I know that a description of someone else’s dream can be super boring; however, the dream I had last night sums up how the last few days have gone.

Bear with me.

In the dream, I was on a vacation in Costa Rica with the head mother runners. The flight I took to get there was powered by treadmill and we all had to take turns running to keep the plane in the air. Once I got there, SBS and Dimity were ticked off that I’d brought a friend from high school with me — and said friend had decided to spend a year as a housecat, which made traveling with her nearly impossible. When I say “as a housecat,” I don’t mean “pretending to be a tabby.” She was a literal housecat who talked.

There’s just so much to unpack in this dream. Take your pick: there’s anxiety of many flavors (work-related, airplane-related) and an exploration of how I’ve let people down with my choices. Mostly, though, I keep coming back to the “spending a year as a cat” part.

I mean, if given that option, who wouldn’t choose to do that? Just me?

My weird series of days started Saturday. I had ten miles on the plan. While I hadn’t had a run in the double-digits since Cape Cod at the end of October, ten miles isn’t exactly new territory. But it took about a billion times more energy than usual to just get myself out of the door.

woman running

I broke out my Dunkin hat from the 2016 New York City marathon for this run. It is my secret weapon because it reminds me that I can do hard things.

Part of my reluctance is easily explained. It was all of 19 degrees here and snowing just enough to be irritating rather than dangerous. Also, the college students have they decided they need to celebrate Santacon, which is an obnoxious tradition where you dress up in festive garb, wander the streets, and binge drink. It’s like St. Patrick’s Day but with ugly sweaters.

(There are perks to living in small town with two colleges, mind you. Seasonal vomit is not one of them.)

college students on sidewalk

Some early Santacon revelers (who refused to share the sidewalk)

About three miles into my ten miles, I started to hate everything and everyone. I hated the snow, which made it feel like I was running on dry sand. I hated the packs of students who wouldn’t clear a path on the sidewalk for an old, grumpy runner lady. I hated the cold and the people who didn’t shovel their walks and December and gray skies. I kept reminding myself that it is a privilege to be able to run but that thought couldn’t find purchase. I came as close as I ever have to calling for a ride at mile four.

In a traditional running narrative, this is where I’d say: it got better and I am a stronger runner for pushing through! It didn’t get better. It didn’t get worse, so I just ran on. When I finished ten and walked through the back door, my husband started to ask how it went. Then he saw my face and muttered something like, “Oh. Not good.”

Usually, even when the run itself is terrible, it feels great to be done. Yeah… not so much. I spent the rest of the day quasi-conscious on the couch, which is what I’d planned to do anyway but the lounging was even more extreme than anticipated. I simultaneously wanted to cry, yell, and sleep.

As the more observant have likely figured out already, I woke up on Sunday sneezing and feverish. While I’m starting to feel slightly better than like a sack of hot garbage, I’m still not ready to even go for a five-minute run. Which is irritating because my brain badly needs the endorphin rush. It is the holiday season and I’m neck-deep in obligations.

Perhaps this is just my body’s way of telling me to chill out and let go of all of the non-essential flotsam that clutters up the month of December. Maybe it’s also just my body’s way of letting me know that my youngest child, who is also sick, is just really terrible at washing his hands. Likely, it’s a combination of both.

Still, if someone can figure out how I can spend a year as a housecat, I’d appreciate it.

Do you have a secret running weapon?