Keith and Rick are trying to hurt me.

I have no evidence to back up this thought, but there’s no doubt it’s true.

Rick and Keith spend the week dreaming up methods to abuse me – their ultimate goal is to make a grown man cry.

I imagine that they drive our Sunday course on Saturday afternoon. They brainstorm the best comments (“Wow, I’ve never seen you move so slow, Dave. Are you walking?”) to make and the sections where they’ll suddenly pick up the pace without warning. Then they spend Sunday afternoon reviewing what worked and what didn’t and plan adjustments for the next Sunday.

Here’s how I imagined this past Saturday went:
Keith picks up Rick around 2pm to drive the planned Sunday course. Rick had already mapped out a basic course – a 5-miler around Barnstable that we’d run twice. Keith was concerned about the level of difficulty – he wants to make sure there’s enough hills.

Rick: Oh, don’t worry, there’s plenty of hills with this one – we have Sadler, Minton, Biltmore and Great Hill.

Keith: Yeah, but I think we need at least two more – let’s run up and down the Service Rd a couple of times.  We should hit Longboat, too .. that hill sucks.  Fravel will hate it.

Rick:  Dude, you are the man.  That’s an awesome idea.

Keith:  OK, here’s the plan.  I’m going to complain about some calf pain.  You already tanked on the track on Wednesday, so no one expects much out of you (seriously – I thought you went back to the car).  Let’s start off nice and slow – we’ll get Dave chatting a lot. He’ll probably even feel a little sorry for us.  Then, by the time we hit Sadler, we’ll push it to 10K pace and see how he does.

Rick:   Not bad … but he’ll have that long straightaway on Old Stage Rd to recover.

Keith:  That’s OK – after Old Stage we’re going to hit the Service Rd.  You know that he hates the Service Rd.

Rick:   Let’s keep it close for a while on the Service Rd.  We’ll save the big speed burst until the second hill.  We’ll let him stick with us through the first one.  You should get him talking – you know he can’t shut up when we run.  Ask him about his blog – seriously, the guy talks about that more than his family.

Keith:   God, do I have to?

Rick:  OK, ask him about work.  I don’t know about you, but I never listen when he starts talking about computers.  I know – ask him what’s better – Comcast or DSL .. that’ll be a good 10 minutes of him jabbering away.

Keith:  That’s fuckin great.

Rick:  You know what would be fantastic- right as we’re getting to the end of the second loop, let’s add on another mile .. just for the hell of it.

Keith:  You are an evil genius. Wait – what about Kevin??

Rick:  Don’t worry about Kevin – I’m going to give him $20 to stay with Dave.  I told him to talk, ask a couple questions and then speed up when Dave starts to answer.  He’ll have to speed up to keep the conversation going.

Keith:  $5 says he cries before we hit the cell tower on the Service Rd

Rick:  $10 that we get him on the 2nd Sadler hill.
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For the record, I didn’t cry on any part of the run, but they did add close to an extra mile on the 2nd loop.  I didn’t run it – I was completely spent.  The Service Rd (as usual) kicked my butt.

And for what it’s worth – I love running with Keith, Kevin and Rick.  I couldn’t imagine better running partners, but I occasionally wonder if they’re trying to hurt me.  : )