McCarthy headed into this session knowing it was pointless, but with a real desire to run home from work. That proved to be too far, 31 miles, so 24 sounded like a nice number. McCarthy firmly believes an optimum marathon performance will come from over distance training runs, but given the project are settling for 2:40, 24 sounded like a nice number. In fact McCarthy had never run over 22 in his previous three marathon training schedules, 24 sounded like a nice number.
This was going to be tough, a physical and mental battle. Looking on the map McCarthy randomly picked the small hamlet of Naseby to begin this torturous battle (see where this is leading…) The project quickly decided this attempt to ‘battle’ through 24 miles from the hamlet of ‘Naseby’, starting at ‘1645’, should be called, as you all guessed….’The 24 miler of Naseby’.
By coincidence there was a cracking XC route planned out around Naseby by Cromwell AC as shown below, not sure about the horse relevance but the English Mile looks accurate.
So off McCarthy went, abandoning his car and donning vest, shorts and a bumbag. Yes…he was a ‘bumbag wanker’ with gels and water to really carry off that ‘I enjoy parkrun, marathon talk, Tom Williams and all other activities that promote being average and prioritising participation over competitive sport’ image.*
The run itself went quite well, a route planned with the help of soon to be sub 3hour runner Robin Wilson, led McCarthy around a few Northamptonshire villages and over the M1 and into the rural area of Rugby. McCarthy, normally a serial town based route planner (to the annoyance of Simkiss) was really enjoying the scenery, crossing the A428, the A5 and the M1 in quick succession, suitably destroyed the monotony of the quiet farm lanes and back roads.
Trying out his planned fuel strategy (this was decided afterwards as the run went well), McCarthy adopted a swig of water every 3 miles and a gel every 6. The most memorable moment of the fuelling strategy being at about 4m as McCarthy left Cold Ashby he saw a discarded can of Old Speckled Hen and was physically salivating, one of the finest ales being thrown in his face on this hot day was extremely frustrating. (One of the finest, a big comment but it really is up there at the moment with Golden Hen, Old Hooky, Bishops Finger, Fursty Ferett and Doom Bar on the current McCarthy home selection ~ your ale recommendations would be most welcome).
Plodding the miles, McCarthy came home in an average of 6:32s, quite acceptable. Overcome by dehydration, McCarthy necked a nuun tablet before taking Project Z for a walk and then some recovery food.
*Advance apologies to Peter Onthefence, it’s a new year therefore we can have one dig at parkrun surely…..