Friday, December 31, 2010

Review: Bondi Bands

I've read about Bondi Bands on a couple of blogs to good reviews. I use a variety of things to cover my head and hair when running, hats, bandanas, headbands, etc. The one problem is the sweaty mess that accumulates underneath. According to their website, "These bands will absorb every bit of sweat you have to give them!" I tried mine out today doing a couple of miles in 50 degree weather. For $8 each, they are decent. I don't think I sweat that much today because of the moderate temperature. I will say the headbands are definitely comfortable. They are wide across the top and gather at the nape of the neck to prevent that roll up thing most stretch headbands do. I think I have a big head and many stretch headbands tend to feel tight after a while, the Bondi Band did not. I can't wait to try it out during a race, or in warmer weather to see how it holds up during a tough workout.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Cross Training: Derby Lite

A friend and I enrolled in a roller derby style fitness program called Derby Lite. Starting in January 2011 I'll be reacquainting myself with a pair of roller skates. I know how to skate, I just haven't done it in about 5 years. About a year ago I had the crazy idea to join a real roller derby team. The kind where the girls violently shove each other, get busted lips, and occasionally break a bone.
I did not go through with it, thankfully. My friend came across this derby fitness class which is a bit more civil. The course focuses and the drills real derby girls use to train. Being limited to running on the treadmill the next few months, this 12 week course will be a nice cross-training activity to stave off workout routine boredom.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The End of the World: I Gained 8 Pounds

I hit my weight loss goal in April by dropping 50 pounds. At my first 5K in April 2009 I weighed in at 209 pounds. I wore a size 16 plus and some 18s. On April 30th I weighed 156 pounds. I fit a size 12 and some 10s. Today I weigh 164 pounds (I'm 5' 7 by the way, I hate it when people talk about their weight without mentioning their height). Looking back through my nike+ history, my weekly mileage up to April averaged 13 miles. Between April and October I averaged 5 miles. What the ? I know several factors have attributed to the decrease in mileage. School is whooping my arse (recurring theme). My workload has increased significantly since June, when I started a new position. Throw in shopping for the perfect place to call home, and you have a recipe for weight gain. Thankfully my size 10s and 12s still fit, but I feel like its a slippery slope in gaining 8 pounds. Ten, then 15 pounds isn't far behind if I don't take control now. My current goal is to hold my weekly mileage to 10, and drum roll please . . . add in core workouts on my off days. I never, ever exercise my core. It is my least favorite body part to exert! I read a blog that suggested doing abdominal workouts straight out of the bed, as in literally roll out of the bed, plop on the floor and hop to it. It's worked for well me this week. This inspiration picture of Rhianna in a bikini keeps me motivated. Her abs are toned, but not overly muscular. My final course ends this Friday, I think this winter season will be a great time to focus in on dropping those 8 pounds, and tightening up my mid-section a bit. That sweet gun tattoo is next.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

2011 Race Season Planning

Phew, been a while since I've been able to post. I've got 6 more weeks of class left to FREEDOM! And of course, my last MBA course just had to be super challenging. Ugh. So ready to be done. A good distraction for me has been planning my 2011 racing reason! I've got some new races on the docket that I'm really excited about. First up, The Soldier Field 10 Mile.

I wanted to do this race last year in May, but didn't really feel up to it so soon after the half marathon in April. The race benefits the American Cancer Society, and finishes in middle of Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. Bestest of alls . . . there is a medal for 10 mile finishers! Also on the 2011 schedule is the Rock n' Roll 1/2 Marathon in St. Louis.
This is the inaugural race for the Rock n' Roll series in St. Louis. The race course is not yet available. My only concern is that it will be the same or very similar to the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon route. I'm not really interested in running the same course in two different races. The course is scheduled to be available early 2011, so we'll see if the race stays on the schedule. That's it so far. In my free time, I'm continuing to scour for new races in new places!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 Lung Run 10K

I've been super busy this summer! House shopping is time-consuming! I found the right place and things are finally starting to settle down a bit. I still don't have Internet service at my home yet. Hopefully once I get that going, I can start to post more often.

Race Report: 2010 Lung Run 10K. What can I say, I was pretty miserable during this race. Hmm, do I look as crappy as I feel in this photo? Pretty much.

It rained the entire time. I contemplated just picking up my race packet and going home. But once I got to the race site, I was a little bit more into doing it. All this week I've had a scratchy throat and a runny nose. I probably should have skipped it! Oh well. This is the 6th year of the race, and the first year they hosted a 10K. There were probably only fifty 10K runners, much more 5K runners, and walkers. At sub 1:15, I shaved two minutes off my last 10k time in July. My goal is to get to an hour. That may become may become my training goal for this winter.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes

I finally have some decent comparison shots for my 50 pound weight loss . . . all thanks to RUNNING! I completed my first 10K on July 18th, the Fleet Feet Women's 5K, 10K, and Festival. I enjoyed my first anniversary of this race. My time, sub 1:18. I figured I would come in around 1:15, so I was happy. Even more exciting was comparing last year's race photos to this year's. I can definitely see a difference, not only in weight, but in some much needed gear upgrades! My shoes, fuel belt, and smile is much improved :) I don't run fast, or over exert myself, I actually enjoy running. Proof that weight loss can be virtually painless when you find an activity you enjoy doing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fleet Feet Women's 5K, 10K, & Festival

I'm all registered and ready for my first 10K run! The Fleet Feet Sports Women's 5K, 10K & Festival benefits CATCH YOUR BREATH, A Women and Lung Health Initiative. Families like mine affected by lung cancer gain support from the proceeds. Last year I enjoyed running the 5K race along the Lake Michigan. I'm looking forward to the 10K experience. I hope to finish in about an hour. I don't have any real training plan. I'm comfortable going 5 miles without the need for energy gels, gatorade, etc. So I think by sticking to my current weekly mileage (13-15), I should be ok. The race is the day before I leave for vacation, so I know there will be last minute things with school I'll be focused on finishing. I really just want to enjoy this race without the pressure of 'training' for it. My co-worker running buddy is running the 5K, so a full race report to come!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shiny, Happy Belly

There is good news, no ulcer. Of course the week preceding the EDG I had none of the symptoms that made me schedule to see a doctor in the first place. Although, according to the scope, there was some mild irritation, which may have been an ulcer that healed. That is pretty likely, especially since I was taking Prilosec before meeting with a doctor. Either way, I'm glad the pain has stopped and there is no sign it will return as long as I cut out headache pain relievers like Aleve. These are apparently pretty harsh on the stomach.

One interesting part about being in the hospital was having the heart monitor attached. It would periodically sound a warning beep to which I had no idea what it was indicating, but the Doctor noticed. 'Huh . . . your resting heart rate is very low.' He pointed out 45 on the monitor. He thought for a second and asked, 'Are you a runner?' I laughed, 'yep'. He replied, 'That explains it!' Runners, and people who exercise regularly in general tend to have lower resting heart rates. A nurse explained a normal rate is between 60 and 100! Good to know my heart is healthy too :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Running for the Hell of it

Happy Memorial Day weekend. This is the perfect time to honor or thank those who have served or are serving our country. It's also a great weekend for running! My longer weekend runs have been starting off a bit earlier (8am-ish) to beat the sun and heat exposure. I've also started using the handheld water carrier I bought nearly six months ago (but never used) to hydrate. It feels a little awkward at first, but 15 minutes into it, I forget I'm carrying it. I've been taking my runs with a little less intensity also for two reasons. First, I've met my original goal of losing 50 pounds (I will most definitely dedicate a post once I take some 'after' pics). Second, I may have an stomach ulcer! Kind of a good reason to take it easy, right? I started having stomach burning and cramping the week after the half marathon. Over the counter Prilosec helped, so I figured I better let a doctor formally diagnose me rather than continuing to take medicine that may not be appropriate. I'll have and EGD (or an Esophagogastroduodenoscopy to be fancy) this week, and should know the results right away. Then hopefully I can feel comfortable pushing myself again to drop another 10 pounds : ) Have a great weekend and happy running!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mental Case

My mileage decreased tremendously for a couple of weeks after the half-marathon. After that Sunday, I ran two miles on Tuesday and Thursday, and three miles on Friday. I mostly did this to warm up my muscles in order to stretch them out. But the following week, I only ran five miles total. After sticking to a training schedule for twelve weeks, I felt I needed a break. I laid off until the third week after, when I actually started to miss running as often. That's when I felt ready to increase my mileage again. Running is definitely as much mental as physical. Now that I'm not "training", I can enjoy my runs a little more without so much focus on mileage, form, time, etc. My next race is a 10k in July, which I'm excited about since I've never actually done one (besides the virtual Nike+ Human Race 10k). I skipped from 5ks to a half marathon! The rest of spring and most of the summer I can enjoy running without worrying about training.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Little Gift to Myself

I picked up a 13.1 sterling silver charm by Lift Your Sole at the race expo for myself as an award for finishing. I told myself I couldn't wear it until after the race!

2010 Go! St. Louis Half Marathon Recap

I'm an official half marathon finisher, woo hoo! This is the largest race I've been in and it was very well organized. The half marathon sold out at 12,500 participants. I was very nervous about this race, mostly about if I trained well enough.

Kicking off the weekend on Friday was the race expo. Lots of vendors selling cool running gear. I've read repeatedly not to be tempted to wear something new that hadn't been tested out on training runs; but I really wanted to try out the iFitness belt, which I'll get to in a sec.

Saturday was the 5k race which both my sisters participated in. It was their first race; I think I may have gotten them hooked on races! They both did great beating my first 5k time by minutes!

My race was Sunday 7 a.m. Despite my impeccable planning skills, I somehow ended up running late. It had something to do with my gas light coming in during my commute downtown! That little gas fill-up detour costs me a few minutes. Then, after zig-zagging through a few street closings (totally unrelated to the race and bizarre) I found a parking spot on the street close enough to jog to the start line. About half way there, I realized I forgot my ipod and had to high tail it back to the car. I made my way to the 11:30 pace group with only about 10 minutes to spare. Thankfully, after the start gun went off it took about 15 minutes to get to the start line. Just enough time to stretch out and get relaxed. When we finally got moving, I pretty much knew right away I would not keep up with the pace group. My goal was to run the first 3 miles without walking, to do that, I had to start off pretty slow. I made it through the first 3 miles without walking, took a 5 minute walking break, and then ran the next three without walking. I still felt pretty good at the 8 mile marker where my family was.

This point of the race was significant since my longest training run had only been 8 miles. After this point, I wasn't sure what I was in for. I still felt ok up to the turn around at the 10 mile mark. Unfortunately, this is where the course turned back towards the sun and when the hills really started to kick in. After 10 miles, I started trying to run one mile, then take a walk break, but a few of the hills really slowed me down. The energy of the other runners was really down too, most people were walking. I thought more people would be motivated since we only had a few miles to go. At 11 miles, I started to really get frustrated with the hills. I had just enough energy to run, but not enough to really push it up the hill. I switched between walking and running quite a bit in the last two miles. I only had about 20 minutes to come in under 3 hours. I started a fast run once I finally saw the finish line. I made it with 3 minutes to spare! I was excited to pick up my medal, but also immediately started to feel stiff in my legs and could not wait to sit down somewhere. I still have some soreness today, and my knees are a little achy. I took an ice bath after the race, which I think really helped. I expected to feel a lot worse.

About my iFitness belt, I had read really good reviews and was happy to be able to buy one at the expo. This belt is amazing, super comfortable. No riding up and no bouncing; Big enough to carry my cell and a camera. I could have fit more in there, like energy gels. I ended up carrying those in the back pocket of my running capris.

My first half marathon turned out to be alright! I would definitely do another. The distance is challenging enough without being overwhelming.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Go! St. Louis Half Marathon Pre-Recap

I finished! I met my goal of finishing in less than three hours. My time was sub 2:57. Full recap with more blow by blow to come . . .

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Swim Class, Week One

My first beginner triathlon swim class at the Y can be described in one word, disastrous. Maybe it had something to do with not being fully awake at 4:45am, but apparently, I do not know how to swim. Despite thinking I did. When I arrived, most of the other students (I use the term loosely) were already in the pool doing drills. The instructor told me and another girl I walked in with to jump in the pool to let him watch us swim. I swam to the other end of the pool and back. Then he instructed me to do another lap on my back. On my back? I'm not comfortable with that. I've never seen anyone in a triathlon swimming on their back other than to turn around at a buoy. I attempted to do a lap on my back, no go. I was not relaxed enough. I also felt pressured by the people behind me waiting to start their lap. After struggling through half a lap, I stopped and turned around. It was very challenging for me. I caught the instructor give a look to the lifeguard like, "what the hell is she doing in this class?" Feeling disappointed, I ended up sitting in the corner of the pool watching folks for much of the hour, wanting to slip out of pool unnoticed and leave. Everyone was far more advanced than I was. I was thinking, "Why are these people in this beginner class?" The other women in the class seemed very snooty, not encouraging like I've felt from people in the running world. The instructor was calling out drills and I had no idea what he was talking about. He eventually threw me a small floating board and told me I need to feel comfortable on my back before I could do any other strokes. I would have never thought that I need to master swimming on my back first. I started doing the laps again with the board, which really helped me relax. I ended up doing that same stroke the entire hour. By the end of the class, as people started to clear out of the pool, the instructor gave me a little more attention (and was a bit nicer). He said I looked much better, and pointed out another student in the pool who was at the same level I was not to long ago. I will go back again next week and decide if the class is too advanced for me. I may actually need a basic swim class. I know if I stick with it, I will get it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


1. I will be happy when the half marathon is here and gone. I'm stressing over it!

2. I'm so looking forward to waking up at 4:30 am on Tuesdays for my beginner triathlete swim class at the YMCA (a lesson in sarcasm).

3. I'm concerned there will be creeps in my swim class. I'm hoping the swimsuit I ordered is conservative enough.

4. I heart bicycling. I'm already plotting on an exorbitantly priced tri-bike. I should get through a race first and then see how I feel about it : )

Monday, March 22, 2010

8 Miles Again

I did eight miles again today. It took an hour and a half. Much better than the two hours it took two weeks ago. My knees are a bit sore, but no pain. I was also able to calibrate my Nike+ sensor correctly. I'm going to try to fit in a 10 mile run before the half marathon, only two weeks away. At this point, as long as I can finish inside three hours, I will be happy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Paddy's Day 5k Recap

This turned out to be a fun race. I think I ran my fastest 5k time but the results haven't been posted, so I'm not sure yet. The official clock read 35: something when I crossed the line. It took us at least 60 seconds to get across the start line, so I'm thinking I did pretty good. No walking, and a good sprint just before the 3 mile mark through to the finish line. The sun was out, but it was FREEZING. The wind was out of control. Race bibs got you one free Guinness beer at a nearby pub. That helped to warm me up. I'll post my official time, and hopefully some pics from Fotojack when they're available. Happy St. Patrick's Day lads!
My time was sub 35:00, a new personal record without trying!

Friday, March 12, 2010

8 Mile

I just returned from my first 8 mile run. My legs are ok, I do notice I can 'feel' the bones in my legs more. Not pain, but definitely a work out. I took plenty of 1 minute walking breaks, making sure not to over do it. I was on the road about 2 hours, which worries me, since I was thinking I could finish the half marathon in 2 and a half hours. We'll see. A few random things . . .

1. Vanilla Bean GU makes me jittery! Right now I feel as though I've had one of those oversized Red Bull cans. I need to crash soon!

2. I hate my Nike+ right now. I tried to calibrate it today, it was still over a mile off. I have to make a special trip to the track to try to get it properly calibrated.

3. I got my helmet and I'm testing out the bike tomorrow, can't wait!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

O M Geez

Yay, I finally have time to post a blog entry! I'm juggling many things right now, work, graduate school, training, and travels. Work is work, we'll just get that out of the way first. School is in the home stretch. My first course for 2010 ended Friday. Four classes left to finish my MBA degree, this December I will be done, woo hoo! Training is going ok, I suppose. I'm getting nervous about the half marathon next month. I may have bitten off more than I can chew here. I threw the original training program I posted out the window. My body was not reacting well. I felt super drained. That program had me ramping up my weekly mileage way too fast. I run about fifteen miles a week, and I feel best running slower, further. For the past three weeks I've been increasing the mileage of my long run. I'm up to seven miles this week for my long run. I plan to get my long run up to at least 10 miles, which is the longest run on the original training plan. I'm physically managing this type of ramp up much better. I'll find out on race day if my plan has worked! About the triathlon, not sure what I'm doing here. I really want to do this race, but am now realizing the many little things I did not consider. Mainly, the expense involved. I got a racing bike from a friend which has saved me, but stuff like the special tri swim class I want to take, bike tune-ups, tri suit, goggles, swim cap, etc. that I didn't consider at first. The race isn't until August, so I have a bit more time to make a final decision. I'm attending a Fleet Feet seminar this weekend called 'Is the Triathlon for You?'. Seems like a fitting question! Travels . . . I planned to get in one four mile run during my trip to Las Vegas last month. That did not happen. We walked sooo much taking in the sites, my knees ached. I did not have the energy to walk for several hours and run. I was originally concerned about running the Strip due to the 'flyover' stairways seen here, but Las Vegas Boulevard is definitely 'runable'. If you can get a run in before 10am, you're golden. Not much traffic on the sidewalks and the flyovers are not that much of a detour. My next trip is a Bahamian cruise in July. I'll definitely be doing plenty of laps in the pool to practice for the triathlon. There's a treadmill on the ship, that's probably as good as the running will get! Don't think I'll be running alone on any strange islands.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

To the One I Love, Running!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

I plan to 'celebrate' with a six mile lakefront run.

Enjoy the day with your Valentine!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Quick Update . . .

1. I love my Camelbak. I did a 5 mile run with it today. It was very comfortable and did not move around on my back.

2. I'm perfectly comfortable running in 20 degree weather . . . if the sun is shining.

3. My Nike+ is a bit umm . . . inaccurate. It needs to be recalibrated after using it on the treadmill so much. One day I'll graduate to a Garmin.

4. Today I realized I've lost 41 pounds since my first 5k last April. A special post is in order when I hit 50!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pearl Izumi Shine Wind Mitt Review

I realize I never posted a review for these. I like them. They get warm, almost too warm. I had to take them off once during a run. The good thing about running with el cheapo magic gloves is they can be balled up easily and stuffed in a pocket if they get too warm. With these, I had to carry them until I cooled off. They do wick moisture, which is nice. After I got these, I read a blurb in the Chicago Athlete magazine about the Brooks HVAC glove. The thumb tip on one of the gloves opens to adjust your MP3 player. Genius. I had to take off my glove to the adjust volume with the Shine Mitt. Overall, it's a good glove, very warm, and highly visible.

New Running Toy

For every running problem, there is a solution! I normally run outside with a fanny pack, but as I run further and longer, that thing has started to annoy me. I think it has to do with some weight loss since I first started using it. I've tightened it, but it still jumps around and the strap is uncomfortable on my hips. I started thinking about a small, lightweight backpack. Enter the hydration pack! I had never heard of these things, a backpack that incorporates a water reservoir for hiking, biking, or running. There are several styles and sizes out there, but after reading several blogs and positive reviews, I was encouraged to get a Camelbak Annadel. It holds 50 ounces, has two nice sized storage pockets, big enough for a phone, keys, etc., and the straps are designed to fit women. This will especially come in handy in training on the bike for the sprint tri in August. Training starts after the half marathon in April!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fun Blogs

Can I just say that this chick is hilarious? These shoes exist in real life. I really enjoy her fitness/nutrition blog. You probably will too . . . Shedding It & Getting It.

Go! St. Louis Half Marathon Nike+ Challenge

I created a motivational challenge for Nike+ users training for the half marathon in April. Two people have joined so far! One more than I hoped for! Hopefully more users will join in on the fun! I'm so excited, notice my use of exclamation points!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Meetup Run

Two realizations today. Runners are some of the nicest people you will ever meet, and I run super slow. This morning I met with some of the members of the Chicago Running Meetup Group to run along the lakefront. The group leader set the distance and pace, which everyone agreed would be 5 miles at 10:00. I knew I could do 5 miles, but not at 10:00. My best pace is about 11:30, but I tried to hang in as long as possible. After about half a mile I fell behind the group! Thankfully, one of the other runners stayed back with me. I felt bad slowing him down, but he said he had a sore knee and wanted to take it easy anyway. I hope he wasn't just saying that to make me feel better! We ended up doing about 4.5 miles in all. After we met the group on their loop back, another runner stayed back and finished with us. Very nice group of people, everyone's skill level is definitely more advanced than mine, but I will definitely run with the group again as a way to push my self.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Half Marathon Is On!

12 weeks until the half marathon. It kind of snuck up on me. Today I printed off the training program from the race website, started counting the weeks backwards and realized this is week 1! I compared this training program to the one on the Runner's World website; I definitely like this one better. Runner's World's program is a combination of time and miles. I prefer just miles. Weeks 9 and 10 should be interested since I'll be on a mini vacay in Vegas. I'm researching a run on the Strip. My main concern is whether it is safe to go alone. None of the girls I'm going with like to run. Bummer. I'm thinking if I go early enough in the day, I can avoid many of the tourists on the sidewalks. I may just adjust my off days to fit in my miles before and after Vegas. I think the mileage is attainable. The timing is perfect; we've been having 30 degree weather lately which I'm comfortable running in. I'm slowly weaning off the treadmill, yay!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cabin Fever

With a gym membership, I've been able to keep up my mileage during winter. But, Bosley the dog's workouts have been suffering! His warm weather schedule consisted of a quick two miles in the morning, four days a week. With frigid temps and icy roads and sidewalks, he gets a mere walk around a couple of blocks in the mornings and the evenings. Before I started running, he had behavioral issues, mostly due to boredom. He was destroying my shoes and one day he ripped and chewed through the entire arm of my love seat! He's pretty energetic and needs an outlet to burn it off. Doggy daycare is great, but expensive, so he only gets taken there once in a while. We both benefit from getting out there for a run, and it's free! I can see his energy level is starting to ramp up since we haven't been on a run together lately. Today I bit the bullet and took him out for a run in 24 degree weather. I'm going to have to sacrifice a few more cold mornings to stave off the little terror I know he has the potential to become

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The St. Paddy's Day 5K

I was a bit disappointed when I realized the Shamrock Shuffle 8k conflicted with a work event. St. Paddy’s Day 5k to the rescue! I scoured the CARA schedule and finally decided on running this 5k in March as my pre-half marathon race. An 8k or 10k was my preference, but none were scheduled in Chicago before April. Doing a 5k will be better for me than no race at all before the half. A little race warm-up. The St. Paddy's Day 5K Run/Walk & Leprechaun Leap route is along the lake, and in true St. Patrick's day fashion, the post-race party is at a nearby pub.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Treadmill Update

Running on the treadmill has been going great. I like the fact I can practice speed work without feeling like an idiot. I never tried it outdoors because I thought people may think I had a problem if I suddenly broke out into a sprint for no apparent reason. I'm comfortable up to the 5.5 speed. I feel like I'm pushing it, but not overdoing it. I run between 4 and 5, and when a 'powersong' comes on, I increase to 5.5, run the entire song, then decrease back between 4 and 5. My workout is between 45 minutes and an hour. I want to take full advantage of the gym membership, so I've been doing arm weights 2 or 3 times a week. I run for 10 minutes to warm up, then using 8 pound weights (I drop down to 5 in the middle of sets if the 8 is too much) do 3 sets of 10 bicep curls, tricep curls, and flies, then hop back on the treadmill for 4 or 5 miles. I'm glad I've been able to adapt to the treadmill, but I'm still ready to get outdoors!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Shamrock Shuffle No More

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! The new year started off with a bone-crushing blow. Registration for my first race in 2010, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k opened on January 1. I went in to register and realized it is on the same day as an important work event I have to attend. I'm so disappointed. My next scheduled race isn't until April. I'm on the hunt to find an earlier race.
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