Dry Martini: When You Hate the Run

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?

22 responses to “Dry Martini: When You Hate the Run

  1. I can think of only a few times I actually regretted a run after doing it, and it was when I was physically ill. You’ll be back to the good runs soon. Power through it – my mantra because speed isn’t my thing but I can power through many things. Take Care!

  2. Running mostly pre-dawn is my secret weapon. Not many people out to share the sidewalks with, and while it is cold and dark, it is also quiet and peaceful.

  3. Your stories ALWAYS make my day, Adrienne! I can’t thank you enough for your brilliant humor and amazing ability to describe seemingly normal life tales. <3

  4. “I hated people who didn’t shovel their walks.” I get it. In CA, I hate people who don’t rake/sweep their walks. Leaves literally blanket my town like confetti after NYE in Times Square. It makes for a, shall we say, interesting run when one steps in dog poop or other slipper substance covered in leaves. I end up doing some kind of interpretive dance as I skid down the sidewalk trying not to land flat on my face.

  5. I have really been struggling to get out the door and it’s very comforting to know I’m not alone in that. It has been a really dreary fall and early winter. Hate that slick layer of snow on the sidewalk. I would be ok as a cat until the part where I had to clean my own a**.

  6. Just stopping by to admire these sentences: I hated the packs of students who wouldn’t clear a path on the sidewalk for an old, grumpy runner lady. … I kept reminding myself that it is a privilege to be able to run but that thought couldn’t find purchase.” Find purchase! Swoon! Signed, a likewise old grumpy runner lady

  7. OH! How I can relate… I have been fighting my own cold & family colds since the week after Thanksgiving. This past week, I came down with round 2. And tried as I might… I tried to run through this & just couldn’t. I get where you are at. Feel better soon. And here’s to a good run in your future.

  8. I could see where that hat would be a secret weapon but hope that you feel better soon. The pedestrians that hog the sidewalks are just hogs. Ugh. And I have long since wanted to come back in my next life as a cat.

  9. I firmly believe that I am healthier because I am running through the winter. But that doesn’t make me like it. Up at 5am in the pitch black to her the miles in…sigh. how long until spring? Good for you for slogging it out. That’s just how it is some days. Maybe your cold will be less intense because you got some extra O2 in your system.

  10. I hear you on the youngsters not sharing the sidewalk. My usual loop takes me past a middle and a high school. Those kids like to walk three abreast and not budge. Yesterday one of them even screamed in my ear to scare me as I ran past them and had to jump onto the street because of their constant, rude unwillingness to be decent humans and move over for a fellow pedestrian.

  11. My secret weapon is calling one of my running buddies to go out with me. It always helps to have someone out doing the miles with you. I also am sure my route ends with coffee, too. Wishing you a wonderful holiday.

  12. I’m knee deep in end of quarter/semester crap at work. Tonight, is a fun run with the local running store. I really don’t want to go. But the weather is supposed to be dry and 45 at the time of the run. So, I know that I really need to drag myself out to the run. Sigh!! Way to go for getting it done and yeah for being almost healthy!!!

  13. Thank you for always sharing the good and the bad of your runs! I am getting my knee replaced on Tuesday and don’t know if I will ever run again, but reading about your runs helps me still feel connected to the running world. I hope you get over the crud soon!

  14. It’s 35 here at 5 :30 a.m….but it’s dry. I am looking forward to my five miler this a.m. This is just maintenance stuff during the week. A bit longer on Sunday. I will celebrate my 49th year of loving to run in 2019. Running IS my secret weapon for cycling, swimming and other things.

  15. I can completely empathize. I too live in Upstate NY and am in a long foul mood. With the exception of sidewalk vomit, I’m right there with ya. If you figure out the cat thing, I WANT IN!!

  16. I have run maybe three times since my marathon at the end of October. I’ve been faithful about my bike and yoga, but the cold and just life have stolen my desire to lace up…and all around me are suffering for it. I’m just giving myself grace over it right now and trying to only eat two cookies instead of ten…solidarity, sister. And I hope you are on the mend in short.

  17. Just a note to send good wishes that you feel better quickly.

    I, too, have lost my mojo for running when the temperature dipped. I was really enjoying my runs until the temps took a nosedive and the snow and ice arrived.

    Anyway, hope you feel better soon.

  18. I’m not sure I would consider this a secret weapon, but one thing that I love about my long runs is going somewhere interesting in town. I like to “explore” on my long runs – to run to somewhere I don’t normally go on my regular runs. I sometimes like to stop and take pictures too if something really peaks my interest, or sometimes just stop to take a moment to soak in the view. I also listen to audiobooks (but so do a lot of runners). I like to save them exclusively for my runs so it gives me something to look forward to.

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