Dear blog readers,
No, the reason I haven't written in a while isn't that I needed a long break after my first blog. I did, however, need some prep time and the rest after my first ever running race.
After grasping the whole concept of recreational running this summer (up until then I only ran after buses, and, when I was younger, girls (: ), I ended up running the Baltimore Half-Marathon on Saturday. It was an amazing experience, and I achieved my two goals: to finish and feel good about it. For those that care, I ended up with a time of 1:57:39, which is a lot better than the time I decided I'd have been happy with, somewhere between 2:00 and 2:15. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the wind only started getting really crazy after the finish. The city looked amazing, especially from some vantage points along the course that I haven't been to. And the people along the race were simply amazing: from all walks of life, ages, races, in suits and pajamas, holding cats and dogs, sitting on steps and looking through their windows. Many dancing, some in silly costumes, playing pots and pans or some serious music, holding personal and general signs (my favorite: "no one made you do this!"), handing Natty Boh beer to racers (not too many takers, most preferred water or Gatorade), and generally helping us keep pushing.
What made the whole experience even more special was the face that one of the BSO's biggest supporters, Governing Member Cynthia Renn, organized a fundraiser named BOLT for the BSO, which, as of this afternoon raised $13,500 toward your favorite orchestra. My fellow violinist Ellen Troyer, her husband John Troyer and I, plus several of our Administration and Board members, participated in both the race and the fundraising effort, adorned with very visible lime-green (it's the new black!) BOLT t-shirts. Here's what Ellen, John, and I looked like right after we finished:
I loved when one of the race organizers, standing along the race course somewhere around Lake Montebello, who was reading shirts and signs and encouraging such individual efforts, yelled "Go Marathoner for Music!" as I rounded the bend by her!
If you're a runner, or just inspired like so many of your fellow BSO fans to contribute, the BOLT website is still open for just a few more days, and it is a very simple, fast, and easy way to show your support. Please click here for the site where you can contribute (I suggest my name (: ), and then join us for a BOLT party this Friday after the Meyerhoff concert for a celebration. After you contribute, you'll receive an invitation to the party, and we might even be able to swing some tickets for you for the concert!
My great friend and colleague, BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney, was nice enough to replace me for some coaching I had missed that morning at Peabody (where I spend most of my Saturdays teaching at the Preparatory Department), but after the race was over and I had caught my breath, it was time to head on foot (cars were useless in the traffic jams of that day) to Mt. Vernon for more teaching. My race support team (my wife Jennifer had brought our three boys Sebastian, Luka, and Tristan for some coaching and rehearsals of their own) adorned in the BOLT t-shirts, were happy to see me in good spirits and with a medal around my neck. After an afternoon of some great music, it was time to be whisked away in my family van (logistics of parking two cars that day took a few days to figure out!) to the bus awaiting to take the BSO to Strathmore for a concert. What a day!
That should do for today, I promise to continue tomorrow with a review of Ilyich Rivas' concerts and a preview of this week's with Gilbert Varga.