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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 08/12/12

    by , August 12th, 2012 at 10:29 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    More drylands tonight ...

    Rowing: 15:06, 3352 meters
    4 x 6 assisted dips
    3 x 10 seated leg press with calf raises

    15min foam rolling at home
    ---------------------------------------

    At least the brick wall is going up at the Rec.

    Lena and Emma are home from their Kenya adventure. The two medical clinics went well, and my wife has a renewed passion to go back to school for nursing. One of the team members is still in a hospital in Nairobi, waiting to be transported back to the States (her parents are with her).

    Here is a picture from the safari that my wife took:

    Updated August 12th, 2012 at 10:47 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Strength Training and Dryland Workouts
  2. Workout 08/08/12: OW!

    by , August 9th, 2012 at 01:01 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I made it down (with my son) to Quechee Lake in Canaan, NY, this evening and joined the Simon's Rock crew for another great OW swim. I think that the final count was 18 swimmers, ranging in age from teen to master, and we completed a 1.27 mile loop in the lake. It is one of the closer swims for me to drive to from Vermont, and even though the water quality was not the best that I have seen in the past, it was clear and I was able to spot some fish swimming around. There was some boat traffic, but since most in the pod are wearing the orange safety floats (as well as loud caps) and Freddy's wife joined us in a kayak we were safe. Even saw a really cool floating dock with two boats attached - looked like the party spot! Here is a Google maps track of the swim.

    After the swim we went to the Backwater Grill for some nutrition - almost all of us made it. I was able to talk with my buddy Jon, who introduced me to this group and their Wednesday night swims a couple of years ago. He just completed the Lake Placid Ironman, his first at that distance. Great stuff.

    I am still sore after the pellet moving madness on Monday - my hammies and buttocks are tight as well as my lower back. Made for an interesting twelve hours on my feet yesterday! Felt good to swim tonight, especially since the group is so friendly.

    For the girls, tomorrow is the final day of clinic in Kenya, where they are now set up in Dandora, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi. One member of the team is hospitalized and five more have symptoms of malaria, while most are exhausted as the two week medical mission trip comes to an end. It is hard to close up the clinics, as so many are in need of not only physical attention from the team but also the message of God's love that they share. Sometimes just a smile is enough to help a person know that they are loved, regardless of the language one speaks.
    Tags: berkshires, gho
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  3. Workout 08/06/12:

    by , August 6th, 2012 at 10:29 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Well, I guess the following qualifies as drylands, so that is what I am calling it.

    Modified aerobic deadlift/shoulder press:
    - 40# x 100 reps
    - 2 sets: each lasting ~ 30 minutes
    - 15 minutes between sets.

    Can
    you
    guess
    what
    I
    did
    today?



    Give
    up?



    Today was the annual "move the pellets from the driveway to the basement through the bulkhead" day! This year we moved 4 tons total, or 200 x #40 bags, by setting up two folding tables as a ramp over the steps then using a large piece of cardboard that allowed the bags to slide over to the pallets. My son and a kid from the neighborhood manned the topside of the operation, taking turns sending the bags down to me. That meant that I had the fun job of picking up each bag from the ground and restacking them all. It worked really smoothly, and only had one blowout this year (as opposed to 15 or so casualties previously). Works well (pellets are dry and more easily accessible) and I can get the kids to help bring pellets up to the stove.

    I premedicated with Ibuprofen and will redose shortly and I treated everyone to pizza, including buying our neighbor his own pie to bring home. Then my son and I did some outside chores before I built some herb shelves into the kitchen windows and finished framing the bathroom mirror (stuff my wife asked for me to get done before they get home on Saturday). Mission complete!

    Speaking to the mission, the girls are holding up. I spoke to my daughter for about twenty minutes on Sunday before I went to the nursing home service, and she was excited that the team was able to see a cheetah on their safari in the Masai Mara reserve. They saw many of God's creatures (except the elephant) and enjoyed a time of bonding between medical clinics. My wife has a respirtatory/sinus infection but is resting (one team member has confirmed malaria). This week they are holding clinic in the Dandora slum outside of Nairobi - Emma was really shocked when she sent me a quick text today. Google some images and it'll blow you away. Lots of hurting people there, and in addition to the medical care the team is able to offer spiritual care by telling patients about God's love for them.
  4. Workout 08/03/12:

    by , August 4th, 2012 at 12:06 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Went to Off the Wall again this evening with my son.

    15 min Rowing machine: 3367m
    3 x 8 reps Dips on the machine that allows me to cheat
    3 x 8 reps seated leg press with calf tweak at the end

    Tomorrow my son and I are making the 2.5hour trip to Cooperstown and the baseball HOF. We were the highest bidders at a silent auction in April and planned the visit while the girls are in Africa. Below is a picture of my daughter in Namanga this week. The team goes on a safari this weekend in Masai Mara, then hold clinic next week in one of the slums outside Nairobi. True to form, my wife is ill and currently on Tamiflu. Thankfully the medical team has great docs and pharms to take care of her - trusting that she will be able to experience the safari.

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  5. Workout 07/30/12:

    by , July 30th, 2012 at 11:58 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u:
    1 x 400 swim
    4 x 100 kick

    1 x Noah's Ark
    2 x 100 Drill work
    1 x 150 IM w/d

    (Solo/Hoosick Falls/1650yds/30 min)
    ----------------------------

    Beautiful morning for an easy swim and motorcycle ride! The only thing better than swimming and riding would be getting paid to do it! Some day I will have to add a swim on the way home from a work meeting that I ride to.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  6. Workout 07/29/12:

    by , July 30th, 2012 at 12:42 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Weights with my son after work this afternoon, since the pool is closed and we have access to Off the Wall for no charge until the Rec reopens.

    Rowing Machine: 15:05, 3167m
    Bench press: 3 x 8 reps
    Preacher curls: 3 x 8 reps

    At home: pullups 6 x 3 reps
    Hot Tub: 15 min

    Wife and daughter are safely in Kenya for two weeks of medical clinics. Apparently a group of monkeys are trying to get into their guest house rooms this week in Namanga, on the Tanzania border near Mt. Kilimanjaro. Praying without ceasing for the team and the people they will be helping.
  7. Workout 07/24/12: (and pool update)

    by , July 25th, 2012 at 10:10 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Got up this morning for a quick swim in NY.

    4 x 200 with :20 SR
    1 x Noah's Ark
    10 x 50 with :10 SR
    - 1-4, 6-9: Quarter's Strong
    - 5, 10: breaststroke - ride the glide
    (Solo/Hoosick Falls/1800yds/30 min)
    -------------------------------

    A short swim but nice to get in for some recovery. Probably my only time in the water this week with work and other activities.

    The Bennington Banner has an update on the Rec Center rebuild this summer - looks like more work is required than they planned to do, but it should come in under budget and on time for completion to allow the pool to reopen after Labor Day. Here is a picture I took tonight of the progress (and the rusted out columns that need to be replaced) ...
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    I had an eye appt today and ordered some new glasses, spending a good deal of the afternoon inside until the eye drops wore off. Tonight we went to eat at the Rattlesnake cafe tonight as a "send-off supper" for my wife and daughter, who are leaving tomorrow for a flight to DC, then on to Kenya through August 10th for a medical mission with Global Health Outreach, the same group that I have been to Nicaragua with. I'm excited to see how God can work in their lives to help the people that they will serve through medicine, as well as hear of their adventures seeing His Creation halfway across the globe.
    Tags: gho
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , NSR
  8. 07/21/12: Peaks to Portland

    by , July 22nd, 2012 at 11:44 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Another fair warning: long race report blog to follow ...

    This marked my third year swimming in the P2P 2.4 mile swim in Casco Bay, separating Peaks Island from the East End Beach in Portland, Maine. I first learned of this event after stumbling across the blog of Pat Gallant-Charette and asking our friends who live in Portland about this fundraising event for the YMCA in the region. Bobby had heard of it and had a kayak and a willingness to paddle for me, so I began my dive back into swimming (after a ten year + hiatus from the sport) by training for it. Most folks take the ferry out to the island in the morning (although one EC vet opted to swim it as a warmup this year), and after finalizing registration and a brief meeting we are sent off in one of four waves through the Atlantic Ocean to the finish line, passing Fort Gorges. Here is a link to the race map.


    Since the weather was forcasted to be beautiful, we headed up to Maine in two vechiles: Lena took Preston and our nephew Adam in the car and I took the motorcycle. It was cloudy until we hit the border of Vacationland on the five hour trek, but then the sun popped out and did not disappear the entire weekend. What a glorious ride! After checking in at the Y and picking up my packet on Friday, we met up with our Maine hosts and ate at Tortilla Flat before heading back to the house, where Bobby and I took a short motorcycle cruise around town and to the park overlooking Casco Bay towards Peaks Island:
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    JBS contacted me earlier in the week to invite me to join the group that he and slknight swim with for a warmup at the outdoor Kiwanis Pool if I was up for it. I figured that I since I was able to get up to join tjrpatt in Philly for a 6am practice I could do the same in Portland, and Bobby and family was willing to get up so I dropped in for some pool tourism and about 400 meters are stretching out before the race. John gave me a ride to the ferry and I had a new friend, Jeff, snap this picture of your intrepid bloggers for your viewing pleasure:
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    We reached to island and signed off on waivers and got our timing chip. In the process I met up with Bobby, who paddled out with a friend instead of boarding the ferry, and was able to pass off my clothes to him and get duct tape on my feet before the final morning briefings took place. Duct tape? Yes, since the beach is essentially a mussel bed with sharp shells and some rocks, so wading out to the start can be treacherous (I still managed a few cuts on my toes this year). I also finally met Pat before the swim, as I did not find her last year during a season where she completed both the English and Catalina channels. Pat rocks!

    There was a brief moment of silence to honor three pioneers of the race before a warmup period was allowed. After the my experience the first year, shivering in the cold between "warmups" and the start of the swim, I stayed on the beach and watched as the yakers departed from the beach and many got in some practice strokes. After a bit of work on the organizers part to clear the water and line up the waves of swimmers, I slowly entered the water with the first group to the end of the pier to await our sendoff, gazing past the waiting kayakers and towards the far end of the bay.

    As arms and legs started to flail at the start, I found myself towards the center of the pod as we made strides into the cool water, a balmy 64-65 degrees this year. I have gotten a little more accustomed to not only the "ice cream headache" from the cold water but also the bumping at the start of the race, and didn't really get to tied up with anyone besides the usual hitting of hands and tapping of toes. I was able to get my head fully submerged within twenty strokes, and got into a strong swimming pattern. I found Bobby easily off shore due to the American Flag sailing above his kayak, and we made our way out into the ocean. Overall the water was much warmer than last year, but we found some colder spots.

    Low tide occurred about an hour before the race started, so we ventured into the slack tide, which really didn't play into the swim until we rounded Fort Gorges around the halfway point. Bobby kept our line a little more to the west of the Fort, and we didn't have any issues until one of the swimmers without a kayak suddenly cut right in front of us. Bob moved from my right side to the left, then I saw legs appear out of nowhere! He kept heading towards the Old Port, until the police boat on the periphery pointed him in the right direction: we joked afterwards that he must have been swimming to the West End Beach! A few waves from the ferry splashed us around, but the water was fairly calm until the currents picked up after the Fort. I was about to get a quick drink when Bobby announced that we were at 34 minutes, which prompted me to forgo the feed and usual comedic banter to power on towards our goal.

    We were again able to pick off some of the swimmers that stayed on a line closer to the Fort, and as we came closer to the finish area I could see the beach was packed! This year saw the highest number of participants at 316, over half of them were first-time athletes and 19 of us swam "naked," without a wetsuit. As we approaced the boats floating just off the beach, we were joined by three other kayaks. I focused on a strong kick and a faster turnover as I made my way into the finish area. Again I did a few breaststroke cycles before trying to stand up, then did my best to jog out of the water to the finish line. I was excited to hear the announcer mention that "it looks like our first non-wetsuit swimmer is making his way up the chute," and looked up to see a time of 51:52 before seeing John on the beach. Susan was the first female to emerge without a wetsuit shortly after - note that both of them swam without a yaker!

    I met with my family and the Browns on the beach for pictures and celebration. After getting hosed off I took advantage of the free massage for swimmers before watching and cheering all of the swimmers into the beach. The harbormaster sounded the siren as the last swimmers reached the finish - Terry Swain, the aquatics director of the Y had waited near the boats offshore for all of the other swimmers to make land before finding her way there.

    We packed up the cars then headed into the Old Port for lunch at Flatbread before heading home for a nap! We finished off the day by wandering down to Old Orchard Beach for some seashell hunting and relaxing on the beach before eating our way back to the house. It was another great weekend for a swim, and by far the most pleasant on the weather front. Susan sent a link to the Press Herald writeup and agreed that everyone finished about two minutes behind the pace from last year, likely due to the tide. John also saw a link on The Daily News of Open Water Swimming site about the swim that I am sure Pat sent in.

    I can't wait for the excitement of next year's 32nd annual race with my friends in Maine! (I might even try to swim over to Peaks in the morning, but don't hold me to it too much) A lot of hard work goes into making this event happen, and I am very thankful that God has blessed me with a supportive family, a great team (including someone crazier than me that volunteers to kayak and his family, as well as Linda and Ron, who always cheer us on), all the volunteers, and the collective ability of all the swimmers to be able to raise money to help offer the benefits of the YMCA to folks who otherwise could not gain access to them.

    Here is a picture of the best wingman in the business, my yaker Bobby, before the race:
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    Updated July 23rd, 2012 at 12:33 AM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Files
  9. Workout 07/17/12:

    by , July 17th, 2012 at 02:46 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u: 200 FR/200 IM drill

    Go three times through:
    - 4 x 75 FR on :05-:10 sr
    --- Go FAST on the middle 25
    --- Add burst (6/8/10/12) + Cruise last 25 on last rep
    - 100 skull/float

    6 x 50 on :10 SR - Kick/stroke by 25

    4/5 of a Noah's Ark
    - Did 2x2 thru 75
    - Floated 100 w/d, skipped last 100
    (Solo/Hoosick Falls/2300yds/40 min)
    -----------------------------------

    Good swim today. Not as crowded, and the sun was shining magnificently. Picked up the tempo with the 75s and felt strong. Kinda loafed the Ark and got out before the final 100 in order to get to work on time. I'll keep up with bands through Thursday, as well as continue to use the foam roller and tennis ball for back tightness leading up to the 2.4 mile Peaks to Portland swim this weekend.

    No lake swim last night - I guess the Marauders have scrapped it since the kids were complaining about the weeds. Oh well, fun while it lasted. I will have to get a picture of the Rec Center construction process at some point this week. Word on the street is the outer wall is totally gone in preparation of replacing it, and the might be adding some more room on that west side of the pool area to accomodate more spectator space. That would be cool...

    Updated July 17th, 2012 at 09:38 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  10. Workout 07/16/12: am

    by , July 16th, 2012 at 12:37 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    200 FR/200 IM drill/200 build

    1 x Noah's Ark
    10 x 50 on :10 sr
    - 1-2: kick
    - 3-4: pull
    - 5: FAST
    repeat

    200 FR drill
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Hoosick Falls/2000yds/40 min)
    -------------------------------

    Made it back from Philly safely. Great city to get to know better as my daughter was at orientation. After that sweet wake-up swim with Tom, my son and I hit the town starting at 34th street: one wind sprint up the Museum of Art steps ("Rocky steps"), then a 4+ mile meander of the city, finally stopping at 5th street to check out the Liberty Bell. It was hot outside, but fun to see lots of interesting sights along the way.

    Friday we booked a tour of Lincoln Park (home of the Eagles), so we took the train to the south end of the orange line. It is pretty neat how the city has moved all of the pro stadiums right next to each other and has mass transit so close. Fun time getting the VIP behind the scene tour of a stadium - even got some goodies for my father-in-law who is a big fan.

    Saturday saw one of very few weekends starting off without any definite plans. My buddy works for the phone company and had to make a call to the other side of the state in Putney, VT, so I joined him on a motorcycle ride in the heat. Haven't been out in a long time for a long ride. Got home and took a ride with my wife before dinner as the temps cooled off a bit - got in around 150 miles.
    Yesterday after church we went to a party for my in-laws visiting from Tennessee - good times.

    Today I really didn't want to get up to swim, but kinda have to with Peaks coming up this weekend. More or less a stretch-out swim as I got there late (it was drizzling so I waited for the skies to clear out a little before making the twenty min drive over) and it was packed. No lane lines, and I squeezed in between two black lines until a lady decided she'd join there. Just swam around her.

    Plan for the week: swim at Lake Paren tonight with the Marauders (if it isn't storming) before Bible study, get in again tomorrow morning before work to do some harder efforts, work thru Thursday night, then stay dry until Saturday, where I am planning on taking the motorcycle on the five hour trip to Maine!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  11. Workout 07/12/12: early am

    by , July 12th, 2012 at 07:31 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    wu: 400 swim/200 kick/300 pull/200 drill/200 im

    Go five times thru:
    200 FR on 2:55
    - neg split by 100
    100 FR on 1:40
    - 50 DPS, :05 sr, 50 sprint (breathe every 7)

    200 loosen and out
    (Tom's masters prac/Martin's Dam/3000 Lcm/65 min)
    ------------------------

    I got into Philly last night around 9:30, and made arrangements with Tom to meet up for a swim. Options were an evening practice today at Ridley High (where I joined him in March), or Martin's Dam, a long course, outdoor pool near Villanova. Either was fine with me, but after I told Tom I'd never swam Lcm, he suggested I get up for 6am practice at Martin. Glad I went
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    Well, I got up at 5am and called the valet to get the car before making the 30min drive to Wayne. Got there the same time as Tom, then checked in with the coaches at the pool. I mentioned I was in the area for my daughter's orientation and was excited to swim Lcm for the first time, and they chuckled that we'd be doing a lot today. Paid the drop-in fee and hopped into Tom's lane.

    I modified the warmup a bit: supposed to do a 400im, but I only did a 200im since Tom was already finished up. The main set was tough - the last time I did 200s scm they were on 3:00, but today was able to get in with 10->05 sr. I went third, with three more behind me (I think), and made the 100s with :05 sr, but I could not do the breathe every seven deal.

    By this time, 7am was nearing so I headed over to the far area of the pool to warm down, knowing that I needed to be back into Central Philly by 8:30 to get the kids up and to breakfast. Tom told me to avoid taking 76, so I used the gps and took some back roads into the Drexel area, then across the river to the hotel. Tom and the guys were getting ready to embark on a 1000 pull, and then a crazy distance swim after that. Did I mention that this was the VN team workout, and Tom led it as written? Tom is an animal!

    Spent the rest of the morning at orientation, then spent the afternoon exploring the city - climbed the "Balboa Stairs," then took the long walk through town to Independence Hall. The Inn at Penn has complimentary iPads in the room, so we're relaxing for a bit now before puttering around UPenn tonight. Tomorrow we are going to take a tour of the Eagles's stadium and eat some cheese steak sandwiches before collecting Emma at 3:30 for the five hour ride home. Where is the best place to strap on my feed bag?

    Updated July 12th, 2012 at 11:17 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  12. Workout 07/10/12:

    by , July 10th, 2012 at 02:33 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u: 200 FR/200 IM drill/200 Kick

    400 FR Pull with buoy
    10 x 50 on :15 SR
    - 1-4, 6-9 Quarter's Strong
    - 5 + 10 = Breaststroke

    1 x Noah's Ark FR Pull with buoy
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Hoosick Falls/2200yds/40 min)
    -----------------------------

    Took a spin on the motorcycle over to HF this morning for adult swim. Not as crowded as last week, which was nice. Beautiful day (bright blue skies with a few high clouds floating by) for an outdoor swim. Nothing too difficult, more or less stetching out due to soreness from last night's pushup swims.

    Took the longer way home and enjoyed the ride. I am on vacation this week and too time to wash and buff both my bike and van. Yesterday I mowed the lawn, did some weedeating, and got the pool into shape. I just remembered my wine experiment in the basement - racked it for the first time, will need to do it probably two more times to get it clear. This afternoon I am going to help my wife with some upgrades to the downstairs bathroom (going to make up some moldings and repair the broken door frame) and probably take a nap or work in the garden. Might do both.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  13. Workout 07/09/12: OW

    by , July 9th, 2012 at 10:45 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u: 360 FR, 120 IM

    Drills:
    2 x 60 FR
    1 x 180 FR
    1 x 60 FR (broken halfway to 1 min Vertical Kicking )
    10 x 60 (with 5 pushups halfway through)
    2 x 60 w/d
    (Marauders/Lake Paren/1560yds/55 min)
    -----------------

    Since the Rec is closed, I have been weighing options for training. Lake Paren is in North Bennington, about fifteen minutes from my house. The age group team, the Marauders, are also without a pool, and using the Hoosick Falls pool in the morning and Lake Paren in the evening, three times a week. Since the coaches don't want to swim in the water, I have volunteered to swim with the kids to provide some motivation, and it happens to fall very nicely into my schedule Monday evenings from 5-6.

    There is a dock 30 yards from shore, hence the funky distances. It is a weedy lake, and the eight kids swimming were freaked out by it. I just laughed since the weeds were hiding various fish and salamanders, so I had a great time enjoying the waterlife. We used the dock for pushups - up the ladder, flex those muscles, then dive back to shore. I issued the challenge - the kids had to do six before I completed ten; if not, a long swims through the weeds! They beat me

    Updated July 10th, 2012 at 08:46 AM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  14. 07/07/12: Fourth Kingdom Swim (My First)

    by , July 8th, 2012 at 08:58 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Fair warning: long blog post to follow ...
    The mighty [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Memphremagog"]Lake Memphremagog[/ame] lived up to expectations as I splashed in for the Kingdom Swim this weekend. I made it to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont on Friday after a four hour drive from my home and took advantage of the early check-in before meeting up with my yaker and our families to head over to Prouty's Beach, where the swim begins and ends. We then headed down to our log cabin rental, which was one exit south on I-91 near Lake Willoughby, to check in before heading back to Newport for the Frontier Animal Society’s Pet and Swimmers Parade through the center of town and the Pasta Dinner, where we fueled up with lasagna, spaghetti, salad, and some chocolate cake. I met up with the two other Bennington area swimmers, Bethany (who swam last year and just got back from Ned Dennison's Cork, Ireland, swim camp) and Brent (my FISH buddy in Williamstown, who was also taking part in his first 10 mile swim) during the evening.

    The next morning saw overcast skies and some minor sprikles (as forecasted) as we hit the beach to unload our equipment. The area was well organized and the kayaks were placed according to the mileage on the east end of the beach with the starting chute on the the west. I met up with some other forumites, Kent from Arizona and Kevin from Maryland, before the race started. I was really bummed not to find Swimsuit Addict or Vivebene Safety is key for the event, and about five minutes before the 8am start numbers were called out for the swimmers that did not check in before entering the chute. Once everyone was accounted for, we lined up on the beach and waited for the mass start of 70+ swimmers into the 70 water to begin. I decided to be involved but not too engaged in the fray, so I splashed in towards the left of the pack as we headed out to the first buoy (S). I was able to weave towards the front and ended up sixth around the orange blob before settleing into an even stroke as we picked up yakers en route to Buoy 1. Let's introduce the course map at this point, as I'll be referring to it:

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    The clouds held back the sun for my whole swim, although it brightened up between Buoys 2+3. My most excellent kayaker Bobby was right on top of navigation as well as feeding me every 30 minutes, all the while providing encouragement. Once I hit Bouy 3, the first long stretch was before us and the next buoy was out of sight. I wanted to get across the lake quickly so I alternated 20 strong swim cycles with 50 smooth ones, and soon we came to Buoy 4 through some mild waves (I was thinking if this is the worst, I am in good shape). I still had some energy left and asked the folks in the sherrif's boat which direction Prouty's Point was - got some laughs just withing sight of . Buoys 5+6 came quickly, and we noticed two things as we headed towards 6 - the chop was picking up with the wind and lots of swimmers ahead of us were shooting more towards eastern edge of Derby Bay (towards the "C" on the map) than Buoy 6. Bob kept me on a tight line to 6 due to the swells, and it felt like I was swimming perpendicular to it and not making much progress.

    The wind kept picking up and the skies darkened a bit on our way to 6b, to the extent that we both were thinking that the threat of a thunderstorm ending the swim might happen - thankfully it did not. On an encouraging note for me, we also started passing those ahead of us that didn't stay closer to the islands. Once near 6a, the support boat shouted that a lot of swimmers were being pushed hard into Derby Bay, so by staying tight to the islands we were avoiding the extra effort needed to get out to Buoy 7. Here is the part where I was really surprised - Bob for the first time mentioned the time, "It's quarter to 12." That means that I was ahead of the 4 hour mark with roughly 2.5 miles to go! That was huge motivation for me to refocus my stroke and mind on powering through the end of the race since it was miserable swimming conditions. It was great knowing that I was reeling in those ahead of me through the two foot waves that were pushing me down the course, instead of fighting through them.

    Between 7+8 I was able to catch two of the 6-mile swimmers, and at buoy 8 the support boat encouraged us that only 3/10ths of mile remained. Well, I am under the impression that it was longer than 3/10ths of a mile and maybe they added extra buoys in this lower part of the course because it took fifteen minutes to come in. I was alternating ten "breasterfly" strokes (breaststroke arms with dolphin kicks) and fifty freestyle strokes as my arms were fatigued and it felt really good to stretch out. I also swam backstroke at different points to help keep loose. Heading past the start buoy into the beach was tough, as the waves were moving heavily perpendicular to shore. About 20 yards out I was hitting bottom, so I took a brief moment before standing up to make sure my legs still worked, then scampered to the beach where my wife and son were waiting, and Bob's wife and son were taking pictures. We made it, with an unbelievable time of 4 hours, 37.07 seconds!

    I was offered a drink of water or gatorade, even warm chicken broth if needed, by the staff on the beach. They even passed sweatshirts out to help warm us up. It took about 20 minutes after finishing for me to be brave enough to sit down and the sun to make an appearance, so we headed over to the food tent were swimmer and yaker ate for free, and everyone else munched for only $5. I was thinking a cheeseburger would be great around Buoy 6a, and munched on one afterwards! Somewhere in this time I missed SA finish, and I checked out the time boards on the side of the building for the girls' numbers, but had no luck finding them. We did see the kid's swims (8/u-17 could choose 100yds, 1/4 and 1-mile) as well as the adult 1-mile. We stayed for the awards ceremony which was a great gathering for those getting awards, especially watching the little kids head up for their "Woodal" - a hand-carved wooden medallion.

    So my time was totally unexpected given the horrible head cold I had the past two week, since I trained a lot more before the 10K last year and was exhausted at the end of that. Having only swam three times I would have been elated to get in around the 5 hour mark. Maybe the break was needed? I think two things were key for me: having great sighting from the best wingman in the business, my buddy Bobby, and also the nutrition aspect, which came together from a lot of research on the marathonswim forums and other blogs by marathon swimmers. I used a maltodextrin-based feed, flavored with juice, on the bottom of each hour, and an electrolyte-based feed on the top of the hour. No backfires like the fruit cups I ended up loosing after the 10k - only some minor gas for a few minutes. I followed a suggestion of using a retractable dog leash hooked to my bottles, so I only had to swim to the yak for the feed. We strapped a crate to the back of the kayak, but the weight of the drinks would have left Bob doing wheelies, so we moved the drinks into the kayak, which was more accessible for him to refill bottles. I only had an extra dose of water once, and did not get into the gel shots or chocolate bar that were on board. To keep my mind from drifting like my body, I again reviewed the New Testament books of the Bible in order, and also spent a great deal of the swim praying. For me, being surrounded by God's Creation and having a lot of time on my hands makes for a great boost in my prayer life.

    I would highly recommend this swim to anyone that is looking to move above the marathon 10k swim distance, or even to come out for one of the lower distance courses as Memphremagog is a gorgeous lake, the swim is very well organized (they can arrange for a kayak and/or a kayaker for you if needed), and the activities surrounding the swim are great for adding to a family vacation. We had a blast walking down the main street during the parade and also watching the events unfold on the beach. We did not go out one of the two boat tours of the course, but was able to talk with folks who have swum the race in the past and use the maps to succesfully navigate the swim. Next year this will be the 9+ Mile USMS National Championship, a great draw to get more swimmers out to support that programs that are helped from this and other athletic events in the region. I am already looking to book the same cabin for a week next year, and my thoughts are also towards finding a longer swim to add to my list.

    Oh, I will get an album of pics up soon, but here is a picture of team "Can't Stop the Leake" (only my daughter was unable to make the trip):
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Updated July 9th, 2012 at 12:22 AM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
  15. 07/06/12

    by , July 6th, 2012 at 09:10 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I arrived safely to Newport for Kingdom Swim. Met up with my yaker and spent the day relaxing. Marched now the parade and just finished the pre-race meal (last supper?). Feeds mixed, off to prepare the yak.

    My race number is 33.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Updated October 18th, 2012 at 12:05 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    NSR
  16. Workout 07/03/12:

    by , July 3rd, 2012 at 10:33 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u: 200 FR/200 IM drill

    10 x 200's various
    - drills, kicks, swim, stroke work

    200 float and out
    (Solo/Hoosick Falls Pool/2600yds/45 min)
    -------------------------------------

    Wow. This last week has been a blur due to a nasty head cold, which was very similar to one I had at the beginning of the year. Last Monday during my double I swallowed some water, then the sore throat, mucous machine and sinus clogging began. I missed the Berkshire's swim at Richmond Pond (although Brent was able to go) and battled this illness while working, taking a nap during lunch and basically sleeping whenever I have been home. Big disappointment. Add to that the closing of our town's pool for at least July and August for repairs to the building around the pool due to chlorine exhaust corrosion, and I am bumming!

    The nearest pool is just across the NY border in Hoosick Falls, an outdoor, five-lane 25yd pool built in the 60's. I have never been there before, but since I am feeling somewhat better I headed over today for the "workout" above just to get into the clear water on the beautiful morning we had. The pool is concrete, but has a liner like the KMart pool I have in the backyard. You can't really do flipturns (and I didn't) because when you push off, there is two inches of play between the two membranes. Wild stuff. There is a really interesting cross current too, between the diving well on the southwest side of the pool and the kiddie splash area on the northeast side, which was pretty trippy.

    Hey, it's a place to swim. I have tomorrow off and then work Thursday, and on Friday the family and I are heading up to Newport to get checked in for the Kingdom swim. Not exactly the type of taper I was planning on before my first ten mile swim. Some things we just don't have control over, and can only make the best of the circumstances were in. I am not able to take a full breath without coughing, so my focus for the swim is completion and also meeting the forumites who will be there.

    I do have access to one of the gyms in town now, so I will be dropping in next week to work on cardio. Peaks for Portland is two weeks after Kingdom, and I plan on supplementing my training with some more lake swims to keep jbs and slknight at bay. Next week I will be heading back to Phili for my daugther's orientation at Drexel, so I might try to meet up with Tom again for a swim. After Peaks, I will restart the lifting program in earnest (although I am still using my bands to keep my shoulders strong for the swims at this point).

    Good luck to all you Natsy folks this weekend, that pool looks amazing! Maybe they'll keep the flame throwers loaded for a few swim!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Planning
  17. Workout 06/25/12: evening

    by , June 25th, 2012 at 09:35 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I did a slightly modified version of Fort's [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=20835"]workout #4 (6/11-17/12)[/ame] tonight as time allowed:

    Warm up:
    400 choice
    8 x (25 drill + 25 kick) @ 1:15
    -- 2 of each stroke
    4 x 50 torque drill @ 1:30
    50 EZ

    Speed sets:
    8 x 50 burst + cruise @ 1:00
    50 EZ

    1 x 100 AFAP FR (went 58.3)
    200 EZ

    2 x through:
    -- 1 round free/kick
    1 x 25 @ 100 pace + 25 EZ @ 1:30
    1 x 25 AFAP + 75 EZ @ 2:15
    1 x 50 AFAP + 100 EZ @ 4:00

    8 x 50 @ 1:30
    - 1-4: IM rotation
    - 5-8: Quarter's Strong FR
    100 EZ
    (Solo/Rec/2850yds/65 min)
    --------------------------

    I was able to say hi to GregJS tonight during the Monday evening swim - I miss getting there recently as it is more of a social time for me. I was picking his brain on breaststroke tecnique, as I regard him as my coach for for this horrible stroke.

    This was a great speed workout - the intervals are almost spot on for really putting in the effort and getting rewarded with a little rest. Truth be told, I almost did the Lactate Production workout but after I wrote it down it dawned on me that I might have made a mistake. The 100 fast time was really good - not sure when I have gone that fast from a push in a while, and since I am not feeling very speedy of late it was nice to hammer out. I am still trying to balance store rate speed and not cutting my pull short on the fast swims - still more work to go. I don't have a parachute so I just modified that section a bit.

    With work tomorrow I will likely not be able to swim, unless I get out right at 8pm and make the last 15 minutes of masters practice to stretch out. I may not be that motivated, though.

    Oh, for your viewing pleasure, here is a look at the shirts I had made up for my open water swims this year. My yaker Bobby came up with the slogan and my talented sister Jill did the drawing (Bob's mom works for the Army/Navy shop in town and got us a good deal on printing). The Kingdom mountains to the Portland Light ...

    Updated June 25th, 2012 at 09:56 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  18. Workout 06/25/12: noon

    by , June 25th, 2012 at 02:52 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    200 FR/200 BK/200 RIM drill

    Go three times through:
    - 400 Swim
    - 200 Kick
    - 300 Pull with buoy

    1 x 500 Noah's Ark (last 200 cooldown)
    (Solo/Rec/3200yds/60 min)
    ---------------------

    As planned, Sunday was laid back for me. Met up with my brothers and sister and our families for breakfast at the old A&W in town, took some pictures, then I went out for two motorcycle rides in the afternoon. We had dinner with my mother-and-sister-in-law at home, then I mowed the lawn. A relaxing day ...

    Today I planned on a long continuous swim with a twist, so I did some SKP's. The middle one I did a 400im out in front, pretty slow but I did it. I plan to get back tonight since Men's Group is on hold for a few weeks and get in more of a HIT-ish workout.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  19. Workout 06/23/12:

    by , June 23rd, 2012 at 02:07 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    200 FR/200 BK/200 RIM

    assigned: Did:
    1 x 500 ... 1 x 700 pull with buoy
    5 x 100 ... 5 x 100 IM
    1 x 500 ... 250 kick, 150 swim, 250 pull with buoy
    5 x 100 ... 4 x 100 Quarter's Strong + 1 IM
    1 x 500 ... 1 x 700 pull with buoy

    Added on:
    4 x 75 on 1:00
    - 25 stroke/25 FR Sprint/25 FR DPS
    - Did 2 Fly and 2 BK

    100 loosen and out.
    (Masters/Rec/4050yds/90 min)
    -------------------

    Great to finally get in with the team today. Like many of you, I always put a little extra effort into my swims. Bethany, who is also doing the Kingdom swim (she did it last year) was there, as well as Kevin, Meg, Jill, and Nicole, Tom, and Marie who did their own thing.

    I added some yardage to the long swims so that we could all stay at the same intervals. We had plenty of time to between swims, and the first set of 100's were on 2:00 and the second set were on 2:15 to really work the AFAP quarter. Felt really good in the water today.

    Yesterday the afternoon swim didn't happen, which is fine. I met with my brothers and family for some mini-golfing, and then enjoyed a great massage with Lena. Dinner at Chili's and then dessert with the extended family at Clearbrook Farmsfor strawberry paloza - BYOS (bring your own shortcake). Delicious end of the day!

    Today my aunt is coming in from Boston for lunch, then we have a graduation party and my nephew's first boxing match before Relay for Life tonight. Tomorrow might not be so busy.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  20. Workout 06/22/12:

    by , June 22nd, 2012 at 11:12 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    200 FR/100 BK/200 RIM drill
    5 x 100 kick on 1:50

    Build a 200 IM:the IM chasm of doom(tm) scares me
    4 x 50 IMO on :10sr
    3 x 100 on :15sr
    - FL/BK, BK/BR, BR/FR
    2 x 150 on :15sr
    - FL/BK/BR, BK/BR/FR
    1 x 200 IM (went 2:46)

    12 x 25 IMO on :30
    - I haven't done a 25's set since March.

    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2500yds/50 min)
    -----------------------------

    Well, it has been hotter than a cat on a tin roof around these parts lately - it would be nice if we had a/c in the pharmacy but the swivel fan provides marginal relief, even if the Focalin capsules are a bit sticky. My only true reprieve from the heat is ice cream, so I have decided that it is a good time to find six pounds that I lost over the winter and call it "bulking up for the Kingdom Swim."

    I missed the Tri Train this am, and am kind of sorry I did because a peculiar thing happens when 4-5 are doing a workout in the adult swim time - people get out of the way! During the workout today I switched from circle to splitting the lane three times, just for some folks to swim a 200 then leave. Oh well, not really complaining, just making an observation.

    Found this IM set on a workout card on the Masters' board, and decided to go for it. Depending on traffic in the lane, I shuffled stroke order to prevent collisions. The 25's were fun - did them at about 85% since the water is 85 degrees. I thought it was cooler, but I guess when the air temp is 90+, the water will feel that way.

    I would like to double at lunch today since I have a massage booked for 3:45 with my wife. My brother and family are still out from Washington State, so may not happen. If not, I am going to get in with the Masters group tomorrow morning anyways. I am already at my weekly yardage from last week (14.6k yds), due to that long swim on Monday. The family (including cats) are getting a kick out of my recent foam roller purchase and use ... Now, where did Ben and Jerry go?

    Updated June 22nd, 2012 at 10:49 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts