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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. Meet 08/06/15: USMS Nationals day 1

    by , August 6th, 2015 at 07:29 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Had a good night sleep and woke up before my alarm, mostly because the other swimmers in the hotel lent a hand! haha Grabbed some oatmeal and a coffee from before we hit the road to the pool, getting there a little after 7am. Once on deck, I met fellow New England swimmer Dick and his wife. We had made arrangements last night to count each other's 800, so it was nice to have that taken care of.

    I jumped in for warmups and swam 1000 metter, including one burst and cruise from the blocks while trying out the wedge blocks. After counting for Dick, who had a great swim, I went to the warmup pool (which seemed to have cooled down nicely) for a quick 200yds.

    My goal for the 800 was to take it out easy and controlled then build each 100. This was my first time swimming this event and felt good through the 350 mark before tightening up a bit. I focused on lengthening my stroke out and felt better at the 550 mark and pushed it to the finish. Felt my stomach do some flips for the last 150, so I feel like I left it all out there. Finished with a 10:56.62. I'll be interested to see the splits to see how well I stuck to my plan en route to a personal best

    Updated Splits:
    800m FREE: 10:56.62
    34.83 1:13.41 (38.58)
    1:52.70 (39.29) 2:33.54 (40.84)
    3:15.14 (41.60) 3:57.42 (42.28)
    4:40.43 (43.01) 5:22.64 (42.21)
    6:05.02 (42.38) 6:48.90 (43.88)
    7:31.55 (42.65) 8:14.51 (42.96)
    8:56.93 (42.42) 9:37.63 (40.70)
    10:18.59 (40.96) 10:56.62 (38.03)

    My plan to descend 100's didn't hold up very well, and the middle of my race was a bit slow due to my tightening up, but I am still happy with the swim. Chad from Cali came in first and had an excellent swim, his first Nationals win.

    Afterwards I met some other NEMer's before a 400yd warmdown. Preston and I spent the rest of the day exploring the area - the shortest covered bridge in America is right here in town, took a short walk at Geneva State Park, drove along the lake to Ashtabulah for lunch at Briquettes, then found the longest covered bridge in America (4th in the world), which is pictured below,as we made our way back to the hotel. After a quick pit stop, we drove around a bit, getting a pop at Ree's Soda Fountain in Gevena. I think they say pop up this way. Now I am ready for a busy day tomorrow.

    Updated August 9th, 2015 at 09:19 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: lcm, nationals
    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  2. Workout 08/05/15: afternoon

    by , August 5th, 2015 at 08:07 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Left Vermont this morning and made it to Geneva around 4pm with my son. Traffic was smooth and I took a break every 100 miles or so to stretch out. The facility is pretty awesome, with a deep and cool 10 lane LCM main pool and a 25 yard pool available for warmups. All checked in for my races over the next two days.

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    3 x 100 [as 50 kick, 50 drill]
    2 x 50 b/c [first one off the blocks - thanks team Costa Rica for the whistle!)
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Spire/1200m/35 min)
    -------------------------

    I made it to the pre-event meeting and now back at the hotel after eating dinner. Time to shave - haven't done this since high school! haha

    https://instagram.com/p/6BVg3dFm1d/

    Updated August 5th, 2015 at 09:18 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: nationals
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Masters Swim Meets / Events
  3. Workout 08/03/15: morning

    by , August 3rd, 2015 at 09:14 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Final swim at home this morning after a busy work weekend...

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    400 kick/drill by 50
    4 x 50 ~ 2min (25 AFAP, 25 easy)
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1400 yds/30 min)
    --------------------------------

    The water was feeling good today. Just two more long days at work then I head to Ohio on Wednesday morning, with plans to hit the Spire in the evening for a quick float and perhaps the meeting at 5pm. Saying a prayer for all those traveling to Nationals, and looking forward to the start of the road trip with my son.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  4. Workout 07/31/15: morning

    by , July 31st, 2015 at 09:57 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    200 free/200 back/100 kick/100 drill
    *
    3 x
    50 DPS, 10sr
    25*AFAP into 25 EZ
    100 kick
    *
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1300 yds/25 min)
    --------------------------------
    *
    Another quick swim this morning before work. I called today to confirm that I still have a room for Nationals, which I do. I also received word that I will be swimming on a 200 free relay Friday night - besides the fun ones I have done with my*sibilings at our mini-meet, I haven't been on a relay since Zones in 1996!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  5. Workout 07/29/15: morning

    by , July 29th, 2015 at 08:38 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Quick swim this morning before work.
    *
    200 free/200 back/200*im drill/200 kick
    *
    2 x
    75*DPS into 25 AFAP
    100 kick
    25*AFAP into 25*Ez into 50 DPS
    *
    100 kick
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1600 yds/30 min)
    ---------------------------------
    *
    Trying to work in some speed in preparation*for my first Nationals (and second ever lcm meet). I am not following my usual two-week taper plan, but I do feel like I am a bit peppier in the water as compared to the lcm meet I did last year. At least I have a more robust base laid down at this point. In order to swim the trip, I swapped weekends so will be pulling a James Adams and 73 hours from now through Tuesday, then hopping in the car Wednesday morning for the 8 hour drive to Ohio. I plan to make it for a quick swim on Wed night and perhaps the pre-meet meeting, then will swim the 800 on Thursday*followed by the 400im, 50 free, and 200 back on Friday (plus maybe a relay). Then my son and I will be heading into Cleveland to catch some ball games and a visit to the*R&R HOF,*but most importantly for a college visit. I might try to drop in on a Masters workout while in town.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Planning
  6. Workout 07/27/15: Evening

    by , July 27th, 2015 at 09:45 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Busy weekend at work so I was looking forward to getting out early today. Spent some with the family before hitting the pool tonight...

    200 free/200 back /200 im drill

    5 x 50 free on :50 strong 3/4
    50 easy
    5 x 50 free on :55 easy down, b/c back
    50 easy
    4 x 50 easy down. Fast imo back
    200 dps
    200 with 3 drag races from mid pool
    100 loosen and outside
    (Solo/Rec/1900 yds/50 min)
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  7. Workout 07/23/15: noon

    by , July 23rd, 2015 at 10:53 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Quick lunch time swim today.

    200 free/200back/200 im drill
    600 shark swim
    100 easy
    2 x 200 [with fast 25's from midpool, three total per round]
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1800 yds/45 min)
    -----------------------------------

    Had fun on our tour of Vermont yesterday...
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  8. Workout 07/20/15: morning

    by , July 20th, 2015 at 10:02 AM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Enjoyed a great end to the weekend as the two Lena's made it home safely. Had a late lunch at friendly's before relaxing a bit at home. It's under shower roll thru really evening before we headed over to the drive in to watch minions and Jurassic World. Home late but up early for a stretch-out swim

    Regular warm-up
    600 shark swim
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  9. Workout 07/18/15: morning OW

    by , July 18th, 2015 at 11:30 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Up early this morning for a swim at Woodford State Park, and it was just Greg and myself to enjoy the solitude of the overcast and rather gloomy morning before some rain moved in. We did a quick swim of 0.6 miles. Off to help my father-in-law as he and his wife renew their vows, then I will get some lawn work done (if the grass drys out) and finally to Manchester with my son for a Led Zeppelin tribute band tonight.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    (Greg embarking on our journey)

    BORKED
    (Short clip from today - notice that the water is almost tea-link in color due to the high tannin content. Wild to swim in)

    [I am still having issues with water droplets on the housing of the GoPro. I guess I will have to try some rain-ex, or maybe the shark spit I use in the goggles from time to time. I would also be interested in an suggestions for mounts.]

    Updated July 20th, 2015 at 11:48 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , USA-S Swim Meets / Events , Open Water
  10. 07/17/15: noon

    by , July 17th, 2015 at 10:15 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    Lena is in Boston for the weekend, meeting with our German exchange student Lina, who flew in yesterday to spend the coming week with us. Preston and I are flying solo, with strict orders not to create any messes. We're doing ok so far...

    Today I hopped in for a lunch swim. Busy day at the pool, but I was able to get in a good workout between the traffic:

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    400 shark swim
    500 Noah's Ark with snorkel
    100 easy
    8 x 50 as 25 easy, 25 FAST IMO
    100 easy
    6 x 50 on 1:00 free, descend in pairs
    100 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/2500 yds/50 min)
    --------------------------------

    Ran into Matt and Kevin, along with Emily at the pool. The water was nice (~84) and I worked on blowing bubble circles.

    Preston and I visited with my grandmother today, sitting along the river behind her place drinking iced tea and munching on Milano cookies as we talked about family, politics, and life in general. Her vision is very poor, so we are going to look for a phone that will store one-touch dialing for her frequent called numbers. I was also thinking that printing her numbers on a black background with white letters might make them easier to see. Here is a picture of Nana, just 93 years young:



    Took one of my niece and nephew to a collegiate baseball game in North Adams with Preston tonight. Fun time and a great way to get them out of the house. First time witnessing the ump having to leave the game: took a foul ball off the right arm in the 2nd, then what seemed like a direct hit from a wild pitch off the left wrist. Poor guy.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  11. 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!

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  12. 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.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  13. 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.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  14. 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.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  15. 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)
    --------------------------------
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  16. 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 ...

    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  17. 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:
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  18. 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
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Open Water
  19. 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.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  20. 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.
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
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