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  1. It's Brittany B I T _ _ !

    by , May 1st, 2009 at 09:56 AM (Swimming, Life, and Other Stuff!)
    I took Thursday off school so I could sleep in before attempting my challenging drive home from Columbus, Ohio after the BS concert. I got up around 8:30 and did this swim solo at LA Fitness:
    1) 500 Free Warm-up
    2) 12 X 25 Sprint Kick with Zoomers on :30
    3) 4 X (150 on 2:45----100 on 1:50----50 on 55:00)
    4) 8 X 50 on 1:00 (odds drill freestyle, even swim hard)
    5) Pyramid Distance Up
    100 Free on 2:00 interval
    200 Free on 4:00
    300 Free on 5:30
    400 Free on 7:30
    500 Free on 9:00
    6) 100 IM cool-down

    3,600 Yards

    Around 12:30 we (Sarah and her friend Paige) departed for the 3 hour drive to Columbus. It was raining and the traffic was bad. Even though I said I was going to control the radio I gave in and listened to a blaring "Brittney through the years" collection of all her cd's. It wasn't too bad, in fact I like the "In the Zone" cd pretty well!
    Just on the outskirts of Dayton the truck I was tailgating had a near-crisis! Out of nowhere the hood (lid) that covers the engine randomly flew up which blocked the windshield rendering the driver blind to the road! The traffic was so bumper-to-bumper that I was almost rear-ended and had to swerve off the road and into the median to avoid getting hit. I jumped out of my car to see if the truck people were okay...they were shaken but fine.
    I gave the lady a hug and said "good driving mario!" (she was old enough to know who mario Andretti is and managed to laugh) We tried to shut the hood(lid) but the impact with the roof crushed it and pulled it out 6-8" past its lock so the truck was un-drivable and the truck lady and her passenger were stuck till help arrived.
    We managed to make it the rest of the way without incedent and the girls were there in time to get the VIP pre-concert treatment they had paid for!
    I spent the next 7 hours lurking around Columbus just shopping, eating, and talking to people I did not know (strangers).
    After the concert the rain started pouring again. The girls were psyched....they got to see Brit behind-stage and their seats were awesome too!
    After telling me everything about the concert they quickly fell asleep which meant I had to keep myself awake. The only way I know to keep myself awake in extreme conditions is with "DOTS" (the chewy fruit gel candy) and lots of coffee. I rationed myself a dot per exit and we made it safely home around 2:30 a.m.
    I am now at school (Friday) which meant i was up at 6:00 a.m. I will post my evening swim workout if I make it there....I am guessing I might bag it.
  2. Friday 5/1 - Ringing in May Crazy Lady Style

    by , May 1st, 2009 at 08:06 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    What a way to ring in May. It was Long Course today so after last Fridays comments YES I decided to do a 500 FLY no fins nothing!

    10x100 @ 2:00 Free
    500 Free Kick with fins
    500 Fly for time 10:30 was out in 4:08 at the 200 and was able to keep it very consistant
    500 as 100 Fr/bk/fr/bk/fr just to feel my arms again
    500 Free Kick with fins
    800 Free w/paddles and bouy for time 12:36
    200 Free EZ

    Total 4000 meters
    time now!
  3. Dryland & Hang out with my wife day 30Apr09

    by , April 30th, 2009 at 10:03 PM (Swim like an Orca, but faster !)
    Last blog I report we adopted a dog from the SPCA in Sacramento. Well here he is, Junie. Aussie/B.Collie

    The above is his "doggie woggie" thats really what I wanted in a dog, here's another pic...

    Today was suppose to have been at the High School / Y with a borrowed workout. I'll be playing catch up into Saturday...
    Today was basic dryland, ball, bands and such.
  4. Thursday 4/30/09...8 days to Nationals

    by , April 30th, 2009 at 06:34 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    I got a massage yesterday. I'm surprised at how sore I am from it. She really worked on my upper back and that's where I noticed it the most.

    Here's how the workout went.
    SCY, Solo

    20 minute warmup
    {swam 300 alternating free and back
    kicked 3 x 100 on my back alternating dolphin/flutter by 25's R :10
    drill 6 x 50 on RI :10 did 2 free, 2 back, 1 fly, 1 breast}

    swim 6 x 50 on 1:10 alt. drill/build choice: build to 85% or so on each one
    {did these as free-back-fly 2x through}
    100 easy

    2 broken 200s on 5:00 (do #1 free):
    #1: 100 at 80-85%, 15 sec. rest, 50 @90%, 10 sec. rest, 2 x 25 w/5 sec. rest, fast (concentrate on finishes)... enjoy the recovery time in between...
    {went 1:13 on the 100, around :34 on the 50. Total time minus rest was 2:23}

    #2: 3x25 FAST back on 40, 50 easy choice on 1, 3x25 FAST fly on 40
    {back was under 20, fly around 17}
    100 easy

    3x25 choice off blocks: Fast breakout w/3 fast stroke cycles, then swim easy to the wall and walk or float back
    {did 2 back and 1 fly, left calf cramped on the push off on the 2nd back}

    10 minute easy swim down
    {went 600 alternating 75 free/75 back}

    Total: 2475 yards
  5. Back to the gym, Thursday, April 30

    by , April 30th, 2009 at 03:48 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Back to the gym today! It felt like I had been away so long (really only 2 weeks) that I couldn't remember what to do at first ... lol Lowered the amount of weight on some exercises, as I reboot the lifting.

    deadlift, 90 x 2 x 12
    standing lat pull down, 120 x 2 x 15
    overhead tricep press w/BB, 30 x 2 x 15
    bench press (Hammer), 90 x 2 x 10
    bicep curl w/BB, 40 x 2 x 15
    leg press, 310 x 2 x 15
    cable twist w/ball, 35 x 2 x 15, each side
    external rotators, 10 x 2 x 15, each side
    alternating hammers, 20 x 2 x 20

    crunches w/med ball, 2 x 25
    decline reverse crunches, 2 x 25
    dead bugs on bosu, 2 x 25
    jack knifes on ball, 2 x 15
    stand on bosu with one leg and lower body (don't know what this is called -- one leg squat?), 2 x 10
    forward lunges, 2 x 15
    push ups, 1 x 15, 1 x 25

    10 minutes stretching

    Chatted with a serious masters runner who thought I was gumby. Runners always seem to think this, but they are often as rigid as a board! lol


    I am still really fatigued. My daughter's been waking up in the middle of the night for some reason, and that probably contributes. There is no way I would want to do a meet this weekend. I think the fatigue from Zones will put a permanent kabosh on any thoughts of back to back meets. In fact, thinking ahead to next year, I wonder if swimming Zones before Nats at Atlanta (assuming I go) is really a good idea ... Right now, it doesn't seem like it. I wish our Zones meet was not 2 weeks before Nats. Definitely too close for my taste.

    May hop on my bike for 20 minutes this afternoon. Going to the pool for sure tomorrow.


    I realized I had lent my B70 to my kid for a couple swims the last day of JOs when she was on her 16-17 events ... So my B70 #2 probably has 20+ swims now. I'm thinking I need a back up suit for LC Nats. I guess I still have my hineck Pro, but Mini-Fort has used that too ... Need to mull this over. Need to make my hotel reservations too.

    (Oh, she went 3 seconds slower in the B70 than the Pro. )

    Updated April 30th, 2009 at 05:52 PM by The Fortress

    Strength Training and Dryland Workouts
  6. Thu Apr 30th, 2009 / 8 days till Nats / 50 bk 23.5

    by , April 30th, 2009 at 11:42 AM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Thu Apr 30th, 2009

    Tomorrow we're practicing relay exchanges with electronic timing , touch pads, & reaction pads on blocks so we can measure exchange reaction time

    Ordered B70 Legs,
    hope they arrive soon,
    GOT my modesty suit & a spare pair of googles yesterday

    May 8 - 10
    1 week & 1 days / 8 days

    Lat pull 6 x 167 6 x 207 5 x 217
    [ame=""]Lat press[/ame] 6 x 40 6 x 45 6 x 50 5 x 55
    Bench 6 x 135 5 x 185 3 x 200

    Swam 6:30 - 8:00
    Whitney Coached
    TSC diving well
    swam with Tyler, Todd, Brad, Mike, Larry, Max, Jon, & Mary

    Warm Up
    4 x 25
    4 x 25

    12 x 50 fr
    instructions were to swim easy and make it
    3 on 50
    3 on 45
    3 on 40
    3 on 35

    400 easy

    rested 10 minutes
    switched to B70 Nero Comp

    50 bk fast
    tyler timed
    went 23.5

    150 easy

    25 fr FAST ([ame=""]hand hit press through aka NO PAUSE[/ame])
    tyler timed
    went 9.7

    50 easy
  7. Thursday 4/30 - Sprint day I THINK!

    by , April 30th, 2009 at 07:48 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    For someone so slow and sluggish I tried to sprint but it seemed like I was unsuccessful.

    500 Free as 50 swim/50 catchup drill
    8x25 @ :45 Kick every 3rd sprint went :26 and :29 yuck
    10x50 @ 1:00 Free every 3rd sprint went :36, :35 and :36
    300 Kick with fins EZ

    8x50 @ 1:00 Free paddle on right hand 4 kicks on the paddle hand
    8x25 @ :45 kick every 3rd sprint went :26 and :26 better
    8x50 @ 1:00 Free paddle on left hand 4 kicks on the paddle hand

    100 sprint free went 1:17 felt slow
    500 free with paddles and bouy strech out on stroke
    400 fly kick with fins streamline
    500 Free EZ

    Total 4000 yards
  8. Chapter 3: Preliminary Visuals

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 10:57 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    "Is one of the symptoms of swine flu a rash on the cylindrical base of the, well, I don't want to get this vlog thrown off, but is it?" thought James Thornton, several days after the Zones meet was over, and he was starting to wonder if his lack of an active immune system might actually save him from the latest colonization.

    He coughed, felt his lungs ache, shook his head, felt ashamed he'd missed practice, wondered how technology could possibly hope to keep pace with his sicknesses and workout slothfulness.

    He tried to swallow. It hurt too much. He brought the coagulated substance back up, then tried to avoid thinking about the cylinder and its inflamed base....

    Having now provided my vlogging viewers with an overwhelming reason to change the mental visuals now dancing in their heads, I shall post some much more wholesome imagery.

    First, a still photograph of a swimmer who truly deserves all the credit for my swims, this swimmer being one Mr. William Sumerfield, Esquire. Yesterday's picture of BillS, which used Jimmy Stewart as a stand-in, was a mistake.

    I should have used William Holden instead:

    Note: I have cropped the picture to spare Bill the embarrassment of showing what his friend's hand was doing at precisely this moment.

    Next, I will present four short films taken from the Colonies Zones meet. None of these show actual swimming, so please do not be disappointed. I understand your feelings. During my Golden Boy youth, I was once jogging when several highly attractive tartlets beckoned to me to stop and chat them up.

    "I'm sorry, girls!" I said. "I'd love to stop but I can't--I am just too magnificent in motion!"

    I add this not our of conceit nor any other self-aggradizing motive. I am not immune to the aesthetic artfulness of my bodily movements; I feel your desire to see this, for I desire to see it myself, perhaps almost as intensely as you do.

    Take heart: There will be, in a few days or so, almost 5 minutes and just under 25 full seconds of me swimming the 500 to be posted soon!

    But for now, the preliminary footage.

    The first two are both from Friday, April 24th, after I have warmed up for the first time in the B70. I didn't have any competitive events this day, just let myself get used to the suit a bit.

    The second two are from the morning of Saturday, April 25th, as Leslie "the Fortess" Livingston, blissfully unaware that she was driving me (illegally, as you shall see) to her own first national record, well, it is just a delicious irony to see Leslie in the very final charmed moments of her life before she transmogrified from amateur celebrity to professional celebrity, with all the attendant paparazzi style pains the latter are known to foist upon the truly great.

    Thank god I am headed for no such fate myself!

    Film 1: The Grand Sweep of the GMU Natatorium

    [ame=""]YouTube - Friday: A 2008 Zonesman Previews the 2009[/ame]

    Film 2: Interview with David Bright on the B70's legality and predictions for my events

    [ame=""]YouTube - David Bright: On a Swimming Costume's Leg[/ame]

    Film 3: Driving to GMU with the Great One and learning how to mix and max pills and inhalants.

    [ame=""]YouTube - Saturday Morning: Driving with Miss Fortr[/ame]

    Film 4: Convincing the Great One to Break the Law

    (Note: I may need to repost this one of Leslie breaking the traffic regulations under my relentless urging. It appears there has been an error, but try playing it anyhow.)

    [ame=""]YouTube - Saturday: First Illegality as the Drive C[/ame]

    More soon, but for now, I must take my swine-fluish hulk to the sick bed and/or sick sty.
  9. Wednesday Poop-Out!

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 10:24 PM (Swimming, Life, and Other Stuff!)
    I ended up working at school late and pooped out of the solo swimming mood. I opted for a 50 min. run (6.5 miles or so) I really miss being outdoors everyday for my run. Oh well..... another month and we'll be outside for swimming.
    I'm going to do a little ab work and shoulder/neck exercises then off to ! Tomorrow is my Columbus/Brittany adventure so I want to be well rested!
  10. Ok today is Wed 29Apr09, somewhere in Sacramento

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 10:24 PM (Swim like an Orca, but faster !)
    I lost a day, think it was Monday, because I was adopting a doggie from the SPCA instead of going to my Aquasol practice. I would of had him Sunday, but he needed fixing. He's a 9 month old Aussie mix, great dog, way full of energy...

    Today I had to go to Sacramento, so I thought I would drop in on the Swimstitute in Rancho Cordova. (I linked the picture from their web-site)

    It was a bit on the warm side, you know as you get going and you start to bake, but for convinience, I wish there was more pools like this...No workout, just BYO.

    What was really great was having the cross rafters in the ceiling as a guide for backstroke, my coach has been stressing for me to put my head back in line with my body, but then Im blind and I collide with the lane lines and other peeps. It was a good feeling to be able to concentrate on my stroke, while using the rafters as navigation.
    They say its SCM, but I couldn't tell, the flags are set just the same as SCY.
    Warm 200
    2x per stroke
    50 (dive 20 fast, 30 slow) 2:00
    50 (push 30 fast, 20 slow) 2:00
    50 easy 2:00
    50 Dive fast 2:00
    4x50 BK one-arm drill
    4x50 BK 1-2-3 switch arms drill
    2x100 BK 2:00

    200 cool
  11. 4/29/2009 Mountain Bike Ride

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 10:08 PM (TJ's Blog of Slow Swimming!)
    Since I'm logging my workouts, I may as well log my extra-swimming workouts.
    I had a 90 minute ride with mixed intensity. Pushed the climbs to a high heartrate and cruised most everything else to get a feel for my new bicycle. My legs were still sore from Sunday's ride since it was my first of the season. One of these days I will learn to ride over the winter so I don't have to endure the pain of getting back into riding shape.
    It's steel, so it's not quite as hip as the greatest carbon stuff, but it has great feel, meaning that it absorbs bumps well and flexes in all the right spots!
    Now, if I were an elite level mountain bike racer, I would probably choose the latest carbon bike since it would weigh less and be more rigid. But this frame will outlast 10 carbon frames.
    Enough with my moronic rambling, here is the picture.

  12. Double

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 07:30 PM (Elise's Fitness Fun)
    Ran 6 miles this morning. Hot and humid, but felt good. Did my last mile in under 8 minutes.

    At lunch, went to swim. When I got in to warm-up, I could tell I was dead from the run. I swam through the workout feeling like I was really just getting in garbage yardage.

    Warm-up: 400 Reverse I.M.

    150: 25 free, 25 rt. arm fly, 25 lt. arm fly, 50 free, 25 fly (with fins)

    150: 50 double-arm back, 25 rt.arm back, 25 lt. arm back, 50 back with emphasis on rotation

    150: 50 breast kick on back, 50 breast pull with fins, 50 breast kick with buoy and board

    150: 12 flutter kicks on side, 3 strokes free, 12 kicks

    200 easy free

    2 sets of the following:
    2 x 25 - free on :25
    2 x 25 - free with 2 strokes fly on :25
    2 x 25 - free with 4 strokes fly on :25
    2 x 25 - free with 6 strokes fly on :25
    2 x 25 - fly on :25

    10 x 100 free on 1:40 (I almost feel guilty for doing free on this interval, but I was dead from the run.)

    5 x 100 - easy kick with fins on 1:40 - alternate 100 free kick with 100 back kick

    3200 yards

    Updated April 29th, 2009 at 08:20 PM by elise526

    Swim Workouts
  13. Thoughts of Openwater are dancing in my head...

    I went up to Lake Norman trying to gear myself up to sail our 30 foot Catalina Capri on my own. But I still get shakey about it, so the winds have to be just right. I have two solo sails under my belt from last season...but our new slip is really tricky to get into. That is my biggest concern. I will get comfortable again as the summer progresses.
    I thought of "Chicken of the Sea" and decided to test the water. It was cold, but not terrible. No red bumps showing. I swim back and forth behind yachts of various size, shape, beauty and decrepity. I see Mast clanging and catchy names on the back of boats strung together as I take each breath. They protect me from the motor boats, although one stopped and said he thought I was a fish.
    "Dolphin" I replied.
    So I am contiplating the NC Openwater at Pinehearst. Another first for me!

    Swam this morning
    We did a lot of interval building slow to fast.
    Kicked, kicked, and more kick. Leslie inspired me today. Thanks!

    Worked on all the strokes as I like the IM.
    My Butterfly definitely needs a look at.
    So does my breaststroke.
    Maybe 2500 yds
  14. Still dead, Wed., April 29

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 02:45 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Wow, I am still absolutely dead from the meet. Not recovering quickly at all. Am now glad I'm not going to the NY meet this weekend, as traveling sounds tiring ... Looking forward to a weekend with the family & watching my kids' sporting events!

    Was heading to the gym, but cancelled that plan. Just did RC and some stretching today. Taking Bobinator's advice and listening to the body!

    I am weary of all the tech suit haters. I believe that the suits make everyone faster, and that I have benefitted from my B70. Especially in my first set of unrested and tapered times. However, I have been wearing the B70 for a long now; I was one of the first masters to get it -- I followed Ande's recommendation immediately and spoke to Dean in Europe to discuss getting one. (This is consistent with my penchant for trying new things. No reason not to be adventurous.) I now have so many times in it, that I'm inclined to think I've seen most of the benefits from the suit and that my subsequent time drops are at least somewhat due to other factors. Even under Jimby's prior (and flawed! :P) analysis, I've dropped time since I last tapered in the B70 in February. This may be wishful thinking on my part, and some say it is, but I continue to believe that weights have helped me. How many times do you have to wear a suit before every single improvement ceases to attributed to it?! Right now, I feel like I'm comparing "apples to apples" since I always swim in a B70.

    My current B70 (#2) now has 18 races in it, plus all the warm downs. I also warmed up in it on Saturday of Zones, as I didn't have time to struggle into it before my first race. BTW, I disliked warming up in it and will try to avoid doing it again.

    Updated April 29th, 2009 at 03:02 PM by The Fortress

  15. 4/29/09

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 01:03 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCY Solo
    9 days 'til Nationals.

    20 minute warmup
    {did 400 as 100 free/100 back
    kicked 200 on back alternating dolphin/flutter by 25s
    drilled 6 x 50
    swam 100 easy}

    12 x 50 on 1:10 from mid-pool: odds build 2nd 25 to about 80%, evens FAST inside the flags: work on hitting the turns at speed, even when you might feel a little off going into the walls because of when you switch gears. The idea is to work on being ready for any possibility when you get to the wall.
    I kind of struggled through the 50's. Just didn't seem to have any gears to swtch to.
    I did these as 1-2 free, 3-4 back 5 fly, 6-7-8 free, 9-10 back, 11 free, 12 fly
    100 easy

    6 x 25 fast off the blocks, choice... work on fast breakouts.
    {did fly-back-free, repeat. Didn't get good times since the clock was hard to read with the glare.
    the free was under 15, fly around 15, back couldn't tell. clock was close to 20 by the time I turned over and focused on it.}

    10 minute swim down choice
    {went 600 y halt free, half back}

    Total: 2450 yards
  16. 4/29/2009 Free/Breast

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 12:41 PM (TJ's Blog of Slow Swimming!)
    11:00 AM to Noon at the Downtown YMCA (SCM) coached by Elisa.

    400 with every 4th length breast pull with a body dolphin

    Main Set:
    4 times through:
    4x50 free on 1:00 with good form - stayed right about at :51s and used them as a recovery between br
    2x50 breast on 1:10 - fast (:57, :55, :55, :55, :53, :53, :51, :52)

    4 times through:
    1x75 free on 1:35 - first 25 fast
    1x75 free on 1:40 - negative split

    6x25 6 kick and roll free

    2350 meters

    The breaststroke hurt by the end, but I managed to get faster as the set went on. I concentrated on pressing my chest down to get my hips up as I lunged forward.

    Updated May 1st, 2009 at 12:58 PM by Iwannafly

    Swim Workouts
  17. Wed Apr 29th, 2009 Nats in 9 days

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 12:36 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Wed Apr 29th, 2009

    Ordered B70 Legs, hope they arrive soon, need to get my modesty suit

    May 8 - 10
    1 week & 2 days / 9 days

    Swam 7:45 - 9:00
    Whitney Coached
    TSC main pool
    swam with Tyler, Todd, Brad, Kendal, Mike, Larry, Max & Mary
    saw ned doug, amy brandon, & Michael Lovato
    dove in on time

    Warm Up
    4 x 100
    4 x 075
    4 x 050
    4 x 025

    10 x 50 on 1:05
    01) 1 SDK
    02) 2 SDKs
    03) 3 SDKs
    . . .
    10) 10 SDKs

    100 easy

    rested 10 minutes
    switched to Speedo PRO Hineck

    broken 100 IM
    10 sec rest at each 25
    went 11 11 15 11

    150 easy

    25 SDK
    whitney timed
    went 10.4

    50 easy

    Updated April 30th, 2009 at 11:26 AM by ande

    Swim Workouts
  18. Crappy vid of my 50 Free.

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 09:40 AM (The Labours of SwimStud)
    OK still not great quality but you can see it now.

    [ame=""]YouTube - 50 FR[/ame]

    Updated April 29th, 2009 at 10:17 AM by SwimStud

  19. Wednesday 4/29 - A sort of recovery day

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 07:53 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    Today my left leg started feeling better so what do you do when you feel better....push it, sort of.

    10x100 @ 2:00 Free 1/2 pull 1/2 kick
    10x100 @ 1:45 as 50 free/50 back w/paddles went 1:33, 1:32, 1:31, 1:31, 1:33, 1:33, 1:32, 1:31, 1:31, 1:32
    2x[300 free kick EZ w/fins
    .....[15 seconds rest
    .....[100 Free kick Sprint w/fins went 1:15 on both
    200 free kick EZ w/fins
    5x100 @ 1:45 as 50 Free/50 back went 1:32, 1:32, 1:32, 1:31, 1:28
    500 free alternate 50 drill / 50 swim

    Total 4000 yards
  20. Book 1: The Old Man and the B.....70, that is

    by , April 28th, 2009 at 10:57 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    And so now begins the epic trilogy of an old man, a possibly illegal swimming costume, a quest for immortality, and so very, very much more.

    In today's preamble to the first 77-chapter volume of my planned trilogy, I will attempt to do a little scene setting and foreshadowing of themes that will, over the course of centuries, develop slowly but with the inexorability of truth itself.

    Foreward: Who Are These People and Why Should I Care?

    On Friday, April 24th, a somewhat frail man by the name of James Thornton left the Pittsburgh metropolitan area with a single destination in mind: Destiny.

    James did not travel alone. His personal driver was the ever so comely adult-onset swimming sensation, Mermaid. He was also accompanied by the spirit of a heroic lawyer from Hood River, Oregon, by the name of Bill Sumerfield, Esquire, friend to honest men everywhere and champion of the even more numerous ranks of crooked fellows who need his help.

    As Mermaid fiddled with her Sirius radio system hoping to find yet another 80s station to slake her thirst for the songs of her infancy, James thought back to his own teenage years when Tommy Dorsey and Ludwig Von Beethoven drove the hit parade on his family Victrola.

    And so, onwards along the PA Turnpike to Breezewood, then south through a succession of increasingly crowded freeways towards Tyson's Corner, at first flying well beyond the speed limit, eventually slowing to a snails pace, the Mermaid ramrodded her pleasantly dreamy elder ward to the Compound in Vienna, Virginia, a Compound that is home to yet another character in our trilogy, the lovely Fortress herself, whose ownership of said Compound with her incredibly generous husband Scott has been diluted ever so slightly by several years of squatting by James, which has given him legal title to the guest house, though he (James) probably needs to talk to Bill Sumerfield about this in more detail and maybe get another favor from this legendary friend of the crooked (Bill, I can arrange some kickbacks, trust me, the deal I am thinking about here is really, really sweet.)

    Then James woke up.

    At this point, let me quickly provide some pictures of our story's early protagonists:

    Mermaid and the Fortress: Magnificent Lasses the Both of Them, and what indefatigable providers of succour to an Old Man! Does there exist in all of Christendom a quartet of bluer eyes containing nearly so much kindness? I say, look at their eyes, man! Up! Up!

    The Spirit of Bill Sumerfield, Esquire, debating the finer points of B70 legality and a squatter's real estate rights in a Virginia Commonwealth Court of Law. "My client and his suit," he appears to be pleading to an obvious sympathetic and converted to liberalism former hanging judge, "are every bit as legal as my client, Jim Thornton's, claim is to part ownership of the Livingston family home, Your Honor!"

    And finally, James Thornton himself, albeit inhabited still by the wraithe-like specter of Mr. Sumerfield, the two of whom appear in their utter post-400 I.M. Zones Record Establishing Performance exhaustion (this is, I'll admit, a teasing dip into what professional writers call foreshadowing--wherein the ending itself [in this case, unmitigated triumph of every stripe] is never in question. The drama emerges, instead, as a result of the reader's overwhelming itch of curiosity about how such an unlikely protagonist could possibly defy his "three score minus 3 1/2 year" ancience to prove himself.) ] to be possibly coughing up a hairball.

    I seem to have lost control of the previous sentence. Never mind! I shall soldier on like Dickens dim-witted twin, knowing as my smarter brother understood that stories emerge best when serialized over the course of eons and remunerated at a a satisfactory if not exactly handsome per-word rate...

    Chapter 1: Comes A Zonesman.

    In the events I planned to swim at this year's Zones, here were my best times in recent years and my age at which I performed them. For those of you who may have missed earlier mentions of my age, I am three score minus 3 1/2 years old, or 56 and 1/2, and will be FINA 57 for Long Course purposes this summer even though I do not officially become three score minus three until Sept. 24th of 2009, a date that present-minded vlog readers might want to jot down somewhere.

    Anyhow, here are my old bests of late:

    • 50 free 24.53 set at age 56 at the Sprint Classic last fall

    • 100 free 52.90 set at age 55 at Colonies Zones last spring, establishin the new Zones record for my age group and becoming a Zonesman

    • 200 free 1:57.44 at age 56, again at the Sprint Classic last fall

    • 500 free 5:24.57 at age 55, set last spring at Clarion University and out local Y championships here in the Pittsburgh area

    • 50 fly 27.67 at age 56, set this past season at some hard to remember mid season Y meet, albeit after not swimming butterfly for three years to prevent shoulder pain

    • 400 IM 5:11.59, at age 56, ditto for hard to remember Y midseason meet, again, after having not swum the IM for years because of shoulder pain.

    All the above swims were done either in a Fastskin 1 knee skin or one of those Tyr heavily discounted $56 suits that work pretty well as long as the Teflon-like coating remains in tact, that is to say, a few meets.

    Here are the times Bill and I ended doing at this year's Colony Zones while wearing the borrowed suit. I say Bill and I because it was not only the suit that helped me, but the spirit of Bill inhabiting the suit.

    Note: those hoping for endless analysis and dissection of the minutiae here shan't be disappointed! I plan to sautee the numbers every which way from here to CremePuff in vlogs stretching out over the remainder of my life.

    But to very quickly sum up, the suit absolutely helped, but I did not do the miracle times I was secretly hoping for; Michael Phelps has absolutely no cause to look over his shoulder at the likes of me, but I can't say the same for, say, Ryan Lochtke style lesser swimming greats who remain closer to my league as evidenced perhaps by my inability to spell their names.

    Anyhow, it's possible the suit did indeed promote absolutely miraculous improvements over a ruined Jim, but because my times seem to conceal from me the degree of this ruination, I might just assume I am pretty much as good as I was last year and thus modest improvements mean the suit contribute modestly.

    I fully acknowledge the possibility, indeed the likelihood, that without the suit, my "true" times would have proven so abysmal that I would have checked myself into an assisted living facility.

    Who knows?

    Anyhow, for now, here are the times I swam this year along with any improvements over the previous best times of the recent era:

    • 24.17 50 free (.36 improvement; I missed Zones record by .03)

    • 52.86 100 (set new Zones record, breaking my own record from last year by .03)

    • 1:56.07 200 (1.38 seconds improvement over earlier season time; this one set new Zones record and was my lowest 200 time in 5-6 years)

    • 5:24.84 500 (set new Zones record, breaking my own Zones record by 2-3 seconds, though it was also .27 second slower than last year's Clarion time)

    • 27.00 50 fly (best time for me since I did a 26.86 at age 50 six years ago)

    • 4:57.85 400 IM (set new Zones record, my all-time best time)

    Endless analysis to come. Tomorrow, the first of 34 short videos, most lasting no longer than 2 1/2 hours, will begin.

    I hope you can sleep tonight! I know I am much too excited myself to find my way to the Land 'o Nod!

    Updated April 29th, 2009 at 11:22 AM by jim thornton