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  1. 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

    Warm-up
    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
    http://www.spma.net/meetforms/2009/lbgscm.htm

    Entered, bot air tix, & reserved hotels

    68 days or 9 weeks 6 days to go Days till Long Beach
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    Swim Workouts
  2. 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

    www.flyingresorts.com

    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:

    http://www.flyingresortranches.com/

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

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  3. 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.)
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  4. 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
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  5. 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="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics"]quantum mechanics[/ame], the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_Heisenberg"]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="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt1PQALFD6M"]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:

    RESULT:

    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:

    RESULT:

    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
    stopwatch.


    1. Mark's time was pretty much right on. I timed it twice and got 11.9 and
    12.0.


    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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  6. Life Doctor, Death Doctor, Bad Grrrlll, Jane's Tongue,and Me

    by , October 10th, 2009 at 05:50 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    As I wait for my beloved younger son Jack to get some of the early Wilderness video footage uploaded to our Mac, being held hostage by the youngster's foot-dragging and teenaged lack of fatherly OCD by proxy, probably a good thing, all in all, nevertheless, as I wait for this, which I hope will be completed by nightfall of Columbus Day, here is yet another video from the recent long course nationals at Indianapolis.

    Today's film was inspired by a NSR thread [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=15289"]MCATs? - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]

    Seagurl51, who bills herself as the littlest FAF sister, an acronym Leslie has explained to me several times but I can never remember for sure what it means--furious and fanatical? footloose and fancy-free? fun at ****ing?--in any event, Seagurl51 recently graduated with a degree in advertising and decided she might want to take the next logical step in our consumer-driven economy and go to medical school.

    That's what the thread is about: her casting about for advice on the MCATs,
    or exceedingly difficult medical school entrance exams, which swimming Drs. nonpareil Kirt Dixon and Heather Reitz evidently negotiated with the dexterity of sober spiders, and which I never took but almost certainly would have scored a bit higher on them than they did had I taken them, though we will never know for sure. Kurt and Chris Stevenson and Gull and Vivebene and Allen Stark many others offer sage counsel; I offer an alternative route to prosperity as a doctor without officially going to medical school and the always witty Leonard Janzen Cher-ed my Sonny, etc.

    Anyhow, it inspired me to put together this little film that introduces one of our all time favorite viewers of this vlog, the melancholy Mormon from Arizona himself, Dr. Kirt.




    He and the minx, Heather, it turns out, may share some sort of tent encampment history, but that's not entirely clear. Soon, Michele wafts by, usurping my attention with her I See Dick t-shirt and announcement of taking a shower, etc.

    And we end the merry melange with Jane's tongue.

    If you see one feel-good swimming video before Columbus Day, this one should be it.

    Our cast of character's in
    Life Doctor, Death Doctor, Bad Grrrlll, Jane's Tongue, and Me include:

    Kirk Dixson as.......the dashing ER physician



    Heather Reitz as.....the alluring pathologist who studies corpses

    [no picture available]

    Jim---as the tragi-comic patient trying to decide which doctor is right for him



    Michele Kagy-Schwartzenegger....Janet Evans, Jr. who teaches Jim how to urinate in his B70 and stirs his pulse back to life

    {picture available but I can't find it}

    Jane's Tongue....which just has to be seen to be believed

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSsci5oePh0"]YouTube - Life Doctor, Death Doctor, Bad Grrrlll, Jane's Tongue,and Me[/ame]
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  7. Rare Swimming Obsessed Video-less Vlog

    by , October 12th, 2009 at 05:58 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    5:34 p.m., Columbus Day, Oct. 12, 2009, Sewickley Heights, PA

    My son Ben turned 21 today, which prompted my twin brother John to say, "That's amazing, bruddie. The first adult Thornton male in a generation!" He paused to reflect, then added, "maybe two generations."

    Ben and his friend Ben Armstrong just took off for the long drive along the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, where Ben is going to Temple and his friend Ben is living with a girl who is going to Temple.

    It's not that I am feeling terribly old, exactly, but there is something about having your first born son turn 21, and your second born son getting his driver's license a couple weeks ago, that makes you realize that the Celestial Time Clock has not suddenly started running backwards. It is, if anything, running in its usual forward direction faster than it once did, i.e., those blissful childhood days of yore when the wait from Dec. 22 to Christmas seemed to last centuries.

    Now, it seems that if I blink just slightly longer than usual, Christmas has arrived again. Blink. Christmas. Blink. Christmas.

    The only thing that does seem to take forever is swimming distances that used to go by in a flash.

    Which brings us to tonight's Bill White workout, which is basically 4,000 yards in a 60 minute time allotment: warm up, 6 x 500 with assorted challenges--first one DPS, second one alternate side breathing, third one faster; repeat; then some sort of cool down.

    Maybe it is the nature of being in the middle of an age group where a certain slowing down appears to occur. Maybe it is the prospect of losing the cheating suits that have allowed me for so long to defy my age. Maybe it is a general weariness borne of my time in the wilderness, followed by a horrible swimming meet, followed by a bad cold, followed by a resumption of responsibilities, followed by the resumption of wintry conditions (I blink, and once again I find myself changing from my layers of clothing in a snow storm into my swimming costume! Blink! Christmas! Blink! Funeral!)

    In any event, what was that William Carlos Williams poem:

    An old man
    in a dry year
    dum dum de dum de dum
    being read to by a boy
    dum de dum
    waiting for rain.

    Or maybe it was Christopher Smart and his famous cat:

    for he is of the Tribe of Tiger
    for he can swim
    for he creeps

    So now it is 5:47 p.m., time to make my way down to the YMCA, perchance to do an old man's warm up, back and forth, paddling here, paddling there, dead man's floating hither, dead man's floating thither, Christmases passing by the edge of the pool like telephone poles on the speedway, and still I have not made it through the first 175 yards of the interminable 500...

    Am I just talking myself into decrepitude? Or am I railing against the dying of the light through jest and hyperbole?

    I shall force myself--force myself!--to try in practice tonight.

    The only thing that could possibly make me stop is last minute Christmas shopping, for it seems that the money extraction season is upon us once more, and we old men creakily bend over, assuming the position whereby the extraction can proceed with the least trauma to all involved!

    Wish me well, youngsters! I am your trailblazer and proxy for your fate!
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  8. Wilderness Update Plus News About My Fungus

    by , October 14th, 2009 at 05:36 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Upon my return from the Wilderness, I brought back the following types of data:


    • 27 minutes of footage from a borrowed Sanyo camcorder I was unable to download onto my PC but my son was able, eventually, to download onto his Mac. It's not the greatest quality footage, and the sound and the video are not well synchronized, giving the whole thing the flavor of a 50s era Japanese Mothra movie set, for inexplicable reasons, in the Rocky Mountains. Still, this footage represents my first day and a half in the wilderness, so I want to get this up before the subsequent serial installments. I think Jack can fix the audio-video dissynchrony and post the various installments on You Tube for me, since I have no idea how to do this with Mac software. However, getting him to do it in a timely fashion is proving difficult.



    • Nearly 60 minutes of Flip Ultra video, which is on my PC, and I can upload, but I am waiting for the first stuff first so as to be minimally confusing to what I suspect with be the paucity of vlog viewers who end up making the Big Commitment to watching the entire Jim de la Selva Americana mini-series.



    • Approximately 3 hours and 59 minutes of high quality digital stereo audio of me talking, talking, talking, weeping, screaming, laughing, singing, gnashing, stuttering, grunting, laboring, telling bears to scat, and for a very short time, yodeling in the alpine meadows.



    • 489 still photographs, many of them featuring me in various poses, almost always providing some sort of scruffian variation of the Blue Steel look pioneered by Derrick Zoolander



    • my precious memories of my personal resourcefulness and heroism from the lengthy ordeal, memories that can not ever be taken away or repudiated since I was the only one there and I shall not, will not, dispute any facts that I say occurred. I suppose some neurological researcher somewhere could hook me up to a fMRI to see if he can find any unusual activity patterns among the neurons of my brain's LBL, or Lying Bastard Lobes. But I will vigorously resist any such unlawful invasions of my body and mind and alleged soul with all the vehemence I can muster



    • a fungus that appears to have taken up residence on the left side of my groin. This may be the result of wearing the same pair of underwear briefs for five consecutive days and nights without taking them off, days and nights in which my nether regions were kept continuously irrigated by my own copious sweat production, dribblings of potable water rendered nonpotable by my kidneys, nocturnal clamminess inside the dank tent chamber and perhaps stoked by my readings of dread-inducing Stephen King, and regular dousings by creek water, rain water, and the odd melting snowflake.



    A fungus, of course, was not my initial diagnosis. I was pretty sure at first that I had once again contracted VPDC, one of the most common conditions known to men like me, and the women who love us. Well, pretty much just men like me.

    Despite how common it is, there is little if any research money available for its study, a consequence of the puritanism of the previous administration. There is also no cure for VPDC, or Venereal Punishment Disease Cancer. Among teenagers who practice excessive onanism, VPCD can lead to blindness, hair on the palms, and loss in a faith in a benevolent God (though paradoxically strengthening belief in a Horribly Vengeful One.)

    Thank god, my swimming coach Bill White told me he was pretty sure I had a fungus infection and not VPDC. He recommended an anti-fungal creme applied twice a day for the rest of my life or a week, which ever came first.

    It appears to be working. After three applications, the itch of this lesion has gone from merely maddening to Kierkegaardian. Evidently, the poison has caused the fungi to begin fighting for their lives, like daemons resisting extgermination by Max Von Sydow's Holy Water.

    The nonhuman, nonplant miscreants (what exactly are fungi anyhow?) are now Linda Blairing me furiously every waking hour, and I must tie my wandering hands to the bedposts at night to keep from scratching myself into a eunuch in my sleep!

    I plan to take my small tube of generic antifungal foot creme (what is the male groin if not a kind of third foot anyhow? one upon which we belly-crawl the earth, leaving a slime trail, impossibly desirable manly molluscs humping our way towards the little females of our kind!) to swimming practice tonight, and then afterward cauterize the area with yet another slather of exorcistic unguent!

    How I imagine the mushrooms will scream then!

    By the way, here is a picture of what Jock itch, also called tinea cruris or ringworm of the groin, looks like:




    Here, on the other hand, is what the Wilderness looks like:



    Coincidence that these two species of groin-stabbing pointy entities should look like identical twins?

    I don't think so.

    In fact, I have concluded that my itch is less the result of an infection per se, and more a case of the wilderness spirit claiming official possession over what has always been one of the wildest, least ruly zones of my body.

    There is a River of No Return somewhere out there in central Idaho.

    Now there is a much less famous, but equally wild, River of No Return somewhere inside my recently changed undies, as well.

    Wild they are, both of them, and leading nowhere you want to be. But, god help you, you cannot resist going!

    With luck, I will be able to begin posting footage very soon. Show of hands, please! How many want to see everything I can possibly show you?

    All righty then! It's unanimous!

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  9. Worsening Groin Disaster, Rated XM for Mature Medical

    by , October 16th, 2009 at 12:42 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I went to the doctor this morning, explained the situation about my time in the Wilderness, and the gradual appearance of a smallish lesion sometime after my return from the woods, and how this has steadily blossomed--in spite of, or perhaps because of--the various self-treatments I had tried (OTC anti-fungal foot creme; powerful cortisone creme for thumb fungus; scalding hot water dousing).

    He had me drop my pants and Hog Sheathe to reveal the horrorshow lurking below. It now looks like an open stab wound, or some kind of attempt by my body to transform my gender against my will, or maybe like the first axe strike that will eventually lead to my left leg cracking and the need to cry "Timber" when the thing crashes on the ground, possibly making a sound, possibly not, depending on whether there is anyone around to hear it, and that person's philosophical leanings.

    I'm getting off the track.

    He looked at the lesion as I looked at his eyes. A doctor becomes steeled over the decades by human disgustingness, but this was of such a revolting caliber that I dare say even Edgar Allen Poe would have been moved to vomit at the sight of it.

    First warning: you, too, will soon have the opportunity to see this in a coldly sterile medical photograph taken by me on my Logitech QuickCapture internet camera.

    Do not look if you are underweight, for to look at this lesion as it has come to be over the course of the past few days is to virtually guarantee that you will lose both your appetite and your lunch.

    Indeed, it's only a matter of time before the Jim Thornton Groin Catastrophe Pictorial Diet Plan catches on with startlets all throughout Southern California and its surrounding valleys and nooks.

    So the doctor said, "It doesn't actually look like a fungus--more like an infection. Is it possible you might have been bitten by a tick?"

    He proceeded to list a number of suspects he wanted to run titers for, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and/or other germs of the rickettsia group.

    As Wikipedia sums up:

    Rickettsia is a [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genus"]genus[/ame] of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motility"]motile[/ame], Gram-negative, [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endospore"]non-sporeforming[/ame], highly [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleomorphic"]pleomorphic[/ame] [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacterium"]bacteria[/ame] that can present as [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocci"]cocci[/ame] (0.1 μm in diameter), rods (1Ė4 μm long) or thread-like (10 μm long). [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obligate_intracellular_parasites"]Obligate intracellular parasites[/ame], the Rickettsia survival depends on entry, growth, and replication within the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytoplasm"]cytoplasm[/ame] of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eukaryote"]eukaryotic[/ame] host cells (typically endothelial cells).[1] Because of this, Rickettsia cannot live in artificial nutrient environments and are grown either in [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_tissue"]tissue[/ame] or [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embryo"]embryo[/ame] cultures (typically, chicken embryos are used). In the past they were regarded as microorganisms positioned somewhere between viruses and true [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacterium"]bacteria[/ame]. The majority of Rickettsia bacteria are susceptible to [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibiotic"]antibiotics[/ame] of the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetracycline"]tetracycline[/ame] group.
    Rickettsia species are carried as [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasite"]parasites[/ame] by many [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tick"]ticks[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flea"]fleas[/ame], and [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lice"]lice[/ame], and cause [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disease"]diseases[/ame] such as [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhus"]typhus[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickettsialpox"]rickettsialpox[/ame], [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boutonneuse_fever"]Boutonneuse fever[/ame], African Tick Bite Fever, [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountain_spotted_fever"]Rocky Mountain spotted fever[/ame], Australian Tick Typhus, Flinders Island Spotted Fever and Queensland Tick Typhus [2] in human beings. They have also been associated with a range of plant diseases. Like [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus"]viruses[/ame], they only grow inside living cells. The name rickettsia is often used for any member of the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickettsiales"]Rickettsiales[/ame]. They are thought to be the closest living relatives to bacteria that were the origin of the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondria"]mitochondria[/ame] organelle that exists inside most [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eukaryotic"]eukaryotic[/ame] cells.
    The method of growing Rickettsia in chicken embryos was invented by [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_William_Goodpasture"]Ernest William Goodpasture[/ame] and his colleagues at [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanderbilt_University"]Vanderbilt University[/ame] in the early 1930s.


    How typically inane of me to have worried about misadventure with wolverines, pizzlies, and porcupines when the real threat were non sporeforming highly pleomorphic obligate intracellular parasites!


    Warning number 2: do not look at my pictures if you are squeamish, prudish, or plagued a disturbing triumvirate of traits that include bed wetting, fire setting, and animal getting. These pictures will either greatly disturb you or enable you to begin acting on certain fantasies that are best left unacted upon. You have been warned twice!


    My friend and swimming coach, Bill White, who in a recent comment about yesterday's vlog, Groin Disaster! ( http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=5894--less than 50 hits and no 5 star ratings yet--honestly, would it kill you to click on this link and revisit!) banned me from swimming practice till the Pierian Spring in my groin stops producing liquid, anyhow, Bill and I got to talking today after my new diagnosis, and I told him that I would love to be able to show my regular viewers what exactly it is that I am suffering so egregiously from, but due to its location and the family values of the USMS community at large, which doesn't take kindly to rickettsia in these parts, anyhow, I lamented that I couldn't do so without inviting complaints and the likelihood Jim Matysek would be recruited into taking such a graphic vlog down.


    Bill came up with a great idea: simply cover over what EricOrca referred to as my "naughty bits" with a picture that provides a schematic sense of where the lesion is in relationship to a medically accurate if idealized anatomical drawing.


    Which will make much more sense once you see it.


    However, I must now issue Warning Number 3:


    Do not read any further, nor examine in any way, least of all great detail (which can be done by holding down the ctrl key and tapping the + sign on PC's, not sure exactly how to zoom in on lesions on a Mac.)


    Do not do this, please!


    Furthermore, if you are a woman who has secretly been harboring unrequited romantic leanings towards me, you have reached something of a fork in the road here.



    If you want to rid yourself forever of these tortured unrequited feelings, then looking will absolutely do the trick.


    If, however, you find that fantasizing about me gives your life a sense of meaning it had never known before, and you are holding out hope for the 1 in 10,000 chance, nay, 1 in 1,000,000 chance the lesion will ultimately (as the doctor predicts) heal, then do NOT look at these pictures, for the night bell once rung can not be unrung, and Jim's Groin Disaster, Rated XM for Mature Medical, shall surely haunt you all the days of your life, and more!


    Final warning.


    Do not look.





    The armamentarium now includes antibiotic ointment and antibiotic pills and bandaids to keep the poultice in place. The cortisone and antifungal cremes are no longer being used. The Wolverine Spirit God continues to be an important part of the incantations I speak when delirious.






    Male patient, 57, wearing an item of garmentry sometimes referred to as "panties" by his women friends but which he himself calls the Hog Sheathe







    Patient's suspected Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever lesion displayed beside an anatomically stylized locator graphic that keeps this photo from being erotic and instead renders it XM-rated for Mature Medical viewing only.
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  10. Update from the Ward

    by , October 17th, 2009 at 11:30 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Not much news to report.

    I awoke this morning to note that the inflammatory striations appeared to have diminished.

    I scalded the area in the shower at 5 a.m., put more antibiotic cream on, went back to sleep till 10 a.m.

    I had coffee and an antibiotic pill and spent the rest of the morning getting my affairs in order.

    Another scalding, another goo application, and a nap so deep it was like being folded into the Kafka nut.

    When I awoke, striations appeared to be restriating.

    I ate a sandwich, watched Pineapple Express, took another antibiotic pill, wondered at how truly disgusting human flesh can quickly become, tried not to dwell too deeply on the etiology of arachnidism and the like.

    To be honest about it, so far no positive developments. It is possible that the rate of worsening is slowing, but that could be wishful thinking.

    Another scalding now, another application of goo that is supposedly good for impetigo and MRSA, then we shall see how the night goes.

    Since I didn't know what impetigo was, I just did a web search and found out it is a common skin infection among kids:

    here are two types of impetigo: bullous impetigo (large blisters) and non-bullous impetigo (crusted) impetigo. The non-bullous or crusted form is most common. This is usually caused by staphylococcus aureus but can also be caused by infection with group A streptococcus. Non-bullous begins as tiny blisters. These blisters eventually burst and leave small wet patches of red skin that may weep fluid. Gradually, a tan or yellowish-brown crust covers the affected area, making it look like it has been coated with honey or brown sugar.

    Bullous impetigo is nearly always caused by staphylococcus aureus, which triggers larger fluid-containing blisters that appear clear, then cloudy. These blisters are more likely to stay intact longer on the skin without bursting.


    My friend Jack Martin told me he had a staph infecion on his foot, and had to be treated in the hospital.


    I am really hoping this doesn't come to that.
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  11. Seeing it through to the End

    by , October 18th, 2009 at 07:05 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    First of all, I do appreciate the fast-dwindling number of you out there in vloglandia who remain willing to follow the zeniths and nadirs of my occasionally swimming-related life.

    As you diehards know by now, the vlog has taken on a particularly confessional tone since returning to the wilderness and finding myself afflicted by a small lesion, no bigger than a match head, that looked like a teeny tiny mouth that was watering ever so slightly.

    I am not sure why any lesion, big or small, would be mouth-watering. Perhaps--and I concede here this may be wishful thinking on my part--the reason was because of said lesions proximity to my manhood. Can there be such a thing as a small, lustful, female, mouthwatering and mouth-like lesion?

    Probably not, but this, at least, is how it first manifest itself to me a week or so after my return from the Wilderness. Tiny, itchy, perhaps lustful, but really nothing too terribly serious. Nothing to write home about.

    You can follow the transmogrification of said lesion, from miniature to bear trap-sized, by simply going back and reading, in the following order, any of these vlogs that you might inadvertently skipped over (or simply want to reread for fun and enlightenment.)

    Wilderness Update Plus News About My Fungus


    (Oct. 14th: first official vlog mention of the lesion, though I suspect I had been bravely keeping its existence to myself for at least a little while before)

    Groin Disaster!


    (Oct. 15th: back in the Halcyon days when I still believed the lesion was as benign as crotch rot)

    Worsening Groin Disaster, Rated XM for Mature Medical


    (Oct. 16th: written after I went to a doctor, who told me it wasn't crotch rot but perhaps a tic bite that was now infected; he sent out my blood tests to Mayo Clinic to check for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other possible arthropodial calamity; he also gave me antibiotic pills and an ointment, both of which I later discovered through internet research are used in the treatment of MRSA, or flesh-eating bacteria, as well)

    Update from the Ward


    (Oct. 17th: the most lugubrious entry yet, written after two full days of antibiotic treatment that had not seemed to help one bit; I did not even attempt to joke around in this vlog, for there was no jollity in Mudville that night, Mudville being my increasingly disgusting even-to-me groin region)

    Which bring us to today's entry:



    Seeing it through to the End


    (the first in what I hope will be a series of photographs documenting my return to health in the not impossible-to-imagine future. Since I am obviously biased by the fact that I am, well, me, and I variously think I see improvements, and think I see worsening catastrophe, depending on my mood and the pain level at the time, I am hoping that my readers and viewers can rate the lesion's nastiness in an objective way, thus helping me know--for real, not from hope or dread--if I am improving, staying the same, or slinking ever closer to perdition.

    For sake of consistency, I propose a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being utterly perfect groin health of the sort one might imagine exists in the inner thighs of the most alluringly beautiful young chaste milky white and unblemished prepubescent nun that ever could live. 1, on the other hand, is for decomposing wretches for whom leprosy is only the icing of the cake for a 1,001 other syphilitic, acne'd, pustulent, flesh-eating, pruritic, and foul smelling dermatological murderers that have shared the same damned dermis.

    We shall, for simplicity's sake, judge today's lesion of mine a ranking of 50.

    Tomorrow, if I am ambulatory to take and post another snapshot, and you think I have improved, then perhaps I will deserve your vote of 51. Or if things have gone the other way, perhaps a 37.

    One other quick note before the picture. I received this warning from the ever caring Mermaid. In addition to rating my lesion, I am wondering if the carefully couched legalese in the warning actually applies to me. I am planning to continue swimming practice. I don't think my infection is waterborne. Let me know your thoughts on this matter, too: To Swim or Not to Swim with the Lesion.

    Oh, and when you do look at the picture, consider singing to the tune of George Harrison's wonderful, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"--

    I look at my groin, which must surely be healing--
    Still my bu-
    boe gently weeps--

    With every unguent, it must surely be crusting--
    Still my bu-
    boe gently weeps--

    I don't know how-owow germs were inserted
    My flesh was inverted too
    I don't know how-owow skin got perverted
    No one alerted you.

    I look as it grows ever more like vaginas--
    Still my bu-boe gently seeps--



    Please rate the following
    on a 1-100 scale:



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  12. Kona Wedding Bells--sans mention of unmentionable)

    by , October 19th, 2009 at 06:17 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Since there have been several requests that I take a break from my lesion's progress, today's vlog is taking a temporary verbal sabbatical from groin pathology to groin excellence.

    A number of you may have met my good friends and Sewickley YMCA Sea Dragons (Elderly Division) teammates, the former Mr. Jeremy Cornman and the former Miss Jocelyn Smith.

    Jeremy is the only swimmer on our team to still have his name up on the Big Board where the Quaker Valley High School record times are kept. He is a superb sprinter, particularly in butterfly, capable of swimming a 50 SCY fly in the 24.8 range.

    Jocelyn is an adult-onset swimmer and former college running star who became more serious about swimming after A) meeting Jeremy and B) swerving to miss a groundhog on her then new $3000 triathlon bike and ending up with metal pins in her collarbone.

    In recent years, Jeremy has made a name for himself in two sports: triathlons and steam bath endurance. He is great at the former, and legendary at the latter.

    Both he and Jocelyn qualified for the Boston Marathon this year, then Jeremy qualified at Lake Placid for the Iron Man in Hawaii. Jocelyn almost made it but not quite.

    In any event, the two just got back from Kona, where Jeremy did quite well.

    If you have ever wondered what this is like, I highly recommend you look at Jeremy's blog where he deconstructs his race and provides some great pictures. Fascinating: http://jeremycornman.blogspot.com/

    The day after his slightly over 10 hour triathlon performance, the two got married and became, officially, Mr. and Mrs. Jocelyn Smith.

    No, just joking.

    I think they are now both Cornmans. Or Smith-Cornmans. Or Cornman-Smiths.

    Or Smiths.

    In any event, I present to you the incredibly lovely couple, J & J--both of whom, I would venture to bet, score close to 100 on the groin scale (though I have nothing to go on here, just imagining what it would be like, especially Jocelyn, while trying to explain to them both the concept of droit de seigneur, so far without much luck):



    Note: I am pretty sure J & J had this wedding picture taken in black and white because they knew they were coming back to Pittsburgh and wanted to prepare themselves for the shock.
    _________________________________________________
    As indicated in the title, there will be no verbal mention of the unmentionable here, however, I am going to add today's picture beneath yesterday's picture to see if you can detect any changes.

    'Nuff said about that.



    (Above photo taken on Sunday)




    (Above taken Monday)
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  13. Anatomy of a Nutty

    by , October 20th, 2009 at 01:28 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Regular vlog readers may recall that I have long made a distinction between two forms of hypochondria:


    • the delusional form, wherein a sufferer imagines he or she has a serious illness, becomes obsessed with it, and eventually cannot be dissuaded out of this belief despite all medical evidence to the contrary



    • the non-delusional form, which is identical to the above with but one subtle distinction, i.e., that the sufferer knows full well his or her beliefs are irrational but nevertheless still can't shake their obsessive hold


    The Masters swimming world, I have learned, has no shortage of both forms of this disorder. For purposes of lively debate, let me just throw out Leslie "the Fortress" Livingston and Paul "the Hulk" Wolfe as prototypical exemplars of Type 1, and myself as a text book example of Type 2.

    Note: if either Leslie or Paul happen to read the above paragraph and take even minor offense at my suggestion, I think we can all agree that this proves, beyond doubt, the validity of my diagnosis.

    Call their rancor a positive Thornton Sign.

    We armchair clinicians have long understood that delusional hypochondriacs always express a positive Thornton Sign when confronted with an accurate diagnosis of their disorder. The condition is, alas, ego alien, and sufferers will do anything in their powers to spit the hook, so to speak.

    Non-delusional hypochondriacs, on the other hand, just as invariably express a negative Thornton sign. To us, hypochondria is hardly alien to our sense of self; it is, alas, all too ego syn-tonic. Thus we will not debate our diagnosis but rather acknowledge it via a kind of hopeless existential shrug with which both Sartre and Kafka were so intimately familiar.

    The following passage by Mr. Kafka, I think, perfectly captures the mindset of those of us in the non-delusional hypochondriacal world.

    It was very early in the morning, the streets clean and deserted, I was on my way to the station. As I compared the tower clock with my watch I realized it was much later than I had thought and that I had to hurry; the shock of this discovery made me feel uncertain of the way, I wasn't very well acquainted with the town as yet; fortunately, there was a policeman at hand, I ran to him and breathlessly asked him the way. He smiled and said: "You asking me the way?" "Yes," I said, "since I can't find it myself." "Give it up! Give it up!" said he, and turned with a sudden jerk, like someone who wants to be alone with his laughter.

    My non-delusional hypochondriacal twin brother, John, is good friends with the non-delusional hypochondriacal screen writer Jon Cohen (Jon's most famous screenplay was Minority Report). Jon, who could be our triplet psychiatrically speaking, coined a term for episodes of our form of the disease: nutties.

    I am slowly being sucked into a nutty right now, and I thought it might prove enlightening to those who have never suffered one to see the sequence--and perhaps reassuring to fellow travelers that you are not entirely alone in the murky world where "give it up! give it up!" is the best advice you will ever get.

    Step 1. An actual symptom appears somewhere on your body or within your mood. In this case, the actual symptom was the first tiny mottled skin lesion in, well, you know very well where the tiny mottled skin lesion was.

    Step 2. Attempt at John Wayning the thing away. Ignore, deny, and assume that the body is resilient, such buboes are temporary, the best cure for any medical problem is to ignore it.

    Step 3. Persistence of symptom, with or without worsening, though worsening does tend to get ones attention.

    Step 4. Attempts at self cure via over the counter products.

    Step 5. Asking friends about it; trying to corner a doctor on your swimming team into looking at the lesion and offering free medical advice.

    Step 6. Short-lived last attempt regression to Step 2.

    Step 7. Internet research

    Step 8. Go to a doctor and take his or her recommendation, expecting fairly quick improvement

    Step 9. When improvement fails to occur within 17 minutes, more Internet research.

    Step 10. Constant monitoring.

    Step 11. Attempts to clarify your thoughts on the nature of the buboe and its possible causes by writing these thoughts down.

    Step 12. Recruiting new technologies, like a Logitech QuikCapture webcam and blog capabilities, to contribute your thoughts to the Internet

    Step 13. Accidentally discover new possibilities for the buboe's cause, possibilities that actually have some plausible connection to your own case, such as a side effect to a drug you have taken for other reasons. Case-in-point:

    FDA issues warning for Provigil


    (Reuters) UPDATED 2007-10-24
    Provigil, a medication used to treat excessive sleepiness, may cause serious skin rashes and suicidal thoughts, according to a warning from the Food and Drug Administration. Rare incidents of life-threatening skin rashes and psychiatric symptoms in patients with a history of depression and mania have been reported with Provigil use. Patients with narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea who take the drug to help stay awake should stop taking the medication if they develop such reactions.

    Step 14. Follow up the new suspect with additional Internet research:

    Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis are two forms of the same life-threatening skin disease that cause rash, skin peeling, and sores on the mucous membranes.

    • Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis usually are caused by drugs or a bacterial infection.
    • Typical symptoms for both diseases include fever, body aches, a flat red rash, blisters that break out on the mucous membranes, and small areas of peeling skin (Stevens-Johnson syndrome) or large areas of peeling skin (toxic epidermal necrolysis).
    • Affected people are hospitalized in a burn unit, given fluids and sometimes corticosteroids and antibiotics and all suspected drugs are stopped.

    In Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a person has blistering of mucous membranes, typically in the mouth, eyes, and vagina, and patchy areas of rash. In toxic epidermal necrolysis, there is a similar blistering of mucous membranes, but in addition the entire top layer of the skin (the epidermis) peels off in sheets from large areas of the body. Both disorders can be life threatening.

    Step 15. Clammy dread begins to seep into ones pores, and the mind becomes increasingly hi-jacked with thoughts of ones dermis beginning to peel off in sheets, which leads to more frantic internet searches for photographs documenting this outcome

    Step 16. The word nonsense! echoes through the back eddies of the non-delusional hypochondriac's mind, often in close tandem with such worries are madness!

    From these early stages 1-16, of course, the nutty only begins to gain strength like a ligature being twisted with the help of an inserted stick to provide leverage and torque.

    How quickly the narrowing spiral tightens!

    Alas, it is only starting. And as much as we know what we must do, we cannot yet do it. We have not become sufficiently exhausted. The prospect of our flesh tearing off our bodies -- such worries are madness! --still seems a fate to be avoided. We remain too energetic to view flaying as salvation.

    Much further in the future still is the only mindset that ever ends one nutty and inaugurates the interlude of peace before the next one starts:

    "Give it up! Give it up!" said he, and turned with a sudden jerk, like someone who wants to be alone with his laughter.

    Pictorial groin update later today, after tennis.
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  14. Red Letter Day...So far

    by , November 3rd, 2009 at 12:09 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I returned to the office of the beautiful blonde dermatologist sans merci and was escorted into her parlor by a brunette nurse. The nurse instructed me to remove my pants and underwear, the elastic in the latter of which she could not fail to see was exhausted. She gave me a paper drape with which to cover myself and then she briefly left the room, leaving my unguarded medical chart on the formica table.

    As soon as she was gone, I bounded over and looked at the results:

    Results negative for herpes simplex 1 and 2 and herpes zoster.

    Then the nurse reappeared, and I said, "So I don't have sexual leprosy?"

    And she said, "I don't know, I haven't looked at the test results yet. The doctor will be in to go over these in a minute."

    Despite this waffling, my heart was doing somersaults. The lesion was still idiopathic!

    The nurse snipped the stitch and pulled it out and left.

    A few minutes later, the beautiful blonde dermatologist knocked once and entered. Perhaps it is projection on my part, but she seemed to have found in the one week interlude a portion of merci for wretched minions like me.

    Wretched, albeit not incurably venereal, minions.

    She smiled and said the tests for herpes and shingles were negative.

    There is a certain obsessiveness in me that likes to narrow things down to the 10 to the minus 12th power of certainty.

    "So," I said, in hopes of clarification, "you are saying I don't have sexual leprosy?"

    She smiled again and said, "Leprosy was never one of the suspects." But then, perhaps having some familiarity with patients like me, she added, "You DON'T have sexual leprosy."

    So much for the swab test results.

    Unfortunately, however, the pathology lab results (cookie cutter biopsy) had not yet come back. The beautiful blonde dermatologist, who now seemed to kind of like me, promised to call my cell phone as soon as these did come in.

    I asked her if groin cancer had now emerged as the next likeliest suspect.

    "I don't think malignancy is very likely, given how suddenly the lesion appeared," she said. "Malignancies usually take a long time to develop."

    More likely agents, she thought, were some sort of fungus, bite, poison plant, or other cause of the inflammatory process. It could still theoretically be another form of bacteria, but that's unlikely given the fact that I already went through antibiotic treatment without benefits.

    I told her that the area, which is clearly healing, still itched like crazy. She asked if the steroid creme she gave me free samples of was helping. I told her I stopped using it because it didn't seem to be making any difference, and she replied that it can take up to a week for that to work. She recommended I resume auto-anointment (my phrase, not hers).

    She said whatever it was, it wasn't contagious anymore (if it had ever been), and that it was okay to resume swimming. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I had already done that.

    In any event, this whole episode has resulted in collateral damage of multiple stripes to the innocent. I will dedicate myself to making whatever amends are possible--and take the ongoing maddening itch in the spirit of much deserved punishment and penance for my sins.

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  15. Vids from Sprint Workout, Thurs., Nov. 5

    by , November 5th, 2009 at 08:15 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    SCY @ GMU w/Speedo & Jazz:

    Warm up:

    700 variety

    1 x 25 medium fast back SDK + 25 EZ

    Pre-Sprint Set:

    6 x 25 dolphin free*

    4 x 25 burst kick**

    4 x 25 dolphin breast***

    * Dolphin free is where you use a dolphin kick instead of a flutter kick in free. The kick occurs when the hand enters the water. You can have a single frequency or double frequency kick. The first 3-4 I was not doing a dolphin kick but using a combo body undulation + flutter kick. This felt pretty natural, and may not be too far off my sprint freestyle, which I'm been told has some dolphin action. It certainly felt like I had more DPS. Might not be a bad way to swim a 100 free b/c I can't keep up a fast windmill for a 100.

    ** Burst kick = push off, streamline w/SDKs, then burst into huge overkick with feet coming completely out of the water, cruise the last 10 yards free.

    *** Dolphin breast = a drill where you do an evil pull with fins. We used the fins as a "grip," and didn't do a dolphin kick with them. This forces you to concentrate on and perfect your pull without having your hips drop.

    Collectively, these three mini-sets made for a great pre-sprinting warm up.

    Speed Work:

    2 x (25 medium fast SDK on back + 25 EZ)

    1 x 25 AFAP free + 25 EZ

    1 x 100 cruiser back SDK

    100 EZ

    Drill set:

    After Jazz & Speedo left, I did a short drill set.

    4 x (3 x 50 w/fins) @ 1:00
    #1 = dolphin kick on side
    #2 = single arm fly drill
    #3 = 25 easy speed fly + 25 DAB

    100 EZ

    Total: 2150

    10 minutes in hottub

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

    Commentary:

    This was a super fun practice. We spent a lot of time chatting about technique and training and drills, so also very informative. We didn't do a lot of speed work, which was good for me b/c my legs were still absolutely fried from yesterday's effort. It was more of a recovery workout actually. I had considered doing the P90X plyo video tonight, but I think it's better to wait until tomorrow. We did see the GMU college and masters coach briefly. I tried to assure him that Pete was putting in the yards, but he didn't seem to believe me ...

    Videos:

    We took a 6 videos. The quality isn't great, but they're still informative. Here they are:

    Speedo & Jazz 25 AFAP free, 2x:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRMXuyqGb9E"]YouTube- Speedo & Jazz 25 free[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6M79PXF0Fc"]YouTube- Speedo & Jazz 25 free[/ame]

    Wolfy is the expert, but the things I quickly notice are: (1) Jazz is entering thumb first, especially with his left hand. (I think he's doing this intentionally to quicken his catch, but it can hurt the shoulders), (2) Pete's head position is a little high; (3) Jazz has the edge on kicking.

    Speedo & Fort 25 free AFAP
    (Battle of the Latent Loper and the Straight Arm/Windmiller)

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx1fKwoSkyU"]YouTube- Speedo & Fort 25 free[/ame]

    My head position is way too high. I need to work more on correcting this. Part of this may be the dolphin action.

    Fort SDK Shooter:

    Garden variety demo shooter. Everyone should work on these in practice.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D57aH4FcSAg"]YouTube- Fort SDK Shooter[/ame]

    Speedo's Start:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdlPcy8e_iA"]YouTube- Speedo Start[/ame]

    Think you need to keep your legs together on the start!

    Fort Cruising 100 Back Shooter:

    This is not a fast example; my legs were too cooked for that. This is a hypoxic 100 shooter. I came up at the flags after smashing my heels on the wall getting too close the first time. Jazz said I sounded like a whale with my big exhale and inhale at the third wall and that my hypoxic work was costing me brain cells. You can see how he gets the girls.

    I'd like to film a very fast 100 w/MF from underwater sometime.

    Oh, and I was surprised my feet/legs were apart more than I thought ... Looks like I took 12, 12, 13, 14 kicks (but then I didn't come up at the flags on the last 25).

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L11nRXpMswE"]YouTube- Cruiser 100 Back Shooter[/ame]


    Food Blog:

    Breakfast: smoothie with kiwi, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, 1/2 scoop of whey protein, flax seed oil and coconut water

    Snack on way to workout: balance bar and cliff shot blocks

    Lunch: large salad w/lettuce, grilled chicken, tomates, peppers, parmesan cheese and flax
    seeds; fruit salad with kiwi, blackberries and blueberries

    Dinner: homemade mac & cheese, steamed peas & carrots

    Drank Pure Sport during and after workouts again.

    Will have a snack later b/c I'm still hungry and don't have She Puffery's iron discipline. Plan on a glass of chard too, as my wine fast won't begin until Nov. 13. She Puff thinks this one will be tough. I'm slightly worried that I will have trouble falling asleep without my chard fix. It's almost become part of my bedtime routine. lol

    She Puff also did my hypoxic kick set from yesterday and thought it was easy, proving that she is a kick ass kicker. I have to go look at the refinements she made to my set. She really should just stop protesting and become a backstroker ...

    Updated November 6th, 2009 at 03:59 PM by The Fortress

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  16. Mental Health Day Swim

    I took a vacation day today, mainly because I seriously needed to get away from my office far a day to preserve what's left of my sanity. Also, my pool will be closed this weekend for a USA Swimming meet, and this gives me a chance to get a swim in. (The pool closes early on Friday nights and I generally can't get to the pool in time.)

    Anyway, I went to the pool around 1:30 and I was surprised to find that it closes on Fridays from 2:30 to 5, for the kids' team workout. This meant a short workout.

    But I also found (not for the first time) tha ti ave a lot more energy in daytime workouts than at night. I suppose this makes sense -- I'm not as tired (or worn out) from my job. It may not be totally physical fatigue, but the mental fatigue has an effect. Anyway, it was the best quality workout that I've had all week -- faster swims -- even if it was shorter.

    I should do this more often -- if I can.
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  17. Core + Recovery Swim, Monday, Nov. 16

    by , November 16th, 2009 at 05:20 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Drylands:

    This morning I was back and forth from my little one's school, so I didn't have time to hit the gym. So, I did the P90X Core Synergistic Workout (60 minutes) and the Ab Ripper (15 minutes). I was forced to take a break halfway through the first one.

    Core Synergistic:

    Here are the 20 exercises on the P90X Core Synergistic workout:

    I marked the ones I liked best with an *. However, the hardest exercises were the sphinx push ups, prison cell push ups, and the combo plank-chatarunga moves. These would be great exercises, but they're not so much for me with a creaky left shoulder. If you have no shoulder issues, they look fabulous. In general, the workout is pretty good because there are numerous exercises and all the core muscles are worked (mostly simultaneously with complex movements). The downside is that there is some injury potential for those with shoulder or lower back issues. I've seem comments on the internet that it is "very hard." Not so -- there are some tough moments, but it's not overwhelming.

    1. Stacked foot/Staggered Hands pushup*: One hand forward one back, one foot on top of the other--do 5 pushups and switch sides until you can't anymore

    2. BananaRoll: Start on back with legs and arms extended 6-12 inches off floor-hold for 5, roll onto side hold for 5, roll onto back hold for 5....Keep going!

    3. Leaning Crescent Lunges:Lunge forward at 45 degree angle while extending your arm in one straight line with your back leg holding dumbells.

    4. Squat run: Squat position with one leg in front, holding dumbells moving your arms back and forth like you are running--switch legs.

    5. Sphinx Pushups: Rest on forearms elbows under shoulders. Press up off forearms until arms are straight. Great lat exercise.

    6. Bow to Boat*: 5 seconds in bow flip over 5 seconds in Boat, repeat

    7. Plank to Chatarunga run: While in plank run your knees in for 10 seconds then go down to a chat positions and do a fast type of crawl while hovering!!

    8. Walking Pushups: I did this on the hardwood part of our basement. Get in plank with your toes on a towel and walk with your hands 4 counts forward and back keep repeating for a minute.

    9. Superman/Banana:* Alternating Superman and then roll onto your belly for arms and legs off floor position/ Go back and forth

    10. Low lateral skaters:* Slowly shifting side to side in a deep lunge while lifting your straight leg at the end of the movement

    Lunge and Reach*-With weight in hand reach down to front leg as if you are lifting something off of the floor, then reach up and twist as though you are putting it on a shelf. 30 seconds on each side. This is essentially a easier, lower weight, higher rep version of the twisting squat swing I do with a 25 pound plate.

    11. Lunge-Kickback-Curl and Press: 20 reps. Tough total body movement provided you use adequate weight.

    12. Reach High and Under Pushups:* Combine standard pushup then a sideplank from sideplank reach under like a pilates twist and repeat. Very tough. Oddly, side planks don't hurt my shoulders as much as regular planks.

    13. Prison Cell Pushup:
    From standing bend forward to plank do a pushup bring your right knee in and out, do another pushup, bring left knee in and out do another pushup, do third pushup and jump back to standing.

    14. Side hip raise:* Lying on sideresting on forearm. Lift hips up off of the floor and lower them. Do a bunch on each side.

    15. Squat X press: Holding weights do plie squats while you are performing a wide shoulder press to that your body forms and X. 30 reps. Pretty easy, would be harder with more weight.

    16. Steam Engine: Standing knee to elbow crunches-50 reps

    17. Dreya Roll:* From standing squat down, roll onto your back, kick legs straight up in the air, almost like a pilates control balance move, and roll forward coming to standing again. To make it harder, instead of just standing up do either: (1) a squat jump, (2) a split leg jump, (3) jump and twirl.

    18. Plank to Chaturanga Iso: Alternate 10 second counts between plank and chat position. Hard

    19. Halfback-Agility moves simulating going through football tire drills 60 sec. Easy.

    20. Table dip/Leg raise:* Get yourself into a yoga table. Raise one leg in the air keeping hips up, and do tricep dips changing after 5 reps. 60 seconds


    Ab Ripper:

    Still like this DVD with the exception of the Fifer Scissors. I used my ab wheel and did long arm crunches during these.


    Swim/SCY/Solo:

    Only swam for 40 minutes today. Went to the pool late and got kicked out by the high school swim team tryouts. That's OK, my legs were fried, so I just did the following recovery swim:

    Warm up:

    600 variety

    25s:

    4 x 25 shooters
    4 x 25 easy speed fly
    4 x 25 shooters
    4 x 25 alternate fast evil & EZ swim
    4 x 25 shooters
    4 x 25 easy speed fly
    4 x 25 shooters
    4 x 25 alternate fast evil & EZ swim
    4 x 25 shooters
    4 x 25 alternate fast evil & EZ swim
    4 x 25 shooters

    I did belly, back and twirling shooters.

    Total: 1700 yards

    5 minutes in the hottub.

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

    Commentary:

    Didn't feel all that bad after my exercise mania yesterday -- until I hopped in the pool and tried to kick. Thus, I did all the shooters on cruiser speed. I think I'll give the legs a break tomorrow in the pool if I can. I'm tentatively planning on hot yoga and my team practice tomorrow night.
  18. Ron Johnson Memorial Invitational and my brother

    by , November 23rd, 2009 at 12:44 PM (My non-workout blog and random thoughts)
    I swam at the Ron Johnson Invitational meet this weekend and achieved one of my goals for this year. I'm proud to report that my brother also achieved one of his goals at another meet held in Washington during this weekend.

    First, if you have never been to the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in November, it is really a great time of year to visit Tempe. The weather is much cooler - in the 70's - as opposed to 100 - 120f in the summer. The pool is very fast - deep, great non-slip surfaces on the bulkhead, waveless gutters and lane lines. They have a new digital scoreboard that is easy to read and makes the venue more professional. The bulkhead splits the long course pool into two parts and there were plenty of lanes for warm up and cool down. Of course, the sunny skies and coolish temperatures makes a great environment for swimming fast.

    The meet is superbly run. My hat is off to Katy James - the meet director. The officials were real professionals who impressed me with their knowledge of the rules as well as their knowledge of swimming technique. All the timers were volunteers and I as well as my fellow masters swimmers thanked them for volunteering. I also had a chance to thank the starter and meet referee before leaving the meet. I highly recommend this meet to any swimmer.

    It was really good to see my fellow competitors and friends- Tall Paul and Laura Smith, Barry Roth, Bob DiTolla, Gail Roper, Robert Wilson, Patty Buffett and the Queen. I watched Jeff Commings and Dave Rollins smoke the water with some amazingly fast swims. I didn't get a chance to meet Mike Mann, but perhaps I will if he goes to Long Beach. I did see him swim and man (pun intended), is he fast!

    My goals for this year were to reset some backstroke SCM and LCM World Records. I didn't do so well at LCM, but I was able to reset the 50 meter backstroke record in the 55-59 age group - 29.07. In a previous post, I had dedicated this swim to the memory of Ron Johnson. He was a great swimmer and masters coach. And I think that the extra motivation help me. After the race was over, I meditated for a few moments and thought about Ron and hoped that he was racing in that big pool above us.

    On a more earthly level, I feel pretty good about this record because the previous record holder was encased in a B70 - much like I was. I missed the 200 record by 0.4 second, but was feeling rather weird before the race - something was missing. Perhaps at Long Beach? I was humbled in the 50 back by a wonderful swimmer - Sheri Hart of Denver. She won the heat in a time of 28.86 - not bad for a 38 year old. We had a chance to compare notes afterwards and like most masters swimmers - just a really nice person.

    While I was basking in the warmth of Tempe, my brother, Lincoln, was at a SCM swim meet in Washington. I got an email from a dear friend (and college team mate) telling me that the local paper had announced that he was coming up to the meet to break the 50-54 400 IM record. And sure enough, he did! But he was not very happy with his swim. In an email, he said he was on pace 3:44 at the 300, but died badly - finishing in 1:11 for the 100 free and with a final time of 4:55 (beating the old record by 2 seconds). As for myself, I would love to swim that fast. I'm really proud of my brother for his accomplishments - even though he wishes that he had a stronger freestyle leg.

    For a short time (as records will be broken in the near future), I am honored to be in the record books with my younger and much faster brother.

    It's off to Long Beach in two weeks!
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  19. Happy Thanksgiving One and All!

    by , November 25th, 2009 at 04:25 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Like Frank Sinatra's conspicuous absence of singing in the shower, or a busman's decision not to drive on holiday, or perhaps a harlot's avoidance of intimacy during rare leisure moments when the urge for vertical body postures must become overwhelming in its intensity--so has it been with this vlogger of late: the dictates of writing for a living have all but overwhelmed any time or inclination to indulge in tip-tap-tip-tapping of keystrokes for free.

    Even though I much prefer the latter, having not yet developed the "learned helplessness" that so frequently accompanies human endeavor in the paid environment.

    Sing this ditty, Frank! Contort your buttocks into this appealing lordosis configuration, harlot! Never again in the history of the world again utter the word Stetari, lackey!

    And so forth.

    I am sure everybody understands, with the possible exception of those who spend their days teaching 2nd graders how to draw finger turkeys, what I mean.

    On the other hand, it has been recently pointed out to me, by a person whose perspicacity is beyond dispute, that I have, of late, been inclined to a certain churlish sulkiness.

    Oh, how I wish not to be thusly inclined, not even for a moment!

    As one distantly former girlfriend once called me in apparent affection: Oh, Jim! My horrid little flower!

    Horrid, yes. Flower, true enough. Little, again, check! Especially if little is being directed at my generosity of spirit and not my guttage.

    But do not flowers, even little horrid ones, give back to the world a cheerfulness and color that brings only smiles to onlookers and ravenous pollinators, dusty with lemon-colored crumbs?

    In this spirit, that is to say, my flower side, and less my little horrid sulky side, I offer the following Thanksgiving greetings to my fellow swimmers the world over in the hopes you will find within this offering a smile, a cheerfulness, and a color--orange, as luck would have it--that might have otherwise gone unnoticed in this busy, busy time of Thanksgiving!

    It is a drawing by my step great nephew Cameron.

    I am not sure the Dramatis Personnae in his description of his drawing is super important, but to keep things straight:


    • I am Uncle Steppy.
    • Aunt Lizie is the beloved little sister of me (Uncle Steppy) and my twin brother John (Steppy)
    • Granny, AKA, Nancy, is the biological grandmother of Cameron and wife of my brother John (Steppy)
    • Daddy is Cameron's father and Nancy's son Darrin by her first marriage

    I am pretty sure that Cameron, after drawing the picture and getting John to scan it and email it to me, dictated verbatim his explanation for what is going on. I shall post this below the artwork.




    Hi Uncle Steppy and Aunt Lizie. The one in the orange is Uncle Steppy. And he has a hole in his underwear. Everybody is sticking out his tongue at him. Granny (middle) pulled down Uncle Steppy's pants. Granny has a silly hat. Daddy has a rotten nose. The cloud and the sun is sticking their tongue out at Uncle Steppy. The clouds are wearing sunglasses because the sun is shining right at the clouds.
    Love,
    Cameron
    PS Happy Thanksgiving!

    Final note: in the original version of Cameron's email, my beloved brother John dropped the "Uncle" after its first reference. I think he did this to spare my feelings, to make it seem as if it were him and not me whose pants had been dropped down, earning him ridicule from every corner of the firmament. But it is quite clear upon whom such ridicule belongs, so I have restored it to the accurate state.

    On this note, it is back to my labors on the drawbacks to novel hypnotics, irresistible as they continue to prove to be to the sulky likes of me.
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  20. Sewickley Swim, Wed., Nov. 25

    by , November 25th, 2009 at 09:55 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Had a nice long drive to Pittsburgh with only moments of sheer brain numbing traffic hell. Better than the usual Thanksgiving debacle getting out of metro DC. Then drove to Sewickley to swim with the Sewickley Masters, coached by speedster Bill White, with whom I shared a lane.

    SCY w/Sewickley Masters:

    Warm up:

    50 EZ (rather than my usual 700)

    12 x 50 swim @ :55, reverse IM order
    (I drilled the fly; I can't do fly w/o a proper warm up.)

    8 x 50 kick @ 1:00, IM order, no fins

    Main sets:

    8 x 50 @ 1:00, IM order
    (I did the fly, back & free as double shooters w/fins; the others were doing 1/2 of each 25 SDK.)

    8 x 50 @ 1:00, IM order
    25 DPS + 25 SDK build to sprint
    (I did the last 25 as a fast shooter)

    4 x 100 @ 2:00
    25 SDK, 50 choice EZ, 25 sprint (IM order)

    4 x 100 @ 2:00
    assigned: 75 choice, 25 sprint kick (IM order)
    did: 25 shooter on back, 50 back, 25 shooter on back fast

    50 EZ

    Total: 2700

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

    Commentary:

    This was a perfect workout for me after many hours in the car. I was still tired from yesterday's fast kicking, so it was a nice maintenance workout with some hypoxic work, IM work, and a few sprints. Because they only get an hour to practice, SM have a very structured warm up, which of course I'm not used to. I like my leisurely warm ups.

    I was able to watch Jimby's SDK efforts from underwater. He has a very nice streamline, but no power coming from the core. There may be some hope. I had him to a few squats on deck, and he somewhat managed them without cantilevering his knees too far over his feet. Saturday I will show him the ropes a bit more.

    We adjourned to the coed steam room and whirlpool -- very nice for a Y -- where we discussed myriad things. Among those repeatable were the upcoming suit ban. Jimby is still quite defiant about men not getting equal coverage as women under the FINA committee proposal. He also predicts that my next new event will be the 200 fly -- done all kicking. I told Bill that this was perfectly legal according to Wolfy (as long as you don't violate the 15 meter rule). He was suspicious, but to my knowledge it is legal to kick the entire way in a streamline position. Might be a fun experiment. Much less painful than forcing the poor shoulders to do all that work!

    I plan to take tomorrow completely off. I will swim with the Sewickley Masters again on Friday and then with Jimby and BIll on Saturday. Even though this week will be a comparatively easy week without a gym visit, I'm still fairly tired. (Of course, it's only Wed.) I was fretting about possible overtraining and leg fatigue to Mr. Fort. He just scoffed since I have another 2+ weeks to rest. I guess he's likely right ...
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