Go, team, go! As I write, several of my teammates are running in the Vancouver (B.C.) Marathon. To be clear, I am not. While I am capable of both writing and running, I am not able to do so simultaneously. The marathon I am training for is two weeks away, so I am in the tapering phase of training. Tapering is my favorite part, as it requires running less each day up until the actual event, and I am quite adept at sitting still.
I have been part of this informal team of runners for less than a year. Several of us – those who are available and interested in running the pre-selected distance for that day – meet up run on Saturday mornings to support each other through the miles. It was during these Saturday runs that I discovered I had joined an all-women running team. If I hadn’t been invited to join, I might have been considered creepy. I’m not sure what it says about me that I was asked to join. Hopefully it means I’m likable, but I’m willing to settle for “non-threatening.”
During those Saturday morning training runs, we talk a lot to pass the time. On a recent run, Sally described having a stressful dream about her upcoming marathon, in which she encountered obstacles keeping her from getting to the starting line on time. While I’m familiar with anxiety-ridden dreams, I didn’t recall ever having one about a marathon. In fact, my problem is the inability to sleep the night before a race. Bad dreams about races has never been an issue, until two nights ago. Friday night, my dream went like this:
The morning dawned beautifully with clear, sunny skies. It was warm, but not too warm: perfect running weather. I had no trouble getting to the starting corral, and when the air horn sounded the start, I was happily off and running. I was firing on all cylinders, striding confidently, when I thought to myself that I shouldn’t push too hard. If I needed to take a little break, I should go ahead and do it so I would have energy left for the later miles. So, rest I did. A few miles into the marathon, I stepped off the course, walked into my house, which was located nearby thanks to the geography of dreams. I plopped down on the couch to watch TV with my family. Suddenly, I began to feel anxious. I should not be taking such a long break. I scolded myself and returned to the course. Two miles later, I returned to the house and resumed my place on the couch. While I was frustrated by my own sloth and knew I should get moving again, I dozed off. When I roused myself from my nap, I was just plain angry. How could I be so lazy? I was competing in a marathon, for crying out loud! I stood up and walked to the window to see how the race was progressing. Looking outside, I saw it was now snowing. The sunny skies had clouded over, and the streets were covered with an inch of snow with more coming. Damnit! How could I let this happen. It was time to get back in the race. I was determined now, and I reached down to re-tie my shoes when – SNAP! – the laces on my right shoe broke. Aaaargghh! Of course, being that this was a dream, my shoes were impossibly complex, requiring a very specific lacing configuration made up of two inch strips of shoelace woven carefully through a series of metal eyelets. Naturally, I didn’t have any spare high-tech lacelets laying around the house. Oh, fresh Hell! My family gathered around, offering to help but having nothing useful to contribute. “Duct tape!” I shouted angrily. I decided I could strap the shoe to my foot with duct tape. Mom went to the cupboard and retrieved a roll of the sticky gray tape. I wrapped it around the shoe hanging loosely on my foot, and with my shoe more or less affixed to my foot, I headed out into the snow to finish the marathon. With luck, I would resist the urge to return to the living room a third time.
That’s when I woke up, sweating and breathing hard. It took a full minute to relax and accept the fact that it was all just a dream, a horrible dream. I hope my teammates are having a much better experience this morning. I checked the weather report, and there’s no snow in the forecast. As long as they don’t stop into my house for a nap, they should be fine. I’ll get the duct tape ready just in case.
Run, ladies, run!