Tag Archives: Travel

Boston Marathon Training – Week 5 (& Vacation Pics!)

18 Feb

WHEW another week of training is COMPLETE!

This week was a little tricky, because I went on vacation. I love to travel, and hate it when training gets in the way of enjoying my time. Therefore my policy is always to put fun first, and training second. I run when I can, and when I feel like it. And if it doesn’t happen, I don’t freak out.

That being said, I am shocked by how well I did!

  • 28 miles
  • 04:25 time
  • 3187 calories
  • 6 workouts

I started my week off Monday morning with spin and 4 miles on the treadmill. Tuesday was a 5 mile run with my friends.

Then vacation began. Oh happy day.

St. Petersburg beaches

St. Petersburg beaches

I started Wednesday morning with a 6 mile run along the palm tree lined roads, wearing a tank top. Wow, it was amazing.

I forgot what it felt like to run in the warm air, and I forgot how much I enjoy it (I say this now, but will surely be complaining come June, hehe)!

Selfie in the elevator.

Selfie in the elevator.

Thursday was an off day, and Friday was an easy run with Ramsey. Saturday was another off day.

Post run smiles.

Post run smiles.

By Sunday, I was SO ready for a longer run. I walked out the door, and decided I would run until I didn’t feel like it anymore or until I ran out of time.

I made it 10 miles before I had to get back to reality. It was a glorious, head clearing 10 miles. The perfect way to spend the last few hours of vacation.

My week was awesome, but this week I need to get serious and step up my mileage. I can’t wait to share my great week with you next Monday!

Below are some photos from my amazing trip. Enjoy!

Post massage relaxation.

Post massage relaxation.

After an incredible dinner in St. Pete's.

After an incredible dinner in St. Pete’s.

Valentine's Day breakfast

Valentine’s Day breakfast

mmmmmm

mmmmmm

Valentine dinner

Valentine dinner

Drinks at the Postcard Inn

Drinks at the Postcard Inn

We always find a photobooth.

We always find a photobooth.

Lounging. (A big thank you to my boyfriend for making me feel like a model in this photo!)

Lounging. (A big thank you to my boyfriend for making me feel like a model in this photo!)

Jump!

Jump!

He is so cute.

He is so cute.

I swear we have clothes on!

I swear we have clothes on!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Siesta Key.

Siesta Key.

Have a fabulous week, friends!!

xo,

Ali

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2012

31 Dec

2012 was a roller coaster of a year.

It started off at the bottom, and has since worked its way up to the top – with some bumps along the way.

2012 taught me many life lessons, and showed me what I am made of.

I had moments of extreme heartbreak, followed by moments of happiness that I had not ever experienced. I’ve never had a year filled with so many tears and sorrows,Β  yet so much happiness and so many smiles.

Among my favorite memories are my many trips. Below is a little snapshot of where I was this year.

nye

Santa Fe, Vegas, Louisville (times two!), Chicago (times two!), San Francisco & Napa, Central Coast CA, NYC, Dallas.

I look forward to seeing what 2013 brings, and pray that it is a little more stable then 2012 πŸ™‚

Thank you for your continuing support and kindness. Happy New Year!!!

xoxo,

Ali

My NYC Trip – Through the Photos

8 Nov

Photos for you to enjoy from my NYC trip. As you can see, even though the race didn’t happen, we still had an AMAZING trip!!!

Began the trip by going to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

Sipped on Rose at La Grenouille (this is right before I found out the race was canceled).

Downed our race sorrows at the Lion King. Pretty great that they serve you vodka in sippy cups! And the show was fantastic!

Visited the infamous “Dangling Crane”.

Went to the race expo to pick up my race number, and 2012 NYC Marathon clothes on clearance.

Drank amazing drinks at The Plaza!

Indulged in macaroons!

Struck a pose!

Had dinner at Butter, a Lindsay Lohan and Blair Waldorf fave.

Adorably posed for pics in Central Park.

Admired the beauty hidden away in Central Park.

Explored the Met.

Educated ourselves on history.

Snuggled on the rooftop of the Met (it was COLD up there!)

Strolled along Democracy Plaza – It was pretty neat to be in NYC over the election!

Ate cheesecake for breakfast.

Walked the Highline, and spent lots of time with Ramsey’s sister Sarah (she’s a super cool NYC girl!)

Drank Bellini’s at Pastis! (I have wanted to go there for years – always saw it on Sex and the City!)

Went to our first official NBA game! AND got a behind the scenes tour of the Barclay Center!

Discussed who would win the election.

Stalked the news anchors in that little box.

And then…we went home!!!

xoxo,

Ali

NYC Marathon Training – Week Ten

15 Oct

This was a week of redemption for me following the awful experience of week 9 training.

Week 10 began strong, and also gave my legs some time to recover. I knew that it was important for me to give myself some rest, and listen to my body.

I went on a little weekend trip to Louisville, KY this week to visit my family that lives there. That definitely offered some relaxation and fun to get my mind off training. I threw in some photos below for your viewing pleasure πŸ™‚

Monday – Off

Tuesday – 8 miles at 8:00 pace. Ran 3 minutes hard for 6 of the miles. Overall, this was a really good run and offered a break from the track and mile repeats (which can be mentally exhausting).

Wednesday – 4 miles at 9:15 pace. Great run with Diana following her big marathon!

Thursday – 10 miles at 8:40 pace. Great run with Stacy and Emily! Picked it up for 2 mins 5 times. Probably should’ve done my pick up 10 times, but was giving myself a “break”…

Friday – 2.3 miles on the elliptical. I haven’t been on an elliptical and years, but I really enjoyed this 30 minute workout!! It offered me something different and gave me the chance to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy!!

Saturday – 16 miles at 8:37 pace. Good run in Louisville with Ramsey by my side on his bike! Hilly run but overall pretty good. Hit my 1,000 mile mark for the year on the run!

Sunday – Off

Total Miles: 40.3 miles

Betting on some horses at Keeneland!

Mom and I at Keeneland.

Aunt Holly and I at Woodford Reserve tasting some Bourbon!

One of my biggest running cheerleaders! What a trooper to ride his bike next to me for 2.5 hours while I ran!!!

Ridin’ a Wild Turkey!!

 

A Chicago Weekend

22 Aug

A few weeks ago, I had one of the best weekends of the summer in Chicago. Although this post is a tad delayed, I still wanted to tell everyone about my weekend – and most importantly show you the photos!

Thursday

We arrived Thursday morning, and immediately headed out to shop. Following a big day shopping, we got ready for dinner and our evening out.

Cheers!!!

We were so lucky to have our friend Brad as tour guide and Director of Fun. Brad runs a travel website called AbsoluteVisit. I urge you to check it out, the places he has been and things he has done are truly amazing!

Thursday evening we had dinner and Mia Francesca (amazing!!!) and then went to Second City Comedy Club. I can’t remember the last time I had laughed that hard!

Laughing at Second City

Thanks for the perfect weekend, Brad!!!

Friday

Friday was “active day”, and Brad basically planned for us to do a triathlon (yay! My first one!)

First we walked through Lincoln Park,

Seriously, I cannot get enough of this city.

Ahhhhh’ing at the Botanical Garden

RAWR!

Then we biked along lake Michigan,

Biking is not a strong skill for me.

“Love and marriage, love and marriage”

Admiring the bean.

And lastly we kayaked down the Chicago River!

This was an incredible experience.

The day was perfect, followed by a night out on the town!

The best $22 cocktail I have ever had.

Drinks at the Trump Tower (check out that view!)

Rose at Pops for Champagne!

Saturday

Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast at Toast. I tried a very interesting dish, called the “Pancake Orgy”. Although the name was weird, the meal was incredible. Just thinking about the photo makes me hungry.

This breakfast did not disappoint.

The best surprise a girl could get on vacation πŸ˜‰

Poppin’ Bottles

After a day out in the city, we went to dinner at MK. MK has become one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I urge you to go there – it is SO yummy!

Striking a pose!

Sunday

Sunday morning we got up and had Brunch at our friend Eric and Melissa’s home. They were so kind to host our group, and nothing hit the spot more than homemade Eggs Benedict (can you tell I really like to eat??).

Twinkies!

Before heading out of the city Sunday evening, we had a little pizza party on Brad’s rooftop. The view was amazing, and so peaceful. I love the way you can escape the city in Chicago, without having to travel far.

My favorite pizza in one of my favorite cities.

Overall, our weekend in Chicago was fantastic. We ate, we drank, we shopped, we exercised, and most importantly – we laughed. A lot.

xoxo,

Ali

NYC Marathon Training – Week Two

13 Aug

Another week of marathon training complete! This week was a little tricky to coordinate as I was on vacation for the majority of it.

Week Two

Monday – 8 miles easy, 8:37 pace

Tuesday – 4 mile warm up, 4 x 1 mile repeats: 7:00, 7:08, 6:53, 6:48. 2 mile cooldown
Great run overall, but tripped and fell in a pothole during the first mile. I have got to work on my coordination…OUCH.

Wednesday – 3.5 miles easy, 10:00 pace. Ran in San Francisco on the Embarcadero. Stunning views!

Thursday – Off (wine tasting in Napa!)

Friday – 6 miles easy, ~ 9:20 pace. AnotherΒ Embarcadero run in S.F. Took break in between miles to do squats, lunges and other cross training exercises.

Saturday – 8 miles easy, 1 mile jog/walk ~ 9:20 pace. Ran with my BFF Nicole. We saw many amazing San Francisco views along the run.

Sunday – 4 miles easy, 9:00 pace. Very tough run following my vacation. Had to run as soon as I landed in KC to fit in the rest of the miles needed for the week.

Total miles for week: 40.5 Miles

A Nebraska Runsploration

16 Jul

Last week I took my first trip ever to Nebraska for work.

I decided that a Runsploration was necessary on this trip so I could properly explore the surroundings.

Below are a few pics I snapped in Sidney, NE. Home of the Cabela’s world headquarters!

These geese were very irritable. They hissed at me!!

It was a very flat run!

More geese, and more grass.

Trying to get a photo with some new friends!

Dinner location from the previous evening. Yep – it is properly named the “Goose Pit”.

And a couple other fun photos….(at some point in time, all these things were alive…)

I have antlers!

A new furry friend.

RAWR!!! This lion was CRAZY!!!

 

Wishing you all a good week ahead.

xoxo,

Ali

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 πŸ˜‰

xo,

Ali

Vegas – Through the Photos

11 May

The photos do the best part of explaining my absolutely insane Vegas Vacation. Enjoy!

Friday, April 27 – Sunday, April 29

Drinks were going down by 6:30am

Jump, Jump!!!

I took care of the girls.

My only real pool time of the weekend.

Celebrating Nicole! (Sorority life did wonders for my crafting skills)

Ready to PARTY….easily the two most responsible and well behaving girls of the evening.

10pm, the Bride arrived!!

Partying at pure. We are so chic.

Saturday – 6pm. This was the hardest drink I have ever choked down in my entire life. Notice there were zero photos from Saturday daytime. Why? Because I spent a day of vacation in bed. Yep.

But I bounced back quite nicely!

Found some of Caesar’s friends

This happened. In the lobby of the Excalibur.

Thunder from Down Under. The most entertaining hour and a half of my life. My friend – “Ali, you look like you are going to jump that guy you are sitting on”. Me – Yeah…I was..I asked him if I could rub his chest. He said yes”.

I am so jealous that Kim scored a Thunder’s belt buckle.

Bride and MOH πŸ™‚

Dancing the night away.

Chilling with Englishman…what is with his finger under Nicole’s chin?? This picture kills me.

4am. Can you tell? Complete with dollar signs we stole from Englishman.

Last minute drinks before leaving Sin City (and after a BIG day of shopping). Dollar sign necklaces still on….

 

The perfect weekend. With the perfect group of girlfriends.

And no (sigh), I never went for a run.

XOXO,

Ali

 

A Santa Fe Getaway

22 Feb

Good evening! I had to take a little hiatus from the blog, but it was for a really good reason. I was on vacation!

I had been looking forward to this little Santa Fe getaway for the past month. I was going with my boyfriend Zack, and we had not seen each other since Christmas (long distance relationships…wahh wahh).

So are you ready to hear about the trip? Good. Here we go!!

Thursday

On Thursday, I arrived in Texas to Zack’s lovely city he currently calls home.

We ran some errands, and packed up for our trip!

Friday

Around 10am, we hit the road and headed West.

It was about a 5 hour drive to Santa Fe, and a boring one at that. We decided to get an audio book to listen to, hoping it would help pass the time. Well, we got “Assholes Finish First”, by Tucker Max. I was actually the person to vote for this book, thinking it would be funny. It was funny…but also the most vulgar and inappropriate thing I have ever listened to!

At 3pm, we arrived in Santa Fe!

Cute little hotel.

After getting checked in the hotel, we headed out to walk around and get a little bite to eat.

Following our late lunch, we walked around the plaza so I could find some turquoise earrings (I wanted authemtic ones that Indians were selling off rugs in the plaza).

Success!

After our shopping trip, we headed back to the hotel and relaxed a bit.

Then it was time to hit the hotel bar. They had the most amazing cocktails at the bar, and I enjoyed this apple, lime, fruity vodka thing. Whoa.

Now this is vacation.

Dinner followed dinner at a New Meixcan style restaurant, then it was time to rest up for our big day on the slopes!

Saturday

The alarm went off early Saturday, and we started prepping for the day ahead. After getting bundled up, it was time to brave the snow.

A lot of people are surprised by the fact that you can ski in Santa Fe. For some reason they think it would be really warm there. Well, it is not. It is actually pretty chilly!

A lovely drive up the mountain.

We have arrived!

I had not skied in 12 years. I was terrified that I would forget how to do it.

The moment of truth happened coming off our first lift. Would I remember? Would I fall? Would I cry?

well…..

Terrified but ready!

….I picked it right back up! I was actually shocked at how easily it all came back to me!

Zack boards, so we would go our separate ways at the top of the mountain and meet back up when he reached the bottom.

Beautiful!

ahhhhhhh!

We had the best day skiing, and the mountain was so pretty and relaxing. We were exhausted after skiing all day, and it was time to head back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel, we rested and then prepared for dinner. Twitter friend Emily (@EmilyRatcliff) suggested an Italian restaurant, Il Piatto. Dinner was delicious, and such a cute and quaint little setting.

πŸ™‚

Sunday

Sunday morning, we ate at a cute little cafe and decided it was time to go to Church.

We headed up to St. Francis Cathedral. It was really lovely!

Very historic

I made an Indian friend.

This photo does not do justice!

After we wrapped up at St. Francis, we went to the Loretto Chapel to look at the famous staircase.

This staircase is a “Miracle” because it was made by an unknown little carpenter man, and doesn’t have a nail anywhere in it. It is such a cool story…google it!

So much character.

Incredible!

One last stop was required before we headed home. I wanted an authentic turquoise ring to go with my new earrings. Zack was quite the sport as I drug him up and down the street looking for the perfect ring.

This time was well spent, because I found a ring that was right at home on my finger.

I HATE the way my hand looks in this photo. Have I heard of lotion?

After I found my new ring, we headed back to Texas.

The trip home was more of Tucker Max, and that obscene book. But it actually got pretty funny during the second half.

Now I am back home in Missouri. The weekend was great, and I plan to visit Santa Fe again.

Chat soon!

xoxo,

Ali

 

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