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Tomorrow I’m returning to you, gym, after I’ve missed almost three complete weeks. I am deconditioning as I write.

I had one light workout the week before BlogHer, but most of that week I was distracted and feeling stressed.  I worried that my lack of focus might inadvertently cause me to hurt myself, so I let caution be the better guide.  I stayed away from your steel weights, your medicine balls, your foam rollers, your cardio.

This past week I was working through a case of influenza.  The anxiety would pop back up, but I knew it was the exhaustion of the flu.  I rested a lot, took plenty of fluids, and tried to be good to myself.  So I stayed away.

It’s not that you are not good for me, a hard cardio workout would help me mentally deal with stress and anger but I was physically incapable of moving like I should.  I honestly knew I did not want to be inside a gym.

Now I’m getting scared.

Scared to go back to the gym.

It’s been long enough since a hard workout that I know I’m a bit deconditioned, so where do I set my limits? How far back should I go?  Start over or start where I was 6 weeks ago?  Let my muscles or my mind guide me?

I don’t know what to do, so I feel scared.  I haven’t been “unvoluntarily” out of the gym since my surgery in early ‘07.  That’s almost 17 months.  Then I slowly worked my way back in: 15 minutes of cardio a day moving up to 30 as I healed.  Nothing else until I got the all clear from the surgeon.

By that time I’d spent so much time around the sweat and noise and steel that I was craving it.  It was “hold me back” before I push too far.  I wanted everything at once.  I think I could have workout to the point of total collapse that day, poured a protein drink down and started again.

Today I’m much more like the person who first walked through the doors.  Uncertain.

What should I expect from myself?

Ah.. the BIG question: what should be my realistic expectations for today?

I need someone to greet me at the door with a smile, tell me you’ve missed seeing me.  Someone to take me by the hand and simply guide me through a workout.  Pretend I’m a kindergartner. Tell me that it will be OK.  Talk softly and laugh a lot. Encourage me.

Can you remind me that I’ve been here before and that it will all come back to me like riding a bike.  (oh, I suck royally at riding bikes.  Can I show you the scars?).

Later, like maybe day three??, you can let me kick my butt.  I’m probably planning this in a secret corner of my head. A drop-weight death match that will be the talk of the free weight room for days later. (That woman was Killa!  Did you catch her super-set at the flat bench? My shoulders didn’t forgive me til today for just watching it!)

But right now?  I simply need the friendly accepting nature you sometimes show.  And maybe some apple slices and a protein shake when I’m done.


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