Grateful for every step after recovery

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On the comeback trail

At first it was just a tickle in my throat. It was a minor annoyance, like clearing my throat wasn’t possible. That turned into a persistent cough that I couldn’t shake for a few days. Other than that, I felt fine.

I went out for a 12-mile run despite the cough. Wisconsin had unseasonably warm and record-breaking 70-degree days in early November, and I didn’t want to waste them by sitting indoors. I ran in the low 7-minute miles.

The next day, I ran 12 miles again. Ran 7-minute miles again. Felt great.

Meanwhile, my wife started to feel sick. She was in bed sleeping all afternoon one day. We thought that was just being a parent non-stop without a break during a pandemic. But the next day she developed a fever and started getting worse symptoms. …


A barrier-breaking journalist’s career illustrates that man-made rules can be re-written

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Photo from 1967 Hilltop Yearbook, via the Marquette University Archives

Gail Collins has written extensively about women fighting for their rights over the years, including this year’s 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. I had the fortune to interview her when I was a sophomore journalism student, weeks after she became the New York Times’ first female editorial page editor. Her career shows that man-made rules — and they are often made by men — can be re-written.

“Learn and obey the rules very well, so you will know how to break them properly.”
— The Dalai Lama

Gail Collins was expecting college to be carefree. A college recruiter who visited her all-female Catholic high school in Cincinnati filled her with dreams of “no rules.” …


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My students are working on this assignment this week… feel free to use or adapt it yourself.

As a group, 18–24-year-olds lag significantly behind all other voters in election turnout. There are multiple reasons why this might be, including frequent moving that makes it hard to know where to vote.

In this exercise, you’ll meet in groups of five to come up with creative ways to increase college student voter turnout. Specifically, come up with ideas using your individual skills identified by Howard Gardner’s Theory of Intelligences: musical, visual, verbal, logical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, natural and moral. …


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The social media manager for McDonald's posted this tweet at 11:31 am on Friday.

Immediately, other social media managers from brands like Target replied to the tweet, which resulted in thousands of engagements and interactions — one of McDonald’s most popular and relatable tweets.

This particular tweet wasn’t scheduled through a social media management system. For planned and scheduled tweets, McDonald’s uses the social media management system Sprinklr.

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Rather, this tweet — not McDonald’s pinned tweet — appeared (or was carefully planned to appear) to be a spontaneous posting after a long week by a social media manager scrolling through Twitter. …


The hardest part of the workout is getting started

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The hardest part is just getting out the door. Photo by Tegan Mierle

The energy your expend during your workout is nothing compared to the energy it can take to convince yourself to begin.

Here are some psychological tricks I’ve found work magic for me when I have no motivation to get going.

1. Put your workout clothes on

But don’t tell yourself you’re going to work out yet. Just walk around the house. See what happens.

2. Do a shorter-than-usual workout

Once you get started you might want to keep going. And if not, something is better than nothing. The goal isn’t to exhaust yourself — it’s to get muscles moving, blood flowing and endorphins going.

3. Do a slower-than-usual workout

Once you get started you might feel like you can kick it up a notch. …


It takes a village to scavenge cast-offs from your neighbors

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Photos by the author

Like many places, in my neighborhood people put old household stuff at the curb when they don’t want it anymore. Then people walking past pick it up, free for the taking if they have a need.

All summer there has been even more of this due to the covid effect. People spend more time at home, and they have more opportunity to clean out their basement, garage or attic.

I’m working from home and walking the dogs more, so every day I witness curbs filled with old furniture, yard tools, or all kinds of cast-offs. …


Making connections in Wisconsin's icy Lake Michigan

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Photo by Peter DiAntoni

“The unlike is joined together, and from differences results the most beautiful harmony.” — Heraclitus

The sky is gray and Lake Michigan looks angry on an icy March morning. The surf is up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Thanks to the Dairyland Surf Classic, Sheboygan’s surf scene has appeared in national media like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and even on film. The 2007 animated movie Surf’s Up includes a character named Chicken Joe, who hails from Sheboygan.

“A lot of people thought I was crazy,” Chicken Joe says about surfing in Lake Michigan. “But I’m used to it.”

The inspiration for Chicken Joe is almost certainly Larry “Longboard” Williams, godfather of Wisconsin’s surf scene. Williams is what you get if you connect California with Wisconsin. He is a Buddhist who waxes spiritual about the life cycle of a wave. …


What I learned from college students adapting in the pandemic

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Photo by Vlad Sargu on Unsplash

I teach a Theology course at Marquette University, and a recent theme we discussed was friendship. It was an especially timely topic and interesting to hear how students in college — one of the most highly social times in your life — are trying to adapt to present circumstances.

To state the obvious: It’s hard to meet new people right now, especially if you’re quarantined, and students are struggling with that reality. It’s not the typical campus experience.

What I heard is that many students are rekindling and deepening existing friendships, rather than making a lot of new acquaintances.

Social media can help facilitate these relationships, but also provide an opportunity to forge greater connection. Here’s what one student…


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Photo by Eduardo Flores on Unsplash

“If you’re tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” — Banksy

It’s the end of the weekend and I’m sitting at 32 miles for the week.

If I could just round that off to 40 miles, it would look nice and symmetrical in my training log. Of course, if I’m at 44 miles for the week, I’d like to see 50. Or if I was at 48, I’d be looking longingly at 55.

Padding your mileage at the end of a week, month, or year to reach a milestone is the running equivalent of topping off your gas tank to get to an even number. …


What I learned from my time in physical therapy

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Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

In retrospect, I was probably overdue for some sort of breakdown.

In 12 months, I ran three marathons and two half marathons. Even though I’ve been running for 25 years, in the course of the previous year I set PRs in the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon. I’m tired just writing that sentence.

I pushed my body to produce results, but at the cost of getting out of balance and aggravating underlying issues.

Three days after my last marathon, I went out for what I thought was a casual 7-mile run. The weather was unseasonably warm, I felt more recovered than usual after my race, and I was itching to get back into the routine of training. …

About

Tim

Educator. Podcast addict. Wrote a book about creativity: http://bit.ly/thecreativejourney

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