By Sara Magalli, According to, the drive from Bloomington, Ill., to Toledo, Ohio, is approximately five hours and 23 minutes. On MSN maps the driving time is five hours and 41 minutes. However, when I make this trip it can take anywhere from eight to 10 hours. Even the switch from central to Eastern time cannot be accountable for this. I can't explain why I-55 seems to stretch on for miles longer than it should, or why it never fails that while the forecast may be clear, as soon as I begin to make good time on I-80, a snowstorm hits out of nowhere.

Sara Magalli
However, while I worry about making it to camp on time, I am more anxious about the thought of what the weekend has in store. You know what I mean. The thought of a physically and mentally exhausting weekend ahead of you, minimal sleep on the floor, the time you really need to finish term papers is going to be spent doing drum corps. On top of that, while you may have left the last camp promising yourself that you really would get to the gym and start conditioning, other obligations came up and now you are faced with the fear of just how much your body is going to hurt come Sunday morning. Of course, enjoyable involvement in this activity requires a certain amount of masochistic pleasure. How many times, drum corps members, have you found satisfaction in the agonizing burn of your legs, arms, whatever it may be during strength-training exercises? Let's be honest though, for most of us the pain itself is not the pleasure; the biggest thrill is the accomplishment of the exercise, not the actual pain. This being said, I can't help but ask myself why I seem to insist in subjecting myself to all of the pain in one single weekend, rather than spreading it out over an entire month. Not conditioning between camps is much too easy to do, especially during the winter months. The fact that the drum corps season is kicking off is surreal when there is still snow on the ground, and going from day to day without once stopping at the gym is far too common a phenomenon. Many know what I'm talking about and have also been in this situation. But the fact remains that no matter what may happen over the camp weekend, whether it is highly exhausting physically, mentally, or both, it never fails that on Sunday afternoon I leave happy, satisfied and excited over the accomplishments of the camp. Suddenly, what I originally faced with uneasiness and a bit of dread has lifted my mood. Even the ride home is easier and the trip that took nine hours only takes five and a half. It is almost metaphorical. A mind at ease makes for an easy drive. It seems the next step is right in front of me. I'm hitting the gym before next camp -- really.