The peach tinged morning sun peeks over the dew-covered horizon as the morning frost steams off the grass. Breathe in, two, three, four. Out one, two. The sunrise magpie warbles her morning call high in the eucalyptus. Breathe in, two, three, four. Out one, two. The elderly couple shuffle past with their equally aged dog – we smile a familiar greeting. Breathe in, two, three, four. Out one, two. I am at kilometre six of a 10k Sunday morning jog – I love the freedom and the solitude of a run.

Ugh – I can’t believe I ate that pasta at my daughter’s birthday dinner last night. Breathe in, two, three, four. Out one, two. Ugh – it’s so freezing and so early. Breathe in, two, three, four. Out one, two. I’ll turn my music up so I can’t hear anything else around me. Breathe in, two, three, four. Out one, two. I have to keep running until I’ve burned off that pasta.

‘Centre! Centre!’, my teammates call. I pivot. I quickly pass the ball to our WA, who’s open. My player? I find her. I sprint up the court. I’m open beside the circle. GS snatches the ball. I side step. I take the bounce pass. I quickly deflect it back to GS. She deftly whooshes it through the net! Celebrating the goal, I grab the ball. I sprint back to the centre circle. I’m there before my player. The whistle blows. I start the play.

My team want me to play GK tonight. I’m a good keeper. But tonight I want to run. I shared a cup cake with my kids after school. I need to run. Why couldn’t they let me play on the wing? I’m not going to get to run as much as I’d like tonight. Oh! My player has the ball! I move back into position to defend the goal. That really wasn’t much of a run – maybe I burned off one sprinkle? She deftly whooshes the ball through the net. Their centre has taken the ball back to start play again.

There is mud caked in my hair and all my freckles have disappeared in a mix of pink paint, splodges of rainbow powder and mud. I have about an inch of mud under my shoes as we run, laughing and chatting, to the next obstacle. We are all still giggling at the way the paint gun turned our faces pink! There is music pumping from the speakers around the course. Groups of women, laughing and having fun, make their way around the obstacles. Our team arrives at the next mud pit. We have to work together to get through – but it’s easy, and we get through! We celebrate, we high five, we laugh and we move onto the next obstacle.

Oh wow. This obstacle course isn’t as hard as what I thought it would be. I’m going to have to go for a run later on today – I ate that slice of my Dad’s birthday cake last night. Why won’t our team just run between obstacles? I need to run! Oh no. Now there’s a line at this obstacle. We have to wait. We’re not moving. But I need to burn off that birthday cake.

‘WWWEEEEEE!!’, my daughter squeals with delight as she zooms down the short hill on her bike for the fourth time in a row. My heart rate and breathing have settled enough (I had been running with her) to take a video with steady hands. I capture the look of adventurous delight on her face as she discovers ways to make her bike go a little bit faster. We continue along our way after she’s had enough of that hill – surely to stop again when she finds another spot to test her boundaries.

O. M. G. She’s up that bloody hill again. ‘Come on!’ I call to her. ‘We need to keep going!’ I glance down at my watch – my heart rate is dropping back down. Oh no. I need to keep moving this morning. I had that second glass of wine with my girlfriends at dinner last night. I wish my daughter hadn’t come with me this morning. I could have kept moving. I could have worked off that wine sooner. I need to get my heart rate back up. ‘We’re going now!’ I call. She reluctantly follows. I know she wasn’t done with her fun, but I need to burn off that wine.

Exercise and movement is not a punishment for the food you ate.

It’s joy!

It’s fun!

It’s team work!

It’s spending time with friends, with family and your community to enjoy each other’s company as you move your body. As you keep your body (and your mind) strong and fit. As you work towards slowing the natural deterioration affects of the aging process.

You can see how the two different mindsets make the situations above seem like two different experiences. If you can stop seeing exercise and movement as punishment for what you ate, and start seeing it as fun, challenging and exciting, I’m sure you’ll come to love it.

And understand why people get up at sunrise on a Sunday!

Comment