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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 09/13/12: OW

    by , September 13th, 2012 at 09:28 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Missed my plan swim on Wednesday before work, but I got up this morning and took a ride after a quick breakfast to the Harley dealership in Troy, NY, with a quorum from my Wild Hogs group (Big Jim has been MIA all summer with alternator issues). Fun looking around, especially since I ride a Yamaha and I hear a lot of from my buddies about this. Oh well, I just roar by them on the hill climbs

    After the trip, as planned, I rode over and met up with GregJS and we hopped into Harriman Reservoir, the same that I swam a few months ago. The forecast for today was delightful - lower 80's for a high with 100% sunshine, and it was right on. Greg has been dabling with OW this summer, and we figured to just have a relaxing swim and turn around when we felt like it to finish up.

    The water was considerably lower than the last splash (I'd say five feet lower, and forgot to snap a picture), but the reservoir is deep enough that we had a great swim. Temperature of the water was probably high 60's (I need to get a thermometer - Susan, where'd you get yours?), as it was cool but not freezing. By the end, we were a little chilled though.

    We swam to the first point, and Greg was feeling good so we continued on to the next point, just past the public beach area. There was one boat in the water as we started, another joined about 20 minutes in, and there were 2 trailers and a boat launching as we went past the beach area. We both wore neon caps and I had the swimmer buoy with me; the boats didn't bother us as we stayed close to shore. After a little while Greg popped on the buoy and swam with it for the duration of the swim - what did you think of it? Full sunshine, the trees are just starting to turn colors, and it was a great day to swim. We ended up totaling 1.87 miles in 1 hr, 18 min round trip; you can check out the map here.

    I was mentioning to Greg that this past week has been tough - change in schedule so I worked seven straight days and have been fighting a very poor decision by the corporate pharmacy office related to a remodel our pharmacy is slated to get in the coming months. Today is also the tenth anniversary of my dad's exit from this world and into Eternity , so between the motorcycle ride and swim I had some welcomed distractions. I posted this link to a slideshow I put together of old photos on my facebook, and I'll share here as well if you are interested in looking at it.
    Open Water
  2. Workout 09/10/12:First day back to the Rec

    by , September 10th, 2012 at 10:58 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)

    Felt great to hop into the pool for this first time since June. The renovations to the pool area look great - they bumped out the western wall along lane one about four feet, revealing new gray tiles o(since they couldn't find leftover beige and orange from the 70's) and a bright whitewashed wall. That means more spectator space! Energy efficient lighting has been added, although just around the perimeter of the pool, so it is a little dark in the center (might be better when sun comes through the new windows on the upper part of the wall). Did I say ?

    So what to do? Since I only swam six times last month, I decided for an easy mile, complete with plenty of breaks throughout.

    3 x 200 swims for w/u
    5 x 100 FR on 1:30
    - 1:03 on the first, then held 1:12's DPS
    5 x 100 BK on 1:30
    - Toned down TG approach: 5 SDK's, max 9 strokes per length
    50 EZ and out
    (Solo/Rec/1650yds/35 min)

    I might suggest that they move the analog clock since the new lighting casts a glare on the bottom half of the clock. I also chatted with one of the age group coaches about splitting costs on a portable clock for the shallow end, we shall see.

    Plan for the rest of the week? Hope to get up early and join the Tri Train before work Wednesday, then meet with GregJS for an OW adventure on Thursday, something on Friday, then Masters practice on Saturday!

    Updated September 10th, 2012 at 11:47 PM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts
  3. NSR-ish weekend thoughts ...

    by , September 8th, 2012 at 01:13 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    This Saturday, my buddy Trent is swimming backstroke ten miles to Block Island off Rhode Island, where he was run over by a boat and suffered a spinal cord injury. He is raising money for the same, and you can see his story here:

    I raced with Trent during the NEM 10k last fall, and then at Harvard this spring.

    In other news, the Rec is set to open on Monday, barring any unforeseen issues.
    Article here:

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    Updated September 8th, 2012 at 01:20 AM by rxleakem

  4. Workout 09/05/12:

    by , September 5th, 2012 at 09:11 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)

    Rowing machine: 15:06, 3716 meters (better than I thought based on how I'm feeling)
    -2 x 3 x -50#
    -2 x 3 x -40#
    -4 x 3 x lug o' Leake
    Seated leg press: 1 x 10 each at 170#, 190#,210#
    Back extensions: 1 x 10 each at 0#, 5#, 10#
    Bench Press: 1 x 10 each at 65#, 95#, 115#

    It has been confirmed that pool will reopen on the 10th.
    Still trying to use the free transfer to one of the local gyms in order to save money - first time in the gym in a week and a half. No swim was set up down in the Berkshires tonight, but I might sneak one in with a kid I used to coach tomorrow on his stop through town to visit his folks.

    Looking at the scale = +10# in the past month. Makes sense as I swam a total of 6 times and didn't really alter my eating habits enough with the reduced caloric burn. Pigging out at the fair on Sunday did not help matters, either.

    Funny story: the gal at the reception desk asked if I was a rower on my way out. I told her I am a swimmer, so maybe I have an inclination to water sports in general.
  5. Workout 08/31/12:

    by , August 31st, 2012 at 12:32 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Ah, finally back to some water. This marks my second trip to a pool (with 3 OW swims), so August was not very active in the Green Mountains. It has been a time of relaxation that I will dub "recovery" to make myself feel better.

    Anyways, not too exciting today ...

    200 FR/200 IM Drill w/u

    400 FR
    200 kick
    200 drills FR
    200 drills stroke
    4 x 50 Quarter's Strong FR
    200 DPS fly stuff (thinking of That Guy's helps)
    100 float
    (Solo/Hoosick Falls/1900yds/40 min)

    So marks the end of the outdoor pool over in Hoosick Falls. Is was my first time in an outdoor pool since high school in the 90's, when we would swim meets in Manchester, Rutland, Burlington, Springfield, and Brattleboro, VT, as well as Charleston and Walpool, NH. They used to have the VT Summer meet outdoors in Vergennes, which was a great meet because in '86 they started to park a Ben and Jerry's ice cream truck in the parking lot, fueling us little ones on Mint Oreo Cookie (my favorite: ), and my folks would stop at the A&W just south of Middlebury on the way home. I am happy to report that swimming still involves dining for me to this day.

    As I was saying, today was the last day of swimming at HF. Latest word on the Rec Center in town is ok I suppose: our local indoor pool has been closed since the first of July for rebuilding of the pool wall, and that construction appears to be complete. A friend mentioned that the planned reopening is not this coming week but the following, so that is a bummer. I still have some OW possibilities that are open, so I will just keep taking it easy until the Rec reopens and I can refocus for the short course season(s) to come.

    I am also dabbling with some ideas towards taking a more central role in the Masters program in town, as in coaching. It would involve giving up some of my own swimming time , but I would really like to see not only the training but also competition side of things increase. We are a workout group under the New England Masters umbrella, and I am thinking of introducing a new team name and logo (the Bennington Area Master's Comets isn't doing it for me). I am thinking Monument Masters (an ode to our beloved Bennington Battle Monument), or the other option is to branch out from the Age Group team in town. Anyone have any thoughts of either option?
    Swim Workouts
  6. Workout 08/26/12:

    by , August 27th, 2012 at 12:00 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Some more drylands for your viewing pleasure ...

    - Rowing machine: 15:06, 3746 meters (highest total yet)
    -Seated leg press w/ calf point: 3 x 10 (170, 190, 210)
    - Back extenstions: 3 x 10 (did the last two sets holding 5# plate)
    - Dips: did 6 sets of 3
    -- 1 + 2: -50#
    -- 2 + 4: -40#
    -- 5 + 6: Unassited (first time ever)

    Got home, mowed the lawn and cooked on the grill. I have 3 x5 sets pullups and 3 x 5 sets of chinups before hitting the hot tub. Now for the tennis ball torture before bed!

    I have two more chances to swim at the Hoosick Falls outdoor pool before they close on Friday. The Rec Center looks to be coming along on schedule - should open after Labor Day. Wonder if I can get some cold water swimming in after they fill it up (and before they heat it)?

    I also am thinking of that great Plymouth to P-Town swim that some of our brethren completed last week. Hmmm ...
  7. Workout 08/22/12: OW

    by , August 22nd, 2012 at 11:54 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I got goosed tonight! Goose Pond in Lee, MA, that is.

    Numbers and words tonight for a change ...
    - 1.57 miles completed in 54:21, which you can view here.
    - 39 fish and numerous large rocks viewed while swimming.
    - 12 total swimmers, 10 with orange safe swimmer buoys, 1 wife and 1child joined in the fun.
    - 1 great post-swim potluck: 2 chicken choices, 3 veggie plates, 9 various salads, 2 chip offerings, 1 box of wine or homebrew beer from a growler, 1 tin of brownies.
    (My contribution included: 2 eggplants and green peppers, 4 tomatoes, and parsley from our garden, plus 3 potatoes and other spices, simmered into a great summer stew)
    - 100 miles round trip (145 minutes total) on my motorcycle for 1 excellent swim.
    - Now time for 800mg of ibuprofen, and some rolling around on 1 tennis ball before
    Tags: berkshires
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  8. Workout 08/20/12:

    by , August 20th, 2012 at 06:41 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Very short session of drylands this afternoon with my son:

    Rowing machine: 15:08, 3703 meters

    2 sets of 10 seated leg press with calf raise (170,190)
    2 sets of 10 bench press (65,115)
    2 sets of back extension thingys
    1 set of 6 cheatingdips(60)

    Some foam rolling and tennis ball torture still to come.

    Quick workout as I picked up my new glasses and needed to get my daughter after work. Better then nothing. Off to Bible Study with the mens group in a bit.

    Here is link to my Facebook album with pictures from the Bennington Battle Day Parade yesterday. We have some cool parades in my town.

    Updated August 20th, 2012 at 10:55 PM by rxleakem

    Strength Training and Dryland Workouts
  9. Workout 08/18/12: OW

    by , August 19th, 2012 at 01:09 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I was able to sneak in a very quick OW swim in the Cooper Bay area of Lake Champlain, the thirteenth largest lake in these United States. My wife and I made the three hour trip north to celebrate my aunt's 60th birthday party, and I had a great time catching up with family that I have not seen in many years.

    After lunch (salmon, three various salads, a Mtn Dew, corn on the cob, some tortilla chips with a great cheesy-meat dip, and some baked beans), Lena looked happy conversing with the clan so with a fully belly I hopped in and ended up swimming a triangular 0.84 mile loop in 25:50. The water was beautiful, very smooth and clear (could see down to the bottom) and remarkably light as far as boat traffic is concerned. Only one jetskiier to keep an eye on, but I was swimming with my orange buoy and a neon green cap in order to be visible. I came back to shore and was able to get one of the last pieces of ice cream cake.

    Spent the rest of the afternoon/evening enjoying the company of family before Lena and I headed home back down Rte. 7. If I am able to make it back to that area again in the future, I will plan on a longer swim with a less-full belly!

    Oh, the gal from Lena's trip has is off the ICU, has been extubated, and is now on one medicine for controlling the seizures. West Nile virus might be the culprit, but we are all thankful that she is doing much better at this point.

    Updated August 19th, 2012 at 01:44 AM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  10. Workout 08/17/12:

    by , August 17th, 2012 at 10:28 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Back to the drylands tonight with my son:

    Rowing machine: 15:06, 3613 meters

    4 sets of 6 cheating dips (80,70,60,50)
    3 sets of 10 seated leg press with calf raise (150,170,190)
    3 sets of 10 bench press (45,95,105)

    Some foam rolling and tennis ball torture still to come

    Tomorrow I am off to Lake Champlain, a little over three hours north from Bennington, to celebrate my aunt's 60th birthday party on Grand Isle. I am planning on getting a swim in while there, between burgers and water skiing (or sinking, as I usually just get pulled through the water as opposed to being on top of it).

    The last member of the team was med-flighted out of Nairobi on Tuesday and is in an ICU in Charlottesville, VA. No word yet on what the exact cause of her seizures are (viral meningoencephalitis is being considered), but she was put on a ventilator so that she could receive some heavy duty meds to stop them. Still praying for her and her family ...

    Here is a collage that my wife put together from their safari in the Masai Mara reserve. The rhinos were walking just three feet away from them (and my daughter tripped and fell into a pile of rhino poo!), and you can see the cheetah at the bottom (apparently some folks from National Geographic were filming and observing it as well).

  11. Workout 08/13/12:

    by , August 13th, 2012 at 11:35 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Rather anemic swim this morning

    w/u: 200 FR/200 Kick/200 IM

    4 x 50 Quarter's Strong FR on :10sr
    1 x 50 Fly fast
    4 x 50 Quarter's Strong FR on :10sr
    1 x 50 Br fast

    200 float w/d
    (Solo/HF/1300yds/25 min)

    I got up a tad late and then took my time riding across the border on the motorcycle - beautiful day with moderate cloud cover (but dry). Looking over my flog, this marks my second swim this month, first time in a pool.

    I have the day off today, so I hope to relax a bit and maybe catch a nap before Bible study tonight at the men's group. I'll also try to add some pics from the girl's mission trip over the next few weeks as they start posting them. Maybe tomorrow I will feel a little more motivated. Then again, maybe not.
    Swim Workouts
  12. 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

    Strength Training and Dryland Workouts
  13. 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
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  14. 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.



    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.
  15. 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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  16. Workout 07/30/12:

    by , July 30th, 2012 at 11:58 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    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.
    Swim Workouts
  17. 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.
  18. 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
    Swim Workouts , NSR
  19. 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:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Updated July 23rd, 2012 at 12:33 AM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts , Masters Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
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  20. 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

    Swim Workouts