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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. 03/16-18/2018: New England scy Champs

    by , March 18th, 2018 at 09:11 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Back from a fun weekend of racing in Boston at the annual Harvard meet. With my schedule allowing, I was able to swim all three days of the main meet this year (as opposed to driving down for the day as I have been doing in the recent past). That third big snowstorm didn't materialize here in our area, but in trying to more more wood pellets from the basement to the living room (so my daughter didn't have to while the rest of us went on the trip) I tweaked my back on Wednesday, to the point that it was painful to bend over to tie my shoes. I was able to make it to Masters on Tuesday for a warmup and some burst and cruise swims, but wasn't able to make it back to the pool before the meet. We made the 3 hour drive to Boston on Friday morning in time for event check-in...
    http://meetresults.com/2018/nelmscscy/results.shtml

    Friday:

    100 Free: 53.94 - 3rd (26.33, 27.71)
    -- This was the first event and my back was still tight, even after warmups. I popped a 24.6 at the New Year's meet in January, so these splits seem right on. I need to work the 2nd wall more for a faster 3rd lap when I swim this next. I didn't attack the walls due to the back tightness.

    50 Fly: 27.10 - 5th
    - My start was good and my stroke felt long and powerful. The turn was good, but I need to get some more sdk's in. I was short to the wall and decided to glide...probably should have taken an extra quick stroke.

    100 Back: 1:00.93 - 2nd (29.89, 31.04)
    - I opted not to use the backstroke ledges since I have no experience with them (other than a YouTube video that I watched online). The splits were good, but each wall was horrible and I did not reach my sdk counts. It probably didn't help that I was being conservative as to not agrivate my back. I think I can get back under a minute, especially if I take it out a little faster.

    [My warmup in the regular pool was 1200 yds, and I did a total of 26 laps in the 29yd diving well lanes between events and for warmdown] After my day in the pool was complete we drove into Harvard Square to fart around and grab a late lunch before heading to the hotel to relax.

    Saturday:
    50 Breast: 25.23 - 4th
    - On of these days I will make good on my threat to actually learn to swim this stroke more efficiently (and hopefully faster), but I swam this mostly to get a time for the Flow Swimmers online event that I signed up for. I really worked the walls and tried to get through the event without having my knee protest, and I accomplished both goals.

    200 Back: 2:14.88 - 2nd (31.58, 34.45, 34.54, 34.31)
    - I wanted to get under 2:15 and I did with a beautifully split race (1:06.03, 1:08:85)! So I did a sprint during warmups to try the ledge, and was in lane one. I remember telling my wife that lane was horrible because the flags only reached halfway across the lane. Of course that set me up to swim in lane 1! Anyways, I took it out without much legs and built into it as I planned. The turns were better (as my back was not as sore) and I am I really happy with the swim. I missed swimming with my buddy Trent from RI, but did run into Doug who came down from Maine for the day.

    [Warmups of 1600 yds, plus an additional 18 laps in the big lane between events and for warmdown]. We drove over near BU and picked up a guitar that my son was looking at online before heading back to the hotel to drop off the car. I made reservations online for Hard Rock and we took the T into the city, battleing the drunken St. Patty's Day crowds and pub-crawls. I am happy I made reservations because we bypassed the huge line and were seated and served a lot faster that I expected. After a little shopping we went back to the hotel and vegged out, except for a little walk my son and I took in search for some cookies before bed.

    Sunday:
    50 Back: 27.10 - 2nd
    - I used the ledges again and tried to not stay under as long as I usually do on the second lap. While I wanted to get under 27, I am really happy with this time as I find it so difficult to sprint anything.

    100 IM: 1:02.17 - 3rd (27.22, 34.95)
    - Back in lane 1 and I did my usual out fast then lose it all on breast. I wanted to get under 1:03 and did, beating my time from January. Oh well, this is a top 3 fastest time in the event in my lifetime so I am happy.

    [Warmups of 1300 yards and 22 laps in the big lane between events and for warmdown] After the swims we watched Donna, an 84-year young lady from Maine, crush the 200 fly before driving home.

    Total swimming:
    Warmups: 4100 yds
    Racing: 650 yds
    Warmdown: 1914 yds (66 laps in the well)

    Thoughts...
    - I aged up to the 40-44 group and swam my 100th race as a Masters swimmer with this meet. I have written before that I swam here as an age-grouper and feel blessed with the chance to swim here now. I am amazed to see the certificates from David Berkoff hanging on the walls behind the stands and to take in the brand new score board this year. It is just awesome for me to swim here. It is a very well run meet, this year having more than 650 swimmers, and great folks behing the blocks timing, reffing, and working to make sure everything runs smoothly.
    - My wife and son made the trip. It is funny that in the locker room so many guys talked about their families not being on board to coming to watch. It is a boring meet, even for us swimmers, so I know how our families must feel. Even so, it means a lot to me to see my wife in the stands and know that she is cheering me on.
    - Based on above, I tried to plan my swims so that I wasn't swimming in the first "distance" events of the day, pick back to back events, and avoid sitting at the pool all day. I accomplished that goal! Trying to then plan on when to warm up, try to get in some sprints from the blocks once the main competition pool is open, and then follow the estimated timeline takes some thought. I was able to get on deck before check-ins closed (no online option with this meet) and had some down time between events to not only hang out with my family but check in with my swimming buddies. I even met Guy from a facebook swimgroup and we checked in throughout the meet, even racing side by side in the 100 IM - he touched me out! Dan from Pittsfield aged up to 70 and was breaking lmsc records all weekend long...he might even be gunning from more at our meet in a few weeks.
    - Swimming-wise, I am satisfied with my efforts and performances. After feeling like crap after the WPI scm meet in December, I have committed to swim more Tuesday night practices and the every other Saturday swims that my work schedule allows for. Like Ande has said, I need to stop lugging around this extra 10-15 points which will help make me faster in and of itself. I think that as the weather gets warmer I will be able to get back on the bike and schedule some 5k's to help with overall fitness and weight management. I also need to be more proactive with shoulder and knee exercises as both issues have not been too bothersome, although the long meet has reminded me of them. I also need to figure out breastroke.

    Well, that's a wrap from Harvard. I'm really pleased with the meet and the opportunity to get some racing in after all the hours of training.

    Updated March 19th, 2018 at 09:17 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: harvard
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Planning
  2. 03/18-19/16: 2016 New England SCY Champs at Harvard‏

    by , March 19th, 2016 at 09:57 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Just back from a fun trip to Boston for the annual SCY champs at Harvard with 820 of my closest friends. I only swam the second and third days of the meet (distance day was last Saturday, and this weekend is the three day "main" meet) and had blast swimming in one of my favorite pools.



    Friday: My wife and son joined me and we headed out from home a little before 7am for the three hour drive to Beantown, no issues, parking at the pool. I checked in for my events and then warmed up.

    #8 50 Free: 24.19 r:+0.77 [3rd place]
    - Masters PB time, but still not quite under 24. Had a good start and only breathed once before the wall, then twice on the way back. Solid swim as I still try to emulate a sprinter.

    #10 100 Back: 58.68 [2nd place]
    Splits: 29.04, 29.64
    - Less then a second off my masters best. My underwaters were not great but I split it well and the turns were good. Satisfied.

    [I skipped the 50 fly because it was after the 200 breast and a rather long break]

    After warming down we walked over to Harvard Square to get some food. My wife has been so patient in supporting my swims and hanging out in the hot and humid pool area over the years (it's good to thank your own family for this, it's such a blessing for me) and found a great place for lunch as we checked out parts of the city that I have not seen before. We then walked back to get the car and drove to the hotel and relaxed a bit. Later on, my son and I took the T to the Science Museum to check out a show at the planetarium, Laser Floyd. The full set list from the 1979 record, slightly abridged to fit the hour time slot, played as lasers moved about with the full arsenal of the planetarium's star showed above. It was really cool and a fun thing to take in with my son, and we got back to the room a little after 11, so I was able to get a solid night's sleep since I didn't swim the 500. Oh, and I found out that Michigan State lost so my March Madness bracket it busted as I had them going all the way.

    Saturday: I ate a light breakfast at the hotel and then we caught a shuttle to Harvard Square, where the family went off exploring and I headed to the pool to warm up. I skipped swimming during the 15 minute sprint period after the first distance event of the day and opted to stretch and relax in the stand.

    #20 50 Back: 27.39 [3rd place]
    - Another Masters best. I really worked my underwaters but my wife said I should have come up sooner on the second lap as I lost some ground.

    #22 100 IM: 1:00.53 r:+0.74 [3rd place]
    Splits: 26.90, 33.63
    - Right there is a lifetime best! I talked to my buddy Trent as we ended up next to each other and I told him that I would be taking this out fast due to my poor breaststroke. I had another good start and worked the underwaters on the first 50, coming in really fast. My back to breast turn was a little cramped, but I worked the streamline and then tried my best to increase my turnover on the breast as I moved the kick up in the cycle. It apparently worked as the family said that I held my ground instead of the usual field catching up. I then motored to the wall - a full two second time drop and ever so close to my lofty goal of getting this event under a minute!

    #24 200 Fly: 2:17.94 r:+0.77 [1st place]
    Splits: 30.49, 34.76, 38.24, 34.45
    I'll give the swim of the meet, as I achieved another lifetime best with a five second drop! Last swim of the meet for me and I felt good so instead of DPS fly for 175 yds before a 25 sprint, I changed it up a little. I swam regular fly the first length, then 125 of DPS fly before switching back to full fly on the last 50. Looking at the splits I was a little too fast on the second and too timid on the third 50s, but judging by the 30+ minutes it took for my hearrate to come back down after the swim I am ok with that! I was looking to come in around the 2:20, and was able to take gold for my age group.

    All in all another great meet at a pool that I enjoy competing in and a fun couple of days in the city with the family. The first day I was not sure if I hit my taper but today demonstrated to me that it was on target. I was also able to catch up with friends from past meets (my buddies with Granite State, Jonathan,Trent, Christian, Kevin, and Lauren) and also meet new folks from the forums and in the pool, one of the things that really makes this sport so rewarding for me. I logged 500yds racing + 4950yds with warmups/downs and we made it home safely...well worth the extra days I worked in order to switch weekends and make it down to Harvard.

    Updated March 19th, 2016 at 10:13 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: harvard, nem
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Masters Swim Meets / Events