Friday, January 27, 2012

Subway Turkey Melts review and giveaway!

So, funny thing about Subway and me. My little guy loves going there for lunch. First, he can get black olives on his sandwich and he looooves black olives. Second, I usually let him get a bag of Sunchips that we share and he thinks that is an awesome treat.

Neither of those are the funny thing, though. The funny thing is that, no matter how often I correct him, Conal always -- always -- calls Subway, "Sub Boy."

And every time, it cracks me up.

"Let's go to Sub Boy!"

OK, so maybe that wasn't particularly funny to all of you but, hey, I guess it doesn't take too much to crack me up.

Anyway . . . 

Let's talk turkey!

I was recently invited to try out the Subway Turkey Melt. I took my little boys out to lunch to give the sub a shot and we ordered a foot long Turkey Melt with spinach, tomatoes, black olives, pickles, banana peppers, cucumbers and a little oil and vinegar. I had the sub cut into four pieces and I was lucky to get one piece for myself -- my guys chowed down! 

We enjoyed the sub. It was full of veggies, which I love. My kids do a fairly good job eating their veggies but they always eat them when they are on a Subway sub. To me, taking my guys to Subway to get a Turkey Melt or some other sub is a good alternative to grabbing a bagel, or something else that isn't quite as veggie-rific.

And what about New Year's resolutions?

Subway is all about New Year's resolutions right now -- January is prime time for eating a healthier diet, exercising, changing your habits. In support of your healthy resolutions, Subway is sharing tips from their trainer, Monica Vazquez, from the Food Network show “Fat Chef.” Some of her tips include this one (which is really what I'm working on this year, too):

Cardio and weights are equally important
Although losing weight is about calories in versus calories out, simply burning calories with cardio won’t give you the best results. Muscle helps burn fat (even at rest!), so building lean muscle tissue will help you lose weight, get fit and stay that way.
Lift those weights!

For more information on Monica, check out

In support of your healthy eating resolutions, Subway is offering one lucky reader a $10 Subway gift card. The winner can try the Turkey Melt, or any of their other subs -- the choice is yours!

To enter to win the Subway $10 gift card, leave me a comment. Feel free to let me know what your #1 New Year's resolution is.

Additional entries:

As always, you can gain extra entries. Remember, though, you must complete the required entry first! (Leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count):

  • Follow this blog, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment) 
  • Follow me on Pinterest, or let me know that you already do  (leave a comment) 
  • Pin an image from HERE (whichever one you'd like!)  (leave a comment) 
  • Link to this giveaway from Facebook or Twitter (do as often as you'd like, just leave a comment each time) 
  • Link to this giveaway from your blog (leave a comment) 
This giveaway will run through Thursday, February 2nd at 11:59pm EST and the winner will be announced on Friday.

Good luck!

~ Felice

Review disclaimer: I was sent a gift card to try a Subway sub to review. I was not otherwise compensated and the opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Healthy meals: Kale and chick pea roll-ups.

I love kale! So I enjoy finding new uses for it and creating new dishes that feature it. Today, I thought I'd share a recent favorite: Kale and chick pea roll-ups.

These roll-ups are relatively healthy and quick.

First, I start with a whole wheat tortilla, a small slice of cheddar cheese, two stalks of kale, some chick peas (rinsed), and my homemade lemon vinaigrette:

I break the kale off the stalks and tear it into small pieces. After washing it, I put it in a bowl with a sprinkle of the lemon vinaigrette and then microwave it for about a minute:

In the meantime, I break up the slice of cheese and toss a handful of chick peas on the tortilla. After the kale comes out of the microwave, I put the tortilla in for about 45 seconds, just to melt the cheese:

Once the cheese is melted, I crush the chick peas with a fork and the peas and cheese blend together:

I put the wilted kale on the tortilla and roll it up! (Sorry this pic is blurry.)

Cut it in half and viola! Yummy lunch, or even dinner if you add a side salad or some fruit.

I LOOOOVE these roll-ups. The cheese and chick peas are a creamy counterpoint to the crunch of the kale (even when wilted). Yum. Just plain yum. 

Want to know more about kale? Check it out: It is high in vitamins A, K and C, and has lots of fiber. You can read more HERE.

What is your favorite kale recipe? 

Have a great day!

~ Felice

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Running motivation 4.

One of my favorite quotes ever.

Have a great day! And, while you're at it, check out my page dedicated to running motivation HERE. Yup, I'm quote crazy!

~ Felice

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bob Harper Kettlebell DVD (review & giveaway).

Or: Why my thighs hate Bob.

Recently, I lamented the end of Exercise TV because it had been my go-to option for at-home cross training. I was disappointed and started to look around for other options, including DVDs and kickin' old school by tearing workouts out of magazines. 1990s style. I know, I know. 

When I was invited to try a workout DVD for Yahoo! Shine in conjunction with their new Get it Guide, I was all over it. I picked Bob Harper's Kettlebell workout DVD because, well, I love Bob. I would love to workout with him but since, fortunately, I'd never qualify for The Biggest Loser I think the closest I'll ever come to working out with Bob is via the wonders of modern technology that is the DVD.

And about that DVD. For starters, it came with a 7lb kettlebell, which is a nice starter weight. Having done the workout a few times now, I think I could use a heavier weight or two, just to shake things up. But, the starter kettlebell works well and I have gotten excellent workouts using it with the DVD.

In fact, as I alluded to earlier, my thighs have worked so hard that I really think they have started to hate Bob. Or at least hate all of the squats he requires in this workout. 

Because, honestly, we're talking a lot of squats. Although it looks like the kettlebell would be an arm workout, it is more of a legs/hips/core workout. And that's fine with me because core work is important to running success so anything that works that area will help me in marathon training.

Aside from all of the squats, I liked that Bob explains how to use the kettlebell very clearly and well, without being patronizing. The woman who exercises along with Bob makes some mistakes here and there and Bob corrects her in a way that, I think, makes it so home viewers can learn the right way better. She also sweats like crazy so, if you're a sweater you won't feel so bad!

Overall, I like the workout and have added it to my rotation. I just need to get a heavier kettlebell so I can keep progressing.

Buy it!
You can buy a copy of the Bob Harper: Kettlebell Sculpted BodyDVD at Amazon for $10.99 or you can order directly from Bob Harper's web site HERE for $5.00. But, unfortunately, the kettlebell DVD is on backorder on that site.

Win it!
Or, try your luck and enter my giveaway! One reader will win a copy of Bob Harper's Kettlebell DVD, thanks to Yahoo! Shine Get it Guide.  To enter, leave me a comment letting me know you'd like to win. That's it! Easy peasy.

Additional entries:

As always, you can gain extra entries. Remember, though, you must complete the required entry first! (Leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count):
  • Follow this blog, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment) 
  • Become a fan of The Happy Runner on Facebook, or let me know that you already are (leave a comment) 
  • Follow me on Pinterest, or let me know that you already do  (leave a comment) 
  • Check out the Get it Guide on Yahoo! Shine and let me know one thing you learned (leave a comment)
  • Link to this giveaway from Facebook or Twitter (do as often as you'd like, just leave a comment each time) 
  • Link to this giveaway from your blog (leave a comment) 
This giveaway will run through Monday, January 30th at 11:59pm EST and the winner will be announced on Tuesday.

Good luck!

~ Felice

Review disclaimer: I was sent a copy of the DVD to review and the opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

HMRRC winter series 15K race report.

When I woke up yesterday, the thermometer read 10 degrees. Yikes! I had 14 miles on the schedule and was planning to run 9.3 of them at the local winter series 15K and then tack on (some before, some after) an additional 5 miles.

But, 10 degrees? At the notoriously windy (and boring) winter series course? I didn't think I was up for it. I seriously considered bagging the race.

And then I remembered my own motivation that I posted on Saturday and I knew I had to suck it up and get out there and run! After all, I have big hopes for my marathon and that means I can't just give up when the weather is less than ideal. Right? Right.

I did, however, alter my plan a wee bit and opted to only run the 15K outside and save the additional 5 miles for the treadmill. I didn't want to get all sweaty from running 3 miles only to freeze while waiting to run the 15K. So that was the plan: 15K on the course, 5 miles at home.

At the race, I met up with a bunch of friends (and fellow crazy winter runners!) -- Amanda, Tami, Melissa, Elisa, Karen and Gail. Fortunately, the temperature had risen to 17 degrees during the race and -- very surprisingly -- it wasn't windy, so we all lucked out!

I set out to run with one goal: Don't fade in the second half.

The actual pace that I ran wasn't as important and running consistently. I wanted to run slower in the beginning, settle in to a comfortable pace, and then hold steady for the remainder of the race. Not fading is something that I really, really need to work on so yesterday's race was a perfect time to do so.

And I met with success! I felt great during the whole race and was able to maintain a fairly steady pace and -- yay! -- not fade in the second half. Here's a look at my splits:

Mile 1: 9:04
Mile 2: 8:31
Mile 3: 8:19
Mile 4: 8:23
Mile 5: 8:25
Mile 6: 8:07
Mile 7: 8:19
Mile 8: 8:16
Mile 9: 8:19
last .3: 7:31 pace

Finish time: 1:18:16, for an overall 8:25 pace.

Nice. I was pleased.

But you know what was really cool? Right after the race, a woman came up to me and said, "You looked great out there. I was trying to catch you but couldn't. You didn't even look like you were pushing at all."

Thanks, runner! I felt great out there so it was kinda cool to have someone notice :-)

When I got home, I hopped on the treadmill for 5 more miles, which I ran at a nice slow pace to bring my total mileage up to 14.3. One week closer to marathon day! 

*     *     *

Teaser, teaser!!!! I've got a ton of reviews/giveaways coming up . . . starting with a Bob Harper-rific one tomorrow. Be sure to check back -- you'll want this one!

~ Felice

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Running motivation 3.

True story.

Try it.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

~ Felice

Friday, January 20, 2012

Favorite treadmill workout.

When I was training for my April half marathon last year, at least two of my weekly runs were done on the treadmill. It's just what had to happen. Since I find the treadmill desperately boring, I tried all kinds of workouts to help me get through the runs. Some workouts were OK, some were really pretty good, and one was awesome. I fell in love with one awesome, easy, fun workout that I believe helped me finish faster than I had expected. I don't remember where I got the workout, so I can't give proper credit, which is too bad because it deserves it.

For some reason, I stopped doing the workout after the half. I don't know why, other than I rarely ran on the 'mill after April so I didn't need special workouts. Now, training for the marathon, I'm back at it. And I love it.

So, for those of you who have been slogging through treadmill runs, I'll share this bad boy with you. I promise you: It is easy. It is fun. It will make you faster.

Presenting . . .

1 mile warm-up (I start at about 10 min/mile pace and then go to a 9:30 pace for the last quarter mile)
12-15 bursts: 2 minute cycles of 30 seconds at 5K pace (I do 7:12) and then 90 seconds easy (I do 9:30 pace)
1 mile cool-down (I start at 9:30 and slow down each quarter mile)

That is it. 

You can do anything for 30 seconds, especially run at your 5K pace. If you are training for a half or full marathon, the 30 second 5K pace bursts will help keep some speed in your legs. If you're training for a shorter race, you'd probably want to go slightly faster than 5K pace in order to get the most benefit from the workout, and you could probably run fewer bursts. If you're not training for anything but you just want to keep your mileage up this winter, these bursts will take some of the boredom out of treadmill running.

So, have at it, friends. Enjoy!

What's your favorite treadmill workout?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why Women Need Fat (book review).

If you've read my blog for any length of time you know that I occasionally will write about food. I try to eat in a way that supports my health and that of my family, and sometimes I like to share what I've learned through research and trial-and-error.

Basically, I want to do the right thing when it comes to food.

I've said it before -- and, yup, I'll say it again -- I loved the book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. It opened my eyes to some of the problems with our whole food situation here in the US and it changed the way I thought about certain foods.

Why Women Need Fat: How "Healthy" Food Makes Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing It Foreverby William Lassek, MD, and Steven Gaulin is similar.

I was invited to review Why Women Need Fat for the BlogHer Book Review program and I quickly felt that this book is right up my alley. Lassek and Gaulin outline how a series of events -- a study on heart disease, an increase of the disease, media attention to heart issues -- came together to create a widely accepted theory that real fat is bad for your health, and that it must be replaced by fake fats.

The history of how it is we came to have our nutritional guidelines is so interesting -- I loved reading about it in In Defense of Food and I enjoyed reading about it in Why Women Need Fat, too. But it is also sad. Lassek and Gaulin -- like Pollan -- show that American women have been the targets of aggressive marketing to get them to switch to eating fake fats instead of real ones, to eat foods that have been modified and processed instead of whole ones.

Real, whole foods are what our bodies need. Unfortunately, for so long, we've been told to avoid certain foods. So, people drink skim milk and think they are being healthy. But then they snack on processed junk foods. They've swapped a whole food, real fat that their bodies can process and need for junk. And, as "they" say, junk in, junk out my friends.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and gained more information to support some of the changes to my diet that I have already been making. If you are interested in getting back to basics with food, check it out.

Have you read this book? What did you think? 

~ Felice

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Winter marathon training

. . . means:

  • 12 miles in 21 degree weather that feels like 5 degrees, thanks to Mr. Wind Chill.
  • Layers: Sock layers. Legging layers. Pant layers. Shirt layers. Jacket layers. Glove layers. Mitten layers. Layers.
  • Lots of laundry (see above).
  • Frozen water bottles.
  • Frozen gels.
  • Frozen nose.
  • Hot showers. Long hot showers.
  • Becoming friends with the treadmill.
  • Excitement when the forecast is for "sunny and 30 degrees."
  • Outta-hand excitement when the temp is 40+.
  • Happy dreams and scary nightmares about what the 26.2 on May 6th might bring.
Winter marathon training. It. Is. On.

Yup. On.

Have a great week!

~ Felice

Friday, January 13, 2012

Running motivation

Icy out there? Too cold? Too dark?

No worries. You can make this the truth:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Getting smooth.

At some point this fall I jumped off the smoothie wagon. Don't know exactly why -- I love my smoothies, after all -- but that's what happened. 

Once I was off the smoothies, I feel like the rest of my eating followed suit. I never fell into the category of terrible eater but I could tell that I just was not eating as well as I should have been. With the start of the new year and new training plan, I'm resolved to get my eating back on track and the first thing that I'm doing is getting back on-board the smoothie wagon.

I love my smoothies! 

Especially . . . 

Vega Vanilla Chai + 1 frozen banana + 1/2c. frozen blueberries + 1/2c. water:

Vega Vanilla Chai Smoothie -- don't let the green color scare you. This smoothie is DELICIOUS!

And . . .

1 c. organic low-fat yogurt + 1 c. blueberries + 1 banana + 1c. water + chlorella:

Blueberry & Chlorella Smoothie
I've also been adding frozen strawberries to some of my smoothies, and using ground flax seeds in place of the chlorella sometimes. Keeping it fresh.

It's pretty cool how much better I feel when I start the day with a smoothie. It's great! I plan to keep it going. If you are what you eat then, for sure, I want to eat (OK, drink) a high-energy, healthy breakfast so I can be a high-energy, healthy running mama!

Do you have a favorite smoothie that you care to share? 

Have a great day, everyone -- it's almost the weekend! Yay!

~ Felice

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Running motivation!

I've gone a little nuts and started making some running motivation images. You may say that I've gone over the edge into complete running dorkdom. That's OK. I can handle it.

I plan to make up some images and post them now and then. I hope you enjoy them!

Now, for your Tuesday, running motivation #1:

Have a great day!

~ Felice

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 goals.

File this under: Better Late Than Never.

Nine days into 2012, I'm just getting to my goals. And, odd, because they are really pretty simple:

1. To have a strong and healthy year of running.
2. To meet my finish time goals in my two A races.

That's it.

That's it?

Yup, that's it. You see, I'm focused this year. Totally, 100% focused. I don't want to hobble through the year from one injury to the next, thus my first goal. And I want to run an awesome race at the New Jersey Marathon in May (my #1 A race) and an equally (if not more so) awesome race at the Mohawk-Hudson Half Marathon in October (my #2 A race), thus my second goal.

If I can stay healthy and injury-free, and if I can be smart and consistent with my training, I can run well in both of my A goal races.

I'm planning to do it.

I'm focused.

2012 will be all about building on the strength of 2011. That was a great running year -- 2012 will be as good or better. No doubt about it.

Now, don't think for a second that I'm only going to run two races (hey, I started the year with a half marathon, after all!). Nope, I've got plans to run a few other races, in addition to my A races. Some of them will be for fun, some will be tune-up races for the marathon and the half. I'm still working on my complete racing schedule but once I have it, I'll post it.

So, that's it, friends. My goals.

Do you set annual goals? Got a favorite one? Share it with me, I'd love to know.

Have a great week!

~ Felice

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 rocked!

Five days into this new year of 2012, I'd like to take a look back at 2011.

I don't want to sound like a major braggart but, seriously, 2011 was an awesome year for my running. I mean awesome! The best part is that I didn't let my baby-induced lack of sleep ruin my running plans too much, nor did I give up on stretch goals just because I'm now firmly entrenched in the masters running category.

Instead, I did the best I could to meet the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Here's how I did:

  • Run a half-marathon -- DONE! In fact, I ran two. 
  • Look into becoming an RRCA certified coach and perhaps start the process this year -- Well, I looked into it. A few times. None of the dates or places worked for me in 2011 so I'm hopeful that I might be able to make it work in 2012.
  • Run masters strong --  DONE!  When I wrote this last year, I also wrote that I wanted to set some PRs. Not "masters" PRs, but overall PRs. And I did. I beat my 5K PR from back when I was a spry 32 year-old. And I set new PRs in the 10K, 15K, and half-marathon!! I'm going to have a tough time in 2012 . . . 
  • Beat my 2010 Freihofer's Run for Women time at this year's race --  DONE!  That one was easy. I ran the 2010 race 6 months pregnant and finished in 27:11. In 2011 I finished in a PR setting 22:51!
  • Run these key races
    1. Winter Marathon Relay in February -- DONE!
    2. 13.1 marathon in April --  DONE!
    3. Mother's Day 3.5-miler in May --  DONE!
    4. Freihofer's Run for Women 5K in June --  DONE!
    5. Indian Ladder trail run in July -- Nope, ran the Boilermaker instead and set a new 15K PR.
    6. Warrior Dash in August -- Nope, ran the Clove Run 10 mile instead and finished as first female!
    7. Race for the Cure 5k in October -- Nope, ran the Adirondack Half Marathon the weekend before instead and set a new half-marathon PR.
    8. Stockade-athon 15k in November -- Nope, ran a 10K on Long Island the same weekend instead and set a new 10K PR!
  • Run 1000+ miles --  DONE!  I ran 1022.8 miles.
  • Keep up with run-improving strength training --  DONE Most weeks, I supplements my running with some strength training.

Overall, yeah, an awesome year!

I learned a lot, too. I had to battle that sleep deprivation but instead of letting it get me totally down, I looked at running as an energy builder. And it worked. Sticking to my running routine -- especially when I wasn't getting much sleep -- kept my energy level up. 

I'd also like to think that my racing success proves a few things. Like, for example:
  • That breastfeeding moms can run strong in races of all distances. I ran my first half-marathon (finishing in 1:49:29) when I was still full-on breastfeeding my 5.5 month old son. Here I am feeding him minutes before the start of the half:

  • That turning 40 (or, in my case, 41) doesn't mean your PRs are in your past. Nope. Not even close. In fact, I hope to set many more PRs this year. And beyond!
  • That nutrition matters. My eating was great for the first 9 months of the year. After the Adirondack half marathon in September, though, I let it slide. I've noticed a difference in my runs and I plan to get my eating back on track this year!
  • That racing shoes help you to kick butt. I LOVED racing in these bad boys: 

So, what will 2012 bring? Well, who really knows? I know a few things that I would like for it to bring and I plan to lay out my goals in tomorrow's post. Stop back and let me know what you think! 

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this pic of my little cutie (from several months ago):

Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope you all met many of your 2011 goals -- and have some fun goals lined-up for 2012!

~ Felice

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hangover Half race report.

First, let me preface this race report by saying that I am in no way disappointed with my race. If it seems like I am when you are reading, you're probably just getting that feel from my tendency toward exaggeration and over-dramatization.

OK! On with the report!

My local running club puts on a series of winter races each year and on January 1st they host the Hangover Half. It is probably the most low-key, no frills half marathon going. Seriously. For starters, it is free for club members. Second, there are no bibs. No numbers. No chips. Nada. When you cross the finish line, you get an index card with your overall place listed in the right-hand corner. You write your name, age, and finishing time on the card and hand it in to a volunteer so it can be recorded.

(Old school, for sure.)

There are a few aid stations, where intrepid volunteers hand out cups of water.

And then there is The Course. It sucks. (Sorry, folks, I speak the truth here.) I mean, it really is just about the most boring course ever. It starts by the University at Albany Phys. Ed. building then heads into the drabber-than-drab state office campus for three loops.

Drab loops. No spectators. Office buildings. Bring it!

Well, boring course and all, I ran the thing. Lots of my friends were doing it and I figured it would be a good way to kick off 2012. You know, run 13.1 miles for fun.

As I'd written about before, I took it easy in December so that I could begin marathon training fresh and healthy. This meant many days off of running, including the entire week leading up to the half. I had no idea what to expect from the race. My knee/hamstring has been wonky. I recently started new medication for my Lyme disease and that has made my sleeping all wonky. So, the race was a wild card. I went in without much of a plan, but then convinced myself (over a breakfast of pb&j on whole wheat) that I should shoot for 8:30 miles, my goal marathon pace.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

My friends Tami and Melissa decided to shoot for that time as well so we started the race running alongside each other. Those first two miles were great and then we ended up losing Melissa at some point and it was just Tami and me. We chatted, ran in silence, pushed on.

At mile 4 I developed a massive cramp or some such thing on my left side. I felt like someone was stabbing me. But, I pushed on.

Tami and I continued to run side-by-side through the first loop of the office campus, with me dropping back at some point to grab water, but catching back up. We headed out for the second loop and by a little past mile 7, I had to give in to the pain. I stopped. I needed to stretch out my side or do something because the pain was piercing and I really couldn't handle it.

So, I walked a bit and started up again. The pain subsided but came back a few minutes later. I pushed through for a bit but I ended up having to walk three more times, and for longer than I would have liked.

Meanwhile, I gave up on my 8:30 pace. The Hangover Half was not a goal race. I hadn't trained for it. There was no sense in my pushing too hard when my goal race is still so far away. What mattered was to get another long run under my belt and finish feeling good so I could be in position to start marathon training still healthy.

But, you know, a race is still a race so even though I had given up on the 8:30 pace I couldn't phone it in entirely. I decided I'd shoot for finishing under 2 hours. I knew I could do that and, honestly, once I cut myself that slack I felt better.

You know what also made me feel better? Taking time each mile to think about my pal, Darlene, who broke her ankle in three places last week. She's since had surgery during which her doctor put a plate and two pins in her ankle. Darlene is now on bed rest for two weeks and who knows when she'll be able to run again?

Thinking about her -- and some other friends who are injured (Hi, Karyn! Hi, Allison!) -- made me think that it was completely ridiculous to be whining (even to myself) when others can't even run.

So I sucked it up and ran on. I finished in 1:56:14, an 8:52 pace. 

Not bad. A far cry from the PR I set in September (1:48:27) but I'll take it.

After the race I met up with a bunch of my friends and fellow Strong Running Mamas and we grumbled about the dull course, that third loop that threw most of us for a . . . well, for a loop, and the gusty wind. We also congratulated each other, especially Melissa on her awesome sub-2 hour PR, Tami on her rocking 1:54, and Janis on her great 2:10 PR!! And, of course, everyone else for running hard and strong for 13.1 miles. Way to go, ladies!

Afterward, Owen, the kids, and I had a delicious dinner of filet mignon at my parents house. Perfect way to end a day that was the perfect way to start the year!

Happy New Year, everyone! Cheers!

~ Felice

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