I quit drinking and discovered I’m an introvert.

My entire life I thought I was a straight-up social virtuoso. Fear of missing out plagued me any time I couldn’t attend a party, outing, get-together or weekend away. Any event that might involve alcohol I HAD to be part of.

Being someone who’s gone to school, plays sports, has had many jobs, including in the restaurant and bar industry, and who LOVED to drink, I know a shitload of people. Meeting people has always been easy for me and it still is, but keeping up with acquaintances and the social scene in general seems to have been mostly due to drinking.

Like it or not, alcohol is something that a majority of society has in common. It doesn’t matter if two people share the same hobbies, values or passions, it’s pretty easy to have a drink and small talk with almost anyone. I bet you can think of at least a few people you’ve shared an alcoholic beverage with who are SO random and you have zero things in common with, or maybe don’t even know anything about whatsoever. I can. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s funny and awesome and I am not judging it whatsoever. It’s just that when I eliminated alcohol, I eliminated that shared interest. The one thing I had in common with many people, places and situations changed and I had to re-evaluate how I enjoyed spending my time.

Introversion is not the same thing as being shy or having anxiety about social situations. I am still a friendly and outgoing person. I think I’m approachable. I love to talk about things (even feelings) with my close friends, family, husband and run buddies. Sometimes I’m a comedian. Public speaking and karaoke don’t scare me at ALL, and neither do group projects. I am not shy. Sometimes I go to running events that have thirty thousand participants and hang out with people I’ve never met before.

Introversion is a trait that can be described as more of a focus on internal thoughts and feelings than on external stimulation. This hits the nail on the head for where I’m at these days as a sober person. Being around lots of people in a loud or busy environment drains me and makes me feel agitated. I usually sneak away. Nowadays, I’d rather organize my compression socks by colour than go to most parties. Not pointing a finger at drinking parties, I’m talking about any moderately hectic social interaction that lasts more than two hours and doesn’t revolve around something personally fascinating. I’m not anti-social or a hermit, but unless it’s my super close friends getting together, or an activity I am passionate about, I’d just kinda rather do something alone or with my husband, who happens to be my best friend. Alcohol used to be my favourite reason to go out and do anything with a group, but not anymore.

Energized and recharged by solitude, that’s where I’m at. I never thought I’d say it until a couple years ago, but I LOVE being alone! Hiking, running, travelling, reading. When I was a big drinker, I didn’t know how to be alone. Maybe it was the hangover anxiety, or the fact that I didn’t know (or really like) myself at ALL and needed to be around others for distraction. It makes sense, since for a very long time I didn’t really have any specific hobbies besides partying, so when party time was over and I had to be by myself, I hated it. Now, when I go home after work on a Friday night, I am usually overjoyed to not go anywhere else hahaha. On my birthday I ran 33km by myself and then had an exercise party with twelve people and no liquor. If someone told me this in 2010 I’d be like WTF??

In my case, this transition to self-awareness and in turn, introversion, happened because I quit alcohol. Blaming booze isn’t something I’m into; personal responsibility is real and alcohol didn’t MAKE me do, or not do, anything. But I really did let it hold me back. Taking it away gave me the opportunity, finally, to get to know myself and learn what I’m actually like. Then it took some more time to get used to it, and to not judge myself for wanting to stay home on a Saturday night and read Descent into Madness: The Diary of a Killer in my bed, not even wondering what anyone else is up to. Can you guess what I did last night? LOL.

What I’ve gladly discovered is that as a sober person, I’m still outgoing, fun, brave and adventurous with a serious sense of humour. I’m still social too, but in different ways. On the other hand, though, I’ve also learned that I like having a handful of very close friends, versus that plus twenty groups of acquaintances. I’ve realized that I’m independent and self-aware. My preference is doing whatever the fuck I want, often alone, instead of trying to keep up with everyone else at all times. And as of recently, I’m totally okay with it 🙂

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Mesa-PHX Marathon Training – Week 9/10

Wooo shit’s getting real, I got my bib number! 9440 baby. Sounds lucky to me! This was a good week, I love how Lifelong Endurance maintains some intensity across the taper – it helps me not lose my marbles! Was a great week 🙂 6 more sleeps! Well let’s make it 5 because we all know there’s no sleeping the night before a marathon 😉

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Monday, February 12th

3k up, 3x [10:00 @ marathon goal pace, 3:00 jog], 3k down

Like I’ve mentioned, I’m not exactly sure what marathon goal pace is this time around. It’s a fast course. and because I’m not putting any pressure on myself, who know’s what will happen! For today’s intervals I just went with ~5:15/km because that felt good. A little fast, but whatever.

zero or above = shorts

Today was also my last day off before an eight-day stretch of work so I figured I might as well get a strength session out of the way.

LOTS of planks, bicycle abs, ab scissors, Russian twists, V-sits, leg lifts (laying and standing), bird dogs, dead bugs and finally, some much needed stretching.

Tuesday, February 13th

8k aerobic. Holy hell my quads are still sore from racing down Mount Hays on Sunday in the snow! Had to rock the PRO Valentine’s socks, since tomorrow is a non-running day 😉

Wednesday, February 14th

Swimming! 1300m today!

Once I get to 1500m (probably after Phoenix) then I’ll start working on my speed. If you live anywhere around northern BC, check out the Tyhee Lake Triathlon in July. It was the best northern event I have ever participated in, and this year I am determined to be ready to swim 1500m in open water so I can tackle the Olympic distance triathlon!

Thursday, February 15th

Annnd it snowed. That’s okay, I love doing this one on the treadmill!

3up, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 3 down

  • 1 = 1 min @ 5k race pace, 1 min moderate
  • 2 = 2 min @ 10k race pace, 2 min moderate
  • 3= 3 min @ 1/2 marathon race pace, 3 min moderate

THIS WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD! The first 2 kilometers I had my watch on outside running mode by accident and it thought I was running 13min/km, whoops. I restarted it on indoor mode. This was soooooo good!!!! I ran the moderates a little faster than my overall pace at CIM. Serious confidence booster!

Friday, February 16th

Taking a rest! No cardio for me today at all. All I did today, besides trying on these beautiful new Altra Torins and looking forward to testing them out on Sunday’s easy run, was FOAM ROLL. That’s. It.

Saturday, February 17th

last long-ish run!! 16k as:

  • 5k easy
  • 7k at GMP (went with ~ 5:15/km again…a little fast)
  • 3k easy
  • 1k hard

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Sunday, February 18th

7k easy before work

30 minutes of functional strength & stability

3 sets of:

  • 30 Russian twists with 4kg jug of epsom salts (LOL)
  • 16 lunges with two 4kg jugs of epsom salts (double LOL)
  • 20/side fire hydrants
  • 16/side donkey extensions
  • 30 horizontal ab scissors, 30 vertical
  • bridge hold
  • 10/side one-legged bridge with vertical & side leg swings
  • 30 dead bugs

What’s a dead bug? Jade taught me.

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and lastly, some serious calf and soleus stretching.

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Talk to you next week!!! I’ll have a race report for ya!

Upcoming events & GOALS!

Yahoo! Can’t believe it’s already halfway through February! Life goes by fast. Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with Winter…but it’s not my favourite season and I’m sure many runners would agree. I love cold weather running, but snow, ice and darkness can be very inconvenient!

I’m starting the Spring transition early this year. First, heading down south to Arizona to run my seventh full marathon. Then, March (which I consider Spring) has presented the opportunity for a local 5k! We say local here when it’s within say, a four hour drive, LOL. In April I have two races lined up, both which I have run before and love, so that’s exciting and fun for goal setting!

Here’s what I wanna aim for at this point in time, always keeping in mind that Coach might have other plans that come into play closer to the dates 🙂 Thank you to Lifelong Endurance for the readiness I’m feeling this early in the year!

Saturday, February 24th – The Sprouts Mesa-PHX Marathon!

I’ve mentioned it a lot in training recaps, I don’t have a specific goal for this race. My goal marathon is in July, so I really like the way this has me feeling relaxed about Phoenix.

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The course is fast, but from the dozens of reviews I’ve read, it’s (obviously) not just a nice jaunt down a mountain! For one, 42.2k is 42.2k! Apparently, the profile can be quite deceiving too, since the majority of the elevation drop is in the first half and then the second half of the race basically flattens out. There’s also the temptation to fly out of the gate on that initial downhill and be left with regrets later, so it will be a test of patience! The temperature could be a factor later in the race as well, especially for this Canadian. We’ll see what happens!

I’ve thought about covering my watch, but I doubt that will happen. The goal is to run happy, and push it in the second half if things are feeling good. Other goals are to stay relaxed, have fun and enjoy the cacti! IF the stars seem to be perfectly alignging, I will shoot for a 5:20/km overall pace. No matter what happens it’s going to be awesome to check out a new marathon event, and meet up with the PRO Compression crew!

Saturday, March 17th – St. Patrick’s Day 5k!

This run is in Terrace and hosted by the recently resurrected Skeena Valley Runners! OMG. The 5k. Also known as, in my brain at least, the scariest race distance. Pain train.

I’ve never raced a 5k! There was the Disneyworld 5k in 2017, but that wasn’t even timed. I just cruised along, saving myself for the rest of the Dopey Challenge. Last May I ran the 5k in the local race that I co-direct, but I don’t count that.

For this St. Patty’s race I’d like to run an overall pace under 4:40/km. Back in October I ran a twenty minute fit-test for Coach Andrew (in the dark, on the boring-ass track) – 20 minutes, 4.28 km, 4:40/km. This seems like a fair goal to aim for for the 5km.

Sunday, April 8th – The Rupert Half + 8k Road Race

Woohoo, favourite home race! Last year I had a great day, running my current half marathon personal best, and finishing third overall female. Yeah, it’s a small race, but I am very proud of that day. It’s an interesting course, and on a section of road that us locals run almost every single weekend, which can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it!

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The goal for this year is to improve my time on this half course, which would also lead to a new half PR! Currently sitting at 01:50:48. On the hunt for a sub-1:50! I’d like to be in the top 3 again, too!

*if you live around here and haven’t run in this event before, check out THIS post**

Saturday, April 21st – The Tenacious Ten in Seattle, presented by Oiselle

I. Love. Seattle! And this race! And we are going down with a #badassladygang of five of us! The race goes around Lake Union and the start/finish is in Gasworks park! AND it’s hosted by Oiselle! Last year I had a great day running the 10 mile distance, but I went out too fast and it haunted me a little in the last 5k. I’d say it was overall a pretty solid run, BUT, I know I can do better this year!

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Tenacious Ten 2017! Whitney & Justin are both running again this year!

The goal as of right now: 1:18:xx. Last year my “official” time was 1:21:36, but that was faster than what my Garmin said…and everyone else said their chip times were fast, too. My watch actually read 1:22:40. Regardless, I think with a more conservative start and the fitness I’ve gained over the last year, sub 1:20 will be mine, but I want to push for an average pace in the low 4:5x/km.

Running is not about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you used to be.

So, that’s what’s coming up in the next eight-ish weeks! Are you planning to run in any of these events? If so, let me know!

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Mesa-PHX Marathon Training – Week 8/10

Countdown is on til marathon #7! Coach Andrew is heading on a two week vacation in a few days, so I’m ready to wrap up the last of this race prep on my own and hopefully have a good report for him once he returns! Lifelong Endurance really encourages us to listen to our bodies, so if I need a rest day or a light cross training to substitute a run, I can make that decision on my own. Love them.

Monday, February 5th

The title of this workout is “mile reps & sharpening cut downs” ahahha! Sounds scary, but also gets me fired up!

3k up, 2x [1 mile @ 4:35/km, 2:00 rest], 8x [200m hard, 200m jog], 3k down

I was so excited for this that I got on the treadmill before eating breakfast. Then I couldn’t run a fast mile and I realized I should eat. Good warm up haha.

Breakfast, nap, try again. Managed one, but couldn’t run a second mile at the prescribed pace to save my life, so I hit the 200s. I have learned something in the last few weeks – I need to take post-32k run recovery more seriously, because I’ve been super tired the last two Mondays. More chocolate milk, protein, carbs and when I do go to work after, more sitting!!

Tuesday, February 6th

8k aerobic – saved this for the evening so I could rest the body a little longer. Felt good! Port Ed is hilly!

 

Wednesday, February 7th

Non-running day! I went to the pool before work and had another awesome swim! 1250m of front crawl and breast stroke.

Evening: Dirty Dozen x 2! My arms felt like Jello after hahaha

Thursday, February 8th

Never in my life did I imagine I’d run paces that started with four. Once I wrote a post about a previous hangup on 5:xx paces. Believing random shit about one’s self is a surefire way to impede progress, and I did just that for quite a long time. Sometimes the plans my coach gives me look scary at first, but I have nothing to lose. I don’t always nail them, but no matter what happens it always ends up being a killer workout! You have nothing to lose, either. Progress doesn’t come from doing the same thing day after day, that’s for sure.

3k up, 10:00 steady climb @4-6% at a 10k feel, 5:00 flat jog, 6x [400m @ 4:15/km, 1:00 jog], 3k down

OH! Remember last week when I got off the treadmill to check if it was actually on an incline? IT WAS. I just didn’t inspect it well enough. I got the tilt unstuck by setting it to -3, letting it go alllll the way downhill, and then pressing zero, which allowed it to come back to flat! What a relief!!!! It’s no wonder I couldn’t run those mile repeats confidently on Monday!!! This workout went REALLY well and I needed that. I even added a seventh 400m rep during the cool-down cause I was feeling goooooood!

Friday, February 9th

8k aerobic with Bailey & Andrea! Beauty day and a nice, steady pace with a faster finish.

Saturday, February 10th

Prescribed was a 22k long run with last 15:00 at goal marathon pace…which, at this point, I’m not sure exactly what GMP is..

We ended up running 20k with no special finish. A very tired day, but beautiful out and fantastic company. First half was alright, second half was struggle bus. Crystal saved me, as she has many times before!

Sunday, February 11th

Prescribed: 6.5k aerobic!

Went up Mount Hays with husband in my truck, and then ran down when it was time to wrap up the day. The downhill is good practice for Phoenix! I ran/hiked around up top for a good portion of the afternoon, and then ran a quick 6km down to the bottom.

Now we’re meeting friends for dinner, but I have a strength and stability routine from Runner’s World planned for later this evening. Less than a fortnight (ahhaahaha) until race day!!!!!!! Anybody else have an event coming up quick?

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Mesa-PHX Marathon Training – Week 7/10

As I finish this post, it’s 20 days from race day! Officially tapering! Looking ahead at the schedule, even though the volume tapers, there are still some wicked workouts coming up! This isn’t my goal marathon of the year, but I’m feeling confident that I will run well on the fast course in Phoenix. Thank you to Lifelong Endurance and my coach, Andrew, for helping me find this self-confidence as a runner! This week was up and down, but I’m better at going with the flow than I used to be, so it’s no big deal. I listened to How Bad Do You Want It a lot this week; it always helps me stay in a neutral mindset!

Monday, January 29th

Planned:

3k up, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1min intervals, progressing from 5:25-4:55, 2:30 jogs between, 3k down

What actually went down:

LOL! I was so tired and in such a bad mood. No kidding, I got off the treadmill and checked to see if it the incline was screwed up. Called it a day and went straight to bed, planning to hit this workout in the morning instead of the aerobic 8k on Tuesday’s schedule.

Tuesday, January 30th

Got up feeling quite a bit better but once I started warming up my calves were still sore and I felt off. I did manage to run each of the intervals, but this all felt a lot harder than it should have. I only cooled down for about half a kilometer – I was done. Tomorrow I’m taking a very easy day with no running or intense anything! #responsible

5min @ 5:25, 4min @ 5:16, 3min @ 5:10, 2min @ 5:03, 1min @ 4:55

Wednesday, January 31st

1000m swim! Followed by Coreflex with Kerrie at K2 Cycle Fusion

On Wednesdays I usually go to spin. I LOVE spin. The only thing is that I love it so much and get so pumped from the music, that I wouldn’t really say my legs get much of a break, aside from impact. I decided today a swim would be okay, and Coreflex at K2 since it’s all on the ground on the mat.

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Thursday, February 1st

3k up, 8x200m hills with jog down recovery, 3k down

Holy shit. I’ve never used this hill before. The average grade is about 10% and every single one almost killed me. Running down was slow too since it’s so steep. Getting that done by 7am felt amazing!

Friday, February 2nd

7k aerobic. I stayed inside since it was pissing and pitch black. This run was pretty whatever. Those kinda runs used to piss me off but now I just move on!

Saturday, February 3rd

Look at this treat from coach!!

  1. 5k easy
  2. 5k of 1:00 @5:15, 1:00 @5:55
  3. 10k easy progression to moderate
  4. 5k of 1:00 @5:15, 1:00 @5:55
  5. 5k easy
  6. 2k close on tired legs

First of all, let me just say I would love to know what this workout would feel like on a flatter stretch of the world. But anyways. It happened! It was hard. I stopped a couple times to regroup and there were two pit stops in there, but I made it! Here is the elevation I had to work with…stronger every day!

and here is what the pace looks like on Strava, excellent representation!

follow me on Strava HERE

Weeeoooo 21 days til race day!!!

Sunday, February 3rd

On schedule: 6.5km nice and easy, 30min of core

I woke up super lazy and my body felt like wood. This run and core work will take place this evening and I look forward to it, but for now it’s stretching and tea time!

Talk to you soon!

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BMO Vancouver Marathon Weekend! Who’s with me?

Have you ever taken part in BMO Vancouver Marathon weekend? I have, twice, and it’s AWESOME. So awesome, in fact, that I’m going back for a third time, and I doubt it will be my last!

Race day is thirteen weeks out as of this Sunday, February 4th. My coach has built plans for the half and full distances, so if you are looking for an AWESOME guide, see the end of this post for links and a discount code!

In 2014 I ran the half and even though it was MISERABLE out and we were soaked before even leaving the corrals, I loved it! Then, in 2016, I went back for my first go at the marathon distance, and once again BMO Vancouver seriously delivered. It’s hands down the most scenic of the six marathons I’ve fun so far. The 8k is a race I’ve yet to run, but the course doesn’t seem to skip out on any of the scenery Vancouver has to offer just because the distance is shorter. It cuts right through Stanley Park and winds around Brockton Point into Coal Harbour to the downtown finish line on Pender.

This year, I’m registered to run the half marathon. Lifelong Endurance and my coach are preparing me to get there feeling confident and strong. My goal for the 21.1 km distance in 2018 is a 1:45. Whether or not I’ll be ready to lay that down at BMO will become more evident as we progress, but as of right now, that’s the plan!

This is what the BMO 1/2 route looks like. If you aren’t familiar with Vancouver, the map may not mean much, but you can still take note of a few things:

  • the fact that more than 1/3 of the distance is along the Pacific Ocean!
  • running over any city bridge kicks ass! Crossing the Cambie Street Bridge over False Creek is no exception. It’s literally BREATHTAKING (trust me)
  • participants get to run some big chunks of the Stanley Park Seawall, plus run THROUGH Stanley Park as well, which was named the best park in the WORLD according to TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards in 2013.

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Other things that I remember are:

  • the glorious downhill during the first few kilometers from Queen Elizabeth Park to the Cambie Bridge
  • one very short and sweet out-and-back – perfect for high-fives, encouraging others, and seeing other runners you may know who are slightly ahead or behind you (normally I don’t enjoy out-and-backs, but this one is short)
  • emerging from Stanley Park with 5km to go, for round two of Seawall action, and the stunning Coal Harbour

The full marathon is equally as amazing. Looking back, I would say it is an ideal marathon for your first, if you are going after it for the first time. EFF YEAH!!!

I’m really looking forward to running this course again. I will continue to recap my weeks on the blog as I train for the BMO half within my build-up for my goal marathon in July, JACK AND JILL!!!!! You should come meet up at BMO weekend!!!

Here is a half marathon training plan for you built by Andrew. You can use code JAMMIESENTME for 25% off.

Here is a full marathon training plan for you built by Andrew as well. Again, you can use code JAMMIESENTME for 25% off!

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the Universe WANTS me to qualify for Boston!

Hi!

A few weeks back I put my BIG 2018 goal out there. Mission: axe twenty minutes off my best marathon time to run a 03:31:18 and qualify for the 2019 Boston Marathon. (under the guidance of my incredible coach at Lifelong Endurance, Andrew)

One thing I didn’t mention was that right around the time that this BQ-attempt training cycle is set to commence (end of March/beginning of April), I’d be moving away from home and starting the very condensed two-year Registered Massage Therapy program! Yeah! I am going back to school!!!

I don’t let much get in my way when it comes to goal-chasing, but I fully expected that the most intense training block of EVER, combined with a full course load, studying and homework would be extra challenging!! Bring it.

All plans were in place. I’ve given notice at work. My replacement has been recruited, which gives me peace of mind as I live in a somewhat hard-to-staff location. My husband and I were set to move me down to his (AMAZING) Mom’s house the week before my program began…

AND THEN THIS HAPPENED. Alleged arsonist arrested in Kelowna.

I know. Someone pretty much tried to BURN DOWN MY SCHOOL. WHO does this kind of shit?? Thanks to this turd, the school has been forced to reschedule my RMT class as well as a nursing cohort, from March to September. The damage requires a pretty extensive renovation inside as per fire inspection and it will affect classroom space for the small facility. Sigh..

After receiving the email about the postponed start date, I had a short and minor “moment”. Holy shit. I quit my job and my replacement is already hired! I’m almost ready to move! I bought the MEC Okanagan 5-race value pack! (LOL.) I had a bunch of events I planned to drive to from Kelowna. Now I will have five-ish months with no full-time work!?!?!? A stay-at-home cat-mom??

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But then, I stopped and calmed down. Okay truthfully, I flip-flopped from super worried to neutral for a couple days. But NOW…I am PUMPED.

The four months that I will be training for a 03:31:18 are ALL MINE. I have to say it again. MY FULL-TIME JOB FROM APRIL THROUGH JULY WILL BE TO LIVE AND BREATHE MARATHON TRAINING. WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Of course I’m NOT going to sit on my ass and not work. Aside from being a casual relief pharmacist I’m planning to go to my favourite place in the world and help my friends with their bees (yeah, I’ma be a fkn BEE KEEPER) and pick up any other random non-pharmacist work that I feel like in the mean time. If you need your house cleaned, get at me. But my prime focus for the months leading up to Jack & Jill’s Downhill Marathon on July 29th, will be TRAINING. YES!!!!!

All the running! Strength training. Cross training. Spin, swimming, hiking, yoga. WOOOOO! Rest days! RECOVERY! BLOGGING! Can you tell I am seeing the good about this monkey wrench that got thrown into my plans?? You guys. I was always determined, but now I have been given the opportunity to launch a serious attack.

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So thank you, Universe. I’m being forced to trust the process, stop planning quite so far in advance, and go with the flow. Oh, and to confront my addiction to buying every colour of ProCompression socks. I’m being given the chance to put everything I have into the biggest, scariest, most seemingly impossible goal I’ve ever set for myself with respect to my passion for distance running. I can and I will!! Oh, and I’m gonna blog the shit out of this journey, so stay with me!

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