7 bars of hell and other things keeping me occupied….

Well, I won’t start with any excuses as to why it’s been the usual lengthy gap between posts.  I’m busy.

What may be of more (albeit it still minuscule) interest is what I’ve been busy doing.  So, in the style of Jesse from the Fast Show, this week I have been mostly playing:

  1. piano
  2. sports
  3. board games

First things first, piano.  When I say ‘playing piano’, what I really mean is ruining a wonderful Waltz by Chopin.  That’s where the first 4 bars of hell come from.  4 bars.  27 little notes (including the 6 Acciaccatura, but they definitely count).  I spent so much time on these 4 bars that I didn’t really do any practise on Schumann’s ‘Merry Farmer Returning From Work’ and that accounts for 2 more bars of troubles.  The other piece I’m learning is a jazzy piece from good old Pam Wedgwood and it’s just the one bar causing me troubles with that piece now.

I had a piano lesson on Tuesday and although I wasn’t terribly happy with my progress, the lesson was really good.  The credit is due to my teacher though as she helped me find some ways to practise what I’m struggling with on the Chopin (as ever, playing both hands together!) and we also looked at the next 4 bars.  They’re even more horrendous than the previous 4 but it’s actually only one super-super-difficult bar really followed by 3 moderately difficult bars but it’ll definitely keep me occupied.  As well as helping me out technically, my teacher was also very encouraging and seemed to genuinely think I was making headway and that most of the problem lies with my own expectations (nothing new there I guess!).  I think she may have been exaggerating to make me feel better but she said this piece was a Grade 4 to 5 piece but that did make me feel better.  On the whole, I’d say I’m at about Grade 3 level really so that does explain why I’m finding this challenging.

We also worked on the Merry Farmer, focusing on the two tricky bars and I’m much more confident about getting over their hurdle now.  So, the plan is to perform (I use this in the loosest possible sense!) the Merry Farmer at my next lesson and the jazz piece too.  We had some fun at the end of the lesson with a duet from The Sound of Music (Edelweiss this time; we did ‘Do-Re-Mi’ the previous lesson).  I really enjoy the duets as my sight reading is atrocious and if I make it through the piece then it’s a big success!

Sports wise, it wasn’t a jam packed calendar this week but I played netball on Monday, hockey on Wednesday and I did my first ParkRun this morning.  We lost at netball which puts us 7th of 8, with the bottom two teams being relegated, but we’re on equal points to the team in 6th but our goal difference is two worse than theirs so it couldn’t be closer.  Unfortunately, I’ll be in France skiing for the last match of the season so I wont be able to influence if we stay up or not!  I haven’t had any ‘Man of the Matches’ for ages and this game was the same.  I’ve been playing goal defence most of the time and I think I’m better at wing defence but GD is fine, I just need to get better at actually defending the goal I think.  Hockey was nearly off again this week with another flurry of snow but it rained and we were OK.  I had a pretty average game really; I could do with some spring training (eurgh!!) as I think that would add most value to my game as there are a few of the men who can sprint just enough faster than me to prevent me from making legal tackles!

That kind of brings me to ParkRun.  I actually registered for ParkRun in January 2012 but both of the Sheffield runs were across town where parking was tricky at best so I never got around to it.  However, a brilliant man named Gareth Irvine has set one up in the park 2 minutes from our house – yipeee!  The first run was last week and I only found out about it afterwards through a friend but I was there with bells on (well, that’s perhaps a bit of a fib as I felt pretty tired) at 9am this morning.  It’s 3 laps of the park, which includes a slight incline going up from one end of the park to the other.  I don’t actually like running and I really don’t like running on any kind of incline but being in a group of people makes it a teeny bit easier as my brain thinks ‘Competition! Keep up with THAT person’ and that seems to make my legs keep going.

I set off pretty slowly as my initial scanning of the crowd seemed to suggest some pretty serious runners to me and about half way around the first lap I saw a man who looked about my age, maybe a bit older, who was dressed in gear which made him look semi-keen but maybe not a club runner.  So, I decided I would keep up with him.  Unbelievably, that didn’t last long as I passed him going up the hill but I quickly assigned myself another pace maker.  This time, an older guy (maybe mid 40s) but he looked like more of a serious runner.  As I completed my second lap, the first person was just finishing (crazy) and I spared a glance back and saw no one even close to him (like I said, crazy).  My pace maker started to get away from me a bit at the start of the 3rd lap but I told my legs to keep up, and they did (well done legs, and probably lungs too).  I got some kind of second wind as we started the incline and I passed him, only to regret that almost instantly when we got the second incline where I felt as red as Jamie Carragher and looking probably as ugly and pained.  Obviously, pacemaker guy passed me and was ahead of me at the top of the hill.  Well, I wasn’t having any of that so I pushed on a bit and caught him up a bit but I did keep a little back this time and saved my sprint finish for a bit closer to the end.  I sailed past him and was very relieved to get to the end!

I was aiming for under 30 minutes as it’s the first full 5K I’ve done for years and for me I count the incline as a significant challenge.  So, when I got my results text a few minutes ago I was well chuffed with my time of 25:21 and finishing 53rd out of 118 people.  I was actually the 10th woman to finish so that’s pretty good, and I was 3rd fastest in my age/gender category.  My age grading was only 58% though so I’ll be aiming to get this up!  I had a nice chat to both the pacemaker men afterwards too so hopefully I’ll see them again when I go again after skiing.  Yes, I don’t like running but it’s now a competition against myself if nothing else!

Woah – this is the longest post I’ve written for ages so I surely must wrap this up!  In other news, we had a Spiel des Jahres night this week BUT although we played Villa Paletti and snuck in a game of Perudo (Liar’s dice) there was controversy over both games so we’ve decided we need to re-play these and score them again.

Lastly, I have mostly NOT been doing any crafts lately.  But, I did pimp my ski helmet with star stickers (yeah, I rock!!).

Harry Potter Lightning Scar

Go Faster Curves Go Faster Stripe

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