Sunday, 16 September 2012

Reptiles on the run

I have mentioned in previous blogs my intention to run the Melbourne Marathon in October.  I adhere to the theory that too much training alerts your body to what is to happen, leading it to rebel.  One should just surprise it with the race.  However it did seem sensible to have a shot at least one run >21km.

Today was the day, since the weather forecast for the rest of this week looked rather ordinary.  My final check of the forecast for today suggested that there was a little room for improvement: 25kph winds got a mention.  Despite that I set off on a 30km course shown in the Google Earth clip below.
Everything was going nicely - albeit slowly - until I got to approximately point 1 in the map.  Then I noticed something long (about 1.3m) and round stretched out on the verge in front of me.  It had black bands on the body - my immediate thought was Tiger Snake.  My second thought was that it was very still so possibly it was a Scandinavian Blue Tiger Snake.  The beast disproved that by deciding to move - very rapidly - off the verge and into the drain beside the road.

Some considerable time later I got to point 2 and a ute pulled up opposite me and the driver advised that there was a big snake on the road about 500m in front of me.  I thanked him for his consideration and kept a very wide eye for that distance but no reptile was visible.  This being the Hoskinstown Plain I would expect that the second one was also a Tiger.

A few interesting bird sightings were:
  • a Spotted Harrier quartering the paddock on the North side of the road about 1.5km past point 1; 
  • a flock - perhaps a dozen birds - of Double-barred Finches in the Hawthorns just past point 2; and
  • a very vocal Brown Falcon flying over when I was nearly back to finish the loop section..
The promised/threatened wind was evident on the leg running North-West.  Unfortunately that was precisely where the wind was coming from which made the process rather slow and rather unpleasant.   However if the converse of "No pain, no gain" is valid, I gained an awful lot along here.

The run was completed successfully.  As was the Marathon a few weeks later.

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