I could be about to tell you about my running dreams and aspirations, about the marathon I’ve signed up for, or the ultra I want to do in some dim and distant fantasy future. But those dreams are a topic for a different day. Today, I’m preoccupied with the sort of running dreams we might have when we sleep.
Last night I believe I had my first dream that was about running for running’s sake, for the joy of moving. Running is a frequent ingredient of my dreams – running up and down stairs is a favourite. Or running to find my missing children (terrifying). Trying to escape some terrible fate or monster also involves running – often (maddeningly) in slow motion. And if I had a pound for every time I’ve had a dream about running to catch a bus/train/plane, I would be very wealthy indeed. I don’t waste much time thinking about these, or any other dreams, because it’s usually fairly easy to see where they are coming from; worries and anxiety for the most part. And if there’s some peculiar significance to any of my dreams, I’d really rather not know.
Last night’s dream of running was different. There was no other purpose to the run. Just as when I run in real life, the activity was for its own sake, nothing more or less. It was wonderful; I laughed as I ran laps flat out inside my house (which of course looked nothing like my house, more resembling an athletics track). I sped around the cavernous living room (why was there no furniture?) checking my Fitbit for steps. I don’t recall how, or when the dream ended. But I do remember being aware of a physical sensation of running, of the rhythm of my feet striking the ground. It was probably a most fleeting moment in a night of surreal nonsense. But it left a lasting impression on me as I awoke.
After I woke up, I contemplated what this means. Is it like when you’re learning a new language and you know you’re making progress when you begin to dream – even just a little – in the new language, new words floating into the corners of your thoughts? Does this mean that my subconscious mind is so immersed in running that I am now, truly a runner?
Naturally, as I’m spending quite a lot of time running now, my subconscious mind must need to process this as I sleep. But it was a powerfully positive experience.
And naturally, after dreaming about a lovely run, I had to get my running shoes on. A short recovery run – just 2.2 miles – to blow the cobwebs away.
Do you dream of running?