During the World Cup games this summer, adidas had a campaign for its new digital trainer dealy, miCoach. The commercials had guys chanting, “My coach says …” My own coach clips to a leash, not an armband, and all he ever says is “Go faster!” My coach is a Kelpie.
I first noticed Danny’s coaching capabilities on the trail, when we had to finish our hikes with a long, slow slog uphill to the trailhead. If he caught me letting him pull me uphill, he’d turn his head toward me with his muzzle down and his eyes up, like “Are you effing kidding me? You want me to pull you?” This guilted me into doing it right, if resentfully. True coaching behavior on Danny’s part.
The other morning, we started running on the trail because it seemed fun. No goals, no plan, just running when we wanted to and stopping for a sniff or a pee (for Danny — let’s make that clear). We were running along a lovely straight stretch of trail in Danny’s third gear, a nice jog, when he shifted into fourth. Not quite his top speed, but faster than I can run.
Danny is like a race car with an adjustable chassis. When he wants to go seriously fast, he lowers his body an inch or two and glides on powerful leg muscles, his spine barely moving up or down. No silly, bouncing run for Danny. My coach says, this is serious. Seriously fast. I had to stop him before he pulled me into the dirt. But he seemed happy to have given me a taste of how fast he really is.
So last night we went for a short afternoon run, about 2 miles. I let Danny set the pace, and he kindly kept it in third gear. This is faster than I would normally run, but it wasn’t killer. And Danny hardly even noticed the pace. His face was relaxed as he ran, but he grinned like a fool every time he turned toward me.
Thanks to my coach, we shaved something like 3 minutes off our afternoon run. In one day. That’s worth a bowl of kibble for dinner (again, for Danny — let’s make that clear).