Thursday, January 21, 2016

Flute Lesson #1

For me, this was a big leap forward.

Having not played my flute for months (likely closer to two years...) I was nervous about my lesson. 

On top of that, my instructors husband was there (playing in front of people makes me very nervous).

"Be brave! Make this worth it!" I told myself while unpacking my flute.

It's been long enough since I played that I forgot scales, and fingering for several notes. Each time I fought my urge to feel humiliated - "You're here to learn," I reminded myself. Then I forced myself to ask for help.

This paid off the most when she told me to push more air through my flute (which I've heard before) and I asked her what that actually means - what the balance between diaphragm and embouchure. That lead to an explanation that finally made sense to me.

So here's to leaps forward!

1/2 Marathon - Brooklyn Rock'n'Roll Style


Unlike my first 1/2 Marathon, I did not feel prepared for this one.

Like my first 1/2 Marathon, it was, ultimately, a great experience, and I learned a lot about myself.

In both cases, I was also glad to have a group that I was running with. I was (by far) the slowest in our group this time, but they still waited for me after they were done (one person for over an hour) so we were able to take a great group photo together:


Now, when I say I was SLOW, I mean I was back and forth with the 3 hour mark pacer for quite some time at the beginning. So, when I caught up with and played leap frog with the 2:45 pacer, I was feeling pretty good. Especially since that was the time I predicted for myself when I signed up for the race - given my previous race times and my lack of preparation time.


To be fair, in addition to not having been in running shape, and not having much prep time, I was also one of the last people to start the race. In part because of my time prediction, but also because there was a serious line for the bathroom (aka not nearly enough porta-potties for the thousands of people running the race) and I didn't want to have to try and find one along the course. I think it was the right choice to make, but it did lead to a later start (and explains why my time based on my shoe tag was better than 2:45 :)

The course was interesting - starting by the Brooklyn Museum was fun - it's a beautiful structure, and it looks cool in the dark:


Towards the beginning, there were two long stretches that went down roads and then had you circle around and run back the opposite way. The scenery for those parts was not as nice as once we finally got into Prospect Park. It made me grateful that we finished in the park. And, to be honest, the doubling back made me feel very accomplished, when I would see that there were still so many people behind me - and that my distance from the tail car was growing over the 2+ hours.


All that to say - I'm glad I did it and if/when I do it again, I'll give myself more prep time!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Running: Past and Future

I wrote all about my first 1/2 marathon previously.

And I was going to count the 19+ mile walk my roommate and I took from the tip to tip of Manhattan (check out more on Twitter - @nicoleinrussia under #NYC13plusmiles) for the other 1/2.

Instead, at work today my colleague told me I should join her and some others on our team in running the Brooklyn Rock'n'Roll 1/2 marathon on 10.10.2015.

So I got on my computer and registered.

happy birthday to me?! :)


Nauvoo, Illinois

City Beautiful, that's what Nauvoo means.

And it is a beautiful city. I feel lucky to have visited it twice.

One time was on our way back from Branson, MO. And I was in a lot of pain. I remember walking around with my bandages ankles and reading about the sacrifices the pioneers made and thinking about what they were forced to endure. It made me cry, and it made me grateful that my problems and pain suddenly seemed small in comparison.

I think that captures the most meaningful thing between both visits.

Pennsylvania: Philly and Otherwise

I suppose I could just double count my Spring Break road trip my first college roommate and I took where we went to her home in Allentown, PA and then drove to New Jersey, and visited New York. And while that was a wonderful, relaxing experience with lots of fun (like when her sister and I rode bikes over to watch tagged railroad cars drive by), let’s talk Philly.

The first time I went to Philly was after my college graduation. My parents came out, and we took a little trip over to visit our former across the street neighbors. It was so fun to see them again, and also great to explore the city. I loved seeing the historic sections and learning more about Ben Franklin.

I loved it so much, that years later when I was looking to find a job in a new city, I contacted the same family and asked if I could come stay with them for a few days and follow up on some potential job leads.

This trip was also a lot of fun, and filled more with home things. I worked out in the basement with them, and watched the kids one night so they could go out, and watched Dickens and knitted with the girls. I love having “normal” experiences in different places and getting a feel for what they are like.

I can’t write about PA and not mention Gettysburg. Both on my Spring Break trip, and during a ward campout while living in the D.C. area I was able to go to that incredible, sacred place. I am awed by the experiences of those who were involved in that brutal, bloody battle. I am grateful for men and women who are willing to give their lives to fight for liberty and make the life I know and love possible.

A Drive to Maine

Twice while living in Boston I drove to Maine.

The first time was when my dad was in town on business and we decided to drive up since neither of us had been there.

We didn't get that far into the state, but we did check out Kennebunkport - the town and their lighthouse. And we did drive up and down the coast a bit. I think this trip might be where my desire to own/ run a Bed & Breakfast came from.

The second time some friends and I decided we wanted to go camping in Arcadia National Park, the oldest National Park.

I told one of my classmates, who happened to be from Maine, and he was shocked that we were going to drive "that far!" which made me nervous. "Did I just commit to a 13 hour drive without knowing it?!" I asked myself. Nope, turns out "so far" was less than 5 hours (in good traffic, which is most of the time in Maine - if it's not snowing :) and for a girl who grew up in a state that is more than 5 hours from top to bottom and who has taken several cross country drives, that didn't seem bad at all.

What a beautiful area, and such a fantastic trip. Between the amazing fall foliage, and the partner yoga moments, and the incredible hike (where we took the LONG way back), and setting up tents in the dark - this was definitely a trip to remember!

Ohio: Two Temples

Kirtland Ohio is probably not high on most people's to-visit list. But it is awesome.

This is where the longest standing temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is. While it is no longer owned by the Church (and hasn't been since they were driven out of town in the 1800s), you can still go in and look around. There is also a visitors center nearby that is operated by missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It's such a beautiful area, and I'm glad we made it a stop on our road trip.

We were also able to stay with my friends family near Columbus, so we got to see another temple.

Plus, her cousins gave us a grab bag full of the best snacks to take with us on the next leg of our road trip! Yum :)