Tag Archives: Extreme weather running

Boston Marathon Training – Week 6

26 Feb

Week 6 was an awesome week of training!

If you read last week’s post – you know I was slacking a bit due to vacation. Week 6 would be high mileage with cross training thrown in.

Recap:

  • 50 miles
  • 08:44 time
  • 5623 calories
  • 11 workouts

I completed one spin workout, and three weight lifting workouts.

Still loving spin class.

Still loving spin class.

Getting it done with Jillian!

Getting it done with Jillian!

Hard workouts were both completed on the treadmill due to snowstorms and crazy cold weather.

Tuesday Tempo: Ran 5 min intervals with 2 min off from mile 1-7.5. 8 miles total, 7:48 pace.

Thursday Tempo: Ran a few miles at a harder pace. 7 miles total, 8:00 pace.

Got out in the blizzard to get my run in.

Got out in the blizzard to get my run in.

The long run this week was a tough 18 miler. We had to battle snow packed roads and chilly air. At least it was sunny and my running group could all run together.

It was one of those “shut up and run” kind of days, but we got it done!!

Preparing for a long, cold run!

Preparing for a long, cold run!

Running in the Snowpocalypse

Running in the Snowpocalypse

My favorite run of the week was Sunday. My boyfriend and I headed out for a relaxing 5 miler. The sun was shining and we had the best company. So glad to be with someone that will run with me and keep me company 🙂

My happy place.

My happy place.

I would anticipate this being one of my biggest weeks of training, especially for this lower key training session.

Until next time,

Ali

 

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Running 26.2 in the Rain (It’s not as bad as you may think)

26 Oct

Happy Friday, everyone! And happy race weekend to all those running Saturday or Sunday!

Yesterday, I received a text from a friend who is running the Marine Corp Marathon Sunday. She was looking for some tips on running a marathon in the rain, due to the fact that Hurricane Sandy is most likely going to have an impact on their racing weather. I have experience running 26.2 in the rain (read about that experience here and here), so Andrea knew I would have some ideas on ways to salvage her race.

Although you might freak out about the thought of running a marathon in the rain (been there, done that!!), it really isn’t that bad. And it isn’t going to totally mess up your race. My first marathon experience was in the pouring down rain and 40 degrees. And I still look back at that day as being one of the best days of my life. I also got a BQ 🙂

So now let’s talk strategy about preparing for a run in the rain…We will start with at the bottom and work our way up.

Feet
Your feet are going to get wet no matter what, and your shoes are going to get super soggy and annoying. Make sure you put plenty of aquafor/vaseline/deodorant (deodorant is my favorite way to prevent chaffing and blisters) on your feet before putting on your socks. This will prevent friction and blisters from wreaking havoc during the race. I also suggest investing in a pair of dry fit socks. Those will deal with the rain much better than cotton.

Hands
Luckily for the MCM people, it won’t be nearly as cold as it was for my marathon in the rain. I made sure I had back up gloves for the race and switched them out halfway through. Dry fit gloves were my saving grace for the second 13.1.

Core
Wearing the proper clothing will be very important on race day. I tried on every potential outfit I brought for the race the night before, and threw water on each one. This way I could see what instantly absorbed water, and what didn’t.

I also got pretty crafty and made a waterproof vest out of my expo bag. The reason why I didn’t just buy a vest was because I knew I would want to shed this thing at some point of the race. And I didn’t have someone there to throw things to at designated spots. I swear that everyone running that race commented on how smart we were for making our own vests. This kept our core warm and dry, and I ended up wearing it for 24 miles!

Another must do is wearing a poncho as long as you can up until the race start. This will help you stay dry before the race starts.

Running in the bag!

Those ponchos were a life saver.

Head
A hat is a must on race day. This will keep the water from hitting your face and driving you insane. It will also help you not look like a wet dog with sopping wet hair in every photo (the race photos matter, people!). I put an earband over my headband so I could toss it off if I wanted to and not have to remove my entire hat. It also helped hold the hat down because it was windy (which it will be for the MCM people as well).

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I believe I have covered all areas of the body to prep for this race.

As I said early…running a marathon in rain isn’t as tragic as you may think it is. You can do it, and you can still have a great race!!

Good luck everyone, and let me know if you have any questions! I am happy to help out my fellow runners!

XO,

Ali

The proudest moment of my life – crossing that finish line in 3:32!!

Chicagoland Marathon Race Recap

24 May

This post is very difficult to write, and one that I am not excited to be writing. It will most likely be lengthy and filled with emotions. So saddle up, readers…hope you’re ready for this bumpy ride!

Saturday

Saturday morning I was up at 4am, and out the door by 4:45 headed to the airport for my 6:30am flight. I had planned to be in Chicago at 8am, and hang out and wait until Diana and her husband Lee arrived at 10am.

Well, those plans changed. Following a very delayed flight, and changing flights 3 times, I finally made it to Chicago at 4pm in the afternoon (Diana and her husband were there at 10am, in case you were wondering). I arrived at the hotel in Schaumburg, IL just in time to leave for dinner. I was raging, and ready to punch someone (preferably an American Airlines worker). But I made it.

7am at the airport. I am doing a great job of hiding my anger!

Diana, Lee and I had a lovely dinner (they are so sweet to let me play 3rd wheel all weekend), and got plenty of carbs stored up in our body. We visualized the race together, and spoke about how amazing it was going to be when we crossed the finish line under 3:45, and earned Diana a BQ.

Stuffed and happy!

Loving our new shirts!!

We were all so positive, and so upbeat about the race. We KNEW things were going to work out. It wasn’t an option for them not to.

Following dinner we headed back to the hotel and got everything ready for the race. We pinned our numbers on our shirts, planned our GU stops, marked down where Lee would be spectating us, and had one last pep talk.

Ready to run!

Foot is all taped!

I got back to my room, and got in bed. I was happy and excited. I had really good feelings about our race, and the 26.2 miles we faced in the morning. I wasn’t worried about the weather, and the fact that it was supposed to be unseasonably warm. It was all good…and it would all work out. Because as I said earlier – it had to.

Sunday – Pre-Race

I shot out of bed at 5:45am on Sunday. I was ready to run. After getting myself prepared and compiling my gear, I walked down to Diana’s room. Diana was nervous, but excited as well.

The weather was on TV in her room. I saw that it was already 70 degrees at 6:15am. I slightly panicked, and then shut off the TV. I told them there was NO reason to watch. We could not control the weather, but we could control our bodies (so we thought…).

Our next stop was the starting line. We headed outside and got in the car. I sarcastically yelled, “OMG it is so chilly out here!!! Why didn’t I bring my sweater???”. Truth was, it was very warm. But we refused to acknowledge it.

Following a photo shoot, we got to the start. We were so excited and nervous, but we were ready. This race was going to be our race today. No doubt about it.

Staying in the shade for as long as possible.

Heading to the start.

Can you spy Di and I?!? And the bitchy lady in the background that kept making fun of us for our “overly matching outfits”?

Sunday – Race Time

We crossed the starting line, and hit our watches. Mile 1 was a warm up mile to get our bodies ready. We would let people pass us, but we would see them again soon once we were in the groove. The temperature at the start: 76 degrees.

The course was two loops, with multiple out and back sections.

The first few miles went by pretty fast. But one thing was clear: it was HOT. I had sweat dripping down my face 2 miles in. I am not a big sweater (and besides…girls glow), so I knew this wasn’t a good sign for the 24.2 miles to go. But I ignored it.

I kept Diana and I on pace according to our pace bands. We were hitting our miles, and we were on track to run a 3:42.

Staying positive!

oh hey!

Then, it got really hot.

Around mile 10 Diana said to me, “Ali, I am so hot. Why is it so hot today?” I replied, “Di, I know it is hot, but we have to deal with it. We have to fight through. We can beat it”.

Then we saw Lee, who handed us ice cold bandanas to wrap around our necks. These felt amazing and were finally a relief from the warm weather. We continued to take water at every water stop, and tried our hardest to get fluids in our bodies. We were doing everything right. But the heat was quickly getting to us. And there was very little relief from the sun beating down on us.

That bandana around my neck and sports bra was ahhh mazing!

The halfway point in this race was brutal. We had to run next to to the 13.1 finish line, and keep going to do it all over again (A few weeks before the race, the course was changed. Due to the course change, we would be running a two loop marathon. I am going to throw it out there now that two loop marathons should be illegal).

Diana was becoming very overheated, and dizzy. I grabbed us two bottles of water and opened one for her. We stopped, and I ordered her to drink. Between the two of us we drank two bottles of water in about 2 minutes. We started running again, and I was able to grab another bottle of water from Lee. I kept forcing Diana to drink more while we were running, as well as myself. I was worried about her. In all of training runs and hard workouts, I had never seen her in this state.

By mile 15, we faced the realization that a Boston Qualifying time would not be happening today. Realizing this was heartbreaking. And having to admit it out loud was even worse. We had worked so hard, and Diana deserved that BQ so much. It just wasn’t fair.

On another note – this course totally sucked. We had to share this tiny little path with bikers and recreational runners/walker/children. It was ridiculous!!!

We stopped and regrouped (while chugging more water). Then we decided there was a new goal today: finishing.

I never imagined that I would make it a goal of mine to finish a race. I was stupid to think it would never be something I had to solely work towards. I may have a gift and natural ability, but that doesn’t mean a marathon finish will always come easy (and boy did I realize this during the race). No one is entitled to always have a finish. And I will never forget that.

We had no idea that our tall friend wanted to hug!

Around mile 17, Diana was feeling 100 times better, and I was feeling 100 times worse. My legs were cramping with the worst leg cramps I had ever experienced. I was so hot, my asthma was terrible and I felt like my body wouldn’t work anymore. I kept making Diana stop so I could stretch out my calves. I urged her to go on without me, but like a true friend – she stayed by my side.

When my watch beeped mile 18, Diana asked which mile we had completed. I replied with 18, and she responded with, “Shit…the race hasn’t even started yet!!!!”. Every marathoner has it drilled into their head that the race starts at mile 20. And we had nothing to do but laugh when we thought about that phrase. Our race started at mile 1. No doubt about that!!!

Trucking along at mile 19, and kind of hating life.

Mile 23 came, and I started to have a complete meltdown. I made us stop once again, and I started crying. Running is my “thing”. It’s my constant in life. Running is always there for me. Running I can always do. Life might throw me curve balls (and I have received way too many lately), and I deal with it by running. But during this race, running threw me a curve ball too. And I wasn’t handling it well.

Trying with all of my strength to stay positive.

Diana was so supportive, and got me through me through my cry fest. I couldn’t have kept going if it wasn’t for her.

Finally we saw the finish, and it was the most excited I had ever been to see a finish line. We pumped our legs as hard as we could, and got our bodies across. We smiled through the heartbreak of our missed goal, and managed to take a pretty darn good picture to cap off the race.

YAY! And please notice that apparently it was too hot for spectators to come out.

Accountability partners until the end!!! And I also look like a giant in this photo. I am only 5’4…I swear.

Official time: 4:13:43

Sunday – Post Race

Although we were happy to be done with the race, we were very upset. We hobbled over to a curb and sat down. We drank more water (I swear I drank at least two gallons of water in a 4 hour period), and took a moment to just sit and reflect.

Couldn’t have finished without you!

I got out my phone and was floored by all of the sweet messages from friends and family. Everyone is so thoughtful, and I am beyond thankful. I then checked the weather. It was 88 degrees. 88 degrees is hot if you are walking outside. We were running a MARATHON. No wonder we were dying.

It turns out that only 102 women and 154 men finished the marathon. This was significantly lower than the number that signed up. Many runners opted for the half marathon due to the heat.

The biggest surprise of the day was that I somehow managed to get 3rd place in my age group!

Double medals!

The best way to describe the way I was feeling is mad. I was so mad that the weather sucked. I was mad that I watched Diana put months of training into this race and it didn’t work out. I was mad that we lost control of our race due to the heat. And I was mad that I totally blew up the second half and felt like I held Diana back from running faster (Di, I know you are reading this yelling at me right now!).

We headed back to the hotel and got showered and packed up. Then we checked out and went to lunch. Chicago pizza hit the spot, and the huge beer was even tastier. Although we were feeling blue, we were keeping our heads up. Diana was staying so positive, even though she was sad.

Lee was the best cheerleader EVER!!!

We finished off the weekend with more awful traveling. After two cancelled flights, we checked ourselves into a Holiday Inn at 2am, and got about 5 hours of sleep before we had to go back to the airport and try it all again (American Airlines, I HATE YOU!!!!!). By the way, when you are sad, tired and physically feel awful, the airport is the last place you want to spend 8 hours of your life. By Sunday night I was snapping at anyone who looked at me the wrong way.

Post Race Thoughts

After I finally made it home on Monday afternoon, I was still upset, and Diana was too. It made us sick that the Chicago weather on Monday morning was 50’s with overcast skies – near perfect weather for a marathon. In all of our efforts to find good out of the weekend, we simply couldn’t. There was no positive spin to put on the race. Everything about it sucked.

Although I should be celebrating my 2nd marathon finish, I continue to be saddened by the thought of a missed goal. And mostly, I am sad for Diana. She deserves that BQ. She worked so damn hard. It just isn’t fair.

My body is quickly recovering, but my mind and soul are not. After my first marathon, I was on a high for days. Since this one ended, I have been at quite a low.

Each day gets easier, but I still don’t understand why things worked out the way they did. Why did the weather have to be so outrageous? Why did they have to change the course? And why did months of training have to go to waste like that?? If you know the answers to any of these things, please let me know.

I earned you.

This marathon might have sucked, but that doesn’t mean my determination is gone. And I’d be lying if I said plans for our next big race weren’t already in the works 😉

xo,

Ali

Holy Moly, It’s Marathon Week

14 May

Wow. I cannot believe it is here so soon.

It is officially marathon week. And as of Sunday, before 12 noon (hopefully), I will be a marathoner x 2!

Chicagoland, May 20th

If you have been neglecting my recent blog posts (shame on you), you are unaware that I will be running the Chicagoland Marathon in Schaumburg, IL. The purpose of running this marathon is to get my running buddy Diana a BQ. I will run beside her for 26.2 miles to keep her spirits high, and keep her pace right where it should be. And to be a part of the celebrations after it happens.

Diana needs to run a 3:45 marathon to get her the highly coveted ‘Boston Qualifier’ title. I have NO doubts that she can do this. She has been training like a rock star, and has been nothing but dedicated to this goal over the last few months.

By your side, all the way!!!

Preparations

My pre-marathon preparations are nothing crazy. Basically I try to get as much sleep as possible, eat well, consume no alcohol, and drink tons of water.

I also plan to spend a fair amount of time obsessing over my outfit, as well as the day-of race weather.

Currently status on those two items:

New Lululemon running skirt is in the mail. Top is TBD based on temperature (long tank vs. sports bra).

Hope I love it, seeing that I won’t really get to try it out first…..

Weather looks pretty darn hot.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

How do you prepare for big events (marathons for example)? Any tips for me, and most importantly my dear friend Diana??

Wishing you a great week ahead.

Xoxo,

Ali

Race Day is Upon Us…

13 Apr

WOW, I cannot believe it is already time to run Rock the Parkway half marathon!

I have been preparing for this race since January, with the hopes of running my little heart out. I never officially made a training schedule for this race, but I believe I kept myself on a pretty solid mental plan throughout.

With all the preparations I made for the race, I had planned on having a good day. But now, I am starting to freak out a little bit. I am NOT trying to make excuses, I am only talking through my pre-race anxiety on this post 🙂

There are two main things I am freaked out about…

1. Weather

Take a look at the weather forecast for tomorrow (source: Weather.com).

This weather is no bueno when trying to run a super fast race. I start at 7:30am, and it will be hot even then. It will also be windy, with a 60% chance of storms. I won’t even think about the humidity yet…

2. Asthma

I have been running with asthma my entire life. I don’t know what it is like to run without it. Usually I can get by just fine, but every once in awhile I struggle. Right now, I seem to be struggling.

I am not sure if it is the change in seasons, or the warm weather, but I am a wheezin’ machine. I actually heard myself wheezing this morning after walking up stairs. Which is totally awesome considering I have to run a half marathon tomorrow.

Because of this current breathing situation, I will be forced to run with my inhaler tomorrow. The thought of having to give myself puffs of an inhaler while running 7 minute miles makes me cringe. But hey, I have done it before – and can do it again!!

………………………………………………………………………

So here is what I need from you all…I need you to give me some encouragement. I also need to hear some inspiring stories of people running great races in hot weather while not being able to breathe.

I am counting on you all…please don’t let me down!

And by the way, TGIF!!!!

xo,

Ali

8 Miles in 8 Degrees

12 Feb

This weekend, I ran in the coldest weather I had ever braved.

It was 6 degrees when we began our 8 mile run at 8am, and 8 when we finished. The windchill was well below zero, but the sun was shining bright.

Diana, Stacy and I had decided it would be fun to wear PJ pants on this insanely chilly run. The PJ pants were also a great idea because they were fleece and were easy to layer over tights.

Oh you know, just ready to rob a bank!

This run was NOT Miles with Style. We looked like fools, and didn’t match at all.

Diana was wearing fleece pants with turtles on them, while I was spreading christmas cheer with mine. Our friend Emily who took the picture had the best PJ pants…complete with robots! Stacy looked the best, donning a pair of navy blue pretties.

I always try to look my best when I run, however in 8 degrees it is semi-impossible to look fashionable. The number one goal of this run was to avoid hypothermia, and get in our 8 miles.

We ended up having a great run, and were so proud of ourselves for making it through. We were also quite proud of the dedication we have to this sport.

Ran in my huge glasses, and they really helped to protect my face!

I hope you all had an awesome weekend as well, and avoided the 8 degree weather!

Wishing you an awesome week ahead!

XO,

Ali

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My Purple Toenail

15 Jan

Yep, I am about to write a blog post about my disgusting and gross purple toenail. If you’re not interested in this post, or semi-grossed out by the thought of it – stop reading now.

If you’re up for it, read on…..

So, I have a purple toenail. It is ugly, and nasty, and the only polish that will cover it is (surprise) purple, blue or black! And although this purple toenail is annoying, icky and a total inconvenience, I really really like it.

But why would I ever like having a purple toenail? It’s easy. It’s because it reminds me of one of the best days of my life. That day is the day I ran a marathon (yep – I am STILL talking about my marathon)!

Every time I look down at my ugly gross toenail, I smile. I love the fact that the reason I have that unfortunate looking toenail is because I ran my butt off for 3 hours and 32 minutes. I also like to think the fact that I ran that long in the pouring down rain is another factor to the purple toenail, and that makes me feel like a total bad ass.

I will most likely be annoyed by this toenail come open toe shoe season, but right now I am going to enjoy and savor it. And I am going to continue to look at it and have a great deal of pride in myself for having it.

Now, I saved the best for last….and I KNOW you want to see it!

Wishing you all a happy Monday to come.

xoxo,

Ali

Race Logistics: What Goes into the “Perfect” Race?

6 Dec

There are many things that I was not able to share with you regarding the marathon in my recap blog. In this post, I plan to share all the behind the scenes scoop that made this a great race for me.

First stop, Hydration.

Pre-Race: I drank and drank and drank in the days leading up to this race. I was trying to be as hydrated as possible. My secret to staying hydrated and drinking as much as possible is my camelback water bottle. I have the kind with the straw, it is a life saver. Thank you #ET11 for giving me that bottle.

I also drank one Nuun the night before the race. I am getting used to their taste and starting to enjoy them!

Pre-Race, Morning: I had a half a cup of coffee before the race. I always do this and think the caffiene helps. Then I sipped on a bottle of water up until the start, probably about 10 oz total.

During Race: The marathon course had approximatley 23 water stops. I stopped for water or Gatorade at 2o of these water stops (switched off at each one). The only ones I skipped were 1, 9 and 25. Hydrating during the race is VERY important in my opinion. Even if you are not thirsty, you should still force the water. You will need it eventually.

Next up, Fuel.

Pre-Race: I ate pretty healthy the day before the race. I was not about to be adventurous and try something crazy. For dinner I had pasta and bread, with a couple bites of chicken off my Mom’s plate.

Pre-Race, Morning: Before the race I had a peanut butter Zone bar. Unlike the RnRSTL race, I actually ate the entire thing this time. That made a difference.

During Race: I packed my pockets full of Vanilla GU for my race fuel. I had a GU at miles 8, 13, 18 and 23. I believe if you properly fuel, you can prevent yourself from crashing.

Post-Race: After the race I had half a bagel. Probably was not enough but I was too cold to eat anything and could barely hold the thing in my hand!

Now let’s go with – Asthma prevention.

I have asthma, and always have. I don’t know what it is like to run without it, which is good in my eyes (I don’t know what I am missing out on).

Pre-Race: I took 4 puffs of the inhaler about 15 minutes prior to the start.

During Race: This was the first time I have ever had to take my inhaler while running. I needed it though, and I needed it bad. I really struggled getting it out of my pocket while running due to frozen hands, but finally did. At mile 22, I took about 4 more puffs of the inhaler. The inhaler was cold though, so I didn’t get all the meds I needed. But hey, I survived!

The lovely and fun to talk about – Chaffing Prevention.

Aquafor and unscented deodorant were my BFF’s on race day. Running in the rain meant chaffing would be highly likely. I rubbed this stuff all over my feet, legs, arms and sports bra lines. It did the trick! I only came out of the race with one tiny blister and one scrape on my leg.

The very important – Shoes and Socks.

I wore my Brooks Ghosts on race day, I love those shoes. The socks I wore were purchased at the expo and were super duper cute. They were pink and even had a little runner girl on the top. I knew I needed to run in a dry fit sock so they didn’t soak up the rain as cotton socks would. This was a very good decision.

I will say that by the end of the race my feet were killing me. My shoes were soaked and it felt like I was running on cement.

This blog isn’t named ‘Miles with Style’ for nothin’ – Race Clothes.

I touched base on this briefly in the first post, but not as much as I would have liked to.

The bottom half: My Lululemon capri pants are the best things ever. And they are cute. I am obsessed and in love with these pants. I would suggest everyone to invest in a pair. They also had pockets big enough to hold 4 GU’s and an inhaler. Pretty amazing.

The top half: I wore my favorite Lululemon sports bra top under my long sleeve shirt. This thing is snug as a bug and so comfy. It is also very supportive, therefore I don’t have to wear two sportsbras. And that meant one less layer that would get soaked on race day.

Over the sports bra top was my lilac Lululemon top. I never planned on wearing this top, but I am SO glad that I packed it. Out of everything I had, this top reacted the best to the water and was really amazing during the race. It has thumb holes and another pocket for added convienence. And the best part about the top are the ruffles on it! It is so stinking cute!

If you read the first post you already know that I ran 24 miles in a plastic bag. That thing was a lifesaver and I totally made it cute!

My head: I bought a new Nike dry fit hat the day before. It was perfect!

To keep my ears warm I wore a bondi band that I borrowed from Diana. Stacy said fleece would be too hot, so I went with something more lightweight.

My hands: I started the race in pretty rainbow cotton gloves. Well after spilling on myself at water stations and getting soaked in rain, my hands were freezing. When I saw my Mom at 15 I stole my Nike dry fit gloves off her hands. They were amazing.

 

Well, I believe that wraps up most of the logistics that went into having the perfect race. I don’t think there is a need to go back through the months of training, but obviously that was the majority of what went into the “perfect race”.

So, do you have any questions about these items? Or do you have any suggestions for future races? I always love to hear what other runners do, so please share!

Have a great evening!

Ali

I’m Runnin’ in the Rain!

8 Nov

Tonight was insane. I ran 8.32 miles in the cold, dark rain. To top it off these 8.32 miles included HUGE hills and surges the entire time.

Normally, I would never save an 8 mile run for the end of the day, however this time I had no choice. All of the weather reports stated that there was an 80% chance of rain at 5am, but that it would be clear by the end of the day. Well, it turns out they were wrong. I slept in, and slept through the best running weather of the day.

Originally I had planned to do track work today, but the thought of being on the track in the rain and dark scared me. I decided that today would be hills and tempo, so I could do it my safe neighborhood! I got dressed like a crazy person, and hit the road!

I was shocked at how great I felt throughout the run! This was my hardest run since the Rock ‘n Roll half and I didn’t know what to expect. I ran some huge hills (I would include an elevation chart but I dont know how to get the data off my Garmin…), and had some solid sprints. Overall I finished at an 8:20 pace, and I am pretty dang pleased by that.

Soaked but happy!

As a reward for my hardwork, I made pasta, had a Boulevard beer, and now I am watching Glee.

mmmmmmm

Thank you for continuing to listen to my running rambles.

Ali

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