13 – Unlucky for Some? Reflections on Our First Half (Fiona Holland)

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They say number 13 is unlucky for some; 

But not for those medal craving naughties who completed the Tissington Trail Half-marathon in October 2016.  It was a first for many of us and needless to say we experienced a few close calls along the way. 

It all sounded very simple; especially when we were busy Christmas shopping and neatly submitting our race applications at the end of 2015. We gave the training plan that Tracy had supplied for us a cursory glance and neatly filed it away. So, June 2016  arrives quicker than we could have realised and it’s time to start “the plan”.  Just how difficult could it be to run 4 x parkruns or 2 x 10k? Well here are some of the challenges we faced aside from the actual running! In at no 1…
1. Holidays: Why had everyone booked holidays?  Didn’t they realise we had  several runs per week to fit in? How would we fit our runs in?
2. Injuries: Knees, shins, legs, heels and hips – wasn’t anyone doing the warm up and cool down exercises that Geoff had ably taught us? In fact my husband, observing my latest package from Amazon (more tape!), said he reckoned I had probably used 13 miles of tapes in trying to keep my shin splints at bay!
3. accommodation: Just how difficult could it be to find  a house for 14 with a hot tub near to Tissington?
4. The Outfit: Well you need to get noticed on the trail – size, colour, style with/without drawstring and as for air vents! Tikiboo.co.uk you came good!
5. To gel or not to gel? Yes that was the question. Should we drink/suck or chew our energy giving substances. What about the good old-fashioned malt loaf? Surely there must be a runners sandwich box one can purchase?14570440_1420833421268104_3703293034375861884_n
6. Diet: Well there was talk of carbs, cake, protein and prosecco, clearly an individual choice had to be made.
 
So we carried on unperturbed by so many things to think about and decisions to make. I’d like a pound for every time we can passed Packwood House. I’m thinking honorary National Trust membership and as for Earlswood Lakes! The weather was kind and our runs got a whole lot longer. So at this point I realise it’s not all about me and extend sincere thanks to our fellow “elites” – yes ladies you know who you all are. One particular memory was returning from a long run and collapsing on Sally’s kitchen table with exhaustion… soon to be revitalised  with tea and croissants.  (I knew I was in safe hands!)  This was club K&D teamwork through and through. Kindness and Determination, yes that includes Ann too.
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Not long to go and I have ably delegated all tasks to my naughties team. From transport co-ordination to chef and kit list provider we continued on plan (well at least some of us – eh JT? ).
 
So the time had arrived  and we unpacked and settled into our huge house in the beautiful Peak District. We set up our bubbling cauldron of pasta and dampened the nervous laughter with a very tiny glass of prosecco.
 

So at last Team Tissington were ready to hit the ground running.

Dressed to kill and all aboard the coaches. There was no going back as the engine 14520363_1420833197934793_2327832260086741768_nrevved and the coach set off. The day had finally come and we arrived at a rather chilly starting point. As we set off the beautiful scenery unfolded; patchwork fields and cattle eyeing our leggings – stunning scenery all the way. As the old railway line reached out ahead, the downhill gradient provided the comfort needed for a first time half marathon runner.

So, off at a gentle pace (yes Geoff, gentle pace!) and my inner coach kicked in as she had promised. I had planned this mental challenge for a long time and I began counting down the miles, 3, 6, 9, 12 and forced myself to take in the scenery and enjoy the run. Watching for the mile markers and ticking these off in my head was a great feeling.  So too was seeing my K&D friends who had mounted their watch point at around mile 4 – cheering us on loudly.  This was a great mental boost. The finish was in sight and so too were my fellow K&D buddies – they cheered loudly as we crossed the finish. As I ran through the finish, I felt very emotional – I’d done it – my first half marathon!

 
Plan completed, long runs, easy runs and 100’s of miles under our feet and dressed to kill. Team Tissington had success under their belt. We’d made it. Medals around our necks and standing proud we’d achieved our half marathon dream.
 
Never had half a lager tasted so good as we all met up at the pub in Tissington for lunch – runners, supporters and family all savouring this special day.
 
So, returning triumphant to our house we set about getting ready for the evening.  Sipping champagne in the hot tub made it all seem worth it! Not such the  party I had expected… it was more of a pyjama party and collapse on the sofa kind of thing! Lots of liquid refreshments to re-hydrate us of course…
 
Early to bed, early to rise. We wanted more action! How could we forget our Sunday Tissington runners. A unanimous decision was made – we needed to go back to the trail to cheer them on! So off we went, cheering loudly with our medals proudly on show – “c’mon Geoff and the others” running on Sunday!
 
The K& D running club has many assets, from experience, training and social events but the club’s greatest asset is its members who are an amazing group of people to help you realise whatever your own goal is. 
 
So with the pasta back in the cupboard, why do I have 35+ Whatsapp messages?
 
Well, that’s because we are doing it again next year!
 

Fiona Holland (The Duchess)

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