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!
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!
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). 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  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!
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.
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.
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)
(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:
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.
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)
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.
Ran 5k today. Had hoped to go at a faster pace, but just haven't felt good since the end of last week. I know that POTs thing is still kind of kicked up and the bottom line is that running is not the ideal thing for it.
The way I felt today, I contemplated just giving running up. I think it is really wearing me out, particularly when the POTs is kicked up. At the same time, some running does actually seem to help keep it from acting up too much. It is also good for bone density, good HDL counts, slimming up, etc.
I'm struggling though with the idea of not being very competitive anymore. There are a few local 5ks where I would love to beat a few people. Have to confess I used to love nothing more than to beat people who trained twice the mileage, especially those who were rumored to say, "All she can do is swim."
Although I felt great a couple of weeks ago, I feel like I have now gone backwards. Not sure if this is because of the POTS or if because I've simply gotten out of shape on my running somehow. Maybe doing both running and swimming is wearing me out. Still, I don't think I'm doing either running or swimming that much to get so worn down.
Surely that 75 butterfly set I did yesterday didn't take that much out of me! If so, I'm hurtin'!
Updated October 21st, 2009 at 10:28 PM by elise526
“Let the will be set on the path of duty. Let every attainment in what is good be firmly grasped."
Origins of the Tropical Splash
The pool manager was contacted to review times and procedures for the meet. We met to compare notes. This is when I learned that there was an aquatics class in session that utilized the deep end of the pool while our meet would be going on.
I don't know what the class was, but I imagined blue-haired ladies wearing foam belts, bobbing up and down with foam barbells in their hands; Masters swimmers shouting on deck on three sides surrounding them; and someone sprinting butterfly in the lane next to them. Not knowing what a masters meet was all about, the pool manager assumed it would be similar to a USA Swimming dual meet, with about 40-50 swimmers (and all you need is love to get along with the blue-haired ladies.)
Although the pool was willing to go through with it, I felt the arrangement was unacceptable, and would result in lots of complaints afterwards. If the class (whatever it was) complained, we might not be allowed to hold a meet again (thinking of the future and the possibility that the meet would become an annual event.)
We discussed alternate times and alternate dates, but nothing worked. So the Blue-Gray Battle was history before being fought.
Deflated, we thought about using one of the other pools. George Washington Rec Center was a 25yd x 25yd pool that did not receive a lot of use from the public or from rentals. It opened on Sundays at 1:00 PM, allowing us to have the pool to ourselves in the morning. Its deficiencies included small locker rooms and parking lot, small deck space, and no seating.
We talked to the pool manager. There was a boat rental (canoe class) using the pool every other Sunday morning, and the last Sunday in January was theirs. This left us the first Sunday in February (the previous Sunday was a holiday weekend, and parents home entertaining kids would not be competing in a meet - they would be skiing and shopping we were advised.) And, the pool manager was willing to let us rent the pool as individual lanes - cheaper than renting at the 'entire facility' fee. The manager would be getting rental income from a time that the pool was normally closed, so he was happy.
There were about 40 plastic deck chairs at the pool. Three of our team members were on the board of a summer outdoor pool where we hold summer workouts, and offered up their deck chairs to use during the meet. I counted 144 parking spaces and 128 men's lockers in working order. Seemed like enough for a meet. We agreed to hold the meet February 1.
After a Saturday workout, we met as usual at the local cafe and developed the framework for the Tropical Splash - a fun meet with a tropical theme as a way to beat the winter blues. (A civil war battle theme seemed blasphemous at George Washington's pool.) The cannonball relay was converted to the coconut relay. In many many ways, the possibilities of a tropical meet were superior to the Blue-Gray Battle.
And that's the convoluted history and background of how our meet was born. Next up... the decisions and details for this year's meet.
BOOK OF WISDOM
Don't ever count yourself out - find a way.Look beyond the obvious end - it is not the end
Updated November 10th, 2009 at 07:03 AM by Rnovitske
This morning I was checking my LMSC's website and noticed that the meet that I had entered this coming Sunday was no longer listed on the events page, and the meeting that been scheduled after it was moved up to midmorning. Hmmm. When I went to the sponsoring teamís website, the meet was no longer there either. I emailed the meet director to ask whether the meet was still happening, and she promptly emailed me back to let me know that she had had to cancel it due to lack of participants. (She was in the midst of drafting an email to send out to everyone who had registered when she got mine).
This really throws a wrench into my plans to swim all the SCM events this season in local meets. The original plan was to spread the 17 events over meets on November 8, November 21, and December 5-6. That was already cutting it a bit tight, with a maximum of 18 opportunities for individual swims, and 17 events I wanted to swim. Now the number of meets is reduced to 2, with the first of thoseóon 11/21óa sprint meet that only offers 50s and 100s, and an entry limit of 3 individual events and 2 relays. I need to regroup, and here are some of my options:
1) I could add in a travel meet. A quick glance at the meet calendars of neighboring websites scares up a SCM meet in New Hampshire this coming Saturday that starts in the afternoon and allows on-deck entries (but itís a 4 hour drive away). Thereís also the NEM Zones meet in Boston the weekend after Colonies Zones. Thatís a well run meet that everyone raves about, and Iíd love to go, but that weekend is incredibly busy for me. However, itís possible I could go up for a day, especially if Amtrak has an early train that would get me there in time for warmups.
2) With relay lead-off swims, it might be possible to cram all 17 events into the two remaining local SCM meets. When originally hatching my scheme, I didnít want to count on relay swims to reach my event total, because I was not sure if I would have sufficient willing teammates at these meets. But now I have a relay team lined up for the 11/21 sprint meet (where both 200 relays are offered), and one of my relay mates has very graciously assured me that I could swim lead-off for both relays if I need to count those swims. With the 3 individual events Iím swimming there, that would get me 5 events on that day. The Colonies Zones meet offers both 400 relays and the 800 FR relay, and I could probably convince my teammates and coach to let me lead off these if need be (I generally swim backstroke on relays anyway). With those three swims plus the 5-per-day individual swims Iím allowed at the meet, I think itís theoretically possible get in all the remaining events (I need to double-check the event order to make sure of this).
But with this option I would have to swim all five 200s (strokes plus IM) plus the two 400s (FR and IM) AND the 1500 FR over the course of a single 2-day meet, since the first meet only offers the sprint events. It also makes for some tough back-to-back-to-back swims, like the 400 FR straight into a 100 BK relay lead-off right into the 200 breaststroke. Going into this every-event plan, I knew I would have to balance the demands of swimming multiple events each day with my goals for swimming fast in each event. I fear that squishing everything into 2 meets might mean sacrificing the latter entirely, making this endeavor more of a stunt than a challenge, and Iím not sure I want that.
3) I could be more flexible about my definition of swimming all the events in 1 season, and count the 3 SCM swims I did back in May (200 BK, 100 IM, 50 BR) as part of this project. However, since that nets me just 1 of the 8 events that are 200 meters or longer, it doesnít help much with the difficulties laid out in option 2. Also, I also wasnít thrilled with the May IM and BR times, and was looking forward to another go at swimming those this year.
4) It might simply be time to let go of this all-events-in-a-season project, at least for this season, and instead focus on some time goals for individual events. Itís my last metric year in the 40-44s, and I think Iím in good enough form to have a shot at some of my PRs for that age group, so I could simply redefine my season and go after more quality swims in fewer events. I still would like to swim all the events in one season, but maybe I need to pick a longer season with more meets, one with more leeway for the unexpected happening.
Right now Iím feeling pretty disappointed that things didnít go the way I had planned them out, and I need to take some time to think over my options and reimagine what I would like my SCM season to look like.
On a related note, some of the best advice I ever got about goal setting was in a masters clinic Jeff Rouse gave out at Rutgers many years ago. He explained that when you get stymied in a goal, itís important not just to start hacking away at that goal again, but to revisit emotionally why that goal was important to you and give yourself the opportunity to become reconnected with whatever excited you about achieving it in the first place. For instance, if you really wanted to swim under a minute for 100 FR, and ended up with a season best of 1:00.1, say, you could simply go into the next season determined to work even harder at your current training in order to reach your goal this time round. A better approach would be to step back a bit, look at your current training regimen, and ask yourself what things you might do differently this season in order to reach your goal. However, what is really is important is to take a step back and remember what made you so excited about swimming under a minute in the first place, and then, if and only if those things are still emotionally compelling to you, consider what lessons youíve learned from last seasonís experiences and map out how you plan to reach your goal. That way your path to achieving your goal is based on excitement and hope and positive emotional attachment, rather than a lingering sense of failure or frustration. (His explanation was much clearer and concise with mine, and I think he used the example of winning an Olympic gold medal rather than breaking a minute).
So, Iíll spend today and tomorrow thinking through my options and possibilities for this SCM season, talking to the teammates who agreed to join me in my crazy all-events project and seeing what theyíre inclined to do, and figuring out what my goals and priorities are now.
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.
Played with my new power wheel today!
power wheel roll outs on knees, 1 x 25, 2 x 15
power wheel roll outs from pike, 2 x 10*
power wheel crawls, just a few forward and back, seemed somewhat hard on shoulders
power wheel pikes, 1 x 15, 2 x 10**
3 x (25 long arm crunches + 25 bicycles + 25 dead bugs + 25 prone scapular scrunches + 25 butt kicker plyo)
jumping jills, 3 x 50
snowboarders, 3 x 10
* The roll outs from a pike are much harder than from the knees and likely stress the shoulder more.
** I was showing off my power wheel to my son (who finally arose from the couch after a few days of piggy flu). He said (with bravado, though jokingly) "move over weak woman and let a real man show you how it's done." Then he promptly lost his balance on the pikes and couldn't do very many on his first try. lol. I think this exercise is the best one for the core from what I could tell. But I need to try the crawling some more.
Videos for the power wheel exercises and other bodyweight exercises can be found at: http://www.monkeybargym.com/exercise-videos.html. This site looks somewhat like Cross Fit without the weights.
Used a workout super evilstroke sprinter Jim Corbeau was kind enough to send me. I made minor modifications.
700 variety swim, kick, drill
10 x 25 twirling 4 point shooters
3 x through:
4 x 75 backstroke w/ 10 SDKs @ 70% @ 1:30
4 x 50 stroke w/fins @ 90% @ 1:30
1 x 100 EZ @ 1:30
I did the first set backstroke and held about 26.5-ish on the 50s.
I did the second set evil b/c my legs were getting tired from the last few days of beating up on them and went 33s.
I did the third set backstroke and held 25.5-26 ish, but missed the wall on the last 50
5 x vertical kicking, done as:
1:00 vertical kicking with hands at shoulders + 15 seconds with arms in streamline + 15 pullouts + 15 seconds rest
When I made my internet purchases the other day, I also ordered a sample of PureSport workout and recovery drink to try it out. Just finished off my endurox. I also had ordered a new Finis Shooter monofin. I had the longer Trainer monofin, and really disliked it b/c it didn't seem to work the core and glutes as much -- instead putting strain on the lower back.
I went to vote today. Hubby is out of town and did not get an absentee ballot. So, for once, he didn't cancel out my vote.
This article suggests that HIIT, not low or moderate interval training, significantly reduces the risk of heart disease.
High-Intensity Interval Training to Maximize Cardiac Benefits of Exercise Training?
WislÝff, Ulrik; Ellingsen, ōyvind; Kemi, Ole J.
We hypothesized that high-intensity aerobic interval training results in a greater beneficial adaptation of the heart compared with that observed after low-to-moderate exercise intensity. This is supported by recent epidemiological, experimental, and clinical studies. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of myocardial adaptation to exercise training are discussed in this review.
Updated November 3rd, 2009 at 06:02 PM by The Fortress
SCY @ GMU w/Speedo & Jazz:
1 x 25 medium fast back SDK + 25 EZ
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.
2 x (25 medium fast SDK on back + 25 EZ)
1 x 25 AFAP free + 25 EZ
1 x 100 cruiser back SDK
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
10 minutes in hottub
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 ...
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]
[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]
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
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.
Got up at 6:30 to run with buddies. Hubby got up at 4:30 - he got up before his alarm and I heard the shower running. His Garmin 405 was not working right and he told me, so I told him to take my 305. I fell back asleep until my alarm went off. (I did not watch him run since the SA course is not spectator friendly. He was also only running half since his sciatic nerve has been acting up).
I got the meeting place just before 7 am. Kelly got there shortly after. Ernie and Kathy pulled up shortly after that. We started talking and got off to a slow start. The humidity was stifling. We mostly talked about how glad we were that we did not sign up for the marathon this year . In fact, this was the first year that hubby ran without me and I did not feel bad about not running. I was actually happy for the runners and happy for me too!
I decided to turn around at 2.5 miles, since my asthma was really bad as the air was so wet and I could not breathe easily - it was about 65 degrees, but with 90% humidity it does not matter, it just feels hot!!!! I told then to go on and I'd meet them at the end, but Kathy turned around with me and we had a good, hot, humid run back.
Kelly and Ernie only went another half mile or so, and since Kathy and I were running slowly, the caught up right after we started cooling down.
We made plans for our next get together, probably the week after Thanksgiving since I have a meet next weekend.
Now to complete my meet application...... Oh yeah - Hubby completed the 1/2 marathon in 1:37 and was able to get his Garmen to work afterall. He was pretty happy considering the conditions. The humidity was awful and a lot of runners were not running the race that they were hoping
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.
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
Still like this DVD with the exception of the Fifer Scissors. I used my ab wheel and did long arm crunches during these.
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:
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.
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.
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!
6 X 50 free 1:00
6 X 50 kick 1:15
4 X 75 25 free/25 stroke/25 free 1:20
3 X 100 free 1:40
4 X 100 kick 2:15
4 X 50 1:10
4 X 25 :40
Swim the set three times.
Short break between rounds.
10 X 200 Pull 3:00
Descend in pairs
WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00
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.
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.
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:
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
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
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 ...