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March 21, 2012


I ran 8 miles. I worked from 8am to 8pm. I did not work well. I played viola for a little bit, aimlessly. I did not play well.

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March 18, 2012

the weekend, the week

running: 6 miles Saturday, 12 miles Sunday. 48 and a bit for the week, which makes this the biggest week since December sometime. Way slower than that week, though. I'm still firmly in the 9-10minute pace category. But my knee is better and better. It's just a question now of whether I'll get speed and endurance back.

viola: 7 or 8 hours, mostly trying to do whatever to play fast(er) and in tune, tone be damned. I am reminded of the smirky thing we programmers say to customers: "you want it done well, fast, cheap? Pick two." With viola it's "in tune, in time, and with proper tone," and I only seem to be able to do two of those at a time (if that). Anyway, in orchestra this semester there are two pieces that kick my ass, mainly because I they are fast and in a key that has few resonant notes, and often my left hand shifts slightly just enough times that I end up in a different key than the one I started in. I spent a lot of those 7 or 8 hours on scales and drills and exercises and playing the fast parts of those asskicking pieces bit by bit, over and over and over. I think I may have got somewhere. Each day brought a couple of tiny revelations about something I could try or something I could fix. And for a treat, I picked up something I hadn't played in a while (and had struggled with) and it was playable, and a lot easier.

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March 15, 2012


First workout since early January: 10 miles including 2x[5min] at a pace a bit slower than the marathon pace I was training for before I got injured. Yes, that's right: 2 reps of 5 minutes. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible either, which had been a back-of-the-mind fear.

Music: scales, scales, scales, and the neverending quest to play them fast, and then somehow apply that to the fast pieces we're playing this semester. I spent a lot of time on this one Mendelssohn thing that breaks my spirit every time we play it in rehearsal, because I always fall apart. Today I started from the end and worked backward, and managed to string all the notes in the second half together. Tomorrow I'll try to add the first half.

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March 14, 2012

well, hello

How long has it been? I don't even know. Am I still running? Yes. In fact, I am even in that awkward phase coming out of a semi-major injury where I don't quite have my feet under me yet and I spend every run wondering if I feel 0.1% better. But over the past couple of years, I have developed another obsession: playing viola.

I played a little as a child, put it down for 30-odd years while playing other instruments, then picked it back up again about 3 years ago. I work very hard at it. I take lessons once a week. I play in a sort of all-comers string orchestra. I have attempted to play chamber music with friends and strangers alike. I practice hours and hours every week; in fact, since the running injury, my weekly practice hours surpass my weekly running hours. And still, despite my huge desire to play passably well, I suck.

As I get close to 50 years old, I expect that my running will fade with each new injury that takes longer and longer to recover from. Meanwhile, playing viola will probably replace running as that thing I want very badly, and work very hard at, and never quite get.

Oh well, at least I still have desire for something.

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