I had a really nice 13 mile run this morning - felt great from mile 1 to mile 13. Finally!
I was sick in the fall, and took too much time off, and when I got back in the swing of training, I was only getting in (maybe) 1 swim, 1 bike, 1 run, and I had given up my personal trainer. (I used to do 2x swim, 2x bike, 2x run, 2x weight training every week).
So when I did get out and run, I was weak, out of breath, and barely spoke to the people I was running with. I thought it was because I'd gained about 10 pounds. But now I think I can blame it on the Hole-y Bucket.
Training is like pouring water into a bucket that has a small hole in it. Once your bucket is filled, you can keep it filled simply by topping it off regularly. But when you take too much time off, the bucket starts to empty and you have to put in a lot of effort to fill it up again. I finally feel like my bucket is [almost] full again.
I get it now - this is how I have to spend the rest of my life. It's not like reaching any other goal, where, once you reach it, you've reached it, like ringing the bell at a rock-climbing wall, or completing an Ironman. I have achieved those things. No one can ever take that away: it won't slip away through a small hole anywhere. But the health and fitness - the training - can (and does) slip away.
I have to stay on top of my bucket's contents for the rest of my life. Get used to it. My training regimen has to be here to stay. Every week, every month, every year. Like brushing my teeth, conditioning my hair - it's gotta be just something I do.
Thank God I think it's fun.