Some things in my life grew stronger in the fire. Or remained untouched. Others caught and warped, changed shape, some became ash. I felt mostly burned down last winter, I craved sleep like cold water. Last February I would tell myself that one fresh April morning I would wake up and realize I had lived. I don't know why April, it was far enough to be believable and close enough to keep me from giving up. To keep me from laying down in the ash.
It wasn't a green April morning that I finally woke up. It was a smokey week in late August. Deep in fire season. It was a hot red sun hanging overhead, and my baby turning one. My feet finally under me. My vision clearing.
My running stood the fire, a vision of myself from before, a phoenix to ride out on. To fly above the fire. Even when I ran broken down, it brought joy. Like a telephone line to an old friend. Like a bridge to the past and a push to the future.
I saw a glimpse of an old goal in September, I followed my heart to CIM. I ran my dream marathon. I ran from the ashes, I ran in cool perfect rain. I ran for me. And I earned a spot on the starting line I dreamed of since I was 16. It was a big clear win in a hard year.
Other things became clear in the miles I ran, in what the fire left. Someone asked me how I balance it all, and my answer was I don't. Balance is a myth. It's like trying to add up to 115%. Something's got to give. And if you don't say what it is, the fire years will decide for you.
This year (and a half) has brought the biggest changes of my life. Some are more bittersweet than others. After five years at Oiselle, some of the most vibrant, exhilarating, hard and important ones in my life, that chapter is closing. It's hard but ultimately it’s right.
How could I know that one Tweet five years ago would change my life? I walked into the dream factory with Sally and I never looked back. I believed and believe in the mission Oiselle is on. I believed right away. I'll never forget those early days packing web orders complete with handwritten notes, moving the site from Flash (yes, Flash), modeling, coding, directing shoots, writing and dreaming…the years are a blur of thrill and love. I remember sending out email after email asking people to run for our team. Nearly all responses were "no" and "who?”. Last week I watched, tears running down my face, as Oiselle pro-runner Kara Goucher thanked Oiselle for being what I knew it could be all those years ago. Something bigger than a definition.
I am honored to have been a part of Oiselle's story, and to continue to be part of it in different ways. I'll still be proudly running for Oiselle Haute Volée and potentially lending my voice to content and art direction in the future as a contractor. Oiselle is a brand I helped build and it's a community I believe in. It will always have an enormous piece of my heart and of my story.
As for that story, my story, there’s more to be written. Professionally, the ideal is to freelance in my areas of expertise and passion, including content strategy, digital marketing to continue to grow into opportunities in art direction. Personally, I want to be present in Penelope’s life. And I’ll be chasing fast times on the roads with Steph Bruce as my coach. I am loving the process of training and racing right now, I’m excited for what’s next.
And (most importantly) on social I'm now @thatsarahmac on Twitter and Instagram. Same me. Turns out my first name isn't Oiselle. Just plain old Sarah.
Ultimately years of fire are the hardest and they are the most important. They make us who we are. What the fire left is me. Intact. The parts that are most me. The things I will carry. The rest is ash not to mourn. My wings are out.