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Bench Press | WOD 2.23.15

Fitness: 3 x 5 Linear Progression
Add 2.5-5 pounds to last week's exposure.
Performance: 90% x 2, 80% x 10 

Post loads to comments.

4 Rounds, AMRAP:
In 2 Minutes, row 250/200 meters 


Max Thrusters 95/65

Rest 2 Minutes between rounds. Score total reps of thrusters.
Post total reps to comments. 

Colleen at Fight Gone Bad last year!

  • The Hoopin' Tacos CFSBK basketball team has a game tonight at 7:45pm at John Jay. If you're free tonight, go cheer them on! 

February Athlete of the Month: Colleen Meagher 

By Chris Fox

Colleen came to us a little over a year ago and would win the Most Improved Athlete award, if we had one. Humble, smart, social, and consistently eager to improve, Colleen embodies all of the attributes we like in an AOM. Sit back and enjoy learning a bit about this remarkable gal from Philly by way of Connecticut by way of Mexico.

Fox: Col, congrats on being an Athlete of the Month! Tell me first, when and how did you first learn about CrossFit?

Colleen: Thanks so much! It’s such an honor. I was visiting my sister in Dallas in January 2013, and noticed a bunch of people running around the streets in Five Fingers. I followed them in to the gym and asked a few questions. My interest was piqued enough for a Google search when I got back to Brooklyn and that lead me to CrossFit Dumbo and CFSBK. I remember liking the CFSBK blog. It was funny in a way that appealed to me, the pricing was upfront, and the steps to get started were clear. I could tell that you guys meant business about training. I signed up sight unseen for Foundations and started in February.

Fox: You coming to train with us is in my mind the best thing that those Five Fingers have ever accomplished! What was Foundations like for you, someone so new to the idea of CrossFit? 

Colleen: Well, at first I was terrified! I showed up and people were dropping weights all over the place, it was a little intimidating and part of me wanted to walk right back out the door. I told myself to take it one step at a time and that if at any point I really wanted to leave I could. I had you and Arturo as my Foundations coaches and I quickly learned how much emphasis you both put on form. On deadlift day, I was afraid I’d break right in half. I’d previously had serious pain from herniated discs and was nervous about weights. After a few days when I didn’t have any of the back pain I was afraid of, I realized that CrossFit was for me. I became addicted pretty quickly and knew I had the willpower to continue. To this day, not only have I have had zero pain from previous disc issues, but pain I used to get from sitting or bending over is completely gone. 

Fox: That’s great! I’m glad that we could instill confidence in you to continue and that you trusted us enough to eventually not fear the deadlift! What was your fitness path like before CFSBK? Why did you decide to make a change? 

Colleen: As a kid, I did ballet and enjoyed horseback riding (which I still enjoy, although its tough in NYC). I’d been going to Crunch for 10 years or so where my fitness level had its ups and downs. I wasn’t motivated to go anymore and I wasn’t getting results. I needed something that would work and CrossFit started providing that pretty soon after I started. My workout partners are always amazing. I can’t count how many times I’ve been the last person to finish and there are five or 10 people cheering me on. No slacking when that happens! I’ve always believed that the overweight person in the gym should not be embarrassed about being there. From Foundations on, I learned that everything was scalable to my level and there would be an appropriate version of the workout for me. I was never made to feel any different, and training here reminds me of adult phys ed. Even when I’d developed some plantar fasciitis issues from doing hill sprints, I was able to learn how to deal with them. I did a private session with Arturo which helped tremendously. He introduced me to Kelly Starrett and in turn taught me how to be proactive about mobility and nagging little injuries.The social element here is powerful, too. I know people at the gym and enjoy working out with them. I really like the QOD and the coaches are all pretty funny. One of my favorite things is the “What Not To Do” demo that sometimes happens before a lift of workout.

Fox: A fun part of the job for me (and I’m sure for the rest of my fellow coaches as well) has always been the little sort of stand-up comedy routine we get to play out in classes. It can ease anxiety sometimes, I think. How about you outside of the gym—where are you from and what do you enjoy outside of the gym? 

Colleen: I was born in Philly, went to elementary school in Connecticut, and middle and high schools in Mexico City. I love Mexico City and love to visit still. I moved to NYC in 1991 to attend FIT, although I don’t currently work in fashion. I’m the oldest of five siblings who are all scattered across the place with the exception of one sister who lives here in NYC. I’m pretty simple, I suppose. I live in Brooklyn Heights with my two cats, Miko and Bronwyn, who are my steady Hulu-watching buddies. I’m into The Daily Show, The Colbert Report (sniff, sniff), Ru Paul’s Drag Race, American Ninja Warrior, mostly light stuff that gives me a laugh. I’m a vegan and really would like to learn to cook and prepare foods but my current apartment has no kitchen! I’m on the lookout for a new housing situation so hopefully I can start working on that soon, as I’m in the process of buying my first place.

Fox: A while back, you made myself and in turn the rest of the coaching staff aware of some health concerns you were dealing with. Would you like to share that here? 

Colleen: In fact, I would be grateful to share. On April 14 of 2014, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Luckily there was no lymph involvement, but working out to save my life has taken on new meaning for me now. I knew that I’d need to take some time off for treatment but never considered giving up on CrossFit. One of my first thoughts was “How will this affect my CrossFitting?”. I’d finally found something I could see doing long-term and here was this thing threatening to take it away, which I wouldn’t accept. My doctor advised me that the stronger I went into treatment, the better off I would be, so I trained hard leading up to then. 10 days post-surgery, I had a private session with Coach Melissa that helped my road back. Right on time, six weeks later, I began doing everything normal.

As of now, I am monitored closely and am grateful that my tests show no detectable cancer. I’ve removed all the causative factors under my control and am in fact healthier than I’ve ever been. My doctor, the chief of breast cancer surgery at a prestigious New York hospital, has asked me to write about my health and fitness transformation and commitment to a healthy lifestyle! The funny part in all of this is that I’d had a mammogram about one month before being diagnosed and been given the “all clear” and told to come back in a year. If I hadn’t been CrossFitting and losing extra weight (to date Colleen has lost 80 lbs!), I might not have noticed that mass that led me back to the doctor’s office.

So, to end this part of the story, my PSA to all the women out there is learn how to perform a self exam! I’m happy to talk in person to anyone interested about all of this as well. It’s been quite the journey. 

Fox: It’s a very moving story, and one that I really appreciate you sharing with us. You’re what we at CFSBK would call a TFBA! Anything else you’d like us to know about you, in the gym or out?

Colleen: Well, my last name is actually pronounced “maher,” unlike its spelling might indicate. Considering myself an “athlete” who trained alongside all these other athletes clad in spandex and otherwise was a turning point for me. Once I stopped working toward weight loss and instead toward performing better, the weight started dropping. Can I share my newest gym achievements and goals? I can do hollow rocks, full burpees, banded pull-ups and strict push-ups. I can squat over 115 pounds now, so I’m looking for more there and I can go for a run without having to think twice about it. I’d still like to be able to do more strict push-ups, I can link three, going for four! And to link double unders together.

Fox: For some reason I have no doubt that you’ll achieve those goals and be on to new ones in no time. Last thing—what should we look for in a future AOM? 

Colleen: Someone who sticks with it, even if you’re older or heavy or limited somehow. Someone who thinks about what they do outside of the gym as well! And all the advanced people who inspire all the newer athletes each day to be better. Thanks again! 

Huge thanks to you, Colleen, for being a part of our little community and for being an inspiration to many of us. We look forward to seeing you get those push ups, and down the road pull ups, and to squatting 200 lbs for the first time as well!

How to Do a Breast Self-Exam Fitness Magazine
Breast Awareness and Self-Exam American Cancer Society

Reader Comments (33)

Colleen is so awesome and one of the nicest people at CFSBK! Great choice for AOTM! Colleen, you have an amazing story and your determination in the face of something pretty terrifying is absolutely inspiring!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

Colleen!!! My favorite fellow cat-lady! I remember Michael C. and I conversing and wondering who would be the next Athlete of the Month not long ago, and I said 'It's totally going to be Colleen!!' You are very inspiring and wonderful! You make me extra happy every time I see you walk through the door (or garage depending on the weather). You deserve this! xoxox

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCam

I don’t know, somebody correct me if I’m wrong...but I feel like everyone goes through a process at CFSBK…and at some-point, somewhere along the way, you’re anointed a full-fledged member of CFSBK…I couldn’t tell you what it is…maybe it’s hitting a goal in the gym, maybe it’s sharing a failure, overcoming a fear, doing a partner WOD, coming to an event at the gym…but everyone recognizes and is aware of who the members are and who aren’t…

What’s really enjoyable about this un-written tradition, is to sit back, watch and experience how everyone treats everyone the absolute same...full-member, new-member, drop-in member, whether you’ve known them for 6months or 6seconds…everyone is treated the same

SERIOUSLY, HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?…everyone has a job/life outside of our gym and can point point out the bad apples immediately in all lifes scenarios…why is our gym blessed with a COMPLETE and utter lack of shit-heads? I’m being dead-serious, it’s pretty incredible...

* does David screen each new member like a co-op board?
* do new members that aren’t fitting in “disappear”
* does Gowanus only attract the cool kids?

No joke, yesterday, Sunday, in the class before me, I happened to be watching Colleen finish up the burpee workout and was saying to myself “she is such a TFBA, she is absolutely flying from the last time I saw her do burpees”…to come full-circle, it’s fun to show up everyday and just move the needle the tiniest sliver to the right each day and I think it’s the gyms collective belief in equality that allows that to happen day in and day out.

I find Colleen’s accomplishments over the last year+ to be incredibly inspiring and glad we share these stories at our gym…awesome pick for the AOTM. Slow, slow clap is in order for Colleen’s class today.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

I've only met Colleen a few times on weekend workouts but have always been impressed by her personality and her workout ethic. Getting to know her a bit more through this article is awesome! Congrats and great work Colleen!


6am with McDowell and Arturo

Bench: Worked out with Roy today and we both hit the bench hard. Using my 1RM of 255#, my 90% was 230# x 2, then 80% at 205# for all 10 of the rep out. The 90% felt great, the 80% felt like a set of 5, then singles to the 10. Got a bit of that blackout feeling at the end, the rep outs are definitely getting more difficult. Plus my arms were smoked from yesterday's MU workout.

WOD: Today's WOD was like a hidden Fran. Hit 57 at Rx. I tried to keep my rows consistent because I figured it was better to hit the gas during the thrusters. My rounds looked like this (row/thrusters):

1:55 / 14
1:56 / 15
1:57 / 15
1:59 / 13

Thrusters got a bit sloppy at the end but I managed to stay on my heels and did everything in sets of 5, with a rest at the top.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Affronti

Congrats, Colleen! And yes, Brad, David has ways of making people "disappear."

Make-up from the weekend:
Friday Comp Class:

5 Rounds of:
2 C+J at 245lbs
10 Box Jumps - 24"
5 Toes to Bar
rest 2 minutes

Stayed pretty consistent here, with each round taking about a minute each. Tried to bound on the box jumps, which was difficult in my lifting shoes. I like these micro-WODs, they really help you get in the go-all-out mindset.

30 Minute AMRAP at a "conversational pace"
20 Ring Dips
30 Wall Balls - 20lb/10ft
40 Calorie Row

Got 4 rounds + 28 Wall Balls

Ring dips felt better than expected. Kipped them initially in two sets, then broke down to 8/6/6. Wall balls felt harder than usual after the ring dips. Overall a fun little endurance piece.

Saturday Comp Class

Felt fast, got lower than I usually do on the last few reps, but not below parallel. Working on it.

Set of 10 took a lot out of me - starting to get heavy. Rounded in my last two reps.

10 Minute AMRAP
30 unbroken DU
20 Snatches - 95lb
30 unbroken DU
15 snatches - 115lb
30 unbroken DU
10 snatches - 135lb
30 unbroken DU
AMRAP snatches - 155lbs

Got 15 snatches at 155lbs
The unbroken double-unders really changed the workout for me. I made sure to really rest and focus before starting each round of them, and only messed up once in the second round - at 5, so it didn't waste too much time and energy.

Tried to do big sets of snatches, especially at the end, where I started with a set of 3, then did doubles after that before eventually dropping to singles.

Liked this workout a lot.

Also, the paleo potluck was super fun! Thanks to everyone for being awesome and bringing great food!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Katz

I've met Colleen once in AR and just from that one time, she was such an inspiration! Way to go losing half a person's worth of weight and kicking breast cancer's ass, lady!

I've been going bat-poo crazy not coming to group class, and I'm so glad I came today. Bench went great, 135x2 and then got my 10 reps at 120 (the last two were WORK!).

The WOD was a nice surprise. McD and Ro suggested DB push presses instead of thrusters. I did 25# DBs and that was a good weight -- on the light side but it meant I didn't have to put them down more than once per round. 99 reps, not at all to my usual standard of consistency between rounds (30, 26, 23, 20). Anyway, I'm glad to find out I can do push presses, which I wouldn't have guessed I could. Same for hollow rocks!

You guys have no idea how excited I am about finding out I can do something else besides chinups and pushups!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Congrats to Colleen! I don't get to see her much but when I do she is either smiling huge or working her ass off. Often both at the same time. TFBA for sure.

Yesterday was one of my favorite days in the gym to date. I started off feeling hungover and heavy at the 9am class but when it came time to do the 100 burpees Fox ordered me to work on muscle up progressions instead.

10 minutes later thanks to some great cues from Fox I hit my first ever muscle up.

Dragged myself to Ken's Rings Class at 2pm and managed to hit another 25 or so and I was linking 2 and 3 together. So excited about joining the "cool kids." Bring on the Open!

(Seriously Fox, thanks so much. I imagine you weren't feeling too well either yesterday morning so the fact that you took the time to single me out is exactly what makes CFSBK so amazing.)

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMattyChm

Colleen, what an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing your incredible accomplishments with us.

Great weekend of crossfittin' and lots to bring you up to speed on. In reverse order:
Not going to go into great detail about how fantastic rings class is, how Ken is a wonderful and talented coach, how much I have learned and swoled, and that fact that three folks are now muscle up masters - because I intend to sign up for every slot next cycle and then eBay the sh*t out of them. That's called capitalism for the Park Slopers among us.

Six - cound 'em six - kick-ups yesterday, raising my lifetime total to nine (*update your spreadsheets). All thanks to the skilled tutelege of WEI**O (that MELO upside down).

Finally, potluck . .. food and company were great as always. Big thanks to David and Mare for their organizational skillz. Some feedback for next year: buy some more kegs and spread them around the gym so that I don't have to stand up, walk 30 feet, squat down, stand up again, walk another 30 feet to my seat with heavy objects in each hand and then pop my hips open to swing the cups to mouth level as many times as possible in two hours.

I think I ate about ten different meatball and brussel sprouts dishes. It's a shame there was only one winner in each category. As I tell my son every day, EVERYONE is a winner except for all of the losers.

Speaking of my son, I am blown about by the improvement that I have observed in his hand eye coordination and fine motor skills after just one Crossfit Kids class!.

Later y'all . . .

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJay-Star

Congrats, Colleen, and thank you so much for sharing your story! You are such an inspiring athlete, I love watching you kick-ass in workouts with a smile on your face. I'll never forget talking with you at FGB in October and hearing some of your story. At that point, I'd been at CFSBK for about three months and already knew I'd found an awesome gym, but our chat really made me feel very lucky for finding a gym with athletes like you. I look forward to seeing you achieve and exceed your goals this year! <3

Jay---you're too much. I'm cracking up at my desk here.

7am with McD and Ro

2x120 (failed on the third attempt)--was feeling a little lopsided this morning. Even though I didn't hit three, I'll use this as my opener this weekend.

WOD--I think I got something in the low 70's total. I kind of lost count on the first round. Called it 20, but I think it was a few more. Rowing and thrustering and counting in the morning is asking too much.
Round 1: ??
2: 18
3: 16

Brutal workout.

Shoulder is still feeling a little iffy. I'm retiring it for the week.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLil JB

Colleen has always been an inspiration...even more so now that I am aware of your medical battle. Coleen, you were one of my first friends and workout buddies at the gym..so glad everyone can be aware of your amazing accomplishments! Hard-working, kind, positive, inquisitive, determined, friendly...I could go on...you epitomize being a good person and athlete. We're all better for knowing you!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAllie B

Thanks for sharing Colleen! What a powerful story. I also thank you for introducing me to "my talking pet" app and your amazing cat shirts!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBreebree

Colleen, you are so badass! Thanks for the inspirational interview today and congrats on all of your hard work every day! Great AOTM!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Mc

Thank you for the love CFSBK! I am so happy, thrilled and humbled by Coach Fox's write-up (writing talent at CFSBK runs deep!) and the very kind comments from my fellow CFSBKers. Thank you everyone for inspiring me and cheering me through those last 10-25 burpees/wall balls/thrusters! And for motivating me to add a little more weight or do more than I think can (Cam & Allie!). I'm so inspired by the members I work with and the members who I watch in awe while they muscle up or lift hundreds of pounds. Seriously phsyched for tonight's thrusters! LOL, kidding. I'm psyched for to the gym though, always, it's the most fun part of the day! Go CFSBK!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterColleen M.

Congrats Matt! That's awesome! Also, I voted for your steak and kale on Saturday. That was good stuff.

I nominate Jay for Comic of the Month. Of the year, really.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Congrats Colleen, and huge thanks for sharing your inspiring story!! I already thought you were an amazing, amazing Donde Estan Mis Pantalones teammate for Fight Gone Bad, and I didn't know the half of it. You rock.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterScott

Yay Colleen! Fantastic interview. Congratulations- this is such an inspiring story. You are awesome.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Great story about Colleen! Pretty inspiring.

I was really impressed with MattyChm at rings class yesterday. Figures out MUs in the morning and then knocks them out all class that afternoon. Congrats, Matt! I hope I can start getting them consistently like you have already mastered :)

6am. Made it in after a 24-hour break to cure my hangover from Saturday (Fox, I'll treat you to a properly cooked steak next time you're in LA).

Bench: 135x5 / 165x3 / 195x1 / 205x2 / 185x10. The double moved pretty well. Rep out was tough around rep 7 or 8 but I managed to get them all up.

WOD: 45 reps Rx. (11 / 12 / 11 / 11). Broke up the thrusters into 2 sets. 8 reps first set then 3 or 4 on the 2nd set.

@JB - your thruster game is crazy. I wish I had seen you do that.

February 23, 2015 | Registered CommenterElliott

Colleen your story made me cry. What incredible courage and strength you have - it is a different kind of strength than deadlifting 300 lbs - an even fiercer and rarer strength. I am so moved by this piece and huge thanks to Coach Fox for such a great interview.

Today I PR'ed the bench press at 77# and it's still moving surprisingly smoothly. It's been nice having bench press for two cycles in a row, to really see the progress! And 11/12/11/11 on the thrusters, limited not by arm fatigue, but just by being totally winded & out of breath.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJynne

Colleen has been such a pleasure to have around the gym for a while now...and she's come quite a long way since her first Foundations class when she could not do 1 sit up, to her first group class when she could not get off the bench from a bench press, to today where she squats triple digits and looks forward to thrusters! I'm grateful that I work in such a place in such a community that honors these accomplishments. Rich Fronning is great and all, but people like Colleen make my world go 'round.


Started a new path to benching 275 today, gonna do a Texas method for a while and plan to set a new meet PR in April.


Elliott - "Go f*ck yourself!".

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFox

What an amazing story Colleen, you are fierce inside and out!! Looking forward to seeing you in the next group class so I can congratulate you in person!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterK HarpZ

Colleen - I knew this day was coming!! You inspire me more and more every time I see you at CFSB. I love cheering you on, and you doing the same for me. It's awesome to see a stronger, more fierce you! Bravo girlfriend!!! :)

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterkristin capuano

Super congrats Colleen!! I've loved watching your progression over the months, really inspiring!! And thank you too for opening up about your health scare...I actually just today got instructed to go for my first mammogram so your experience makes me less inclined to just tuck that away to forget about!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMare

On Mondays God said let them Bench


and they did, and it was good.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

COLLEEN!! Yaaaaasss!! Always one of my favorite faces to see at the gym. Thank you for being such a strong, inspiring, and total fucking badass.
And for having awesome cat shirts and totes.
And for finally clueing me in to how to pronounce your last name. Never would have gotten that right!
Can't wait to see your smile in the gym soon!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLindstar

7:30 tonight with DO

95 x3
95x1 with a pause.

Bench has seriously stopped gettint better. Can't wait back off after Saturday.

Wod with 53# thrusters, 55 reps

Makeup from Sunday open gym

Back squat at 180 3x3. So damn excited for this.
Worked up to a very heavy 1 rep deadlift at 210. Definitely something to work on!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJenny m

Oh and forgot to include that Colleen is awesome. One of the sweetest people I have met at the gym. So awesome to hear her story. What an inspiration.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJenny m

What an inspiring story! Can't wait to do more WODs with you, Colleen (our first one was two weeks ago)!

Fitness bench @105#

WOD Rx 14, 12, 12, 12

Haven't done a WOD in a week. Have a feeling I will be sore from this one.

Sad I wasn't able to make it to the potluck but am so thankful for the experience of the challenge and so happy to be part of this community!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKLove

*an even 100# bench press, not 105. I must have been predicting the future.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKLove

Lookin good Colleen!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKate F

Yeah Colleen! Congratulations again. You are a dedicated and inspiring athlete as well as a supportive and considerate member of the community. A great example of the kind of people who make SBK what it is. So happy to see you are this month's athlete and to learn more about you.

I have been short on conditioning of late and i was not planning on doing today's workout (rowing and thrusters are at the top of my list of things I'd rather not do).

Felt really rusty during warm up, really pumped after bench press -- went for the work out at Rx weight and a plan to just get through it. Never fails -- the work outs that seem or feel the worst make you walk away feeling the best. Was pleasantly surprised to get 14 each round and a nice little heart rate spike. Exercise feels great!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Everyone has already said it, but Colleen, I've loved getting to know you, and watching you kick butt at CFSBK has been such a treat. You are such a wonderful part of this community. Also, I had cancer when I was younger, so cheers for CFSBK Survivors and hell yes to self-exams.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKate R

That was a great post - thanks to Fox and Colleen for sharing. It's an amazing story - and also an amazing testament to how welcoming Crossfit South Brooklyn is to noobs (like myself).

With that I'll share that at 7:30 class with DO I was able to bench 100 lbs - pretty cool milestone for myself 2 months in. Thanks to the great community that creates stories like yours Colleen - and great coaches!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMike Becker

Late post, but I've been at the gym all day so didn't get to read the AOM article til just now.

Colleen is a personal fave of mine, kind and composed and quietly very funny. Despite her self described "intimidation" coming into the gym, she has always listened intently, not asked for or needed any hand holding, and has made dogged, consistent, and deserved progress every day. I love pairing newer athletes with her because she is such a friendly and caring partner, and she can handle her bizness, so she sets a great example. This actually answers some of Brad's earlier question- part of the reason our members are so good is because the vets take it upon themselves to set a great example for newcomers. Colleen exemplifies this phenomenon.

She's been a joy to get to know, to have in class, and now that I know she appreciates the coaches "what not to do" schtick she can do no wrong. Congrats Colleen, you earned it.

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNoah

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