I’m still around (and back running)!

Hello fellow runners! I know it has been a while since I have been on here but I just wanted to let you know that I am doing well and hope to get back to blogging on a regular basis.  I haven’t ran in 3 weeks due to some personal issues I have been dealing with but I am ready to put the situation behind me and move (run) forward.

So what did I do today after taking 3 weeks off?  3 mile walk? No. 1 mile run to gradually get back into a routine? No.  I participated in the Chick-Fil-A Connect Race series 5K in Perry, GA.   I was blessed to have one of my Run For God running friends join me in the race; i used the opportunity to talk about some of the issues I have been facing.  I ran the first two miles with her; she started to walk a little and told me to keep going.  While I didn’t PR, I did manage to beat my time of 30:32 from the same race one year ago so I am happy with that.

I am excited about getting into my running routine again and sharing my adventures with my fellow readers.  Take care and happy running!

 

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My First Half Marathon Experience!

Good Saturday afternoon! I hope you are having a fantastic day.  Well I did it. I have completed another milestone in my running adventure: completed my first half marathon! Allow me to share my experiences with you!

I participated in the first annual Chick-Fil-A Half Marathon which was held in Athens Georgia, home of the University of Georgia and the Georgia Bulldogs! Proceeds from the race will benefit a family with a brand new home (Habitat for Humanity).

I arrived early evening last night at the Classic Center to pick up my registration packet and check out the Health and Fitness Expo that was sponsored by New Balance.  I walked around, checked out the vendors and ended up buying a t-shirt and car magnet.  Before I left, I checked out the 1 Mile Run and 1 Mile Family Fun Run that was in progress.  The fasted runner had a time of 4:55! Wow – I wished I could do that..lol. It was fun to see young boys and girls cross the finish line and I had fun cheering them on with a cow bell!

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I left the expo and headed to my hotel which was about four miles away.  When I got there, I had a problem: I couldn’t get my seat belt to unfasten! It was stuck.  After fighting with it for several minutes, I had to “creatively” exit the vehicle.  I checked in, got a bite to eat, and headed to Walmart to get a couple of things.  I bought some lubricating oil, hoping that would make my seatbelt unfasten.  It worked!!

When I got back to the hotel, I was checking out the stuff in my race packet and getting my gear together for a picture.  I pulled out my bib and noticed that the number was 505, which happens to be my birthday! As I was I was getting everything out of the bag, I notice something was missing.  Actually, four things were missing.  I HAD NO SAFETY PINS!! You gotta be kidding me! Well I didn’t have any in my gym bag, so I had to get back out again.  I didn’t have to go far; there was a Target across the street. I thought it would be easy to find.  Yeah right.  I looked all over the store for 10 minutes and couldn’t find them.  I had to swallow my pride and ask a sales associate.  In the sewing section?  Duh!!  Well now I have spare safety pins in my gym bag just in case if this should happen again.  But then again, I have about 100 at home from previous races!

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I got back to the hotel and pinned my bib to my shirt.  After I took a shower, I crashed at about 11 pm.  Don’t get me wrong, I was so excited – I didn’t sleep much! The race started at 7:35 am.  Even though I was 4 miles away, it looked like parking was at a premium and I didn’t want to chance not finding a parking spot and being late.  So I got up at 5:30, put on my cow costume, and left for the race at 5:50. As I was getting into my car, I took off my cow hat and I noticed something dropped in my passenger seat.  I looked and the right eye of my cow fell off!! NOOOOOOOO!!!  All of these technical difficulties!! I didn’t want to run with one eye (the cow, not me!). Well the Target across the street was closed so my other option was Walmart to get some super glue.  While I was driving, I decided to swing in a gas station to see if they carried super glue, Elmer’s Glue, or just plain glue.  Heck, I’ll settle for some tape!! I was in luck; they had super glue! Yay! I bought some and headed to Classic Center. I got there at 6:15; I think other runners were having the same idea was me – getting there early.  I found a parking spot, paid for my parking, and then fixed my cow hat.  Not taking any chances, I glued the left eye! Now, it was the waiting game. I walked around the Classic Center, used the bathroom twice, and sat around.  To my surprise, I didn’t see many people in costume! 7 am rolled around so I checked in with the sprit tent.  They recorded my name and took my picture.  Whoever has the best cow costume, gets one free Chick-Fil-A meal for a year! I didn’t care if I won a prize or not.  I did it to have fun! Or maybe it was the fact last year, I posted on Facebook that if I get 13 likes I run around Athens in a cow costume.  I think I got 40 likes in 45 minutes! Not doing that again! I would have done it not matter what!

The race was about to start, so they asked all the runners to go to a “cow pen” with what pace/completion time they were comfortable with.  This is the first race I have attended where they have pacers.  When I was going in to this, my goal was to just finish; time and pace didn’t matter.  I decided to go with the 2:10 or 9:55 pace.  After prayer and the National Anthem (the way EVERY RACE should start), the gun went off.  Off I went! In my cow outfit.  No turning back now.

Out of all the races I have participated in, this one was the most challenging.  I am not taking about the distance.  I am talking about HILLS.  Athens was built on hills, hills, and more hills.  According to my app, there was about a total of 1095 feet of hill climbs.  I started at a comfortable pace, a little far back from the 2:10 pacer.  It was beautiful going through historic downtown, University of Georgia campus, and the surrounding neighborhoods.  Along the way, I tried to thank all of the volunteers and police officers that were directing traffic, pointing us in the right direction, handing out water, and cheering us on.  The entire route was filled with college students and families that were lining the streets to cheer us on. It was kind of funny, because I seen some of the same people 2 to 3 times because they were traveling by car to strategic points around the course.  Almost 30 people complimented me on my cow costume.

I was getting hot and tired but that didn’t stop me.  I was determined.  I ended up passing the 2:10 pacer at Mile 6 and kept going.  Mile 8. Mile 9.  Mile 10.  I was getting tired but feeling good.  I didn’t know what my pace was and I didn’t care.  I just wanted to finish.  Mile 12.  Now it was crunch time.  I looked at my pace and I was like what??? I kept going.  I’ll be honest, the last mile seem to take forever. Turn this way.  Turn that way.  Where is the finish line??? While I was running, I had the weirdest thing happen to me.  This guy on roller blades with a camera mounted on a pole was cruising down the  street filming me! I wasn’t sure if he was part of the Chick-Fil-A crew or if he was just doing it for the heck of it but he stayed with me for about 15 seconds.  Why did he pick me? Was it because of my cow costume?  There what seem to be like more zig zagging.  Then finally, I noticed where we were at: The Classic Center.  Right turn going downhill.  This is where the crowd was – near the finish line.  Well something got into me, because this cow went flying. For my photo finish, I crossed the finish line with my arms raised.  I picked up my medal, water, and a chicken biscuit. I was tired. I was hurting a little.  But I did it – completed my first half marathon without stopping or walking! I had to sit down. I took off my cow hat I and I was dripping with sweat.  But it was worth it!

Okay, now we come to the part you were waiting for: my time/pace.  I do not know my official time was (I had to leave to check out of my hotel by 1130 – and that was extended checkout!), but according to my app, my time was 2 hours and 9 minutes with an average pace of 9:42!!!! WOOOOOO!!!! Or should I say MOOOOOOOOOO!! Now being able to maintain a pace like that on this hilly difficult course for my first half was an added bonus!!!  Oh here is an added bonus:  my first 5K race pace in 2012 was 10:42 so I am shocked on how far I have come along.

My hard work paid off for my first half.  59 training days.  Over 320 running miles.  Was it easy?  Of course not.  I have had some discouraging days but I pressed on. My friends have been there to encourage and motivate me. But as I said before (and I’ll say it again), I couldn’t have done this without God by my side.

I am still ecstatic about what I accomplished today.  Because of what I was going through the past couple of weeks, I was that close to not doing this today.  I am so glad that I did!

I have my second half marathon one week from today: Run at the Mill in Dalton GA.  This race also serves as a “graduation race” for the Run for God 10K/Half Marathon Challenge class that I am a part of.  After I signed up for the Chick-Fil-A last year, this class was announced.  Since the races were a week apart, I was entertaining the following options:

 

Skip Chick-Fil-A and do the Run the at the Mill Half

Do Chick-Fil-A Half and do the Run at the Mill 10K

Run both!

 

Well that was a stupid question I asked because I am ready for my next one.  Now I have a new half marathon PR to set!

This is the longest post entry I have written to date, but I hope you enjoyed it.  Thanks for allowing me to share my first half marathon experience with you and until next time, Happy Running!!

 

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Troy

T-Minus 5 Days to My First Half!

Good Monday morning! I trust that everyone has had a good weekend.  I am pleased to say that I have almost recovered from the Macon Mud Run that I participated in this past Saturday. One thing I forgot to mention in my last blog post was my original plan for that day.  I was going to do my 8 mile long slow distance slow run early in the morning then do the mud run at 11:15.  Well I am glad I skipped it, because I would have been worn out!   I got up early yesterday and did my 8 mile run around the base running trail.  My only major gripe was that my RunKeeper app crashed 33% into my run so I had to manually figure out my time.  Not only that, I modified my route (by adding), so I had to measure the extra loop (the main trail is about 3.07 miles).  I was probably off in my calculations, but I wanted to get the distance recorded!

Well I can’t believe it! In 5 days, I will be running my FIRST HALF MARATHON! My original goal was to finish the race in at least a 10 minute pace but since I have this is my first half,  I revised the goal.  My new goal is to just finish it; time/pace doesn’t matter. I am going to give it my best and establish a time to beat at the #RunForGod half the following week. To date, I have invested 55 training days and over 300 miles of running. I know I can do it. Why? Cause I can do ALL things through CHRIST Who gives me strength!!

I have modified my training plan for this week.  My revised plan will be:

Monday:  3 mile easy slow run

Tuesday: 8 mile fast tempo run

Wednesday: 5 mile feel good run

Thursday and Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: THE BIG DAY!! 

Another change I am making is what shoes I will be running in.  For races, I normally run in my Mizuno Wave Rider shoes however I think I am going to run in Brooks Ghost 6 instead (my training shoes).  I ran 12 miles in my wave riders two weeks ago however I feel the Ghost 6 are more comfortable for long distance runs.

Since we are talking about changes, I am also changing one of my 2014 running goals.  My original running goal was to run 650 miles this year.  With the amount of running that I have been doing (and plan to do training for my first full marathon), I can project that I will meet and exceed that goal way before years end. So I decided to raise the bar. New 2014 goal: 1000 MILES!! Now I am at 31% instead of 48%..lol.

As Saturday approaches, my anticipation and excitement increase.  I look forward to sharing my thoughts on my first half this coming weekend.  Have a great week and happy running!

Troy

 

My First 10K Race! (2014 Cherry Blossom 10K)

Good Saturday afternoon everyone! Wow – another week that has flown by.  I know that I haven’t been on here for the past couple of days but rest assured my half marathon training is doing great.  Two weeks from today, I will be running my first half marathon in Athens, GA.  I started to train in early January but it feels like I just started my training yesterday.

Well today, I participated in my first 10K race.  I was suppose to run in the 2013 National Veteran’s Day 11K Run in Atlanta, GA but to my surprise and disappointment, the event ended up being cancelled.  Instead, I did a virtual run:  I ran my 11K here at home and after I was done, I logged in my mileage.  I got a certificate, a medal, and lapel pin for participating.  My time for that was 1:05:01 with an average pace of 9:30.  Not bad for a virtual 11K.  But it wasn’t a RACE!

It was late February when I was scrolling through the local race calendar and I noticed that there a Cherry Blossom Road Race scheduled for March 22, 2014.  It was one of the many festivities to kick off the Cherry Blossom Festival.  In addition, the race benefits Wesley Glen Ministries, an organization that serves adults with mental disabilities. When I noticed that they had a 10K route, I signed up without hesitation.

Before I went to the race, I met up with the Run For God 5K and 10K groups that were training early in the morning at 6:30.  For the 10K group, they were running the longest distance that the training called for: 6 miles.  I didn’t run; I was out there to cheer them on as they past by while I was enjoying my toasted peanut butter bagel.

I couldn’t stay long, so I left and headed to the race.  When I got there, I “ran” into friends from the Run Fit Sports, Robins Pacers group, and even Air Force coworkers.  It’s funny how you run into the same people race after race after race.  But that’s okay, I enjoy seeing my friends! Since I had a little bit of time, I used the restroom (a must!) and did a couple of warm up laps around the parking lot.  Well the race was about to start, so we all got to the starting line.  And the race started and off we went.  For some strange reason, my Pebble SmartWatch was not syncing with my RunKeeper when I started so I said whatever and put my phone in my waist pouch.  It was a pretty good course that was out in the country, similar to what I was running in the For the Love of Kratos 5K last weekend.  It had some hills but nothing major.  The course was simple: run to the halfway point and turn around.  When I turned around at the halfway point, I cheered my friends as they passed by.  While running, I noticed that a train was passing by.  I was hoping that didn’t effect the runners up front (the tracks had to be crossed to get back to the finish line).  From what I heard, it did.  While I was running, I thought I had a good comfortable pace.  I could tell that I was pushing myself.  I didn’t bother pulling my phone to check my pace; my focus was to cross the finish line.  I think it was at mile 5.25 when one my running friends caught up with me.  It was funny because that gave me an incentive to pick up the pace, which I did.  Well, before I knew it, the finish line was in sight.  One of my Air Force friends was there cheering me on and I decided to sprint for the finish line.  Yes, I am done! My first 10K race in my life is now complete.  One thing I like about this race was that it was chip timed, so we didn’t have to fill out our results when we were done.

Even though this was my first 10K race, I did a some goals for myself.  I could have set the goal of just completing it but I knew I could do that since I have been doing all of this long distance running for the past three months.  So I set the goal of competing the race in an hour or less and to beat my 11K pace of 9:30 per mile.  I looked at what my RunKeeper but I wanted to see what the unofficial results said. Soon the board was updated.  According to the sheet, these were my results:

Time: 53:23 with an average pace of 8:36!!!! YES, I BUSTED MY GOAL!!! I couldn’t believe it.  I shaved 54 seconds off my average pace from my virtual 11K run last November.  And again, I didn’t think I was going that fast! Just for kicks, I compared my average pace to my 5K races and my pace today was faster than 8 of the 10 5K races I have run so far.  I even did a 4 mile run before Christmas and my average pace for that was 9:10 per mile.  I am just blown away on my achievements and seeing how my training has been paying off.  And I am just getting started!!

Well today was a great day! Now that I have an official 10K race time on the books, I have a goal for my next 1oK race to set a new 10K PR.  My next 1oK will be the Chick-Fil-A 1oK in Dublin, GA on April 26, 2o14.

Well that’s it for now.  But I am not done today! Tonight at 6pm, I am meeting up with some friends and running 12 miles. This will be my longest distance and duration run to date.  Even though I ran a little over 6 miles this morning, I still want to get my training miles in for my half marathon.  Somebody was half joking that I should run 6 tonight.  I could but that’s CHEATING..IMO 😉 

Have a great Saturday and happy running! Thanks for reading!

Troy

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13 More Training Days to my First 13.1 Mile Race!

Good Evening everyone! Hope your week is off to a great start.  I have 13 more training days to my first 13.1 mile race and I can hardly wait!

Well I have to admit I was dreading tonight’s training,  It was part two of half marathon interval training that we had exactly one month ago.  Here is what our workout consisted of:

800 meter warm up jog                                                                                                                                                                                                                               1600 meter run with 200 meter recovery (4X)                                                                                                                                                                                800 meter cool down jog  (TOTAL MILES: 6) 

This was almost the same workout as before except the run portion was 800 meters and the total distance was 4 miles.  Last month, we did the first workout in the church parking lot; tonight we ran on the track.  One of the tips that was given for those running the half was to run in the opposite direction every other mile.  This was to help us prevent injury since we had a longer workout than the 10K group.  I liked the idea because it helped break the scenery running in different directions instead of running clockwise around the track umpteen times.  I am NOT a huge fan of running around a track! They also gave us the option of walking and/or jogging during the warm up/recovery/cool down portions but I opted to following the training plan to the letter and jog/run.

Going into the workout, I really didn’t have a goal other than to do better than the workout from a month ago.  I even forgot to check what my average pace was then.  During my workout, i jogged when I suppose to and ran as fast I could push myself during the one mile run portions.  To my surprise, i didn’t get tired or cramped.  I just ran! Whenever I would pass my teammates, I would high five them or encourage them.  Well before I knew it, my workout was completed.  I compared it to my first half marathon interval workout and couldn’t believe it. Here are the comparisons:

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As you can see, I CRUSHED my average pace from a month ago! I was able to shave 1:17 off plus I had to run ONE mile instead of 1/2 mile each circuit.  I can’t believe what I have achieved today! And to be honest, I actually like this workout and probably will continue to use it in the future for speed training.  So far, I have trained for 46 days and I am still shocked at the results I am seeing, not only in my training but in my 5K races and 1.5 mile Air Force PT runs.  Fast Tempo Run, Easy Slow Run, Feel Good Run, Long Slow Distance Run, Active Recovery Workout and the way the training schedule didn’t make sense at first but now it does!

After our workout, some of us went down the street to cheer on the Run For God 5K Challenge class as they did their interval training.  They met at the new Run Fit Sports location that opened up in Bonaire. Every Run for God class meets at Run Fit (usually the second week of training) where they meet the staff and learn about they do and the different types of running shoes and accessories they offer.  I have been a customer of Run Fit Sports since 2010 and will always buy my shoes from them.  The staff has a lot of expertise and will recommend the proper shoe depending on your foot type.

Finally, I picked up my second half of my cow costume that I will be running in for my first half.  The staff at the print shop really hooked me up. Not only that they got the order done in 2 days (I was quoted two weeks).  Not only that, but if they were to make the same shirt again, it would cost more than what I was quoted so I was blessed! Here is a sneak peak:

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The rest of my costume is classified until race day 😉

So what kind of speed interval training have you done? Something similar to what I have been doing or something different? Please comment below.  That’s it for now. Have a great evening and happy running!

Half Marathon Training – Day 42 and 43

Hello again! It’s time to share about my about my half marathon training for the past couple of days but I wanted to share about an event I went to this past Sunday.  Two of my Run for God friends participated in their first Spartan race.  I didn’t participate because I have a race every weekend (except one) between now and June 7th.  As you know, it can get expensive! I may have to break my piggy bank to pay for some of the races! I went for moral support and to take pictures.  Before I made running a part of my daily lifestyle, I was really into photography.  That is until my camera got stolen however one of my friends got me a camera for Christmas.   Even though I enjoy running more and more, it was great to be on hand to take pictures of this special event.  It was kind of funny, because the parking lot was located almost a mile from the festival grounds.  Since Sunday was an active recovery day, I took credit for those 2 miles! For safety reasons, spectators were only allowed in the festival/spectator zone.  I was able to see my friends start at the starting line then I had to go to another part and wait on them.  It was a waiting game and I didn’t want to miss them.  About 30 minutes later, they came around so I was able to get some pictures.  Even though I wasn’t participating, I had a workout of my own literally running from one station to the next to get my friends in action.  And even the festival grounds were muddy so I was glad that I wore my old Brooks Ghost 5.  After they went through the course close to the spectator/festival area, they proceeded to where we couldn’t go so it was another waiting game.  Later they came to the last couple of obstacles so I was back in action again.  My friends completed their first Spartan race! They said it was tough.  I believe them.  One of the rules is that if you can’t do a particular obstacle, you have do 30 burpees.  My friends were very thankful that I took pictures but they want me to participate with them next year.  They said we will hire someone to take pictures.  Even though it seems hard, I am up for the challenge! I have a year to strength train..lol.

Here is a link to the photos that I have taken: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202618506815853.1073741841.1592814108&type=1&l=ef28fc77e0

Okay, enough about that.  Let’s talk about my half marathon training.  Yesterday’s workout consisted of a 7 mile fast tempo run.  I was suppose to train with our Run for God group but something came up and I ran solo instead.  My last fast tempo run pace was 9:42 so I was aiming at beating it.  I decided to run a flat course for my workout.  When I started, I had a good pace: 9:23 for my first mile.  But the more I got into the workout, the slower my pace got.  By mile 4, I was at 10 minutes a mile.  I would be lying if I said if I was getting discouraged.  I was about to say heck with it, who cares what my average pace would be for the entire workout. But something came over me.  I wasn’t going to let my mind play games with me.  And all of a sudden, i just had this burst of energy.  I can’t explain it.  Maybe the thought of returning to the starting point had something to do with it. I just kept going faster and faster.  I was getting hot but I pushed through.  And before I knew it, my workout was finished.  After, I stopped my RunKeeper program I reviewed the summary.  My average pace was for the entire workout was 9:39 per mile.   I couldn’t believe it.  I shaved 3 seconds off my previous fast tempo pace! Well I was ecstatic.  It might have been 3 seconds but hey it was a new record! I was at the point of throwing in the towel but I kept going and pushed myself.  Being a man of faith, I have to give God the credit too because without Him I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing today.  Here are some screenshots of my workout: 

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This morning, I kicked off my hump day with a practice 1.5 mile Air Force PT test run.  My time was 12:58 with an average pace of 8:32.  5 seconds slower than my best time for distance but I will take it! After work, I stopped by a t-shirt shop to order the second half of my cow costume for the Chick-Fil-A half that is fast approaching.  They are only charging me 31 dollars which is 50 percent cheaper than getting one online.  Now my journey to the dark….err cow side is now complete.  One nice thing is that this will not be a one time costume; I plan on wearing it at all 5 of the Chick Fil A Connect Races here in Middle Georgia.  I doubt I will win a free meal per week for one year but hey I like to have fun and goof off! YOLO!  I ended my day with an easy slow 4 mile run on a hilly course. Trust me, after pushing myself yesterday and this morning, I took it EASY and SLOW! Don’t want to go overboard and injure myself.

Finally, I signed up for my first official 5K Race of 2014.  I will be running in the For the Love of Kratos 5K this Saturday.  The race benefits local animal shelters.  My current 5K PR is 26:20, so I aiming to set a new 5K PR this weekend.  Depending on how the age structure is set up, it would be nice to place in the top 3 for my age group (one of my goals for this year is to place in the top 3 in at least 3 races; last year I placed 3rd in two 5Ks).

Well that’s about it.  This is probably my longest blog entry to date! Thanks for reading and happy running 😉

Half Marathon Training – Day 40

Good Thursday evening! Well, part of my cow costume for the Chick-Fil-A Half came in today.  Want to see it?  Read my blog post in 29 days! Trust me, I will be taking many pictures.  I tried it on today (in secret) and I look like a complete idiot..lol.

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The weather here in Middle Georgia has been very crazy for the past week.  We have had days where the temperatures were in the high 60s to days like today where it has been raining all day and the high was 40 degrees.  It could have been easy to make an excuse and postpone training but I was determined to get out and run.  I thought I was going to run solo but one of my Run for God classmates wanted to join me despite the weather.  The temperature felt like 29 degrees (even though it was 36) so i bundled up.  I wore my running pants, t-shirt, fleece, a jacket with a hood, ski cap, and gloves.  During our run, the rain got heavy at times.  I wear glasses and but this is one time I wished I had eye surgery to correct my vision because I had many droplets collecting on my lenses.  Even though I was bundled up, I really didn’t get that hot.  After we completed our workout, we was soaked.  My pants were wet, my feet were wet (ran into many puddles) and even my fleece under my outer jacket was damp. When I got home, I had to take a hot shower to warm up! However, we did it! I have run in the rain before (light drizzle) but this is the first time I have run in these type conditions.  Yes I am going to enjoy my rest day tomorrow!

Other than that, I got word that the Macon Run or Dye that I was suppose to participate in next Saturday got postponed.  No rescheduled date yet.  However, I did register for the Macon Mud Run on March 29.  Some of my Run For God classmates are participating in that event.  This is my first mud run and i am looking forward to getting dirty! It’s going to be a lot of fun!

That’s it for now.  Thanks for reading and happy running!

Troy

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