Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Group Run: It Was Time

Instead of life turning me upside down as it has been threatening to do for the last couple of months, I've taken charge. I'm making some pretty major changes in my diet, eating beets and kale and all kinds of foods I wouldn't have allowed past my lips just 2 months ago. I'm listening to more positive, upbeat music instead of the angry rock that has fueled my runs all these years.

This week I really pushed out of my running comfort zone and met up with a running friend and her tribe for a Saturday long run, which I hope was the first of many more to come. It was time.

When Steph asked me to join her and her friends for their Saturday long run, I didn't hesitate. Me, the runner who craves the solace of the long run? Who am I? I blame my boldness on the steroids I'm currently taking. Actually, I'm blaming everything on the steroids, but that's a topic for another blog post.


What's the big deal, right? A lot of runners run in groups. 

I've never run with a group. I've never even run with a partner. Ever. Unless you count that neighbor who used to wait for me at the end of his driveway. I didn't ask him to run with me, he just decided to join me--for several weeks in a row. Do you feel me here? I finally had to tell him "it's not you, it's me". He looked as if I crushed his soul. It was as weird as it sounds.

Running has always been a place for me to work things out, to get lost in my head, to escape all the crap life throws at me. I've always run alone, including all my long runs for marathon training. I never minded my solo runs.

It's not that I didn't want to run with people. For a while now, I've been thinking about joining a group. My #holottafun weekend showed me how fun it is to be part of a tribe. A couple of things held me back from taking the plunge. Where would I find compatible runners? You're going to laugh at me, but until recently, I was always intimidated by other runners. True story. For years, I never saw myself as a "real runner". Crazy, right? I worried that I wasn't good enough to run in a group. What if I couldn't keep up? What if I got tired and had to stop? What if they thought I was weird? What if I got the runs on the run?

That is the real issue, you know. Fear of public soiling was the real anxiety-inducing reason I was avoiding the group run. The "if I don't stop now, I'll crap myself" issue. If you have GI issues, then you know of what I speak here. Those of you who are brave enough to wear white running shorts can just skip ahead to the next section. For many of us, the fear of a code brown on the run is very real. The idea of it happening on a group run? When I joked about it with Steph, she laughed it off and told me she stops all the time. 

Obviously, I needed to get over myself, so off I went to Steph's house at 7 am. It was 13 degrees, but the sun was coming up. Her friends Katie and Tabitha met us there, and off we went. The plan was to run 10 miles at 9:20 pace. For real? Hey, that's my long run pace! Ok, then! We stopped about every 2 miles to drink and fuel, running to Payton's Hill for a picture and finished up. Steph and I broke off from the other 2, finishing with 8.5 miles at 9:15 m/m pace. We were cold.


I told them I'll be back next Saturday. This was such a nice, easy going run, and it was a great way to do my long runs. Marcia suggested I try to find my gears and I think running with a group will help me find my long, slow distance gear. I liked the frequent fueling stops and I liked that we could break off from the group if we needed to. We ran past plenty of places that were worthy of a pit stop, although none of us needed one. 

Most of all, I liked the company. 

The saying is true: runners really are friends we haven't met yet.

I had some other good runs this week, particularly Thursday's run. It was sunny and cold but I managed to run 6 miles at 8:34 pace on the bike path. That was the fastest run I've had since last summer!

Hello, sunshine!
The conditions for Tuesday's run were just brutal--the kind of conditions that mean Mother Nature owes you one in the form of a perfect sunshiny spring day. It was raw, it was cold, I was pelted with freezing rain pellets, and in the midst of all that, the roads began to ice up. I was grateful to stay upright. Before I finished, and yes, I finished my planned miles, I stopped to attempt a handstand--in the grass. I was pleased to land it once again. 

I brought my own sunshine.
Becky continues to work me through my strength cycle. I'm really enjoying the creativity of this one. I did back squats and I did more power cleans. She's pleased with my progress. So am I.

I battled with the bar but it's up!
I hit the yoga studio twice and was rewarded with the return of my balance. As on the mat, so it is in life.



How was your week? Did you see the sun? Do you run with a group? Did you enter my giveaway? 

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap as well as Angela and Ilka for the Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup!






93 comments :

  1. Yay for the group run! I got so used to running with people that it ended up being very lonely when I ran long without. I'm trying to achieve a better balance this go around. :)

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    1. I still like my solo runs, but this will be great once/week!

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  2. I guess I never noticed, but you're right, you never run with other people! I am glad you had fun with your group. This mayear surprise you as I have been quite the solo runner for the past several years... but I used to run with a group every weekend!

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    1. I've always been a solo runner! I must be getting mellow or something..

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    2. I've never ever run even with a partner – – although I thought so very very many times doing so really might make me discover my love for the run

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  3. OMG the neighbor joining you? Wayyyy weird! I can't believe you let it go that long! So far I have only run alone and not wanted to run with anyone. Besides the fact that I like the time alone, I KNOW I am way too slow at this point. One of these days...

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    1. That guy running with me was still the weirdest, creepiest thing ever.

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  4. Last week your blog post broke my heart. Today it makes it soar.
    So happy for you.
    Gorgeous and lyrical closing lines. Yes, indeed. [Insert heart emoticon here].

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    1. I'm feeling so much better this week. The lower steroid dose was a win!

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  5. It's often hard to fit group runs into my schedule but I'm always glad when I do! Glad you were able to push yourself to do it. Great balance of workouts, as usual!

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    1. I think the group run will balance things even more!

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  6. Glad you enjoyed running with a group! I am also a solo runner. I have run with Rob a few times but usually just when we are traveling. Otherwise I have always just run by myself!

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    1. It was a nice change of pace! Pun intended...

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  7. Glad to have found you recently! I too just started running with people regularly and LOVE it!! I actually wrote about it as well: http://gettingitdoneontherun.blogspot.com/2016/11/my-tribe-grows.html

    Looking forward to following along :)

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    1. Heading over to read your post! Great minds think alike!

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  8. I'm mostly a solo runner but I do enjoy running with others when it happens. I met someone while out for an 18 miler, she was also doing an 18 miler and we spent the entire run chatting like we had known each other for years!

    We saw the sun last week and our temps were in the 50s!

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    1. You guys have been having some unusual temps! But I'm glad the rain alleviated the drought.

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  9. Well you know how I feel about my running peeps! I am so excited that you found some friends to run with and I hope find some new ladies to add to your support system. This makes me happy for you :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get it done on the Saturdays I work. Stay tuned.

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  10. I belong to a club team so have the option of group runs weekly. I honestly do love just being on my own but when I do join them I always enjoy it. I think the hardest part for me of the group run is being able to run your own pace which is why I don't do it every week. I run solely based on effort (didn't check my watch once until the end of my 10 miles today) and some people are very anxious to "hit a pace" which on a long run - I am not focusing on.

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    1. I don't mind running their pace on the long run. I really need to slow my long runs down, and I think this is more about time on the feet anyways.

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  11. I started out as a solo runner but was, and ten years later still am, surprised that I like running with other people. The time goes by much more quickly when we're chatting and experiencing things together. However, I'm picky about training partners. I'm not a big fan of whiners or people who stop to check their phone while we're running.

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    1. Oh, that won't be happening with this group. Especially since we are running 9:15 or so!

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  12. Nice handstand again! Code Brown has got me rolling on the floor down here! I'm glad you found a group of ladies to run with. That will be fun! I was recently invited to run at 9 am on weekdays with a group. Hello? I work. Oh, and let's not get started about the "real runner" therapy I need. Thanks for linking, Wendy!

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    1. I'm really happy about this. I still have to figure out how it will work on the Saturdays when I have to work..

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  13. You are cracking me up Wendy! I wear white shorts and running skirts all the time in the spring/summer (because, you know...you just can't wear white after labor day!)...never ever thought of code brown, now I'll be thinking about it! Hahaha

    Glad you found your group running mojo. I've done both and enjoy both. I do enjoy solo runs though as it is an excellent way to unwind and decompress. However, I do not push myself when I run alone. Sooooo, every now and then I'll head out with a group.

    Have a great week!

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    1. I'm just too self-conscious for my own good. Really, who cares? Except me...

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  14. It's really hard for slow runners to find a tribe. Some of my friends complain about being afraid of not keeping up, but for me -- it's a real issue. Our last winter series the only reason anyone was still outside with the cards to write down times was because Darlene assured them I was still out there.

    It wouldn't have been a big deal if they'd gone in, but sometimes -- for me, thestruggleisreal.

    Ok, off my soapbox now. Glad you're finding your tribe!

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    1. Ha! I always had trouble finding a group because they ran slower than me. I guess it's all about finding the right kind of people.

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  15. Hooray for a running group you like! Glad there were no "code brown" issues. Maybe you'll be able to meet up with them at races too.

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    1. It's just nice to have people to do the long run with.

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  16. I know code brown on a very real and personal level. I buy running clothes with pockets not for phones, ipods or gels, oh no no no. I buy them for toilet paper.

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  17. How awesome that you've found a group of ladies that you enjoy! You already know that I love running with a group and have two from which to choose! The Cruisers just assume that I'll need to stop at the porta potty and stop even if I don't need to go. I almost feel like I should go just hang out in the porta potty for a minute so I don't disappoint them! ;-)

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    1. I'm pretty glad that it isn't just me. I should have known that...

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  18. Sounds like a great week! So glad the group run went well. The whole group thing has always intimidated me a bit - I also like to use my runs to work through stuff in my head too.

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    1. I figure that once a week will be perfect for the group run! I"ll still have my 3 solo runs. All good!

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  19. Don't you love when you take a chance and step out of your comfort zone and then say "that was so awesome?". Way to rock so many great workouts and awesome on your speed coming back (I always slow way down in the cold so it's nice to see when the speed comes back as our temps climb). How's it going on the lower dose Rx? From here...looks like things are going pretty damn good. Keep it up, girl!

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    1. I'm feeling much better, mentally! But with the increase in my methotrexate, I'm much more fatigued. It's a trade off. Still, I'm getting it done! Thanks for asking!

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  20. I used to be part of a running group, but when the group became smaller I found myself running by myself anyway. What's the point of meeting a group when you don't end up running with them? So now I do run solo most of my runs, but I still do longer runs with one friend. I find that is easier to maintain pace with one opposed to a whole group.

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    1. This is a small group, so it should be ok. Long runs have a pace goal and Katie's a great pacer. So far so good.

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  21. Oh Wendy!! You seriously had me laughing at the soil yourself segment. There have been many times where I've been in that position. I'm so glad you found a tribe and loved it. Actually... now after running for so many years I'm almost ready to take it out in my own. My goals are changing and I may need to break free.

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    1. I'm not ready to give up my solo runs yet! This will be once weekly, if I can swing it on the Saturdays that I work.

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  22. I was definitely intimidated to join a running group initially where I knew no one, but it was seriously one of the best decisions I've made.... I met the best running partners / friends.... I'm glad you've taken the plunge

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  23. I thought I commented earlier...but I'm not seeing it (#mybad). I'm glad the running group was such a great experience for you! I need to work on getting a local one going...I know they're out there...

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    1. I though you did too, but maybe it was our conversation yesterday? LOL

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  24. Sounds like a great week! I usually run solo but have been on a couple of group runs. It's nice when there are others in my pace group. Awesome pace on Thursday's run!

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  25. This is so fantastic! I'm really happy for you and know that this running group will be such a good thing...how could it not? I so miss running with three of my best friends but, usually when I run now it's very specific paces, etc and no one wants to do them with me :-( Good for you!!

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    1. I think this will fit nicely in my plan for my long runs.

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  26. As someone who never ran with people until a few years ago and now much do so as a coach (and YES the GI fear is SO VERY REAL), I totally get you. What I love about the group run is that everyone has one another's back, and if someone needs to run on? they can.

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  27. Kudos to you for stepping outside of your comfort zone. I always fear running with others, and that I'll slow others down during a group run. Maybe like you I'll get over that fear someday.

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    1. It's too bad it took me so long to get over it.

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  28. Yes! Finding MRTT changed my running life. I don't always join group runs, but when I do the miles tick by as we chat and get to know each other -- and become those friends!

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    1. I'm hoping to have many miles with this Saturday morning group!

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  29. I've never really found a group run either, I've been doing my own thing for so long I think it would be strange. But then on the other hand it sounds fun! Don't even know where to begin to find peeps though! Want to go run?? lol!!

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    1. I wish I could join you! It looks a lot prettier where you run than here!

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  30. Congrats on finding a group to run with. I do like running with others which is why I race but it's hard to find a group that runs at your pace. So I am usually solo.

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    1. I was worried about the pace thing too, but this was just great!

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  31. I've had runnng partners off and on. My last two friends would meet at 4:45 in the morning and eventually sleep won! It's been almost a year since I ran with them. When my anxiety flared up and I couldn't meet them, they stopped texting and talking to me. This isn't the first time that's happened so I'm cautious. Katherine (irunthislife) and I have met up a few times. She's wonderful. She is trainkng for longer distances so it's hard to get on the same plan. I would love to be part of a group and in this small community, there aren't many. I'm glad you have found some ladies to run with! It looks like just what you need in this season on life!

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  32. I didn't like group runs in high school, so I've been a solo runner. I'm meeting up with some Oiselle ladies in a couple weeks for a run and brunch. I don't know if I'll stick with the group, but it'll be nice to start out together.

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    1. I like the idea of doing even a couple of miles and then breaking off to do your own thing.

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  33. I don't do group runs only because my running schedule is not consistent. I have two local groups that I follow and each week, it just doesn't work out. Good for you! I run solo a lot but also have a running buddy.

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    1. My running schedule is consistent, only because of work and yoga--it all fits.

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  34. I used to think I hated running with other people... until I started doing it. Long runs with friends helped the miles fly by and make them a lot more enjoyable! I miss my NYC running crew. Hopefully I find a new group down here :)

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    1. Isn't that the truth? I've done a few runs with people over the past year and I realized how fun it can be!

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  35. I am a solo biker and know exactly how you feel about going off on your own. Sounds like you had a great though!

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  36. Yay! So glad you ran with a group! I used to be intimidated especially because I worried I would be too slow, but it turned out not to be the case! Runners do make the best friends and the companionship on the run especially long runs is the best!

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    1. It's always good to know that there are other people just like you, right?

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  37. I love this and hey is is about time my friend! I'm right with you I do love "MY TIME" My pace, my thinking, but there is just something about running with a group. Did you notice that you could let your guard down as far as your surroundings a bit? That is one thing I enjoy about being with someone else. You don't have to do it all the time but it is nice every once in awhile!

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    1. It could be the perfect balance, right?

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  38. You've gone to the dark side - welcome! We have cookies. ;)

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  39. I'm a solo runner too... and I love it. I do run with a group on Mondays now... it was hard taking that step.

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  40. I usually run alone or with my husband, but I spent many years running with a group. I loved it (as I love running alone too). It's mostly laziness, or time issues I guess. I do miss my regular running partner from back then. We ran many marathons and training runs together, chatting the time away. Then she had kids, moved farther away, and our running connection weakened. I have been thinking about finding a new group though, especially as I approach marathon training again.

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    1. This will be the first time I do some training with a group! I think it's going to be a good thing.

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  41. I used to be really opposed to running with a group. I was the lone wolf and damn proud of it. However, I finally caved, and now I struggle to run alone. It's good to be able to do both, and there is a reason for each.

    I'm glad you are exploring new options and enjoying them. I think this will be a big game-changer for you.

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  42. I just read an article (The Lovely Loneliness - In praise of the solitary run) in the Dec issue of Runner's World about how the author would rather run on his own. He mentioned how in the past running was for those who wanted to be alone and compared it to now with the popular rise of 'Running Tribes'. I prefer BOTH. Group runs actually make me a faster runner - so I like running with a group during an interval run. I also enjoy the weekend long run with friends since it's really one of the only times now that I have a family I get a chance to catch up with them. It's great to hear you had a wonderful experience!

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    1. I actually think that the long runs will benefit from the group run. It will force me to slow down and run at a consistent pace. The company will be good too.

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  43. I haven't run with a group but last year I had the opportunity to bike ride with a group and I loved that. It made me feel a lot safer, and even a little more confident.

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    1. I haven't done a group bike ride but I certainly see the appeal and the safety factor!

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  44. Some beautiful photos, and go you for mixing up your routine, and sticking the handstand and yoga pose!

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    1. That handstand has been a goal for over a year--it's a thrill to be able to do it!

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  45. I always enjoy your posts so much! The neighbor thing is definitely a bit weird, wow!! I used to run with a group and it helped me tremendously, it was actually when I was running my fastest, as I was pushed a bit. However, my timing is so tight now that I typically run alone and squeeze it in where I can. I miss the group, but love my time alone too! :-)

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    1. I'm thinking that once a week with the group and 3 solo runs is the best of all possible worlds!

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  46. I know what you mean. I like to run by myself but also enjoy running with a group. My excuse was that I was too slow. Then I realized that there were other runners running the same pace as me. I miss running with them. :-(

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    1. I"m sure they will still be there, waiting for you to return!

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