Wed, Apr. 24 Electoral Vote Predictor

Apr. 24th, 2019 06:00 am
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The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown Down

It's not just talk anymore. In the last couple of weeks, House Democrats have kicked their investigative activities into high gear, with the release of the Mueller report pushing the 'turbo' button. The Trump administration has, at the same time, signaled an intent to dig its heels in, and to offer zero cooperation. On Tuesday, that approach became official, as Team Trump formally defied the Congress in two ways.

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Posted by the_exile

Exile #3 and her dance company colleagues did another show at the library this evening - this time including some student choreography. Two of the pieces Exile #3 choreographed this year were performed - her two-on-two hip hop vs jazz dance battle and this solo (unless you count the scarf as a dance partner):

It was a fun show with a small and enthusiastic audience - I was sorry to have to leave before the end to get Exile #4 from her karate class.

Tue, Apr. 23 Electoral Vote Predictor

Apr. 23rd, 2019 06:00 am
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The Subpoena Wars Have Commenced

Now that the Mueller report has dropped, House Democrats are ready to really remove the wrapper from their subpoena powers and take them out for a spin. And so, the subpoenas are already flying around Washington, while the Trump administration tries very hard to frustrate the blue team's ambitions.

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Posted by the_exile

One of my requests for the rainy Saturday at the end of April break, was to have a second try at the "May" month of Pandemic Legacy. I'm happy to say we made time for this activity and succeeded at the second attempt. June is coming next (quite possibly in actual June!)

The girls were curious as to what Exile #2 was doing with the iPad, but apparently thought I should be in the record of this success!

Mon, Apr. 22 Electoral Vote Predictor

Apr. 22nd, 2019 06:00 am
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Following Mueller Report's Release, Everyone Makes Their Next Moves

The giant domino titled "Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election" (a.k.a. the Mueller report) has fallen, and so it is now time for many other dominoes to fall, as well. And the various actors definitely spent the weekend making their next moves in this little chess game (Note: That's two strategy-game metaphors for the price of one).

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Posted by the_exile

Exile #2 writes...

We spent the main part of today at church. It was nice to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen for a while, and Exile #1 also sang a song. Then we stayed afterwards to help make the small meeting rooms into bedrooms for guests that will be staying this week. We ate a quick lunch and snatched a moment’s rest, then this evening enjoyed a feast of roast beef (with Yorkshire puddings, of course) and carrot cake to finish. It’s back to school tomorrow morning but it’s been a relaxing week.

Thanks to O for the picture of the girls!
Happy Easter from the Exiles!

Training log - Week ending 4/21/2019

Apr. 21st, 2019 01:32 pm
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Posted by AKA Darkwave, AKA Anarcha, AKA Cris.

This week was 60 miles of running, 16 "miles" of pool-running and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

After racing 2 weeks in a row, it was time to get back to work.  

I always train by effort, letting the paces be what they will. As it turned out, I saw a big bump in paces this week.   While I'm sure part of that is the great weather that we had over the past few days, some of it is also improved fitness.  Racing 10 miles usually gives me a big fitness boost.  I think this is because I respond really well to tempo workouts, and a 10 mile race is not just a race but the ultimate in tempo workouts.

The marathon pace section on Sunday's long run was a surprise.  Though I'm sure some of it could be explained by the moderate tailwind I had, it was still a pleasant surprise to see a sequence of 6:3x's on the watch after the run.    

The more I think about, the less shocking that pace is - I think breaking 2:55 for a marathon this fall is a realistic goal if the stars align, and 6:37 pace yields a 2:53 marathon.  So not outlandish at all.  I'm just not used to seeing that number on a long run, so it still feels a bit odd.

Based on last week's 5K and this week's workouts, I believe I'm now in shape to run 18:30 or faster for the 5K - I just need to get into the right race to do it.  The weather's looking pretty good this upcoming weekend, so I'm probably going to jump into one of the 20+ 5K races in this area.   The Pike's Peek 10K is also this weekend, and I'd love to do that.  But I've got the Broad Street 10 Miler next weekend, and racing anything longer than 5K this weekend risks compromising my performance at Broad Street.


Monday: Upper body weights/core and 8 "miles" pool-running in the morning.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 12 miles, including a track workout of 400, 800, 2x1200, 800, 400 in 87, 2:56, 4:23, 4:21, 2:52, 78.  Followed with leg strengthwork and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 8 miles very easy to yoga (9:17), and then yoga.  Followed with another 4 miles very easy (9:02) and drills and strides.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday:  Upper body weights/core and 8 "miles" pool-running in the morning.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday: 12 miles, including a 4 mile tempo on the track in 25:18 (6:29/6:20/6:20/6:09).  Followed with leg strengthwork and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:  10 miles very easy (8:59), plus drills, strides, DIY yoga, and upper body weights/core.  Foam rolling at night.

Sunday: 14 miles progressive, split as first 4 miles averaging 8:49, next 4 averaging 7:38, last 4 averaging 6:37.   Followed with leg strengthwork and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Day 12.100: The remains of the fort

Apr. 20th, 2019 09:13 pm
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Posted by the_exile

The main attractions at Fort Foster are the park, the trails and the coastline, but there are various bits of evidence of the actual fortifications. They include this impressive and very sturdy-looking tower and I also like these rusty doors to cave-like store rooms I found this time.

PVTC Easter Classic 5K: Hopping Along

Apr. 20th, 2019 02:53 pm
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Posted by Elizabeth

I haven't blogged about my racing plans for the rest of the spring, but I do have them! With only 4-6 weeks of potentially cool mornings left, my coach and I decided I should sign up for some shorter races. Today, April 20, had the potential to be cool given that it's still early spring. So I had registered for a 5K. But alas, it was 67 degrees and humid as hell.

A few weeks ago, I registered for the BEST Kids 5K-- a race that two of my friends were running. This is a small race that I have won in the past on a very fast course. As the race approached, the
forecast started to look worse and worse. On Thursday I determined that it would be too warm and humid to race it at full effort, given my immune system issues. I have struggled with a mono-like virus for 3 out of the past 6 summers and I am almost positive the virus comes on as a reaction to racing in the heat. So I made the decision to run it as a tempo run, and I figured I still could potentially win the race at that.

Which race to run?
The evening before the race, my friends and I realized that the course was flooded. There had been no word from the race director about cancelling the race, but it seemed suspect. One of the two friends, Cheryl, decided to sign up for the PVTC Easter Classic 5K, just 10 minutes away from the original race. So, I followed suit and registered for it too. This race does not offer on-site registration, so we needed to sign up the night before. The other friend, Allison, decided to stick with the BEST Kids race no matter what. She said she would come cheer for us if it was cancelled.

When I woke up this morning and checked my weather app, there was a flood warning for the exact area of the course. It sounded like the course would not be run-able based on the description in the warning. But yet, we hadn't gotten a cancellation email from the BEST Kids race director. So, about 90 minutes before the race start, we finally decided to run the PVTC Easter Classic. We would meet up with Allison for brunch afterwards.

Before the race
Once Cheryl and I settled on PVTC via text message, Greg and I drove down to Arlington. Greg would not be running the race, but cheering and taking photos. Once we arrived, we found Cheryl and began the warm up. Cheryl, Allison, and I all had the exact same running outfits so we all matched. It was too bad Allison wasn't there, but Cheryl and I represented the red shorts with rabbits along the waistband. Perfect for easter!

These PVTC races are small and not chip-timed, but sometimes they can be competitive. I thought I could still potentially win, but I obviously wasn't sure. This was a crowd of "runners" who run races often, whereas the other race was a charity event that was most participants' only race of the year. I decided I would still try to win, unless some woman or women went speeding ahead of me at the beginning.

We warmed up on the course, which was the W&OD trail. I was familiar with it, as I had run this portion of the trail before work one morning back in January. On that day, the roads near my house were covered in snow and ice, but just 15 miles closer to the city, on this section of the trail, it was clear for running.

Two other fun goals: 
1. Run faster than my 5K split for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler (21:35)
2. Run faster than the New Year's Day 5K, which was also warm and humid, and on a different portion of the same trail. (21:35)

My hope was that I could win, run under 21:35, and get negative splits all while running no harder than tempo effort, to protect my fragile immune system.

Mile 1: 7:02
Mile 1
The race started and I decided to ease into it. I ran right next to Cheryl so that Greg would be able to snap photos of us in the same shot. He was standing about 1/4 mile past the start line. Once we passed Greg, I turned on the gas a little bit. I knew that the first half of the race was net uphill and the second half was net downhill. I wanted to conserve my energy for the second half so I could run a negative split and feel good running faster. This is not my normal 5K approach as I typically go out hard.

Mile 2: 6:55
After the first mile, I was already feeling the impact of the humidity. I felt suffocated and like I wasn't breathing clean air. I guess allergies are really bad right now, too, with several types of pollen and ragweed out. And we were running on trail surrounded by trees. At the turnaround, I saw that Cheryl was in second place and nobody was tailing me closely, so I continued to run conservatively. It was mentally a relief to be heading back toward the finish, knowing the second half was mostly downhill.

Mile 3: 6:50
My original plan was to really gun it and try to be around 6:40 or faster, but as I was doing it, I saw no need! I was working hard, I was winning, and I was by no means "comfortable". I was running solid tempo effort so I knew this workout would help in future races. 

Last bit: 6:17 pace
As I approached Greg and the finish line, I sprinted in with a big smile on my face.  

I watched as Cheryl finished in second place, looking really strong! After we recovered, we cooled down for about a mile and a half.

My official time was 21:33, so I officially met all my goals. The good news is that this race felt much better than New Year's Day-- although I was on the verge of getting sick on New Year's and I started out much faster there. My award was a chocolate Easter bunny! 

After Cheryl and I gathered our awards, we (plus Greg) met up with Allison for brunch. We celebrated with mimosas, like we usually do. Allison ended up winning her race, and we were thrilled for her!

Next weekend I will be running the MUCH more competitive Pike's Peek 10K. At this point, I am going to try and run a PR because the weather is looking decent (mid 50s). My 10K PR is my oldest PR and I think I can beat it if the weather is favorable. I'll take on the 5K distance again in May!

Day 12.099: Fort Foster

Apr. 19th, 2019 10:20 pm
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Posted by the_exile

Today - with a threat of rain today, but worse for the tomorrow, we visited Fort Foster - at the southern tip of Maine. We'd been there with my parents in October before and seen the Monarch butterfly migration and Exile #3 visited once for a cross-country meet while she was in middle school, but this was the first time we'd been in a while.

We happened to coincide with a working-party day so there were lots of people around working on the trails and it's obviously a popular dog-walking spot at this time of year.

We had a great visit and the weather was surprisingly kind. Two notable things pictured here are just a few of the rescued lobster traps that had been piled in various places by the clean-up crews and some grass that is actually green:

We saw some wildlife too - common eider, northern mockingbirds and a pair of harlequin ducks and Exile #4 (true to form) spotted a snake:


Friday Inspiration, Vol. 178

Apr. 19th, 2019 02:00 pm
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Posted by brendan

Kilian Jornet: 104 miles, 72,000 feet of elevation gain, 56 hours, 6 liters of water (video):

An idea to help insomnia: Stop worrying about not sleeping

This is how you write a joke on Twitter

Two guys have a big plan for creating a patrolled, avalanche-controlled human-powered ski area in Colorado.

If you are not already following Nathan Pyle’s Strange Planet, please make your life better by checking it out now

Is your procrastination really anxiety?

New literary awards: Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, Award for an Unwritten Manuscript, Award for a Weird Dream That Could Be a Book, and more

I don’t know if this is quote-unquote “inspiring,” but here’s how poop is handled in Antarctica

A post from the Semi-Rad archives this week: What Was That Noise Outside The Tent?

Only 12 more days to pre-order my book of illustrations, Chart Imitates Life (also 12 more days until I’ll never mention it again)

The post Friday Inspiration, Vol. 178 appeared first on

Fri, Apr. 19 Electoral Vote Predictor

Apr. 19th, 2019 06:00 am
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"Document of the Decade" Drops

Some days—January 1, 1863; December 7, 1941; November 22, 1963—there is really only one news story. Yesterday was one of those days, as the Mueller report finally saw the light of day (a thousand or so redacted lines notwithstanding). There are enough moving parts here that we're going to break things up by looking at the dozen or so major storylines, one by one, organized by theme:

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Day 12.098: Karate class walk

Apr. 18th, 2019 10:18 pm
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Posted by the_exile

I was reminded the other day that - back when she only had one class a week - the rest of us sometimes dropped Exile #3 at dance and went for a walk. Yesterday, we made the most of a sunny and fairly warm evening by doing the same while Exile #4 was at her karate class.

We went to the cemetery where we saw that even there they were promoting Game of Thrones:

And also that there are real signs of spring:

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Posted by brendan

Thinking about buying a truck that can handle some weekend warrioring and road trips to climb, mountain bike, ski, or even serve as a fortified mobile base for surviving a dystopian future? Is your budget between $3,000 and $1.6 million? Then this chart should help you decide on what type of truck you should purchase, steal, or potentially even receive in barter for your old motorcycle plus helping a friend re-shingle their house.

hand-drawn chart comparing trucks for adventure

For more of this stuff, check out my new book, Chart Imitates Life, which you can pre-order on Kickstarter now.


The post Chart: What Kind Of Truck Is Right For Your Adventures? appeared first on

Thu, Apr. 18 Electoral Vote Predictor

Apr. 18th, 2019 06:00 am
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Let the Spin Begin

Actually, that headline probably shouldn't be in future tense, because the spin has already begun. However, it's just the warmup spin. The tsunami will begin at roughly 9:30 EST time today, when Attorney General William Barr releases the redacted version of the Mueller report.

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Day 12.097: Important business

Apr. 17th, 2019 09:48 pm
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Posted by the_exile

Apart from our outing, the other important business of the weekend was buying E5N1 his belated birthday present. It's slightly shocking that my height falls in the recommended range for his new bike - albeit with the saddle a bit higher than he needs it.

Wed, Apr. 17 Electoral Vote Predictor

Apr. 17th, 2019 06:00 am
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Barr Announces Major Change to Immigration Policy

Just in case William Barr's name isn't going to be in the headlines enough this week, in view of Thursday's scheduled release of the redacted Mueller report, the Attorney General made major news of a non-Mueller sort on Tuesday. Taking advantage of the fact that whoever is AG has near-dictatorial control over some parts of the immigration system, particularly the immigration courts, he announced that even if a person has established a credible case for asylum, it will be at the discretion of the Dept. of Homeland Security (rather than immigration judges) whether or not to release them from detention while their situation is resolved.

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Day 12.096: If I had a nickel...

Apr. 16th, 2019 09:11 pm
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Posted by the_exile

One more picture from our visit to Newburyport. I wonder if you can still open a savings account with $0.05?!

Building sign reads, "Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank"

Tue, Apr. 16 Electoral Vote Predictor

Apr. 16th, 2019 06:00 am
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Mueller Report Coming on Thursday

AG William Barr promised that the redacted version of the Mueller report was coming soon, and he later narrowed it down to sometime this week. On Monday, he got even more specific, and announced that the document will be released on Thursday morning.

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Posted by the_exile

On Saturday, after lunch, we visited Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary for another short walk. We took in most of the trails, although clearly not at peak-wildlife levels.

We did spot some birds - a flicker and some others...!

and enjoyed the woods and the views of the marsh as well as the frisson of danger as we passed the sign warning us that the path would be covered at high tide by up to a foot of water.


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

April 2019

14 151617181920

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

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @


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