Covering My Bases

Hey kids! Happy Thursday!

I’m glad I’m not the only one who is a little irked by the sometimes unrealistic expectations when it comes to working out. At no point was I trying to sound like a workout snob, I just wish people would understand it takes a little more than getting the gym pass and buying the sneaks- although both are a noteworthy first step. Just like anything else, you gotta put some effort into it.

Even if that means fitting it in where you can. Like with regular morning workouts…

It was my last workout of the week. Other than shaking my booty on the dance floor, it’s a vacation weekend away from the gym.

Vacation calls for such things sometimes.

But we made it count. As mentioned yesterday, there was a desire to get 4 miles in as to continue to cover my bases when it comes to the 10k I’ve got in a few weeks. The distance was a success. The time? 8:44 pace. Not my best of the week. We’ll overlook it, though. The win for me comes from the fact that I wasn’t so much fatigued by the end of the 4 miles. I was just bored with being on the treadmill.

Next week, though, that should change. I have a friend who works in a building right next to me who has been asking to start running together during lunch a few times a week. He says he needs a little kick in the butt to get back into it (knee surgery last year). There’s a forest preserve near us and since the weather has been mild and anything but summer-like, I said sure.

Hopefully I won’t be kicking MYSELF in the butt for that one.

Because I’ve been mixing and matching things in the refrigerator (as to not grocery shop the day before I leave for the weekend), this is what I came up with:The black beans and sweet potato combo has been made well-known by various kiddos in the blogosphere. I even tried it in a wrap here. It’s a great meal when trying to cover all your bases nutritionally, but there was a reason why I haven’t combined the two since then. I like my sweet potatoes mostly sweet or as a side on their own. And prefer black beans combined with other things- like mexican food. Yessss….

In short, the zucchini was the clear star of my dinner last night.

What a diva that zucchini is.

It was a nice and refreshing meal. For some reason, I doubt I’ll have anything as well-balanced this weekend in Vegas. Unless, of course, I visit Serendipity again where they must have trees of broccoli growing in the kitchen.

And before I leave you this morning, does anyone remember Cecil? My dear and elderly friend has made his way up to Boston to visit Stephanie

Make it a good one, kids!

A Fair Trade

All this talk about wine and brownies makes me happy. I mean- who wouldn’t be excited to talk about them constantly? And I could continue to go on and on about such things for quite some time if you’d care to listen.

But working out is also still very much part of my daily routine. As to keep up my fitness levels and to also cancel out said chocolate and alcohol consumption (we’re being honest here).

Sure, I’m a little behind on where I’d like to be when it comes to training for this 10k coming up. But not all is lost. A few sessions may have gone unmentioned but that does not make them any less important.

Like Sunday where I pulled 3 miles at 8:32- a pace range I seem to have naturally fallen into. Much like Stella, I’m slowly getting my groove back. Unlike Stella, it doesn’t include sexy men.

You win some, you lose some.

Yesterday I got up early for some morning strength by shredding with Jillian and kept the cardio pretty chill with just some time spent on the elliptical and walking on the tread after work. Nothing crazy because I wanted to get a quality run in this morning.

This strategy apparently worked. 4 miles at 8:35 pace. No discomfort. No problems. Tuesday can put that in its pipe and smoke it. Muah.

I bet we can give thanks to my pasta dish from last night for some of the early morning energy.Never would I break out the nice bowls (aka anything other than what it was cooked in) and be all OCD about the presentation for myself, but I had a guest.

Fine. It was Mon. And she knows her way around my apartment almost as well as I do. She has also been known to clean my apartment more than I do. So at this point, “guest” would be stretching it. 

As I was participating in light cardio yesterday evening, she brought me a dress I wanted to borrow for the bachelorette party in Vegas this coming weekend. And then she told me just to keep it. Because she doesn’t think she’ll wear it anymore and I like it.

I said no. It was hers. She looks good in it. I’m giving it back.

She said no. It was mine now. Deal with it.

I said fine. I mean, I do like it. But I’d pay her for it.

She said no and called me stupid.

I may have called her something inappropriate and said I’d at least feed her dinner.

She said fine. So I did.

If we’re being honest, I would have asked her if she wanted some dinner and invited her over anyway. But she doesn’t know that…

But back to the actual food- zucchini and asparagus really are two of my favorite veggies. Rarely do I put much on them other than olive oil and garlic salt- they don’t need much else. 

I’ll never pass up a sale on either. Mostly because they can go with or in pretty much anything. As evidence, I roasted extra and now have plenty for my salads/omelets the rest of the week.

Versatility is the name of the game. So is time efficiency.

Speaking of time efficiency, it’s time I skedaddle. My next few days are planned down to the minute and if I don’t get laundry started RIGHT NOW, it’s throwing off the entire week.

I’m only half kidding.

Laters!

Sometimes I Wonder

Sometimes I wonder why it always seems to start storming 5 minutes before I leave work. The color of the sky as the storms rolled in made me quite uncomfortable as I sat in gridlock on Wednesday. Weeeee!

Sometimes I wonder , speaking of rush hour, why I stress out so much on the drive to work. Doesn’t seem to matter what time I leave the house (on time or even 10 minutes late), I still show up at exactly the same time every day. And that would be way earlier than necessary.

Sometimes I wonder, again speaking of rush hour, if people who obnoxiously cut you off realize how big of an ass everyone else thinks they’re being. Or are they just oblivious?

Sometimes I wonder how some workouts are so much easier than others. Everything about last night’s run made it easier than the one I did two days before. 3 miles at 8:31. No complaints. I walked home happy. :)

Sometimes I wonder why it took me practically 7 years of living on my own to correctly microwave a potato.BAM. Again, it was too dang hot up in the hiz-ouse to start up the oven. I looked at the microwave with a raised eyebrow. Seriously- I cannot cook a potato well. This was risky. But it worked. And if I keep talking, there’s a good chance I’ll start sounding cocky. Over one microwave victory. So yeah… moving on…

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one to think that it’s silly to call it “Magnum” Ice Cream.  Seriously. Ice cream that you eat off of a stick named that? My thoughts basically just nose dive into the gutter. And it’s not because I’m thinking of Tom Selleck. I would elaborate more about how good the ice cream actually looks, but it would just end up with every other comment saying “that’s what she said”. 

Sometimes I wonder, while in public restrooms, why people pretend to not exist in the stall next to you. I’m aware you’re there. And now, because you’ve completely hushed yourself and just sit there like a statue, I can gaurantee you stage fright will occur over on my end because you’re actually sitting there listening to me pee and waiting for me to leave. It makes this much more awkward for both of us. I know you’re there. Just GO.

Sometimes I wonder what I’ll do all summer without new episodes of my favorite shows. Thank god for quality reality tv. Wait… that’s not right…

Sometimes I wonder how friends convince me to get up early to take them to get their car fixed on a Saturday at 8:00 in the morning. Oh yeah- it was the promise of going out for breakfast and a trip to the winery.

Bribed with food and wine. I’m so easy.

Sometimes I wonder why the week flies faster than others? For example, yesterday I could hardly believe what day it was.

Me: One positive about today- my end of the week reports I always do start on Thursday. I was pleasantly surprised when the reminder popped up. Not so much because I have to do them, but I actually thought to myself, “oh! It’s Thursday!” That NEVER happens.

Mon: Well that is just wonderful news!!  See, things are slowly looking upwards!!!

Me: If that is wonderful news, my life totally blows, Monica.

Mon: You’re right. Now that I look back at it, that’s pretty dull and sad.

However, I was happy to get through the work week without any killer and super stressful days. This is a rare thing. I’ll appreciate it. And not wonder why.

Have a great weekend!

Good to go!

That’s what the doctor told me yesterday.

We discussed in detail what has been going on the last month or so, and he said that “clicking” feeling I’ve been concerned about is actually more normal than I realize and it’s good to be proactive, but I shouldn’t be overly concerned about this one.

He bent my leg every which way it would go (I’m not that flexible, so it didn’t take long), he thinks the pain I had been experiencing was just overuse and not related to the pop he felt during one rotation. When that happens, he said to take some time off  and I shouldn’t be concerned until the specific “ache” just doens’t get better.

Well ok then. It was an expensive 15 minutes of my life, but the reassurance was nice. After dealing with crutches and taking 8 weeks off at the beginning of last year, I was starting to work myself up in a tizzy of all the things that could possibly be wrong with it.

Even though I’m still obviously cutting back on running quite a bit, at least we know my leg won’t be falling off any time soon. Whew.

At least one good thing of it all? I’ve been focusing a little more on my strength training. Or at least on my Jillian Michaels dvds- which may not be hard core to some, but it’s about as good as it gets for me. When it comes to weights, I lack any kind of motivation to do them. Someone needs to be barking orders.

To celebrate my non-injury (I guess?), I met up with Mon at the gym after work. We needed to catch up on each other’s weekends, and because of the threat of rain, we chose to walk side by side on the treadmills. Cute, right? 

We’re nerds.

What was not cute was the skunk that ran out in front of me on the way home. He’s been around for a while now. My friend Bailey has lovingly named it Petunia.

And then she called the office building and lovingly said, “Petunia needs to die”.

Clearly that has not been taken care of just yet. Because we had a stare down in the parking lot- both parties frozen in terror. After about 10 seconds, he bolted to the right. And I promptly bolted to the left.

My heart is still recovering.

Had it already been Tuesday, the worst day of the week, god knows what might have gone down.

But instead, it’s Tuesday now. Let’s hope my planned run tonight will go well. And that I don’t run into Petunia on the way home.

Because we’re not friends. And he’s got fire in his eyes. I’ve seen it.

Your turn- scariest/funniest/weirdest run-in with a wild animal.

Aaaaannnndddd go!

Trending

It wasn’t my idea.

I swear.

Mon was the one who emailed me yesterday about it.

“Can we do another early morning workout tomorrow since I won’t have time after work?”

Whhhhaaaattt?

I’ve gone the last couple mornings. But it sure was nice to have that extra enforcement that I’d be getting my butt out the door again. Even 15 minutes earlier than I had been. Who would have ever thought?

After celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a chicken burritos and a brewski (more about that some other time), a solid workout to get my butt in gear was necessary.

I got there right at 5:00 and Mon was already plugging away on the elliptical like there was no tomorrow. This coming from the girl who was “not a morning person”. Whatever Mon- you’re such a liar. This is becoming a trend and it’s your fault.

Because my leg is feeling good again, I shrugged my shoulders and jumped on the treadmill. 3 miles at 8:36. Another mile at an inclined walk and some half-assed ab work (I really need help with that last part).

Even though I’m feeling good at the moment, there’s still an appointment with my orthopedist on Monday. Reassurance is needed before I start getting back into a normal routine. This is probably the smartest running-related thing I’ve done in a long time. Not sure if that deserves a pat on the back, but I’m giving myself one anyway. Muah.

And because it’s FRIDAY and I’m feeling “kicky”, here are a few things for your reading pleasure:

1. The Home Alone house is for sale! Going to see this house is still very much on my “to do” list- it’s in the Chicago burbs and another friend knows exactly where it is. My brother says he wants to see it when he comes to visit, so I decided to wait to go until we can see it together (such a good sister I am). I’ve been impatiently tapping my foot and checking my watch for quite some time. Since the little bro and I decided to check it out, the Family Matters house has also been spotted and added to the list. Oh 90′s pop culture… how I love you so.

But anyway- who wants to buy it and then let me rent from you? There’s 14 rooms, so you’ll barely even notice I’m there. Promise.

I’ll also bake for you. That’s worth $2.4 million, right?

2. I like the show Happy Endings. Scratch that- I’ve quickly fallen in love with the show Happy Endings. Because of my strong feelings towards the sitcom, I decided to “like” it on facebook. Didn’t even think twice about it.

Then, I read what showed up on my profile page. “Amy B likes Happy Endings.”

That, my friends, is a FAIL.

Makes me wonder who out of the other 57,000 people didn’t realize what happened when they “liked” it.

3. Some of us girlies are getting together to dance our booties off tonight. I’ve been looking forward to it all week. Yes. This entire week. This never-ending week.

I think I shall practice by breaking out my friday happy dance riiiiiggggghhhhttttt NOW.

TGIF.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Summer On My Mind

The forecast says we’ll finally be up in the 70′s next week.

I say it’s about time.

Sure, 70 degrees isn’t your average summer weather, but we’ll take it.

This girl needs a tan. She needs her summer dresses. And she needs her BBQ.

It’s very simple.

At my current residence, we’re not allowed to have grills on our decks. How un-American, right? Hopefully the rules change as soon as I move (we’re closing in on less than a month!). Until then I pseudo-grill in my kitchen.

BBQ sauce is a staple in my place. Currently, there are four different varieties in my refrigerator and pantry. I love it. Plus, it’s one of those items I always see in the store and think, “ok, do I need to restock on this?”

The right answer is usually “no”. But I’m never right on answering that question.

That’s also the reason why I don’t have the full Friend’s DVD collection yet. It’s ridiculous how many times I’ve bought and returned because I keep forgetting which seasons I don’t have yet. There are 2 left… I’m so close.

I know you care.

FOCUS, AMY!

BBQ sauce… yes, that’s right. As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received an offer to try some BBQ sauce and give it a review. Who am I to decline?KC Masterpiece- just like what my dad uses. And it’s my brother’s condiment of choice. Sweet. We’re in good company, then.

I tried it out several different ways since receiving it. BBQ turkey sandwich from last week?Check. BBQ ranch dressing for my salad this week?

Check!(Just add it as a 1:3 ratio to your ranch dressing of choice. And maybe throw in some paprika or red chili pepper flakes for kicks.)

Use it as a marinade for chicken.And throw it in a wrap with spinach and mushrooms.Just like ranch, I’ll try it with almost anything once.So what did I think of KC Masterpiece’s new Southwestern Style sauce?

The flavor was there. And it worked awesome as a marinade- which is what I’ll most likely use the rest of it for.

But just as regular sauce? It was much more runny than I’m used to. This heightens the chances of spillage. And since odds are never in my favor when it comes to making messes, this is no good.

All in all, it’s ok, but if I were to spring for the KC Masterpiece, I’m getting the original. Hands down.

Regarding yesterday’s post…

A couple peeps asked me about more specifics on the whole mini-meal thing I did back in the day and why it didn’t work for me.

First off, I do understand and like what it’s trying to do for people. I’ve never been one to skip breakfast or only eat once a day (are you crazy?!?!). I like food. The idea of getting to eat more often throughout the day was appealing. Time to eat… again??? Weeeeee!

BUT, I was raised on three square meals a day. I find comfort in that schedule. So after a month or so, I just gave up. Mentally, I couldn’t switch over. That was the problem. My body wasn’t so much hungry (not to get into calorie consumption, but I promise you, I never had days of consuming less than what I was supposed to), my head just wasn’t satisfied yet.

Not to mention, I was constantly thinking about the next time I could eat. Even watching the clock for it. And food was starting to get really boring. Which was sort of my fault- I was pretty uncreative when it came to making up new meals for myself that were within the necessary calorie range.

And whenever I went out for food/drinks, it threw off my entire schedule. Not cool.

Could I have done it better? Maybe. Do I want to try it again? Nah.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! Sadly, no tequila will be consumed in these parts, but Mon and I are planning a feast involving lots of salsa…

Then again, maybe no tequila is not a bad thing. We’re not the best of friends.

Have a good one!

Too Legit To Quit

Wow. I didn’t realize how chipper I sounded in my post yesterday?

It most likely won’t last.  ;)

And apparently creamer in my oatmeal is a good idea. There’s definitely an eyebrow raised. And possibly a shot glass reserved to pour some in next time I’m short on milk. Hmmm…

Moving on… I guess yesterday started and ended on a good note (huge victory for a Tuesday of all days).

On a complete other note, I’m going through a serious Diet Coke phase.Too legit to quit.

Don’t ask how it happened. I went from one every couple of weeks to an every-other-day habit. I’m starting to wonder if aspartame is as addictive as I’m acting like it is.

The Odwalla bar came about when I packed some soup for lunch that clearly was not going to cut it. While out running errands, I found them at the grocery store.

When it comes to nutrition/granola bars and all that jazz, these were my first love.

Yes, even more so than the Larabar (which I still don’t quite understand what the big deal is- it’s SO SMALL).

Anyway, my roommate at the time started leaving them around the house.

I asked “what’s the deal-io with these things?”

She says, “they’re the shiznit. Try one.” 

And I, a sucker for peer pressure, did so.

So began the summer of Odwalla.

At the time, they were used during my phase of 5 or 6 mini-meals a day. If you’re into it, they’re good for that. If you’re like me, you’ll slim down doing that- but even when you’re getting your reasonable amount of calories for the day, you’ll spend most of your time super hungry. Which is just annoying.

That is why I can’t stand mini-meals. And don’t do it anymore.

But one way or the other, I’ve been buying Odwalla once again. They’re less sugar-y than Clif, and are good when I have poorly-planned lunches. Yay me!

The one thing I had planned to do yesterday, but didn’t, was fit in a workout. I opted to clean a little instead. Not necessarily my favorite way to spend an unplanned rest day, but whatev- at least I can take down the yellow caution tape in my kitchen…

However, I did get up this morning. Not at a crazy early time like during my royal wedding workout, but early enough to work up a healthy glow. I ellipticalled for 25 minutes next to the girl who pretends I don’t exist (even though she clearly hears me say good morning) but yet instantly moves her workout bag directly next to her machine as soon as I walk in. Maybe I look a little more like a hobo than I’d like in the early hours, but seriously- a friendly hello isn’t going to hurt anyone.

And I don’t want your ratty gym bag that is probably diseased since you insist on dragging it all over our crappy workout room.

Sigh. People are strange.

Pressed for time, I also hit the stairmill for 12 minutes, but at a higher level than usual to work on that bootay. Emails are getting fired around about the Vegas bachelorette I will be attending in a few weeks. And unlike my last trip to Vegas, its swimsuit season.

I want the rear to be just like my diet coke addiction.

Too legit to quit.

And now, it’s time to head off to work and continue another habit of mine that will not be given up any time soon:

(Source)

Cha-Cha-Cha Changes

Hola!

I’m feeling quite perky today. So far- it IS only 8:00 in the morning. The day is young. And it’s a stupid Tuesday. There are many things that are bound to happen within the next 16 hours.

Luckily, I’m well-rested. So bring it on. I can roll with the punches.

Even when I get coffee grounds all up in my pot of coffee.

Brewing coffee should not be this difficult.

But I dealt with it and tried again. And didn’t even complain when there was a shakeup in my breakfast routine.Toast?!?! I’m a wild child… for real…

Or because I’m out of milk and assume coffee creamer would not be the best dairy to mix with oatmeal… not to say it wasn’t considered.

Insert shrug here.

I used to never buy milk. Like ever. And found it really annoying when it was necessary for a recipe and I was forced to go out and buy a little carton of it. Weird- because now I’m lost if it’s not around on a daily basis. Seriously- how else do you expect me to make oatmeal? Geez…

Oh how times have changed… my parents would be so proud.

Changes are good a lot of the time. Although sometimes, when they include a friend getting promoted and moving to New York, they can be sad. I went out for happy hour last night to toast his success and wish him luck.

Fried food? Happy! Wine? Happy! Friend moving? Sad…

But alas, that’s life.

And now I have a place to stay when I visit NYC. So… yay?

Before I leave, since it’s Tuesday of all days, I feel the need to leave you with words of advice.

Yes, I can be deep at times.

If your Tuesday goes anything like mine sometimes do, just remember this…

Don’t get angry and bottle it in. Throw it TO THE GROUND!

Four Hours

Four hours. That’s a lot of time when doing some things.

For example, I will probably never run four hours. Two hours for a half marathon is good enough for me.

I will never drive for four hours without a potty break. That’s a long span of time to be on the road without stopping. My bladder is too small for such things.

I will probably never clean for four hours straight. Classified as a “spot cleaner”, I am the girl who will focus on one or two things each night and use a span of days to actually “clean my apartment”.  So if you come to visit, please give me at least three days warning- thanks.

One thing to do for four hours that makes it seem like not a lot of time?

Sleep. Sleeping for four hours in one night is simply not right.

I need at least five. Six to display some intelligence. Six-and-a-half to not be hateful.

If you remember, I had a late night on Saturday night and didn’t realize until after I had gotten up how much rest I actually (didn’t) have.

But it was fine. Luckily I didn’t have a busy day planned or anything.

Oh wait…

First on the ticket was Jaime’s shower.

There was punch and alcohol offered. I stuck with water. I think all the guests should take this as a moment to publicly apologize to Jaime. We played the game “guess the size of her belly” and all overshot- by at least six inches. Um…. sorry…. :p

After games, cake (!), and presents, I left her house with a sugar buzz and confidence that I was up on the latest summer fashions for newborn girls. Ruffles on the butt are VERY “in” this year.

And the sugar buzz seemed to kick-start my “second wind”.  Or, if we’re being honest, it may have been a “first wind”.

It was time to meet up with a few more of my favorite suburb gals for dinner at Grande Jake’s in Buffalo Grove. Mon and I hadn’t done our regular Sundays of Mexican food in quite some time and I had a Groupon. So she, Annie, and I took some time and enjoyed my favorite part of the restaurant- chips and their large selection of salsa.The one in the right corner was my favorite (obviously). It was also one of the spiciest- tastebuds were lost. Typical.

Annie enjoyed a margarita and Mon enjoyed a Mexican beer. I enjoyed another water.

Besides, I was patiently waiting for this:Yeah- the cheese on my enchiladas verdes was intense. And I am a big fan of the melty deliciousness, but this time around, most of it was scraped to the side. By the end, the only thing left was the discarded cheese and tomato slice (I don’t like them- it’s a texture thing).

Randomly, I’ve had this food as carryout before with a friend who was in town last year. We had the burritos and I was semi-obsessed because that burrito lasted for three meals. THREE meals!

It really is delicious, but I think they do better work with the burritos. Either that, or I’m still remembering how amazing my enchiladas verdes were from Salsa 17. Still dreaming about those…

After we had taken up our table for probably way too long (it was super busy!), we headed back home where Annie and I decided to stroll the neighborhood for a while. Gotta help along the digestion process, right?

We walked a few miles and chatted. And since it was right as the sun was setting/had set, we even managed to snag some bug bites. Another sign spring is here?

Now if only the temps would get in line…

Turns out I can function a little better on four hours than I thought?

We won’t test that theory again anytime soon. Hopefully.

Royal Wedding Workout

Silly fairytales…

Ever since I was little, like many other girls, I watched all those Disney movies and fantasized about what it’d be like to become a princess someday.

I feel it important to randomly add- I also wondered how all those girls kept getting themselves into trouble. Seriously- you can’t even turn around for a MINUTE before someone gets poisoned. Or locked in a tower.

There is an occasional “spazz” moment or two that I’ll own up to, but even I’m smarter than that.

Plus, if there’s anyone who’s a subscriber to the motto “shit happens”, it’d be me. But come on, Aurora, you shouldn’t be playing with random needles you stumble across anyway. They even taught us in D.A.R.E. that would be a poor choice. Pay attention.

But I’m straying from the subject. As a little girl, I liked everything revolving around Disney princesses.

I also grew up getting to flip through old celeb magazines (and, ahem, maybe a National Enquirer or two) my aunts would bring out for my grandma after they were done reading them. This happened to be the time where Princess Di was featured in every other one of them.

Combine these two things. The end result? A 4:00 meeting at the gym with Mon to watch the royal wedding live.

Mon doesn’t ever do morning workouts with me during the week, so there were doubts if she’d show up (sorry Mon, it’s true). But sure enough, I woke up and checked my phone. The text “Get ur butt up! Time for the gym!” reassured me.

After work yesterday, I made it to the gym for a 2-mile run at 8:22 pace (hooray!) and 15 minutes on the stairs along with some free weights. I’ve been known to bust out some crazy awesome runs at early hours, but this morning was much more relaxed. 15 minutes on the elliptical as I watched the princes arrive, and 30 minutes walking at an incline as the rest of the family showed up (long live the Queen!).

As you can see, nothing too intense. But then again, a real princess never sweats, right?

Kate arrived right before it was time to head out and get ready for work. Of course she was gorgeous. And the dress spectacular. However, I do have to say I expected a longer train to the dress.Nothing like starting my Friday morning off with a coffee, some oatmeal and a royal wedding.

Standard, right?

My friend Mary said she was getting up early to watch so she could get ideas for her own wedding in June.

I told her I expect nothing less than a red carpet and tiaras for everyone.

Knowing Mary and her love of all things glitter, if she could have it this way, she would. Fact.

I need to tell her to invite Prince Harry to the wedding. From all the rumors floating around, he seems like he’d be quite fun to party with.

So he really needs to call me.

Until then, have a happy weekend everyone!

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