View RSS Feed

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. 03/15/14: NEM SCY Champs Distance Day

    by , March 16th, 2014 at 10:55 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    The New England LMSC Short Course Yards Championship, affectionately known as "the Harvard Meet," attracts close to 900 people each March to the Boston area for some fast swimming in a great pool. This year there are a total of 854 swimmers from across New England and beyond. The meet is spread out over two weekends, with Distance Day in the middle of March on a Saturday offering either the 1000 or 1650 for both sexes, and then the regular meet the following Friday-Saturday-Sunday. I have never competed on the distance day and last year didn't swim at all, so with my weekend off this weekend I signed up for the 1650 this year.

    I was able to schedule a trip to Boston, my favorite city just three hours to the east of home, with my family and also squeeze in a swim at a pool I always look forward to swimming in. With our my daughter unable to attend and Jinho in Guatemala on a missions trip with the school, I rounded up my wife, Preston and Lina to join me. I also arranged to meet up with my aunt Pat, who lives a a few towns north of the city, to help show us around - she is apparently immune to the humid environment of the pool and tries to watch me swim when I am in town.

    We headed out Friday and checked into our hotel in Cambridge after an easy drive in. I had requested a parking pass, but they were out; fortunately I was able to get street parking within view of the room for the overnight period. We took the T into Government Center and explored Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, deciding to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe for pre-race nourishment. While chilly, the moon was shining as brightly over the lights throughout the area and we had a wonderful time.



    The next morning, I woke up before 8am in order to drive the car to the Harvard athletic area and park for free for the day. I walked from Blodgett Pool to Harvard Square to catch the T back to the hotel for breakfast. At this point I was able to get a parking pass (oh well, at least I would be covered for after the meet), and we headed out to meet my aunt at Park Street. We checked out the Old Granary Burial Grounds and Statehouse before making our way through the Commons, past the Ducklings and the Swan Pond, and down towards the finish of the Boston Marathon. We continued west on Newbury Street before getting back on the T to head up to Harvard. We farted around Harvard Square for a bit (there is the newstand with media from around the globe and checked out Newbury Comics before grabbing a quick bite at Subway (those new Flatizza things are tasty and not to heavy) before heading on to the pool. (I've been wearing a pedometer and so far had logged 11300 steps!)


    How long is it going to take to squeeze into this?

    Checked in, warmed up and waited. I was asking around for a counter, and met Matt from RI who was swimming in the heat before me in the shallow end so we counted for each other. Harvard has the main competition pool, 5 lanes in the diving well (29 yards), then 6 lanes in the shallow end. For distance day, you can opt to swim in the shallow end with an in-water start and save $2 on your entry fee; since this is my first 1650 (I did the 1500 scm at Riverton a couple of years ago) and my training has not been focused, I choose to swim there [Really, I'm just cheap ]. Matt had a great swim (his first mile, too - way to go, Matt!) and I quickly went from the turn end, grabbed my goggles and cap and hopped into the start end for my race.

    My plan going into the swim was to string together 3 x 500 then finishing out with a strong 150 to complete the 66 lengths required for the race. I maintained a comfortable pace and lead over Jon in the lane next to me for the first 500, working on two dolphin kicks off the wall and 13 stroked per lap. I increased to a strong kick for the first 4 strokes off the wall in the middle 500 and was able to stay ahead of Jon. I felt tired in the final 500, and around 47 Jon caught me as my upper back/shoulders tightened up, actually sneaking ahead in the mid 50's. I decided to pick up the tempo at 59 (a little earlier than I planned) with increased turnover and a stronger kick, battling back and forth with Jon. I gunned the last fifty and just touched out Jon, coming in at 19:38.89! What a race! I ended up taking first in my age group for the event.


    (rx in the green cap FTW!)

    Event 4 Men: 35-39 1650 Yard Freestyle
    ========================================
    1 rxleakem 36 Bennington-NE 19:57.75 19:38.89
    32.49 1:06.14 (33.65)
    1:39.93 (33.79) 2:14.82 (34.89)
    2:49.73 (34.91) 3:25.51 (35.78)
    4:01.03 (35.52) 4:37.08 (36.05)
    5:13.64 (36.56) 5:50.09 (36.45)
    6:26.14 (36.05) 7:02.19 (36.05)
    7:38.81 (36.62) 8:14.97 (36.16)
    8:51.13 (36.16) 9:27.72 (36.59)
    10:04.57 (36.85) 10:41.70 (37.13)
    11:18.35 (36.65) 11:54.62 (36.27)
    12:31.42 (36.80) 13:07.75 (36.33)
    13:44.25 (36.50) 14:20.92 (36.67)
    14:57.90 (36.98) 15:34.06 (36.16)
    16:10.23 (36.17) 16:46.25 (36.02)
    17:22.62 (36.37) 17:56.84 (34.22)
    18:32.58 (35.74) 19:08.21 (35.63) 19:38.89 (30.68)


    *Note that twice I had the same 50 split, something I have always found awesome in others swimmers.
    The second occurrence was back-to-back; a combo bonus!
    ** So I swam: 5:50.09, 6:04.53, 6:02.22 plus 1:42.05. Probably took the first 500 out ever so slightly too fast.

    After a quick warmdown (totaling 3774 yds for the day), we brought the car back to the hotel and took the T into town for dinner at Jacob Wirth/'s German Restaurant, in honor of our exchange student. I refueled with Wiener Schnitzel. We had a great time, capturing this photo before saying good night to my aunt after an excellent day:


    Preston (yes, he is 16 and that tall now), Auntie, Rx, and my beloved.

    This morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and then took the long way home on Route 2, driving through Lexington and Concord to check out the pivotal starting points of the Revolutionary War along the Minute Man National Historical Park. We took some pictures at The Wayside, Orchard House (where Louisa May Alcott penned Little Women), Emerson House, and finally Walden Pond, which is on my bucket lists for an OWS.

    Another most excellent swimming adventure!

    Updated March 16th, 2014 at 11:18 PM by rxleakem

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  2. Workout 11/05/12: noon

    by , November 5th, 2012 at 03:11 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u: 100 Fr/100 Bk/200 IM drill

    1650 FR with snorkel, done as:
    10 x 50 on :45
    5 x 100 flutter kick on 1:50 (w/ board)
    5 x 100 pull with buoy dropdown
    (1:30, :25, :20. :15, :10) <- just made it
    1 x 50 DPS on :60
    4 x 25 FAST on :30

    4 x 50 stroke/drill on :60

    Timed 400 IM: went 5:28
    1:15
    2:38 (1:23)
    4:17 (1:39)
    5:28 (1:11)

    50 float
    100 IM = 1:14.87

    150 loosen with snorkel
    4 x 25 with snorkel on :30
    50 ez and out
    (Solo/Rec/3100 yds/55 min)
    ---------------------------

    Had fun with a mile set - was able to get a solid :10sr with the swims and kicks, then descended the pull portion, just getting the last two in. Finally got that 400IM in - my goal was to have a strong 50 then build a 50 with each stroke. Too slow on the fly and back - need to stay relaxed during both of those and be efficient in order to keep my breath under control for some rocking Br pullouts. Not a bad practice time for me (of the four timed 4im's I've done, the Br leg today was the fastest - good news).

    Started to spit snow a bit today here in VT ahead of the next storm coming up the East Coast, so I'll postpone outside work due more to the wind than anything. Also, I remember last year raking before the Riverton meet and tweaking my back, so I'll do that stuff next week.

    There was basketball last night, but it started at 7pm and I was ready to relax after work and the first Sunday of the month nursing home service that I am able to lead. Took it easy and had a nice soak in the hot tub. The only other interesting news is that Emma will be able to see a speech from Bill Clinton tonight at UPenn - finally stumping before the big vote tomorrow. I heard him speak on NPR on the way home from Kingdom Swim this summer - good speaker. I just told Emma to pass on any offer to partake in a cigar

    Updated November 5th, 2012 at 07:11 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: 1650, 400 im
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  3. Workout 10/22/12:

    by , October 22nd, 2012 at 05:43 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    I was able to split the lane with GregJS today for a great lunchtime swim ...

    w/u: 200 Fr/200 Bk/200 IM drill
    10 x 50 with snorkel
    - odds = Fr DPS on :45
    - evens = kick with board on :55

    On to a Broken 1650

    Try to hit your 1650 pace during the broken swim. Pick a Base + :10 for the interval (my base is 1:20 - so 1:30).

    3 x 100 Free @ 1:30 (went 1:06.50, 107.75, 1:08.43)
    4 x 150 Free @ 2:15 (went 1:46.81, 1:49.00, 1:49.44, 1:51.82)
    3 x 200 Free @ 3:00 (went 2:30.68, 2:27.75, 2:28.62)
    3 x 50 Free @ :45 (went 31.56, 30.87, 31.62)
    (1650 add-up time: 19:40)
    (Total set time: 24:20.68)
    50 ez, followed by 50 breast

    6 x 100 Bk on 1:30 (1:15, :16, :16, :18, :14)
    3 x 200 Fr Pull with buoy and snorkel on 2:50
    1 x 50 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/4100 yds/80 min)
    --------------------------

    Great to run into Greg today and get some feedback on the coached workouts I have been using with our team. Also to pick his brain about technique on breaststroke (here is that link we talked about related to [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=21401"]kicking[/ame] - post 16+).

    I have been wanting to do this broken mile again, and since the lane was not full today I did it. I knew that I would not be as fast as I was in Februrary (different time in the training cycle), and was just under 50 seconds slower today. Oh well - a good quality set none the less

    Since things were quiet, I popped off some backs, focusing on at least 4 sdk per wall and max 10 strokes per length; accomplished. I need to swim more backstroke in practice with the 200 bk coming up at the BU meet in December.

    I mentioned to Greg that I plan to do the Brute Squad events (400 IM, 200 Fly, 1500) at the Riverton meet in a few weeks. Even though they are not running the numbers this year for the competition, I figure I will give it a shot as it is the only meet in our neck of the woods swimming a 1500 scm (which I planned on doing anyways). Should be a good challenge! Wonder if John and Susan are going to give it a go
    Tags: 1650
    Categories
    Swim Workouts , Timed swims
  4. Workout 02/23/12: 100th blog post

    by , February 23rd, 2012 at 10:02 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u:
    200 FR/200 BK/200 IM drill
    400 kicking on 1:45/min base per 100
    3 x 100 FR Pull with buoy on ~ 1:20

    Back for a visit to [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=20181"]the animal lane and the broken 1650[/ame] - actually used James Adams' version:
    Main Set:
    PWB's Broken Mile Set from Week #7 Workouts:

    Try to hit your 1650 pace during the broken swim. Pick a Base + :10 for the interval (my base is 1:20 - so 1:30).

    3 x 100 Free @ 1:30 (went 1:03.78, 1:04.82, 1:10.00)
    4 x 150 Free @ 2:15 (went 1:43.50, 1:41.81, 1:43.38, 1:41.25)
    3 x 200 Free @ 3:00 (went 2:23.13, 2:22.06, 2:22.75)
    3 x 50 Free @ :45 (went 30.88, 31.06, 31.19)
    Did 100 EZ, then I stayed and helped the Age Group team in town, the Bennington Marauders, with turns.
    (solo/Rec/2850yds/60 minutes)
    ----------

    I have been wanting to get this broken mile in since it was posted by PWB last week. It was crowded in the lane until the I started my workout, but thinned out when I got going on the mile (although I got crossed up on the last 100). The add up time = 18:52.31, so I was happy to get under 19 minutes. I tried to swim it at the same intensity from the end of the rep to the beginning of the next to try to mimic a race. I have never done this distance before, so I will have to look for it sometime this year. Hopefully not against James, as I think he would lap me twice.

    The Marauders are heading into championships over the next four weeks and the coaches heard that the high school team picked up some hints from my visit a few months ago, so when they asked I was happy to help out. Even though I was teaching the same process for doing the turns, the kids seem to listen more to an old guy doing them than the coaches. I swam with the Marauders from 1986-1996, so it is neat to see them still swimming and doing well.

    I made some turkey tetrazinni tonight for dinner - first time and it tasted really good. I love to bake, but have a tougher time cooking - I'm the guy that follows the recipe whereas my wife can just whip up a meal on the fly. Occupational hazard perhaps Hope to squeeze in a quick swim tomorrow before work, then get back into the water on Monday. I feel good about this week's swims, just felt off by missing Monday's practice, since today I am at 49.87 miles for the GTD.

    Updated February 23rd, 2012 at 10:19 PM by rxleakem

    Tags: 1650
    Categories
    Swim Workouts