24 April 2008

The end is nigh

I know, I know, it is boring and unexciting to have two consecutive posts about finishing school. But right now school is about all I do. I could get specific and write about current approaches to treating HIV, a novel proposal for a testicular prosthetic, or the cutting edge findings on controlling cell migration in a three-dimensional gel. But what fun is that? It is much more exciting to look forward to the finish.

This week I have delivered two presentations and finished two papers. I am completely done with two of my classes. And I only have one assignment left in each of my remaining four classes.

Maybe when I finally finish everything I will have some more interesting things to write about.

17 April 2008


Yesterday I has an exam in my Tissue Engineering course. After the exam, I realized it was the last test of my college career. All I have left are two weeks of classes, a three papers to write and three presentations to give - then I am done! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The problem is, as the light gets brighter, I get more and more trunky.

I am so ready to be done with school. Add to this all the fun traveling and activities I have to look forward to this summer and you get a guy who has lost all interest in what the professor is lecturing about. Unfortunately I spend more time thinking and planning about life after graduation than I spend doing school work. I feel like I am just biding my time, waiting for the next few weeks to pass. It will be good to move on to the next phase in life.

11 April 2008

"Take me out to the ball game..."

The ball could have been mine!

I arrived at Shea Stadium, purchased my ticket, bought an overpriced Pepsi to enjoy with my sunflower seeds, and found my seat just as the first batter of the visiting Philadelphia Phillies stepped to the plate.

Before I even had time to get comfortable, I heard the distinctive crack of the bat accompanied by the unusual sight of a baseball seemingly growing larger and larger as it flew through the air. Yes, the ball was headed directly at me. With a sweatshirt, magazine, and drink in my hands, I was unprepared to make a quick grab. I dropped my items to the ground as the ball zipped past my left shoulder. It bounced off the steps and settled between the feet of the fan seated directly behind me.

I hesitated! Why did I not lunge for my first authentic major league baseball? My split-second thought was that because the ball came to rest at the foot of the gentleman behind me, it was rightfully his. However, had I acted quickly, I was in position to reach down and grab the ball before he could squat to pick it up. It was mine for the taking! My slight delay forfeited my chance to claim the coveted prize every baseball fan hopes for each time he makes his way to the ballpark.

And the salt in the wound? I turned around to find my Pepsi overturned at my feet – before I had even taken one sip!

Fortunately, my spirits could not be dampened – I was at my first baseball game of the season. The pleasing sight of the verdant, plush lawn coupled with the aroma of hot dogs, peanuts, and cotton candy wafting through the air overshadowed any disappointment of a lost opportunity.

08 April 2008

Mmmm.... Food! (Doo Dee)

I must join the dialogue underway amongst my fellow bloggers. When it comes to discussing good restaurants, I wield a strong opinion. And so, here are my top 10 listed in random order…

b.good (Boston, MA) – I must exercise discretion here and refrain from burdening you with yet another sermon regarding the superiority of b.good burgers. (see my posts on 20 January 2008 and 12 March 2008)

Subs Conscious (New York, NY) – the best New York deli I have found to date. If the budget allowed, I would eat here every day for lunch and never tire of it. They make killer subs!

Giordano’s (Chicago, IL) – Chicago-style stuffed pizza. You will need to wait at least 45 minutes for your pizza to be made, but it is worth it!

In-N-Out Burger (West coast) - Those who have eaten here will concur that any top ten is incomplete without In-N-Out.

Max Brenner (New York, NY) - Any restaurant whose dessert menu trumps the regular menu in size and selection is a foe to be reckoned with. Max Brenner specializes in chocolate. Every dessert is topped, coated, saturated, drizzled, seasoned, sprinkled, covered, or layered with chocolate. It is like a real-life Willy Wonka.

Ruth’s Diner (Salt Lake City, UT) - Ruth's makes the list not for the food, but for location. Nestled in a small thicket up Emigration Canyon, it is tough to compete with their patio dining on a summer evening.

Molcasalsa or Betos (Salt Lake City, UT) - Nothing beats authentic Mexican heartburn!

Epcot World Showcase (Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL) - Where else can you eat German bratwurst, Japanese stir fry, Norweigan strawberry cheesecake, French elephant ears, Mexican Curros, American funnel cake, and Italian gelato all in one place? (I think I gained 10 pounds for every lap I made around the lake)

A campfire (Wasatch Mountains, UT) - A tinfoil dinner with cubed steak, seasoned potatoes, and chopped vegetables, finished off with delectable s'mores enjoyed in the seclusion of a dense mountain forest is an experience to remember.

The Batcave (Bountiful, UT) - Whether it's a rib eye bar-b-que, pork roast, cheesesteak sandwiches, rhodes rolls, a root beer freeze, or even Little Ceasars take out, there are few places I would rather dine on a Friday evening than my second home in Bountiful. (I miss you guys!)

04 April 2008


I have compiled quite the travel itinerary for 2008. Already this year I have made two trips to Boston, a road trip to DC, and a visit to the hometown of Salt Lake City - and I am only getting started...

May 7-11 I will be making a reconnaissance trip to St. Louis. Hopefully within these few short days I can find a place to live and get all the paper work signed (and maybe leave time to catch a Cards game at Busch Stadium).

May 17-23 is not travel time, but I will essentially be a tourist in New York. Mom, Jill, and Brooke will be visiting for the week. With school officially done (graduation on 21 May) I will have plenty of time to see the sights with the fam. To add to the fun, Trent and Amy will be joining the crew on 22 May. They will be around until moving day - Tuesday 27 May.

Trent and I decided to make an event of my move to St. Louis. We have scheduled a four-day roundabout road trip to the gateway to the west. The first day will include a short drive down the east coast to Philadelphia where we will enjoy original Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. Also on the slate is a visit to Citizens Bank Park where the Phillies will host the Colorado Rockies. Maybe we will make time for a run around the city of Philadelphia which will culminate in a momentous scaling of the stairs in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (a.k.a. The Rocky Stairs).

Wednesday we will be the longest travel day. We will drive across the entire state of Pennsylvania (a beautiful drive) and most of Ohio to the city of Cincinnati. Wednesday evening we have tickets to see the Reds play the Pittsburgh Pirates at The Great American Ballpark.

Thursday will include a relatively short drive to The Windy City - Chicago, Illinois - for the crowning event of our trip. We will be visiting one of the great sporting venues in the country - an opportunity any true sports fan must experience. Wrigley Field, the ivy wall, the Chicago Cubs... are you excited yet? I am! I am sure we will make some time to enjoy Giordano's famous stuffed Chicago pizza as well.

Friday we will drive the final leg to St. Louis where I hope to get as settled as possible before an early morning Saturday flight to Salt Lake.

I will have two long weeks in Utah. Already planned is a weekend hunting trip to Wyoming with Dad and Trent as well as the Bear Lake Half Marathon. Other than that, I look forward to plenty of chill time with the fam.

Another road trip to St. Louis follows my time in Utah - this time headed east. This trip will include a stop in Denver for a game at Coors field, before continuing on to my new home.

I will not be in St. Louis for long before my first work-related trip. I already have a conference scheduled in DC for the second week of July. I am currently toying with the idea of heading to DC a bit early to allow me to be in the nation's capitol on her birthday.

August is the next vacation. This trip will usher in the 2008 college football season. Jill is flying to St. Louis to join me on a road trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan where we will see the Utes take on Big Blue in the Big House. Of course, since I will be in Detroit I must make time to see a Tigers game in Comerica Park. After the sporting events, we are tacking on a jaunt to Chicago where Mom will meet us for some fun.

How about that for touring the country? Major cities in 2008: Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, and St. Louis (I think I also have a conference in Vegas as well). New ballparks in 2008: Busch Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Comerica Park, Coors Field, Great American Ballpark, Nationals Park - not to mention the repeats of Yankee, Shea, and Wrigley.

I always enjoy company in my travels... If you are interested in joining me at any time, let me know.

02 April 2008


In January I signed up to run the National Half Marathon in Washington D.C. Upon registration, I set a goal to run a personal record (PR) and finish in under 1 hour and 30 minutes.

I created a training schedule and identified what my pace should be for every training run. I focused my efforts and hit the road. I rarely missed a scheduled run. And for nearly all of these runs I was right on my goal pace. For nearly three months I prepared for the race on Saturday 29 March.

The night before the race I could hardly sleep. This is par for any race I run. I wake up throughout the night anticipating an early morning and constantly worrying about sleeping too long. Unfortunately, at 5:00 a.m. on the morning of this race I awoke to an unpleasant grumbling in my stomach. Uh oh! I knew I was in trouble.

Between 5:15 and 5:45, when we left our hotel, I had to use the toilet twice due to my upset stomach. We arrived at the starting line around 6:30. Before the race began I had to go again, this time using the portable outhouses to relieve the pain. I hoped that I was sufficiently empty to enable me to run the 13.1 miles without stopping.

To reach my goal of 1:29:59 I needed to maintain a pace of 6:50 per mile. My strategy for the race was a negative split - that is my second half of the race would be faster than the first half. I looked to run around 7:15's for the first two miles, then speed up for the next five miles to a pace between 6:50 and 7:00. The course peaks at mile 7. I wanted to have a 7:00 per mile pace at this point. Then I hoped to run no slower than 6:30's up to mile 11 - during these 4 miles, the course drops 200 feet of elevation. By mile 11 I would have a good idea of whether or not I could reach my goal. I could adjust my pace accordingly and finish strong.

The first five miles were great. The course ran right in front of the Capitol building, then down the Mall, past the Washington Monument, and up by the White House. It was a beautiful morning with the sun bringing the morning chill up to a comfortable running temperature.

At mile 5.5 I lost all track of my pace. My focus shifted to a near emergency situation in the lower regions of the abdomen - I needed a toilet, FAST! The next aid station with outhouses was mile 7 - a mile and a half a way. I started looking for open shops or restaurants where I could use a restroom - at 7:30 in the morning, nothing was open. I then began looking for trees, shrubs, cars, fire hydrants - anything I could somewhat hide behind to care for myself.

Fortunately, I made it to mile 7. When I went in the port-a-John my watch said I was just a few seconds over 49 minutes. Despite my problems, I was still right on pace. However, after my pit-stop I was over 51 minutes - I had lost two minutes! Now, not only did I need to run a negative split, I needed to make up an additional two minutes.

Soon after my stop I hit the downhill portion of the race. Without distracting concerns, I was able to pick up my pace. I ran sub-6:30's for several miles. At 10 miles my watch read nearly 1 hour 13 minutes. I needed to run a sub 18 minute 5K to reach my goal - this after having already ran 10 miles. By 12 miles, the clock was near 1:26. I did not have a 4 minute mile left in me.

Knowing I had not reached my goal, I pushed as hard as I could that last mile. I turned the last corner to see the finish line - the clock was already over 1:30. When I crossed the line the clock read 1:32:03. This gave me a chip time of 1:31:50 - one bathroom stop away from my goal.

On a positive note, I did set a new PR. My previous best 1/2 marathon was 1:50:57. I improved a whole 7 seconds!

My next attempt at the 1:30 mark will be the Bear Lake Half Marathon on 14 June. Let's hope my body cooperates.