Tag Archives: GU

It’s my 3rd Runniversary!


3turtles

It’s hard to believe that 3 years ago today, I was on my way to our local paved running trail. I wasn’t dressed in “real” running clothes (thick, cotton socks included), my shoes didn’t fit me properly, and I was only at the beginning of my weight loss journey. I knew nothing of running fuel (GUs, Sport Beans, and Chomps that are eaten during long runs). I had no clue that there were such things as compression socks or fuel belts, and I didn’t own the first sports bra. As I drove there, it didn’t matter that I didn’t have or know about those things. I had a crazy idea in my mind that I was toying with, and the closer that I got to my destination, the more nervous and excited I got. Maybe it was the chill in the air that made me feel extra hopeful and energetic. Maybe it was because I’d been slowly building up to it, and something inside of me just knew it was time.

By the time I drove up, I’d made up my mind. I was going to try to run the entire way today. I assured myself that I could walk if I needed to, I could stop if I had to, but, I was at least going to try. Today was going to be the day that I did something that I’d never done before. I was excited and I was scared. I had no time in mind. My goal was to finish. I clutched my Ipod in my hand that had my new Nike+ receiver plugged in along with my sensor safely secured in its pouch on my shoelaces. I had no rituals to go through, like I do now. I didn’t know what a PR was, even though I was about to set my first. I hit play on my Ipod and started running.  I was RUNNING! Yes, I had been running before that, but it was running and walking. I knew that I’d shown up  planning on not walking and suddenly, everything seemed different. I was slow but that didn’t matter. (My average pace was 12:08/mile.) I kept telling myself to just keep going and reminded myself that I could stop if I needed to – but I didn’t need to. As the miles ticked away in my ear (there’s a lady that speaks to you in your ear when you use the Nike+ program on the Ipod), I began to feel a sense of overwhelming excitement . I felt like a butterfly breaking out of its cocoon!! A million thoughts were rushing through my mind. I was going to be able to say to people, “I’m a runner!” I couldn’t wait to call my husband and my parents! As the final feet of my run ticked away, I was smiling while tears streamed down my face. I had done it!!! There aren’t sufficient words to describe the feelings I felt when I finished that first run. I probably looked as though I’d just won a race or qualified for Boston but it was much more than that. My life had changed and there would be no turning back. There would be setbacks but that’s just how life is. Three years and 1430 miles later, that day is forever a “Red Letter” day for me. It was a day that I was reminded that I could do whatever I set my mind to do. As I drove back home, it never crossed my mind that I’d be getting ready to run my 2nd marathon 3 years later but here I am, 3 weeks away from it. There was no “Slow is the New Fast” blog or Facebook page but because of that run, both of those exist. Those first steps I took set me in motion for things I’d never imagined. I’m so thankful for my family and friends who encouraged and prayed for me when I was first starting out and  keep doing so daily. I know that I’m now a healthier version of me because of the decision I made 3 years ago. I decided that things didn’t have to stay the same. I realized that it was up to me to do something about it because I was tired of sitting on the sidelines of life and watching it go by.

If you’re reading this today and you feel like I did – like you know you need to do something different, why not start today? Take those first steps towards changing your health. It doesn’t mean you have to go run. It may mean that you make the decision to start drinking more water, eat less sugar or start walking 15 minutes a day. Whatever it is, don’t forget to celebrate those positive changes, no matter how small you think they are!  Change isn’t always easy but being unhealthy and feeling bad isn’t easy either. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s a slow process and it will take determination but it’s worth it in the end.

If you start today, who knows what you might be celebrating a year from now? 🙂

What will you choose to do?

What will you choose to do today?

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Spotlight On: Meggan Franks – Winner of the New Orleans Rock N Roll Marathon 2012


This  feature is on New Orleans Rock n Roll Marathon winner, Canadian native, Mississippi State University Alumni, wife/mom and fellow Rod’s Racers teammate, Meggan Franks. I first heard Meggan’s name after I’d finished the Rock n Roll Marathon and had gone back to our hotel. (Meggan was probably already packed up and on her way home by that time, lol!) Imagine our excitement and how proud we were when we heard that someone from our state was the female winner?!

Crossing the finish line at the Rock N Roll Marathon in New Orleans.

Meggan was gracious enough to answer some questions so we could get to know more about her.

Slow is the New Fast (SITNF): How long have you been running?

Meggan: I have been running since about 1998, I think. One of my friends in high school ran hurdles and I thought she looked beautiful doing it. She was running club track at the time, so I decided to run club track too. I was so shy, it took me almost a month to ask if I could go to practice with her.

SITNF: Your thoughts on being the number 1 rated female marathoner from Canada?

Meggan: Well it was great while it lasted! I survived a few months in the #1 spot. Athletics Canada has me ranked 6th but unofficially, I am not ranked that high. It’s ok though, I’m running a Fall marathon and …if everything goes as planned.. .I will run much faster than I did in the Spring.

SITNF: What brought you to Mississippi from Canada?

Meggan: Running brought me here. I was terrible at running until about 12th grade when I decided I wanted to run in college. I ran twice a day for about a year and contacted Mississippi State University about joining the team. The offered me a scholarship. I packed my bags, jumped on a plane, and started class in August 2001. I have been here ever since.

SITNF: Biggest race to date?

Meggan: I’ve ran a lot of big races but the most memorable one for me was winning the Rock’n’Roll New Orleans Marathon this past February in 2:49:06. Frank Shorter gave me my award….I kept the finish line tape. Every time I drag it out I get excited about running another marathon.

Meggan accepting her award from Frank Shorter and Rod Dixon

SITNF: Favorite running distance?

Meggan: 26.2 glorious miles!

SITNF: Most exciting running experience?

Meggan: Oh wow….this one is hard. I guess when I won my first marathon – Niagara Falls Marathon in 2011 (2:52:16). I couldn’t believe I was going to win, I was hyperventilating the last mile because I was so excited. There is a picture of me screaming as I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t help it!

Meggan crossing the finish line at the Niagara Falls Marathon

SITNF: I’ve only been running since 2010 but I have really struggled with being a faster runner. (Hence the blog name, Slow is the New Fast, lol) Do you have any suggestions for runners wanting to get better/faster?

Meggan: Congrats on sticking with it! I would try to incorporate some speed work, like tempos and intervals. I rarely run on the track, you don’t need a track to get fast. Find a marked loop and run intervals workouts, start short with 4X800m at goal 5k pace, and tempos of 3 miles. Work up to 8x800m and 6-8 miles of tempo. Tempo should be run at 10k-marathon pace depending on the length of the run. Also incorporate strides at the end of your regular distance runs, 4-6X100m at a pace you could hold for about 1 mile.

SITNF: What do you do as a part of Rod’s Racers?

Meggan: I run races as part of the Rod’s Racers team and I try to win as many as I can (haha, kidding). I also take pictures for the Rod’s Racers facebook when I get the chance. I have started the new Rod’s Racers blog. You can visit it at rodsracers.wordpress.com it is a work in progress but it’s going!

Meggan, representing Rod’s Racers at a local event.

SITNF: I know I have certain things I always do before a race and if I don’t, I feel very thrown off. Do you have any pre-race rituals?

Meggan: I usually start my warm-up about 50 minutes before the start. I usually run about 3 miles then stretch, take a GU and some water, then I go to the start line and do strides for about 15 minutes before the race starts. I always eat something the morning of a race, maybe a Luna bar and a banana or something like that.

SITNF: What you eat during the marathon?

Meggan: I am big on GU. I will take about 6-7 Gus during a marathon, I figure we only have 20 miles worth of glycogen so I am not going to hit the wall because I didn’t take in enough fuel! I like Blackberry and Tri-Berry Gu. I take fluid at every stop, too. I also take SaltStick, I take one every 30 minutes or so because I have dealt with cramping in the past. Take the SaltStick with water or you will throw up – just to warn anyone reading this!

Meggan running the Atlanta Half Marathon

SITNF: I have found that it can be hard to train like I need to (especially long distances) and juggle the responsibilities of being a mom. Do you have any difficulties in training for a marathon with a young child/how do you do it?

Meggan: Well, I have a treadmill and I have logged a lot of miles on it…last Saturday I did a 20 miler. It is very hard to balance being a mom and running 80-90 miles a week and working 40+ hours and some weeks I struggle. Running helps me prioritize and I really don’t have any other hobbies…and I love my job. My husband is a track coach at MSU so he travels a lot during the year making it even harder (me and my treadmill get along pretty well). I have a regular sitter on Saturday for my long runs, and I have a group I run with during the week…very early. I sometimes start my runs as early as 4:30am, most of the time at 4:45am. If I have to add miles in the evening I usually take the baby jogger out around the neighborhood. I will say that none of this would be possible if I didn’t have an extremely supportive husband who is also a fabulous father..and coach!

SITNF: Did you run while you were expecting?

Meggan: Yes I ran till the very end…except for the week 40 (I was overdue). I think it helped keep me strong and I was able to get back to running PRs in about 6 months. I was very careful not to run in hot weather and I took a lot of walking breaks. I also tried to keep things interesting by riding the trainer and power walking. I made sure I got an hour of activity every day.

Marathon mama, Meggan with her baby girl, Maddy.

SITNF: What are your goals/aspirations?

Meggan: I would like to run under 2:40 for the marathon someday. I want to run a big marathon like Chicago or Boston, too.

SITNF: Little known facts about you that you’d like to share?

Meggan: I have an addiction to Dove chocolate. When I am logging lots of miles I can go through 3-4 bags in a week. I can’t help it!

SITNF: What shoes do you wear for training and are they the same ones you race in?

MF: I wear the Brooks Launch for Training. I wear the Brooks Green Silence for racing.

SITNF: You are an inspiration to many of us runners. Do you have someone that you look to as your inspiration?

Meggan: I have a high school friend from Canada that I follow, she is my inspiration! I also follow most of the top Americans, and I have many friends through blogging that are much faster than I am, they help keep me training hard!

SITNF: I have to have music when I run. Do you ever use an Ipod? If so, what do you listen to?

Meggan: I have a Sony MP3 player that is wireless. I love it, I only paid $49 for it. I can’t stand cords. I need music too when I am running on the treadmill. I usually just listen to pop music or anything with a nice beat.

SITNF: What do you do when you aren’t running? (ex: family, church, work, volunteer work)

Meggan: Well I oversee the Maroon Volunteer Center at Mississippi State University, so yes you can say I take part in a lot of volunteering and volunteer projects! I also support my Track and Field Dawgs whenever I can!

SITNF: I clearly remember my first real run. (Mainly because it wasn’t that long ago, lol) What was your first running experience?

Meggan: I ran in my schools cross-country race in 5th grade without shoes. I ran without shoes when we ran during gym class in Elementary School. I think the race was 1 kilometer.

SITNF: What got you into running?

Meggan: When I started running club track in high school I was last in a lot of track races. I was determined to get faster and to stick with it.

SITNF: Where do you train (indoor/outdoors) and how often?

Meggan: I try to vary my hard sessions between the treadmill and a few hilly road loops. I only run inside if I don’t have a sitter or my husband is traveling. I run between 80-90 miles a week, mostly in 1 run per day. That means most mornings I log about 12 miles. My long run is usually between 16-21 miles. I also run with Boardtown runners (boardtownrunners.org) on Saturday…which is good because after my long runs I am hungry!

SITNF: Personally, I have a horrible time running here in the summer. I feel like I can’t breathe, so the winter is my favorite time to train. How has the Mississippi heat affected your training, if it has?

Meggan: Oh gosh, I know what you mean! It took me years to get used to it and I will always struggle, too. On long runs I usually take fluid every 3 miles and I take SaltStick too. These things help! I try not to run between the hours of 8:00AM and 6:00PM. My husband runs in the heat of the day and I tell him he is crazy!

SITNF: Do you have any suggestions for new runners?

Meggan: Keep running, no matter how slow you are or how out of shape you think you are. Join a running group if you can so that you have others to push you and share in your pain and suffering on the hard days.

Here are some of Meggan’s stats:

Life Time Bests

-1/2 Marathon: 1:19:01 (2012)-Marathon: 2:49:06 (2012)-3000m Steeple Chase: 10:46 (2005)-5000m: 16:59 (2003)-5k road: 17:26 (2012)

Recent Achievements:
-Niagara Falls International Marathon Women’s Champion 2011 (2:52:16)
-Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon Women’s Champion 2012 (2:49:06)
-6th at Canadian Half-Marathon Championships, 2012 (1:19:01)
-State of Mississippi Record Holder in the 5KM, 10KM, and Half-Marathon

2012

1.) UAB Invite 5k: 17:51 (1st)
2.)Frostbite Half-Marathon: 1:20:07 (1st) CR
3.) Mercedes Half-Marathon: 1:19:38 (2nd)
4.) Rock ‘n’ Rock New Orleans Marathon (1st) 2:49:06
5.) Killer Kudzo 5km: 18:01 (1st)
6.) Canadian Half-Marathon Champs: 1:19:01 (6th)
7.) Gum Tree 10k: 37:10 (8th)
8.) Red Hills Festival 5km: 17:26 (1st)
2011
1.)Frostbite Half Marathon: 1:27:29 (1st) (14 weeks postpartum)
2.) Germantown Half Marathon: 1:23:40 (1st) (5 months p.p.)

3.) Renaissance at Colony Park Half Marathon: 1:23:12 (1st)CR, SR, PR, (6 1/2 months p.p.)
4.) 2nd Annual Red Hills 5k, Louisville, MS: 17:48 (1st) (7 1/2 months p.p.)
5.) Manitoba Marathon, Winnipeg, Man.: 2:58.09 (2nd) (8 months p.p.)
6.) Oxford Endurance Weekend 3.3miler (1st) 18:44 (9 1/2 months p.p.)
7.) Ridgeland Run for St. Jude (1st) 18:10 (10 1/2 m p.p.)
8.) Atlanta 13.1 (3rd) 1:20:37 (11 1/2 m p.p.)
9.) Niagara Falls International Marathon (1st) 2:52:16 (1 year P.P)

Thanks again to Meggan for taking time to answer these questions for us!

If you’d like to keep up with what’s going on with Meggan and racing, you can follow her blog – Mom Against the Marathon.

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GU Giveaway!



Hopefully, you’ve already read my review on the GU sampler pack that I received but if you haven’t you can click here and read it now.

Now here’s your chance to win your very own Performance Energy Sampler from GU!

Here’s how to enter:

1.   Become a follower of my blog and leave a comment to let me know.  Already a follower?  Check in with a comment on this post. (+2 entries)

2.   Become GU’s fan on Facebook. (Let them know I sent you!) Leave your Facebook name on this post’s comments section. (+2 entries)

3.   Follow GU on Twitter. (Please let them know I sent you.) Leave your Twitter nickname on this post’s comments section. (+2 entries)

4. Tell me which GU product is your favorite or which one would you like to try? (+2 entries)

Optional/Extra Entries:

1.    Follow me on Twitter.  Leave Twitter nickname in comments on this post’s comments section. (+2 entries)

2.   Become a fan of Slow is the New Fast’s Facebook page. Leave your Facebook name on this post’s comments section. (+2 entries)

3.   Spread the word about this giveaway via Twitter or Facebook.  Leave a comment on this post and let me know. (+3 entries for each one)

4.   Announce this giveaway on your own blog, and let me know. (Leave a link to your blog, please!) (+5 entries)

5.   Add me to your blogroll. Leave a comment and let me know. (+2 entries)


That’s it! Giveaway ends on Thursday, March 1st and I will announce the winner on Friday, March 2nd.

Please remember to leave a separate comment for each entry and please enter only in the ways listed above. I reserve the right to delete comments not adhering to the above entry guidelines.  You must be 18+ years old & live in the USA or Canada. The winner will be notified via email, they will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!



If you would like to sponsor a giveaway on my blog (or you know someone that does) please contact me by sending me an email to gcmjjm03@gmail.com.  I will always disclose whether or not the giveaway is sponsored by someone else or if it is one of my very own.


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GU Review and Giveaway!


When I first began running, fueling was the last thing on my mind. My biggest concern was running my 3 or 4 miles, sometimes 6 and that was that. I honestly had no clue what was involved when I decided to train for a half marathon! 

The wonderful folks at GU sent me a sampler pack that blew my mind! I had no clue they had so many products! It took me awhile to work my way through the inventory but thanks to half marathon and now full marathon training, it’s safe to say I’ve had a good sampling of everything.

Original GU Gels:

These take a little getting used to and you may have to try a few to find out what taste works for you. The one that tasted the best to me was the Chocolate Outrage. I actually thought that would be the one that I wouldn’t like but one afternoon when I was out on a long run with my husband, he opened it, took a taste (loved it) and insisted I try.  I couldn’t believe how good it tasted!

Here’s what GU says about their Original gels:

Energize:
A shot of fast-acting natural fructose (fruit sugar) goes straight to work building your energy levels back up while the maltodextrin is quickly absorbed and sent to your muscles. Vital electrolytes keep your blood chemistry in line and hydration levels stable. Calcium keeps your muscles humming and caffeine adds an extra kick to your power.

Sustain:
Complex carbs in the form of maltodextrin (70-80% of the complex/simple carbohydrates blend) help you maintain glucose levels over time. Citrates (potassium citrate, sodium citrate and citric acid) help speed the conversion of these carbs into energy molecules and mitigate performance-sapping acid build-up in muscles. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, valine and isoleucine, serve as another fuel source, aid in recovery and can improve mental performance and reduce fatigue by limiting the central nervous system’s production of serotonin. Histidine, an essential amino acid, acts alongside the citrates as a buffer that helps neutralize lactic acid build-up in muscles.

Recover:
Antioxidant vitamins C & E defend muscles from assault by free radicals. Chamomile works as an anti-inflammatory during and after exercise. Ginger soothes the stomach. Sea salt supplies a host of minerals.

The world’s first energy gel is still the most efficient source of premium fuel available to athletes today. The original idea behind GU was to find the quickest way to deliver an appropriate amount of calories to an athlete during competition without upsetting his or her stomach. Since then, the formula has been tweaked and upgraded to take advantage of feedback from GU’s elite athletes and the latest scientific discoveries. In addition to supplying the body with high-quality calories and electrolytes to keep it going, GU mitigates the energy-sapping effects of lactic-acid build-up, optimizes energy production, aids recovery by replenishing muscle glycogen stores and allows for greater mental focus through delayed onset of fatigue signals from the central nervous system. Yep, that’s all in one packet of GU.

Roctane Ultra Endurance Gels:

These gels have the same texture as the original gels but contains scientifically advanced ingredients for better performance. Which basically means – they are supercharged!

Here’s what GU says about Roctane Gels:

We added more of everything that makes GU Energy Gel the category leader and added a few more things for ultra distance and high intensity efforts resulting in the most efficient, high performance gel you can use in training and racing.

What’s in it?

Each packet (serving) contains 100 calories of easy to digest simple and complex carbohydrates, electrolytes, amino acids and caffeine to fuel extreme endeavors:

  • Ideal carbohydrate ratio – Unique ratio of complex and simple carbohydrates are podium-proven to better maintain glucose levels than simple or complex carbs alone
  • More key electrolytes – Sodium and potassium properly maintain hydration
  • More Branch Chain Amino Acids (Leucine, Valine, Isoleucine) – Shown to serve as a fuel source (when taken with carbohydrates), reduce muscle damage, enhance recovery and delay fatigue – all critical during intense or long efforts
  • More Histidine (an Essential Amino Acid) – Acts as a buffer to prevent accumulation of lactic acid in muscles during exercise
  • More Caffeine – Proven to stimulate the central nervous system and reduce pain perception leading to prolonged exercise and delayed fatigue
  • Ornithine Alpha-Ketaglutarate (OKG) –  formulated to support recovery by helping block the catabolic effects of various hormones that cause muscle trauma

How is it different from GU Energy Gel?

Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel contains more of the ingredients that matter during long or intense activity while still being based on the proven ratio of simple and complex carbohydrates found in GU Energy Gel.

  • 3 times more Branched Chain Amino Acids
  • 10 times more Histidine
  • 1-2 times more caffeine
  • 2-3 times more electrolytes
  • Ornithine Alpha-Ketaglutarate (OKG)

How do I use it?

Roctane Ultra Endurance Gel can be used alone or in conjunction with other GU Energy and Roctane products.

Chomps:

I love the Chomps! They are like gummies with an attitude! I usually eat more of these than anything else. “Eat” is the keyword here because sometimes I really want to chew on something instead of drink it. They can be a little bit sticky but it doesn’t really bother me. I really like the orange and the watermelon flavors.

Here’s GU’s description of Chomps:

GU Chomps deliver the premium ingredients and performance benefits you’ve come to expect from
GU Energy products:
• Amino acids for added focus, rippin’ energy and speedy recovery.
• Vitamin C + E, those mighty antioxidants that combat tissue breakdown.
• Sodium and potassium to restore electrolyte balance.
• Exclusive blend of complex and simple carbohydrates.

Brew Electrolyte Tablets:

These tablets are easy to use and you can bring them along with you. They have a light flavor, that I liked but if you aren’t used to these type of tablets, you might have to give them a few tries to let your taste adjust. You can use them before, during or after your run.

Here’s GU’s description of their Brew Tablets:

PROPER HYDRATION includes supplementing water with electrolytes DURING activity, but it is not limited ONLY to periods of actual training and racing.

OPTIMAL HYDRATION takes place in the days and weeks before an event or after a hard workout. Use GU Brew Electrolyte Tablets whenever, wherever, and you’ll see a boost in preparation, sustenance, as well as recovery.

SIMPLY, electrolytes improve the efficacy of the hydration process. They are invariably better than water alone and bring your system into balance more quickly by helping you retain more of the liquid you ingest. GU BREW ELECTROLYTE TABLETS are simple, light tasting and natural. Compare to the alternatives.

GU Electrolyte Brew:

This is basically the powdered version of the tablets and it works great too. Just mix it into your half-full water bottle, shake it up, top it off with more water and you’re ready to go!  I really liked the Lemon Lime Flavor.

Here’s what GU says about their GU Brew:

Advanced Hydration
GU Electrolyte Brew is water’s new best friend. The fact is, when you work out you sweat more than just water. So when you drink you gotta have a special Brew with the right amounts of sodium, potassium and carbohydrates to bring your system back into balance. Used consistently, GU Brew will help you perform better and go longer.

Simpler is Better
No gimmicky additives here. GU Brew is as simple as they come – with just a handful of key ingredients. Complex and simple carbs in optimal balance, vital electrolytes at the proper levels for intense exercise, and all-natural flavors. Simple. This means the product is easy on your stomach and will keep you focused on reaching your goals in training and racing.

Great Flavors / Not Too Sweet
If you are looking for a sugar bomb, look elsewhere. Loyal GU athletes rave about the lightly sweet taste of our Electrolyte Brew.

My husband also wrote a short review about his experiences with GU Gels and Chomps:

“I’m currently training for my first full marathon, so finding something quick and easy to consume on the run was a necessity. When Gina got a sampler pack from the GU company, she was gracious enough to share with me so I could give my opinion on the product. Well…my first sampling was Lemon Sublime on a long, tiring run when I was desperately in need of a pick me up; but, what I got was a shock to my system. I really struggled with the consistency and taste.Struggling to shake the feeling that I was eating some horrible toothpaste, I tried to finish it, but was unable to. Luckily, Gina also got some samples of GU Chomps. Now this was a different experience all together. The taste was great(watermelon and peach tea) and it was a little reward that I would give myself as the miles rolled by. I did wish that they were a little less sticky sometimes, when I was trying to fish them out of the packet; however, this was worth the effort when I finally popped them in my mouth!

Not quite ready to write off the GU gels altogether, I finally got up the nerve to try another one day. After hearing from some fellow runners at a 5K that the Chocolate Outrage GU gels were good, I decided to give it a try. Preparing myself for the worst, I ripped the pack open and tried a little…then a little more…and then a lot more! It was like this gel was made by Betty Crocker! I had found MY gel! Since this time, I have also tried the Vanilla Bean and Espresso Love flavors and found them to be great as well. I recently used a couple of packs of GU gels during a half-marathon, and plan on stocking up before I tackle my first full in March.”

Ok, now that you’ve read about all of these great products, how would you like to win a Performance Energy Sampler from GU?

Click here!

As required by the FTC: I received a product sample in order to write my review.  I received no monetary compensation.  All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

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