Run for the Zoo 2011

Annie and I had our game faces ON.Grrrr….

After running a 5k and an 8k together, we were ready to tackle the Lincoln Park Run for the Zoo 10k race yesterday. Yes we were. Sure, we were both a little nervous. Me being semi-undertrained and Annie was doing her first 10k ever. But that’s ok. We had our cheer squad with us:Mon actually got up in the early 5:00 hour and joined the caravan to the race!

She also makes a great bag holder.

Even though we were more happy to have her along for the moral support. Not just to hold our bags.

I swear…

Anyway, it couldn’t have been a more perfect day in Chicago yesterday. At about race time (8:20), it was warm, but not disgustingly humid. A win in my book.

Annie and I are different paces, so we separated pretty much right away. I was on my own in the dreaded first mile:A look of concentration as I swerved back and forth trying not to tackle anyone. And to also get around my biggest pet peeve- a line of 5 or 6 people jogging it together. Really? Can’t you pair off? Because this isn’t a road race- I can’t get by you. The 1,000ish people behind you can’t either. Be considerate. And don’t get mad when I accidentally hit you (and apologize) as I try to slink through a small opening you somehow let happen. 

This is why the first mile is one of the miles I hate the most. And the reason the first mile ended up taking me over 9 minutes to complete.

What??? I gotta pick this up! And I did. The second mile (as guesstimated according to the clocks at the mile markers) took me less than 8 minutes.

What??? I gotta slow down my roll.

And I did. My pacing was awful. My splits were pretty much back and forth the entire time. Granted, some of this had to do with the conditions of the race itself. I love that part of the race ends up winding through the zoo. It’s cool. However, I wish they’d wind us on the narrow trails past the animals in the second half of the race- not the first half. Because, by making it the first half, the pack has very little time to thin out. So it’s a cluster of madness. Annie also mentioned that she felt like she was practically jogging in place at various points because there really wasn’t anywhere to go.

Other than that, and the fact that a few stray vehicles somehow made it through the closed streets and were threatening to run some runners over at street crossings, I don’t have too many complaints. Quite a few of my races have been in Lincoln Park and I really like the trails and scenery there.

But back to the end of my race…

Somehow, after two steep inclines in the last mile and a half (which were an unexpected surprise to me being as how I’ve never encountered them in a race here before), I was ready to be done. But once the mile 6 marker was in sight with only .2 miles to go, I just started to haul azz.

As in, my legs were working faster than the rest of my body was mentally prepared for. Had it been any more than .2 miles left, an accident may have occurred. I can see it now- “RUNNER FLIES OVER FINISH LINE- falls and gets trampled by hundreds behind her…”

My final time was 53:45- an 8:41 pace. Clearly this was 3 minutes slower than my PR, but whatev- I was thrilled!

That put me 372/1505 overall and 47/290 in my division.

I hurried through the lines to find Mon and set ourselves up to watch Annie finish:Someone totally photo bombed. But do ya see her?  Weeee!

As she ran by, she had the energy to look at me and shout “I’m never doing this again”.

Fair enough. 6.2 miles is no joke.

However… 20 minutes after that? “Yeah… I think I’d do it again.”

That’s my girl. ;)

It goes without saying how lucky I am. Not only do I have someone to share my love of running with, but I also have someone who just loves to come along for the crazy antics:Seriously… Mon was everywhere- camera ready.

She was where’s waldo in yellow shorts:Because we had plans for a birthday dinner later that night, it was decided to pass up the traditional breakfast after a race (I know- crazy!). However, when I got home, the thought of dinner still didn’t keep me from eating my weight in cereal.

Some things never change…

Pre-10K Happenings

Smart thinking.

I don’t practice this all the time.

And am the first to admit it.

However, most of the time, I’ve got it covered.

Like on Friday night. I stayed in. Partially because I was zonked from happy hour the night before. Partially because I’m broke as a joke. Partially because I’ve got a 10k that I could be more prepared and this is my way of making up for it.

Whatever the reason, I did it. And fell asleep on my couch by 11:00.

Party on, Wayne.

Before I settled down to pass out for the night, I did go for a solid 5-mile run. It was at an 8:35 pace. My friend Annie, who is also running the Run for the Zoo 10k with me this morning, asked me what I was trying to run it in. Honestly, I haven’t thought about it. Maybe because of my current “funk” I’ve been in with running. My fastest 10k was last July at the Fleet Feet Women’s Festival at 50:40 (8:10 pace). Which was awesome. It was in the middle of my Rock n’ Roll Half training, and I was really hitting my stride (no pun intended).

However, I’ve stepped back from that mode (like… a lot). And my runs have mostly consisted of 3 or 4 miles at a more relaxed pace.

So who knows? I have no idea what I’m capable of. But keeping it around 8:30ish or under 53 minutes will make me happy. I think unrealistic goals of beating my PR from last year would just not be smart thinkin’.

What happened to my race mojo?

For real… where did it go?

Anyway, last night Annie invited me over to have a little pre-race dinner together and some craft time:We are running as part of the Lifeway-Kefir team and were given some t-shirts to wear (if we wanted to). I didn’t mind the t-shirts, but we decided to spice them up a little.

Because that’s how we roll.

Annie was also cool enough to make the pre-race dinner for us:When she mentioned salmon, I just HAD to have dinner with her. I’m terrified of cooking fish. Yes, I’ve been lectured on how silly this is. But I’m not listening. Too busy enjoying the salmon other people make me… ;)

Anyway, here I am. Super early on Sunday. Trying to be smart and not drink too much coffee before I leave.

It shoots right through me.

I’d rather spend my time before the race stretching. Not visiting the porta potty multiple times. They’re gross.

Wish me luck! (on the race, not the porta potty thing)

Time To Refocus

Good morning everyone! Happy April 18th!Wait a sec- what is this? NOT funny, dude.

I heard the forecast calling for snow. But when I got up a little early to fit in The Shred and saw this? Accumulation? COME ON.

I’m straight up discombobulated.

As is my body when it comes to my workouts since the St. Louis Half Marathon. (Did you like that transition? I enjoyed it.)

I guess I’m just feeling a little lost? Maybe because I haven’t ran once since the half. Not sure what my deal is with that one. All of my trips to the gym (all 3 of them) have been a combo of elliptical and the stairmill. Like yesterday- 25 minutes on both.

And I’ve done The Shred twice. Jillian punished me severely for letting the dvd collect dust for a couple of weeks again. Lesson learned. With this being my week of going into work a little later, I plan to spend more quality time with Jillian and get my strength back to par.

And even though the elliptical and The Shred is a workout- it’s not running. I miss it. Hopefully this week I’ll start it up again without too many issues. Because I’ve got another race in June…

The Run for the Zoo in Lincoln Park! I did the 5k race a couple of years ago with my cousin, and this year I’ll be doing the 10k with my girl, Annie! It’s a fun race because it actually goes through parts of the zoo. Totally beats the view I get from running a few miles on the tread.

And it hopefully gives me some motivation to get back into the swing of things. Annie’s already been hard at work training for it, so I’ve got my work cut out for me before June. Now that the half marathon business is behind me, I want to focus on speed a little more. All the longer races had me focusing on distance. I miss feeling fast. Can’t even tell you the last time I had an 8:00-minute mile. Time to fix that.

Alright… time for me to go scrap snow off my car and head to work.

Never thought I’d say that in April…

Fleet Feet Women’s 10k

So after my long weekend of fun and debauchery with my hometown girls, I did the unthinkable.  And got up at 5:00 on Sunday morning for a 10k at Montrose Harbor.

But I wasn’t the only one who got up that early.  Oh no.  My girls, Beth and Sarah, are just awesome and said they wanted to go with me to watch. Aren’t they fantastic?  Such troopers!  Sarah said they were filling in for my ‘rents.  I think mom and pops would be proud- they cheered for me very loudly.  Even before we started and people were standing around.  Yep… it was awesome.

This race was really up in the air for me.  I had no idea how I was going to do because we had been out and didn’t get back to my apartment until midnight because we had seen these kids:Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress.  They opened for Rock Candy at Durty Nellies on Saturday night.  And they were awesome.  Just their stage presence was entertaining.  But they could play- and sing- like none other!  We ended up groovin’ to everything from Third Eye Blind to Miley Cyrus, to The Little Mermaid Soundtrack to a song off of Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  Although I’m not sure how Aerial would appreciate their suggestive nature when it came to the line “down where it’s wetter”.  Pervs.  But I still loved them!  A few of my girlfriends from the suburbs had come out to play and we were all in agreement that we might have to become their newest groupies.  Good times…

Wait… what?  Where was I?  Oh yeah… the race!  So needless to say, after getting less than 5 consecutive hours of sleep for 3 nights in a row, I was exhausted to say the least.  And the Lou Malnati’s pizza and Goose Island draft is probably not the best thing to be sitting like a brick in my stomach.  I’m very competitive with myself and usually am such a baby about my pre-race routine.  But this was different.  I really just wanted one more solid race before the Rock n’ Roll Half in two weeks (oh my god…).  And I had friends in town and wasn’t about to not enjoy myself on Saturday night.  I figured I’d just treat it like I do any other 6-mile run.  Just take it as it comes.I put myself at the back of the 8:30 pace area.  If anything, I can just find someone with a solid stride and latch on.  We started and you can imagine my surprise when I got through the first mile in under 8 minutes.  Oh crap!  I’m screwing myself over waaaayyyy too early!  No good…  And then my second mile was at about 9 minutes and that was just waaaaayyyyy too fast.  I really am like Goldilocks.  Mile 3 was approximate 8:20 and that was just about right… ;)

I kept the stride up and pushed pretty hard on the last mile.  When I came up towards the finish, I realized I was actually going to beat my last 10k time.Hence the goofy grin.

I finished in 50:40- an 8:10 pace.  This is amazing to me.  I’ll give my new shoes most of the credit, because I have no idea where I would have pulled the energy from.  ;)

After I got through the finish and grabbed a couple waters (hey- free water is free water), I turned to find where I had seen Sarah and Beth as I ran through.  I couldn’t find them right away, so I just collapsed in the grass and figured they’d find me.  I was spent and could not go any further!I ended up placing 129/1460 overall and 9/110 in my age division- which I was more than happy about.  I don’t normally place as much importance on it, but this is my last race in the easier age category.  So I’m going to enjoy it while I still can.  Deal with it!

When I decided my legs were good to go again, we got up and got moving.  Breakfast was necessary.  A guy friend who shares the same interest in good food/restaurants suggested going to Over Easy Cafe.  So we raced there and got in without any wait- which was clutch in this case because my hunger had started to quickly attack and Beth and Sarah were yet to eat that morning.I got one of the Specials- The Sweet & Savory.  You can’t tell, but bacon was mixed into the pancake batter.  Oh yes.  A sinful idea for sure- even though I wouldn’t have complained if there was more bacon because you could barely even notice the extra flavor.  Everything was delicious and I am not ashamed to say I got through almost all of this before I gave up on the eggs.  Starvin’ Marvin… 

While at the restaurant, Beth and Sarah gave me a little birthday present. Like I said- sweethearts.  :)  They even marked their favorite quotes for me.  :)  What a way to start my birthday week!

Even though a nap was inserted into my day yesterday, I’m still a little behind.  This week’s going to be another crazy one in preperation for more visitors coming on Friday, but I’m going to do my best to insert a few more hours in a night.  I’m not as young as I used to be!  Aaaaahhhh!

Happy Monday!

Overpronation

Thank you so much for all the advice about shin splints.  Like I said, it’s really never been a painful issue, just an “off” feeling setting in.  And I’m glad that I’ve had the common sense to chill out a few days and even move my long run day as to not press the issue.

Sounds like more stretching and ice will be involved in my regular routine…

That being said… I made the decision to do the long run yesterday.  I’m just going to throw that out there…

I hesitated a bit in the morning.  I really couldn’t decide what to do.  Everything felt ok.  It felt better than the 3-4 previous days.  So I decided just to go to the trail.  And told myself if I had any issues, I’d just walk the rest of the loop that I was on, and maybe go do the bike or elliptical for a little low impact workout.

I had  no issues!  And ran the whole 9 miles I had set out to do.  Now, before you think I’m completely up the wall nuts, I will say I did take a few extended breaks for water and walking around to make sure everything was still “doing ok”.  The only thing that made the last mile and a half really hard for me (and I seriously had an argument in my head about if I should finish it) was because it was starting to get ridiculously hot and because I had taken walk breaks, it had only extended my run that much further into warmer temps.  Ick.

Final stats?  (breaks not included)  9 miles at an 8:38 pace.  Like I said, usually, I just keep the time going because I take super short water breaks, but had stopped my Nike+ this time because the breaks were much longer.  Either way, I’m happy with it.  And I made sure to ice myself down after I got home.  :)  So far we’re all good and back in business…  I’m just being really good at icing down after workouts now just to be safe.  Yea!

I also ran some errands.  Which included a trip to Fleet Feet!  I have been due for a new pair of shoes and was yet to get my stride analyzed and be properly fitted.  And since I want to make sure to have enough time to break them in before the half marathon, I figured this was as good of a day as any to go.

They are just AWESOME at the store.  The guy helping me was so nice and answered every little dumb question I had.  After having me put on a pair of test shoes and jog a little, he concluded I was with a good number of runners who overpronate, which basically means the feet roll a little too much inward when I take a step. Any other overpronaters out there?  Holla’!  So to neutralize the issue, we looked for a shoe with moderate support.  He also asked me what kind of running I do, how often, etc.  After trying on about four pair, I came out with these bad boys:I wish there’d be more of a selection of styles/colors (because I’m girly like that).  But they’re comfy.  And as long as they do their job, you won’t here any complaints from me!

Speaking of Fleet Feet, I’m actually doing a race they’re sponsoring next week:

I’m running the 10k- which will be my second one this month.  Since I just recently did the Frontier Days 10k Stampede, I’m hoping I’ll have a better feel for the race going into it.  Plus it’s going to be much bigger, so I’m pretty excited about it!  Friends are going to be here this weekend (no worries- they knew I was doing the race before they scheduled the visit) and I’m hoping that we’ll get to go out for a fun breakfast afterwards if they decide to come along to spectate.  Because, let’s face it, going out to breakfast after a race is half the fun!

Happy Monday, everyone!  Let’s do this thing!

Frontier Days 10k Stampede

My chill Saturday night at the movies really paid off for me when I got up a little after 6:00 on Sunday morning.  Even though it was my first 10k of this month (I’m pretty sure I’m doing another one in two weeks), I wasn’t really nervous at all.  Honestly, I really didn’t think about it too much until the night before.  No idea why.  Maybe I just didn’t see a point in stressing out about it?  I’m far enough in training that it wasn’t going to be a problem to actually run it- I was just wondering how well I’d do with pacing myself.

Did anyone else do a holiday run this weekend?

Mon went with me as emotional support and took over photographer duties.  She was sitting there waiting with her coffee when I walked out of my apartment.  She’s awesome like that.  :) 

I knew of the Frontier Days festival last year when I moved to the area, but didn’t go.  So we were both quite surprised in how big this race was (for a smaller suburb race).  A lot of it had to do with the fact that they started the 5 and 10k’s at the same time.  Here I am all chipper and ready to go.  Or slightly delirious for being up this early on a holiday morning?  Either/or.We all packed into one of the neighborhood streets.  The gunshot went off.  Weeee!

The first two miles were pretty crowded.  I tend to enjoy finding someone to pace with and just go.  This was hard for me because I couldn’t differentiate who was running the 5k and who was running the 10k.  So I waited to do that after the third mile when the two groups of racers split.  After mile 3, I followed a girl and kept a solid pace around 8:20.  This was working out well, but with a mile and a half to go, I wanted to kick it up.  A guy passed me who seemed to be going a decent speed.  So I took it up a notch and decided to follow him for a bit.  It was a challenge at that point, but I kept an 8:10 pace the rest of the way.

The last 20 seconds were a blur.  And quite stressful because I was serious disheveled.  All the sudden, there’s Mon to my right.  The finish line.  Then someone to my left ripping off my bib number.  Seriously- chip timers.  It’s what all the cool kids are doing… Let’s get with the times!I guess this was taken before I noticed Mon standing there.  Or at least I like to think it was- so that I would have smiled instead of snarled.  Oops…

I finished the 10k in 51:21- or an average pace of 8:17.  I was cool with this.  But I know I have a little more work to do in order to get that goal time I’ve got in the back of my head for the Rock n’ Roll half that is LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!  Eek!

Let’s see if I can shave some time off in a couple weeks on my next 10k?

Afterwards, I got in line for the goods…I’m now stocked up for my pre-workout snacks next week.  Thanks Park District of Arlington Heights!  :)

All in all, I had a good time.  So did Mon.  She was apparently in people and pet-watching heaven.Apparently ALL the neighbors came out to watch… :)  I did really enjoy that- people were all up that early, sitting out on lawn chairs cheering everyone on.  Every few blocks, people would have their sprinklers on and directed towards the streets for our benefit.  On the first mile I was kind of annoyed.  By the last I was running straight for the H20 whenever I saw it.  Little kids also had hoses in their hands, eager to spray you down if you indicated it.  I was smart enough to stay away from that situation- there was fire in their eyes that made me slightly uncomfortable…

Afterwards, it was time for the mandatory post-race breakfast.  Rough morning, right?  ha ha  I was hungry pretty much immediately, and so was Mon, but as we were walking back to my car, I asked if could swing by my apartment so I could change.

Mon:  Well it doesn’t make a bit of difference to me, Amy.  You just ran.  It’s ok to be a little sweaty.  I don’t care.

I contemplated what I had on.  My running shorts and a soaked sports bra top.

Me:  Well, I should probably have on underwear and not be nipping out in the restaurant.  I’m sure the church crowd will be joining us soon.

It was a good call.

Another good call?  Sausage and mushroom omelet with rye toast at Walker Brothers.  Oh buddy…

And so that was my race experience from yesterday.  I’m going to let you go now- I have my day off of work to go enjoy.  Do you have the day off from work?  How are you spending it?

Have a good one!  :)

Somedays I Just Feel Old

Good morning, all!

I’m way too chipper for my own good.  I assume because it’s FRIDAY and it falls on a HOLIDAY weekend! You’ve been warned.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?  After my long day of Wrigleyville shenanigans on Wednesday, yesterday was a bit of an adjustment.  Does your eating schedule getting thrown off (type of food and when you’re eating it) kinda mess with you?  It does for me.  Does that make me sound like I’m 80?  That’s cool- I probably get as much fiber as an 80-year-old, so I’m down with the older crowd…

Since I was feeling a little heavy and gross from the grease and beer I had the day before (seriously- that just sounds gross… so why is it soooo good at the same time??? ), I participated in what makes me feel fresh and happy.  Salad detox!Helllloooooo big green!  Does anyone remember that movie, by the way?  Props if you do- I think I watched it 50 times in a row.  Or something obnoxious like that.  Which is ironic since I professed earlier about my noninterest in soccer.  Anyhoo, this amazing salad was filled with broccoli, edamame and peas.  This was my quiet lunch time with French Women Don’t Get Fat.  I’m in the middle of two books right now, which is weird, but it’s cool because Love the One You’re With is a story whereas this one is more of a “how-to guide”.  What do I think of this book so far?  I’m about 2/3 of the way through and can’t decide if I’m learning an immense amount or just finding her storytelling style amusing.  After I’m done, I’ll reflect.

Did my run last night go as well as the one I did with Pham?  Well.  The plan said 4.5 miles- I was shooting for 5.  I did 4.65.  But I was proud of my time of an 8:16 pace.  Sure, it wasn’t what Pham and I pulled, but considering some of the pace times I had been logging (8:30-8:55), this made me very happy.  I think it helped to know that I could keep that speed for more than just my 5k races.  Sweet.

Speaking of races, did I mention the 10k I’m doing this weekend?  No?  Well, let me inform you:Originally, I didn’t want to do it because I’m looking at another 10k later in July.  And it’ll be smaller- whereas I usually like a bigger run.  But seriously- it’s so close to where I live.  Why wouldn’t I do it?  So yeah- I sacrificed my Saturday night for the early wakeup call.  The race starts at 6:30!  The college-version of me would have slapped myself silly for this decision. 

But like I said, I’m becoming an 80-year-old at heart.

I’m just really curious as to what my time will end up being.  I think it may be a helpful indicator of how the Rock n’ Roll half marathon will go (which is less than a MONTH away… the countdown begins!!!).

So that’s the plan for part of Sunday.  Mon says she’s breaking out the lawn chair and coming with me to cheer me on.  I told her she needs to pick up some ridiculous shades, a floppy hat and a flag to wave as I pass by.  Maybe also one of those handheld fans with a mist-thingie attached?  How cool would she be???

And here it is- my last day of trying new things for breakfast (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my usual oatmeal just a little).Breakfast burrito!  Usually I have these bad boys for dinner once or twice a week.  But since eggs seem to be treating  me well in the A.M., I decided to roll them up in a tortilla wrap (in hopes the carbs would be what hold me over well until lunch).  I also added Quaker Oatmeal Squares on the side for a little more carb-a-liciousness.  I swear my dad got me hooked on these when I was younger.  And I felt like an old person when I ate them.  Now it doesn’t bother me so much… See?  I’m actually in the 80-year-old mindset.  Awesome.

*Oh and let me just say- bear with me on all the layout changes and such.  Things are subject to change over the next few days or so.  But let me just give a shout out and big thanks to Jaime for helping me out with designing a new header!  I am horribly inadequate in photoshop.  Which happens to be her thing- if you don’t believe me, click here.

Have a good weekend and stay safe!  I’m outtie!

Thinking About 2010

Can you believe it’s less than four weeks away?!?!  This year seemed to fly by…  

In the true holiday spirit, I’ve decided to think about the upcoming year and have made a few resolutions:

1.  Run a couple 10k’s.  Last year, I made the resolution to run a 5k.  After my first one, I got sucked into the world of running and races.  I’ve always enjoyed running, but this took my love of it to a whole new level.  My cousin and I are doing the Shamrock Shuffle in March- so the 8k I’ve already got in the bag.  I’m thinking bigger already…  Once my leg is ready to go (still need a name to use when cursing it…), it’s so on!  For Christmas, I asked for something to track my miles/split times.  So hopefully that’ll be just what I need to get serious about longer runs.  I’m still going to do 5k’s, but I want at least two 10k’s under my belt by 2011.

2.  Cook more for myself.  I hate doing it when it’s just me.  That’s been my excuse.  When I was seriously dating someone, we cooked together a lot (might of not been healthy all the time- but we were proud of ourselves, nonetheless).  But seriously… that’s not really an excuse.  I eat semi-healthy, but it needs to be a little better and more well-rounded.  I shouldn’t really be allowed to eat oatmeal for dinner just because it’s easy (can we say carb overload, anyone???).  Or cereal for that matter- I think last year I ate as much of it for dinner as I did for breakfast.  I also shouldn’t be eating Lean Cuisines or any other form of healthy frozen meals every day for lunch.  It easily keeps my budget for lunch under $2 a day (I buy offbrand and hit sales like a crazy woman).  But if I spent more time cooking, I’d have more to bring in for lunch that WASN’T frozen and pumped with preservatives.  It’s a winning idea for a million reasons.

3. Better Cross-training.  Running has become a big part of my life, and an even bigger part of my workout.  I have other muscles that are crying to be used a little more.  I didn’t take Exercise TV seriously at first, but I think I’m going to use that to get started.  Yes, that means more yoga (I’m scrunching my face in only slight disgust at the thought nowadays), but also pilates!  My fav workout friend and I have also played with the idea of taking a good class- now would be the time to sign up… Like I said before, it would do my body good to be challenged in more areas- and who doesn’t love being more flexible???

4.  Take more pictures on a regular basis.  Ok, this seems like a weird resolution.  But I’m in love with my photo albums that are scattered all over my apartment (seriously, some are tucked away in boxes still because I don’t have room to put them all out).  And lately the trend has been to either get really camera happy and take 60-70 pics in one night, or not take any at all- or maybe one or two.  Seriously, I barely have any pictures of November- if others were to look at my photos, you wouldn’t even realize it existed!  But I did so many things!  I like documenting my nights/days with pictures, so I have no idea why I’ve become this way.  I want to be able to go back and look and all the things I’ve gotten to do/see over the years.  So this needs to improve. 

5. Take a serious vacation.  Not a mental health day.  Trips to St. Louis DO NOT count.  The majority of the days are not allowed to be over the weekend.  I need a true VACATION somewhere.  I want a beach.  Or a roadtrip that includes driving through more than one state.  Everyone deserves one every once in awhile.  2010 is the year for mine.  Destination unknown…

I think these are five solid ideas to start me off.  Like any set of goals, I realize they need to become a little more measurable.  I’ve still got the rest of December to figure out that.  But at least I’m on the right track!

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