San Francisco Marathon July 26th 2015

Marathon # 17


By Paul Cleasby


It was the perfect timing of the San Francisco Marathon that attracted me to it initially. The last week in July is an ideal time for a marathon if you’re married to a teacher and have children of school age.

It’s a long way to go to run a race so it seemed sensible to fit a holiday around the race. A visit to California was much easier to sell to the family than persuading them to come out and support a race on the sea front in Redcar.

The down side of a July marathon for me is that I am never in decent shape. I seem to follow a yearly cycle of peaking in the early spring and then degenerating gradually over the rest of the year before re-focusing again in late winter. The same pattern was apparent this year with a very pleasing sub 3 in Tokyo and a surprising pb at London in April. Thereafter the monthly mileage decreased, the weight increased and the race times got slower.

I had intended to train properly for the event and give the distance the respect it obviously deserves. As sometimes happens however, a combination of work pressures and family engagements meant I was unable to get the long runs in that I needed in order to give myself the best chance of peaking at the right time. As a consequence I decided to keep the race under wraps to avoid putting myself under any pressure and just run it for fun. This meant that for the first time ever I was going to do a marathon having done no long runs. My longest run since the London marathon in April was 15 miles and my weekly mileage was hovering around 25-30 miles per week. Adequate for keeping fit and healthy but obviously not enough for me to be race ready.

Race shoes were deliberately left back in the UK to prevent any late bravado inspired changes of mind and I opted for a rather worn pair of long run trainers, very definitely coming to the end of their street-life.

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