Last year, I started out coming off two successive viruses that hammered me pretty good - I ran a fever for four straight days with the flu..........this year, I took a fall and damaged my elbow (not broken but hurt) and the down-time was equal to what I lost last year, approximately six weeks.........the difference? - last year, I lost so much of my fitness, it took six months to regain "cruising" shape while this year, I'm only a bit behind and will regain form by April.......while injuries are bad and can take a long time to heal, sickness can be devastating, too, and can take a remarkable toll on muscles and cardiac fitness.......