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swimsuit addict

  1. An almost-new pool!

    This morning I got to join my pool-tourist friend Hannah in another of her pool outings! I had a nice early swim at St. Francis College in Brooklyn with her and Mike. This was my first time swimming laps at this pool—I attended a polo scrimmage here about a decade ago, and hadn’t been back since. The pool was much as I remembered it, although a lot less wavy with the lane lines in. The coaches for the small masters program at St. Francis are the college’s women’s water polo coaches, Ben and Megan. Here’s what we did:

    550 scy warmup (200s, 200k, 150p)

    10 x 75 @ 1:10, choice [I did 9 x fr/st/fr sandwiches, strokes IM order no free, then the last one IM no free]

    2x through
    200 FR
    150 FR
    100 FR
    50 FR
    :10 rest between swims, 2-3 minutes chatting between rounds

    6 x 100, odds FR pull, evens IM [Hannah and I substituted a synchronized 100 BK for the last IM]

    100 warmdown

    That was it! A snack outside in the sunshine on the Borough Hall plaza completed the outing before I hopped on the subway back home.
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  2. Working the IMs

    It was another crowded morning at Riverbank, and today my usual lane was full of yet a different set of crazy-fast swimmers. My usual RB buddies were all there, plus 4 more of my Iceland-bound TNYA teammates looking to get in some LCM training, as well as other assorted regulars and local swimmers I knew. It was chaotic but fun. Here’s what I did:

    900 lcm warmup

    300 FR pace
    100 IM fast
    100 easy

    300 FR pace
    200 IM fast
    100 easy

    300 FR pace
    300 IM fast
    100 easy

    300 FR pace
    400 IM fast
    100 easy

    5 x 200, odds FR w/ paddles, evens FR/BK by 50s, working on maintaining fast turnover on BK

    400 warmdown + play
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  3. Lotsa free

    I swam at Riverbank this morning with Rondi, John, and Andrew. It was crowded--we shared a lane for most of the session with three Columbia swimmers and their coach, but the four of us all eventually ended up in the adjacent lane. The Columbia guys were polite swimmers, but they were also quite speedy!

    I somehow arrived at the pool without goggles today, but Rondi was kind enough to lend me a pair--reason #647 why it’s nice to swim with friends. Here’s what I ended up doing:

    900 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 100d/s)

    5 x 400 FR @ 7:30ish [was pleased with my speed on these—held 6:10s +/- :05.]

    5 x 200 FR, odds pull with paddles, evens swim

    3 x 100 FR/BK, maintaining 60spm on both strokes [that’s pushing the turnover a bit on my BK]

    300 warmdown + play

    I felt good in the water after a rest day yesterday and happy to be swimming. Enjoyed a nice stretch afterwards on the playground.

    Updated April 17th, 2012 at 12:57 PM by swimsuit addict

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  4. My first loop of the season!

    Last night I did Team New York’s monthly “test set” workout. It’s essentially a low-yardage, high-quality set: 7 x a choice of 50s, 100s, or 200s on a 7-minute interval, plus a short warmup and warmdown. Since I know I need to do more sprinting, I chose the 50s (also because they seemed like the most fun). The last time I did this workout I didn’t feel like I got enough warmup to go fast right away, so last night I went to my Y pool first and did a pre-warmup before heading over to the John Jay pool for the team workout. (They’re about a half-mile apart—and while using a separate warmup pool for a swim practice might sound a tad compulsive, at least I took off my swimcap for the walk between the two, so I didn’t look like a total swim geek ).

    Here’s how the evening went:

    1000 scy warmup (400s 200k 200p 200d/s)

    2 x (4 x 50 @ :55, 1-3 desc., 4 easy)

    .5 mile walk and stretch

    250 easy swim

    6 x 50 working turns

    7 x 50 @ 7:00 [FL 35, FL/BK 35, BK 35, BK/BR 38, BR lost goggles on start!, FR 29, FR 29]

    325 warmdown

    It was a fun practice and I got to visit with lots of evening-swimming teammates whom I haven’t seen in a while. I was able to do about 100 warmdown in between each of the 50s. The times were something of a wakeup call—I obviously need to do more of this type of swimming!

    The practice lasted until late (9pm). That’s usually my bedtime. I had trouble getting to sleep afterwards, but no trouble getting up this morning, because I was excited about going out to the beach. A warm sunny day was forecast, the water temp had been creeping upward during the week, and I was itching to do a 5k loop—my first of the season.

    I arrived on the sand at around 11, and got to chat with my friend Caitlin before hopping in the water. One of my CIBBOWS pals was out doing a long swim, and had already been in for an hour and a half when I arrived! The water temp was 50 today (Cara’s official reading). It was a great day for swimming—sunny sky with a few clouds, only a slight breeze, and the water was amazingly clear.

    Cara, Caitlin, and I set off in the direction of the pier. Getting in was a shock, but I soon felt smooth and comfortable as I stroked along. The water was very quiet today—I could narrow my focus to just the sound of my arms and my breathing. The current was strong against me on the way out, and it took awhile to get to the jetties, then getting from each one to the next felt like something of an accomplishment. Soon, though, I was even with the colorful walls of the aquarium, and then with the Wonder Wheel. The pier was getting nearer!

    I could feel the warm sun on my back as I stroked along. I watched the seagulls perched on the rocky jetties as I swam by. Soon I was to the last jetty before the pier, so I stopped and took a moment to watch the rides at Coney Island whirl around. I could feel the cold seeping into me whenever I stopped, though, so I didn’t linger long before I turned and headed back.

    The jetties seemed to whiz by on the return trip, and before I knew it I was back to where I started. My legs felt cold, and the soles of my feet very cold, but the rest of me felt comfortable, and I didn’t even think about stopping. I could see the white building that marked the other end of the 5k course clearly, and that’s where I headed. The water had some gentle movement to it, but its surface was smooth—it reminded me of old panes of glass that have waves and imperfections in them. It made for very easy swimming and sighting.

    As I neared the big jetty I swam in a little closer—I had drifted out quite a bit—and I could once again see the sandy bottom very clearly beneath me. The water was a luminous green, and I was content and at peace as I let the water carry me onward. I felt very purposeful and confident—it was reassuring to know that all I had to do was keep stroking along, and eventually I would reach my goal. Life seemed very simple.

    During my swim to the white building the water temp seemed to vary quite a bit. I could see Brad further out—he was the swimmer who was already in the water when I arrived—and I marveled at his ability to swim for hours on end in the cold. My feet were still feeling quite chilled, and I thought about how wonderful it would be to walk out of the water onto the warm sand when I was done.

    At the white building I turned around and headed back. As always happens at this point in the swim, I felt re-energized—almost done! Swimming against the current once again, I moved in as close to shore as the jetties and pilings would allow. On the way in I saw a couple of mating horseshoe crabs near the long jetty, and one solitary spider crab crawling along the bottom. About 100m from the end of my swim, in about 5 feet of water, a skate passed directly under me! It was tan and subtly speckled and blended in well with the sand, but I could see its wings undulating gently as it swam along.

    I finished my swim in 1h35m, and quickly changed out of my suit. The sand was nice and toasty, so once I was dressed I lay directly down on it to warm up. I chatted with my CIBBOWS pals and drank hot chocolate, and life seemed really really good. I was happy to get in my loop, and happy to have enjoyed another beautiful day at the beach!

    Good luck to everyone competing in all the meets going on this weekend!
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  5. Today's workout was brought to you by the number 200

    I had a fun and chatty workout this morning with Hannah at Riverbank. The swimming was a bit of a struggle today—I was tired from rowing and weights last night at the Y—but I got into the spirit of things after the first hour or so. We adapted a workout I did back in February. Here’s how today's version went:

    1000 lcm warmup (400s 200k 200p 200d/s by 25)

    4 x 200 k/s/d/s by 50, rev. IM order

    8 x 50 FR @ 1:10, done as 25 build, 12.5 fast, 12.5 easy

    8 x 200, 1 each at 3:40, 3:35, 3:30, 3:25, 3:40, 3:30, 3:20, 3:10
    [I did FR on the first two then FR/BK halfsies on the rest.]

    4 x 200
    50 FL kick + 150 FR swim
    50 FL kick + 50 BK kick + 100 FR swim
    50 FL kick + 50 BK kick + 50 BR kick + 50 FR swim
    200 IM kick
    [I cheated and did an upside-down IM for the last 200, since it was our warmdown.]

    That was it! Afterwards I had a nice but abbreviated (cold outside) stretching session on the playground overlooking the river.
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  6. Another fine Riverbank morning

    I had an energizing swim this morning at Riverbank. The place was hopping, and Rondi and I shared a lane with some guys from the Columbia team before I moved over. Here’s what I ddi:

    1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 4 x 50 d/s RIM order)

    2x thru
    500 FR
    400 FR/IM (by 50)
    400 IM
    [My original plan was to do all these on 7:30 (or as close to that as possible in the case of the 500), with the FR/IM being easy-moderate and the other two swims being moderate-fast. I ended up just going when there was room in the lane without paying too much attention to the clock.]

    500 swim, playing with various toys (fins, snorkel)
    [I’m still not sold on the gold Zoomers. They are definitely more comfortable than my other zoomer versions, but I feel like I have a lower body position when wearing them, both on kicking and swimming (and yes I am actually trying to kick when I wear them swimming!) Odd. Reverting to my usual 2-beat kick instead of a 6-beat hurts my ankles with the fins on.]

    9 x 100 @ 2:05, done as 3x thru
    100 BK good pace
    50 BK strong / 50 FR easy
    25 BK sprint / 75 FR easy

    500 warmdown + play

    I heard great things about the Greensboro pool this morning from someone just back from swimming there—sounds like an amazing facility! I think everyone going to nationals is in for a treat!
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  7. Long course 100 IMs are fun!

    I had a very pleasant swim at Riverbank this morning with Rondi. We shared a lane with a couple of young guys whom she thought might be from the pool’s age-group team. School’s out this week, so if they were showing up on their own at 6:30 to get in some extra swimming, kudos to them. You could tell they were young because they started doing hard 100 IMs with no warmup as soon as they got in. Made my shoulders ache just seeing that!

    I looked at Patrick’s workouts for the week on the train ride up and borrowed heavily them for today’s session. Here’s what I did:

    1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200s, 4 x 50 d/s IMO)

    5 x 6 somethings
    1 x 50 FR @ :50, 5 x 100 IM @ 2:00
    2 x 50 FR @ ;50, 4 X 100 IM @ 2:00
    3 x 50 FR @ :50, 3 x 100 IM @ 2:00
    4 x 50 FR @ ;50, 2 X 100 IM @ 2:00
    5 x 50 FR @ :50, 1 x 100 IM @ 2:00
    [I took :30 rest after the 50s, and held them all at :43-:45. The idea was to descend the first through the penultimate IMs, then do the last easy. I descended to 1:35-:40 on all but the last, which was 1:32, but I switched from BR to FR about 3m too soon. I always feel like I'm getting away with something when I switch strokes mid-pool on 100 lcm IMs, and that time I really was.]

    50 easy

    Broken 1500 pull with paddles
    3x thru:
    3 x 50 @ :50
    2 x 100 @ 1:40
    1 x 150 @ 2:30
    :10 rest

    500 warmdown + play

    Riverbank’s lap swim is open an extra 15 minutes each morning this week because of the public school holiday. It’s nice having a full 2-hour session—makes getting in 5k in the mornings a little less rushed.

    I had a nice stretch on the playground overlooking the river right afterward swimming. It was very blustery on the way home—I saw the wind blow a street sign off its pole right after I got on the bus. That was scary.

    I figured out what was making my feet sore—for the last couple of weeks the arches have been just this side of injured. I thought it might be walking around too much in sandals with less foot support than usual, but I think instead it is jogging around barefoot on the beach with very cold feet that is doing it. Maybe I can think of something else to get the blood flowing after cold swims that won’t risk hurting my feet—perhaps some core work? Somehow that sounds like a lot less fun way of trying to stave off the shivers.
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  8. Beach feast

    It was another gorgeous day at Brighton Beach. I had a quick subway ride out and arrived just in time to meet John and Hannah in the parking lot, fresh from their long pre-ocean swim at Riverbank. We walked down to the beach together and had some nice relaxed time on the beach while awaiting the rest of the CIBBOWS gang. The sun was strong, and yesterday’s wind was back—there were already some whitecaps out on the water.

    Soon more swimmers trickled out to the sand, and we started prepping for the swim. There were three of us there today who will be going to Iceland, and I decided today’s goal was to work on a quick entry into the water for the little OW swim we’re doing there. So after we got undressed and ready to go, Hannah and I did a countdown and ran into the chilly waves. I did pretty well, diving under the second plausible wave after I got thigh deep. That actually felt pretty ok—I didn’t feel shocked by getting into the cold water quickly rather than more gradually. But I did sort of miss the drama and histrionics of doing it the slow way.

    The water was again beautifully clear—I could see the sandy bottom for a very long way out. Long wisps of green seaweed undulated about under the waves. We headed out towards the white building, the same direction that the wind was pushing the water. The swells pushed me along and made the swimming easy. For a while I was with Hannah and John, then I got separated and swam by myself for a bit. I went a little slower than yesterday, savoring the sensation of the clear cold water and the bright blue sky. I could feel the sun’s warmth on my back, and turned over to backstroke and feel it on my face.

    I swam past the big jetty to the smaller jetty and on towards the pilings. The waves really picked up, and I started getting tossed around a bit. It was fun, but I began to get a little nervous about swimming back against them. I knew that even if the conditions were rough on the way back I would need to swim, since walking or running back on the beach would mean going into the wind in a wet swimsuit. I turned around a bit before the white building because I didn’t know how long it would take to get back.

    As it turned out, the current was with me on the way back in, and the swim went pretty quick. I was back to the big jetty before I knew it, and the waves got little again once I was past it—just little swells that were easy to swim into. I passed over a gathering of horseshoe crabs—about a dozen of them all gathered together on the bottom—and watched all the people on the beach as I swam in. Soon I was back up on the blanket, and quickly got into my clothes. I didn’t get as chilled as yesterday—I was in the water for less than half as long—so it only took one quick jog to warm up.

    Less warming time meant more time for feasting and socializing. We had quite the Easter bounty today—John had brought exquisite chocolate-and-peanut-butter birds nests, complete with pastel eggs, Hannah had brought bunny-shaped pasta salad, and there were also dyed eggs (my contribution), chocolate bunnies, and of course peeps! Everyone stuck around to nosh and chat and enjoy the lovely beach day. The bunny-themed picnic seemed apt, since Coney Island was originally named for its population of rabbits.

    As always, this weekend’s combination of cold water, ample sunlight, and happy fellowship was intoxicating, and left me looking forward to more next weekend!
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  9. A chilly trip to the pier

    I had a wonderful swim at Brighton Beach today. I got a ride out and arrived early, well before the arranged 11 am meet-up time—plenty of time to chat, play catch, stretch, and take a quick nap before splash time. It was a beautiful bright sunny morning, a little chilly (air temp 50) and windy, but the water was so bright and sparkly that I was impatient to get in. A few swimmers had been out yesterday, and the report from them was that the water temp was still stuck at 47. Nippy, but still swimmable!

    By the time 11 am rolled around the wind had picked up, and the water was dotted with whitecaps. There was some discussion of which way to swim—the current was reportedly pulling west, but the wind was coming from that direction as well, so it was partly a question of which you wanted to swim against on the way back in. Most opted for the white building (a 1 mile roundtrip), but I wanted to go towards the pier (2 miles). I was joined in that direction by Dave and Willie.

    I was quicker than usual getting in—no fun standing in frigid water getting pummeled by wind! The water was exceptionally clear and I could see the bottom for a long ways out. I was quickly joined by Dave, and we headed out beyond the jetties. He was setting a pretty brisk pace, and I struggled to keep up. I could feel that the water was cold, but I was working hard and didn’t feel like it was making me cold anywhere but on my face.

    We passed one jetty after another, often stroking along in synch. After a while we were past the aquarium, and nearing the parachute drop. I was enjoying the emerald green water and the bright sunlight filtering through it. Suddenly I heard a boat—it was loud, and sounded like it was coming towards us. I looked ahead, didn’t see anything, then saw Dave looking past me to our left. I changed my breathing to that direction, and saw a blue police boat heading quite rapidly towards us. We both angled in towards shore—away from the boat—and I watched it slow as it pulled even with us. The people on board seemed to be watching us. We kept on swimming, watching the boat as we pulled past it.

    As we got nearer to the pier Dave spotted Willie behind us. I stopped, then we all swam further on until we reached the last jetty before the pier, our turn-around point. There wasn’t much chatting—it was too cold to stop for long—just a general agreement that we would now swim back. Dave reported that we’d been swimming for 30 minutes. At this point I was feeling pretty cold through, but still had good feeling and control of my hands and legs, so I wasn’t worried.

    We headed back, this time a little closer in to the jetties. In this direction the waves were travelling the same direction we were, and I enjoyed feeling the swells pushing me along. The sun was still shining bright and I felt very content and grateful to be out swimming on such a beautiful day. At one point some white things smaller than my pinky nail swam under us—I thought at first that they were air bubbles generated by my stroke, but they weren’t.

    The scenery on shore seemed to go by very fast on the way back, and before I knew it we had passed back by the aquarium and were in the home stretch. I though briefly about continuing on and doing a loop, but the thought of getting back to the beach and getting warmed up was too enticing. We swam in very close to shore for the last few hundred meters. It was so clear and I could see the bottom so well that I thought we were only in 3-4 feet of water, but when I stopped I discovered that the water was still over my head.

    I didn’t linger in the water floating once we were done—I felt like I was close to shivering if I just stayed in without swimming. I waded to shore and got quickly changed out of my suit. I was sad to leave the water behind—it was absolutely beautiful out there today—but 47 degrees does get a little cold after a while! All told, we were in for an hour.

    After I got dressed I ran up and down the beach to try and generate some heat. It took a while for the shivers and teeth chattering to set in, and then a while for them to stop. But they never hit me uncomfortably hard today, and with the warm sun out it was actually kind of fun to feel the contrast between the warm rays and sand and the cold inside me. I drank my hot chocolate and had a nice visit on the beach with the rest of the CIBBOWs crew—there were about 10 of us out today.

    A delicious lunch near the marina rounded out the day. It was a classic spring day at the beach, and I was grateful to get in another cold-water swim with friends before the weather warms up and the crowds come out!
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  10. Packed in like sardines we were!

    It was crowded this morning at TNYA workout—all the swim campers are back, tanned and re-excited about swimming. Practices between now and IGLA (our focus meet in late May) are likely to be very full. It’s fun to be part of a team that’s excited and motivated about an upcoming competition, but the downside is swimming in packed pools for the next couple of months. We had 6 in our lane this morning (some lanes had 7), but it ended up working out ok—I went last in the lane and was able to tweak the workout to keep things challenging and useful for me. It helped that I had good lane buddy Jack right in front of me—he’s very courteous about always leaving a little space at the wall for me to finish, and will even nudge others out of the way when necessary. Here’s to polite and spirited lanemates!

    Brad coached, and this is what we did:

    1000 scy warmup: 400 FR, 300 IM k/d/s, 200 pull, 100 kick [did 950]

    2 x 200 FR @ 3:00 [did fr/bk halfsies]
    4 x 50 FL/BK @ 1:00 [25 fly kick + 25 back fast]
    6 x 25 kick @ :30

    4 x 125 FR @ 1:55 [50 fr + 75 bk]
    4 x 50 BR/FR @ 1:00 [kicked]
    6 x 50 kick @ :30 [odds fast @ :25 evens ez @ :35]

    4 x 100 IM @ 1:50 [did kick except swam the FR length on 1st, BR on 2nd, BK on 3rd, FL on 4th]
    6 x 50 FR @ :45 [odds FR evens BK holding all :40 or under]
    8 x 25 FR @ :45, breathing 4-3-2-1-0-0-0-0 [no hypoxic stuff for me, did odds ez FR, evens 15y AFAP 10y easy]

    3 x 200 pull @ 3:10, 3:00, 2:50

    200 wd + play

    Updated April 5th, 2012 at 11:45 AM by swimsuit addict

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  11. Gentle morning swim

    I had a pleasant swim this morning at Riverbank. I was tired and sore and decided that this would be an easy swim / technique morning for me. Here’s what I did:

    1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)

    20 x 50 w/ tempo trainer at SR from 1.08 to .92 (4 of each), holding stroke count steady, comparing 2- and 6-beat kick [This confirmed what I already suspected—unless I’m 6-beat kicking really hard, adding the kick doesn’t increase speed (ie my stroke counts stayed the same) and is just more effortful. So much for kicking on anything but 50s!]

    5 x 200, odds pull with paddles, evens swim/kick by 50s

    200 warmdown + play

    I got out a little early and went outside to the playground overlooking the river for a long stretching session. It felt really good.
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  12. Solo swim at the Y

    This morning I had an early appointment on the other side of town—I had to be across the park by 7:45. But that was no reason to miss swimming, since my Y pool opens at 5 am, and was on the way to boot. I arrived about 5:30 and got in the following workout--#3 from last week’s[ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=20440"] High Volume workouts posting[/ame].

    Warmup sets
    500 (200s, 100k, 100d, 200 IM d/s)
    4 x 100 FR @ 1:45, gentle descend [1:30 > 1:16]
    2 x (3 x 50 FR fast @ :50, 1 x 50 easy @ 1:10]
    8 x 25 @ :35, odds fast, evens easy
    100 easy

    Main set
    6 x 125 @ 1:55, flip finish, try to hold 1:35s to feet [only made 2 of these—thought my goal pace (6:00) might have been a little optimistic but after I finished I realized I had miscalculated and shorted myself on the rest!]
    6 x 100 @ 2:10, odds K desc., evens BK/BR
    6 x 75 @ 1:40, flip finish, try to hold :55 to feet [made all of these—seemed like a comfortable challenge]
    6 x 50 @ 1:10, odds K desc., evens BK/BR
    6 x 25 @ :35, flip finish, try to hold :18s to feet [held 15/16—these were fun!]

    4 x 50 warmdown

    It was one of those mornings that made me wonder why I don’t swim at the Y more regularly. The water was pleasantly crisp, I had my very own lane for all but the first 5 and last 10 minutes, and other swimmers in the pool were friendly and focused. There was someone aria-ing in the shower afterwards, but I can live with that—in fact I’ve gotten pretty used to it by now. Does this happen at other people’s Ys, or does being across the street from the opera just inspire my fellow gym goers to caterwaul while they cleanse?

    This evening I did rowing class. I’ve been going regularly but haven’t blogged about it much because we’re in the midst of a month-long rowing challenge against other Concept2 teams. Many people in the class are trying to rack out meters, so the workouts have been a little less interval focused and more just straight rows with some variation in intensity and strokie rates. Here’s what we did tonight:

    12-minute warmup with 10s
    stretching
    3 x (3-minute piece, 1-minute easy row) [2:20, 2:16, 2:11]
    15-minute row with narration + warmdown
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  13. Easy morning swim

    I had a nice swim this morning with Rondi at Riverbank. Our lane was crowded at first but then cleared out nicely, until it was just us. Today was an easy distance day. Here’s what I did:

    800 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p)

    2x through
    2 x 600 FR/BK (1 length FR, 1 BK, 2 FR, 1 BK, 3 FR, 1 BK, 2 FR, 1 BK)
    1 x 600 FR/K (1 length FR, 1 K, 2 FR, 1 K, 3 FR, 1 K, 2 FR, 1 K)

    100 warmdown + play

    One of my favorite things about swimming at Riverbank when the weather warms up is that I can go outside behind the pool building and stretch afterwards. It was a little too chilly and windy for that today, but the day was so pretty I still visited my stretching spot just to admire the view of the river and the GW bridge:




    I often look out the windows at Riverbank and wish I were swimming in the river instead of over it!
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  14. This is why I swim in the ocean!

    I had a very lovely swim out at Brighton Beach today. It wasn’t the most obvious day for an open-water swim—air temp was mid-40s, with an overcast sky—but I’d been looking forward to being in the ocean again all week, plus I knew at least a few CIBBOWS friends would be out on the beach at 10 this morning. So I packed some warm clothes and hot chocolate and headed out on the train to meet them.

    Once I arrived at Brighton, I quickly found Cara and Brad, and we waited on the beach a bit for the others to show. There ended up being only 5 of us today, 4 of whom swam. The wind picked up as we were making our final preparations for getting in. We scanned the sky, hoping it would blow some of the clouds away, but only a weak glimmer of sunlight shone through. Brad, who had swum yesterday, confirmed that the water temp had dropped a bit—last week it had been 50. I finished getting ready, then ran down the beach with Cara, who always brings her thermometer to record the official water temp. I didn’t wait around for her reading, but took a few quick breaths and quickly started swimming east—the water was cold, but the air was cold and windy! I knew which poison to pick.

    I was able to swim hard and felt pretty good right from the start. It was lovely feeling the cold water envelop me. I felt some prickling in my hands, but it felt more interesting than unpleasant. The only cold-water sensation that I didn’t like was a odd tightness in the skin on underside of my upper arms—it felt unpleasantly stretched each time I reached forward, as if it would tear. But this often happens to me when I swim in the cold, and I knew it was just a feeling and would go away in a minute or so, as it did.

    The water was fairly clear, but I was soon far enough out that I couldn’t see the bottom. I swam along, suspended in a beautiful dark green sea. Without much sun the color didn’t seem to change at all with the water depth. My past few times out at the beach I have been skittish about things (crabs and seagulls, for instance), and haven’t felt truly relaxed when I was swimming. Today was different. The me-ness of me that felt apart from the water disappeared, and I felt wonderfully at home in the sea. I watched the birds gliding above me, and accepted that there might be swimmy and crawly things below me, and I felt kinship instead of fear.

    The water helped me along with some gentle waves, and I felt its motion and appreciated its help. As I passed the pilings on the way to the white building, it occurred to me that I was getting pretty chilled. I picked up my turnover a bit—I had been drifting off towards tourist pace. I had set out today with the goal of swimming to the white building and back, about a mile. I knew I could do that, but I also knew that the warming-up afterwards would be more pleasant if I kept swimming vigorously.

    I got to the white building fairly quickly, then turned around and headed back into the wind. There was some mild chop in this direction, and swimming straight into it felt pleasantly challenging. For a brief moment the sun came out, and I did some backstroke to admire it. I caught a glimpse of Brad doing the same thing going in the other direction, and waved at him, but couldn’t tell if he saw me. The chop and wind must have been pushing me in towards shore a bit, because I had to correct course a few times to make it around the pilings and jetties. I swam in some shallower water near the big jetty, and could see a large crooked black shape on the bottom—either a tree branch or a sea serpent!

    I savored the sensations of swimming hard on the way in. I enjoyed watching the buildings on shore go by, and never felt any colder than I had on the way out. I swam by a flock of seagulls that someone on shore was feeding, and was glad they were far enough down the beach from my blanket that I didn’t have to wade through them to get in. I was still mesmerized by the greenness of the water, and the relative paleness of my hands and arms and I stroked through it. When I got back to my starting point, I wished I could stay in longer, but I could feel the coldness in my hands and feet and knew it was time to get out.

    I quickly got changed into warm clothes—lots of them. I had brought long underwear in addition to my wool pants and sweater and swim parka. I put everything on, snapped the hotsnapz warmers I had brought and tucked them in, then jogged easily up and down the beach. After about 5 minutes, I could feel the cold creeping through my torso—my chest and upper back felt especially chilled—and I started shivering and teeth-chattering. This lasted a while, but never became uncomfortably severe. It was tough to get warmed up on the beach on such a day, though, and I was glad when everyone made their way in and we all got packed up and headed towards the subway.

    It turned out that Cara had measured the water at 47. It’s good to know that I can manage swimming in that temp even on a less-than-ideal day. Today left me feeling exhilarated about swimming in the ocean. I’m looking forward to the water warming up a bit more, and the weather returning to a warmer and sunnier state, so that I can swim even further. Next week I’m hoping to swim past the WonderWheel and all the other Coney Island attractions!
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  15. Right-thinking lanemates

    Ever since I found out last week that I could use my swim pass to stick around for lap swimming after TNYA’s Thursday morning workout at John Jay College, I had been planning to do a longer pool session today. Since our team workout is usually around 4000y, I decided that I would do a 5500y ladder afterwards plus whatever warmdown was necessary to hit a grand total of 10k yards for the day. That’s just what I ended up doing.

    TNYA workout was lightly attended because of swim camp this week, and Michael substitute coached. I liked his workout—it was a good mix of stuff and kept us on our toes. I swam in an excellent lane with two other swimmers who also prefer 10-second intervals. I can’t remember the last time that happened at a workout (even when there's space to do so, as there often is not with NYC masters teams). It was very exciting! Here’s what we did:

    Warmup
    300 FR, 75 BK
    200 FR, 50 BR
    100 FR, 25 FL
    6 x 25 kick

    4 x 150 bk/br/fr @ 2:35, steady pace
    4 x 50 FL (37.5 build, 12.5 easy free) @ 1:10
    4 x 150 FR desc. @ 2:10 [2:04 > 1:48]
    4 x 50 FR (37.5 build, 12.5 easy) @ 1:00
    8 x 50 kick @ 1:10
    4 x 100 @ 2:00, odds fast, evens easy [1:19 BK on 3rd, didn’t get time for FR on 1st]

    200 pull, left-side breathing @ 3:00
    8 x 25 @ :45, odds underwater, evens fast
    150 pull, left-side breathing, @ 2:15
    6 x 25 @ :35, worst stroke [fly for me]
    100 pull, left-side breathing, @ 1:30
    4 x 25 sprint @ :25

    50 warmdown

    Then I took a 10-minute break before starting this set on my own. I just swam comfortably without intervals, and took a minute break in between swims (this turned 40 seconds and then 20 as I neared the end and got excited about finishing).

    1000 (450 fr / 50 bk / 450 fr / 50 bk)
    900 (FR except every 9th length = ST, IM order)
    800 (350 fr / 50 bk / 350 fr / 50 bk)
    700 (FR except every 7th length = ST, IM order)
    600 (250 fr / 50 bk / 250 fr / 50 bk)
    500 (FR except every 5th length = ST, IM order)
    400 (150 fr / 50 bk / 150 fr / 50 bk)
    300 (FR except every 3rd length = ST, IM order)
    200 (50 fr / 50 bk / 50 fr / 50 bk)
    100 IM

    Warmdown: 200 upside-down IM + 50 scull

    I was fueled during all this by my usual mixture of watered-down raspberry-orange-apple juice, plus some date-walnut cubes during the break and after the 800. I was experimenting with the dates and nuts—I liked them today, and they might show up in one of my feed concoctions for open-water swims this summer.

    Things I learned from today: (1) the swimming without intervals got a little monotonous, I’ll probably have intervals and look at the clock more if I do this again; (2) this is a very long time to spend in an indoor pool, it makes me glad that the weather and ocean are about warm enough to do further long swims outdoors; (3) taking an extra stroke to enter the turn with some momentum instead of gliding into the wall is so worth it, even (or maybe especially) at slower speeds.

    Afterwards I went home and made myself some cinnamon-sugar toast—it’s been a long time since I enjoyed that treat! It was delicious.

    Updated March 29th, 2012 at 07:11 PM by swimsuit addict

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  16. A new pool!

    This morning I swam with Hannah at the McBurney Y. This facility was built just 10 years ago, and is very light and airy, especially when compared to the city’s older YMCAs. The 7-lane pool features cheery tile work and a wonderful mural with muscular yet fluid swimmers cavorting in a pool very similar to the one it overlooks. Although McBurney is just 2˝ miles (3 subway stops on the express train) from my regular Y, I had managed to never visit here before. So today I managed not only to get in a good workout with a good friend in a pretty and inspiring place, but also add another pool to add to my NYC-pools-I’ve-visited list, below.

    I got there as the small masters group was finishing their workout, so I got to say hi to my friend Miriam. The pool was semi-crowded, and I got my equipment and hopped into the designated fast lane with three others. I was a little early, so did an extended warmup before starting in on one of the HVT workouts with Hannah. The extra warmup was good, as I started out feeling a little sore and tight from yesterday’s weights but ended up ready to swim hard. Here’s what I did:

    1000 scy warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200d/s)

    6 x 50 @ 1:10, odds k/d, evens build swim, 2 each FL, BK, and BR

    200 play

    6 x 50 @ 1:10, odds k/d, evens build swim, 2 each FL, BK, and BR
    8 x 75, 4 drill @ 1:40, 4 swim @ 1:30, odds FL/BK/BR, evens BK/BR/FR

    18 x 50:
    6 kick desc. @ 1:10
    6 pull FR desc. @ :55
    3 BK desc. @ 1:00
    3 BR desc. @ 1:00

    Broken 200s:
    200 IM (100 / :10 / 100) + 50 easy @ 5:00 [2:50]
    200 IM (50 / 10s / 50 / 10s / 50 / 10s / 50) + 50 easy @ 5:00 [2:46]
    200 IM + 50 easy [2:52]
    The unbroken 200 was 6 seconds faster than last week’s best, so I was pleased with the improvement.

    400 FR broken at 100s for 10s [had to fudge these a bit because of lane traffic]
    3 x 50 easy @ 1:10
    8 x 50 kick @ :10 rest, inside-out IM order (fl/bk/br/fr/fr/br/bk/fl)
    3 x 50 easy @ 1:10

    That was it. I’m glad I swam at McBurney finally, but its many charms didn’t tempt me to abandon my regular Y for it. The pools are similarly crowded (although McBurney, with its 7 lanes, is probably more predictable than my Y, which just has 4). Lanes are wider at McBurney, and the pool has better light. But since there’s no second pool at McBurney, the water is on the warm side to accommodate mixed usage, and the number of lap swimming lanes is frequently reduced for make room for swim lessons and water aerobics. (Although I have to say, the swim class for very young tots going on as we were wrapping up our workout was very sweet--it involved lots of rubber duckies and singing. Still, I was glad to have a buffer lane between the kiddies and me. I did keep hoping a rubber duck would swim over our way though.)

    Mostly, today left me feeling lucky the city has so many pools to swim in! Here are the ones I’ve visited so far (asterisked = outdoor pool):

    Manhattan
    1. West Side Y (25 yd), W. 63rd between Bway and Central Park West
    2. West Side Y warm-water pool (20 yd?)
    3. Riverbank State Park indoor pool (50M), W. 138th Street on the Hudson
    *4. Riverbank State Park outdoor pool (25yds)
    5. Asphalt Green competition pool (50M), E. 91st and York
    6. Asphalt Green warm-water therapy pool (15m?)
    *7. Asphalt Green outdoor pool (25yd, now gone)
    8. John Jay College Pool (25y) 59th and 10th
    9. Baruch College Pool (25m) 24th and Lex
    10. City College pool (25y) W 145th and Convent Ave.
    11. Columbia University (25y) 116th and Bway
    12. NYU Palladium pool (25y x 25m) 140 E. 14th St.
    13. Vanderbilt YMCA (25y) 224 E. 47th
    14. Chelsea Rec Center (25y) W 25th between 9th and 10th
    15. New York Athletic Club (25y) Central Park South @ 7th Ave.
    *16. John Jay Park Pool (48y) E. 77th and York
    *17. Hamilton Fish park pool (50m) Pitt and Houston Streets
    18. Reebok Club pool (25y) 67th and Columbus
    19. Chelsea Piers (25y), W. 19th Street on the Hudson
    20. JJC pool (25y), 76th and Amsterdam
    21. Manhattan Plaza (25y), 43rd and 10th
    22. McBurney Y (25y), 14th between 6th and 7th

    Brooklyn
    1. LIU—Brooklyn (25y) Flatbush and DeKalb
    2. St. Francis College pool (25y) Brooklyn Heights
    *3. Red Hook Pool (40m)
    4. Shorefront YM-YWHA (25y) Brighton Beach

    Bronx
    1. Lehman College pool (50m)
    *2. Van Cortlandt Park pool (50m)
    *3. Corona Park Pool (100m)

    Queens
    1. Flushing Meadows Corona Park pool (50m)

    Staten Island
    1. Wagner College pool (25y?)
    *2. Lyons pool (50m)
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  17. A mountain on 10th Avenue

    I had a fun time at the TNYA workout at John Jay College this morning. It was a little less crowded than usual because about 60 of my teammates are attending the team’s swim and dive camp in Ft. Lauderdale this week. Still, I had plenty of good lanemates to keep me company. Sean coached, and this is what we did:

    600 scy warmup

    Warmup set: 4x thru, IM order
    50 kick @ 1:00
    50 drill @ :55
    50 swim @ :50
    100 IM @ 1:40

    Main set mountain
    100 pull @ 1:35
    200 swim @ 3:10
    300 pull @ 4:45
    400 swim @ 6:20
    500 pull @ 7:55
    1:00 rest
    500 swim @ 7:30
    400 pull @ 6:00
    300 swim @ 4:30
    200 pull @ 3:00
    100 swim @ 1:30
    [Instructions were to stay long on the way up and build (both within swims and within ladder) on the way down. I alternated FR and BK on the 200 and 400 swims on the way up, then on the way down mixed them up as needed to keep good space around me. A couple of guys who tend to go out very fast and then (euphemism ahead) end up a little less so were leading the lane—I didn’t want to go ahead of them because I dislike having people on my feet during the first part of my swims—so I just switched to backstroke when I caught up, which worked out well. It was actually pretty fun having rabbits to chase down, and the challenge of seeing how soon after the halfway point I could switch to backstroke kept me amused on the longer pieces.]

    100 warmdown


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  18. A windy beach day

    I enjoyed a sweet swim out at Brighton Beach today with the CIBBOWS crew. The day did not look promising—it has turned a little colder here, and it was very windy—but when I arrived there was a decent contingent of hardy swimmers gathered on the beach in their parkas. They were all gathered around Gilles, who was putting together a contraption of some sort—turned out it was a towable feeding station. It was very elaborate and well thought out, and we all watched and speculated about the chances it would work in the choppy water as he put the finishing touches on his creation.

    The water was bracing. Cara got a reading of 50 on her thermometer, four degrees warmer than last week, but we all agreed it felt a little colder than that, maybe because of the waves or cloudy conditions. I wasn’t too slow getting in today, and was rewarded with water that was exceptionally clear. I swam towards the west, into the wind. The conditions were very bouncy and fun—not too much chop. It felt wonderful just swimming along. About 50 meters into the swim I noticed three seagulls hovering over me as I swam, about 15 to 30 inches from the water’s surface. I turned over on my back and tried shooing them away, then tried explaining that I had no food for them, but neither tactic worked—they stayed right over me and followed me wherever I went. That was a little creepy, but I decided I could live with it.

    After I while I turned back. Gilles was just getting in the water with his feeding station, so I swam back to see how that would work. On the way I spotted one spider crab, and then another. I hovered over the second one watching it scuttle along the bottom, and even dove down to get a better view. I thought about touching it, but I haven’t quite gotten that brave yet. I tried showing it to Hsi-Ling and Capri, who were both nearby, but they were both taken with their own adventures in the choppy water so I watched the show alone.

    After a bit Gilles waved and called to me, so I stroked further out from shore to where he was swimming with Brad and Eli. By this time I had finally lost my seagull, but I noticed a couple swimming over Brad, who was doing backstroke. (He later told me he had tried throwing handfuls of water at the birds to try and get them to go away, but that that had no affect on them). The feeding station was floating along very stably in the waves as Gilles towed it behind him—cool! I swam with them for a briefly, then decided I wanted to head back in closer to shore to see if I could see more crabs.

    One of Brad’s seagulls followed me as I swam in. I saw a couple of big horseshoe crabs together on the bottom, and a few other more common ones. I floated on my back, thinking that I’d like to stay in being tossed by the waves all day, but knowing it was time to get out. As I headed up to my blanket, which was mostly buried, I could feel the sand crunching in my teeth. Too much grinning on the beach on windy days will do that to you!

    For once I had brought too few rather than too many clothes, and I got a little chilled on the beach as I waited for the other swimmers to come back in. I did just enough swimming today to remind myself how wonderful and free it feels to be out in the ocean, no matter the conditions. It makes me happy to contemplate a whole spring of training out here with friends ahead of me.

    But back to those seagulls—what were they thinking? Cara was also closely followed. I’ve had them do this before at Brighton, but not to this extent. When they weren’t following swimmers today, they were diving into the water and retrieving bits of seaweed and fighting over crabs onshore. I’m not sure how they obtained the crabs they were fighting over. I didn’t see any of the diving seagulls get one—the crabs I saw crawling along the bottom were in chest-deep water or deeper, and the seagulls I saw diving only submerged a couple of feet or so. It made me wonder whether the gulls were waiting to steal crabs from larger predators that could reach them, and hoped that might be us. (I didn’t dive down and bring a crab to the surface to test that theory.) Also, the three of us who were closely tracked were all wearing pink caps. Maybe I’ll try another color next week!
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  19. Celebrating getting older

    This morning I had a playdate at Riverbank with three swim buddies. John, Rondi, Hannah, and I met up for a fun belated birthday swim for John. He had done his real one a few weeks ago in Florida. After that effort—37x300m on a lively interval—we thought he deserved a more relaxed celebration in the pool. We all wore our special birthday swim caps, and John and I wore our team cupcake suits from last year’s MIMS. Here’s how it went:

    900 lcm warmup

    Birthday set: 37 x 50 @ :60
    Odds = easy BK, evens = fast FR, primes = corkscrew (primeness trumps evenness or oddity)
    [Usually when I’m doing sets that involve switching between FR and BK, my focus is keeping my torso in one piece when I rotate, and on maintaining a strong kick on both strokes. I got to practice that a lot today, and the addition of corkscrew to the mix really upped the challenge on keeping the core firm and aligned. This ended up being a lot of corkscrew swimming—I settled on 8 rotations in one direction then 8 in the other to avoid getting too dizzy. There was plenty of time during these 50s to ponder the distribution of primes. Prime pairs are all well and good, but I really savored the non-prime pairs (25/27! 33/35!) once we finally got to them.]

    400 easy swim

    8 x (20-yard sprint, 35 yards easy) [4 kick, 2 FR, 2 BK]

    200 warmdown + play

    The pool was really hopping this morning—at one point we had 8 swimmers in our lane, and the adjacent ones were pretty full too. The Columbia masters team is off this week, so many of those swimmers are using Riverbank instead. I got to visit with friends from there whom I hadn’t seen in a while—between the birthday festivities and the chatting, it was a fairly social swim today. Hurray for birthdays!
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  20. Workout with team, and more

    This morning I went to the morning TNYA workout at John Jay college. Brad coached, and I had a lane full of good lanemates—lots of camaraderie and banter made the time fly. Here’s what I did:

    750 scy warmup: 250 swim, 200 pull, 150 kick, 100 IM, 50 double-arm backstroke

    7 x 50 pieces of IM @ :55 (fl, fl/bk, bk, bk/br, br, br/fr, fr)

    Main set
    300 pull @ 4:30
    2 x 200 FR @ 3:00
    3 x 100 IM @ 1:40
    4 x 50 kick @ 1:00
    100 ez
    1:00 rest
    300 pull @ 4:15
    2 x 200 IM @ 3:30
    3 x 100 FR desc. @ 1:30, 1:25, 1:30
    4 x 50 kick @ 1:00
    100 easy

    2 x 125 (75 build, :15 rest, 25 sprint, :15 rest, 25 sprint) @ 3:00

    300 warmdown

    TNYA’s workout finishes at 8, and I was meeting a friend at 9:30 for weights at the Y, about 10 minutes away. This morning when I was packing my bag I was puzzling on what I would do with the time in between—my plan had been to row, but I did rowing class last night and wasn’t excited about more of that again so soon. Then I remembered that years ago I had bought a pass for lap swimming at the pool where TNYA’s workout was held, but never used it more than a couple of times. Lap swimming starts right after practice ends so . . . since I was told when I bought it (in the late 1990s!) that it never expired, I decided today would be a good time to test that. It worked! I got to stay and swim for another good bit before heading over to the Y. That’s a good thing to know about for days when I want to do some longer swims—the college’s lap swim hours on Thursday are from 8-6, and today I had my own lane the whole time I stayed (and indeed, for most of the swim, my own pool).

    I decided to do the rest of the HVT workout I had started on Tuesday, with the IM distances tweaked a bit (Hannah’s suggestion). It was supposed to be a quality IM set, but I got pretty tired and hungry after the first round and the quality started slipping away fast:

    10 x 25 @ :45, odds fast (4 bk, 3 br, 2 fr, 1 fl)
    100 IM fast @ 1:30 [1:16]
    4 x 50 recovery FR @ 1:00

    10 x 25 @ :40, odds fast (4 br, 3 fr, 2 fl, 1 bk)
    200 IM fast @ 3:30 [3:02]
    4 x 50 recovery FR @ 1:00

    10 x 25 @ :35, odds fast (4 fr, 3 fl, 2 bk, 1 br)
    400 IM fast @ 6:30 [6:20]
    4 x 50 recovery FR @ 1:00

    300 warmdown + play

    That was it—I like that set and want to return to it on a day when I can do all four rounds in the same workout, and give it the good effort it deserves.

    Weights were fun to do with a friend, and afterwards I was pretty tired. But then, on the way home, I got a message from swim buddy John that he was headed out to the beach! I was really glad. The morning after my little adventure with the spider crabs on Tuesday (they more or less frightened me out of the water), I had woken up thinking “You know, those crabs—they were really kind of neat!” I kept on thinking about them, and really wanted to see them again, but I knew they would probably be gone by the weekend. So when I got John’s message, I decided to to head out to the beach as well, just in case they were still there. I knew there was a good chance they wouldn’t be—wildlife sightings are pretty transitory at the beach—but I at least wanted to go check it out.

    I quickly packed a lunch and some work for the subway and headed out. When the train surfaced in Brooklyn I just watched the stations go by through the window—it was a gloriously warm sunny day, and a lot of the trees are already in full flower. The sky was a beautiful cloudless blue . . . until about half a stop from the beach. Then the fog enveloped the train, and there was just white all around.

    I arrived and met up with John and his friend around 1, and we stayed until 3, and the whole time a thick white mist hung over the sea and beach. It was eerily beautiful. A medley of foghorns played out over the lapping of the water. The tide was out further than I’ve ever seen it. I walked along the water’s edge, down to the “long” jetty—which today extended only about 10 yards into the water. I think I could have waded around the end of it. Rocks that usually stay underwater were exposed, and I looked closely at the carpet of bivalves that covered them. I watched one crab that had gotten trapped between rocks by the outgoing tide sheltering under them.

    Several seagulls were feeding on crabs—I didn’t see any spiders among them—and there was the detritus of a crab feast all around them—lots of legs and claws and shells spread out all over the intertidal zone. There was a single enormous horseshoe crab covered with barnacles near the waters edge, and as I watched a woman dragged it further ashore so some children could get a closer look at it. There were a lot of folks walking along the strand examining things.

    When I got back to the blankets John and I decided to go for a dip. I wasn’t looking to swim much after this morning’s workout, but I did want to go out and see if I could see any more crabs on the bottom. Alas, the visibility wasn’t good enough to see much today. After I got used to the water temperature, I floated on my back for a while and looked up at the mist. The ice bath felt good on my sore muscles, and I felt peaceful and happy. It didn’t take much to get out beyond where I could see the shore. After a bit I swam in.

    It was a pretty cool day at the beach, even without the spider crabs and without the sun. By the time I headed back to the subway, the mist had burned off on the other side of the boardwalk but was still as thick as ever over the sand and sea. I headed back to the city, happy to get in a bonus visit to the shore.
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