Follow your dreams
This newsletter was first published on Patreon on 6 December 2021
They say there’s nothing as boring as other people’s dreams, so it is perhaps with some recklessness that I open today’s musings by telling you that I had a dream about the 3,100-mile race the other night.
I’ve had my first real blip in my training this week. Up until now I’ve been building up my mileage nicely, with no real issues or injuries. But then on Thursday, the sore back that had momentarily afflicted me during my recent 50-mile ultra returned with a vengeance half way through my run, and left me shuffling painfully to the end. I decided to rest it on Friday, but then I came down with a cold, which has lain me out ever since - I’m still suffering today, coughing and spluttering over the keyboard as I write this.
So I’ve been worrying about missing training, just at the moment I was going to hit my biggest weeks so far, and I’ve been sleeping lots, and having weird dreams.
In the dream in question, I arrived for day one of the 3,100-mile race, but for some reason I was late and I had missed the start. It was a hot day on a busy street in New York, and runners were bustling by at a fair pace - way too quickly, I was thinking. They seemed rather harried, glancing over at me as I arrived, dodging in and out of the pedestrians. I just casually joined in, presuming that missing the first 30 minutes wouldn’t matter too much in the long run.
At one point on the loop, the path went up a temporary staircase - the sort that gets built when they’re doing roadworks and they want pedestrians to walk up and over a makeshift bridge. Except we went up, and then into this sort of maze of steps and rickety platforms, going up and down multiple times, before re-emerging on the street in almost the same place.
That’s going to get really tiresome after a a few hundred laps, I thought to myself.
I ended the day feeling full of beans, but in last place on the leaderboard despite the fact that I’d run a whopping 93 miles. I put my last place down to the fact that I’d missed the first half an hour, and that everyone else was running crazily fast. As I went to bed, I rubbed my fingers together. Yes, one by one I will reel them in, I thought. Just watch me.
So the race has already entered my dreams, which is perhaps a little disturbing, considering it’s still nine months until the start. At another point in my illness/sleep cycles, I woke up at 4am and got up to go to the bathroom, and a thought struck me: this is the time I’ll be getting up every day, tired and exhausted, to go back to the race.
If we imagine the illness is the tiredness from the race, I thought, how would I feel about going downstairs right now and pulling on those running shoes again? As I stood there, I could envisage a morning in which I would just say no. In which I would just go back to bed and think, I don’t care, I can’t do it again.
It made me think that perhaps this will be the most crucial time for me to have someone on hand, to make sure I get up and get out the door in time. Who that is, or how that will work, I’m still not sure.
I get the impression that many of the Sri Chinmoy runners stay together in a special Sri Chinmoy house, and so they will be getting up together. Perhaps that will make it easier for them. Do I want to stay there too? Is that possible? Or would sleeping in the same room as other, smelly, groaning runners be too unbearable? So many questions to which I still need to find the answers.
Ultra runner spotted in Kenya
It was interesting to see Aleksandr Sorokin, the world record holder over 24-hours, appear on the Instagram feed of my Kenyan friend Amos Kimutai the other day. It seems more and more that ultra runners are joining the ranks of those training in East Africa. How long before that finally cross pollinates and we get the East Africans joining the ranks of the ultra runners?
The on-going pandemic put a stop to the plans I had to get this going, but in the meantime the Kenyans are seeing that more and more of these ultra runners have the time and money to travel to East Africa to train - as well as Sorokin, UTMB winner Pau Capell recently spent time in Iten, as did Spanish ultra runner Ragna Debats and Welsh ultra runner Nathan Flear, while British ultra runner Tom Evans spent time training in Ethiopia. Seeing all this may make the East Africans more responsive the next time someone like me proposes that they try racing an ultra.