I feel incredibly stressed out and tired. What in the world was I thinking?? It’s hard enough training for a marathon as a violinist, but I signed up for 2 auditions that are the first week in September. What was I thinking??

It’s hard being a violinist and a runner at the same time. Playing the violin is so physically demanding. Everything is moving a thousand miles a minute in so many different directions all at the same time (I tell my students that they are going to be really good at multi-tasking when they grow up). Usually I practice 3-4 hours a day 5-6 days a week. Throw in another 3-4 hours of teaching 4 days a week and that’s a lot of violin playing. Then there are rehearsals, and my own private lesson (yes, after 2 music degrees I still take private lessons). It’s exhausting!! Some days my fingers are so tired when I’m done playing that I can’t move them any more. And sometimes I’m so tired and frustrated because I need to practice more that everything just to a halt because I cannot physically take it any more. Getting ready for an audition, and I hate to say this, is even worse. Everything has to be perfect every time you play it. Every note has to be perfectly in tune, in the right rhythm, which has to be exact to the smallest subdivision of the beat, and if you’re just a fraction off you can kiss all of your dreams and work good-bye. I usually spend at least 2 months doing this for each audition. That’s hundreds of hours of practicing that for an audition that last less than 5 minutes. My teacher calls it the 100 yard dash. Great, I run marathons. I use to sprint all of the time. I loved it!! You feel like you’re just flying at top speed and nothing can stop you. I don’t feel like that in an audition. Now I’ve had some pretty good auditions, but not recently. I don’t know if it’s being so tired from training (our 16 mile run happens 3 days before my 1st audition of the week. I was so wiped out from running 14 miles Saturday after overheating that I slept most of the afternoon. I can’t do that after the 16 miler.), or from trying to be the perfect daughter (I do a lot to take care of my parents), or from millions of other things that only I seem to be able to do, whether it’s at work or else where. I feel like I’m failing at a lot of things all at the same time.
I think the biggest part of my frustration comes from my second audition. It took them a month to decide on a date, which ended up being the same week as the other big audition in town (they should have known about it!!), plus they don’t have any place to hold the audition yet. It’s so frustrating. On top of that the music is hard to read and I just can’t seem to get it big enough to read the chicken scratch that hand written manuscripts are. The first audition has these nice laid out excerpts from movements or acts. The second audition, well it looks like they couldn’t decide what to do, so instead of excerpts we have whole movements to learn. I don’t have the time or sanity to learn all of this stuff, and I’m very quickly loosing it 😦
I have a lot to get done before my lesson Monday evening. I never feel like I get where I want to each week. If I could just take care of myself I think things would be easier. We had a great lesson at church today on balance. Balance between serving others and taking care of ourselves. Balance between being a hostess & just being with the people you’re serving (the story of Mary & Martha from Luke 10). Balance. I don’t have a lot of balance at the moment. I feel like I serve everyone except me. I need to stop and breathe and find balance. How? I don’t know. For right now I’m turning the air conditioning down and launching myself into endless hours of scales, arpeggios, orchestral excerpts, and concerto movements. Maybe taking a few breathes and going through things one step at a time will help. The pressure to always be perfect is hard, and draining. And there are still over 2 weeks to go…


This post originally started out as something very different, but I couldn’t get over what happened this morning. Sometimes I feel like I forget why I run. This morning was one of those runs. I got to caught up in everything that seemed to be going wrong. I will not trouble you with my whining, it’s enough to say even I felt bad about it, but I think I may have come up with a solution for one of the issues. Tomorrow’s 8 mile run will tell the tale of my latest experiment (my violin students will tell you that I love to experiment).

What made the difference? Well I started reading the Caringbridge website of a friend’s nephew. See Daniel was diagnosed with neuroblastoma back in June and was having surgery to remove the tumor this morning. And while I was reading that his wish was to go visit his Aunt Becky every week it hit me, this is why I run. It’s not just to be in shape, or to have time to myself and try and stay sane, it’s to be a part of something bigger, to make a difference. See Daniel doesn’t care that his hair is falling out, or that his body sometimes violently objects to what he has to go through, he just wants to be a kid. Or take our team honored hero Kate. She’s only seven and just finished her last round of chemo July 1st. They didn’t ask to have cancer. Who would? But they fight anyway. Or Uncle Clyde and Ryan who both lost their battles with cancer. Ryan was starting a new chapter in his life after winning the Metropolitan Opera Competition in 2007 and getting a chance to perform with the Met Opera. Who knew he only had a year left. So much promise lost because of cancer.
This is my I run. To make a difference. To fight the only way I know how, because deep down inside I worry about who might be next. Every five minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. That doesn’t even count all of the other cancers. What would life be like if cancer no longer existed? Daniel and Kate’s fight would be over for good! That’s why I run!! And let’s face it 26.2 miles doesn’t hurt nearly as much as going through chemo.
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Daniel Enfinger