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Ocala Marathon 2016 - Race Report

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  • Friday, January 22 2016 @ 05:46 PM EST
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Running and Fitness

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I finished the Ocala Marathon with a smile on my face and I was able to put on pants afterwards without triggering any muscle cramps, so I consider this to be Mission Accomplished!


Photo by EventMugShots

I finished in 3:18:51 (avg. 7:35 per mile) and 3rd place overall.


Photo by Ozzy Vidal

I had not been excited about the prospect of making another go at a hard marathon effort... in fact, I had even contemplated never running that terrible race distance ever again. Last year I made the Boston Qualifying standard (BQ) at Five Points of Life marathon here in Gainesville, but my three marathon experiences thus far had not been "fun"... Rewarding? yes, but not fun.

Thus, I was quite surprised to find that I had "marathon on the brain" a few weeks ago. I had been putting in some longer and longer runs and feeling pretty good and thinking the next bump could be close to 26 miles. Having been "betrayed" by race planners and pace calculators in the past, I am one of those runners who now feels like I need to get close to a full 26 mile long run during training. I have been plagued by leg cramping of some kind during my three previous marathons, so I also really wanted a chance to run the distance without any hard performance goals and maybe, just maybe, I could feel ok during those last few miles. With the Five Points of Life race weekend just a little over a month away, I suspected that the Ocala Marathon could be a nice opportunity.

http://ocalamarathon.com/

Read on for the rest of the report...

Inaugural Alachua Lake Half Marathon 2015

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  • Tuesday, November 24 2015 @ 07:42 AM EST
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Running and Fitness

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Last month I ran the Inaugural Alachua Lake Half Marathon which was another fine event directed by Bobby of Lloyd Clarke Sports.

After a low mileage summer (about a month and half of 20-30 mile weeks) that included a lot of Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) instead of running, I have been trying to get my fitness back up. I definitely was not in top shape like last fall for the St. Augustine Half when I had already put in multiple 20 milers at this point.

At the race start we actually had a pretty large pack of runners (not including that speedster Dan Clark who quickly left us all behind). The first water stop was placed shortly after the first sharp turn on the bike path. I sped up to gain clear access to the water cups and since I gained some separation I pushed on a bit to see who would come with me.

Michael Farrell caught me and passed me and put some distance between us. At this point in the race I was being careful to keep my pace under control so I let Michael go at this point. 16-year old Jestyn Roberts caught up to me and we ended up running a huge portion of the race side-by-side.


Photo by Dana Moser

I did my best to stay on a maintainable pace (just over 6:30 per mile) and Jestyn stayed right with me. I worked back up to Michael and hung there for a bit and then put some distance between us, again Jestyn moved back up beside me.

With less than 5k to go we entered the hilly section. I thought I detected some labored breathing so I pushed again trying to get some separation and go for a 2nd place finish. Jestyn caught back up and then kept right on going, passing me, and establishing separation that I was not able to cover. I kept pushing hard trying to get back to him but could not close the gap.

My splits were fastest over the last few miles despite the hills. Previous races on this course always showed a significant slowdown during that last hilly section so I am happy with that aspect.

Finish time was 1:25:51 (avg. 6:33 per mile) which is about all I could expect given the quality of my recent workouts.

I feel good about getting 3rd place overall and taking home a Masters win.


Here is a picture of a bunch of shirtless men with our awards:

Stoner's Smoothie Milkshake Recipe

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  • Saturday, November 21 2015 @ 10:18 AM EST
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Dan Stoner and Family

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Dan Stoner's Smoothie Milkshake recipe.

I'm not an exact measurement kind of guy... this recipe makes enough smoothie for 2 - 4 people.

Part 1

  • 2 or 3 handfulls of Spinach, Kale, or other salad greens
  • Veggies such as carrots or zucchini
  • 1 or 2 ripe bananas
  • Tablespoon of Protein powder (I use Great Lakes Gelatin)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • Other fresh fruit such as pears, apple
  • 1/3 stick of creme cheese (Philadelphia original)
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Whole milk
  • Greek Yogurt (not low fat)
  • Agave nectar (light colored)
  • splash of vanilla extract

Part 2

  • Frozen fruits such as blueberries, seedless grapes, apple slices, pear slices, strawberries
  • handfull of Ice


Tips / Notes

This smoothie is full of delicious, healthy, fat and lots of nutrients! None of these ingredients are "Light" or "Low Fat" or "Nonfat". Some vegetable flavors hide better than others... baby spinach, baby kale, carrots, zucchini all work reasonably well.

I usually add the ingredients in two parts so I only have to remove the lid once during the whole process.  I add the "warmer" ingredients first and the frozen fruit / ice last.

The secret ingredients that really make the creamy smoothie texture are the cream cheese and frozen apple slices. The smoothie needs less than 1 cup of liquids which can be a mixture of milk, cream, or fruit juice.

Using an entire avocado seems to affect the flavor a little too much. Cover the extra avocado half with plastic rap and stick it in the fridge, it will stay fresh for up to a week (if the surface turns brown, just scrape that off with a butter knife).

Many fruits can be frozen.  Strawberries taste great but the seeds tend to make the smoothie gritty. Sliced apples, pears, and seedless grapes that are a little beyond their prime (or come home from school uneaten in the kid's lunchbox) can be frozen. The more frozen fruit added to the smoothie the less ice is needed.

I have a Ninja blender. I have never used a Vitamix or Blendtec. The Ninja gets the job done and actually does a good job of handling these particular ingredients. My technique with the Ninja is to hit the Pulse button a few times until the big chunks are taken care of, then run the blender long enought to make sure there aren't any chunks.

This is a video of "the pour" of the completed product:

 

Stand-Up Paddleboard

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  • Thursday, November 19 2015 @ 04:21 PM EST
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Dan Stoner and Family

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Over the summer I started doing Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) for fun. I even renewed my fishing license. SUP is a great core muscle workout! I ended up buying two SUPs on craigslist so I have the option to take buddies along.

Before deciding to get a SUP I looked at fishing kayaks. But I hate to sit. Sitting kills me. I think I made a good decision to go with the SUPs because I really enjoy being on the water and standing up. Besides the exercise I have so much better visibility. I have seen some interesting things under the water including sea turtles, dolphins (in salt water) and alligators (in fresh water) that I might have missed if I were sitting down.

The Jackson SuperFISHal is a big, stable, slow barge. Great for fishing but catches a lot of wind.

The California Board Company Angler 11 is sleeker and faster but a lot more tippy. Good for calm waters and when I want to travel a longer distance.

Here is my SuperFISHal at Lake Lou on a beautiful morning in the Ocala National Forest:



This picture was taken before an exciting day fighting wind and currents at Matanzas Inlet:



My first (and only so far) SUP fish! A tiny bass at Salt Springs in Ocala National Forest:




Here is my Angler 11 in Salt Run near St. Augustine:





They both ride nicely stacked on top of my Subaru Crosstrek. After looking at a lot of rooftop carrying options, I opted for generic kayak foam pads and this has worked well so far. A secret I learned from one of the sellers is to twist the tie-down straps that go over the top in order to reduce terrible vibration wind noise.


We are Hiring a Front-end Developer

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  • Wednesday, September 16 2015 @ 04:02 PM EDT
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Fun Stuff @ Work

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My department at UF has a job opening for a Front-end Developer. This is the blurb that I sent to various tech-oriented mailing lists.

It appears that the initial posting duration is rather short (closes 30 Sep 2015).


OFFICIAL JOB POST:

  http://explore.jobs.ufl.edu/cw/en-us/job/493532/it-expert


The official information is at the above jobs link but I'm including more info below (from my own perspective) to hopefully answer most of the questions people might have about the position.

The position is located in Gainesville, Florida.


OVERVIEW:

Job Opportunity for a "front-end developer" (IT EXPERT) in the Advanced Computing and Information Systems (ACIS) Laboratory at the University of Florida to work on iDigBio, the National Resource for Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections funded by the National Science Foundation.  Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio) enables data of millions of biological specimens to be used by the research community, government agencies, students, educators, and the general public.

Within the University of Florida, ACIS is housed under the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering which is part of the College of Engineering. The ACIS Lab conducts fundamental and applied research on all aspects of systems that integrate computing and information processing. Current ACIS research falls under the broad categories of Cloud Computing, Cyberinfrastructure for e-science and e-health, Autonomic Computing, Computer Architecture, and Peer-to-peer Computing. 

ACIS is responsble for implementing the Cyberinfrastructure components of iDigBio.

More info:
  ACIS -   https://www.acis.ufl.edu/
  iDigBio -   https://www.idigbio.org/

Write in Markdown and use pandoc to generate documents

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  • Tuesday, August 25 2015 @ 08:22 AM EDT
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Linux, Open Source, and Tech Stuff

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The last time I updated my resume I decided that it needed some major revisions. I didn't want to use a WYSIWYG editor anymore and I wanted to start tracking changes to my resume with git. After looking at various plain text file formats and markup options, and even though I have a fondness for the txt2tags syntax, I decided on Markdown. For better or worse, and I suspect due mostly to the popularity of GitHub, Markdown has become a de facto standard syntax for geeks writing documents that other people might read.

With Markdown as a source format I experimented with pandoc - a universal document converter to generate output files.

With the pandoc workflow, it is possible to write a document in plain text and then generate other types of documents such as HTML, Word processor formats (Microsoft Word docx) and PDF (via LaTeX).

So for people who insist on having a resume in Comic Sans:

or perhaps Game of Thrones is more your style (via the Artificial Uncial font):

pandoc has you covered.

The most challenging thing was figuring out the names of the fonts available, the packages needed to use them with pandoc, and the pandoc command-line syntax for activating them.

I gathered my notes and sample outputs in a github repo:

https://github.com/danstoner/pandoc_samples

I can spit out a new PDF of my resume by editing the Markdown source in my favorite text editor (emacs), commiting the changes to git, and running one command:

$ pandoc --latex-engine=xelatex -V geometry=margin=.75in -V mainfont="TeX Gyre Heros" -o danstonerresume.pdf danstonerresume.md

 

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thatlinuxbox.com is the home of Dan Stoner's Personal Blog, Photos, and More (opinions, rants, techno-babble, and possibly a few useful tidbits of knowledge).

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