Monday Motivation

The point of Runners Doing Good isn’t to highlight the fastest runners or the best fundraisers but to highlight the runners who make a difference in the world by creating some ripples.

Who’s a fellow runner you know who’s made a lot of ripples in your life?

Runnin’ Not Walken – By the Numbers

RNW by the numbers

3 & 1 – Number of Ragnar Relays run in Chicago and Michigan respectively

30 – Number of different runners that are members of Runnin’ Not Walken since 2015

771 – Miles run, in total, by Runnin’ Not Walken

5.8 – Fewest total miles run by one runner since 2015

66 – Most total miles run by one runner since 2015

9 – Percentage of RNW’s total miles that the runner with the most total miles has run

11 – Runners who have run at least twice with RNW

4 – Runners who have run at least 3 times

188.4 – Mileage of the shortest course we ran (2017)

201.1 – Mileage of the longest course we ran (2018)

31 – Fewest hours on the course (2015)

33.75 – Most hours on the course (2018)

94 – High Temp when we finished in Chicago in 2016, the hottest temperature we’ve competed in.

43 – Low Temp during the night run in Michigan in 2018, the coldest temperature we’ve competed in

16,913 – Dollars raised for charity

The Journey Begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

The below is a re-publishing of our first blog entry, posted back in November.  It’s a new year, please enjoy.

The above quote seems incredibly appropriate considering this is my first blog post ever so in that way, yes the journey is indeed beginning, however, my team and I, our journey began 4 years ago.  If you read the “About”, you learned a bit about the page, a tiny bit about myself…my name is Gabe by the way, but mostly what this is all about.  Hopefully you’ll ride along with me in this little literary adventure of my first blog.

The below pictures are from our maiden voyage as Team Runnin’ Not Walken.  You can find the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you’d like at @runninnotwalken.  We’re now 3 teams in and probably have had more than 2 dozen different people run with us but in a lot of ways, this first team was pretty special.

It all started in the fall of 2014.  I had observed a post from a local runner who had participated in Ragnar Relay Tennessee, @ragnarrelay, and I thought to myself…that looks absolutely amazing.  It really seemed pretty cool but I’ll be the first to admit it now as much as then that I was in no way prepared for it.  Three Ragnar’s later and sometimes I feel like the process is refined but I’m still in many ways….not prepared for it.

A bit more about myself: I’m writing about runners doing good and all of the great things that they have done or are doing and I feel like I’m far more accomplished on the team ops side than I am an actual runner but here’s the thing, I’m terribly drawn in by the running community.  I think it’s pretty amazing.  I don’t pretend to be great at it and I think that’s why I’ve been so ready to lift others up because my own goals and efforts at it have been more about preparation and part of the process than anything about myself individually.  That may change but from it didn’t take long for this to be more about the team than anything else.

 

A little more, I sprinted and long jumped in high school after 4 days of excruciatingly painful long distance training.  I realize it wasn’t much but I knew it wasn’t for me.  So it’s pretty ironic that I’m filling this space that’s devoted to long distance accomplishment and I’m nearly 20 years past when I considered myself really athletic.  I in fact, hated long distance running of any sort at the time and even more ironic is the fact that when I signed up for that first Ragnar, the longest run I’d ever had in my life that I’d signed up for and actually ran was 4 miles and so signing up for a Ragnar Relay where you’d run 3 times in 30 some hours and could be over 15 miles in that time was a gigantic leap of sorts.

So why a Ragnar?  Again, it looked like a massive challenge.  I was somewhat out of shape.  My wife and I had been married a few years, happily I might add, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that every time she had a baby, once I took those 2-3 weeks off to help at home, I ate my way through those 3 weeks.  It wasn’t stress eating really it was just that people brought food over constantly and I couldn’t step away from it.  Something needed to happen and when I saw what this Ragnar Relay thing was about, the next thing that crossed my mind was how can I do this and it came down to simply seeing who else would be willing to do this crazy thing.

From there, I reached out to a couple cousins and surprisingly, they sounded like they were in.  It wasn’t long until we all agreed to talk somewhere around our family Christmas party which was usually the middle of December.  We only talked briefly but the consensus was that if we were going to do this, let’s do it before pricing increases even more.  One cousin, Sarah, seem convinced that she could could round up some friends from Madison, WI where she and her husband, Andy, were living.  I was down with that so I told her to do what she could.  I had at least 3-4 which put me close to figuring out one van.

So we registered with probably 6-7 runners and then everything just amazingly enough fell together.  Sarah ran down 5 runners which was 4 to run and 1 to replace her when she had some knee problems.  I had 5 others than joined me in my van.  It really was an awesome team.  NO ONE and I mean NO ONE knew what to expect except for Courtney, a cousin, who had does something similar before but that was it! The beautiful thing was that we one half of the team didn’t know each other at all and vice-versa but everyone consistently asked how they could help.

Along the way, one cousin, Joel, and I were talking and the thought came to that a 200 mile relay really was pretty significant and that we could do a little good with it.  So we set out with the idea that we’d run a fundraiser as well.  I’d never done such a thing but I was willing to make it work we agreed on a $1,000 goal and the group’s feeling was that if it didn’t pan out, there were enough of us to pitch it to hit it but who would we try to help?

A week later, I’d be reminded of a charity in town, Kate’s Kart, that gives books to hospitalized children.  My own daughter had received a book once and after a bit of research, I suggested it to Joel.  After some more conversation, we felt that something smaller and local, like Kate’s Kart was the ticket because while some of the big national charities are great, $500-$1000 would be a drop in the bucket to them but $1,000 to a great local group had the chance to be impactful.

So in January of 2015, Team Runnin’ Not Walken was born.  Three years later, we’re going strong, in fact, better than ever have raised nearly $17,000 for Kate’s Kart but how has that led us to Runners Doing Good?

The answer is pretty simple.  The team has been touched by a lot of events throughout the 4 years of our existence but no one other than family has probably been more influential than a man that I’ve never met, Tim Green.

When I see donations come in, I usually know who the donor is but that first year, I put a call out on twitter for a $10 donation to cross off your state on a donor scavenger hunt.  Tim donated $100.  I was really excited to find out who he knew and no one knew who he was so I reached out and found out that Tim just loved what we were doing and the charity that we were doing it for.  I’ve never had a “stranger” be more generous or more encouraging than Tim and we’ve been blessed, I’ve been blessed that he continues to support the team and in many ways, Tim’s assertion that if “Runners doing support each other, who will?” has become a bit of a mantra for the team and myself personally.

I started the Runners Doing Good twitter handle not long after and we’ve been able to support several different runners and groups that are doing good but participating in events int he name of charity.  It’s pretty remarkable and I owe a lot to a man who just feels blessed to be in a position to help others.

There’s a lot of negativity in this world but to have that level of positivity enter your life, it’s pretty remarkable and I feel beyond fortunate to have Tim in the team and I’s corner.

There’s more stories to tell about the team and I’m sure I’ll do that, but also know that hopefully I’ll be able to pay it forward a bit by highlighting others who are trying make the world a bit better and maybe we all can get behind them, like Tim did us, and make a difference for their run-gooder activities.  I think that’d be pretty amazing.  Have a great day everyone.

Sincerely,

Gabe

Finish Lline Picture

 

 

Runnin’ Not Walken to Run to Benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne!!!

It is official.  It was once inconceivable that we’d ever change causes of choice but sometimes in order to grow, you need to do something different and right now, I am very excited with our decision.

For a second, I’d like to take a step back and explain the process.  Once I made the decision to go in a different direction on who our running activities would benefit, I had a couple local charities in mind.  Local was important to us.  First off, we’re fairly small so while I believe we do a great job in our fundraising, I still feel that the amounts we have raised, while fairly significant for a small group, are still small in the grand scheme of things when you consider what bigger groups are capable of raising for regional or larger organizations.

Secondly, Fort Wayne is important to us.  I think we did a great job tapping into that local sentiment previously.  People were willing to get behind a movement when they knew it would be impacting something in their back yard.

Lastly, I was really blessed to meet some really incredible individuals locally in this process.  One was to talk about running, the team, what’s involved with a Ragnar Relay, etc.  Another was to talk about running to benefit the charity that he helms and what would be involved with that if we did.  And the last one was Andrew Hoffman from NeighborLink.

There were two really interesting things about that process, besides how easy of a fit itd be for us, that made the decision fairly easy.  First, Andrew Hoffman was very understated.  Here’s a guy who is leading a group that is just fantastic in mission and you could easily tell the passion that he has for what he does but he wasn’t out there emphatically beating his chest about how great they or he was.  The second thing that was noteworthy was how emphatically the other two people recommended NeighborLink Fort Wayne and Andrew Hoffman.  The praise was pretty remarkable.  All things considered, it made the decision fairly easy at that point.

Take a leader like that with an organization like NeighborLink Fort Wayne and you have what I believe, is an excellent partner for our mission, to positively impact a Fort Wayne charity through our running aspirations.

For our donors from previous campaigns, I think it’ll be easy for you to get behind them as well.  NeighborLink Fort Wayne has a simple mission: To provide “practical, neighbor to neighbor, expressions of God’s love.”  That could mean raking or mowing an elderly neighbors’ leaves or lawn as well as building a wheelchair ramp for the disabled.  It could also involve raising money to repair a roof or replace a furnace when it’s cold and someone might not have the funds to handle those costs themself.  NeighborLink Fort Wayne is there for all of that.

They have an athletic side of their organization which has generally revolved around their cycling team and individuals who are offering their talents to raise money to benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne.  Team NeighborLink’s motto is “Work Hard. Do Good. Love Wins.”  How can you not love that?

Our plan is to be as involved as possible with NeighborLink Fort Wayne throughout the year.  They put on a few running events throughout the year so hopefully, if you’re participating, we’ll be seeing you there!

To learn more about NeighborLink Fort Wayne, please visit www.nlfw.org

 

 

Good-Bye 2018! Hello 2019! – Part 2

PART2

From a running standpoint, 2018 was in many ways a great year.  It had ups and downs, naturally, but for the most part, it was a fantastic year.

Runnin’ Not Walken achieved a level of fundraising that I didn’t think was possible, at least not for a long time.  The support we had was remarkable.  Team members that came aboard embraced what we were doing from a fundraising and training standpoint like never before.  It was awesome.

Sadly, we’ll not be running for the same charity in 2019 but the exciting thing is that we get to spread our wings and make a difference in a new and different way and that opportunity is something we’re eager to embrace.

Runners Doing Good, on twitter, gained some steam, followed by this blog, and then branching into instagram.  Our following isn’t huge, by any means, but everyone starts somewhere, right?  More importantly, more runners have been highlighted and some with causes that they’re running for like Geoff and Emily, they’ve had their fundraisers positively impacted by the generosity of other runners and that’s what it’s all about.

From a personal standpoint, it has been a joy because of all of the positive things that being a part of this community brings with it whether it’s being inspired by a teammate who’s put in the time to get in shape, coming across a runner who’s doing something amazing I’m able to showcase on this blog, or just witnessing someone’s generosity.  It’s all a beautiful thing and it’s why I want to bring more of that to everyone in 2019 so here’s a few goals for the team, the blog, and myself for the New Year:

 

Runnin’ Not Walken

  • With a new charity comes the chance of regression before we take off so I’m setting a $5,000 goal.  Our first year we “hoped” to hit $1,000.  $5,000 is now a starting goal and the “hope” is to blow past it like it was standing still.
  • Destroy our 33 hour, 47 minute time from 2018.
  • Improve runner comfort
  • Improve runner safety
  • Make it more fun

Blog

  • Raise that first $100 by increasing viewership. WordPress monetizes the ads on these blogs based on how many eyeballs sees those ads and pays you when you in $100 increments.  We had about 150 views in November and have increased that by 40% in December.  It’s not much but its a start.
  • Donate that first hard fought $100 to a runner cause that the Runners Doing Good community votes on.
  • Continue to show off, support, and promote runners who are amazing the world through their pavement pounding aspirations.

Personally

  • Hit 190 lbs
  • Run my first 1/2 Marathon in May, the Indy Mini
  • Sub 29 minute 5k
  • Sub 1 hour 10k
  • Sub 10 minute pace across Ragnar Michigan
  • Run a trail race

 

That’s it!  What are  your goals?

 

Good-Bye 2018! Hello 2019! – Part 1

Part 1Good morning!  Gabe here.  Today is New Year’s Eve and it is hard to believe that we’re mere hours from putting 2018 to bed and stepping foot into 2019.  It seems like this past year has really flown by.  It has personally been quite the roller coaster of a year after a 2017 that was tough in its own right.  I just thought I’d share some personal moments from this last year or so and what I’m looking forward to most in 2019.

In 2017, my wife and I said good-bye to her maternal grandmother as well as an aunt on her dad’s side.  Then in September of that year, her cat, whom she had several years before I came into the picture, had to be put down.  By the end of 2017 we were done, as were our kids, with difficult times but unfortunately they would keep coming.  Her Aunt Becky who had taken care of her grandmother who had passed in March became sick again with cancer and was taking a turn and not for the better.  Thanksgiving came and a friend of my wife’s, whom she’d known since grad school, was diagnosed with the same cancer Becky had.  She was the same age with a couple little ones.  Things were starting to accumulate and were hitting close to home.

The hope for a more positive New Year and 2018 were dashed when Becky passed in January of this year.  A few weeks later my parent’s beloved 11 year old Bernese Mountain Dog that all of my kids loved had to be put down.  Wrigley was simply the best and the kids were a wreck at that point.  Within 2 weeks, my 94 year old Grandma who’d gone to the hospital for a quick stay due to dehydration and had perked up, was joking around with family and the doctors before calling it a night and suddenly passed away.

Needless to say, by the time March rolled around, we were shot.  Things needed to lighten up in our household and thankfully they did.  The kids were doing great in school, while sometimes having issues coping, but great nonetheless.  Our little boy started baseball for the first time and that was a joy to watch from April into June.

Jenn and I began our training for Ragnar Relay Michigan  by participating in a Wine at the Finish Line 5k in April and ran into our friend Kelly, who Jenn was start pestering to join Runnin’ Not Walken.  We’d also run in the Sunburst Races in South Bend where you get to finish at the 50 yard line at Notre Dame.  It was great to be moving more and I was running as freely as I had been and mileage was starting to add up, even if I was only running short distances at this point.

Moving into the summer we did need a break and took the kids on a week long trip to the east coast in search of some ocean time for the kiddos since they’d never experienced it before and to just unplug from everything.  Things still felt heavy and we needed the time away.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

We experienced a beach in Portland, ME, rented a cabin in a community on the bay in Wiscassett, ME, Acadia National Park up by Bar Harbor, the LL Bean HQ which I had no idea was in Freeport, The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY on the way home as well as Niagara Falls too.  It was the Great American road trip I’d hope it would be and an excellent escape.  I even got a run in while we were in Maine and it was a gorgeous 2 miles.

Back home, it wouldn’t be long and Jenn and I’d celebrate our 10th Anniversary with dinner at Ruth’s Chris and it was a magical dinner.  I’m not sure we’d felt like we were that spoiled at a dinner since our wedding reception.  It was awesome.

Our Ragnar Michigan prep was going well.  Training was going great and we were raising more money for Kate’s Kart than we ever had.  Leading up to the race, I was killing it as I was getting comfortable into the distances I was to run and while before a 10 min mile was good for me, I was down below 9 1/2 and creeping into the 8’s on occasion and then I got hit with a hip issue that was described as an IT band issue that I’d never experienced and I cut down on my running quite a bit in those last 4  weeks.  I’d get the issue calmed down for the most part and the race, with the exception of one run where it flared up, would be a good one and truly enjoyable with such a great crew to experience it with this year.  My hip continued to bug me for a good bit and I took a good bit of time from running off and that was fine as I got to spend much more time with Jenn and the kids.

Jenn and I would find time to attend the Garth Brooks Live at Notre Dame concert in October and some time away to adventure about in Pittsburgh between the holidays as well.

Just last night, we went old school and played some Wii Bowling with the kids for the first time and my little 4 year old rolled a 116 as she beat big brother and sister, which was hilarious to me…not so much to them.  In the end, there was much more happiness, joy, and laughter in our house at the end of the year here than at the beginning and considering how it started, I’ll take it.

In Part 2, I’ll explore some things relative to Runnin’ Not Walken and some goals for 2019!

 

 

Run-Gooder #7 – Artie

 

As 2018 winds down and 2019 approaches and the blog has continued on, we’ve had a decent little following begin and it has kept me thinking of who to feature next and Artie came to mind.  Has he been a lifetime runner?  No, but he has been one of the biggest supporters of Team Runnin’ Not Walken we have and he has been with us from the beginning in one capacity or another.  Sometimes a Run-Gooder is a great teammate and part-time runner.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Artie since the two of us were teenagers and he has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever known.  No one offers to help or goes the extra mile like he does.  He also has one of the biggest personalities you’ll meet and if you’re not smiling or laughing with him around, you may want to check your pulse.

Since Runnin’ Not Walken was put together, in 2015, he’s only missed one race.  In 2015, he was Cal Naughton, Jr., himself as a driver and one half of our two headed mascot.  He couldn’t make 2016 but was signed up as a driver once again in 2017 and then we had a couple spots to fill and he volunteered to run.  He made a point of it saying that he wanted to get in better shape and be a good example for his kids but then he changed jobs and with working a late night swing shifts, training was all but impossible.

Sometimes the hardest thing for people is showing up and doing what you said you would, even when it is difficult.  Artie and I talked before the race about his running assignments and that if he could do just one leg of the race, it would make it easier on everyone who would pitch in to take the rest and he said he’d give us whatever he could.  He had never ran a 5k before and here he was about to embark on tackling a Ragnar, even for a leg, maybe two.  It was pretty amazing to consider but not as much as what he actually did.

The weather wasn’t ideal.  It was hot and windy in parts but across more than 13 miles, he ran every foot.  He wouldn’t come out.  He didn’t relent.  He wasn’t the fastest but that wasn’t what he was trying to do.  There just wasn’t any quit in him and he was an inspiration to me, at the very least, because my last leg of that race, I didn’t feel great and I honestly wanted to quit a long the way but thinking about how he wouldn’t quit on us, I wasn’t going to quit on him either.  It was awesome.

This year, he was back in the driver’s seat at Ragnar Relay Michigan.  When it’s 4 a.m., pitch black out, frozen from the chill you caught earlier in the day, hitting the wall of exhaustion, have a balky hip that’s killing you, and you’re getting mad 2.5 miles into a 6.5 mile run because of everything just mentioned and you’re unable to make your phone work through your armband so that you can call him to drive back to get you because you want to quit, he’s the guy you want to answer the phone when you finally get it to work at mile 5.  That was my experience this year during my night run and what he said on the other end of that phone took me from damn near irate because of how I was feeling to smiling through the pain and cold because of how quickly he turned me on my head.  I told him, “I’m cold.  I’m frozen.  My hip hurts and I want to quit but I know I got to keep going.” and his response was typical Artie.

“Hey, were here waiting for you, cheering like hell.  We love you and believe in you.  You’ve got this!”  It instantly took me out of my funk and despite still not feeling great, I plugged on and within seconds I saw the lights, in the distance, of the exchange they were at and a I went for it.  I handed off and got in the front seat of the van and passed out.

I woke up later, about 10 minutes from where we were going to crash that night with everyone asleep as he was driving and asked if he were “ok.”  We were all exhausted at that point.  He said, “Oh yea!  I’m good,” exuberantly.  I fell asleep again and in the morning he admitted that he was struggling to get us to our spot but plowed through to get us there.  So in customary fashion, he made sure we were ok, even if it weren’t easy on him.

Hopefully he’ll be back in 2019 behind the wheel because more of the below is needed and he’s the only one that can keep the energy level up like this for 2 days straight!  You don’t see the smile on Michael’s face but when you hear that bullhorn going off, you can’t help but laugh and give a fist pump.

The video quality’s not the best but you get the idea

 

Typical Artie.

Run-Gooder #6 – Michelle

So the cool thing about doing this blog is that I get to be on the look-out for inspirational people.  Fortunately, there’s an abundance of them but I’m not just looking for anyone who’s remarkable, I’m looking for runners.  Runners just take it up another notch and this one in particular, finds another gear.

Meet Michelle!  Michelle, according to her Twitter handle, @dreaminofmysoldier , is an Oregonian, Nuun & Pro Compression ambassador, gymnaholic, & married to a very adorable soldier as well as being obsessed with her 2 dogs and runner with the belief that life is an adventure.  Those are her words and after noticing a post or two of hers, I had to ask her a couple questions.

Michelle had a running goal of 3018 miles in 2018.  I’m having a hard time just imagining hitting that.  The amount of time and discipline required to do that is amazing.  What’s awesome is that while maintaining a run streak, she’s also pregnant and has now totaled more than 1,800 miles while pregnant.  That’s absolutely amazing and I had to ask, what does running mean to her, especially while pregnant.  Her answer is below:

“Keeping my runstreak up while pregnant has been pretty important to me.  I haven’t experienced half of the symptoms a lot of people have, like morning sickness, and I think there’s a part of it that’s because of my running and staying active.”

“I also haven’t put on a ton of weight, in part because of running.  I also want to set a good example for my daughter and I want to inspire others to get out there and try.  I mean, if a pregnant girl can get out there and try to run, why can’t anyone else?”

“Most moms could spare the 10 minutes for themselves each day and the rewards for the run are definitely worth it.  One you start a daily routine, it can become a habit!”

As you can tell, Michelle is pretty awesome.  Her positive attitude shines bright and as a mom-to-be who’s run more than 1800 miles, she’s reached rockstar status!

She’s a perfect example for what I try to do here, celebrate runners everywhere who are doing amazing things so please take a couple moments and salute Michelle, in the comments, for her amazing example of what truly is capable.  Thanks for letting me feature you Michelle.  You rock!

How Do You Stay Motivated?

It’s mid-December and Thanksgiving is a couple weeks ago, the holiday parties are commencing, and Christmas and New Years are looming and it begs the question: How do you stay motivated?  Here in NE Indiana, the snow isn’t exactly flying but we’ve seen the sun maybe 5 times in the last 50-some days.  I wish I were joking about that.  It’s not exactly been warm either.  It was scorching hot here till late September in spots and I was really looking forward to some moderate weather that would have been great for running and spending time outside.

Instead, I found myself at that Garth Brooks concert with running tights under my jeans, 2 pairs of socks, a t-shirt on, a thermal shirt on top of that with a long sleep shirt on top of it, and a t-shirt on of that, with a heavy winter Columbia coat covering all of that, and a fleece lined Notre Dame sock hat on and winter gloves as well.  Oh, I also covered that with a rain poncho that, at first kept the rain away, but ultimately added another layer that held in heat.  I wasn’t cold but let’s face it, it shouldn’t have snowed that much in Indiana in October much less nearly 2 weeks before Halloween!

Since that time, it has been pretty consistently gray and anywhere from 30-40 degrees.  I can’t remember a day until this past weekend where I thought to myself, “It’s nice out” and that struck me as funny because we’ve barely made it to mid-December and are already thinking that 47 is nice.

Now with 2 major holidays ahead in the next 2 weeks with more festivities intermingled in there with drinks and food to be consumed, temptation is firmly at your side trying to get you to have one more treat, one more hot-cocoa, or one more glass of bubbly.  It’s not an easy time of the year to stick to a plan, to say the least so the question is begged, “How do you stay motivated?”

I mentioned in a previous entry, What Did I DO?!?! , that running has always been secondary to the team goals that I’ve had and how I took some action to remedy that a bit but this time of the year always kills me.  I would love to hear your tips for staying on track motivationaly with your nutrition and activity during this most difficult time.

Leave your comments below!

 

 

 

What is a “Run-Gooder”?

It is a do-gooder, that is willing too make their beating of the pavement meaningful.  It’s sacrificing hours of training, the aches, pains, and hard earned sweat that accompanies it all, all for the greater good of others in some fashion.

That all said, it’s not just elite runners participating in a marathon to raise money for a children’s charity.  A Run-Gooder can be a mom that needs that 45 minutes on the trail to help her escape the craziness of the kids and because of that, is a better mom.  It could be a dad that’s lived a life void of activity finally saying enough is enough and attempting a couch to 5k program, pulling it off, and realizing he’s more capable of doing hard things.  Maybe it is a team made up of Regular Joes like the many runners of Runnin’ Not Walken who have banded together to run Ragnar Relays for great causes.

It is the common person making an uncommon effort and making an impact on the world through their running aspirations.  Know anyone like that?  Nominate them in the comments section below and maybe we’ll surprise them with a feature!

 

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