By Chamberlain Zulauf, Student Reporter
This past Thursday a training partner, Josh, and I had a moment. The two of us were running down Blair Street parallel to the Salem Golf Course yelling and high fiving in stride through 85-degree humidity. What could have two runners so full of energy on that hot a day?
We were celebrating because we had just run the first of some 800 miles assigned in our summer training program.
Let me back up two weeks. Josh and I are in Atlanta extending our track careers into post-postseason and we’re beat up. Even then we were excited to have our races over and done with so we could be on to summer training, even more so for an impending Cross-Country season this fall. Not to mention after the race in ATL we’d get a savory two weeks off from running to recover. Personally, since this time last year I’ve had a total of six weeks off from running. There are parts of the season where I have Sundays off too.
Running is a lifestyle for me, something I plan my energy and day around. It’s something I’ve been deeply dedicated to for almost a decade, but it would be hard to put into words exactly what keeps me going the distance, especially through grueling summer miles. What is easy to describe is that when I’m not running, I would rather be. Something I could put into words is my belief that to achieve any sort of goal in life a fluency in your craft is key to getting there. Running isn’t something that I do, it’s something I coincide with. Anyone who is passionate about something knows the interwovenness they feel with it. Getting back into running this past Thursday it felt like Josh and I had our roommate back.
For anyone who does anything as part of their daily routine it can feel weird to take a step back— even for a short time. For runners, time off can be a major mood changer. We go through emotions like restlessness and boredom, there are also physical effects like joint tweaks and even trouble sleeping, in my own experience.
So, dutifully taking it slow on our first day back, Josh and I celebrated at one mile. Our legs felt rusty, we were already thirsty and summer training is made of mileage, mileage, mileage so could we really be excited and not full of dread? Our answer would be instinctual and sincere. Yes!
We celebrated more than simply our return to training. We celebrated the road ahead which is paved through effort and through determination. It felt natural to be back sweating under the sun. In other words, the two of us were saluting mile one as we looked forward to the 799 we still have to go.
Editor’s Note: As part of a new partnership between the Salem Times-Register and the Roanoke College Brackety-Ack, several student journalists will be reporting for our paper throughout the summer. Chamberlain Zulauf will be a December graduate from Roanoke College, staying a bit longer to run cross country one last time. With a double major in Creative Writing and Business he hopes to be writing wherever he goes.