Friday, November 26, 2010

Dangerous Running

I'm a nocturnal creature. My physical and creative powers are at its peak after the sun sets. In the country where I live, I always have difficulty waking up very early. It takes me some time before going into full gear; that usually occurs later in the day. It is a struggle for me to join morning runs because I always felt that I would fall back to sleep while running. There has always been this theory in my head that if I lived in the other side of the world, where it's daytime during our nighttime, then I would become a daytime creature. This was proven right when we visited the United States a few weeks ago. Upon awakening, I go into full throttle and hit the road for an early morning run. I never experienced jet lag since arriving in the Land of the Free.

I love running in the cold and in environments where the scenery is picturesque. These qualities were present in the nature preserve park adjacent to where we stayed. Running is supposed to be a safe, non- contact sport. It never occurred to me that you can run dangerously until I decided to do so at a nature park in Lincoln, California. Here, there.....the threat of death lurks while you run. A big sign is posted as you enter, "Be Alert!!! Expect the Unexpected. Watch for Rattlesnakes". I felt my face turn ashen for a while. Suddenly the treat of running became a threat. Still, I decided to run, positioning myself at the center of the smooth and well-paved cemented road, so I can easily spot an attacking venomous snake. I was told that some years back, a runner was bitten as the snake darted from a tree. So my eyes were focused up as I passed by the massive hundred-year old oak trees of this park which was formerly a ranch.

In the 1850's, William Moore and his wife Hannah and their three children established the first homestead ranch in this area- the New York Ranch. The ranch had an area of 160 acres and contained a small house, barn, and some other buildings. Life was hard for the Moore's, and after 10 years of ranching, they sold the property to George Whitney for US$ 1,500. In 1868, George and his sons moved to the area and acquired an additional 20,000 acres. He developed the property by building homes, roads and bridges and raising livestock. The Twelve Bridges community is named after the twelve granite bridges which he built. We can still see these granite bridges today but a mere 500 square meter piece of real estate now costs a million dollars!

The run was very satisfying. The vast oak woodlands and riparian vegetation were unique to someone from the orient. And so was the fauna. I saw a jackrabbit, a squirrel, an eagle and several species of birds, but none of those venomous snakes- Thank God! " You've run 7 kilometers", the sweet female voice of my iPod conveyed. I had to stop, not because I'm exhausted but because the sun was beginning to scorch in spite of the cold wind.

I took a deep breath and smiled, glad to be alive after the run.