I did it!  I reached my goal of 26 races before my 26th birthday on April 26!  :) 



Unfortunately… I reached my goal ALONE!  Nick didn’t show up when he was suppose to, and I tried to call his cell, but it was turned off.  I paced around my living room for a while, freaked out on Twitter, and decided to wait an extra 10 minutes before leaving.


While I waited, I had breakfast.  I had the standard pre-race meal (PB bagel, 1/2 a banana, coffee).  If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!


I got in the car and began to drive to the race start, which was an hour away.  40 minutes before the race began, my phone rang – it was Nick!  Turns out he accidentally slept through his alarm.  :(  I felt SO bad for him!  I’ve definitely made that mistake (and the AM vs PM mistake), and I’ve learned to always set at LEAST two alarms (last night I set THREE!)Maybe we can do a 5K together next weekend instead?


I arrived at the race start a little later than I wanted to and had to rush, rush, rush to get my packet and number.  I lined up at the start as they were singing the national anthem.



(That guy behind me has a SWEET sweatband!)


My 5K personal record is 23:46, which I set during the Dash of the Elves in December 2008 (race recap).  That race was very small (I actually WON the female division) and almost totally flat.  I knew it was going to be hard to PR at today’s race because it was crowded, and the course involved two 0.5 mile climbs up the Melbourne causeway.


But I was going to try!


The gun went off and I went off like a bat-outta-you-know-where.  I managed to get close to the front pretty quick and tried to book it as fast as possible before we hit the causeway.  We came up on the docks, and I knew the bridge was close!


The causeway was a TERRIBLY long and intense climb.  It lasted 0.5 mile. 



The Mile 1.0 Marker was at the very top of the causeway, and I hit it at 7:56.  My legs were at me, and I knew there was NO WAY I would be able to maintain that pace when I ran up the causeway in the opposite direction.


The next 0.5 mile was entirely downhill.  I tried to ride it out as much as I could, but it actually hurts to go fast on a slope.  My pace slowed to 9:00 as I watched the lead men whiz by me!


They were hauling bootay!


We hit the bottom of the causeway, ran another hundred meters or so, turned around, and headed back up the causeway.


The second time around, I decided to slow my pace going up the bridge instead of tackling it.  I dropped to 9:30 as I climbed, but I didn’t mind because I was going as fast as I could without dying!


Mile 2.0 was at the top, and I picked up my pace as I passed it.


At this point, I looked at my watch and realized that a PR was unrealistic (which I was OK with given the 1.0 mile of climbing), so I readjusted my goals and decided to aim for under 26:00. 


When I passed the Mile 3.0 marker, I started to run as fast as I could.


I really wanted to sneak a peek at my watch, but I could tell that I wasn’t going that fast (for me) and that the hills had eaten away my leg strength.  I started to chant in my head, “You are going as fast as you can, you are going as fast as you can, you are going as fast as you can.”  And before I knew it, the finish line was upon me!


I was SUPER excited because I finished with 9 seconds to spare.  😉


Here are my statistics:


  • Duration: 25:51
  • Distance: 5K (3.1 miles – the course was perfect)
  • Average Pace: 8:18
  • Mile 1:  7:56
  • Mile 2: 8:27
  • Mile 3: 8:33
  • 0.1: 54 seconds


I wandered over to the finisher’s area and noticed they were serving BEER!


But decided to go for water instead.  🙂


After my heart rate dropped back down to normal, I decided to explore the area a little bit by taking the long way back to my car.  My 100-mile bike race is just a month away; plus, I’m going clubbin’ tonight for my birthday, so tomorrow might end up being a rest day, if you know what I mean.  🙂 I extended my run another 3.0 miles as I explored the area.


All the artists were setting up for the festival!  I love art festivals.  I had to stop and look at some of the pottery, jewelry, and paintings.



My stats for the post-race 3.0 miles:


  • Mile 4: 11:57
  • Mile 5: 11:19
  • Mile 6: 10:58


Hahah – one of these splits is not like the other.


And then I got in the car, drove home, and made myself breakfast #2 (Pineapple Chobani, strawberries, and 1/2 a cup raw oatmeal).


All in all, a very fun 5K!  I wish Nick had been there, too, but maybe we can do another one together next weekend. 


As mentioned, we’re celebrating my birthday tonight (it’s on Monday).  I am still in the mindset of wanting to go to the clubs on my birthday (or maybe I’m just striving to recapture my younger days…) so I better rest up!


26, 26, 26 – done!


Do you have any large, overarching fitness goals?  I’d like to do a race in every state (I’ve raced in Florida and Pennsylvania, and the bike race will be in California).  That will be very hard to achieve, but doesn’t it sound fun?



  • Mish@EatingJourney April 24, 2010, 11:17 am

    Finish training for the 14.5km race I have, 1/2 marathon and full sprint tri. I know I can.

  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story April 24, 2010, 11:17 am

    I loved this recap, I think it might be my favorite you’ve written so far and I don’t know why it rings different to me, but it does. It just seems like you had FUN. It wasn’t a huge goal or HUGE achievement. It was just fun. 🙂 I love art festivals too! I so miss living in a town that does anything remotely interesting. 🙂

  • Megan@EatScrapRun April 24, 2010, 11:18 am

    That sucks Nick wasn’t there to run with you today. I don’t have any set goals, I just keep pushing myself to do longer distance races (running and triathlons) but I think a race in each state would be awesome! So far I have Ohio, Florida, and Nevada. Sounds like a good excuse to start traveling more too.

  • Shannon, Tropical Treats April 24, 2010, 11:19 am

    Great race recap and congrats on reaching your goal! I love art festivals too.. they always have such a feel good vibe to them 🙂

    This summer I hope to run a half marathon finally. I took a job in Tampa after graduation so I’ll be running all over that area wahoooo!

  • Anna April 24, 2010, 11:24 am

    Nice job! I had my first solo race a couple weeks ago and it was definitely a different experience. How did you like racing alone? I kind of enjoyed it- fewer distractions! Because, you know, I’m so hardcore and all…

    • Caitlin April 24, 2010, 11:34 am

      it was different! kind of fun solo but its always better with friends 😉

  • Angela (ohsheglows) April 24, 2010, 11:25 am

    Congrats on reaching your goal of 26 races!

    Wish I could go clubbin with you.

  • Evan Thomas April 24, 2010, 11:26 am

    Aww that’s too bad nick missed it, but great run to you and enjoy your night!

  • Heather C April 24, 2010, 11:27 am

    whew, fitting TWO uphills into just 3 miles? not easy. Love that you kept the run going though 😉

    have fun with the bday celebrations!

  • Danielle (Coffee Run) April 24, 2010, 11:27 am

    Awesome job on the race! That sucks that Nick slept through his alarm 🙁 Maybe you guys could do a different 5K?

    I think running a race in every state sounds like an awesome goal 😀
    *And on a side note- Beer?? Really?? Tryna dehydrate the runners even futher? 😉

  • Kristen April 24, 2010, 11:28 am

    Maybe you should have tried to finish in 26:26 🙂
    Congrats on enjoying the race and getting that 26th race done!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin April 24, 2010, 11:29 am

    Congrats Caitlin!!! 26 races before your 26th birthday is a huge accomplishment!

    One of my fitness goals is to run a half marathon this year, and I’d love to eventually do a tri. I just bought a bike last weekend and am LOVING riding it so far.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople April 24, 2010, 11:30 am

    That is so awesome! WTG doing your 26 in 26. I don’t really have any large, overarching fitness goal. Although…I did remember my push-ups today!

  • Angharad April 24, 2010, 11:30 am

    That does sound fun! My goal is (tentatively!) to run a marathon by the time im 30. Sad that nick
    didnt make it but congrats on hitting your goal!

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee) April 24, 2010, 11:31 am

    Happy Early Birthday!! It sounds like you had a blast! If you ever come do any 5 or 10Ks in Cincinnati or Columbus (OH), I will totally come run it/them with you!

  • Gwen April 24, 2010, 11:33 am

    Happy Early Birthday! 🙂 I would like to run my second marathon at 30 – next year! I like the 1/2 in 1/2 challenge – a half marathon in half of the states. I bet you could do that!!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg April 24, 2010, 11:34 am

    Congrats on the 26 before 26!! Have fun celebrating tonight 🙂

  • emptynutjar April 24, 2010, 11:36 am

    I don’t have much goals other than to jsut be able to do more than walk one day! Gotta appreciate what I have, but wish I could do more.

    Congrats Caitlin, so great. You will be setting PR’s all over the place soon enough. When I started out with 5 K, I was in the 23-minute range….less than a year later, I was doing sub-20…and the faster time trend continued.

    Running is not in my cards anymore…but I like seeing others appreciate what they can do. You are such a great spirit.

  • Jessica April 24, 2010, 11:39 am

    I’m going to be 31 this year and I still like to go out and party hard on my birthday! 😉

  • Marissa April 24, 2010, 11:47 am

    Bummer about Nick! That is too funny that they had beer at the race 🙂

  • Marina April 24, 2010, 11:50 am

    I’m sorry for Nick, but happy for you 🙂 Congrats on a great run!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is April 24, 2010, 11:51 am

    Congrats on reaching your goal! You were flying on the first mile! Whew!

  • Heather (runningwithsass.com) April 24, 2010, 12:01 pm

    great job on the race! You are still way more speedy than me! I hate hills!

  • steph-exercise physiologist and artist! April 24, 2010, 12:03 pm


    I’m sad I didn’t know about this 5k for some reason 🙁 I have heard the causways are killer during those races.
    You did awesome especially considering the causways. seriously! I am not even that fast in a flat 5k!

    That sucks that nick’s alarm didn’t go off. I hope you guys can find one next weekend.

    Do you know of one that is definitely happening next weekend?

    I am going downtown tonight and maybe winter park too. Maybe I will see you out 🙂

    • caitlin April 24, 2010, 3:36 pm

      there’s a bunch happening next weekend! check out track shack’s regional events.

      what clubs do you go to downtown? we’ll prob start at vintage!

      • steph-exercise physiologist and artist! April 24, 2010, 4:32 pm

        Love vintage 🙂
        When I am celebrating b-days or having a dress up girls night out I usually go to vintage senso ember and roc room and the lodge is fun too. I just went to startdust the other night and it was really fun. its by lake eola and in the basement.
        for low key nights I love the indie bars like matador and ibar
        I want to run something by you but I’ll email it. Give your email a check in a little while when you get a chance.

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs April 24, 2010, 12:04 pm

    YAY Caitlin!! Well done 🙂
    Poor Nick though..that must suck, all that preperation 🙁
    Hmmm I’d say my big crazy ‘wtf!?’ goal would be an ultra marathon 😛
    But I think I need to do a normal marathon 1st/my 30miler in July 😛
    Well done again 🙂

  • steph-exercise physiologist and artist! April 24, 2010, 12:04 pm

    Oh and happy birthday btw!!
    and congrats on your 26 in 26 goal 🙂 that is awesome.

  • Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep April 24, 2010, 12:05 pm

    Congratulations on reaching your goal! Have a blast tonight!

  • Camille April 24, 2010, 12:07 pm

    Congrats! That is such an amazing accomplishment!

  • Sana April 24, 2010, 12:07 pm

    Way to reach your goal of 26 races! Next time Nick will get to run!

  • Megan April 24, 2010, 12:08 pm

    Congrats on your 26– very nice finish. It also looks like you had a great event and scene for such a great celebration. You’re about to leave that quarter of a century behind 🙂

    I’ve not tried the pineapple chobani but looking at your post race eats, that is going to be on my list!

  • Me-Linh @ Sweet and Sweat April 24, 2010, 12:16 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!! Happy early birthday as well 🙂

  • Kathleen April 24, 2010, 12:29 pm

    Congratulations, early birthday wishes and a big smile! I love completing goals and reading about them are just as awesome!!!

  • Allie April 24, 2010, 12:32 pm

    great job on 26 by 26! sweatband guy is very funny.

  • Brooke April 24, 2010, 12:46 pm

    Congrats on reaching your 26 before 26 goal. I just hope to be able to run a 5k some day in my life 🙂 I am so not a runner but would love to do this. Happy Birthday, have a great celebration!

  • TorontoGirloutWest April 24, 2010, 12:51 pm

    You’re a star!!!! Way to go on achieving your goal!!!

    As for me – I’ll be running my first half in Long Beach this October 17th with a bunch of bloggers!!!!

  • Rachel @ Suburban Yogini April 24, 2010, 12:58 pm

    This is a bit of a weird one but I have a strange ambition to take at least one yoga class in every state in the US! (more than one in Cali because there is so much weird and wonderful stuff there!) – somehow, short of winning the lottery I don’t think this will happen any time soon!

  • Erica April 24, 2010, 1:06 pm

    Congrats on a great race! Seems like fun! Do you take pics with your phone during the race? I’ve been wanting to do pictures during a 5K but I’ve been worried that it would slow me down 🙂

  • Wei-Wei April 24, 2010, 1:13 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS CAITLIN! :D:D:D I’m so happy for you! It must feel AWESOME that you’ve reached your goal! It’s too bad that Nick didn’t make it… But there’s always next time! Hang in there 😉

    Well, one overarching fitness goal for me would be to run a mile in under 9.00. I’ve only ever run a mile in the mile run in PE class, and my fastest time ever is 9.48. I don’t know how to train for running! I’m just not born to run (my foot shape makes it hard for me to go fast – apparently I have no arches/flat feet?) and the few gyms around here are crazy expensive… Which makes it hard for me to know how far I’m running. 🙁

    Happy early birthday! Hope the rest of your weekend is wonderful 😀


    • caitlin April 24, 2010, 3:37 pm

      look up the couch to 5K plan!

  • *Andrea* April 24, 2010, 1:14 pm


  • Midgetkeeper April 24, 2010, 1:15 pm

    Congrats Caitlin! Running a race in every state would be awesome.

    I would love to run a marathon some day.

  • Stephanie April 24, 2010, 1:18 pm

    Congrats! You should run the okc memorial with me and check OK off your state lust! 🙂

  • Heather April 24, 2010, 1:31 pm

    hooray for 26-26-26 🙂 was so sad to read on twitter this morning that Nick missed the race. especially after reading yesterdays post about how excited he was.

    as you know, I too am trying to run a race in all 50 states. In one month I will be crossing off my 4th state, but I already have 3 others planned for the year 🙂 I have a nice big US map in my office where i color in the states when i complete them – and write in my distance and time. im also keeping all my bibs, and when i’m done I may be cutting them into the states shapes and making my own map, Or maybe even just a scrapbook with photos photos from the races 🙂 (im so dorky)

    • caitlin April 24, 2010, 3:38 pm

      i like the idea of keeping the bibs. i wish i had been better about keeping my bibs. i just throw them away 🙁

  • Katherine @ Lipgloss and Spandex April 24, 2010, 1:35 pm

    Happy early birthday, and congratulations on meeting your goal of 26 by 26! That’s awesome and it sounds like the 26th race was a good one 🙂

  • Run Sarah April 24, 2010, 1:35 pm

    Congrats on an awesome race! Sounds like a challenging course.

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit April 24, 2010, 1:46 pm

    Great race! I’m running a 5-miler tomorrow. I’d like to run a race whenever I travel somewhere. I’m going to Europe in a month and I’m thinking of looking for a race to run there!

  • runnerforever April 24, 2010, 1:47 pm

    Wow, congrats!!!
    I guess my reach goal would be to reach D1 nationals in the 10k.

  • jen trinque April 24, 2010, 1:54 pm

    Oh my gosh, what a pain in the butt that there was so much uphill running! That must kill everybody’s 5k time. It looked like fun and you did great, though!

    I love your “do a race in every state goal”. I have a “visit every state” goal that I’m doing well on, but I certainly haven’t raced, or even exercised, in all of them!

  • caronae April 24, 2010, 2:20 pm

    Congrats on achieving your 26 before 26 goal! That’s awesome. MY overarching fitness goals are running a marathon and doing an Ironman someday, ack! Have an awesome Saturday Caitlin!!!

  • Jessica April 24, 2010, 2:26 pm

    although its not running I walked an extremely hilly 4.0 miles today…

    and last night…………….FINISHED MY MASTERS DEGREE

    • caitlin April 24, 2010, 3:38 pm

      congrats on getting your masters!!!

      • Jessica April 24, 2010, 3:58 pm

        well the paper is not in my hand yet but classes are DONE

  • Barbara April 24, 2010, 2:34 pm

    Great job C~

    I’d really like to hit the 200lb club with a 200lb deadlift, max is currently 165. 🙂

    Maybe a full marathon someday??

  • Lisa April 24, 2010, 2:42 pm

    Congratulations on reaching your goal! How exciting! 🙂

    I suppose my long term goal would be to hike in every state.

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter April 24, 2010, 2:47 pm

    Great job on the race! I can’t believe you ran 3 more miles after that!

  • Juli D. April 24, 2010, 2:58 pm

    Congrats – you did great!

    Long term fitness goal is to visit/backpack in a National Park in every state.

  • Tiffany @ Moving Meditation April 24, 2010, 3:07 pm

    Congrats on meeting your goal!!

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) April 24, 2010, 3:09 pm

    That’s awesome to have hit your goal! I don’t have any specific goals like that but I would like to find a sport I excelled at enough to compete.

  • emily April 24, 2010, 3:15 pm

    Yay! 26-26-26 is awesome, congrats!

  • Molly @fuelherup April 24, 2010, 3:28 pm

    Girl, I feel you on the hills!

    I was training in Breckenridge this past summer, and the elavation was 10,000 feet. I did a 4 mile race, and the first 1.5 miles were straight up a ski slope. I was dying!!! I run a 10k in under 7 min/mile, but this 4 mile race I finished in 40 minutes huffing and puffing! Elavation+incline=you do what you can.

  • Susan April 24, 2010, 3:33 pm

    Marathon!! That’s the big one! Okay, and I really want to do a pull up and squat with my bodyweight on my back. All of which are far off, but not impossible 😉

    Congrats on number 26!!!!! I LOVED the 26 26 26 idea. Especially seeing as your last race was just under 26 minutes 😉

    Have a blast celebrating tonight!! I hear 26 is the new 21…

  • Tyler Ramey April 24, 2010, 3:37 pm

    That course is totally reminding me of Gasparilla!!!! <3<3

    Way to rock it out, sister!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) April 24, 2010, 3:43 pm

    that would be so fun to do a race in each state! i can’t say that i have a huge fitness goal other than losing the weight that i know isn’t healthy for my body 🙂

  • Michelle April 24, 2010, 3:50 pm

    Congrats on running the 5k by yourself! I have a hard time going to events by my lonesome, and it is a bummer when you plan on having company, and then have to re-adjust your expectations.
    I’m glad you did it solo though, it’s awesome to have done the 26 by 26 😛

  • Kath April 24, 2010, 4:43 pm

    Congrats on the 26×3!!! Hills are killer. Welcome to North Carolina in June – all races have killer hills 🙁

  • Julie @ Pickley Pear April 24, 2010, 4:44 pm

    Have fun tonight, you deserve a rest day tomorrow and a fun evening out!!! A bummer Nick didn’t make it – the worst feeling waking up and realizing you are late! Great job in the run.

  • Katherine April 24, 2010, 5:02 pm

    awesome job, caitlin! i thought of you on my “tough” run today…2.25 miles! i’m getting there slowly but surely!

    LOVE those shorts by the way…so cute!

  • Helen April 24, 2010, 5:03 pm

    congratulations catlin! I really want to run a 5k soon but will so not be able to run as fast as you!

  • Devon April 24, 2010, 5:05 pm

    When I lived in Melbourne, I used to run that Causeway quite a bit. It’s TOUGH! Glad you liked the art festival. I loved it last year 🙂 Downtown Melbourne has so many good places to eat and shop…. Kinda makes me miss it.

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly April 24, 2010, 5:20 pm

    I am so proud of you!!! Awesome! You rock…26/26/26 was such an awesome goal and I love that YOU DID IT!!! 🙂

  • Michelle April 24, 2010, 5:38 pm

    Hi Caitlin, love the blog! Both my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law are artists and were showing at the Melbourne Art Show. My sis-in-law does furniture with crazy colors and lots of mermaids, and my bro-in-law is a ceramic artist. He has really colorful animals, vases, etc. Glad you had a fun race!

  • zoe April 24, 2010, 6:43 pm

    great job caitlin :)! the causeway looked like a challenge. i like your mantra, too!! i do the same thing whenever i find myself doubting my capabilities.

    quick question: i’m JUST starting to get into racing. how do you find out about the races happening in your town? i’ve googled but i think i might be searching incorrectly…any tips? i’d appreciate it 🙂 thanks!!!!

    • caitlin April 25, 2010, 3:21 pm

      check out active.com!

      • zoe April 26, 2010, 3:29 pm

        thank you!!!!!!

  • Julie @savvyeats April 24, 2010, 7:12 pm

    Woot! Congrats on getting in all 26…with time to spare! 😉

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) April 24, 2010, 8:13 pm

    Glad you were able to readjust your goals midstream to still have a great run.

    My most interesting goal is to continue to run Thanksgiving races each year because it is a fun escape for me because of the craziness of my job.

  • Jenn (from j3nn.net) April 24, 2010, 8:35 pm

    Congrats on 26!! 😀

    I want to run a 5k by the end of this year, I haven’t started running yet, though. hehe


  • Rebecca @ How the Cookie's Crumble April 24, 2010, 8:35 pm

    Congrats on your race! Have lots of fun out tonight for your birthday!! 🙂

  • Amanda (Amanda "runs") April 24, 2010, 8:39 pm

    Congrats on the race! My “long term” goals are to:
    Get the Parents to buy some sort of a machine (gym equipment) in my house

    Run a race before I turn 18 (preferably a 5k)

    Actually run with my friend…

  • Heather ODonnell April 24, 2010, 11:16 pm

    Your 26/26/26 has inspired me. I would love to do 33 races before my 33rd birthday. I just turned 32 2 weeks ago, but I didn’t run my first race until I was 31, so that is a lot of races to do in 2 years. So far I have 15 races and I have 2 more big ones planned for the next month. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can avoid injury.

  • Sarah April 25, 2010, 7:30 am

    My fitness goal is to become a certified yoga instructor. Although our goals our different, reading about your goals is a motivator for me to keep it up:).

  • Dominique April 25, 2010, 1:44 pm

    Congrats on the 26 before 26! What a great accomplishment!

  • Michele April 25, 2010, 3:19 pm

    Wow Caitlin!

    You’ve inspired me to do my first 5k on June 6th. I’m still on week 4 of Couch to 5k, so my goal is to be done the plan by the day of the race!

    • caitlin April 25, 2010, 3:21 pm

      youre going to have so much fun!

  • michele April 25, 2010, 7:51 pm

    I live in Melbourne! I can’t imagine running up and down that causeway, it is steep. I would have come and cheered you on. I would have loved to meet you!

  • Di April 26, 2010, 5:34 pm

    Immediate goal is to run my 5K fun run this weekend, then run a few more 5K’s, then 10K’s leading to a 1/2 marathon in October. Those are my running goals for this year.

  • Sean April 26, 2010, 7:48 pm

    Wow Caitlin!

    You’ve inspired me to do my first 5k on June 6th. I’m still on week 4 of Couch to 5k, so my goal is to be done the plan by the day of the race!

  • John April 27, 2010, 12:05 am

    It’s great you were able to accomplish your goal! I think 50 states raced in will be a tad bit more expensive than my possible goal 🙂 I’m still mulling it over in my head!

  • Daniel April 27, 2010, 7:44 am

    check out active.com!

  • Rick April 27, 2010, 9:09 am

    Wow Caitlin!

    You’ve inspired me to do my first 5k on June 6th. I’m still on week 4 of Couch to 5k, so my goal is to be done the plan by the day of the race!

    • Caitlin April 27, 2010, 9:11 am

      good luck!

  • Jonathan April 27, 2010, 8:01 pm

    Wow Caitlin!

    You’ve inspired me to do my first 5k on June 6th. I’m still on week 4 of Couch to 5k, so my goal is to be done the plan by the day of the race!

  • Simon April 28, 2010, 2:38 am

    Wow Caitlin!

    You’ve inspired me to do my first 5k on June 6th. I’m still on week 4 of Couch to 5k, so my goal is to be done the plan by the day of the race!

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