Week 20: the morning run

Last week I blogged about my long run, so I thought this weekend I would share my weekday run pictorially!

I tend to run 3 mornings a week: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (Monday and Friday are my ‘no run’ days, although I do go to boxing or Pilates on a Friday). The run schedule usually has me doing 2 short runs (around 6.5kms each) and one mid-length one (around 12-16kms). The short ones I knock off in just over half an hour, so I don’t have to get up too early unless I am meeting someone for breakfast. However, as it takes me about an hour and a half to run 16kms, that means a 4.30am alarm for me! I never used to be a morning runner or exerciser, but I know if I don’t get out there first thing, it may well not happen at all. That time of the day equates to me running well before the sun is up.

The route

I almost always run along the Yarra River on a weekday, and do an ‘out-and-back’. The apartment building I live in is on Southbank, so the Yarra is incredibly convenient. I like being near water, so if I can’t be near a beach, then a river comes second. Over the last couple of weeks I have taken my phone out with me so I could take some shots of my morning run to share. I usually run in the dark, so some of them aren’t that fantastically clear, however, they will give you the idea of what I experience. It is very calming to be out so early. I did have a day off and a sleep-in one morning though, so I managed to catch some shots in daylight to help illustrate the run.

There are very few runners out there much before 6am. In fact there are very few vans or anything, which for a city of many millions, provides a place of solitude. I often beat the rowers out as well – they arrive at the boat sheds as I am shuffling past. They provide one of my favourite aspects of the early morning run: the sound of the oars slicing into the water in the dark, and the soft sound of the boat gliding along the river.

But the best part of running so early in the morning is seeing the sun rise while my breath visibly provides a trail behind me.

The scene

Melbourne and the Yarra River from Soutbank

Good morning Melbourne! City and the Yarra River from Southbank.

I love it when I first hit the Yarra River along Southbank. It is the first clear view of the city and the river, and a kind of gentle good morning. I almost always smile when I hit this point of the start of my run (about half a km).

Near the boat sheds along the Yarra

Approaching the boat sheds along the Yarra.

This shot was taken on my sleep-in day, as I rarely see the sun rising on the ‘out’ section of my out and back, but it is not uncommon to see some spectacular sun rises from this angle – the striking pinks in the sky some mornings are breathtaking. The sun is rising over East Melbourne, the MCG is just visible, rowers are heading out (or coming back) from their morning training, and that big goose is sitting down on the ramp as it always does. I never see another goose. Just that one. There are black swans, seagulls, peahens, some birds from the kingfisher family, but just this one goose. He always seems to be surrounded by seagulls and pigeons  so I kind of think he must run the show.

Along the footpath next to the Yarra

Turn around point – 6.5km run.

When I do the shorter runs, this is the view (in daylight – rare!!) just after I have turned around. In the dark the lights of the city directly ahead are soft and welcoming. In the dark when I turn around at this point, the lights call me back home.

Approaching Melbourne along the Yarra near Alexandria Gardens

Approaching the city along the Yarra near Alexandria Gardens.

Regardless of the length of the run, once I am close to Alexandria Gardens, I know there is just a kilometre and a half to go. I am usually running at about 5-5:15 mins/km at this point in time, as I tend to gradually quicken the pace as I go. I see a lot of the same rowing coaches out on their bicycles along the path I run. The other morning I chatted with one of them while we were heading in the same direction. We both agreed that this was a pretty special way to start the day.


Less than a kilometre to go – Southbank.

Once I hit Southbank and start running past all of the restaurants and bars, I know I am close to home. My pace is usually 4:45-5mins/km now, and even though it is often still dark, there is a lot more activity. Delivery vans are dropping off fresh produce. Other runners are jiggling by with their headphones in. Early morning office workers are starting to appear.

Eureka building

One more block – Eureka.

The Eureka building is around the corner from my apartment building. I always look up to see if the skydeck is protruding out yet, even though I know they won’t be open for a few more hours. This is where I turn on the throttle and zip home for the last block at a pace of around 3:30-4mins/km. Dynamic and static stretches are done outside before walking inside to greet the concierge and hit the showers before work.

Hope you enjoyed my run!

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4 Responses to Week 20: the morning run

  1. Kristine (Kipwil) Willems says:

    Loved it! Love the pics!

  2. Carol says:

    Oh how worlds apart our runs are!! Your pace against my plod for one thing. Just last Sunday I put some pics of my run on my blog, what a comparison, ha. I said good morning to cows and sheep and saw the sunrise across the paddocks and through the gum trees!! You didn’t mention but do you run with a torch? Or a head lamp thingy? Loved loved this post and seeing your photos.

    • ultraprimed says:

      Hah! Thanks, Carol. No, I don’t run with a lamp. I do see other runners out with them though and sometimes I umm and err about getting one. One of the benefits of running in the city is all of the light, so it is not pitch black.

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