Nana Talk

Set Backs and Come Backs

July 26th 2015, I competed in my second powerlifting meet. I was the leanest I had been in years. I was strong and I was physically prepared. My numbers weren’t the best. In fact, the weights I was lifting the weeks prior to the meet were much higher. I let myself feel disappointed, but not for long. I knew that that was the last meet I would do. It was a goal and it required a lot of time and hard work, but I was ready to move on.

I actually didn’t want to compete because of the very specific training I had to do which interfered with other goals I wanted to accomplish. I mainly did it because my youngest son, Nigel was competing in his first meet and I wanted to do it together. It was a great bonding experience.

The week I got back, I had much needed surgery on my thumb. I had put it off for a year while I was training and endured a lot of pain. My cartilage was gone and my bones were wearing down from chronic arthritis.

The procedure is Carpel Metacarpal Arthroplasty. They shave down the bones or remove the more deteriorated bone and use the forearm tendon to replace the cartilage. It was pretty invasive surgery. Full recovery can take up to a year. Of course, I knew or rather thought that would not apply to me.

I devised a workout program that I could do to work around my hand. I was quite proud of myself. I busted my ass in the gym despite my disability. Little did I realize that even though I avoided using my hand, that my workouts were stalling my recovery. When the pain didn’t subside and sometimes got worse, my doctor explained that I was still contracting the joint. It was time to take off and focus on recovery.

My lack of consistent exercise soon turned into eating junk and weight gain. It was depressing to see the scale and my body fat go up, yet it didn’t stop me. I ate junk, felt bad and so I ate more junk.

In October of that year, I was slowly working out again but with modifications and then I broke my foot. I spent the next six weeks in a cast. Almost immediately after getting my cast off, I had to have kidney surgery to remove a huge stone and with that came a stint and more time off. Shortly after that, I hurt my back because I rushed back into working out instead of focusing on regaining quality movement and mobility.

Basically, I was injured or recovering from injuries from July through December. Physically, mentally and emotionally, it was one of the lowest points of my life. I ended up completely out of shape and weighing the most I’ve ever weighed in my life.

I was ashamed of my body and felt like a failure as a fitness instructor. Who is going to listen to me when I can’t even get my own crap together?

Last month, after starting and failing more times than I can count, I decided I needed help. Left to my own devices, I will sit on the couch and drown my sorrows in Oreos while watching a Cops marathon. I finally decide to get help. I hired a team of professionals to help me not only with the physical aspects of my life but with the emotional part, which for me is a huge piece of the puzzle.

I got myself a trainer, Beth Andrews,who is helping me reach my next performance goals. I hired a dietitian, Jon Allen to help me relearn to eat healthy and lose this excess fat and I hired a health coach , Carol Donahoe to help me get back on track in all areas of my life.

Having accountability to each of these people is what drives me to succeed. I just started recently and can already see changes in my life. After almost 10 months of being lost, out of control and depressed, I now have a plan of action and a purpose. Although progress is slow since I am just starting with getting my strength back and my eating under control, I feel hope and I feel empowered.

Maybe the last ten months have been a blessing. I now know that if I want to succeed and be the best I can be, I need help. It was a hard lesson to learn but that’s ok because I made the decision to change and I’ve surrounded myself with the right people to help me.

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You Can Start Your New Year Anytime

It’s January 31st and by now many people have already reverted back to old habits and behaviors and their New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Does this sound like you?

January 1st is just another day. There is nothing magical about this day but somehow it’s become the day when it seems everyone is making resolutions to lose weight, join a gym, quit smoking and make other abrupt changes in their lives. The problem with this is that many people set these goals without a clear plan of action of steps to take and plans for backsliding.

Starting out on new goals and behaviors is exciting but what do you do when that initial motivation begins to wane? What actions and plans do you have in place when getting to the gym or doing exercise becomes a chore? What about plans for backsliding? This is when many people give up. Then the target day to change becomes Mondays, or the beginning of the month or God forbid, on the first day of the following new year.

The good news is that you can start over anytime. You can start your day over anytime. The point is, never give up. Accept that you may have blown your resolve. Get over it fast and pick yourself back up. Changing is not easy. It may take many attempts and many failures but do not give up.

Get a notebook and write down very specific goals. Put a deadline to each goal. Most importantly, write specific things you will do each day to reach your goals AND write some action steps to take when you feel yourself falling by the wayside.

Believe me, I have to pick myself back up many times. I have never claimed, nor will I ever claim to be one of those fitness professionals that always eats clean, works out every day and never struggles with body image. I’ve had a life time of bad habits, low self-esteem and disordered eating and it’s not going to change over night. I just refuse to give up. I certainly get down on myself, but I always manage to get right back on track.

Part of my success in not throwing in the towel and giving up completely is writing. I keep a journal. I write down goals, both personal and professional. I set deadlines. I write action steps and I get help if needed from people who have more experience in areas than I do. I work with a trainer and a business coach. I surround myself with people who are goal oriented, successful and like-minded. When I get off track, lose focus or begin to doubt, they are there to set me straight and get me on task.

If you feel lost or have given up, do yourself a favor and find mentors. Find people who emulate the kind of life you want to live and who are the kind of people you want to be like. Start keeping a journal. Set goals. Expect there to be ups and downs but have a plan in place to deal with them so you can get back on track fast.

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A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish

This quote by French author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery hits the nail on the head for me and for pretty much everyone I coach and train. One of the things I like to do when I meet with clients is to get them to set a goal. This is what I get, “I need to lose weight”, “I’m going to try and lose weight”, “I would like to exercise more”, “My Doctor said, I need to lose 50 pounds”, “I want to get in shape”, “I want to be more toned” and my personal favorite, “I need to lose (fill in the blank with unrealistic number) for my wedding next month”.

So without a plan of action, these people; without intervention, will continue spinning around in the cycle of diet hopping, changing workout plans and trying every quick fix available on late night TV, only to find themselves right back where they started.

Does this sound like you?

The answer is simple. Set a realistic, specific, exciting goal that when accomplished will have you jumping for joy and feeling so empowered that you are ready to take on the world.

Here are the steps:

1. Make a goal. Be as specific as possible! If you want to lose weight, how much? Is it realistic? Do you want to hike a mountain in a foreign country? Is it realistic? This goal does NOT have to be about weight loss. It can be about anything. The process is the same.

2. Write it down! Get that goal on paper. I prefer good ol’ pen and paper as opposed to the computer. There is something about the person connection of writing that seems to have more power. Having a goal, no matter how good floating around your head with everything else is going to get lost, so write that sucker down.

3. Write it down. Yes, it’s that important. Put it somewhere you can see it throughout the day.

4. Get support. Ask positive people and family members for support. Have them join you. Stay away from those who discourage you with well-meaning comments like, “You don’t need to lose weight, you are fine just the way you are”. Yes, you may be fine, but are YOU happy with where you are? That is all the matters.

5. Set a date. Your goals need to have a sense of urgency or they will never happen. Again, be realistic. If you have a lot of weight to lose, give yourself 6 months to a year. If you reach your goal before that…AWESOME!! If you plan to run a marathon or climb a mountain, make arrangements, pick a race far enough away that you have plenty of time to train without getting injured.

Here is an example of my goals that are written at my gym for all to see. To my surprise, I’ve reached and surpassed a few of them and had to make them bigger.

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A Year Since My Last Blog??? Yikes!

I could come up with a million excuses on my absence, but really, I have none. I feel bad about leaving all of my readers (mom) hanging for so long.

So much has happened in the past year but to write about all of that would be overwhelming for me and all of my readers (mom).

So, let me start with the best thing that happened to me this year. I have another grandchild! Andrew Blackburn was born on January 15th of this year. As with the birth of Ava, I immediately fell in love. There is nothing that fills my heart with pride more than watching my son, Ryan being a devoted, loving husband and father.

I’m sure as grandparents, we still see our children as children. Sometimes it boggles my mind to realize that he now has his own family and that his wife and children are the center of his world. The loss of the old relationship broke my heart. On his wedding day, I knew that I was no longer the woman in his life but instead from that day forward, Erin would be the woman in his life. As I said at his wedding; I could not have hand picked a more perfect woman for my son. Ten years later, I can still say the same.

One thing that I am most proud of is that I raised a caring, gentle, loving son. He is my gift to Erin and to his children.

Ok, enough mushy stuff. Here are the pictures of my new grandson, Andrew and a few of my favorite girl, Ava.

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Super Strong Nana is coming up on 51

Wow, what happened to the year? Seems like I just turned 50 not long ago. Fifty has been great and I am looking forward to 51. Crazy to think that I will soon be a woman in her “50s”.

I remember thinking 50 was old..hell, I remember thinking 30 was old. Aging was always a scary thought. I think it was because my perception of older people, especially those over 50 was what totally wrong. I used to think that I would be overweight, move slow, drive slow, have a ton of wrinkles, drive a sedan, eat at cafeterias and start all my sentences with, “When I was your age”.

Reality is that I am in better shape, move better and look better than I have in the past 50 years. I drive an awesome fully loaded Chevy Avalanche and I’m happy to report that I have not eaten in a cafeteria. Ok, I have to admit that I have used the words, “When I was your age” a few times, but only to make a point.

One of the best things that I have found that comes with age is that I am less concerned with what people think of me. I can’t tell you how much that has changed my attitude and my self esteem. With age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes peace.

This month I am going to feature interviews with some incredible men and women in their 50s who inspire and motivate me and I hope it does the same for you.

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Never Stop Learning

One of the things I pride myself in is that I am always a student. I would never think that I know everything and that I have no room to grow.

I think the problem with a lot of trainers out there is that they get their certifications and that is the end of their learning process.

I can’t begin to tell you how much time and money I have spent attending workshops, reading, studying and applying the things I’ve learned with myself and my clients.

This past weekend, I had the honor and privilege to attend the San Jose RKC as a Team Leader. With this new position, I was responsible for teaching, training and leading a team of 12 candidates through their Russian Kettlebell Certification. I think I was just as nervous as they were. Hopefully, it didn’t show that much.

We spent about 10 hours a day learning and perfecting just seven of the basic exercises. It was Deadlifts, Swings, Turkish Get Ups, Cleans, Presses, Squats and Snatches. Each exercise was broken down, dissected and practiced. Drills were taught to help our clients and ourselves with any problem that may show up in their form.

Each segment began with a lecture and demonstration by the master and senior instructors. Even though I was there as Team Leader, I took a ton of notes. Every instructor brought something new to the table. I learned some different cues, drills and other things to take home with me. I learned that not every cue or drill will work with everyone. Use the right cue for the right client.

I also opened myself up to learning from my team of RKC candidates. Most of them have already been experienced as trainers and they brought along with them some knowledge, cues and drills that I had not used nor have heard of. I made notes of those also.

So although I went as a teacher, I allowed myself to be a student. Being a perpetual student makes me a better instructor.

The weekend was stressful, long and exhausting, but it was also fun. I met some wonderful people.

One of the most fun things was meeting my roommate in person. I “met” Carol a while back on Facebook. She ended up being one of my team’s assistants so we decided to save some money and share a room. Since I didn’t know her personally, I stalked her Facebook page to get more information. She currently lives in Seattle, WA but to my utter surprise, I found out that not only is she from Florida, but she also graduated from the University of Florida. I live in Tallahassee and am a diehard Florida State Seminole, which makes us automatic enemies.

Hoping that she had a sense of humor, I went out and bought a ton of FSU stuff. I spent quite a bit of money on flags, banners, signs, streamers and cups. I also made sure our morning alarm played the FSU War Chant.

I let her have the shower first and while she was in there, I decorated her side of the room with FSU memorabilia. I replace all of the cups with FSU cups and then sat on the bed waiting for her reaction.

Let’s just say it was worth the money spent and having to pack an extra big suitcase.

Yes, she was a good sport and that began what I hope to be a long lasting friendship.

The RKC is not just about learning, working out and training for me. I have built friendships and bonds that will never be broken. Even though many of my Kettlebell friends have gone with Pavel and Strong First, they are like family.

I value those relationships and I value the knowledge that I have received from them.

I will forever be a student.

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Super Strong Nana does the Whole30

I’ve been on the Whole30 website on and off for the past year. I’ve looked at how strict it is and knew that there was no way I could change my eating that much. I rationalized that maybe I could do it but still eat dairy and put milk in my coffee, eat my nightly treat of popcorn because after all, my meals are pretty healthy. I told myself that I do better with a diet high in carbohydrates and a lower fat intake. LIES, LIES, LIES!

I hit rock bottom with my eating during Christmas week. In October of this year, I was at my lowest weight in years. I even went out and bought several pairs of skinny jeans. I was feeling confident and on top of the world.

As usual, I was was close to my weight goal, a number that I haven’t been at in 10 years. I have no idea why I picked that number or why I continue to chase that number after 10 years of coming close and then failing. Even though I know better than to use the scale as a way to measure my success, I am addicted. The number on the scale effects whether or not I am a good person or not. It effects whether I feel like a loser or a winner. It is a mechanical square that I have allowed to dictate my happiness.

At the end of October, starting right before Halloween, I starting allowing myself to eat candy. It only took a few bites and I was as out of control as a crack addict. I couldn’t get enough. I was hiding my eating, hiding my wrappers and going out and buying more.

One night turned into a daily stops at the 7-11 for candy. Feeling ashamed, I would buy other things so the cashier wouldn’t think I was such a loser.

The holidays were just another excuse to binge. I resorted to my favorite Oreos. Once I go down that road, there is no turning back. I felt sick, lethargic, bloated and overall unhealthy. I didn’t have energy to workout and it took everything I had to do simple things such as going to work. Emotionally, I felt hopeless and worthless.

I went back to the Whole30 website. As bad as I felt, I still wasn’t willing to follow the rules they laid out to help me reset my eating and to get healthy again. I ordered their book, It Starts With Food. It only took a few chapters to realize they were talking about me! I related to everything. They even used Oreos as an example of the vicious cycle of sugar cravings.

It was then that I decided to get healthy. As foreign as it was, I decided to focus on health rather than my weight. Focusing on my health allowed me to be willing to do anything to get better.

I went back to the Whole30 website and printed out everything. I printed out shopping lists, recipes and a success guide. For once in my life, I was willing to go to any lengths to get my eating under control.

On December 26th, I quit eating sugar. As the days wore on, I cut out other foods that made me feel unhealthy. I officially started Whole30 on January 9th.

I would love to tell you it’s been easy, but it hasn’t. There are days when everything in my being wants to eat sugar and other junk food. The more days I get behind me, the easier it is. I’ve had sugar dreams and have woken in a panic thinking that I blew it.

I get stronger and stronger in my conviction as I experience more energy, more strength in the gym, better sleep and a clearer head. Mentally I am feeling strong and confident. Each time I pass up the pizza, bread, desserts and pasta that my family eats, is a notch in my success belt.

The best part is that I am trying foods and cooking things I would never have tried in the past. The food I make is so good! Even my family loves it. Things taste so good and I am experiencing the taste of sweetness in natural foods. I never would have thought that carrots could be so sweet. My taste buds were used to the extreme sweetness of highly processed foods loaded with artificial sugars and ingredients.

Although I think everyone would benefit from a super strict reset, I realize that most people either don’t think they have the strength to do it or don’t care enough about themselves or their health to try. Like I did for the past year, the thought of making such drastic sacrifices despite the health benefits prove to be too much. Even making small changes such as detoxing off of sugar can make a difference.

Making changes based on getting healthy and maybe even saving your life instead of appearance or a number on a scale may just be the to finally succeed.

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Super Strong Nana

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to blog more often. As you can see it’s already two week’s into 2013 and I’m just now writing my first blog of the year. Ok, so it hasn’t exactly been a priority lately. I’m responsible for another blog for The Tallahassee Democrat and that one has deadlines. Hmmm, maybe I need to make deadlines for myself.

As a person who procrastinates and is easily distracted, deadlines are important. One of the things that I do as a fitness instructor is to encourage my clients to set deadlines. Whether your goal is performance based, fat loss based, work based or any other important thing you want to accomplish, you must set a deadline if you want to succeed.

Setting a goal without a deadline is certainly a setup for failure especially if you are a procrastinator like me.

I am a very creative person. I am always coming up with really cool ideas for my business. I start the process of making things happen and then I set it aside convincing myself that I will get back to it. I never do. I then lie to myself to justify my procrastination. I convince myself that it was a dumb idea, nothing will ever come of it and that completing the goal is not worth the work that must be put into it. I do that with fitness and performance goals as well as personal and work goals.

So now that I know what the problem is, how do I change it? Deadlines.

If you aren’t already using a calendar or a planner, then it’s time to get one. Just a little FYI, I have also perfected procrastinating on this. I search and shop for the perfect planner and pen. Writing goals and deadlines on a plain pad of paper or a boring planner…Never!

Now it’s time to make things happen. Set a realistic deadline. Put it in your planner. I like to count days or weeks back and jot them down so I know that I have so much time before D-day (deadline day). It creates a sense of urgency.

You nor I are going to magically have our goals accomplished on D-day. We must have a plan of action. My performance goals require that I work out several times a week and that my workouts are specific to my goal. Those get scheduled in my planner…Ok, there are not in there right now but they will be as soon as I’m done with this blog.

I set deadlines for the small goals I want to accomplish to reach the bigger goal. One of performance goals for 2013 (and it will probably be the end of 2013) is to complete the RKC’s Iron Maiden Challenge of pressing, doing a pull up and a pistol squat with a 53 pound Kettlebell. In order to accomplish this, I have to set goals along the way. Right now I have an 8 week goal of a weighted pull up with a 10 pound bell and an easy consistant press with the 40 pound Kettlebell and a solid pistol squat.

My business and personal goal is to write a book. It’s been a goal since early last year. It’s been months since I did any work on it. So now I will set a deadline of December 31st 2013. That book is not going to write itself and of course I can’t start on December 30th. So I set aside a couple hours once a week to write and it goes in my planner..again, it’s not in there yet, but will be when I finish this blog. I told you that I am a big procrastinator.

I would love to hear about your goals and especially the steps you are taking to reach them. Post them in the comments section.

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10,500 pounds of Kettlebells and 50 pounds of food

I have so many exciting things to share from the last week but today I will focus on the incredible deliveries I received.

Finally after months of waiting, I finally got notice that my 10,500 pound order of Dragon Door Kettlebells were going to arrive today. They gave me a 2 hours window and I did my best to plan my day around that. First thing I had to get done was a quick workout with my buddy, Jane at my gym. Since Jane doesn’t drive, I agreed to take her to her massage appointment, because after all, who wants to have to ride a bike home after getting a massage?? As far as I’m concerned, I probably saved her life.

I dropped her off and went home to await her text telling me she was ready to be picked up. Just as I pulled up my driveway, the Fed-Ex truck pulls up. My first thought was that my husband ordered another box of cigars, but I saw that the driver was getting out a dolly. If that was cigars, my husband would be in big trouble. It was my food order from Meal Movement!! Fifty pounds of fresh, wholesome eggs,vegetables and meat, that are flash frozen and delivered on dry ice. My food woes are solved!

My plan was to clean out my freezer to make room but I forgot, so I had to cram all of that food anywhere and everywhere I could. I took out some of the packets of veggies so you could see how fresh they are.

This is my second order from Meal Movement. I was afraid of trying a food delivery service especially after reading about all the preservatives in other more popular services, but MM impressed me. It’s not loaded with any junk. There are no starches and best of all the food is so good that my husband and teenage son love it. You could order the 28 days of meals for yourself and really expect to lose weight or do as I do, order it to have a ton of healthy meals that take just seconds to heat up.

It saves us from eating crap and ordering out all the time when we get too busy to cook. It takes away all of my “I can’t eat healthy” excuses. The food is delicious, portion controlled and inexpensive. Don’t just take my word for it, check out Meal Movement for yourself.

No sooner did I get my food put away that I got a call from the shipping company that the Kettlebells were on their way to my house! I must add that I did manage to pick up Jane and drop her limp, relaxed body off safely at her home.

So, as you can see, it’s been quite a day!

If you or your gym want the best Kettlebells on the market, please contact me. I’ve got a few ton to sell. If you aren’t sure about the quality of all the different Kettlebells out there, I made a video.

Now to find a bunch of friends to help me unpack crates and store these bells…Anyone? Bueller?

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The Alternative Transformation Challenge

Several times a year we hold a transformation challenge at boot camp. I’ve been involved in these challenges as both a trainer and as a participant. In the past, the challenges I’ve been involved in have been based on weight loss. Ninety day challenges are everywhere and are very successful…during that 90 days. I think that most of us could exercise our butts off and restrict our food intake for 90 days. Problem is that most of us (me) gain it back within half the time.

I didn’t want to do a typical weight loss challenge with my clients but I did want them to get involved in something that would motivate them to buckle down and get serious about changing. So we are doing a transformation challenge based on a point system AND fat loss/weight loss.

I got this idea a couple of years ago from the Iron Tamer, Dave Whitley. I changed a few things but it’s pretty much based on the same principles, which is changing behavior.

Points are awarded daily based on completing the behaviors that lead to change. The focus becomes on doing the right things. There are just 5 things to do. Yes, changing is that simple.

First everyone must come in for baseline measurements which include weight, body fat, waist measurement and a before picture. Next everyone must write down their 8-12 week goal. The goal or goals must be SMART; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. You can’t just say, “I want to lose some weight” or “I want to run a 5k”. That would be like saying you are going to take a trip without a map. Not very SMART is it?

Everyday our peeps must log into our secret forum and post their daily goals. It’s these daily goals and behaviors that lead to achieving weekly goals, monthly goals and….you guessed it, the BIG goal. I like to go one step further. They must go back online in the evening and post whether or not they reached their daily goal. Accountability makes or breaks most people’s success.

Each day they earn points for drinking 8 glasses of water, keeping a very detailed food journal, exercising and posting their daily goals. Once a week they turn in food journals and points sheets, take a picture and weigh in. Again, it’s all about being responsible and accountable.

The kicker is that on Sunday nights I post my special challenge. It’s a doozy and worth 5 points a day for complying. First week was no sugar. This coming week is weighing and measuring most of their daily food.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say that they are doing everything right. They are logging food, exercising and making healthy choices but just can’t seem to lose weight. My question is, how do you know how many calories you are eating if you are just guessing at amounts?

I don’t know about you, but most of the time I end up underestimating the calories I’ve eaten. It became clear to me the day I poured my “healthy” Quaker Oat Squares into my bowl. Before I added milk I thought I would measure it. A serving is 1 cup and is 210 calories BEFORE the milk. I figured my breakfast was 300 calories with my skim milk. It would have been had I not been filling my bowl with more than 2 cups. So my breakfast ended up being around 550 calories. That was almost half of my calorie requirement for the entire day.

Warning: weighing and measuring your food my cause extreme shock coupled with uncontrollable emotional outbursts, which may lead to temporary depression.

Couple that with thinking that your exercise burns more calories than it does and you have a recipe for a weight loss plateau.

The beauty of this type of challenge is that you do not need to be one of my clients (although that would be awesome) to take this challenge. You can do this on your own, with your co-workers, friends or family.

My good friend and fellow fitness blogger Healthy Heather has been known to keep a chart and give herself gold stars for completing healthy goals. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy earning gold stars!

Here is the Transformation Challenge Score Sheet we use. Print out 8 sheets and join us in transforming your life. You may already have your favorite food journals, the ones I love and use are Lose It and My Fitness Pal. Both have a huge data base but even better, you can scan bar codes and add them right to your food journal. I just love technology!

I know your dying to find out what kind of goals Super Strong Nana has. As some of you know in less than 4 months I will be landing in Paris on the day of my 50th birthday. It’s a shopper’s paradise. I don’t want to be just a hot 50 year old, I want to be a smoking hot 50 year old!! I want to look better, feel better and be smarter, wiser and more successful than I have even been.

Where do you want to be in 8 weeks? How are you going to get there? Keep me posted on your progress.

 

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