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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 07/14/15: OW

    by , July 14th, 2015 at 09:41 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    The rain held off so I was able to get my double in. I rode over to Wilmington with Melissa and Tim, meeting Greg there. The sky was a mix of overcast clouds interspersed with bright blue patches and the sun trying to shine through. We did a one mile loop in about 40 minutes, and after finishing enjoyed some raspberries that I picked from my backyard. Another delightful evening for a mid summer swim!

    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  2. Workout 07/14/15: noon

    by , July 14th, 2015 at 03:52 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Plans for an open water swim fell apart last night, but we will try for this evening. Humid weather and pop-up storms make for an interesting yet frustrating summer.

    Was able to sneak in a quick swim before taking my son to a dentist appointment.

    200 free/ 200 back/ 200 im drill
    8 x 50 on 1:00 free with snorkel, even split
    50 easy on 1:30
    6 x 50 on 1:00 free, descend
    50 easy
    4 x 50 on 1:10 back, descend
    50 easy
    2 x 50 on 1:00 free fast
    50 easy
    100 warmdown
    (Solo/SM pool/1900 lcm/45 min)

    Borrowed the idea from Water Rat, basically trying to find some easy speed with pace work. I'll need that for the 800 at Nats.
    Swim Workouts
  3. Workout 07/09/15: evening

    by , July 9th, 2015 at 07:17 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Spent the morning with my wife and son completing our annual family drylands - tossing wood pellets into the basement and restacking them for use this coming winter. 200 bags x #40 = 4 tons moved in just under two hours. Not shabby! Afterwards we made our way downtown for brunch at the Blue Benn Diner. I devoured a California Omelet as we picked out some songs from the table-top juke box. A great place for fresh food at a modest price.

    We had planned for a team trip to swim at Lake Raponda a few towns over, but the steady green showers moving in from Western NY started to reveal more areas of yellow as we neared our departure time, so I decided to bag the trip and everyone in the area hopped into the pool at the Rec.

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    500 Shark Swim
    3 x 300, done as 4x50 (with 25 fast IMO) followed by an easy 100
    (Solo/Rec/2000 yds/40 min)

    Right now the weather does not look promising for an OW dip next week, but we'll see how the weather moves along.
    Swim Workouts
  4. Workout 07/08/15: noon

    by , July 8th, 2015 at 01:26 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I was able to make contact with a former coach and obtain access to a lcm pool relatively nearby ...

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill/4 x 50 burst and cruise

    3 x
    200 free on 3:05
    100 on 1:50 (50 dps, :05 rest, 50 FAST)

    100 ez
    4 x 50 on 1:00 free
    4 x 50 on 1:10 back
    100 ez
    8 x 50 on 1:00 (odd = free dps, even = IMO FAST)
    100 ez
    (Solo/SM Pool/2800m/60 min)

    Haven't been in a lcm pool in over a year. I had a lane to myself and the water was nice and cool. The first set is the same that I did with tjrpatt a couple of summers ago in PA (although I did them on a slower interval today), and I borrowed the 50's from aztimm's blog. Looks like I might add a relay at Nationals in OH on Friday if team New England can use me.
    Swim Workouts
  5. Workout 07/06/15: morning

    by , July 6th, 2015 at 09:20 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    In the water before work today ...

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    600 shark swim
    10 x 50's on :50 as:
    1-2: AP, 3: last half fast, 4: first half fast, 5 all fast
    (first time through back, second time through free)
    200 DPS with AP
    (Solo/Rec/1900 yds/40 min)
    Swim Workouts
  6. Workout 07/04/15; OW Swim

    by , July 4th, 2015 at 07:48 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Made the quick trip over Lake Paran this morning for a dip with our team. We stayed in the chilly water (due to all the recent rain) for just under 40 minutes and logged 1.3km as I spent most of the time playing with the GoPro camera again. Just beat the rain but noticed a proliferation of weeds ...

    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  7. Workout 07/03/15: morning

    by , July 3rd, 2015 at 11:09 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Second week without regular pool therapy as my wife and I went on a date night Monday and the Masters practice was called off Tuesday due to an age group swim meet. No worries as I continued on with drylands. The Rec is closed today and tomorrow, so I took the chance that the pool in Hoosick Falls (just over the boarder in NY) was open, and it was!

    200 free/200 im drill/200 mix
    600 shark swim
    4 x 200 on :20sr
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Hoosick Falls/2200 yds/40 min)

    This is a nice outdoor pool that is about 25 minutes from home. Last summer it was closed due to rehabilitation of the pool lining, which I have blogged in the past about being rather squishy because of a layer of water between the lining and the pool. Well, they ripped up the whole thing, ran out of money, then finished it late this spring. Has a new gutter system and solid walls! Still now crosses on the wall, but the lines one the bottom of the pool help to guide the way (no lane lines). I rode the motorcycle and enjoyed a refreshing swim in the cool water (no heaters here) under a brilliant blue sky and bright sun. Here is a pic from their facebook page:
    Swim Workouts
  8. Workout 06/24/15: OW

    by , June 25th, 2015 at 12:01 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    As promised, I was able to make it down to the Berkshires to join the Simon's Rock group for their Wednesday night swim. Tonight we splashed at Laurel Lake, which is about 75 minutes from home and one that I have not yet visited. Lena and Preston came along, dropping me off at the beach and heading out to explore while we swam.

    There were ten of us in total, including some new faces and a first time OW swimmer. I managed to attach the GoPro camera to my safe swimmer buoy but as I suspected there was little balance so it is a wild ride to watch!
    I did manage to get some decent shots when I was not swimming, although I discovered that water on the housing can distort the picture ...

    We headed southwest from the Lenox Town Beach with our buoys on and John's wife yaking, towards a beach rought 1/3 of a mile away. After a quick break, we made our way towards the large green field on the far end of the lake, following the southerly edge until we hit the shore. After another short break we aimed back to the start along the northerly edge, completing a total of 1.37 miles in just over 58 minutes.

    As you can see from the pics, the water was not too choppy (especially on the way back) and the sky was so blue. The moon was hanging out among the vast blue canopy, and just some soft fair weather clouds drifted by the horizon. Air temp was about 75 with the water at 69...simply refreshing!

    We did not join the group for a potluck afterwards, instead starting the trip back home. It was weird not having Brent join us as he is off in Germany, but I love the camaraderie that this team exudes and the fact that they let me tag along! Here's to more adventures in the Berkshires this summer!

    Updated June 25th, 2015 at 12:55 AM by rxleakem

    Tags: berkshires
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  9. Workout 06/24/15: morning

    by , June 24th, 2015 at 10:18 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Just a quick swim this morning to stretch out a bit ...

    200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    600 shark swim
    (Solo/Rec/1200 yds/20 min)

    Looks like a beautiful day to have off. Planning to join the Berkshire OW gang tonight in a lake that will be new to me. If all goes well, pics to come later.
    Swim Workouts
  10. Workout 06/20/15: morning

    by , June 20th, 2015 at 09:12 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I enjoyed a nice evening yesterday with Preston at a campfire hosted by one of the new professors at the college. Lots of folks young and old enjoyed games, snacks, conversation, and of course S'mores! I didn't try this fishing pole device, but the little ones had a great time with it.

    Masters this morning ...

    2 x (100 swim/50 kick/100 pull) [did an extra 100]
    200 Dolphin Dives (into and out of walls) [extra 50]
    2 x 150 on 3:00 90% effort [did 200 free: 2:13 and 2:14]
    1 x 200 recovery on 5:00 [extra 50]
    4 x 75 on 1:45 90% effort [did 25 kick/50 swim IM rotate/25 pull]
    1 x 200 recovery on 5:00 (50 swim/50 kick) [extra 50]
    6 x 50 on 1:30 FAST as group
    300 loosen and out
    (Masters/Rec/2750 yds/65 min)
    Nice workout with some fast efforts at the end. We same in the same lane (with is two wide) and rotated position. Greg, Kevin, and a new swimmer MG joined in the fun!

    After the pool I joined my wife and her friend picking strawberrys at the farm where we have a CSA for the summer. Great day.

    Tonight we went to annual community Relay For Life event and walked a couple of miles together in honor of those battling cancer. We have been going since my mom passed away 15 years ago, sometimes on a team but always taking strides.
    Swim Workouts
  11. Workout 06/19/15: noon

    by , June 19th, 2015 at 02:28 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    With life getting into the way a bit this week, I ended up dry more than I had planned to. We all went out for dinner on Monday, then Lena and went to a celebration for the administrator of Preston's school who retired this year. Johnson has made the trip home to China after spending the year with us, so a bit of sadness descended Wednesday as he left. I have been ramping up drylands in the form of pushups, chinups, and ab work.

    I was able to get into the pool this afternoon:

    200 Free/200 Back/200 IM drill
    500 Shark Swim
    16 x 50 on :45
    (1st 50 = IMO Fast, then dps free mixed with pull 2-4; repeat)
    4 x 75 on 1:10 (kick, IMO fast, pull)
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2300 yds/50 min)

    I entered nationals on Monday and signed up for events on Thursday and Friday. It was cool that it lines up with a college road trip with Preston, so now we need to plan some other outings in the CLE area. I think an Indians game and also the NFL HOF will make it onto the agenda.
    Swim Workouts
  12. Workout 06/11/15: noon

    by , June 11th, 2015 at 01:43 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Lena suggested a motorcycle ride this morning so we hopped on the bike and went cruising. The boys finished school today so I picked them up after their half day of exams and made it to the pool.

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    600 shark swim
    1 x Noah's Ark (with IM progression on fast ones)
    100 easy
    4 x 25 from mid-pool FR on :40
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2000 yds/40 min)

    Another quiet day in the pool and I didn't have to share the lane! Planning to stay dry through the weekend, unless I can make it to the lake.

    Planning to catch a play,"Time Stands Still" at our local theater this afternoon with Lena, then out to eat with the kids to celebrate the end of the school year and Emma's moving back to Philly due to a promotion.
    Swim Workouts
  13. Workout 06/10/15: noon

    by , June 10th, 2015 at 01:37 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Very quiet in the pool this afternoon ...

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    1 x 100 on 1:30 pull
    2 x 150 on 2:15 (middle 50 kick)
    3 x 200 on 3:00 (third 50 kick)
    4 x 75 on 1:10 (kick/fast imo swim/pull)
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2000 yds/35 min)

    I was planning for a good aerobic swim and got it today. Will be attending my niece's pre-school graduation later this evening.
    Swim Workouts
  14. workout 06/08/15: morning

    by , June 8th, 2015 at 09:09 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Enjoyed a beautiful Sunday with the ability to ride my motorcycle to church and then to the nursing home service in the afternoon. I then took a cat nap on the front porch as the gently breeze helped to move the clouds effortlessly through the blue sky. After supper I again staked out options for the summertime - local music/theater/festivals to take in with the family and more planning for our Ohio trip in August as well as the LGOWS. I hope to sure up hotels and itinerary's by weeks end.

    An easy swim after dropping the boys off at school ...

    200 Free/200 Back/200 IM drill
    800 shark swim
    100 easy and out
    (Solo/Rec/1500 yds/25 min)
    Only me and Scott in the fast lane today, but I continued on with my plan to do a recovery swim.
    Swim Workouts
  15. Workout 06/06/15: morning

    by , June 6th, 2015 at 01:29 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I missed out on a swim yesterday after my wife tricked me into a "quick" shopping trip that included a stop at my mother-in-law's house and lunch at the local bakery. All good things, but I was looking forward to a good chlorine/counseling session. Last evening we went to my niece's birthday celebration and had a great time. We'll make it to her pre-school graduation next week.

    This morning I dropped Preston off to take the SAT's, then headed to the pool after grabbing a light breakfast and was able to get in a little earlier than the rest of the team.

    200 Fr/200 back/200 im drill
    4 x
    -50 kick on 1:00
    - 100 kick on 2:00
    - 50 fast IMO on 1:00
    - 100 IM on 1:50 [descend 1->4, 1:26->1:13]

    200 pull with big blue paddles (then joined the group)
    8 x 25 technique
    400 (every 4th 25 Fast) [used agility paddles]
    300 (every 3rd 25 Fast) [back]
    200 (every 2ns 25 Fast)

    4 x 50 as a group sharing the lane (OW survival)
    4 x (20sec Vertical Kick into 50 choice)
    (Masters/Rec/3500 yds/90 min)

    Used the extra time to work on some IM, then had a great swim with Greg, Kevin, and Marie.
    Swim Workouts
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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.
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