TGIF??

Ugh…MORE snow. I can’t handle this; I just can’t do it much longer. I want to get out and run. I want to wear my new skirts and summer running clothes. I want to grill. I want to have drinks on the patio. I want to start my garden. I want to sleep with the windows open. I want Minnesota to act like it’s MAY!!

Ok…ranting over, and onto happy things:

  1. I ran my first mile UNDER 10 minutes! At Moms on the Run on Tuesday, we ran a timed mile so we can compare our progress over the course of the “summer” (sorry, I had to had the sarcastic quotes because it is SNOWING right now!!). I told Dan before I left home that I was aiming to run under 11 minutes, because I thought that was doable. Maybe Body Pump is starting to pay off?? Either way, my goal of running a 5k in 30 minutes or less seems way more feasible than it did a week ago!
  2. First two choir concerts went really well. If you’re in the Twin Cities metro-area, you must come to our last concert this Sunday at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Everything clicked for us and we’re having a fantastic season. Here’s a link to a YouTube recording of one of the songs we’ll be performing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS8ETIs8dQE. See if you can spot me! 😉
  3. Tomorrow we are running in a fun run: Run or Dye! We are running this one with part of the Nelson clan, so it should be a blast. It’s going to rain and it’s going to be cold, but I am DETERMINED to have a fabulous time!
  4. I’m officially down a jean size! I’ve been struggling with body image and weight since I can remember, so if I’m being honest, that’s why I started running and 50% of why I keep running. I am my own worst critic and can be so negative towards my body, BUT, I’ve found that with running, I have a hard time staying mad at myself for looking a certain way because I’m actively trying to better myself. Even though I acknowledge I have a long way to go on this journey of self-love and respect, I’m making progress by losing weight in a healthy manner.
  5. I had a great hair day yesterday: 
    Good hair day!

    Good hair day!

So that’s all I’ve got on this wintry, “spring” Friday.

Anyone else have a race planned for this weekend?

Weekly Recap – April 8th

MONDAY: Body Pump

TUESDAY: 5.6 miles outside

WEDNESDAY: Rest – I needed a night off to be an introvert 🙂

THURDSAY: Rest – choir rehearsal

FRIDAY: Rest – taught three voice lessons

SATURDAY: Chocoholic Frolic 10k – recap coming shortly!

SUNDAY: 2 mile walk to loosen up the legs

April Mileage: 13.8 miles

YTD Mileage: 107.1 miles

Notes: I had a very busy week with both running and music – it was wonderful! Plus, I PR-ed at the Chocoholic Frolic 10k (despite crappy weather and crappy hills). I’m planning to start integrating some swimming and other cross-training cardio options as I continue to ramp up mileage to give my legs and body time to recover.

Happy running, everyone!

How is April starting off for you? Has the weather cooperated for outdoor exercising in your neck of the woods?

My Love Affair With Choral Music

It’s been a while since a music post, so I thought I’d dedicate today’s blog post to one of my favorite genres of classical music: choral. I am very lucky to have been born and raised in a state that not only highly values classical music (well, at least we used to – I’ll avoid getting up on my soap box regarding the current MN Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra lockouts), but many different types. Specifically, Minnesota is a large participant in the Lutheran Choral Tradition (I capitalized it because I think it deserves it…even if grammatically incorrect :)) which was popularized by F. Melius Christiansen. We have some wonderful private Lutheran colleges with highly praised choral programs which have continued this tradition, including my alma mater, Concordia College. I was lucky enough to get to sing with the Concordia Choir under the direction of Dr. Rene Clausen for three years, and they were some of the most rewarding years of my life thus far (and most likely to come).

Choir-Tour-Graphic

Current Concordia Choir (image courtesy Concordia College)

I don’t talk religion often, because I views beliefs as highly personal, but something about the action of singing together with 70 other people is a very spiritual experience for me. I can’t articulate specifically what it feels like, but for you choral singers out there, you know the instant where everything just *clicks* and you lose yourself in the music? There’s nothing else like it. It’s simultaneously very personal and very public, because you are sharing this experience with peers you have worked so hard with to create the best music you can, while basking in the feelings you as an individual are feeling. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

In my second year of the Concordia Choir, we performed Dr. Clausen’s piece, “In Pace” (Latin for “In Peace”). One of the best parts of choir was Dr. Clausen – not only an incredibly talented composer, arranger, conductor, musician, etc., Dr. Clausen is a wonderful human. He would always tell us the background behind the pieces we were singing in order to appreciate more when performing (and, as a music history buff, this was especially appreciated on my part). According to what he told us during rehearsal, Dr. Clausen wrote “In Pace” in response to his visit to a concentration camp in Germany during one of the Concordia Choir’s international tours. After hearing that, I don’t think I made it through a rehearsal or performance without tearing up. One of Dr. Clausen’s strengths as a composer is to use chords and voicing to create crescendos that build and build to a climax that is typically very emotional for the performer and audience member. There are two main climaxes in this song, the first occurring around the 4:55 minute mark and the second occurring around the 6:30 minute mark which can be heard in the version the Concordia Choir performed back in the 90s that’s made available through Spotify to listen to: Concordia Choir – In Pace.

The text translated to English reads:

In peace, I shall lay me down and take my rest. If I surrender my eyes and eyelids to slumber, I shall sleep and rest. Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Even to this day, I have trouble getting through listening to the song without becoming emotional. To me, this piece transcends singing notes on a page – it speaks to a part of my soul. I wish for everyone to have this experience – even if it’s not with music, that you find something that speaks to you on a level that could never be accurately articulated.

And with that, I wish you a wonderful Friday and a fantastic weekend!

Happy listening, singing, running, exploring, or doing whatever else gives you great joy!

 

Something’s Gotta Give

So…I blinked and it’s now April 3rd! This means, time for a new set of monthly goals. Last month I wasn’t terribly successful (I need to take more pictures!), so here’s a late-entry for a bonus point:

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I got a haircut!

As I consider what I want to focus on this month, I have Ella Fitzgerald’s version of “Something’s Gotta Give” running through my head.

Ella Fitzgerald

Often, songs pop into my head that perfectly describe how I’m feeling at the moment – it’s completely subconscious and usually neat (unless it’s an obnoxious song such as “Tubthumping”…I know, what kind of crazy subconscious mind do I have?!). At any rate, I’m feeling spread thin. I am part of a running club that starts running 2x/week shortly, choir that rehearses weekly, I teach lessons two nights per week, blogging, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and oh, my job that has picked up in workload recently. Also, I am an introvert, so I gain energy from alone time which I have been severely lacking in. I found this a few months back and boy does it resonate with me – check it out:

0wkaL

I feel that I’m at the point where I’m on the edge of a breakdown, which typically consists of shutting down and doing nothing. I think part of the reason why I’ve been able to continue with such a busy schedule for so long is that I genuinely am enjoying everything I’m involved in. I love teaching – it brings more joy to me (and hopefully my students!) than I thought it would. I love singing and making music. I love being physically active. I love the fact that I’m getting to know a young person and hopefully be a positive adult role model. I love connecting with other runners and music lovers in this amazing blogging world. So what now?

After many days of pondering, “what now?”, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get comfortable having a busy life. I need to get comfortable living outside of my comfort zone. So, that’s my goal for April – get comfortable with the new me.

And take more pictures…I still need to take more pictures. Smile

Are any of the rest of you busy people? How do you cope?

My Life as a Sometimes Music Teacher

My studio is well underway and has been officially in existence for over six months. I had always thrown around the idea of starting a studio, but had some anxiety (have I mentioned yet that change and I don’t typically get along all too well?) surrounding “what-ifs”. Last fall I decided to stop fearing what wasn’t and start embracing what is, and haven’t looked back!

Here are some items I’ve learned through this new adventure:

#1) I thought I would be the one teaching and not learning, but I have discovered I too have been learning a great deal.

What I hadn’t anticipated was what a wide range of abilities I would be tasked with teaching from the get-go. I had students who had some musical background and could sight-read and match pitch well; at the same time, I had students who were approaching singing needing more help with the basics. I learned it’s important to help students recognize the progress they’re making – whether it’s singing an entire song a cappella in tune, or finding proper placement of a vowel on the first try.

#2) Everyone is on their own journey and it’s important to respect and embrace that.

Maybe I think too much or something, but I’ve noticed through teaching (especially through teaching people in different life stages), that it’s very important to go at their pace for learning and growing (with a little nudge here and there when needed Smile). Similar to how I’ve found running be such a personal experience, making music can be a very personal and meaningful journey. I feel so blessed every lesson I teach that I have been selected to accompany my student on their journey.

#3) Everyone is different and has different learning styles – it’s important as a teacher to figure out (and quickly might I add) what their style is and embrace it.

I learned in college that every teacher should be prepared to present any given topic in seven different ways to accommodate everyone’s different learning styles. This is probably the thing I use in lessons more than everything else I learned. For students who have the technical background, I can use technical terms to help them achieve the correct placement, for example. For those who don’t have the technical background, I have to explain things in a way that is meaningful to them.

All this after only six months – I can’t wait to see what the next six years bring!

Happy making music, all! Note

Any other teachers out there? If so, what lessons have you learned in your teaching experience?

Everyone has to start somewhere!

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Dan and Katy on our Disneymoon in 2009

Recently I have been searching online for reviews of runDisney races, as the husband and I are planning on running in Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon later this year. Through the many recaps I’ve found, I discovered a wonderful community of bloggers who seem just as obsessed with running and Disney as I am, and I discovered that this is a community I want to join! Thus, running&singinginthepark was born!

I live in St. Louis Park, MN with my wonderful husband, Dan, and our two cats, Alma and Gustav (named after the composer Gustav Mahler and his wife Alma). I started on my running journey three years ago while we were still living in Columbus, Ohio, and after a brief break in 2010, I have become more and more of a running fanatic. I joined a couple running groups here in the Twin Cities and haven’t looked back.

In addition to running, music is a very large part of my life (hopefully that’s fairly apparent from the naming of the cats! :)). I recently began teaching voice lessons out of my home on a part-time basis last year, and it has turned out to be one of the most fulfilling journeys I’ve ever embarked on. I’m also the alto section leader in a community choir based here in the Twin Cities.

So, without further ado, let’s get the show on the road!