Dopey Training w/e 30/08/2015

24/08/2015 – DRY NEEDLING & REST – Completed
25/08/2015 – REST – Completed
26/08/2015 – 3k run – Completed
27/08/2015 – 7k run Pace & Stretch&Strength – Completed
28/08/2015 – 4k run – Completed
29/08/2015 – Stretch
30/08/2015 – 15m run – Completed 12.5/15​


This week started out with dry needling on my right quad on Monday. It… was… PAINFUL! My physio told me I would need rest Monday and Tuesday but would hopefully be able to run Wednesday so I adjusted my plan accordingly. I decided to scale down the mid-week runs to the same distance but in KM instead of Miles (which is about 60% of the original plan)

I’ve got 9weeks of training until my first ever marathon! Wow that sounds scary!

I joined a running club in London. I’ve never been part of a club before but since I moved I’ve struggled a bit with motivation as I used to always run with my Dad and Sister. My long runs in particular I’m struggling with by myself so hopefully this club will work out well! My joining fee came with an initial assessment with a trainer. She had me running barefoot and also assessed my flexibility and strength. From this I was given a programme to follow around my running schedule that includes a stretches, rolling and strength exercises. Also as an added bonus I noticed that they sold my trainers (Brooks Adrenaline 15GTS) and when I asked about them they were being sold off at 50pounds each which was a lot cheaper than the original pair I bought earlier on the year (I was fitted in a running store if you’re interested you can read about it HERE). I bought two pairs, unfortunately they only had one pair of 15GTS in my size but they did have a pair of the 14GTS so I tried them on and decided to get both. I figure I can easily break in the two new pairs between now and Dopey and I’ll be sorted with three for the race weekend.

My main focus over the next 9 weeks is to stick to my training plan, I want to get the mileage under my belt without any more injury. To help prevent injury I’ll be adding in the strength and strength programs to my timetable and rolling everyday. The strength training plan isn’t super hardcore but focuses on building strength in my legs and core. I’m running a half marathon in week 5 and want to finish in under 2hrs25 as this is the time my Dad and Sister finished their half that they’ll be using for POT for Dopey.

Week in Review

Mid-Week Runs

I am really happy with how this week went. The only downside was that all of my midweek runs were in the gym. I much prefer to run outside but it was a very rainy week in London and as I’ve only moved recently I’ve got two routes that I’ve tried and neither in the rain before. I’ve also not found a route near my job as I’m quite centrally located (Old Street near Shorditch for anyone familiar with the area) the streets are really busy all around my office so any lunch time runs will have to be at the gym which is conveniently located around the corner to my office. I did however feel GREAT after my midweek runs! I rolled and stretched each time and did a longer stretch session on Thursday as well as the strength training exercises I’ve been given. I didn’t do the strength training Friday as I was a little sore from Thursday and wanted to make sure I could complete the 15m run on Sunday

Long Run

This weeks long run was scheduled for 15miles which would be a pretty big step up from the 10miles the week before. As I’ve mentioned before I am following a plan that is a mix of Hal Higdon’s 10mile, novice supreme marathon and Dopy training plans. We were following the novice supreme marathon plan however we adjusted the week prior to the 10mile down to match the final week in his 10mile plan to insure we were in a good place for a run to get a good POT. As a result last weeks run was still at the right length of 10miles per the Novice Supreme Marathon plan as this was a step back week (our long runs alternate so every second weekend is shorter). It feels so strange calling a 10mile run a ‘step back’ week, that 10mile run was LONG!

So coming off the back of a difficult 10miler we also had another complication. Our family vacation this year was in Spain and we arrived on Saturday. I was traveling from London on a very early flight so I was up at 4am Saturday morning with about 3.5hrs sleep. We had checked the temperatures in advance and it was looking pretty hot indeed. So Sunday morning we get up at 5am (which is 4am home time) big sleepy heads on us and get ourselves dressed, eat my usual bagel with peanut butter. I strapped on my fitletic belt with both 8oz bottles filled with cold water. My Dad has a large sports bottle on his belt with water mixed with tabs and we all carry an additional 500ml bottle of power aid. I strap on my Garmin and we hit the road.

It was SO HOT!!! The air felt heavy as I tried to breath it in, I was sweating like crazy and I could already feel the additional effort this was taking just 1mile in. We took a short walk break and already felt defeated. We pushed on and it was tough, our pace was BAD, we usually run about 6mins a km and we were up at 8mins initially. We dropped a bottle of power aid and water around this point to pick up on our return. We got to about the 4mile mark and my sister was really struggling. There was a little meltdown had at this point and we walked it out and I said let’s just get to the 10km mark and then we can reassess and continue or turn around if needed (we were doing an out and back). I should note at this point that my Dad was of course fine at this point as he always is because he is some sort of MACHINE! We continued with frequent walk breaks and made it to 10k when my sister was set on turning around. TBH I was happy to cut it short too as I was struggling with the heat pretty bad. We made the U-Turn and started running back.

Mentally the way back was easier. Rachel seemed happier and we ran some pretty good stretches without stopping. We started setting ourselves landmark targets that we’d run to without stopped as well. We did however realise at this point that we should have taken more fluids. The heat meant we needed more water, an extra bottle or two would have done it and had we frozen them and left them on our trail even to tip half over us and drink the rest would have been heaven. Physically I was starting to hurt more. My legs felt heavy and I was getting some discomfort in my shins and calf which I am putting down to wearing new runners. I was running for the first time in my new 15GTS which I know wasn’t the best idea but I left my original pair of 15GTS back home in Dublin after the 10mile so I have them there to do my training runs anytime I’m home and for the BIG ONE… The Dublin Marathon!

Back to my run. We had a strong couple of miles on the return journey but the last few were tough. We were low and then out of fluids and really hot and bothered as the sun had started to rise. We made it back though and I didn’t feel terrible afterwards. I was just HOT! I quickly caught my breath and enjoyed a cold drink of water and then felt like I could run more if necessary. So in the end we made 12.5/15. Not what we wanted but considering the circumstances I’ll take it and I’m proud of us for getting through a second mentally tough run together.

Next week’s long run is down as 16miles and we’ll still be here in Spain. Wish me luck!


Frank Duffy 10mile Race Recap

Date: Saturday 22nd August 2015
Location: Pheonix Park, Dublin, Ireland
Entry Fee: €20
Distance: 10miles

I was nervous the morning of this run (becoming a running trend for official races) this time because of the problems I’ve been having with my right quad. I went for Physio the day before back in Dublin (I flew home from London for this race) and I was told that I was fine to run but that I should come back on the Monday for Dry needling.

Rachel and my Dad had already run a half marathon two weeks previous (the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half) in a time of 2hrs 25mins which is a pace of 11:04/mile.

Our goals today:

Goal A: Finish the race – this seems like an obvious one but with my injury I was worried

Goal A+: Beat the pace set by Dad and Rachel of the half marathon so that this race could also be a good POT especially for me as my half marathon wasn’t until the end of September which is cutting it close for POT

Goal A++: 10miles in 1hr37mins which sits right at a pace of 9:45/mile which is about the pace I ran the 10k in earlier in the year.

Race Recap

The morning of the race we got up early, I ate my usual pre-run breakfast of a bagel with peanut butter and banana (I sometimes forgo the banana). Me and Rachel decided to wear our red minnie sparkle skirts for the first time as a sort of trial run for the Dublin Marathon and Dopey (and because I already want another one but felt I should try it out first!). I was also wearing my fitletic belt and filled both 80z bottles with power aid as there were water stops on the course.


We arrived and parked close to Phenix Park and made our way towards the start. This race was part of the official race series for the Dublin Marathon so it was really busy

We stopped to use the portable toilets, there were a few different groups of them and we walked further from the start for a shorter line. Soon after we lined up to start.


There didn’t really seem to be an official start and before we knew it we were crossing the start line which was right when Dad realised his Nike Plus watch hadn’t got satellite signal so me and Rachel ran on ahead and he caught us a few minutes later.

I was feeling good, my quad was taped up from phsyio the day before and my legs felt strong. The new sparkle skirt was comfortable and we got lots of compliments from fellow runners and spectators.

We were about a mile into the run when my positive outlook changed. Rachel was really struggling, she wasn’t feeling great at all and we stopped for an early walk break. Unfortunately it was an uphill battle from there, she was getting really frustrated as she’d never struggled this early on. We were taking regular walk breaks and our pace was suffering which just added to the frustration. I had been sipping my poweraid and thinking I probably should have done one bottle power aid and one water as the first water stop wasn’t until 4miles and it was quite warm and sweaty!


When we got to the water stop around mile 4 there were no cups left so all they had were the large water bottles they’d been using the fill the cups so we grabbed one of them that was about 1/4 full and shared it. It was so awkward to drink out of!

Random running pic of Rachel and Dad

We continued to push on, when we were running our pace was still about our usual running pace of 9:45/mile but our walks were more frequent and longer than usual. We continued getting lots of cheers for the ‘minnie’s’ which was fun! The temperature however was more humid than we’d been used to which didn’t help our situation. We were coming towards the half-way point when we were blessed with a long hill that gave us a little boost. At the bottom of the hill was this beauty

A fire truck spraying us with water… HEAVEN

We continued to push on and the course took us outside of park along the main road. We came back in to find our next water stop around 8mile and AGAIN it was a bit of a disaster with only large water bottles. We took another one to share. We took our final walk break about 500m out from the finish line. I was feeling good push to the finish before that but it just wasn’t Rachel’s day.

We got close to the finish line and the crowd support was great. The announcer shouted out my Dad’s name saying that he must thinking ‘I would’ve been finished AGES ago if it hadn’t been for these two’ which gave me a bit of a giggle because it’s totally true!

Here are some photos from our sprint to the finish!


This has to be one of the happiest running photos I’ve ever seen



We finished strong as we normally do and collected our race bags and tech t-shirt but NO MEDAL… Seriously grinds my gears when there is no medal!

Myself and Rachel had to go straight to dance class to teach for two hours. My legs were TIGHT which I think is down to all the walking as they’d cool down and tighten up before we’d run again. We got a nice photo back home in our new shirts


My official finish time: 01:49:45
Pace: 10:58/mile

A new PR at the 10mile distance WHOOP!
(ye it was our first 10mile SO WHAT?! o_O haha)

Running Background

I’ve been running for just about a year and a half now, I started from scratch with a couch to 5K program with the aim of running a 10k in the summer of 2014 and a final goal of completing my first half marathon at Disney.

In July 2014 I ran a 10k race and finished in 1hr13mins48secs which I used as my proof of time for W&D 2014 with an estimated finish time of 2hrs40mins.


From then on I continued running regularly and by October 2014 I ran a training 10k in 1hr04mins10secs. We flew to Orlando on 24th October and had a fantastic holiday and ran not only our first ever RunDisney event but our first ever half marathon and the longest distance I’ve ever run.

I continued running when I returned home although not following any training plan, it wasn’t long before I was thinking about returning to Disney and after a discussion with Rachel we both decided that Dopey 2016 was going to be our next big goal. It wasn’t long before Dad was looking to join in on the action too and now it’s become a proper family affair!

The Cancer Support Centre in my hometown Balbriggan in Dublin, Ireland was holding a charity 10k event on St. Patricks Day 2015 so I decided this would be the perfect way to kick start my training RECAP HERE. Unfortunately Rachel wasn’t able to run as she was on holidays stateside in Vegas (lucky thing!) but my Dad ran it with me and my Mam and aunt also entered the walking section.

Shortly after we started our Dopey Training Plan

Training Schedule

I put together a training schedule that combines Hal Higdon’s Novice Supreme Marathon training plan & Dopey Training Plan with some alterations to account for a 10mile run and a half marathon both to be considered for our proof of time for Disney. I’ve also made an alteration for the Dublin Marathon which will be our first ever. I’ve broken the training plan down into three phases.




Unfortunately I had a niggling knee issue that had been bothering me before the 10k but flared up more in the first training week. Initially I didn’t feel any discomfort or pain when running but it was sore and tight afterwards. This ‘knee’ problem turned out to be quite the issue and was actually caused by muscles in my quad that were in desperate need of attention. I started regular physio and although I continued training I also continued to have issues resulting in missed runs and LOTS of frustration!

We’ve just completed Phase 1 of our training plan which finished up with a 10mile run in the Pheonix Park in Dublin. We’ve now just started Phase 2 and are working towards our first ever marathon! This will be the Dublin Marathon on October 26th 2015 and I’m so incredibly nervous! After our first marathon we’ll continue our training until January 2016 when it’ll be time to get DOPEY

My only time goal for Dopey is to finishing (insuring I meet the pacing required of 16-minute per mile), my aim is to build up the endurance needed to finish Dopey.


Welcome to my blog! I’m Karen a 27yr old dancer with a tiny bit of a Disney obsession currently taking on the biggest challenge of my life so far!

MK Crystal Palace Karen

For those of you not familiar with the Dopey Challenge it’s a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon completed in four consecutive days. Ye ye I know what you’re thinking ARE YOU CRAZY??! BUT most importantly it’s in Disneyworld so you know it’s going to be fun… right?!?

RIGHT?!?! o_O

Our ‘official’ training started in April 2015, prior to our half marathon in November 2014 we had never really run. I sprinted a bit in school and I once walked and jogged a little bit in an official 10k but nothing more than that. We started with the couch to 5k programme and then just kinda ran a bit afterwards and that really was the extent of our half marathon training. The Wine and Dine Half was so much fun despite how under prepared we felt.

We’ve just completed Phase 1 of our training plan which finished up with a 10mile run in the Pheonix Park in Dublin. We’ve now just started Phase 2 and are working towards our first ever marathon! This will be the Dublin Marathon on October 26th 2015 and I’m so incredibly nervous! After our first marathon we’ll continue our training until January 2016 when it’ll be time to get DOPEY ​