Since my racing season ended, I’ve been in a bit of a funk.  At the end of each year, I always take a couple of weeks off from all workout-related activities.  This usually takes place in sometime around the middle-to-end of November.

This year, however, I’ve yet to take a break.  I’ve been waiting to time it correctly so that it coincides with a project I’ve agreed to help a family member with that will take 2-3 weeks.  Initially, this project was supposed to begin around early November, so I’d just take an early break.  However, here we are at December 7 and still nothing.

I typically don’t start racing until late Spring, and don’t start any speed training until March 1.  Between the end of the racing season and March 1, it’s all base-building with a few tempo runs thrown in the mix.

It’s weird, though.  I haven’t taken my break yet, knowing that I will sometime this month, and getting out that door is hard.  Really hard!  I’ve lacked motivation to get my butt moving.  I’ve decreased the mileage a bit.  I’ve also put on about 5 pounds.  Not cool.

However, this weekend, I joined some friends for a group run at some local dirt trails.  I’ve run these trails dozens of times and know them forwards, backwards, in the light and in the dark.

But something clicked this weekend.  My runs weren’t a grind.  I didn’t have to drag myself out the door.  Even getting out the door for the 5 am run on Saturday morning was easy.  And, you know what?  I enjoyed myself.  It was chilly.  There was some snow on the ground and, where there wasn’t snow, it was muddy.  I almost even fell on the notorious stick bridge and fell into a stream.

Maybe all I needed was some company.  I’ve known these people for several years and there’s never a dull moment on the trails.  We talk.  We laugh.  We fart.  We blow snot rockets.  Everything is fair game, and no one cares.  I joined them Saturday for 8 miles, Sunday for 10 and Monday evening for 5+.  If I’d had time yesterday, I would have gone again.

Today, though, it’s treadmill city.  I’m going to the gym this time, instead of hitting the garage, so hopefully that helps.  But it will pale in comparison to the enjoyment I re-discovered this weekend.

Sometimes all it takes is mixing it up a bit to keep things fresh.

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