Friends of mine have asked me if I find my find running boring. Boring?? Hardly! Almost all of my runs are little adventures. Some runs are more adventurous than others. When I lace up my shoes and head out the door I never know what adventures will be coming my way.
One of my most memorable runs, and a route that I run often, was on the D Street, San Antonio, I Street loop (approximately 10 miles). A few years back on, a farm about 2 miles out of town on D Street there were a family of Ostriches. When I came running by with my baseball cap on, (maybe they thought it was a beak and I was a mini ostrich), they would pace me along the fence for the 800 meters we shared. It was thrilling. I felt like Kevin Costner in “Dancing with Wolves”, except this was “Running with Ostriches”. These are big birds and can easily out run a mere human with top speeds of 45mph! So I guess it’s fair to say I was running and they were jogging. One day as I crested the D Street hill ready to run with the big birds – they were gone. It was a lonely stretch of road. I still smile every time I pace that fence line we shared.
Another time, on the same loop just further out on San Antonio Road, I saw a gaggle of turkeys. One bird couldn’t make it up the embankment and kept sliding down. It was really funny. So I laughed at it and said something in turkey, “Gobble, gobble, gobble”. Unfortunately, this turkey didn’t like my fowl language and decided to put all his efforts into chasing me down the road instead of trying to go back up the bank. Angry turkeys don’t trot – they run. Fortunately, I ran faster. I have never laughed at a turkey since!
Closer to town, I have seen the wrong ends of skunks – and pleaded silently with them not to spray – and they didn’t. I have seen peacocks in various locations around Petaluma. They honor me by shaking their fans at me. Once, out on Chileno Valley Road, I saw a bunch of peacock features waving in the long grasses at the side of the road. They looked like eyes peering out at me as I ran by. I later went back with my car and picked over a dozen beautiful feathers that I still have in a vase in my home.
Foxes, deer, cows, goats, horses, camels, emu, elk, coyotes, pigs, rabbits, you name it I have run by it. My husband ran by a badger out on Chileno Valley Road. Sorry I missed that. I did, however , see a mountain lion, close up and personal out on the coast trail in Point Reyes Park. When I say personal – I mean it! I had been running for over an hour and needed to “pop a squat”. Since no one was around for miles I did just that. As I stood up, a mountain lion(cougar) came out of the tall grass just 20 feet or so in front of me on the cliff side trail. He turned his head and looked at me the way only a true predator can. It made me swallow hard! I untied the shirt that I had wrapped around my waist and raised it over my head to look bigger. He looked down and strolled back into the tall grass. It was really thrilling. I must confess that was the last time I ran that trail alone – always best to bring an appetizer along with you, preferably someone who runs slower! Just kidding, with all the tasty small prey in the park, humans don’t even make the menu!
The last adventure run that I will share with you today was on I Street in late November. It was a cold, dark morning around 5:30ish. I was running up a dark section of I street. A few houses had left their Christmas lights on so that I could see the road. I heard the clicking of hoofs on road. I looked up a saw a beautiful young buck with three point antlers jogging down the road towards me. He looked like he was in training for big Ultra Marathon on Dec. 25th. I wished that someone had joined me for the run this morning to share this sight.
So, to answer the question: “Do I find running boring?” Sometimes, I guess but more often than not it’s an adventure. Running or walking give us the opportunity to look at our surrounding in a very personally way. It’s a way to connect to the world around us. Not all adventures have to be big – they can be discovering a new garden or listening to the birds sing as I pass by. It’s a way to feel alive and a part of the world around you. Does that sound boring?