Sunday, September 29, 2013

Race 40 - Duluth Fall Festival 5K

I walked the Duluth Fall Festival 5K this morning.  This was my 7th time doing this race, four times as a runner, twice as a walker/runner, and this time as a walker.  This morning I had an average pace of 12:07 per mile for a finish time of 37:39.  Ironically, my walking time this year was faster than my walking/running time last year.  The bottom line for me on the walking, no knee pain!

This is a fun race for me.  It's close to home, the Fall Festival is going on with lots of activity before and after the race, it's just a good community type thing.

This year four of us did the race.  My son, his fiance,  my wife, and I made our way to the starting line on a beautiful, crisp Fall morning, with temps in the mid 50s and enjoyed the race.  This was a very special race for my wife as it was her first race!

Raney, Daniel, me, Mary after the race

And of course, for participating we all received a 28th annual Fall Festival 5K, 100% cotton, long sleeved t-shirt!

Perfect timing as we make our way into the cooler weather!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Walk at the Braves Stadium

Rarely a year goes by that we do not get down to Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, at least once.  But here it was late September and we had not been to see a major league game live.  We were able to snag some first row upper deck seats (my favorite) to see the Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers.  Since the Braves had just clinched the division the night before the game did not have much significance.  However, they were still competing for home field advantage in the playoffs, but that was about it.

This was day 69 for me in my goal to walk 1000 days in a row so I needed to incorporate a walk into the ballgame.  By taking Marta (Metro Atlanta's subway) to Five Points and transferring over to the Georgia State University station it put us exactly one mile from the stadium.  Arriving early to the stadium allowed us to watch some batting practice and get in another two miles just walking around the stadium.  It was a fun three miles.

It was fun seeing the stadium prior to the game crowd getting there.  Some of what we saw...

Baseball Art

Brewers taking batting practice
Easy getting a walk in before the game


More baseball art showing the cities the Braves have had for their home town

There are no shortage of places to grab a bite to eat at the ballpark and it is much more than hotdogs and peanuts.  As we were deciding on what to eat I could not get over the sign that had prices for pizza.  The regular price (meaning you are not a season ticket holder) was $34.00!  There was other pricing craziness in the sign but the 34.00 just stood out so much I had to get a picture:

$34.00 pizza
We made out way up to our seats and enjoyed the game.  The Brave lost 5-0 but as always, for me, there is never a bad day at the ballpark.

During the game, just looking around, noticed something that I thought would be very hard to explain to my grandfather, if he was still alive.  My grandfather took me to my first MLB game at Shea Stadium in 1969 (the miracle Mets that year) and was a huge baseball fan.  The picture below is a guy in the first row by the on deck circle, with a TV nearby and he's looking at his tablet device...

Ah, but the best thing about the game this night, it was fan appreciation week and everyone in attendance received this:

Free ticket for a 2014 Braves game!

So we will go to game next year, but I'm pretty sure we won't get a pizza!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Race 39 - R4TF Trail Half Marathon

Finally, another race!  This was race #39, R4TF (Race for the Fallen) trail half marathon at Red Top Mountain in Cartersville, GA.  2nd time I've done this race, it supports the PBF (Police Benevolent Foundation) to provide financial support for the families and survivors of officers whose death occur in the line of duty.

As always, I start watching the weather about 10 days out from any race I'm doing.  Rain and possible thunder & lightning is basically what I saw the entire time.  The rain does not bother me during a race, lightning does.   Luckily we just had rain.

The day started early with a 50 mile drive to Red Top Mountain State Park but not before a stop at Quik Trip for coffee and some simple carbohydrates.  Got there, in the dark, with plenty of time to spare - no problem though, prefer this to rushing at the last minute.

parking in the dark, in the rain, in an open field in the woods - it's a trail race!
check in is a breeze in smaller races :)
and plenty of time to cycle through a few times...

As it got light we headed over to starting line and we were off.  Only a slight drizzle coming down at the beginning.

The first mile was on the road which allowed me to alternate between brisk and fast walking without any problem.  However once on the trail, with the rocks, roots, ups, downs, switchbacks,...  well the terrain pretty much dictated fast vs. brisk and at times, slow.  My idea of alternating between those will probably only work in a road race.  Oh well.

The race really was uneventful.  Everything went pretty smooth - I did not get lost in woods - there was great signage telling us which way to go, I did not fall, they had plenty of aid stations with water, Gatorade, fruit.  The only frustrating thing was not being able to see my pace, mileage, heart rate, time on my watch after about mile 4 - with the rain, humidity, body heat, my glasses were fogged up.

finishing the race at mile 13

I finished in 2:58:33, soaking wet!  It was a really good workout.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

DIY Kitchen Faucet With SharkBites

When you (and the bank) own a house, there is never a shortage of projects, it never ends...

This project - leaky kitchen faucet.  The leaky faucet was the original that the builder put in 20 years ago, it was time for a new one.  Went to the Home Depot website and found 2,751 choices under kitchen faucets ranging from $17.38 to $1740.00.  Oh yeah, this will be straight forward and easy : )

Headed over to Home Depot with a price range in mind to look at a few.  Although plumbing is not a skill that I am overly comfortable with, after dishing out just under $300 for a leaky valve under the sink I was determined to do this myself to save money.

We bought one and also figured it made sense to replace the original, 20 year old supply lines and shut off valves.  The shut off valves I purchased are a new (to me) product - SharkBites.  More on these later.

Ready to start project

Step One - turn the water off to the house and drain it all out at the lowest point in the house.

Don't know what lives down there!
The plumber I hired previously did give me a number of pointers - one was to shut the water off at the main instead of the shut off valve inside the house (if the inside shut off valve is bad, it can cause a whole other problem) and two, don't put you hand down in there, get a Steel Curb Key instead.

Step Two - disconnect and remove the old faucet.

This is much easier said than done!

The first thing I realized, this is a really confined area with not much room to work.  So I removed as many drainage (PVC) pipes that I could and disconnected the old supply lines.

The next task of the removal was the hardest and most time consuming aspect of this entire project.  I could not loosen the supply line nut or the nut that secured the original faucet.  Of course these were the most difficult nuts to get at and there was no room to get a wrench on them securely.

The hard part of this project

Solution - get the drill and drill as many holes as it takes to get the white fastener to move.  I did finally get it so I could unscrew it.  However, I could not get the supply line nut to move at all.  Next I got a hack saw, raised the faucet up and sawed it off from the top side.

Projects never seem to be easy or go the way I thought the would.

Step Three - Remove the old shut off valves.

This step can be tricky because you do not want to damage the existing water lines.  It takes two wrenches going in opposite directions to loosen the nut.  Once that is done, the old compression ring needs to be removed.  Luckily these two came off pretty easy.

Removal of old compression ring
Step Four - install new shut off valves.

As mentioned up top, I decided to use SharkBites here.

I've talked to a lot people regarding these.  I've goolged and read a bunch also and am convinced on using  them.  So I followed their instructions and pushed them on to the pipes.

This seems too easy.

Step Five - install and connect new faucet.

Used silicone to seal the new faucet so water cannot get down through the holes.

Hooked everything back up.  This was so much easier than taking it apart.

Turn the water back on at the main.  Check for leaks.


Just another project checked off the list in an effort to get this house ready to sell as we make our way to that thing they call "retirement".

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Glad it is September

Just happy it's September and Autumn is just around the corner.

- cooler weather coming (soon is the hope)

- college football on Saturdays after a long walk in the morning along with a really
   good nap : )

- baseball pennant races and post season play

- back to doing races!

I have not done a race since mid June and I miss it.  I prefer cooler weather for the races so most of them tend to be in the September - May time frame.  So far have two lined for later this month, two in October, two in November, and one in December.

Favorite time of the year.