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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 08/26/13: 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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!
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Workout 07/30/13: evening

    by , July 30th, 2013 at 10:14 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a great day today - gave a talk about the shingles shot to a senior group in the town just south of home, then took the family for ice cream en route to visiting my "91 and three-quarters" year old Nana. She is a hoot, and although her eyesight and hearing are failing, she is as sharp as a tack and shared some great stories of us kids growing up and my Gramps, who passed away in 2005. All the while she knows about everything going on with my family now. It's kinda odd, as my fraternal grandmother passed away when I was five, and we always just called Nana Peg growing up. Now, since my "blood" grandparents as well as parents have all passed on for many years, I really only have Nana left, so being able to get to know her in a somewhat different way has been really awesome.



    I saw the workout from this week's Kiefer website and decided a speedy workout would be great for Masters tonight:

    200 Fr, 200 IM (drill/swim by 25), 200 (kick/drill by 25), 4 x 25 build

    - 8 x 100 Fr on :10sr (used snorkel) (:02,:03,:04,:03
    - 8 x 50 kick on :10sr (:40->:45)
    - 8 x 50 Fr pull on :10sr (held :31)
    - 8 x 25 on :10sr (not sure - pace clock on other side of pool)
    (All were done as: odds = AFAP (times noted), evens = EZ, to have max rest, so the time for the fast is considerably faster than the EZ)

    200 loosen and out (I squeaked in an extra 200 over the course of the workout)
    (Masters/Rec/2800 yds/60 min)
    -------------------------------

    Great workout, and I especially liked the perception of getting more rest as the workout went along due to smaller distances of max effort. GregJS joined in the fun and did a great job, especially hammering out the pulls and 25s - I told him that he would likely feel sore in the morning!

    So my wife started her job tonight as a resident assistant at a local independent living facility, something she likes to do - waiting for her to get back and see how the first day went - I've got the hot tub ready. Back to work for the next two days, so I'll be dry - keep the water moving, everyone!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  13. Workout 07/29/30: evening

    by , July 29th, 2013 at 07:36 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Busy weekend at work, compounded by my tech calling in sick yesterday :eyesroll:. I am back on my regular cycle so was thrilled to be out early today in order to: check on Emma after she had two teeth extracted, help out with the local age-group team, and swim myself! Emma is doing well, with only a little n/v after the anesthesia wore off. Relaxing now :chill:

    A few times a year I get invited to drop by the Marauder's practice, usually around championship time, to hold a clinic. The big focus is always starts, turns, and streamlines, so that is what we did today for 75 minutes. Two coaches were away, and the other two helped as the kids got an easy swim day. We ended with my famous cap relay, where the group splits up, stretches a standard latex cap enough that someone can fit inside, then swim the person inside the cap to the other end of the pool. Lots of fun!

    Then I did:
    - 200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    - 10 x 50 on :50 with snorkel (o = kick, e = agility paddles)

    Main set from an old Fort workout:
    - 4 x 100 on 1:45 (did FR pull with buoy, held :06)
    - 4 x 50 on 1:00 (o = FAST Fr, e = EZ Bk, went :30, :29)
    - 4 x 25 on :30 (supposed to be no breather, I did 'em 1 breathers )
    - :30 sr
    - 4 x 25 on :30
    - 4 x 50 on 1:00 (o = EZ Fr, e = FAST Bk, went :33, :34)
    - 4 x 100 on 1:45 (did FR pull w/ buoy descend: 1:12 -> :06)

    100 loosen
    200 easy Fr with snorkel and agility paddles
    (Solo/Rec/2800 yds/55 min)
    ---------------------------

    Felt good in the water, although a little clumsy since I have been slacking a bit as of late. Not really used to swimming with this much rest, but it is good since I am utting more effort into the swims. I'll have three more pool swims this week, and possibly an OW swim with the group on Sunday over near GregJS, who has been feeding us great intel about a wonderful lake off the beaten path. Hope that OW comes together.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  14. Workout 07/25/13: evening

    by , July 25th, 2013 at 06:57 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a good day today, the weather remains beautiful with overnight lows just under 50. I had a meeting at the main office, so another trip on the motorcycle with pay - love that! Went to a tee-ball game to watch the little guy that my wife had been babysitting - fun times.

    200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    4 x 75 on 1:15 (kick/swim/pull)
    1 x 100 kick easy

    3 x (4 x 50 on :50)
    - R1: 3 ez, 1 fast (30)
    - R2: 2 ez, 2 fast (30,30)
    - R3: 1 ez, 3 fast (30,31,29)

    400 Shark Swim
    200 (alt ez Bk with skull) loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2200 yds/40 min)
    ----------------------------

    Trying to remember how to swim fast.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  15. Workout 07/24/13: evening

    by , July 24th, 2013 at 08:57 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Well, time to get back into the pool I suppose. With the hot weather behind us for a bit, I spent the afternoon helping my wife with the gardens around the house and then mowed the lawn. Got in for a swim before Bible Study tonight:

    400 Fr /w snorkel/200 Bk/200 kick/200 IM drill

    Go two times through:
    - 300 Fr pull with buoy
    - 4 x 50 Quarter's Strong on :45
    - 1 x 50 drill
    - 1 x 50 kick

    50 ez and out
    (Solo/Rec/2250 yds/40 min)
    ----------------------------

    Nice recovery swim. I tried to work in some long stroke work as well as a little faster stuff. I've been working a lot of extra shifts lately (mostly my own doing, to be able to swim both Kingdom and Peaks this summer), but I'll be happy to get back to a regular schedule. Only one more trip to Rutland next week as they found a replacement , which is a welcomed relief. Although, I did ride the motorcycle last weekend, so I will get paid mileage plus an hour's pay for riding the bike. I like those days!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  16. Workout 07/16/13: evening

    by , July 16th, 2013 at 09:57 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Took advantage of my day off to be lazy and catch up on some odds and ends around the house. Got in tonight for swim with the team; well, GregJS was there to share the pool with me.

    200 Swim/200 Kick/200 Pull

    Main set adapted from RickMile's set today:
    1 X 100 1:50 backstroke
    2 X 200 3:30 IM
    3 X 100 1:45 FR - last two with agility paddles
    2 X 250 4:30 with snorkel; 1st=fast middle 50, 2nd=fast middle 100
    4 X 100 1:40 IM (did 50/50 Fly/Breast )

    8 x 25 on :40
    - odds = burst and cruise
    - evens = sprint IMO

    200 loosen and out
    (Masters/Rec/2700 yds/60 min)
    --------------------------------

    A nice swim tonight, with a good amount of rest between efforts. Planning to swim before work on Friday then try to get back into the swim of things next week with more speed work.

    Updated July 16th, 2013 at 11:30 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  17. Workout 07/15/13: evening

    by , July 15th, 2013 at 10:34 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Well, I made it back into the water today for a recovery swim, after racing 12.4 miles OW in the past two weeks - you can ready my Peaks to Portland blog here. Had a great weekend in Maine, and was not overly tired for work this morning. Got in the water before supper:

    200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill

    Kick-Swim-Pull with snorkle (board/Agility paddles/buoy)
    050 100 150
    100 200 300
    050 100 150

    100 easy and out
    (Solo/Rec/1900 yds/35 min)
    ----------------------------

    Recovery. In order to get two weekends off in a row, I needed to swap so I will be working Wed->Tues, maybe covering in Rutland again next Wed, meeting at corporate next Thurs, then my regular weekend next week. Swimming will be sparse, but I'll do my best to get in as much as possible to keep moving with Betsy Owens in 4 weeks. Should be an intersting experiment! Haha
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  18. 07/13/13: Peaks to Portland OW Swim

    by , July 14th, 2013 at 09:30 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I had another great time at the 32nd annual Peaks to Portland 2.4 mile ocean swim in Portland, Maine. This was my fourth year in a row attending, a great trip that allows me time to catch up with friends in the city and swim to help raise funds for the YMCA there. You can see my blog from last year here for some background info if you'd like, including why the use duct tape is encouraged

    I headed up on Friday morning (after an EZ 1000yds in the pool) with my son and checked in, receiving my cap, kayaker's flag, and tee shirt, then we went to the East End Beach, where the swim ends, to enjoy the beautiful day. Dinner again at Tortilla Flats and a good night's sleep to get ready for the swim. Got up around 5:30am so we could get to the ferry station before ships away at 6:45; two ferries were used (the "car" one filled with kayaks and the people one that I took) to transport us to Peaks Island for check-in, body marking, time chip getting, and some safety meetings as we waited for the race to start at 9am. Bobby, my yaker, joined many others in paddling over so I met him there.

    This year's event was the largest ever for the Y, with 400 people signed up. In fact, many locals did not make it (I missed my buddies jbs and slknight) due to various reasons and I was on the waiting list because they filled up before the end of March. I got the call to register in May, so I was a bit lonely this year. I did see my inspiration for doing these open water/marathon swims, Pat Gallant-Charette, already swimming off the beach while waiting for the start, so I did not get a chance to say hi. The water was slightly colder than last year, 63-4 degrees, with low tide slated to start with our race, meaning very little assist again this year. The sun was out making for a gorgeous day to swim!

    We had more time on the beach, which was good in respect to having more time to get all checked in, where we discovered that nearly half of the swimmers were newbies. It was a rather long time mulling about though, since I learned the first year not to "warm up" because that is what the swim is for! I was in the first (of 5) wave, and we waded out to the end of the pier as they counted down to our start. I lined up again on the right of the main pack and took off towards the bobbing yakers to meet with Bobby at the prescribed time.

    The swim itself was good. There was as slight current against us as we headed towards our escorts (more than once I ran into a gaggle of yakers due to inexperience, and almost got hit twice - they found and paddled to their swimmers without looking to see what was happening around them), then we basically hit slack tide for the rest of the race. As you get to the midway point, there is generally a bit of swell, so I tried to pick up the pace. Besides some lobster cages, the course was generally free from obstacles, and there was no real current into the beach finish zone, which was well marked by an orange buoy on the left and four or so green buoys on the right. Due to the lack of tide, Bobby took us on a line towards the center of the course, which helped us move past those too far out on our left and catch up to the ones to our right that took too tight of a line. I did one dolphin dive (thanks mmead!) then stood up in knee-high water and took a few steps to reacclimate to the vertical plane. I tried to side step a bit and was going to walk again, but the huge crowd on the beach was cheering so I kept pushing ahead towards the big clock and hospitality tent just up the beach.

    So, of the 335 swimmers that started the event (based on final reults), I was the 32nd to cross the finish line, 5th in my age group, and first overall of the 23 "naked" folks, repeating the feat from last year. My time was 59:09.5, which (also a repeat) was slower than last year , although I did not take a break and felt like I swam faster. For reference, I finished just under 50 minutes in 2011, which proves that the tides can help or hinder in Casco Bay.

    I can't say enough how much I enjoy this event, which has grown considerably over the years (and even since I started taking part in 2010) and still has some minor hiccups due primarily to it's size. The distance is spot on for the OW newbie or seasoned warrior to complete, and there is a real fun vibe throughout as family, friends, and townsfolk cheer on the swimmers and their festively-colored kayaks. It's easy to see why this event is considered one of the top 50 in our country, and why I will register earlier to make it my fifth trip next year to enjoy some more of "the way life should be."

    Some links if you are interested:
    Friday's preview, noting Pat's friend Miyuki Fujita, who came from Japan to swim
    Sunday's review with a picture slideshow
    Some pics I took here and here .
    Full results
    Write-up from Munatones OWS blog
    Local news video
    A neat picture review I found from 2012 - see the waves head out from Peaks

    Updated July 15th, 2013 at 10:25 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
  19. Workout 07/10/13: evening

    by , July 10th, 2013 at 11:25 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Before I forget, I did an easy 1200yds on Monday before work to stretch out my body. I think that I'm about as sore as I was last year following Kingdom.

    Today I helped my father-in-law move in the morning, then had lunch with the family in town at the brew pub. As I was getting ready to head out, the sky opened up (yet again) and it rained hard. I checked the radar and it looked fine for my destination, so I headed off around 3:30. Met with my friend Brent in Williamstown around 4pm, the we drove down to Goose Pond in Lee, MA, for the Wednesday night Berkshire OW swim (my first time this year).

    I swam Goose last year, and loved the swim. Tonight was another great exploration, both in the water and afterwards at the potluck! Brent and I were there first, and then Rick from CT arrived. Rick has really ramped up his OW events over the past year, adding a leg of 8Bridges last month (you can follow him at his blog). The weather was only overcast there, and other folks arrived a bit later. Armed with a couple of swim buoys, we headed out ahead of the group - here is the map of our swim. 1.87 miles in about an hour for us; water temp was 78 at the boat launch and 80 in the middle of the lake.

    We went along the basic course, but farther north to add some distance. One guy was pulling his kid on waterskies, otherwise no other boat traffic on the water, which was a little murky from the recent rain. I did watch plenty of fish dart around below, through the rocks on the bottom of the bowl. We doubled back, but the group had apparently already crossed the lake, so we followed suit. After stopping on the other side for a moment, we heard very faint rumblings of thunder and decided to swim back to our launch point. The blue sky was peaking out, but still cloudy where we were, so it was safe. We finally caught up to some of the group ahead and exited to get dressed and have supper.

    The food was again plentiful, although only 7 (of the 9) stayed to eat. Fresh salads, bbq chicken, watermelon, and cookies were consumed over great conversation. I took a couple of shots here and here.

    After a nice ride back to Williamstown, Brent and I made plans to work out another trip to the Berkshires to join in the great fun. With his encouragement, I will also sign up for the Betsy Owens swim in Lake Placid next month, the USMS 2 mile champs.
    Tags: berkshires
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  20. 07/06/13: Fifth Kingdom Swim (my second)

    by , July 7th, 2013 at 11:10 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    After enjoying last year's Kingdom 10 Miler, I decided to sign up again this year and make the trip to the northern reaches of my home state to tackle the mighty Lake Memphremagog. I have some notes/observations that I can refer to from last year:

    First, Lena did not make the trip. She has been having some stomach issues going on and I really don't think she was enthused to witness me plodding along in the water again, so she rested at home. Preston did join me, along with my buddy Bob from Maine and his wife and son. They were in town to visit his folks, and drove up north behind me. We enjoyed some stops along the way (VT Country Store and lunch in Lebanon, NH) and made it to Newport by 4pm. I went to register at the Gateway then took a nap, waking up in time to sit through post-parade traffic to strap my feedbag on for the annual pasta dinner that race director Phil White and the gang put on. The rain that had fallen shortly before supper cleared out, leaving a great view of the lake for all to enjoy.

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    In comparison to last year's swim:
    - Similarly, it was overcast to start the swim. Only saw faint peaks of sunlight after passing Buoy 7, then it shined fully after the 8th. This was excellent (humane) for the yakers and didn't really bother me too much.
    - Water temp was 72 degrees, which was warmer than last year. I put on some weight expecting colder temps, so I lugged some extra lard for this swim.
    - My feeds were not as concentrated, and I did fine with them. Fewer calories did not make a difference for me, which is good to note.
    - The Kayakers deployed in a little different formation, and it took my 15 minutes to find Bobby. Many of them did not line up where they were directed to, so I just kept swimming. No collisions which is always an answer to prayer
    - See last year's post noted above from the course layout. Not much to report until we rounded Buoy 3, where the "po po" boat had blue lights flashing and another boat stopped. Found out later from Bob that the boat was flying south towards the course without hint of slowing down, and had to be intercepted by either the Newport City Police or Boarder Patrol boat. Crazy!
    - Some waves rolled us around as we crossed the northern end of the lake from Buoy 3-4 (just like last year). I was with two other swimmers (last year I was by myself), and we rounded Buoy 5 together, which was interesting.
    - Again this year, we held close to the islands and straight on to Buoy 6, then stayed more in the lake as opposed to Derby Bay, where the current was tossing people. The waves were IMO slightly less rough than last year, but pounded for a longer portion of the long leg from Buoy 6-7. It was tiring!
    - After Buoy 6B, I caught up to someone that passed my by the lighthouse (and also put a lot of distance on the two guys with my at Buoy 5). I passed him, then he drafted off me. I didn't mind at first, but after ten minutes of pulling him I did some backstroke and slowed down, hoping that he would return the favor. Didn't happen. After about a mile of this, I took a scheduled feed and let him go past. He ended up finishing a minute ahead of me.
    - My shoulders felt better prepared for the long swim, but the pounding during the long leg took its toll, as I had a difficult time in the last hour or so keeping good body position.
    - Bob noted the time and my stroke count at the big buoys, and was steady around 58-9 stokes per minute at each point. Last year I cycled between swimming 20-30 fast strokes followed by 50-60 regular ones; this year I just tried to stay even with stokes and kicking throughout.
    - I skipped my last feed at at the bottom of the hour and motored into Prouty Beach with a time of 4hrs, 37 min, 53 sec, which was 46sec slower than last year. I'm pleased based on the conditions.


    Another great weekend, which is just the start of swimming in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It'a always fun to meet up with forumites, and see some folks from last year. I am disappointed that USMS was not the sanctioning body for the swim (although there was an agreement for this last year before the OW stuff went down) as I think more people may have swam in it. Nonetheless, Phil has a great lineup of swimming in beautiful lakes in that bucolic part of Vermont throughout the summer, and I highly recommend joining in the fun if you are able to! www.kingdomswim.org

    Updated July 7th, 2013 at 11:48 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
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