Tomorrow, 29th April 2017, I have my first track competition in 3 years!
Not far from where I’ll be competing, the Penn Relays will be taking place so there isn’t any chance of lining up next to world class competition. Indeed, it has only been several weeks since coming back to track and field with any intention of competing consistently. What matters, though, is that I can feel that old spark inside that couldn’t care less about who I line up next to. I’m in this space that I find familiar, where nothing and nobody matter. I’m currently living in that timeless moment between “On your marks” and the sound of a starter’s pistol. It’s a place I love and a place I’ve missed.
I’m not sure what to expect tomorrow. The 100m and 200m aren’t my regular distance and, for the first time in a long time, the 200m will be a tactical race, as opposed to a get out and go sprint. But I’ve prepared for this as best I can. Sleeping right (although I’ll struggle tonight, I’m sure!), eating right, hydrating. Tomorrow may not be Darren of 2005 but it will be the same spirit. Of that, I’m certain.
It’s amazing that, with age comes wisdom and a different approach to things. When I was 25, I’d be thinking of the day and the occasion. Now, at the age of 36, I’m thinking of correct departure from the blocks. The extension of my hips. I’m thinking of about holding my form. I’m thinking of maintaining hip height so I can ‘catapult’ out of the turn in the 200m.
I’ve not bragged, boasted or shared with everyone the work and commitment that has brought me here. Maybe it’ll be spoken of over time. But I’m loving this familiar zone. Right now, I feel like the prodigal son and I’m thankful for this moment.