The running dreams have begun as NYC Marathon sneaks ever closer: I dreamed I was struggling to get to the start line, and when I ran I got lost in the basement of Central Perk cafe. Oi!
My feet were immeasurably heavy. Every step took concentrated effort. Every stride seemed to be weighted by a jell-o-like viscosity that wrapped around my legs with a resistance to motion that implied the inevitable failure that was taunting me from an unreachable distance beyond hope of completion.
I was running a race. A long run. A distance run. I don’t recall exactly the place or the time or the terrain, other than there were trails and city blocks and wide, expansive fields with uncertain paths through tall grasses. I ached to mark each footfall on the inconsistent course. I pushed through my lack of momentum with a force of will that drained my spirit and crushed my heart, knowing in my soul that the end of this unnamed race was beyond my grasp. Obstacles appeared with random purpose and unclear intention. And all around me the crowds shouted, my watch continued marking the passing seconds, and futility crept along in the shadows just out of reach of clarity and…
And then I woke up.
It happens whenever I start training for a race. I dream about running, and the dream always seems to be nearly the same theme: like those dreams I used to have about school, oh-so-long-ago, they brush at the edges of my fears about being perpetually underprepared, a test for a class I never took or laced up for a race I didn’t realize I had to run, arriving late, starting and slogging through the distance at an inexplicably slow pace, or facing down challenges that I have no context for, either asleep or awake. Frustration and futility abound.
Yet, I doubt I’m unique in my haunted sleep.
While I’ve never been one for random dream interpretation, I think a lot can be said about your state of mind from the insight that comes from critically reviewing your dreams. After all, it is the work of the brain to sort through and catalogue the stray memories and emotions that clutter through your mind over the course of each day, and from that effort flows the context-making and a kind of innate (if vague and hazy) understanding of how those things fit in among your more conscious thoughts. You experience things, and your mind stuffs those experiences away and blends them together with the notions and ideas, hopes, fears, and vast array of other feelings that often get shelved as you push through the reality of your life.
Do you dream about running?
Apparently my mind is taunting me with thoughts of general inadequacy, peppering my nightmares with the threat of an utter collapse of everything I’ve worked for when that moment comes. It’s odd, that. I don’t know if it says anything more than that I obviously have frustrations at my own physical limitations, magnified in the dreaming of it, but it is possible to think that this is perhaps a barrier to my training now and going forward.
Now… how do I deal with that?
I was at my parents house during a storm and a tornado was passing directly over their house, shaking and rattling the walls and windows. But the thing that bothered me the most during the dream is that I couldn’t get the video camera on my phone to work properly. Messed up, or what?