Wake up early for a run or stay in bed cozy, warm and snoozing? The eternal struggle is real and writer Victoria McGlynn tackled it head on (wearing runners and a sports bra).
I’m the champion of excuse-making, the leading procrastinator, the Queen of I’ll-do-it-tomorrow. If there was a medal for putting things off, I’d take have ten.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been trying to incorporate running into my daily routine. The excuses come thick and fast. Too poor for the gym. Too hot to run outside. No time during the day because of work. No time at night because of uni. Too tired from the weight of the day.
The morning seemed like the only viable option. So, one Sunday night I set my alarm to wake me up an hour earlier. I did this three weeks in a row…and failed every time.
But I gave it one last go. No excuses. I used all the tricks in my arsenal. I drank lots of water before I went to sleep and placed my running gear at the base of my bed. I told myself I would do this for just one week and if it totally sucked I would find another way.
When I woke, it was still dark. I quickly dressed before I could change my mind and slipped out of the house. I was struck instantly by how beautiful everything was. The sun had not yet risen, but there was enough light to see everything clearly through a beautiful purple haze. The air was cool and sharp in my lungs.
While I’m not a particularly spiritual person I do believe in signs. So I dared the universe to make something happen. I was looking for any excuse, half of me wanting to twist my ankle and go back to bed. But the other stronger, hungrier part of me wanted it to give me something else, a little gift, to let me know I was on the right track.
I started running.
When my feet began tapping a rhythm on the cracked pavement it felt right. I darted down a new path and before I had time to lose my breath it was taken away. The sun was rising behind an enormous black bean tree, the light filtering through the spaces in the leaves stopping me in awe. It looked like a giant disco ball, like Mother Nature was throwing a party just for me.
The next day, towards the end of my circuit I came across a family of ducks by the creek. There were two parents and five ducklings that were so small and fluffy my heart exploded. I stopped to watch them for a while at a distance.
On Wednesday, I found a netball on the courts and shot a few hoops. On Thursday, I saw a water dragon, chin up and eyeing me side-on like a sassy girlfriend. On Friday, I ran past a tree full of lorikeets, noisy and vibrant as lunchtime in a schoolyard.
I took all those little gifts as a sign. For me they signified that the world has so much to offer, so many beautiful things to share, if only you had time to look. They were what got me started, but not what keeps me going. I can run longer without losing my breath, I can go greater distances, extending the loop of my circuit just a little more each week, giving me the chance to see more of the suburb I’d lived in for so long but didn’t know much about.
So if there’s a goal you want to start making progress on, my advice is: just start.
Photography by Maeve Lejeune