I first dated Alexis in middle school when we were both members of the cross country team. She didn’t have much interest in running, but was instead cross training for her real passion: soccer. To say that Alexis loved soccer would be an understatement. I clearly understood my secondary role in her priorities.

Alexis Prom

We dated again our senior year of high school. Alexis had been recruited to play for the University of Nebraska at Omaha, a team that had won the Division II Soccer Championship two year prior. She was excited for the opportunities that lay ahead.

Until She Couldn’t Play Anymore

Most Americans don’t believe soccer is a physical sport. It is, especially the way Alexis played. Her smash mouth style would eventually be her downfall, but an aggressive mentality was the only way she knew to approach the game. An ongoing back injury caused her immense pain and continually worsened, limiting her abilities. After a year of attempting to play through it, she faced reality and had to quit the team.

She was devastated. She had invested so much energy into a sport she could no longer play and didn’t know where to turn.

And That’s When Her Passion Shifted

Slowly, she found ways to fill the void. She took up undergraduate research, interned for a neurosurgeon, and got accepted to medical school. She spent several weeks volunteering at clinics in Honduras and Jamaica. The dedication she had for soccer had transitioned to medicine.

Alexis 4

At the beginning of this year, she applied for a fellowship program with Partners in Health, an organization founded by the chair of the Global Health Department at Harvard University. Partners in Health has clinics in the poorest countries around the world and is even taking part in the recent Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone. She didn’t think she would get accepted into the highly selective program. The pool of applicants was very competitive, largely made up of students from more prestigious universities.

She Got In

This week will mark four months of a year long commitment in Haiti for Alexis. Her time there has not been without difficulties. Adjusting to a any foreign country is challenging, especially when you don’t speak the language. The situation is exacerbated when you are working a high stress job, treating individuals with conditions beyond reprieve, and where the demand for your care is so high.

Alexis Clinic

When I tell people about my girlfriend, the med student spending a year in Haiti, they think she’s nuts. They can’t understand why someone would choose to live in a third world country. That’s how Alexis differs from you and I.  She sees the benefits of providing medical care to the most impoverished people in the world as more meaningful then the hardships that go along with it. She has a strong desire to help others, specifically those who do not have the means to help themselves. She recently started a fundraiser to equip Haitian surgical residents with the tools they need to perform delicate operations. Her goal is ambitious, but with our help, I have no doubt that she can reach it.

Alexis 3

This is Where You Come In

The actions of people who are passionate about what they do can not be found in the middle of the bell curve. They are outliers, assuming more risk than others because they posses vision that can see further through the fog of potential consequences.

I’m not asking you to donate to make a difference (it will), but instead to show support for a woman who is passionate about what she does. A majority of people will tell you to play it safe, to stay on the well worn path. That’s not how you make an impact in the world. In order to affect genuine change you must veer into uncharted waters.

Alexis 5

The Thing Is, This Is Just The Start

Helping the most downtrodden among us isn’t some fleeting desire for Alexis. It’s her life’s mission, and her effort in Haiti is just the tip of the iceberg. She is going to continue work like this for the rest of her life providing care in parts of the world where hope has long been forgotten.

You can support Alexis’ mission by donating here

October Goal Progress Report

Posted: November 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

Completed Another Goal…Kind Of

I successfully ate no meat for 30 days allowing me to cross #4 “Eat Vegetarian for a Month” off the list. Did you know cheese pizza is vegetarian? I ate a lot of cheese pizza…

Road Trip

Every fall, some college buddies of mine and I try to go to one Husker football road game. We’ve been to Jerry’s World (That Screen!), Oklahoma State (Awesome!), Minnesota (Eh…), and UCLA (Rose Bowl). This year, Mike, Brad, Tyler, and I went to Northwestern. Nebraska played well bringing our win loss record on these trips to 3-2.

Northwestern Game

The Tale of Two Races

I participated in two races this month — Race for the Cure and the Market to Market Relay. I complete the RFTC in 20:34 (6:22 min/mile pace) which was a good 1:30 off my 5k PR. The following weekend, I ran 3 legs and 13.1 miles in the Market to Market Relay. I had made the assumption before hand that this would all be very easy, enjoyable running. It wasn’t. The ‘Get a Clue’ team took the pace out fast and sped up as the day went on in order to finish before the sun set. M2M was a very well organized event that I would recommend to all runners.

Market 2 Market

Largest Training Volume Ever!

I significantly ramped up my training volume this month, managing 85 hours of swimming, cycling, and running. It felt good to train so much and by good I mean completely exhausting.

October Totals
Run: 128.71 Miles (274.57 Total / 425.89 Behind)
Bike: 756.35 Miles (1576.18 Total / 1,985 Behind)
Swim: 65,825 Yards (76,238 Total / 279,926 Behind)

Despite my increase in free time, I haven’t increased my volunteering time. JJ and I hung out twice for a total of 4.25 hours. This month I taught him the most efficient way to eat at a buffet and how to scream like a girl at a haunted house.

Haunted Hollows

I Read Three Books

Do you remember the BOOK IT program from elementary school? If you read five books you got a free personal pan pizza. They should bring that program back for adults. Anyways…here are my very short reviews of the three books I read.

Superhuman By Habit is a solid book about developing habits so that you don’t need to rely on your finite reserve of willpower. It’s written by a guy named Tynan who writes a fantastic blog. The book is a quick read that I’d definitely recommend.

Vagabonding is a guide for world travel. My main takeaway was to travel with less and to enjoy the journey, not the destination. Despite the overwhelming positive reviews on Amazon, I didn’t like this book.

Kon-Tiki is the crazy, true story of six men who travel from Peru to Polynesia on a wooden raft in 1947. A researcher wants to prove that the inhabitants of Polynesia originated in Peru, so he finds five other guys who are up for adventure, builds a raft out of balsa trees, and goes sailing. This book is awesome, check it out.

September Goal Progress Report

Posted: October 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

A little goals progress report for last month. I’m chipping away at some of the goals and getting way behind on most.

Candlewood and the Quakers
I went to church twice this month. First, my friend Nathan invited me to Candlewood Church which takes place a Westside High School. They really have the fellowship part down at the ‘Wood. It was mostly younger crowd with a band that played Christian rock and a very passionate sermon. I had a good conversation with Nate about his beliefs which I really enjoyed.

The following Sunday, my friend Matt invited me to attend a Meeting of Friends, which is a Quaker service. A MoF is very different from any other church service I’ve been too. The first notable difference is the size of the congregation. I could count the number of attendees on two hands. The next difference was the furniture — wooden pews don’t cut it with the Quakers. Instead, all seven of us sat in a circle in some very comfortable lazy boy chairs.

20140928_095624Some pleasantries were exchanged at the beginning of the MoF when, without warning, everyone stopped talking. For an hour we sat in complete silence, a Quaker practice called waiting worship. I may have dozed off for a minute. At the end of the quiet game we had an hour long conversation about how would the world be different if God controlled everything. The discussion gradually gravitated towards helping other with each person chiming in with their own experiences. I’m looking to go to church to help build character and both churches seemed to have that down.

Exercise results

This month I achieved my largest volume week ever, due mostly to biking to work everyday (15 miles each way)

Large Volume WeekSeptember Totals
Run: 70.54 Miles (145.86 Total / 380 Behind)
Bike: 486.93 (819.83 Total / 1,808 Behind)
Swim: 5,748 Yards (7,388 Total / 255,000 Behind)

Relapsed to Being a Carnivore

September was supposed to be my month of being a vegetarian. Everything was going smoothly until I accidentally relapsed on the 16th, starting the one month period over. If I can continue to avoid Pepperjax Steak Phillies (mmmmm) then I should be able to cross another goal off my list.


I read I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. It was a very entertaining personal finance book targeted at a younger crowd. After finishing this book I immediately paid off all my credit card debt.


Quit My Job
Goal #17 on the list was to get promoted. That will be difficult as I resigned my position on September 30th. There will be a bigger post on this, but the gist of it is that I’m starting my own business.

GSS Logo

Thanks Steph for the logo help! You can tell how sad my coworkers were to see me leave based on the the cookie that they got me on my last day…


August Goal Progress Report

Posted: September 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

Very late on last month’s goal report, but better than never…

Age Group Nationals

On August 9th, I participated in the USAT Olympic Distance Age Group Nationals. I wish I could say that I ‘competed’ in these national championships, but working out a total of 13 hours in the previous two months is not how champions are made. I swam surprisingly decent, couldn’t hold power on the bike, and ran my slowest 10k ever.

Age Group Nationals Results

August Totals
Run: 43.79 Miles (75.32 Total / 297 Behind)
Bike: 270.22 Miles (332.90 Total / 1530 Behind)
Swim: 1640 Yards (1,640 Total / WAAAAY Behind)


I volunteered 18.25 hours in August. We’ve been hanging out twice a week. On Sundays, we doing something fun like going to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie or riding go karts at Papio Fun Park. On Thursday’s we’ve been going to the library to work on math flash cards. He hates math flash cards. If anybody has tips on how to motivate a 6th grader I’d love to hear them.


John’s Book Club
I finished three books this month.

Book Finished Thoughts Recommend?
The Four Hour Workweek 8/11/2014 Be effective not efficient. 20% of Work yields 80% of results Yes
The Obstacle Is the Way 8/26/2014 Insightful! Practical philosophy Yes
Man’s Search For Meaning 8/29/2014 Define your own meaning for life. Remain mentally strong even in horrible circumstances Yes

When 5k Is Slower Than 10k

Posted: September 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

The Big Shoulders 5k Swim

Two weekends ago, I traveled to Chicago with my Mom, a former collegiate swimmer at Purdue, to participate in the Big Shoulders 5k Swim. We met up with my Uncle Shawn, a former All-American swimmer at Auburn, who also thought swimming 5,000 meters in Lake Michigan would make for a good vacation.

Saturday morning we walked to the beach and were welcomed with 2-3 foot waves and 62 degree water temperatures. The water was frigid, but in my wetsuit I hardly noticed. The start of the swim wasn’t the usual washing machine that I’ve become accustomed to in triathlon, but sighting to the first buoy was near impossible. I followed the people in front of me and if I thought we were veering off course then I would wait until I was on the crest of wave in order to sneak a glance at the the buoy.  As difficult as sighting was for the first buoy is how easy it was to sight for the next two buoys. I had heard right before the race about sighting off the ‘black and white striped building’ for the second buoy and then to aim a little left of the Ferris wheel for the third buoy. Those directions were spot on. The first loop was incredible. Swimming in the shadow of skyscrapers sure beats staring at a lane line for countless laps.

Big Shoulders map

The second loop wasn’t nearly as enjoyable. I took a little bathroom break in my wetsuit after the first loop and set off on the death march that was the second loop. The lack of swimming the last three months combined with swimming my furthest distance ever started to catch up with me. The pace was horrendously slow. I was getting passed left and right by all the people in the older age groups. There were points in the swim where I had to put in surges of effort just to keep from moving backwards with the tide. It was a huge relief to finally stand up out of the water and stumble across the finish line.

Family Picture

My final time was 1:51:xx. My timing chip had come off in the water so I didn’t have exact results

The Corporate Cup 10k Run

Last weekend I participated in the Corporate Cup. My warmup for the race was a 10 mile bike ride to my sisters apartment which is near the start line. Taking a pre-race dookie in a legitimate toilet (as opposed to a port-john) is something I will have to do more often.

Leading up to this race, I was lucky if I could hit 8:30/mile splits. After the start, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was hitting a 7:20 pace, which kept getting faster as the race progressed. I had started about half way back in the 45-minute corral and quickly moved up through the field. It felt good to really get after it. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt like hell, but having the confidence to push it up the hills and fly on the down hills is invigorating.

Corp. Cup Strava

I ended up running a 43:16, which comes out to a 6:58 min/mile pace. 86th out of 2,630 on a very difficult course.

Where Do You Go From Here?

I really enjoyed these two events. I didn’t enjoy the pedestrian results. I’m fed up with being middle of the pack. In order to meet my goals of swimming 1,000,000 yards, biking 10,000 miles, and running 2,000 miles I need to be much more consistent in my training. That starts now. No more sleeping in, no more skipping workouts because it’s cold, no more excuses. The swimming, biking, and running distance goals are all a part of a much larger goal which is this: In one years time, I will be a professional triathlete. Talk is cheap, results are all that matters.

July Goal Progress Report

Posted: August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

In order to achive my goal of 50 blog posts and to hold myself accountable, I’ve decided to write a progress report every month.

First Goal Finished

One and a half hours of pain later, I now have a tatoo

I Bought A Van!

For the small price of $1,600 I purchased a 1968 Chevy G10. Get this, every shady van bought on craigslist comes with a free bowie knife in the passenger seat! The plan is to replace the engine/transmission and then do the necessary bodywork to make it look like the mystery machine. My mom doesn’t mind my tattoo, but she hates this van. She says it looks more fit for felonies involving candy and children than restoration.


Seven Books Finished

A road trip to Memphis, TN (Cousin’s Wedding) and a road trip to Dayton, OH (Grampa’s Birthday) provided ample time for reading. Here are my very short book reviews.

Book Finished Thoughts Recommend?
Influence 6/28/2014 Great! Science backing up how people are influenced Yes
The Productive Person: A How to Guide 7/2/2014 Short! Different daily schedules No
The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and The Middle Class 7/5/2014 Quick! But great, should reread Yes
The Right Stuff 7/14/2014 Awesome! Chuck Yeager is a bad ass Yes
The Millionaire Next Door 7/26/2014 Millionaires are frugal. Book is long-winded No
The Flinch 7/27/2014 Go for it. Take cold showers Yes
Meat is For Pussies 7/30/2014 Eat vegetables. Fuck Meat. Love Animals No

The Revenge of Beethoven

Last year, I was able to learn Fur Elise with haphazard practice. The third movement of the Moonlight Sonata is a different animal. The tempo moves at an absurd pace. I need to be able to play 640 notes per minute which seems superhuman at the moment. I also made a $1,000 down payment on a baby grand piano.

13,000 Views for Lethal Engineering

My rocket launcher video got featured on the website Hackaday which garnered more views in two days than I was able to accomplish all of last year. It also sparked a lot of controversy in the comments as Hackaday posted it right after the Malaysian airliner was shot down by a rocket launcher.


Goal Failures

Times I went to church = 0
Volunteer Hours = 0
Yards swam = 0
Miles Ran = 31.53
Miles Biked = 62.68

Overall a succesful first month. More to come.

Goal #1: I Got A Tattoo

Posted: August 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

The most difficult decision I make everyday is what to have for lunch. Working downtown, there are so many options. Dinker’s? Taphouse? Zio’s? Pepperjax? I can hardly decide what I want for lunch let alone the rest of my life. That’s why I thought I would never get a tattoo. Tattoos have a negative connotation. They are reserved for rebels and tough guys. I am neither.

So Why Did You Get A Tattoo Then?

I had to. It’s the first item on my 26 before 26 list. It’s a goal that didn’t require much effort, just courage. What would my parents think? What if I can’t handle the pain? What if I don’t like it in 5 years? Instead of worrying about all the ‘what ifs’ I decided to assume the best and go with it. Decisive action will be the difference between talking about 26 goals and accomplishing 26 goals.

tattoo 1

So Does It Have Any Meaning
Yes, sort of. It’s the logo I’ve been using for Lethal Engineering videos and for this blog, LethalTri. I wanted something to remind me every day of the goals I want to achieve and the life I want to live. To create more than I consume. To be a participant instead of a spectator.

Where Did You Go?

Based on two positive reviews from friends and 45 positive reviews from Yelp, I went to Liquid Courage off of 75th and Dodge. The tattoo artist that I commissioned was named John. I had a stereotype in my head about the personality of tattoo artist and I was completely wrong. John was super friendly which made the whole experience less intimidating. I could tell that  he loved what he did and was grateful to have the opportunity to work at that shop and to learn from artists who are just as passionate as he is. John had previously worked at a meat packing plant, then a pawn shop, and finally took up tattooing with a little pressure and a lot of support from his wife. Individuals who pursue there passions, especially when there is a lot of risk involved, inspire me to do the same

liquid courage

Did It Hurt?
Getting a tattoo reminded me of going to the dentist, if the dentist’s job was to inflict as much pain as possible. Unfortunately the tattoo artist doesn’t let you pick out a toy at the end of your appointment. The worst of the pain occurred when he drew the outline, specifically around the sensitive areas of the clavicle and nipple. The blood seeping out from the pores of the tattooed areas provide little comfort.


What Tattoo Are You Getting Next?
I’ve heard you can get addicted to getting inked. Not this guy. One and done. I’m glad I did it, but I’m not a tattoo kind of man. Crossing one item off my list in the first month is a good start. One down, twenty-five to go!