Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ironman run, part 2

Okay. Well, I'm not going to know how things went until my classes start at 9 am. It appears that the substitutes haven't followed my instructions, so I had time to write this morning.

IN the photo on the right, the cast of characters, which I referred to in my part 1 run post are in this photo, which was taken by Duane.

From left to right are the Ironmen/Ironwomen and their respective Ironmates
(back row:) Ironman Bones, Ironman Miguel, Ironman Me, Ironman Sweet Baboo, Ironmom Mama Baboo and her husband
(front row:) ironmate Lorna, Ironmate Michi, Ironman Wiz, Ironmate Amy and Ironman Ricky V.

So Sunday night, as I was running/walking it occured to me that there was some sort of song, a song, that I heard on an episode of Quantum Leap when Dr. Becket became Elvis. I hummed that to myself as well as muttered nonsensical rhymes and words, none of which I can remember now, except for that song, which is one of the nicer Elvis songs, and I'm not even an Elvis fan.


Well, it was on one moonlight night,
Stars shining bright...


Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining....

The second trip out was not as fun as the first. It was dark, and quiet, and deserted. The happy chatter of people on their second loop was gone. I'd seen the screaming crowd and then had to walk away from it; we all had. I had ten more miles to go, and it was nearly 10:00 pm. It seemed to take hours and hours to get to the turn around point, and then I knew I had 5 more miles to go, and it was nearly 11:00. This out-and-back seemed longer. Much, much longer.

On the 2nd half of the run an ambulance went flying by me about 4 times, scaring the crap out of me. There were about 36 people pulled off the course for various medical reasons. I saw people whose bodies looked like question marks, they were so hunched over and tired. I felt so, so lucky that my stomach had held up.

As I figured, by the time I reached the 21 mile mark, I was pretty tired. I wanted to take longer walk breaks but my foot only hurt when I walked, and I kept looking at my Garmin, which seemed to mock me in a snotty canned female voice with a British accent, "if you stop running now, you won't make it."

Then a new development, I could not walk in a straight line. I would start to veer off to the right. I could jog in a straight line, however. Between my feet, the time ticking down on the Garmin, and the vertigo, I kept up the running.

I was So. Tired. Not just tired from running all day, but the lack of sleep was kicking in. I felt sleepy. The aid stations were packing it up but they kept out enough of everything to make sure everyong was taken care of. They offered me a veritable smorgasborg of gels, "what flavor do you want?"

Oh GAWD I'm so sick of gels. Who cares what flavor. Just give me one with caffein.

I'd suck down the PowerGel double latte and wash it down with lemon-lime gatorade. Yum.
I had another ice-cold coke around mile 22.

I figured I'd passed 20-30 people on the run, which was somewhat comforting since hundreds had passed me on the bike, but less so this time, because I knew that I was fighting the clock, which meant that every person I passed was a potential DNF.

According to coach Jimmy, I started the run ranked at 1656 and finished it ranked at 1556. 198 people DNF'd. 198. And this is considered low; at Ironman Wisconsin last year they had at least 400 DNF.

Then I was on my way back from the turnaround, and I passed people who were still working their way toward the turn around, and I didn't know what to say. I knew that I would just barely make it in, but these folks were a good 4-5 miles behind me. They were all tired, and all walking slowly. They wouldn't make it. They wouldn't be "official" finishers. One of them was Boo. I passed one guy who appeared to have his parents out on the course walking with him, getting him things.

But who was I to be discouraging? Maybe they'd find some last minute energy. So I just said, "You're lookin' good there!" to everyone I saw, even if their faces were nearly touching the ground, hunched over with fatigue as they pumped their arms, trying to walk faster.

Still about 3 or 4 miles out I saw a middle-of-the-night move out. I remember that. It's what you do when you're being evicted. Since the road was closed, people were carrying out mattresses and other household furniture in the dark, running and putting it in the back of a pickup truck.

Then there was 2 more miles to go.

A Ford Ironman Escape SUV, hazard lights flashing, passed me slowly, going the other way, and I was pretty sure I knew where it was going. They were headed out to pull chips. I felt bad for those people. Less than 10 miles from the finish line, after going over 130 miles all day long, some person they didn't know was going to say, however kindly they might try to be, "I'm sorry, but I need to take your chip."

As I headed down the last couple miles I started speeding up, worried about not finishing in time. I know the websight says I ran a sub-ten minute mile, but I didn't. I don't think the chip mats were 4 miles apart. The street was empty. My quads were screaming for me to stop. I was exhausted and wasn't sure how long I could keep it up, but it was already midnight.

I passed 3 walking guys who cheered me on, even as they headed to the finish line behind me. I could run faster, as long as I knew that it was over soon.

I could hear the yelling from blocks away. I'd heard it on my first trip through but now, 3 hours later, it sounded exactly the same. It was like that sound you make when you're faking a cheering noise--you know, by breathing noisily out your mouth? It was so late, that I figured it must be a recording or something. There couldn't possibly that many people still up past midnight, cheering in the last runners for Ironman Louisville. But they were. There were that many people, and right now, just after midnight, they were screaming like crazy, blowing horns, ringing cowbells.

I rounded the cornder into the bright lights in my face, the screaming crowd. Up ahead, I saw a smiling Baboo. I hadn't read his post about me at this point so I didn't realize how relieved and happy he was that I had finished.

The chute seemed reallllly long. Then I was running on the Ironman carpeting. I heard the booming voice of the announcer, and the cheering. I couldn't really see what was going on around me or understand the announcer, I was looking for a timing mat that I could cross. I saw myself on a large screen, and for some reason, it struck me how large and white my stomach was.

I crossed under the arch at the end of the finish chute and ran out of room to run, so I stopped. And there I was. The last official finisher of the inaugural Ironman Louisville, KY.

They asked me if I needed medical treatment and I said, "I don't know." Quick as a flash I was in a wheelchair and being rolled to the medical treatment place. Someone put a finisher's medal around my neck and Baboo gave me my finisher's towel (?). My muscles immediately started stiffening up. They asked me if I wanted a blanket and I said no, because I was really hot. I could feel that I was sunburned.

One or two men crossed behind me, and then that was it. They closed the finish line down exactly 17 hours after the last swimmer when into the water at 7:37 am. My time was 17:19.

I wanted to sleep but there were all these bright lights. I was in a room like a gym. Baboo gave me some pizza. Pirate called. I called Mini Baboo, and told him I was done. Mama Baboo hovered overhead for a moment - she'd been so relieved when I finished that she nearly cried. She congratulated me and then disappeared. The nurse took off my shoes and, as others have done, marveled at the insanely sexy toe socks. My feet appeared to be okay, no blisters or bruises, although I did find a small blister at the end of one toe on my left foot about a day and a half later.

As the IV drip worked its way through me, I started shivering like crazy, and they covered me with one of those mylar blankets and then a woolen one.

They asked me if I knew my name and where I was. I had to fight the urge to laugh. I was giddy at being done and being vertical and being off my feet. Sure, I knew where I was. I was in triathlon hell, but now I'm in Louisville. My name is Iron Misty.

Eventually, about 1, they sent me on my way with a liter of fluid in me, "as a precaution" even though I didn't have any symptoms of dehydration. I was just really tired. Then were told that we had until 1 to get our stuff.

Uh, okay... So, we walked very gingerly to 5 or 6 blocks to get our bike and bags. Baboo stayed behind a bit to get a pizza, but they had lots leftover and everyone was leaving so they just gave him a whole pizza, and he caught up with me at transition. I noshed on the pizza all night and for breakfast the next day.

We walked our bikes back to the hotel. My legs were so stiff and sore I felt like I had leg braces on. My right foot hurt like crazy, the worst care of hot foot I've ever had.

My right foot and stopped hurting. I think it was a really bad case of hotfoot and then, when I got off the bike, all the nerves were trying to come back online. Baboo has marveled at my marathon time, and I suppose I have, too. My only marathon in January was 6 hours, and at Ironman Louisville, it was 6:20, after 112 miles of Kentucky hills and 2.4 miles of the Ohio river.

For now, I need some time to let all this marinade. I don't think it's quite hit me yet. Sitting here at my desk, waiting for my first class to start, I'm wondering if the substitutes did what I asked them to do.

Later on I'll get a message, and then I have to come back here to open house night. I figure I'll get to sleep around 8 or 8:30, and then I'm hoping for 10 hours of continuous sleep.

I'm overwhelmed at all the comments and emails I've gotten. It made me cry. I'm overwhelmed at the love and support of my friends and especially of Sweet Baboo. But then, he overwhelms me most of all; that's why I married him.

You guys, though, you really gave me something special. I loved reading the comments as people were tracking me through the race. I've done that before for other runners, and each time I ran over a timing mat I imagined that maybe somebody somewhere had new numbers pop up on their computer screen.

I'll write something less rambling and a little more concise when I get my bearings. It's lunch and I've already had one administrator in here checking to see if I have my objectives on the boards, etc. It's back to the real world for now, I'm looking foward to laying down and letting this all sink in without immediately falling asleep.


...

56 comments:

  1. You've been making my wife cry so consider us even:) It is amazing how much pride and joy reading your blog brings to so many of us. I am so glad you both made it. You guys really are amazing people and not just the fact that you are IRON either.
    Super awesome marathon time too.
    Enjoy your sleep.

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  2. Oh my gosh...you're awesome. I can't believe you are back in the classroom and preparing for open house after just finishing an IRONMAN!! Okay, now I will stop being whiny about having to do my little brick workout today. Enjoy your recovery :)

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  3. So - congrats Iron Misty! Doesn't that sound great? Over the last couple of weeks I came across and read about 90% of your blog...how inspiring you are to me.

    I worked the Ironman course all day Friday, Saturday & Sunday. I kept looking for people I had read about but didn't see you until the end. All that yelling at the finish was incredible, wasn't it?

    Although I didn't get to see you during the day, I did see many of your comrades & as Ironman Bones will tell you, I yelled "Albuquerque" every time one of them went by. I even got to check him into gear check & help him out at medical (where I met Ironmate Lorna too). I also got a glimpse of Courtney (water buffalo) at run stop 3 & I think I scared her to death when I yelled her name!

    Anyway, I'm so motivated by you and all the others I've been reading about that I went downtown first thing Monday & signed up for next year...call me crazy...or maybe I'm just having a midlife crisis- I turned 41 on Monday & my oldest left for college about an hour ago. Think of me over the next year as I train for this amazing feat that you have now completed. As they say at the finish...Misty - you are an Ironman!

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  4. Some day! Again, congratulations.

    Thanks for your speedy report!

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  5. I am speechless. What a story. I was just about to wimp out on my swim today - but now I'm not. Baboo's post about you was unbelievable too - amazing. Your students are lucky to have you. I've been telling my friends about you- you have a country full of awestruck fans.

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  6. All I can say is thank you for such a great read.

    And congratulations on being an Ironman, Ironwoman.

    Dan

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  7. Ditto to what everyone else said. Way to finish Ironman!! Your story was very real and means a lot. So much detail. Not enough swim and bike details though...:)

    See you at Couer D'Alene in 2008!

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  8. You should be very proud. I am proud for you. I hope I am as tough and persistant during my Ironman.

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  9. Congratulations!!!!
    You are amazing!

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  10. One of the best stories yet. Glad you made it! What determination and guts!

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  11. Yea! My first indication of your race, right here - awesome!!! I'm thrilled...I'd heard it was scorching hot and was worried for you and Sweetness. Congradulations, and when it marinades for a while, you'll be even prouder than we are of you!

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  12. Misty, you are so awesome! It was so great to see you pop out of that darkness and cross that finihs line! You really inspire me! Congrats Ironman!

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  13. Great Job -- enjoyed following your progress on race day.

    You are a ROCK STAR!!

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  14. Yay for substitutes not following instructions!!! (Just this once.)

    IronMisty is a moniker you deserve to relish. A very clever fellow often says "Fortitudine vincimus!" -- a better example than this would be difficult to find.

    How can we thank you for bringing us along for the ride?

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  15. Yes, I wish we could thank you--it's been quite a ride--maybe you will put up a Paypal account where we can contribute to funds to get you a really lovely new bike so that you NEVER HAVE TO SIT ON THAT OTHER EVIL ONE AGAIN!!!

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  16. I was glued to the screen reading Run parts 1 and 2. Congratulations (again). I will always think of you when I want to NOT finish any sports event or training.

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  17. Congrats on the IRONMAN.....Your story is amazing....i am so happy to hear you finished....

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  18. I just keep reading your reports over and over. I think I'll print them and keep them on my wall of inspiration. We followed you all day. The first question my boys asked me the next day was "Did GeekGirl finish?"

    YOU ARE THE BEST!

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  19. What they said! Plus, one last haiku:

    Misty forges on
    Toe socks, pink; will, unyielding
    Finishes! We cheer!

    And finally, I read Debi's comment ("I'm so motivated by you and all the others I've been reading about that I went downtown first thing Monday & signed up for next year") and laughed.

    I predicted this sort of reaction on my blog just last night! You're such an inspiration!!!

    From now on, if I'm ever tempted to quit one of my little baby runs, I'll just think of you running that post-swim, post-bike marathon, in the dark, on no sleep!

    You are amazing.

    You're jsut

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  20. Iron Misty. Truly did cause me to weep for you. Out of joy!! We are so proud of you and Sweetness!!! So proud! You are awesome.

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  21. ps - I know the episode of Quantum Leap you speak of...very apropos

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  22. Hmm. I guess that's why there's a preview button, so one doesn't inadvertently leave stray, incomplete and mistyped phrases like "You're jsut" standing there, exposed and embarrassed, at the end of one's comments.

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  23. great race, great report!

    well.done.

    You are an Ironman!!!

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  24. What an awesome day you had (although I'm sure it didn't feel like it at the time)...and a wonderful report to go with it! Made me sniffle just a bit. :)

    And, more importantly, you look FABULOUS in that photo at the top of your post!!! Way to go, IRON MISTY!

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  25. This morning I got an email from someone asking me if I might like to consider IM FL 2008. After reading this I'm almost tempted - almost. Not quite - but almost. Well done!

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  26. Iron Misty...you're a machine. You earned every mile. Enjoy the rest, and let it all sink in. Thanks for the encourgent, as just like Debi I am Louisville bound in 2008. Thanks for the push!

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  27. Wow. I'm speachless - okay so that's normal - uh how about commentless. Iron Misty - awesome! Any your SB is awesome too.

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  28. This may be the greatest thing I've ever read in a race report: "They asked me if I knew my name and where I was.... Sure, I knew where I was. I was in triathlon hell, but now I'm in Louisville. My name is Iron Misty."

    That made me cry.

    Well done. Incredibly, impressively well done.

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  29. Iron Misty you truly made me cry! What a wonderful report you gave. So inspiring and just awesome!!

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  30. Iron Misty. There's a nice ring to that. That was a great read, thanks for letting us in on a remarkable achievement.

    gotta run, pat

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  31. Congrats to you, Iron Misty! It was great watching you cross the finish line. And your timing was great. I had a head full of hair color and less than two minutes to go before I had to rinse it out. I was standing in front of my computer, going, "Come ON Misty, hurry UP before I get chemical burns!"

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  32. Iron Misty, indeed.

    You heard the cheering from the local crowd, did you feel the cheering from afar?

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  33. Way to stick with it through the finish. Is your time considered 'official' since it is over 17 hrs?

    Either way, quite an accomplishment. I know that I could not do it.

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  34. Note to self: don't read posts like this at work 'cos you have to keep surreptitiously dabbing your eyes and hope no-one asks what's wrong.
    Thanks for sharing your journey with us IRON MISTY!
    BTW great photo - you actually blow-dried your hair the morning after Ironman- you ARE a legend

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  35. Congrats girl!

    You are an Ironman. I can't imagine ever, ever, ever doing something that big, that cool. You are amazing.

    Thanks for the race report and all of the honesty.

    Take a well deserved break.

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  36. Oh, um, that photo was taken the day before the Ironman. Sorry for the confusion. There is no way I looked that good the day after...I woke up puffy and sleepy.

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  37. Oh, also, I did wonder about the 17 hour thing...but I was told what to do at the race briefing, and I followed every rule so yes, it is considered an official finish. I've got the finisher's medal...try to pry it out of my hands

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  38. You.Are.My.Hero. Unbelievable. I was following along and watched most of the day. I seriously am sitting here in tears, still in my bathing suit from my swim tonight, but wanted to catch up on blogs before bed.

    Wow. Just wow. You rock!! You are an Ironman!

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  39. Your posts read like an action movie and I was glued to my seat, crying, laughing. Congratulations on such an awesome achievement.

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  40. Wonderful recap, Misty. Thank you for sharing.

    I stayed up as late as I could to watch for you. I saw S. Baboo's finish, but then I was done. I kept your window open so it was the first thing I saw in the morning. I refreshed, saw 17:10 and sat down hard in my chair. Then realized that you were an official finisher and jumped for joy.

    Thanks again for the recap. You got me teared up a time or two, feeling your pain and your joy.

    I can only hope to be as strong as you next month as I tackle my first Iron-distance race.

    Congratulations!

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  41. I will say that I am a hormonal mess right now and that's the reason I cried...but it's your post has me all teary -eyed. What a great story- I don't know how you could possibly add to it. The whole thing is perfect as it is. It should be published (in my opinion)! I was glued to the screen from the beginning of your journey...now don't disappoint us and quit racing for awhile...
    Congratulations again, IRON Misty! :-)

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  42. I am Iron Misty and I just crawled out of Triathlon hell...... that was awesome.

    Here's the algebra lesson for tomorrow....
    S+T1+B+T2+R=IM Misty

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  43. Hey Misty, Great big hug and same size congratulations. I would have been at the finish line to watch you finish but I was one hurting puppy. Those guys in the medical "tent" were great huh!?

    Congratulations again!!
    Mark

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  44. I was dying to get the rest of the story about the run. Wow. I love that you didn't sugarcoat anything. What an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing! Congratulations Ironwoman!!!

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  45. I have been checking your blog multiple times a day looking for your Ironman report...knowing that you were probably too wiped out to worry about it for a while. But there it was, and I am sooo impressed at your ability to persevere. You truly define an Ironman and are an inspiration to those of us who think...maybe...one day. Congrats on a spectactular effort! And thanks for sharing.

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  46. I had a really tough run this morning. Thanks so much for the inspiring reminder that persistence does pay off! - Robyn

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  47. What a wonderful retelling of an epic journey! Totally made me cry... and even more motivated to chase down my own Ironman someday. You rock.

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  48. i LOVED reading this ... i live in louisville - i was there as a spectator & cheerer-oner ... every single one of you ironmen amaze me & inspired me. congratulations!

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  49. I loved reading your race report Iron Misty! You made me cry, and you made me lugh. You have such a wonderful life story here on your blog. It is a pleasure reading it every day!

    CONGRATS!

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  50. I watched you guys finish on IM live, and I got's to say I was on the edge of my seat.

    Well done.

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  51. Well done, Iron Misty. Way to push until the end.

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  52. this is really just so amazing to read about, and more than a little inspiring. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment!

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  53. WOW!!!!

    Brought a tear to my eyes :)

    Congrats Iron Misty!!!!

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  54. what an inspiring race report. I'm all pumped for my ultra this weekend now! Congrats Iron "girl" Misty!

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  55. OMG!!! Outstanding! I am SO impressed! Reading your posts about your experiences made me laugh, cry, and left me completely awestruck. Thank you for motivating me and countless others to do what we never thought was possible. Way to go IronMisty!

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  56. I've only just "met" you today...and I'm crying tears of joy for this accomplishment of yours that happened almost three years ago. Thank you for such a great recap. I'm looking forward to continuing to "get to know you"! :D

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