Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year In Review

2008 was a pretty good run. Here are some of the major quantifiable accomplishments over the past 12 months:






  • 102 nights spent in hotel rooms (at least.. I don't think this includes nights that I stayed for free)

  • 7 states that I have worked in (AZ, KS, MO, CO, GA, WI, CA). On a side note, last year was 13!

  • ~30 round trip flights

  • 886 miles ran (thank you blog history)

  • 2 marathons finished (3:48:43, 4:05:49 - oddly in that order)

  • 1 10k finished (45:45)
  • 1 iPod purchased
  • 19 songs purchased on iTunes
  • 1 book purchased on iTunes



Pretty crazy when I think about it actually. Of course, I've taken numerous vacations, had tons of laughs, and even shed a few tears. 2008 is over, but 2009 is just beginning. I'm set to make it a good one!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Beyonce!

Nick sent me a VERY funny SNL video today and I just had to pass it along. It is spoof of the Beyonce 'put a ring on it' video. Justin Timberlake is in it and is as funny as ever. First the spoof:



Watch more SpikedHumor videos on AOL Video


Then the original:


Monday, December 29, 2008

Book Review: Ultramarathon Man

I recently, from the awesome library, borrowed Dean Karnazes' book Ultramarathon Man. It is an autobiography of Dean and his ultra running exploits.

Dean is a beast. If you are not a runner, he is the one who runs 200 miles at a time. He is the one who runs 140 miles in death valley - more than once. He is the one who is crazy enough to run 30 miles without training - in his mowing shoes! Crazy.


The book is basically about Dean and his crazy running regimen. The first half is mostly about Dean getting back into running after a long delay. He ran track/cross country in high school, but a shitty coach pissed him off so he stopped running dead in his tracks. 10 years later, he didn't like his life and decided to go for a run. 30 miles later, he decided to stop. That is when he decided to get serious about running. He goes on to run multiple ultras. Ultimately qualifying for the Western States 100.
The second half of the book focuses on his 200 mile run through California. This run was originally supposed to be a 12 man relay race, but instead Dean ran it on his own! It took over two days, he ate over 25,000 calories and he ultimately fell asleep while running, but he finished.

I gave this book three Shakespeare heads. I think that it could have received more heads had it not made me feel bad about myself for not running 200 miles at a time.

12/28 Run

6 miles, 8:03 pace. I hadn't ran since Christmas Eve, so I know that I went out a bit too fast and then crapped out towards the end. I started out in the 7:15 range and needed to take a breather around 4 or so. This ultimately slowed me down to the ~8:00 pace.

My training starts in earnest on 1/5 and I'm still working through the right mix of speed and hill work to get me to where I would like to be (3.30 - 3.40). I'm going to post again here later in the week asking for everyone's thoughts.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

2008 Christmas Card

Merry Christmas! Since last year, I gave all of my blogger friends three choices for my Christmas Card picture, I thought that I would give everyone FIVE options! How lucky!

The first picture is me savoring a beer after getting piss pounded by the Chicago Marathon and picture two shows me and my brother in law savoring a little wine victory.














The third and forth picture show my wife and I posing with CREEPY spiderman (note the fanny pack) and me keeping everyone safe from errant fork lifts.











Finally, since I think that every major decision should include at least a little nudity, the last picture is Nick and I on the San Diego beach.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sorry Blockbuster

On Sunday night I rented the new batman movie “The Dark Knight” via RedBox. The movie was awesome, RedBox was awesome, overall it was just a good experience. I think that I may know why one of the local Blockbuster stores is now a Vitamin Warehouse. I could see how RedBox would put them out of business. There are many reasons why it is much better: They are everywhere (McDonalds, Walmart, the grocery store, etc), it is 1/4 the price of a regular movie rental ($1!!??), and it is super fast to select a movie and “checkout”.

I honestly am not sure that I’ll rent another movie from Blockbuster again. I was going there few and far between already with PPV, but this may have been the final nail in the coffin.

12/24 Run

4.2 miles, 8:20 pace. Might as well call it a hill repeat run because I am in Colorado Springs, CO for Christmas and ran on the hills of my mom’s neighborhood. It was a lot hillier than I remember here – that is for certain! Mix that with the ~7,200 ft altitude and the fact that it was 18 degrees out and you have the recipe for an awfully good ‘training’ run… or the perfect conditions for a good beat down.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Man Cold

I was going to save this post until I was actually sick, but hopefully that will not be for QUITE some time. Funny funny stuff - mostly cause it is true. I am a BEAR when I am sick and I will be the first one to admit it.

That is probably why I am so weird about germs in general. I'm just trying to save the people around me the agony of listening to me complain!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Smells like winter!

Tones Spices, headquartered in Ankeny, IA (20 miles from where I went to college), recently donated 9 tons of expired garlic salt to the city to be used on icy roads. The funny thing is that I learned about this late last week on the Today show! In fact, when I was searching for a link, the most recent article was a news story from the Des Moines Register talking about how the story went national.

Not too much to say here, just wanted to get some Iowa love in. I could close this post out with some good quips about garlic salt on the roads – but I won’t… Aww, what the hell:

  • Just hours after the donation was reported, local supplies of Texas toast and French rolls were running drastically low
  • Children were no longer warned to not lick flag poles, now they needed to be warned not to lick the streets
  • Many pet owners were taken to the hospital with acute respiratory infections after smelling their even WORSE than normal dog/cat breath

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Scott Adams always makes me feel better

I laughed out loud at how much this one hit home for so many people. :)



Week of 12/15 Runs

12/16 - 3 miles, 7:40 pace. This included 3 x 800 @ 7:00 pace on the treadmill.
12/20 - 8 miles, 8:20 pace. Burrr - more wind. There was a 20 mph headwind and 25 degree temps. I could only go into the wind for a mile at a time - that is all that my face could handle.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Maybe I need FedEx



I know, I've been SUPER busy the last 4 days. So busy that I haven't posted any new blogs nor have I been able to read anyone's feed. This weekend I'll get caught up. The reason why I've ben so busy is that I'm wrapping things up at my current client as well as finalizing the contract for 2009 work. This means that I'm spending an extra amount of time transitioning while adding a bunch of additional work on top of that. To tide everyone over, here are a few funny overheard in the office quotes....

Male employee, angry about benefits: So my live-in girlfriend is not a domestic partner but Steve's* boyfriend is?
HR generalist: Yes, that's right. Domestic partners are same sex partners, that is the policy.
Male employee: So if my girlfriend became my boyfriend I could put her on my insurance?
HR generalist: Yes, if she grows a penis and discovers a deep abiding love for Cher, she can be on your insurance.
Male employee: Really?
HR generalist: (sighs)

Drunk on phone: Hello, is this Frogs?
Intern: No, this is not a bar, it is a place of business.
Drunk on phone: Look...is my honey Lois there?
Intern: No, please don't call anymore. (hangs up)
(phone rings again)
Drunk on the phone: Look...I'm looking for my honey Lois. Is she there?
Intern: No, this is a place of business. Please stop calling.(hangs up phone, then it rings again)
Drunk on the phone: Have you seen my honey, Lois?
Supervisor: Yeah, I've seen her. She's sitting here at the bar and she's making out with a bunch of guys.
Drunk on the phone: Bitch! Tell her I'm going to kill her.
Supervisor: I would love to, but I think she's having sex right now on the bar. I'll wait until she's done.
Drunk on the phone: I can't believe she is doing this to me. (starts to cry and hangs up phone)
Supervisor to intern: Every once in a while you gotta have a little fun.

Frazzled boss: Today has been just awful.
Concerned coworker: I know, hun. (in a hushed tone) Do you want a Xanax?
Frazzled boss: Oh, god, no...thank you...I have my own supply. (in hushed tone) And I've already had several.

Monday, December 15, 2008

10 Years Ago....

I recently ran across the following and really liked it. So, I decided to steal it! I honestly wanted to provide a reference, but I can not seem to find the original post. I'll keep hunting and will hopefully find it.

I think that this post is particularly relevant with all of the 'year in review' posts that are floating out in the blogosphere.

10 Years Ago (1998):
1. I decided that I wanted to go to Iowa State and major in Computer Science
2. I bought my first motorcycle
3. I was eagerly awaiting the May release of the next Star Wars movie
4. I was frantically applying for college scholarships
5. I had a part time job working in a ‘factory farm’ raising pigs

5 Things on Today’s “To Do” List :
1. Complete a teammate’s mid year feedback form
2. Get sign off on the 2009 telephone launch schedule
3. Arms / chest weight training
4. Finish my Christmas cards
5. Get caught up on blog reading!

5 Things that I would do if I were a millionaire had more money than I could ever spend:
1. Buy a small cottage in Hawaii
2. Travel!
3. Quit my current job, find job at new car dealership
4. Ensure that my brother, sister, and brother in law had the educations that they would like
5. Complete #4 on my bucket list

5 Places I have lived:
1. Rolfe, IA
2. Bradgate, IA
3. Ames, IA
4. Normal, IL
5. Overland Park, KS

5 Jobs I have had:
1. Farm hired hand
2. Pig guy at a 600 sow farrowing operation
3. Online Bank Intern at State Farm Insurance
4. Asset Management Intern at Hallmark Cards
5. Consultant for one of the ‘big 3’ management consulting firms

12/14 Run

8 miles, 8:15 pace. Yeah, I know…. I’m super late on this post. Sunday’s run was fun. It was great to get out there again and put in some ‘real’ mileage. This is the longest that I’ve done since Chicago and the shortest that I hope to do for the foreseeable future. It was really warm for mid December (mid 50s) however it was VERY windy – wind advisories were in effect. The first half was with the wind and the second half was against the wind. However, during the run, the most bizarre thing happened. Instead of running slower into the wind I actually ran faster! Almost 30 seconds / mile faster. If anyone knows why that is, let me know!

(Side note, I also did a slow 3 miler on 12/12. Tough run for some reason…..)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bush's Approval Rating

I guess this is what an approval rating of 26% will get you. Gosh, I almost feel bad for the guy... You have to think that he would totally be the last one picked in kickball.

Hey, are you busy??

This question is always a double edged sword. In my job right now I am ‘steadily’ busy. I’m never at a loss for 10 min to watch a funny YouTube but can certainly find enough things to do to fill the day. However, when someone asks if I am busy, I’m always at a loss. There are two scenarios that generally play out:

My boss / a client asks me if I am busy:
He wants me to do something. No matter what I answer I’m going to have to do it eventually. So, if I answer “yes, I am busy” he’ll either ask “doing what” or will tell me to get back with him when I am not busy. In the latter situation, I’ll have some random task hanging over my head until I can get back with him. What to do? I normally respond with “why do you ask” and be as ambiguous as possible.

My team asks me if I am busy:
They need to talk to me about something. I am always available to my team, so I feel bad if I tell them that I am busy with one thing or another. Not to mention the fact that I don't want to seem like I'm just hanging out all day (which I am certainly not - especially as of late). What to do? I’ll usually answer with some sort of “sort of, but what is up?”. Hopefully that will keep my virtual 'open door' wide open.

Of COURSE, I'm never too busy to think up a new random blog post. Those come to me all day long!

12/10 Run

4 miles, 8:30 pace. Finally got out there in the cold / snow. It was actually quite fun! Not too much snow on the roads, quite a bit of snow / ice on the sidewalks. Funny thing.... as I got about 2 miles in, I realized that my choice of clothing probably wasn't the best. I had put on a black sweatshirt (over my running shirt) and a black stocking hat - all while it was pitch black out. I can only imagine the thought in people's mind when I went huffing by.

I did do the math that if I want to run the Fargo Marathon I need to start training on 1/5. Gotta get back on the waggon!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Lights

So, I was going to try to pass this off as a current picture, but I thought better of it. Below is a picture of my house all lit up with lights from last year. This year's lights are identical except I got rid of the lights along the drive way. Note the Christmas tree in the front window :)






Book Review: My Life on the Run

I recently borrowed (from the awesome library) Bart Yasso’s book: My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon. This book spoke briefly about Bart’s life, the exotic races he has completed for Runners World, and his recommended training schedule for marathons, half marathons, and 10ks.

Overall, as a runner, I really liked this book. Bart spoke of his troubled youth, his (continued) battle with lyme disease, and of course, all of the crazy runs that he has completed. Some of the more memorable were his Badwater 146 run, a marathon in Antarctica, marathons in the mountains of Tibet, a naked 5k, as well as many others too numerous to count. I found the chapter on the Yasso 800s particularly interesting. In fact, I think that I am going to do the test prior to my next race. Hopefully they’ll give me a better indicator of my final time!

That said there were a few things that I didn’t like. I really didn’t like the constant plugs for his Lehigh Valley half marathon. Not a chapter went buy the he didn’t mention this race in one form or fashion. Granted, he was the race director for quite some time, but it seemed like he was really working to get the plug in. Also, I was a bit surprised that so much of the book was dedicated to his training plans. Something like 30 to 40 pages of a 250 page book.

In summary, I have to give this book two ratings since the followers of this blog are 50/50 split – runners vs non runners.

For runners I give this book a very firm four Shakespeare heads. It was a really quick read and was, at times, very entertaining. Bart does a great job of mixing the right amount of running history with his own personal biography.





For non runners I give this book two Shakespeare heads. Not many people who run are going to like a story about Bart running in a naked 5k!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snowing in the Run

I didn't run this morning because I heard that there was a chance for snow this afternoon and I wanted to run in the snow! Now, running in the snow can be a bit precarious..... You have to slow down a bit and have very deliberate foot strikes, but it is VERY fun. I am really hoping that it keeps snowing until I am done working so that I can run while it is snowing.

I'll keep all posted on the results / injuries.

Spell Checker in AIM

I have bad spelling. In fact, the first thing that I did when I got my new laptop was make sure that the spell checker was turned on in outlook. However, I pride myself in the fact that I don’t let any spelling mistakes sneak through in any emails, documents, or blog posts for that matter. However, this is not the case for Instant Messaging. I’ve gone long enough with this ‘condition’ and therefore will make it my first new years resolution to no longer have any misspellings in AIM. So, if you have me on AIM (and why wouldn’t you??) call me out if you see any misspelled words!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hall Pass Weekend in Review

Here it is, the weekend that was (in pictures no less!). My free weekend started much like any other weekend. I had a busy day at work on Friday, but I was still able to get out around 5:00 and run a few errands. Those included buying a Christmas present, renting the movie Hancock, and stopping off at the wine store. Where, in addition to two bottles of wine, I also bought some Jack Daniels and some beer. It was going to be a good weekend. Before I knew it, I had cleared a number of beers and 1/2 of the bottle of Jack. I was reminded of my question earlier in the day about how much you could drink at home before having to go to meetings.....

Funny, I don't remember that picture being blurry.... Never the less, I got up and went for a solid 6 mile run. I made a new loop that turned out to be exactly 6 miles. I've gotten really good at locking those specific distances down. To steal an idea from Marcy, here is a shot of me before I headed out. Dry fit shirt with shorts.... Perfect winter gear! :)

For the rest of the weekend I mixed between watching football (boo FL) and messing with my new laptop. Windows Vista is different, but for my needs it will get the job done. My wife always says that it drives her nuts when I bounce around from screen to screen, I think that I found the very solution!

So, in summary my weekend was fun. Oddly, it doesn't bother me to be couped up in the house for a short time. In fact, sometimes I actually look forward to it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

OJ, what are you DOING!?

What hell are you doing OJ? He was sentenced this past week to 33 years in prison for kidnapping, assault, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. We let you get away with it once (murder no less!!), but you have to do it again!? Seriously….

I am reminded of a Chris Rock bit about Michael Jackson… “The world's F’ed up man. Michael Jackson lost his mind. What the hell is wrong with Michael? [Touching] another kid? [Touching] another kid? I thought it was groundhog's day when I heard that shit. Another kid. Get the F’ out of here. That's how much we love Michael. We love Michael so much. We let the first kid slide. Another kid. I'm F’ing done. I'm done with Michael. I was a fan my whole life. I am F’ing done. I'm handing in my glove. I saw Michael on 60 minutes. Ed Bradley tried his best to make Michael look like a mammal. An animal that drink water and breathe air. Right. He gave Michael the easiest question in the world, the easiest GED questions in the world and Michael could not pass the test.”

This is why I am a firm believer in karma. It always pays to do the right thing. One of my wife’s uncle bought some Christmas presents for his kids at a sporting good store and wasn’t charged. He was out of the store but still went back in and told the sales clerk to charge him. This was totally the right thing to do. If he didn’t, he probably would have been hit by bus driving home or something else traumatic.

So, if you are reading this OJ, (which I have no reason to think that he is not) try to do the right thing while in jail and stay out of trouble. No shanks made out of toothbrushes or sex for cigarettes. If you can do that, I'm sure that you'll be OK when you are done.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

12/6 Run

6 miles, 7:57 pace. I wasn't sure what today's run would be like because I haven't ran any significant distance since the turkey trot 10k. Fortunately, there was no pain (none!!) and I was able to run right at where I wanted.

The weather really cooperated as well. It was about 40 degrees and sunny!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sleepy Time

No run today. However, I did want to share a funny picture of the client that I am currently working with. I don’t work directly with the person below, however when I was discussing an issue with a friend she pointed out the following:

This was at 4:00 in the afternoon! He is basically level 2 support (sort of), so he has to clock in/out and therefore what he does on his ‘break’ is his own business. But, I still found it a bit odd that a nap at work would be a good idea. I would be afraid that I would either snore, drool, or just plain old sleep the day away. The great thing was that since he was asleep, he was none the wiser of the picture!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Santa's email was hacked!

FUNNY picture from Nick via a buddy of his:

12/2 - 12/3 Runs

On 12/2, all of the treadmills at the hotel were full, so I did some time on the bike. I cranked out 9 miles at an average pace. I'm still holding to the 3 miles on the bike = 1 mile of running, so I count that as 3 miles.

On 12/3, I did 3 miles of speed work with three 800's built in. I ran my 800's at a 6:50 pace and my 400 recovery at a 8:30 pace. For some reason I can't remember how slow I'm supposed to run my recovery, so I just slowed it down to a comfortable pace.

This weekend I'm going to bundle up and try to knock out another 6 mi or so. I'm just going to go exploring in some new neighborhoods since my days in KC are limited. I figure that 6 miles should give me plenty of distance to get lost in my thoughts.

The library is AWESOME!

I recently rediscovered the library. It was the most amazing thing!! I went to the library, filled out a paper to get a library card, found my book, checked it out, and left while paying NO money! I could hardly believe it. Now, let me say, shame on me for not remembering this until now. I haven’t been to a library to actually check out a book since middle school. So, it has been over 15 years where I have been able to get something for nothing**.

I borrowed Bart Yasso’s most recent book and am due to write up a review shortly. It is going to be a good review, so check it out if you can.

As stated previously, I am going to be alone this weekend and will likely try to find another book to borrow FOR FREE from the library. If you know of any good books that you think that I would like, let me know!

**Disclaimer, as a homeowner I certainly DO pay for the library and its services.

Monday, December 1, 2008

WTF is Moosebutter?

They are an a capella group that is a mix between Weird Al and a choir. Funny stuff. Here is a guy who lip synced their Star Wars tribute. Good stuff (nerdy according to my brother in law). It gets especially good around 1:00.


Bucket List

I have said for quite some time (10 years at least) that there are three things that I would like to do before I die. The three things are:

Drink water from the sea
Be worth my weight in gold
Feel what it is like to be weightless

As you can imagine, #1 was relatively easy to do. As stated in my 100 things post however, I didn’t see the ocean let alone drink ocean water until my honeymoon. I need to get cracking! I will say that: The ocean is MUCH saltier than I could have ever imagined, if I ever want to retire I had better be worth at least my weight in gold, and I think that my weightless ambitions may have been a bit TOO ambitious.

However, I thought that I should expand my list a bit to reflect my current situation. Here are some additional things that I would consider part of my bucket list:

Pass on the Ricklefs name. That is, have a son
Get a stamp, ANY stamp, on my passport
Run a marathon in all 50 states – thereby visiting all 50 states
Anonymously help someone who is truly in need


Not a big list, but not an easy one either. I’ll likely think of more as the days go by – that may or may not get added to this list.