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The Runner.

Training In My Sleep.

By Carol TownendPublished 29 days ago 4 min read
The Runner.
Photo by Camille Cox on Unsplash

'SNAP!' I hear the sound of a branch snap under my feet as I run. A wolf howls in the distance but I continue running. Exhausted and out of breath, I pause to rest on the bracken ground below me. It's not the most comfortable terrain to sit on; I can feel sharp twigs and branches poking through my running pants and stabbing at the skin underneath them.

I rest for about ten minutes, then I get up and run again. I can sense the cool, damp, moisture from the air on my skin, and I can smell the musty scent of rain forming, though I insist on running.

I don't know where I am running to.

I am not sure if I am supposed to be running at all!

I can sense my subconscious telling me that I was running earlier during the daylight, but I am confused as it is nighttime and I am certain that I'd be sleeping at 3: 00 A.M. in the morning.

I never have been an early riser; at this time of the morning, I'd rather be in bed snoring my head off.

'SNAP!' Another branch crunches beneath my feet as I pound on it. I feel sweat dripping down my entire body. That is normal for me when I am running.

My thoughts are confusing, and my perspective is distorted. I could swear that I did my running during the afternoon at 12, as I normally do, but everything seems so real that I wonder if I made a mistake.

I wonder if I am awake.

Did I choose an early morning run instead of an afternoon run?

I see a silhouette of a runner, running past me, though it is still dark and I can't make out who it is. I feel the touch of the runner's shoulder brush mine.

It feels hard and fleshy, just like a real shoulder.

It is getting light now, and I come to a stream. A deer dips his head into it and drinks the water. I sit at the edge and decide that I should do the same. A runner can quickly dehydrate or even pass out if they don't drink enough water whilst running. The deer lifts his head to look at me, and being unable to resist; I walk over and pat its head. It feels as real as it would during the day. I touch the soft fur on its head, and I can feel its warm breath on my neck as it nuzzles into me. It turns to look at me. It has huge, wide eyes with beautiful long eyelashes that look as real as they come. I give it one final pat, and it nods and then disappears into the dark, depths of the thick woods ahead of me.

I continue my run. I'm not really running anywhere, just doing what I do best; running.

The sun is rising now, and the weather is warming up. I feel a warm, gentle breeze blow through my hair, and the warm rays from the sun warming my skin. The sensation convinces me that I am awake.

"I must be still training," I tell myself, though the last thing I remember is my head hitting my pillow, and falling asleep in my bed.

Maybe, I have been running for so long, that I forgot I was running, I think to myself.

I have been known to do that. I love running so much, that sometimes I start in the morning and finish in the evening.

It makes perfect sense to me, so I go with it. Reassuring myself that I am awake.

I come to an opening in the woods. The trees have lost their spooky, dark silhouette that they take on at night, and I can see the rich, green leaves and dark grey, brown, and sometimes white trunks on the variety of trees here in the forest. I lean on one and stretch out my body. I can feel the touch of the thick, solid wood, and I trace the ripples in the bark on the trunk.

I can feel every texture of the tree, and I can feel the pull on my body as I stretch.

I breathe in deeply, feeling the sensation of the warm breath entering and leaving my body before I start to run again.

This time, I am heading home.

The familiar orange glow from the light in my kitchen window makes an appearance once I get to the top of my street. I admire the red and pink pansies that line the lawn of my front garden, then I open the door.

As soon as I open the door, my eyes open, and much to my amazement I am laid in my bed. The alarm sounds at 7:30 A.M. reminding me that I am supposed to be racing today.

I hit the finishing line at the race, and I came first.

I have never done that before!

I remember everything that happened the night before from running, sitting, and feeling the bracken under my skin, the deer to the yoga poses, as vivid as I would if this had happened during the day.

I thought about it, and I learned that this dream was telling me that I was already a good runner, but sometimes I needed to slow down.

I realized that I was tiring my body out by practicing as hard as I did, and I developed a plan for training where I stopped to do regular stretching and drank plenty of water. I trained every single day without fail, leaving no room for anything else, so I cut my training down to three days a week.

I won every single race since I had that dream, and by continuing my plan, I am now a first-star champion-level runner.

The dream taught me that sometimes we don't need to work harder, but we need to make small changes if we are to help ourselves reach our goals.

AdventureStream of ConsciousnessPsychological

About the Creator

Carol Townend

Fiction, Horror, Sex, Love, Mental Health, Children's fiction and more. You'll find many stories in my profile. I don't believe in sticking with one Niche! I write, but I also read a lot too.

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Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (1)

  • Dr. Jason Benskin29 days ago

    From the very first sentence, your story drew me in with its sense of urgency and tension, setting the stage for an exhilarating and thought-provoking journey. The way you skillfully build suspense and develop your characters is truly commendable, keeping me on the edge of my seat and eagerly turning the pages to uncover the next twist and turn in the plot. What struck me most about "The Runner" is the depth and complexity of the protagonist's journey. As readers, we are taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as we follow the protagonist's struggle for survival and redemption in a world filled with danger and uncertainty. Your portrayal of their inner turmoil and determination is both powerful and poignant, leaving a lasting impression long after the final page is turned.

Carol TownendWritten by Carol Townend

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