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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. Meet 11/11/12: Riverton (scm)

    by , November 11th, 2012 at 10:03 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    First - thanks to all you in blogger land that have served our country in the military. I appreciate the sacrifice that you and your family have made for our country and the freedoms that we enjoy in it.

    Had a great weekend trip up to Maine for the 5th Annual Greater Portland Swim Meet. After I finished coaching the masters group here in town (and confirmed my suspicion that it is, indeed, possible to deposit a human into a standard latex swimming cap then transport them down the length of the pool (I'll post a picture the next time this happens), I grabbed a quick lunch and hit the road for a 4.5 hour drive to Maine. I arrived at my friend's house as dinner preparations were underway, and was able to catch up with my kayaker Bobby, his wife Val, and their son Troy.

    Val's parents came by and we enjoyed a great dinner of lasagne, salad, and chocolate cake with some Ben and Jerry's for dessert. Great conversation, especially since it was not dominated by swimming (which happens way to often), then we played some Mario Cart on the Wii before getting to bed. A good breakfast today then I made the ten minute drive across town to the Riverton community pool.


    6 lane, 25 meter pool, 82 degrees


    After getting changed (wore my New England Master square leg suit for warmups, and Yingfa racer for events) I ran into JBS and warmed up in the lane next to him. I have two inspirations for this meet - doing the Brute Squad events just like John did last year, and another I'll discribe later for the 200 fly. I assured John I wouldn't blame him for choosing these events, because the idea of the challange (even though this particular one is not being run this year) in swimming the three events in one meet that most people never swim is just the right kind of crazy for me to take on.

    Anywho, got in my standard 1300 warmup and rested during the 400 FR with my yaker and family, who came to watch me suffer through the 400 IM. IIt was Bob's first ever swim meet experience, so I explained a little bit about how the whole thing works and my own procedures leading up to a swim. I almost would rather swim an ultra-marathon OW swim over pool events these days, as there is a lot more energy involved in preparing for tactics in the pool events, whereas for the most part you just hop in a swim 10 miles. Well, it kind of makes sense I guess.

    400 IM 5:32.85
    33.23 40.11
    (1:21.47) - missed the pad twice I guess
    52.35 54.25
    36.02 35.42
    - Only the second time I have swam this race, and I felt really happy with the time. I had to ease a bit on the second 50 of the fly as I didn't want a repeat of my first attempt at this, and was thinking "crap, I'm going to swim the 200 fly after this." Settled into a really smooth back leg, with strong turnover and little kick as I controlled breathing. Then I just focused on staying underwater as long as possible on breast before powering home the free portion. Bob mentioned that I looked really good until the breast leg, and I laughed because while it is still not stellar, it has improved dramatically over last year. Did a 200 before this and 150 after to loosen up, and waited a bit before the ...

    200 Fly 2:43.33
    35.65 42.29
    44.47 40.92
    - I was talking with John before this, as we were the only two doing it, about warming up, and we both figured we'd just swim it (why waste any energy?) I tried to find my inner-TG DPS flyer and took it easy for the first 150. Some may call it loafing (I did), but I maintained 8 spl, then decided to build into the seventh 25 and then lay the hammer down (it wasn't heavy, believe me) on the last length.
    - Did this in honor of Peony Munger from the Pacific Northwest that James mentioned in his meet write-up. What an incredible woman who left a great legacy for USMS in this difficult event.

    50 Breast 39.58
    - Did this for kicks, frog kicks that is. After a 150 cooldown from the fly, I swam a really fast time for me. I had Dan from the Pittsfield (MA) Polar Bears watch me, and he gave good advice about improving my start and also keeping my hands more in front of my body instead of trying to bring them to my chest. I almost got DQ'd on the start - I have been breaking streamline, holding my hands apart and deploying the dolphin kick, then resuming my pull, but the official wasn't all that sure that I could stop my pull to kick. I do intentionally break streamline and move my hands apart, but I'll have to check on this to be sure I don't get deeked from doing the only thing that is fast about my breaststroke at this point.

    1500 Free +split request 19:41.94
    (400 = 5:06.66, 800 = 10:28.62)
    33.63 36.79 38.35 38.29 39.61
    39.65 40.20 40.14 40.67 40.73
    39.71 38.62 41.56 40.57 39.59
    40.51 37.46 39.64 41.38 41.45
    39.75 39.82 40.51 40.59 41.06
    39.29 40.08 38.85 40.09 33.35
    - My first mile swim in the pool. My plan was to just lengthen out my 500 strategy, by doing 1-2 SDK's off each wall, kicking hard past the flags then dropping into strong DPS and a two-beat kick to maximize shoulder roll. I was also thinking about pwb's 800 from yesterday and counted strokes. I was able to hold 13-14 spl, but when I didn't SDK it jumped to 16. I wanted to negative split, but think my second 500 was too slow to accomplish this, as I tried to pick it up too soon and felt like crap, so I slowed down more than I probably would have. I kicked a bit farther off each wall as the 100's ticked off, and with 200 left my stomach was aching. I did my best to switch to a six-beat kick anyway, and on the last 50 gave everything left in the tank. (Thankfully it staying in there too, because on more than one occasion I was not sure that would happen)

    After this I did a 100 float, flogging 4250 meters for the day. This is a great meet, as Son is able to provide the only 1500 scm in New England as well as all of the stroke and IM options in a meet that takes about 3.5 hours from start to finish. I was very thankful that he was also able to get the officials and timers, as well as count my 1500, to allow this meet to happen. It is a fast pool with a great mix of fast swimmers as well as folks entering their first event.

    It was a long ride home, but I manged to get gas in New Hampshire for 17 cents cheaper than here at home. I also stopped at Wendy's for a grilled chicken sandwich and french fries to help restock my glycogen stores, and added a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich from my second pit stop. Always great to check in with my Maine breather, and be around a great group of folks helping to reach their community with the joys of masters swimming!

    Updated November 13th, 2012 at 11:00 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: 1500, 400 im, riverton
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  2. Workout 11/05/12: noon

    by , November 5th, 2012 at 03:11 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u: 100 Fr/100 Bk/200 IM drill

    1650 FR with snorkel, done as:
    10 x 50 on :45
    5 x 100 flutter kick on 1:50 (w/ board)
    5 x 100 pull with buoy dropdown
    (1:30, :25, :20. :15, :10) <- just made it
    1 x 50 DPS on :60
    4 x 25 FAST on :30

    4 x 50 stroke/drill on :60

    Timed 400 IM: went 5:28
    1:15
    2:38 (1:23)
    4:17 (1:39)
    5:28 (1:11)

    50 float
    100 IM = 1:14.87

    150 loosen with snorkel
    4 x 25 with snorkel on :30
    50 ez and out
    (Solo/Rec/3100 yds/55 min)
    ---------------------------

    Had fun with a mile set - was able to get a solid :10sr with the swims and kicks, then descended the pull portion, just getting the last two in. Finally got that 400IM in - my goal was to have a strong 50 then build a 50 with each stroke. Too slow on the fly and back - need to stay relaxed during both of those and be efficient in order to keep my breath under control for some rocking Br pullouts. Not a bad practice time for me (of the four timed 4im's I've done, the Br leg today was the fastest - good news).

    Started to spit snow a bit today here in VT ahead of the next storm coming up the East Coast, so I'll postpone outside work due more to the wind than anything. Also, I remember last year raking before the Riverton meet and tweaking my back, so I'll do that stuff next week.

    There was basketball last night, but it started at 7pm and I was ready to relax after work and the first Sunday of the month nursing home service that I am able to lead. Took it easy and had a nice soak in the hot tub. The only other interesting news is that Emma will be able to see a speech from Bill Clinton tonight at UPenn - finally stumping before the big vote tomorrow. I heard him speak on NPR on the way home from Kingdom Swim this summer - good speaker. I just told Emma to pass on any offer to partake in a cigar

    Updated November 5th, 2012 at 07:11 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: 1650, 400 im
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  3. Monumental Masters Mini Meet

    by , April 28th, 2012 at 11:34 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    So today we had our first ever mini meet in my my home pool. It served as a fundraiser for the local age group team, and essentially I just leaned on them for running the meet. We had to wait about 15 minutes to get into the building (they normally open at 9am, and you know how it goes when you ask someone to change their routine ...), but I had already put the lane lines in last night with my son so just some minor tasks to get the show moving.

    We ended up with 23 swimmers, so I was really excited about that. At least half came from out of town, many first timers, and despite the warm pool (83) everyone seemed to have a good time. I made the opening announcements and took over the mic a few times to help slow the meet down, and we ended up finishing up in about 1.5 hours. Dedicated the meet to my mom, who passed away in 1995 but was so important in not only helping to get all of us kids to swim competetivly, but also to promote the sport throughtout Vermont.

    I ended up swimming a little more than I wanted to, but I did not want anyone to swim alone. It's all good with:

    200 Medley Relay*: Fly
    100 Fly: 59.23
    100 Back: 1:06.xx
    400 IM: 5:04.xx + 100 swim = 500
    25 Monument Kick Sprint: dfl (by choice)
    200 Free Relay*: Swam 1st and 4th leg

    * Swam these with my brother Jeff, who has not been in the water in over 10 years but came to swim. He looked like he never took a break from swimming (he is a biker: cyclocross, so I have to do a race with him this fall ).

    My goals were to swim the 100 Fly and 400 IM to complete the checkoff challange (save the super-long distances). I was a little tired from the relay, but happy to go under 1:00 in the 100 fly. The last 25 hurt pretty bad. I just cruised the backstroke, working on underwaters (skd'd 10/10/6/5) as a loosen before the next event.

    I was really happy with the 400 IM, my first ever time racing this event , and I did not leave a whole left in the tank at the end. Thinking about my practice swims, it was really close to the add-up from one of PWB's sets in February, and my splits were:
    29.46, 37.57 (1:07.03)
    38.22, 38.47 (1:16.69)
    46.86, 48.14 (1:35.00)
    31.49, 34.08 (1:05.57)
    I either took out the first 50 fly too fast (but it felt easy) or loafed the second 50 too much, and was a bit too slow on the backstroke leg. Still need to work on beaststroke, but my calves were really tight so I'll take the time. I hoped to get under 5 minutes, but now I have motivation to swim this event again.

    Had a great time getting this meet going, and people in my neck of the woods liked the idea of driving less than 2-3 hours to swim. GregJS had some fast swims (blazed the 100 breast ), and I talked about the upcoming Kingdom 10mile swim with Brent and Bethany, who are also doing it. We had first time swimmers from our Masters club, like Kevin, Rich and Cindy (who did an awesome 50 back), and Robert and Sharon (both swim for fitness, but like my brother were convinced to race due to my pestering).

    Thanks to all of you on the intertubes for your support and encouragement as well, especially SwimShark. Total: 1975 yards. Came home and watched Chris and Tom do the 200 back, then Speedo and Jazz + others in the 50 free online before taking a nap.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Updated May 4th, 2012 at 03:06 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  4. Workout 02/18/12: Could we with ink the ocean fill

    by , February 18th, 2012 at 02:36 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u:
    - 200 FR/200 Bk, 150 IM drill
    - 6 x 50 FR drill
    --- 2 each catch-up, splash back, thumb drag

    Down the ladder (team did lower yardage):
    - 400 (did IM)
    - 4 x 100 FR on 1:30
    - 300 FR pull with buoy
    - 4 x 75 IM (no free) on 1:15
    - 200 FR
    - 4 x 50 FR on :45

    4 x 75 IM (Indiana IM)

    10 minutes Kick Wars
    - Suggested by Carrie the other night: set up cones on deck 5 yards apart, and swimmers start in the middle of cones and play "tug of war" by kicking their opponents past the cone. I wanted to do this 10 yards apart, but the team protested. This is a fun thing and usually the ladies find that they are stronger at kicking than the guys. We had 5 people, so two rows and the "loser" on the far side became the ref as the winner from the near side moved to face the winner on the far side

    -Finished off with a Noah's Ark Pull w/ buoy with Kevin after everyone else left. (6:11)
    (BAM masters practice/Rec/3450yds/90 min)
    --------------

    I went to a pancake breakfast this morning after seeing on facebook that it was happening at the Capstone Baptist Church in North Bennington - proceeds to help with the juniors and seniors at my son's school mission trip to Guatemala next month. I used to eat like a horse for breakfast, but can't seem to anymore these days. Despite that, I wolfed down a stack of pancakes with real Vermont maple syrup before heading to the team practice this morning.

    Ended up being 8 people there today, but I was the only one in swimming the higher yardage workout. Since the 400 was first, I decided to do it IM and hit the following splits: 1:06.62, 1:18.97, 1:42.50, 1:11.00. Total was 5:20.29, which is 7 seconds faster than a couple of weeks ago - you can check my progress here. I was really starved for air on the backstroke, so I need to keep working on breath control, as it lead to poor pullouts on the breast. Room to keep improving ...

    The kick wars was fun, and would have been better if we had a farther distance to go. I just grabbed some cones from the garage before heading to practice and set it up - the team was pooped after practice and was not all to interested in really going for it. Oh well, fun idea that you should try with your club. Any other fun ideas that you can share from your team workouts?

    Not too much to report for the rest of the day. I volunteered for laundry duty so I will be rocking the clean clothes until going to my daughter's Cabaret tonight with my wife. I heard the song that I referenced above shuffle through my swimp3's today during the Ark, The Love of God. We sang it in church a last summer from the hymnal, and I realized that MercyMe covered it. The story goes that the last verse was penciled on the wall of a narrow room in an insane asylum by a man said to have been demented, and they found the words when they laid him in his coffin, but that article actually points out something even more amazing You can check it out if you'd like.

    Updated February 18th, 2012 at 03:52 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: 400 im, kick wars
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  5. Workout 02/09/12 pm: Here You are now with us

    by , February 9th, 2012 at 10:05 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a nice day with my wife, ate at a Fish Fry, and dozed off in the car. Then I went to [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showpost.php?p=259896&postcount=1"]pwb's workout 1 from this week[/ame] ...

    w/u: 200 FR/ 200 Bk

    IM Test Set (2,600 set)

    4 x 50: on (BASE 0:20) :60 per 50, IM order, add up to 200 IM time go hard
    4 x 50: active recovery free, start on BASE/2, then add 0:05 to each 50 :40 ... :55
    1 x 200: on (BASE + 0:20) 3:20 per 100, IM, fast try to be as close to your add-up time as possible
    4 x 50: active recovery free, start on BASE/2, then add 0:05 to each 50
    1:30 rest

    4 x 100: on (BASE + 0:40) 2:00 per 100, IM order, add up to 400 IM time go hard
    4 x 50: active recovery free, start on BASE/2, then add 0:05 to each 50
    1 x 400: on (BASE + 0:20) 6:40 per 100, IM, fast try to be as close to your add-up time as possible
    4 x 50: active recovery free, start on BASE/2, then add 0:05 to each 50
    1:30 rest

    4 x 25: on (BASE/2) :40 per 25, IM order, add up to 100 IM time go hard
    4 x 50: active recovery free, start on BASE/2, then add 0:05 to each 50
    1 x 100: on (BASE + 0:20) 1:40, IM, fast try to be as close to your add-up time as possible
    4 x 50: active recovery free, start on BASE/2, then add 0:05 to each 50
    Then a 50 cool down.
    (solo/Rec/3050 yards/60 min)
    (total for day = 4050 yards)
    --------------------------

    This was intense. I will point out that the fish and chips I had at lunch was way too much food, but delicious. I am happy I did a #2 before swimming or there would have been a code brown after the middle set.

    Let me look at these IM times (total set time = 51:23):
    Set 1:
    4x50's: 31.50, 33.63, 42.50, 34.13 = 2:22.56
    1x200: 32.19, 38.31, 47.56, 33.63 = 2:32.49
    (on the 50's, loafed the free. What's up with that back split on the 200???)

    Set 2:
    4x100's: 1:11.31, 1:13.37, 1:28.93, 1:06.82 = 5:02.03
    1 x 400: 1:14.44, 1:20.38, 1:40.00, 1:12.12 = 5:27.34
    * 2nd ever 400 IM, went 5:43 in December, so I am happy. I was hurting on the back and went to a two beat kick. Breast? I celebrate a 10 second drop from the last one.

    Set 3:
    4x25's: 14.82, 15.13, 20.38, 13.50 = 1:05.03
    1x100: went 1:06.35
    Had the age group coach time me from his go and a push - I really poured the coal on this one and felt ready to puke when I finished. It was good!

    Have to try this again. I liked the variation in distances, and was happy that my swimp3 is working again (it needed a week off for bad behavior). My eyes are really heavy, so a hot tub and some ice cream for me before calling it a night. I have to get up on time tomorrow morning for work - slept through 2 snoozes today!
    Tags: 400 im
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  6. Workout 12/29/11: Last for 2011

    by , December 29th, 2011 at 08:41 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Solo at Rec (scy)

    w/u:
    200 FR/200 Back
    500 IM
    - 125 of each stroke
    - Swim/Kick/right arm/left arm/Swim

    Main Set:
    - 2 x 200 FR Pull w/ Buoy on 2:40
    - :30 sec q-break
    - 4 x 100 Kick on 1:45 (FR w/ board, BK w/o, SDK, mix)
    - :30 sec q-break
    - 1 x 400 FR Pull with Buoy on 5:00
    - 1 x 400 IM on 6:00

    6 x 50 on :50
    - 25 drill/25 DPS
    - FR/FR/BK/BK/FR/FR

    200 easy w/d

    (3000 yd/50 min)
    ------------

    I have decided this will be my last workout for the year, as I will work through the weekend (yep, retail pharmacy gets to work New Year's Day now) and the pool is closed on the weekend. IF I was super motivated I could get in before work tomorrow, but I'm not. That's ok with me.

    I had 400's on the brain today. I pulled 2:24, 2:23 on the 200's, made all the kicks with 5-10 sr, pulled the 400 on 4:56, and then did my first ever 400 IM. I kept track of my times as I changed strokes: 1:15, 2:40, 4:30, 5:43. Obviously my breaststroke is very slow, so I will start to improve that by checking out the forums here and also asking the AG team in town for some help. (I can swim that in February at the Valentine's meet.)

    I completed my GTD entry and come up with: My Go The Distance 2011 Progress
    235.24 miles swum (=414,026 yards, =378,585 meters). Last year I swam 137 miles, so added almost 100 this year. I will have a goal of 250 miles for 2012. I pray for everyone to have a safe and enjoyable New Year, and look forward to some more fun adventures in the water!

    Tags: 400 im
    Categories
    Swim Workouts