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Long Pine Key, Everglades National Park.

While browsing an old training diary recently, I was reminded of an alligator encounter on a training run in the Florida Everglades. I had forgotten about it because it wasn't that scary at the time, and subsequent alligator encounters have reinforced the notion that they are relatively harmless, unless, perhaps, provoked.

Long Pine Key Trail.

The running encounter happened on a morning seven-mile out-and-back training run from the Long Pine Key Campground in Everglades National Park.  It was a "hum drum" run and I wasn't expecting any excitement, particularly on the return from my turnaround point, when I suddenly realised that the log-like object lying beside the trail was an alligator.  It hadn't been there on the way out, but looked like it had now settled in for a long sleep, and didn't appear at all fussed by my appearance.

Alligator at Long Pine Key.

It was only about 1.5 metres long, so not very threatening, and I just slowed to a walk and passed without getting too close.  Nothing happened and I resumed my run.

In later years, when living in the US, there were a couple of occasions when I was playing golf with my son at a public course in Georgia where it was quite common to find alligators basking next to the water hazards.  Although apparently docile, we never did bother trying to retrieve golf balls that landed too close.

I just coasted around an easy 5km in Copa today, bearing in mind that it could be a demanding weekend with the Trotters 13.5km tomorrow morning and a long trail run on Sunday.  I can't say that I felt fresh, but after warming up, I was moving OK.

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