My morning runs in Valizas on the Uruguayan Coast have been a real treat.
On the bus ride in, i noticed the road into the village was probably 3 miles long and a steady weaving gradient to the main road so I thought that would make good running up and back the following morning.
We had arrived just before the start of a tremendous thunder storm which cracked and ignited the rest of the day and swamped poor Valizas in more rain than it’s gravel roads could handle.
The following morning I was up before the rest of the hostel and went on the run I’d planned, I’d expected a fresh feel to the day, the way you get after a thunder storm clears the air. But as I left the hostel I ran into a thick coastal mist, warm and wetting my clothes before I’d even broken into a jog. As I ran up the road out of the village, tied up horses emerged through the mist – parked outside houses like cars back home – and a the odd dog sniffed at my appearance. An early bus barked into life at the terminus ahead it’s red lights fading off into the distance to the tune of whistling air brakes.
Out of the limits of the town, post and rail fencing bounded the marshy fields on both sides, seeming full of wild life, birds, rodents and god knows what rustling in the verges meters away. Something that looked like a vowel ran across the road in front of me and then I noticed sat tall and still on a fence post some way distance a bird of some description. As I ran closer I slowed my pace eager not to disturb it and get a closer look. It was stocky and brown and as I got within a few feet it rotated its head slowly and revealed the face of an owl. It looked at me for a second. It probably wasn’t used to a jogger on its patch and I certainly had never seen owl in the wild, definitely not of this size and it opened its massive wings and swooped off into the mist. It was a wonderful sight. I wish I’d had my camera with me.
The following day was that fresh day I had expected previously and I went on a 10k run along the beach to the next town of Aguas Dulces and back. In the whole run I didn’t see a soul, I had the whole beach until I over took a horse and cart mastered by a local collecting fire wood on the beach. Not something us runners are used to using as a pace marker!