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Sunday, March 16, 2008

On the road again...

I'm on the road again. I'm in Tucson, and I love it. If you've never been to Tucson, you should come, it's a great place. But just come to visit, I like it the way it is size wise. I got up and went for a run this morning, and just about froze my buns off. Yes, Tucson, Arizona in March, and coooold! And yes, I'm a bit out of shape, but I'm officially in marathon training. My wife dragged (drug?) me down to the Honolulu Marathon Clinic last week, which is what I needed. If - When - I run this year, it will be my fourth marathon. I missed the last couple of years, but I'm going to do it again this year. The Marathon Clinic has been going for 30 years now and is a great program. It's really designed for people who have never run a marathon, or even really run before. The clinic starts in March, because if you follow their program, you can finish a marathon with nine months of training. The basic premise is you have to run for one-hour, three days a week. Ouch!

Well, I know I can go out and run for an hour, so I don't really have an excuse to not get in shape. At this point, there's a fair amount of shuffling, as opposed to actual running, but it's a good start. I'm not a natural born runner, like some people, but I like it. I played rugby for about six years and thought I was in pretty good shape. Thought I did a lot of running. But I was wrong. I joined the army and we ran quite a bit in basic training, or so I thought. Then I went to airborne school and learned about running, among other things. I have to admit I don't know if I would have made it without help. My help came from a guy I met on the bus down to Fort Benning. The guy was amazing, like a lung with legs. When I started hurting and thought I was going to drop out of a run, he'd just grab hold of me and drag me along. I don't know how my legs kept moving. Of course, if he hadn't made me drink beer all night after training and wake up with a hangover I probably could have made it a little further until I needed that help.

But, I digress. I'm on the road again. And what have I seen so far? Well, let's start with the flight over. I fly United. I fly United almost all the time, so I'm a Premier. That means I get to use the less crowded check in kiosk, get the extra legroom seats, and get to board with Seating Area 1 . Or so I thought. For some reason I've been demoted to Seating Area 4. Now that's not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but from a customer service point of view it's not good. I still fly enough to be a Premier level customer, but they've demoted me for some unknown reason without telling me. And airlines wonder why they can't make money.

Rented a car while I'm here. We mostly use Dollar. I like them. You can reserve a car online or by calling them, and you don't need to leave a credit card number to reserve. That just make it easier and less of a hassle. They're usually a little cheaper than the "major" rental companies, but they have the same cars. I've never had a problem with them, and when I returned my car in San Francisco last week their check-in person helped me out and saved me some money. I couldn't find a gas station before the airport (first time renting a car in SF), so just took the car in on empty as was prepared to pay. But the lady gave me directions to the nearest gas station and a ticket to get out of the parking garage, and that saved me a good chunk of change. That's the customer service that keeps me coming back.

My hotel got a lot of extra points for several things, but got a ding when I checked in. I had to call a couple of times to make changes, and they were wonderful on the phone, even at 3:00 a.m. Everyone's been more than pleasant since I got here. But when I arrived to check in, the person at the desk was talking to someone else (not sure if they work here or who they were), talking about another guest who didn't speak English, and left me to wait for a minute. Just kind of turned me off a bit. Customer service rule: always put on your best face.

I was heading down south to Green Valley this morning, but ran into a couple of problems. First, there was a parade downtown, which I ran into. If I had known, I could have taken another route, but I ran into the detours and ended up slightly lost. I know my way around here pretty well, but then ran into problem two; highway construction. The construction itself isn't a problem, but just a thought to the city of Tucson - have clear directions through the construction. On the way back into town, on the interstate, there were very clear directions and signs that no one could miss. Directions and signs like that on the major streets leading to the access to the highway would sure go a long way towards making people's lives easier. Even governments need customer service.

Well, past my bedtime again and I have to get up and run again tomorrow.

1 comment:

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