One way to view fitness this time of year, or really any newly attained fitness, is like a jello mold [editorial comment: YUCK].
This fitness has been attained by mixing together a variety of ingredients (I was going to say the liquid is the sweat of hard work, but that would be gross...oops) in a bowl and letting them set, layer upon layer (I'm making one of those horrendous looking multi-layer jello molds with each color of the rainbow, each in the regular version, the pale version by adding Cool Whip, and the bubbly version by adding seltzer), until it fills the mold. Flip the mold over onto a plate and gently tap. What do you get?
A shiny new toy. One that is irresistible to poke and prod.
With each session, the metaphorical finger flicks the side, watching the Newtonian reaction ripple through the not-quite-really-a-solid mass.
How fast can I run? [flick]
How many watts can I hold on this interval? [nudge]
How hard can I push this jello before its surface tension is overcome and the side punctures or the ripples don't subside and the mold is no longer fit for the Thanksgiving dinner table? [jab]
Sometimes the mold holds, allowing the ripples to subside and another gentle slap to be applied, and sometimes it splatters all over the kitchen wall.
Never break it and you may miss reaching your absolute fitness peak. Break it too often and you may lose faith in your fitness, that it will ever hold together when you need it to. Break it once beyond repair and you may just plain lose all your fitness.
That's the game all athletes, no matter their sport, truly share: keeping our wiggly mass together as we increase the frequency and amplitude of the applied ripples.
We are all individual jello molds. Take care of yours and make sure it survives all the way to the dessert course....unless you are one of those heathens who believe jello is a salad.
[editorial comment: YUCK]