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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 02/10/15: evening

    by , February 10th, 2015 at 09:44 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    It was nice to only have a 20 minute shovel-session this morning before work, but I did spend another half-hour after work this afternoon raking the roof in preparation for an arctic blast over the weekend. Oh the glorious sunshine and blue sky - here is a pic from the backyard ...

    Made it to Masters and enjoyed a great workout with a fun pool of swimmers, featuring a main set from pwb's workout thread over in the forums Workout 1 in week 2.

    150 Swim/50 kick/100 pull (extra 100)
    4 x 50 Burst and Cruise on 1:15
    2 x
    - 3 x 50 (I did 75/75/50 kick)
    - 2 x 100 - fast last 25 (I did 150's)
    - 1 x 200 - fast middle 50 (I did 200 IM drill
    rd 1 on 1:00/50 base, 30 seconds Vertical Kicking,
    rd 2 on 1:10/50 base

    200 loosen and out
    (Masters/Rec/2200 yds/45 min)

    7 people for a Tuesday night is a lot for us, and it was great swimming with Carol, Greg, Luiza, Melissa, Rachel, and Tim. Our team is planning on doing the One Hour Swim this weekend for fun - only Greg and I did it in January and submitted the entry for the ePostal. I thought it would be a good experience for everyone to try and I'll be able to use the results to set up bases for future workouts. Since we will be swimming on Valentine's Day, I am dubbing it as a great heart workout and plan on having a few sweet treats after the swim.
    Swim Workouts
  2. Workout 02/09/15: evening

    by , February 9th, 2015 at 08:36 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    So the snow has now entered day three (actually, it was three storms that just happened to line up together) and I was up at quarter of 6 this morning, not to swim, but to shovel the driveway! Took a little over an hour, but I was able to get showered up and some breakfast before work at 8. More shoveling at 5 then off to the pool at 6 ...

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    50 kick, 100 AP, 200 pull
    100 easy
    (Solo/Rec/1400 yds/25 min)

    Tonight I was again very much looking forward to stretching out in water after a busy day. The snow should end around 10pm tonight, then cold air moves back in. I'm hopeful that tomorrow morning will be a quick shovel session.
    Swim Workouts
  3. Workout 02/08/15: afternoon

    by , February 8th, 2015 at 05:33 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I have been looking forward to a nice swim since Thursday, when lots of little loose ends kept me out of the pool before I headed to class. But ... we have had some much snow in the past week or so that I am able to get some quality drylands in with the shovel. At this point I am starting to run out of room for the snow around the house! Busy weekend at work as folks panic about the "new" storm currently overheard - picked up 3 inches overnight, expected to get another couple of inches tonight, then likely a foot tomorrow into Tuesday. So, a nice stretch-out today swim today was just what I needed.

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    400 shark swim
    2 x 300 (100 left, 100 right, 100 both hands AP)
    4 x 50 as 25 easy, 25 IMO fast
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1900 yds/40 min)

    I'm hoping that the Rec does not close tomorrow due to the storm. I was able to check in with Kevin, Rebecca, and Marie at the pool, which was hot and cloudy. Marie was in FL and swam at the ISHOF recently - she loved it! Someday I would like to get there myself
    Swim Workouts
  4. Workout 02/04/15: noon

    by , February 4th, 2015 at 07:28 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    After last week's OHS my head cold flared back up and I remained dry. I could have gotten in a short swim before the Super Bowl on Sunday, but church in the morning I met with a classmate to catch up on a project before going to the nursing home, so I ditched the swim. With our Patriots in the big game, we had a get-together with the family filled with food and good conversation, plus a great game! Oh, and I can't forget the annual challenge from my buddy jaadams1 - this year he came up with the loser doing 10 x 100 fly on 1:40. While his Hawks lost the game (he did the swim on Monday with even faster intervals while I shoveled a foot of snow), today I was able to get into the water and do it as well.

    200 Free/200 Back/200 IM drill
    10 x 100 on 1:40 (held 1:25 for first 5, 1:30 on rest, with 1 length single-arm on #6-9)
    1 minute rest
    1 x 100 for time - went 1:12 (and didn't puke)
    400 (100 kick, 100 AP)
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2200 yds/45 min)

    Updated February 9th, 2015 at 08:37 PM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts
  5. Workout 01/26/15: One Hour Swim

    by , January 26th, 2015 at 09:48 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I had planned to do this swim tomorrow night at Masters practice, but with the Nor'Easter bearing down on New England the Rec has announced that the facility will be closed all day tomorrow (along with Preston's school). I won't be back in the water until Friday so tonight became the night for the OHS! Preston took splits on my way to a total of 4257 yards, which is just over 300 yards less than last year. Given where I am with my physical state, I am happy with the results. Plus it will add to team New England Masters in our bid to three-peat as National OHS Champions!

    We are all home tomorrow (my regular day off) so keeping up with snow removal should not be a problem. I haven't had to use the show blower yet this year, and today while gassing it up I discovered what appears to be a cracked gasket, so it will be all human power for Tuesday!
  6. Workout 01/25/15: afternoon

    by , January 25th, 2015 at 08:36 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I had a fun time chaperoning my son's high school dance last night - even brought back some of the moves from the 80's ...

    (that is me doing the worm)

    After work today I chipped away at the ice built up at the the bottom of the driveway since we forecasted to have a Nor'Easter come in tomorrow night. Then I headed to the pool and swam into Greg and Kevin and we did an abbreviated reprise yesterday's workout ...

    200 free/200 back
    15 min swim (1050 yds)
    6 x 50 free on :50
    6 x 50 free on :45
    100 easy and out
    (Solo-ish/Rec/2150 yds/45 min)

    Updated January 26th, 2015 at 07:34 AM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts
  7. Workout 01/22/15: noon

    by , January 22nd, 2015 at 02:05 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    The Northeastern Baptist College has started back for the semester and I was able to attend the Chapel service today, even the opportunity to play drums during p/w time. The college has access to speakers both locally and nationally, so there is a great mix of messages to keep the bi-weekly services fresh. Today the speaker was Bob Payne from Blackaby Ministries out of Georgia; our church plant went through their Experiencing God curriculum during Bible study when we first started. It was great to hear him preach about trusting God despite our current situation. After Chapel I hit the pool ..

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    4 x (50 kick into 100 pull)
    5 x 50 free on :50
    5 x 50 free on :45
    5 x 50 back on :50 (goal on all is to keep same time)
    100 easy kick, 100 easy swim then out
    (Solo/Rec/2150 yds/45 min)

    Wanted to hit some repeat intervals and was successful at maneuvering light traffic in the lane. Still feeling a bit foggy but overall better, although I had to dig deep to find the motivation to go swimming. Tonight is my first class meeting, but also a basketball game for the boys, so I am planning to go to the game and get to class late (if possible). This semester I am auditing New Testament II, the Pauline epistles.

    Here is the clip I put together from the trial run with using the GoPro at practice last week. I'm still looking for suggestions for placement, although I received today an adapter to mount the camera on a pole.

    Swim Workouts
  8. Workout 01/21/15: evening

    by , January 21st, 2015 at 07:56 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Enjoyed the weekend with my son and his peers at the Excel conference, despite the very late nights ... I did learn that pizza tastes pretty good at 1:30am! Quick swim tonight before supper

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill

    kick - AP - pull
    050 150 100
    100 300 200
    050 150 100

    200 cont as 25 easy, 25 fast IMO

    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2100 yds/35 min)

    Still have a bit of the sinus issue lingering, particularly with a headache today. I did get to sleep in, but am still not fully rested from the weekend.
    Swim Workouts
  9. Workout 01/16/15: noon

    by , January 16th, 2015 at 01:44 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Quick lunchtime dip ...

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    400 free with AP
    400 shark swim
    4 x 50 on traffic (25 easy, 25 IMO fast)
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1700 yds/35 min)

    Feeling a bit better and took advantage of sleeping in again this morning. Felt a little sluggish in the water, but that could have been helped by the warm water.

    I am off with the boys to a youth retreat this weekend with others from their school. My first time going and I am looking forward to seeing how God will work through the kids (and adults) through the speakers and time of getting to know each other better.
    Swim Workouts
  10. Workout 01/13/15: noon and evening

    by , January 13th, 2015 at 10:03 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I have been dealing with the onset of a head cold and skipped swimming on Sunday and Monday in order to get some rest. There is a high school swim meet today at the pool, so I decided to get in a quick swim at lunchtime in case the evening was cut too short.

    200 free/200 back/200 IM drill
    500 Noah's Ark with AP
    100 kick/200 Pull/50 kick
    (Solo/Rec/1450 yds/30 min)
    Went out to lunch with my daughter to the Blue Benn Diner and we enjoyed some great food and conversation. I had the Ratatouille Omlete and cinnamon-raisin toast - delicious! Emma also singed up to audit a class at the Bible College here in town for the spring semester on Thursday nights: she is taking Revelation and I will be taking New Testament II. Tonight ...

    100 easy free
    3 x
    25 kick/25 fly/25 pull, :10sr
    25 kick/75 swim/25 pull, :10sr
    50 kick/50 choice, regroup
    (Masters/Rec/1000 yds/45 min)
    Rather an easy workout since we were unsure of the timing of practice. Greg and Rachel were there and did a longer warmup. I was playing around with the GoPro in order to test different taping angles. I would welcome any suggestions for mounting or positioning of the device in order to get good shots for stroke feedback. I am think that a pole mount would be beneficial for close-up above and below water shots.

    It was a cold walk home and I could tell by the way that the porch creaked that it was below zero. Current temp = -2 (the high today was around 13. At least the sun was out, highlighting the frosted white peaks of the mountains surrounding town against the beautiful blue sky.

    Updated January 14th, 2015 at 11:20 PM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts
  11. Workout 01/07/15: noon

    by , January 7th, 2015 at 05:17 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    200 free/200 back/200 IM drill
    400 free with AP
    500 Shark Swim
    5 x 100 on 1:20 (came in at 1:15)
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2200 yds/40 min)

    Open lane today for the most part = good day. After the swim I went and gave blood. Might try the double red donation next time. Bitterly cold here in VT today, with the temps dipping below zero overnight. I guess it is January after all!

    I also entered the upcoming swim meet her in town into the USMS database. For those not desiring a trip to San Antonio at the end of April, the 4th Annual Monumental Masters Mini Meet might be just the event for you!
    Swim Workouts , Planning
  12. Workout 01/05/15: morning

    by , January 5th, 2015 at 08:42 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a fun time on Saturday night, as Lena and I treated my workmates and spouses to a few games of bowling as a Christmas gift and we had a great time.

    After dropping the kids off to school this morning I was able to get another quick swim in, still just trying to reestabish the habit of swimming:

    200 Free/200 Back/200 IM drill
    400 with AP
    100 easy
    4 x 50 quarter's strong
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1500 yds/35 min)

    Updated January 7th, 2015 at 05:20 PM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts
  13. Workout 01/03/15: morning

    by , January 3rd, 2015 at 01:49 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    New year means busy days in the pharmacy as insurances change, new deductibles go into effect, and the "why didn't you bill it last year" or "I didn't want it billed last year" choruses ring out. The joy of retail, which I was able to experience New Year's Eve, Day, and the day after! Be kind and patient to your healthcare professionals! I went to a Men's Breakfast with the boys this morning before heading to practice for ...

    "2015" Workout today with the group ...

    200 Swim/100 Kick/100 Pull
    4 x 25 drill together

    20 x 50, done as 5 x [50 kick/50 choice/50 pull/50 FAST]
    15 x 25, done as 5 x [easy/burst and cruise/FAST]
    1 x 25 easy
    1 x 15yard streamline

    100 loosen
    (Masters/Rec/2015 yards/75 min)

    A fun workout to ring in a new year of swimming. Greg, Melissa, Rachel, Lena (yes, my wife swam today! ) swam the workout while Marie and Kevin did their own thing. As a team we will be transitioning to laying an aerobic base towards swimming the One Hour Swim at the end of the month, then speed work through the April meet at our home pool. Oh, the the team spoiled me with a nice treat: GoPro camera, which I will be able to put to use with underwater taping for stroke technique. Thanks, guys!
    Swim Workouts
  14. Workout 12/30/14: noon

    by , December 30th, 2014 at 02:13 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    200 Free/200 back/200 IM drill
    1 x Noah's Ark Pull
    100 easy
    200 (as 25 perfect free into 25 FAST)
    300 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1700 yds/35 min)

    Final workout of the year. Looking to train for the One Hour Swim towards the end of January, then a few mini meets into the spring time. Just under 142 miles for the year, well over half of last year's total. This is to be expected with inconsistent practice schedule and no open water events during the summer. Still pleased with overall performances in competition, especially my first LCM meet.

    Updated December 31st, 2014 at 08:23 PM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts
  15. Workout 12/28/14: afternoon

    by , December 28th, 2014 at 05:07 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Easy swim after a bust weekend at work. Busy day in the adult swim lanes!

    200 Fr/200 back/200 IM drill
    1 x Noah's Ark pull
    100 easy
    1 x 200 (done as 25 perfect free into 25 FAST IMO)
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1500 yds/30 min)
    Swim Workouts
  16. Merry Christmas!

    by , December 25th, 2014 at 12:26 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Linus gave Charlie Brown some great insight this day ...


    May you all enjoy a blessed day, remembering the past traditions that you have continued on today and the memories with family and friends that you are making now that will have a place in this day for many years to come.

  17. Workout 12/20/14: morning

    by , December 20th, 2014 at 02:39 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Borrowed this idea from Karl's post in the forums ....

    12 Days of Christmas ... plus a bonus Hanukkah Set

    12. 300 Warmup: 200 Swim/100 kick
    11. Straight swim ... long and strong, focus on streamline
    10. 2 x 125 Pull
    09. Alternate easy/fast by 25 + 1 pushup or deckout
    08. 4 x 50 Quarter's Strong + 2 pushup or deckout
    07. 7 x 25 Burst and Cruise + 3 pushup or deckout
    06. 2 x 75 (pull/no free swim/drill) + 4 pushup or deckout
    05. Alternate skull/swim by 25 + 5 pushup or deckout
    04. 100 social kick (and sing!) + 6 pushup or deckout
    03. 75 choice (build by 25) + 7 pushup or deckout
    02. 50 push-pull with a partner + 8 pushup or deckout
    01. Sprint!
    (1950 yds)

    150 easy and out
    (Masters/Rec/2100 yds/75 min)

    Great practice to close out the end of the year! Everyone enjoyed the breakup of the distances and we did our best to sing and kick (at least, what we could remember of many classic Christmastime songs). With the kids on break until the end of the year, our usual Tuesday night practice has been bumped, and I will be working next weekend. A fun ending, complete with candy canes and chocolate snowmen to munch on from coach!

    We are hosting our annual family Christmas party later this afternoon, and might try to make it to the local theater for the high school's rendition of A Christmas Carol this evening.
  18. Workout 12/16/14: evening

    by , December 16th, 2014 at 09:01 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a great time at the Men's group last night at the college. It happens on the third Monday of each month, with a meal at 6pm then worship with music and a message at 7, and for those that can stay later the football game. I have been able to get to the past three meetings, but due to work it'll be a few months until I can make it again.

    I had an easy day today around the house, with some appointments to take care of. Tonight I made it to Masters ...

    200 swim/100 kick/100 pull (+100 IM drill)
    100 (skull/swim)
    4 x 25 burst and cruise

    8 x 50 on :10sr ~80% (+100 easy)
    50 kick into 50 pull (+50 pull)
    6 x 50 on :15sr [1,6 = even split, 2-5 = quarter strong] (+50 easy)
    50 pull (+ 50 pull) into 50 kick
    4 x 50 on :20sr best average (I did 100 and got out here)
    50 kick
    2 x 50 on :30sr FAST
    150 loosen and out
    (Masters/Rec/2000 yds (I did 1950 yds in 45 min)

    Carol, Greg, Melissa, and Rachel finished out the workout. I talked with a buddy in the locker room; he started running a couple of years ago and was motivated by my 300 miles last year in the water to shoot for 1000 miles on land this year. He is less than 10 miles away! Even though I probably won't hit 150 miles this year, it is neat that I provided him with a crazy goal for this year. You never know who you may spur on!
    Swim Workouts
  19. Meet 12/13/14: 2014 New England SCM Championships

    by , December 13th, 2014 at 11:19 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    After a quiet summer and fall in the pool training, I came to the realization that I rather enjoy the opportunity to compete and decided to drop in on one of the three days of this annual December meet at the great facility at Boston University. Planning to just drive in the for the day, I signed up for four events knowing that the first would likely not start before noontime, allowing me to sleep in a little before heading out this morning for the big city around 7:30am. Here are some pictures (no filters) from the ride over the Green Mountains (about fifteen minutes from home) as we started our three hour trip):

    I warmed up in the four scy lanes in the diving well of the pool after checking in for my events, logging my standard 1500 yards. No starts or sprints but that's ok. I waited for about an hour before getting in another 200y before my first event ...

    100scm Back: 1:06.70 (33.04, 33.66). About a second off my fastest time a couple of years ago. I felt that I was slipping a bit on the second lap, so really tried to think about hand position on the last fifty. Solid time. Warmed down with 200y and sat down to wait for the relays and the afternoon's swims.

    50scm Breast: 39.40. A personal best time by .18! Good start and turn with a fluid-feeling stroke. I've never been a fan of this stroke, but know that I need to keep working on it. I then did an easy 200y to relax before the ...

    200scm Fly: 2:40.37 (34.33, 40.64 [1:14.98], 44.15, 41.24). Another PB by a just under 3 seconds! I did DPS fly for the first 175m, then swimming full stroke on the last length. With my lack of swimming I was struggling with the aerobic side of the 200, plus the thought behind the blocks that I always have ("why did I sign up for this?") After an easy 200y and a quick chat with my wife, I hopped in for another easy 100y before my final event ...

    100scm Free: 59.78 (29.45, 30.33). I was happy to get under a minute and felt tanked. Again the lack of solid base training lead to me being very tired (and in turn, sloppy) for a sprint to end the meet. I capped off the day with and easy 400y, bringing my totals for the day to: 450scm + 2800yds.

    So as I complete another day of competition, I am thinking that I will need to make training more consistent in the future especially for the meets that have multiple events over a number of days. I am also swimming with an extra 15 pounds over last year, so I'll need to commit to some tweaks in my nutrition as well to get my waist back in line. Overall, I am very satisfied with the meet, in particular the extra time spent with Lena talking about her trip to Germany and our family - twenty years ago we used to hop in the car and drive around and talk; it's nice to have opportunity to do that together again.

    Updated December 14th, 2014 at 12:31 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: boston, bu scm
    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
  20. Workout 12/12/14: noon

    by , December 12th, 2014 at 01:53 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    My wife made it home safely from her adventure in Germany, and brought home a lot of chocolate and baked treats! We learned that flying through Newark, while a little cheaper, is not a great option due to delays and other issues.

    The kids had a snow day on Wednesday and a two hour delay yesterday, so our current exchange son has been able to experience this fun American happening. It's actually still snowing here in Vermont, although we did not get a lot of snow. Should continue into tomorrow, but my first event at BU is not expected to go off until noon so I will have plenty of time to make the three hour drive in.

    200 free/200 back/200 IM drill
    4 x (50 kick into 50 drill)
    4 x (25 DPS into 25 FAST IMO)
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1300 yds/35 min)
    Stretch out swim today. Off to my son's basketball game tonight, where I will probably keep the score book again. Then an early bedtime.
    Swim Workouts
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