Sunday, July 21, 2013

Couch to marathon in 8 months

For the first time in my life, I am enjoying running. As long as I can remember I thought that running was hell. Sweating, panting, side cramps, nausea... What could be worse? I used to dread the half mile time test in elementary school, I remember feeling nervous and queasy all day. The stretching test however... That was my forte. Then the mile run in middle school and high school- that was awful too. I don't think I ever ran the entire thing without walking.

You may ask why I started training for a marathon.

I don't think I have an answer. I have multiple reasons: Luke wants to, I want to practice focus and discipline, I have the time, I have been craving a big goal, etc. None of those feels like an answer! I guess I just started and now that I've started I'm not going to stop.

Back in February I finally joined a gym about about a year without exercise! I'm ashamed to even write that. I started by running very very short distances. Half a mile, 3/4 mile, a mile, 1.25, etc. It took me FOUR months to work up to being able to regularly run three miles. It was really tough too! Thankfully I have a support network of runners who would encourage me and tell me to just keep going. 0-3 was definitely harder than 3-6, or 3-9!

Marathon training started the first week of June with 3 mile runs Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Then on Saturday I had my first big long run- a whopping SIX MILES! I had never run more than three miles and I was terrified. I thought- there is no way my body can do this. I'm not strong enough, I don't have enough stamina and endurance. Luke and I ran the six miles together and got lost, so thankfully I had my GPS on. And I did it! I ran six miles! It felt great afterward and terrible during. But I was SO proud of myself. I remember thinking "so this is why people do physical tasks that sound awful".

I'm now a month and a half in to training! It has been harder and easier than expected. Sometimes the long distances aren't bad at all. 5-6 miles has become relatively easy for me, and I never thought that would happen! The hardest bits are scheduling when to run, eating the right fuel and keeping hydrated, and staying positive. When I run I often end up comparing myself to other runners and feeling like I'm not good enough, fast enough, strong enough, etc.

But I'm doing this. and I'm not going to stop.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A short list of questions for a music therapist to ask his/herself before planning a session

1. Can my client read/write? If they can't, how will I adapt this activity? What if part of a group can and part can't?

2. Does my client speak or comprehend English? If they don't, how will I communicate and make the session meaningful?

3. Can my client follow two step directions or more? How will I shape an activity if they don't?

4. Does my client have the ability to think abstractly?

I've had a lot of face palm moments with the groups at a group home that I see. These questions are so simple and when I overlook them I feel so silly!

So that's the short list. Ask these first.

Monday, June 17, 2013

MT-BC year one

I recently passed the one year anniversary of receiving my board certification as a music therapist. It left me thinking about how much has changed in one year, and the multitude of lessons I have learned! This post is a ramble fest, you can just pretend you're reading Ulysses.

When I passed my board exam, I found out immediately. Thankfully it's not like the bar where you sit around for MONTHS waiting to find out (poor Luke). The next day I moved out of my apartment in Minneapolis and drove eight hours to Chicago. The next day Luke left for Rome, and then the following day I did too. I received my certification, the spent three months in Rome worrying about whether I would EVER get a music therapy job. Minneapolis is saturated with music therapists and its really tough to find a job! The three jobs I currently have are completely due to contacts I made at Park Nicollet and through the basilica choir. I spent long hours and TOO much time worrying. And somehow everything fell into place. I feel so lucky that I interned at Park Nicollet, because it set me up for success and helped me meet other MTs in the area.

So what is the balance? How does a new professional do all they can to get experience and prepare for the real world, without becoming discouraged by the lack of jobs and worrying if they chose the right career?

(I have no answer to that question)

Somehow jobs fell into my lap. I now work for two private practices and a music company. I love my work. I am getting a wealth of experience working in hospice, preschools, and with all ages of people with special needs. Luckily I'm still 24 and covered on my parents insurance. Luckily I have no student loan debt to pay back. Luckily I'm healthy and have a car that I don't need to pour money in to.

One of the biggest difficulties for me has been how much time I spend alone! As a contractor, I don't have an office where I see the same people every day. I rarely see the MTs I work for. I see clients and their families, and get feedback from them. But I'm alone all the time! I don't have other MTs to bounce ideas off or discuss a tough session with. I really really miss that about Park Nicollet. When you work alone and are new to a profession, it's really hard to feel confident in what you're doing. I am very critical of myself. Thankfully I have a boyfriend who regularly tells me I am the best music therapist in the world haha

Overall this year has been an exercise in self confidence. I have to trust my training and the experience I have in the field. What I do often comes so easily that I forget how much work I have put into it.

I also just need to remember how much I love the people I work with. People are wonderful. They love each other and will surprise you with their kindness and ability. If only we give them a chance to succeed people can blow your expectations away. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer in the cities

I will be making an extreme effort to continue to blog! The cities are vibrant and busy as Minnesotans attempt to squash 12 months of outdoor activities into 3 months of summer. So far I've started training for a marathon, attended MIA and MCAD benefits, shared a glorious Junip concert at the Cedar, and watched a house burn down at Northern Spark festival.

More to come!