"Kick, maggot-breath! Pick up your feet!" shouts my newly-appointed Speed Coach, comrade Evan, as we approach the finish line of the MCRRC  "Hills of Cabin John" race, a 5 km cross-country event held this morning. Earlier his orders include:
Coach Evan is fast --- his normal pace is at least 2 minutes/mile brisker than mine --- and he has prescribed some beginner's speedwork in hopes of improving my lethargic performance on the roads and trails. Today's ~3.1 miler is meant to push me into the pain zone. Evan succeeds, in spite of my best efforts to start slow and finish slower. He generously permits me to walk a few steps at the water stops, where I only have time to gulp a couple of sips and dump the remaining fluid over my head. Later on the slopes I stumble over roots and stones, but manage to recover without falling down. "You're not working hard enough!" is Evan's diagnosis.
Friend Ken is at the race with me, but he's proceeding at a slightly more sane pace. From in front Evan announces, "Follow me --- I'm your rabbit!" and when I object that as a vegetarian I don't want to chase a little animal, Evan counters, "Then I'm a tofu rabbit --- the fastest kind. Keep running!"
Bottom line: a 29:15 ramble over challenging terrain, for a 113th place finish ... about 5 minutes faster than I would have done it alone. Many thanks to all the MCRRC volunteers who made "Hills of Cabin John" possible!
(see also ThreeNewLoopRuns (16 Mar 2004), ... )