There is a saying that I love. “Running is a mental sport. And yes, we are all insane.”
I am not sure who said it initially, but it often rings true for me. It resonates with me. It ties in perfectly to this time of year. I am a geek, a statement I now say with pride. I no longer hide away from this fact, and I now often relish in my geeky habits and pastimes. Because I am a geek, I acknowledge Star Wars Day and will often be heard saying on May the 4th, “May the force be with you”, with a grin from ear to ear.
This grin relates to me being able to get in touch with my geeky side and what the force really means to me. I have a science background (yeah, I know, right – who would have thought it), and in scientific terms, force is an influence that can change the motion of an object. There is a scientific law that is about precisely what force is. Meet Newton’s Second Law of Motion
Force = Mass x Acceleration.
Another way to look at this equation is that the bigger the object, the greater the force needed to move the thing. Or the faster you want the object to go, the greater the amount of force required to make it go faster.
This is where I get a little off track – please stay with me. I promise it will make sense in the end.
I don’t believe that all force starts as a physical force. Some do, yes, but not all. I really do think that mental will, emotional will, determination or self-belief have the power to cause a physical force. That an emotional will or mental will can lead to physical force. The mental force empowers the body to create the physical force to keep you moving, start you moving, or move you faster. The sheer determination to keep putting one foot in front of the other, or to turn those feet over quicker and quicker causes the physical action.
Perhaps there is no better example of this with running than when you hit the wall. That makes you feel like your legs weigh 1000 kilograms each, and are firmly glued with gorilla glue to the floor, yep that wall. What is the force that make you move past this wall? That mental barrier that stops you dead.
Your thoughts. Yep, it’s that mental force that causes you to move. Call it motivation, determination, or sheer force of will. The emotional and mental force manifests into physical force to get those feet moving again, one in front of the other. To accelerate your physical body forward by force.
So when I say to someone, especially a runner, “May the force be with you”, I really mean may you have the mental and emotional force to overcome the emotional and mental walls that stop you from achieving your dreams. May you have the force to move your body or mind forward at the speed you wish.
On this Star War’s day, and every day, from the bottom of my toes to the tip of my head, “May the force be with you”. Lastly, I want you to remember that being a runner and being insane enough to use the mental force is a good thing – embrace it!