Introducing ANNA, and a chance to win!

Image detailing TheANNAapp rules of entry - instagramWe all have questions that need answering, day by day the questions keep coming, so why not put them to good use, and get some answers too?

You can do just that with a new app that’s about to launch!

ANNA is the first question-and-answer app that brings together individuals and businesses, and rewards its users for their participation.  Even better, before it launches the team behind ANNA are running a competition, and every question asked as part of the competition will result in 50p being donated to London’s Queen’s Park Youth Centre, and other London youth organisations.

The brain child of Anna Hedman, the ANNA app will allow you to join communities based on your knowledge and areas of interest and help out other users by answering their questions.  Or of course, asking yours.  ANNA will be available for normal people like you and I, and for companies as well (think crowd-sourced market research).

TheANNAapp Call to donateANNA’s main point of uniqueness is that it will reward users for all participation and engagement. Like Experience Points in a role-playing game, users earn ANNA Points for asking and answering questions, and the more popular their questions and answers are, the more ANNA points they earn. These ANNA Points can be spent on rewards, including store vouchers, plus vouchers for branded goods, restaurants and various businesses — and they can even be exchanged for cash. Pretty cool huh?

As someone who works in HR and Recruitment I am also excited to see that ANNA will be helping people to develop an online CV based on the knowledge and experience shared via the app.  This sounds like great news for job hunters and recruiters alike and I can’t wait to see how it develops!

The app itself is planned to launch on iOS on 13th March, with an Andoid version following after that (don’t panic though Andoiders, you’ll still be able to get involved via the website).  However, you can get in on the action early by getting involved in their pre-launch competition.

All you need to do is get involved on Facebook or Instagram….you have until 27th February to make sure you like their account/page, post your essential question under one of the competition’s Instagram or Facebook photos, and tag 3 friends to get involved as well.

Full rules and details will be on each of their applicable posts, so make sure you read and follow them to ensure you get entered in the prize draw…and to ensure your question counts for a 50p charitable donation!  You also need to make sure you use the hashtag #themostimportantquestion

Image detailing TheANNAapp rules of entryWhat’s in it for you?  The chance to win up to £1,000! (A £10,000 prize pool will be up for grabs overall) And who couldn’t do with a bit of extra cash?  I know I’ll be entering!

Once the questions have been asked, there’ll be a voting period where everyone gets involved to answer the burning question…..which was #themostimportantquestion ?

So what are you waiting for? Get over to ANNA on Facebook and TheANNAapp on Instagram and get your entries in!  You can also follow them for updates on Twitter.

Competition: Win a set of twelve 30 Day Challenge Fitness Trackers

I wanted to get a quick post live for those of you planning to participate in the annual Janathon Challenge (workout and blog/Tweet about it every day in January), as I thought the 30 Day Fitness Challenge trackers that are available in my new Etsy Store would be perfect to use as daily prompts!

To kick things off in the store I am offering you the chance to win a full-set of the 12 different exercise trackers I currently have available.  Simply enter my competition and you could be a lucky winner!

The challenges are:
  • Burpees
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Lunges
  • Plank
  • Press-Ups (Level 1 & 2)
  • Push-Ups (Level 1 & 2)
  • Sit-Ups
  • Squats (Level 1, 2 & 3)
  • Tricep Dips
  • Wall Sit

Store Preview:

Competition: Join me on LEJOG

#LETJOGFor the last 3 years I have participated in a Facebook challenge to cover the distance from Lands End to John O’Groats via my training runs and races (thanks @Loudmouthman for the intro).  I fell short in 2014, but in 2015 I smashed it and look to do so again in 2016 assuming I can stay injury free.  I currently have 89km to go!

It’s no surprise that when I found out about the Conqueror Events virtual LEJOG that I got involved straight away.  This is a virtual event that allows you to input your runs, bike rides etc (basically any forward motion) and race your way through LEJOG.  Keep reading and I’ll give you the opportunity to win a Bronze level entry (you can top up to Gold if you want to).

What makes this different from what I have been doing up to know is that you get an added virtual environment, no more will I just tick off the kilometres with no real concept of distance and location….now I will be able to “see” where I have been running as the app and website let’s me check out the actual route via Google Streetview.  I’ll also be able to share my virtual journey by sending online progress postcards.

You can sign-up as a team, or an individual and chose how long you are going to take to cover the 1084 miles (from 3 months to 1 year).  I’ve going to be solo-ing and have given myself a year to do it. As you know I am focused on training smart, not hard and so don’t want to put pressure on myself to do the distance in 9 months just in case my plans change and my training volume drops.

Image - t-shirt and medalSo who fancies joining me?  I’m giving away a free entry at Bronze level which gives you access to the challenge, use of the app and website and a prize draw entry.  You also get a downloadable certificate once you have finished LEJOG.  If you fancy getting a great t-shirt, or a medal (along with extra prize draw entries) then you can pay a little top-up to the Silver or Gold entry level.

You can read all about it on the website, use my affiliate link and you’ll get £5/$7 off the entry price.

Why not get a group of friends together and enter as a team?  Use it as a way to motivate your Coach to 5 km group, or be crazy like me and commit to going it alone!

All you need to do to enter is provide me with your email address using the entry form below (how else am I going to tell you you have won?), you can also gain extra entries by following Tailfish on Twitter, or visiting the Tailfish Blog Facebook page.  What are you waiting for?  Get Clicking! And if you can’t see the form below then go here instead.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entries will close in plenty of time to let those of you who weren’t lucky enough to win a chance to sign up via https://www.theconqueror.events/go/tailfish.

Wham Bam, Yes Please, Jam

Kat on lift

After an early start of 5:30am on Saturday 22nd, we arrived in Castleford in plenty of time to grab a quick breakfast from McDonald’s before heading in to register for the Wham Bam Thank You Jam (AKA the British Indoor Snowboard Championships). The new format seemed to be eagerly anticipated by the riders & there were about 70 snowboarders taking part over the course of the day.

After registering I bumped into fellow SNO!zone team mates Jade Walsh & her dad and we headed out to the slope for Jade’s age category comp…..this year all the under 16s had the chance to fight it out amongst their own age groups with 2 judged runs, before joining the rest of us in the jam session. Jade rode really well and was stoked to find out at the end of the day that she had placed 3rd!

The main jam session kicked off at 10:30 and we all shredded the 4 zone course for 90 minutes, they then made the first cut. As there were less of us all the girls made it through to the first zone session, only 22 guys made the cut though. I was especially pleased that 9 year old SNO!zoner Will Gilmore made it through though as he’d been riding well above his age level!

We then had half an hour sessioning the top of the slope, typically this was my least favourite section and not having the guts to hit the gnarly side on rails I resorted to working through my trick list on the pyramid box. Not the easiest of boxes to really get styled out on as it has quite short sections but I was pleased to get some nice switch tricks laid down including a switch-frontside over it. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get me through to zone 2, but at least I know what I need to work on for future comps. If I can keep progressing on the side hits then I may stand a chance of holding my own against the youngsters.

The cuts kept coming with 50% of the riders being culled at each stage until only 4 remained in both the men’s and women’s category. In the end the style & experience of Becky Menday & Andy Nudds won out and they were crowned champions.

Kat Switch Nose Slide

It was a really fun day and I think it proved to be a winning format, the youngsters not only had the chance to face the pressure of 2 runs and beat their peers but everyone got to session a really good course in the jam section for at least 90 minutes (much longer if you we’re good enough to make the cuts). It was definitely the most riding I have done at any British Champs since my first one 9 years ago….in fact a couple of the youngsters were moaning about being tired they had ridden so much (of course this tiredness didn’t stop them beating me!).

So now it’s back to practicing, let’s see if I can build on my current skills and beat a couple of the kids in Tignes.

Results

Massive thanks has to go to VitaCoco UK who sponsored me with a months’ worth of coconut water….it really did help keep me hydrated throughout the comp and kept any major girly-leg moments at bay!

Rant: I demand better organisation in snowboarding

Dr Pepper can

Some people may feel that I moan quite a bit about the state of UK snowboarding, its competitions and its “scene”, a lot of people tell me I should just ignore the “mainstream” stuff run by Soulsports, ignore the British Championships, “stick it to the man and stop putting cash in Brassy’s pocket” and so it goes on.

So why do I care? Why do I keep moaning and keep doing the comps?

I care because I love snowboarding, I like competing and to me it’s important to be involved in “proper” competitions as well as the (apparently) more friendly jam sessions where you rock up to be told there are nappies at the bottom of the slope for anyone who is too scared to straight line the run into the kicker.

It seems to me that snowboarding tries to be everything to everybody, and probably due to its relatively young age as a sport, it hasn’t managed to sufficiently organise itself into factions in the same way as skiing, gymnastics, ice skating, boxing (and pretty much every other mainstream sport in the world) have. There’s no national grading system that allows people to compete against people of a similar skill level, there are no widely available schemes that direct people towards the same goal (remember your BAGA badges at school?), and there’s the constant fight going on between riders about whether the Olympics are good or bad, is snowboarding a sport or a lifestyle? How can we stop it being taken over by corporations? And so it goes on!

Folks, snowboarding is both a sport and a lifestyle, it’s time to live and let live and understand that each of us as individuals wants something different from the time we spend on snow. Some of us want to train, use sports psychology to make us better and enter (fairly & transparently judged competitions) to prove we are either better than someone else, or better than we were last year)

This brings me on to what triggered this post. As someone who views snowboarding as a sport I want to be able to plan my training, plan my goals and act as a mentor to younger riders who are just starting out. In order to do this I need to know more than 3 weeks before a competition what the format is and what disciplines are included, this is especially true of the British Indoor Championships. This competition should be the pinnacle of UK competition for the season, it should also (in my opinion) be a key day for the GB coaches to take a look at the up-coming talent, and give them a chance to find out more about being on the GB team.

In order to perform to the best of your ability in a competition you need to be able to train for it. That means it is helpful for you know how you will be judged, what on, any additional factors involved in scoring etc. Knowing this means you can prepare your 2 (or 3) comp runs in advance, or know that it’s a jam format so you need to cram in as many good tricks as you can in a certain time period. Do you go for an easy trick on a harder rail, or an uber-tech trick on an easier box? Without knowledge up front you can’t train to be the best.

Throw into the mix that for parents it’s handy to know days, timings and locations well in advance to plan around other family commitments, kids that need ferrying around.  It shocks me that on the morning of 6th September I am writing this because I’m awaiting some fancy poster & website about the British Indoor Championships taking place on 22nd September.

I don’t care about a fancy poster, I just want info! Fine, posters are useful for those people new on the scene, who may not be tapped in to the fact that the comp should be happening soon. For someone like me though, who did their first British champs in 2003, I would just like an email saying “hey, you’ve done this before, here’s all the info, stick it in your diary and guess what we took on board feedback from last year and have decided to do x, y & z to make things better.”  I also don’t expect to be told something will be annouced on a certain day and then have it constantly pushed back. Yes I understand sometimes delays occur, but it seems that the same thing happens year in and year out.

I don’t think this is too much to ask. Yes, I may be a bit anal about organisation and planning but my day job is project management, it runs through my veins and I refuse to fight it. If snowboarding in the UK wants to breed snowboarders who can compete on an international level and impress at the Olympics then it needs to start by improving how it hooks people in to the competitive scene and then keeps them there. Wherever you go people always comment on customer service, how they were treated by Brand X or they won’t buy from Store Y because of bad service, so why does the UK snowboarding scene put up with such shoddy service?

Come on British Snow Tour, Soulsports, BSS…..step up to the plate, start to treat snowboarding as a business and win more customers, we deserve better! In fact, we demand better!