Posts Tagged ‘goals’

This will be my last post about LuRong this year (and I just realized that I’ve been spelling it wrong for two years, it has a capital “R” in the middle – whoops). I just wanted to give a quick update on the results from the challenge.

For those of you who don’t know – yesterday was the final day of an 8 week challenge of strict paleo eating. It also had a performance aspect to it (10 workouts that were scored throughout the 8 weeks), goal setting, and other miscellaneous tasks (i.e. submitting  a written testimonial). I successfully completed the entire 8 weeks without a single “cheat” (so, no food other than vegetables, fruits, meats, and nuts/seeds). I also hit 5 of my 6 goals:

  • I want a new PR on my back squat (shooting for 20#)

Yes – #20PR on my back squat on Wednesday this week. I also had a 20# PR on my front squat earlier in the challenge, and a 45# PR on my CrossFit Total on Wednesday.

  • I will drink 1 oz of water for every 2lbs of body weight (so about 100oz/day)

Yes – although I had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom a lot more often!

  • I want to give up alcohol completely for the next 8 weeks


  • I will work on my squat mobility at least 5x a week

Nope – I didn’t get this one – only 3-4x per week for the second half of the challenge.

  • Continue to work on my relationship with Meg

Yes – the specifics of this goal were private, but I achieved it.

  • No cheats for the entire challenge


Not only did I hit all of these goals, but I had some big improvement scores. As I wrote about last week, we did three benchmark workouts at the beginning of the challenge, and redid them again at the end. I improved on all three by a considerable amount – 29% on the first, 5% on the second, and 28% on the third (I redid all three again this past week and improved my second two even more from my update last week).

Finally, I got my final measurements done yesterday to compare to the beginning of the challenge. As I wrote about before, I let myself go a little bit too much before this challenge started, so my beginning numbers are higher than they should have been. But, nonetheless, I lost 20 pounds and here are the measurement results:

  • Chest: lost 5.25″
  • Left and right arm: lost 1.5″ on each
  • Left leg: lost 1″
  • Right leg: lost 0.75″ (maybe I use my right leg more than my left?)
  • Waist: lost 5.25″
  • Hips: lost 3.5″
  • Total inches lost: 18.75″

I don’t love these photos, because I still have a LOT of loose skin around my belly from the last two years of weight loss, but I still wanted to post them to show the difference a clean diet for 8 weeks makes:

Before and after - I can START to see my abs for the first time in my life!

Before and after – I can START to see my abs for the first time in my life!

Now, I know that I may be perceived as a paleo evangelist, but I really don’t want to be. Paleo works for me. And, truth be told, if many people eliminated alcoholic beverages and sugar from their diet for 8 weeks, they’re going to see similar results, regardless of the consumption of grains and dairy (not allowed in paleo). But, I have found that for me, grains and dairy are not good for me. My body does not react well to them, and I have tried incorporating them back in before and it’s just not optimal for me. If you’ve never tried to eliminate some of these foods from your diet, I’d encourage you to try it. But I really hope that this isn’t me trying to force paleo on other people – I’m advocating eating whatever it is that works for you. For me – it’s paleo.

As I wrote about before, I do think this will be my last formal challenge though. Assuming I can find a way to eat like this all year long, while allowing some limited indulgences, I’d like to make this a more sustainable lifestyle. And, if you keep reading this blog, I’m sure you’ll find out how I do!


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I am now more than half way through the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge, and I feel great!

It has been 4 weeks and 3 days (but who is counting?), and I noticed over the last few days that I just feel great in general. It wasn’t one morning that I woke up and felt better, but I think it just kind of snuck up on me and I didn’t realize that I was starting to feel different. It has been tough, don’t get me wrong, and right now I am craving a muffin and a beer, but it has definitely been worth it so far.

One of the biggest things I can see is the difference in my energy levels and performance. I lifted 20 pounds more on my front squat this morning than my previous personal record, which was only a few months ago. I’m feeling better in the middle of my workouts, and I’m not feeling as sluggish in the middle of the day. I’m still tired and stressed at times, but I attribute that mainly to work. It’s not like I’m a superhero or anything – I just feel better in general!

As for my goals, well, they’re hit or miss right now. I’ve successfully drank at least 100oz of water every day so far on this challenge, but my squat mobility work didn’t quite get there – I’m doing only about 4x a week compared to the 5x a week that I set for my goal. So I missed that one, but the good news is that I have already found improvement in that area. I haven’t done a lot of back squats yet, so I’m not sure if I’m going to get the 20# PR on my back squat like I hoped, but getting a 20# PR on my front squat this morning certainly gives me some hope. And it makes me think I set the wrong goal! My goal to improve my relationship with Meg is going well, and my goals not to have a single cheat and to be alcohol free for the challenge are also going strong.

This is us at CrossFit Webster doing the performance WOD #5 for the challenge. I am in the bright green all the way in the back mid-kip for an unassisted pullup! (Photo by Laura Rice, owner of CrossFit Webster)

This is us at CrossFit Webster doing the performance WOD #5 for the challenge. I am in the bright green all the way in the back mid-kip for an unassisted pull up! (Photo by Laura Rice, owner of CrossFit Webster)

As for my 2013 overall goals, I did hit one last month. I received a promotion at work, so I think I can check off “Make advancements professionally” from my goal list. I’m really excited about my new role at my company, and even though I set the goal, I really wasn’t expecting a job change this year. But, obviously, I’m happy about it and am excited that my hard work professionally is paying off.

With the new job, does come new responsibilities, and it has resulted in a lot of long hours at the office. I hate excuses, so please don’t read this as one, but this is one of the reasons my updates have been sporadic recently. I’m not asking for sympathy or a free pass, just explaining what is going on right now in our lives. Between Meg starting school again, my new job, and still trying to get to the gym and cook healthy food, our free time has been a little sparse. We will continue updating this blog as we can, especially because it is often therapeutic for us, but just giving you all a warning!

How are your goals going? Short term and long-term?

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As Meg wrote about yesterday, the Lurong Living Paleo challenge starts today! Instead of lamenting on how bad my fitness has been the last few weeks again (it’s bad) – instead I will keep my sights on what I hope to accomplish over the next 8 weeks. Lurong awards bonus points if you set goals and track them during the challenge – and we all know how much I love goals! So in addition to my 2013 goals, here are my Lurong Living Paleo Challenge goals for the next 8 weeks:

  1. I want a new PR on my back squat (shooting for 20#)
  2. I will drink 1 oz of water for every 2lbs of body weight (so about 100oz/day)
  3. I want to give up alcohol completely for the next 8 weeks
  4. I will work on my squat mobility at least 5x a week
  5. Continue to work on my relationship with Meg
  6. TBD

My first and fourth goal are pretty connected. On the one hand I’ve noticed that my overall strength is often a limiting factor for me, so I’ve been planning on focusing on just getting stronger rather than focusing on my endurance as much. Obviously both are important, but instead of focusing on CrossFit Endurance classes, I’m going to spend extra time at the gym working on just lifting to get stronger. And the two areas I want to focus the most on are my squat strength and my shoulder press.

Along with strength, I know that my squat mobility isn’t great. I usually bend too far forward, and really want to work on trying to increase my mobility in my ankles and in my hips so that I can squat more vertically. This will also help with my squat PR. I’m shooting for 20 pounds, which I know is aggressive, but I feel like if I work on just lifting a few times a week, and work on my mobility 5 times a week, that I should be able to get there.

I don’t drink enough water. Ever. I usually drink a large cup of coffee in the morning, and then maybe a glass or two of water all day before I have a glass of wine with dinner. I know I feel so much better when I drink more water, because I did it last challenge. So, here it is again – and here’s to hoping that I can keep with the habit longer this time.

The challenge allows you to drink one 6oz glass of red wine per night. I went without alcohol for the whole 8 weeks last time, and felt great. Also, I haven’t been sleeping that well lately, and I think part of that might be due to the fact that I’ve been making a glass or two of wine a pretty regular occurrence. So I’m going to cut it out completely again for this 8 weeks.

My fifth goal is more measurable than what I have written out, but I don’t want all of the details to be public. There aren’t any issues between Meg and I (that I’m aware of) – so don’t get nervous! I just have some specific measurable things I want to work on over the next 8 weeks that will make it even better.

I still need a 6th goal. Any suggestions?! I have a lot of performance/fitness goals in there, so maybe a personal goal? Or maybe a mental health/emotional health, or an overall well being goal, to balance out all of my physical goals? Suggestions??

And I think I owe everyone an update on my 2013 goals pretty soon too. Hopefully I will write a post on that sometime this week or next.

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I haven’t been doing my monthly goal updates for a while, but it’s over halfway through the year, so it’s about time I check in on them.

Physical Health Goals

  • Complete a half marathon

Unfortunately I don’t think this one is going to happen this year. My plan was to really start hitting my training hard this month to get ready for a half marathon in Rochester in September. My glute had other plans. I’m a little too far behind the 8-ball now, and I still can’t really run for more than a few minutes without causing pain. Unless I can find a half marathon in Rochester in November/December (unlikely, and even if I found one – who wants to run 13.1 miles when it’s 13.1 degrees?), I think I’ll have to push this goal to 2014.

  • Maintain my goal weight/body fat %

I’m not sure if I’m going to hit this one or not. I’m still about 5 pounds away from my goal weight (I think I’ve settled that sub-190/sub 15% body fat is where I want to be), but I have yet to actually see that number on the scale. I’m close, and I’ve been close for a little while now, but I have a little more than 5 months to get there and keep it. I have come a long way on learning how to maintain my weight though, and learning how to eat in a way that I can still enjoy life and not deprive myself, but at the same time not be a glutton. So I’ve learned some skills, but I’m still not quite where I want to be. Jury’s out on this one.

  • Be able to do unassisted pull ups for all WODs

I’m well on my way for this one. I haven’t had to use a band for a while, and I’m still working on building strength so I can keep stringing them together. I feel like my “kipping” is getting decent, but I know I need to keep working on upper body strength also. I can’t rattle off a hundred of them yet, but I did 50 unassisted (in sets of 5) for our half-Murph in May. I’m feeling good about this one.

  • Rx Murph

Well, I need to be able to do 100 pull-ups, so that is the biggest thing standing in my way. I’ve been working on my push-ups too (need to do 200 of them), so that will be another hurdle. I still think I’m well on my way to do this – and I would love to be able to get this done this fall.

  • Complete a muscle up

I don’t know where I am with this one. I’m definitely lacking the strength to get myself up high enough on the rings. Even though I can do some unassisted pull-ups, I can’t do chest to bar pull-ups on the rings yet. So, hopefully as I keep working on my strength for pull-ups this will come too. I’ve been working on the technique a little bit, but it’s relatively useless if I don’t have the strength to even get my chest to the rings. The jury is out on this one, but I’m still hopeful.

Relationship Goals

  • Focus on strengthening my marriage

It’s hard to measure this, but personally I feel like our marriage is definitely getting stronger. It has been a good year so far for us so far, and I feel like we’re getting stronger and closer together constantly.

  • Develop new friendships

I don’t think I’ve made a lot of progress on this one. I have had so little free time that any social time I spend I want to spend it with my closest friends. I’m making an excuse there, but basically I haven’t done what I wanted to on this one yet.

  • Be more open with those around me

I think I’m getting better at this a little bit. At least writing on the blog has helped me open up a little bit. I don’t know though – what do you guys think?

  • Write one hand-written note per month

I’ve failed on this one. I really liked doing it when I did it, but for whatever reason I kept forgetting to do them, and then it started to feel a little disingenuous because I wasn’t sure if I was writing it because I wanted to, or because I was trying to fulfill an obligation. I want to keep doing this, but probably not as a goal.

Personal Goals

  • Learn something new

I haven’t learned anything new in terms of theory or education/academics, but I have learned how to play a new sport (albeit, not well). So I’m counting this as a partial win so far.

  • Read more

Nope. Moving on. . .

  • Be more generous with time and money

Yes – I definitely think I have been better with this. We have been donating on a regular basis, so I feel really good about that. And I haven’t volunteered as much as I’d like to (see above for my lame excuse about not having time), but I am starting to volunteer a little bit with a new non-profit that Meg is involved more heavily in. I’m helping them by leading some focus groups before they officially launch and start their service. This was a good opportunity for me, personally, because it allowed me to volunteer and donate some of my time in something that I am familiar with (part of my job involves market research), and it was an obligation that had a limited amount of time on it (once the focus groups are done, I’m done). This way I didn’t feel trapped by feeling like I was signing up for a year or more of regular volunteer work, but hopefully will be a good stepping stone into a more concrete/ongoing volunteer position.

  • Make advancements professionally

I have made a lot of progress since January professionally. I have the same job title as I did 6 months ago, but my responsibilities have grown and I feel really proud of the work I’ve been able to do and contribute. I don’t want to get into all of the details, but I definitely count this one as a win.

  • Strengthen our financial health

This is another win. We haven’t done anything groundbreaking, but we are slowly strengthening our savings, making good choices in our spending and investing, and at the same time I still feel like we’re able to enjoy what we have. I feel good about this one too.

So, that’s where I am so far. I feel pretty good about it at this point, but I still have a long ways to go on a few of them. What about you? How are your 2013 goals going?

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I’m going to try to get back at it today after my unplanned sickness knocked me out last week. I haven’t really been blogging because of it, and I haven’t really been doing much of anything because of it (other than working).

So, today, I’m hoping to get back at it. My diet stayed pretty good for the last two weeks, including the brunt of my illness. . .until this weekend. Then I finally fell off the wagon hard and succumbed to all of the cravings for comfort foods you get when sick: muffins, bread, potatoes, and, of course, ice cream. I may have over-indulged a bit this weekend, and I need to get back on the wagon now because of it.

Then, there’s the exercise-side of things. Since I haven’t been feeling well, and have been really low on energy (despite laying in bed for over 9 hours every single night!), I haven’t been exercising either. In fact, I haven’t been to the gym for NINE DAYS! Yikes. Today is going to be my first day back when I go to the 7pm WOD. I’m also going to try to do some time at Open Gym afterward at 8pm. Today is going to be rough!

The first day back is always rough. But one of the funny things I noticed while being sick (I’m still not 100%, but I’m getting closer), is that I really missed going to the gym! Who am I? I honestly never thought I’d see the day when I would miss going to the gym instead of celebrating that I had an excuse not to go! I guess some things have changed about me over the last year or two.

Speaking of changes, I’ve decided to reprioritize some of my goals. My 2013 goals still hold true, but I’m going to try to focus more on strength training. I’ve noticed recently that a lof of my fitness shortcomings are directly related to just a lack of strength. My issue with pull ups was not the technique of the kip as much as it was shoulder/arm strength to just pull up my bodyweight. My issue with muscle ups are not going to be the skill/technique (although I need to learn that too), as much as it’s going to be being able to complete the dip at the top. My issue with handstand push ups are going to be shoulder/arm strength. My issue with about everything with my fitness is just a lack of pure strength.

So, starting with tonight, I’m going to try to make a more deliberate effort toward strength training. I’ve been chomping at the bit to start, but unfortunately my illness had me sidelined. Which only gave me time to dwell on it and figure out how I’m going to attack it. For now I’m going to try to go to Open Gym at least once a week to just work on strength. We’ll see where I go from there. . .

How are your goals going? Any changes or modifications you’re making now that we’re 1/3 of the way through the year?

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I knew going into February that I wouldn’t be setting hard goals, because having a vacation in the middle of the month really puts a strain on being able to accomplish aggressive goals. I did think about setting the goal to “relax” on vacation, but if you really need to set a goal like that, I think you need to reevaluate your life.

So, here is my late January recap, and my plan for the remainder of February.

2013 Goal: Complete a half marathon

  • January goal: Attend CFE at least 2x per week

Result: Yes. And I am already starting to see a difference. I haven’t been in 2 weeks, but I’m excited to get back into it.

2013 Goal: Maintain my goal weight

  • January goal: Set a goal weight!

Result: No. I’m still not sure what my goal weight should be. The number 180 keeps floating out there, but I don’t know if it’s attainable or sustainable. I did buy a scale that allows me to measure body fat %, so I feel like I’m going to be getting close to figuring out what I want for a goal weight, but I am still in uncharted territory. I have never been a healthy weight, so I’m still not sure what my ideal healthy weight is.

  • January goal: Do not cheat during the month of January for the food and fitness challenge

Result: Yes.

  • January goal: Attend CrossFit classes at least 5x per week.

Result: Yes. It was difficult, but I did get to a WOD 5x a week and CFE at least 2x a week. And I felt great. Today it has been almost 2 full weeks since I have been, and I know it’s going to hurt when I get back in tomorrow.

Me on a rower during one of the WODs. I don't think my form is perfect here, but I still like the picture!

Me on a rower during one of the WODs. I don’t think my form is perfect here, but I still like the picture!

2013 Goals: Unassisted pull ups for all WODs, Rx Murph, and complete a muscle up

  • January goal: Do at least 5 strict pull ups once a week

Result: Yes.

  • January goal: Lean how to do a kipping pull up

Result: Yes. I can now do one kipping pull up, but it’s not pretty or efficient. I will need to really focus on getting my kip as efficient and technically sound as possible so that I can start stringing them together.

2013 Goal: Focus on strengthening my marriage

  • January goal: At least 2 dates this month

Result: Yes.

  • January goal: Give Meg more gifts

Result: I think so.

2013 Goals: Develop new friendships and be more open with those around me

  • January goal: None

I’m still trying to brainstorm how to set goals around this.

2013 Goal: Write one hand written note per month

Result: Yes – I sent my grandfather a birthday card (he turned 90!!)

2013 Goal: Learn something new

  • January goal: Start brainstorming what it is I want to learn

Result: Yes. I am starting to lean heavily toward learning more about nutrition. I feel like it’s very important to me, and something that I put a lot of time into making sure I eat right, but I still don’t understand why eating the way I eat is better than the conventional diet. I’ve heard people tell me why, I’ve read articles that explain it, but I just don’t understand the science behind it.

As a side note – I’m thinking about branching this into two goals – learn something new, like take a class on nutrition or read some tetxtbooks around diet, and also “learn” a new craft/trade/activity. For example, I’ve been strongly thinking about trying to learn ultimate frisbee. I know how to play the game, but I’m terrible at it. I don’t know how to throw a frisbee the way you need to for the sport, and I don’t understand all of the strategy/positioning/etc. So I think it might be fun to learn how to play ultimate frisbee. Or maybe I’ll start rock climbing as a new activity/hobby (we are going to an indoor facility on Saturday for an intro class). Just something to keep me thinking about it.

2013 Goal: Read more

  • January goal: Read more than 6 pages this month

Result: Maybe. Here’s the deal: I’ve been reading an e-book with Meg, so I guess technically I read more than 6 pages, but it wasn’t really what I meant when I set the goal.

2013 Goal: Be more generous with time and money

  • January goal: Brainstorm and do research on where I can volunteer

Result: Partial. I have done some brainstorming, but not a lot, and I haven’t done any research yet. I know this is still something I really want to do, but I think I’m waiting for the opportunity to come to me instead of going out and finding it. I want to volunteer in an area that really needs volunteers – so I think part of me thinks that they will be reaching out and I will find it that way. But the other part of me thinks that I’m just using that as an excuse to procrastinate.

The other issue is I don’t know what areas share both my passion and skill so that I can seek out areas to volunteer. For example, I’m skilled in numbers and data analysis, but I’m not passionate about it (nor do I know how I would use that in a volunteer sense?). I’m passionate about fitness and wellness, but I don’t know enough about these topics to be a valuable resource. Make sense? Or just more excuses?

  • January goal: Donate

Result: Yes – and I’m starting to really like this goal.

2013 Goal: Make advancements professionally

  • January goal: Complete my Individual Development Plan

Result: No. Honestly – just forgot about this one.

2013 Goal: Strengthen our financial health

  • January goal: Refine our budget

Result: Kind of. I didn’t do anything concrete to it, but just monitored our spending and how things felt financially, and things are feeling good! I’m not sure we will need much more refinement at this point.

  • January goal: Stay within our budget

Result: Yes.

February Plan:

So, like I said, I don’t have any goals for February, but I do have some loose ideas I want to try to follow the next two weeks to make sure I don’t fall off track for my overall 2013 goals.

  • Keep working on pull ups when available

I say “when available” because I’m not sure how often that will be. But what I mean is when I’m at Flower City CrossFit, if my shoulders/arms aren’t fried from the WOD, if I have time, I want to make sure I make an effort to keep working on my pull ups and my kipping.

  • Weigh myself weekly

Something I’m already doing, but good to put it in print to hold myself to it.

  • No more cheats on my food challenge until the end of the challenge – eat strict paleo

I cheated during the Super Bowl and for the entire week in Jamaica. I planned my cheats for Jamaica, but the Super Bowl was a last minute decision. I regret nothing.

  • Stay aware of: my relationship with Meg, my relationship with others, and how I am using my mind

These are vague, obviously, but I don’t want to set any hard goals around them, so I’m just going to try to keep this in the forefront of my mind.

  • Write a hand-written note
  • Donate

These are actual hard set goals, but that’s because my 2013 goals dictated that this happens every month.

So that’s where I am right now with my goals. How about you? How are your goals coming?

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I just got my t-shirt a few weeks ago for finishing the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge. And I really like the design of it, and the phrase they have on it.

“Without Challenge There Is No Change”

It is obviously appropriate, because it was from a challenge, but it got me thinking. I always find my best success in making changes in my life when I am participating in a challenge. It doesn’t have to be an organized, external challenge, per se, but just some form of a challenge. I challenged myself to run the 3.5 miles for the Chase Corporate Challenge last May without stopping, and I was able to accomplish this. I challenged myself to lose 100 pounds, and I was able to do that too.

My t-shirt with the gratuitious addition of Stanley!
My t-shirt with the gratuitous addition of Stanley!

I’ve talked before about how goal driven I am, and how when I set goals I usually get the best results, so it should be no surprise that challenges act the same way. In many ways my goals are challenges. But, for me, it goes further than just goal setting or challenging myself. I really like the structures, rules, and external motivation an organized challenge brings. And it’s not just food, it can be anything – I am still not an expert at double unders, but I went from barely being able to do one to being able to consistently get over 20 because I signed up to do a 30 day double under challenge.

But, more so than that, I have found that without challenge I find very little change and even negative change. Since the paleo challenge, I am embarrassed to report that I have gained 10 pounds. Is some of that weight muscle? Probably (I sure hope so at least!). And part of that weight was inevitable, especially with my philosophy on how I was going to tackle (or more appropriately: two hand touch) the holidays. Besides, I lost almost double of what I have since gained (19 pounds) on the previous challenge, so it’s probably not as bad as it sounds.

But, it is still movement in the wrong direction, and I want to get back into gear. So, naturally, I joined a challenge to help me perform at my best. Flower City CrossFit is hosting a Fitness and Nutrition challenge that is similar to the one we did for Lurong. At first I wasn’t going to compete in it, because I just got done with Lurong and I decided afterward that I wanted to monitor this on my own. But I have found that I have a very difficult time eating well and managing my food without some external encouragement. I thrive with the accountability that rules and other people bring. It’s not just a matter of challenging myself, but it’s a matter of challenging myself while other people around me are doing the same thing. I find that the most change comes through challenge.

And I’m looking for change. I’m looking to jumpstart my diet back into true paleo so that I feel better, look better, and perform better. And I’m looking forward to how challenging this is going to be. It’s tough to eat well consistently. It’s hard to change your routine, your mindset, and your habits. But it’s a little easier, for me at least, when I have other people around me doing the same thing and helping me and encouraging me to get through it.

So, today marks the first day of clean eating for the next 8 weeks. I’ll be reporting back to you on how I am doing and my successes and struggles throughout the 8 weeks. Just wanted to give you a primer on my newest adventure and something you’re sure to hear more about.

Challenges aren’t for everyone. Meg is going to provide a counter point to this post tomorrow (she refuses to participate in challenges like this, and still finds success). But, for me, there truly is no change without challenge.

On a related topic: we are going to be in Jamaica for a week of this challenge at an all-inclusive. No, I do not plan on staying paleo that week. No, I do not feel conflicted about that at all!

How do you perform with challenges? Do you find you have better or worse success with them? If better, what is keeping you from joining one?

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