I am a runner – 1st draft, Final Writing Assignment.

I love running because it allows me to pursue my lifetime passion for exploring the beauty in nature and has provided me with some needed physical fitness improvements as well as some surprising mental health benefits.

I have been fascinated by bird watching and hiking and exploring the outdoors since I was a child. Walking and hiking were my exercises of choice for a long time because I didn’t want to be moving along so quickly that I would miss seeing or hearing anything. However, I have learned that you can be a trail runner and still soak up the wonders of nature. In fact, I have been able to explore trails I probably would have avoided while hiking since I know I can cover more ground in a shorter period of time. A ten mile looping trail that would have taken me all day to hike only takes a few hours for me to run. I stop to sip water or eat some energy goo every couple of miles and during those pauses I focus on my surroundings more closely and see and hear the birds I love. I have spotted three new life list birds on recent trail runs and stumbled upon the most beautiful, hidden pond just last week. If anything, running has made it easier for me to feed my passion for birding.

When I took up running two years ago it was primarily to help me reduce my cholesterol readings, and to maintain a stronger overall fitness level and as I advanced into the middle aged years. That has worked out exactly as I had hoped! My blood tests show lower levels at each visit to the doctor, I initially lost ten pounds and have kept it off, and I feel stronger than ever. When I spend a day in my yard pulling weeds and trimming overgrown bushes, I no longer have to stop and rest frequently and I rarely feel sore afterwards. If I attend an event when I have to stand a lot or walk a long distance, I no longer worry that I will get tired. I just strap on my most comfortable shoes and happily tackle the day knowing I will have the stamina to enjoy every moment.

The biggest surprise for me has been how much running has done to improve my mental and emotional health. It’s not like I had any major problems in those areas in the past, but I can definitely look back and see a difference. Regular moderate or intense cardio vascular exercises like running  improve sleep and reduce stress. There is nothing better for me than to fall asleep exhausted from a long run and wake up refreshed the next day. One of the less positive symptoms of middle age can be more frequent bouts of insomnia, and those are few are far between as long as I keep to my running schedule. Then there are those days at work that weigh me down mentally. I could calm my nerves with a glass of wine, or I can put on my shoes and go for a short trail run. The run is the better option every time. Even better than sleep and lower stress levels though, is the added boost of overall mental clarity and strength that I feel. Some of my longer runs have been tough to complete, and I had to mentally push myself through some aching joints to get to the finish line. That knowledge that I have the ability to push through those barriers makes any daunting task seem much less scary.

I think everyone knows that running can be an excellent form of physical exercise, but it can also be a fantastic way to explore the world around you and to feel a mental boost of optimism and confidence.


Week 5, Journal 1

Module 1 Writing Activity

Pick one of the four topics listed in the Week 5 writing assignment and choose the topic that most appeals to you for your final, peer reviewed paragraph. Once you’ve made your choice, start with the first step of the writing process, inventing, and try a few of the methods to develop your ideas.  If you find that the topic does not seem to be working, try to develop another topic. Once you’ve developed some good ideas for your paragraph, move to the second step, organizing, and construct an outline that you can use for drafting your paragraph.

Choose one of the following four topics to write your final paragraph about:

Topic #1
Discuss at least four (4) short term and/or long term effects that finishing Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade will have upon you personally, academically, and/or professionally.

Topic #2
Identify and describe a favorite activity or interest and provide at least four reasons why this activity or interest holds your attention and/or is enjoyable to you.

Topic #3
Identify and describe at least three (3) ways a person, male and/or female, is recognized as an adult in your culture.

Topic #4
Identify and describe a traditional ethnic food from your culture. Provide at least four reasons why this food has remained an essential, primary food in your culture. While you may include the recipe, this topic asks you to discuss the importance of the food in your culture.

I am choosing Topic #2 and the activity I will write about is running since it is a fairly new activity for me (two years) and therefore my interest in it is still very intense and I can clearly see the benefits from it every day. (and that will basically become my opening/topic sentence!)

Since you will be writing a paragraph at the end of this unit, your outline should have at least the following points:

  • Topic – Mental and physical benefits of running
  • Topic sentence – Running allows me to pursue my passion for exploring nature and has provided me with expected physical fitness improvement and some surprising mental benefits.
  • Supporting Points
    • Specific example – Following the existing passion of exploring trails and nature around me.
      • Explanation – Birds, wildlife, flowers and tucked away corners of beautiful scenes of the water and wild flowers and rolling hills etc.
    • Specific example – Fitness levels 
      • Explanation – cholesterol dropped, lost weight, change in shape, strength in legs improves movements and balance in other endeavors.

      Specific Example – Mental clarity

      • Explanation – Improved sleep, reduced stress, ability to push through obstacles is increased, confidence in tackling bigger tasks is heightened.

      Specific Example

      • Explanation
  • Concluding Sentence I think everyone knows that running can be an excellent form of physical exercise, but it can also be a fantastic way to explore the world around you and feel a mental boost of optimism and confidence. 



Week , Journal 2

In your journal, continue your sentence practice with noun and verb phrases. Write at least one of each of the noun phrases discussed in the unit (prepositional phrase, absolute phrase, and appositive phrase) and at least two of each of the verb phrases (infinitive phrase and participial phrase). You will, therefore, write at least seven sentences for this journal activity. As in the first assignment, underline the phrase in each sentence and consider its function in both as a modifier and an aspect of your writing style.

My brain was finally able to unwind at the end of the yoga class.

Pinpoint lights drifting across the ceiling, the atmosphere was calm and quiet as we practiced slow, measure breathing.

He converted his garage, a detached 2-car style, into a combination yoga and music studio.

I joined the yoga class to gain more flexibility in my muscles and ease the tension in my shoulders.

To sleep more deeply, I turn on a fan in my room and read for at least 20 minutes before I turn out the lights.

Feeling refreshed from a nap, she stayed out dancing until after midnight.

Bombarded with email requests, he forgot about his appointment.

Week 4, Journal 1

Phrases and Clauses (yes, I have the Conjunction Junction song in my head!)

  1. Write three sentences with adjective clauses
  2. Write three sentences with adverb clauses
  3. Underline the clauses

Alex, who is a typically lazy teenaged boy, has a bedroom floor covered in dirty clothes.

The cats are howling which means their food bowls are empty.

We don’t even need street lights when the moon is this bright.

Because the wind is so cold, we should move the plants in the green house tonight.

Nathan was tired and hungry after he finished the SAT test.

If you are a small business owner, the new internet sales tax law could create more work for you.

Writing Assignment, Unit 3. Complete the scene description.

Drawing from your observation notes and sentences from Journal Writing Assignments 1 and 2, write a description of the scene you have observed. Use action verbs and active voice in your sentences. Also, keep your verbs in the same tense and maintain correct subject-verb agreement. Your description should consist of 8 or more sentences.


Followed the Assignment:

  • 0 points: Student does not describe a scene.
  • 3 points: Student describes a scene.

Number of Sentences:

  • 0 points: Description contains less than 5 sentences.
  • 2 points: Description contains between 5 and 7 sentences.
  • 4 points: Description contains 8 or more sentences.

Action Verbs:

  • 0 points: Three (3) or more verbs are not action verbs and three (3) or fewer action verbs.
  • 2 points: Four (4) of the verbs are action verbs.
  • 3 points: Five (5) or more verbs are action verbs.

Active Voice:

  • 0 points: Three (3) or more of the sentences are not in active voice.
  • 2 Points: Four (4) sentences are in active voice.
  • 3 Points: Five (5) or more sentences are in active voice.

Consistent Verb Tense:

  • 0 points: Verb tense shifts three or more times.
  • 2 points: Verb tense shifts one (1) or two (2) times.
  • 3 points: Verb tense is consistent.

Subject – Verb Agreement:

  • 0 points: Description contains three or more subject-verb agreement errors.
  • 2 points: Description contains one or two subject-verb agreement errors.
  • 4 points: Description contains no subject-verb agreement errors.
Curt holds the elevator door open and lets Tiffany, Chelsea and Brian walk out ahead of him. As they chat with other and walk towards their desks, the maintenance worker is up on his step ladder changing a light in the ceiling. Laughter bursts out as the group reacts to a story Curt just told from his weekend activities, and then the maintenance worker’s cell phone buzzes loudly. He folders up his ladder rather hurriedly making a clattering sound and rushes out to another office. Lisa hums to herself softly as she listens to music on her ipod while making a fresh pot of coffee for her group. Ingrid is talking on her desk phone reserving a room to use later in the day for a birthday celebration for Tiffany. There are balloons and streamers decorating Tiffany’s desk, and she lets out a little squeal of delight when she sees them. Meanwhile, no one notices Cathy who has been seated at her desk, reading an office memo quietly, oblivious to all the activity around her.

Unit 3, Module 2 Writing Activity

In your journal, continue your observation list of the scene you observed for Unit 3, Journal Assignment 1 by noting several vivid action verbs. Revise some of your sentences using action verbs and/or write 2-3 new sentences with action verbs. Try not to use any of the forms of “to be” (is, are, was, etc.).  Underline the action verbs in your sentences.

I’ll focus on the scene with more potential for writing a longer narrative – the office:
Of course, I had already used action verbs! But, I can revise them anyway.

  1. He rushes back to his office as his cell phone buzzes.
  2. Laughter bursts out as the co-workers tell stories from the weekend.
  3. She reads quietly at her desk despite all the noise around her.

Unit 3 – Journal Writing Assignment 1

The formal assignment is to go somewhere with a lot of activity and describe what you see in 5-6 subject/verb sentences. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to just take off and head to the mall or the park and do that 🙂 So, it’s going to have to be things that pop in my head around the house Monday night at home and Tuesday at work.

  1. The boy carries his laundry upstairs.
  2. The cat plays with the plastic water bottle cap.
  3. He rushes back to his office.
  4. Laughter bursts out.
  5. She reads quietly at her desk.