"How about optimizing Access applications to run faster. I have an application that is quite fat - numerous forms, linked tables, etc... - that has to run faster."

If the overall app is sluggish, try these (in no order):

If a particular portion is slow, use a stopwatch to time it out, and then study what goes into that portion & try making changes. The more you can localize a bottleneck, the better chance of correcting it.