Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2018 Celebration Half Marathon Recap

On Sunday, I had the honor of running both the Celebration Half Marathon and my fastest half marathon since I moved to Florida!

I woke up at the lovely hour of 5:00am and arrived at Celebration around 5:45. Thankfully, I was able to find parking and relax (more like nap) for a bit before heading over to the starting line.

The start was clearly marked with the various pace groups and I decided to line up between the 2:30 and 2:45 group. My goal for this race was to run consistently between an 11:00-minute and 12: 00-minute mile. I really wanted to try for a sub 2:30 but because I had been sick the entire week leading up to the race, I figured I would be better off trying to stay with a consistent pace.

The race started and I settled into my pace. I went a bit fast at the start to find a nice spot in the pack but settled into my run/walk intervals after about 5 minutes. The first mile was completed at an easy 11:51, the slow speed felt wrong but I knew that I was making the right choice to hold myself back. Mile 2 took 11:17, and as I neared the end of it I realized that I really had to use the restroom. Thankfully I knew that there would be one around the 2.5-mile mark so I hustled through that half mile in 6:40 to get there with time to waste. Unfortunately while pausing my Garmin I bumped it and ended the activity, so my data for this race is separated into two different Garmin entries. I swear, I'll eventually learn how to use this watch!

From mile 2.5 to approximately 6.5 I was able to maintain a consistent pace between 10:57 and 11:45. It was at that 6.5-mile mark that they were handing out gels, so I took my time walking to finish it. I accidentally grabbed the Double Expresso gel and was surprised to find that it worked extremely well for me! The taste wasn't bad and my stomach really seemed to agree with it!

From there my pace ranged from 11:00 to 13:17. The 13:17 occurred on a huge stretch of the boardwalk where I got boxed in behind some other runners. Normally, this would have upset me but the scenery was so pretty that I decided to focus on enjoying the race. Once the boardwalk ended I was able to pass the other runners and settle back into a steady 11:45 pace. This section went through the neighborhood and then back onto the boardwalks.

My least favorite part of this race was honestly the last boardwalk section. I knew that the finish line was coming up quickly and was actually disappointed by this. I crossed the finish in 2:40:48, which should be disappointing because I have run faster half marathons, but this was the fasted half I have completed since moving to Florida!

This race helped prove to me that I can race properly and I do have the ability to successfully run a half marathon. My pace was the most consistent it has ever been, and I felt great after the race. Usually, I am exhausted and feel as if my legs are going to give out but this race left me feeling fine! I want to be a sub 2-hour half marathoner, but this race proved to me that I need to focus more on maintaining a consistent pace as opposed to racing against the clock.
After seeing that I can complete a half, in Florida, in 2:40 I have decided to set my goal for Princess at 2:35. That's enough time to shave off and feel successful, but not too much that I'll have to really push myself.
The awesome blanket that was part of the swag for this race!
Overall, I would fully recommend the Celebration Half Marathon to anyone looking for a nice small race in the Central Florida area! I have already decided that I'll be signing up for the 2019 race as soon as it opens!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Steele My Heart 1 Year Anniversary

It's hard to believe that a year ago I was dashing over to the barn on my lunch break to sign Cupid's sales contract.
This past year has been filled with plenty of ups and downs:
We spent hours working on her canter leads.
We stood around working on being quiet for what felt like an eternity.
We went from going around like a drunk, one wheel car, to straight lines and deep corners.
We showed over fences successfully and received our first reserve champion ribbons.
We moved barns.
Started dressage.
Broke down several brick walls and stall panels.
Loaded and unloaded from a trailer quietly.
Worked through a fear of water.
Survived a hurricane (and didn't jump the paddock fence that broke!)
Rode bareback and without stirrups.
And so many other things.
I couldn't have asked for a better partner, and I'm honestly blessed to have found Cupid. Here's to another year of our ever-growing partnership. I can't wait to see where we go and how else this little mare can Steele My Heart!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Weekly Update 1/1/18-1/7/18

Monday was absolutely gross, it was cold and rainy, and I had been out super late the night before at Manager's New Year's Eve party. Because of this, I spent the day cleaning my house, reorganizing my closet, and preparing my planner for the year. I did briefly leave to run to the barn, pay Cupid's board, and make sure she had her rain sheet on. Aside from this, it was a Netflix and snack type of day.

Tuesday I did my first run of 2018, a slow 3 miler through my neighborhood, without a watch to encourage myself to enjoy the run and not think about time. Currently, the Bluetooth on my phone is broken which means I have to plug my Garmin into my computer to sync it with Garmin Connect. Because of this, I've been extremely lazy about actually using my Garmin to track my runs because syncing the data is a bit of a pain.

Wednesday I dashed out of the barn after work. The temperature really plummeted and I may have panicked and bought Cupid a medium weight blanket. Thankfully I have Amazon Prime and was able to get same-day delivery. The blanket didn't arrive at my house until 8:00 so I had to go find her in her paddock in the dark. I'm lucky that Cupid is super nosey and wandered up to me to investigate what I was doing out in the dark. It was slightly creepy being at the barn in the dark, but it was also extremely peaceful just listening to the horses and seeing them relaxed.

Thursday I went back out to the barn after work, then headed home. I felt absolutely awful and just wanted to sleep.

Friday I made up for missing my runs earlier in the week and did a solid 45-minute training run. I went about 3.5 miles and felt really good after it. I thought about pushing the pace but because of the cold, I decided to take it slow.

Saturday I dashed out to the barn to hack Cupid and spend time with her. We worked through the intro dressage movements and on her simple changes through the center of the ring. One major item that we're having issues with is performing the changes on a diagonal as opposed to a straight line. After we finished our ride we ended up standing and talking to our trainer while she warmed up the kids. It amazes me that a year ago Cupid couldn't stand still but now she'll willingly stand for several minutes while I talk. My little pony is growing up!

After I got home from the barn I went for a quick run of 3 miles then came home to practice for orchestra. I ran my scales on both the flute and bari, then ran New World Symphony on the flute. It makes me so happy to finally play the entire New World Symphony, especially because it's one of my favorite pieces!

Sunday I accidentally overslept and ended up getting to the barn extremely late. By the time I got out there most of the usual Sunday crowd had finished and was heading home. Cupid and I just worked on our walk to trot transitions and trot to halt. She's gotten so much better at halting squarely when asked, so long as my cue is clear and consistent.

Later Sunday evening I had the first orchestra rehearsal of 2018. We ran the 1st and 4th movements of New World Symphony and received two new pieces for the summer concert. It's so nice to be back with the orchestra and finally get the chance to start putting the spring concert together. I'm super excited for this coming year with the orchestra, and can't wait to see if I get selected for any of the choir shows.

Total books completed this week: 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger, The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel, Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel.

Friday, January 5, 2018

What Happens When You Receive New Music

One of the most exciting things is sitting in rehearsal waiting to receive new music. There's a range of emotions each musician goes through no matter what your level of expertise is.
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Waiting to receive the new score:
Looking over your part:
After the first run through with the orchestra:
Trying to follow along with the conductors comments:
Practicing at home like:
Every rehearsal until the concert:
The conductor during the dress rehearsal and tech rehearsal:
During the concert:
Listening to the applause after the concert:
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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Final 2017 Ulta Haul

It's gotten so cold in Florida that I've actually gone and emergency ordered Cupid a medium weight blanket from Amazon (thank you same-day shipping!!!). So, while I sit here and wait for it to be delivered I figured I'd write up my final Ulta haul from 2017. Thank you, platinum 20% off coupon! I got lucky and the box arrived on the 30th, but I had other posts planned for that timeframe. So the poor box has been sitting in my guest room/office, waiting to get unpacked and shared!

The first two items I received were the Clinique Quickliner for Eyes in Dark Chocolate and Really Black. Black and brown are the two eyeliner colors I typically wear during the week so to get these for 20% off was exciting!
The next two items I received were the Origins Checks & Balances Frothy Face Wash, and Origins Ginzing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer. I had received these two items as travel sizes in one of my November orders and loved them. So when I received the 20% off coupon I knew that I wanted to get the full sizes of these products. The face wash really works at making your face feel clean, without feeling dry, and the moisturizer is perfect for the morning before you apply primer and makeup.
The freebies that I received in this box were a travel size of the Origins Drink Up-Intensive Overnight mask and the Clinique Pop lip color in Cherry Pop. Both of these are new items to me and I'm super excited to try them out!
Now, I've got to go dash out to the barn and throw Cupid's new medium weight blanket on her. Not entirely sure she'll appreciate it but I'll sleep well tonight knowing that she won't freeze. Florida ponies, can't stick them in the backyard, can't stand having them out of sight.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 Goals

I was lucky enough to ring in this new year at Manager’s house again. It was fun ending 2017 the same way I welcomed it!

The following are my top three 2018 goals, for each focus. Some of these are going to require a lot of work, while others should be easily mastered.

Run
  • Re-break 30 minutes for the 5k
    • I majorly slacked on my speed work this year. As a result, my 5k time suffered. I know I have a consist sub-30 5k in me, I just need to put the training time in and actually focus on keeping that time consistent. 
  • PR my 10k 
    • My idea PR for the 10k is sub-60. During the Pancake 10k, I felt like I had the ability to complete that goal. But I didn't have the training behind me. 
  • Maintain consistency
    • As the two goals above reflect, my consistency with training this year was horrible. I skipped runs and didn't complete any speed work during the second half of the year. Both the above goals are completely possible if I maintain my training and actually work at improving. This year I need to focus on speed work and hill training to rebuild the endurance I was once capable of. 
Ride
  • Attend a show
    • After our barn switch, Cupid and I stopped attending shows and focused on going back to basics. My original hope had been to show her in the long stirrup or beginner hunter classes this year but after reflecting on everything I've decided to lower my expectations. As a coming 6-year old, who has finally started working correctly, I would rather take it slow and show in the pre-long stirrup classes.
  • Master our simple changes
    • Cupid has auto changed for me in the past but I want to really spend time this year and teach her the cues for simple changes. In order to step up into the long stirrup classes, we'll need to be prepared with a solid simple change. 
  • Complete a dressage test
    • I never imagined I would want to try a dressage test, but after working with our current trainer, I am chomping at the bit to attempt one. I've been working on a lot of into level dressage skills with Cupid and want feedback, outside of my trainer, on our progress. 
Read
  • Clear my GoodReads Currently Reading list
    • There are currently 24 books on my Currently Reading list and probably about 5 of them are on my Kindle or in my house. Some of these books have been sitting there for ages and it is probably time to finish them (or actually start reading them).
  • Read 100+ books
    • This is the same total goal that I had last year. If I don't set the bar high then I won't have the motivation to reach it. 
  • Review at least 12 books 
    • The point on this blog was to also review books I love or hate. I failed on this focus but hope to put at least one book review a month on this blog. I promise to keep them honest and as spoiler free as possible. 
Repeat
  • Master my scales, on the flute, at quarter = 104
    • I used to be the scale queen. I knew every minor and every major scale and could do them quickly and clearly. But it's been years since I took the time to actually play and work on improving my scales. A huge goal for 2018 would be to remaster the major scales, in eighth notes, at quarter note = 104. This includes two octaves for every scale, with each note sounding clear, and various articulations. 
  • Become confident on the bari sax
    • Basically, I'd love to be able to play the bari without feeling like I'm going to pass out from the amount of air required, or die because it's caused a killer migraine. I've debated about playing it for one of the choir orchestras but we'll have to see my confidence level!
  • Feel confident with all the orchestra pieces
    • This is a bit of a strange goal. I've been able to play all of the orchestra pieces from 2017, but I have not been 100% confident with several of them when concert time rolled around. This year I want to actually feel confident on all the selections and put extra work into the ones that require it. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 - A Year in Review

It's hard to believe that we're at the end of the year already. It seems like just yesterday I was at Manager's New Year's Eve party wondering who would attend with me after Vegas moved. This past year has been full of so many changes, yet so many other things have stayed the same. In staying with the general theme (give me credit, I like to believe that this site has a direction. lol) here are the major items that happened to me in my running, riding, reading, and repeating!

Running
This year started slowly in terms of running. I did the bare minimum in mileage and ran races that I was a bit underprepared for. But I quickly turned it around and joined the Disney Springs Fit2Run Galloway Training Group which helped me jump start my running program into something more productive than it had been. While I'm only a casual member the group at the moment, because of the early darkness, I am looking forward to continuing my running journey with them. I was able to PR my 10k and place in my age group for a 5k because of them.
On the topic of my 10k PR at the Celebration Pancake Run 10k, it was a bit disappointing but it is a huge milestone for me. If you check out my races tab you'll see that my PRs haven't really changed in a few years. This is entirely my fault because I am the least consistent runner I know. I had hoped to PR in the 5k at the Jingle Jolly Jog, but my mental game wasn't there. I am so proud of my first age group award. I have lusted after them for, what feels like, ages so it is extremely exciting to finally have one on my wall! Ok, it's actually in a shoebox under my guest bed because I have yet to find a medal holder that I love, but that isn't the point!
Riding
Easily, the biggest thing that happened to my riding career, this year, was purchasing Cupid. I spent weeks last year debating about purchasing her, and I officially made the plunge on January 11th. I never imagined that my horse would be a little Welsh pony cross, who was green broke with a major attitude. But here I am, with my little Welshie who still has a major attitude, and is slightly better than green broke. Honestly, I wouldn't trade in our partnership for anything. Owning a green pony has taught me so much about riding, patience, and myself. For every step forward there are two steps back, but once we make a leap forward the landing is extremely rewarding.
In addition to purchasing Cue, I also uprooted her and moved to a new barn. Shortly after purchasing Cupid I realized that our current situation was not working out. The care wasn't what I wanted for my horse, I felt cheated out of my lesson package, and I was extremely nervous having my partner in a barn with minimal supervision. It took me until May to find a stable that met my standards. The major sign that this was the place for us was when we ran into our new trainer at a show before I had even told our old trainer we were leaving. The new trainer made several observations about Cupid and I, then commented that she would love to take us back to the basics because "she's a baby and there's no need to rush her". Hearing this proved to me that she would have Cupid's best interests at heart which is all I wanted in a boarding situation.
Moving Cupid was the best choice I could make for her. She's happy at our current barn, has put on much-needed weight, and is slowly becoming a solid partner for me. We still have a long way to go, and I miss jumping, but watching her move properly and understand what I'm asking has been worth everything we have been through.
Reading
According to GoodReads, I've read 112 books this year. My goal for the year was 100 so I am officially putting this in the win category for the year! A few of those books were the Saddle Club series because I started walking down memory lane and couldn't put the books down. What was really nice was that I'm able to get them from the Orange County Library Media Mall which means no awkwardly walking into the children section of the library or putting them on hold.

Two other series that I have really gotten into this year are the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. Hopefully I'll be able to finish the Finishing School series this weekend, so expect that review to come up in the near future!

Repeat
If you've been around for awhile you'll notice that I fashioned this blog after my running, riding, and reading life. So you might be questioning what this whole "repeat" business is. I decided the other day that I needed a header for my twitter account and my facebook page. The plan was to do a running, riding, and reading silhouette on a glitter background. While putting this together it dawned on me to do a repeat sign so the entire blog title was represented. I looked up repeat signs to get an idea and had an "I'm an idiot" moment. In music, there is a sign that informs the musician to repeat a section, this is called a repeat. Because music is such a big part of my life and I've openly discussed it on here it only made sense to take the Repeat part of my title and have it represent the music portion of my life.
I now present to you the newest "official" section of the blog. My Repeat section, or music discussion.
With that little intro out of the way, it's time to discuss my year in music!
In January I located a local orchestra that seemed like it would be at my skill level and was actively recruiting members, the Central Florida Community Orchestra. I signed up and attended my first rehearsal. It was terrifying and I almost walked away before entering the building, but I participated in that first rehearsal and loved it! The CFCArts #FluteNation welcomed me and has pushed me to want to become a better musician.
This year I participated in four different concerts with CFCArts; Jazz, Joel and John in March, American Roadtrip in June, Fiesta in November, and Once Upon a December in December. Once Upon a December was the first time, since college, where I've accompanied a choir. This pushed me to not only be aware of the rest of the orchestra but to also work on matching the choir without becoming the main focus.
Without the Orchestra, I don't think I would have found a group that feels like home or had the drive to pick up the saxophone again!
Overall, this is a quick review of my 2017. It was fun, it was great, but I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for me!


2018 Celebration Half Marathon Recap

On Sunday, I had the honor of running both the Celebration Half Marathon and my fastest half marathon since I moved to Florida! I woke up...