Does last year's eerily similar, if less severe, outbreak of pre-Albatross meet physical, mental, and spiritual contagion/weakness hold any prophetic powers for this year's bid for Albatrossian Status Redux?
The financial community would have us believe that "past performance is no guarantee whatsoever we won't lose all your money this time"--and it is not a bad motto by which to live a good American life, I must say.
However, let me quickly ruminate on a couple codicils to this fall-back position.
- I do feel sicklier this year than last year, though I am not sure if you could put FINA 59-year-old Jim beside FINA 60-year-old Jim that the former could completely convince the latter of this assertion.
- I am swimming in a presumably easier age group this year, and the aforementioned Bradford Gandee is no longer a threat (though he might well steal my record.) Paul Trevisan, human beast of sprinting magnificence, will kill me in the 50 and 100 this year just as he did last year. The difference: Paul and I are now in the same age group (he was 60 or 61 last year.) There will absolutely be no Albatrossian status possible for me in the 50 and 100; fortunately, Paul is not swimming the 200 or 400, the records for which are currently:
- Men 60-64 200 Free 2:29.31 3/21/2009 David Harmon - ANCM-PV (Doable, I hope)
- Men 60-64 400 Free 5:00.89 3/25/2000 Edward C Morgan - 1776-DV (Iffy)
- I have also learned a bit this season about how to split such races better, and unless my symptoms disappear significantly by Saturday, I suspect the pressure to not go out too fast will be even greater. Two examples:
- 200. At last year's 200 SCM, I went out in 1:03.87 and came back in 1:09.21, a differential of 5.33 seconds. In yards this year, I have had better luck with more even splitting. For example, I swam a 2:00.07 in the 200 SCY free, going out in a mid 1:58 and coming back in a mid 2:01, a differential of around 3 seconds.
- 400/500. I didn't swim the 400 at Albatross last year, but I had my best midseason 500 in years by slightly negative splitting it 10 days ago: AGE GROUP: 55-591 JIM THORNTON 59 M SEWY 5:28.81
It was after this meet at Duquesne in Pittsburgh, which was supposed to be recognized for USMS, but won't be, that the symptoms afflicting Mr. Thornton appeared to gain the upperhand. He won't complain about these, of course. But here are the words that clinicians often hear from men and women with such symptoms who are not of such a stoical mindset as Mr. Thornton:
Ah, the body aches intensify! The gas leakage, too, even though the CPAP is not turned on.
Indeed, the most you can coax from the likes of Jim Thornton about his upcoming trip to the Albatross meet is this:
I shall soldier onwards the best I can--Albatrossian Redux or not, I shall embrace my fate smiling (or whatever twitching of the mouth corners I have the energy to sustain)!
Vomitari, te salutamus!
This, in the end, has always been an Albatrossian's proudest oath.
And on such a note, let this vlog simply add by way of encouragement--
Buck up, Albatrossian! Buck the **** up!
You have been in this realm before, and by Odin's beard, ye shall be in this realm again!
Odin, the King of Norse Gods, advises his son Thor (Old Norski for Thornton) to buck the **** up and ready his loins for Ragnarok.
Thor replies in the strong but curiously low voice of men like him everywhere: Jeg vil buck den **** opp, far! Og kjempe sammen med gudene i den siste kampen som allerede er forutbestemte vi skal miste. For hva mer kan en rettferdig spør enn å dø seierrik frem?*
*Translation: I will buck the **** up, Father! And fight alongside the Gods in the final battle that has already been preordained we shall lose. For what more can a Righteous Man ask than to die nobly?