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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.

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Check out my swimmer info page here.

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.
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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!
  6. Workout 08/15/13: evening

    by , August 15th, 2013 at 09:12 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Today was my official day off during vacation. My only plan was to bring my mother-in-law and family to the Saratoga Race Course for some racing (my MIL has never been), but alas, she was not feeling well so those plans were scrapped. My wife and daughter decided that a trip to Albany and Crossgates Mall was in order. :sigh:

    After mowing the lawn, I got in for a quick dip:
    - 200 Fr/200 IM drill
    - 8 x 50 (o= kick, e= b/c 6/8/10/12)
    - 200 ez and out
    (Solo/Rec/1000 yds/20 min)
    ----------------------------

    Spent some time with the guards, and also wrote out the swim workout for Saturday's Masters practice. This will be the last one until the Rec reopens from the annual two week shutdown at the end of August through Labor Day. I do have three lake swims lined up for the locals to join in, which should be a lot of fun.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  7. Workout 08/13/13: evening

    by , August 13th, 2013 at 09:17 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Another day of tiling at the college, after a meeting with the drug abuse task force this morning. Making progress and should have one of the four bathrooms at the point of installing the toilets and sinks at the end of the day tomorrow.

    Got in for a swim with the Masters group tonight:

    - 200 Fr/200 IM drill/200 Pull with buoy

    3 x
    - 1 x 50 on 1:10 (12.5yd burst and cruise)
    - 1 x 50 on 1:10 (25 b/c)
    - 1 x 50 on 1:10 (37.5 b/c)
    - 200 IM drill

    2 x
    - 4 x 25 on :30 (o=stroke, e=FAST)
    - 2 x 50 on 1:00 Pull with buoy
    - 1 x 75 kick

    100 FAST for time (:58 from push)
    200 loosen and out
    (Masters/Rec/2500 yds/60 min)
    --------------------------------

    Another modified Fort workout that Greg and I tackled. I kinda like getting the extra rest My right shoulder was better tonight (no pain), thanks in great part to my wife who was able to crack my back this afternoon pretty good!

    My twitter buddy alicia let me know earlier that the heat sheets for the swim this weekend posted at betsyowensswim.com, along with some additional info for the swim. Getting excited for a great swim in a location that I have yet to visit.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  8. Workout 08/12/13: evening

    by , August 12th, 2013 at 07:28 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    My staycation has started, and I am spending 3 days at the college helping out some more. Today I worked on tiling and also helping frame out a wall. It is kinda cool that some of the skills I have learned through improvements around the house are being put to use with work at the college - neat to see how God is able to use me to help now.

    Preston had his first football practice today. At 6'5" and 245#, they are happy to have him on the line! Although he still goes to the Christian school, he is allowed to play for the high school, and he knows some of the guys from pee-wee so had a good first day. Now he is feeling it! We had a nice night yesterday laying down on a blanket, eating ice cream, and watching some of the metorites streak across the sky.

    I hoped in today for a good loosen up swim:

    - 200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    - 4 x 50 burst and cruise
    - 4 x 50 kick down, skull back
    - 1 x Noah's Ark
    - 6 x 50 on :50 (1 ez, 4 quarter's strong, 1 ez)
    - 200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2000 yds/35 min)
    ----------------------------

    My right shoulder still is a little problematic, mostly with backstroke. I'm planning to work at the college through Wednesday, then taking it easy Thursday and Friday before heading to Lake Placid for the cable swim this weekend.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  9. Workout 08/08/13: evening

    by , August 8th, 2013 at 08:07 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Slept well last night and stuck around the house as the oil furnace was serviced. Headed over to the college to help - spent time with carpets this morning then prepping for drywall in the 4th floor women's restroom. Another hot and sweaty day, but lots accomplished. Rested a bit before hitting the pool before supper to do:

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

    - 3 x 75 on 1:30, 1 x 25 swim, 1 x 50 kick sprint, 100 EZ
    - 2 x 75 on 1:30, 1 x 50 swim, 1 x 50 kick sprint, 150 EZ
    - 1 x 75 on 1:30, 1 x 50 swim, 1 x 50 kick sprint, 225 EZ

    - 4 X 75 on 1:20 (kick, swim FAST IMO, pull)
    - 4 x 50 on :50 (IM drill down into Fr FAST back)
    - 1 x 100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2400 yds/50 min)
    ----------------------------

    Another modified Fort main set, then some extra stuff. My right shoulder was borderline painful, due to working today. It wasn't an issue until I started the main set, but did subside. I'll need to hit the foam roller tonight for sure. Working through the weekend, then next week off!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  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. Workout 08/03/13: morning

    by , August 3rd, 2013 at 01:15 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Started the morning again over at the college, helping to unload some desks (they had expected two, but ended up getting eight plus some tables and chairs, all donated) then leveling floors on the fourth floor where offices are going in.
    Headed over to the Rec for Masters:

    200 Swim, 3 x 50 kick, 3 x 50 pull (all :20 SR)

    1 x 400 into 4 x 25 @0:30
    1 x 300 into 4 x 50 @1:15
    1 x 200 into 4 x 75 @ 1:45
    1 x 100 into 4 x 100 @ 2:15
    (200 extra in there for me )
    4 x 50 Active Recovery and out
    (Masters/Rec/2900 yds/75 min)
    -----------------------

    Nice workout today with GregJS and Kevin. Been kinda lonely this summer, but we're keeping the water moving The goal on the distance was to work DPS, with the third 1/4 pull, kick, stroke, kick down the list. The repeats were basically AFAP, although modified slightly as the distance increased. I did the last one IM, netting a 4:57 add up. Talked with the guys about getting into a lake, which I've called off for tomorrow.

    This afternoon I will be helping with a block party at the Willowbrook housing community through the church plant - they have a huge bouncy obstacle course, some horse rides, hot dogs/snow cones/popcorn, and other games and face painting stations. The weather looks to cooperate so it should be a great afternoon!

    Updated August 4th, 2013 at 08:52 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  12. Workout 08/02/03: noon

    by , August 2nd, 2013 at 10:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a busy few days at work, and happy to (almost) have a day off*today*- more on that later.* So I've mentioned the new church plant that I have been involved with.* Well, one of the board members that helped establish the plant is the driving force behind bringing a Christian College* to our town, a great vision that has been dependant on prayer and the help from multiple mission teams (mostly from NC) over the past few years and especially this summer.* We helped out this morning painting rooms at the library (which used to be a restaurant in town), then priming a bathroom at the college (which is on two floors above my son's school, in*a former Ramada Inn) to get it ready for tiling.* It's amazing to see what God has done in our community to bring this option for not only grade school but now college as well.

    Got in for a special lunchtime swim:*
    200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    4 x 100 FR on*1:30*(aerobic) with snorkel
    400 Pull with buoy
    100 Back
    with my old high school coach, how is now the college coach
    200 (kick/swim)
    3*x 100 Pull with buoy
    1000 (using different toys/strokes every 200)
    5 x 100 Fr on*1:45*with Brent
    100 EZ*
    (Solo/Williams/3600 LCM/80 min)
    ---------------------------------------*
    * I finally got in to swim at the (Williams College) Muir-Samuelson**pool, which I have been trying to do since I hopped back into the water four years ago, and at this point it is set up LCM.* My buddy Brent, known to some of the FISH Masters, invited me to check it out.* I haven't splashed here since I was in high school, and then only SCY.* The water was perfect, 81 and clear, and mostly one to two people per lane for the entire time we were there.* Since I am not a member of the college community, I am able to get in as a guest.*

    Brent was swimming 1000's, and I basically swam straight through until the final pull set and the last 100's.* He has such a powerful kick!* This is only my second time EVER swimming LCM, and it was not too bad.* I mentioned to Brent how much more I like swimming the*OW*stuff, because it is just swimming.* LCM is nice because the walls are farther away, but nothing beats a good lake, river, or ocean swim in my book these days.*

    Drove home quickly then hopped on the motorcycle to cover the store in Rutland again.* Remember that one of their pharmacists quit a month ago; turns out a pharmacist in Burlington quit last week, so they sent me to Rutland and the Rutland pharmacist to Burlington.* Oh well, a few extra bucks plus getting paid to ride = not too bad.***
    (I don't know why all these * showed up. Sorry)

    Updated August 2nd, 2013 at 11:04 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts