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John Holmes Trail Run 2011 - Race Report

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  • Tuesday, October 11 2011 @ 10:15 pm EDT
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Running and Fitness

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Every race is different.

Last year I ran this race barefoot and had a blast, despite ending up with very sore feet. This year when I returned to the Brooksville, Florida area to run the John Holmes 16 Mile trail run, I opted to wear shoes. I wore a slightly used pair of Altra Instincts that I borrowed from a friend (thanks Matt C.!). As I become more performance-oriented in my racing, I am tending to want a little more protection around my feet on race day.



The 50k runners started at 7am. The 16 Mile race that I ran started an hour later. The 16 Mile course consists of a short run down the road to spread out the runners followed by two loops of mostly single-track.

The eventual winner (Brandon Dahlem) took off from the start. The leader disappeared by the time we hit the single track. Somehow I found myself cruising along in 2nd place, leading a small pack of runners. I skipped the first aid station. Then we hit the first group of hills. By the time we hit the 2nd aid station I had dropped all but one of the runners behind me. I took my time at the 2nd aid station, drinking a cup of water and gatorade (I continued this drinking strategy for the rest of the race since I ran without carrying any water). The 2nd aid station is where this runner (Hector Guzman) passed me and I was never able to catch him. He slowly got out of sight and I didn't see him for the rest of the race. He finished 2nd overall. I didn't see any of the other 16 Mile runners for the rest of the race. There were very long portions where I didn't see ANYBODY.

I was definitely hurting by the time I finished the first loop and hit the aid station. The race organizers were taking pictures here:

Soft Star RunAmoc DASH performance in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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  • Tuesday, September 20 2011 @ 06:26 pm EDT
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Running and Fitness

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A few weeks ago I was on vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I wore my Soft Star RunAmoc DASH moccasins on a number of occasions.

I was completely in awe of the RunAmoc DASH trail sole's traction on the rounded boulders of the Appalachians.

Pictured here are my RunAmoc DASH on the Grandfather Mountain mile high swinging bridge, 5280 feet above sea level:



I was only able to sneak in one trail run during my vacation. I chose to wear the RunAmoc DASH since they felt so good crawling around on the rocks near the Grandfather Mountain visitor center.

I had researched some trails in advance of the trip and decided to run on the Tanawha Trail near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Grandfather Mountain. In summary, the trails were rooty and rocky and beautiful. I saw humans only once the entire time. I enjoyed the solitude.

I parked at the Cold Prong parking area (BRP milepost 299) which had a clearly marked sign to get on the Tanawha Trail, pictured here:

Standing Workstation v1.0

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  • Monday, September 19 2011 @ 09:54 pm EDT
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Fun Stuff @ Work

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This infographic created by http://MedicalBillingandCoding.org is a nice reminder of why sitting all day is potentially bad for one's health:



There are also articles that report on the dangers of sitting too much.

I have certainly noticed that I feel better when I do not sit behind my computer all day. Most importantly I am not as stiff and have fewer aches and pains. I have been using Workave software for a while to remind me to stand up and take a break from sitting.

Taking this idea to the next level, I now have a standing workstation at my work cube. Our particular office furniture is somewhat modular and it was not too difficult to raise a portion of the work surface. There are other folks around here who have raised the entire work surface but I kind of like the terraced approach. With the new standing workstation, I can now sit down when it is time to take a break. Imagine that.

This is a photo of version 1.0 of my standing workstation, still in progress:

New Job - System Admin with the CNS Open Systems Group at UF

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  • Tuesday, August 30 2011 @ 11:23 am EDT
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Fun Stuff @ Work

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On Friday I started my new position within the University of Florida as a System Administrator in the Open Systems Group (OSG), which is part of UF Computing and Network Services (CNS).

I will be doing mostly Linux System Administration in support of many University-wide services, probably specializing in the Linux web hosting area. This is pretty cool for me since it is right in line with my interests.

My office is no longer on the main campus but is now over on Waldo Rd. at the new Eastside campus.

Here is a picture of the building:



Somehow I managed to land in the corner cubby. I like the layout of the office space. The cubes surround tables / work areas which seems to be effective at facilitating team communication. I'm learning a lot just by sitting in proximity to the team lead.




After spending just a few days with the OSG team, I am pleased with the personality of the group. I feel like I will be a good fit.

Looking forward to everything that comes next!

Vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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  • Thursday, August 18 2011 @ 10:49 pm EDT
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Dan Stoner and Family

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Last week I met my extended family in Blowing Rock, North Carolina for a week of vacation in the mountains. It turns out that Blowing Rock is a really nice area and a great place to make a "home base" for attractions near Grandfather Mountain, Boone, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We had great views from our mountain rental home:



This is a view of the backyard from the deck:

Barefoot 2011 Melon Run

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  • Wednesday, July 06 2011 @ 07:40 pm EDT
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Even though the 4th of July festivities and fireworks were cancelled due to funding issues here in Gainesville, FL, another Independence Day tradition is still going strong. The 33rd Annual Melon Run (3-miler) is a Florida Track Club event that took place at Albert Ray Massey Westside Park on Monday. The race course is mostly sidewalk and streets, with a half-mile of greenway boardwalk and dirt trail.

I raced barefoot. This was my first barefoot race on (mostly) paved surfaces. Last year I ran the John Holmes 16 mile trail run barefoot but I have not been confident enough to race barefoot on paved surfaces until recently.

I'm still in the "resting" phase of my training after having an entire year of running under my belt. My legs have been telling me that they need a recovery break. Since I knew I wouldn't be racing all-out I decided to run the race barefoot and wear a goofy hat (thanks to my wife for acquiring the appropriate festive holiday attire). My main goal was to run fast but stay within the limits of my bare feet, not pushing so hard that I got blisters, focusing on form and technique. After the race I only had a few hot spots, so I feel like I accomplished my goal.

Here is a picture at the start where I am still wearing the hat:


[Photo copyright: Martin McCrory Photography]


[Photo copyright: Martin McCrory Photography]

The hat only stayed on for about 20 meters. I was wearing a du-rag under the hat which stayed on just fine for the whole race. In retrospect it was very warm to be wearing anything on my head.

This is a picture from the last 100 meters of the race, working hard to maintain form:

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