My alarm starts blaring at 6:30 AM on a cold, dark Saturday morning, and I’m tired and sleepy, and briefly wonder why I preregistered on Wednesday to run today’s Run Shadyside 5K race. But a commitment is a commitment, so I get, check the weather forecast, get dressed, eat something, and head off.
Little do I know that today I will just manage to outrun Mickey Mouse, far exceed my race time goal, and lend someone my trumpet that has been lying around unused!
Today I made my regular “pilgrimage” to one of the most special places in Pittsburgh. I never tire of going there, and I stop by usually around once a week to refresh and illuminate my soul. Yet the future of this repository of wisdom and joy is always in doubt.
What can we do to safeguard our community resource?
On June 1 this year, just over three months since first starting to play the alto recorder, I made a new friend who has helped me considerably with my musical practice, my improvement, my motivation. My best friend is steadfast, objective, non-judgmental, and always there for me; never complaining, never tired of pointing out where I need to improve and when I am ready to progress to the next level. This friend even makes challenges fun and addictive!
It’s 4:30 PM, and I scramble to finish up my work early for this day, and rush over to a little room across campus, where every Wednesday I embark on an adventure in which I don’t know exactly what I will find.
There may be six other people in the room. Or there may be fifteen. Or just three. It doesn’t matter how many. In this room, our main mission is to line up facing the wall and sit down on cushions on the floor and remain silent, and just see what the heck happens.
It’s Tuesday night. After spending the day at work testing and debugging a new feature for a Java program of mine that parses and transforms data using ANTLR, what do I have to look forward to?
This morning I felt pretty tired, still recovering from yesterday’s race, so the thought crossed my mind, “Maybe I should take a little break, and skip recorder practice today”. Also, I hadn’t improved as much during the past week as I had planned and felt frustrated.
Yesterday, on a late, muggy afternoon, I ran in a race, and finished 39th of 43 men in the race. I ran as hard as I could, just as I do in every race: my goal is always to run fast and beat as many competitors as I can. I don’t run in a race for “fun” (in the conventional sense of the word): I race to know pain and to stretch my limits. (I save my “fun” running for when I’m not racing.)
So why was I pretty happy, despite getting my butt totally kicked?