There was a day, during the bad period in December, when I was doing a short walk/jog and there was an older larger man also walk/jogging around the neighborhood in his basketball shorts for his health. And I was not gaining on him.
Which is fine, except that the whole time I was taking walk breaks, I kept thinking to myself: YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL AT THIS. (I talk to myself in the second person, or maybe that’s the third. Whatever.)
Getting back in shape is an ugly process. There’s a period where you start training again, but aren’t getting fitter yet. You’re working overtime to stay in place, because all you’ve done is staunch the bleeding, level off the hemorrhaging of fitness. It’s a not fun three weeks or so. It seems like it’ll never end.
But then it does. A turning point comes and there are a few workouts at paces that almost seem normal, and then a few more, and then you’re almost back. And you’re not quite fit yet, but at least you’re getting fitter again.
That point came this past week. Things started to come together. I did a moderately hard run workout at paces that were almost my normal hard run workout paces. I got back to it in the pool. There was a day I was doing just endless, endless long repeats of band swimming and I couldn’t stay in it. Every single lap I almost stopped and got out of the pool. It was dark and cold and my face hurt from a filling that was not done well. Mostly, though, I had forgotten how to get endless workouts done, how to stay in the moment but also zone out, how to play mental games. It felt impossible. Every lap felt impossible. And then somewhere around 2500y I finally remembered how to do this.
And that was Week 3.