Tuesday, April 3

Very superstitious

I am a science person by nature. I want proof for things. Scientific evidence. I like a well-designed research project that includes case-control standards. I geek out over dissecting the pros and cons of research methods in journal articles.


Why am I still superstitious about races?
A black cat walks into the Cubs dugout during a 1969 Cubs/Mets game.
The feline was "bad luck" for the Cubs, as the Mets passed the Cubs to win the division and then the World Series.

More on the story and image source
I can ignore the hubbub about Friday the 13th, black cats, walking under ladders, and stepping on cracks. But race-day brings out my superstitious side. Some people (most famously, Michael Jordan) have lucky shorts. Some people have favorite foods (case in point: Wade Boggs' winner-winner-chicken dinner).

Some athletic superstitions get downright weird... For instance:
So I'm not alone in being a little superstitious when it comes to athletic pursuits. (In fact, mine seems downright pedestrian compared with some others...)

My biggest nagging superstition involves "bad runs." I suspect you know what I mean. "Bad runs" are those days when you have every intention of running your long run (10, 15, 25 miles, or whatever your training plan called for) but when you get out the door things just go wrong. Your legs feel like lead. Your stomach heaves. You get shooting pains in ____________ (insert body part here).

Over the years, I've resigned myself to the fact that bad runs happen. In fact, they happen every few months. But no one takes away my "runner card" for one bad day every now and again, so I don't worry about those days very much.

But in the weeks before I race, I start to worry wonder when/if the bad run will hit.

Because here's my superstition:
If I don't have a bad run before the race, my race is likely to be that bad run.
So when I have a huge long-run fail, about 3 or 4 weeks before a race, I do a little cheer in my head: Crisis averted! (The more spectacular the fail, the better. If I have to do the quick-step home for a restroom emergency, I am convinced that my race will be flawless.)

I have no proof for this. No science to back it up.
Hell, it could easily just be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But I'm glad my last long run was a sweaty slog-fest with some stomach issues. No matter how hot race-day is in 2 weeks, I'll be ready for it!

Are you superstitious?
If so, what's your lucky charm?


  1. Well then I guess lucky for me I've had 2 horrible runs this past weekend!! Race day is 3 weeks out though...

  2. You had me dancing with the Stevie wonder song. I haven't heard that song in such a long time. But I think we all become superstitious at some point


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