My first run with the new half-marathon training group last Saturday was great. The intermediate group is pretty strong but I was only steps behind the leaders coming in from the 6 mile run out and back on Peachtree. The leaders in this group were probably averaging an 8:30 pace.
Everyone in the intermediate group seemed pretty friendly. The ATC's new executive director showed up to run with the beginner group, which I thought showed a lot of support. I did feel bad for the beginner group - it didn't look like they were sticking together as much as the intermediate group was.
Now that the evenings are starting to cool down, I went out to the Oakhurst Wednesday night running group. It felt great! I ran an 8:20 average pace for 5 miles on hills! (and I was still the second to last person in - this group is incredible.) A lot better than I was doing out there in July and August.
The half-marathon training calls for track workouts and tempo runs on alternating Wednesdays, so I'll get to run with the Oakhurst group for tempo one week and meet up with the ATC coach at the track the next.
I'm pretty excited about this plan. It calls for a lot more running than the previous 3-4 runs a week that I had done. The paces of both groups are pushing me but they are not out of reach. So far though (and it's only been a week) it feels great.