The first mile was uneventful. Everyone was 'warming up' which means they were running my speed. My favorite part of running with the group is that first mile that we run together.
Soon we had reached the magical one mile point, and the rest of the group pulled on ahead. Coach stayed back with me so that I wasn't alone. He mentioned how glad he was to see me out there again and encouraged me to focus on everything I love about running. Soon enough the speed will return, he promised.
At about 2 miles, we noticed a few of our runners we walking up ahead. When we caught up, we realized that one of them was not feeling well. He declared that he would walk in with her, and the other runner & I continued on ahead.
This part of the loop is on a shaded dirt trail. It didn't take long before the other runner was far enough ahead that I lost sight of him. I just continued on, fairly sure that I knew my way back. However, apparently I don't know it as well as I thought. When I saw the group back at our starting location, they were on the opposite side of the ditch bank.
I thought about doubling back, but remembered that there was a bridge up ahead. So I continued on until I was able to cross back to the other side. That little mistake added another .4 to what would have been a 3.6 mile run, so it turned out perfectly.
I'm certainly no speed demon, but I got it done. 4.0 miles in 45:13, a pace of 11:19. That's actually quite a bit faster than my 4.0 miler Tuesday morning, so it made me smile.
Slowly, but surely, I'm coming back!