Running at dawn

Running into the morning: journey to wellness

Picasso said about inspiration that it has to find you working. My personal take on this is that I want it to find me running. When dawn spills through the doors and windows, clutching dusky pink folds of fabric, I do not want to be slumbering, resisting being awake, blind to the miracle of morning. I want to be striding out to greet it, hair back, teeth scrubbed, feet moving.

I am not a fast runner or a competitive runner. I have no idea what my personal best time is. I have no Lycra or matching outfits, I have no interest in measuring my heart rate or my stride. I just want to run. I want to start my day with my feet and breath tumbling in a drum roll rhythm, announcing my presence to the day.

For the last decade I have had a love hate relationship with running.  Before I launched this personal healing journey and got sober, I would force myself to plod a 10 k run in the mornings. I mostly enjoyed it but it was hard work on my body as I had usually drunk a bottle of wine the night before. Invariably as the mornings got later and cooler I would give in to the soft animal part of myself, the part that wanted to drink a pot of tea, luxuriating in the lazy yawning space of an aimless morning. I still have that soft animal part, but I have gotten much better at giving it an indulgent pat and then scooting it out the door.  I am learning that I may not want to start running, but once I am out there, every single cell in my body tweaks to the glory of morning. Now that I am sober, my body no longer has to struggle, it eases into the stride, inspiration finds me, it finds me running, the birds hoot with pleasure.

birds tweak to the morning

I wake up at 5 am, it is still dark, my darling’s body is warm and nestled next to me. The floor is cold, my dreams are startled. There is no part of my body that wants to be awake but I have learnt some tricks to get out the door. I set the alarm for 5 am on the other side of the room. I always have my running clothes, shoes, i-pod ready in a pile. At 5 am I must get out of bed and cross the room to turn off the alarm, I dress quickly before I even have time to think I don’t feel like running. At 5.05 am I am dressed and ready to go.

I want to start my day with my feet and breath tumbling in a drum roll rhythm, announcing my presence to the day.

My friend Dave is a motivated guy. He taught me a few little tricks. If you think you do not feel like exercising, you say “ok”, then you put your exercise gear on, swimmers, runners, whatever it is. Once dressed you say “we will just swim, run, walk a few k, nothing much”. It is such a simple and effective trick, you always end up doing your full work out. Sometimes we have to play little tricks on ourselves to overcome the mental blocks that obstruct us from leaping in to our better selves.

A few weeks ago I ran a half marathon distance. In the grand scheme of running feats, it’s not much. In my little life of running it is huge – 22 ½ k.  I was so impressed that I could do it. I was kind to my body, I told it “all you have to do is keep moving” I was a tiger to my mind, because I knew that the mental block would let me down  long before I physically got tired. When I started to think, this is too hot, too far, I am tired now – I roared back  “you have no idea what I am capable of”.  This way I unpacked all the mental blocks as they were being constructed. I hope to achieve a marathon distance some time this year, I can’t imagine it, but I have no idea what I am capable of. I am running into inspiration, I am sober, I eat clean, I feel joy, my life astounds me.

A beautiful full moon morning

Running is not for everybody but we all have a thing. Whether it is lovingly contorting your body in a downward dog pose, or paddling a kayak briskly on the water, we all have a way of moving that our bodies respond to. If we can physically move our bodies then we owe it to them to stride, leap, bend, flex and stretch into the best possible version of ourselves.  For me it is running into the morning, meeting it head on, bounding in to the day, my heart joyfull, my heart rate pumping.

When I first started to eat clean I avoided all grain. As I have intensified my training I have noticed that I need to eat more carbohydrates. I now eat small amounts of brown rice every few days. My body lets me know when I need it. I am posting one of my favourite ways to eat brown rice. A healthy nutritional tweak on the Malaysian staple Nasi lemnak. Ikim Bilis are dried anchovies available from any Asian Grocer. For a vegetarian option just leave them out, the dish won’t suffer, I promise.

A nutritional tweak on Nasi Lemnak

Coconut rice with spicy cucumber sambal




Enjoy x



Running into the morning: journey to wellness

By: Bell Harding

Now that I’m training I need more healthy carbohydrates. This recipe is a tweak on a Malaysian staple.


Prep time

Cook time



  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 thumb size piece ginger, finely sliced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 4 heaped tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup ikim bilis
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts, preferably activated,
  • ½ telegraph cucumber, finely diced
  • handful mint leaves, finely chopped
  • handful sliced Spring onions
  • 4 tbsp coconut chips or flakes
  • 1 red chili, de seeded and finely diced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (or tamari for vegetarian option)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil


  • To make the rice, place the rice, coconut milk and water in a saucepan with a snug fitting lid. Add lime leaves, and sliced ginger (you can remove them at the end). Bring rice to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer with the lid on until rice is cooked and water absorbed, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit with lid in place for ten minutes, this will finish off the cooking by absorption.
  • For the garnish, toast cashew nuts in dry hot frying pan until brown, set aside. Soak ikim bilis in water for at least half an hour or longer, drain and pat dry with paper towel. Heat coconut oil in a heavy based frying pan, when hot add sliced shallots. Remove with slotted spoon when shallots turn golden brown, set aside and place the ikim bilis in the sizzling oil for one minute, remove with slotted spoon,drain and set aside.
  • To makethe sambal, place cucumber, coconut, chili and herbs in a large bowl and toss gently. Combine fish sauce, lime juice and coconut oil in bowl and whisk together, add the dressing to the sambal just before serving.
  • To assemble, tamp rice in a wide mouth cup and invert on plate. Place sambal and hard boiled egg on the plate, scatter with ikim bilis, toasted cashew nuts and shallots.


Tried this recipe? Mention @wellbeing_magazine or tag #wbrecipe!

Bell Harding

Bell Harding

Bell is wholefood cook and a barefoot gypsy. In search of a life less ordinary, she packed a tent and art supplies and took to the road. Seeking the dirt and poetry in the Australian landscape, she also discovered a path to wellness. Bell discovered what it means to be well by healing herself from weight gain and alcohol dependence. She draws on a professional career in cooking to create recipes that celebrate real food and shares her journey as a curious nomad.

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