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Saturday, November 29, 2014

I'm baaack! Race Report: Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot

If you know me or read this blog you know that I had a partial meniscectomy in August. This was my first major layoff from running since I started over 20 years ago; counting the injury and recovery, I did not run for three months. Some good things came out of the down time (including rekindling a new love...competitive swimming), but I am glad that it is over.

On Thanksgiving I took the next step in my return to running. I ran a race! I have been back running since mid-September and have done a few tempo runs (around 6:40 pace average) and several hill workouts. My goal for the Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot 5K were threefold:

1) Start controlled and finish strong
2) Be mentally tough when it starts to hurt (I have been focusing on that with swimming)
3) Enjoy being able to race again

Admittedly, I also had a time goal (sub-20:00) even though Coach Tom Clifford discouraged me from having one.

Thankfully I can report that I did all three (four).

It was a beautiful morning and 2,000 runners came out to participate. I went out in 6:30 pace per mile for the first 800 and picked it up each 800. I was surprised at how my body responded to each drive and it was exciting to finally have control of my body/legs/pace again.

Of course it hurt as races do towards the end, but I was pleased with how I responded mentally and physically. Swimming has clearly helped me in both departments.

I ended up taking the women's title in 18:56. I have not been that thankful after a race in a very long time.

Many people told me that time away from running would end up being a good thing. They were right. I did not enjoy the time, but they were right. The body is an amazing machine and with some hard work it can return better than before after a set-back.

The next four months will be an experiment in combining swimming and running while preparing for a 26.2 mile PR. Less running mileage than before, but I have become a believer that less can be more, especially when some of the pounding is replaced by non-impact aerobic training like swimming.

Be thankful,

Thursday, November 6, 2014

NETA 2014 Presentation - Using Twitter in the classroom

Earlier in the year my paper "Tweeting you way to improved #writing, #reflection, and #community" was published in the Journal of Economic Education. The paper discussed how I used Twitter to improve writing in my principles of macroeconomics course. Since then, several other economists have joined in the literature regarding using social media in the economics classroom. Data analysis regarding the effectiveness of the pedagogy remains sparse.

In an attempt to fill that void, Dr. Michael Enz and I collected data across three economics classes (two intermediate micro and one principles of macro) in an attempt to measure the effectiveness of the methods detailed in my work in my 2014 JEE article.

We are presenting some of the results from that data collection today at the National Economics Teaching Association's 10th Annual Economics Teaching Conference in San Diego.

The PowerPoint for the presentation is below.

Happy tweeting,