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Kara Sevda

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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:05 pm

Apparently I'm now in my "golden year." I don't know what that means or entails, but since gold is traditionally a good thing... I'll take it. I'll probably even get distracted by my wondering what it is halfway through this post and look it up before I'm through...

So, yesterday, the big day! My day started just before midnight, which is when I finally fell asleep, despite getting into bed before 10pm. For some reason, knowing I have to go to bed early and wake up early and have a full day ahead and blah blah blah blah blah is a sure recipe for me not sleeping. Of course.

Got a text message from Aileen just after midnight (she set an alarm to wake herself up; adorable) that I thankfully slept through. I'd also gotten one from her just after 9pm, so she won for first in both time zones.

Woke up to the second text message I got, this one at 5am from my buddy Zach. The two of us had planned on running together yesterday morning - he's not in great shape and has a medical condition that is alleviated by "highly strenuous exercise," so my 9min recovery pace would be perfect for him - but he hadn't slept either and decided to bail. Which gave me permission to bail, too. I tossed and turned for about 45min before finally getting out of bed.

Took the cinnamon rolls my mom had sent to school and passed them out to groggy, atypically not-chipper classmates. One said "when you said you were bringing a present and we should make sure we have coffee, I thought you meant Bailey's" with a tinge of disappointment. Sorry, dear.

The first 4 hours of class were a drag, but the complimentary Bud Light at lunch from a classmate was welcomed. Then the 4 of us who had one all crashed about 30min into the second part of class. To illustrate how loopy we all were and how much my brain was not at all on the level it should've been (no, that's not from the Bud Light), I at one point referred to my professor (male) as "Ma'am." In my defense, he caught me off-guard with a question, and as I turned to answer, I was staring directly at one of my female classmates who is quite maternal and who I deeply respect as a person. So Ma'am only seemed polite. Oops.

Fortunately, we got out at 4pm instead of 6pm, but I think that's because the professor could tell our interest and attention spans were waning, and he had to interpret a 2.5hr play that night, so he wanted some sleep.

We all cruised over to a sushi place with 24-7 half-off specialty rolls. Two sake bombs, a pint, two birthday cards, and about 3 rolls later (the details of which are shown in graphic detail on my Facebook, for those of you interested), it felt like my birthday and we still had some time to spare. A Jameson-infused latte later and it felt like a really GOOD birthday. Until everyone who had gone back to school without Starbucks (and Jameson) remarked at how strongly I smelt of whiskey. Uh, yeah, it's my birthday. Fortunately, neither my mom's friends (who happened to be there; the husband is an interpreter himself) nor my teacher noticed.

Some of us passed out during the play. I stayed awake, more entertained by the interpreters than the play itself (sorry, but I hated the book "To Kill a Mockingbird," so the play wasn't going to win me over, especially since it was mandatory), and rejoiced when our professor scrapped the post-production meeting and discussion to let us all go to bed. By this point, I was sober, dehydrated, and exhausted, and my pillow felt goooooooood.

So, that was the big day. A lot of unbreakable obligations, but a lot of clandestine "encouragement" to get me through the day. It was a truly wonderful moment when I was presented with the card at dinner, as it had somehow gone around the entire class without me noticing, as was the singing of Happy Birthday (and simultaneous signing of the song) first thing in the morning.

---

Today, the festivities continued just a little bit with a visit from my brother (who wasn't able to make it to sushi last night), a 45min recovery run with him and his dog (threw in 4x 10sec hill-sprints at the end for good measure), and Auburn's version of Taco Bell, but much more delicious. Amazed at how much a single day off can do for my legs, and how even when they're still a little sore (that speed workout and long run last week toasted my quads), running feels perfect.

I think it's nap time. Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Michael Enright on Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:08 pm

Hope you enjoyed your (well-deserved) nap, and a belated Happy Birth Day!
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  KathyK on Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:27 pm

Sounds like you had a memorable birthday, huh?

Good to hear you say that you appreciate your mom sending goodies for your birthday...I like to do stuff like that for my kids (one is a little older than you, one is a little younger). I think they appreciate that kind of stuff, too.

Your blog is always a fun read!
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Alex Kubacki on Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:26 pm

Happy Birthday Mike. Another week down and closer to Boston.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:49 pm

Thanks for the visits, all. It was a good day, and yesterday was quite good, as well.

Today... Well, I've got a case of the Mondays. Tired from the weekend, temperature suddenly plummeted and the sun went into hiding...

Got an hour done, but it wasn't particularly enjoyable. It was a good workout, though, at GA/moderate effort on a rolling course. The last 30min ended up being at 7:30 pace, faster than I thought I was going.

Tomorrow is 135-140min, hopefully "flat" (very, very hopefully) with the last 30min around MP/effort.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Dave-O on Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:56 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:

Dave - I may be PM'ing you for workouts to help me hit this goal. I suck with intervals, so pointers will be needed.

I've never trained specifically for the mile, but I'm in the midst of 5k training, so I should be able to offer some speedy advice. Email me. Strubbe at wbs-law.com
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:37 pm

Dave - Duly noted and greatly appreciated. In hopes of not getting too far ahead of myself, I'm going to tuck that e-mail address away until after mid-April.

---

Well, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that my mood still changes with the wind... Literally, today.

Today was a planned 2hr20min fast-finish long run. First 30min would be 0 effort, last 30min would be MP.
I was not encouraged by the weather report, which showed 14mph winds with 20mph gusts out of the south. This meant I'd be running into a headwind on the downhill and with a tailwind going uphill. Sure, it might sort of balance out the paces, since the gradient is only around 1-2%, but I'd rather just have the downhills easy and the uphills suck.

Still, something felt good about today. Maybe it was the brownies... Okay, it was probably the brownies. After a long, blah day yesterday, I came home, made dinner, and finished off my birthday brownies for dessert. I think Julie was onto something when she said she hoped they'd help fuel a future run, as "junk" food tends to do for me.

In short, the run was a complete success. While the pace over the last 30min was slightly discouraging at the end of my run, the NGP (adjusted pace that takes gradient into account) was very encouraging. I admit that I pushed it past MP effort in the last 10min or so, mainly because my quads were not happy and the going was getting tough. But the rest of the run was exactly according to plan. Some numbers below:

First 30min: 8:21 pace, 9:03 NGP, -1.8% gradient
Next 40min: 8:12 pace, 7:51 NGP, .8% gradient (-.7% for 10min, 1.3% for 30min)
Next 40min: 8:02 pace, 8:21 NGP, -.9% gradient (-1.3% for 30min, .7% for 10min)
Last 30min: 7:43 pace, 7:10 NGP, 1.6% gradient

I think the weighting on the NGP is slightly heavy, because the effort for the middle 80min was more or less completely even. Could've been the wind. Either way, I'm loving that 7:10 NGP for the finish.

Stay tuned for a two-months-later evaluation referring back to my first post. I've been thinking a lot about how far I've come in the last two months in all aspects of my life. Running, relationships, and being real.

---

And just because I know she reads this from time to time and I don't tell her nearly enough: Aileen has the patience of a saint. How she puts up with me, I don't know.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Julie on Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:36 pm

How anyone puts up with another person is amazing, most of the time.

I guess you'll have to put brownies on your list of food to take to Boston with you!
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Dave Wolfe on Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:42 pm

That's a damn serious workout.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  KathyK on Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:57 am

NGP...hmmm, I've not seen that referenced before. Interesting. I figured there would have to be some adjustment for incline.
And I agree with Julie that you'll have to take brownies to Boston. Not just any brownies, though. Your Momma's brownies.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:30 pm

Fortunately for me, Mom is coming to Boston. So she can bake the brownies there!

And speaking of a damn serious workout... I paid for it today in the form of fatigue and soreness. 45min recovery in the mud. It wasn't smooth or comfortable, but got it done. Easy hour tomorrow to fully recover for the hill workout coming Friday.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:43 pm

Nota bene: this has the potential to become a very long post.

We'll start with today's run. I wasn't sure how it'd go, since yesterday's run made it clear how shredded my quads were and really didn't function as a "recovery" run in the way I'd hoped. Add onto that the fact that Wednesday nights = bar nights and, well, let's just say I wasn't expecting much.

Once again, junk food to the rescue, and today's spectacularly enjoyable run was brought to you by French fries and Oreos. Not together. The order of consumption was Blue Moon x 3, French fries and a whole bottle of ketchup (I like my ketchup), then Oreos a few hours later. What can I say, it works.

I've been keeping an eye on my average pace (by week), my average IF (intensity factor - a metric that takes into account your threshold pace and how much of your running is at a given % of that pace*), and my time spent in McMillan's zones, given an MP of 7:25... And I've been really pushing it the last two weeks, especially when I compare it to the data from OC. Despite an MP 15sec slower this time around, my average pace is almost identical to what it was at this point in my training last time, meaning my IF is higher and my zones are a bit skewed. Numbers numbers numbers.

So the decision was made to start today's out-and-back-and-out-and-back with the first out being at long/recovery pace, the next at long pace, the next at long/easy, and the final at easy. As each leg is 1.75mi, this would put me at a 7mph average for an hour. I more or less nailed what I was going for, with averages of 8:51, 8:32, 8:21, and 8:05. A nice, steady progression with very slight, measured increases in effort. Even by the end, I still wasn't trying at all. Just flushing out the legs and getting some more miles in them.

But that's only half of the story. The other half of the story is that it's been raining for close to 36hrs straight, it was just hovering at 40degrees, and winds were out of the south at 14mph with 20mph gusts at the beginning of the run. I'd equate my excitement about all this with Mark's excitement at seeing snow this morning. Seriously, I LOVE running in harsh conditions, especially rain. Cold, windy rain was new for me, and my knees were cold and stinging for the first 15min - was wearing shoes, socks, shorts, t-shirt, rain shell, gloves, and beanie - but by the end it was pleasant and actually pretty toasty. And the legs? They feel great. Only a smidgen of soreness.

Which is good, because tomorrow is 90min with 4-5x 1mi hill repeats - .5mi up at 8:00 pace, .5mi down at 7:00 pace, for 7:30 miles; 2:30 recoveries between each.

---

Now, onto that whole self-reflection thing I hinted at on Tuesday.

Every time I do one of these posts, I always think about the fact that I'm pretty skeptical of others' conclusions, or judgmental of how elementary they seem to me... Which makes spouting about "what I've learned about myself" a bit of a nervous thing. Don't get me wrong, I know that everything I think I know is generally turned on its head within a month of me thinking I know it. So, as always, a grain of salt to accompany my revelations. Salt makes everything taste better, anyway.

Two months ago, I was sitting in a cabin in Big Bear, slightly hungover, and quickly growing weary of my company. More importantly and relevant to this post, I wasn't able to run. In fact, the entire week of Jan 1, I ran 13min. I had been cycling for a few weeks, taking things from the very beginning, and was pleased to find that this was now a pain-free activity (previously, any incline would cause my knee to flare up).

I knew I was ready to start training again, at least mentally, and I knew that it was going to take a ton of discipline and patience to let the physical readiness come around. And I knew that to do that, I'd have to be real with myself. I also knew that when I got back to Auburn, the only way I was going to survive with a smile on my face was to be real in every aspect of my life.

Last semester, I imploded. I ran like a maniac until I stopped, and once I stopped, my excuse for staying in every night went from a 3hr run the next morning to simply preferring to drink alone. I turned to any vice I could find, and I had no one I could (read: wanted to) talk to about it. Despite trying to keep it from Aileen, I dragged her through the mud, too. I knew that as long as I could make it to winter break in one piece, as long as I could hold onto my relationship until then, some time home would be what I needed to recharge. But at the same time, I knew coming back was going to be a battle against those memories.

My first two weeks back were just that: a battle. I struggled with what this apartment had become for me. What this part of the state had become for me. But something was different; I was running. Not much, not fast, but it was happening.

I decided I'd go about running differently than I ever had before. Before, training trumped everything else. And I mean everything. If I had a 45min recovery run to do, I was doing it. No way was I cycling or hiking or even just walking instead. No way was I rearranging my week to fit something in. Not this time. This time, running was going to be just one aspect of my life - albeit a very important one. It would not encompass my every waking thought and action. It would not dictate if I went out with friends, if I indulged in a little too much sushi, brownies, what have you.

Don't get me wrong; that sort of focus has its time and place. But I was, in every sense of the word, recovering. To some extent, I still am. While running doesn't hurt, I'm not stupid enough to think it can't. While I'm no longer holed up in my apartment alone, drunk, I'm not stupid enough to think that can never happen again. While I'm not obsessed with what I'm eating, in what quantities, and how it's affecting my running, I'm not stupid enough to think that I'm completely in the clear. Because let's be honest, a bit of self-discipline is good. Going overboard... not so much.

This is where I am, two months later. Last week, I broke 50 miles for the first time in over 5 months. I've pushed myself out of my little socially-awkward comfort zone and started developing some substantial friendships with people in my program. I've opened up to my mom, my brother, my friends, and you guys about who I am, what I struggle with, and when I need help with all of it.

My resolution this year was to be real. So far, so good.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Michael Enright on Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:52 pm

Wow.
Day at a time dude. Day at a time.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  KathyK on Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:24 pm

Because I just can't help it (I used get into "Mom" mode often over at Hal blogs), I'll get in Mom mode now.
I'm sure YOUR Mom is proud of you.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  ounce on Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:56 pm

So is Aileen still in the picture or a memory?

And, you have to like being around yourself for when no one else is around.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mark B on Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:56 pm

Don't be too hard on yourself, Mike. The mid-20s are hard.

Well, except that you still have the capability of fueling yourself entirely on crap. Enjoy that while you can. Very Happy
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:23 pm

Kathy - Can never have too many moms. Thank you.

Oz - Aileen's still around. Girl is by far the most understanding, supportive, and loving woman I've ever met. And that is very good advice, as well as something I've been working on for as long as I can remember.

Mark - It's what I do. Probably has something to do with the fact that I was able to excel at more or less everything while I was in school - I'm really good at academics - but so far haven't shown the same easy competency with "real life."

---

So, that run felt goooooood. And just saying that makes me realize how strange we, as runners, really are. When I look at today's run from a purely physiological perspective, I basically just did intervals that flooded my quads and calves with lactic acid, then ran those muscles through a meat tenderizer for good measure. But damn, do hills feel good (when you're expecting them).

I deviated slightly from the prescribed workout. Instead of 4-5x 1mi with 2:30 recoveries, I did 2 sets of 3x 1mi with 2:30 recoveries. I had 90min to fill and didn't want more than half of it to be lollygagging around trying to waste time. And when I thought about it, 4-5mi @ MP isn't that much of a workout, anyway, even when you factor in the hills.

The hill selected had 150' gain on one side, 100' on the other, though I varied where I started on either side so that some intervals were downhill heavy, some uphill heavy. The "front" side averages around 6.5-7%, the "back" is 5% with a short false flat about 2/3 up it. Started the first interval nice and easy and ended it with an exact split of 7:30. Each one after that was progressively faster, so the intervals became longer than a mile. The last averaged 6:55 pace, though it was downhill heavy (for comparison, the 2nd to last was 7:12 pace, slightly uphill heavy).

All said and done, I got in 11.4mi and ~700' dedicated climbing (1200' total).

And you bet your ass those post-run tilapia tacos tasted good.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  JohnP on Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:54 am

Pretty interesting stuff here, Mike, and really good runs. It seems you would be able to do better than a 3:30, are you still planning that to pace your friend?
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Michael Enright on Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:49 am

I want tilapia taco recipe/directions, please.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:00 pm

John - My friend's training has been spotty and pretty half-hearted, so I really doubt she'll get anywhere near 3:30. Because of that, I'm thinking of going out at 7:25 pace for a 3:15 finish. Should be a challenge, but within range and shouldn't require a perfect race like OC did. I'm still leaving the door open for a fellow 365er (you know who you are, Mom) to convince herself that her training is pointing towards a 3:30...

Michael - Your wish is my command.

These are per-person quantities.
3 small corn tortillas (the kind that you have to cook on the stove, come in big packs of like 100 for 3-4 bucks)
1 tilapia fillet, thawed (4-5oz, more is fine if you're extra hungry) - you can substitute mahi mahi or any white, non-fatty fish, too
1/4 red onion, diced (or yellow, if you hate red like I used to)
cilantro (fresh!)
cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt
limes
tomato, chopped
lettuce, chopped
sriracha
1-2 Mexican lagers

Preheat oven to 375, or fire up the grill if it's warm enough out. Rinse tilapia, pat semi-dry, and place on a sheet of aluminum foil. Add all spices (not the cilantro) in whatever quantities you desire. I go heavy on the salt and cumin, medium heavy on the garlic powder and paprika, light on the onion. Both sides of the fish. It looks crusted when I'm done with it. Make foil packet. When grill/oven is ready, toss it in and set a timer for 10min.

This is probably a good time to open your first beer. Throw a slice of lime in there and salt the rim. Yum. After 10min, flip the foil packet and set the timer for another 10min. Get a saucepan/frypan/whatever you want and start heating it up. You can use Pam or olive oil; I usually do the former. Throw the onion in there with some salt and cook over medium-high heat. You want it to be cooked but a little crisp. I sometimes throw in some chopped red/green bell pepper, too. When there's just a few minutes left on the fish, add half the cilantro you plan on using to the onion. Start heating another frypan or skillet for the tortillas.

When the fish comes out, carefully open the foil packet and put the fish in with the onion. Scrape all the spice goodness into the pan, too. Turn the heat all the way up and cook until the fish is slightly blackened, breaking it apart as you stir it around. Throw the tortillas on the other pan/skillet (with some Pam) and cook until golden, then flip and do it again. Then fold them in half and turn the heat off (leave them on the pan). The timing should line up with when the fish is done. Squirt a bit or sriracha in the fish mixture, or tapatio/whatever if you don't have sriracha. Put fish mixture in the torts, top with tomato and lettuce/other half of cilantro, squeeze a lime slice over the 3 tacos. You'll have some (or plenty) of leftover fish. I just put it on the plate and save it for last.

Enjoy.

---

So, hangovers are fun. My buddy from back home was in town this weekend - he works for a certain company that happens to put on a lot of marathons of a musical nature - and wanted to grab a beer and dinner. Which we did, and all was good and mellow. Then he dropped a huge bomb on the conversation and I immediately knew that it was going to be a drink-therapy night for him. So, like a good therapist, I made sure we stopped drinking there, got back downtown to his hotel, and stayed at the hotel bar so as to not have any problems later on.

Lots of free (thanks, certain company!) drinks later, headed back to the room and he passed out pretty much immediately. Since I'd been trying to keep up with him all night (he's got 40 pounds on me)... Ugh. Oh well, he needed a drinking buddy.

But hear you me; runs do not cure hangovers the way bike rides do. Meaning today's hour was... unpleasant. Still, tapped out a nice pace (8:20s on rolling trails) and finished up my 2nd build week for a total of 7hr35min and just a hair under 56mi. Not too shabby. I'm going to sleep.
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Michael Enright on Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:57 pm

Thanks - gotta try those!
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mark B on Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:39 am

Those tacos sound delish.

Nice of you to take one (or two, or three, or...) for your buddy and help him through his crisis. You'll forget your crappy hungover run, but he won't forget that you were there for him.

Well, unless he got really drunk, and then he just might forget. Shots
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:11 pm

They are really, really, really freakin' good tacos. I think that's dinner tonight, actually. Can't get enough.

And yes, he remembered; in fact, he was in far better shape than me yesterday, despite being blackout drunk the night before. Go figure.

---

Really enjoying today's off day and feeling extra productive. Got the whole apartment clean, including the fishtank - they needed it - and, since it was 70 (70!) degrees, took the motorcycle instead of the car to the grocery store. And now, with the sun starting to set, I've got come CCR playing, front door and windows open, and life is good. Definitely ready for next week and its running. And definitely ready to be home Thursday and see Aileen Saturday.

Here's a picture out the front door:
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Mike MacLellan
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Michael Enright on Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:29 pm

If you're listening to CCR, shouldn't the picture be out your backdoor?
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Michael Enright
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Re: Kara Sevda

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:30 pm

@Michael Enright wrote:If you're listening to CCR, shouldn't the picture be out your backdoor?

If only I had a backdoor... Actually, CCR just happened to pop up on my country Pandora station. Back to contemporary country, now.
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Mike MacLellan
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Re: Kara Sevda

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