Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Bad Dream

That just about describes my training this past fall/winter season.

And literally too.

Yesterday, I had the strangest dream. I'm not one well-versed in the field of dream interpretation, but some things about the dream struck a chord with me, so I'll share my thoughts on how it reminded me of my training.

So, I'm driving on this road, which is a familiar road (not sure where exactly but I driven on it before so it's familiar). There are gates lining this road, and beyond the gates on one side, it's a valley. All of a sudden, it's wintery and the road begins to wind - in strange twists and turns that I've never had to manouever. So there I am trying to swerve around the corners, thinking, how odd, I've never had to deal with this before! The scene ends when I reach the end of the road, and the same scene repeats - me again on this windy road.. but this time, the same road has iced over, and there are new things I have to do to manage. The same scene repeats over and again, each time with new corners and turns. Finally, when I'm driving on this road, there are no gates lining the road at all, and I'm just driving full speed and losing control - and finally, I lose all control of the car and I fall into the valley. I feel myself falling to the bottom, thinking, so this is the end..

I know. Disturbing isn't it?

But oddly enough, it struck me that this is the perfect analogy for my training because throughout this season, I've had to face new twists and turns - some preventable and others completely beyond my control. Mostly, the situation has been out of my hands i.e. new scenery along the same road each time that I just have to deal with. So although I've trained before for a half-marathon, this time the training was difficult because of recurring back pain. Training happened in spurts - I trained whenever my back was ok. And when my back got better, I had strange and random attacks of hives that prevented me from running at two of my planned races, including my target race, 3M. No clue what set off my allergies. It remains (and may always remain) a mystery. I'm now in week 3 of hives, so it definitely extinguishes any faint hope I had of doing the Austin Half-marathon. Apparently, the hives could be aggravated by exercise so I can't even do that for now. A friend put it aptly, "Sounds like someone up there doesn't want you to run."

When I sat in hospital days before the 3M race, I wondered how my body had freaked out in the way that it had, and just barely a week or so after doing an iron-distance swim, AND in spite of my best efforts to stay healthy. Life changes without warning... and I've done my best to deal with the twists and turns. I'm feeling pretty worn out now. I'm ready to take a break and heal.

For all that I've been harassed by strange and unknown forces, the experienced has humbled me greatly. To know that the ways of the Universe are greater than a single individual's effort. And that while it is necessary to apply every bit of effort and spirit to one's training, we need to be very grateful for everything else that's not in our control that goes right - a beautiful, cool morning on race day, a strong stomach, a sturdy immune system that keeps out the thousands of viruses running amok in the atmosphere, a running buddy who'll motivate you on those mornings you hate getting out of bed, friends who show up on race day to cheer you on, getting help from strangers along the race course when you need it etc.

So I end this training season with a note of gratitude - to my pals who've encouraged me, to my buddies who've run with me, to my hubby & family who've endured me through my insanity, and most of all, to the Universe that has taught me a lot about myself through its mysterious ways.

Hasta la vista.