They’re so illogical, but when they’re happening they seem so real. You go out a little too far for your warm-up, and you miss the starting gun. You show up at the start line and realize you’re dressed in a ridiculous outfit or worse, you forgot your running shoes. Perhaps the start of the race is OK, but you soon find that the course is terribly marked and you end up getting completely and utterly lost. They’re almost always nightmares and rarely, if ever, do they leave you with a good feeling.
A week from today, I am running the St. George marathon (actually, in a week from this minute, I hope to be done with the marathon). It will be the third marathon I’ve run. Having had a streak of fast times in distances up to 10 miles this year, I’ve set my goals high – I hope to make the B standard for the Olympic Trials. The idea of running such a big race and having such high goals must be infiltrating my subconscious mind, because I am having particularly frequent and absurd pre-race dreams. I cannot recall all of them at this time but three in particular stand out.
The first one was a starting line dream. I showed up in the appropriate clothing and foot wear and was on time, but things were not right. Without any verbal disagreement, a brawl broke out among several runners. Everyone else seemed to think it was completely normal, like it was all part of the competition, but I was horrified. Eventually I broke up the fight, but afterward I was so distraught that the rest of the race didn’t matter.
The next dream was quite fanciful. I dreamt the race began with all the runners floating down a river. Sounds relaxing, but it was terrifying – there were no boats or rafts, just hundreds of runners struggling to stay afloat in a murky, fast-moving current. Then, suddenly, a colossal bird of prey swooped down and extracted me from the water with its talons and deposited me on the river’s bank. I don’t really remember the details that came after.
In the third dream, I dreamt that I met up with my old chiropractor from Connecticut and discussed with him all my recent ailments. He took one look at my hip, did some magical adjustment, and all my aches and pains suddenly disappeared.
Why am I being haunted by these dreams and how should I interpret them? The most logical explanation is that I’m particularly anxious about the upcoming marathon. I’m battling a number of injuries right now and am not sure if I’ll be able to finish the marathon let alone run my 2:47 goal. Are the dreams a warning that something really bad is going to happen? Perhaps, but they all have some element of hope. So maybe they are just an omen that something out of the ordinary is going to occur. In that respect, this marathon won’t be any different than most races that I’ve run.