Wed, Mar. 22 Electoral Vote Predictor

Mar. 22nd, 2017 06:00 am
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Republicans Are Running Scared

The vote on the ACA Replacement from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is on Thursday, and the 216 votes needed to pass it may not be there. Various whip counts show it to be very close. One count shows that 21 members of the Freedom Caucus will vote no, which would be enough to sink the bill. Another shows 27 Freedom Caucusers and an additional 20 moderates, which would definitely be enough to sink the bill. To increase the chances of passage, President Donald Trump visited the Hill yesterday to try to intimidate opponents of the bill into voting for it. Specifically, he said: "Give me your vote or you may lose your seat in 2018." Implicit in that threat was a suggestion that any Republican voting against the bill would be primaried in 2018, with Trump tweeting support for the challenger. Trump named Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, by name when he said: "Mark, I'm gonna come after you."

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Day 10.070: A sign of spring

Mar. 21st, 2017 10:56 pm
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Posted by the_exile

There were several cedar waxwings outside our office building this morning. It may not feel much like spring - but there are a few signs that it is!

Tue, Mar. 21 Electoral Vote Predictor

Mar. 21st, 2017 06:00 am
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Comey Tells House Committee that Obama Didn't Tap Trump's Phone

FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee yesterday that the FBI is looking into Trump-Russia collusion but he didn't have much to say about it now. He did have something to say about President Donald Trump's claim that Barack Obama tapped his phone during the campaign, namely that he has no evidence to support such a claim. This was the big story everywhere yesterday. Here are a few of the headlines, which are linked to the stories in each newspaper.

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Day 10.069: First day of spring

Mar. 20th, 2017 10:06 pm
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Posted by the_exile

As I got home from my run this morning, I spotted this tiny snowman perched on top of a snow pile by the fire hydrant outside our house:

No-one in the house admits to making it, so I guess it must have been a neighbor or passer-by.

Later, when the sun came out, it began to look a lot like the first day of spring, as long as your mental image of a spring day is this:

Training Log - Week ending 3/19/17

Mar. 20th, 2017 12:58 pm
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Posted by AKA Darkwave, AKA Anarcha, AKA Cris.

This week was 40 miles of running and 12 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.

The weather was a big story this week - a snowstorm hit DC on Monday night, forcing the cancellation of Tuesday's workout.  The track was unusable, and roads were too poor early Tuesday morning to safely drive to our back-up location, in the sheltered area under the Whitehurst Freeway.

You'd think that this would be a non-issue for me, since I was done training and in full taper for my goal half-marathon.  This workout really didn't matter.

Except that it did matter.  I've discovered that my best taper is to sharply cut back on my volume, while maintaining moderately high intensity until very close to the race.  Basically the opposite of my natural inclination to do lots of volume while skipping the intensity.  This optimal taper structure is why I do counter-intuitive things like lifting at the gym three days before my goal race (albeit very minimal - just enough to fool my body into thinking it did something).

So I wanted to get some sort of fast running on Tuesday - I didn't necessarily care about the exact format, and I didn't want anything TOO intense - but I needed SOMETHING.

Fortunately, I have both a flexible work schedule and an SUV (is it "an" SUV or "a SUV"?).  Around 8 am the roads were clear enough to be passable with all wheel drive, so I scheduled a "meeting" with the Whitehurst Freeway and ventured forth for 6 repeats of approximately 800m in distance at "fast-but-relaxed-and-don't-kill-it" effort.

The rest of the week was full taper, punctuated by a mile at half-marathon pace (this is usually prescribed as 10K pace, but I decided that I liked slowing it down, both so I could get a feel for half-marathon pace and because it'd be less effort.)

As I noted in my race report, I ultimately decided to redirect to the Shamrock Half-Marathon, rather than the New York City Half-Marathon.    On Sunday morning, my coach and I joked about how I had clearly made the right choice, as my team huddled in the steady rain and gale force winds.  The irony is not lost on me, as I write this weekly report while watching the replay of NYC, featuring clear roads and fast weather (I'm on vacation today, in case you're wondering).

But, I think I did make the right choice.  NYC is a PR course, and had PR weather that day.  But apparently that was true for Shamrock also.  I wanted a PR, and a 1:27.  I got or surpassed both, while also getting to experience one of those races that may be commiserated about for years to come.  And that's worth something.

The next few days are recovery - not a full break (that will come in June).


Monday: In the morning, yoga and 6 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

: In the morning, 10 miles under the Whitehurst including a workout of 6x"800" in 2:53, 2:59, 2:55, 2:57, 2:50, 2:54 with 2 minutes recovery.  Followed with light injury prevention work.  Foam roller at night.

Wednesday:  In the morning, 7 miles very easy (9:08), followed by gentle DIY yoga and foam rolling.

Thursday: In the morning, 6 "miles" pool-running and some upper body strengthwork+core.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday: In the morning, 7 miles - most very easy (9:39), but with a mile at goal half-marathon pace (6:39) plus drills and strides  Followed with foam rolling .

Saturday:  Drove down to Virginia Beach, then did foam rolling and gentle DIY yoga.

Sunday: 2.5 mile warm-up, half-marathon in 1:26:34, and then a half mile jog back to my hotel.  Skipped my traditional post-race recovery routine (foam-rolling, swimming) in favor of celebrating our 9th anniversary on Sunday night.  It was the right choice, but I'm feeling it as of Monday.

Mon, Mar. 20 Electoral Vote Predictor

Mar. 20th, 2017 06:00 am
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Comey to Testify before House Committee Today

FBI Director James Comey will testify in public today before the House Intelligence Committee. The Committee members want to know what the FBI is doing to investigate Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. The FBI has already said that the Russians hacked the DNC email server and released the emails through WikiLeaks, but the committee members want to know other things as well. The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), wants to know if there were U.S. persons who helped the Russians in any way. He also wants to know if there was any collusion. Comey was burned last October when he released information about the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server before the investigation was complete. He is unlikely to take many chances today and probably won't divulge much.

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Chuckanut Japandroids 3/18/17

Mar. 20th, 2017 03:42 am
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Posted by pointlenana

Yesterday started at 4:20am and finished around 12:30am Sunday morning.

I got up early, got ready and headed up to Bellingham for the 25th anniversary of the Chuckanut 50k.  I didn’t really have expectations or high hopes for my race, but that was true last year also and I ended up finishing (last year) in 5:24 which was good for 3rd place in my age group.  This year however, the forecast was for lots of rain in the day before the race and during the race so I knew it would be sloppy and my main goal was staying upright.

The elite competition was strong this year – Sage Canaday, Hayden Hawks, David Laney, Max King (course record holder) and a bunch of near-elite runners showed up on the men’s side, and the women’s race included YiOu Wang and Camille Herron, among others.

I’ve written about Chuckanut several already times, so I’ll just hit the highlights:

  • Max King broke his own course record, finishing in 3:33:11 in sloppy conditions, beating Hayden “The New Jim Walmsley” Hawks by just 31 seconds (3:33:42).  Someone at the finish line told me Hayden was closing quickly but just ran out of real estate.  Must have been fun to watch them fly across the finish line.  Sage took 3rd.  A local unknown (to me at least) Ladia Alberston-Junkins took first in the women’s race (in her first 50k), YiOu Wang took second, another relative unknown from Spokane – Rachel Jaten – took 3rd (and 1st masters) also in her first 50k.
  • Some friends had fantastic days.  My friend Jeff K – who had never had a good race at Chuckanut – ran 4:41 and took 3rd in his age group while beating some very good runners.  Masazumi took 1st masters on a recently-sprained ankle.  Dave L won our age group (as usual).  Roger L placed 22nd overall.
  • It wasn’t the worst day ever for me, but it wasn’t the best either.  I finished in 5:53:10, about 30 minutes slower than last year – 7th in my AG.  I had some regrets looking at the results – 6 minutes faster would have moved me to 4th, and 15 minutes faster would have gotten me 2nd.  But I stayed upright and got a good workout for Boston and Canyons 100k next month.
  • I’m not sure exactly where the time went for me, but I think it breaks down something like this:
    • ~5 minutes for gear issues.  I’ve always run Chuckanut with just a handheld bottle and no extra clothes.  With the weather though, and my recent experience getting really cold at Black Canyon, I decided to err on the side of caution and wore an ultra vest to carry a raincoat, warm hat and gloves.  With hindsight, I would have been better skipping the vest, starting the race in gloves and putting the warm hat in a small SpiBelt.  As it was, the vest caused my iPod shuffle to come off my shorts and in trying to get it back on I managed to drop it in the mud.  I had to work upstream through runners to pick it up.  Once I did, the iPod didn’t work great anymore and I lost another minute or two fiddling with it as I ran before finally taking it off and sticking it in the vest.  I also waited too long to put on my gloves, and by the time I did my hands didn’t work very well so I again had to pull aside and work the gloves on.  I never wore the hat or the rain coat – once I got the gloves on my arm warmers, wool shirt and baseball cap were enough.
    • 5-10 minutes because it looks like the course was a little longer this year.  After running a slightly different course the past few years, they reverted to the original course this year for the anniversary.  This didn’t stop Max King from running it faster, but other people took a little longer and my Garmin track is 1.2 miles longer than last year.
    • That leaves ~15 minutes for a combo of mud, getting old, and giving up.  I had to pull aside 3 or 4 times in the first 15 miles to deal with stuff, and each time I did, lots of runners passed me.  I thought it would even out – if I had a good day in me I’d pass them back later in the race.  But I didn’t realize that each one of those people would chew up the trail a little more in front of me.  It looks like I lost most of my time in the more technical, muddy sections.  So in a sense, the slower I went, the slower I got because the trail degraded a little more.  Part of the problem is that it was rainy, foggy, and kind of dark, and my old man eyes don’t see quite as well in those conditions – wanting to stay upright I went a little more cautiously than I might have.  At some point, it was clear I wouldn’t be close to last year’s time and I didn’t seem to be having a great day, so I reset my goal to finishing under six hours which seemed possible but not a sure thing.
  • On the plus side, I did go pretty fast for the last 10 miles down Fragrance Lake Road and on flat final 10k.  Probably not quite as fast as at the Lost Lake 50k or Chuckanut last year, but definitely not in give-up mode, and I passed most of the other racers I encountered.  My watching was showing ~7 minute pace over the last mile or so.
  • The best part by far was seeing lots of friends at least briefly throughout the day.  Counting racers, volunteers, and spectators, I probably saw 30 people from around the NW that I tend to only see at races.  Thanks to all the people who volunteered.
  • I got a kiss from my friend Yvonne at the Kissing Booth at the Chuckanut Ridge aid station.  Yvonne just ran 131 miles in 24 hours, qualifying for the Irish National 24 hour team – and will represent the home team at the World Championships in Belfast in July.
  • There were also plenty of elite sightings, e.g. Ellie Greenwood was out cheering for us, David Laney recognized me from seeing each other at Greenlake, Sage was walking around with his mom at the finish, and Max King was next to me as we dropped off our finish line bags.

Yvonne at the Kissing Booth.


Just a couple of guys who run around Greenlake.

I left fairly quickly after the race, drove home, cleaned up, ate, and took a short nap.  Right around the time that I’d normally think about bed, Janet and I dragged ourselves out of the house to see Japandroids at the Neptune.  (If you live west of the Rockies, you might have heard the show.) We’d never heard of the opening act (The Uptown Controllers?) but feared that we’d go to sleep if we waited so we were there in time for the start of the show.  The crowd had the usual northwest mix of college students, lumbersexuals, and people older than 30.  It’s possible we weren’t the oldest people there.

It turned out the opener was Craig Finn (of The Hold Steady) and his solo band (The Uptown Controllers) – that was fun.  After he played, we pushed our way towards the stage, trying to avoid the usual situation where very tall people push right in front of our formerly-awesome spots on the floor.  We ended up 3 feet from the stage, about where the Japandroids drummer plays, with no tall people in front of us and a clear view.


The calm before the storm.

Japandroids opened up with Near To The Wild Heart Of Life.  About 20 seconds into the song, someone in the audience crawled onto the stage and then fell backwards onto the people to the left of us.  “Huh – haven’t been to a show like this for a while”.  A moment later I was almost knocked over as a mosh pit broke out just to the left of us.  Janet eased away and I pushed to the stage to brace myself.  A few minutes later – maybe during Adrenaline Nightshift – another guy near me pushed onto the stage, somehow using his face for leverage.  He stood there for a moment and then suddenly flew his 200+ pound body into the crowd at high speed and a flat angle.  There was a commotion where he landed – I guess everyone ducked – and security helped him off the floor.  After that, the drummer said something like “It look liked that was self-inflicted, but take care of each other out there.”

Things settled down a tiny bit after that, but we watched the rest of the show with half an eye on the chaos to our left.  Japandroids played for at least a couple hours, all at Fire’s Highway energy level.  It was their last show in the US before they return home to Vancouver, and they liked the crowd energy.  A lot of sound from just two people – it felt like my body throbbed for about an hour after the show from the Continuous Thunder.

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Posted by the_exile

Exile #2 writes...

No sooner had Exile #3 arrived home from her weekend away, than she was heading off again, this time to the dance studio, to help run a party for the dance students. E5N1 qualified as one of those, so he went too. There were games and dancing, and, for some reason, E5N1 arrived home with a Union Jack painted on his face. We'd been busy preparing his US passport renewal request while they were out, but decided that maybe we'd better delay taking his passport photo. Not sure if they'd appreciate the face art.

I spent much of the weekend in a wrestling match with a migraine but did enjoy strolling through Portland yesterday. There is still a lot of snow - including an impressive amount that had been blown inside the multi-storey car park - but the sky was blue, and the temperature was quite pleasant if, like me, you were wearing a knee-length down coat.

The week ahead is a full one, made fuller by the need to catch up on events postponed by snow, including a whole extra day of school. Won't the young Exiles be delighted!
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Posted by AKA Darkwave, AKA Anarcha, AKA Cris.

I ran the Shamrock Half-Marathon today, finishing in a time of 1:26:34 - this is a nearly 2 minute PR over my previous "fair" PR of 1:28:28 from Shamrock two years ago, and also eclipses my "asterisked" PR of 1:26:52 from the 3M Half last year.  And was good enough for top masters female and 7th female overall.  I'm stoked.

Shamrock wasn't my original plan for this weekend.  I had registered for the NYC Half many months ago as my goal race for this spring.  But, (per Murphy's law as executed by the weather gods)  as of Thursday morning a snowstorm was forecast for New York City on Saturday evening.  Not a huge amount of snow, just 1-3 inches.   But possibly enough to disrupt the race, making it either a slushy/icy mess that would hamper my PR goals, or a fun run.  I messaged several runner friends in NYC, and they recommended against coming up to run NYC if I had another option.

Which fortunately, I did.  When I register for goal races, I like to register for a back-up race - one that is either the same weekend in a different part of the country, or the following weekend.  It just seems logical - I invest a lot of time and money and sweat in a training cycle - why not invest a little more money upfront to improve my chances of having good weather on race day.  And it's really not that much money if you register for the back-up race early (far cheaper than panicking 7 days out when the weather looks iffy and registering late). I also book hotels for each location, carefully noting the cancellation date.

In this case, I had registered for a) New York, plus DC-NY train tickets and a Wall Street hotel room, and b) Shamrock (drivable from DC, plus a hotel room in the general Virginia Beach vicinity).  So, once I made my decision to do Shamrock instead, I cancelled my train tickets (refunded) and my hotel (no charge), and was only out the NYC registration fee.   Which was fine - the registration was a sunk cost, and a icy race or a fun run was of little value to me, even if it did feature Times Square.

An added bonus was that I managed to score that most elusive of quarries - a one night hotel stay on the beach right by the Shamrock half marathon start line.   This was excellent, because the weather wasn't looking great for Shamrock either - high winds and some rain.  But the thing about the Shamrock half is that it can be very windy and one can still run fast.  Given the forecasts, I liked my chances at Shamrock a lot better than those at NYC.

Well...that was until I checked the forecasts again around 6 am on Saturday morning, as I prepped for the drive to Virginia Beach.  Things had changed.  Now New York was showing rain on Saturday night and a clear Sunday morning, while Virginia Beach was under a gale advisory for Saturday night into Sunday afternoon.

Ugh.  I considered changing plans again - my New York hotel had availability, and there were still seats on the train.  And though I'd eat the cost of the Virginia Beach hotel, that wasn't a crippling amount of money.  But in the end (after messaging various friends and a tolerant coach), I decided to stick with Shamrock.  I had already switched mental gears to Shamrock, and I also didn't want to deal with the scramble of rebooking my New York accommodations and madly dashing to the train station.  Additionally, the forecast might change again, and I liked my chances at Shamrock during a gale much better than those at New York in an snowstorm or with icy roads.

You see, in someways, Shamrock is a magic race.  It seems like the worse the weather is there, the better people run (my marathon PR is still from Shamrock, on a ridiculously windy day).  I think that's in part because it's a super flat and fast course and in part because many people run their best when they let go of expectations - as we usually do when the weather is awful.  Additionally, at Shamrock, if it's really windy in just the right way, the course can work for you.  More on that below.


So, I was committed.  I left the house just before 8 am, which ensured that the three hour drive to Virginia Beach was in fact a three hour drive, as opposed to the four to five hour (or more) monstrosity it can be.  I arrived at the expo just before 11, where I grabbed my bib and then headed over to a nearby Chipotle for race prep.  (I don't intend to ever race in a location where there is no Chipotle.  Just so we're clear).

The Chipotle was disappointing.  It's the first time I've had to coach the server to fill up my bowl - usually the bowls are overflowing with ricey-meaty-guacamole goodness.  Not this time.  My two bowls (yes, I get two bowls pre-long race - eat 1.5 for lunch plus a bag of chips, and then save the remainder for apres-race) were barely 2/3ds full, despite my pleading.  There was only one solution - purchase a third bowl.  I debated pretending I was ordering for a friend, but I've never been good at lying, so I didn't bother.

Post Chipotle, I checked into my nice beachfront hotel, where I proceeded to email my partner instructions on how to take care of the cats (including litterbox tips). I also thoughtfully included a picture of the ocean from my window, thus cementing my frontrunner status for partner of the year. (BTW, this was our anniversary weekend).

Did a bunch of gentle yoga and foam rolling to get everything mobile, and checked the weather again.  The time of arrival for the apocalyptic weather kept getting pushed back.  Just a few hours more, and it'd miss my race entirely.


In fact, when I awoke this morning very early (I needed to take my Advair at 4 am to ensure it was fully working for the 7 am race), it was still dry and just moderately breezy.  Woo.  But around 5:15 am, the front came in, with moderate rain and a strong wind.

This was bad and good.  I actually didn't mind the rain - I knew it's be miserable while waiting to start, but 40 degrees and rain is also the absolute BEST my lungs ever function.  When I'm on the right asthma drugs, I get to about 90% on a normal day.  But give me a dank dreary drizzle, and my breathing is AWESOME.  No asthma at all.  It's a phenomenal feeling that more than makes up for the chafing and the cold hands and the waterlogged shoes.  If' I'm racing, I'll take 40s and light rain over 50s and dry any day.

The wind was also arguably a positive.  Though it was very very strong (my Garmin says 15 MPH, but news reports pointed towards 20-25 MPH), it was coming from the North, which was very very good, as long as I paced the race correctly.

The proper execution of this race on a windy day is best explained with a picture:

The course is run clockwise - starting and ending at the bottom right. run this course well, you need to go out very conservatively, finding a pack to use as a windblock.   Once you turn off of Atlantic Avenue onto Shore Drive (just before mile 3) you can pick it up as the wind lessens.  But start hunting for another pack after you pass mile 5, so you can use them as wind blocks after the right turn into Fort Story.  Hang with them until the wind turns into a crosswind, then hold a steady effort until the tailwind takes over, and ride that baby home.

If you follow this strategy, then (within reason) the windier the course is, the faster it is.  As long as the wind is from the north. If the wind is from the south, then you should probably start drinking before the race, rather than waiting until after.


The above is what I did, and it worked beautifully.  After a two mile warm-up with a few strides and drills (I deliberately UNDERwarmed up to make sure I stayed conservative), I targeted marathon-pace feel for the first three miles - basically a slight exaggeration of my coach's "start slow/finish fast" philosophy.  I found a nice crew that was holding that pace, and just followed right behind the tallest and widest member of the pack.

(I chose the widest and tallest person both because they were the biggest windblock, and also because it was near certain they wouldn't ask me to split the work, given my small stature).

[During this part, I focused a lot on running tall and relaxed.  I believe that some of the effect from a strong wind is a result of how the runner reacts to it.  It's very natural to want to curl up and hunch over so as to present less of a surface to the wind.  But, in doing so, it can make one's gait much less efficient and lose you even more time.  For myself, I've found that if I avoid the temptation to hunch into the wind, and instead stretch up tall, I actually run much faster.]

Once we turned into the park, I swung wide of the pack and started to gently open my stride.  Not a sudden change of pace, but just a gradual build from marathon effort to tempo.  Around mile 5, I took half of my gel (Blueberry Pomegranate Rocktane) and finished off my water bottle and tossed it (along with my handwarmers). Then I targeted a pack to tail for the first part of Fort Story.

Only to discover it wasn't necessary.  For whatever reason, the wind was no longer as bad there.  I think there are some new buildings that blocked it.

There were other humorous obstacles, though.  The second half of this race is never far from the beach and its sand, and at one point on the course, a large amount of sand had blown across the road, creating a minor sand dune that had to be traversed.  Fortunately the sand wasn't that deep, and this section was only about 20 feet long, but still an unwelcome surprise.

Shortly after mile 7, I felt the full effect of the tailwind.  (it says something about a tailwind if you actually feel it while you're running).  I had been wearing a longsleeve over my singlet, but was finally warm enough to toss it, so I removed it while running.  Not without some difficulty - I was wearing a hat because of the rain, and ended up having to take my hat off so that I could remove and toss the shirt (all while running about 6:30 pace). Luckily, I often do clothing changes during my long runs for just this reason, and so I managed to do it all without losing too much pace.

From then, it was game on.  Just staying relaxed and continuing to reel in person after person.  Not chasing as much as flowing and letting them come back to me.  And a lot of them did, including several women.  I was 11th woman, then 10th, then 9th, then 8th, then 7th.

This part of the race was not without comic relief.  Around mile 9.5, the course makes a slight left turn back onto Atlantic Avenue. There was a large puddle at that point that the runners around me were dodging.  I didn't see any reason to deviate from my "shortest distance to the finish" track, especially since I was already soaked.  So I ran directly through the large but shallow puddle.  Only to discover it was a large but deep puddle - above my ankles.  Whoops.  But I managed to a) stay on my feet, b) not lose much speed, and c) not bark out TOO much profanity in front of the group of children cheering.

The last few miles were some of the most fun I've ever raced.  I was running hard, but completely under control, with the mile markers passing surprisingly quickly.  I thought 1:27:xx was a good goal for today, and so it was wonderful to see the clock ticking down 1:26.  And then I was done and hugging friends and collecting my finisher's prize (a towel - how appropriate).


I took manual splits at mile markers, which was made a bit more difficult by the wind.  More than half the mile markers were on their sides, and thus hard to see until you were close.  It seems like quite few were slightly off as well - my guess is that they were moved some distance by the wind.  So... my rough mile splits.

Mile 1: 7:02
Mile 2: 7:10
Mile 3: 7:00  (so averaged 7:04 for first three miles - marathon pace)
Mile 4: 6:45
Mile 5: 6:31
Mile 6: 6:48
Mile 7: 6:32
Mile 8: 6:20
Mile 9: 6:24
Mile 10: 6:20
Mile 11: 8:19 for 1.3 miles - 6:25 pace
Mile 12: 4:26 for .7 miles - 6:20 pace
Mile 13+last bit: 6:58 for 1.11 miles - 6:16 pace

Other notes:

  • Warmed up wearing a cheap CVS poncho over a disposable long sleeve T-Shirt over my singlet.  Also wore gloves with handwarmers, a running hat for the rain, and carried a water bottle.  And bodyglided EVERYTHING.  I tossed the poncho right before the start, and the handwarmers+water bottle at around mile 5.    The longsleeve shirt was tossed around the halfway point.
  • The weather got even worse for the marathoners.  The precipitation let up briefly, only to return as sleet.  Tough day.
  • The drive once again took 4.5 hours to get back to DC, thanks to the misery that is I-95 between Richmond and DC on a Sunday afternoon.
  • As it turned out, New York had better weather than Shamrock.  Oh the irony. On the other hand, my goal in signing up for New York was to run a fast time - I actually think (never having run it) that New York can be faster than Shamrock if the weather's equal.  I wanted a PR today, and I got one.  So mission accomplished, and no regrets about my choice.
  • Just so everyone can mock me, I carried four gels for this race, though I only intended to eat one.  Why?  Because then I'd have extras if I dropped one (or two) and could also share if a teammate dropped theirs.  Plus my stomach can sometimes get quite iffy during races, and so I like to carry several different flavors to be sure I have something I can tolerate.
  • This race was awesome for several reasons, but one of the sweetest was the reassurance I got from it.  My coach has us train in groups, and for the last few weeks, the group that's felt like the best fit, pace-wise, has also been finishing far ahead of me at races.  Triggering some questioning about whether I shouldn't back off the training - if you're running with people in workouts, but lag behind in races, it's usually a sign of overcooking the training.  But today, I managed to finish right in the midst of those I train with.  That felt good.  Both for the performance itself, and for the confirmation that I haven't been overdoing my workouts.
  • Because this was my goal race for the first half of the spring, I tapered for this similar to how I would for a marathon - 3 weeks of reduced volume while preserving the intensity until the last few days.  I think it worked.
  • They didn't have an awards ceremony - instead mailing out the awards, including overall.  Fine with me.
  • As always, I got nauseous when I took my Ucan the night before my races, and my sinuses hurt like crazy during the last few days of taper.  Same note to self as always - don't worry about this - the nausea will ease by morning.  And you're not getting sick, it's just taper.  Take Tylenol and you'll be fine.

Sun, Mar. 19 Electoral Vote Predictor

Mar. 19th, 2017 06:00 am
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Goodbye RyanCare, Hello TrumpCare

President Donald Trump's personal intervention in getting House conservatives to drop their opposition to the AHCA bill means he owns it now, for better or worse. If it passes Congress and he signs it, he can (and will) rightly take much of the credit for getting it passed. However, to voters who lose their healthcare as a result, he is one who will get the blame. And that group includes a fair number of people who voted for him.

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Day 10.067: Dinosaur!

Mar. 18th, 2017 08:09 pm
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Posted by the_exile

The girls are away at a retreat this weekend - so it was just three of us today - something that does not happen very often. After he did a concerted effort to get his homework done this morning, we ventured out to visit the Portland Science Center where the current exhibit is Dinosaurs Unearthed - a mixture of interesting recent scientific discoveries, hands-on exhibits, video features and animatronic dinosaurs:

This was a lot of fun - and more affordable for three than for five - and we followed up with some wandering in the Old Port and some early dinner before heading home.

Lift by Daniel Kunitz

Mar. 18th, 2017 09:54 pm
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Posted by Philip Brewer

My brother shared this comic with me a while back. I think it captures something—something about CrossFit, but also about how people react to anyone who’s “really into” anything.I’m not a crossfitter, but my expanding interests in fitness and movement have produced similarly horrified reactions to the prospect of having to engage with me on the topic—less frantic only because people are not literally trapped in an elevator with me.

I bring this up because the recent book Lift, by Daniel Kunitz, can be read as a love song to CrossFit (although he has done a pretty good job of discreetly tucking away most of the CrossFit stuff near the end of the book).

The book is more than just one thing, and even more than a love song to CrossFit it’s a fascinating cultural history of fitness.

Kunitz uses the term New Frontier Fitness to refer to the whole emerging cluster of practices centered around the idea of “functional” fitness: CrossFit, MovNat, Parkour, AcroYoga, obstacle course racing, and any number of gymnastic and calisthenic exercise practices. Kunitz doesn’t mention Katy Bowman’s work, but it obviously fits in as well.

Doryphoros MAN Napoli Inv6011-2A key thesis of the book is that the motivating genius of New Frontier Fitness is not without precedent: It springs directly from ancient Greek ideals of fitness, and he references both ancient Greek representations of a fit body (such as the Doryphoros sculpture) and statements by ancient Greeks not unlike Georges Hébert’s admonition “Be strong to be useful.”

This cluster of ideas—in particular that fitness was a moral and social obligation, but also that functional fitness produces a beautiful body as a side-effect (rather than as a goal)—largely disappeared after the Greeks, except in tiny subcultures such as the military. It has only reemerged in the past few years as the various things that Kunitz refers to as New Frontier Fitness.

In between—and the 2000-year history of this makes up of the center of Kunitz’s book—there were many things that were not this particular tradition of functional fitness, but instead were aimed at producing a particular type of body (body-building, aerobics, etc.)

It’s impossible for me to talk about Daniel Kunitz’s Lift without comparing it to another book—Christopher McDougall’s Natural Born Heroes. They are similar in at least two ways. First, they both compare modern fitness culture to that of the ancient Greeks. Second, they both appear to have been written just for me.

A third book that I read recently but haven’t written about is Spark, by John J. Ratey, which overlaps in the sense that all talk about intensity as a key aspect of exercise to produce functional fitness. (If all you’re interested in is appearance and body composition, you can get most of the way there with a diligent application of low-intensity exercise, but some amount of intensity is highly beneficial for functionality and brain health.)

All three books are worth reading.

Image credits: CrossFit Elevator comic by Ryan Kramer from ToonHole. Doryphoros photo by Ricardo André Frantz.

Sat, Mar. 18 Electoral Vote Predictor

Mar. 18th, 2017 06:00 am
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Collins Will Vote Against Healthcare Bill

Yesterday Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a key Senate centrist, said that she will not vote for the healthcare bill being proposed by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in its current form. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has previously said he will not vote for it either. If one more Republican senator defects, the bill will not be able to pass the Senate.

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Day 10.066: Lepre-conned

Mar. 17th, 2017 09:11 pm
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Posted by the_exile

I helped E5N1 build a leprechaun trap last night:

It was a bit of a rush-job and so it is perhaps not too surprising that it failed to catch one of the little folk. It was, however, visited by one who left some gold-wrapped chocolates and a handy leprechaun name generator. We therefore discovered the following:

I am Musical McCheesy,
Exile #2 is Cheerful McNoodles,
Exile #3 is Grouchy O'Lucky*,
Exile #4 is Bubbly O'Lucky,
and E5N1 is Eager O'Really.

* I used my nickname for her because I liked the result!

Friday Inspiration, Vol. 69

Mar. 17th, 2017 01:00 pm
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Posted by brendan

“To my fellow creators, I say: keep creating. Keep doing the work. And never forget, you don’t have to listen…

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Writing and moving

Mar. 17th, 2017 09:03 am
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Posted by Philip Brewer

I still struggle with the tension between time spent moving and time spent writing, even as I come to recognize that the tension may not even exist. So I love this post by Katy Bowman, on being A Writer Who Moves, A Mover Who Writes.

Culturally, we still hold the belief that the relationship between time and productivity is direct. As if writing consists solely of the output of words, your typing speed being the indicator of how long it would take to write a thousand-word word article (ten minutes) or a novel (one week). But of course, time spent coming up with ideas and themes, and organizing and reorganizing these threads in our minds, is also “writing.” The trouble is, we’ve come to see sitting at a desk as an integral part of the writing process. We imagine the mulling, the idea-forming, the organizing, the process—the creativity—can occur only when the butt–chair circuit is closed. I (and researchers) have found the opposite to be true: movement can be a conduit for creativity.

Today I will live this truth: I will move and I will write.

Fri, Mar. 17 Electoral Vote Predictor

Mar. 17th, 2017 06:00 am
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Trump's Budget Hits Headwinds before the Ink Is Dry

Donald Trump released his first budget yesterday to a chorus of boos. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and several others called it "pie in the sky." Other Republicans in Congress weren't too worried about the proposed budget though, saying "Presidents propose, Congress disposes." In other words, Congress is going to make major changes to the budget before passing it.

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

March 2017

   123 4

My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31


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