I can’t sleep, so here’s an update!

Since it has been quite a while since I posted, I feel I have a fair amount of catching up to do. In a nutshell, since I last posted, I’ve been practicing. A ton. And playing in orchestra under amazing and inspiring conductors! Also, my mom came to visit two weeks ago! We did an early morning hike up to the Maroon Bells/Crater Lake. I also took a picture of a Quest Bar on our hike, which won me a free box of bars from the company! We also took the Gondola up to Aspen Mountain, saw some concerts, and went cray cray on the Aspen food scene. I had a good solid 3 days where I ate almost every meal at a restaurant and I freaking LOVED it. I also deserved it, since I have been pretty conscientious about keeping up with a healthy diet here. Fitness…. We’ll get to that later.

I ALSO met Gil Shaham (for the second time) after seeing him play all six unaccompanied Bach Sonatas and Partitas in ONE concert. He is incredibly thoughtful both in his performances and as a human being – a very special combination! I also had a chamber music performance playing Faure’s C Minor piano quartet. THEN, tomorrow, I will begin rehearsals as one of about ten people total making up a small baroque orchestra (on period instruments) in the pit of Monteverdi’s opera, “L’Incoronazione di Poppea.” Gaaaaaah!!! 🙂

(SOME) PICTORIAL EVIDENCE OF MY ACTIVITIES CAN BE FOUND AT THE END OF THE POST

Now to the meat and potatoes of this post, if you will: I feel I should be open and honest about the progress of my “fitness” goals. In the first few weeks that I was here, I’m embarrassed to say that I lost some ground with my running and training for the race in the fall. I had intended to start after a few days, but after I got bed-ridden with HORRIBLE allergies by the end of week one, it just became too easy to slip into old habits. While I do a fair amount of walking here (and have even lost between 5 and 10 pounds), I did not start running again until about two weeks ago. Let me tell you, whatever concept you may have regarding your endurance TOTALLY changes at 8,000 feet above sea level. While that is to be expected, obviously, I was not prepared for how severely BAD I would be at running here. Even still, what I am lacking in minutes per mile (and breathable air) I am gaining in views of this part of the country. Gardens, mountains, small animals, rivers, wildflowers, blueberry bushes, towering trees, beautiful homes and antique cars line my running route from start to finish. I will miss that terribly when I’m running on a track at school in Philly, entertained solely by “that guy” who insists on running in the walkers’ lane, in the opposite direction.

I have also made a decision that once this race is over in November, unless I have changed my mind by then, I will not continue to focus on long distance running. It gives me great energy, but it’s not making a drastic enough change in the parts of my body that I want to see changes in. So, I am going to start incorporating more intense weight training when I return for school, and make that my main focus following the race.

In terms of my progress in violin “fitness,” I feel that the Sevcik-from-a-hat goal, while I haven’t met it quite as frequently as I’d planned, has helped me immensely. I feel more secure in my command of the instrument and in my overall ability, which I had lost a good deal of confidence in before coming here. Also, while I’m not adhering strictly to the scale regimen that I came up with (I won’t even lie… Sorry), I’ve become much more savvy about what exercises I begin with in order to improve on weaknesses I’m experiencing in my solo pieces. Since I got here, I’ve worked on the first two movements of Grieg’s 3rd Violin Sonata in C Minor, the first movement of Prokofiev’s 1st Violin Concerto, and the Chaconne from Bach’s unaccompanied Partita in D Minor. Memorizing is another story, but they’ll get there. Maybe. Aside from that, I’ve learned, premiered, and even repeated some incredible orchestral pieces. I especially love learning unfamiliar music and expanding my repertoire with pieces that challenge me to move slightly outside my comfort zone. At this moment, I am loving every second of every piece I’m playing, and am feeling more musically inspired than ever. That’s an incredible feeling I don’t ever want to let go of.

Well, now I’m actually tired, so as I drift off and dream about running routes and octave exercises (I seriously do dream about those things), I will reflect on the incredible experience this has been so far in every way, and continue to remind myself, as I do very often, of how fortunate I am to have music in as my life. It’s an emotional roller coaster, but it’s worth every sudden drop to get to the excitement of climbing back up.

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