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December 08, 2015

Race Day Superstition - Mac Counts Omens CIM 2015

Sarah Mac

I come from a New England family, a long line of Vermonters. We don’t believe in signs, or full moons, or new moons, or crystals. We believe in hard work and weather reports and not counting chickens before they hatch.

I’m typing this while looking at the phantom crystal on my desk, and wondering if the new moon in September during my goal setting run had anything to do with Sunday. Because I don't know anything about chickens and let’s be real, I’ve been in Seattle for 8 years and it’s starting to show.


If you have asked me on Saturday, “Can you do it?” I would have said firmly no. If you had asked, “Will you do it?” I would have whispered yes. I don’t know why or how, I just knew deep, deep, deep down that I would even if I couldn’t.

Runners are a strange mix of rational split tracking and ridiculous superstitious, ritual abiding dreaming. I’m no different. So let me count the omens and signs I did and didn't believe at CIM. 


1. I always board a flight by tapping on the outside of the plane 3 times. And again! It worked. We made it safely to Sacramento.


2. Numbers game. It was the 33rd running of CIM. The first year? My birth year, 1983. My bib number was 336, so when I looked down the 6 was a 9 the luckiest of all my lucky numbers. Because 3 3s. Duh. And no 2s or even numbers. Those are the worst (my broken back car accident was on 020202 and I know you're wondering so...I forgive the even number 8 for being there because of PJ's birthday 818.)


3. Upon arrival I went in search of food, walked into a restaurant and "Can’t Touch This" by MC Hammer immediately started playing. MC Hammer DJed our Olympic Trials party in 2012. A good omen for sure.

4. The elite hospitality suite was 2622. Okay that’s less of an omen and more just really cute planning on their part. And yes, I can forgive 2s when they are part of 26.2.

5. The night before I really wished my pump up movie was on, and flipped three channels before landing on Kill Bill Vol 1 + 2 playing commercial free. Hell yes, Beatrix Kiddo.


6. In the dusk of elite tent village I spy, like a beacon of light, the Pop Mac Rogas! My namesake, my spirit short, my 'please Sally make some booty Rogas' loves! And on one fast looking human no less. I try to explain, I work for the mastermind that made these shorts. But we don't speak the same language, so I say good luck. And she says, you too. 


7. At Mile 2__ (somewhere in Hurtville USA)  Ain’t No Mountain High Enough was blaring. My mom put that on a mix tape for me to listen to in the waiting room before my third knee surgery AND it’s PJ’s favorite dance jam. My mind fell into the circle of life, of love, and I ran for my PJ and my mama who never ran the Olympic Trials because she had me and because it took the world until 1984 to let women run the marathon on the Olympic stage. And I let this all rush to my legs until they felt like they were glowing. (Runner's High is real.)


8. At mile 24 someone yelled I READ YOUR BLOG - YOU NEED TO HAVE COURAGE RIGHT NOW!! I made a c with my hand and knew I was in. Then I outloud I told myself to SHUT UP because you never, ever, EVER celebrate before it’s over. (Unless you have three steps and you see the clock and you know it’s HAPPENING!!! Then you make the face seen below and you cry like a well broke open inside and might never stop pouring.)


9. And where would I be without a 9th and final omen from the universe...on the way to the airport after it was all said and done, swifts formed the perfect imitation of the Haute Volée kit wing.


So what I’m trying to say is… I don’t believe in omens. Now excuse me I have to go interpretive dance to Gypsy with a candle lit to the new moon, because I have to race on February 13 and you can never start the freaky too early. 

Actual blow-by-blow CIM blog to follow including Q&A with our full squad of 4 newest qualifiers: Cynthia Fowler, Shal Fullove, Lyndy Davis and me. What do you want to know? Tweet your Qs to @oiselle with #QsforOTQ, and our 4 new OTQ'ers (Olympic Trials Qualifiers) will answer! 



Julie Williams | December 8, 2015 at 4:15pm

Holy hell, Mac (feel like I

Holy hell, Mac (feel like I know you well enough to call you that just from reading your posts). From a fellow writer and (slow) runner, best story EVER!! You got it, girl

Neasa | December 8, 2015 at 4:22pm

Mile 24!

Sarah Mac! My only regret about my amazing sub 2:43 finish is that I was too overwhelmed to say "HI! You are the inspiration behind my favourite pair of running shorts, EVER! The Mac Rogas!" And then I read this blog and realize that Mile 24 was my good friend and running partner, Kate Gustafson, and she was the one yelling that at you! She told me afterwards she felt like a huge fan girl and was sure you hadn't heard...who yells at someone about their BLOG in the middle of a race? KATE DOES! Congrats, Sarah, and the whole Oiselle crew. With huge love from Vancouver, Canada. Dr. Neasa and Kate "Gusto" Gustafson. xo @atrueworld

Katie | December 8, 2015 at 4:47pm

I loved every single part of

I loved every single part of this blog - especially the first part..."If you have asked me on Saturday, “Can you do it?” I would have said firmly no. If you had asked, “Will you do it?” I would have whispered yes. I don’t know why or how, I just knew deep, deep, deep down that I would even if I couldn’t." This was me exactly one year ago when I got my OTQ - and I hope I get to meet you in february! HUGE congratulations to you - that finish line picture is amazing - soak up every second of this time right now. From another mother runner x 3, rooting for you!!

Shal | December 8, 2015 at 10:31pm

#6 - those are Cynthia's shorts!

Those are Cynthia Fowler's shorts :-) She and I were in the bathroom line before the start and we noticed her talking to her friend if she was worried and looking for something. I asked if everything was OK, and she explained she had forgotten her race shorts (just had her long warm up tights on). Cynthia said she had an extra pair and gave them to her :-) Great example of the sisterhood and women supporting women even as competitors.

Liz Dyr | December 9, 2015 at 6:24am

Way to go!!

Reading this gave me chills and makes me so excited to get back into the beauty of marathon training. Your story is an inspiration, your writing is like poetry, and your running is DAMN fast. Enjoy the high that I'm sure you're feeling after that race!