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

Buck up, Albatrossian! Buck up!

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
It is going to be a bit difficult to write today's vlog, given my recent posting in the No Whining Pledge thread of the discussion forums.

For those of you who missed it, here is what I wrote:


When I swam with Pitt masters at the U Pittsburgh pool, there was a morning group (up at 5 a.m.) and an evening group (practice starts at 5:30 p.m.)

As an unconscious whiner who emitted little whimpers involuntarily, the way a person with halitosis exhales puffs of putrescent breath that he has gotten so used to that its smell seems like normal air, I was informed one day by Pitt's excellent masters coach Jen that I didn't need to be this way.


There was, Jen told me, a legendary non-whiner who swam in the 5 a.m. practices, a fellow named Rich Durstein who never complained about anything. The man could have a spike through his head and he would not have mentioned it, nor the impact said spike would have on his ability to hold a tight interval.


Perhaps, Jen suggested, I could try to be a
little bit more like Rich Durstein.

I am nothing if not suggestible!


And from that day on, I determined to Durstein my way through the vicissitudes of life, shouldering no shortage of woe and handicap without so much as a micro twitch of my mouth corners!


This was approximately five years ago.


I have yet to meet Rich Durstein; indeed, I have come to wonder if he even exists.


They say that if God did not exist, then Man would have had to invent him.


Perhaps it is like this with Rich Durstein.


I don't know.


But I do know this: after five years of Dursteining my own way through life's teary veil, the thought of
ever uttering a whine or complaint has become inconceivable to me. I am, in my own way, a model of Dursteining swimming.

Take your pledge? No need, my good man!


This would indicate I am capable of backsliding, of paying attention to my corporal state, my fevers and colics and headaches and cramps, and commenting about same either through soliloquy or groan!


But I am incapable of doing either!


Sometimes I believe that when Man felt the need to invent Rich Durstein, Man inadvertently invented me!


If you would like help following my path, I will do my best to help. My disciple Leslie is making progress. I shall not comment on the nature of this progress. It is not the Durstein way.


--from [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=20289"]No Whining Pledge - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]


Part 1. Dispassionately Related Symptomatology*

*no judgment whatsoever of the sort that might be perceived as "complaining" or "excuse making" or the like is intended; indeed, any such judgment, if espied, is purely coincidental and/or a projection of the reader's own psychodynamic propensity for whining, kevetching, and so forth, certainly not anything that could legitimately be pinned to Mr. Thornton.
I remain committed to Dursteining, as I have been doing for countless uninterrupted years now, but I do need to cite several medical facts of particular relevance to this week's upcoming Albatross meet. Let me sum up these facts in a plain, unadorned way, using the unemotional language of a long-time coroner who regards each new corpse with the same degree of ennui as its predecessors.

Thornton, James, male, aged 59, considered 60 by FINA. A generally unremarkable specimen in recent months, Mr. Thornton presents with the following symptoms:


  • Sniffles and a certain gravel in the voice that caused his wife to inquire, "Have you been crying?"
  • Body aches and the episodic appearance of goose bumps, particularly when exposed to a draft.
  • Neuralgia.
  • Inability to walk up a short flight of stairs without a sensation of exhaustion in lower extremities.
  • A sense that his 2-a-day regimen of meals containing at least 8 oz. (and frequently much, much more) or red meat, much of it containing nitrates, may be fueling DNA damage throughout his frail elderliness
  • Unable to complete "child's play" like swimming practices without what he describes as "hog whimpering effort"
  • The following results from his CPAP device (see caption for explanations)




Thanks to regular use of his CPAP machine, Thornton's AHI, or Apnea Hypopnea Index, is 7.3--most of which is accounted for by hypopneas (delayed breathing: 6.8 per hour, on average) with only a relatively small number due to full-blown apneic strangulation (cessation of breathing altogether: .5 per hour).



Graphs of Mr. Thornton's generally unremarkable (to knowledgable doctors) CPAP results. It does seem, however, to this layman that Mr. Thornton leaks an awful lot.

Part 2: Historical Context

On March 15, 2011, exactly 365 or 366 days ago from today, March 14th, 2012 (Leap Year throws off my ability to calculate), I posted the following Vlog entitled simply, "Albatross" http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=14471. Naturally, the ideal thing would be for my readers to go back in time and reread this entry in its entirety. But I know how short-spanned the modern attentional ability is, so I shall simply excerpt a few of the choicer passages that strangely echo with today's situation:

It almost failed to occur, this bid of mine to come back from retinal detachment, financial depression, and a recent severe case of incapacitating sniffles.

Last Thursday, I awoke at 3 a.m., my nostrils spilling twin cataracts of Niagara-like mucous falls.


Last Friday, I spent the entire day daubing my nasal passages with deeply absorbent tissues, and still these were not enough to stem the flow!


Why can they not make nostril tampons for men who get colds this severe? Why is this natural market niche not being exploited? Best healthcare system in the world? Sadly laughable joke for those of us who cannot find a simple nostril tampon or maxi pad when we so desperately need them.


On Saturday, I had not the energy to leave the couch for more than an occasional cheesecake refrigerator run.


On Sunday, I forced myself to go to the Y where I swam an open turn 1650 in about 33 minutes--and almost could not finish, so deeply lethargic and hypoglycemic and dizzy I was in my cold!


The entry ends on a high note, with me managing to draft my way to completion of a grueling set of 10 x 100 on 1:25 warm up; 20 x 100 on 1:20; 8 x 100 on 1:15; 4 x 50 on :40.

It is somewhat analogous to this Monday's practice of 8 x 100 on 1:25, 300 kick, 5 x 200 on 2:40, 3 x 200 on 2:30, 3 x 200 on 2:40, 6 x 50 on :50, which I also made--mostly by the grace of god and drafting.

Two days later, on March 17th, 2011, I posted again, showing how merely finishing practice had been flukish indeed. Again, best to reread the entire entry-- "An Albatross Around One's Neck" http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=14508 -- but for those of you who are pressed for time, here's the breast meat:

After Monday's miracle practice, in which I rose Lazarus-like from the sick couch to complete, albeit with drafting assistance, a grueling workout for an aging fellow, my own pipe dreams and capacity for suspension of disbelief in myself convinced me to enter the Albatross meet.

Alas, at last night's practice, the familiar malaise and effeteness thrust themselves upon me with renewed vengeance. Weak? Check! Shaky? Check! Hypoglycemic? Check! In no condition whatsoever to swim in a swimming meet, even one that did not first involve driving for a minimum of 5 hours? Check!


Still, a tiny voice inside me has always urged: Forward Ho, Jim!--its sound, if anything, growing louder in proportion to the hopelessness of my mission!


And thus, sickness be damned, I will soldier on to Bethesda and do my best to set the new 200 SCM freestyle Albatross
meet record in the 55-59 age group. If I can accomplish this--impossible, I know, but if...--then I shall be forever known not just as a multiple Zonesman but as an Albatrossian, too!

And it will be the Albatross who must wear me round its pallid neck, not vice versa!




Heroically, and against all rational odds, Mr. Thornton did triumph last year, establishing a new All Time record at the Albatross meet (albeit one likely to fall this year to the ever estimable Bradford Gandee, 58-year-old youngster) in the 200 scm freestyle of 2:13:04. (Splits 30.66; 33.17; 35.04; 34.17.)

In the process, he established himself as an Albatrossian for the first time. The question is: Will it be his last?

Part 3: Analysis

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





      • 30.82


      • 33.36
      • 33.53
      • 33.63
      • 33.39
      • 33.58
      • 33.07
      • 32.88
      • 33.41
      • 31.14



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?

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  1. magick17's Avatar
    Well ya know if it doesn't work out for you, bring your germs to the leprechauns next year, ok?

    And ahh, still waiting to hear from your friends about the end of the month....been kinda quite..
  2. jim thornton's Avatar
    Tara, do you know if there have to be two officials? I don't know what the problem is, but it may be some resentment against USMS. They certainly don't seem to want to do any extra work or pay any extra money. I get the idea that the second official is the sticking point, because it supposedly costs $150 to get one to come. Let me talk to Nora again and see what she says. If one official is okay, then I don't see why there would be any problem. If two are needed, how did the LMSC pay for the ones at the recognized AMYMSA meets? I am not sure if they got their money's worth at Duquesne. If there's any moolah left over, maybe that would cover a second official at Clarion?
  3. The Fortress's Avatar
    I see no difference whatever between the 59 and 60 year old Jimby. Same pre-meet malaise, and likely will have the same meet results. I, on the other hand, have been a mere shell of myself from last year. No nerves, no fretting, no hand wringing, no angst over lane assignments. Very un-sprinterly. What does this portend?

    Does this mean no double dose of steak on Friday night?
  4. That Guy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    No nerves, no fretting, no hand wringing, no angst over lane assignments. Very un-sprinterly. What does this portend?
    A newfound love for the 200 fly, 400 IM, and 1650.
  5. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by That Guy
    A newfound love for the 200 fly, 400 IM, and 1650.
    I never even swam the 1650 as a kid. I can only recall swimming the 500 one time when my coach made me.

    No, no, no, I am done forever with those events.
  6. Kurt Dickson's Avatar
    Dursteining may be the goal (like self-actualization) but whining is fun and you would be not nearly amusing without the whine. I myself would like to wonder outloud why I am still swimming...my shoulder hurts, my back hurts, and I am currently fatter than I have ever been and a full 50 pounds larger than my college days (see my BYU playing card without photo which is primarily because my homely visage offends the beautiful- http://byucougars.com/athlete/m-swim...g/kurt-dickson)

    For you I would suggest even more red meat...not even warmed... just whack and eat.

    I have no idea what all your whiny breathing numbers mean...but if any of your hypopneas become more permanent come see me.

    Good luck this weekend...
  7. That Guy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    I never even swam the 1650 as a kid.
    You might love it! If all freestyle seems boring, consider reverse IM
  8. Sojerz's Avatar
    `God save thee, ancient Mariner,
    From the fiends that plague thee thus! -
    Why look'st thou so?' -"With my crossbow
    I shot the Albatross."...

    Day after day,
    day after day,
    We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
    As idle as a painted ship
    Upon a painted ocean.

    Water, water, every where,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, every where,
    Nor any drop to drink....

    Ah! Well a-day! What evil looks
    Had I from old and young!
    Instead of the cross, the albatross
    About my neck was hung"...

    Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
    How fast she nears and nears!
    Are those her sails that glance in the sun,
    Like restless gossameres?...

    Her lips were red, her looks were free,
    Her locks were yellow as gold:
    Her skin was as white as leprosy,
    The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she,
    Who thicks man's blood with cold...

    `I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
    I fear thy skinny hand!
    And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
    As is the ribbed sea-sand...

    O happy living things! no tongue
    Their beauty might declare:
    A spring of love gushed from my heart,
    And I blessed them unaware:
    Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
    And I blessed them unaware.

    The selfsame moment I could pray;
    And from my neck so free
    The Albatross fell off, and sank
    Like lead into the sea...."

    Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
    The lighthouse top I see?
    Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
    Is this mine own country?

    Under the water it rumbled on,
    Still louder and more dread:
    It reached the ship, it split the bay;
    The ship went down like lead.

    Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
    Which sky and ocean smote,
    Like one that hath been seven days drowned
    My body lay afloat;
    But swift as dreams, myself I found
    Within the Pilot's boat....

    I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
    Who now doth crazy go,
    Laughed loud and long, and all the while
    His eyes went to and fro.
    `Ha! ha!' quoth he, `full plain I see,
    The Devil knows how to row.'...

    O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!
    The Hermit crossed his brow.
    `Say quick,' quoth he `I bid thee say -
    What manner of man art thou?'...

    I pass, like night, from land to land;
    I have strange power of speech;
    That moment that his face I see,
    I know the man that must hear me:
    To him my tale I teach...

    Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
    To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
    He prayeth well, who loveth well
    Both man and bird and beast.

    He prayeth best, who loveth best
    All things both great and small;
    For the dear God who loveth us,
    He made and loveth all."

    The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
    Whose beard with age is hoar,
    Is gone; and now the Wedding-Guest
    Turned from the bridegroom's door.

    He went like one that hath been stunned,
    And is of sense forlorn:
    A sadder and a wiser man
    He rose the morrow morn.

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    Go for it this weekend all Albatross swimmers.
    Updated March 14th, 2012 at 09:14 PM by Sojerz
  9. poolraat's Avatar
    Jimby, the effects of old age obviously haven't affected your eyes yet. Even with my big screen I can't read half of your blog due to the smallness of the type. I'm glad I didn't try to read it first on my phone. I would only be on about the second sentance with one word at a time filling the screen.
  10. jaadams1's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    I never even swam the 1650 as a kid. I can only recall swimming the 500 one time when my coach made me.

    No, no, no, I am done forever with those events.
    They work well for split requests for the 50 or 100 Fly as well. Just keep them in mind for us.

    I did a 100 Fly split request last year in my 400 IM. Works very nice, 300 EZ cooldown.
  11. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    I see no difference whatever between the 59 and 60 year old Jimby. Same pre-meet malaise, and likely will have the same meet results. I, on the other hand, have been a mere shell of myself from last year. No nerves, no fretting, no hand wringing, no angst over lane assignments. Very un-sprinterly. What does this portend?

    Does this mean no double dose of steak on Friday night?
    In for a tuppence, in for a pound!

    Make it a Triple Cattleman's Bowel Buster Combo ™ with a side order of I Can't Believe Anyone Can Eat That Much White Meat Porkaganzalallapalooza!®

    Dining at 7?
  12. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by That Guy
    A newfound love for the 200 fly, 400 IM, and 1650.
    I will try to talk Leslie into eating the same dinner she is providing me (see previous comment), after which I think she will be motivated to do all these things, on a continuous basis, till she regains the BMI of the non morbidly obese.
  13. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    I never even swam the 1650 as a kid. I can only recall swimming the 500 one time when my coach made me.

    No, no, no, I am done forever with those events.
    Sunday, the day after the meet, let's do the 1650 for the first time. Then I will make you swim a 500 for old times sake.

    I wish I could find when Leslie did a 50 split request on a 200 LCM backstroke and just missed a record on the 50 but also just missed a "delay of meet" disqualification for the remainder of the 200.

    I shudder to think how Leslie's 1650, swum in order to get an initial 50 split request, would go over with meet directors.

    In any event, here is Leslie's 50 LCM back at, I think, Indianapolis. Imagine her swimming another 150 yards two armed inverted breaststroke over the the next half hour or so, and you will get a good idea of what that 200 was like.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_QnC...0&feature=plcp
  14. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Dickson
    Dursteining may be the goal (like self-actualization) but whining is fun and you would be not nearly amusing without the whine. I myself would like to wonder outloud why I am still swimming...my shoulder hurts, my back hurts, and I am currently fatter than I have ever been and a full 50 pounds larger than my college days (see my BYU playing card without photo which is primarily because my homely visage offends the beautiful- http://byucougars.com/athlete/m-swim...g/kurt-dickson)

    For you I would suggest even more red meat...not even warmed... just whack and eat.

    I have no idea what all your whiny breathing numbers mean...but if any of your hypopneas become more permanent come see me.

    Good luck this weekend...
    I don't mean to be a name dropper here. The last thing I want to sound like is one of those people who try to make themselves look good by claiming to be friends with somebody famous.

    Only, it's not bragging if it's true.

    And I am a good friend of Dr. Cirt Duckson, D.O., one of the most athletically gifted doctors of osteopathic "medicine" in this nation.

    Not only am I friends with him, but he considers me his best friend. I am talking about this Cirt Duckson, D.O.: the real deal:


  15. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sojerz
    `God save thee, ancient Mariner,
    From the fiends that plague thee thus!
    ...
    He went like one that hath been stunned,
    And is of sense forlorn:
    A sadder and a wiser man
    He rose the morrow morn.

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    Go for it this weekend all Albatross swimmers.
    Thanks ever so much, Sojerz! You should consider joining 1776, which is slowly but surely becoming the most formidable collection of 60+ male swimmers, and a growing number of long in the tooth dystaff vunderkinds, alike, in the Atlantic City to Pittsburgh corridor!
  16. That Guy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    I like how that description repeats itself several times. I also like how it repeats itself several times.
  17. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by poolraat
    Jimby, the effects of old age obviously haven't affected your eyes yet. Even with my big screen I can't read half of your blog due to the smallness of the type. I'm glad I didn't try to read it first on my phone. I would only be on about the second sentance with one word at a time filling the screen.
    Floyd, I admit that I was somewhat taken aback when my identical twin brother recently suggested that my occasional vlogs about swimming-related matters do go on a bit.

    This made me think that I could use tiny font size for parts of my vlog that I figure most people won't read anyhow, and thru such letter size reduction, the whole package might not seem so intimidating (as if a diminished package size has ever been a selling point!)

    In any event, your point is well taken, and I shall use the largest available type from now on. My readers should not have to demand the LARGE TYPE EDITION of my swimming vlog. This should be provided to them as a MATTER OF COURSE.

    Thanks for the suggestion. Let me know if ALL CAPS WOULD HELP TOO.
  18. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jaadams1
    They work well for split requests for the 50 or 100 Fly as well. Just keep them in mind for us.

    I did a 100 Fly split request last year in my 400 IM. Works very nice, 300 EZ cooldown.
    From a recent meet Leslie has tried to keep secret: her 1650 with a split request for the first 50:

    5 Livingston, Leslie 51 GMU 37:28.01
    21.92 1:04.68 1:08.49 1:08.59 1:09.18 1:09.52 1:10.25 1:09.66 1:10.41 1:10.01 1:10.48 1:10.45 1:09.63 1:10.91 1:10.61 1:10.71 1:11.65 1:11.69 1:13.64 1:09.46 1:11.49 1:13.38 1:09.59 1:11.19 1:11.26 1:11.80 1:12.19 1:14.05 1:10.30 1:10.82 1:11.29 1:09.52
    Updated March 14th, 2012 at 10:54 PM by jim thornton
  19. Bobinator's Avatar
    Hi Jim! I'm just checking in with you.
    I agree with Floyd about your font size. I'm going to need to get some stronger reading glasses to be able to enjoy your posting this time. My adhd and poor far-sightedness make your ruminations almost impossible for me to digest tonight!
    How's Lefty and Bisquit? Tell them Ms. Emma say's "hi!"
  20. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by That Guy
    I like how that description repeats itself several times. I also like how it repeats itself several times.


    Say what? What say you? Huh? Come again? Say what? Pardon? Ehh? Begging your pardon?

    Misconfusion notwithstanding anyhow nevertheless, how about that Kert? No wonder I feel like an imposter in the world of Masters Swimming mastery!

    I am honored to be Dr. Decman's best friend and recipient of annual Christmas cards, which I shall repost to help buck myself up:


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