Today was the first pace run. We ran 4 miles at what was supposed to be an 11:30 per mile pace. We ran a bit faster than that; closer to a 10:45 pace. We had some issues with our intervals. I had just programmed my new Timex interval watch with the coach, but instead of 5 minute intervals, we put in a 5 hour interval. That caused our first 5 minutes to end up being 6 minutes. We did eventually correct the watch issue, but had already shaved at least a minute off of our time. I think the cold also played a huge part in our extra speed. It was so cold when we began our run that I was shivering and our coach had blue lips. The wind didn't help either. It was at our back for the first half of our run, but then hitting us in the face on the way back.
The extra speed didn't cause the pace to be beyond conversational, though. The three of us in my pace group talked the entire time. It was a lot of getting to know each other talk; what do you do for a living, where do you live, why are you running and what's your running history type of questions. It really made the time go quickly, though. When we reached our turn-around, one of our group expressed amazement that we had already run 2 miles.
The run-walk plan also helps make the run seem easier. Even when I was getting a bit tired, I never had more than 5 minutes until my next walk break. It seems a bit weird to have 2 walk breaks in the first mile, but it makes it seem really easy and accessible. The full marathon would only be 50 intervals.