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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 08/07/15: USMS Nationals day 2

    by , August 7th, 2015 at 06:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Today I decided to sleep in a bit so we checked out of the hotel after I hit the continental breakfast bar up. Lots more cars on this first full day of swimming but I was able to get in and do 800 meters in the big pool. I kept on my square-legged NEM endurance suit for the 400 IM, as all along I have planned to use this event as a continuation of warmups.

    400m IM: 6:00.95
    Said hi to Chad and also met mmlr38 before the swim. I started outside in lane 9 easy and employed DPS fly , then used the back leg to catch my breath a bit. Breaststroke is my least favorite event (because I struggle with it) so everyone passed me by. At the free turn I peaked over and saw someone on the other side of the pool had already pushed off so I put my head down and charged, ending up with 9th place! A little more racing than I planned on doing (and three seconds slower than last yeas), but I was happy to score and extra point for the team.
    37.83 1:21.08 (43.25)
    2:05.49 (44.41) 2:50.08 (44.59)
    3:49.17 (59.09) 4:47.91 (58.74)
    5:25.22 (37.31) 6:00.95 (35.73)

    Afterwards I did an easy 300yds in the totally packed short pool. Since the women still had to swim and then there was a 30min open warmup in the big pool I met up with my son and we checked out Spire Fuel, the cafe on campus. The prices were quite reasonable with most things made to order. I had a half a piece of pizza before we went to check out the vendor area - great prices and deals to be found. I also took advantage of a physical trainer in that area, Andrew, who was there to check out complaints and had foam rollers and other things to try out. My right knee has been clicking more and he took a look, offering some suggestions to help me out. A great service - thanks USMS!

    After watching Sickfish rock the 100 fly (great job, dude), I got in another easy 200yds and then put on my Yingfa for the 50 free. Originally I planned to just swim it, but decided to go after it.

    50 FREE: 27.45
    I was in first of two heats for my age group and the temp started to rise on the deck as the everyone filtered to the shallow end of the pool for the start. Instead of just going all out from the dive I decided to take 5 strong SDK's and then 5 controlled strokes to start off the swim. I was surprised to be in the lead at this point, so then I dropped the hammer. I was able to win my heat with a time that was 0.86 seconds faster than last year! By this point of the meet my aunt from Boston was tuning in online and was tickled pink because I won the heat. I ended up with 8th place as well, so I felt like this was my swim of the meet.

    An wasy 300yds to loosen up, then as the first heats of the men's 2back went off I got in another easy 100yds. I watched Stewart and Kurt battle out a great race, then swam my own...

    200m BACK: 2:35.43
    I was seeded third and entered a time was was roughly two times my 100back from last year plus 10 seconds. I still believe that this is the most difficult event to swim due to the constant demand on the legs to keep the body in position. I planned to take 4 skds off this start then 5 the rest of the way. That sounded fine until I made the last turn, as after two I surfaced to get oxygen! I felt smooth during the entire race and came in third. My legs were trashed as I struggled to get out of the water! To the warmdown pool for an easy 300yds.
    36.49 1:16.68 (40.19)
    1:57.16 (40.48) 2:35.43 (38.27)

    Last up for the day was the men's 4x50 Free Relay, and I did another easy 100yds.. Our time seeded us 6th, and despite being tired from a full day of racing I was ready to toss whatever was left for our team. I went 2nd and popped off a relay-assisted start time of 26.87, half a second faster than my individual event this afternoon Everyone on team New England dropped time and it was a great way to end the meet for me (after 300yds warmdown). The team is taking a picture on Saturday so I'll miss that, but I had a great time at my first Nationals. I will blog tomorrow about some of the peeps I was able to meet for the first time while here. Off to Cleveland with my son!

    Updated August 10th, 2015 at 06:31 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: lcm, nationals
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  2. Meet 08/06/15: USMS Nationals day 1

    by , August 6th, 2015 at 07:29 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a good night sleep and woke up before my alarm, mostly because the other swimmers in the hotel lent a hand! haha Grabbed some oatmeal and a coffee from before we hit the road to the pool, getting there a little after 7am. Once on deck, I met fellow New England swimmer Dick and his wife. We had made arrangements last night to count each other's 800, so it was nice to have that taken care of.

    I jumped in for warmups and swam 1000 metter, including one burst and cruise from the blocks while trying out the wedge blocks. After counting for Dick, who had a great swim, I went to the warmup pool (which seemed to have cooled down nicely) for a quick 200yds.

    My goal for the 800 was to take it out easy and controlled then build each 100. This was my first time swimming this event and felt good through the 350 mark before tightening up a bit. I focused on lengthening my stroke out and felt better at the 550 mark and pushed it to the finish. Felt my stomach do some flips for the last 150, so I feel like I left it all out there. Finished with a 10:56.62. I'll be interested to see the splits to see how well I stuck to my plan en route to a personal best

    Updated Splits:
    800m FREE: 10:56.62
    34.83 1:13.41 (38.58)
    1:52.70 (39.29) 2:33.54 (40.84)
    3:15.14 (41.60) 3:57.42 (42.28)
    4:40.43 (43.01) 5:22.64 (42.21)
    6:05.02 (42.38) 6:48.90 (43.88)
    7:31.55 (42.65) 8:14.51 (42.96)
    8:56.93 (42.42) 9:37.63 (40.70)
    10:18.59 (40.96) 10:56.62 (38.03)

    My plan to descend 100's didn't hold up very well, and the middle of my race was a bit slow due to my tightening up, but I am still happy with the swim. Chad from Cali came in first and had an excellent swim, his first Nationals win.

    Afterwards I met some other NEMer's before a 400yd warmdown. Preston and I spent the rest of the day exploring the area - the shortest covered bridge in America is right here in town, took a short walk at Geneva State Park, drove along the lake to Ashtabulah for lunch at Briquettes, then found the longest covered bridge in America (4th in the world), which is pictured below,as we made our way back to the hotel. After a quick pit stop, we drove around a bit, getting a pop at Ree's Soda Fountain in Gevena. I think they say pop up this way. Now I am ready for a busy day tomorrow.

    Updated August 9th, 2015 at 09:19 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: lcm, nationals
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  3. 07/19/14: Baystate Games Day 1

    by , July 19th, 2014 at 11:13 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Just back from Springfield College in Massachusetts for the first day of the 2014 Baystate Games , my first LCM meet! I swam lcm once or twice last year with Brent and then the year before that with Tom in the Philly area; otherwise, I have never been in lcm. The meet is set up with the kids swimming the in the morning to make finals, but the masters (19-34, 35-49, 50+) swam timed finals of mixed events after the kids heats. 6 lanes with no separate warmup lanes. GregJS decided (after some arm turning by his coach) to give the meet a try, so I met up at his place and we carpooled down.

    Noon warmups and a 12:30 start for the 400 Free; I got in 1000m. Greg did not want to do this, but since there was a flat registration fee entitling one to swim up to 4 events on the weekend, he did it and held a comfortable pace throughout. I was in the final heat and missed the opportunity to warmup, feeling stiff through the first 200. I was pleased with a 5:15 final time.

    Then there was a break in the action and we wandered around to the basketball area and concession stand before relaxing on a bench outside the pool. We headed in to evening warmups about 20 minutes after the 3:30 opening before the 4:30 start (did 700m). 400 IM for masters was first, and I finished at 5:57. With no easy swimming, I took Greg's advice of some easy stretching under a hot shower.

    I watched Greg swim an inspiring 100 breast, which I will let him describe. I then splashed in for the 100 back and cranked out a 1:09.42 I felt like I had a great start and 10 sdk's before settling into a strong first half; then 10 skd's before motoring back.

    The last event of the night was the 50 free, and I watched Greg sneak under :30 in a beautiful swim. I was in the last heat and flubbed the start a bit but ended up with a 28.31, a great swim for me. I wanted to take just one breath, but after all of that swimming on the day I ended up taking three. I then did an easy 150 warmdown, totaling 2800 meters on the day.

    Here is a shot of the pool (Art Linkletter Natatorium):


    Great swag for swimmers: tee-shirt and latex cap for all, and medals for placing 1-3 as well as a windbreaker (per person) if you finish 1-4. I ended the day with two golds and two silvers, and Greg brought home two three bronzes! We decided to just swim the one day, so tomorrow the competetion continues without us. It was a neat format with the kids and masters swimming together, and as always it was fun to connect with my swim buddies in the area as well as make some new connections.

    Updated July 8th, 2015 at 09:22 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: baystate, lcm
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events