Flying Pig 5K!

This past weekend in Cincinnati was the annual Flying Pig Marathon. It takes over the downtown and surrounding areas for the whole weekend. There’s a 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, kids run, pigability run (for those with disabilities), and flying fur run. There’s concerts, food, family fun fair, health expo, and more. It’s a whole thing. This time around though Dad and I just did the 5K.

When you sign up you have to specify if you’re a walker or runner and also what your estimated finish time is. They use this info to assign you to a corral at the start line with others of similar athletic prowess. They also did a stagger start at the start line. Each corral had 2 minutes until the next one was released. We were in corral G, second to last. The goal was to reach a 16 minute mile pace. They don’t time you out, but if you’re slower than that then they kind of shoo you over to the sidewalk as the reopen the roads behind you in the downtown stretch of the course.

Apparently before the race Dad and I inadvertently switched our assigned bibs, so the gender/age stats aren’t accurate on our official results, but the end times are at least. This was the first 5K that I’ve actually attempted to run. I finished in 44 minutes. Dad finished in 1 hr 2 minutes. The finisher’s medals are super cute! They have some heft to them too. They’re a lot heavier than I would have thought.

During the course of the race they had a couple of spots where they were handing out free food/ water. The free food consisted of pretzel rods and candy orange slices. Weird choices I thought. Two things that would make you super thirsty with no chance of water in sight.

The entire experience was super fun! I think we’ll make it an annual tradition of ours. I’m thinking next year I’ll also volunteer to part of the medical tent for the other races. Maybe even next year I’ll work my way up to the 10K. We’ll see…

Friday and Saturday they had an expo at the convention center where they had a crap ton of venders related to the pig, running, and fitness in general. As you can see from the above pics I bought some pig swag. I’ve gotten into the habit of theming myself for our races. I do themed leggings for the gym for holidays as well. It’s become a bit of an addiction. There are worse things though to be addicted to I think. I also bought Dad and myself hanging placards for our medals since they’re starting to accumulate a little bit.

So what does the future currently hold? My 6 year old twins and I are running a Color Run 5K to benefit their school on May 19th. Then I have nothing planned until Labor Day where I’m doing the Mud Gauntlet 5K. I think I need to find something for during the summer. There’s a big gap in there 🙂 Any suggestions for a good one around July 4th maybe?

 

 

 

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One year Surgiversary!

2 weeks ago Dad and I celebrated our one year surgiversary, or rather surgery anniversary.

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At Dad’s appointment the doc told him how proud he was of him, of us. That he was very pleased with his results and wants him to continue what he’s been doing basically. He’s happy with where he’s landed weight wise, though I know Dad would like to lose another 5+ lbs to break even at 200 lbs. A year later Dad is completely off his diabetes meds and now is strictly diet controlled, his renal doc has upgraded his kidney failure since his labs continue to improve, and his primary has talked about reducing or removing some of his blood pressure meds.

6 or 7 years ago an ortho doc told Dad that he’d need a total knee in 5 years. Well, he’s decided that’s his next step after the rest of the changes in his life stabilize a little bit. He’s currently retiring from one job, starting a part time job somewhere else, selling his condo, selling my childhood home that he’s been renting out, and buying a home out by us. I’m exhausted just typing all that!

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Numbers wise, a year out Dad has lost 75 lbs and 43 inches total (extremity measurements are right side only).

At my appointment the doc told me he was proud of us again. That he was very happy we had each other to support each other, which I agree with. I don’t think either of us would have done half as good or stay nearly as motivated if not for having the other right there alongside.  The doc did say even though he was happy with where I landed weight wise, that I’m “normal”, he’d like me to lose another 5-10 lbs so that I have a fluctuation cushion. I’m fine with that. It gives me a goal so I don’t rest on my laurels, so to speak.

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At one year post-op I am down 56.9 inches overall and 97 lbs lost. Damn the stupid natural fluctuation that happens during that certain monthly time, robbed me of my official 100lbs at my appointment.

This journey is never ending and ever ongoing. It changed both our lives for the better. We both agree whole heartedly that we don’t regret it for a second and wish we had done it years ago. We’re more active than we’ve ever been, have more energy, wanting to do more and actually able to do more. If you’re thinking about weight loss surgery we both endorse it 100%. True, there are some potential complications,  but in our eyes the benefits outweigh them by far. You’re gaining years of life and improved quality of life!

So as not to make this post a novel I’ll do a separate post about our recent 5K adventure. Read on!

Inspiring Inspiration…

The end of this month is the one year anniversary, or surgiversary, of Dad’s and my surgery. To commemorate this event I thought I’d talk about my inspirations to start this process towards my healthier self.

I had been fluffy my entire adult life, since puberty truthfully. It was my normal. I didn’t know what it felt like to be any other way. Over the years I had experimented with different diets and exercise plans and would lose weight, get a taste of what could be, and then would eventually give up the plan and gain it all back plus. I knew something had to change when I hit my all time high weight of 268, but at that point it just felt too daunting and was just easier to eat my emotions with another plate of cheese fries. I had no idea where to start for an effective long term solution.

My experience with weight loss surgery up until this point was secondhand via my aunt and cousin. Both had had a version of surgical intervention many years ago. My aunt actually was one of the first few when they were first starting to perform them many decades ago. To give you a hint of the timeframe, they don’t even perform either hers or my cousin’s surgery anymore.

My aunt had lost all of her excess weight and then some. She’s 5 ft, was 260lbs and is now about 140. She’s had a lot of complications over the years, though I think she would still say it’s worth it. With her particular surgery they rerouted a very large portion of her colon, as well as removed part of her stomach. It was kind of an uber version of the roux-en-y. Because of the very large portion of her colon effectively being removed she’s had major digestive issues since, as well as malabsorption and vitamin deficiencies.

My cousin had an early version of what’s called, in layperson’s terms, stomach stapling. They didn’t remove anything but lessened the size of accessible stomach, forcing portion control. She lost a lot of weight at first, but then eventually learned to eat around it and fell back into bad eating habits and now weighs more than she did before the surgery.

These were my two readily available examples of possible results from weight loss surgery. Neither result desirable really. Then my brother started dating his fiancé.

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Her name is April and she’s absolutely awesome. I learned that she had had a roux-en-y done about 5 years ago. Just seeing how happy and beautiful she was, how successful she was, I was inspired to start researching. It was never a viable option to me. But looking at how someone could have the surgery and still live a normal life without having to be obsessed with their diet or exercise to maintain a “normal” weight gave me hope.

I never thought I’d become a happy healthy gym rat, though I will admit I do enjoy aspects of it now. Seeing someone who didn’t have to completely change their entire life around to accommodate their long term goal of being healthier version of themselves was nice. Don’t misunderstand, she does still watch what she eats to a degree, but she doesn’t obsess. She’s not one to lay guilt on herself or others for eating what she wants every now and again. I’ve always enjoyed food and eating. I didn’t get fat by not enjoying it, that’s for sure. Being able to enjoy food, enjoy life, while at the same time working towards being a healthier version of me. That outlook was what got me started. That’s what got the thought percolating my head.

Combining the percolating thoughts of possible successful outcome with the very real possible outcomes if I did nothing was strong motivation. I didn’t have to look far to see what my potential future would bring if I did nothing and kept gaining. Diabetes, stroke, heart disease, disabling obesity. I didn’t want to put that burden on my kids. I also wanted to be able to enjoy not only their lives but my own. And thus my decision was made and I started the process towards weight loss surgery and the healthier me that I am today.

Since making that decision I’ve inspired my Dad to join me on the journey, as you all well know. We also inspired my cousin to revisit her journey. She’s just finished up the preop process fairly recently, losing a good amount of weight in the process, and is waiting for final approval for revision surgery.

I’ve recently asked April to do a guest blog post about her journey for your reading pleasure.  🙂

 

I’m Normal?!? (and the Mini Heart 5K walk)

screenshot_20180320-0932491289093212.pngRecently I had my yearly health screening for my work insurance. They take some blood, your weight, waist circumference, and then give you a basic lecture on being healthier. If you fall out of any of the norms for the categories you have to jump through hoops to “earn” the points back to receive your HSA money. This is the first year ever that not only have I been in the norms for all the categories they award points for but that my waist circumference was within normal range! The lady who was giving me the mini lecture was going on about how they would like my weight to be closer to the normal range for my height, not realizing/ knowing my history. Meanwhile I’m internally jumping for joy!

Above I’ve included a chart of my health screenings from years past and a few extra values from blood draws for the weight loss management office, just to show the trends.

So looking at the numbers my blood pressure has improved, not that it was bad before, as well as my cholesterol, HDL, and LDL. Pretty much everything! The couple that haven’t improved have been consistent, neither going up or down for the most part.

So why do we care about the size of our waists and such? The website that explains the reasoning behind the categories lists them as follows: “Waist circumference helps assess your risk for chronic diseases that are associated with overweight and obesity. An excess of body fat, especially abdominal fat, increases your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.Glucose, or blood sugar, is the body’s primary source of energy. When there’s too much sugar in your diet, or your body isn’t efficient at using it for fuel, blood glucose levels can rise. This can eventually lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood used by the body for energy. While you need some triglycerides, too much can raise your risk of heart disease.HDL Cholesterol is considered “good” cholesterol because it helps to remove “bad” cholesterol (LDL) from the bloodstream, lowering your risk for heart disease. HDL Cholesterol that is too low may increase your risk for heart disease.”

One way to raise your HDL is through exercise. I like that you can see quantitatively the change in the numbers as I started working out from 1 month post-op.  You can also see my food funerals reflected in my triglycerides and cholesterol values for the pre-diet numbers.

 

This past Sunday my Dad and I joined some of my coworkers and 27,000 of our closest friends at the Mini Heart 5K Walk downtown. Over the course of the day there was a half marathon, 5K race, 5K walk, 1K steps for stroke, and 1K kids run. Last I heard about 3 million dollars was raised for heart disease and stroke research and education.

The walk wasn’t a timed race but of course I couldn’t not figure out our time. We finished it close to 1 hour and 14 minutes. That was walking at a leisurely pace around people that were truthfully walking quite slow. Dad even got frustrated a couple of times at the lack of speed of the people walking in front of us. Still, all things considered we were only 10 minutes slower than our finish time for the Thanksgiving 5K, which is really good! Since it’s gotten cold we haven’t really done any training and this was the first course we’ve done with hills. Not too shabby.

Our next challenge is the Flying Pig 5K in May. Dad now has a fire under his butt to train more for it, not only to improve his speed but to improve his recovery time from it. He was a bit sore after Sunday. I was thinking of trying to completely run, or run as much as I can. I’m curious just how fast my time could be. Though I don’t want to leave Dad to walk on his own. We need to find someone willing to walk with him so I can run off.

The Saturday before the Mini Heart there was a health expo at the convention center downtown that I went to. They had booths from all the specialties within healthcare with free screenings, as well as booths from the different running stores selling their wares and booths from future marathons/runs. There was a couple future events that caught my eye, one in particular. There’s a local canoe rental place that’s putting on a tough mudder of sorts. 40 obstacles with mud over 10K on their property. Crazily I think it sounds super fun! I just need to find someone to do it with me so we can keep each other motivated. Dad is not the least bit interested, which I don’t really blame him. Any takers?? Bueller??

Fancy shoes and Purim

 

Last weekend Dad decided he was tired of his feet hurting and so we ventured to a fancy running specialty store for him to purchase fancy gym shoes. It was an amazing experience that I would highly recommend if you’re looking for a higher quality running/walking shoe.

We went to Fleet Feet in Cincinnati. They has awesome service, super nice, and were very knowledgeable. The store itself had more than just shoes. It had just about any running paraphernalia you could want. When I have a bit of extra change in my pocket I’ll likely go back for one of their super duper exercise bras ($60ish).

After putting your name on a waiting list, you wait and wonder. They were so busy that they were about 4 people ahead of Dad, which meant waiting probably 20 minutes. Once they called his name they asked what he was looking for in a shoe, what he actually plans on doing in it, any issues with his current shoes, and what size he’s been wearing. Then they do a cool 3D mapping of his feet, and watch his gait while he walked up and down the store barefoot. Combining all this information they brought out several shoe options, socks, and insoles for him to try out. Each pair he was encouraged to walk, or even run, around to test out as much as he wanted. There were several people literally running the sidewalk outside the store testing out their shoes.

Once Dad landed on a pair he liked we learned that he’s been wearing the wrong size shoe! Plus he’s lost all of his arch to the point where he’s completely flat footed and his ankles are turning in to compensate (hence the insoles). All in all he probably spent close to $200 between fancy new shoes, socks, and insoles. Over the next week he said it was like walking on air and his feet haven’t hurt once! Though his knee has been hurting more than usual. I attribute that to his ankles actually in a neutral position again, which is forcing his knees to a more neutral position again. In theory that should work itself out. Hopefully anyway. Our next 5K is in a week.

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I also wanted to wish you all a belated Happy Purim!

“Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, who was planning to kill all the Jews. This took place in the ancient Achaemenid Persian Empire. The story is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. According to the Book of Esther, Haman, royal vizier to King Ahasuerus/Achashverosh (presumed to be Xerxes I or Artaxerxes I of Persia, “Khshayarsha” and “Artakhsher” in Old Persian respectively) planned to kill all the Jews in the empire, but his plans were foiled by Mordecai and his cousin and adopted daughter Esther, who had risen to become Queen of Persia. The day of deliverance became a day of feasting and rejoicing” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim).

Part of the celebration of this holiday is the wearing of costumes. According to my husband, so take this with a grain of salt, the evolution to wearing costumes on Purim came about from the story. Each year at the party the story of Esther and Mordecai is retold via a play of sorts. The actors act it out in costume. There’s a fair few characters so a good number of people at the party would be in costume for the play. This evolved to everyone at the party wearing whatever costumes they want, or so the husband says.

Last year we went as crayons (our labels had become unpinned by the time the picture was taken). This year the girls went as medieval witches. I went as Emma Watson, combining Belle and Hermione.

Our Temple does a good job with the party every year, hosting a kid version in lieu of Sunday School.  Included is a decent lunch, lots of crafts and activities, and learning opportunities. Everyone involved had fun 🙂 And I managed to only eat two hamentashen (cookie. look it up. seriously yummy).

 

Dad’s best NSV yet!

This past week Dad had his best NSV (non-scale victory) yet! His primary doctor took him off all of his diabetes medications! He’s still a type 2 diabetic, but now he’s considered diet controlled. Not too shabby at all for a guy that was well on his way to dialysis due to kidney disease resulting from uncontrolled diabetes. He’s been an insulin dependent diabetic for at least 15 years that I can remember, though that number is likely bigger. His results from this whole journey has made it all worth it. Even though I’ve had great success from it so far, I’m more excited for his success than my own.

This past week my husband and I have been on a stay-cation, celebrating his 34th birthday on 2-25. We did absolutely nothing and it was glorious.

I demolished my normal sleep schedule. Stayed up incredibly late each night. Slept in every day, temporarily getting up to take the girls to school and then back home to bed. I binge watched many a show and watched several movies I’ve been wanting to see. Aside from transporting the girls to and from school, and going to the gym with Dad, we only ventured into the outside world twice the whole week. Once to go see Black Panther (If you haven’t seen it yet, you should.) and once to go to lunch at the birthday boy’s favorite restaurant, Benihanas. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, and I barely left the couch the whole time. No chores were done by either of us. It was glorious.

I know I’ve gained back a few pounds as a result but I regret nothing. It was a very much needed mental health vacation. Though I will admit that today I’m struggling in the sleepiness department due to my altered sleep schedule and inability to sleep normal hours last night, but that was more than expected.

Holy Shit Balls! I made goal!

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Holy crap and great balls of fire! I made and surpassed my self-appointed goal today! I have officially lost 101.5 lbs! This means that I’ve now slipped into the next BMI range and am no longer considered obese. I merely overweight now. Which I find a little funny since everyone keeps commenting on how thin I’ve gotten.

It’s funny how the mind plays tricks on you. Even though I’ve now officially lost over 100 lbs I still don’t feel that thin, and occasionally actually feel like I haven’t lost any at all. My fluffy-girl brain has yet to catch up to my hot-momma body.  The rolls of loose skin don’t help matters either. Without support garments I kind of look like a melting candle. Though I’d much rather be the melting candle than what I was at the beginning of this journey.

Again, just have to say holy shit balls! Teehee…

Thinking about what my next goal should be I’m thinking maybe I should strive to be in the “normal” BMI range. That would be 24.9 BMI which equals 140 lbs. 26.5 more pounds. Potentially doable but may not be that fun in the journey to get there. I’d have to hunker down quite a bit more than I’m doing now, I think, to achieve that. Maybe I’ll do a smaller one to start. 10 lbs? I don’t know. I’ve been saying this entire time that any loss after 168 is just gravy, but I’m thinking I might need a goal so I don’t float aimlessly. At the same time I don’t want to set an unachievable goal, especially since my loss has slowed down significantly. Though that is probably in large part to my letting sneaky habits back in. Things to think about….

Holy shit balls!

Dad’s 9 month post-op

So I realized that when I posted Dad’s 9 month post-op appointment results last month that I didn’t include a picture to go with it. They always say it didn’t happen if there’s no picture to document! So here it is 🙂

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He and I are both “slow losers” in comparison to some. Both of us are occasionally disappointed in the speed at which the number on the scale is going down. That’s why taking progress pictures is so important though! Even though he “only” lost 16 lbs from July to February the visual difference is very noticeable. We’ve been doing more strength training and more cardio, so we’re building more muscle. So who knows how much fat he’s actually lost compared to how much muscle he’s gained.

Speaking of exercise I’ve learned a new fancy thing in the gym from our trainer. She said she usually doesn’t teach her weight loss management group these particular exercises due to the difficulty level. She doesn’t like to set people up for possible failure and frustration. Dad and I are two of the handful of people that have been coming to the group exercise class outside of our allotted timeframe, so we’re on month 8 (I think?) when usually people only come for 3 months. Therefore occasionally she gives me a few more challenging moves to do just to mix it up.

A few of my favorite things in the gym to do have nothing to do with the machines. I love to work on the Pilates reformers, exercise ball, and the TRX (bands with hand loops, see video). All of these are a lot more versatile than you would have ever thought and give a great workout if you know more of the moves that you can do with them. Basically you’re using your own body weight with them and working on core strength a lot, though other muscles groups are obviously used as well.

I had Dad take a video of me doing two moves that I just learned on the TRX. I needed a visual reference of how high my feet were. They ended up being a bit too low so if you choose to try this at home raise up the loops a bit so you’re in a better plank position. Also I just want it known that that is not the top of my buttcrack you can see there but the tag from my pants sticking up. I’ll do another video later on the exercise ball for comparison. The same moves on two different pieces of equipment can change up the difficulty level exponentially and give variety.

It’s very weird to me how much I actually enjoy working out and going to the gym now, though I am very much looking forward to it getting warm so Dad and I can resume our weekly hiking outdoors.

 

9 months Post-op!

Last week I had my 9 month post-op appointment. In the 3 months since my last appointment I’m down 13 lbs, which my surgeon’s nurse practitioner seemed pleased with. I’m still loosing slowly but surely. That puts me down to 170 lbs, just 2 lbs shy of my goal of 100lbs loss.

It seems each post-op appointment I have I’m just shy of my self-appointed goals. 3 month appointment I wanted to be under 200. I was at just at 200. 6 month appointment I wanted to be at 180. I was at 183. 9 month I wanted to be at 168. I was at 170. So close! Oh well. As my mom has always said: Close only counts with horse shoes and hand grenades.

The above comparison photos my 6 month pic was taken a bit late. My 1 month preop pic reminds me of this meme though 🙂 fb_img_1515449635878-36676698.jpgNo wonder my back always hurt!

I had my second session for my celebration tattoo! It’ll need a few touchups once it’s completely healed though. I absolutely love it! It came out so good. Lindsey over at Studio 85 is soooo talented! img_20180118_2148041652883351.jpg

Last month there was a health fair put on by my work and a local specialty grocery store. In addition to a bunch of health food samples, they also had various health screenings and demos of yoga and zumba. Dad and I participated in the yoga demo, doing it for the first time. We both really enjoyed it and will probably do it again in the near future! fb_img_15164771171031616409930.jpgI was a lot more flexible than I thought, able to get into positions that the belly and boobs would have prevented before. Dad had a bit of an issue with his balance but kept on trying and didn’t give up.

We both aced the lung capacity screening. We both were a smidge high on the blood sugar screening but we had been snacking our way through the health food booths so that wasn’t too surprising. Dad’s cholesterol screening was normal range and mine was so low that it didn’t even register on the machine, which is good. And both of our blood pressures were on the higher side of normal but they were taken after the yoga, walking around, and in a very warm, crowded room so not very surprised at that either.

A couple of other Non-scale victories have happened recently related to my flexibility. I found that I’m able to sit cross-legged in a desk chair and that I’m able to comfortably cross my legs while in a restaurant booth! Didn’t even realize I was doing either of them till a few minutes had gone by.

This past weekend I had a very much needed girls weekend with some friends. We’ve all been friends since elementary school. We hung out, drank, ate, pampered ourselves, saw Fifty Shades Freed. It was a very nice weekend, very fun! I discovered that I’m much more of a light weight than I used to be once upon a time. I also had to pay more attention to drinking and snacking. They kind of go hand-in-hand and I can’t do that anymore. All in all I only mini-dumped (flushed, overheated, sweaty) maybe twice, which really isn’t that bad considering all that I ate and drank.

I also recently dyed my hair again if you can’t tell from the pictures 🙂 It’s bright purple this time with darker purple roots. Life is too short to not have fun hair!

 

 

 

 

 

Flex with me!

Last Thursday Dad had his 9 month postop appointment. He’s officially down 75 lbs, 12 lbs since his last appointment at 6 months. He’s not too happy about the number, wanting it to be bigger. In my book though a loss is a loss. It’s more than he would have lost before this process. My 9 month appointment isn’t until January 31st.

We’ve officially registered for the Mercy Mini Heart Marathon 5K walk. There’s a team developing from my work and we’re walking with them. This is the 5K Dad actually requested we join. We’re doing the Couch25K app program to prepare for it, and to prepare for the Flying Pig in the spring. The day before the walk there’s a whole health fair/expo at the convention center downtown that looks like it’ll be fun too. If you feel so inclined to donate to our fundraising efforts the links to our pages are below:

Mine:

http://www2.heart.org/site/TR?fr_id=3297&pg=personal&px=8898565

Dad’s:

http://www2.heart.org/site/TR?fr_id=3297&pg=personal&px=8898600&s_hasSecureSession=true

The American Heart Association uses the walk, marathon, and expo to raise money for heart health and stroke research. Many of you know that my mom suffered a major debilitating stroke over 5 years ago. We’re walking in her name 🙂

On a happier note of sorts, my wedding ring doesn’t fit! Truthfully it hasn’t fit in over 6 years. I stopped wearing it when I was pregnant with the girls. My fingers swelled like sausages and I weirdly started reacting to the metal of the rings themselves. After I had the girls and was no longer swollen I then became too fat to wear them, so I just didn’t. 3 years ago I had a ring tattoo done that mirrored the shapes and sapphire in my engagement ring. I missed wearing them but was too cheap to get them resized, plus I was ever hopeful that I’d lose the weight and they’d fit again. Well the other day on a whim I put them on and now they’re too big! With very minimal hand flapping they slide right off!

Also note the brand new Fitbit Flex2 my left wrist is now sporting. My loving husband gave it to me for the holidays. It’s weird feeling to have something on my wrist again. I haven’t worn a watch for the same amount of time as my rings. Now I have this thing on my wrist that I’m supposed to only take off to charge every 5 days. It’s waterproof so I can even shower with it on if I so choose. It tracks my sleep and everything! If you want to friend me on there we can challenge each other. Flex with me! 🙂

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