I love Formula One. I’ve been following the sport for a while, perhaps, 2008/09, when the Force India entry was announced. However, I have memories of watching the sport from even further back. The old Star Sports used to telecast races, and over my summer vacations, where it was difficult to get me away from the television set (only my grandfather could), I’ve watched several replays of races and Schumacher and Alonso wins. It’s why I can connect with the sound of the old Formula One engines. A large part of my childhood desire to become an automobile engineer stemmed from Formula One. In fact, my paternal grandmother has the earliest car design I did. I drew a sketchy McLaren F1 (SLR) with a Sky Blue finish (basically colouring in with sky blue).
What I admire about Formula One drivers among several things is that I’ve noticed them talk about driving as a matter of rhythm – of settling into a rhythm with a particular circuit and your own car. Athletes talk about this often, in several different ways, referring to this as a “zone” they enter, or something of the sort. Drivers talk about this in terms of how they ensure they’re consistently hitting their racing lines – especially in wet weather conditions. Building that rhythm means you end up settling into a groove where you keep track of movements and observe them so closely that you’re hitting your marks every single time.
I attended Athletics training for a few months in April-May 2014. Me, an athlete. My mother forced me to go because I needed to stay in shape (I quit quickly) and we knew the coach. That was the first time I learned about rhythm – while running. He pushed us to “lift off” at certain points on the run, and we had to go flat out, essentially training our body to select gears at different points on a run.
Today, I ran around solo on the field inside my gated community. Running in circles gets really repetitive after a while, but the thing I was trying to do today, was to see if I could hit the same spots on the field every time I came around – every lap I did. To be like a Formula One racer, except with my feet. Like a racing line I had to follow.
It took a few laps of conscious effort, which soon descended into subconscious effort. My run tracker seemed to take notice because I couldn’t differentiate between laps on the run – they overlapped.
I settled into a rhythm while running today, through some external help. Long may it continue.