The slow and steady approach back has enabled me to make a breakthrough this past week. I ran a full 5 miles during the hill workout on Thursday with the Pacers. The workout itself was one of the slowest I have ever done there but that was somewhat by design. (1) I had run Wednesday and therefore was running back-to-back days, (2) I was more concerned with covering the full workout than doing it really well and paying for it later.
The success Thursday and limited after effects on Friday allowed me to take the chance and achieve the breakthrough on Sunday with a full 6 mile route. Albeit a slower pace (about 9:00 - 9:30/mile) again I was focusing on going the distance and doing it with something to finish strong. Both objectives were achieved! Halleluiah!
Still a long way to go but the progress has been good!
Thanks to all my Pacer buddies for the company and conversation to help make this happen.