Rachel DaDamio | February 25, 2017
It’s 8 a.m. Or, more specifically, 8:08 a.m. Allowing myself to hit the ‘snooze’ button once, I respond to my blaring alarm and groggily climb down from the top bunk. I grab some yogurt and a piece of fruit from the fridge, put a coat over my pajamas and sneak quietly out of my room, trying not to wake my sleeping roommate. The bike ride to the Joyce Center is lonely. Usually, students and faculty fill the campus sidewalks, and biking requires weaving through crowds — not on a Sunday morning. With the exception of my teammates also making their way to the JACC, I see no one.
Sunday, a day traditionally marked by sleeping in and completing homework, is my favorite day of the week. And it’s not just me; Sundays are a unique day for the track and cross country team, one that we look forward to and savor throughout the remainder of the week.
Usually, I am one of the first to enter the locker room. As each teammate arrives — some sleepily holding coffee, others softly humming the fight song (reminiscing from the football game the day before) — the locker room is filled with the familiar restlessness that comes with planning for a run. Am I wearing the right apparel (a difficult but important question given the unpredictable weather of South Bend, Indiana)? Did I remember to bring water? We mill around the locker room, looking for shoes, watches, car keys and socks to complete our preparation. Then, we meet briefly with associate head coach Matt Sparks outside the locker room, pile into teammates’ cars, and make the 20-minute drive to Bertrand Road in Michigan for practice. Bertrand road is the major road on our long run route. Characterized by hills and soft surfaces, it is the ideal setting for our Sunday run.