Monday, December 31, 2018

Running the Numbers - 2018

Fall Photo Run on Trail #2 at Spring Mill on November 6
In many ways, 2018 was a rough year for me.  I dealt with an Achilles/calf/post-tib injury for the first five months of the year.  (That problem was due to running several miles in sub-zero temperatures. Dumb.) However, I also had a lot of really, really great times.

I chose to eliminate every mileage/pace goal and go with just one aim: Run Happy. That I did. I had so, so, so many fun runs with friends this year.  The first ones that come to mind are Eric's Carmel Marathon, Mitch's Mini, the flood run with Becky and Larry, the Lawrence County Torch Relay, PRing at the Tecumseh Half Marathon, PRing at the Monumental Half Marathon, my solo Fall Photo Run, the Give Thanks 4 with Jocelyn, and the Christmas Lights Run with Wendy. There were certainly some really bright running spots in 2018.

Running The 2018 Numbers
I always enjoy keeping data on my runs, and watching the mileage pile up as the year progresses.  Here's way more info about my running than you'll ever want to know.

Miles Run: 1,130.00 (avg. 21.67 mi. per week)
McCormick's Creek on June 10
Decrease Over Previous Annual Mileage High: 1,582.00 mi., 28.57% decrease
Runs: 178
Hours Run: 181.87 (7.58 days, or 2.08% of 2018)
Average Run Distance: 6.35 mi.
Average Run Pace: 9:39.40 min/mi.
Average Run Duration: 1:01:18.2 hr.
Average Temperature During Runs: 52.01°F
Temperature Range: 97°F (High 88°F, September 15; low -9°F, January 2)
Feet Climbed: 64,612 (12.24 mi.)
Average Feet Climbed Per Mile: 57.18, 1.08% grade
Miles Walked: 70
Walks: 48
Average Walk Distance: 1.46 mi.
Strength Training Sessions at Novus: 34
Cross Training Miles: 81.41 (biking, spinning, and elliptical)
Races Run: 7 (3 AG awards)
PRs Set: 3, 2:24:50, trail half marathon on October 27; 1:51:07, road half marathon on November 3; and 31:22, 4-miler on November 22
DNFs: 1, Brown County State Park Trail 15K (DINO Race), June 2
Falls: 2, July 25 and October 27, both the fault of Ryan Boyce! :-)
Pate with Mitch and Ryan on July 25
Injuries: 1, Achilles/calf/post-tib in the winter and spring due to running high mileage in sub-zero temps
Toenails Lost: 5
Surgeries: 0
Pairs of Shoes Retired: 3
Pairs of Shoes Purchased: 4
States Where I Ran: 1, Indiana
Pictures Drawn: 5: pi on March 14, crosses on March 28, 2018 on May 25, "Jo Is 39." on June 1, and a flag with USA on July 3
Longest Run: 14.02 mi., September 8
Shortest Run: 0.25 mi., May 8
Week With Most Running: October 14-20, 41.85 mi.
Month With Most Running: December, 158.00 mi.
Christmas Lights Run with Wendy
on December 20
Month With Least Running: April, 20.00 mi.
Favorite Runs: Eric's Carmel MarathonMitch's Mini, the flood run with Becky and Larry, the Lawrence County Torch Relay, PRing at the Tecumseh Half Marathon, PRing at the Monumental Half Marathon, my solo Fall Photo Run, the Give Thanks 4 with Jocelyn, and the Christmas Lights Run with Wendy
Percentage of Goals Reached: 100% (1/1, I ran happy.)
Total Lifetime Mileage: 9,100.00
Percent of Lifetime Mileage Run in 2018: 12.42%

Mileage By The Month
I did that weird number thing and made sure my monthly mileage totals were all whole numbers. It's very satisfying for me to see all that point-0-0!

January: 53.00
February: 67.00
Lake Monroe on July 5
March: 90.00
April: 20.00
May: 50.00
June: 73.00
July: 132.00
August: 135.00
September: 130.00
October: 120.00
November: 102.00
December: 158.00 (most monthly mileage ever)

It was a really great year for my running. See some more photos below. Thanks to everyone for the support! On to 2019!

Some Great Photos
Pi on March 14

Carmel Half with Mitch and
Eric (Full) on March 31

Carmel finish with Mitch on March 31

TCR Gals on April 29

Mini start with Mitch on May 5

Mile 2 of the Mini
with Mitch on May 5

The storied Flood Run on September 9
with Larry and Becky

LC Torch Relay with
Allen on September 15

Monumental Half PR on November 3

Seasons: Spring (May 28) and Fall (November 6) at Donaldson

Give Thanks 4 on November 22 with Jocelyn

Saturday, December 1, 2018


Every October, artists across the globe participate in Inktober, a movement created by Jake Parker. You can read more about Inktober here, but to summarize, Inktober's goal is to get folks to create art every day during the month of October. Originally designed for ink drawings, people create art with a given theme, then post their results online with the hashtag #Inktober.

You may remember (or may have tried to forget) when I participated in a Halloween #Inktober in October 2018. I posted my drawings, made with my iPad and Apple pencil, on Instagram and Facebook as stories.

My original motivation was to make people laugh. I'm infamous for my so-called artusually quick and silly renderings of stick people and puffy animals. While my art remained silly, I found I actually looked forward to creating and posting my picture every day. When October ended, I missed the daily fun.

So I'm bringin' it back, with a nod to Mr. Parker. I have decided to create a month-long Christmas/Holiday/Winter themed daily art creation invitation called Designember. Wanna participate? Download a full rendering of the official image here, and have fun creating! Post your art online for all to see with the hashtag #Designember.

Merry Christmas!


Oh, wait, what? You wanted to see some of my #Inktober stuff? I'm not surprised. I'm pretty good. 😉



Field of Pumpkins

Black Cat

Decapitated Person

Severed Limb


An Eye

Thursday, October 18, 2018

What Makes An Effective NLCS Board Member?

by JoAnna Kai Cobb

‘Tis the season! About a month ago, I started noticing campaign signs appearing on my running routes. A few turned into a plethora, and now our city is dotted with the little colorful billboards promoting different candidates in the community. However, instead of endorsing senatorial contenders and representatives, most of Lawrence County’s signs are advertising school board candidates.

As a local educator in her sixteenth year of service, I want to share both my thoughts on the biggest concerns I have for North Lawrence Community Schools and my opinion on the characteristics of an effective school board member who will face these issues head-on.

My interest in these issues comes not only from wanting the very best for the youth of Lawrence County, but also from desiring the best future for our community in general. As Whitney Houston once sang, “I believe the children are our future.” Investing in the youth of our community builds the foundation for the Lawrence County of years to come.

For whom should you vote for NLCS School Board? That decision belongs to you. My aim is to share my expert opinion on the critical issues that will be facing those who are elected so that voters know what is at stake.

Adjusting to a New Age

As an ever-evolving entity, education looks different today than it ever has in the past. More models and resources are available to students, teachers, and administrators, not just to utilize for learning, but also to set up a framework for optimal learning.

NLCS has embraced technology through 1:1 devices for students, in its course offerings, with professional development, and more. In my classroom, I have enjoyed watching technology usage transform from a classroom novelty to a classroom norm and necessity.

However, modern education isn’t about only technology and curriculum; it’s about making informed decisions so that our students may do their best learning. At the administrative level, that decision-making involves setting up school calendars, daily schedules, other policies, and opportunities that will be best for student learning.

It is vital that such informed decisions are based upon outside research and inside data. An effective school board member is excited to both initiate and play an active role in this analysis in order to learn what types of changes will be best for the corporation’s students. He or she also knows that conclusions deemed best for students of the past aren’t necessarily best for the students of today.

For example, using e-learning days in lieu of snow make-up or other unconventional mid-week breaks, such as Election Day, would give NLCS students a chance to experience a different kind of learning while maintaining continuity. Researching how corporations similar to NLCS implement such a policy, troubleshoot problems, and experience successes would be a step in providing the same opportunities for Lawrence County students.

An effective school board member recognizes stagnancy, and makes informed changes based on careful research and data collection.

Attracting and Retaining Staff

The salaries of NLCS certified staff are the lowest in the area. (The Master Contract is publicly available and may be viewed at this link.) A decades-old government funding formula is often cited as the reason for the disparity. Regular insurance premium hikes compound the problem.

This topic may initially seem self-serving. While it would be nice to have a salary that allowed me the possibility of working only one job and maintaining a cost of living, my worry is not for myself. My worry is for the students whose teachers are leaving.

Because believe me—they are leaving, and not for different roles in education nor careers in new fields. They are leaving to teach classrooms in different corporations in order to make more money doing the exact same jobs. Many of these teachers are not relocating nor are they escaping tough conditions. They are living in Lawrence County and teaching in different corporations, for up to $17,000 more per year, doing the same job they were doing at NLCS.

This situation directly harms students because NLCS is unable to attract and retain a full staff of talented teachers. As an interview committee member at my school, I have seen the hiring process devolve from sifting through many stellar résumés, to interviewing the only candidate to apply. Our corporation and thus our students, who deserve the best and the brightest educators, are often overlooked by applicants who sensibly choose a nearby corporation with a much more competitive salary.

Teacher salaries are not the only area of the budget that needs help, so the cooperation and creativity of many board members, administrators, and other NLCS officials will be necessary to form a plan and fulfill a solution. Open-mindedness, perhaps to unconventional ideas, will be required to acknowledge the problem, address the problem, and answer the problem.

An effective school board member recognizes this financial issue as one of the most critical concerns facing NLCS and is eager to resourcefully seek solutions.

Corporation Communication

Finally, the previously mentioned issues will all be better addressed with open and impartial communication. Our corporation is strewn with diverse employees, all with different ideas and concerns. Often, perhaps because of the sheer size of our corporation, many employees feel they don’t have an avenue to share those concerns.

Strong relationships between board members, administration, faculty, and staff can be built through regular and welcome communication. Such communication can begin and continue through informal meetings, board meetings, team building events, shared professional development, school visits, and more. These entities will trust one another when they realize all involved harbor no vendettas and want only the best for students. Professional communication free of judgment will follow.

An effective school board member recognizes the need for open, impartial communication among all employees and advertises and facilitates that process in order to inclusively and efficiently solve minor and major corporation problems.

Bottom Line

While there are many more matters of concern facing NLCS, these issues are the three I feel are most critical to putting students in the best position to learn and achieve. Despite any issues at hand, your votes for Board of Directors for North Lawrence Community Schools should go to individuals who are hard-working, informed agents of change who will put students and their learning and achievement above all other matters.

There will be a free candidate forum at Bedford Middle School’s Schafer Auditorium at 6:00 P.M. on Monday, October 22. Attend, and hear what the candidates have to say. Listen for evidence of student-centered approaches. If you cannot attend, learn more about the candidates through meet-and-greets, interviews, or their websites.

My motivation to share my thoughts comes from a deep love of this community and the young people who live and learn in it. I want what is best for them, which is what is best for all of us.