Thursday, February 21, 2008

Living the life of a grad student, Salt Lake City style

I've gotta say, although I am a BC (British Columbia) girl at heart, Salt Lake City, where I live right now has some major benefits. I am attending grad school full time, and although in past semesters the "full time" really could be in quotes because the only thing that the time I was spending on campus was full of was surfing the internet and being generally useless, this semester my nose is to the grindstone because I see the completion of my thesis in sight and am running towards it like a hungry horse towards the barn. Although, unlike a horse that only has hay on the brain, I tend to be distracted by all the things I love to do that don't involve school. Which is why Salt Lake City is so gosh-heck great.

My week began on Sunday, with a girl's day out skiing God's Lawnmower in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It was so great. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and we pranced uphill at around 3000' per hour while my ski partners chatted and giggled. These Wasatch Women are hardcore. One of them had done the Wasatch 100, a brutal ultramarathon and the other had completed an iron man triathalon.

Monday began with an early morning bouldering session at the climbing gym. Sips of coffee between burns and my ipod pumping obnoxious hip hop into my ears kept me motivated for a few hours. Then it was off to the lab to run samples on Big Dog, the resident Mass Spectrometer in the lab I do most of my research in.

Tuesday AM with low avi danger and clear skies saw me at the base of Argenta, a 3000' long slide path in Big Cottonwood Canyon for some solo uphill training. I am hoping to do the Wasatch Powderkeg, a Randonnee Rally race in March so am trying to be able to complete 5500' of uphill and downhill in under 3 hours. On this fine morning, after 2 laps on Argenta, I squeeked in at 2:59 minutes, but am convinced that the horrible quality of the snow slowed me down on the downhill sections. A combination of windcrust, suncrust and old tracks made quite the cocktail for tired quads after what was, for me, a brutal uphill pace.

Wednesday I had a date with Big Dog all day. In fact, my schedule involved injecting a CO2 samlple into Big Dog's greedy chops every 200 seconds. Imagine, having to do the same simple, 20 second task every three minutes for an entire 12 hour day. Not really enough time to eat, go to the bathroom, or even get into a good web surfing or emailing session. Just enough time to stare off into space and get really, really bored. I hit the climbing gym for a late night session to mellow out... it was great. The guy working the desk put on loud music, the crowds dissipated, and I finished off the day with a great bouldering session.

Thursday is today. I am spending quality time with Big Dog and it's snowing outside which means my dawn patrol ski session with the hardcore Women of the Wasatch club tomorrow morning is going to be great!

Sometimes I focus on all the adventures I am missing because I have chosen to go to grad school. But when it comes right down to it, although the adventures might be on more of an hourly scale than when I am climbing or skiing for weeks on end, it's not just size that matters, right?

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