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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Mermaid Dumps Ice Water on Her Head

I've had brains on the brain this week.  I had my three-year follow up MRI on my brain a few days ago.  It's been 3 and a half years since my surgery.  In all honesty, I don't think about the surgery too often, but I was a bit stressed to be back in the MRI tube (and relieved when it was over).  I get the results next week -- fingers crossed.  And I get to visit my awesome brain doc (surgical genius and all-around mensch).

I thought I had escaped the ubiquitous Ice Bucket Challenge for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, but my friend Peggy Moss nominated me.  Peggy is a brilliant author and a good egg, and it's for a good cause, so here is my video (with gratitude to Ellis Peters for his camera work):

ALS claimed one of my father's friends nearly 20 years ago (one of the kindest people I've ever known).  Two of my friends also lost parents to ALS.  It's an awful disease.  If dumping some ice water on my head raises awareness, it's the least I can do.  You can also donate to the ALS Association  here.   

Deep Water Running at the Y

On a cheerier note, my fabulous teacher Robert Valentin will continue to teach Deep Water Running at the 92nd Street Y this fall.   Starting September 10, Robert will offer deep water running classes on Wednesday mornings from 6:30-7:30 and Friday evenings from 6:30-7:30.  The class is not on the 92nd Street Y website, so email Robert at for more information (you can pay by the class).  It's doubtful I'll make it to the Y for the morning class, unless the pool is filled with coffee.  The Friday evening class sounds like a healthy way to start the weekend -- and the Y pool is very nice.  

Labor Day Special at Aqua Studio

Aqua Studio is offering a special on classes over Labor Day weekend.  Classes are $36.  On Monday morning at 10, Ed (great teacher) is offering a Boy Band special interval class.  At 11 and 12 they are offering Interval Sing Along classes (my chance to combine my enthusiasm for aqua fitness with my secret guilty pleasure -- karaoke).  I will let you know how it is.  

Aqua Boot Camp in the News

Final tidbit ... Ellis Peters' Aqua Boot Camp class got a good writeup in the New York Times Urban Athlete column.  Ellis is an awesome teacher -- I'm very happy that he is getting good press.  The photo in the article is of the 92nd Street Y (I recognize one of my classmates from last summer's class, in the foreground).

- MM

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mermaid at Riverbank State Park

The summer is winding down, and I've been a little delinquent on my blogging.  I had grand plans to do an open water swim at the end of the summer.  I did manage one swim in a lake.  Unfortunately, my meniscus-challenged left knee remains uncooperative and I've taken a brief hiatus from the pool to let it calm down (and I squeezed in a trip to Calgary, Canada to catch up with the White Rabbit, the Pink Rabbit, and the Rabbit Grandparents -- lots of fun in the Canadian Rockies).  I'm on the mend and headed back to Deep Water Running and Boot Camp in the coming week.  In the meantime, here is some information about Riverbank State Park.

Riverbank State Park

I may have mentioned my fabulous neighbor M on previous occasions.  She is in her 70s and is a good role model for how to enjoy retirement.  She takes tons of classes (fitness, sculpture, music) and has a great lively group of friends and an incredible joie de vivre.  I took a day off for my birthday last month, and M invited me to come to her water exercise class at Riverbank State Park on the Upper West Side.  Riverbank was a bit controversial when it was built (it's built on top of a sewage plant) and I had never been inside.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  There is an ice skating rink, a nice gymnasium/fitness center, an outdoor track, a restaurant and -- of course -- a beautiful Olympic sized pool (as well as an outdoor pool).

The pool was huge and clean with beautiful views of the river (I could see the Palisades and George Washington Bridge as we exercised).  M treated me to the Senior/Adaptive Water Exercise Class, which meets several days a week (it's very affordable -- $10 for drop in and $2 for Seniors).  Our teacher, David, took us through a variety of exercises and stretches using noodles, buoyancy bells and kickboards.  Overall, the 45 minute class was a fairly gentle workout, but I loved the arm exercises using the kickboard for resistance.  There were about 50-60 students in the class, but the pool wasn't crowded.  I loved the people in the class -- I was one of the younger ones (which is a nice thing as I teeter towards 50).  There is a real sense of community at Riverbank (lots of chitchatting in the locker room after class).  My fellow students were lively and welcoming.  The locker and shower facilities are clean but I did see one roach in the locker room -- but hey, it's New York.  

Riverbank is easily reached by the M11 bus (which goes right to the park) and the 1 train.  Most of the aqua fitness classes are held in the morning, but the pool might be a good option for lap swimming later in the day.

What Not to Wear

I was flipping through New York Magazine and stumbled across this article on the latest swim fashion craze from China -- the facekini.

For once, I am speechless.  Suntans are not considered fashionable in China.  It is supposed to provide UV protection, but -- as one of my friends pointed out -- you would be rocking a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer tan-line.  There really is no way to "Make it Work."

- MM