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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.

Check out my swimmer info page here.

  1. Workout 06/02/15: evening

    by , June 2nd, 2015 at 10:22 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I spent the day fixing the dryer which has been on the fritz for a while. Due to the wet and cool weather of late (I started the pellet stove last night) the option of using the clothes line outside was out, so I took it apart after getting my fill of youtube videos for background info ...

    I had the thermostat and fuse tested at the local appliance tested to be sure they were ok (they were) then went ahead and replaced the (frayed) belt and (busted) pulley on the tension arm so that the unit would run. Even managed to put everything back together again with no leftover pieces! Days like today remind me how much I miss my dad, who was the master tinkerer as the owner of a dairy farm and would have been able to offer some needed assistance.

    I'l call that four hour event my drylands for the day. With the money saved by not calling a repair man I treated the family to dinner at Friendly's tonight before heading to the pool ...

    200 swim/100 kick/100 pull [plus 200 IM drill]
    4 x 50 on 1:10 gentle descend [I did 75's k/s/p]
    700 cont (2 x 100 ez/mod/fast + 100 ez) [I added an extra 200, used snorkel]
    10 x 50 on 1:05 (1-5 = pull, recovery; 6-10 choice [I did kick])
    12 x 25 ez/fast by 25 (1-4 on :30, 5-12 on :35) [half fly, half back]
    200 loosen and out
    (Masters/Rec/2800 yds/60 min)

    Great swim with the group. Greg and Carol joined me and Tim was on his own. There were two challenges in this workout, the first being a long swim with alternating intensity, the second with the 25s on little rest. Everyone did great through the whole workout.

    Updated June 4th, 2015 at 09:08 PM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts
  2. Workout 06/01/15: evening

    by , June 1st, 2015 at 09:15 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Busy weekend at work but with the extra help from our college kids home for the summer it went by very smoothly. Today was my short day, so I hit the pool before supper ...

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    4 x (50 kick into 50 AP into 50 pull) continuous with snorkel
    2 x Noah's Ark on 7:00 (first with AP and snorkel, second as free ez/back fast)
    100 easy
    2 x (6 x 25 on :30, easy 50 on 1:00) - fast/ez by 25, fast free first time, back second)
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2800 yds/50 min)

    Quite this evening at the pool. The NE has been above temp and below precipitation for the month of May, but we have seen cool weather (high of 53 today) and fairly consistent steady rain since Saturday night.
    Swim Workouts
  3. Workout 05/28/15: evening

    by , May 28th, 2015 at 09:55 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Some items on my agenda today changed, so I stayed flexible and went with the flow. I was able to go out for a nice 50 mile motorcycle ride with my neighbor and managed to avoid the thunder showers. Hit the pool tonight for a redo of a practice a few weeks ago...

    200 free, 200 back, 200 im drill
    2 x 100 pull (focus on pull) with snorkel
    1 x 200 swim DPS with snorkel
    1 x 400 neg split (2:34, 2:26= 5, did'nt have Brent pushing me)
    1 x 200 breath control (6,5,4,4, repeat)
    2 x 100 pull (focus on pull)
    4 x 50 descend on :50 back
    200 loosen
    (Solo/Rec/2200 yds/50 min)
    Greg was at the pool as well so I spend a little bit of time between sets chatting with him. This was a good workout and I had actually forgotten that we did it before as a group until I hit that 400 negative split; I was about 4sec faster a couple of weeks ago.

    If all goes as currently planned I should have a busy swim itinerary this summer...
    WAM scm in June (
    Jenny Thompson lcm in July
    USMS nats lcm in Aug
    LGOWS 2.5km nats in Aug (

    Still staying quiet on the marathon swim front, but I am looking forward to Wednesday nights in the Berkshires as well as some open water swim with my team here in the southern Vermont area.
    Swim Workouts , Planning
  4. Workout 05/27/15: evening

    by , May 27th, 2015 at 08:36 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I was able to have the day off on Monday for Memorial Day, and we were fully staffed yesterday as we played catch up. This morning Lena and I did some errands around town and also helped her sister put in an air conditioner along with some other odds and ends. We finally had a some rain come through with a thunderstorm, as it has been quite a while since our last round. Hit the pool tonight ...

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    2 x (200 pull into 100 AP into 50 kick) with snorkel
    Build a 200 IM (went 2:46, working on DPS down and fast back)
    4 x 75 on 1:10 (fast kick, fast IMO swim, strong pull)
    150 back with AP
    4 x 25 from mid-pool on :40
    150 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/3000 yds/50 min)

    Results from our mini-meet have been added to the USMS database:

    Updated May 27th, 2015 at 09:10 PM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts
  5. Workout 05/25/15: morning OW

    by , May 25th, 2015 at 09:08 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Earliest OW Swim for me, joining my tri buddy Tim for a dip at Lake Paran. Air was about 65f, water 5 degrees cooler, overcast with occasional drizzle. Forgot my earplugs. We stayed in for about 35min and covered 0.85 miles. Felt great to get back to the OW!

    Afterwards I took the boys to the Basketball Hall of Fame with lunch at Cracker Barrel and a quick visit to Yankee Candle on the way home. A good day.
  6. Workout 05/22/15: morning

    by , May 22nd, 2015 at 04:17 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Oddly quiet at work which is nice for catching up on some projects. I decided against volunteering to work Memorial Day, so I get a four day weekend! Today the boy's school had their annual Serve-a-thon, where every class goes into the community to preform service (Homeless Colalition, private homeowners in need of help with upkeep, etc). My guys went to the church that their former gym teacher pastors and helped with some small construction needs.

    I hit the pool after dropping them off this morning:

    200 free/200 back/200 IM drill
    1 x Noah's Ark Shark Swim
    2 x Noah's Ark swim (first one fast back = 1:14, 2nd free = 1:04)
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2300 yds/40 min)
    Swim Workouts
  7. Workout 05/19/15: evening

    by , May 19th, 2015 at 11:03 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a good day off today, starting with a drug task force meeting this morning then a trip to Albany with my wife for some shopping and lunch at Red Robin. The rain held off and it ended up being a beautiful day. Headed to Masters ...

    200 swim, 100 kick, 100 pull
    4 x 25 burst and cruise
    2 x 100 pull (focus on pull)
    1 x 200 swim DPS
    1 x 400 neg split (2:31, 2:25 = 4:56)
    1 x 200 breath control (6,5,4,3, repeat)
    2 x 100 pull (focus on pull)
    4 x 50 descend on 1:10
    100 loosen
    I then reordered everyone underwater
    (Masters/Rec/2000 yds/4 min)

    It was a good swim. Greg, Brent, Tim, and Carol joined me in the water. I felt good on the 400, which was our challenge swim for the night. It was good to take everybody with the GoPro. It was a bittersweet night though, as Brent will be leaving in a few weeks to move to Germany; I'll miss his a friendship and partnership in open water swims.
    Swim Workouts
  8. Workout 05/14/15: evening

    by , May 14th, 2015 at 08:25 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I was able to get many errands completed today, including the pre-buy for pellets for next winter. Hit the pool before dinner ...

    200 free/200 back/200 IM drill
    600 shark swim
    200 free with AP
    2 x 100 (50 easy into 50 fast)
    100 back build
    200 back with AP
    8 x 75 on 1:15 with snorkel (kick/IMO swim/fr pull)
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2600 yds/45 min)
    Working through Monday. Preston has the Junior Prom on Saturday, so that should be fun. It is interesting how for him (and for me years ago) prom is not all that grand of an event, but my wife is really into it and not altogether happy that he is not so excited. Different perspectives I suppose.
    Swim Workouts
  9. Workout 05/11/15: morning

    by , May 11th, 2015 at 09:43 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a great time at the Drive-Ins with the family and it was fun to experience it with our exchange student. He said that he had only every seen the big screen under the sky in the movies, so we were able to share the real deal with him. On Sunday I helped to cover a friend's nursing home ministry and was home to spend the day with Lena and relax a bit.

    Quick swim this morning ...
    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    1 x Noah's Ark with snorkel
    600 shark swim
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1800 yds/35 min)

    I was able to sneak in an extra piece of cake with breakfast this morning before heading off to work! Yum!
    Swim Workouts
  10. Workout 05/09/15: morning

    by , May 9th, 2015 at 12:32 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    My son and I made it to Men's Breakfast this morning complete with good food and great fellowship. It is so awesome to see men from different walks and stages of life sharing their faith and helping to build one another up. And the coffee wasn't bad, either!

    Made it to Masters this morning, had a good workout where I substituted in some IM work.

    200 Swim/100 kick/200 pull
    4 x 25 drill/swim
    4 x 100 on 2:10 (fast 25, DPS 750 [I did 150's with snorkel]
    2 x 200 pull on :20sr (focus EVF and hip roll/core) [did IM, easy down, fast back]
    4 x 25 kick recovery
    100 for time [did IM: 1:10 high. Need to work more on breast kick]
    50 easy
    2 x 200 pull on :20sr (focus EVF and hip roll/core) [did IM, easy down, fast back]
    200 loosen and out
    (Masters/Rec/2450 yds/60 min)
    I tired to get under 1:10 on the IM, but it didn't happen today. Overall a nice workout, with Kevin, Rebecca, Melissa and her daughter Emily, and our summer-bird Mike from PA.

    Looks to be a beautiful rest of the weekend. We are planning to visit the Drive-In's tonight for the first time this summer at Hathaway's. There could probably be a better double-bill, but for my tastes there are not a whole lot of movies that aren't rated R anymore and especially that I would choose to see with my family. It is so cool to be able to watch movies this way

    I wish all of you ladies out there in the pools a Happy Mother's Day (even if you may not have any children, as all women help to shape those that they are connected with and provide a voice that some people may never hear otherwise). I am covering one of the nursing home services and plan to take highlight's from the delightful book of Ruth.
    Swim Workouts
  11. Workout 05/08/15: evening

    by , May 8th, 2015 at 10:16 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Very thankful for the day off today and the ability to spend it with my wife getting some plants and fruit trees into the the ground.

    Quick swim before some grilling tonight ...

    200 frr/200 bk/200 im drill
    400 shark swim
    200 easy
    (Solo/Rec/1200 yds/20 min)

    Enjoyed our first campfire in the backyard, and tried out a "S'moreo" ...
    Swim Workouts
  12. Workout 05/05/15: evening

    by , May 5th, 2015 at 09:57 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Today is my day off but I had a meeting at the main office just west of Albany, NY, and took advantage of the dry (and warm) weather to ride my motorcycle. This is noteworthy because I will be paid for riding my motorcycle - mileage and an hour of travel! This doesn't happen often but is really cool when it does. At the meeting I was one of the top four pharmacists recognized for preforming MTM (Medication Therapy Management) services over the last year, so that was cool.

    I arrived home in time to pack my swim bag and head to the Rec for Masters. As ususal, I tried to come up with a fun (albeit nerdy) workout in honor of Cinco De Mayo ...

    Uno: 500 warmup (200 swim/100 kick/200 pull)
    Dos: 5 x (200 on 3:30, 100 on 2:00)
    Tres: 5 deep water bobs
    Quatro: 5 x 50 on 1:10 (1-4: Quarter's Strong, 5: FAST)
    Cinco: 5 x 25 (decrease stroke count each time) then 125 loosen and out
    (Rec/Masters/2500 yds/60 min)
    I did my Build a 200 IM (50 stroke fast IMO into 150 DPS with snorkel; last 200 was IM on 2:47) and kicked the 100's (finished right at 1:30 which was a bonus).
    I did the 50's all backstroke, and the fast one was :31 with a flip. On the 25's, I did 12,12,11,10,10,8 (but the last one was almost catch-up drill )

    Today also would have been my dad's 71st birthday. It is neat checking out some old pics from family on various social media.

    Updated May 5th, 2015 at 11:18 PM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts , Reference: workouts
  13. Workout 05/04/15: evening

    by , May 4th, 2015 at 09:20 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Took the week off from the pool last week, and finally went to the doctor to get my neck checked out. Was probably more serious than I originally figured, but I was given a small supply of anti-spasm meds that have really done the job of loosening it up and increasing my range of motion. Still a little tender, but overall much better. I also had the motorcycle serviced (and Lena picked out a riding jacket, so more rides with her this summer ) and most of the outside yardwork done.

    I went to the pool tonight and didn't have to share the lane. The fact that we had our first 80-degree day since September likely contributed to the empty water ...

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    600 shark swim with snorkel
    10 x 50 on :50 descend in pairs
    50 easy
    4 x 50 IMO sprint down,25 easy back
    50 easy
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2100 yds/40 min)

    I felt pretty good in the water. With my improved focus on nutrition, I have dropped another 5 pounds so I have about 15 pounds to go. I should be able to start jogging again and also riding my bicycle to work as other ways to get some aerobics in.

    It is looking like I am 95% in for swimming my first Nationals this summer as I have the time off for an Ohio college visit/road trip to Cleveland with my son. We are also looking at catching an Indians game and maybe a trip to the Football Hall Of Fame on the way home. I also am planning to swim the OW Nationals at Lake George at the end of August, so a few meets. I am bummed that I have to work during the Baystate Games, which are at Harvard in July.
    Swim Workouts , Planning
  14. Meet: 04/25/15: Monumental Masters Mini Meet

    by , April 25th, 2015 at 02:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    The culmination of many months of planning and anticipation was realized this morning with the start of our 4th annual mini meet here at my hometown pool. Overall attendance was down from previous years, but we ended up with more than 25 swimmers and a lot of fun! There are always great stories from any Masters meet, as evidenced at our meet as some folks came out to their first competition, others met with friends and family for an annual splash, and we even welcomed an English Channel swimmer with her new start-up team!

    As meet director (and brainchild of the meet), there are certain stresses that I have in addition to actually swimming. We had our main official (and the woman with the most knowledge of running the computer/timing system) back out a few weeks ago due to family vacation, so many others needed to step into new positions in order to make the meet come together. I confirmed that the facility would be opened early so that we could setup in time for 9am warmups, and our lifeguard was there when requested. Some mild headaches as the printer ink cartridges were dried up, and after not being able to use the facility's equipment my wife and son hurried home to get our wireless printer, which worked! So a minor delay in the start of the meet, but we were able to get the relays off and then I filled in some space with my list of "thank you"s and info on our community, so everyone was very understanding and patient.

    I try to keep the meet in line with our USMS hashtag #FunnestSport by offering some great prizes and fun events. I bought some USMS silicone caps with my discount earlier in the year, the age group coach donated some maple syrup that she made this spring, and I was able to secure (yet again) some Stroopwafels from our local Dutch bakery, Bakkerij Krijnen. These all went out to our first registrant, farthest traveled (our buddy Lisa from NJ), first time entrant, and the winners of our Sprint challenges.

    I again had the privilege in roping my one of my brothers, my sister and her partner, and my daughter into swimming so that we had an All-Leake medley and free relay, as well as a morning to catch up and get some exercise together in a pool that we spent most of our childhood in. It was great catching up and seeing how their swimming abilities have not diminished even thought this is the only time of the year that they get wet! Lena and the boys were our cheerleaders.

    Our local team was well represented with Greg, Kevin, Ashley, and Amanda (with Melissa and Rachel helping out as timers). Greg made his famous Magic Bars for the concession stand and had some great swims as well, even after helping me get things set up in the morning - nice job, Greg!

    Due to the delayed meet start I scratched the 200 IM to help move things along. I did the 500 fly (7:04, I think, slower than a couple of years ago), and was surprised that Bethany did fly as well! My only other event was the 100 fly (1:02) but was wiped out and could not get the SDK's going. We also had a blast doing the Medley and Free Relays together.

    All in all, another great event for Masters swimming! Looking forward to next years addition!

    Things to remember for next year:
    check printer cartridges, batteries before meet
    order more latex caps from national office
  15. Workout 04/24/15: noon

    by , April 24th, 2015 at 02:22 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Quick swim this morning to stretch out a bit ...

    200 free/200 back/200 IM drill
    4 x 50 kick into 50 drill
    4 x 25 burst and cruise into 25 ez
    25 sprint into 175 loosen
    (Solo/Rec/1400 yds/30 min)

    Our meet is up to 26 entries as of this afternoon, and I anticipate a handful of same-day folks to get over the 30 mark. Workers from the Marauders are in place and the facility is all set to open early so that we can be ready for warmups right at 9am. If you are in southern Vermont and want to compete, stop on by!
    Swim Workouts
  16. Workout 04/21/15: evening

    by , April 21st, 2015 at 09:56 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    The trip to Howe Caverns was fun last week. I worked through the weekend and yesterday celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary with my wife, including a bite out for supper at the Man Of Kent Tavern just over the border in NY (our frist trip there) and a nice dip in the hot tub. A great day

    After a drug task force meeting this morning I made it to Chapel at the college and then did a few errands. The college is building a new garage at the library and needed some help in breaking down the forms of the concrete footing that was poured over the weekend. The head of maintence of my son's school used to work for a local concrete company and they donated use of the supplies as long as everything was returned by tomorrow morning (so the only cost was for the concrete iteself), so I joined the guys from the school in the busy task of removing the forms then cleaning them off. Much more energy than I wanted to spend today, but it was good to get the job done.

    Made it to masters practice tonight for another taper workout ...

    200 swim/100 kick/200 pull
    4 x 50 burst and cruise
    100 choice

    2 x
    - 75 DPS, :05sr, 25 sprint
    - 25 EZ, :05sr, 25 build, :05sr, 50 DPS
    - 25 Fast, :05sr, 75 DPS
    (All on 2:30)

    2 x 25 Sprint on :45

    150 loosen and out
    (Masters/Rec/1600 yds/60 min)

    So our meet is up to 19 entries and I anticipate antoher 6-10 before the first splash this Saturday. We had to work a little to find a second official but are all set now. I have to pick up some gifts to give away on Friday, then hang on until the end of the meet! Iam not yet sure what I will swim, but I usually just fill in to be sure that no one swims alone.

    A hearty "Swim Fast" to all of you traveling to Nationals this weekend. I'm looking forward to see results and hear about the experiences!
    Swim Workouts
  17. Workout 04/15/15: morning

    by , April 15th, 2015 at 02:47 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    My plans for a swim were dashed on Monday as I cut my left pinky finger while opening the windows in the bedroom (thus continuing my usual oddball injury in the weeks before a swim). I was able to bandage it up really well this morning for a quick dip ...

    200 free/200 back
    3 x (100 kick into 100 DPS)
    4 x 50 (25 sprint IMO into 25 easy)
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1400 yds/35 min)

    I'll be dry tomorrow as I take the boys and some of the other exchange students to visit Howe Caverns about two hours from home. I went as a kid, and also a chaperon 15 years ago or so. Should be a fun adventure!
    Swim Workouts
  18. Workout 04/11/15: morning

    by , April 11th, 2015 at 12:25 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Yesterday afternoon Lena was kind enough to give me a massage and helped to loosen a few knots in my shoulder, especially the rather large one that seemed to be the cause of some of my neck pain. At 8pm I went to the college for the start of their all night prayer meeting; I stayed until 11:30 before calling it a night. Went to Masters workout this morning ...

    200 Swim/100 Kick/200 Pull
    4 x 50 burst and cruise on :50
    100 Choice

    3 x
    -25 AFAP into 75 DPS on 2:00
    -75 DPS into 25 AFAP on 2:00
    - 25 easy/25 build/50 DPS (:05 sr between)
    - Masters Minute
    (Rd 1 = free with snorkel, Rd 2 = back, Rd 3 = IM)

    100 pull into 50 kick

    3 x 50 Sprint on 2:00
    (free from pool :28, back :29, Fr from blocks :26)

    200 loosen and out

    (Masters/Rec/2200 yds/60 min)
    Swim Workouts
  19. Workout 10/10/15: noon

    by , April 10th, 2015 at 02:03 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I was treated to sleeping in today and then I treated my wife to a breakfast date. I headed to the pool at lunch time for a dip:

    200 Free/200 Back
    400 with snorkel
    400 Shark Swim
    4 x 25 burst and cruise
    100 easy
    4 x 50 Quarters Strong
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1700 yds/35 min)
    Swim Workouts
  20. Workout 04/07/15: evening

    by , April 7th, 2015 at 10:21 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Happy to get a swim in tonight after some busy days at work. I joined Johnson at the bowling alley yesterday after school before taking him and a couple of the other exchange students to a local sugar shack to see the process of making syrup. I learned that it used to take 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup, but now it is closer to 47.

    200 swim
    100 kick
    200 pull
    4 x 50 Quarter's Strong
    100 easy
    8 x 50 on 1:10 free, best avg (used snorkel)
    1 x 50 easy
    4 x 50 on 1:10 back, best avg
    1 x 50 easy
    6 x 75 on 1:30 (odd easy, even fast) (did 100s)
    1 x 50 easy
    4 x 25 drag race from mid pool :45
    150 easy (did 250)
    (Masters/Rec/2500yds/60 min)

    This is an old Fort hybrid workout that I like to swim at the start off my taper period, so I inflicted it on the team.

    I had a quiet Easter due to having to work, but I finished an excellent Passion week Bible plan from youversion Bible app. There was a small gathering at my house, but basically turned into a birthday party for two nephews and a niece.

    We now have six official entries in our meet at the end of the month. The coach that generally helps to run the meet is away so others are stepping up to help us. I am guessing that we will have around 25 entries.

    The only other news is that I have started to use myfitnesspal again to help me keep track of calories. Haven't used it in a few years but i need the accountability to help me get to a healthier weight.
    Swim Workouts , Planning
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