Well I suppose, for some of our foreign readers, we should point out that craic is an Irish word. Irish folks are always out for the craic. Havin’ the craic. Lookin’ for the… well, you get the idea. Just as there’s no real translation for the Danish word hygge (‘cosiness’ is close), there is no exact translation for craic. And of course, no decent Irish person would try, largely as they know what it is instinctively, and they’re also too busy looking for it to waste time trying to define it.
But ‘good times’ would be a fair description. That would generally involve some form of alcohol, music and the opposite sex. If the craic reaches 90, well, you had better find something nailed to the floor and hold on tight, as it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
There does not appear to be any agreement on the 90 figure though. The great Christy Moore had a version of the 1960s Barney Rush tune, The Craic Was Ninety In The Isle Of Man, the first verse of which goes:
Well weren’t we the rare oul stock
Spent the evenin’ gettin’ locked
Up in the ace o’ hearts
Where the high stools were engaging
Over the butt bridge, down by the dock,
The boat she sailed at five o’clock.
“hurry boys now”, said whack
“or before we’re there we’re all be back
Carry him if you can”
The craic was ninety in the isle of man
It’s essentially the short tale of a bunch of Irish lads who head to the Isle of Man, get locked (as in drunk), try and chat up a few locals girls and end up in the nick for the night before being thrown out of the country, via the ferry. Probably a true tale…
The 90 could be numerous things. 90 degrees Celsius, perhaps. As in, hot. Someone else said 90 degrees as in vertical, but in reality, if you are having a lot of craic, you are more likely to be horizontal. 90 could just be more of a percentage. So, 90 out of 100. Irish people are modest by nature and no-one would presume to be having 100% craic. In reality, that may even be illegal, or impossible. Another likely contender is 90% proof, as in alcohol (which is really 45%, but let’s not dwell on drinks that are, to all intents and purposes, good for making you go blind, or stripping paint. Poitín springs to mind!).
Then, from a musical point of view, and as songwriter myself, I can see the point in using a word like ninety: it has rhythm!
Overall, I suspect 90 is simply miles per hour, which, in those heady days in Ireland when the song was written, was about as fast as a standard production car would go. And probably downhill with a tailwind at that. Of course, if anyone out there has the actual answer, then please send me the official documents, and I’ll make a fortune out of that tale, for sure.
All of which preamble is to wrap up the week’s training. As always, the weekend is the long run, and as I had skipped it on Saturday, an early start beckoned on Sunday, and I was up around 7.30 and out the door soon after 8. My plan was to meet up with Mark once I had about 20k done and we would mop up the last 10 or so together. We managed to make a balls of meeting up and Mark did a few loops on his own whilst I was mooching about the park, on the look-out. No harm done. We retired to our local coffee chain, queued for a few minutes, and ordered hot chocolate, only to be told they were out. Off to the next one, and finally we had our sugar fix (plus I scarfed a bag of cheese and onion, for the salt).
But I was a wee bit restless afterwards, and declined the lift home from Mark. Instead, I decided to jog back; a short step really. So, needless to say, I detoured back into the park and did another 11k.
All of which means, when I bang those stats into Garmin Connect, that this week I did over 90k. 90.56 to be pedantic. I don’t have any other older stats of this nature to compare that to, but I am pretty confident I have never clocked up that amount of mileage in a week. (We discussed in an earlier blog that you simply can’t say ‘kilometreage’, coz it sounds crap). On the plus side, Angela Merkel hasn’t forced us to convert that into metric. Even Frau Merkel, leader of the free world, can agree that ‘ze craic voz vun hundred unt forty-four point eight four’ sounds woeful.
That’s the biggest week on the programme, so from now on, we are into the taper. A good mate (and serious runner) suggested I do a competitive 10k next week, to see ‘where I’m at’. Blow out the lungs. That sort of thing. I can see the point in doing something competitive before the marathon, as I have avoided any of the usual race series events, and even parkruns. This is partly because I am on a programme, and partly because I am afraid of a hamstring or quad going boing. Things going boing at this stage would be most unwelcome.
Anyway, that’s that for now. Time marches on.