Monday’s Run and Musical Musings…

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Just recovered enough from the run to sit up and “relax” a little while longer on the couch before getting to work on the homemade pizzas that are for the freezer (and for dinner tonight! Yum!)  Recovery included collapsing onto my bed for about 45 minutes while in the process of changing out of my running clothes, so sitting up is a big improvement 🙂  I just read a great blog post about monitoring your exertion during pregnancy over at nycrunningmama.  A lot of people (doctors included) are going off very far (30 years almost) outdated information (and where they got that from in the first place, I have no idea) recommending that pregnant women not allow their heart rates to exceed 140bpm during exercise, and not to exercise over 15 minutes at a time.  Someone my husband works with even had the random number of 26 weeks in mind and asked John, “Aren’t pregnant ladies not supposed to run past 26 weeks?”  Anyway, in case any of you reading my blog have been at all concerned about my continued running, please check out this post, as it is extremely informative, and all her sources are referenced.  [Monitoring Exertion During Pregnancy]

This morning I drove down to a recently found trail that I ran about 10 days ago and was looking forward to running again for increased motivation (ie escaping the boredom of my normal 3 mile route) – but when I got down there and started running, I never really felt that good.  It was tough to keep going the whole time, and my overall pace was 12:20 per mile.  I didn’t have any times during which I really picked up my pace, and I generally felt uncomfortable the whole time.  Perhaps I could have sped up, but my level of exertion seemed high enough at that pace, meaning that I was a bit winded and hot the whole time, and it was a pretty shady trail.  When I finished up, though, since I had driven out to the run I now was in my van ready for a special treat!  Meriwether was home watching the children, so I went to the drive-thru Costa Coffee nearby (first time to give up on my Starbucks and willingly choose a Costa because I wanted a fruity iced drink and had researched it online last night 🙂 )  Anyway, I got a Mango and Passionfruit slushy drink with lots of yummy ice for me to crunch on (I asked them to only blend it halfway so I could have some ice chunks!), a latte for Meriwether, and a sort of Moroccan chicken salad sandwich with raisins and curry.  By the time I made it back and upstairs to change, I was wiped out from the run and full from the yummy food and drink which is what led to my crashing on the bed for a wee bit 🙂  Now the baby is down for her nap, we just ate leftover lasagna, and I’m about to get started on the pizza-making party.  But first, I’ll see how much of this post I can finish in my last 10 minutes of couch time!

Today I wanted to share a few pictures and words about my time here with the Reading Scottish Pipe Band.  I have really enjoyed this group of people, even though they are often hard to understand, because most of them really are Scottish! I’d say it’s about 60/40 of Scots to Brits, and when the Scots all get to talking together, I truly struggle to make out what they are saying.  Our Pipe Major is a Scot as well, and when you add the strange musical terms we don’t use in America (anyone for a hemi-demi-semi quaver?) to the British slang and his Scottish accent, I am just lost 🙂  They were very welcoming to me, even knowing that I would only be able to march with them for a short time since I’d probably be pregnant while here, and knowing that I wouldn’t be taking part in events on Sundays.  I learned most of the tunes really quickly, they issued me a uniform worth about $2000-$2500 US, and they even started including me in little ensembles if I was able to learn the tunes for those special things.  This may be my only chance to wear “Full Regimentals” – ie the “Number 1s” I mentioned in last week’s post about going with the band to Nice, and I got to travel around with them quite a bit and experience lots of people and places that I think other Americans out here with the US military would not usually see.  Here I am in my No. 1s playing with a small ensemble for a Christmas concert:


I’m the second piper from the left (the shortest one I think :)) It’s now 10pm at our house, and we just finished up with the pizza making/eating/wrapping/stuffing into the freezer excitement.  Man am I tired.  I’m going to put up just a few more pictures from my time with the band and then call it a night 🙂

The reason there’s a brass band behind us is because it was their Christmas concert, so we did a few numbers on our own and then played a few with them (most notably “Highland Cathedral” which moved most of the audience to tears and a standing ovation 🙂  We had to play an encore of it!

Here’s a video my dad made that is just about a minute and a half of what our band practice looked like.  It’s us marching back and forth playing “Cock O’ the North.”  I don’t know how to embed a video from youtube yet, so I’m adding the link and attempting to post the video.

Band Practice “Cock O’ the North”

Why would my dad be over here from America making videos on his iPad of something like band practice?? Well, he also used to play the pipes (back in college) and is a lover of all things related to the bagpipes.  Here’s a picture of him back in the day:

Isn’t that cool?  We staged the one of me on the right so I could send it to him for Christmas this year 🙂  Speaking of Christmas, here are a few last shots from me playing with a few different ensembles at the band Christmas party.

That’s me in the boots playing “Steam Train to Mallaig” with a few others.  We got to see the train track that the steam train to Mallaig actually travels on when we were up in Scotland in April, and you may recognize this picture of a bridge it crosses from the Harry Potter movies, since they use a steam train on this route for Hogwart’s Express.

Here’s another playing a few tunes from The Nutcracker with a fellow piper (who is playing bassoon obviously in this picture, while I am playing the flute.)  And one last one, of a few of us playing “Hellbound Train.”  There’s a video floating around somewhere, but I have yet to get my hands on it 🙂  If you like piping music, check out this tune (“Hellbound Train”) on youtube played by any number of famous bands 🙂

The thing I like about band practice here is that we have a break for tea in the middle of it (only in England!!) We have our chanter practice first and then have tea and biscuits (ie cookies) for 30 minutes then play our pipes for 45 minutes, finishing up at 10pm.  If this were America, we’d skip tea and all just leave 30 minutes sooner – instead, the Pipe Major makes sure that the guy responsible for making the tea leaves the table a little early so he can have it ready on time 🙂  Like I said, a very fun bunch of people, but also a dedicated group always interested in improvement 🙂  All for now – probably Wednesday I will post photos from the pizza party tonight, along with my pizza crust recipe, but for now I will go crawl into my bed to recover from it!! 🙂

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