If you look in the margins of this blog, you'll see a picture of me running last year's Hampton Half Marathon. I'm pretty bundled up, snow's falling. And, honestly, I'm not enjoying it.
I wrote a post about the race - and I think I may have vowed never to run it again. But on Sunday morning, I'll be at the starting line for a do-over.
My only goal this year is to finish strong, enjoy the race and know that I conquered a race that left me with a negative impression last year.
I'm not saying it wasn't a good race. It seemed well organized. I've heard good things about it from other runners. Looking back, I think most of the bad impression was due to the fact that we ran through rain, slush and snow. (I cannot stand running with wet feet, especially for 13.1 miles.)
Since then, I've run in all sorts of weather: torrential downpours, snowstorms, sub-zero temperatures, scorching hot days. Weather doesn't faze me like it used to.
Last year's race in Hampton was my first half marathon after Disney. I believe I dubbed it the Anti-Disney. I remember finding the race very lonely. I missed the support of the hundreds and hundreds of TnT-ers on the sidelines offering their support and cheers.
Things are so much different this year. Even after my Disney race, I stuck with the team. I developed stronger friendships in the miles I've run since my first race than I ever thought I would.
And on Sunday, my teammates will be there - some running with me, some on the sidelines, some joining us for post-race drinks.
The support will certainly help, and with some good training runs under my belt and a flurry of recent cross-training, I feel ready to have a great race. At least I'll know it will be better than last year.