While I was training for my first marathon, I had several dreams about what the race would be like. In one of them, the race was set in a really weird historical era: the height of the Aztec civilization. How my brain came up with that one, I’ll never know. The marathon consisted of running back and forth, from one point to another, and I the entire time I was doing it, I was thinking about how I was actually doing it–even in the dream I was totally excited to be running a marathon, in spite of how strange it was! During the last couple miles, my younger sister appeared so that she could run the last part with me and be there when I crossed the finish line.
Needless to say, it was a pretty memorable dream, and it will probably stick with me for years and years to come.
Last night, I had a dream about running, but unlike the one I described above, this one was pretty stressful. I would definitely put it in the ‘anxiety dream’ category! In the dream, I was with people from my LUNAChix group, and we were getting ready to go out for a run, but things kept happening that prevented us from going–someone was running late, there was a freak snowstorm, we couldn’t find some of the people who had been ready to go running a few minutes earlier. None of the events that led to our having to postpone made any sense, and they didn’t seem connected to each other in any way. They were just bizarre occurrences that resulted in a lot of confusion, and, ultimately, a lack of running.
This week I’ve done very little running and a whole lot of worrying. Unsurprisingly, much of the worrying I’ve been doing has been directly related to the lack of running (and in other ways, it’s been indirectly related–since running is a key stress management tool for me, less running means a higher overall stress level). Every year I hit a point in my training cycle where I start thinking, “I can’t do this. What was I thinking when I signed up for a marathon? I’ll never be able to finish, my training has been disastrous so far, and I’m just setting myself up to fail…” It goes on and on. It happens on a smaller scale with smaller races, too. And although I can recognize the worry as being part of my process, I always end up indulging the worries more than I’d like.
I hope that some day I’ll get to a point where I no longer experience this level of anxiety about being able to complete the distance I’m running. I would like nothing more than to focus more on how I can improve my performance than on all the little ways in which I might screw things up. And I think one day I’ll get there, it will just take some time. The neat thing is, though, that as soon as I do get to that point, I’ll be able to say I’ve fulfilled a different kind of dream about running.
Do you ever have dreams about running or other athletic events you do? Are they good dreams, or full of anxiety?