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

Garbagio Lessons

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
Preamble: Sorry for how long this is. I wanted to jot down a few thoughts I have had on this season so far, and it has gotten a bit extended, verbiage wise, even for me. To leaven the mood, I will put a few pictures in here and there of me playing with Ciara's pony tail.



Ciara's wonderful father and my father figure/swimming coach, Bill White, perches like a better angel atop my right shoulder.
*

We last left our cliff hanger on the eve of my 1650 swim at Carnegie Mellon University, Feb. 26th, 2011.

At the time, if memory serves, I suggested that if I swam reasonably well, there would be no need for me to quote extensively from Sartre's Nausea. I am happy to report that this has, indeed, proven the case, and there is no reason whatsoever to ruminate for so much as a split second on :


  • "Ma pensée, c'est moi: voilà pourquoi je ne peux pas m'arrêter. J'existe parce que je pense … et je ne peux pas m'empêcher de penser"
  • "Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance"
  • "I know. I know that I shall never again meet anything or anybody who will inspire me with passion. You know, it's quite a job starting to love somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment, in the very beginning, when you have to jump across a precipice: if you think about it you don't do it. I know I'll never jump again."

These, and many more existential bon mots just as depressing have absolutely no relevance to today's vlog!



Ciara and I attempt a mind meld of the sort popularized by those bluish people on Avatar.

Instead, I would like to take the opportunity to offer something ever so rare in my episodic entries to date: potentially actionable swimming advice that might help my fellow middle distance freestylers approaching their Twilight years (in the non-vampire old-fashioned sense of the term.)

Data
One reason for the delay in posting my results is that I keep hoping for the Hyteck Meet Manager results to actually make their way a) onto the Internet, and b) into the "event rankings" section of USMS as was promised by my LMSC. But as is the case with many such promises, this hasn't happened yet, and I am slowly bracing myself for the thought that yet another of my swims in recent years won't count for possible TT consideration.

So instead, here is the hand-written sheet from my CMU backup timer, who posted the splits from the electronic scoreboard:



Historical Context

JIM THORNTON 59 1650 Free 19:38.20

JIM THORNTON 58 1650 Free 20:03.90

JIM THORNTON 57 1650Free 19:34.18

JIM THORNTON 56 1650Free 19:54.24

JIM THORNTON 55 1650Free 19:47.91

JIM THORNTON 54 1650Free didn't swim it
JIM THORNTON 53 1650Free didn't swim it

JIM THORNTON 52 1650Free 20:41.65

JIM THORNTON 51 1650Free 18:59.22

JIM THORNTON 50 1650Free 18:53.69

JIM THORNTON 49 1650Free 19:27.75

JIM THORNTON 48 1650Free 20:34.05

JIM THORNTON 47 1650Free 21:10.00

JIM THORNTON 46 1650Free didn't swim it
JIM THORNTON 45 1650Free didn't swim it

JIM THORNTON 44 1650Free 21:40.54

JIM THORNTON 43 to 0 1650Free didn't swim it (though my mother might beg to differ--how many laps in a shared placenta is a 1650?)

As you can see, my times have bounced around a bit over the past 15 years. My lifetime best performance was at age 50, a time when my coach Bill White helped me get into the best distance swimming shape of my life. I remember that year we did the following practice:

10 x 100 on 1:25 warm up
2 min rest

10 x 200 on 2:30

2 min rest
10 x 200 on 2:30

cool down


To this day, making this practice remains by far my proudest moment as a practice swimmer!

You will also notice that before age 49, I never broke 20 minutes. I was not swimming particularly hard at this point in my masters career, the body suits had not come out, and these times were all done at practice, not a meet.

Two other conspicuous 20 min+ outliers include the 20:41 done at age 52, which can be explained by broken ribs; and the 20:03 at age 58 (last year), which was the first year the body suits were banned, plus I had suffered a detached retina that January, which put me out of the water for nearly three weeks.



I have always thought I look good with that flouncy pony tail out the ball cap look! Now I can prove it!

Analysis of Recent "Comparables"

For an apples-to-apples comparison, let us look at my recent swim at 59 (19:38.20) and my swim at 57 two years earlier (19:34.18).

On the surface, it appears that I have slowed down by 4.02 seconds over the past two years. My pace per 100 has deteriorated from 1:11.41 to 1:11.16, or a quarter of a second per hundred in two years. On an annual basis, it would seem that I am slowing down by approximately one eighth of a second per hundred.

There are, however, several fudge factors that make this "apples-to-apples" comparison more of a "Granny Smith vs. Red Delicious" situation.

First, suit differences.

At 57, I swam the 1650 in my "floatie" body suit, the B70. At 59, I swam shaved an in a LSR elite jammer given to me a couple years ago. Did the suit change make a huge difference in my times?

It definitely did in some events. At 57, for instance, I swam my lifetime best 200 SCY freestyle in the B70, breaking in the 1:54's for the first and only time in my life. Since then, my fastest 200s have been high 1:57s. My 50s and 100s have also shown clear deterioration thanks to the suit change.

But for some reason, distance events of 500 and over don't seem to have shown as much of change. It seems like they should--with the B70 on, I took 1-2 less strokes per length swimming exactly the same way as always; moreover, I regularly gained at least a couple feet further on pushoffs and dives.

You would think such things would prove especially additive over longer distances, but so far that hasn't been the case. Perhaps the inability of body heat to escape the body suit as easily might muddle its impact on my own distance performances.

Conclusion: replacement of the B70 with a jammer probably hurt my time, but I cannot absolutely prove this.



In this corner, Red
vs.


In this corner, Granny

Even apples-to-apples comparisons are difficult to make sense of in the post-Body Suit Era!
Second, accumulated yardage leading
up to the 1650.


This year's 1650 was preceded by 423.44 miles in all of 2011; 41.79 miles in January, '12; and 60.60 miles in February, '12.

The B70 1650 two years earlier was preceded by 330.53 miles in all of 2009; 38.76 miles in January, '10; and 28.62 miles in February, '10.


Conclusion: swimming significantly greater distance probably helped my performance, though the suit change variable makes this also difficult to prove.



Is a Jim Clemmons-style mustache the key to time drops in swimming?

Third, a more
intelligent pacing
strategy for me.

Before this year's swim, I solicited advice from Ande.

Some selected excerpts from my questions and his always great counsel:
_________________________________________
Originally Posted by jim thornton
Ande, did you post something on swimming the 1650?

I'd like to do a good time this year, but I am wary of going out too fast and becoming cooked. Once I cross over to that "cooked" stage, it's agonizing to keep on going. But if I go too slow to avoid premature baking, it's hard to make it up on the other end. Any advice?
Swim by feel, assuming you will probably feel too good at the beginning and thus should consciously slow down?
_________________________________________
Hey Jim,

Great to hear from you. So you want to have a great 1650 & you want to split it correctly, swim it "just right" instead of being over cooked by going too hard up front or under cooked by going too easy.

"just right" is the trick and it's tricky.
Your 1st 100 needs to feel EASY.
You need to cruise it, going too hard on your first few 50's is usually way worse than going too easy.

BE VERY WELL CONDITIONED.

Do a great job warming up before your race.

Know your pace.

Do some longer swims in practice, some faster than your 1650 pace, some at & some below. Know what that effort feels like.

Ideally you want to hold the same exact pace the whole way, but diving in and excitement, makes some people rabbit the first few 50's.

You can only do what you can do. Swimming above pace up front is very likely to be detrimental. Settle into a sustainable pace and hold it.

Your pace an differ based on water temp. The warmer the pool is the worse your pace might be.

the best thing to prepare for the 1650 is consistent hard longer training and some speed work.
_________________________________________
Originally Posted by jim thornton

Ande, thanks so much for a very detailed and helpful reply.

I was starting to feel pretty confident, but last night we had a practice which started off with 8 x 100 on 1:25 warm up, then some 50s kick, then 2 x 500 on 6:15.
To break 20 on the 1650, I know I have to average around 6:00 per 500. But on the first 500 in practice, I did a 6:01, and the second one I just squeaked in at 6:14.

It was demoralizing.

But I usually try to negative split distance stuff, and I probably swam that first 500 faster than was comfortable. Plus the water was hot, I'd swum a meet the day before, and I was pretty tuckered out from swimming every day, without stop, since Jan. 28th.
So...who knows?

I am definitely going to take it out easy because by the end of last night's second 500, I was definitely not feeling ready to do another 650!

Today, I just went in and swam a slow 1650; I will probably take it easy at Wed. and Fri. practices, and just stretch out on the days in between.

I will take your post with me and try to ingrain your advice.

Thanks again!


_________________________________________
Hey Jim,

You're welcome for my reply, happy to

don't let your performance in a particular practice crush your spirit
just keep showing up & do the best you can
how many times a week are you training?
how far per practice?
if possible, before you taper, attempt to increase your
x/wk, yds per practice, & pace.
do it by just being determined to swim faster in practice.

so you want to break 20:00 on your 1650
20 x 60 = 1200
1200 / 33 = 36.363
so you need to ave 36.36 per 50
that should be easy and very doable for you

ingrain my advice & come up with a
training plan and a
race plan

holding 1:12's should be very easy for you
I bet you can hold under 1:10's
_________________________________________

Right before my B70 1650 at age 57, I solicited the advice of an on deck coach, who told me to go out smooth but strong on the first 500, then pick up each 500 thereafter.

Here are my splits from that race: 1 1-5 Thornton, Jim 57 TPIT-AM 19:50.00 19:34.18
30.96 1:05.54 (34.58) 1:40.03 (34.49) 2:14.52 (34.49)
2:49.55 (35.03) 3:24.78 (35.23) 3:59.96 (35.18) 4:34.94 (34.98)
5:10.07 (35.13) 5:45.07 (35.00) 6:20.07 (35.00) 6:55.36 (35.29)
7:30.52 (35.16) 8:06.58 (36.06) 8:42.46 (35.88) 9:18.37 (35.91)
9:54.37 (36.00) 10:30.72 (36.35) 11:07.09 (36.37) 11:43.09 (36.00)
12:20.04 (36.95) 12:57.12 (37.08) 13:33.82 (36.70) 14:10.80 (36.98)
14:47.27 (36.47) 15:24.20 (36.93) 16:00.74 (36.54) 16:37.19 (36.45)
17:13.84 (36.65) 17:50.36 (36.52) 18:26.61 (36.25) 19:02.29 (35.68)
19:34.18 (31.89)

I started out following the coach's advice, and I did feel strong and smooth--for a while. My first 500 was a 5:45.07. By the 1000 mark, I was starting to hurt, realizing too late that what feels good early on is not necessarily as easy as you think. My 1000 split was 11:43.09. The final 500 of the race was 6:00.36.

Compare this "start strong and decay" approach with the strategy I adopted, thanks to Ande's advice, this year. The second strategy is perhaps better described as "baby and coddle yourself beyond belief, and pick it up as you start to feel more comfortable."

I took the first 500 out in 6:10.38, more than 25 seconds slower than the previous race. The guy on my left and the guy on my right quickly disappeared into the gloaming in front of me, but I reminded myself of Ande's wisdom to ignore the rabbits and realize going out too fast is usually a much bigger mistake than going out too slow.

At the 1000 mark, I was at 12:10.91, now 27 seconds slower than my time in 2010. To an outside observer, it no doubt looked like I was setting myself up for total disaster. Note: to break 20 minutes, you have hold just a smidge over a 1:12 pace, and I was far from doing this.

But somewhere around this point, I caught up with both rabbits. I felt good, I felt strong--precisely the opposite of how I had felt two years earlier after going out much more quickly.

My final 500 was a 5:40.27, which was (at that point of the year) my fastest 500 of the season.

My final 200 was 2:10.11; my final 100 1:02.91; and my final 50 a 30.01.

Granted, overall I was still 4 seconds slower than when I swam it the "hurty" way, but when I got out of the pool at the conclusion of this year's race, I didn't feel the need to glance around to make sure the facility had an AED on hand. I felt pretty good, actually--and extremely happy that I had broken 20 minutes.

Conclusion: each swimmer must know his or her body and design a race strategy that works best for the energy systems and musculature therein. My friend and coach Bill has been a long time advocate of the "go out fast and try to hang on" approach.

For me, however, I have found that husbanding my energies, especially in longer races, seems to be the way to go. Not only does it hurt less, but I have come to believe that I just do better this way. Don't get me wrong: I am a big believer in pain and suffering. But I am not a believer of stupid pain and suffering, the kind that comes from misplaced Calvinism. If I tip over into what we used to call the lactic acid bath too soon in a distance race, I just tie up and can't finish strong.

What I am trying to do now is to figure out exactly where the line is (and the line shifts over the course of a race), swim as close as possible to this line without crossing it, and at the end, when I know I can cross the line and still finish the race, only then do I give it my all.

Final note:
Strategic Application
to Other Events


This past weekend, there was the last regular season AMYMSA meet before our championships. This meet, held at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, was again supposed to count for USMS purposes. The first event was the 500, and given that I did my season's best time in this event at the end of the 1650, I was hoping to match last year's best mid-season time of 5:33.

I used the same basic strategy of the 1650, but because the distance is so much shorter, I didn't coddle myself quite so much at the beginning, I did, however, remind myself to keep things smooth and under control.

Here are my splits:

AGE GROUP: 55-59
1 JIM THORNTON 59 M SEWY 5:28.81

30.82
33.36
33.53
33.63
33.39
33.58
33.07
32.88
33.41
31.14

Later, I did a pathetic 50 freestyle, thrashing impotently like a maniac. My time here, 25.69, was so dispiriting that I figured I would never be able to do a decent 100 again and should concentrate from now on only on 200s and longer.

The last event of the 3 and a half hour mudhole meet was the 100, and Bill told me he thought I should scratch because my time would likely be demoralizing. I didn't want to do this because the Albatross SCM meet is coming up soon, and I signed up for a bunch of events and wanted to gauge how my current conditioning would allow me to perform in multiple freestyle races in close proximity.

Bill said that he thought I would be lucky to swim in the 56s, and that I should brace myself for doing a 57 in the 100.

So I decided to just swim the 100, not worry about my time, and try the "out easy" strategy here, too.

Here's how I typically judge the best possible time you can do for a 100:

take your 50 time (25.69) and add 1 second to it (26.69)to determine how fast you should take out your first 50 in the 100. Then take this time (26.69) and add 1.5 seconds to it to get the time you can do on the second 50, which doesn't include a dive (28.19).

Thus my fastest theoretical 100 would be 26.69 plus 28.19 = 54.88.

Here are my actual splits from the 100 on Sunday:

AGE GROUP: 55-59
1 JIM THORNTON 59 M SEWY 55.11

27.00
28.11


What makes this even more unusual from my perspective is that I misjudged the flip turn at the 50 mark, and had one of those foot-only push offs that gives you virtually no momentum off the wall. If I had had a decent push off, it's possible I could have had my first negative split 100 ever!

The strategy, it would appear, even works on 100s!

I will have to try it out on the 50 next!

Note to self: No matter how much it itches, do not forget to shave!

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Comments

  1. The Fortress's Avatar
    I try to use your strategy in my 100 fly and 100 back. If I took them out too fast, I might not ever want to swim them again. I always take my 100 IM out fairly fast and it is usually agonizingly painful.

    Things are looking very good indeed for the Albatross meet. And you can be further fortified by the fact that you always seem to swim well there. What suit will you wear? Is your LZR jammer still useable?
  2. jim thornton's Avatar
    I think the LZR Jammer is still clinging to life. The fact that I am much fatter than I used to be keeps it fairly compressive!

    I wasn't entirely joking about the 50, by the way. Pete said to swim the first 25 as if you were going through a cylinder, then thrash away on the route back home.

    People who watched my 50 described it as lots of arm movements with no catch, as if I was just spinning my wheels. It felt like it. The first 50 on the 100, but contrast, felt much more efficient, if slower!
  3. The Fortress's Avatar
    I'm not surprised your 50 was off. Can you really expect anything different with il garbagio and workouts geared to longer races? You won't excel in the 50 without AFAP 15s, 25s and 50s on good rest, possible the 1:18 work rest ratio. :-)
  4. chowmi's Avatar
    I find the 1650 fascinating. What does one think about? Do you get more bored in one 1650 swim than another? I think your times are very good. It is amazing how a tweak here and there can either add up or down your time. Regarding the 50, it is simply that you are not a well-oiled sprinting machine. You simply could not tap the power that you already have in an efficient manner.
  5. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by chowmi
    I find the 1650 fascinating. What does one think about? Do you get more bored in one 1650 swim than another? I think your times are very good. It is amazing how a tweak here and there can either add up or down your time. Regarding the 50, it is simply that you are not a well-oiled sprinting machine. You simply could not tap the power that you already have in an efficient manner.
    Very interesting point about possible mind wandering affecting time ...

    It's possible that the requisite "power" is lacking without the correct sprint training. Without power, you could be just spinning.

    But your 200 and 400 should be brilliant at Albatross, along with a solid 100.

    have you thought any more about SCY Nats?
    Updated March 7th, 2012 at 05:33 PM by The Fortress
  6. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    I'm not surprised your 50 was off. Can you really expect anything different with il garbagio and workouts geared to longer races? You won't excel in the 50 without AFAP 15s, 25s and 50s on good rest, possible the 1:18 work rest ratio. :-)
    You might be right, but we do do some sprints, though probably more on a 1:4 ratio, certainly not 1:18.

    What exactly is an example of a 1:18?

    Say you swim an all out 12.5 in 5-6 seconds. 18 times this is at least a minute and a half. Assuming "active rest" counts as rest, are you saying that you swim sets of 25s on 90 seconds, going all out for 12.5 yards?

    How many of these do you do?

    Do you always incorporate active rest into the mix? For example, say you wanted to do the entire 25 AFAP. You'd have to do these on 3 minutes rest. Would you do a set of 25 on 3:00? Or 50s on 3, with the first 25 all out, and the second 25 active rest

    My problem with sprinting is only partly not training enough for it. The other problem is that my sprint stroke is a thrashing impotent inefficient bubbly mess.

    You are lucky, in a sense, given how great your SDKs are, because 16.5 of each 25 yard is underwater with only one aspect of the sport to concentrate on and coordinate. For two-thirds of the back and fly, your arms don't figure into things at all.

    It would be interesting to see what you could swim a 50 back in, for instance, the old-fashioned way--i.e., come up and start using your arms as soon as you would have had to do in the pre-SDK era.

    I am not sure the all out sprint training you do for back and fly, which is so absolutely fixated on legs and core kicking strength, translates as well to freestyle.

    What I really think I need to master is keeping a good stroke while increasing turnover, something I am having no success at all in doing this year!
  7. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by chowmi
    I find the 1650 fascinating. What does one think about? Do you get more bored in one 1650 swim than another? I think your times are very good. It is amazing how a tweak here and there can either add up or down your time. Regarding the 50, it is simply that you are not a well-oiled sprinting machine. You simply could not tap the power that you already have in an efficient manner.
    Actually, I really like longer events (as opposed to 50s) precisely because it gives you time to think about what you are doing. I typically think about my pace and my breathing and my stroke, doing little tweaks here and there as I go along. With all out sprints (see previous comment), it's really hard to remember to do even one thing completely right, let alone a bunch of them. I admire you sprinters, really!

    I wish I could figure out how to swim sprints efficiently, and not just thrash impotently!
  8. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    You might be right, but we do do some sprints, though probably more on a 1:4 ratio, certainly not 1:18.

    What exactly is an example of a 1:18?

    Say you swim an all out 12.5 in 5-6 seconds. 18 times this is at least a minute and a half. Assuming "active rest" counts as rest, are you saying that you swim sets of 25s on 90 seconds, going all out for 12.5 yards?

    How many of these do you do?

    Do you always incorporate active rest into the mix? For example, say you wanted to do the entire 25 AFAP. You'd have to do these on 3 minutes rest. Would you do a set of 25 on 3:00? Or 50s on 3, with the first 25 all out, and the second 25 active rest

    My problem with sprinting is only partly not training enough for it. The other problem is that my sprint stroke is a thrashing impotent inefficient bubbly mess.

    You are lucky, in a sense, given how great your SDKs are, because 16.5 of each 25 yard is underwater with only one aspect of the sport to concentrate on and coordinate. For two-thirds of the back and fly, your arms don't figure into things at all.

    It would be interesting to see what you could swim a 50 back in, for instance, the old-fashioned way--i.e., come up and start using your arms as soon as you would have had to do in the pre-SDK era.

    I am not sure the all out sprint training you do for back and fly, which is so absolutely fixated on legs and core kicking strength, translates as well to freestyle.

    What I really think I need to master is keeping a good stroke while increasing turnover, something I am having no success at all in doing this year!
    For example, I will frequently do a set or two of 8 x (25 AFAP swim or kick w/fins + 75 EZ) @ 3:00 very frequently. I usually hit 10+ seconds on these with 2:50 of rest and recovery swimming.

    I did swim the 50 back in LCM last summer which included 36+ meters of actual swimming. I am fast above water in backstroke too.

    I don't think the leg work translates as well to free either, though I did crank a good one in SCM last Dec. I am thinking about swimming the 100 free at Zones and spending some time on my back off the flip turns. Just for a fun experiment.

    Your sprint stroke is inefficient because you don't practice it enough. And that's OK. It's hard to excel in every free distance from 50-1650. You kind of have to lean one way or the other.
  9. rodent's Avatar
    Your 1650 is the 2nd fastest in your age group this year, your 500 is first. Why did you decide to shave down? You will have to shave for either zones or nationals, so why do it now? It looks like the garbage mileage helped for the 1650 and 500 but not so much for the 100, which is about what one would expect.
    You can get some speed work in in the last few weeks before zones and nationals. It probably won't hurt your distance events and hopefully get you more speed in the shorter events.
  10. That Guy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rodent
    Your 1650 is the 2nd fastest in your age group this year, your 500 is first. Why did you decide to shave down? You will have to shave for either zones or nationals, so why do it now? It looks like the garbage mileage helped for the 1650 and 500 but not so much for the 100, which is about what one would expect.
    You can get some speed work in in the last few weeks before zones and nationals. It probably won't hurt your distance events and hopefully get you more speed in the shorter events.
    What's wrong with shaving for an in-season meet? (In other words, shaving without tapering?)
  11. rodent's Avatar
    Nothing is wrong with shaving during the season. It is just a lot of work and if you are going to swim a tapered meet while shaved, you might as well just do it once. You will probably swim a faster time while shaved and tapered at the same time.
  12. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rodent
    Your 1650 is the 2nd fastest in your age group this year, your 500 is first. Why did you decide to shave down? You will have to shave for either zones or nationals, so why do it now? It looks like the garbage mileage helped for the 1650 and 500 but not so much for the 100, which is about what one would expect.
    You can get some speed work in in the last few weeks before zones and nationals. It probably won't hurt your distance events and hopefully get you more speed in the shorter events.
    Jack, I figured that since this is likely the only time I would be swimming the 1650, and breaking 20 would have made the TT last year, it made sense to shave down.

    The Albatross meet is coming up soon, too, and it will be my first time swimming in the 60-64 age group, and I planned to shave for this, so I thought: what the hey?
  13. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rodent
    Nothing is wrong with shaving during the season. It is just a lot of work and if you are going to swim a tapered meet while shaved, you might as well just do it once. You will probably swim a faster time while shaved and tapered at the same time.
    I am not sure how much tapering helps; I hope it will help a lot. So far, I haven't really tapered too extensively. I got on this kick to swim as far as I could, and swim every day, in February. I have cut back a little bit since then, but not too much, and have yet to miss a day in the pool since Jan. 28.

    For me, once you shave, you have to keep doing it every week of so to prevent itching. With all the meets coming up: Albatross, our Y championships two weeks later, Colonies Zones two weeks later, and maybe (still not sure) Nats two weeks later, I will have to keep buzzing periodically. When the last one is done, I will commit to suffering the itch!
  14. Sojerz's Avatar
    Jim,

    Great 1,650 splits. Holding ave. 35.88 for this distance. Your ave 100 was 1:11.76, ave 200 2:23.52, ave 400 4:47.05 and ave 500 6:00.72.

    I inserted your splits into an excel spreadsheet and tried to copy paste a pdf of the spreadsheet, but it isn't working. I calcualted your averages for 50s 100s, 200s, 400s, and 500s. The spreadheet has each of your splits at those distances throughout the 1650. I tried to get excel to calculate the variance form the respective averages for each split, but excel is treating the times as "clock" times (starting at midnight) and when you try to do the math in excel to calcualte the variance it gets confused. I may be able to get the variance calculation to work and will let you know if i do. In any event, your splits were so close that it is very easy to calculate the variance from average in your head for over/unders. In general, it looks like you had some gas in the tank to come home with - look at your 100 splits for the last 400. IMO this is good and far better than taking it out to quick.

    I'm not sure if there is a way to access your email address or attach to a message and will look for this in usms info for J Thorton. I will try to send the excel spreadsheet too. Sorry i couldn't get it to go up on this board.

    Hope this helps, and again great 1650 out there in Pitt at CMU. Sending and advance welcome to the 60-65 group too, and hope i don't ever swim any 1650 against you.

    (the date was feb 26, 2012? not 2011?
  15. chowmi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    I am not sure how much tapering helps; I hope it will help a lot. So far, I haven't really tapered too extensively. I got on this kick to swim as far as I could, and swim every day, in February. I have cut back a little bit since then, but not too much, and have yet to miss a day in the pool since Jan. 28.

    For me, once you shave, you have to keep doing it every week of so to prevent itching. With all the meets coming up: Albatross, our Y championships two weeks later, Colonies Zones two weeks later, and maybe (still not sure) Nats two weeks later, I will have to keep buzzing periodically. When the last one is done, I will commit to suffering the itch!
    I see nothing wrong with the ritual of shaving, or whatever you do to prepare for a meet. For instance, I always suit up in a kneeskin and shave below the knee for any USA meet or sanctioned USMS meet. You never know when a good one will come, and there's no reason to wait to have a good swim. Even Martina suited up in her best legal racing suit for our Republic of Texas swim meet, which isn't even sanctioned for masters!!!

    And last, I am so pressed for time, that shaving, at least periodically, is a pretty good substitute for exfoliating!
  16. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sojerz
    Jim,

    Great 1,650 splits. Holding ave. 35.88 for this distance. Your ave 100 was 1:11.76, ave 200 2:23.52, ave 400 4:47.05 and ave 500 6:00.72.

    I inserted your splits into an excel spreadsheet and tried to copy paste a pdf of the spreadsheet, but it isn't working. I calcualted your averages for 50s 100s, 200s, 400s, and 500s. The spreadheet has each of your splits at those distances throughout the 1650. I tried to get excel to calculate the variance form the respective averages for each split, but excel is treating the times as "clock" times (starting at midnight) and when you try to do the math in excel to calcualte the variance it gets confused. I may be able to get the variance calculation to work and will let you know if i do. In any event, your splits were so close that it is very easy to calculate the variance from average in your head for over/unders. In general, it looks like you had some gas in the tank to come home with - look at your 100 splits for the last 400. IMO this is good and far better than taking it out to quick.

    I'm not sure if there is a way to access your email address or attach to a message and will look for this in usms info for J Thorton. I will try to send the excel spreadsheet too. Sorry i couldn't get it to go up on this board.

    Hope this helps, and again great 1650 out there in Pitt at CMU. Sending and advance welcome to the 60-65 group too, and hope i don't ever swim any 1650 against you.

    (the date was feb 26, 2012? not 2011?
    Major thanks and kudos to SOJERZ, whose name I have recently learned comes from his residence in South Jersey!

    Bill, his real name, recently sent me the excel spread sheet that he and his friend came up with for my swim. I shall let Bill describe what this includes, with a few highlights emboldened by me:

    Hi Jim,

    I added to the spreadsheet (a friend helped too). We figured a way to get excel to calculate the variance and display when you were over average (red) and under (black). You can see the clustering of red times through about 800. Somehow at that point you figured there was enough gas to bring it home and N/S the whole rest of the race.

    If I get a chance, I’ll enter the splits from that earlier race that you posted on the blog – will be interesting to see the differences between the two after ande’s coaching tips. Also, let me know if you have trouble opening the spreadsheet. If you are have a version of excel earlier than 2009 I might need to save it an earlier excel file format .

    Windows 7 has a pretty neat little feature called the "Snipping tool" which lets you surround anything on your screen and save it as a jpg file.

    I have taken Bill's spreadsheet and snipped it thusly. It isn't the greatest pixil count, but it will give you an idea of what his self-created program will do--i.e., show which parts of the race you are going slower than the average pace, and which parts you are going faster.

    A preponderance of red in the beginning means you are negative splitting.

    A preponderance of black in the beginning means you are going out fast and trying to hold on, but most likely dying.

    A smattering of red and black throughout suggests a generally even pacing.

    Here's what my 19:38 looked like:

  17. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by chowmi
    I see nothing wrong with the ritual of shaving, or whatever you do to prepare for a meet. For instance, I always suit up in a kneeskin and shave below the knee for any USA meet or sanctioned USMS meet. You never know when a good one will come, and there's no reason to wait to have a good swim. Even Martina suited up in her best legal racing suit for our Republic of Texas swim meet, which isn't even sanctioned for masters!!!

    And last, I am so pressed for time, that shaving, at least periodically, is a pretty good substitute for exfoliating!
    I have a vague sense of what exfoliating means. Isn't it a synonym for "flaying"?

    What exactly is the purpose of this procedure?

    I once did a photoessay on how to remove the hair from a butchered hog. Alas, I can't find the pictures anymore, but the basic idea is that you place the eviscerated carcass into a scalding barrel and then use a hair remover to finish off the rest.

    Here is a YouTube video of such a one-stop machine for this purpose. The Spanish name:
    Maquina Depiladora Escaldadora


    Do not worry! No hog shown!

    It does make me wonder if a similar device, toned down in aggressiveness, to be sure, might be adapted for exfoliation of us humans on the eve of our swimming meets?

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG7oP5geA1c"]Hog Scalder & Dehairer Machine (Maquina Depiladora Escaldadora).MPG - YouTube[/nomedia]
  18. jim thornton's Avatar
    My official splits finally got posted on the Internet.

    Here they are, Jim, for your future reference. Love, Jim

    Thanks, Jim! Love you back!

    Event 1 Men 55-59 1650 Yard Freestyle ================================================== ============================= Name Age Team Seed Finals ================================================== ============================= 1 Thornton, Jim 59 PETR-AM 20.20 19:38.20 35.22 37.61 37.96 37.47 36.86 37.19 37.15 37.23 37.19 36.50 36.70 36.36 36.31 36.49 36.23 35.72 35.58 35.84 35.79 35.51 35.64 35.63 35.75 35.11 35.29 34.97 35.40 34.79 34.60 34.06 33.14 32.90 30.01
  19. jim thornton's Avatar
    Event 1 Men 55-59 1650 Yard Freestyle
    ================================================== =============================
    Name Age Team Seed Finals
    ================================================== =============================
    1 Thornton, Jim 59 PETR-AM 20.20 19:38.20
    35.22 37.61 37.96 37.47 36.86 37.19 37.15 37.23
    37.19 36.50 36.70 36.36 36.31 36.49 36.23 35.72
    35.58 35.84 35.79 35.51 35.64 35.63 35.75 35.11
    35.29 34.97 35.40 34.79 34.60 34.06 33.14 32.90
    30.01