Today I faced my first real challenge. As I sat down last night to plan the following day I realised I would have to get up at 6.30am to fit in a work out, before heading into Bristol to do work experience with BBC customer publishing. I would like to think I’m an early riser but 6.30am is not a time I know well. I am especially unacquainted with the idea of jumping out of bed straight into my gym gear and making my way to the gym without so much as a banana to keep me going.

So I did what I have learned to do in situations where I feel out of my depth, I planned with military precision. My control freak streak took on a whole new level as I nailed down every last detail: I even put the green teabag into a mug, by the ready-filled kettle. Then I went to bed safe in the knowledge that if I managed to haul myself up at the right time in the morning everything else would smoothly follow.

Miraculously, I did in fact get up as soon as my radio alarm (turned up to a higher than usual volume) went off, and obediently supped my green tea before heading out the door dressed for whatever the interval training could throw at me. One thing I didn’t account for was that when I got to the gym and reached for the door I would be met with a resistance outside my control, opening hours. In all my planning, I had not once stopped to think that the gym wouldn’t accommodate my early hours routine.

The worst bit was I couldn’t afford to wait the 20 minutes til opening time. As I stood dumbstruck with the type of panic only a control freak will identify with, my mind grappled with what to do next. I knew my uni building had a shower, and was only five minutes away and also on the way to the train station. I was simply going to have to improvise and work out al fresco.

The car park outside the Bute Building at Cardiff University is hardly picturesque, but needs must. I started to jog round and then broke my time up into intervals of sprinting as fast as I could and slow jogging, building up until the jogging intervals were shorter than the sprinting ones. After 10 minutes of that I did various exercises: jumping jacks, scissors, knee-twists, lunges, squats – all fast paced and on a rotation. It was during a particularly frenzied bout of jumping jacks that I heard someone coming out of the door behind me. I looked round to see one of my tutors walking off hurriedly in an attempt to avoid eye contact with me.

Dear god, could this get any more cringeworthy? Apparently so. I finished my work out and headed inside to take a shower. After I had been in the cubicle for a couple of minutes (a surprisingly good power shower compared to those in the gym) the fire alarm went off. Are you kidding me? thought I. As the blaring noise continued it became clear that this was not a drill. Faced with a moral dilema – dutifully go outside wrapped in my towel or finish showering, dress and risk burning to death – I did what any law-abiding student wouuld do and finished showering, albeit a lot more speedily than I ordinarily would.

As I walked along the corridor, fearing I would be told off by a do-good caretaker, I saw that I was not the only one to have feigned ignorance at the alarm. A class of six were sitting merrily typing away on computers without a care in the world, is there a name for these sorts of people? On my way to the station I passed the tutor from earlier on in this tale, again he avoided eye contact as I smiled in what I hoped was an appropriately beguiling fashion (I probably just looked a bit manic).

On the plus side, I arrived for the train 15 minutes early and felt fully charged and ready for the day. Maybe working out in the morning wasn’t going to be easy, but it certainly helps me feel smug towards all those other poor, commuting sods who are barely even awake yet.

Challenging? Without a doubt. Rewarding? The jury’s still out on that one.

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