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Open Water

My non-pool dips and discussions

  1. End of summer OWSwims

    by , September 1st, 2014 at 05:23 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I haven't been blogging but have managed to get in some nice swims over the past two weeks...

    Went to CT for a couple of nights with the family to cap the end of the summer, staying in a cottage on the CT river in the town of Chester. We were able to spend some time in Westbrook and I was able to spend a little over 20 minutes on 8/21 in these rollers for a total of 0.66 miles:



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    On 8/26 I met up with GregJS and Meg from our Masters team at Lake Raponda for a easy mile as the sun began to lower after a warm and humid day. So refreshing!



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    On 8/30 I joined Meg and Greg at Woodford State Park for a brisk morning swim. It is a beautiful park with cold water that is very dark, almost as if one is swimming through tea. The wind was strong but the sun helped to keep us warm en route to our 3/4 mile swim in just over 30 minutes.



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The pool will reopen tomorrow, but I most likely won't get back before next week. NEM SCM Champs at BU will be Dec 12-14, so I have some time to get prepared

    Classes at the Bible college started last week, and I will make it this week (because of work). Looking forward to a profitable semester.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  2. Workout 08/06/14: OW

    by , August 6th, 2014 at 09:30 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Met up with Brent for a drive to NY's Queechy Lake with our Berkshire buddies. The day was warm but nice, and only Jonathan and Shawn (I think that was his name) made it. This is a favorite lake as the weeds are minimal, generally low traffic on the water and water is clear. Tonight did not disappoint even for our small group. The water was not too cold but just plain refreshing. We swam a large rectangle around the lake as usually and ended up with 1.15 miles in just under 40 minutes. While driving back to Brent's work to drop him off we ran into GregJS on his way to the theater - a quick and fun meeting!

    Tags: berkshires
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  3. Workout 07/20/14: OW

    by , July 20th, 2014 at 09:30 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    It was overcast this morning for our planned swim at Lake Paran, so my only companions in the water was this gaggle of ducks. I swam for about 20 minutes, enjoying the cloud cover blanketing the surrounding hills and the fun sparrows flying overhead. An rather large trout (which are stocked in this lake) darted right underneath me. A fun 0.45 mile stretch-out swim after yesterdays meet.

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  4. Workout 07/10/14: OW evening

    by , July 10th, 2014 at 10:33 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Wow, back to back OW dips! After last night's most excellent adventure in the Berkshires, I met with Greg and Melissa at Lake Paran closer to home. The water was in the low 70 's with some very refreshing cold spots. We did two loops near the boat launch on the south side of the lake before Melissa headed home, then Greg and I investigated the weeds in the middle. I logged 1.15 relaxed miles in just over 50 minutes.

    Updated July 10th, 2014 at 10:58 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  5. Workout 07/09/14: OW evening

    by , July 9th, 2014 at 10:18 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    With storm clouds rolling into town, I headed south to the Berkshires of Massachusetts to join the Simon's Rock crew for a Wednesday evening open water swim (my first). I picked up my buddy Brent in Williamstown and we car pooled down to meet up with the crew. Instead of a swim from the public boat launch on the southern part of Goose Pond we journeyed to the northern end of the Lake for what was dubbed an epic swim, which did not disappoint.


    (Looking east along the north end of Goose Pond. The canal is along the northern edge of the lake)

    The water was rough in the main lake, with small whitecaps forming and strongly pushing us towards the opening of the canal. Goose spills into a protected reserve called Upper Goose Pond, which is actually on the Application Trail route in the area and is totally undeveloped. Swimming through the canal was indeed a treat, made possible due to some heavy storms over the past few days. The trees formed a strong canopy over the passage, and I kept feeling like I was moving through a scene from an Indian Jones movie! Goose is pretty deep, but the canal was quite shallow in places and full of some wonderful rocks and schools of fish to follow.


    (Here is Todd coming through the winding passage)

    The view from the other side, into Upper Goose Pond, was absolutely stunning and the water was transformed from a rough swell to near placid conditions. The sun was starting to lower as we headed out to explore the small island and take a short break before heading back through the canal to our launch beach.


    (The pod of swimmers, nine in total, as we headed away from the mouth of the canal to the island right of center with our safe swimmer buoys in tow)

    We swam into the sun the whole way back, and once we returned to Goose Pond after the canal the churning water met us along with the wind. It was a tough swim back but we were able to sight off a lone tall tree on the northern edge of the lake.

    The conditions (despite the wind) were most ideal for a swim, with the water in the upper 60's and the air in the upper 70's. Our track shows a 1.77 mile jaunt in total, and the storms affected my area did not materialize during our swim. Besides the tremendous beauty of the area and the great fellowship with the swimmers there, the previous few times this particular path for this swim has been aborted due to the summertime storms that seem to flare up so quickly. I was so excited to be able to join in this adventure!
    Tags: berkshires
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  6. Workout 07/06/14: morning OWS

    by , July 6th, 2014 at 12:26 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Headed to Lake Paran again this morning for a swim and I invited the team along. Kevin came, but did not stay for very long. I stayed in for about 30 minutes, logging 0.7 miles in the increasingly weedy 68 degree water. Here is a picture I snapped before heading back to the car:

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  7. Workout 05/29/14: afternoon OW

    by , May 29th, 2014 at 03:55 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Finally made it to the lake today for my first OW swim of the year

    Lake Paran:
    1.12 miles in 36 minutes
    61 = water temp
    62 = air temp
    Full sunshine

    Quite a few folks out fishing, but no lake traffic. Paran doesn't allow motor traffic, anyways. The water was refreshing and mostly clear as I started off from the boat launch towards the beach with some backstroke to get used to the temp and keep my breathing under control. I made my way to the eastern part of the lake and found some vegetation and fish in the shallower areas. The wind picked up as I headed back towards the beach, then I watched a guy videotaping a group of people on the beach. I met back up with my wife and then dried off in the sun as some of the folks fishing were asking what I was doing.

    The group in the Berkshires have started their lake swims, so I hope to get down that way a few times this summer for the fellowship and meals afterwards. Williams is shut down for the summer for renovations, which means that nearby LCM is out. I also heard that the outdoor pool in Hoosick Falls is also staying dry, so my opportunity to getting outside will rest in OW adventures.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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!
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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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