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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. Riverton Meet (scm) 11/13/11

    by , November 13th, 2011 at 11:37 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I made the trip up to Maine on Saturday to stay with friends and to swim at the 4th Annual Greater Portland Meet. My buddies live ten blocks from the pool, so it was a good reason to head up for a quick weekend.

    An added bonus was a start and turn clinic held an hour before warmups, at no charge. Without having a full-fledged coach with our workout group, it was good to get a refresher on proper techniques, especially with the starts. I was able to work with Doug on the back start, and I think it helped a lot for the swim.

    Clinic (we'll say distance = 200)
    ---
    Warm up:
    200 FR/ 200 BK
    3 x 50 kick (FR, BK, FL)
    4 x 50 swim, last 1/4 fast
    150 ez
    (900 total)

    For the swims ...
    (100 ez swim)

    100 Free: seed 59.95, swam 1:00.43 (29.40, 31.03)
    - Felt ok, but not as strong as the scy meets this spring. I was hoping to get under :60, but that was not to be. I was thinking more about really cranking on the next swim ...

    (3 heats, 100 cool down swim)

    100 Back: seed 1:11.55, swam 1:07.75 (34.80, 32.95)
    - Felt great! I was happy to have worked on the start before the meet, as I think the modest improvement from my usually dreadful one helped. I really worked the underwater sdk, even though I need to keep working it more. I went all out on the third lap and pushed it coming home. I'm interested in the splits, which I will post once I see them - took it out too slow, but I'm still very happy with this.

    (5 heats, 100 ez)

    200 Free: seed 2:15.15, swam 2:18.62 (31.22, 35.43, 36.32, 35.65)
    - I had a feeling this was not going to be good as my heart was still pumping from the back. I felt like I had no air, which is pointing out to me that I need to work more on training for the 200's.

    (100 ez, and a nice break before heading into the sprints)

    50 Back: seed 32.56, swam 31.18
    - Worked the start and underwaters again here. Felt very good.

    (1 heat rest before ...)

    50 Fly: seed 32.65, swam 31.02
    - Tired but the swim was a good one. My turn was slow, but I don't really practice fly much. My lungs were shot so I did not have great skd, but I was happy with the time.

    100 easy warm down, and a four hour drive home.

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    I had a great weekend in Maine, "the way life should be." The clinic was a great addition to the meet, and I was able to meet some great folks in the Portland area. It was easy to pick out jbs during warmups when he was describing the insane events he was swimming, and it was good to chat with him during the meet. An added bonus was the water and halloween candy hold-overs that we could munch on during the meet. I was able to get some coaching advice from Mike and Doug too.

    Giving my lackluster week, I was really happy with these times. I have not swum scm since 1992, so I tried to pick seeds at where I wanted to be at this point. Since I am only going to get to two meets this "season," my philosophy is not to repeat any events, get some times, and then see what happens next year. My great experiment for the first "official" year back in the pool.

    I made it home in time to join the family at the local "Empty Bowls" event in town. A $10 donation allows you to pick out a hand made bowl that volunteers make throughout the summer, then fill it up with over 10 varieties of soup donated by local restaurants, with some bread and them cookies for dessert. The proceeds benefit the food pantries and fuel fund in the Bennington area, so a great way to have a meal with friends and strangers plus help out many of those in our area that are struggling to get food or fuel into their homes. Especially after the damage that Irene brought.

    Updated November 18th, 2011 at 08:31 PM by rxleakem (Adding results/splits)

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events