Mixed it up a bit and hit the trails by work. Finally dry and passable, these trails were underwater for most of a month. There's a lot of river flood debris, from piles of twigs, to large logs, to fallen trees, littering the trail. Makes for a nice challenge.
The first loop was great. Everything looked different. Shrubs and trees had grown, almost touching from opposite sides of the trail. It felt new.
My mind was 100% on the trail, in the present, planning each foot fall. I was fleet of foot and precise and graceful. Graceful in a manly way. And it was over too soon.
So, I turned back into the woods for another lap.
This lap, though, I knew what was coming. I sped up just a bit. I took logs with confidence. I let my mind wander ever so briefly.
WHAM! The fallen limb that on the first lap I'd gracefully ducked under without the slightest hitch in my stride conked me square on the forehead. Or more accurately, I conked the limb with my forehead. No harm done, but it didn't feel particularly good.
Could have used one of these...
A short time after that, at the creek crossing, with the steep banks, the one I'd taken effortlessly on the first lap with two perfectly placed strides, I missed a foot plant, slipped, and fell to my hands, hard.
Two incidents, no real damage. But they did wake me up.
On that second loop, I knew what to expect, and that familiarity took away from my focus.
We often crave the familiar. It can be comforting. It can make us feel safe.
Familiar, though, can be a drug. It can rob us of new experiences for the sake of avoiding risk. Or, it can lull us to sleep, leaving us unaware of what is really happening around us, or to us.
If you feel your surroundings, or your company, or your running route is a little too familiar, shake things up a little. Inject a little newness into things. Even if it's not great, at least it'll be different. And that will wake you up.
Numbers: 3.7 miles on trails, in the shade.