I completed my last triathlon of the '09 season sixty days ago, and at the end of the race I was not only physically exhausted but mentally burnt out as well. The endless days and weeks of 2-3 workouts a day had taken their toll, and as I crossed the finish line I told myself that I was done, that the next workout will be sometime in January.
For the last two months I've eaten anything that I wished, tipped back a bunch of Guinness and Laphroaig, and worked on other interests like bagpiping and getting my private pilots license. Last night I had a huge bowl of cookie-dough ice cream, the tan lines have all faded and the hair on my legs has returned with abandon.
This morning before dawn I laced up the running shoes for the first time, and headed out on a run that two months ago would have been so inconsequential that I would have passed on it; 4 miles nice and easy. I was shocked to see how much my condition had atrophied in the weeks that I had taken off. My knees hurt due to the muscle imbalance in my legs, my core was all over the map, and leg muscles were string-tight threatening to pull at any moment. At 46-years old I can see now how fleeting physical condition is.
Five to six hours a week; that's what I've now promised myself until January, enough to stop the free-fall of my physical condition. If not, it'll be a long, painful haul back into race shape for an early season half-Ironman.