I had an interesting dream this morning. I think I’m too tired these days to dream very much, so I was surprised by how vivid and cinematic this particular first-person dream was. The subject was also unusual: swimming.
I’m not sure I’ve ever dreamt about swimming before. In fact, for all of the swimming, cycling, and running that I do when awake—not to mention all of the thinking I do about triathlon—I don’t usually dream about any of it. When I do dream about them, usually it’s about how slow I feel, how I can’t move, how I’m faster at running if I push myself along the ground with my arms. It’s been a while since one of those dream, and I must be feeling more confident, because this dream started with me getting ready to race in a swim meet.
The anxiousness I felt in my dream was real. As I did on the morning of every race I’ve done this year, I was trying to maintain a fine balance between amped readiness, knowing I was eager to race, and not expending too much energy and excitement before the race actually started.
“I hate waiting,” I told Heidi Klum, who was lounging on a deck chair in resort swimwear. (And yes, of course she looked great.) For whatever reason, she was sponsoring the meet and seemed concerned that I might not be having a good time. When I started to tell her that, no, it’s just a personal trait I have to want to be competing already, she became instantly bored with me. (Sorry, Heidi, it would have never worked out between us.)
I’m not sure what distance I was swimming or what heat I was in. The guy coordinating the event (Andrew Lincoln, who plays the main guy on “The Walking Dead”) said some crazy stuff I didn’t fully understand about swimming different distances and eliminating people along the way and how there weren’t separate heats for different groups, so we would all be swimming together: old and young; boys, girls, women, and men; team swimmers, club swimmers, random fitness swimmers, and triathletes like me.
The pool was a cross between the high school pool where I train three times per week and the beautiful, new Grinnell pool plus a half-dozen other buildings. Certain aspects of it reminded me of what I imagine the new construction at the office will look like when it’s done. (Anxious waiting seemed to be the theme of the dream.) Alex and Jen from the pool were there, as were most of the high school boys and girls swim team, including the apologetic guy who swam into me yesterday when he deviated from his part of the lane. It was going to be interesting to see whether the former collegiate swimmers or the current high schoolers would be faster. I was keen to see how I stacked up.
I wish I could tell you how I did, but I never got past the warm up. The first heat of 100 freestyle was finishing. After waiting a bit for a teenager doing the backstroke to finish, I hopped in to warm up. The water was perfect, and I was swimming well. As I was doing a streamline kick on my back to return from the far end of the pool—hoping that I would be racing soon—there was a lot of whistling and shouting for everyone to get out. Somehow all of the lane dividers had come undone and were all around me like logs floating downriver to a sawmill.
I clambered over the dividers, hopped out of the pool, and watched as it drained of water. My impatience turned into boredom, and I checked out of my dream. A few moments later I was awake, ready to get on with my Saturday.