Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The March into March(or Danny has plans for you)

With March nearly upon us I decided I'd give everyone a run-down of Iron Girl and (almost)Ultra-Running Boy's schedule as well as a few things that you should all take into consideration.

First things first:
Before the start of March: As the February winds to an end, so does your chances of winning a two-night stay at the Mount Washington Hotel. Well, you can still register after February 28th, but the entry fee does go up. Winter Wild is a fun enough race in itself but for $25 more you can also ski the rest of the day. AND you will be entered in the raffle to win, amongst other things, the chance to stay for two nights at an awesome hotel. REGISTER HERE

Before March 15: Another impending deadline is March 15th for the lottery to race Mount Washington(my top ten reasons to run it here). Since proposing to Amber at the Summit in 2008, this will be the first year that I won't be running it. But you still can! Make sure to throw your name in the lottery now!

March 1st: Snowshoe Nationals! If you have qualified you already will be there, but if you haven't it is still worth the drive as there is a citizens race as well as an uphill snowshoe challenge on Sunday(which I suspect Amber will try to win as well). And you may even see a furry little critter running around.

March 9th-This winter get you down? Well not so with Amber. A week after the Snowshoe Nationals, she will be heading up to the Great White North to compete in a winter triathlon. No this is not like the Winter triathlon we did at Gunstock a few years ago which was comprised of a mountain bike, skate ski and run all on snow. No the Canadians make it more challenging than that. They make participants do a 5k snowshoe run, then speed skate for 12k(over 7 miles) then skate ski 5 miles! Mind you, Amber has NEVER speed skated in her life before and this is her skate skiing:

Suffice it to say, this will certainly be interesting and may be worth the 5 hour drive north just for the laughs. But in all honesty, knowing Amber's drive and tenacity, she will somehow make herself into a competitor.

March 12th- Pike's Peak Marathon Registration Opens. If you haven't heard of it, check it out or talk with Kevin Tilton about it. It looks brutal. Nacho(of the Sweetie Pies) is looking to do it this year. I'm going back and forth about entering into that or doing the Grand Teton Marathon a week later. Either way, if you are thinking about it, keep this date in mind because it sells out FAST!

March 15th-Winter Wild Championships at Bretton Woods. Rich Lavers and I will again be directing this race where there will likely be a course record set this year based on all the fast guys racing it. But even if you're last to finish, don't you worry: there will be food provided by Bagel Works and plenty of amazing raffle prizes to be given away. As I mentioned before, prices go up after February but you still can register right up to the morning of the race.
Just one of many cool scenes from Winter Wild

March 16th- After giving away all of our prizes and likely ushering in a new course record holder, I will be scrambling down to New Bedford Mass to race the half marathon the next morning. This will be the second New England Grand Prix race but the first I will be competing in and hopefully representing the Gate City Striders well. This is definitely a PR course as my two fastest 1/2 marathon are both on it. Per usual, I will probably be spending the night before the race hanging out with my parents eating good old Portuguese food.

March 22-23-Actually a down weekend! As amazing as it sounds, we probably will be using this weekend to train, visit my brother's beautiful little girl who will be two months that weekend, visit my sister and her fiance in their gorgeous new place, or maybe do something on the cheap right here in Concord. Here are a few ideas that I have come up with for under $16.

March 28-31-Aww the last weekend in March and with it comes Amber in peak triathlon training before her first race of the season in mid-April. Her training and work hours will probably be fairly equal to her sleep hours that week. And thus, I have decided to head out of town. I'll be heading down south to race the Knoxville Marathon. My plan is to hike some peaks in the Smokies on the Friday, explore Knoxville on the Saturday, race Sunday and then spend Sunday night and all day Monday with my brother in Atlanta. It should make for a very fun long weekend.

And there you have it folks. I've just given you a month's worth of fun fitness ideas to carry you through the spring. Not in the mood for fitness? Then how about writing? It's not technically in March but you will probably have to apply then if you want to get in. The National Writing Project in New Hampshire in conjunction with Plymouth State University is offering a FREE week-long course in July entitled Teaching Social Justice Through the Lens of the Holocaust. This is a graduate level course that is totally free. If that isn't enough, they even provide meals and the texts! If it wasn't the week of my sister's wedding I would totally be doing it myself. Although the website is still under construction, you can learn more at the Plymouth State webpage or at the Home of the Holocaust Educators Website.

Who said this blog was all about Swimming, biking and running? See reading and writing too! Seriously though, Amber used to hate Scrabble because I would always beat her. Well, what did she do? It appears she picked up a Scrabble dictionary which she must be reading surreptitiously in her spare time(maybe while on the trainer). Bottom line? She beat me by 102 points last night. 102 points! She has made it abundantly clear that I am not better at anything and will have to settle for the also ran award yet again:)
Notice the incorrect spelling of axle? Well so did I. Only to be corrected by Amber that it was axel as in a triple axel in figure skating. I guess I do need to be watching more television! AND that x was on a triple letter score. Add insult to injury why don't ya!

On another note, did anyone see the list of Boston Marathon's Prohibited List? Here it is:
  • Backpacks, any similar item carried over the shoulder, or handbags of any size
  • Glass containers
  • Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid
  • Strollers, including baby strollers
  • Suitcases & rolling bags
  • Personal hydration system products (such as CamelBak®, Thor®, etc)
  • Weight vests or any sort of vest with pockets (Note: lightweight running vests are allowable)
  • Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body
  • Props (including sporting equipment and military and fire/gear and signs or flags larger than 11 inches x 17 inches)
  • Any item larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches
I think the most funny restriction is the "non-form fitting outfits". Apparently BAA has given us a license to thrill and expose ourselves but we cannot wear basketball shorts while running. The costume restriction also means I will probably not be dressing up like this for Boston this year:

But seriously, no hydration systems? Some of those charity runners will probably be suffering from that. Also this means no pre-race warm-ups or change of clothes as the BAA says: "Additional layers of clothing may be worn on B.A.A. shuttle buses and in Hopkinton for warmth before the race. Clothing that will not be worn during the race must be discarded in Hopkinton and will be donated to a local charitable organization." Better find yourselves some cheap clothes you don't mind tossing. At least its for a good cause. 

Well that's it for now folks. We will keep you posted on the outcome of all of these fun things and hope you can get out there and enjoy some it yourselves. Enjoy and be well!

P.S. As I was doing my final spell check before I published this post. Axel was highlighted as being spelling incorrectly! So there, you stinkin' figure skaters!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Amber and the Chipmunks!

Be Prepared for a chipmunk infestation at Nationals!

I had my wisdom teeth out in high school and I remember being out of it(more so than usually) for several days and my face was swollen for a week. I would not have considered going for a jog, no less a race. In contrast, Amber had her wisdom teeth taken out yesterday(with just local anesthetic which alone goes to show that she's not human) and is planning on racing in the US Snowshoe Nationals this Saturday!

If you haven't seen pictures as a child, you may never have gotten the full effect of just how much chubby cheek potential she has.

Guess which one is Amber and which one is the chipmunk?

While I'm not above posting unflattering baby pictures of Amber and calling her a chipmunk, I am above taking pictures of her within 24 hours of having her wisdom teeth out so therefore you will have to use your imaginations for her current status.

The funny thing is, though, despite this, I still expect that Amber is going to do amazing this Saturday. Looking at the women who have qualified, there certainly are some very strong competitors out there but my bet is on Amber. I went running with her the other day and she put a hurting on me and I'd like to think that's due to her fitness level not mine lacking. The majority of the course, which I ran a couple weeks ago, is in her favor with lots of climbing. She hasn't raced on snowshoes yet this year so I know she be like a chipmunk at the Planter's Factory.

If you have nothing going on this weekend, I'd suggest heading out to Prospect Mountain in Woodford, Vermont to check out some of the best trail, snowshoe and mountain runners in the country vying to be on the US Snowshoe Team and you may even spot some wildlife.

Amber, Simon, Theodore!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ultrarunning Boy Strikes Again!

After taking a two year hiatus from high levels of running and racing and watching Amber kick butt with back to back to back races, I have decided that I'm going to go all-in with marathon racing this year. I have already signed up, booked flights and planned vacations around the first half of my marathon season. The flight delay fiasco of Galveston may have set me back for trying to run a marathon in Texas but I have made up for it with my marathon schedule til June.  Here is the plan to date:

  • March 30th- Knoxville Marathon
  • April 13th- Raleigh Rock N Roll Marathon
  • April 21st- Boston Marathon
  • May 4th- Pittsburgh Marathon
  • June 21st- Mayor's Sun Marathon(Anchorage)
I'm starving, I haven't eaten lunch since yesterday

Yikes! Those first four marathon are all within pretty much a month of each other. However, I have no intention of racing Boston and have contacted BAA to see if they have any visually impaired athletes who need guiding. I did quite a bit of guiding visually impaired skiers when I was an adaptive ski instructor out in Aspen and it was very rewarding. I think crossing the line at Boston would be probably one of the more memorable experiences of my running career.

Two of those races, Knoxville and Anchorage, I'm planning to link up with National Parks' visits; namely Denali and Kenai Fjords in Alaska and the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. I have always wanted to go to Alaska and will be trying to get the most out of my time there so the marathon is not a priority of that trip. While I did once go to the Smokey Mountains, it was while I was in high school and I'd like to see how my experiences since then will influence the views.

A third race, Pittsburgh, I plan to meet up with my buddies Rich R and Brooklyn who will be joining me for the weekend, but likely not the actual marathon. While I do plan on racing this one, this will likely depend on how much fun we have the night before. I have never been one to let a race get in the way of friendship.

The other race is Raleigh Rock N Roll which I think may be the best opportunity to run hard. The course looks slightly hilly but not terribly challenging. I will have had a nice build into Knoxville and will probably be in my best shape heading into this race. It's always a crap shoot but I think this will be my best performance of them all. Worst case scenario? I have a bad race and then get to enjoy New Politics at the finish line. Far better than suffering through Jackyl.

So this is my initial public offering for my bid for running in the ultra-running world. While I may not yet be running ultras, I plan on making my marathons ultra-epic:)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Alternative Galveston Trip(or What Happens When Your Flight Just Keeps Getting Canceled)

After my frustrating conversation with Alex, I remained on the line for about another half hour and finally got hold of someone. I described my situation, the need to fly out that next day in order to get to the race for Sunday and gave him the options for all the airports that we were willing to fly into. Now mind you, the list was extensive. It included New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Cristi and, of course, both airports in Houston. I also said that we were willing to fly out of Manchester, Boston, or Charlotte(since that part of our flight HADN'T been canceled). After quite a bit of back and forth(not nearly as pleasant of a person as the one I had spoken with that morning), he finally told me that he pretty much guaranteed that if I went to Manchester the next day I would be able to work it out with the ticket office there but he couldn't do it over the phone. 

That should have been a sign. I should have cut my losses and just canceled the trip. Already two flights canceled in a day, it was looking less and less likely this thing was going to happen. And yet, instead, I decided to head to the airport the next morning. Being the prodigious reader that my sister is, within minutes of my waking(four hours after it had hit the pillow), she called me asking whether our trip was canceled(she had, of course, read my blog). I told her the situation, and we decided to make a go of it. So we headed to the airport where a United official was directing people to various other airlines but not at all being helpful with us. After standing in line for a kiosk for about 45 minutes at US Airways, I went to check in to the flight to Charlotte, only to discover that we were no longer on that flight to Charlotte. Angrily, I went back to the United desk asking how I could have been bumped from that flight(my thinking was at least Charlotte was a bigger hub and may be able to give us more options of where to fly into). Several minutes of resistance, finally yielded to slight hep where she attempted to remedy the situation. Lo and behold, United had bumped us from that flight and was now flying us into Austin on Sunday night! Yes, this was Saturday morning! Suffice it to say that didn't go over well. And going through all of the scenarios again, I stood there irritably and quite impatiently. 

And what did she come up with? Salvation? Only if we could somehow make it to Boston within the next hour. Based on the run around that we had already gotten up until that point and the likelihood of us making it down in time being slim, we decided to call it quits. Now I realize that most of you would have probably done so the night before, but you must understand the Ferreira's are a stubborn people. We finally conceded to the Cancellation Gods and headed home. 
This has been the year from hell in regards for travel. Amber and I now both have had our flights canceled and we had that awful flight cancellation/rebooking fiasco out to Louisville. It is so true though that misery loves company and I really do feel quite a bit better about our situations when I read the statistics of how many flight cancellations there have been this year. In fact, this year has had the highest cancellations in at least 25 years(that's how long they've been keeping track). Over 5% of ALL flights have been canceled according to the New York Times. While they cite weather as being a main culprit, new regulations on pilots' flight hours and patterns also has been implicated. 

Either way, being on one of over 75,000 flights cancelled does put it in perspective. Plus, we were going to Texas to run 26 miles! What kind of fun is that? Some poor kids were missing Disney World or a grandmother missing a wedding, and I'm complaining about a lousy stinking marathon! Plus, after a short conversation with Priceline, they were generous enough to give me a partial refund on my car and hotel reservations. Considering they have a strict no refunds policy, that was pretty awesome. Yep, I had totally convinced myself that it was no big deal by the time I got home. 

Now having nothing planned for the weekend, I did what any reasonable person would do and immediately went to bed for the next several hours. 

Awaking to a bright sunny day has a way of making me feel guilty sometimes, so I decided to see whether I could do anything about that. Did I go out for a run? A lift? A slow walk? Nope. I went to Facebook. No not in California, on my phone. After spending  a few minutes of my life on things in which were totally unproductive, I came across Kevin Tilton's post about heading over to Bennington Vermont to compete in Woodford White, Tim Van Orden's race which just so happened to be a Nationals qualifier AND being held on the same course. Well there I had it, now I at least knew what I was doing the next day. 
The US Nationals Flyer-Notice Who's Featured!

Pleased with myself for having made constructive plans for at least one of the weekend days, I was about to head back to bed(hey! Facebook stalking is tiresome), Amber arrived home telling me we were off to celebrate her grandparents 65th anniversary. I did vaguely remember seeing something about that but didn't think I would have been around so it went out of my mind. I quickly sprang out of my pajamas into something somewhat respectable and got in the car.

I am glad I did. Almost all of Amber's father's brothers and cousins were there many of whom we hadn't seen since our own wedding over four years before. The food was good, the company engaging and the cake delicious. That alone made it worth it. Plus to celebrate 65 years of anything is pretty impressive no less that of a commitment to another person.

The Cullen Family

As we were driving home from the party, and probably due to the copious amounts of sugar running through my bloodstream, I developed an elaborate weekend scheme. I would a)ditch Amber(okay so that wasn't actually the plan but since she had speed skating and tri-training the next day, she did have to be cut out), b) head to western New Hampshire and help my sister and her fiance move into their new place(yeah, she really lost out. Instead of being in a warm climate on vacation while he did the moving, she got suckered into helping him) and c) drive out to Bennington that night and stay over so I wouldn't have to walk up as early the next morning. 

Due to confidentiality policies(i.e. my sister killing me if I published where she lived), I cannot divulge much about the move, other than her place made me consider increasing my daily commute to work, just to live in one of her guest rooms. Seriously, I think she should post her place on Priceline and make some money off of it:) 

After leaving them to finish moving more stuff into their Taj, I headed to Bennington which should have been only about an hour fifteen further along. Three hours later, I finally arrived. Slow winter conditions mixed with slow winter drivers made for a slog along Route 9. I finally made it, immediately Yelping restaurants in the area and decided on Ramunto's as it had gotten good reviews and was close to the place I was staying. While the dinner was good and the beers on tap extensive, I do have to say, the garlic knots that were so highly touted were fair at best. Luckily, I ordered a meal as well as the garlic knots so it wasn't so bad. 

If you've never been in the town of Bennington(I was briefly trying to do some pun with Bennington but I'm not quite in that mindset tonight-sorry), it's not picturesque like most of the cute towns off of 89. It definitely as a worn feel to it. A small section of town, Old Bennington which as the name implies was the original settlement, is nice but is balanced with a more industrial feel in the rest of it. All in all, it wouldn't be a town high on my list of recommended sights in VT, but the entire drive along route 9 is very pretty. Actually the two best sites in Bennington, in my humble opinion, is the tower which is eerily similar to the ones in Washington and on Bunker Hill and the Old Bennington High School. The reason that the high school made the list is that they had separate boys and girls entrance carved into the granite headers on opposite sides of the building. 

The next morning I scoured the town for a coffee shop and finally found one only to be told by a Verhipster, that they wouldn't be opening for another fifteen minutes. Well, apparently my impatience from the previous day hadn't worn off, and rather than just waiting, I decided to go "somewhere else". That somewhere else turned out to be Papa Pete's, a little diner on the edge of town, who's sign said "last diner for 20 miles". With that kind of build up, how could I possibly pass it up? Sitting at the bar, I had myself a griddle sandwich which was two silver dollar pancakes sandwiching sausage, egg and cheese with a side of home-fries. Not quite the light breakfast I had originally set out for but definitely filling. While there, I was immediately spotted as an outsider and upon subtle questions, it was revealed that I was one of "those snowshoers". A mix of befuddlement over how exactly one runs with snowshoes and leery sideways glances accompanied the remainder of my breakfast. I did learn that Woodford, the town next to Bennington and where Prospect Mountain is located, is somewhat of an anomaly in that when the surrounding towns may only get a dusting of snow, Woodford gets dumped on. Take this past snowstorm where all the towns got between 12-19 inches, Woodford got 30! The snowstorm two nights ago? Yikes! Nearly three feet of new snow on an already, supposedly, challenging race course. 
Prospect Mountain's "lodge"
It seems like it's always snowing here
It didn't take long for me to see just how challenging. I didn't know what to expect for competition except that I knew Kevin TIlton and Dave Dunham were heading up. Based on the weather conditions and it's relatively long distance from anywhere, I was thinking I might be able to round out the podium. As soon as I arrived, however, I realized that my bloated belly would be the only thing rounded out that day. Todd Callaghan, Jim Pawlicki, Tim Mahoney, Ross Krause and a few other fast-looking runners had all shown up.  Oh well. 
The view from the base of Prospect Mountain
Knowing that I was out of contention, I decided to use the race just as a reconnoitering expedition to scope out the course for Nationals two weeks later. I let the guys blast through the start, but soon saw that only Kevin and one other runner really put any gumption into it. Everyone else was just content to settle into a nice slow slog. I hopped on the back seeing how long I'd be able to hang. 
The First climb of the day
Still on their heels about two miles later, I was starting to feel that this slow slog wasn't so slow anymore. I slowly fell off the back of the group and watched them quickly fade from view. I spent the next mile or so running pretty much by myself.

Side Note: Tim Van Orden may be the devil! If you look at the elevation profile, you will see some definite climbs but what is missing from the picture, is that any potential for recovery on the descents or flats is thwarted by deep single track just wide enough for your snowshoes. 
There needs to be a snow depth chart too

Just as I was cursing TiVo to myself, I looked up and saw and think I also heard, Jim Pawlicki doing the same. We ran the next mile or so together which was probably the worst mile in terms of pace but best in terms of enjoyment. After rudely being passed by two runners who apparently wanted to get to the food line first, one of whom stepped on Jim's snowshoes about ten times as an indication that he wanted to pass, Jim told me not to let him beat me and I took off. 
The Final Descent
Luckily, my over-exuberance was timed perfectly with the last mile and a half which was all downhill, I passed him with a cold "nice job"(or my best attempt of being standoffish and aloof) and sped to the finish. Still not sure whether TiVo was a five or six, I kept on anticipating another climb, but we must have run out of distance because he couldn't sneak another one in. I think I finished somewhere in the top fifteen running something like 12 minute miles. Oh of the diner peeps could see me now. Oh that isn't running at all!

Post race was nice to catch up with everybody and warm up a bit then I started my drive home. Which goes a lot faster without snow on the roads. 

On my way home, I came across the guy on the lake. He was kit skiing I think. It looked pretty fun, but probably pretty cold.

 So while we ended up not having a Galveston tip, the weekend ended up being pretty fun. All I have to do now is try to convince my sister to sign up for another marathon. Preferably after the storms have finished unleashing hell. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Our Almost Trip to Galveston

There was a snow storm today. Not much of a surprise that many of the morning flights were canceled. However, a little more surprisingly, was that my sister and my flight to Galveston, not scheduled to take off until 6pm, was canceled. Luckily, I received an email at 4am letting me know that the flight was canceled and that they were going to rebook us on a flight that would have us arrive in Houston on Monday. Mind you, the marathon is Sunday and we already have non-refundable hotel and car rentals for Friday through Tuesday. So, I called this morning and was put on hold for(no exaggeration) three hours. Luckily the majority of my patients had canceled due to the weather, so it was pretty much just me doing notes with elevator music playing in the background.
Finally after several hours, I actually spoke to a real live person who, after much cajoling, was able to book me and my sister on a flight leaving tomorrow arriving in Houston in the afternoon. Okay- so we lost a night's hotel but at least we could still do the race and still have a fun vacation. 
Not so fast! After watching "Runner, Runner" a JT and Ben Affleck movie supposedly taking place in Costa Rica but clearly filmed in Puerto Rico(I am so thrilled with myself that I can actually spot the difference:) ), I serendipitously check our flight status. 
You guessed it. Flight canceled. Again. So Now I have been up, way past my bed time, awaiting a second phone call. After two hours of no response from United, I decided to utilize their automated system, Alex. I have captured below our correspondence. It certainly makes me want to drive to all my races from now on.  
Alex and Danny
Alex: Hi, I'm Alex, your automated guide. I've been designed to make your time on our website as fast and efficient as possible. Just type in a question, keyword or phrase below and I'll take you to the information you're looking for.
You Asked: Hi Alex, It appears my flight from Charlotte to Houston was just canceled. I JUST made this reservation this morning after my reservation was canceled once already. Just want to see what I can do .
Alex: If your flight has been canceled due to weather or another uncontrollable event, our system will have attempted to rebook you on the next available United flight. You can view the changes by selecting the View existing reservations link below. If the changes are satisfactory, no further action is required. If you would like to make changes, select the How do I change my ticket link below. For additional options and information, see this Web page. Flight Delays and Cancellations
You Asked: Okay. I just checked and they referred me to the phone line which I have been on hold with for over 2 hours now. Is there any other way I can reschedule my flight?
Alex: If your flight has not departed and you would like to change your reservation, select the Change Flights option to search for alternate flights. You will be able to review all related costs before finalizing your changes. Manage Reservations
You Asked: Thank you, I tried to do that. However it referred me once again to that phone number. Any other suggestions?
Alex: I can answer many questions about United, but you can find additional contact information on this Web page. Click the plus sign next to one of the categories provided, such as Flight Reservations, to view phone numbers. Contact Info
You Asked: Alex, is there a possibility that I can talk with someone else?
Alex: I can answer many questions about United, but you can find additional contact information on this Web page. Click the plus sign next to one of the categories provided, such as Flight Reservations, to view phone numbers. Contact Info
You Asked: That link doesn't help me much since, once again, you have referred me to the same phone line which I have already been put on hold for over 2 hours now.
Alex: Due to high call volumes, your wait time may be a bit longer. However, you can try asking your question below.
You Asked: Is two hours " a bit longer"?
Alex: I am not positive that I understand what you are asking, please try rewording your question.
You Asked: I was just asking what was an expected wait time to hear from a representative. Who are you representing?
Alex: I'm not sure how to answer that. I understand simple questions best, can you try asking that in a different way?
You Asked: I think it's unusual that airlines cannot anticipate weather and make appropriate calls on whether(oh, pun is intended) it is appropriate to reschedule a flight only to then cancel it
Alex: If your flight has been canceled due to weather or another uncontrollable event, our system will have attempted to rebook you on the next available United flight. You can view the changes by selecting the View existing reservations link below. If the changes are satisfactory, no further action is required. If you would like to make changes, select the How do I change my ticket link below. For additional options and information, see this Web page. Flight Delays and Cancellations
You Asked: Alex, I think you have done it again. Last night when my flight today was canceled you rebooked me to fly into Newark tonight, then I was to fend for myself until Monday(mind you after my marathon)
Alex: In some cases where severe weather or other uncontrollable events are impacting our operations, flights may be delayed or canceled. For more information on exception policies, see this Web page.

If your flight has been canceled or delayed, the system may have already attempted to rebook you on the next available United flight. You can view the changes by selecting the View Existing Reservations link below. For more information, select the How Do I Change My Ticket link below.Flight Delays and Cancellations
You Asked: IN addition to the annoyance of you poor ineffectual answers, the character count for this problem is very frustrating
Alex: I'm not sure how to answer that. I understand simple questions best, can you try asking that in a different way?
You Asked: I'm sure there are hundreds of ways to reword my frustration and complaints but as a lowly pleb, I doubt my concerns impact you much
Alex: If you would like to provide feedback on a recent travel experience, use the form on this Web page. If you would like to contact United regarding future flight reservations, select the Contact Us link below. Contact United Customer Care
You Asked: Thank you. I will probably do exactly that. As well as encourage anyone I speak with to avoid flying on United.
Alex: You're welcome. Let us know if there is anything else we can do for you.
You Asked: My point exactly
Alex: MileagePlus is United's award-winning loyalty program. Members can earn award miles by flying United, United Express, Copa Airlines or any Star Alliance member and MileagePlus partner airlines, and by purchasing products and services from a wide variety of MileagePlus partners worldwide. Members can also use award miles for flights and a variety of everyday purchases and activities. MileagePlus Overview
Here's More:

The bane of my existence

So I'm not sure whether we will actually make it to Galveston or not, but it is looking less and less likely as we are now in the third hour of phone elevator music(which if you're counting, brings me up to almost six hours for the day!). Yes, I agree, there are very few trips worth this kind of effort, and I'm sure Galveston is not one of them

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Spirit of Multisport

USA Triathlon recently posted their awards criteria and I happened to noticed that Amber seemed perfect for one of them: The Spirit of Multi-Sport.
The award has three criteria:
           1)the athlete must encompass the principles of good sportsmanship such as: dependability, integrity, character and respect;
          2) the athlete must have demonstrated exceptional involvement and leadership in the multisport community by supporting various constituencies including but not limited to club, coaches, region and/or events; and
           3) have untiring passion for the multisport lifestyle.

Does that sound just like Amber?

Here's my reasoning why you (yes, YOU!), should take the time to nominate her.

1)The Athlete must encompass the principles of good sportsmanship such as: dependability, integrity, character and respect.
      All you have to do is talk with Amber and you know that she espouses these principles. Talk to her coached athletes, teammates or coach and you can see the level of dependability and integrity she brings to triathlon. Then talk to any competitor(both pro and age-group athlete) who has ever raced beside her and you will see her character and respect she has for all athletes and volunteers. She often can be seen for hours after she has already finished her race, cheering on age-group athletes. Friends, family and co-workers are constantly being suckered, err encouraged, to enter races of various lengths, challenges and disciplines. 

2)The athlete must have demonstrated exceptional involvement and leadership in the multisport community by supporting various constituencies including but not limited to club, coaches, region and/or events
       In addition to the races she competed on the national and international stage, Amber also races locally and tries to support home-grown races. She coaches a track club as well as a triathlon swim and has several athletes that she trains. In fact, there aren't many cookie jars that she doesn't have her grubby little hands in as was witnessed in her Dancing with the Stars performance a few weeks back.

 3) The athlete must have untiring passion for the multisport lifestyle.
     Really? Must I even address this? This has gotten so extreme that Amber has decided that she cannot wait until triathlon to start so she will be racing in a Winter Triathlon comprised of speed skating, skate skiing and snowshoe running! She doesn't even own skates!
  If you still question her passion, sit down for a chat with her and you will soon see the amount of knowledge, commitment and, of course, passion she holds for this sport.

If you agree with me, nominate Amber by going to the USA Triathlon website and sending in your nomination.