Archive for the quotes Category

listening

Posted in photos, quotes, road, running, trail with tags , , , , on September 4, 2015 by afuntanilla

Listening to one’s body. I don’t know if there is a more powerful thing we can do for ourselves. Everything lives in our bodies and it can tell us all we need to know about the state of our being. The thing is that we don’t often listen…we don’t often slow down enough to listen. We have so many gut, instinctual feelings; so many “sense of something” feelings and often times, we just let those “senses” just whiz on by. It takes practice to listen, to stop….to be willing to listen.

For the past 8 months or so, I’ve become better at listening to my body and those senses that come about in my quiet time. The slowing down has allowed me to have more clarity about many things in running, and life in general. It’s allowed me to really notice what feels good, what doesn’t, and so on…it may seem simplistic, but it’s not. I guess you could say, i’ve become more discerning in many areas of my life and i do consider this a good thing.

2 weeks ago I ran a short trail run and i wrote about it in my previous post. It was only 3-4 miles, but it was enormous in what it revealed. I recall feeling a little bit tired pre-run but as i wrote earlier, i truly felt this burning desire to simply be on the trail and in nature. I ended up having a fantastic time out there, experiencing my body free, unencumbered, loose and happy. I ran up, down and around the trails and sucked in the early evening, late summer air. I rounded a few higher bends and saw the golden hills below and off into the distance. They seem magical, inviting and pure. They are untouched innocence and they remind me of my small place in this world and they remind me of peace. They offer beauty and hope.

As I descend the final section which is less than 1 mile, i am at my most free…my stride lengthens, my smile widens and arms move swiftly. My chest expands as I run straight ahead, over hidden roots, dry dirt and crunchy leaves; around corners that make my body lean and feel childlike & giddy. I notice everything and nothing. I take it all in and let it go. What a lesson..i need it every.damn.day…..to let in and then let go. repeat. repeat.

When i finish the run, i am at a small hillside overlooking the town where i call home. A soft breeze blows and all seems quiet and peaceful out yonder on those small city streets. Everything seems ok. Right.

So….THAT is the kind of run that fills me up from head to toe and way beyond. As I was on a planned 20 mile training run this past Saturday (all on the road), my thoughts were very negative. “my legs are tired, heavy. i’m tired. i can’t even imagine running 10 right now, how am i going to do 20. Ok…just start, one foot in front of the other….” 2 miles later. “this sucks, i’m not having any fun. i don’t want to be running on all these streets right now. its so slooooow. ok, just walk for a bit and see how you feel…” .5 miles later, I started again and then stopped. I. was. done. I walked about 4 miles back to my car. I had lots of time to reflect in those 4 miles. As I reflected on my planned attempt at 45 miles, I realize I was not having any fun running on the road and the  run was supposed to be a celebration of my life…my 45 years of life…soon to come. My long runs lately all on the road have not been fun. they have been slow, irritating due to many traffic stops and uninspiring. That’s not the experience I want to have. I had originally planned the 45 to do on road because i thought it would be easier than trails and also i didn’t have enough time to train on trails. Also thought it would be easier for any potential help i would get in terms of crewing/support. So.

I’ve abandoned the idea of 45 on my 45th birthday. not because I don’t think i can do it, but because i don’t want to do it in the conditions i originally had planned. And, I am now not trained for trails so i can’t just switch the terrain with a few weeks left. I’m listening to my body and letting it go. I’m listening to me and letting it go. If this was 3 years ago, my mindset would have been…”no, you gotta do it…you gotta push through…” and i’m proud to say i don’t feel that way right now. I feel like I am doing myself a good service by listening and paying attention and being willing to see there is another way. I will plan another way to celebrate my life and of course, it doesn’t just have to be on my birthday….i truly believe we need to celebrate our lives on a daily basis as much as possible…in whatever way feels right and good for each one of us. We are all different and celebration looks different for everyone. The main thing for me, right now, is to act with intention and with what feels right.

On the flip side, I ran the same trail route 2 days ago and it was kinda a mini-disaster. I’ve been so stressed due to work that I could not even find solace in the run. That was unfortunate and then totally ok. Stress takes a HUGE toll on our bodies…way more than I think any of us realize. I was tired, but went to run anyway as I thought the movement and air would do me good. Well, I was just a mess. I stopped several times to walk and felt like i was just gonna breakdown in tears a few times….because i was just holding so much in. all the worry and stress and other stuff was just about to blow and it needed an outlet. When I finished and came to my ending spot, I let go. i just sat on the bench and cried. For all the stress i’ve been holding, for all the parts of me i want to be better that i’m struggling with, for the people in my life who are struggling, for the joy that i can find in one single second that can transform everything….for so much, for my own humanity…and this was the GIFT of this “run”. The gift of giving myself some time and space to just be. To let it be and then let go.

running is an entry into another world, a pathway to experiences that cannot always be articulated. whether you call them peak experiences or mystical events, runners continue to seek them. – George Sheehan

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Sunday

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, road, running with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2015 by afuntanilla

Boldness is a positive characteristic of the spirit. Courage respects action; fortitude respects passion. We require resolution  not to yield to the first difficulties that offer.

{these are some definitions found in this awesome book i have borrowed from a friend. It’s from 1924 and titled: Lincoln Library of Essential Information. Filled with lots of fascinating info!!

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16 miles today. Started at 8:30am which was still too late. It’s been very hot here this weekend. 95-100 degrees. Ran on part of the course i think i will eventually run. Was good to be on a different route, and yet old familiar streets and lots of memories from my 20’s…

Got this nasty blister around mile 6.5. I think due to swelling of my feet due to heat. Not fun or comfortable. Legs actually felt pretty good throughout and all else was ok. However, the heat did get me and i ran the 2nd half slower than 1st.

…figuring it all out….can it happen. can i do it. can i make it…..

Awesome to be out on the quiet Sunday streets. I really love this part of it. The Sunday Long Run through the streets. I can hear myself breathe, think, not think, notice so many things….and then, nothing…

Thankful for the part of the route that offered shade!

XLV

George Sheehan

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, road, running, shoes with tags , on August 10, 2015 by afuntanilla

In this pursuit of excellence we runners do something that upsets some observers: We reset goals. Runners are never satisfied; we are always in process.

We already possess all we need; It is effort that brings us to greatness and the fusion of what we are with what we can be.

-George Sheehan

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What’s possible?

XLV

The Race: North Face 50k Endurance Challenge

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, races, running, trail with tags , , , , on December 11, 2014 by afuntanilla

“We write to live twice” – Anais Nin

 

My day began at the pre-light hour of 4 am. I started the coffee grinder, put on water to boil for oatmeal; waking up to the day and the challenge before me. FINALLY. I felt like I was waiting for this day to arrive for soooo long. It was finally here. No more waiting.

I packed my Salomon pack with Hammer Gels, Tailwind, & water. I put my “after” clothes and flip flops in my gear check bag, dressed & headed to Larkspur. An empty, quiet drive south on Hwy 101 to the Larkspur Ferry parking lot. The shuttle took a yellow school bus full of 50k runners to the start line in the Marin Headlands. The bus was fairly quiet, everyone pretty much sitting alone with their gear next to them on their seat. Everyone in their own mental space…mulling around pre-race thoughts…(I wonder what that mental playlist would sound like if we could have a listen…)
As we wind our way over near the start, I look to my right and see a most amazing & beautiful sight; I see the big, glowing moon shining above, high above any low lying fog…and I also see an awe-inspiring row of lights in the darkness over yonder. What was it…it was the 50 Mile Runners making their way down the long descent on Rodeo Valley trail at approx mile 4-5. Them, in the hills, headlamps paving their way, against the backdrop of the moon and the blissfully quiet morning in west marin. It was really breathtaking. I wish I had a photo of that moment. Well, I guess I do, in my head! I’m glad to have it. Wow.

Arrived at the start location and handled logistics; gear bag check, bathroom break, etc…there was about 45 minutes til our start time. Glad it wasn’t cold or rainy!!

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Coming into this day, it was hard to gauge how I would perform. I had done very little running in 3 weeks prior, and yet, I felt like my body, especially my legs, were still NOT fresh. This brought about some anxiety and concern. To be honest, the last few times I ran, in Tahoe and then the Thanksgiving day race, at certain points along those runs, I remember just feeling tired of running. Not tired from the particular task at hand, but a more general tired in the bigger sense. I knew I needed a break so that’s why I did so little in the last 3 weeks. The question was how would it effect me? How was my mental state? Would I physically crash at mile 20? Would I just simply not want to run anymore at mile 10? How would the day unfold? Nevertheless, standing there at the start line, I was excited!

The countdown was over and we were off. We began in waves and I was in the last one. Mile 0-2 is flat, downhill, flat-slight uphill. Mile 2-4 is gradually long uphill (Bobcat Trail) & 4-6 (Rodeo Valley) is all downhill, then flat. As you can tell; up, down, up, down…this first part was the same loop the 50 milers did to begin their race and was not part of our original course. The course was modified in the last day due to heavy rains all week. After passing the 2nd aid station, we started the long climb up Miwok. I and basically everyone around me were power hiking this part, same as I did in training. Pretty steep section. Wide fire road trail. Mud not an issue(it would be later)
No one passed me on this climb which is always something I’m happy to see!

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Photo: Climbing Miwok
At the top of the climb, we turned left onto Old Springs and a nice lengthy, fun descent into Tennessee Valley and the next aid station. I did a super quick bathroom break and kept going…I was mindful the entire day of not wasting time anywhere if I could help it. This was about mile 8 and I was feeling good. Legs still kinds tight but overall feeling good. After a quick flattish section, we are back onto another big climb up Coastal Trail. Again, we are all power hiking. No one is running up this climb!

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I’m trying to power hike as fast as a can. I’ve gotten better at this, but still room for improvement. This was something I intentionally worked on in training; using my arms more, taking smaller steps, moving swiftly. On this section, I talked to a fella from SoCal and it was fun to talk with him and share experiences.
After the top of Coastal, we made the steep, short, technical descent into Pirates Cove. Here’s where the mud started to come into play. This trail is narrow, rocky and the mud was very slick and everyone was using caution going down. I’m pretty good at navigating my way down and so I was moving a little bit better than some and it felt good to pass a few people. I knew as soon as I made that descent that my injury would flare up and it did! Every time in this part of the course, that area of my knee gets totally wacked. Pretty painful for a few minutes and then in subsides. We are now on a short flat section, but no one is running, there is simply to much damn mud and it’s super slippery. Crazy!! Made the next short zig zag climb up to Coyote Ridge and down into Muir Beach/Aid Station. This is where we started to see the 1st of the 50 Miler elite men coming the opposite direction. They were flying! Man, their strides were awesome! So many faces I recognized .. Sage Canady (eventual winner), Dakota Jones, Dylan Bowan & my 2 buddies from San Francisco Running Company, Jorge Maravilla & Brett Rivers. Everyone looked good and were moving well. Seeing these  gave me a mental boost for sure. I gave them all a word of cheer!
Quickly we were onto Heather Cut-Off, the super narrow section with a ton of ascending switchbacks. This is where it was muddiest and even dangerous at times. Dangerous because the 50 milers and now the front pack of the 50k group were coming down as we were going up…again, on a super narrow, muddy, slippery trail. It was very crowded and pretty mentally demanding. As people were coming down, I was anxious people were gonna fall and create a domino effect crash of bodies. Thankfully, that did not happen. The boost I got earlier was fading as we climbed this part…it was just not very fun. It was a slog fest. Finally, got to the top and made the still somewhat uphill jaunt over to the top of Cardiac. I could feel myself losing steam. I wasn’t sure what the issue was. I was taking a gel very 30 minutes, water and  tailwind too. Legs were very crampy, tight, heavy at this point. Mile18. Grabbed a few orange slices, handful of potato chips and I departed Cardiac Aid station. We basically turned around and went back the same way we came…down Heather Cut-off and over to Muir Beach. Once I made the turn around at 18, I really started a slow decline in performance that would last the rest of the way. I got slower and slower the last 13 miles. People passed me who I had passed earlier and I wasn’t happy about it, but what could I do…my body was not wanting to go any faster. However, the really cool part about this whole section of about 8 miles is there was an overwhelming amount of camaraderie. Whether you were a 50k or 50 mile runner, going up or going down…someone was always giving you a cheer. It was really awesome. I’ve never participated in a race where I felt so much togetherness. That kept me going. Good vibes.

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Grabbed a few more snacks at Muir beach aid station and headed up the ultra challenging Coyote Ridge. I believe is is the longest ascent in the race. I did it many times in training; it never got easier. And it certainly didn’t disappoint today. Still, quite difficult after 24 miles under my legs! It was a slow climb, although I actually did pass about 2-3 people. I was psyched to get to the top, if only for a minute because as we started the steep descent onto Fox trail, I was in some serious discomfort. In training, this was an area I went down pretty fast. Not the story today; it was a slow, gingerly walk down and it was so frustrating. Something was going on with my right leg that made the steepness of the descent very painful. I had no choice. A few guys were struggling as well. Some of them were walking backwards down the hill.

Let me pause here to say that the course was so beautiful….like all my training pictures showed. The weather at this time was cool, some sun, but mostly gray. It doesn’t really matter what the weather is out there…it’s always visually stunning.

Ok. One more bathroom pit stop at the Tennessee Valley at station, orange wedges and chips and moving ahead to the Marincello Ascent and onto Alta trail. We are almost home now. About 3 miles left. My toes were screaming at this point and I badly needed to stop and empty out the rocks that had accumulated in my shoes, but I could just not do it. I didn’t want to stop moving. All I was focused on was keep moving, keep moving, keep moving.
Moving slower, but still moving.

We are finally onto the final descent, more pain, ouch, ouch, ouch….
Back to flat and a short uphill towards the finish line. I can hear the announcer, I can hear the roars….and finally, I can see the finish shoot…lots of people cheering…very loud. I’m inching towards the finish line. I’m smiling big and bigger and my eyes get weary. I’m done. I did it.
Man, I am so happy! And Muddy!  🙂

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8:01:56 – what a day. what an adventure!

On Failure

Posted in motivation, quotes with tags , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by afuntanilla

Think about this next time you think about failure;

Fail boldly. The more you take on, the more you will fail. But, the more you fail, the more you will learn – and the more you will succeed.
You have to hate failing. If you don’t mind failing, you’re never going to succeed – there will be nothing there to make you want more.
Failing makes you see yourself as your truly are, and where you can take yourself.
It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”
– Dean Karnazes

I have failed. Big. Boldly.
I remain hungry. Unremittingly so.

Post race musings

Posted in photos, quotes, races, running, shoes, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , , on December 12, 2013 by afuntanilla

The race was 5 days ago and as I’ve been recovering and traveling along, I’ve had some post race thoughts I wanted to put down and share.
To not finish: it SUCKS! No other word for it. Period.
Having to tell people, even strangers, who ask how you did: SUCKS!

The morning after the race, there was a post-race breakfast that I attended and met a few people and swapped stories of our experience. I knew I would say, “I didn’t finish”, and I knew that I would have to have a strong stomach as I did so….
I’m sure no one cares, but I care, and it just isn’t the most pleasant thing to report to people. But, it definitely comes with the “territory” of running and doing these kinds of things. It is part of the running experience. Every race can’t be smooth, easy, predictable. Gosh, how boring would that be!! I understand, it’s the opposite side. The opposite of setting a personal best at a time or a distance. It’s the opposite of finishing and finishing strong, which I have had many such experiences.
2 days after the race, as I made the drive from Te ‘Anu back to Queenstown, I was stuck with the thought that ‘I should have finished’. During the 2 hour drive, I really let it bother me. 5 days later, I am more at peace. I did all I could on that particular day.

In evaluating what could have helped me or what I could have done differently, I have some thoughts;
Nutrition; I really need to get a better handle on this. By nutrition, I mean race day nutrition. If I plan on doing events that take me over 5/6 hours, I cannot rely on energy gels alone. I need more solid food and I need to train with different things and see what works best.
Training; I’ve already mentioned some of this in earlier posts, but for this particular race, I needed to run longer with more elevation. I needed to have incorporated more tough back to back days on weekends. Plain and simple.
Why didn’t I train more? Honestly, I just wasn’t motivated enough. And my body was tired. Some people who know me on a daily basis know I’ve been talking about fatigue for awhile now and how I need to give my body a good break from running. I was tired going into the marathon in October and I was tired going into Kepler.

I don’t regret either experience, just being honest with how I was feeling. That is why even though it sucked to not finish Kepler, I was not surprised.

Sometimes my enthusiasm to participate in events really takes over and I cannot contain myself. I see something or hear about a race and I wanna do it. And then I see another one and I want to do that too. I realize I can’t do everything AND have the kind of experience I want. My body can only take so much.

I am looking for answers to questions that are important for me to have answered; how can I recover better? What are the best things for me to do? Is it nutrition related? Is it training related? Is it rest/recovery related?

I believe it is a combo of all those things and it means something different for me than it does for the next person. And the next person. We all have different bodies with unique requirements and capabilities. My goal is what it always is, to get the most I can from myself.
And to know what’s possible, my body needs resting time. I made an agreement with myself that after Kepler I would not run for 30 days. And more, if I feel like it. Just take a break. Heal. Rest. Repeat.

I have not run, but I’ve been walking a lot and sometimes with elevation. Soon, that will change. My vacation will come to an end and I will be back home and in a work routine. I plan to NOT run, but I do plan to stay active by getting in some cycling, swimming and just plain old workouts at the gym. I can very much feel how I need both the mental and physical rest.

There are running related goals I very much want to achieve. And I’m coming to understand more and more how it’s about smart planning just as much as dedication and commitment.

I will continue to strive to be the best me…to keep pulling out the best me that I can find!

Onward and upward!

RACE GEAR

Shoes: Brooks Cascadia trail shoes. This is my 1st pair of brooks trail shoes and they worked out fine. They are not too heavy, with a good bit of cushioning. They feel a bit wide and roomy, so they actually feel a bit loose on me. I compare this feel to some old ASICS trail shoes I have and still wear. They feel much more narrow. I also had quite a bit of small pebbles in my shoes during the race and I don’t ow if it’s because they do fit a bit loose on me or what…but, overall, no complaints.

Socks: Injinji toe socks. I love these socks. Been wearing them now for all my long runs and have had no blisters.

Pack: Salomon Skin S-Lab race pack. I love this pack! The only other pack I have had is an older Nathan pack with water bladder and just a few pockets. This Solomon pack has MANY pockets, both zipped and some unzipped. It has 2 clasps in the front so you can tie across your chest which gives a very compact/form fitting feel. It doesn’t restrict or interfere with arm movements either. One of the best parts might be that the bite valve from the water bladder can fit snuggle across your chest and really all you need to do for a sip of water is barley move the tube to your mouth. Very seamless and convenient. They thought of everything!

Shorts: black North Face running shorts. I love these too, they fit well and are simple. 1 small pocket in the rear if you need it for gel, or key. I didn’t need it for this race since I had my pack but I use the pocket at other times.

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Running around…

Posted in motivation, quotes, races, road, running, trail, travel with tags , , , , , , on November 28, 2013 by afuntanilla

My feet, my legs, my entire body has run in many places. I’ve gone running just for fun or training in many cities across America and have also raced in numerous locations.
My feet have touched the ground in Seattle, Washington and toured their downtown areas, found a local Peets and ran by the beautiful campus of University of Washington. My legs have propelled me along the shores of Lake Michigan and through the amazing, diverse streets of Chicago as I caught the marathon fever and ran my first and second marathon in that there city. I can still remember now, very clearly, those last 6 miles of my 1st marathon in 2000. My feet ached like hell, my body overly spent and somehow I found the strength to continue. There were literally thousands of runners all around me. We ran past the Chicago White Sox ballpark and I gathered as much energy as I could as we ran parallel to the Lake. I have never forgotten the scene of that last mile as the streets, and then stands, were jam packed of spectators/cheerleaders; those crazy, supportive people who come out in droves to cheers us runners on to the finish line. It was thunderous, colorful; a scene and a feeling I hope I never forget.
As I traversed the United States by car several times, I have had the pleasure of running in the 7000 feet elevation city of Flagstaff, Arizona (one of my favorite small cities), the absolute and utterly flat lands of Lubbock, Texas, through an old, quaint mining town of Bisbee, Arizona, along the fringes of the beaches in both Myrtle and Virginia Beach (South Carolina/Virginia); I’ve run though the downtown areas of Cleveland, OH before heading to the wild and booming Browns stadium filled with thousands of my best friends for four hours. I’ve run a few marathons in my birthplace of San Francisco, California and did an epic 40 mile run on my 40th birthday in the city where I was raised, San Leandro, California.
And HEAT, yes, I’ve been in the heat. For about 13 years, I trained and raced in and around Atlanta, Georgia. I ran mile after training mile on the gorgeous, peaceful, paved Silver Comet Trail, the hilly, windy trails of Sweetwater Park, circles of paths in and around Stone Mountain Park, and through more neighborhoods than I can list. The stifling heat and humidity of the south will always remain a heavy KNOWN in my body, a sixth sense perhaps, but I will also never forget running through the snow storm that blanketed and shut down Atlanta for a few days a few years ago. THAT was fun.
Birmingham, Alabama grabbed me more than once as it puts on a terrific half marathon every February. The sleepy, slow city with nothing else to do comes alive in the dead of winter and has an awesome race in typically chilly temperatures.
And I have done what perhaps many of you have as your number 1 bucket list item; I have run the “Rocky Steps” in Philadelphia. As I finished a short run though the city, I ended it by going up those few steps and of course, raised my arms in victory as I got to the top. Myself and many others were all so proud of ourselves. I think every person should do this at least once in their life. I’m not sure you have TRULY lived until you have run the “Rocky Steps.”
More heat and humidity dragged me down in the cities of Orlando and Panama City Beach, Florida. Not much else to say there.
I sucked some wind in Denver, Colorado but luckily found a Peets Coffee along the way. I’ve gotten my fill of education as I ran through the campuses of University of Texas (Austin, TX), Clemson (Clemson, SC) Harvard (Boston, MA), University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE), Vanderbilt (Nashville, TN) and the mighty orange of The University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN) I’ve suffered through boring routes comprised of office parks in New Jersey and Connecticut and come alive on tortuous runs and races in Marin County, California. I paid tribute to history as I ran past the many memorials in DC and then gasped at the beauty of the George Washington River. I have raced on The Las Vegas strip and took refuge in its farther removed Red Rock Trails. I’ve found breathtaking beauty on the Appalachian Trails of Maryland before being pulled from the JFK 50 mile race because of a time cut-off.
And many more roads and trails in between and all over.

My legs, my feet, my body have given me more than I could ever ask for and I am enormously thankful I am able to do my thing. I do my best to treat it well; to feed it properly and adequately, to allow it to rest, to play and dance and move in non-running ways. I try to do my best to appreciate what my body CAN do instead of focusing on what it cannot yet do or may never do…but I often fail in my efforts of appreciation. I can be demanding. I can be greedy. I want more. From me. And so, I try to be mindful of appreciation, of realistic expectations, of balance….

I am now “on vacation” until Dec 16th. This is absolutely foreign to me as I have never taken this much time off of work. I have never taken any sort of trip anywhere that didn’t involve a race or some fun running. And I have ZERO regrets about this. I don’t think I am suited to go lay on a beach, beautiful as they may be. I am meant to roam, to explore, to go sniffing around while I’ve got my kicks on….

And now, I am taking myself on another adventure to do what I have long dreamed of; running an ultramarathon outside of the United States. I will travel to New Zealand to take part in the Kepler Challenge on DEC 7th. The race is 60k (37.2 miles) all on trails in the southern area of the South Island of NZ! I’m beyond thrilled to be going on this adventure.

More later on the why New Zealand and my hopes and expectations for the race and the trip itself.

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