TWO hours before the Wombwell five-mile road race on Sunday and I was writing an essay that should have been handed in last Thursday. I was so focused on talking about Virginia Woolf and feminism that I forgot to get nervous for the race. I simply turned up and ran.
Until I was actually standing on the start line, my thoughts had been totally consumed by university deadlines and panic about how I’m falling behind with everything. But when one of the officials shouted ‘Go!’ my academic stresses vanished and the physical pain began.
I was determined to get off to a faster start than I usually do. The first lap of the go-karting track was great. I felt strong and confident, running alongside my new teammates from Barnsley Athletic Club. Once we were out on the roads, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay with them, so settled into my own pace.
Snake Lane hill was looming. Over the past few years, I’ve been really strong on the hills of Wombwell, but with a lack of hill training, I wondered if I’d even be able to get to the top. Thanks to a friend from Sheffield Running Club cheering me on, I managed to not only get to the top, but work quite hard and pass a few people too.
That said, I’m so pleased no one was at the top of the hills taking photographs, because it was not a pretty sight. It really hurt. I wondered what I was doing. Not only was it painful, but there was also the internal voice telling me that I should be at home writing four-thousand words on Virginia Woolf.
At the moment, studying and training are competing for my time. I want to do well at everything, but don’t really have the time. By trying to do everything, I’m not really excelling in running, studying or writing. In my running, I’m ticking along nicely, not getting any faster or slower, but holding a kind of middle ground. In my English Literature degree I already have my degree classification, but still need to finish the course. That means there have been a lot of last-minute panic deadlines. And in my MA in writing I need to have 40,000 words written for the third of May.
All these thoughts were whizzing around my head at the top of the Wombwell hills. I took a deep breath and tried to forget about all my worries. As I did this I moved to the right, heading for the other side of the road. Unfortunately, I hadn’t noticed the chap running behind me. Our legs got tangled and I tripped forward ‘Aaaaahhh!’ I didn’t fall, but I knew I had to focus.