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Haddonfield Road Race (19:59)

On Saturday, I ran the Haddonfield Road Race.  I’ve run before, and I know the course is moderately challenging.  As I said in my training log two weeks ago, coming home from vacation, I caught food poisoning.  They diagnosed it, and I am recovering decently.  On Saturday I was not 100%, but I felt good enough to toe the line.

Since I am running Philly half marathon again on Saturday, my goal was to tempo and get a good workout from the race.  I know the course is one of the most difficult in the area, plus getting over an illness, and the cold weather, there wasn’t a point to go crazy.  To be fair, I didn’t think I could go crazy anyway. I had made that goal the night before, and thank goodness I did.

The morning of the race was a disaster.  I had gone to bed around 9 pm the night before but ended up sleeping in until 7.  I had a few errands to run in the morning before the race and work, and by the time I knew it, I was running late to the race.  Luckily, it all worked out, and I made it to the start line.  After realizing I was still wearing a fashionable Abercombie Puffer vest, I delayered that, and we were off.

The first mile went up a large hill and turned.  There was a huge pack in front, followed by me.  Somehow I’ve run a lot of races that I end up running by myself.  We ran up the hills of the first mile, and I ran a 6:25. It was precisely where I wanted to be, but I also knew I was tired and fatigued.  I didn’t even think I would be able to hold that.

During the second mile, I began catching a few people.  I remember last year running that mile completely alone, so I was excited to chase someone.  I hit the second mile in 6:26 and was happy.

The last mile had one last hill.  Bonus hill, if you want to call it.  By that time I hit the mile around 2.5, I was toast.  I’ve been training out west, so I secretly hoping my lung compacity would be higher than it was.  But I felt like garbage and just powered through.  I surged down the hill and ran a 19:59 5k.

The goal was 20 minutes, and I ran 19:59.  I’m happy with how it went, with everything that happened in the morning.

haddonfield road race me running

Questions for you:

Do you prefer hilly or flat courses?

What is the coldest race you’ve run?

This one was 22 degrees which is one of the colder races I’ve done.  I’ve run a few below 20 but around this temperature is about my limit.

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Runners World Half Marathon (1:24.52)

The Runners World Half Marathon is one of the hardest half marathons I do.  Oddly enough, even after running the 5k before, I seem to run one of my faster times, and I’ve run two of my top 10 half marathon times there.

This year, my dad decided to run as well.  We relaxed and had a relatively easy morning.

Around 7 am, we walked to the start.  I found the half-mile walk to be warm up enough.  Between the 5k, warmup, cooldown and exploring downtown Bethlehem, I had put close to 13 miles on my legs the day before.  I didn’t need any extra miles before the race.

After going to the bathroom a few times, I found my way to start corral.  I was still wearing my leggings.  As I tried to pull them off, they got stuck on my shoes, I fell, and my shoes came off.  All of this two minutes before the race went off.  I had already made a fool of myself.  As I’m fumbling, the announcer called for us to move up and the 1:50 pacer moved in front of me.

It all worked out, and I quickly made it to the appropriate place and started next to my friend Rosie.  The course had a few changes around the start this year, and we looped around the steel mill area.  It was tough to see the mile 12 marker before crossing mile 1, but I put it out of sight.

I hit the first mile in 6:30.  There was a huge pack of people in front of me, followed by just me.  I laughed at myself in what I nicknamed: “The chase pack of 1”.  I was hoping I would not be running the entire race alone, but whatever happened…happened.

Runners world half festival me

During the second mile, I began catching the pack.  It included my friend Rosie, five other women and a few males.  I wasn’t counting the men because it didn’t matter to me.  I didn’t know who was beyond that pack, but I decided to leech onto to the pack.  During the second mile, I felt like the kid trying to fit in with the cool kids but was just lagging.  The title of high school gym class.

The third mile brought all of the women running together and the men spread out.  We quickly formed a lady pack, and ultimately about five us ran nearly the entire race together.  I have run very few races with a pack of people for the whole race.  It’s intimidating, nerve-wracking, and scary.  We hit the 5k in 19:33.

The middle miles (between 4-10)  is where the course gets moderate and challenging.  We climbed several uphills as well as downhills.  The next few miles ticked off quickly and running together made it go by much quicker.  It was evident which runners were stronger in downhills and uphills due to how the pace would vary.  We were never more than a couple of seconds apart.

I believe around mile 5; someone shouted top females are coming through.  It was at that point I realized, holy $hit, any 5 of us could win right now.  To be honest, I kind of shut myself out.  I thought, if it came down to the final mile, I wouldn’t have it in me.  I also thought I might get dropped in the later miles anyway.  I didn’t have confidence in myself.  I was cruising at a pace, I wasn’t trained to be at but running surprises you.  Sometimes you have a magic gear that appears when you least expect it.

I hit the 10k in 40:23 and I was both surprised and excited.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel during the half marathon.  The year before, I had run a 1:24.17 and two years prior a 1:28.  I told myself anything faster than a month ago at the Air Force Half Marathon; I would be pleased with.

After the 10k, I was still running in the same pack of women.  No one had left our pack, and we were all appearing to run strong.  I began to realize just how painful this finish would be.  Not everyone could be a podium finisher.  It was intimidating to know that in that group, only one person would win and only three would place.  Winning was not the most important thing to me, I just had never been in that situation, and it was weird to think about.

Around mile 8, my favorite event of the entire weekend happened.  Our lady pack passed a young kid in a Batman costume.  He was trying his hardest to high five the runners.  To that point, we hadn’t wasted any excess energy.  We were running in a tight pack and cutting all tangents.  As we passed this young kid, our pack went into a single file line and each side fived the kid.  It was if we had planned the entire thing.

Mile 8 and 9, climbed a couple more hills but nothing of note.

I hit the 10-mile point in 1:04.25.  At that point, I realized it was just three of us.  Myself, Rosie, and another female from Philadelphia who had outkicked me last year.  I knew her well and knew she was the best downhill runner I’ve ever seen.  Which was not good news because the last three miles of the race are more downhill.  They aren’t total downhill, but there is more downhill than up.

At one point during mile 11, I was leading the entire race.  I laughed a bit, and of course, a video crew was filming the race there.  I waved to the camera like a fangirl and carried on.  We crushed mile 11 in 6:18.  I just kept telling myself 2 miles to go.

In the final two miles, Rosie and I separated ourselves from the pack.  I could not believe it.  I was a contender to win, and so was my good friend and neighbor Rosie.  We hit mile 12 in 6:20 and it began a power sprint.  She floored it into a gear I did not have that day and started separating herself from me.  Around mile 12.5, I knew I couldn’t catch her, but I didn’t want to give up second.  I gritted my teeth and just focused on the finish.  I saw Rosie finish just up ahead and by the time I knew it, I was crossing the finish 10 seconds later.

Runners world half festival me

I crossed in 1:24.52 and as second female overall.  I could not believe it.  I had surprised myself in time and placing. Not my fastest course time, but my highest placing and my most competitive race.  It taught me a lot about running in a pack and not second-guessing yourself and your ability.

They announced the top three females, and it was great to stand on the podium again with Rosie.  I could not be happier for her as she is an incredible athlete and forwent a marathon this season (she’s run under three before) to train for that.

Runners world half festival me

After that, I went and cheered for my dad who ran a great race as well.

In all, I’m happy with another successful weekend of racing at the Runners World Festival.  The festival is such a fun experience, and I was telling a few people, even if I don’t run or race well, it’s just fun.  Typically the weather at the race is beautiful, and the vibes from the race are so enjoyable.  It’s hard not to enjoy yourself and that’s why I’ll continue to go back.

Finally, the winner of the RW tote giveaway from the festival is Gina.  Shoot me an email at fueledbylolz (at) gmail and I’ll get you all squared away!

Questions for you:

What is the hilliest race you’ve done?

Have you ever run with a pack of people?

Workouts: Easy Runs and RW Festival

Workouts: Easy Runs and RW Festival

Last week was a great week for both training and running.  As many people know, the Runner’s World Festival in Bethlehem has become one of my favorite weekends.  I was lucky enough to be an influencer this year again and came up a day early and got to take a look at Runners World as well as listen to a few seminars.  I’ll blog about that more throughout the week though!

Monday:  Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday:  Easy 45 minutes
Wednesday:  Easy 90 minutes at Holmdel Park
Thursday:  Rest
Friday: 20 minutes with RW crew/40 mins PM
Saturday: Runners World 5k: 18:48+7 WU/CD
Sunday: Runners World 13.1+2 CD
Total: 50-54 miles

 

Progression:

Week 8: 43-45 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)
Week 9: 41-43 miles (2 races)
Week 10: 50- 53 miles (13.1 miles workout)
Week 11: 44-47 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)

Week 12: 50-54 miles (2 workouts: 5k/13.1)

Easy Runs: 
The easy runs were just that, easy.  Friday we ran a shakeout run and were led by Suzanne A (who I’ve come to know well from my job at a local running store, as well as Runners World) and Ryan Hall.  The pace was relaxed, and I didn’t bring my Garmin.  It was a lot of fun just watching the sunrise over Bethlehem.

Runners World 5k: 18:48
Not my fastest course time, but as I mentioned last week, I didn’t feel as trained as last year.  That’s because I wasn’t!  It was, however, my highest finish at a Runners World race and I was second in the 5k.  You never know who will or won’t show up!

My splits were 6:18, 5:52, 6:01.  It accurately reflects the course, and the first mile is hilly, while the second mile has a few downhills. What I am most proud of is my kick, that I ran the last .1 at 5:49 pace.  If you followed my blog through the Spring, you know I have the worlds worst kick.  I gave up several overall places because I don’t have “it” in the last strides of a race.  I’ve been working more on fast finishes which helped and I was second overall.

What else happened during this race?  During mile 1: I was passed by none other than Hanna and Ryan Hall.  Hanna went on to win but having the US record holder in the marathon pass you in sweatpants is a running moment I’ll never forget.  HA!

Runners World 13.1: 1:24.52
I have so much to say about this race but it merits it’s own race recap.  I had a great race and was second overall.  I was surprised with how “good” I felt after racing a 5k the day before.  While I ran faster last year, I was also in better shape.

I actually ran with a pack of about 6 women for nearly 10 miles.  It was kind of crazy and cool, as I’ve never done that before.

In all, I’m happy with how everything went last week.  I had such a great time at the Runners World Festival and a good week of training.

Running Related Posts of the Week:

How to Beat Race Nerves

Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)

Questions for you:
Have you met a famous/elite athlete before?
What is one of your favorite races?

Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)

Last weekend I decided to run the Heroes to Hero 5k.  The race goes to a great cause, and I’ve always wanted to run.  Usually, it’s the same weekend as the Runners World Festival but this year, it worked out I was able to do both.

After a busy couple of days at work, I found myself exhausted.  I woke up Saturday morning extremely unmotivated.  It was spitting rain, and I was tired.  My husband was getting over whatever was going around so equally as unmotivated.  Together we were two excited to race peas in a pod.

We got to the race around 7:30 am.  The race started at 9 am, however, it was a point to point and the last bus left at 8:30.  I’ve never done a point to point bused 5k, so I wasn’t sure even how to warm up.  Ultimately, I ran 3 miles boarded the bus and got to the start.  I can’t say it was my favorite warm-up process, but I made it to the start successfully.  Usually, I like to warm up much closer to the beginning and not sit around for another half an hour.

After getting to the start, I talked to several people including our store owner and another staff member.  By the time I knew it, we were off.

During the first mile, my body felt stiff from waiting.  I didn’t feel bad, but I definitely did not feel good either. The ground was slick, and I just wanted to focus on feeling relaxed.  I went to the race to run as fast as I could for the day.  I wasn’t sure what that was, but I wanted to give it my full effort for the day.  I crossed the first mile in 6:05 which I was pleasantly surprised with.  Definitely one of my faster miles recently.

During the second mile, I continued to focus on progressing through the mile.  I could see the first place woman ahead, but I didn’t think I would be able to pass her.  Around the halfway point, my husband glided by me.  While he wasn’t “all out” racing, he was running harder than usual.  I hit the second mile in 6:04 and was even more pleased.  I couldn’t believe it.

During the third mile, I felt as if I was finally warming up.  I never felt bad. However, I felt relaxed.  Typically in 5ks, I feel like I’m holding on for dear life during the last mile, however, on Saturday I didn’t feel like that.  I wasn’t tired, but I also couldn’t move my legs any faster.

heroes to hero 5k

I ran a 6:01 last mile and finished in 18:41 and as second woman overall.  I was pleasantly surprised with my time.  My huge goal was to progress in the 5k, and I did just that.  I was 19 seconds faster than my previous fastest 5k a few weeks ago.

Progression:

8/20 Run the Runway 5k (20:54)
8/27 Philadelphia Airport 5k (19:45)
9/10 Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
9/23 Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)
9/30 Dragon Run (19:06)
10/1
Run for Recovery (19:12)
10/14 Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)

Question for you:
Do you like to point to point courses?
To be honest, I prefer somewhere I can start/finish near my car.

Crawlin Crab Half (1:32.29)

If you look at the time 1:32.29, you might think: “Woah LOLZ, didn’t have a good race”.  But that is far from the truth, last weekend I had one of the most enjoyable races I’ve had in a long time.  One of my personal worsts, but one of my most fun.

So how did I even find myself back home in the Virginia Beach area?

I had completely other plans which changed several times.  My husband got called to go on a trip which canceled plans we had been looking forward too for a long time.  I had the entire weekend off for them, but that is what happens with military life.  Instead of moping around, I thought about various things I could do: fly to Chicago?  Spectate friends? Go through with our original plans without my husband?  Or go see my family, whom I haven’t seen in several months.  Plus, a bonus for that was the J&A Crawlin’ Crab half marathon was that weekend.  J&A races (including Shamrock) are some of my favorite.  I love the atmosphere, the race is always well put together, and despite unfortunate weather for many, I’ve never had a bad experience.  (I’ve run Shamrock 13.1 5X, Wicked 10k, Virginia is For Lovers 14k (no longer exists), Surf and Santa, Harbor Lights) but until last weekend I had never run Crawlin’ Crab.

So with that, I made up my mind that week and drove down.  Since I wasn’t planning to run the Crawlin’ Crab, I wasn’t tapered, in fact, I was at my highest mileage week since before my burnout.

I woke up Sunday morning and went outside.  Immediately, I realized just how hot and humid it was. I added four layers of hair gel, decided to wear as little clothing as possible, and together with dad we left.

We got there around 7 am, and I found good friend Kris.  Kris asked if I wanted to warm up and I didn’t have the heart to tell her: In the 35 half marathons I’ve done…I’ve warmed up for 2.  Plus, when legendary Kris asks you to warm up, you say…ok.  I didn’t have any goals for the race but to use it as long run and get rid of my tan lines.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

We caught up a bit and headed to the race start. At the start of 8 am, the temperature was 75 degrees and 95% humidity.  I had already sweat through my clothes, but you can’t do much at that point.

The race started, and I saw a large pack form ahead of me including Kris.  I gathered it was somewhere between 1:20-1:25 finish time and didn’t think twice about trying to push about holding myself there.  I needed to run my own race.

The first few miles were relatively boring.  I ran each mile just a bit slower than the previous: 6:44, 6:48, 6:50.  I thought my body might be able to work itself into feeling better.  Not just because it was hot, but I also didn’t feel overly good either.  My legs felt zapped of energy. I had already disconnected from time and was just running my own race.  My primary and most important goal was to cross the start and finish line healthy.  Adding a 5k into a week isn’t as big of a deal as a half marathon.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

By mile 4, I was just hot. I was running alone.  I contemplated dropping out, but I didn’t want to do that.  Nothing hurt, I was just tired and hot.  The thought of running 9.1 (yes that .1 haunted me), was overwhelming.  Never the less, I started thinking about the race in smaller chunks.  I told myself: Think about making it to the halfway point.  By the time I knew it, I was approaching the halfway point.  I saw the relay exchange and my friend Jess was getting ready.  She said good job.

I grabbed both water and Gatorade at every stop during the race.  Even with the heat, there were plenty of stops, and the volunteers were lively about it.

Around mile 7 we ran along the water.  To be honest, I was hoping we would get a tailwind.  I had contemplated the options: headwind would cool you off, but tailwind would push you forward.  Ultimately, it was a headwind, and my miles crept up at 7:19 and 7:21.  I’ve run hot marathon miles faster, but I wasn’t sad or upset.  No one controls the weather, and you have to run the mile you’re in.

All of a sudden I heard a familiar DJ on the course and it was Jon L.  Jon was actually my wedding DJ, as well as a fast local runner, and friend.  We exchanged a few words and continued on.

After getting off the water, I saw the race director, Jerry on the golf cart patrolling the race and cheering for runners.  He said: glad to see you back in VA, and it really put a smile on my face.

Around mile 10, my good friend Andrew caught up and blew by me like I was standing still.  It was nice to have someone to chat too for a second because I had been running most of the race alone.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

For the last three miles, I focused on finishing.  I was counting down the seconds because it was hot, humid, and only getting hotter.  I divided into running 2X1.5 miles.  My first goal was to make it to 11.5.  During mile 11, there were crab joke posters which kept my mind occupied.  I’m always up for puns and kept myself occupied with that.

Finally, I saw mile 12.  One more mile.  I can do that.  I can run up the overpass and bring myself home to the shoot.  Suddenly, as if I hadn’t raced, I found myself with a surge of energy, and I just charged.  Then around 12.2, I realized…woah too early Hollie, simmer down, just make it to the end.

The last mile went by quickly and all of a sudden, I saw the giant finisher shoot.  I stared longingly at it.  As I approached the finishers shoot, and final strides I saw several friends and made it a point to wave to every single one.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

I crossed the finish line in 1:32.29 and as fourth female and 9th person overall.  One of my slowest races but I finished healthy, and in that weather, you can’t think about PRing.  (Not that that was ever the plan, considering the week before I thought I would run another local NJ 5k).  Kris won, and was also the 2nd place finisher overall!

I did a short cooldown with Andrew and then cheered for runners.

Crawlin Crab half marathon hampton

I’m happy with the race and my effort.  The weather was not conclusive for anyone to have a fast race, and I had not planned to run.  I enjoyed the Crawlin Crab a lot and on a good weather day, I see it as a fast course.  The course was rather flat, with only a few hills (which is running over the freeway).

Questions for you:

Have you ever raced in the heat?

Have you ever signed up for a long race (13.1+) within the week?

Run for Recovery (19:12)

A few weeks ago, I heard of the Run for Recovery which benefited a local drug treatment center.  As many readers know, my parked car was recently rear-ended by someone who was passed out at the wheel under the influence of opioids. Even before that incident, drug addiction has been an issue close to home.

After running the Dragon Run the day before, I had no time goals for the race.  I wanted to support something that meant so much to me.  To be honest, I would walk the race before not doing it.  If anything, it would serve as a good workout.  I’ve run many miles around the Cooper River Park, so I knew the area well.

I got to the race around 8 am.  It was scheduled to start around 9 but ended up starting closer to 9:15.

They made several announcements and a speech at the beginning which ultimately brought a few tears to my eyes.  Drug addiction can happen to anyone, no matter the family situation, age, or gender.  They asked everyone who had lost someone to addiction to stand at the front with the organization for a moment of silence, and that is when my tears began flowing. After that, we walked to the starting line.

Races at Cooper River involve about a half mile walk to the starting line.  I talked with a few people during the walk, and before we knew it, the race was off.  Immediately, I found myself in fourth place overall, which is where I stayed the entire time.

Since I raced the day before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  When I am in shape, I typically feel good the second day of racing, but I am not in peak shape right now.  The first mile goes over a small bridge and heads toward the opposite side of the river.

Since it’s a well-known park, there are plenty of people walking and running who aren’t racing.  There was a bit of weaving involved, but I shocked myself and hit the first mile in 6:02.  (Which was faster than every mile I ran the day before).

I have run one other race at Cooper River in which I call my ultimate regression run.  I ran something like 6:0X, 6:30 and then 7:00.  I thought surely that would happen here, but I attempted to hold on for dear life.

The next two miles went on without much excitement.  I ran a 6:03 followed by a 6:13. It was a beautiful day and ideal conditions, but I still shocked myself.  I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to run but it wasn’t faster miles than the day before.

For the entire race, I ran alone and chased the three guys in front of me (chase being relative as they were a couple of minutes ahead).  I weaved around people using the park for their Sunday morning runs.  I high-fived a little kid who was walking around the lake with his mom.  For me, it felt more like a workout that I was supporting a cause. I was at a race, but with everyone not racing around, as well as the race being more meaningful, it didn’t feel like it.

When I hit the third mile and saw it was longer than .1 to the finish, I wasn’t disappointed.  I knew I would have been under 19 on a perfectly accurate course, but I’ll save that for another day.  I have a love/hate with racing at Cooper River.

You can see me around 19 minutes finishing. 

I like it because it’s easy to park and normally cheap.  I don’t because the course is notoriously long and unlike this weekend, it can get extremely crowded on the trail.

I’m happy I was able to combine two things I’m passionate about: public health and running.  Very few races can do both, with the last being the Lake Effect Half Marathon.

me run for recovery cooper river

I feel happy with my progress so far in 5ks.  My next major goal is to consistently be under 19 minutes, which I hope is by the end of October or November.

Progression:

8/20 Run the Runway 5k (20:54)
8/27 Philadelphia Airport 5k (19:45)
9/10 Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
9/23 Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)
9/30 Dragon Run (19:06)
10/1 Run for Recovery (19:12)

Questions for you:
What is a cause that means a lot to you?
Is there a local park that holds a lot of races near you? 

 

Dragon Run (19:06)

One of my favorite races of the fall is the Dragon Run in Swedesboro, NJ.  It’s put on by a local high school, and the money goes to a great cause.  Last year, I had a great race and was the first I was under 19 for the fall.  This year I did not break 19 but my legs were fatigued, and it was windy.  I had an enjoyable time though.

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj finish me running

I got to the race, warmed up and by the time I knew it we were off.  It’s a big race, with a lot of high schoolers.  This means the start is crowded.  I was not bullying my way to the start with local high schoolers, so I found a good spot.  Once we were off, the first mile was packed, and I found myself running with local soccer players and a couple of cross country kids.  One kid was determined not to let a female beat him (because he told me that).  We crossed the first mile in 6:11.  To be honest, I was disappointed, but at the same time, my legs didn’t feel fresh at all.

I knew the course well and figured breaking 19 wouldn’t be in the cards.  I stayed along the two kids who helped keep me stay focused and not zoned out.  The second mile went around a 180 turn and over a few rolling hills.  I’ve had great training lately, but it means I’m not entering local 5ks “fresh.”  When you race as frequently as I do, you know that, and you ask yourself: are you going to taper for every race.  No, and use them as workouts.  The next mile went with little note, and we ran a 6:10.

During the last mile, I was tired, but the pack of guys I was running with started pushing so I did too.  We were two miles in so I was just holding on for dear life.  My friend that didn’t want a female to outkick him surged and I couldn’t keep up with that but kept pushing as much as I could. The third mile was a lot windier than the first two.  Around 2.75, we were joined by the walkers towards the finishers shoot.  You can see the finish from about .25 away and I always think the race will be short, but it never is. I ran the last mile in 6:03 and crossed in 19:06.

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj finish me running

I was happy with my time, and while it wasn’t my fastest, I was happy with my effort level.  Last year I won, and this year I was second but enjoyed myself.  The overall winners won cupcakes from a bakery which I always enjoy.

Here I was telling the facility: I’ve been waiting for this cupcake since last year.

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj me cupcake

This ends my progression of getting faster each 5k but this time would come.  It has to end somewhere!

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj me cupcake

8/20 Run the Runway 5k (20:54)
8/27 Philadelphia Airport 5k (19:45)
9/10 Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
9/23 Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)
9/30 Dragon Run (19:06)
10/1 Run for Recovery (19:12)

Questions for you:
Do you have a favorite race award? 
Would you rather run a small race or big race?

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