Change Of Pace – Time To Compete

Setting goals and long term plans is important to me. I need something to work towards and tend to feel down when I’m not pushing myself. Whether it be personal or work related I have to feel a sense of achievement, or risk a feeling of emptiness. When setting new goals, I start by asking myself one simple question.

Does it both excite and scare me?

Nine months ago, I was injury prone and struggled to complete even a road half marathon. I enjoyed running and loved the idea of one day entering an Ultra Marathon, so I decided to pursue it. I started with that one simple question…right now, what goal would scare me? What goal can I set that isn’t impossible but makes my skin crawl when I think of the challenge?

The answer of course, led me to enter the Hardmoors Wainstones Marathon and seek out Jayson Cavill. After eight months hard work and dedication I completed the race in 24th place. But now what? I was left asking myself that same old question, what excites and scares me?

The answer is competing. I was never sporty at school, only making the Football team due to my crappy left foot and finding myself at left back, left back on the bench that is. I was relatively slow on Sports Day too, finishing in the bottom three in most races, I just never had the power others possessed. Add to this consistent bullying, beatings and you’ll mould a kid with little self confidence and low self esteem.

I am not your naturally talented Athlete, but I am the right build and I do have a methodical, consistent commitment some seem to lack. Its the old talent vs hard work scenario and a good few months ago I wrote about this, at what point does my hard work catch up with other competitors talent?

Anyway, it was time to pick out some races and make the plan. I am not ready to compete at marathon distance and I want my goals to be realistic. So I selected the Coastal Life Endurance 10K at Ravenscar in September. This is an 8 mile trail race along the coast taking in 800 foot of climb. The thought of trying for a top three finish scares me, so that is the goal. I also entered the Hardmoors Osmotherley Trail Half Marathon, taking in 3000ft of climb over 16 miles. Again a top 3 finish scares me but may be out of my current ability, so I have set the silver target of a top ten finish.

I have a few demons in my locker for sure. I’d be lying if I denied using those crappy experiences through school as fuel during the Wainstones Marathon. But its time to put the confidence issues to bed and prove to myself that I can do something great, I can compete.

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Darren Smith

Training with purpose since October 2016 Darren has gone from trailing the pack to winning local races and the times keep on falling. A true believer in hard work over natural talent he writes to help others realise their true potential. Darren's race schedule for 2018 includes the Hardmoors Wainstones marathon (1st place), Keswick Mountain Festival (10th place), Scafell Skyrace and Salomon Ring Of Steall (World Championship race.)

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