And, yes, I had nothing to fear. True, these people are pretty serious runners -- most of them were trim, toned, and speedy (I was the "back of the pack" with a few others and we were pacing at 10:00-10:30, so most people were running 8:00-8:30 miles!) -- but they were also very nice, and the coach frequently circled back and forth between the sub-groups to chat and encourage, so that was nice.
As I mentioned previously, I planned on doing 9 miles today, but with the group, I ended up doing 10, and it was 10 that felt good (didn't even need a walk break; although, I was grateful for each water station) despite the incredible humidity and the bugs. At the end of the run, I was literally soaking wet with sweat and I was coated in little black bugs.
Now, that I've experienced the group run, I really don't know how I ever did those long ones by myself; it was seriously that much better, and it just makes so much better sense: it's more motivating, it's safer, and it's better paced. I plan to return to the group next Saturday morning and continue with them. But then what sucks (well, only kinda), is that I'll be out of town two weekends in a row (be in Key West one weekend and Sanibel the next -- poor me, right?) so I'll be on my own for long runs then.
Ahhh, it's good to have that run out of the way for the weekend (and to feel some of my confidence in my training restored), and tomorrow I can sleep in and relax knowing I already got it done! This must be why everyone touts getting up early and getting it done, huh?