Monday, July 27, 2009

Green Monsters & Practicing

So, today was the first day of practicing since falling last Tuesday. I was very nervous to say the least. I kept going back in my mind and trying to think did I feel something pop? Maybe it really did break and maybe that's why it bothers me from time to time. So when I picked up my violin this morning I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I figured it would be a little difficult since I've been having trouble just stretching my hand out, and it was a little tricky to start with, but then things started to warm up. I didn't do anything really hard, just some scales, shifting exercises, and the easier audition excerpts (like Magic Flute, the Marriage of Figaro, and Turnadaut are easy). I can't go as fast as a need too, but I can play, and they sound better than I thought they would.

As a reward I thought I would try a smoothie I've been reading about in a couple of the blogs I like to look at (Eat, Live, Run, Oh She Glows, and Green Monster Movement). It's called the Green Monster. How's that for a name?! If that doesn't get you here are the ingredients: milk, ice, banana, ground flax seed, and spinach. Yeah, that's right spinach. I wasn't sure what I thought when I first read that too. How could a spinach smoothie taste good (it would also be where the name green monster comes from the green color of spinach). I have to say it was pretty yummy. I just made the basic recipe. I'm not sure if I put enough spinach and I just eyeballed the rest of the ingredients, but it made a really good snack along with 1/2 of a peanut butter and honey sandwich while watching "The Spirit of the Marathon"! (totally made me exited for Nike in October) It's definitely something I'll try again! Maybe I'll try some of the other recipes on the Green Monster website...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why they Run

Saturday was amazing! I got up at 5:15 am and got ready to head to the river. See I had this insane idea of going for a 6 mile run before reporting for water stop duty at 7:00 am. Because I fell earlier in the week I was behind in my runs, but I was okay with that. I really wanted to go on the 10 mile run Saturday, but really that's not what it was about for me. For me it was about making sure my body was okay. Really it's my left hand that is in bad shape. Not a good thing for a violinist getting ready for an audition, but what can you do other than make sure everything is okay and give things time to heal. That's why I was only doing a 6 mile run.

I was nervous when I left the parking lot. It was extremely dark with very few people out. The river is heavily wooded, and on this particular morning covered in mist. I felt like I was running through the mist of avalon. But I just but all of the worrisome thoughts of a dark, wooded park behind me and just ran. Before I knew it I was at the other end of the park and then at the turn around to head back up to the start. A friend of mine was planning to run 4 miles that morning too, so I had someone to run back to the start with. It turned out to be great because I probably would have wimped out and allowed myself to walk up the lone hill I had to run up. Instead I stayed steady and ran with Sally up the hill doing 6.2 miles in about 59 minutes the same as my last 10k race.

Instead of manning a water stop I got to be the course sweeper making sure everyone on the team ended up in the right place, that the water stops had what they needed, and help anyone who had problems. A couple of my mentees were nervous about the 10 mile run, which is very understandable. The sudden change of single digit miles to double digit miles in daunting. For me the nervousness sets in for the higher miles (think 18-20 miles), so I can understand what they're feeling. I watched them from my car as I drove around, and cheered them on. If I could have I would have gotten out of my car and run with them and cheering them on. I did do plenty of cheering from my car. Some struggled more than others, and that's when the doubt sets in, and that's when the coaches and mentors become so important. We made sure that everyone made it in, and that there was plenty of cheering for everyone. It's a huge accomplishment. It's humbling to watch, and I'm so proud of all of them. Training for a marathon, especially your first, is not easy. I remember. I was there last year, and just because this is my third doesn't mean that it isn't mentally and physically exhausting. However, I'm so excited about this marathon!! Watching the Tour de France has also been incredibly inspiring for me (I've been cross training on the stationary bike a lot this week while watching). We got our recommitment papers and Nike marathon applications this weekend!! I've already started filling it all out. I'm so excited!!!! There is something very special about this particular race and the training so far. I don't know exactly what it is. Maybe it's all of the new friends I have from this team (I've meet some amazing people!!!), or the fact that I've waited over 2 years to run this race, or the fact that my runs have been going so well. Or maybe it's all of those things and more.

A few Team in Training friends have passed this link around and I wanted to share it. It shows the progress of 5 team participants. I think it shows better than what I can describe what it means to be a part of Team in Training and fighting against cancer.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Importance of Food

Food is important!! It was the first thing that I thought about on the 1.5 mile walk back to the house. I hadn't eaten anything before leaving for my run, which was suppose to be a 6 mile run. Yes, it was suppose to be a 6 mile run, but it wasn't. Instead it was 1.5 mile run with an ungraceful fall resulting in a banged up and bleeding left hand. I think it's safe to say that the good run streak is over. What an awful time for it to happen too. My potential audition with the Atlanta Opera Orchestra is September 1st (my last audition was a bomb after forgetting to eat enough, see the pattern?), and now I'm waiting for everything to heal enough to start practicing again. It just means I have to work harder once I can play again. The good thing is that my legs are in great shape! Fingers are crossed that things heal quickly!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A weekend of fundraising

Holly cow!! What a weekend. It was 48 hours of almost straight fundraising, which means 4 days of no violin practicing =(. Saturday was our team yard sale, which I was really excited about and had really high hopes of success. Mom and I had gone through both the basement and attic and had come up with some pretty great stuff. I had a coffee maker, a juicer, beer steins, a mink wrap, the vintage pashinko machine with balls, microwave, sewing machine, and lots of other stuff. I'm not really sure what happened. I mean I sold some stuff, but not very much, and people really wanted me to practically give things away for free, which is hard to do when you're trying to raise money for charity. The grand total: just a little over $100. I had tons of stuff left over. No one wanted any of the appliances, which was really surprising! After getting set up at 6am and selling until 2pm I didn't have a lot of energy left, so I stopped at the Goodwill donation center on the way home and gave what I had left towards another good cause (plus Mom didn't want to find homes for what was coming home, and I was really tired of moving it all around). Still, it's $100 I didn't have before the yard sale.

Sunday was the Nike Team's Golf tournament at Chastain Park's golf course. Melissa did an awesome job of putting things together even though we had a hard time finding golfers. I think we had around 30 for the tournament. We also had a silent auction and raffle at the after party as well, but after getting to the course at 12:30 and then leaving around 7:30pm (oh and an 8:45am meeting at church too) I too exhausted to make it to the after party. It did however give me an idea for another fundraiser. So we'll see how it turns out. We did really good selling beverages ($100 plus tips), so it's looking like there might be a good split of the proceeds!

I'm almost to 25% of my fundraising goal, so I'm in good shape for recommitment in a couple of weeks. I'm so grateful for everyone who has donated so far, and it's amazing to think that we've been training for 2 1/2 months now. The big mileage is just around the corner (as in it starts in the next few weeks). Maybe you can help! Check out my website and help us find a cure to cancer!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Today I flew!!

I went for my third run of the week, just a short 4 mile run. I was still a little sore from our strength training clinic at track workout, so I figured this was going to an okay run. I've had lots of great runs lately, and I figured today would be the day that the trend would change. Can you really have a great run every time? The first hill was a clear indication that the streak was ending. On top of it all it was really humid too, and I'm not a big fan of running in the hot, humid summer weather of Atlanta. However, one thing that I've learned over the last several weeks is that this is not a typical summer of running for me. I haven't been struggling, or cursing the humidity. I've been able to work through it and use what my coaches have taught me and it's made a world of difference. Today, it was different. I thought it would end up being a run/walk day just to get through it. Something happened around mile 2.5. I don't know what happened. All of the sudden I relaxed my legs, and started leaning a bit more to use my center of gravity to move me forward instead of my legs. And then it just happened ... it was like I was flying. I didn't feel like I was pounding the pavement, in fact I'm not sure I was really even touching the ground. The only thing I can use to describe it is to liken it to that moment in Titanic at the front of the boat yelling "I'm the king of the world." I really like flying!! I like to think I was getting a little push from someone looking down on me. After all my Uncle knew something about flying, he was a pilot. Nothing big, just little planes. He actually would help fly with angel flight (hmm... maybe there's something there) making sure patients could make it to appointments far from home by giving them a free flight. Not that he was athletic or even liked exercising. He had a knack for finding the nearest donut shop or Au Bon Pair (apparently the chocolate croissants were his favorite). But, still it felt like I had something extra with me today. Plus I felt like I could keep going for miles!

I really liked flying!! I have an 8 mile long run coming this week, maybe I can get another flying lesson on that run too. Hopefully I'll keep flying for a long time!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Difference a Year Makes

It's hard to believe that it's only been a year since my uncle Clyde passed from cancer. It's been a bit of a mixed bag as far as emotions. I went back to the caringbridge website that my aunt and her friends had set up so that everyone would know what was going on last summer as things were unfolding. It's amazing how quickly things happened, and it's amazing to read the stories and memories that people posted. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

June 2008, and my Uncle Clyde and his wife went on a wonderful trip to Italy. When they got back they noticed that my uncle had lost a bit a weight, a tall feat after a trip to Italy (having just gotten back from Italy a month ago I can say that there are so many wonderful things to eat there!!). One of my aunt's friends who is a nurse noticed that my uncle was jandus, and said that he needed to get to the hospital immediately. From there it was a whirlwind 72 hours of shock. He went into the hospital on Friday and was diagnosed. By Saturday they were calling friends and family after getting the diagnoses of pancreatic cancer, and by Monday he had been staged and was heading into surgery. He kept joking about if he came out of surgery. At the time most of us didn't know much about pancreatic cancer, and thought it he needed to be more optimistic. Apparently he knew something the rest of us didn't. I started poking around online after getting the news from my parents, and started to discover how hard this might end up being. Surgery is a mixed blessing with pancreatic cancer in my opinion. It's incredibly hard, not because they have to remove a large part of the digestive system, but because complications are very likely after such a surgery. That's what happened with my uncle. There was internal bleeding, another surgery, and finally after 3 weeks of fighting, pain, and hysterical 6am phone calls it was over. It was like living a bad dream or having all of the air knocked out of your body.

The problem with pancreatic cancer is that it's incredibly hard to diagnose. They are no specific symptoms that scream pancreatic cancer, they are all to general. The one year survival rate is 1% and the five year survival rate is 5%. It's a death sentence, which is why I walked into a Team in Training information meeting 4 days after my uncle's death. Even though they raise money for blood cancers it was still fighting cancer, and since I was already a runner, it seemed like a good fit. Running has always been a way to help cope with things. A way to help cope after my father's stroke, or taking care of my parent's. A way to cope with all of the stress of being a violinist, and staying in shape so that I don't get injured again. All I had to do was raise money and train. It was an amazing experience, and a way to have something good come out of something that wasn't good.

It's been different since Clyde's death. He was always the clown at family gatherings, A kid trapped in an adult body. I miss the crazy smile, his love of helium balloons, and his good nature. It's good to remember all of that. And it's good to fight back, which is why I'm doing another event with Team in Training this fall. It's time for cancer to go down!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday fun with Team in Training

There's nothing like getting up early for a great run with the Team, and as an added bonus we had our nutrition clinic this morning. So, instead of running at 8am we left for our 6 mile run at 9:30am. Not such a great thing with Atlanta's wonderful summertime weather. I'm not sure that I really learned anything new at the clinic. I didn't get to go to the nutrition clinic when I ran the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon with the team. I think I might have heard a little too much about bowel movements this morning. Fortunately the 6 mile run was awesome! I ran with one of the new marathon team members returning for her 2nd Nike Women's Marathon. Despite the heat my Nike+ sportsband said we kept a 9 minute mile pace (even better than last weekend's Peachtree Road Race with a new 10k PR!!!). So, another great week of training, and a track workout to look forward to on Tuesday =).

Friday, July 10, 2009

A blog is born

So, I've actually thought of starting a blog for some time now. I use to have something that kind of acted like a blog. It no longer exist :(, which is fine, because now I can start something new and fun. Part of me has thought about keeping a running journal (I read a couple online), or posting fun recipes that people keep asking for, or just writing. Why not do all of that? So here it is in all of it's new glory. I'm very excited.

So far today has been quite busy. I'm still a little sore from a yoga workout yesterday so I started out easy by starting to clean some of the items for the Team in Training yard sale the Nike team is having next weekend. I think it's going to be awesome!! Mom and I spent an hour down in my parent's basement Thursday afternoon going through and pulling stuff that they don't want anymore. We pulled some great stuff, just a little dusty! And that's okay because I still have a week and get everything nice and shiny and beautiful for the yard sale.

I did manage to practice some this afternoon too despite having sore shoulders. I have two auditions coming up, one of which I don't have any music for yet (which reminds me I need to e-mail them as a follow up). One of the auditions is a retry from a recent audition that I bombed. It really was awful, and it's taken me many weeks to get over it. The good news is that I'm playing the excerpts better than ever!! It's amazing what happens when you relax a little bit (I was so uptight before the audition and so overwhelmed). The violin my teacher is letting me borrow helps a lot too. It's better than mine. Hopefully once I start getting more work I can start saving for a new one of my own. So, I worked on my audition excerpts for a couple of hours.

That's it for now. I'm making sweet potato waffles for dinner tonight, which are totally awesome and super yummy!! And then tomorrow morning is our Team in Training nutrition clinic followed by a 6 mile run (which isn't going to start until at least 9am, which for those who live in the south know, it's not such great fun this time of year).