me running harrisburg
Movie Madness 13.1 Recap (That turned into 14 miles)

The Movie Madness 13.1 was my 54th half marathon and the first one I ever got lost.

My plans the week before changed multiples times. Instead of doing a long run on the same roads I’ve been running on, I decided to take a short road trip to Harrisburg, NJ. I’ve driven through Harrisburg a few times, but I’ve never spent much time there. It’s a cool city and also the state capital of Pa.

Anyway, the half marathon was $60 when I registered two days before. I didn’t expect roads to be closed or the race be anything more than a no frills race. My goal was to get a strong long run. I wasn’t tapered, nor was I  in a mindset to run my hardest ever. In fact, there was only race day pickup, and you could register the day of!

I arrived at the start around 7:15 am, picked up my number and just relaxed.

The race started 2 minutes early, and we were off at 7:58. Immediately I found myself as third person and first female. I was running with two men and a lead cyclist. I thought I could maybe keep up the other two men but wasn’t sure.

The first mile goes around the stadium. I just felt like I was relaxed and right, where I wanted to be. We hit the first mile in 7:08, and it felt comfortable.

The next mile went over a grated pedestrian bridge. It made it hard to get a groove and wasn’t closed to people just walking. We crossed a major road, which thankfully there were police directing traffic. We made a 180 turn where there was a water stop (no electrolytes).

By now, one male leader was out ahead, followed by another, and then me. We went over a long bridge, and I hit mile 2 in 6:52, which felt comfortable, but I ran alone for the rest of the time.

Around mile 2.5, we got to the end of the bridge, and a volunteer motioned me to go left (and I did). I began running through a neighborhood street which had no race signs, and I couldn’t see much ahead. After about a half mile of seeing no one else, I asked someone doing their lawn if they had seen any other runners and they said no. So I decided to run back to the bridge. With my confusion and stop, I hit the third mile in 7:22.

When I got back to the bridge, a different volunteer was there, and the rest of the runners had gone through the small tunnel and back across the bridge. I looked and could see the other runners I was running with. When I started running over the bridge, I was running with more people and thought: well, at least I can’t get lost now. My watch hit 4 miles in 7:08 and I just kept chugging along.

The next few miles went through the park, and I was in a daze. I was essentially running a long, hard, run by myself but motivated by the race setting. The next few miles, I ran between 7:04-7:08 pace, which is where I wanted to be.  I was running alone and passing people.  As I reached (my) mile 7, I saw the leaders coming back. I counted they must be about 5 minutes in front of me.

As I approached the turnaround, I tried to count the women ahead of me.  There were two more. We turned around, and I headed back towards the start. At the turnaround, I realized it must be about 6.55 miles, and it was going to be “an out and back.” I was determined to retrace my steps and not get lost again.

Around mile, 9, I grabbed water from a volunteer. I passed the two women and found myself back as first woman overall. By this time, it was getting hot, humid, and I could tell I hadn’t fueled well. I needed Gatorade or something with electrolytes. Since I calculated I would be running four more miles, I knew it would be a long 4 miles.

We went back over the bridge, and it felt like the longest mile. I was running alone, and on the bridge, there was no shade or cloud cover. I ran a 7:03 going over and then 7:19 back.

As I came back over the bridge and onto the path, three geese nearly flew into me. Some construction workers were laughing and then yelled: “you don’t think that’s funny”? I wanted to yell something back but ultimately bit my tongue. No, I don’t think almost getting hit by incoming geese is funny.

I grabbed water around mile 12 and did the final u-turn to get back to the stadium. I knew I still had about 2 miles to go. We recrossed the pedestrian bridge. With the elevation change and u-turn, I ran 7:19 and hit mile 13 right at the stadium. There was an easy way to get back to the start and run 13.1. I could just run the opposite direction, but I figured it would be frowned upon. I began making the long mile around the stadium.

I was still running alone. I saw a few people cheering, which motivated me. I ran a 7:04 and crossed the finish line in 1:39.56 as my watched beeped exactly 14 miles.


I could be mad that I ended up getting lost but my goal was to run 15 miles for the day with 13 at a hard effort. I wasn’t in race mode. I ran the race as hard as I had for the day. By about 10 miles, I was underfueled with electrolytes, running alone, and not out to PR. I’m happy with my effort, and it was nice to get a long run in elsewhere.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked about why running shoes are so expensive.  Each week in the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Questions for you:

Have you ever gotten lost in a race?

Have you ever been to Harrisburg? 


Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running
Shamrock Half Marathon (1:29.52)

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon 2019 (1:29.52)

This was my 8th year running the Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon. Many long term readers know but I grew up in the greater VA Beach area. The Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend is always a lot of fun.

There are several events from the “Operation Smile Shamrock Final Mile”, to the Townebank Shamrock 8k, leprechaun dash, and of course the Yuengling Shamrock Half and Full Marathon. Usually an elite comes out and it’s been Kara Goucher, Meb Keflezighi, and Shalane Flanagan, to name a few. There is something for everyone. My time at the 2019 Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon: 1:29.52 is neither my fastest nor my slowest. It’s on the slower side, but that’s okay.

Last year I had an incredible experience that would be hard to beat and ran a 1:23. This year the goal was just to finish healthy. My training over the winter was nothing to write home about, and I’ve come to terms that this Spring might be a rebuilding season for me (something I personally seem to need after every marathon?).

Anyway, I arrived at the start around 6 am. The weather was ideal. It was low 40s, some wind but not much. Most importantly, it wasn’t raining. Two years ago,it poured rain and was low 30s.

Before the race, I met up with my good friend Jen. We haven’t seen each other since we both lived in NYS. We’ve both since moved, but it was nice to catch up. She ultimately ran a 1:18 and placed 3rd.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

After that, I tooled around and got to the start about 5 minutes early. I talked with rabbit teammate, Nick, and by the time I knew it, we were off.

Since the Yuengling Shamrock half and full start together now, it was crowded. Right off the bat, I felt decent. Plus unlike the day prior, I remembered to start my watch. Since the marathoners and half marathoners are running together, it’s a bit more crowded. I plugged along and cruised the first mile in 6:44. I was near a lot of males wanting to use the race to qualify for the Boston Marathon (and run between 3-3:05).

I felt good and realized a sub 90 minute half was doable if I continued to feel okay through the race — a great goal to make a mile 1.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

At mile 2, I saw my dad’s friend and waved. I started getting into a rhythm.  The next three miles were relatively boring. The Shamrock half is a scenic course but there are always a few boring miles. I logged 6:44, 6:44, 6:40 (mile 4 on the gradual uphill was my fastest), 6:44. At mile 5, I was feeling good. I thought wow, this is much faster than I anticipated (I didn’t have a goal prerace, but didn’t anticipate being that fast either).

Then we entered Fort Story, and it all changed. Fort Story is a lonely part of the race. Unless you have a military ID, spectators can’t get on the base. It’s right along the water so extremely windy. In fact, one year there was a layer of sand across the entire course.

Miles 7-9 broke me both mentally and physically. I didn’t feel good, and I was running alone. There was some wind but nothing terrible. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel good because I had raced the day before, I just mentally felt disconnected and my legs felt stale. I told myself, make it to mile 10, and you’ll be heading directly home. I ran a 6:55, 6:59, 6:50, and kept it barely under 7 minutes.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

I knew the 90-minute pace group was probably catching me soon.  Around mile 10, a man started talking to me about “my form”.  I wasn’t feeling the greatest and not in the mood to chat. We kept plugging along.

Mile 11 went down with nothing major. I ran a 6:55 and we had some wind at our backs. At mile 12, the 90-minute/3 hour marathon pace group engulfed me. I thought, wow I really did slow down. I also felt my shoe beginning to come untied, and it just felt like the wheels had come off.

The group engulfed and went around me and it stung. I hit mile 12 just over 1:22 and I knew I was still at 1:30 pace. Now I was just much closer than the start of the race. It made me feel a little better the group was ahead of their goal pace.

The last mile goes to directly into the wind. When you’re close to a time goal, running into the wind the last mile is the last thing you want to do.  You can see the tent and King Neptune and it just never feels like it’s getting closer.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Then at mile 13, I saw it click 1:29:10. I needed the luck of the Irish for  a sub 90 minutes.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

I tried to sprint as hard as I could to the finish. I didn’t have much gas left but it was enough and I crossed the finish line under 1:30. After that I headed to the post-race party and finish line celebration on the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The race gets you four free Yuengling beer tickets and have Murphy’s Irish Stew (which is always delicious).  I waited and cheered for some of the 2019 Yuengling Shamrock Marathon runners.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running


I’m pleased with the race but know I have a long way to go fitness wise. In all, another good Shamrock Half Marathon. It’s one of my favorite races of the year and I always enjoy seeing local friends as well as others that come from far.

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach me running

Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon Virginia Beach
Chilling on the beach with Nick

Questions for you:

Have you run a race for several years in a row?

What is your favorite race? 


me carlsbad half marathon
Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:29.47)

I knew going into Carlsbad, it wouldn’t be a PR.  My trip to California wasn’t really for a race, in fact, it was actually out of the way to where we were going (San Fransico).  That being said, I liked the race because it’s beautiful and because I’ve PRed. So we decided to add it into our trip.

I arrived at the race around 6:00 am. We thought there would be more traffic or delays, but there wasn’t, so we were extremely early for the 7:45 start. I had no plans to warm up, and in fact, my only run of the day was the half marathon (I didn’t cool down either).

I chatted for a while, randomly saw my coworker (yes from NJ), and a few other familiar faces.  By the time we knew it, it was time to line up. My husband decided to jog the race after not running in 2 or weeks (by not running I mean not at all. He ultimately ran around a 1:34).

carlsbad half

The gun went off, and so did we. I don’t think Carlsbad is that flat. I knew a lot of people do, but there are so some giant hills along the Pacific Coast.  The first mile went over an overpass and around.  I couldn’t seem to get a good rhythm going on. My husband was running close and called me a tractor-trailer because I literally go the same speed uphill, flat, and downhill. (He has called me that on several occasions.) I ran a 6:49 which I was pleased with.

The second mile is one of the few miles that is almost all flat. I ran a 6:33 and actually felt good about it. The next mile was a 6:35 and I felt like I was building momentum.

The next few miles go out along the Pacific Highway. It’s a beautiful coastline, but it isn’t flat. It’s not the hilliest course I’ve ever run, but I wouldn’t call it “flat” either. I began to notice there weren’t many water stops and even less with Ultima. I’m disappointed in both the choice to use Ultima as well as the lack of stops. I could have used at least two more, and it’s a reason I hit the wall. That being said, I could have also brought my own and ran with it…I didn’t.

Around mile 5 is the biggest hill of the race. You see yourself going downhill fast, and then back uphill.

I crossed the halfway point in 44:30. I thought I could break 1:30 if I kept up the pace. I wasn’t feeling bad at the point.

I hit 7 in 6:49, but I quickly noticed I hadn’t taken any fluids in a few miles…because they weren’t there. I take fluids at every stop they are offered for a half (unless it was every mile).

Carlsbad half marathon

At the next stop, I thought surely they must have Ultima, but all they had was water. I was thirsty and took 2, which was an unfortunate mistake because I drank it too quickly. At that point, I thought I would be stopping from a cramp and wondered WTF was I doing to myself. It was like I forgot after 50 half marathons, how to race.

I hit mile 8 in 7:03 and just began to wallow in self-doubt and pity. Up ahead, I could see an ambulance tending to a runner.  It was also around that time; I ran by a fellow rabbit, Kevin, who was running the full marathon. He said he was struggling; I said I was struggling and we chatted about that. It gave me a second wind and took my mind off of it.

Somewhere between mile 9-10, I grabbed finally grabbed Ultima. I needed the electrolytes. I guessed it would probably be my last electrolyte stop.

Whether I’m doing well or not, mile 11 is my least favorite mile. You’re almost there, but not really.  I logged a 7:08, and quickly realized I was toeing the line of a 1:30. I needed to find some sort of energy if I wanted to get under 1:30. I hit mile in 6:58 and began thinking of the last mile.

We climbed an overpass, and I began counting down the minutes. It was the first time I raced with my Coros Apex Watch (I will review it soon, but I haven’t had anything I don’t like so far).  My screen only displayed overall time and vibrated and showed each mile split (I chose to do this).

Six minutes…5 minutes…4 minutes…3 minutes…my mind was just focused on finishing.

Then, at mile 12.9, the 1:30 pacer passed me. I had a few choice words at myself and decided not today. I don’t know where the second wind came from because I had zero energy. I logged a 6:48 final mile and 6:39 final .2, to finish in 1:29.47.


I’m happy with my finish, and I’m glad to finish under 1:30. That being said, I’m not ecstatic about a 1:30. It does give me a nice baseline to improve upon. Running hasn’t been my focus the last 2 months and I’m okay with it. I know I’ll get in better shape. Eventually, it’s just going to take more time than past training cycles.

Questions for you;

Where is your race PR from?

Do you run with a pacer or no?


me running race 13.1 baltimore
Race 13.1 Baltimore (1:30.58)

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts about the Race 13.1 in Baltimore. I made the decision to race only a few days before. It’s not the first time I’ve decided to race a half right before and I figured it would be a good workout.

We drove down the night before and got to Baltimore around 9 pm. I couldn’t fall asleep and since the race started at an early 7 am, the alarm clock at 4:45 wasn’t welcomed. There have only been a few times an alarm clock has jolted me awake, and of course race day was one of them. On race morning, it was one of a few things that went wrong.

I got ready and on our way our for coffee, the hotel door lock mechanism wasn’t working, so we got locked out of our room. I had things I could race with so instead of wasting time with that situation, we just went over.

Then race packet pickup took over 30 minutes.  That wasn’t too big of a deal, because I had no plans to warm up anyway.

Because of the packet pickup, the race was delayed, and I stood at the start freezing. When the race finally started, I was stiff, tired, and running 13.1 miles was the last thing I wanted to do. I reminded myself the race was a workout to get towards fitness. I’m far away from running another 1:22, but every PR starts somewhere.

As we were off, I settled in with a few high school kids. The race went out past a bagel shop, and helicopter pad did a 180 turn around .75 in. I hit the first mile in 6:37 which was relatively shocking.  That is faster than one of my miles last 5k.

As we rounded another turn, we saw the 5k/10k off, and I saw my husband. I started to settle into a groove and hit the second mile in 6:47.  That was better, but I struggled to get into a groove.

We went around the Harbor on a very narrow path. I could have easily fallen into the Harbor, and the number of turns on the waterfront made it impossible to get any momentum.  I surprised myself and consistently ran around 6:40.

Then we merged with the 5k and 10kers who were mostly walking. It was an extremely unpleasant and dangerous situation for everyone. The half marathoners were forced to weave around 5k/10kers who were walking or walking 2+ across. I watched as two people collided (both were fine).

None of the half marathoners were able to get water or Gatorade at the stop, because of crowding. Sure, I could have stopped and waited for water, but I didn’t.

Around the water stop, there was a direction for 10k/13.1 to go one way, and 5k to go another. It seemed like they needed a few more volunteers there because many people went the wrong way. Following the crowd didn’t “cut it” because the crowd was so large.

me running race 13.1 baltimore

After that, the race spread out because it was just the 10k and half.  We ran straight through Baltimore and then around the Harbor.  On the roads, I was maintaining between 6:40-6:45 mile and on the harbor pier, I was maintaining about 6:50. I was pleased because my body didn’t feel that great.

I needed to pass a few 10kers on the Harbor Pier. The path was narrow, and as I tried to pass, I slipped on the slick Harbor Pier. While I was able to catch myself and not fall, I became worried I had strained something (I strained my quad a long time ago, running on a slick surface).  Luckily, it was nothing.

I passed the halfway point in 44:20.  I was surprised but happy. I thought, wow I could break 1:30 again today.  Clearly, that didn’t happen.

The second half of the race got much rougher for me. Mentally, I wasn’t into it.  Mile 7 felt as though it took forever.  I saw the leaders coming back towards me. I saw the first guy and decided to see how far ahead he was. I watched my clock, and he was almost 3 minutes ahead of all racers.

Around mile 8, we did a 180 around the Under Armour Headquarters to head back. I’ve always wanted to see the Under Armour building and it was massive. The next few miles, I just focused on trucking forward.  My miles were slowly creeping into the 6:50s.

Around mile 9, two people who weren’t racing began jogging by. The race volunteer almost missed me to tell me the turn (which I cluelessly would have missed too). I yelled, do we turn here and said: Are you running?

At mile 10, I told myself “just a 5k” to go. I remembered the New York Marathon when I said the same thing.  Mile 10 was lonely, and I ran a 6:55.

The final two miles went along the pier. It was almost as if right at mile 11, my lefts seized up and got heavy. I never felt great during the race, but I went from eh, to not feeling good at all. I ended up talking with a guy for a few seconds which broke up the monotony.

The final two miles felt like the final miles of a marathon.  We met back up with more 10kes, and I weaved around people on the narrow pier.

Finally, we rounded the last turn, and I could see the finish. I just wanted to be there.  I ran the last two miles in 7:22 and crossed the finish line in 1:30.58.  The 10k/13.1 finished together and I only wish I had noticed what was happening around me at the time.  I make a finishing cameo around 1:02.32

I am pleased with my effort. From the number of runners on the narrow course to the amount of turns, I didn’t find it to be an easy course. I know I didn’t run the tangents well, and I believe my GPS said 13.3.  I don’t put much stock in GPS data, but I didn’t take the shortest possible route.

The weather, however, was beautiful. I am glad I chose to run the race, untapered and to see where I was at. I don’t regret running and I had a fun time in Baltimore.  I am glad all of the small issues came up during one race: lack of sleep, hotel issues, and race course woes.

I’ll continue racing as much as the weather cooperates in hopes to build back fitness.

Questions for you:

What is the most dangerous race you’ve run?

Are you good at running tangents? 

Air Force Half Marathon (1:31.12)

The Air Force Half Marathon this year was hot, very hot.  So hot, they drew a black flag and canceled the race around 11-11:30.  I’ve never partaken in a race that has happened, but with so many half marathons, I guess there is a first for everything.

First and foremost, the aid during the Air Force Half Marathon Race was immaculate, and you couldn’t ask for better support. There were personnel almost every ¼ mile and aid stations every 1.5.  That was never the issue.  The issue was at Air Force Half Marathon race start it was already well above 70 and very humid. When I finished the race around 10 is, it was a feels like temp of 88. Last year, I ran a 1:27.28 in better weather but wasn’t in as good of shape.

I know I’m in better fitness than a 1:31, but you have to race for the day which includes how your body feels, the weather, and the course (Two weeks ago, I ran the Boothbay half in 1:29.50 on a much harder course).  To be honest, I never felt great, and the race turned into a longer workout/run.  That’s okay, and I am proud of this finish like any other race I’ve done.

My husband and I drove from NJ to central PA on Thursday (My in-laws live there).  We picked up my father in law and drove the last 6 hours to Dayton, Ohio. Driving that far the day before a race is not my favorite thing to do but with work schedules that’s how the cookie crumbles.  We got to the fitness expo at Wright State University late, didn’t get to stay long, and booked it just before 6, so we wouldn’t get stuck on closed roads due to the 5k.  Everything about the night and morning felt rushed.

The following morning was just as chaotic, and there was an accident in front of the base. The roads were closed, and we made it with just under an hour to spare. Walking the 1.5 miles to the start was enough of a warmup, and I could already feel how hot it was. The Air Force Marathon series has several different races including a 5k on Friday, then the 10k, half marathon, and Air Force full marathon on Sunday. If you do them all you can earn the Fly Fight Win Challenge medal. There is even a pasta dinner if that is your thing.

The Air Force Half Marathon Race:

The Air Force Half Marathon starts near the National Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. At the start, I chatted with a few various people.  The Air Force Half Marathon race went off at 8:30 and I just ran my own race.  The Air Force half marathon is interesting because it consists of a lot of people who have never run a half marathon but have some sort of military/Air Force connection. I am always happy for them, but it also doesn’t have a corral system, so the first mile is often jam-packed with people who have taken the race out too fast.  Then they quickly realize they have another 12 miles to go.

I hit the first mile of the Air Force Half Marathon in 6:59 and I knew immediately it would not be the race I wanted. I wasn’t upset and just ran for the day.

The next two miles of the Air Force Half Marathon went by without any real interest.  I chatted with a few people including a pilot from Illinois, a college ROTC kid running his first half, and retired military officer. It made time go by faster and by the time I knew it, I was at mile 3.

Between mile 3-4, I saw a few C-17s taking off at an adjacent runway. They were planes that had been moved due to the Hurricane Florance.  Not a planned Air Force Half Marathon thing, but a lot were taking off throughout the race.  It made for fun, and interesting scenery. I passed one female in that time. I had no idea where I was in placing in the Air Force Half Marathon, and it didn’t really matter to me either.

Around mile 5, the Air Force Half Marathon started to get hot. I take Gatorade, every time it’s offered in 10+ mile races. At the race, I took at least 2 Gatorade cups and water at each stop. It definitely kept me hydrated.

Air force marathon dayton ohio

From miles 5-6 during the Air Force Half Marathon, I just wanted to make it halfway. Around this point, the flags went from yellow to red for all of the Air Force races which was indicated at an aid station. I knew it was getting worse and I was already completely sweating through my clothing.

We trucked along, and by the time I knew it, we were at mile 7 of the Air Force Half Marathon.  I was talking to a guy going to UVA just bantering about random stuff.  If there is one thing I do, is talk. I always warn people and if someone doesn’t want to talk, I won’t keep doing it.

At the Air Force Half Marathon, mile 8, begins the harder portions of the course.  For the most part, the first 7 miles are relatively flat, with a few turns, and hills but nothing crazy.  Then mile 8 of the Air Force Half Marathon and beyond are rolling hills and running up overpasses.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

I knew I was pushing myself, but I wasn’t pushing myself to the limit of when I PRed in February. I had plenty left in my tank for hills and for finishing the Air Force Half Marathon strong, and I was going too.  Up the hills, down the hills, I went the same pace and still averaged about 7:00 minutes.

I passed another female who had passed me earlier, on the overpass at mile 8. The next two miles were spent trucking along alone, and focusing on mile 10. Mile 10 was when I planned to just go.

At mile 10, a hand crank passed me.  I caught a few people walking up the hills between 10-11.  I wasn’t as fatigued as if it was a hard race and I was just trucking along and running faster than the first miles. I ran mile 10 in 6:50 and even with the hills, I was pleased.  I guess the Gatorade hit me late of the Air Force Half Marathon.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

The next mile of the Air Force Half Marathon, I ran alone and just focused on people in front. I wanted to catch every person I could see because it gave me something to think about.  That was my goal to keep my brain engaged with the race. It hot and I needed something. I grabbed water and just trucked along. I high fived a little kid.  I was surprised that I ran the next mile in 6:42.

You enter the base of Wright Patterson of the Air Force Half Marathon at mile 12.  You can see the finish line in the distance and know you still have an entire mile to go. For some reason, I thought “so many women were on my tail”, and I sprinted like I had one race for the rest of my life.  (Probably because in 2017, I was outkicked in races 5-6 times…many for wins).  I passed no less than 5 men in the final mile of the Air Force Half Marathon, and they were probably like…WTF.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

I ran the last mile of the Air Force Half Marathon in 6:36 and finished in 1:31.12. I was pleased with my time for the day. While yes, I know I’m in better shape than a 1:31 and I would have loved the opportunity to race that, it wasn’t the day and the day will come.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

I like the Air Force half marathon, not just because my husband is in the United States Air Force, but I do think it’s a good course and has a good support.  Next year at the Air Force Marathon and Air Force Half Marathon, the new refueler, the KC-46 is going to be the plane of next year…I feel like we have to go back to Air Force Half Marathon in 2019. 😉

Questions for you:

What is the hottest race you’ve done?

What is one race you enjoy doing?

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