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Yesterday was the first “long run” day on the schedule. Only 5 miles; doable even with getting over a cold. I found what I thought was my pace group and blew up after two miles. The new, new shoes felt pretty good, but my lungs weren’t having it. I guess I wasn’t as healed up as I thought. I slowed and waited for the next slowest pace group to show up.

I’d like to say I’ll be back with the faster pace group next weekend, but I’d be doing myself a disservice. There are things I’ve forgotten about marathon training, the chief among them: long runs should be slower than slow. I was never that fast, but even in my heyday, I’d taken pride on the pace I could sustain during my long runs. I was a solid mid-pack runner training at race pace with faster runs during the week. It wasn’t the best way to train, but it got me through.

One of the group run coaches had to remind me, ‘Check your ego.”

I’m working on it. I set an expectation for myself and get frustrated when it’s not met. Some part of me thinks that if runs aren’t hard, it’s cheating, contrary to the notion that you should be able to hold a conversation without sounding winded and feel that you could still go another mile or two by the end.

The head coach, sounding not unlike a dystopian dictator, repeated, “Follow the program. Trust the process.”

I know he’s right. I repeated to myself that no, I don’t know better. Follow the program. Trust the process.

Ego be damned? We’ll see. I know myself well enough to recognize this matter isn’t settled.