Are runners superstitious, sentimental, or a little of both? When I pondered this question recently I realized that I do have some very ritualistic behavior surrounding my running/racing adventures. Here are a few of my habits: I have turn my socks inside out, I drink a Sugar Free Red Bull before every race, and my favorite of all…I ALWAYS wear a piece of jewelry from my sister when I run.
Creating this list led me to dive a little deeper and ask the question…why? Why do I religiously do those things before I run or race? As I worked through each action I realized that some of them are superstitious. I have turned my socks inside out since high school Track & Field in 1995. It just so happens that by accident I put my socks on the wrong way before an 800 meter race and won my heat. From that day forward I have worn my socks that way for “good luck”. Part of me is terrified to not complete my race rituals, but the logical part of my brain chimes in and reminds me that these exercises in superstition are not going to make or break my run. However, I keep doing them. The brain is a mysterious entity that doesn’t always take logic seriously!
Not all of my behaviors can be explained by superstition or nerves…drinking Red Bull has worked for me for 9 plus years and frankly if something is working with in my racing pattern I rarely change it. I have spent countless hours of experimenting with products to find the items that I like and help me to be successful I don’t want to throw that all away on a new fad that has come about in the running community. When I do try new products it is after careful research or a new need that has emerged. For example I am starting to register for more technical trail races and need shoes that will be able to aid me in taking on the obstacles within these courses. If it were not for this change I would be rocking my Saucony Kinvaras or Zealots as I have for 2 years. I am now dabbling in the world of zero drop with Altras & Skoras to find the perfect trail shoe. This is way out of my comfort zone…I know weird, but I’m a creature of habit.
To add to all this craziness or as I like to think of it function I am also slightly drawn to (obsessed) with the number 7. So much so that I got it recently tattooed on my wrist. Now I am not insane, promise! There are many wonderful things in my life that have been connected to the number 7…I ran my 1st marathon in 2007, PR have occurred when I had a 7 somewhere in my race bib, I met my husband in 2007, my 1st 50 miler will be my 7th ultra, every dance or cheer team I have every tried out for I have worn the #7 at tryouts, and in 1997 I sought out treatment for my eating disorder beginning my road to recovery and healing. There are many more times that the number 7 has surfaced in my life its all part of the overarching question – am I more superstitious or sentimental. I would like to think that when I look at my next race bib if it does not have the #7 in it I will give up hope of a great race, but I know part of me always hopes to see it when the volunteers hand it over to me that I will see my “lucky” number.
In exploring this topic a realize I’m a little bit of both and have a sneaking suspicion that most runners probably are too. My bizarre rituals work for me and my sentimental attachment to them in a weird way helps to motivate me as well. To each his or her own as long as you get out there are chase your dreams.
#BeHappy #BeKind #BeActive