I am 162. I do not know what I am doing. Usain Bolt-style warm-up? Trying to psyche out Stuart Mills (the runner rubbing his hands together)?
The first ‘sting’: running comfortably
Around 24 miles in: Stuart Mills is a few yards ahead and fatigue begins to take its toll
The end is in sight
But where is Stuart Mills?
A final grimace to the line
My final word on the Steyning Stinger Marathon will be to direct people to Stuart Mills’ blog, where he has posted a detailed analysis of our race, Here is a snapshot:
So with seven miles to go, I am 15 – 20 seconds behind, with there being one ‘Sting’ left involving a climb of around a mile and a half, and then the last two miles is all down hill. I do some calculations and predict that as long as I am within 30 – 40 seconds of Jonny at the start of the two mile descent to the finish, I should be able to pull back the time and run past him just as we approach the finish line. I immediately find myself getting excited at the prospect of a sprint finish. Right then, having processed this all within my head, whilst descending at sub six minute mile pace, I realise that the next few miles are key, to ensure that I don’t let him get any further ahead between now and the start of the last climb. I am therefore preparing myself for an increased effort.
Then to my surprise, as I round a sharp corner, Jonny has disappeared. He is no longer 75 metres in front of me. I conclude that he must have turned the sharp left corner, and is following the route markings latter on in the course at around the 22 mile mark after we have completed the loop of Steep Down. As the route he is on turns and drops out of sight immediately behind a small hill, it is not possible to see him so I am unable to shout out to him. I therefore assume that since he will be seeing direction arrows indicating the race route, that he will continue running in the wrong direction, and it will be a wee while before he sees the 22 mile marker and realise he has gone astray. I experience a real mixture of feelings, all at the same time. There is the sense of pleasure in knowing that I am now guaranteed of winning the Steyning Stinger Marathon for the fourth time, but also disappointment in that the anticipated sprint battle, and really having to earn the victory is now gone! I immediately slacken off the pace, take a longer stop at the next drink station as I consume my third and final gel for the day, and simply cruise along the route, trying to deal with these mixed emotions, and trying to get myself back on task, i.e. to really test myself, push myself for the entire 26 miles.
One thing that always amazes me whilst I am racing is how the sub-conscious formulates an argument to try to get you to slow down. My main goal for the race was about me, testing myself, extending myself, but then when I have the win in the bag, the arguments that are being presented within my head are that the win is what it is all about. “You have now achieved this, simply cruise to the finish.” So as I am trying to fight against these arguments, I hear a gate shut not too many metres behind me. To my shock it is Jonny, and what a shock. For the last five minutes I had already accepted the win, and now it was ‘battle on’ again!
Read the rest here.
What have I done since? Nothing. I felt unwell on Monday and Tuesday, and assumed it was marathon-related. I felt even worse on Wednesday and self-diagnosed a ‘flu’ – marbles seemed to be rolling across my skull – that would stop me running for a few days.