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Alex's swim journal

It's a journey: musings on art, literature, life... and occasional notes on training.

  1. 3600 SCY--1650 pace set

    by , June 28th, 2015 at 08:29 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Looked back over the old workouts and found I hadn't recorded this 1650 pace set in a while (my January blog entry is the last time I wrote down my results, so I have something to compare today's results with), though I know I've done it a few times since then.

    My warm-up was the standard freestyle 1100 on 20:00 (400 EZ on 7:00, 4 x 100 on 1:40, 4 x 50 on 1:00, 4 x 25 on :25), then I went straight into the 1800/30-minute set to work on 1650 pace:

    3 x 200 fr on 3:20 (2:58-3:00)
    6 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:28-1:29)
    12 x 50 fr on :50 (:42-:44)

    I cooled down with 700 mixed (100 back recovery, 200 pull, 200 fr, 100 pull, 100 bk).

    When I did this set back in January I was doing it on a 100/1:45 interval, so the set took me 31:30 to complete, but the times were similar--maybe even a little slower. That 1:29 pace would break 25:00, which has been a "short"-term goal for a really LONG time now--since I swam 25:04 at WI state SCY meet. But inconsistency hasn't helped me over the last couple of years. My longer-term goal pace of 1:25 still requires sets with a longer rests. But we'll see how close I can get over the next few weeks. I feel a time-trial coming on... I'm just now starting to get my "wind" back.

    Yesterday I only did 2K, so something of a break, which I'm sure contributed to my good set today. Though I did have a good solid backstroke set for the 200 pace:

    4 x 50 on 1:00
    50 recovery on 1:00
    4 x 50 on 1:00
    50 recovery on 1:00
    2 x 100 on 2:00
    50 recovery on 1:00
    1 x 200 on 4:00
    50 recovery on 1:00

    Nice 20-minute set and my times were all around :48/50 in the backstroke (my 100s came in around 1:35, the 200 came in at 3:13, but I was right on a :48/50 pace for the first 150). This is getting me back to where I started a couple of summers ago when I started to take backstroke seriously, so there will be many sets of 50s and 100s in the future as I take that 3:10+/200 down under 3:00 (short-term goal) and make a run at my long-term goal of 2:40 eventually. Sets of 25s in both back and free are going to help with both the 1650 and 200 goals; I need to find someone in the area who will do them with me though, because I have a tough time on sprints without someone there pushing me.
  2. 4000 SCY; sets of 10 x 100

    by , June 24th, 2015 at 11:54 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today's workout was the best I'd had in a while. Felt very sluggish yesterday, even after a rest day, so it felt good when I looked at the clock and saw my 100s coming in right on my goal pace for 1650 during most of the set. Here's what I did, all freestyle (except where noted):

    4000 SCY/73 mins

    WU (1100/20:00):
    400 EZ on 6:40
    4 x 100 on 1:40 (these came in around 1:30-1:31)
    4 x 50 on :50
    100 recovery (backstroke)

    MS 1 (1100/20:00)
    10 x 100 on 1:45 (all in 1:25)
    100 recovery (backstroke)
    :45 rest

    MS 2 (1100/20:00)
    10 x 100 on 1:45 (first 4-5 in 1:25, then 1:27-1:28, last couple in 1:30)
    100 recovery (back)

    CD (700/13 mins)
    8 x 50 on 1:00
    100 back
    200 EZ free

    My endurance is still wanting, but I just have to think of this as my base-building phase still, as much as I want to be in mid-season form... not after the inconsistent spring I had. I had my vitamin D tested and it came back really low; I think having no outdoor swimming venues here in Waco is taking its toll there... vitamin D was never an issue before. I think also that my schedule being very different this year is making a difference. I used to work/teach afternoons and nights in Wisconsin, so I would often be able to workout or be outside between 7 and 11 AM. Now I'm sort of trapped in the office or working inside at home from 8 to 6, so I only get outside early in the morning or late in the evening. I seem to be fatiguing a lot more quickly and it certainly could be a result of the low D. I think I also have to up my calorie intake. Since I'm eating mostly raw now I feel full a lot, but am obviously not getting enough calories from the fruits and veggies. Raw whole oats and Ezequial whole grain cereal, lots of nuts and seeds--these are helping me boost my calorie count without having to resort to processed foods, added sugars or oils. Started taking the B12 supplement again a few weeks back just to make sure that wasn't an issue.

    Tomorrow, I think, is going to be my back stroke focus day. I had a good back day last week with interval 50s (4 x on 1:00), 100s (2 x on 2:00) and a 200 on 4:00--cycling through that a few times made for a really tiring set. We'll see what I do tomorrow; I want to focus on the 200, but I like the 200 goal-pace intervals with shorter distances.
  3. 3000--back into the pool...

    by , May 23rd, 2015 at 10:23 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Well, the first part of this month I just couldn't get to the pool very regularly and after a promising start to April I think I only managed about eight swims for that entire month (clustered around the weekends). With school out and thing fairly quiet around the office, I'm hoping to be more regular about my workouts. I'm now on 6 days straight (averaging maybe 2k per day). Today I wanted to throw in some decent intervals... but, man, have I lost some fitness.

    Here's what I did (all freestyle):

    5 x 200 on 3:30 (desc. from 3:10 to 2:57)
    10 x 100 on 1:45 (1:27-1:30 mostly)
    20 x 50 on :50/:55 (:41-:44 mostly)

    3000 total in 52:30.

    If I can do this workout in a couple of weeks on a 1:40/100 interval instead of 1:45 (so 3:20, 1:40, :50 interval for the reps in each set), then I'll start adding reps, maybe another set of 100s after the 50s... eventually a full pyramid (200s, 100s, 50s, 100s, 200s); that would be an awesome 5000-yarder.


    Just thought I would jot this down too, since I'm going on two years as a Vegan. I've recently given my diet another overhaul... with the move and everything else going on over the last year a lot of processed food had crept into the diet... just because it's vegan doesn't mean it's necessarily good for you (Beer is vegan for example... mmm, beer). But I wanted to go back to the produce section and find some new ways to work in more whole foods, more raw foods... so I started juicing and blending lots of greens and veggies. I'm loving it, though my energy levels were all over the place at first as I had to wean my body off the sugars hidden in all those processed, packaged foods. Now I've got a routine down more or less: I eat one meal a day (salad or blackbean burger or mixed veggies chinese, maybe vegan tacos... my only criteria is that it has to have lots of veggies), I juice a bowl full of veggies once a day (usually a couple of carrots, cucumber, celery, green apple, ginger, lime, a bunch of greens), and then the rest of my food comes in the form of green smoothies. The weight is back down in the low to mid 160s (it had been creeping back up to 170), and I'm avoiding added sugar like the plague... now if I could just stay away from that late night bowl of salted popcorn!
  4. 4000 for Good Friday

    by , April 3rd, 2015 at 05:14 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    After having such a great weekend of swim workouts last weekend, I've been so busy I haven't been able to get back to the pool until today. Did a 4000 continuous swim in 1 hour 6 minutes. Here's how I swam it:

    5 x thru
    200 free
    200 back
    200 kick (w/ fins and board)
    200 pull (w/ buoy)

    After the first 800, which was essentially the warm-up, my 200s free were right around 3:00 (the 1650 pace) and felt fairly relaxed, the 200 pulls were a little slower than that (maybe in the 3:10 range). Backstroke felt really slow today, but I haven't been working on it much.
  5. 5000--1650 pace work

    by , March 29th, 2015 at 05:42 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    5000 SCY/1:30:30

    400 fr EZ on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:26-1:28)
    4 x 50 on 1:00
    4 x 25 on :30

    Set 1 (1100 on 20:00):
    10 x 100 fr on 1:45 (mostly 1:27s)
    100 bk recovery

    Set 2 (1100 on 20:00):
    10 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:27-1:29)
    100 bk recovery

    Set 3 (1100 on 20:00):
    10 x 100 fr on 1:45 (mostly 1:29; last 3 or so in 1:30-1:31)
    100 bk recovery

    10 x 50 fr on :50/:55
    100 bk EZ
  6. Two miles, 2400 faster than 1650 pace

    by , March 28th, 2015 at 04:12 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Swam 3500 SCY/70 minutes today with 2400 of it in a pace that is faster than my 1650 pace goal for the spring (1:30/100y). Long rests though, but I'm hoping this will trick my body into thinking the 1650 pace easier. I'm such a slow-twitch guy that it's real easy to fall into that 5K pace, which then makes the mile-pace seem really hard.

    200 warm-up (100 fr/100 bk)

    Set 1:
    8 x 25 on :30 (:18-:20)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (Desc. from :39-:36)
    2 x 100 on 2:00 (1:24, 1:22)
    1 x 200 on 4:00 (2:53)
    200 recovery/drill (used my new TYR flexfins here) on 5:00

    Set 2:
    8 x 25 on :25/30 (:18-:21)
    4 x 50 on :50/:55 (around :40)
    2 x 100 on 1:45 (1:26-1:27)
    1 x 200 on 3:30 (2:56)
    200 recovery/drill on 4:00 (w/ fins again)

    Set 3:
    8 x 25 on :30 (:17-:19)
    4 x 50 on 1:00 (around :38-:39)
    2 x 100 on 2:00 (1:24, 1:25)
    1 x 200 on 4:00 (2:57)
    200 bk recovery on 4:00

    300 cool-down
  7. Another 4000 in the cold pool

    by , March 22nd, 2015 at 09:04 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Overheard someone complaining to the lifeguard about how cold the water in the YMCA lap pool was today; he told this person that the small warm-water pool was open (and 90 degrees!). I have to say the water feels really cold the first few laps, but it's just fine after that... if there were more light in this airplane hanger of a natatorium it might not feel as cold; sunlight makes everything seem warmer this time of year. The first main set in today's work out was to work on pace for the 1650... 1800 in 30:00 with the 50s meant to trick my body into swimming dream pace for a little bit, 100s and 200s were respectively right under and right over the pace I'd like to be able to hold later this spring (1:30/100). Here's how it went:

    Warm-Up (1200/27:00)
    400 EZ on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 2:00 (desc from 1:32 to 1:25)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:39-:40)
    4 x 25 fr on :30 (:19-:21)
    100 BK on 2:00
    3:00 rest

    MS 1 (1800/30:00):
    6 x 50 fr on :50 (:40-:41)
    6 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:28-1:31)
    6 x 50 fr on :50 (:40-:42)
    3 x 200 fr on 3:20 (3:03, 3:01, 3:00)

    Recovery: 200 BK EZ

    MS 2 (500/10:00):
    20 x 25 on :30 (:18-:22)

    Cool-down: 200 BK EZ; 100 BR

    TOTAL: 4000 SCY/<1:18.00
  8. 4K: pace-100s workout

    by , March 21st, 2015 at 06:40 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    4400 SCY/1:20.00

    400 fr EZ on 7:00
    4 x 100 fr on 1:45
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00
    4 x 25 fr on :30

    3 x 1100 on 20:00
    --swum like so: 10 x 100 fr on 1:45, 1 x 100 bk, :30-:40 rest, repeat.

    Water at the YMCA still pretty cool, which is hard getting in, but nice for these hard workouts... don't feel the muscle fatigue as much. My times on the 100s were not that great, I wanted them to be around 1:28-1:29, but each set would start off the first few reps at goal pace and then quickly slide back to 1:31-1:32. Toward the end of each set I would be struggling to keep it around 1:33-1:34. I was pretty tired out from yesterday's 5000, but that's not a very good excuse.
  9. 5000 SCY... Waco YMCA finally re-opens its lap pool!

    by , March 20th, 2015 at 09:11 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    The heaters have apparently been fixed and the temperature was probably in the upper 70s for my lunchtime workout. Good for a long swim.

    5000 SCY/90 mins

    Warm-up (1600/29:00)
    2 x thru
    --2 x 200 fr on 3:30
    --1 x 100 bk on 2:00
    --1 x 100 kick
    --1 x 200 pull

    MS (3200/57 mins)
    4 x thru (continuous)
    400 fr
    100 bk
    100 kick
    200 pull

    Cool-down (200/4:00)
    4 x 50 fr, very EZ
  10. 4200-yard continuous

    by , March 13th, 2015 at 03:57 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    This one was a reprise--a bit longer--of a workout I did a couple of weeks ago; I always love getting to the end of a long one like this and realizing I've just done 500-600 yards of pure kick, or 1200 back... my legs were pretty shot on the last 100 kick.

    4200 SCY/1:20.00

    6 x thru
    --200 fr
    --200 bk
    --100 kick
    --200 pull w/ small buoy.

    BU pool didn't have the larger (or what I thought were regular size) pull-buoys, so I had to use this little tiny thing. On the pull section of the set, coming right off of the kick, I was trying to rest the legs a bit and work the hips, but having the smaller buoy meant I also had to be a lot more conscious of body position (pressing the upper torso) than I usually am on my pull sets I guess. Interesting how that sensation in the water with different equipment can make you focus on different aspects of the stroke.
  11. 4000-yarder at BU

    by , March 12th, 2015 at 04:46 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    This felt really good. Went to the Student Life Center at BU today. The competition pool at the YMCA is closed until further notice for repairs. Turns out that "cold" swim I did there a week ago would be the last one in that pool for a while. Last friday found me at the little 3-4 lane pool in a shed outside the Northside YMCA in Waco--what a contrast! 4000 yards in 90-degree water (air temp hovering in the 50s). Two swims at Deep Eddy this weekend in Austin were shorter: 2100 meters and 1800 meters; water was normal (70) but air temp (40s) and cold drizzle made these really cold swims (this pool is never heated AND it's outside; why can't the Waco YMCA leave its indoor competition pool open for laps when the heater is broken? It's not like there are ice bergs floating by). The last couple of days were baby-bear "just right" at the SLC... go Baylor Bears!

    Since it's spring break the pool was not crowded and I had no trouble getting a lane to myself even though they only have 3 lanes for lap swimming. We'll see how it looks next week when class is back in session. The only problem is a lack of pace clock... I asked, apparently they don't have one. Today I brought my phone to keep track, but yesterday I was stuck squinting at the only little clock they have... on a wall about 20 feet away, with a barely perceptible seconds hand... I wanted binoculars. Anyway, it's tough to keep track of times, but from what I can tell I wasn't going too slowly today. Just tried to relax and stroke it out... worked on breathing a lot (following the website article that was just posted on USMS home page).

    Here's what I did (4000 SCY/1:20.00):

    4 x 200 fr on 3:45
    4 x 50 bk on 1:00
    16 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:40-:45*)
    2 x 100 bk on 2:00 (under 1:40**)
    8 x 100 fr on 2:00 (mostly under 1:30; last 4 actually went on 1:45 instead of 2)
    1 x 200 bk on 4:00 (about 3:30, felt relaxed)
    4 x 200 fr on 3:45 (EZ, just stroking it out)
    4 x 50 bk on 1:10 (very EZ, cool down)

    *couldn't really tell, the second hand was usually coming up to the :45 by the time I got my goggles off and my eyes finally focused--am guessing these were averaging :41-:42)
    **Again, as nearly as I could tell by the time I got my goggles off and could focus on the clock... same can be said for all the other swim times mentioned here.
  12. cold water, continuous swim...

    by , March 2nd, 2015 at 11:11 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday at the YMCA I noticed the heat was off in the pool, which didn't bother me so much because the temp was still probably around 75-78... just about perfect really. Today the temp was much colder. If air temp was around 70, the water had to be in the 60s. OK, maybe low 70s, but it was painful getting in in that dark natatorium (amazing how much warmer 70 feels when you're headed into a sunny outdoor pool!). The age-group kids finishing up their practice as I was starting were complaining about it, so I knew the first few laps were going to be on the chilly side and that I'd better keep moving if I wanted to retain my body heat. I had planned a bunch of drill anyway, so I just did everything continuously.

    3500 SCY/65 mins

    5 x thru
    --200 free
    --200 back
    --100 kick w/ board
    --200 pull w/ buoy

    My kick is feeling stronger and my back stroke is pretty relaxed. Overall I feel a lot stronger now than I did even at the beginning of last week. I'm pretty psyched about getting through 3500 in only 65 minutes even though 500 was kick (no fins) and 1000 was backstroke.
  13. 4000 SCY

    by , March 1st, 2015 at 05:07 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I thought I was going to be really sore the day after sprint work, but felt pretty good and (BONUS) my normal 1650 pace didn't feel like a hard slog... it felt comfortable and relaxed by comparison. Here's what I did:

    8 x 100 fr on 2:00 (desc. 1:32-1:26)
    200 BK on 4:00
    8 x 100 fr on 1:50 (1:27-1:30)
    200 BK on 4:00
    8 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:29-1:35)
    200 BK on 4:00
    8 x 100 fr on 1:40 (1:30-1:36)
    200 BK on 4:00

    4000 SCY/1:17:00

    Toward the end of the third set of 100s I was starting to feel pretty icky, but recovered my pace after a few reps in the final set of 100s. I didn't miss any intervals in the final set, like I did earlier in the week, so I felt pretty good about that, but I'd really like to find 1:25-1:27 and be able to hold it for a whole set or two.
  14. first sprint day in a while...

    by , February 28th, 2015 at 05:08 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Haven't had the motivation or the company to do sprints in a long time, but figured I better start if I'm even going to try to do a meet at some point this SCY season. I am so slow and out of shape! I just did back and free today.

    WU (1000/20:00):
    200 fr
    100 kick
    200 pull
    200 fr
    100 kick
    200 pull

    1:00 rest

    MS 1 (1000 BK/27:00):
    20 x 25 bk on :40 (:21-:23)
    :40 rest
    10 x 50 bk on 1:20 (:45-:48)

    200 recovery (pull/bk)

    MS2 (1000 fr/25:00)
    20 x 25 fr on :40 (:16-:18)
    :40 rest
    10 x 50 on 1:00 (:36-:41)--occasionally took an extra :10-:20 rest if I was really winded, maybe after 3-4 reps.

    300--mixed bk, pull, kick

    3500 SCY in about 1:20:00.

    Met some of the kids from the Baylor Swim Club, who came in to use the 2-3 lanes next to me when I was in the middle of my Back set. I thought they might be some random high school swimmers, but they looked a little older, so when I finished I asked them if they were on a team and they mentioned the BU swim club. I told them since they were all college age, they should consider doing the nationals in San Antonio (only about a 3-hour drive for us). Maybe I'll start joining them on Saturdays for their sprint day... it's really hard for an endurance guy like me to get up for sprints without teammates to help push me.
  15. Late evening swim...

    by , February 27th, 2015 at 10:46 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Got in last night for a bit of detox swimming at the YMCA and thought I might push it in the middle of the swim, but might have pushed too hard... had a hard time coming down afterward and felt pretty close to a bonk; remembered that I hadn't eaten very much all day, but by that point (9:30-10:00) it was too late, damage was done.

    3500 SCY/63 minutes

    WU (1100 SCY/19 mins):
    200 fr
    200 pull
    200 fr
    200 pull
    200 fr
    100 bk

    1:00 rest

    MS (1800/30:00--all free):
    6 x 50 on :50
    3 x 100 on 1:40
    3 x 200 on 3:20
    3 x 100 on 1:40
    6 x 50 on :50*

    *Knew I'd pushed it too far here, because I missed the interval on the last few and finished the set in 30:05... it was like my arms were quick-hardening cement, in fact the arms/shoulders hadn't felt so tired since the last time I spent an afternoon mixing cement by hand.

    CD (600/12-13 mins):
    600 mixing EZ pull and back
  16. The road back...

    by , February 25th, 2015 at 09:20 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Looking back at my posts from the beginning of the year I feel like I've squandered so much time over the last month... trying to get back into shape, but missing so many days. By the middle of February I was practically back to square one again. Last weekend was good, four days in a row with a swim (Thursday thru Sunday), though only the last one was over 2500. Today, after missing two days in a row, I managed to get in 3K.

    3300 SCY in 62 mins:

    5 x thru
    --200 fr
    --100 bk
    --200 pull
    --100 kick
    6 x 50 fr on 1:00

    The long continuous swim is still the thing I think I like the best; it satisfies my need to stay in motion for ever increasing time periods. This workout helped me keep going, but also throw in some variety. Since I only stopped to rest for the cool down (6 x 50 on 1:00), I was never tempted to pull myself out of the water in disgust over my slowness... which happened a couple of days last week when I got to around the 2000 mark. But I've been on this road before, just have to keep plugging away.
  17. 3K Lunch

    by , January 20th, 2015 at 05:31 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    I observed MLK Day by not posting to the blog, though I did get a relaxing lunch-hour swim in: 3300 SCY in 59:00.

    5 x thru:
    200 fr
    200 pull w/ buoy
    200 bk

    300 EZ fr cool-down
  18. Ahead of GTD...

    by , January 18th, 2015 at 04:32 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    "Congratulations!" I'm ahead of the goal for the second day in a row; a mile ahead now in fact. Today's workout included some more freestyle distance work, 3700 SCY in 69 minutes swum thus:

    6 x 200 (fr, pull, bk)
    8 x 25 fr on :30
    1:00 rest

    3 x 200 fr on 3:30 (2:58-3:01)
    6 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:27-1:31)
    12 x 50 fr on :50/:55 (:43-:45)

    4 x 50 bk on 1:00 (:48-:52)

    100 pull
    100 bk pull
    100 bk
  19. 4000; found a rhythm finally

    by , January 17th, 2015 at 04:08 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today was distance day, but I was a little concerned about how off I've felt lately, how slow my turnover, etc. So I got a lane where I could see the pace clocks really well in the last two or three strokes before each wall. I worked the hip rotation and hand entry into a rhythm to make sure I was going at a stroke per second. The times dropped immediately. Wow, I guess I'd let myself slow into a slide and glide mode lately that was lengthening my stroke but making my stroke rate really low. When I focused on rate instead of length today I found my SL didn't suffer that much, but it was much easier to maintain the faster speeds.

    Here's how the workout went:

    10 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:29-1:33)
    100 bk EZ
    :30 rest
    10 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:25-1:30)
    100 bk EZ
    :30 rest
    10 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:27-1:33)
    100 bk EZ
    :30 rest
    5 x 100 fr on 1:45 (1:29-1:36)
    200 bk EZ

    4000 SCY/71 mins

    Found a really good rhythm and was able to hold form particularly well in the second set of 10 x 100 and in the first 6-8 reps of the third set before things (the form) started to fall apart. That's probably close to a mile at an SR around 16-18 per length and 100 pace averaging 1:27-1:28/100. I did lots of counting today, which helped distract me too as the lactic acid started building up.

    So the endurance still needs some work, but I feel very encouraged by today's performance!
  20. 3000 with a broken 1650

    by , January 16th, 2015 at 11:05 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Again, I felt like I was swimming in jello today... just real lethargic, low energy, couldn't speed up my turnover. I did 3000 and decided to do a broken 1650 to get a baseline. Wow, have I lost a ton of fitness since last year! I think I ended up around 27:15 after subtracting the :10 rests. I was flirting with 25:00 the last couple of years for my 1650s in the middle of spring, so this seems like a huge step back (even from last week).

    Here's the whole thing:

    400 EZ on 8:00
    4 x 100 fr on 2:00 (1:29-1:33)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (:42-:44)
    4 x 25 fr on :30
    100 bk

    MS (broken 1650)
    400 + :10
    300 + :10
    200 + :10
    150 + :10
    100 + :10
    50 + :10
    100 + :10
    150 + :10
    = 28:35 (-1:20 = 27:15)

    CD: 150 bk

    This total time was slower than my LCM 1500 in June; even slower than my SCM 1500 in my first meet ever, just over two years ago... after making so much progress, it's sad to see it all vanish in a matter of months; hopefully it won't take too long to get back into the swing of things.
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