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.

Darren Smith

Fairly new to Trail running, Darren sees 2017 as a transitional year. Swapping concrete for dirt and 10K’s for marathons and beyond. Darren started “Trailing The Pack” to chronicle his journey and share the trip with any like minded nutters.

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