Running nightmares are the WORST. If you’re a dedicated marathon runner, I’m sure you have experienced these and you know what I’m talking about. I usually have these before big races, and rarely experience them during the off season. However, for the past few weeks, I’ve been cursed with multiple variations of running nightmares. Although each nightmare has been different, they each have had the same theme—I veer off course and can’t get to the finish line. I’ve been waking up in sweats with a pounding headache, accompanied by extreme frustration. This has not exactly been the ideal way start my day!
My first nightmare occurred about a week after Columbus. In my nightmare, I was running the Cleveland Marathon with my Dad (who hasn’t exactly been my biggest cheerleader throughout my running adventures), my little brother, and my little sister. We ran together at a steady pace until mile 20, where we came to a fork in the course. There were no signs, the crowd was clueless, and we couldn’t agree which way was the right way. So, we split up and I ran off by myself. Unfortunately for me, I ended up heading in the wrong direction! All three of them made it to the finish line, and I just ran in circles frustrated and in panic-mode. Eventually, I found a long tunnel with a shining light at the end of it. My family was waiting at the front of it, yelling at me to go through it to get my medal. I woke up before I made it through. I was really freaked out, with a pounding headache, and was sweating. YIKES!
My second nightmare occurred a few weeks later. This time, I was running the Cleveland Half Marathon. I was running solo, and was OWNING it. I was on my way to break 1:30, felt great, and was just chugging along. Then, once I got to mile 10, I got confused and ran off course for an extra half mile. I was SO agitated, and couldn’t figure out how to get back on course. I was running aimlessly and was just getting more frustrated knowing that my chance for the P.R. I deserved was blown. Eventually, I figured out how to get near the course. However, there were Race Marshalls lining the course, they wouldn’t let me back in, and they kept telling me I had to go around in order to get back on course. I had NO CLUE how to get around and could hear all of the people cheering at the finish line. AGAIN, I woke up not crossing the finish line and was medal-less. This led to another morning of frustration and a pounding headache.
Then, I had a third CRAZY nightmare, not really in line with the theme of others. In this nightmare, I was arrested for planning to wear a washable tattoo pace chart for a marathon. The police took me in handcuffs from my home, put me in a jail van, and sent me to “juvie” because the jails were too full. It’s ridiculous and somewhat hilarious that my subconscious came up this one, right!?! I called my friend from work to set up my lesson plans for school since I was going to be “locked up” for an unforeseeable amount of time. I was so devastated, the experience felt so real, and I was praying that I was stuck in a bad dream. I truly felt like my life was flashing before my eyes as a result of this absurd arrest. As I was getting registered to enter “juvie” with my sister by my side, all of the head administrators of my school district walked past me! I hid so they wouldn’t see me, and then…I WOKE UP! I woke up this morning BEYOND freaked out and was granted with another pounding headache to start my day.
LASTLY (yes, there’s one more), earlier this week I had a dream I was running a 5k. I was, again, OWNING it and on my way to break 19:00 minutes. THEN, as I was coming to the end of mile 2, there was no sign pointing the direction of where the finish line was. I remembered the previous nightmares I had and freaked out. I knew I had little time to make a decision, and so made a right hand turn. I then looked back, and saw all of the runners running in the opposite direction. I was devastated; I was on my way to a P.R. and the opportunity was once again blown! I had to turn around, and I was so angry that I decided to drop out of the race. AGAIN, I woke up that morning with a pounding headache and a feeling of incredible frustration.
After my last nightmare this week, I started reflecting and began seeing a similar pattern between each of these nightmares, with the exception of the weird washable tattoo scandal (haha!?!). What exactly my subconscious is trying to tell me, I’m not totally sure. Opinions are welcome. But from my own personal dream-analysis, I believe it is clear that I have some unfinished business when it comes to the goals I have set for myself regarding running. Also, it appears that although I have the skill to get me to my goals, something out of my control is preventing me from getting there. This is pretty much in line with how I feel. The truth is, after my accident last March I haven’t had ONE Personal Record. NOT ONE. Maybe it was my poor training during the hot summer, maybe I’m just having an “off” year, maybe I just really need a break, OR maybe it’s the Beta Blocker tarnishing my endurance and speed since it prevents my heart rate from becoming elevated. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I feel that something is holding me back and I’m stuck in a “running rut.” I know I have the potential to get better and I'm incredibly frustrated with my race time regression this year. I plan on using the month of December to reboot and try some new things to figure out what it is that has held me back. I’m going to mix things up this Spring, and see if these changes catapult me past my old P.R.’s into some new P.R.’s!!! I am feeling a burning inner-desire for a breakthrough year; I just need to figure out the steps I need to take to get me there (and still be healthy/not pass out along the way!).
It's time to move past these nightmares, and LIVE THE DREAM!!! :-)