Two important kick-offs today.
First of all, today was the day that I start my eighteen-week training program for the Mad City Half Marathon in Madison in May. I'm psyched. Of course, I didn't actually follow the program today. See, the program has long runs on Sunday, and cross training (in my case, the exercise bike) on Monday. But I didn't do a long run yesterday, so it seemed a bit silly. So I ran 5.3 miles, effectively completing a long run of 9.3 miles from yesterday. After all, there was only a little over 12 hours between yesterday's run and today's. Anyway, I promise that I will start the program tomorrow, and that I will do my best to get in a long run (8 miles) on this weekend, and that if I do, I will cross train next Monday.
The other big kick-off was the first day of school. I met all of my math classes, and they went pretty well. I have two sections of Calc II. We mostly talked about what they should know from Calc I, and I did some examples to highlight some places where I'm planning to be picky about the notation. The classes seem to be pretty game for the first day. They participated pretty well, and a few even laughed at my jokes.
The other class I had today was Modern Algebra. That class has only eight students. That will make the grading easier, but it doesn't look particularly good for our deparment. Since this course is required for the math major, it pretty much means that we only have eight majors who are at the right point in their program. That's certainly down from other years. Two years ago, a colleague had something like 30 on the first day. Last year, I was closer to 20. Eight is not much.
Of the eight, I've had five before in class, so getting to know their names won't present much of a challenge. Of those five, I confidently predict that four will do pretty well. The fifth will have a struggle. But perhaps with some hard work and extra help, we can get him through it.
I have one more class to meet for the first time, and that's the Leadership class. I have no idea what to expect from that course. I'll probably post tomorrow about how it goes.