The sign above is a common site down south. I’ve seen plenty of critters while running including snakes and alligators. Whenever I see this sign I kind of chuckle. Obviously the sign doesn’t keep me from running through JF Gregory Park or any other park where signs like this are posted. I’m not the only one who keeps running in these areas either. I know these critters live in this area and yet I keep going. Well today I was more scared then I’ve ever been and closer to “nature” than I’m comfortable with. Sorry I DID NOT STOP to take pictures today!
This morning after dropping Tedy off at therapy I headed out with Sophia and Ceci in the BOB. We ran to JF Gregory Park (not even a mile away) and before crossing this beautiful bridge (pictured below) I encountered the warning sign above.
Since it’s so hot and humid out I knew that I had to plan water breaks to stay hydrated. So after every mile I would slow down, walk and drink some water. While sipping my water I’d pause and enjoy the beauty of the park. Well at mile two as I looked left through one of the openings that overlooks the creek that runs through the park I saw a large log and a good 10 foot alligator sunning himself! I quickly put my water back and took off running! As I turned the corner to go over one of the beautiful bridges on the loop I saw two huge black snakes sunning themselves! I did not let up and ran even faster! Man I ha been cruising along so nicely and now I felt anxious! Mile 3 hit and at first I wasn’t going to stop to take water but I needed it! I had ran so hard and so fast I mean my split called out 7:20 that’s flipping fast pushing a jog stroller on a trail with 60ish lbs of weight in it! I paused and took water and at this point I was very conscious of my surroundings. I looked out over the creek and saw another large log yet luckily on this log were two diamond back terrapins sunning themselves. My nerves started to settle and I continued on my run around the loop and out of the park. For the first time on this path I had to dodge tiny crabs as well as the normal squirrels and birds. I was so happy to make it out of the loop though. Then I truly relaxed a bit more and thought well no duh of course there were tons of critters out it’s pretty much been raining for two weeks so these critters were acting similar to me, happy to be in the sun.
The lesson is to remember that when you’re running in places like this, be respectful, you’re on their territory. Also, it’s usually a good idea to play it safe and let someone know where you’re running and when you expect to be back(ish) that way you can have someone on the look out for you in case you do run into trouble. Use your situational awareness to stay safe and enjoy the beauty for nature around you, even if it creeps you out a bit.