This morning I awoke from a terrible dream.
It was a dream about running. While it’s not the first dream I’ve ever had that centered on me running, it was the first that centered on me running in a race.
None of my running dreams have ever been good dreams. In all of my other running dreams, while the running I’ve done has been non-competitive, it’s been varied: I’m being chased, I’m chasing someone else, or I’m trying to get somewhere in a hurry. But in all of the situations, I’m never able to run fast enough. I always feel weighed down and my legs feel slow. The person chasing me is gaining on me, I’m losing whomever I’m chasing, or I’m not moving fast enough to get where I’m going on time.
This morning’s dream was different. But not really better.
I was signed up to run in a Best Buy 5K. Not some random 5K that Best Buy was sponsoring — no, this was a 5K that some Best Buy had organized and was operating.
As not only a fan of running, but also as a fan of electronics—HDTVs, my PS3, nice stereo equipment, etc—I was highly interested in participating in this particular Best Buy 5K. Especially since they were giving away lots and LOTS of PRIZES, like iPods, TVs, and the like.
I don’t really remember training for this 5K. The dream sort of skipped forward from me hearing about it & registering to me showing up on race day. But one thing was certain: I was VERY trained for this 5K. I came in feeling light, loose, motivated, and in better condition than ever.
(Apparently the chance to win a giant HDTV would be all it takes for me to push my training to the next level?)
The Best Buy where the 5K was taking place was not near where I live. It was somewhere on a coast of a river. The loading dock behind the building abutted the river.
I know this because the chip-timed start line was a back loading door heading outside. The route went from there, out onto the loading dock alongside the river and then…
…well, I’m not sure?
The problem with this dream—and this 5K—was that it was poorly organized and operated. Like, TERRIBLY organized and operated.
When I got there, it seems they had just been letting runners start when they showed up and/or felt like it. It seemed peculiar, but wasn’t a big deal. Although handfuls of runners had already started by the time I arrived, I felt like I was still going to be able to run fast enough to catch people, even though it was chip timed and my finish would still reflect my overall time, not my time from when the first person started.
However, when I got outside on the loading dock, I realized I was on the upper level of the dock and I needed to get down to the lower level. Problem was there were no markings where to run or how to get down from there or, well, where the route traveled at all.
I happened to see a Best Buy worker near the loading door. I called him over to tell me where route went and ask how to get to the lower level of the dock. After bumbling through some poorly-explained directions I didn’t understand, I told him to just tell me how to get down so I could figure out the overall route myself.
He showed me how to climb down the side of the dock, which didn’t have a ladder and positioned me in a way that if I fell, I’d fall right into the river. Fortunately for me, I made it down safely and was able to sprint off the dock pretty quickly.
I remarked to myself, “Great, that cost me about a minute and a half — or, actually three minutes!” as a I sprinted off.
Now that my run was underway, I got moving at a good pace. I turned around the side of the building and toward the front parking lot. I was only guessing this was the way I was supposed to be going, because—again—there were no markings noting the route and no one standing around pointing where to go.
My pace at this point was faster than I’ve ever run in a race before and I also recall not feeling winded at all. Again: I was in VERY good condition for this race.
I veered toward a park area just past the parking lot where a few Best Buy workers were running what appeared to be a children’s running clinic. These particular employees couldn’t have been older than 19 or 20, and didn’t seem to care about anything other than making 7-year-olds run wind sprints back and forth between cones.
As I ran toward them, I was asking for instructions. They didn’t hear me, but one of them did happen to look at me. When I saw him look, I motioned forward in the direction I was running, and asked, “Keep going this way???”
He gave one of those chippy sarcastic laughs that snot-nose punk kids tend to do, and quipped back, “Yeah, I guess.”
You guess??? What do you mean you guess???
I got off track. Or at least off the track I thought I was supposed to be going. I ran right into the middle of the running clinic and yelled some very not nice things at the employee—very uncomplimentary not only to him, but also uncomplimentary to the 5K event itself and to also the entire Best Buy corporation.
That’s when I woke up.
I woke up angry at that punk employee kid. And I remained angry at him even after I realized it was only a dream, and that he was only a figment of my imagination.
I’m not sure what I was most angry about: that I was in my best condition ever and being thwarted from finishing well by outside factors, or that I was missing out on some pretty dope prizes?
IS SETTING A NEW PERSONAL RECORD AND WINNING AN IPOD AT THE SAME TIME TOO MUCH TO ASK???
The conclusion I’ve drawn from this dream is that if I ever find a Best Buy 5K offering awesome prizes and giveaways, I fully plan to register for it. And train ridiculously hard for it. But I also plan to memorize the race route in advance.