Grey dawn light filters through the clouds as we gather on the water’s edge at Thompson’s Beach in Victoria Point. The boats moored out on the water are silent and still; there is no wind or swell this morning to disturb the peace. We joke about waiting until dawn so that we can see the sharks in the water. Well, we hope we are joking because every local knows the waters here have their fair share of sharks. None of us have seen any but still, we’ve all been warned about them as children and those warnings are difficult to ignore.
We are all wearing old shoes and swimming togs of some description. There are a lot of sharp rocks embedded in the sand and mud so we need to protect our feet. We wade out until we are waist deep (to the boat on the right in the photo below). We must be at least 100m off-shore by the time we line up parallel to the beach to start our workout. The water is deliciously warm and the sun has started to throw a more golden light along the water in front of us.
We run about 200m parallel to the shore until we are in line with a white maker post on the beach. The ground under our feet starts out fairly sandy but gets muddier as we get closer to the finish. The mud doesn’t suck our feet but it does make them slip under us. There is the occasional invisible hole to contend with but that just adds to the challenge.
After reaching the finish line we turn around and walk back to the start. The temptation is too great for me and I dive into the water, enjoying the taste of salt on my lips. Unlike pool water, the water in the bay is soft and silky. Perhaps it’s the mud and silt that makes it feel less crisp than a pool or the ocean. Whatever it is, I like it. We run five repeats at waist depth, walking or swimming back to the start each time.
After our five waist-deep repeats we walk in towards the beach to run our next five repeats in knee-deep water. Again we run as hard as we can for the 200m sprint. My thighs are feeling the workout but I still manage to push through well. It feels powerful to drive my legs forward against the resistance. Everyone has their own style: some take quick small steps, others take long strides without making much splash at all. I’m not so graceful – I push forward by pulling my legs out of the water and forcing my way forward. I’m sure any sharks would have been scared away.
The sun rises over the bay during our workout. We face it as we walk back to the start of each repeat. It’s lovely to watch as it breaks over the horizon and then makes it’s way every higher through the different cloud formations. Each cloud changes the way the light falls, changing it’s colour.
By the time we complete our session the day is bright and the grey light of dawn seems a distant memory. I am grateful for being up and outdoors during this special time of day, and feel a little sorry for all the people who are barely rolling out of bed, sucking down a coffee and complaining about having to go to work. I realise that the best part of my active lifestyle is that the first thing I do every day is something for me. Whether it’s spending an hour or two gardening by torchlight (that’s what I’ve been doing this week instead of training), swimming and running in the bay, or hitting the road on my bike, this first hour or two every single day doesn’t belong to the boss or the clock – it belongs to me. And that’s how life should be. Sure, I have to get up early to have it but I wouldn’t give it up for anything; not even sleep.
Total: 1 hour water running.
To anyone training for Tough Mudder – I reckon this would be a great workout!