Daily Collegian Story - Br. Greg Smith on Recuperating after THON

Dancers refelct and recuperate following THON

By Sam Janesch - Collegian Staff Writer
as Printed in the Daily Collegian on February 21, 2012

After lying in bed for a few hours and remaining relaxed, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences dancer Greg Smith said he got up around noon and enjoyed the fresh air outside — something he said he missed in his 46 hours inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

"I slept for 17 hours," Smith (senior-geobiology) said. "That's the longest I've ever slept."

College of Earth and Mineral Sciences dancer Greg Smith stretches out at Recreation Hall the day after THON. credit: Sarah Finnegan/CollegianDancers physically and mentally recuperated on Monday after standing for more than 46 hours straight during the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.

When they entered the world outside of the Bryce Jordan Center for the first time in nearly two days, dancers headed for the comfort of their beds to rest their fatigued bodies.

"I've been strolling the streets of State College enjoying the wind and the weather," Smith said.

LIFE Housedancer Nate Jacobs, who slept for 14 hours, said a friend recommended that he take a shower before he went to sleep.

Though Jacobs (junior-immunology and infectious disease) admitted that he almost fell asleep in the shower, he said it was a great idea. When he woke up he felt wide-awake and not fatigued at all, he said. Besides meeting one friend, Jacobs said he relaxed all day and was feeling good.

"I took a personal day," he said. "Missing two classes was not going to affect me that much."

While some dancers seemed willing to miss a few classes on Monday, others made the effort to get back on schedule as early as possible.

"I slept for 14 hours and probably would have kept sleeping if I didn't have class," National Society of Collegiate Scholars dancer Lauren Leight said.

Though she said it was still tough for her to wake up after so much sleep, Leight (senior-psychology) said she made the effort to get to class because her teachers tend to take attendance or have in-class assignments.

"I was OK once I was up and moving" she said.

Many dancers said that though the physical stresses were extreme, on Monday they felt strong and more mentally tired than physically.

"My feet don't hurt and my muscles surprisingly don't feel sore," Smith said.

Smith said he hoped to get back to the gym this week as he planned to ease his way back into his workouts. He even related THON to an important sports game where one might feel more tired and sore than usual.

Leight was still reflecting on all her memories of the weekend but also said she is experiencing little pain following the marathon. She will continue to take it easy this week as she gets back to homework and back on a schedule.

"I don't know if it's odd or if it hasn't hit me yet or if it's the adrenaline from this weekend," she said.

In the months leading up to THON, many dancers prepared by exercising frequently and giving up caffeine or junk food. On Monday, some of them reintroduced themselves to their old habits.

"I had my first cup of coffee in about two months, and I couldn't handle it," Smith said. "I kind of got a little loopy."

Though Jacobs said he was not "a huge caffeine addict," he did drink a Pepsi soda for the first time since New Year's Day.

"All the preparations really helped leading up to THON, especially doing ab workouts because your back gets pretty sore, too," he said.

For the rest of the week, he will continue to relax, get plenty of sleep and exercise a little to get his body back into shape, he said. He also said he would stretch anything that was sore.

The dancers also had some moments this weekend when they might have struggled, such as late in the evening, or when their legs were especially sore, Smith said.

"I would say my lowest point was early Sunday morning right after Mail Call, which might be strange because Mail Call is supposed to pump you up, but I think that I just hadn't eaten enough," Smith said. "Luckily, I had a lot of my fellow organization members there."

Smith gave all the credit to his moraler, Kari Lunden, who found him food in his time of need and gave him all the motivation he could ask for.

"I love her and thank her for all the support," Smith said.

Jacobs commended the support of the morale captains as they fixed many situations quickly which dealt with dancer problems. Eventually every dancer he saw got better, he said.

Jacobs and Leight also said that some of the moments they struggled the most were when their moralers were absent, and they waited for their friends who were stuck in the line for the PASS system for up to hours. Dancers often waited for the motivational support they needed, they said.

"The worst part, I think, was Friday night or Saturday morning before the kids got there and my moraler was not there, and there was an issue with the PASS list so we were kind of alone," Jacobs said.

Leight said that by the time her friends got through the PASS system line, there might have been someone else waiting to come down because their schedule was thrown off.

"I was waiting for one my friends," Leight said. "They got stuck in the line for a few hours, but they eventually got down."

Though they faced some trying times this THON Weekend, dancers said they know there were plenty of special moments and it was great for the kids.

"I expected it to be an amazing weekend," Leight said, "and it was above and beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of."