It's 5 am. The incessant beeping of the alarm wakes me up. I remind myself that I need to change the tune because the constant 'BREEEEP! BREEEEP! BREEEEP!' really isn't a good way to start the day.
Grumbling to myself, I torment my inner voice to come up with some sort of excuse for why I don't have to get out in the cold and go running. I'm supposed to be meeting my friend Pete in 30 minutes for our 'Fartlek Friday' run along the Brisbane foreshore. I'll have to work quickly.
My first thought is... zombie apocalypse! Nah, Pete will never go for that.
What about... I feel sick. No, that won't work. I used that one the other week.
I feel down my leg for any soreness in the achilles, an injury that's been plaguing me for the past few months. Nope, no tenderness.
Looks like I'll just have to bite the bullet and get out of bed.
You know that friend everybody has that never misses a beat and is always there early. Well, that's not me.
As I unravel myself from the blankets and step into the cool air -- yep I'm one of those people who wears exercise clothing to bed in preparation for the next morning -- I realise it's now 5.20 am and I've got 10 minutes to meet Pete at our usual meet-up point at South Bank, an 8-minute jog away. I step outside and WHACK! Winter is in full swing and the cold hits me like a bull out of a gate.
Everybody knows it's those first few steps that are the hardest. As if on cue, my nose starts dribbling like a dog's outside a butcher's store. As I make my way through the Botanical Gardens, I feel like the Tin Man needing his daily dose of oil. But by the time I cross the Goodwill Bridge I begin to feel more fluid. That warm bed begins to feel like a long-lost memory.
I arrive at South Bank Plaza and there's Pete. You know that friend everybody has that never misses a beat and is always there early. Well, that's not me. That's Pete. If there did happen to be a zombie apocalypse, Pete would already know about it and he'd be ahead of the game.
Alas, we exchange pleasantries as Pete chastises me about being late. (The 8-minute jog turned into a 11-minute jog because of a 3-minute pit stop to stretch that damn Achilles). Today's plan was a Fartlek session along the river in the backdrop of the city. One of my favourites.
As time went on, my legs began to feel lighter and lighter, as if each step was breaking the shackles that the warm embrace of my bed had set upon me.
We set off at a cruisy pace, ready to begin the intervals, waving to the other runners as they approach through the gently lit sky. As time went on, my legs began to feel lighter and lighter, as if each step was breaking the shackles that the warm embrace of my bed had set upon me. Faster and faster I went as each interval ticked over. Running from beam to beam along the riverside pathway at a faster or slower rate.
By the time we'd finished our first lap, the sun began to peek above the horizon, illuminating the world that was in front of us. It was captivating. Breathtaking. Often Pete and I get lost in the monotony of one foot in front of the other. But today, we just so happened to pause, and fully immerse ourselves in the wonder of the morning. Not a cloud in the sky. The waning crescent moon was just beginning to set on the horizon. The coordination of colours from a deep rich blue in the west to the pale yellow in the east. Birds chirping to each other, waking the world before them. It was magical.
We set off on our second lap with grins from ear to ear. I realised now why I set that awful alarm for 5 am. To experience nature in its full grasp. That one single moment of solitude was all I needed to keep me going with the early wake-up calls. I chanted to myself -- I am a runner! This is my purpose!
Behind me a runner's watch was beeping unremittingly. Telling them to speed up or slow down. Who knows? But that sound... it was breaking up my wondrous moment. That sound... it was so familiar. 'BREEEEP! BREEEEP! BREEEEP!'
My eyes opened. I turned to behold a clock beside my bed, where it read '5.00 AM'.
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