--Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (1877)
I haven't been running much this week, due mostly to work and feeling exhausted. My phone has a pedometer, and even though I'm doubtful of its accuracy, I believe I still at least four miles on foot everyday. Walking, up and down stairs, occasionally running to get here or there.
So when I talk about my weekly mileage, mostly that's on top of the 30 or so miles I walk a week.
I have been taking that time off because I'm "listening to my body." It feels like a cop-out to say that, but I am just so tired after work. The plan right now is to get back on the road in the next couple of weeks to get in some kind of shape for the Turkey Trot I'll be running in a couple of weeks. Our Turkey Trot here used to be a 4.3 miler, but this year has changed over to a 5k. I'm going to miss the eccentric distance, it was always a lot of fun, but I will appreciate the ability to use the 5k distance to judge my fitness and marathon recovery time.
My wife and I got a new bed about a month ago, and I have been sleeping more soundly than I have in years. Those of you with children, no doubt, are saying "Get that rest now, because you won't be able to later.." This is a message reiterated to me from many friends and colleagues with young ones at home.
Since I've been sleeping, I've returned to dreaming. Often throughout my life when I've had good periods of rest I tend to have very vivid dreams, odd at times as most dreams are, but memorable.
I wanted to write a post to recall a dream I had on the eve of my 30th birthday. I think it may be the first dream I have ever had about running -- at least running in a race.
In nightmares I often find myself running from something with the fear that I won't be able to get away. I suppose that has a lot to do with the layer of sleep one is in during nightmares. The amygdala tends to be very active during that type of sleep, so the fight or flight instinct takes over. It makes sense when you think about it as practice for things that can happen to you in the wild. But it still isn't a lot of fun. In any event, that wasn't what this dream was about. This one was a dream about the marathon I didn't run on November 1st.
I decided not to run the race because we had a family emergency going on, and also because it was the first running of that race. I wasn't sure how the course support would be, and I like to know that stuff being a middle of the pack runner.
Anyway, in this dream I was running along the course. The marathon in my dream was set in New England, but not exactly where the race is actually set. I remember feeling in my dream like it was an awful lot like Dedham, Massachusetts. That had a lot to do with the types of buildings and population density. Anyway, it wasn't where the race actually was, just vaguely similar.
When I hit mile 20, there was a gift shop selling race memorabilia. The memorabilia had to do with the New England States -- in my dream, at least, this race was cashing in on being set in New England and pandering to New England runners on participating. I don't know any races that do that. It is a strange concept, because you'd usually want something to do with the race you're participating in, and where it is set, not where you came from to run it. Odd.
So, of course I stopped to purchase some stuff, and then got back on the road. At mile 22, I stopped into my house (which for some reason was on the race course..) to show the things I bought to my wife. In the dream at this point she said, "So, what do you think? You'll be coming in at around 4:30/5 hours at this point?"
I forgot I was still in the middle of the race. And in the dream, I wasn't really alarmed by this, I just got back out on the road and ran to the end. That's odd, isn't it?
So, I don't know. I think dreams are really just our brain's way of filing through the events of the day, and it is possible I'd been thinking so much about marathons post-Baystate that it was the overall theme. But what about the gift shop thing? Is my subconscious also telling me that I'm in this for the wrong reasons? I always tell myself that I'm in this for the experience of running in different places, experiencing the joy of adding my power to the pack, reveling in the running culture I never knew until a few years ago.
Maybe I'm getting too materialistic? Maybe my priorities are out of whack.
This dream is one that I'll be reflecting on during my holiday running streak this year.