The day has broken. The first shards of light intrude through the curtains and it’s time to rise.
How quickly did that happen?
When you hit the sack, in what felt like only minutes earlier, you were full of enthusiasm for how this day would start. You visualised leaping out of bed, throwing on the runners, setting your Garmin watch and breaking all sorts of records on your morning run, err jog, let’s call it a brisk walk.
But right now there is an overwhelming urge to pull the bed sheets back up, roll over and cuddle in to the doona. For a few minutes it’s bliss. Then your mind starts to natter at you, the guilts have kicked in. ‘Okay, okay,’ you say to that invisible man in your head.
You roll out of bed, carefully peeling back the curtains. The forecast had been for overcast and occasional showers; your sub-conscious wants it to be even worse than that. Damn. It’s bright and sunny. There’s no excuse.
The forecasters here are part of the same alumni who predict the weather in Perth.
You look down into the Royal Pines Resort and there’s Clint “Teddy” Roberts, punching out laps. Teddy is a former well-credentialed footballer at Perth and Subiaco and was football manager at the WA Football Commission for a number of years.
He’s now the property man at the Eagles and helped co-ordinate and lift 4.5 tonnes of gear that found its way to the Gold Coast. He’s a bear whose paw would swallow your hand in the days when you could shake.
If he’s churning through the water, there really is no excuse. You know, of course, that once you get over that first hurdle, convincing yourself to throw on the runners, it will be fun.
There is a track running from the High Performance Centre, past Metricon Stadium that suits the needs.
You take an overpass, down some steps and venture past the driving range. The kiss of dew sparkles off the leafy grass. You can follow the footsteps of the green keeper to the contraption used to pick up balls, sprayed to all parts of the practice fairway – and beyond – by hackers trying to improve their game.
With your favourite sounds blasting through your air pods, you cross the tranquil Nerang River, oblivious to the constant flurry of commuters heading to work. A galvanised rail has water droplets hanging on for life, giving the appearance of a tiny chandelier that might crash to the ground at any moment.
You head out and loop back. There’s a cricket the size of David Warner sitting on a fence. The creatures are big up here.
The other night, there was a huge Huntsman spider on the wall of the aforementioned overpass. Peter “Spida” Everitt, former St Kilda and Sydney ruckman has an fm show on the wireless up here. I could see the resemblance, right down to the dreaddies.
We continue on, ignoring the ever-moving pain in a creaking body. It takes a while these days for the oil to circulate around the joints. Back, hip, knee – none of them are spared. But when you’re done, you feel like you’ve earned breakfast and a coffee.
Now, let’s get this day started.
By mid-morning when the players hit Metricon Stadium oval two for the main session of the week, the sun has sucked the dew off the turf, a spectacular day had unfolded. The last run on the Gold Coast was a stark contrast to first one, under lights, when a deluge dumped litres of water in minutes.
This time the players relished perfect conditions for the 90-minute run. Albeit without contact and then headed back to the Royal Pines, where the pool that Teddy had used to get his body moving hours earlier, became a central tool in recovery.
From there it was a meeting detailing the conditions of returning to Perth on Saturday night, further treatment for those who required it and free time for the rest.