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A Very Purdue Christmas

Over the holidays we went to my in-laws place in (relatively) Central Indiana.  My alma mater, Purdue, had both a football game and a basketball game during the break so I thought I'd make the most of my time back in Indiana and attend both the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in Detroit on December 27th and the basketball game against Illinois on Purdue's campus in West Lafayette on New Years Eve.  I had forgotten how much fun college sports are (especially when your team wins)!


Alumni Tailgate with Purdue Pete!

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Mileage Run

What is a mileage run?  My definition is when you intentionally travel out of your way for the sole purpose of earning more airline miles (or segments) for the purpose of obtaining airline rewards, whether it be frequent flier status or frequent flier miles.  Most people think this concept is extremely counter-intuitive, why would anyone want to extend the flying experience?  However, if you frequent a travel forum, such as Flyertalk, they have an entire forum topic devoted to mileage runs (or MRs for short) where they are discussed and celebrated. 

Well, as December 2011 rolled around, I realized I was going to be one segment (a takeoff and landing) short to qualify for Silver status on Delta.  Delta is a sour subject for me given that I've qualified for American Airlines Executive Platinum status (100,000 miles or 100 segments per year) for the past FIVE years, and here I am ending up with 29 segments, one short of their lowest status-tier.  Something had to be done.

 The shortest distance between two points - is going out of your way though Memphis
The shortest distance between two points is ... through Memphis?

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Hiking at Devil's Lake

This winter in Madison has been a bit weird - it's been cold but no snow, when it does precipitate we've had a warm spell so it only rained.  The median freeze date for Lake Monona (our closest lake) is December 15, but that doesn't look likely.  So no snow, no freezing lakes, this winter has been below-satisfactory so far.  

With a mild day (high 30's and sunny) planned for Sunday, we decided to head up to Devil's Lake State Park for some hiking.  DLSP, about 45 minutes north of Madison, is a super-popular summer location for many from Wisconsin and Illinois (or FIBs, if you prefer), but it clears out considerably once the cold arrives. 

Balanced Rock trail 
Hiking up the Balanced Rock Trail, roughly 400 foot vertical over many uneven rock stairs - the dog loved it

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Winter Bike Training

Is there anything more boring than running on a treadmill?  How about riding your bike indoors?  If that's not more boring it's at least on-par.  I think I may have found a solution.

Indoor training 
Indoor training. 

Bike trainer + college basketball.  Here is my strategy:

  • During the gameplay, ride at steady-state, IE a comfortable pace
  • During commercials kick it up a notch and attack
I find the relative randomness of commercials make for a great way to break things up, kind of like encountering a small hill on the ride.  As for halftime, I just switch over to another game and undertake the same strategy.
 
It's a great way to combine something enjoyable with something monotonous and boring.  Let's see how long this lasts...
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