealandly and replied, "I was a little worried you might be a serial rapist."

    Tony Jones turned out to be an extremely nice guy and lifelong race car aficionado who helped me in innumerable ways with the story itself and later when I had to put the fear of bodily harm into a fraudulent stock broker in Salt Lake City who had stolen a bunch of money from my recently dead aunt.

    Over the years, Tony has managed to track me down several times in various parts of the US and freeload in an utterly charming way, what the New Zealanders might themselves call "brilliant."

    I have patterned myself after him.

    2. Introduction to Today's Film

    In the world of masters swimming, a generally (but not always) affluent sport, the very first freeloadee that I had to convince I was not a serial rapist is everybody's favorite FAF sister, Leslie the Fortress Livingston.

    As some of you may know, Leslie has let me stay at her guest house--I use the "her" here in jest, for I have stayed so often that laws applying to squator's tenancy are by now so much in play that calling the guest house "ours" is even risible. Virtually every legal scholar I've hired conclude that I now own the guest house outright. Of course, given the generosity that Leslie expressed to me in the past when I was propertyless myself, now that I am landed, I would not think of turning her away unless I really, really have need for some solitude!

    Enough tortious technicality.

    This arrangement has actually worked very well, at least for me. There are virtually no USMS meets in the Sewickley area, so if I want to try to make the Top 10, the closest opportunities are in the D.C. area, many held in the George Mason University pool. That's why owning a guest house within a few miles of this facility has been such a boon.

    Leslie gets a lot out of this arrangement, too. I don't mean to be putting words into her mouth, but one example I know she will agree with is that she is much less tempted into overeating during my frequent homecomings. The reason: I take way more than my fair share of the community food. Ah, let's not mince words here. I eat like a rutting swine.

    A win-win.

    Which, alas, brings us to the problem of last summer's Long Course Nationals in Indianapolis. This is a drivable distance for me, but the prospect of having to actually pay for a room when I got there made any chance of attending pretty much impossible. I desperately needed to find a Leslie the Fortress Livingston Midwest.

    The thought that there might be, in all of Christendom, another woman a fraction as saintly in her generosity as Leslie seemed, at first glance, so ludicrous as to make me ignore even trying to find one.

    Most women in USMS, being toned babes with very high gorgeosity , or G Factor, already have husbands or boyfriends who are able to provide them with the one other extraordinary athletic talent that I am gifted with beyond swimming with an almost preternatural slow grace: yes, you guessed my other talent, that.

    I suppose it is possible that some lingerie model, miserably lonely because she isignored by men who consider themselves way below her league, might need the likes of me to remedy her loneliness. But in Indianapolis?

    As luck would have it, I found the best of all possible worlds in the person of today's film subject: Robin "The Bobinator" Walker, a former 2:47 marathoner, mother of a professional skateboarder, kindergarten teacher with more G Factor than you can shake at thick stick at, and a very likable boyfriend who appears to suffer fools gladly.

    Many of you know Bobinator from her posts and blog. In today's film, I attempt to alternate between the swimming and the general living Bobinator in her domestic element.

    3. Dramatis Personae
    in order of appearance:

    Bobinator.......Robin Walker
    Disembodied Voice......Jim Thornton
    Emma, Mayor of the Bobinator's Household.....Emma
    Silver Medalist....Bill White assortment of USMS swimmers and functionaries

    4. Final Note

    This is the first of a planned series of short films from LCM Nats. Please check back for more soon, including the highly titillating Stephanie, Megan, and Jim Sandwich (snippets of which appeared in Ocean City Selkie.)

    Note: I just noticed that I spelled Bobinator wrong on YouTube. Sorry, Bob. Think of Bobintor as a shortened endearative, and thanks once again for a spectacular degree of generosity that has you in the running for this year's Jimmy Award.

    Leslie, if you are reading/watching this vlog, you best be on your toes come Sprint Classic Time if you hope to hoist another Jimmy atop "our" mantelpiecein 2009!

    [ame=""]YouTube - Bobintor: Wet and Dry[/ame]
  11. Swimming Meeted Out

    by , September 14th, 2009 at 04:21 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    This has been one of those days wherein sluggishness, Aleve, exertional headache, overdue library fines, sleep inertia, nausea, political dopamine triggered by hatefests on the left and right, poor swimming performances recalled in tranquility, generic Tylenol, self-disgust, dyspepsia, pricklings of anxiety, eye floaters that include a fresh crop of red blood cell b-b's, isolation, neuralgia, stirrings of desire, premonitions of disaster, sneezing, boredom, impossible to resolve ultimati, and a thousand and one other petty somatic sensations and borderline neurotic tendencies have conspired to make me wonder if I should have just taken more soporifics upon first stirring this a.m. and written the whole business off as a mistake to let the conscious mind even briefly surface and skitter about, looking for some vague raison d'etre that does not for the moment exist.

    (We have all been here, I am sure!)

    But surface the quasi-conscious mind has, breeching the barrier between bad dreams and their awake counterparts, and I am hoping to make it till practice has the chance, at least, to bludgeon me into a better frame of mind and set me up for a repeat.

    The silver medalist Bill has included plenty of hypoxic set in tonight's workout, and surely depriving the brain of oxygen can only help!

    I understand that methamphetamines are fairly addictive to those with weak temperatments, but I am fairly confident that I do not fall into this category.

    Oh, to be artificially awake once more before the Great Resting Reward takes over completely!

    Fully, vibrantly, utterly awake and on the edge of my seat tingling with excitement and anticipation!

    Who among you has spent your own desultory Monday free of craving exactly this?

    Yesterday, we had our first meet of the Allegheny Mountain YMCA Masters Swimming Association season , for whom the impresario and meet director was the inimitable Mermaid at her "home" pool of the Bairyl Family YMCA in the Wexford, PA area, former temporary home of one Christina Aguilera .

    Unlike another AMYMSA swimming venue, the Meadville YMCA, where it is at least possible that the waters in which we race were once shared by Meadville's celebrity vixen, Sharon Stone

    there is no possibility whatsoever that Christina Aguilera's body has graced the Bairyl Family YMCA pool, because by the time this was built, she was long long long gone from our hickish region.

    In any event, my times in yesterday's meet were terrible, this despite wearing a B70 in the hopes of getting a little tiny bit more life out of it before my times get even more terrible, and the illusion of youthfulness is ripped asunder forever!

    100 free 54.07 pretty much says it all, though it is conceivable that swimming a 50 relay less than 5 minutes before my heat of the 100 could have slowed me a bit.


    To the list of weasely emotions that begins today's blog, let me just add one more: the weirdly disconsolate sense of self-castigation that we whiners and excuse-makers actually DO feel on some level of our alleged souls, though the fact that we whine and make excuses in the first place suggests that this weirdly disconsolate sense of self-castigation is certainly not enough to make us change our ways.

  12. Crazy Little Thing in Indianapolis

    by , September 17th, 2009 at 12:18 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Today's vlog, part of an ongoing series from last summer's Long Course Meters Nationals in Indianapolis, does not require a whole lot of explanation. I do think, however, that a short glossary might be in order:

    Novelty stimulus females: women unfamiliar to a male and hence able to induce the Coolidge Effect during initial encounters

    Refractory period: the amount of time after a "swim" that a "swimmer" requires before being able to "swim" again with any kind of meaningful vigor and/or forward progress. Example: Leslie Livingston swims the 50 backstroke on August 12th, 2009. Seventeen years later, i.e., August 12th, 2026, she is ready to try it again.

    Sexual harassment: words, deeds, actions, inuendo, and the like that are unwanted by those upon whom such is foisted; the kind of boorish behavior that guys like Jim Thornton have dedicated their lives to preventing

    Hymenopterans: stinging insects in the bee, wasp, and yellow jacket families, sometimes linked metaphorically with human love

    Fiction: a work of art that has not actually happened in "reality" but is nevertheless "true" in the greater scheme of things and may, in fact, have happened on an almost nightly fantasy basis since an author's chance meeting with a comely Canadian emigre/soil entomologist/swimmer protagonist (just to use a random example) who has subsequently refused to respond to any or all of his Facebook postings, again, not that any of this is "real" though, again, its essential "truth" is a different story entirely.

    Note: Jealousy welling up within the breast of anyone with any romantic affiliation whatsoever to any of the entirely fictional characters in today's film (despite these characters' resemblance to real people with the same names) is absolutely unwarranted.

    Hanky? No!

    Panky? Decidedly not!

    Nevertheless, please enjoy the most tragic of all human situations...what wasn't but might have been:

    [ame=""]YouTube - Birds, Yellow Jackets, and Novelty Stimulus Teeammates[/ame]

    Updated September 17th, 2009 at 12:27 PM by jim thornton

  13. Lost in Idaho

    by , September 18th, 2009 at 04:32 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Today's vlog, perhaps more than some of my other recent ones, demands more of the viewer than usual. The reason: unlike Ocean City Selkie, which was leavened by my twin brother John's wonderful film making skills, or Crazy Little Thing in Indianapolis, which features no shortage of everybody's favorite human beverage dispensers in their most comely forms, today's film Lost in Idaho features neither cutting edge filming techniques nor the promise of vixens potentially going wild off camera with the likes of me. Which, of course, would only make it not only possible but likely they could be cajoled into going similarly wild with the likes of you.

    Instead, today's film is devoted entirely to me preparing for my next magazine article, this one for Backpacker , a truly wonderful publication that, like me, has been nominated for multiple National Magazine Awards , but unlike me, has actually won more than one of these things.

    My last article for Backpacker involved me spending a dank and sweltering summer in a hypoxic tent to simulate sleeping at an elevation of 11,000-12,000 feet, followed by an autumnal trip to Mt. Elbert, 2nd hightest peak in the continental US, and climb it. Anyone even slightly interested in reading my lowlander's account of this is invited to drop me a line at and I will send you the story in .pdf form for your vicarious amusement and education about HACE, HAPE, and HAFE (high altitude cerebral edema, high altitude pulmonary edema, and high altitude flatulence expulsion, respectively.)

    Jim summits Mt. Elbert. Note: Photo is not to scale.

    Making today's film even more challenging that its sheer length (Flip video cameras come with a little editing program that doesn't make it easy to trim out much detritus, I must say)....

    ... is the fact that it is told entirely in the plodding voice of me, Jim Thornton, who was described by both A) my University of Michigan academic counselor, and B) my Indian guide in the Amazon jungle in the same terms.

    I found out about A) when a Freedom of Information Act dossier arrived at my door and I was able to read my counselor's heretofore confidential "recommendation" for me. This began, "You may be quick to dismiss Jim when you first talk to him, concluding he is retarded. He is actually rather bright but suffers from a severe speech impediment..."

    I found out about B) when I heard Javier tell his brother Stalin something in Spanish, and when I demanded Stalin translate it, he said, sheepishly, "My brother say you talk like slow child."

    Anyhow, please bear with this, and I offer you a money back guarantee that you will find the logistical preparations of a world class professional paid adventurer like Mathiesson or me to be quite eye-opening.

    Let me check now to see if YouTube is finished processing this nine-minute extravaganza, at which point I will let my spoken words speak for themselves....

    No, still processing. Soon, very soon, we can all enjoy.

    Hum dee dum dee dum. Let me see. Hmmm....

    I know, let me say a word about swimming.

    On Wednesday, I did the most butterfly by far in a single practice than I have done in probably 5-7 years: a total of 700 yards worth. I am thinking that since I know what my times for freestyle are in the speed suits, and since the speed suits are looking to go away, I will use this year to reinvent myself as a butterflier. My times here have always been pathetic, so I won't know the difference.

    I hope this makes sense. But if it doesn't, don't worry. You have nine more minutes of enjoyable sense, or possibly nonsense, to go!

    And on this note, I present
    Lost in the Woods
    [ame=""]YouTube - Jim: Lost in the Woods[/ame]
  14. A star is born, and quickly shuffled off stage

    by , September 23rd, 2009 at 10:14 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    A short vlog tonight, one that I don't think I can link to directly. But if the screen doesn't pop up automatically, just click on the inserted link at the bottom of today's writing and then start the movie entitled USAS Masters Jeopardy. It is this year's skit from the Convention in Chicago.

    Our very own special Little Mermaid, an adult-onset swimmer originally from the Alabama portion of Pennsylvania, who has subsequently landed in the big city of Pittsburgh and is struggling valiantly to learn the ways of the civilized world (secular humanism good; nutcase birther movements bad), makes a riveting screen appearance in this film beginning approximately at the 1:19 mark and ending with her being shuffled off the screen around the 1:41 mark.

    The rest of the movie, before and after, might be good too, but I think you might find yourself mesmerized by the 22 seconds that ensnared my own attention, and find that after watching this snippet several dozen times in a row, well, your life beckons and you must tear yourself away. If you can.

    Here, by the way, is a still from this performance to whet your appetites for more. Whet? I think that's how it's spelled.

    Say what you want about Alabama within Pennsylvania, but it does nurture some pretty fine womanflesh of the sort that deserves ribbons at pretty much any fair from Sewickley to Elko, Rocky Mount to the backwaters of Phoenix.

    Click here for the Little Mermaid/Vanna White chimera in languorous motion:
  15. 57 Year Old Heads into Wolverine Country

    by , September 24th, 2009 at 10:01 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Alarm clock set for 6 a.m., I shall be making my rendezvous with destiny and wolverines sometime beginning Saturday afternoon in the middle of the Frank Church River of No Return Wildlife Area in Idaho.

    Today was my 57th birthday, and I must say that 57 really does feel like the new 56, at least after a nap.

    On Facebook, I received so many heartfelt Happy Birthday wishes that I was unable to answer them all with individualized vlogs, so I shall simply attempt to answer the ones that find their way here with this vlog.


    You have taken the fear of death-by-wolverine out of my ruminations by showing me just how grand would be the Jimby funeral in the case that the little creatures of the like pictured below decide to mince me up as some kind of pablum for their screeching kits.

    Eat well, little kits!

    And do not cry for this old multiply pierced by wolverine claws and teeth version of Argentina! I have had as good a run as a person like me can reasonable expect to have.

    And if I do perish in the great woods, do not give up all hope that my spirit, and quite likely DNA, will be extinguished. Thanks to global warming, the Pizzly Bear is a fully recognized mutant that now roams the melting ice fields of norther Idaho, the only one of its kind, tragic really, but nevertheless the kind of compelling image that must set the hearts of teenage girls and their milfish moms aflutter with hope the ursine incubus might come a' roamin' some night for unattended garbage!

    Who knows how many Jimzies might similarly roam the desolate open spaces of the wilderness, how many Jimverines and even Jimcupines and the odd Jameskunk.

    So, enjoy my funeral in the reasonably likely event this is in the offing. And if it is not, I will be back a' vloggin' sometime in early October.

    Until then, if you need to contact me for any reason or about any topic, please do so via the comment section below.

    Leslie, I am catching up. Slowly. Surely. Inexorably.

    And if I perish in the wilderness, let this become the new Wailing Wall where all humanity itself is mourned with poesy and inappropriate jocularity!

  16. Saturday September 26th, 2009 The Big Chill 73 degree pool

    by , September 26th, 2009 at 02:22 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Saturday September 26th, 2009

    trained in Dick Nichols pool this morning
    pool temp was 73 degrees which was a bit chilly, mostly the initial shock
    7:00 - 8:30
    Whitney coached
    Swam with Jon & Tyler for 900,
    beside sharon & Paul

    decided to wear B70 legs

    swam around 600

    Main Set

    5 x 300 on 1:00 rest desc
    went 3:06 ON LAST ONE

    assigned 5 x 200
    did 5 x 150 k
    went 1:45 on last one

    12 x 100
    drop interval by 5 sec after each 3
    went 1:25 1:20 1:15 1:10

    100 easy

    My focus meet for SCM is:
    2009 SPMA Short Course Meters Championships
    December 4th - 6th, 2009 at Long Beach

    Entered, bot air tix, & reserved hotels

    68 days or 9 weeks 6 days to go Days till Long Beach
    Swim Workouts
  17. I shouldn't be alive!

    by , September 30th, 2009 at 10:24 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    ...but I am

    --from idaho by Iridium satellite

    hallucinating, heaven, or salvation for your soaked exhausted and half-frozen to death vloggist

    not sure if this place is real, but i don't think i would have made another night in the wilderness.

    soaked, rain turned to snow, unbelievably rugged terrain, lost 7 lb., glad to have found this place.

    landing strip in elk meadow.

    flying out of wilderness at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

    i hope i am not freezing to death in a mountain creek, hallucinating this vlog.

    check the link and pray there really is a Root Ranch.

    wrong link above, thank god!

    try this one instead:

    Updated September 30th, 2009 at 10:32 PM by jim thornton

  18. Out of Idaho

    by , October 6th, 2009 at 11:14 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Back to my own little corner of civilization, such as it is, with clothes now dry but not my nose.

    I am not sure how exactly I came into contact with a rhinovirus in the middle of Idaho's nowhere, but apparently I did, and I am back to my sickliness and malaise.

    One of the most interesting facets of being alone in the wilderness is how quickly one realizes that whining is literally a waste of breath when there is no one to whine to. I suggest amending the old chestnut about trees falling in the woods, and whether or not such make sounds if no one hears it.

    Does Jim's whining in the forest make a sound if there is no one there to hear it?

    Unlike the Zen-like precursor question upon which this one is loosely based, the Jim Whining: Noise or Not? Conundrum does have an actual answer.

    No, Jim's whining does NOT make a sound in the forest.

    Babbling, on the other hand, might be a little different.

    My babbling began some time after the third day, when the weather started to turn nippy, and clouds mottled the previously unbroken cerulean heavens.

    It started with me singing a medley of songs with no apparent transition between them oh we love to go a'wandering along the mountain treks, yodelay, yodelee! a'waltzing Matilda with me, and we loaded up our bilabongs and kookaberry sat on his old Dan Tucker!

    And from this music the babbling only intensified and has gotten a hold on me ever since returning to swim two days later in an overheated 25 m pool in the boonies of Pennsylvania oil country yodelay yodelee! and then the next day after our practice of 4,000 pitiless yards through the high grass country losing the trail here and there I remembered the spirit who guided me safely through the wilderness, my only cranially gifted friend, in this he was somewhat different from my two walking stick companions whom I named Hayzeus and H.G. for the one sitteth on my right hand and the other on my left...yodelay, yodelee!

    ...but fevers doused with flooding toddies of Nyquil do eventually break, and I suppose today's vlog will simply serve as a sop to my fans and a teaser of footage I hope to come but for now let me just include a few quick pix of me in my hypothermic lonely despair and the spirit god of the wolverine who provided me inspiration when the hours were darkest....

    there is admittedly some controversy about the species nature of my spirit god--some (i.e., hunters, woodsmen, naturalists, and scientists) claim he is a coyote whose skull has been prominently punctured by a gunshot as evidenced by the small hole on the right side of his brainpan and the larger one on the the left) while others (me) maintain this is the skull of Old Man Wolverine himself, who has taken me under his savage claw and will protect me from evil here ever after.

    You decide.

    Exhaustion sets in

    A man and his spirit god compare dentition

    When I prove incapable of making sense of the map, my spirit god offers to take a look and offer directional advice provided I lend him my reading glasses. (Note what some "experts" claim is an exit wound behind his left orbital socket. I prefer to think of this as the channel through which Old Man Wolverine's etherous vapours could easily flow into my own worried and alleged soul, comforting me in that way only Old Men Wolverines can.)
  19. All I needed was some Mr. Bubble and Rubber Ducky...

    by , October 7th, 2009 at 11:39 AM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    The freakin' pool was 89į this morning.

    , , and double !!!

    SCY with Carrie

    300 swim free
    100 swim back
    200 drill choice (did IM drill)
    200 pull breathe 3/5 by 25

    swim 500 free smooth on 8:00
    (went 7:25)

    go right into...
    swim 10 x 25 stroke choice on :40 FAST, do the odds one stroke, and the evens another.
    (fly on odds, ave 18-19; back on evens, ave 19-20)

    and then go...
    pull 3 x 150 free on 2:30 descend 1-3
    (went 2:05->2:00, buoy only)
    50 easy

    kick w/board, no fins;
    8 x 75 w/20 sec. rest, middle 25 fast
    (did 1-4 flutter w/board, 5-6 flutter on back, 7-8 dolphin on fast 25. On 5-8, 8 sdk off each wall)

    swim down 250 nice and easy
    Total: 2900 yards
  20. Heisenberg and the Hand-Timed 25 Freestyle

    by , October 8th, 2009 at 11:46 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    In [ame=""]quantum mechanics[/ame], the [ame=""]Heisenberg[/ame] uncertainty principle states that certain pairs of physical properties, like position and momentum, cannot both be known to arbitrary precision. That is, the more precisely one property is known, the less precisely the other can be known. When applied to swimming the 25 yard freestyle, especially when such is performed at very high speed, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle suggests that the eyes of observers can be very deceiving indeed. One swimmer may appear to "beat" the other swimmer, sometimes by a full body length. However, because of photon bending quantum effects at very high speeds, appearances are wrong. In such cases, it is critical to go with the respective precison hand chronometers held by qualified teenaged timers.

    --top rated Internet encyclopedia written by knowledgeable volunteer experts

    In the following film, you will note that I, your narrator, Jim Thornton, am swimming in the end lane. My teammate Mark Cox, known in his youth (which was not very long ago) as a "swimming god", is swimming in one of the other lanes far to my left.

    Mark appears to have beaten me by a full body length, at least according to some observers who were evidently duped by a failure to grasp quantum effects at the speed at which I was swimming. Speed at which photons themselves begin to bend and warp and woof and otherwise confuse the eyes like a game of three card Monty dealt by a Cal Tech post-doc.

    Take a look for yourselves at this classic "optical illusion":

    [ame=""]YouTube - Jimby & Mark C @ 25 Free SCM[/ame]

    According to the crack team of high school aged swimmers who had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon than hand time us, Mark swam a 12.00 for his 25. I, on the other hand, swam a 11.12.

    When converted from short course meters to yards, our times were as follows:

    Mark--highly respectable:


    Your time of 0:12.00 in short course meters

    converts to 0:10.75 in short course yards

    Jim--well, I daresay the word great would be an understatement:


    Your time of 0:11.12 in short course meters

    converts to 0:09.96 in short course yards

    In the 55-59 year old age group of the AMYMSA league, I daresay that my
    9.96 25 yard freestyle is a record that will never be beat. Ever.

    Alas, not everyone is celebrating with me the way I had hoped.

    Our swimming coach, the great Bill White, who really should know better, given his study of chemical engineering at the University of Louisville,
    did some sort of timing of the YouTube video itself and came up with these two times, which he proceeded to immortalize in a screen capture modes.

    Me touching the wall, Bill claiming my time is 13.0

    Mark "Swimming God" Cox, top of screen, appearing to beat me by a full body length when quantum Heisenberg effects too difficult for lumpkins to understand are ignored

    When Bill emailed us his "evidence" (wait a moment for my choking chortles to die down!), he also wrote:

    I went through the 25m video and found out the following using an online

    1. Mark's time was pretty much right on. I timed it twice and got 11.9 and

    2. Jim's time [his 11.12] was slightly fast. I timed it three times and never got less
    than 13 seconds.

    I quickly wrote both lads back, trying to explain as best I could in "Quantum Mechanics for Dummies" and "All I Learned about Heisenberg Uncertainty Principles I Learned in Kindergarten" style language, but without wanting to sound patronizing:

    I know it is hard for you guys to believe, itís a tiny bit hard for me to believe, too. But I am very confident in my 9.96 25 yard freestyle time, converted from meters, which I think we can all at least agree is so fast as to very probably bend the time-space continuum in mind-altering ways.Yes, it does look like Mark beat me.Yes, it does appear that Billís online stopwatch has unearthed some sort of discrepancy.But once again, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is a powerful force that must be reckoned with, and not in a cavalier, dismissive manner.I have thusly reckoned with it.And after reviewing the play...The ruling on the Field stands. New all-time record: Jim Thornton!!!


    Bill, to his credit, quickly conceded:

    Here! Here! Jim our majestic time-bending hero! We have much yet to learn from the master so don't count out our Jimby out yet Mark. I do have some questions because I was of the impression that the Jim-particle could not be measured (or in this case) timed) without destroying the sample yet he is still here among us.

    And Mark has made sounds along these lines, too, though he seems somewhat less sincere, one almost detects a snifter of "humoring me" here.

    Jim congratulations on your record. I don't think anyone thought it would be possible to beat Brad Sluss' 25 fr record of 10.05 set at Erie in 10/08. He is my arch nemesis in the 40-44 age group. He goes to every meet and seems to score a lot of points. If I lose high point this season it will be due to him, so I'm glad to see you took him down a peg. I think

    his head was in danger of getting too big anyway.

    Are we certain that Mark is really talking about Brad Sluss's oversized head (it is, I will concede, irradiated squash-like in its enormity, but still, methinks he had another swollen gourd in mind with his "congratulations" here.)

    I am hoping that somewhere in USMS land there is a person with as much knowledge of physics as me, but who is perhaps not burdened by quite so much genius as it is my sad fate to cart around with me, genius that can make it hard to relate to those of more ordinary, wholesome, enviable, pedestrian intellects.

    Could you please help explain to my teammates why they should always trust me and my formulae, and not their own eyes and "beliefs", when it comes to the designation of victory status in our little for-fun competitions?

    I would appreciate it.

    Final unrelated note:

    Soon, the complete unexpurgated two hours of video of me in the Wilderness will begin being serialized in 2-5 minute installments.

    With luck, we shall all be freed of it by the first warming lights of springtime!

    Updated October 8th, 2009 at 11:52 PM by jim thornton

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