Thursday, March 29, 2007

Relay Assignment

I got my relay assignment from the team captain: Leg 2, Leg 14, and Leg 26. Total distance is just over 15 miles.

I'm excited, and also glad I signed up for the 12 person team. I think dealing with the running logistics will be a lot, so having 11 other people running in between my portions will be welcome for downtime and rest.

This relay is 165 miles long, so if we average a 9 minute mile, I can expect to run about every 8 hours. That should be roughly at 2:30 pm, 10:30 pm, and 6:30 am.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

American Idol

After running club my friend Diana wanted to get something to eat. So we stopped to pick up some food, and an extra dinner for Travis, and returned to her condo.

They are into aquatic pets! Diana has a tank with two large turtles, and Travis is building a saltwater tank with coral, anemones, exotic fish. It'll be really spectacular when it is complete.

Travis returned from work, and we watched TV while eating dinner. We flipped on American Idol and they filled me in on each contestant, since I don't really watch the show.

I don't even remember anybody, except for one: Sanjaya. Not because of his great singing talent - he's got a quiet voice and is almost drowned out by the music - but because he wore this bizarro ridiculous looking fake mohawk. And shook his head during the song to toss the mohawk back and forth. I almost laughed the entire time.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Winter Park 10K

The finale of the Track Shack Grand Prix series was this event. I didn't sign up for the Grand Prix this year, not that I can place high enough to build up points to win!

I did 48:28, which I was pleased with. I took it easy for the first mile or so, running and chatting with a friend, before pulling ahead at the water stop around mile 1.5. I should have grabbed a cup because the next water stop wasn't until mile 4... but it wasn't too bad. It was humid but I wasn't going all out so I was fine, if a bit thirsty at the second water stop.

The course is really nice, winding around residential Winter Park. We had a view of a few lakes, many shady roads, a minor hill or two... the only complaint is cobblestone roads for half the course. I'm not sure why but older parts of this area paved their streets like that.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Magic Game

Back in February I won tickets to tonight's basketball game, Orlando versus New Jersey. I'm not the biggest basketball fan, especially pro basketball, but I also don't want to waste a free ticket!

I arrive in the middle of the second quarter, because I had some trouble parking. Lines were long and I wound up driving in a complete circle around the arena only to find all those parking lots were reserved for pass holders. Eventually I found a public garage a few blocks away and walked over. Late as I was, I beat Amy and Christine there! They arrive about 15 minutes after I did.

The game was OK: Orlando and New Jersey were close in the standings, near the bottom. ;) The Magic trailed most of the game but somewhere in the third period they tied it up and took a small lead, and the game got a lot more exciting. Except it bogged down again with the foul and free throw routine. This is just ultra dull for me to watch, but at least Orlando won.

Overall it was pretty fun, especially for free. I could take in a basketball game or two each year. To see football, hockey, or baseball live means driving out to Tampa and that is a lot more planning.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Scavenger Hunt Run

This evening's Orlando Runners Club activity was a scavenger hunt at Crane's Roost in Altamonte Springs. The idea was to form teams of 4, and then run around the area answering questions. We had 1 hour and the event concluded at the newly opened Fleet Feet store near the mall.

Christine prepared 25 questions, all of which could be answered by searching the area. Questions like: What band is playing at Gina's on March 31? How many people/animal tiles are in the courtyard? What event takes place every day except Tuesday? And so on.

Afterwards we had dinner at Gina's and waited while Christine graded the results. It was close... in fact the team I was on was 1 point down! We went over the answers and one was "How many emergency call boxes are in the park". I found 6, while everyone else found 5, including Christine. She said if I could prove there were 6, we would win. Everybody agreed where 4 of them were, but where the others just saw 1 I saw an extra. So Christine and I walked over to the fountain on the north side and I pointed out 2 call boxes, giving my team the victory. :)

To my surprise, we won goody bags from Fleet Feet - a blinky light, hat, and a few samples.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Real Florida 5K

This is a small 5K held at the Wekiva Springs state park. What makes it different from most other events in the area is that this is a trail run. It doesn't have crazy elevation gain or treacherous terrain... although there are a few roots and small dips and climbs. What makes it hard is the sand and loose dirt throughout the course.

So I was quite happy to finish this 5K in 23:40, good for 5th in my division. I forgot to stop my watch until I walked to the end of the finish chute, so that says 24:10 or so. Afterwards I hung out with some friends and cheered for others I knew doing the race.

The run was tough. I could feel it afterwards, and see it reflected in the heart rate chart - I was at 190 and above for much of the event. I guess this means I have no excuse for finishing slower than 23:40 at a road 5K. ;)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Minor Plumbing

On Monday I went to turn on my kitchen faucet and discovered the handle broke. Even though I don't cook that often, no water in the kitchen is quite annoying!

So I unscrewed the cap and saw what really broke was a metal bracket. But I wasn't sure if that one little piece was somehow part of the entire faucet or not. I read through my Home Depot Plumbing Book, but all I could see was that I had a "cartridge faucet". It was too late to go by a hardware store so I just rinsed items off in the guest bathroom sink.

On Tuesday I had the great idea of trying Super Glue to fix the broken metal bracket, but it didn't work. Well, it worked but not well enough - the bracket broke again when I tried to turn on the water.

I have limited plumbing abilities, which are basically either unclog a drain or unclog the garbage disposal. Removing and replacing the faucet looked tricky, at least for a total novice, so I called a local plumbing company I had out previously to fix a running toilet. They told me that a) if I wanted to replace the faucet I should buy one and then they would install it, or b) maybe I could check with the manufacturer to find the part I needed.

Since I had a little time before Home Depot closed, I drove over and browsed the faucet selection. They didn't carry my exact model, but similar ones were priced about $100 ($80 to $120 and even more). That plus the $60 (at least) for the plumber would make this minor repair about $160 or so. Argh!

It turns out my kitchen faucet is made by Moen, and they have a pretty good website. The model number is 7400, which seems to be out of production or perhaps updated, because the 7430 looks similar. More importantly, the replacement kit 100469, from their illustrated parts diagram, looked like what I really needed. I ordered it and with 1 day shipping it came out to about $15.

I went home for lunch on Thursday and found the package from Moen arrived, so I opened it up and dug out the bracket. It fit perfectly and soon I fixed the kitchen faucet. :)

As a bonus, I got a weird sized Allen wrench out of it, because the kit from Moen included one. I tried unscrewing the broken half of the bracket, and despite wrenches of various size from bike tools, nothing fit. I think Moen must use a half metric size, like a 4.5 mm.

Anyway, I know this was a very minor repair, but I still feel like I saved myself at least $140!