Saturday, April 28, 2012

Race Report: Run for the Trees 5K 2012

Another great race this morning, and with it I close my 2011-2012 race season. Goofy training starts in June, and I'll be base building and likely not racing again until September. This was my 78th race since I started running 4 years ago, my 28th 5K, and my 5th year running this race. I PRed once again by over 1 minute, and I finally finished in under 30 minutes! Now I can retire from 5Ks =P

Since I've done this race every single year since I started running, it's a great way to compare my progress and see how far I've come.

  • 2008 = 42:57 (my 3rd 5k)
  • 2009 = 33:12 (-9:45)
  • 2010 = 32:10 (-1:02)
  • 2011 = 30:26 (-1:44)
  • 2012 = 29:23 (-1:03)
I wanted to make sure I warmed up well since I was going to need to push the pace from the start, so 5 of us met at the school and ran 2 miles to the start for our warm up. We kept it easy and slow with 1/1 intervals to save the legs for the race. I did a few sprints on the track when we got there then lined up with Katrina. They did not have pace signs like usual, so we just tried to start as close to the front as we could, but still wish we had gotten closer. I was just afraid of being in someone's way since I planned to use walk break for at least the first half.

It felt cool for the warm up and when we got there, but it was really warm and humid during the race and it affected my breathing. I ran with 4/1 intervals for most of the race, but adjusted for water stops. The 3rd interval was a 5-6 minutes run, walked and drank water for a minute or so, then picked it up again. I took one more walk break but skipped the last walk break during the last 3/4 mile, instead I slowed the pace a bit for that minute before kicking it into high gear for the final sprint.

As you can see from my splits below, I clearly started a bit fast and didn't have negative splits, but I'm still very happy with the results. I thought I felt twinges here and there, specially during that first mile, so I know I held back a little after that for fear of hurting my foot. I still pushed through the heat and humidity to maintain the pace, but when I knew I would PR and meet my goal I didn't feel the need to push harder. I really need to run a 5K in the winter to see what I can really do. After the race, I ran back to the car with Mandy using 2/1 intervals. Combined with the warm up and the race, we covered just over 8 miles today. It was a great start to the day and perfect way to get in a long run!

Official Stats:

  • overall: 354 / 1196 (30%)
  • AG: 23 / 110 (21%)
  • gender: 138 / 737 (19%)
  • clock: 29:46
  • chip: 29:23
  • pace: 9:27.2
  • Garmin: 3.16 miles in 29:23 @ 9:17 (3.1 in 28:59) 
  • Splits: 8:56 - 9:35 - 9:36 - 8:06 (.16)

Wow! I'm impressed with my placement and sub-30 even by the clock! Until next year! :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Race Report: Earth Day 12K

I loved this race, and if my schedule permits it I will be back next year. Let's get the stats out of the way firs.

  • Chip: 1:21:58 (7:15 PR)
  • Pace: 11:00
  • Overall: 138 / 180 (77%) 
  • Gender: 66 / 100 (66%) 
  • AG: 11 / 17 (65%)
  • Runmeter: 7.39 miles in 1:21:32 @ 11:02, (Accidentally closed app just after mile 7 for about 20s)
Outfit: I wore a green running skirt, because it's Earth Day, with a black tank top. I skipped the sleeves or knee high socks because I knew it would be warm. I should get rid of this shirt, because I hate the high neck, and should replace it with one that has a v-neck. Without planning it, I coordinated nicely with Brenda and Stephanie.

Sole Mates @ Earth Day 12K

Swag: For our $25 race fee, we got a chip timed race (there was even a starting mat!), a Zorrel tech tee with the race logo on burgundy, and a goodie bag with lots of samples. The shirt fits nicely, but I wish it was a different color. I'm not a huge fan of this shirt type because it has a high neck and is thicker than I prefer, but it should be nice for cooler weather this fall. Among the samples in the goody bag, I am most excited about the stay put hair ties! My hair needs all the help I can get to wrangle it.

Weather: The forecast the past few days called for thunderstorms, but we got really lucky. It was overcast the entire time, but it never rained a drop. It was still a bit humid, but we had a nice breeze from the lake. For late April, we can't really ask for better weather.

Course: The course is a loop around Lake Minneola, and it was absolutely gorgeous. It is advertised as flat and fast, which for Clermont I guess it is, but there were a few hills / elevation changes throughout. Nothing I couldn't handle though. There were ample water stops, although not exactly where I expected them. My only complaint is that there were no mile markers until mile 6.

Goals: My main goal for this race was to PR, which I knew would not be too hard since my only other 12K was 2 years ago at Bay to Breakers in San Francisco where I finished in 1:29:13 @ 11:57. However, I really wanted to average faster than my Half Marathon PR of 10:30 or at least under 11:00. I knew that was a long shot because I didn't plan to push the pace too much since I knew my legs are not fully recovered from last week's abuse -- my right foot and lower leg have been a bit cranky since the 5K last Thursday (and subsequent half marathon 2 days later) -- so I'd be happy with any PR as long as I did my best.

Jen playing peek-a-boo @ Earth Day 12K
Race: I ran with Brenda and Jen using 2/1 intervals for at least the first half. Our first mile was a bit fast, but I felt ok and kept it up. I had to adjust my pace/intervals for the hills, so that accounts for the up and down mile splits. I tried to pick up the pace a bit, but my legs seem to only have one gear today, so I switched to 3/1 intervals sometime around mile 5 so I could run at a steady pace for a longer distance. I took the last walk break around mile 7 then ran it in. I had plenty left for a finishing kick, but my foot was achy so I know it was smart to not push the pace earlier. All things considered, I'm thrilled with an 11 min/mi pace and a 12K PR by over 7 minutes.

Post-Race: One thing I love about Sommer Sports races is the post race food. There was lots of fruit (bananas grapes, and watermelon), bagels with peanut butter, chips, donuts, pretzels, and all kinds of cookies. I may have indulged in a few too many Oreo cookies, but I never buy those at home so why not.

Final Thoughts: As usual, Sommer Sports did not disappoint. I had a blast running with friends in great weather celebrating Earth Day.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Recap: Week 15 2012

Wow, I ran and walked a lot last week! With a hill workout, a 5K race, a half marathon, and a ton of walking, it is no wonder that I'm feeling a little beat up this week. I also didn't do much yoga to counter pushing my body that hard. Other than daily planks, running and walking was the focus. I have a 12k race this Saturday, so I am taking it easier this week to go into that with fresh legs. I'm focusing on taper and recovery this week, so rest is the priority. I'll probably only run once before Saturday's race to stay limber while allowing for enough rest in between.

Week 15: April 9 - 15
  • ran 29 miles (6.5 miles with hills, 12athon, 5K race, half marathon) 
  • walked 23 miles 
  • plank a day 
  • no bike 
  • 8m yoga 
Goals for Week 16
  • REST! 
  • yoga, if my body doesn't want more rest 
  • plank a day 
  • 12K PR 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Race Report: LBLO Half

Sole Mates Running Group
The Left Behind/Left Over Half Marathon this morning was #15 and the 6th in 6 months, so I'm now a level 2 Half Fanatic. This was a great fun run race with friends, followed by a yummy potluck and free leftover swag from Track Shack. This year's entrance fee and raffle donations went towards the medical fund of a fellow runner. This great cause, plus the earlier date with slightly cooler weather, resulted in a pretty big turnout. Since I knew it would be warm, and my legs were fatigue from running hills on Tuesday and the 5k race on Thursday, my main goal was to put forth a comfortably hard effort for a sub-2:30 finish without destroying my legs completely because I'm also racing the next two Saturdays. 

I ran with 2/1 intervals through mile 11, then switched to 5/1 for the last 2 miles because it was easier to run a tad slower at a steady pace for longer than running faster for 2 minutes. I'm very please with the results. This certainly was not an all out effort, but I kept up with the boys and maintained a pretty good clip to meet my goal. It warmed up quickly, but I kept up my energy by eating and drinking water every 2 miles once again, and I also took endurolyte pills. Despite fatigue and achy legs towards the end, I finished really strong and had an absolute blast. Along with some yummy post-race food, I walked away with two tech shirts and lots of laughs.

  • 13.16 miles in 2:27:48 @ 11:14 (includes water stops)
  • mile splits:
  • half splits: 11:19 - 10:45
  • quarter splits: 11:19 - 11:20 - 11:01 - 10:29
  • active time only: 2:25:39 @11:02 pace

Friday, April 13, 2012

Race Report: Corporate 5K 2012

I got a ride home from a coworker and we hung around my apartment until the rest of the team arrived. It's always fun catching up with everyone outside of work and posing for silly photos. About 1 hour before the start, we walked about a mile to the starting corrals to hurry up and wait. Despite there being about 14,000 people, I spotted several people I know in the crowd. That always amazes me. We were towards the front, but it still took us over 5-7 minutes to cross the starting line and I saved every ounce of energy until then when I finally started running. It was pretty crowded, but I was still able to maneuver pretty well. The wind made it feel cool while we stood around, but I warmed up quickly once I was moving. I chose not to do intervals and instead ran most of the way except for 30s at mile markers 1 & 2 and the 2 water stops.

That strategy worked pretty well and earned me a course PR from last year's time by 2 minutes and  about a minute slower than my 5K PR. I'll take it! However, I think I'll stick to 4:1 for the 5K in two weeks, at least to start. I was battling a small side stitch most of the way, but was able to focus on my breathing and not let it affect me too much. I wasn't trying to PR, but I wasn't out for a leisurely stroll either. I kept up a steady comfortably hard pace the whole time. 

The first mile sucked because I wasn't warmed up and my outfit was uncomfortable: my top kept riding up and my skirt sliding down. I finally got it positioned properly and forgot about it. I was pleased I ran the first mile in 10:30 without really trying to push the pace. Mile two went much better, probably because I had 2 short walk breaks, a shot block and some water. Despite the two walk breaks, I ran it 30s faster than the first. The third mile was about the same, with 2 short walk breaks, and I was able to hold the pace I managed during mile 2 and even speed up a few seconds. I was in the groove now and this mile felt great. As I neared the finish line, I kicked it up another gear for the final tenth and finished strong in 31:38.  Splits (from watch): 10:36 - 10:05 - 9:56 - :58. Runmeter Splits:

I still hate 5Ks, but I'm bringing it for a sub-30 at Run for the Trees in 2 weeks. We had 20 registered this year, and 13 were able to attend and complete the 5K! We're already plotting for next year :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12athon

It's the 12th of the month, so that means it's time for the Virtual 12athon Challenge (run/walk 12 miles on the 12 of every month). Since I'm running the Corporate 5K tonight, and a half marathon this Saturday, I had to pull a Rosie Ruiz today. Here's the description of the challenge:
Rosie Ruiz (may not be combined with other challenges): The cheating element! Cut your run short by riding some form of motorized or nonmotorized transportation midway. You cannot be the operator of that vehicle. Must run at least one mile at both the beginning and the end, minimum total of 8 miles varsity, 4 miles JV. 12 POINTS. 4 more points for using public transportation. 
Bus Pass
I completed this in 3 parts:

  • Part 1:I met 2 from my running group this morning for an easy 3 miles @ 12:16 pace with 2/1 intervals. I slept until the last possible moment, and since we were running easy I didn't bother with a warm up. It was a nice relaxing run, and thankfully the humidity wasn't suffocating and we could enjoy the cool breeze in the air. 
  • Part 2: After a shower and breakfast, I walked almost a mile to the bus stop, rode the bus to work for an hour, then walked the long way to my office to ensure it was a full mile. 
  • Part 3: The Corporate 5K race, for which I'll write a full race report tomorrow, was the final 3 to finish the 8 miles. The race went better than expected. It was not a 5K PR, because it's too hot and crowded for that, but I did have a course PR by 2 minutes! 
  • Total: With walking to/from the race start I covered at least 10 miles and racked up 28 points (12 + Rosie Ruiz 12 + Public Transit 4). Great start to the 2nd Quarter! 

Below is my photographic evidence; I only have screenshots for the 3 segments making up the 8 miles because I didn't track the walk to/from the race start on my phone, but this is enough to document the Rosie Ruiz Challenge.
Morning Run = 3 milesWalk to/from Bus = 2 milesCorporate 5K = 3.1 miles

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Audio Books

I've resisted audio books for the longest time; it just didn't seem right. There was a time when I really enjoyed reading regularly, but to me the joy was in curling up with a physical book and letting my imagination bring the pages to life. I always feared that the narrator of an audio book would change my perception of the book, but never having tried it I couldn't know for sure.

I spend over 2 hours total each day commuting to and from work, but I am prone to motion sickness so reading on the bus was not feasible. (Oddly enough, reading from my iPhone doesn't always have the same effect). Since I've not been reading regular books anyway, I might as well try listening to them. Thanks to Daily Challenge prompting me to "read" while I walked, I finally got it working on my iPhone and started "reading" the Hunger Games this morning.

I'm enjoying it so far. The narrator was well chosen and I find she does not deter from the story at all. In fact, I think her tone is perfect and I love how she makes different voices when there is dialogue. I still feel it guides my perception a bit, but probably for the best since I'm assuming the author approves these so it portraits the correct tone. It still feels different than seeing the movie version of a book because you get all the details that they can't fit in the movie and your mind has to decipher them to form a picture, which is what I like most about reading.

Hopefully the other books and Game of Thrones will be available to check out by the time I finish this. Any other Audio Book recommendations?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The hills are alive ...

I used to hate running hills, but really it was just a bit misunderstanding! I didn't really know how to run hills, but now I welcome the challenge. I love how they get my heart rate going, even if I'm not moving very fast, and I feel like badass. 

This morning I had one hell of a workout running hills and, aside from the humidity, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I was up early so I had time for a longer warm up of 1.77 miles @ 12:33 pace, which I'm sure made a world of difference when it was time to tackle those hills. It would have been at least 2 miles of warm up, but I stopped at home to change my shirt and refill my water bottle after .75 miles because it was far warmer than it first appeared. I then ran a total of 4.75 miles @ 11:21 pace with Todd, including hill repeats, using 3/1 intervals. He pushed the pace, and I let him because it felt great. 

We ran a little over a mile to the hilly block, then ran 4 loops of hills (about 1.5 miles) keeping the same 3/1 interval. I prefer this to doing hill repeats up and down the same hill. When we do hill repeats on one hill, we always run up the hill and then walk down hill. But it is just as important to practice running downhill as it is running uphill. By simply running loops around the block and maintaining the same run/walk interval, it more accurately simulates race conditions because I can't control where the hill will be or if I will be on a run or walk break when I encounter it. Of course, 3/1 intervals seemed to be the perfect combination for this .35 mile loop to always be on a run interval when going up the biggest hill! 

After the last loop, we ran to a nearby park (with more hills along the way) where I knew there was a water fountain because my bottle was empty and I was parched. I need to carry a bigger water bottle or start wearing my fuel belt again because 10oz just wasn't enough. We headed back to the start from there because we were already well over 4 miles. I ended up with a total of 6.5 miles including the warm up, which I think is the furthest I've run on a mid-week run! After an iffy last week, this felt awesome! My legs feel a great kind of sore this morning, but feel just fine now. 

I'm looking forward the the Corporate 5K on Thursday, and somehow getting in enough miles to participate in the April 12athon. I haven't quite figured that one out yet, but I may need to pull a Rosie Ruiz. We shall see what I can pull off.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Recap: Week 14 2012

Had a rough week, but things picked up nicely on the weekend. I'm still feeling like something is off, so I plan to make a doctor's appointment soon to get checked out. It's also probably time for the dentist. This will be a crazy week with lots going on at work, the Corporate 5k on Thursday, Left Behind/Left Over Half Marathon on Saturday and Jason's first art show at Lake Eola this weekend. Not much else to say, so let's see the numbers.

Week 14: April 2-8

  • ran 21 miles (2 runs)
  • walked 15 miles
  • core: plank a day; 1 fitdeck workout (22m)
  • yoga: 1h 40m
  • no biking
Week 15 Goals
  • run 20+ miles
  • walk 15+ miles
  • bike?
  • 1-2 hrs of yoga
  • plank a day
  • 1-2 fitdeck workouts
  • Corporate 5K
  • LBLO Half

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blissful Run

It's amazing what a little rest can do. I gave my body 2 full days of rest, and it repaid me today with a 15 mile run that was made of pure bliss.

My initial plan was to run 8 miles at 7 am, with about 10 miles of biking there and back. However, I was wide awake at 4:30 a.m. since I've slept so much extra the past few days. Instead of going back to sleep and risking feeling groggy later, I got up and got ready to join my co-leader for an extra 6 miles at 5:30 a.m. I didn't have time to make it there if I biked, nor did I think I'd want to bike after running 14 miles, but that was ok because I would rather run more than get in a bike ride.

As I walked to the car, I felt a wonderful chill in the air. I knew it would warm up over the course of 14 miles, so I skipped the knee high socks, but I did grab a long sleeve shirt just in case. It was colder when I got to the school, so I wore it for about a mile before I took it off because I didn't want to get chilled later from the extra sweat if I waited too long. The cool air felt amazing, and the easy pace and 1/1 intervals made running effortless. We even threw in some hills, but we didn't mind because they came with gorgeous scenery and we barely noticed them with the easy pace. We picked up an extra mile along the way, and I would have gladly ran longer but Jason needed the car.

I felt rested and full of energy at the start, and I planned to keep it that way, so I ate a shot block with caffeine and water every 2 miles. This is what Jeff recommends, 30-40 calories every 2 miles to keep blood sugar levels up and constant. I usually don't like to eat this often, and instead eat about 100 cal (1 gel/2-3 shot blocks) every hour (3-4 miles), but it worked really well today. My energy level remained constant, and I enjoyed every step of this run. My legs did feel tired and achy towards the end, but I still felt amazing and like I could have kept running forever. The temperature increase towards the end also contributed to the extra fatigue.

Either way, I am thrilled I got out there for all 15 miles because I would have hated to waste such a perfect morning for running.  This was a very therapeutic run, and just what my body and mind craved.

Friday, April 6, 2012


I'm feeling much better today after two complete days of rest. Full disclosure: I did a plank of less than a minute each day to keep the streak alive, and went for a short walk to Publix with Jason just now, but nothing extraneous. We'll see how I feel after tomorrow's LSD run.

I hope I just overdid it last week, but I have a feeling my iron may be low again. I am due for my yearly check up this month, so I'm going to make an appointment soon and have that checked out just in case. I want to be in tip top shape before I start training for Goofy.

Not much else to report since I've done very little the past two days, but I'm really looking forward to running long(ish) tomorrow with my group and possibly an easy bike ride if I can fit it in on Sunday before going to my parent's for lunch to celebrate my Dad's birthday and Easter.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ok body, I hear you

I was utterly exhausted all day at work yesterday and when I got home I pretty much went to bed after dinner. After one runner canceled for this morning's run, I realized I should too because my body was screaming at me to slow down and I wasn't paying attention. So I posted as much, reset my alarm to the latest possible time to make it to work on time, and went to sleep around 8ish. I intended on skipping my morning run and running after work instead, unless I naturally woke up earlier and was up for running.

I woke up around 4:30 am but knew I was in no condition to run and went back to sleep until 6:30 am. I was still feeling really sluggish, so I called in sick and went back to bed. I've slept most of the day and resisted every urge to go for a run or walk. I vowed to give my body a complete rest day and that's what I did. Tomorrow I intend to sleep in also, no yoga or fitdeck, and since we are driving to work I won't be exerting myself at all. Let's hope all my body needed was rest and there isn't something else going on.

The hardest part of endurance training is knowing when to take a step back. I have thankfully been doing this long enough to know that 1 day off won't hurt, but not taking it could derail everything for much longer. So I listen to you now body, so you can give me what I ask for later ;)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Going Goofy

Registration opens next week for my next adventure, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge.
39.3 miles over 2 days in the happiest place on earth, because 26.2 is just not crazy enough :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I've been feeling a little worn out lately, but when my alarm went off this morning I got ready to run since Todd and Amaris would be expecting me. I felt tired, but who doesn't at 4:30 am?

I usually run a slow warm up mile or two on my own before meeting the group; it helps me get into the groove, gives me a little alone time, and gets my legs ready in case we end up running fast. I don't typically use walk breaks for this warm up and just run at a steady easy pace. This morning, I set my iPhone to beep at me every 1/2 mile of the 1.5 mile warm up run and took a short walk break of about 15 deep breaths.

I knew it would be a rough run when my warm up was a 13ish pace (it's usually closer to 12), and it felt much faster. It certainly did not help that it was wicked warm and humid. My tummy was also bothering me. Thankfully everyone seemed to share my sentiments and was on board for taking it easy with 2/1 intervals. I covered a total of 5.5 miles, but knew when I got home my instinct of taking a sick day from work was correct.

After eating breakfast, showering, and taking care of a few things for work, I went for a walk to vote and run some errands. I should have biked instead because I ended up walking another 4.5 miles. I was exhausted by the time I got home and promptly took a 4 hour nap! I don't really like napping in the middle of the day, so I know my body really need the rest it when I nap for that long. The day was almost over by the time I got up so I wasn't as productive as I planned, but I did make some more of homemade chocolate covered granola bars. Man, these things are amazingly good.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Recap: March 2012

March was a great month! I collected three more PRs for my 2012 collection and got two steps closer to being a certified running coach. I'm also getting in more cross training while running is in maintenance. April should be just as awesome. And now the numbers and related commentary ...

Stats & Goals Progress (25%)
  • Run: 95 miles; 270 / 1000 (27%) - So close to 100 is awesome! Shorter runs and lots of races means speedier average pace.
    • 18 hours
    • 11:23 avg pace
  • Walk: 60 miles; 197 / 500 (39%) - I'm loving all the extra walking so much that yesterday I started the "Wonderful Walks" track on Daily Challenge. 
  • Bike: 39 miles; 6 days; 16 / 52 (31%) - I'm starting to find the joy of cycling again! I'm even contemplating another duathlon, but I just don't think I can fit it into my schedule :( Does anyone know of a nearby duathlon on a Sunday?
  • Yoga: 13 sessions; 4.2 hours; 20 / 120 (17%) - I need to pick this up a bit, but I seemed to have burned out a bit form doing it daily and was giving my body the extra sleep it was craving. I'm all set now and back to my early morning routine, but adding Fitdeck workouts for core/strength to the routine means I'll have to do a bit less yoga. But I am in maintenance mode for running until June, so I want to take advantage of that to start a routine before the milage starts piling up again. 
  • Drove: 742 miles; 2002 / 6500 (31%) - Drove more than planned again, but 360 miles of this was our trip to Sarasota for coaching class and the half marathon. Without that, we drove less than 400 miles, so that's not bad. I fear April won't be much better since Jason has his first tri of the season coming up at the end of April in St Pete, but then things should settle down a bit with travel.
  • Dinning Out: 11x; $73 / $80; restaurants: $63 / $65; snacks/sweets: $10 / $15 - I'm pleased with these results, specially since that included a 3 day weekend away from home (although my meals during coaching class were included) and we went to the Melting Pot for our anniversary. I'm pleased I kept the sweets in check. I'm still eating plenty, but most of them are homemade. I made my own granola bars yesterday with homemade chocolate and they are to die for. I've adjusted this budget once again. Still shooting for $80 total, but allotting more to restaurants and less to snacks/sweets.
March Accomplishments
Goals/Events for April

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Recap: Week 13 2012

Another great week as I recovered from last weekend's 10K PR with another. I took it easy on Tuesday and Thursday, despite having exceptional weather perfect for timing my magic mile. By Saturday I felt well enough to try and I succeeded knocking 15s off my previous time. I'm happy that I finally got back into some cross training other than yoga with a plank a day, 2 fitdeck workouts, and a long bike ride this morning. It had been a long time since I rode more than a few miles for transportation and it felt great. This week should be pretty uneventful, but I do plan to hit the track on Thursday to practice 5K race pace and I hope to get in some more fitdeck strength/core workouts. Below are the stats. How was your week?

Week 13: March 26 - April 1
  • ran 23 miles 
  • walked 15 miles 
  • biked 28 miles 
  • yoga - 49 minutes; 3 sessions 
  • core - 44 minutes, including 2 fit deck workouts and 1 plank a day 
Goals for Week 14
  • run 20 miles 
  • walk 15 miles 
  • bike 1 day 
  • plank a day 
  • 2 fitdeck workouts 
  • 3 yoga workouts
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