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Posted (edited)

Great Western Half Marathon

This race is an out and back course on a trail that was converted from an old defunct railroad line.  The trail is about half asphalt and half crushed, smooth limestone.  So a race technically on a trail but not a “trail race” since it is as easy to run on as road.

Last night I mentioned a goal of 1:20 ish (yes, I know, I’m supposed to write 80:00).   To expand on that, I guess my goal was 79:50.  Tri-man pointed out that way down on the bottom of the website to the race, they list course records by age group.  The record for the 50-54 age group was 79:51 set back in 2005.  This was something I wanted to set.  However, thinking about best case and worst case scenarios, best case would have been to run under 6:00 pace the whole time and finish under 79. Worst would have been a DNF due to my heel but, other than that, I would have been really surprised not to finish under my PR 80:23 set in 2018.

It wasn’t the best weather.  60 degrees to start with 13 mph winds.  It probably warmed up into the high 60s by the end.  The winds helped to make it feel cooler although winds inherently suck.  Fortunately, we rarely faced the wind straight on and the trail was tree lined the majority of the course which probably helped.  The first half was more into the wind than the second half which is the direction I’d prefer.  Mostly clear skies.

There isn’t much parking at the start so they had us park at a high school and busses were there to drive us over.  I was scheduled to take the 6:25 bus time but got there early and got on the 6:15.  Once by the start it was a matter of picking up the bib, gear check and anything else one wants to do before you start.  I didn’t run a warmup because I wanted to reduce mileage on the heel as much as possible. Start was “open” so whenever runners wanted to cross the starting line they could.  I crossed at 6:44.  

By the way, for the record, my heel was fine the whole time.   

First four miles: 5:52, 5:57, 5:56, 5:59

“Goal” pace was 6:04.  I guess these miles felt OK although it always sucks to run fast. I kept telling myself I could slow down if I wanted to but it was early and I was feeling strong.  The trail isn’t that wide and there were a lot of runners -- mostly going out although some were already coming in.  A lot of passing.  Nobody passed me the whole race.  

Miles 5 and 6: 6:03, 6:03

I slowed a little because it was getting hard -- harder than I thought it would.  Also, I felt a side stitch coming on multiple times but did the deep breathing stuff and that seemed to keep them at bay.  Although the website says the course is “mostly flat” and there weren’t any hills, it seemed like there was more upgrade than downgrade.  But that’s often hard to judge because I always seem to notice the upgrades more.  Turns out it was true.  The first half climbs a net of about 100 feet.  I wish I would have known that before I started.  I think it helped wear me out.  That and the wind.  And the temperature.

Miles 7 and 8: 6:01, 5:59

The turnaround happened in mile 7, of course.  There was a sign to turn around and a volunteer was there but there was no orange cone.  That threw me for a loop.   I’ve always turned around a cone in other races.  The fact that I was listening to music loudly (first time ever in a race) didn’t help my communication with the volunteer and I ended up running a little too far apparently.  Probably not more than 10 or 20 yards though.

At the 8 mile point, I almost quit.  I even took some awkward, uncertain steps.  I always seem to have a short memory when it comes to what race effort feels like.  It really is quite horrible.   Running another 5 miles fast like that just seemed overwhelming.    But I kept on and kept telling myself it’s OK to slow down if I need to.

Mile 9 through 12: 6:03, 6;09, 6:07, 6:08   

I slowed a bit out of necessity.  I didn’t feel as mentally as bad after getting past that mile 8 low point.  As these miles ticked off, it helped just knowing I was closer and closer.  I also knew I had a lot of banked goal and PR time which was reassuring. 

The rest: 6:13 pace

I recall thinking about how fatigued my legs were.  Rubbery.  I wasn’t heroic at the finish line so no sprint.  The pace I was going at was enough.  Walked off into the grass after crossing the finish and gian’d for a few minutes although with a spread eagle version.

They haven’t posted official times yet, but I had 1:19:30 on my watch.  I have no idea what place I came in. 

A final thing to mention is my cadence.  In that 2018 PR half, my cadence was 192.  This time I was about a minute faster but was at 185.  I’m lighter and stronger and my stride length is longer.    Hopefully I won’t get any lighter but I can get stronger and make further improvements with stride length.  I hope to be successful this fall with faster times than these and this is the key, I think.

Edited by Juxtatarot
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27 minutes ago, Juxtatarot said:

By the way, for the record, my heel was fine the whole time.   

:thumbup:

 

28 minutes ago, Juxtatarot said:

Hopefully I won’t get any lighter

Totally. Me too.

 

And #### you.

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just realized I'm in the same age bracket as Juxt. Would be so soul crushing to head out for what I think is a strong race and see him a full 5k race time ahead of me... :lol:

 

Speaking of ahead of me...my race took most of the week to post the official results. The interesting thing- I had commented here that the previous couple winners in their race series were more than 10 minutes (aka, juxt:me) behind my projected goal...and I was woe-is-me-ing having to be the front runner. The same guy has won both of those. Little ####er also won mine, but in 1:33. Wtf, sandbagging mutherflunker.

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41 minutes ago, gianmarco said:

Awesome, congrats.

And look at the ages of finishers 2-6 :jawdrop:

If I was the 5th place guy, I'd be pretty aggravated.  Top 5 finish and can't even get the satisfaction of winning your age group.  Heck, can't even say he beat everyone older than him. 

Amazing performance by our protagonist.

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1 hour ago, gianmarco said:

Awesome, congrats.

And look at the ages of finishers 2-6 :jawdrop:

If you Google #2’s name you’ll find his running bio. I’d like another shot at him.

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, Dr_Zaius said:

If I was the 5th place guy, I'd be pretty aggravated.  Top 5 finish and can't even get the satisfaction of winning your age group.  Heck, can't even say he beat everyone older than him. 

Amazing performance by our protagonist.

That's exactly what I was thinking. He didn't even finish 2nd in his AG.

And if it were one year later, then the 6th place guy is saying the same thing.

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1 hour ago, Juxtatarot said:

If you Google #2’s name you’ll find his running bio. I’d like another shot at him.

Here is how I know I'm slow.  I'm so far back in the pack, I've never googled another runner unless she was hot and I made note of her bib number.  :scared: 

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Wednesday 7 miles

Thursday Rest day

Friday 7 miles

Saturday rest day

Sunday 7 miles 

Couldn't run for various reasons on Thursday and Saturday and I like my 7 mile route so I'll try this for a week. Taking the week off booze and no running Thursday or Friday because I've got my second Pfizer shot, will be eating clean and lots of fruits and vegetables leading up to it.  Wife will be watching me closely to see how I do, she's already scared of needles so I want to try to avoid looking sick.  

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33 minutes ago, bostonfred said:

Wednesday 7 miles

Thursday Rest day

Friday 7 miles

Saturday rest day

Sunday 7 miles 

Couldn't run for various reasons on Thursday and Saturday and I like my 7 mile route so I'll try this for a week. Taking the week off booze and no running Thursday or Friday because I've got my second Pfizer shot, will be eating clean and lots of fruits and vegetables leading up to it.  Wife will be watching me closely to see how I do, she's already scared of needles so I want to try to avoid looking sick.  

Everyone is different but I felt some very mild Flu symptoms after my 2nd Pfizer, took an aleve and a 20min nap and good as new.

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20 minutes ago, lumpy19 said:

Everyone is different but I felt some very mild Flu symptoms after my 2nd Pfizer, took an aleve and a 20min nap and good as new.

I'm going to need to see how Juxt's second shot went before I weigh in.

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5 hours ago, Juxtatarot said:

I always seem to have a short memory when it comes to what race effort feels like.  It really is quite horrible.

Fav part of a great run and write up.  Glad the heel is cooperating 👍

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Posted (edited)

Just dropping-in to report that I suck at swimming, too.

As a kid I lived near/on Lake Huron, so my parents made me learn how to swim.  All through my youth, even though I was totally comfortable in the water, I couldn't swim freestyle.  Always had to revert to breast stroke.

Moved away from that when I was 12, and then didn't do any swimming (other than just horsing-around pools and lakes) ever again.

Fast-forward 35 years, and I still can't swim freestyle.  Something about the breathing.  Every time I turn my head to breathe, I can't get enough air in, or take in water, or both.  Then, panic.  And I have to stop and calm down.

So one hour of breast stroke yesterday, looking like a ####### noob in the pool with all the other lap swimmers doing what normal lap swimmers do.  Maybe I'll just dog paddle next time to really get the full effect.

Sigh.

When can I run again?  At least with running, I can look like a noob alone in the dark.

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33 minutes ago, Zasada said:

Just dropping-in to report that I suck at swimming, too.

As a kid I lived near/on Lake Huron, so my parents made me learn how to swim.  All through my youth, even though I was totally comfortable in the water, I couldn't swim freestyle.  Always had to revert to breast stroke.

Moved away from that when I was 12, and then didn't do any swimming (other than just horsing-around pools and lakes) ever again.

Fast-forward 35 years, and I still can't swim freestyle.  Something about the breathing.  Every time I turn my head to breathe, I can't get enough air in, or take in water, or both.  Then, panic.  And I have to stop and calm down.

So one hour of breast stroke yesterday, looking like a ####### noob in the pool with all the other lap swimmers doing what normal lap swimmers do.  Maybe I'll just dog paddle next time to really get the full effect.

Sigh.

When can I run again?  At least with running, I can look like a noob alone in the dark.

Try using a kick board and practicing the breath timing, a lot easier to knock down the timing and comfort without worrying about arms.

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47 minutes ago, Zasada said:

Just dropping-in to report that I suck at swimming, too.

As a kid I lived near/on Lake Huron, so my parents made me learn how to swim.  All through my youth, even though I was totally comfortable in the water, I couldn't swim freestyle.  Always had to revert to breast stroke.

Moved away from that when I was 12, and then didn't do any swimming (other than just horsing-around pools and lakes) ever again.

Fast-forward 35 years, and I still can't swim freestyle.  Something about the breathing.  Every time I turn my head to breathe, I can't get enough air in, or take in water, or both.  Then, panic.  And I have to stop and calm down.

So one hour of breast stroke yesterday, looking like a ####### noob in the pool with all the other lap swimmers doing what normal lap swimmers do.  Maybe I'll just dog paddle next time to really get the full effect.

Sigh.

When can I run again?  At least with running, I can look like a noob alone in the dark.

This describes my entire swimming experience over 46 years

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27 minutes ago, lumpy19 said:

Try using a kick board and practicing the breath timing, a lot easier to knock down the timing and comfort without worrying about arms.

I'm a terrible swimmer. But I still did triathlons. 

I can completely empathize with the freestyle breathing thing. What helped for me was taking a breath every other stroke (for me, every time I reached with my right hand)...little sip of air, and then exhale slowly in the water until my next stroke- so I couldn't take in water while my face was down.

I found using a float between the legs to help me out a lot. I never got long and straight at the surface in the water...my legs always were down lower in the water. The float brought my legs up which made the whole process easier in terms of  concentrating on the stroke and breathing. Also important to not burn the legs out swimming in tris...good for that too.

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1 hour ago, Zasada said:

Just dropping-in to report that I suck at swimming, too.

As a kid I lived near/on Lake Huron, so my parents made me learn how to swim.  All through my youth, even though I was totally comfortable in the water, I couldn't swim freestyle.  Always had to revert to breast stroke.

Moved away from that when I was 12, and then didn't do any swimming (other than just horsing-around pools and lakes) ever again.

Fast-forward 35 years, and I still can't swim freestyle.  Something about the breathing.  Every time I turn my head to breathe, I can't get enough air in, or take in water, or both.  Then, panic.  And I have to stop and calm down.

So one hour of breast stroke yesterday, looking like a ####### noob in the pool with all the other lap swimmers doing what normal lap swimmers do.  Maybe I'll just dog paddle next time to really get the full effect.

Sigh.

When can I run again?  At least with running, I can look like a noob alone in the dark.

I suck at swimming and could never swim freestyle but I made some minor improvements last few times I tried and the biggest thing was that I slowed way down.  If you can't get enough air you are probably exerting too much. Try going cartoonishly slow and just focus on the breathing.  Don't worry about the rhythm or getting your arms right or kicking, just work on face down face up breathe face down face up breathe. Then work in the rest of the movement and focus on kicking and breathing.  Arms last imo.  

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42 minutes ago, lumpy19 said:

Try using a kick board and practicing the breath timing, a lot easier to knock down the timing and comfort without worrying about arms.

This makes more intuitive sense than my leg float suggestion.

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7 minutes ago, bostonfred said:

I made some minor improvements last few times I tried and the biggest thing was that I slowed way down.  If you can't get enough air you are probably exerting too much. Try going cartoonishly slow and just focus on the breathing.  Don't worry about the rhythm or getting your arms right or kicking, just work on face down face up breathe face down face up breathe. Then work in the rest of the movement and focus on kicking and breathing.  Arms last imo.  

I thought we all agreed no more sexy talk.

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2 hours ago, Zasada said:

Just dropping-in to report that I suck at swimming, too.

As a kid I lived near/on Lake Huron, so my parents made me learn how to swim.  All through my youth, even though I was totally comfortable in the water, I couldn't swim freestyle.  Always had to revert to breast stroke.

Moved away from that when I was 12, and then didn't do any swimming (other than just horsing-around pools and lakes) ever again.

Fast-forward 35 years, and I still can't swim freestyle.  Something about the breathing.  Every time I turn my head to breathe, I can't get enough air in, or take in water, or both.  Then, panic.  And I have to stop and calm down.

So one hour of breast stroke yesterday, looking like a ####### noob in the pool with all the other lap swimmers doing what normal lap swimmers do.  Maybe I'll just dog paddle next time to really get the full effect.

Sigh.

When can I run again?  At least with running, I can look like a noob alone in the dark.

It takes a long time to get all the pieces right for freestyle swimming.  As a kid, we spent all summer at a small family cottage near town.  So I knew how to swim, right?  First time in a swimming pool was an embarrassment - the six lane university pool didn't have rope lines, and I was drifting all over three lanes ...finished four laps and was exhausted.  I've been on and off with the swimming over the past thirty years, but I'm still not even middle of the pack - and I still have to concentrate on all the different elements when I'm in the pool.  I love swimming, but it taxes the brain.  At least now, at our cottage, I can open water swim and get into a nice rhythm without having to worry about other swimmers, turns, etc.

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I'm sure Big Dogs Backyard Ultra has already been discussed in here, but I'm just reading a story about it on BBC for the first time...yowza. 

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40 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

I'm just reading a story about...BBC for the first time...yowza. 

Again, no sexy talk.

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22 hours ago, Juxtatarot said:

I always seem to have a short memory when it comes to what race effort feels like.  It really is quite horrible.  

This has already been highlighted but quoting it again because it's so true.

22 hours ago, Juxtatarot said:

A final thing to mention is my cadence.  In that 2018 PR half, my cadence was 192.  This time I was about a minute faster but was at 185.  I’m lighter and stronger and my stride length is longer.    Hopefully I won’t get any lighter but I can get stronger and make further improvements with stride length.  I hope to be successful this fall with faster times than these and this is the key, I think.

I was thinking about your cadence comment on my run today, because I think it's relevant for a lot of us especially as we age.  Lots of people have a natural tendency to over-stride, so many times the "increase your cadence" advice is wise.  But, as we get older our stride length has a natural tendency to decrease, and while I don't think we should fight that per se, we should also not exacerbate it.  We want to avoid the situation where our top end speed is greatly limited by our musculature, which is where ISTM strength and flexibility come in.

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Also, wanted to break it out as its own comment, but I know exactly what you mean by "hopefully I won't get any lighter".  While to people in here who fight weight the other way it seems like a flex or a finger-worthy comment, being preternaturally light can be kind of annoying at times too.  You don't get any "free" speed by getting to race weight, because you're always more or less there.  Sometimes when I increase my running my weight starts getting too low and I start debating whether I should just start eating garbage to try to counteract it a bit, as it's hard for me to eat healthy in enough quantities to balance the extra mileage.  Don't want to out anybody, but there are one or two other guys in here that I suspect may be fighting some of the same issues.

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1 hour ago, Dr_Zaius said:

Also, wanted to break it out as its own comment, but I know exactly what you mean by "hopefully I won't get any lighter".  While to people in here who fight weight the other way it seems like a flex or a finger-worthy comment, being preternaturally light can be kind of annoying at times too.  You don't get any "free" speed by getting to race weight, because you're always more or less there.  Sometimes when I increase my running my weight starts getting too low and I start debating whether I should just start eating garbage to try to counteract it a bit, as it's hard for me to eat healthy in enough quantities to balance the extra mileage.  Don't want to out anybody, but there are one or two other guys in here that I suspect may be fighting some of the same issues.

I've put on 5lbs from my "normal" weight of 165.  But I've also added some upper-body bulk with the weight routine I've been trying to stick with.

Personally, I'm internally debating the benefits of dropping to 165 again (light=fast), versus worrying that I'm not giving my body enough raw material to improve my muscle quality.  

Lately I've been leaning to the latter, but I've also noticed my pants starting to feel a little more tight.  Definitely not what I want!

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25 minutes ago, Dr_Zaius said:

 

I was thinking about your cadence comment on my run today, because I think it's relevant for a lot of us especially as we age.  Lots of people have a natural tendency to over-stride, so many times the "increase your cadence" advice is wise.  But, as we get older our stride length has a natural tendency to decrease, and while I don't think we should fight that per se, we should also not exacerbate it.  We want to avoid the situation where our top end speed is greatly limited by our musculature, which is where ISTM strength and flexibility come in.

Yes, I agree with all this. And, to be clear, I think increasing or decreasing cadence is a decision that each runner should decide on individually weighing the various pros and cons. 

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7 hours ago, gianmarco said:

I thought we all agreed no more sexy talk.

 

2 hours ago, gruecd said:

Again, no sexy talk.

 

14 minutes ago, Zasada said:

my pants starting to feel a little more tight. 

This is getting ridiculous.

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2 hours ago, Dr_Zaius said:

I was thinking about your cadence comment on my run today, because I think it's relevant for a lot of us especially as we age.  Lots of people have a natural tendency to over-stride, so many times the "increase your cadence" advice is wise.  But, as we get older our stride length has a natural tendency to decrease, and while I don't think we should fight that per se, we should also not exacerbate it.  We want to avoid the situation where our top end speed is greatly limited by our musculature, which is where ISTM strength and flexibility come in.

Yeah, I've been aware of two related dynamics:  First, my cadence is high (typically mid-180s; into 190s when I push tempo).  Second, as I pass store windows, my stride length looks too stiff and short.  So this fits what you're saying, @Dr_Zaius (including the aging factor).  Given my height (6'3") and long legs, I feel like I have speed to be gained if I can improve the stride length.  I hope to work on that now that the weather is warming and my summer schedule opens up considerably.

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2 minutes ago, tri-man 47 said:

Yeah, I've been aware of two related dynamics:  First, my cadence is high (typically mid-180s; into 190s when I push tempo).  Second, as I pass store windows, my stride length looks too stiff and short.  So this fits what you're saying, @Dr_Zaius (including the aging factor).  Given my height (6'3") and long legs, I feel like I have speed to be gained if I can improve the stride length.  I hope to work on that now that the weather is warming and my summer schedule opens up considerably.

Been thinking very similar thoughts. 

The IM shuffle restructure of my stride bank innaday got me to a nice cruising speed, especially for tris. But I feel like I can be driving the knees more now that I'm just running, and worry less about the shuffle and spinning quicker.

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57 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

Been thinking very similar thoughts. 

The IM shuffle restructure of my stride bank innaday got me to a nice cruising speed, especially for tris. But I feel like I can be driving the knees more now that I'm just running, and worry less about the shuffle and spinning quicker.

That's where your urban hill training on the bridge should help.  (I think my recent issue here has been due to ramping up the elevation too quickly.)

--

Hey, @gruecd ...you know and here things.  What's the buzz on Boston cutoffs?

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Posted (edited)

It's been about two months since my marathon, and my first day of a 12-week program started today. I’m not sure if some of you have seen my runs on Strava lately, but I'm going through an unexplainable stretch right now. I am getting extremely fit for some unknown reason. 

I have been thinking about the reason why this is happening, and I've come up with two possible answers. Number one is, I'm just continuing the benefits I saw from my last program and marathon. I haven't done anything different. I have started some mild lifting but nothing else has changed. Diet is the same, probably worse than before. Sleep is the same, etc.. 

The second reason could be a new piece of equipment I've been using. I've been hesitant to post it because it could just be a gimmick. But I also don't want to keep something beneficial from the group. It's a breathing device you wear while running. It's called a GO2 device. I'll post the link for those interested in trying it.

I've been using it since April 12th. I know this because I wrote down the first day I started it because it claims to increase your VO2max and all that good stuff. It's just a tiny little mouthpiece that allows you to inhale normally, but your exhale closes the flap and provides some resistance. On April 12th, my VO2max was 58. It is now currently 60, and my runs are showing it. 

Either way, this is the best shape I've ever been in at the start of a training program. I'm hoping to stick with the strength training because I am starting to see what is being talked about with cadence and stride length. I have an extremely high cadence, but my stride length is small. On my runs, my legs are really working, but my HR is super low. If I am going to accomplish my one goal for this marathon (beat @gruecd) I need to get faster. 

 

GO2 Endurance Workout Device for Improved Breathing and Increased Oxygen Flow While Running, Biking/Cycling, Exercising, Hiking and High Altitudes Made in The USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NFD5P55/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_BZSMTSQD7MW86H0H0B88

Edited by JShare87
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I am at the point where I want to start adding some speed workouts to my running. I have a Garmin Forerunner 235. I see I can create interval workouts on my watch but am unclear on a few things. Can you add a warmup /cool down? Most interval plans are in meters while my watch is set to miles. Do people typically convert meters to miles and use those numbers or change settings to use kilometers when setting up interval workouts?

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