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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

One of the Laws of Thermodynamics

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
I am not sure which one it is, but one of the Laws of Thermodynamics, if memory serves me even a little bit, says that energy runs downhill. Entropy is gaining on us all, relentlessly.

Perhaps in the grander scheme, this could explain the past several months of swimming practice.

I am wondering if anybody out there in vlog land might have less grand and more Jim-specific explanations for what is happening to me.

I don't mean for this to sound woe-is-me-ish here, though I suppose that after playing the same instrument for so many years, it's not unreasonable to think that my words might seem to echo with at least a little bit of that atonal whiny soundtrack that has so frequently accompanied Jim utterances in the past.

Still, I am hoping we can dissect me, and by extension, Everyman, to find out what is happening, if it is inevitable, or reversible, or slowable, or only likely to accelerate.

Basically, the gist of my lament: my AT times are becoming noticeably worse.

A few snapshots from my swimming practice log:

Jan, 2003: 3 x 1500 on 20 min. in practice: times 19:20; 18:40; 18:28

Jan, 2004: 4996 yards in 1 hour postal meet

June, 2004: 46 x 100 on 1:20

Sept, 2006: 4 x 100 sandwiched in between a bunch of 50s and 25s, the times for the 100s 57, 58, 57, 58.2

Oct. 2006: 4 x 200 sandwiched in beween sets of 8 x 50 on :50, the times for the 200s 2:08, 2:08, 2:07, 2:07

Jan. 2007: 2:08 for 200, 4:35 for 400; 7:08 for 600; 9:52 for 800

Nov. 2007: 2:17, 2:16, 2:16, 2:11 for 4 x 200 separated by 300s

Jan, 2008: 4825 hour swim

Jan, 2009: 4700 hour swim

Tonight's practice: 10 x 100 on 1:25; 8 x :50 on :40; 10 x 100 on 1:20, then I gave up and went to B lane like an abused dog, unable to complete the rest of A's practice (4 x 200 on 2:40; 4 x 100 on 1:15; 4 x 50 on :35.)

I am just wearied out these days. It hasn't yet ruined my shorter swims, but I don't know. Swimming coach Bill thinks it's psychological, that I need some kind of placebo to get me thinking positively and trying harder again in practice. But I still find myself coming to the brink of vomiting--surely this must be some sort of index of effort, right?

I do not want to think that I am slowing down.

I do not want to think that I am nearing the Great Resting Reward.

I do not want to think that the IRS will be able to feast on my remains without me so much able to raise a finger, a middle finger, to wag in their direction and say, No, Jimby prefers not to!

"Not to what?" asks the IRS lady, her breathe reminiscent of Jimby's other female nemesis, that damnable nurse Ratchett.

"I prefer not to! Not to anything you want! I prefer not to!"

Wagging that finger savagely now.

In any event, I do not want to think any of this figures in a slippage in my AT time.

I am hoping my vlogging viewers might be able to come up with alternative scenarios to propose, to cast me a placebo, if you will, to rally me back!

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  1. The Fortress's Avatar
    You just swam some blisteringly fast times and had your highest rankings ever this last year.

    It is psychological. Or it's living in that ever gray cloudy and gloomy city. Or SAD. PM Jaegermeister and ask him about whatever lamps they are prescribing for this phenomenon; he mentioned that subject to me recently. ASAP/AFAP! Or your evil twin Kurt can chime in. Seriously, February is the worst month of the year. Knowing this, and knowing my own predilection/need for the sun, I scheduled a taper meet in Feb. to keep me diverted and focused. Worked wonders. Now it's mid-Feb, and almost spring here in DC. While everyone else shifts into high training gear and starts tapering and fretting, I'll be on the running trails and having a grand time with no worries.

    If it's not SAD, it's the economic malaise permeating through the interstices of everything and you will have to evolve and adapt to it like the fish who walked. I'm sure you'll feel better once the IRS goes away. And maybe "Packages" will score big.
    Updated February 16th, 2009 at 10:45 PM by The Fortress
  2. Bobinator's Avatar
    You know Jimbo (that rhymes) you need to stay true to the karma of your body. You have been and always will be an outstanding swimmer! When you get older (getting older beats the alternative-DEATH) your body speaks to you in a louder and more clear voice. You must LISTEN to that voice! Okay, I will translate it for you this time (and I really don't even know you)!
    I (your body) need more rest and recovery in order to keep swimming in the stellar manner I am used to. I can still do it....but I might need a few more easy days...or even total rest.
    If I have to revise a workout to make it through, it's okay. The next workout I will probably blister the pace and feel better than ever. Do not panic, play mind games, speculate morbid thoughts, just trust me. I have gotten you this far in life as a spectacular athlete and I will continue to do so if you listen and stay in harmony with me and my changing needs.
    I hope this helps; if it doesn't you might nix the soy or adopt another pug(a black one would contrast the other two!)
  3. jim thornton's Avatar
    Leslie and Bobinatory, you two are absolutely fantastic! Thanks so much! You are the antitheses of the IRS lady and Ratchett, R.N. If the IRS left me enough money, I would hire you to be my body guards, and by body guards, I mean, well, chicks that make sure my body is guarded.

    I think that what you say makes A GREAT DEAL OF SENSE.

    Let me use a trick I have heard psychologists recommend to their clients. It's a way of ensuring that you (in this case, me) have heard what I (in this case, you) have said.

    So, for the record, here is what I heard Leslie and Bobinator tell me:

    Stop babying yourself, you pathetic maggot. Swim harder and stop wimpering. Tell yourself, "You think you got a problem? Come over here, and I'll show you a problem!"

    There is no shame in vomiting. The shame is in
    not vomiting.

    And buy a black pug. Stat!
    Train him to bite slackers who don't vomit.

    Okay. Message received loud and clear.

    I have been a snivelling little piece of pusillanimousness, and it's going to stop!

    I know John Wayne said never apologize, never explain. But I gotta explain. I blame the soy.

    Check it out:
  4. Bobinator's Avatar
    About "bosomplus"; it doesn't work....I tried it when I was 11. There is no replacement for good physical genetics.
    ps.....I read an interesting article about how maggots are sucessfully being used to treat diabetic ulcers. That sounds like great fodder for your educational vlog!
    You are gonna be fine Jimbo.....I know about things like this!
  5. flippergirl's Avatar
    Are you off that soy milk milk diet yet?
  6. Iwannafly's Avatar
    And Jim, don't BUY a Pug. RESCUE a Pug. That will help your delicate emotional state because you will be providing a loving home for some lovely little Pug who didn't have that home before!
    And like Leslie said, you're still wicked fast.

    Just one of many Pug rescues in Pennsylvania!
  7. gigi's Avatar
    If I were as clever as Bobinator, I'd come up with something cool to say here, but I'll just say - she's right - more rest is the thing to try. It's low-tech, has no learning curve, and it's absolutely free.

    Dr Gigi also recommends meditation - the wonder drug.
  8. Kurt Dickson's Avatar
    You can shine all the lamps on your dysthymia and it will just make your facial blemishes more apparent. I am basking in sun right now and feel nothing but loathing for my now 200 lb carcass complete with man-boobs.
    Do what I do: Look in the mirror and say Jimbo: you are good enough, smart enough, and gosh darnit people like me.
    As far as your swimming goes, I have no explanation. You swim fast times for shorter events. I believe I saw a set of 100s you did holding 1:00 with long rest. If this is the case, anything under 5,000 for a hour postal-event is weak. Possibly you are an anaerobe, or you could use more base (set of 500s), or preferably accept Jimby for who he is--my brother from another mother.
  9. Kurt Dickson's Avatar
    BTW it's the 2nd law of thermodynamics...and I am living the dream.
  10. DaveBright's Avatar
    Dear Vlog,
    You may have moved on to other topics already, but here is what I'm wondering - we are about the same age, and in general if we look at end of the season rankings we are in the same ballpark - you are a little ahead in freestyles, I've done OK in backstrokes, we tend to look pretty good the first year or two in the age group, etc, etc...but, I can't imagine ever doing the kind of times you list in a practice & probably haven't since I was 21. My questions are - does that mean I don't work as hard? if I went faster in practice, would I necessarily go faster in meets? Is the difference working out alone - as I do - vs swimming with a team? does 1:15 sharing a lane with a noodler equate to 1:10 swimming in a circle with 5 other 1:10's? I also tend to cycle in and out of shape, swim slowly in local meets and then have a big drop when I go to a championship. Is it better to do that because of the recovery periods or to try to maintain a consistent level of conditioning all year ? Or, would the best plan be to just stop training entirely and buy a Blue Seventy?
    Just wondering...

    Dave Bright
  11. jim thornton's Avatar
    Hi, Dave. I think, but am not totally sure, that we have actually met. Did you swim LC Nats in Cleveland when we turned 50? Maybe it was at another meet, Rutgers or Y in Ft. Lauderdale.

    Anyhow, nice to either meet you again or meet you now.

    I definitely find it infinitely easier to swim with a team than by myself. There is something about the herding mentality that makes me swim better in an organized practice than I almost ever do on my own. I actually do both--3 organized practices per week (when not sick) and then usually 1 or 2 easy things on my own, where I'll either do slow long distance or work on my stroke mechanics.

    As far as it goes for me, I pretty much swim all year, though our coach Bill tailors the workouts in cycles that get us ready for basically the big spring meet (around April). We start over again after that, and rebuild. Right now, we are at the last gasp of hard sets for the next couple weeks before we will start easing up in taper mode for the regionals.

    I think there is definitely advantages to the start - stop - recover -restart mode. But for me, it's just too hard to completely build back up. So it's more of a start - intensify - ease up - rebuilt -intensify kind of endless cycling. I also try to swim a big meet in each of the venues, though this year was the first time ever I hit the third one, SCM.

    As for suits, I would love to get one of them bad boy B70s. Maybe if I can get back into good shape and target a meet like Y Nats or maybe LC Nats in Indy this summer...

    There's also looming bankruptcy and economic collapse. I might need to buy a Blue 70 to live in--my shelter against the cold and rain.

    Thanks for the commentary!
  12. SwimMuseDeb's Avatar
    Wow. Being 52 and having never swum (great word) with a team until I was 45, I can only imagine swimming as fast as you do! I can go for a long time but on IM sets (hey--only learned flip turns and fly a few years back) I REALLY need rest. I wonder if my swim cardio condition will ever get better. Our coach says--eventually. I might even be getting something resembling a free kick (I am trying to keep up with the fast guys...always have an eye on what they are about). So anyway, I guess this is a raspberry being sent (phbthththt) from someone who can only imagine having such problems! (jealously) On the other hand, if you start from zero at age 45 one can continue to improve for a long time and imagine that, if she'd started as a child, she could have been really good at this.