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Open Water

My non-pool dips and discussions

  1. Workout 10/16/13: evening

    by , October 16th, 2013 at 09:25 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Back after a great weekend at the Men's Retreat in NH. I met my buddy to ride over Friday afternoon, but we stopped to visit a dear old saint that I consider a surrogate grandfather. Ed is 90 years old, and has been a big encouragement in my walk with Christ, even giving me a great commentary and a guide to the BIble. He has not been well for a while, but recently was diagnosed with liver cancer and some blot clots in his lungs, and not much time left. We prayed with him and he prayed for us - amazing.

    We headed over and enjoyed great food and teaching. I went for a swim again this year on Saturday, 1.57 miles under cloudy skies in 60 degree water, then we went on a motorcycle ride with Rick's friend Paul. We got back to the camp ground and GregJS came over for supper and the Saturday evening service, so he got to met some of the guys and enjoy a split!



    Back to work on Monday, with a complete computer crash and a crazy busy day yesterday as we tried to catch back up. I slept in today after dropping the kids off at school, and went for a swim before supper tonight:

    200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill/4 x 50 b/c on :50, 200 IM drill

    10 x 100 with snorkel, as
    - odds = kick with board on 1:50
    - evens = FR with AP and pull buoy on 1:20

    3 x 150 on 2:05 (shift 50 Bk end to front), 50 ez
    2 x 150 on 2:05 (shift 100 bk end to front), 50 ez
    1 x 150 Bk (went 1:48), 50 ez

    4 x 125 IM on 2:00 (first 25 drill, shuffle starting stroke)
    1 x Noah's Ark, with last 200 as loosen
    (Solo/Rec/4050 yds/70 min)
    ----------------------------

    I felt pretty good in the water, and am still on target for my GTD! I skipped running on Monday, and will pick up on the weekend.

    Updated October 16th, 2013 at 11:36 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  2. Workout 10/08/13:OW + evening

    by , October 8th, 2013 at 09:29 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Got some extra sleep after dropping the kids off at school, then went to Chapel at college before lunch. My daughter was home so I enlisted her to drive and hand out as I headed to Lake Paran for another swim. With the weekend overcast and raining, plus the showers last night, my assumption of lower water temps were correct. Near the edge of the water I measured 57 degrees, so I disrobed and headed in with air temps around 60 and a fair bit of wind-driven ripples dancinging on the surface.

    I took ViveBene's advice and after a few stokes of free I flipped over to back until I reached the beach on the other side. Checked the temp again to find a temp today of 55! Three degrees below last week's swim. I pressed on, aided by silicone ear plugs, another hint I picked up for helping with cold water swims. Ended up swimming 0.65 miles in About 23 minutes. The folliage is on the downswing here, especially with last night storms.

    I enjoyed a warm coffee and snack in the car, all the while remembering that delightful ginger tea that Greg had at the ready after the Harriman swim in June. Emma snapped some pics, so I'll have to get them from her. Apparently, before I started in she snap-chated a nice pic of my backside, so I'll try to find that for your viewing pleasure.

    Took me about 2.5 hours to actually warm up, in which time I mowed the lawn and headed up to a soccer game. Late start, so we got home as supper was being served - I got to think of my supper all practice. GegJS and I took on a good one tonight:

    - 200 swim/200 kick/200 pull
    - 4 x 50 B/C on 1:00 (I was and only did 2)

    1 x 100 on 2:00 (did 150 with snorkel and AG)
    4 x 25 on :45 AFAP
    1 x 200 on 3:30 (did 250 pull)
    4 x 25 on :45 AFAP
    1 x 300 on 5:00 (did 350)
    4 x 25 on :45 AFAP
    1 x 400 on 7:00 (did 500 as Noah's Ark = 6:09)
    4 x 25 on :45 AFAP

    200 Loosen and out (did 250)
    (Masters/Rec/2600 yds/55 min)
    -------------------------------

    Fair amount of swimming today with some other fun. Planning to jog tomorrow night, then swim again on Friday before heading out of town to a Men's Retreat for the weekend.

    Updated October 9th, 2013 at 07:05 AM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  3. Workout 10/03/13: OW

    by , October 3rd, 2013 at 09:43 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I was able to pound the pavement again today and went for 2.3 mile run in just over 24 minutes this morning. I was not really feeling like it, but since I didn't run on Tues due to the (scrubbed) OW swim on Wed, I pushed myself out the door. It worked out well, since I had time after some Rx Task Force stuff to knock out before going to the college for Chapel. Lena and I had lunch out, then I headed over to Lake Paran for an OW swim.

    The weather the past week has been gorgeous, with hardly no precipitation and daytime highs in the low to mid 70's under almost fully sunny skies. Never happens on my vacations! haha I couldn't get into the normal parking lot above the beach due to construction, so I went the back way to the boat launch on the other side. No one was around at 2pm, so I ventured into the water.


    "Cold" I thought as I tried to splash some water on my body. After my belly button dipped below, "wicked cold." I reserved myself just to swim to the beach, where I measured the temperature. 58 degrees. I could tell it was under 60 since I swam heads-up free the whole way. Since I didn't turn into a popsicle on the way over, I worked at keeping control of my breathing and went to the far northern edge, aiming for a beautiful red-leaved tree. I finally got over the "ice-cream" headache after eight minutes, but then my neck was super stiff. I expected this, but not the discomfort for as long as it lasted (about 15 minutes). No wonder other endurance athletes use warm water drips around their necks!

    As I circled back to the launch, I was startled by some orbs of green globs in places. The water is shallower in that area, and I don't need any help getting freaked out in the OW. (I still think of that "Jason" clip Tim posted last year with dread, especially when I swim alone.) I made it back to the area of the van, then did a smaller loop. Oddly, there was an older lady, in her 70's, doing breaststroke near the beach. Back and forth she went. Cool.

    So, to test my cold water tolerance, I made it 0.91 miles in 58 degree water in just over 30 minutes. That temp is 4 degrees colder than my previous low. Like the limbo, I'll try it again next week, as long as Jason stays away.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  4. Workout 09/10/13: OW and evening

    by , September 10th, 2013 at 09:48 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I had arranged for a quick OW swim this evening with Greg and Kevin before Masters practice, but Kevin had to bail (heading to Japan on business and needed to catch a conference call). Greg was brave enough to join me for a double session here at Lake Paren:


    We did a 29 minute swim and totaled 0.6 miles around half of the lake. To our surprise, the water temp cooled off considerably with some rain and thunderstorms that came through this morning - it was a cool 63 degrees! I think this was the coldest that Greg has gotten into, and he did great! The sun was setting slowing over the west end of the lake and made for a great swim!

    We stopped at my house in route to the pool to get some warm tea, then hopped right in (our warm up at the lake, which cooled us down a bit, had us ready to roll in the pool) for:

    8 x 125 (I did 150's)
    - odds = Fast 25 on 2:15
    - evens = 50 non-free on 2:30

    then
    8 x 75 (kick/swim/pull) on 1:15 (Greg did 1:30)
    then I did 150 easy and out.
    (Masters/Rec/1950 yds/40 min)
    ------------------------------------

    A great double-dip! I'll be in the water again on Friday ...

    Updated September 11th, 2013 at 02:02 AM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  5. Workout 08/31/13: OW

    by , August 31st, 2013 at 10:11 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    As summer begins to set, new adventures await for the remainder of year with school starting up, OW season winding down, and the Rec reopening on Tuesday! To that point, I was able to sit in on my first class at the Bible college on Thursday, although I missed the first bit due to work (this is why I am auditing the course). That same night, our exchange student from Germany, Lina, arrived later in the evening (with thanks to my friend Ed for picking her up). She is getting used to her new home and family for the year (we all went to the Schaghticoke Fair today, the 3rd oldest in NY state).

    This morning I headed up to the third and final OW lake swim that I organized with the Masters group while the pool has been shut down. Today I picked Adams Reservoir due to its close proximity to town and lack of motorized boats. Over the course of week many folks emailed to say that they might not be able to make it, and it turns out that only Brent joined me, after he ran around the lake twice! Here is the picture I snapped before we splashed:


    I had a feeling that the water would be cool, and under overcast skies the temperature checked in at a warm 67 degrees. The water is clear, but has a reddish tint that is evident when you watch your fingers sweep under your body. It is not terribly long (just shy of a quarter mile) and has an easily defined edge crowded with pine, birch, maple, and other trees. Only three lone kayakers where on the water with us, and I was thinking that this would be a great place for a cable! We went out and back on the western edge from the beach, then headed toward the east edge and checked out a shallow, rocky area about 2/3 of the way down. Total of 0.9 miles in 28 minutes (did I mention before that Brent doesn't like cold water ).

    Refreshing and a beautiful area for a cool swim, so I will be sure to get back as I look for more cold swims to feel out where my "it's too darn cold to keep doing this" point is. Off to get the South Korean boy tomorrow evening, then to enjoy another week of staycation as the kids head back to school on Tuesday.

    Updated August 31st, 2013 at 11:31 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  6. Workout 08/26/13: OW

    by , August 26th, 2013 at 10:53 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I had a busy weekend at work and a quick day today. We interviewed for a second exchange student this afternoon. The boy from South Korea is coming on Sunday, and we might be hosting a girl from Germany as well. There are students with no homes to stay in, and with some extra room we are happy to help.

    I headed east this evening, despite the overcast sky and threat of thunderstorms, to meet up with GregJS for a swim at Lake Raponda. Here is the southern edge that greeted us as we drove to the beach to unload:


    No one else was adventurous enough to join us, which was too bad since the poor forecast kept all the boats off the 68 degree water. It was kinda strange swimming under total cloud cover, a little darker to the south with slight light trying to break through to the north. The water in this secluded spot is clear and not very deep, offering a great look at the rocks and other fauna below. Greg and I did a large loop totaling just under 1.4 miles in a little less than an hour. I even got to sample one of Greg's lemon-ginger scones before heading home!

    I am still ahead of GTD and two miles from 200, so even with the pool closed until next Tuesday, I should be on track to reach my goal of 300 miles for the year. We have one more group swim planned for Saturday morning, and I'm going to try to get in a swim or two myself on my own before then.

    Updated August 26th, 2013 at 11:41 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  7. Workout 08/22/13: OW

    by , August 22nd, 2013 at 09:32 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Spent more time on my day off today tiling at the college. Getting to where we need the fixtures and also some more bullnose tile to complete everything - the two bathrooms on the 3rd floor are practically ready to grout and go, need to start the two on the 4th floor. Others have been coming in to help, so it is moving by much faster:

    (12x12 tiles, five rows high, with an accent strip and bullnose on top)


    So the Northeastern Baptist College where I have been helping actually had student orientation today, so I was able to say hello to the students. I was asked a couple of times if I would be taking any classes, and decided to audit Hermeneutics, a 100 level Bible course, after going to their cookout tonight. Since my schedule rotates every two weeks, I can work at my own pace to make up the Thursday evening class I miss, and not have to worry about taking tests (although I plan too).

    I headed over to Lake Paren again and met up with Melissa, Tim, and GregJS for a nice swim. I brought my thermometer tonight; lake temp is a lovely 74 degrees. Did a slightly different loop, but still totaled 1.3km (well, that seems longer than 0.81 miles, right ) in 29.53 minutes, swimming to designated spots to regroup. Preston was on shore with a phone if needed, and Tim's family came with him while Melissa's hubby arrived to pick her up. A little more cloudy tonight, and the thunderstorms that were forecasted just rolled by (so we missed them).

    (GregJS and I clearly have our towels mixed up; you'd surely rather see his chiseled upper body as opposed to my man boobies - note to self for next pic)

    Two more swims lined up for next week, then the pool will be open again. Since Paren is so nice, I'll try to see how far into the fall I can keep going...
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  8. Workout 08/21/13: OW

    by , August 21st, 2013 at 10:25 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Like many folks, my local pool is shut down through Labor Day for cleaning. Two weeks without convenient swimming. Add to that our two college kids have left, making work a lot more crazy. Today I vegged out a bit, heading over to the college to help with more tiling after lunch. Also had a quick chat with Preston's football coach (we used to coach flag together) - he is happy that Preston is playing and making improvement with practices.

    I have scheduled three swims during this time in local lakes to help keep any of the Masters folks in the water a little bit. I decided to check out the venue for tomorrow night, Lake Paren, in North Bennington. It is a nice spot, but was terribly weedy last year. Either they dumped some chemicals in or have ramped up the manual efforts to clean off the bottom; whichever, it was much better! A few bands here and there, but easy to spot from the surface or below in the clear water. As I went from one side of the lake to the other on the eastern edge, the sun was setting brilliantly above the pine and maple trees overlooking the beach - what a blessing!


    (0.81 miles in 28:13 - enjoying myself )
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  9. 08/17/13: Betsy Owens Swim (USMS 2mile Cable Nationa Champs)

    by , August 18th, 2013 at 09:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    After a beautiful day Friday getting some errands done around time, my friend Brent stopped by the house to pick me up and we headed northwest on a three hour journey to the Adirondacks of New York, with the final destination of Lake Placid for the 2013 USMS National Championship 2 Mile Cable Swim, Betsy Owens Swim. I guided us though some great back road, agricultural settings until we hit Saratoga Springs ("Health, History, Horses") and picked up the Northway (I-87) before getting off on state route 73 through the High Peaks.

    We arrived at our home for the night, Art Devlin's Olympic Motor Lodge, and checked in, admiring the showcase that this Olympic ski jumper from the 60's acquired from all over the world and the view of the ski jumps to our south from the property. Brent swam at Betsy Owens a couple of years ago, so we ventured north into town on foot, walking past the 400m outside speed skating oval, ice arena (home of the "Miracle On Ice" game from 1980 OG), and the Olympic Center en route to the Mirror Lake, home of IronMan Lake Placid and Betsy Owens swim. It was a little cool, but the sun was hanging brilliantly in the sky just above the mountains surrounding the lake. I dipped my hands in the water, a tad cool and thankfully not really warm.

    We then checked out some of the shops downtown. Lake Placid is relatively void of major shopping outlets (only one small area with four or five shops), favoring traditional independent shops and restaurants in a town that has the hint of a European village. We ran into Jonathan, one of our Berkshire lake swimming buddies who was in town with his wife and daughter to race. He later shared that they bought a "passport" to check out the Olympic venues, and his daughter rode down the bobsled track! We ended up eating at a restaurant on the lake side, Generations, and enjoyed a relaxed pre-race meal before ice cream at Emma's Creamery and the nice stroll back to the lodge for a restful night's sleep.

    We got up a little after 7am to a brisk temperature of 46, and I grabbed some coffee and a lemon poppy muffin from the lodge as we checked out and drove to the beach for 8:15. Check in started at 8am, with warmups on the course from 8-9. There is a great grassy hill on the start end of the course, and Brent had a chair that he put down to mark our little area. After debating about "warming up," since the report race temperature was 69 degrees, we hopped in and did one loop of the 1/4 mile cable in the counter-clockwise direction that was prescribed for the race. This was my first swim of this type, and the cable was suspended about two feet below the surface of the lake, with a large orange buoy at the turning ends and small buoys every 10m along the length of the course. Since the water at Mirror Lake is very clear, the cable is very early to see as long as the sun is out.

    After drying off, we waited until the safety briefing and final attendance check-in at 9:15, where David and Ann reminded us that a total of 4 loops was needed to complete the race and that, although this is Open Water swimming, we were to be civilized or risk being DQ'd. It kinda reminded me of a scene from Lord of the Rings - we were lined up by wave (ten people) based on 1650 seed time and put into starting order, then proceeded to enter the water so that three waves were always wet. Just after 9:30am, every 30 seconds a wave is started in water (marked by a green buoy at a distance along the cable that offsets the distance to the two yellow buoys ending the race just before the beach), then the next one already in water swims up to the starting buoy and is counted down.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I started in the middle of the second wave of the first heat and settled into a comfortable rate, purposefully not hovering cable. Here starts the "Did you get the number of the person who ran me over?" issue, as many folks do not want to leave the cable and will be happy to engage in contact to stay on it. Incidental contact is always an issue, and if I am on the giving end I'll move around it as soon as I realize it. Others have no problem banging into you incrementally from toe to head - oh well. Expect the unexpected!

    As usual, I spend much of the swim praying as I enjoy moving through the water, especially taking in the sites of the venue around the OW event. I caught some in the end waves as I approached the end of the third lap, and went around the turn buoy on the start of the final lap and went wide to get around another pod. I increased my kick and kept the turnover strong, passing some in the first wave before turning at the far end of the course for the last time (well, I swam a couple strokes past it ). I then kept going strong into the finish, where we were handed a numbered popsicle stick and advised to stay in order, handing in the stick as our race number was recognized once on the beach. I was seeded 15th and finished the race with number 10, which could change after the second heat completed their swim.

    After a quick warmdown of 200m, I spent some time in the sun (air temp now 64) with Brent and Jonathan's family as he took off in the first wave of the second heat. I then got changed and vegged out, watching this Nascar of swimming, where folks circle around the rack and some bumping happens. Interestingly, one lady shouted that another swimmer should be DQ'd for pushing her underwater, describing in detail the man and his suit - she later, on the beach, sought him out and lambasted him a bit (to which he replied, "I was just swimming on the cable, you ran into me." to her shouts.

    So, this type of an event really does keep the spectator interested. I have come to realize that contact is indeed going to happen, especially in this more competitive atmosphere. I agreed with Brent that for many of the point to point OWswims, there is more of a sense of just swimming and enjoying the journey, rather than "racing." I am sure that some swims may not feel this way, but I rather enjoy just getting out and going. My final time was 47:34.58, good for second place in my age group, just 30 seconds behind Brent. I am happy that he is the National Champ, and that I was able to be that close to him time-wise since I consider him a much faster distance swimmer than myself.

    After the second heat finished (82yo Patrick was a great inspiration), we stayed for the great lunch that was put on for us and then the award ceremony. I met with some of the Middlebury Muffintops, as well as a Twitter friend, Alicia, that I have been following for about a year now (she was 2nd place on the women's side). New friends are great! I believe that it was announced that the 2014 National Champs will also be held during the Betsy Owens swim. I would recommend checking it out and making plans to attend next year for a great swim experience, in an area where you find fun for the whole family! If your lucky, it will not be as cold!
  10. Workout 08/07/13: OW

    by , August 7th, 2013 at 10:32 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Wow - busy weekend, but a great one. Able to ride my motorcycle to church Sunday, lead the service at one of the area nursing homes (we're looking at the miracles of Jesus), then church in the evening. I felt tired Monday so didn't swim before work, just slept. After work last night I went to the old family homestead with Preston and had a mini-reunion over a campfire on "Pig Back," the hill north of the farm that was used for summer play and winter sledding and snowboarding. Nice to get back there.

    Had breakfast with Lena this morning before going over to the college to help. Painted, helped to hang track for drop ceiling, then was chief schlep with carpeting - cutting, carrying, and general lugging around. The best part was reconnecting with my dad's best friend from NH, who is in charge of carpeting - got to hear stories of their adventures with Nordic skiing and jumping. Just the right divine appointment from God to spend the day with Al. Hope to help him again tomorrow or next week.

    After a shower and paying some bills, I headed down to pick up Brent en route to Queechy Lake (just past the northern end of the Taconic Parkway) for a 1.23 swim with the Berkshire gang. This is actually one of the closest swims for me at just over an hour, and a great lake that is not too weedy and clear, with lots of fish swimming about. As you can tell from the photo below, the thunderstorms held off but the sun was hiding throughout the swim. Only seven tonight, and because I had to get home we did not stay long for the post-race potluck.

    Tags: berkshires
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  11. 07/13/13: Peaks to Portland OW Swim

    by , July 14th, 2013 at 09:30 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I had another great time at the 32nd annual Peaks to Portland 2.4 mile ocean swim in Portland, Maine. This was my fourth year in a row attending, a great trip that allows me time to catch up with friends in the city and swim to help raise funds for the YMCA there. You can see my blog from last year here for some background info if you'd like, including why the use duct tape is encouraged

    I headed up on Friday morning (after an EZ 1000yds in the pool) with my son and checked in, receiving my cap, kayaker's flag, and tee shirt, then we went to the East End Beach, where the swim ends, to enjoy the beautiful day. Dinner again at Tortilla Flats and a good night's sleep to get ready for the swim. Got up around 5:30am so we could get to the ferry station before ships away at 6:45; two ferries were used (the "car" one filled with kayaks and the people one that I took) to transport us to Peaks Island for check-in, body marking, time chip getting, and some safety meetings as we waited for the race to start at 9am. Bobby, my yaker, joined many others in paddling over so I met him there.

    This year's event was the largest ever for the Y, with 400 people signed up. In fact, many locals did not make it (I missed my buddies jbs and slknight) due to various reasons and I was on the waiting list because they filled up before the end of March. I got the call to register in May, so I was a bit lonely this year. I did see my inspiration for doing these open water/marathon swims, Pat Gallant-Charette, already swimming off the beach while waiting for the start, so I did not get a chance to say hi. The water was slightly colder than last year, 63-4 degrees, with low tide slated to start with our race, meaning very little assist again this year. The sun was out making for a gorgeous day to swim!

    We had more time on the beach, which was good in respect to having more time to get all checked in, where we discovered that nearly half of the swimmers were newbies. It was a rather long time mulling about though, since I learned the first year not to "warm up" because that is what the swim is for! I was in the first (of 5) wave, and we waded out to the end of the pier as they counted down to our start. I lined up again on the right of the main pack and took off towards the bobbing yakers to meet with Bobby at the prescribed time.

    The swim itself was good. There was as slight current against us as we headed towards our escorts (more than once I ran into a gaggle of yakers due to inexperience, and almost got hit twice - they found and paddled to their swimmers without looking to see what was happening around them), then we basically hit slack tide for the rest of the race. As you get to the midway point, there is generally a bit of swell, so I tried to pick up the pace. Besides some lobster cages, the course was generally free from obstacles, and there was no real current into the beach finish zone, which was well marked by an orange buoy on the left and four or so green buoys on the right. Due to the lack of tide, Bobby took us on a line towards the center of the course, which helped us move past those too far out on our left and catch up to the ones to our right that took too tight of a line. I did one dolphin dive (thanks mmead!) then stood up in knee-high water and took a few steps to reacclimate to the vertical plane. I tried to side step a bit and was going to walk again, but the huge crowd on the beach was cheering so I kept pushing ahead towards the big clock and hospitality tent just up the beach.

    So, of the 335 swimmers that started the event (based on final reults), I was the 32nd to cross the finish line, 5th in my age group, and first overall of the 23 "naked" folks, repeating the feat from last year. My time was 59:09.5, which (also a repeat) was slower than last year , although I did not take a break and felt like I swam faster. For reference, I finished just under 50 minutes in 2011, which proves that the tides can help or hinder in Casco Bay.

    I can't say enough how much I enjoy this event, which has grown considerably over the years (and even since I started taking part in 2010) and still has some minor hiccups due primarily to it's size. The distance is spot on for the OW newbie or seasoned warrior to complete, and there is a real fun vibe throughout as family, friends, and townsfolk cheer on the swimmers and their festively-colored kayaks. It's easy to see why this event is considered one of the top 50 in our country, and why I will register earlier to make it my fifth trip next year to enjoy some more of "the way life should be."

    Some links if you are interested:
    Friday's preview, noting Pat's friend Miyuki Fujita, who came from Japan to swim
    Sunday's review with a picture slideshow
    Some pics I took here and here .
    Full results
    Write-up from Munatones OWS blog
    Local news video
    A neat picture review I found from 2012 - see the waves head out from Peaks

    Updated July 15th, 2013 at 10:25 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
  12. Workout 07/10/13: evening

    by , July 10th, 2013 at 11:25 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Before I forget, I did an easy 1200yds on Monday before work to stretch out my body. I think that I'm about as sore as I was last year following Kingdom.

    Today I helped my father-in-law move in the morning, then had lunch with the family in town at the brew pub. As I was getting ready to head out, the sky opened up (yet again) and it rained hard. I checked the radar and it looked fine for my destination, so I headed off around 3:30. Met with my friend Brent in Williamstown around 4pm, the we drove down to Goose Pond in Lee, MA, for the Wednesday night Berkshire OW swim (my first time this year).

    I swam Goose last year, and loved the swim. Tonight was another great exploration, both in the water and afterwards at the potluck! Brent and I were there first, and then Rick from CT arrived. Rick has really ramped up his OW events over the past year, adding a leg of 8Bridges last month (you can follow him at his blog). The weather was only overcast there, and other folks arrived a bit later. Armed with a couple of swim buoys, we headed out ahead of the group - here is the map of our swim. 1.87 miles in about an hour for us; water temp was 78 at the boat launch and 80 in the middle of the lake.

    We went along the basic course, but farther north to add some distance. One guy was pulling his kid on waterskies, otherwise no other boat traffic on the water, which was a little murky from the recent rain. I did watch plenty of fish dart around below, through the rocks on the bottom of the bowl. We doubled back, but the group had apparently already crossed the lake, so we followed suit. After stopping on the other side for a moment, we heard very faint rumblings of thunder and decided to swim back to our launch point. The blue sky was peaking out, but still cloudy where we were, so it was safe. We finally caught up to some of the group ahead and exited to get dressed and have supper.

    The food was again plentiful, although only 7 (of the 9) stayed to eat. Fresh salads, bbq chicken, watermelon, and cookies were consumed over great conversation. I took a couple of shots here and here.

    After a nice ride back to Williamstown, Brent and I made plans to work out another trip to the Berkshires to join in the great fun. With his encouragement, I will also sign up for the Betsy Owens swim in Lake Placid next month, the USMS 2 mile champs.
    Tags: berkshires
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  13. 07/06/13: Fifth Kingdom Swim (my second)

    by , July 7th, 2013 at 11:10 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    After enjoying last year's Kingdom 10 Miler, I decided to sign up again this year and make the trip to the northern reaches of my home state to tackle the mighty Lake Memphremagog. I have some notes/observations that I can refer to from last year:

    First, Lena did not make the trip. She has been having some stomach issues going on and I really don't think she was enthused to witness me plodding along in the water again, so she rested at home. Preston did join me, along with my buddy Bob from Maine and his wife and son. They were in town to visit his folks, and drove up north behind me. We enjoyed some stops along the way (VT Country Store and lunch in Lebanon, NH) and made it to Newport by 4pm. I went to register at the Gateway then took a nap, waking up in time to sit through post-parade traffic to strap my feedbag on for the annual pasta dinner that race director Phil White and the gang put on. The rain that had fallen shortly before supper cleared out, leaving a great view of the lake for all to enjoy.

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    In comparison to last year's swim:
    - Similarly, it was overcast to start the swim. Only saw faint peaks of sunlight after passing Buoy 7, then it shined fully after the 8th. This was excellent (humane) for the yakers and didn't really bother me too much.
    - Water temp was 72 degrees, which was warmer than last year. I put on some weight expecting colder temps, so I lugged some extra lard for this swim.
    - My feeds were not as concentrated, and I did fine with them. Fewer calories did not make a difference for me, which is good to note.
    - The Kayakers deployed in a little different formation, and it took my 15 minutes to find Bobby. Many of them did not line up where they were directed to, so I just kept swimming. No collisions which is always an answer to prayer
    - See last year's post noted above from the course layout. Not much to report until we rounded Buoy 3, where the "po po" boat had blue lights flashing and another boat stopped. Found out later from Bob that the boat was flying south towards the course without hint of slowing down, and had to be intercepted by either the Newport City Police or Boarder Patrol boat. Crazy!
    - Some waves rolled us around as we crossed the northern end of the lake from Buoy 3-4 (just like last year). I was with two other swimmers (last year I was by myself), and we rounded Buoy 5 together, which was interesting.
    - Again this year, we held close to the islands and straight on to Buoy 6, then stayed more in the lake as opposed to Derby Bay, where the current was tossing people. The waves were IMO slightly less rough than last year, but pounded for a longer portion of the long leg from Buoy 6-7. It was tiring!
    - After Buoy 6B, I caught up to someone that passed my by the lighthouse (and also put a lot of distance on the two guys with my at Buoy 5). I passed him, then he drafted off me. I didn't mind at first, but after ten minutes of pulling him I did some backstroke and slowed down, hoping that he would return the favor. Didn't happen. After about a mile of this, I took a scheduled feed and let him go past. He ended up finishing a minute ahead of me.
    - My shoulders felt better prepared for the long swim, but the pounding during the long leg took its toll, as I had a difficult time in the last hour or so keeping good body position.
    - Bob noted the time and my stroke count at the big buoys, and was steady around 58-9 stokes per minute at each point. Last year I cycled between swimming 20-30 fast strokes followed by 50-60 regular ones; this year I just tried to stay even with stokes and kicking throughout.
    - I skipped my last feed at at the bottom of the hour and motored into Prouty Beach with a time of 4hrs, 37 min, 53 sec, which was 46sec slower than last year. I'm pleased based on the conditions.


    Another great weekend, which is just the start of swimming in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It'a always fun to meet up with forumites, and see some folks from last year. I am disappointed that USMS was not the sanctioning body for the swim (although there was an agreement for this last year before the OW stuff went down) as I think more people may have swam in it. Nonetheless, Phil has a great lineup of swimming in beautiful lakes in that bucolic part of Vermont throughout the summer, and I highly recommend joining in the fun if you are able to! www.kingdomswim.org

    Updated July 7th, 2013 at 11:48 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
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  14. Workout 06/12/13: OW (first of year)

    by , June 12th, 2013 at 10:22 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I arranged to meet up with GregJS for another dip into the Harriman Reservoir over in Wilmington for a longer open water swim to gear up for the upcoming open water season. The weather forecast was not all that spectacular, which made the idea of swimming more appealing in order to get some exposure to less than ideal conditions. Picked up Greg with his kayak and we dropped-in at a different spot than our two swims last year.

    The tributary leading into the body of water was indeed roaring from all of the rain as of late. The water was easily eight feet higher than last summer, and the dock was a tad submerged as you can see in picture below. Air temp was ~60, water at 62, with a light drizzle falling from the overcast sky. Due to the conditions, my plan for a 2.5-3 hour swim was changed to "let's swim to the first bend and see how it goes."
    http://twitpic.com/cww19d

    The water was chilly, and it took a few hundred yards or so to get my head into the water comfortably. We swam for about 15 minutes before the sun poked out, and it would shine for a bit but then hide again for the duration of the swim. The wind also picked up a bit on that original leg of the swim, with whitecaps forming above the 8-12 inch swells. We ended up getting a tad lower in the reservoir than the last swim, circling around the small island before turning back. One lone motor boat out on the water today, and we only caught a short glimpse of it well away from us.

    I adjusted my feeds a bit. Took water at 30 min, then electrolyte mix on the top of the hour and maltodextrin feed on the bottom, but both at a lesser concentration and caloric count. Worked out well, and I also tried a powerade fruit packet thingy at 1:45 that settled in my stomach well.

    The last 30 minutes was a beast! Mind you, it took us ~15 min to swim down the same distance from the dock, but it took over 30 to get back. The water was rolling and I felt a bit like I was in one of those Endless Pools - pretty epic! Did get to alter my stroke a bit to see how it affected my progress, which was slow. Finally got to the dock and I was able to sample some warm tea that Greg brought along. I think he took the worst of that last stretch as the wind picked up (as the rain did as well) with the chop drenching him pretty well, while I was already wet and protected a bit from the wind.

    The track of the swim is here and documents the 3.76 mile (6k) swim completed in a tad over 2 hours. Only odd occurrence was a cramping of my left pinky toe. Another hearty thanks to Greg for braving the weather with me.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  15. Workout 10/06/12: OW

    by , October 8th, 2012 at 03:51 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    As planned, I went to a men's retreat this weekend with my son and some guys in the area, fourteen in total. Every Columbus Day weekend in Swanzy, NH, as the leaves on the trees are changing colors and the cool mornings start to invade our region, this retreat is available at Pilgrim Pines, a Christian conference center that just happens to be on the northern edge of a great lake in the middle of the woods. I haven't been there in a few years due to work schedules, but was off this past week and was happy to get the weekend away for "everyday life." Three requirements to go, and you only have to meet two of them: , , and listen. If you forget your Bible, they have plenty there ...

    The weekend was supposed to be a washout, but ended up only having a short sprinkle of rain come through Saturday evening. Otherwise some great weather to go along with way too much good food and a great speaker going through the Beatitudes. Mark is originally from the Seattle area and just moved to Chicago, and was likening his walk with God to a paddle board that he built (which contained seven bulkheads that formed the tension box construction of the board). While hidden, each of the bulkheads symbolized areas of his walk and also correlated with the teachings of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. Interesting stuff.

    Friday and Saturday nights are typically left open for free time after the evening's sessions, and with either cookies or banana splits (this year) and the drink area open, our group will generally stay up for a good portion of the night discussing the Word and how it applies in our lives. Really opening up to the men that we might see during the week at work or in the community, knowing each other's struggles, and also encouraging one another on to make our "self" less and allow God to work more in our lives. So of those three requirements - well, sleep was not attained too much, and I was just fine with that.

    Saturday afternoon from lunch to dinner is also free time. Some guys play golf, basketball, hit the water with the canoes for some fishing, others might go hiking or either relax around the camp, talking or sleeping. This is a great lake, and since this is the first time where I am actually swimming and here, I brought along my swimmer buddy and gear to hop in if time allowed. Glad I did!


    View of the lake from our cabin

    The air temp was in the low 70's, and the water was a crisp 66 degrees - a tad cold when I got in, but quickly acclimated to and comfortable for the entire swim. As I made my way from the cabin to the water's edge, crunching the pine needles underfoot, I set my phone up in the buoy and slowly waded into the water. Only two canoes were on the lake, and despite the overcast skies to the south the trees along the edge of the lake were proudly displaying their new colors. The water was being pushed by a good wind towards the north, so I worked a little harder on the way down to the other side of the lake, admiring the boats and camps that were slowing being put up for the end of the season.

    As I crossed the end of the lake and turned around towards home, the clouds were beginning to get darker and the sun slipped away. For the most part I could not see the bottom, although there were times when the rocks would kind of pop up in front of me. Not really scary, but just noticeable, as were the few fish that I observed from above. I happened upon a man with his wife and daughter in a canoe heading back to their home on the lake. I offered my standard pleasantry: "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" Always gets a laugh, even more than a sight of some lunatic swimming in the middle of the lake! Finished up, avoiding the pontoon boat that was setting of to circle the lake, and after drying off I was welcomed at the beach with this sight:


    All in all, a great swim in the midst of a super weekend, enjoying God's Creation. I ended up swimming just over 1.5 miles in 48 minutes, the map of the swim is here. I was grateful for the opportunity to squeeze a swim in, and also for the time with my son and friends in this great place.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  16. Workout 10/04/12: morning(?) and noon

    by , October 4th, 2012 at 05:09 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Well, not really a double, but I tired.

    With rain and overcast skies still looming (remember, it is my vacation week), Greg and I canceled our plans for an OW adventure. Since my morning was quiet anyways, I decided to head up to Woodford State Park to check out the lake there, which is about 15 minutes from home. Here are some pictures, although fog was the primary sight instead of the brilliant colors that are hanging from the trees.


    Road to the lake


    Noted.


    Feeling a little creeped out about now ...

    So, now I pop on the suit that I had in the car and venture into the water. I setup the GPS on my phone and started into the water. Burr! Water temp was about 66, with air temp in the upper 60's. Not really a problem as I have been in colder water before, so I took some time to wade in and get "comfortable." Still couldn't see much of anything when I started swimming into the mist. After about ten strokes I realized two things - I could not really tell where I was, and the water there is clear. At this point, I made an executive decision - get the heck out!

    All I could think about the clip AZTimm left on a blog post earlier in the summer. Oh well, a lesson learned here - best to actually be able to see 50 yards in front of you when trying out a new place to swim.
    -------------------------------

    Anyway, I girded up my loins and got to the Rec for a swim at lunchtime.

    w/u: 200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill

    2 x 500 FR on 7:30 with snorkel
    4 x 100 Kick on 1:50

    1 x 50 ez
    8 x 50 on :50
    - Quarter's Strong
    - 1-4 Fr (hold 34's), 5-8 Bk (hold 38's)

    200 loosen and out with snorkel
    -------------------
    (Solo/Rec/2650 yds/45 min)

    Still using that snorkel. I went 6:45 on the first, then 6:52 on the second, and worked on keeping spl around 12-13. Dropped the interval on the kicking down from 2:00 and was able to get 10-15 seconds rest on each. Then worked on those Quarter's Strong to make the 12.5yd sections AFAP.

    Off to my coworkers retirement party tonight, then plan to hop in for a swim tomorrow.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  17. Workout 09/13/12: OW

    by , September 13th, 2012 at 08:28 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Missed my plan swim on Wednesday before work, but I got up this morning and took a ride after a quick breakfast to the Harley dealership in Troy, NY, with a quorum from my Wild Hogs group (Big Jim has been MIA all summer with alternator issues). Fun looking around, especially since I ride a Yamaha and I hear a lot of from my buddies about this. Oh well, I just roar by them on the hill climbs

    After the trip, as planned, I rode over and met up with GregJS and we hopped into Harriman Reservoir, the same that I swam a few months ago. The forecast for today was delightful - lower 80's for a high with 100% sunshine, and it was right on. Greg has been dabling with OW this summer, and we figured to just have a relaxing swim and turn around when we felt like it to finish up.

    The water was considerably lower than the last splash (I'd say five feet lower, and forgot to snap a picture), but the reservoir is deep enough that we had a great swim. Temperature of the water was probably high 60's (I need to get a thermometer - Susan, where'd you get yours?), as it was cool but not freezing. By the end, we were a little chilled though.

    We swam to the first point, and Greg was feeling good so we continued on to the next point, just past the public beach area. There was one boat in the water as we started, another joined about 20 minutes in, and there were 2 trailers and a boat launching as we went past the beach area. We both wore neon caps and I had the swimmer buoy with me; the boats didn't bother us as we stayed close to shore. After a little while Greg popped on the buoy and swam with it for the duration of the swim - what did you think of it? Full sunshine, the trees are just starting to turn colors, and it was a great day to swim. We ended up totaling 1.87 miles in 1 hr, 18 min round trip; you can check out the map here.

    I was mentioning to Greg that this past week has been tough - change in schedule so I worked seven straight days and have been fighting a very poor decision by the corporate pharmacy office related to a remodel our pharmacy is slated to get in the coming months. Today is also the tenth anniversary of my dad's exit from this world and into Eternity , so between the motorcycle ride and swim I had some welcomed distractions. I posted this link to a slideshow I put together of old photos on my facebook, and I'll share here as well if you are interested in looking at it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iE0E0...3r9JA3coYYJ-KQ
    Categories
    Open Water
  18. Workout 08/22/12: OW

    by , August 22nd, 2012 at 10:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I got goosed tonight! Goose Pond in Lee, MA, that is.



    Numbers and words tonight for a change ...
    - 1.57 miles completed in 54:21, which you can view here.
    - 39 fish and numerous large rocks viewed while swimming.
    - 12 total swimmers, 10 with orange safe swimmer buoys, 1 wife and 1child joined in the fun.
    - 1 great post-swim potluck: 2 chicken choices, 3 veggie plates, 9 various salads, 2 chip offerings, 1 box of wine or homebrew beer from a growler, 1 tin of brownies.
    (My contribution included: 2 eggplants and green peppers, 4 tomatoes, and parsley from our garden, plus 3 potatoes and other spices, simmered into a great summer stew)
    - 100 miles round trip (145 minutes total) on my motorcycle for 1 excellent swim.
    - Now time for 800mg of ibuprofen, and some rolling around on 1 tennis ball before
    Tags: berkshires
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  19. Workout 08/18/12: OW

    by , August 19th, 2012 at 12:09 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I was able to sneak in a very quick OW swim in the Cooper Bay area of Lake Champlain, the thirteenth largest lake in these United States. My wife and I made the three hour trip north to celebrate my aunt's 60th birthday party, and I had a great time catching up with family that I have not seen in many years.



    After lunch (salmon, three various salads, a Mtn Dew, corn on the cob, some tortilla chips with a great cheesy-meat dip, and some baked beans), Lena looked happy conversing with the clan so with a fully belly I hopped in and ended up swimming a triangular 0.84 mile loop in 25:50. The water was beautiful, very smooth and clear (could see down to the bottom) and remarkably light as far as boat traffic is concerned. Only one jetskiier to keep an eye on, but I was swimming with my orange buoy and a neon green cap in order to be visible. I came back to shore and was able to get one of the last pieces of ice cream cake.

    Spent the rest of the afternoon/evening enjoying the company of family before Lena and I headed home back down Rte. 7. If I am able to make it back to that area again in the future, I will plan on a longer swim with a less-full belly!

    ----------
    Oh, the gal from Lena's trip has is off the ICU, has been extubated, and is now on one medicine for controlling the seizures. West Nile virus might be the culprit, but we are all thankful that she is doing much better at this point.

    Updated August 19th, 2012 at 12:44 AM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  20. Workout 08/08/12: OW!

    by , August 9th, 2012 at 12:01 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I made it down (with my son) to Quechee Lake in Canaan, NY, this evening and joined the Simon's Rock crew for another great OW swim. I think that the final count was 18 swimmers, ranging in age from teen to master, and we completed a 1.27 mile loop in the lake. It is one of the closer swims for me to drive to from Vermont, and even though the water quality was not the best that I have seen in the past, it was clear and I was able to spot some fish swimming around. There was some boat traffic, but since most in the pod are wearing the orange safety floats (as well as loud caps) and Freddy's wife joined us in a kayak we were safe. Even saw a really cool floating dock with two boats attached - looked like the party spot! Here is a Google maps track of the swim.

    After the swim we went to the Backwater Grill for some nutrition - almost all of us made it. I was able to talk with my buddy Jon, who introduced me to this group and their Wednesday night swims a couple of years ago. He just completed the Lake Placid Ironman, his first at that distance. Great stuff.

    I am still sore after the pellet moving madness on Monday - my hammies and buttocks are tight as well as my lower back. Made for an interesting twelve hours on my feet yesterday! Felt good to swim tonight, especially since the group is so friendly.

    For the girls, tomorrow is the final day of clinic in Kenya, where they are now set up in Dandora, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi. One member of the team is hospitalized and five more have symptoms of malaria, while most are exhausted as the two week medical mission trip comes to an end. It is hard to close up the clinics, as so many are in need of not only physical attention from the team but also the message of God's love that they share. Sometimes just a smile is enough to help a person know that they are loved, regardless of the language one speaks.
    Tags: berkshires, gho
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
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