One of the major downsides of consular work is the sheer volume of people we interact with on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, this is also one of the major upsides of consular work–we meet and get to talk to hundreds of complicated and interesting people over the course of the day. But when flu season rolls around, consular work takes a physical toll. In addition to talking to people all day long, we constantly touch documents, passports, and photographs that have been handled by countless people. It’s enough to make anyone sick but couple that with the seasonal desert climate change here (think daily 40 degree temperature swings) and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

I’ve been on knocked flat with the flu and an ear infection for going on a week now. Just when I start to feel better, I push myself a little bit too hard and I end up back where I started. Case in point: yesterday was the Juarez Marathon and I signed up months ago to run a 10k leg on one of the Consulate’s marathon relay teams. I knew that with the flu, I wasn’t really in a good place to run, but if I had dropped out three other people wouldn’t have been able to run either so I decided to suck it up and try my best.

The results were…not spectacular. It was my worst 10k time ever, and I actually blacked out partway through it so I ended up walking to the nearest water station and chugging some Gatorade to get my blood sugar up. I finished, which is great considering the circumstances but it was definitely not my best work.

I’m feeling better-ish now but still coughing and super congested. Here’s hoping a few more days will clear this up and the rest of flu season will be kind to me.