View RSS Feed

Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine

My wife and kids motivated me to get my big belly back into the pool after buying a pair of SwiMP3's for Christmas in 2008. I focused on swimming the Peaks To Portland (Maine) 2.4 mile swim in July, 2010, and have added meets and consistent training since then. I mostly swim on my own because I am only able to get together with the local Master's workout group a couple of times a month. I love the backstroke and short free events, and I have a newly discovered fondness for Open Water, having completed my first 10K in Sept '11 and 10 mile in July '12.


My faith in Christ sees me through the exhausting practices and long hours driving to competitions (well, everything day by day, actually), and helps to keep me grounded in the knowledge that the events are only to give me feedback on how my training is progressing. If you're interested, just ask.

------
Check out my swimmer info page here.

  1. Workout 07/30/13: evening

    by , July 30th, 2013 at 10:14 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a great day today - gave a talk about the shingles shot to a senior group in the town just south of home, then took the family for ice cream en route to visiting my "91 and three-quarters" year old Nana. She is a hoot, and although her eyesight and hearing are failing, she is as sharp as a tack and shared some great stories of us kids growing up and my Gramps, who passed away in 2005. All the while she knows about everything going on with my family now. It's kinda odd, as my fraternal grandmother passed away when I was five, and we always just called Nana Peg growing up. Now, since my "blood" grandparents as well as parents have all passed on for many years, I really only have Nana left, so being able to get to know her in a somewhat different way has been really awesome.



    I saw the workout from this week's Kiefer website and decided a speedy workout would be great for Masters tonight:

    200 Fr, 200 IM (drill/swim by 25), 200 (kick/drill by 25), 4 x 25 build

    - 8 x 100 Fr on :10sr (used snorkel) (:02,:03,:04,:03
    - 8 x 50 kick on :10sr (:40->:45)
    - 8 x 50 Fr pull on :10sr (held :31)
    - 8 x 25 on :10sr (not sure - pace clock on other side of pool)
    (All were done as: odds = AFAP (times noted), evens = EZ, to have max rest, so the time for the fast is considerably faster than the EZ)

    200 loosen and out (I squeaked in an extra 200 over the course of the workout)
    (Masters/Rec/2800 yds/60 min)
    -------------------------------

    Great workout, and I especially liked the perception of getting more rest as the workout went along due to smaller distances of max effort. GregJS joined in the fun and did a great job, especially hammering out the pulls and 25s - I told him that he would likely feel sore in the morning!

    So my wife started her job tonight as a resident assistant at a local independent living facility, something she likes to do - waiting for her to get back and see how the first day went - I've got the hot tub ready. Back to work for the next two days, so I'll be dry - keep the water moving, everyone!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  2. Workout 07/29/30: evening

    by , July 29th, 2013 at 07:36 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Busy weekend at work, compounded by my tech calling in sick yesterday :eyesroll:. I am back on my regular cycle so was thrilled to be out early today in order to: check on Emma after she had two teeth extracted, help out with the local age-group team, and swim myself! Emma is doing well, with only a little n/v after the anesthesia wore off. Relaxing now :chill:

    A few times a year I get invited to drop by the Marauder's practice, usually around championship time, to hold a clinic. The big focus is always starts, turns, and streamlines, so that is what we did today for 75 minutes. Two coaches were away, and the other two helped as the kids got an easy swim day. We ended with my famous cap relay, where the group splits up, stretches a standard latex cap enough that someone can fit inside, then swim the person inside the cap to the other end of the pool. Lots of fun!

    Then I did:
    - 200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    - 10 x 50 on :50 with snorkel (o = kick, e = agility paddles)

    Main set from an old Fort workout:
    - 4 x 100 on 1:45 (did FR pull with buoy, held :06)
    - 4 x 50 on 1:00 (o = FAST Fr, e = EZ Bk, went :30, :29)
    - 4 x 25 on :30 (supposed to be no breather, I did 'em 1 breathers )
    - :30 sr
    - 4 x 25 on :30
    - 4 x 50 on 1:00 (o = EZ Fr, e = FAST Bk, went :33, :34)
    - 4 x 100 on 1:45 (did FR pull w/ buoy descend: 1:12 -> :06)

    100 loosen
    200 easy Fr with snorkel and agility paddles
    (Solo/Rec/2800 yds/55 min)
    ---------------------------

    Felt good in the water, although a little clumsy since I have been slacking a bit as of late. Not really used to swimming with this much rest, but it is good since I am utting more effort into the swims. I'll have three more pool swims this week, and possibly an OW swim with the group on Sunday over near GregJS, who has been feeding us great intel about a wonderful lake off the beaten path. Hope that OW comes together.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  3. Workout 07/25/13: evening

    by , July 25th, 2013 at 06:57 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a good day today, the weather remains beautiful with overnight lows just under 50. I had a meeting at the main office, so another trip on the motorcycle with pay - love that! Went to a tee-ball game to watch the little guy that my wife had been babysitting - fun times.

    200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    4 x 75 on 1:15 (kick/swim/pull)
    1 x 100 kick easy

    3 x (4 x 50 on :50)
    - R1: 3 ez, 1 fast (30)
    - R2: 2 ez, 2 fast (30,30)
    - R3: 1 ez, 3 fast (30,31,29)

    400 Shark Swim
    200 (alt ez Bk with skull) loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2200 yds/40 min)
    ----------------------------

    Trying to remember how to swim fast.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  4. Workout 07/24/13: evening

    by , July 24th, 2013 at 08:57 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Well, time to get back into the pool I suppose. With the hot weather behind us for a bit, I spent the afternoon helping my wife with the gardens around the house and then mowed the lawn. Got in for a swim before Bible Study tonight:

    400 Fr /w snorkel/200 Bk/200 kick/200 IM drill

    Go two times through:
    - 300 Fr pull with buoy
    - 4 x 50 Quarter's Strong on :45
    - 1 x 50 drill
    - 1 x 50 kick

    50 ez and out
    (Solo/Rec/2250 yds/40 min)
    ----------------------------

    Nice recovery swim. I tried to work in some long stroke work as well as a little faster stuff. I've been working a lot of extra shifts lately (mostly my own doing, to be able to swim both Kingdom and Peaks this summer), but I'll be happy to get back to a regular schedule. Only one more trip to Rutland next week as they found a replacement , which is a welcomed relief. Although, I did ride the motorcycle last weekend, so I will get paid mileage plus an hour's pay for riding the bike. I like those days!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  5. Workout 07/16/13: evening

    by , July 16th, 2013 at 09:57 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Took advantage of my day off to be lazy and catch up on some odds and ends around the house. Got in tonight for swim with the team; well, GregJS was there to share the pool with me.

    200 Swim/200 Kick/200 Pull

    Main set adapted from RickMile's set today:
    1 X 100 1:50 backstroke
    2 X 200 3:30 IM
    3 X 100 1:45 FR - last two with agility paddles
    2 X 250 4:30 with snorkel; 1st=fast middle 50, 2nd=fast middle 100
    4 X 100 1:40 IM (did 50/50 Fly/Breast )

    8 x 25 on :40
    - odds = burst and cruise
    - evens = sprint IMO

    200 loosen and out
    (Masters/Rec/2700 yds/60 min)
    --------------------------------

    A nice swim tonight, with a good amount of rest between efforts. Planning to swim before work on Friday then try to get back into the swim of things next week with more speed work.

    Updated July 16th, 2013 at 11:30 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  6. Workout 07/15/13: evening

    by , July 15th, 2013 at 10:34 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Well, I made it back into the water today for a recovery swim, after racing 12.4 miles OW in the past two weeks - you can ready my Peaks to Portland blog here. Had a great weekend in Maine, and was not overly tired for work this morning. Got in the water before supper:

    200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill

    Kick-Swim-Pull with snorkle (board/Agility paddles/buoy)
    050 100 150
    100 200 300
    050 100 150

    100 easy and out
    (Solo/Rec/1900 yds/35 min)
    ----------------------------

    Recovery. In order to get two weekends off in a row, I needed to swap so I will be working Wed->Tues, maybe covering in Rutland again next Wed, meeting at corporate next Thurs, then my regular weekend next week. Swimming will be sparse, but I'll do my best to get in as much as possible to keep moving with Betsy Owens in 4 weeks. Should be an intersting experiment! Haha
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMAG2232.jpg 
Views:	68 
Size:	195.4 KB 
ID:	7711


    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
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	KingdomCourses.jpg 
Views:	68 
Size:	85.7 KB 
ID:	7710  
  10. Workout 07/02/13: morning and evening

    by , July 2nd, 2013 at 09:16 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I slept in a bit and made my way over to Hoosick Falls to the outdoor pool. I was able to get 1300yds in 25 minutes of relatively easy swimming as the rain stopped falling. I hopped in near the wall, but the pool (which has a vinyl-type liner over concrete) had a huge bubble, like three feet wide. I was able to move over after about ten minutes, so it was all good. No lanes, ropes, or clocks, just nice swimming.

    After a nice hot, humid day around the house, I went to a leadership meeting with the new church before heading to Masters practice. Actually caught the tail end of the kids summer league swim meet and timed a bit, then got in with 25 minutes left of our practice to do:

    - 100 Fr/100 Bk/200 IM drill

    Repeat x 2:
    -50 EZ
    - 100 Fast
    - 50 EZ
    - 150 Fast
    - 200 EZ

    200 loosen and out
    (Master/Rec/1700 yds/25 min)
    -------------------------------

    The fast swims were good, and the easy stuff was nice. Still trying to catch up on sleep. Only need to work tomorrow, then off Thursday for the holiday so that should be easy to accomplish.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  11. Workout 07/01/13: morning

    by , July 1st, 2013 at 08:32 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    100 kick
    4 x 50 Quarter's Strong on :45
    100 kick

    50 EZ and out
    (Solo/Rec/1050 yds/20 min)
    ---------------------

    Sometimes, it is what it is. Needed to get into the water today before work to make sure I still remembered how to.

    Extra hours at work on Thursday and today are throwing off my routine a bit, but I am flexible (although I have a hard time touching my toes). I'd like to get out to Hoosick Falls tomorrow to the outdoor pool then Masters tomorrow night. Kingdom Swim on Saturday!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts