Mum’s Dopey Recap: Zero to Hero Part 3

Still on cloud 9 from Mum completing the Dopey Challenge and being nowhere near the back of the pack, like she was anxious about! We have our big races coming up but for those of you just starting out on a marathon journey, I suggest you read here and here for Mum’s prep for hers, as well as the below!

She proves that anything is possible – she only started “working out” in her forties (yoga dvds and the cross trainer), and has now done her 1st marathon at the ripe old age of fifty six twenty five! She is so inspiring and encapsulates everything I believe in with running: it doesn’t matter how old you are, how fast you are, what distance you run…running brings people together in ways that drinking etc could never bring. No matter if you did a marathon in 2 hours or 12 hours, you still went through the same course, shared the same pain, saw the same things…it’s awesome!

Anyway, here is her recap of just how cold fun this Disney Challenge was.

As you likely already know, I am pleased to say Keith and I completed the 2018 Dopey Challenge. Never mind the mileage, the ridiculous early mornings and the sheer number of competitors, the biggest challenge turned out to be…wait for it….the cold. Who’d have thought?


We’d been checking the weather forecast before we left but didn’t really believe it – Thursday 4th January 0 degrees, Friday 1, Saturday 3 and Sunday 6. So, a quick re-pack – jeans, hoodies, long sleeved running tops, running tights, jackets, hats and gloves. Not exactly what we had planned but so glad we did. I already had bought foil blankets for waiting before the start of races but didn’t realise how important they would be. I also got some old hoodies from Emma that I could ditch along the way once I had warmed up. Disney launder all the abandoned clothes and give them to charity.


We still weren’t prepared for just how cold it would actually be at 3.30am waiting around until 5.30 for Keith in Corral A and 6.30 for me in the last Corral each day.


(It was so dark when we started)

However, happily we both survived. Keith did really well and I made it round. By marathon time on the Sunday my legs had had enough and I’m sad to say I had to walk around 21 of the 26.2 miles. I was still mid pack even with my Disney theme park pace walking, so all in all I am pleased with myself. I was well ahead of the “balloon ladies” (sweeper van to you runners out there) who started at the back of my Corral going 17 mile pace just one wave behind me. If they overtake you at certain points you end up being swept up and no Dopey medal.

I must mention the wonderful volunteers. There were thousands of them. From car park duty, bag checks, Corral duty, water/food stations and handing out medals at the end. They were all so cheerful and supportive and must have been freezing also.

As expected Disney had everything well organised and had that bit extra along the routes. Buses from resort hotels to the start from 3.00 each day and taking back after. We never had to wait more than 5 minutes. A DJ at the start area trying to keep everyone motivated, character greetings (but with huge queues), loads of portapotties at the start and spread throughout the routes, a countdown and firework start for each wave (which got a bit tiring when you’re at the back), bands, choirs, drum beating cleaning ladies, chatty construction workers, the dragon from the Magic Kingdom parade, cars from retired rides, jokes, huge video screens with Disney clips, Disney songs blasting out, goats from the Animal Kingdom petting zoo, each mile marked by a character and a song and best of all soldier from Toy Story shouting abuse and making some do push ups if he thought they were slacking!


(I’m pleased to say I was always smiling…sometimes copying Debbie’s pose when I saw a camera!)

After each race everyone got a foil blanket, water, Powerade and a breakfast box and their picture taken with their medal(s).

We have 6 special Disney running shirts and 6 amazing medals plus for the 25th anniversary of the marathon , special Mickey ears!




Build up to the Tarawera 102km Ultra Trail World Tour – 3 weeks to go!



So…my build up to my longest race to date, 102km, has been going well despite the usual hurdles that always get in the way; working, man-flu, the festive season, etc…

One struggle is trying to convert into a ‘low-carb-high-fat-eating-monster’ but so far, I have failed miserably on that part. I simply love shitty food too much. In my defence, I must say that when taking on gels and energy drinks during my long runs I have rarely experienced stomach issues so I am hoping that my downfall will keep the bonking or cramping at bay.

Aside from the nutritional side, my running sessions have been going to plan and during the last few weeks, I have scaled some heights I never wished to consider a few years back. First off, was deciding to ‘commute on foot’ from my house to my work with Bennachie Hill thrown in. This was my longest run to date at 38 miles although the snow on top of the hill and icy roads made it tougher than I would have liked.

Next up, was thrashing around the Cateran Trail for 48 miles from – quite literally – ‘dusk till dawn’. Note to self: remember that running this far with much of it on ice, snow or bogs isn’t going to get you a sub 6 minute mile. It was very stop/start due to the icy paths, however, at least I know Tarawera is going to be more runnable and a faster pace (I hope!) However, ticking off my longest run ever felt pretty good and has given me confidence that I can be up with the leading pack when it comes to the big race in February.


In between all of that, I have been trying to keep the leg speed up and treadmill running has been a necessity for some of the faster stuff (due to the crappy weather). If someone asked me to run a 10k PB right now, I would say ‘no chance’, but tell me to run a steady few hours I would say ‘absolutely!’  I have also been keeping up with some heat training in the sauna a few times per week, which will hopefully help the warm weather in New Zealand. If only I were a full-timer who could follow the sun for training..!

Fingers crossed, the remainder of my training will continue to go well. I have another 50k to run but, other than that, I will continue to keep the legs ticking over and stay injury-free before a taper. *touches wood*

Really looking forward to how stunning the course is going to be:






Debbie’s keeping it real with her training for Challenge Wanaka: wake up, bike 5am, work all day, eat, swim at lunch, eat, run later, say hello to Kyle, bike in evening, eat, say goodnight to Kyle, sleep…and repeat. Edit from Deb: This is NOT true. I also clean and do chores! 😉





They did it!

…They both did!

5km Thurs, 10km Friday (Mum’s 1st one!), Half Marathon Saturday (Mum’s 1st one!) and Marathon Sunday (Again, Mum’s 1st!)


On Sunday I had a sister date and we were checking the app constantly to see how they were doing, then when I got home I saw Kyle on his laptop checking too!


(We sent this when Keith finished!)

I’m sure they can work on recapping the races on the flight home but for now I’ll let them enjoy their well-earned margaritas in the (not so sunny) Floridian weather!


Meanwhile, we have been trying to get back in the swing of things with training for our New Zealand races!

In less than a month we will be in one of the most spectacular countries in the world!

So Kyle up first…on Saturday he was up before me (unheard of!) at 6am to head to Spittal of Glenshee to attempt his longest run to date! He checked out the Cateran Trail (where registration COINCIDENTALLY is the EXACT lodge that was organised for his stag do! Hilarious – it was meant to be!). Not only did he complete the disgusting distance, he had to cross bogs of icy mud water up to his hips (I know this because I did the washing on his return) and avoid major icy patches.


(so so proud!)

For me, after the pools have been closed over the festive period, AND the ice was pretty mental, I am finally getting into some decent training again.

On the swimming side of things, I’m becoming more consistent in the water and am managing sub-75s per 100m with little rest, so it’ll take that on little training.

On the saddle, I managed 3.7W/kg for an entire 2hour turbo ride on Saturday – gotta love Zwift!!!

And on the run, well they have been on mum’s treadmill, where I have just gone by feel, so I’m HOPING it’s building back up again. Hopefully, I’ll get out on the roads this weekend to see just what that translates to!

Otherwise, we were back to work on the 2nd after spending some time with friends (who we shunned after not managing to come to our wedding):


(We made up for them not making the wedding with far too many beers! I think it’s the first Christmas in about 4 years we met where he was actually allowed to drink! #olympianproblems #retired )

We’ve also dabbled in some cooking and baking (I was ADDICTED to mie goreng in Bali, so went to an Asian supermarket and tried to replicate – nowhere near as good but good all the same!) and Kyle knows one of my favourite snacks are churros, so he tried to replicate those too – they were more like beignets, but after spending some time in New Orleans – and loving them too! – I wasn’t complaining!


Next up, a little more detail on how we’ve prepared for our different races. Kyle is so excited to attempt 102km but has had to alter his training, even from when he stepped up to the 50km distance!

Fingers crossed he is automatically selected for the World Championships this year based on his performance last year (1st Brit home). The team is decided at the end of the month so keep everything crossed for him!

Longest training day ever?

Favourite meal/snack?

Dry January or the “why bother starving your body of fun” approach?


Zero to Hero: Part 2

Hope everyone had an amazing Hogmanay!

Well Mum landed in Florida and went straight to the parks after checking in, so she could meet some characters and watch the fireworks. It was her birthday on the 1st, so she likes to think all midnight celebrations on NYE are for her birthday!

Here is the next part of her Dopey Challenge instalment: the type of training she did in the lead up and her preperations in the lead up to next week’s races!

If you havent already done so PLEASE wish her some luck! She is getting anxious so if any of you runners out there, whether you go a 4 minute mile or 14 minute mile, ALL advice for her runs are welcome!

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I did another unheard of thing – parkrun on Christmas morning…now I am definitely off my head!


Keith, Debbie and Kyle persuaded me to join them at Hazlehead instead of taking things nice and easy getting the turkey etc ready. It wasn’t my best decision.

It was wet and miserable and I wasn’t feeling too great from the gin fizz the night before.

However, I was surprised to see how many other crazy people there were and we even sung a special Christmas song. And I did manage a PR and also a 1 mile PR at the end, on the downhill section.


How…? I have no idea.

We had a fab family Christmas with too much food and drink, and, lots of fun and laughter.

So back to what I got up to after the decision had been made…

Now we had to put it in action. The entries opened for the 2018 Dopey Challenge back in April and, knowing they sell out pretty quickly, we had to be on the ball. I remember doing my entry on the bus home from work on my phone. We were both entered so no going back now.

Because of the 5.30am start times it is recommended that you stay onsite Disney as they put on buses to and from the start/finish starting from 3.00am. We booked a British Airways package staying at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter (edit now that I am here: it is really cool!) arriving 30th December.

We’re entered, we have somewhere to stay, now the boring part of getting the miles in.

I found the Jeff Galloway training plan which runDisney recommend and it started in June. Up until then I tried to run 3 times a week, going out at weekends and trying to get my legs used to running. I first completed 10k distance in February which I was quite pleased with.

I did the Inverness Fun 5k with Debbie and earned my second medal (Keith did the Inverness Half marathon). Emma was helping out on behalf of the charity CHAS, so it was a family event.


Keith got me a treadmill so I could run in the dark evenings and when the weather was bad – no excuses. I don’t particularly enjoy it but at least I could stay warm and dry and have my music blaring.

I don’t enjoy running and if it’s not my legs hurting then it’s my breathing, but usually after the first 10-15 minutes it doesn’t hurt so much.  This applies indoors and outdoors. Sometimes when the sun was shining and I wasn’t too hot I’d think “this is good” but it didn’t happen very often!

The plus points of running must be increasing fitness, dropping some weight and getting toned legs. I am now able to run for a bus and I have to keep pulling up my jeans!

We usually run around Westhill and Kirkton of Skene, and out the dual carriageway to Kingswells which is 10k there and back. My first “away” run was in Carlisle last January after Keith swam at The Masters meet. I will admit I did almost enjoy it, running around the castle and by the river. Also, it was somewhere new for my Strava (yes, the Greigs and Keith forced me to join!).

Our next away runs were in Arenales del Sol (near Alicante) in Spain in May where we did a mini Dopey simulation – 4 days in a row with the 4th doing an unheard of for me half marathon distance. It was awful and I had to walk much of it back and forth along the promenade. But I did it! Arenales was lovely by the way.

The next away runs were in Budapest in August when Keith was competing at the World Masters Swimming Championships. We ran around Margaret Island (after recommendation from Debbie & Kyle) on the special track and also up Andrassy to Heroes’ Square and down again. It was soooo hot.


(no pic of the run but a post run beer in that heat was phenomenal)

By this time, I should have been following the Galloway plan but things like hen parties and weddings kept getting in my way, although I did run a wee bit in Malaga when we went away for Debbie’s surprise trip, and the Hazlehead parkrun the morning of Debbie’s home hennie.


After the wedding I was able to focus more. We did the first long run in mid- October – 17 miles on the Deeside line. I took over 4 hours but I did it. At the end of October Keith had the Swim England Masters Swimming Champs and we went running around Sheffield. That’s the first time I had real pain from running. I don’t know what happened but my calves were in agony –  I could barely walk. Thankfully it only lasted a couple of days. I’m pretty good at stretching for a few minutes after every run, and I think that has really helped prevent any niggles bar this one.

The Dopey Challenge was only a few weeks away and the simulation weekends approached. Recently, I walked 9 miles in Edinburgh on the Saturday then 20 miles on the Deeside line on the Sunday, and the following week I did a 4 mile walk on the Friday, 10 mile walk on the Saturday and was due to do 24 miles on the Sunday. Unfortunately, we couldn’t complete the last simulation weekend (which should have been last major weekend before taper) due to the weather and icy pavements. We did manage a 4 mile walk then a 13 mile walk in our boots but no way could we have gone out on the Sunday. My first 26.2 miles WILL be completed at Walt Disney World.

On top of this training, I still did my “Pilates for Dummies” DVDs once a week and walk 40 minutes from my car to work and back again every day (after cancelling my bus pass as the Westhill buses are a nightmare!) as well as the Galloway plan. Fingers crossed this will be enough to get me through.

Training during a Scottish winter is not fun. It’s a combination of dark, cold, wet, windy and icy. Somehow, I don’t think Florida will match that! The problem is, like Scotland, central Florida weather is unpredictable.

I’m pretty sure shorts and t-shirts will be fine but what if it gets stupidly hot on marathon day? I’ll be out until at least 12.30 so it could be very toasty. Then again it could be a nice 15 degrees. Even for going around the parks, it can be quite hot during the day but cool at night, so cardis/hoodies will be required. There’s just so much to think about!

We have joined a Facebook group which has been very helpful with tips from people who have done Dopey before (some many times). They’ve even arranged get -togethers before and after.


It will be an awesome experience and as long as I don’t get too distracted by the character photo stops I should be fine. It’s a tick on my bucket list for something I didn’t even know was on my bucket list!

Thank you for all the good luck wishes and with some faith, trust and pixie dust (points if you get that Disney film reference!) I will go the 48.6 mile distance…

Have a very happy New Year and wish me luck! Hopefully the next post will be a positive recap of the races!



Best Year Yet!

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!! We sincerely hope this year is your BEST ever!!!!!

Next up, thanks for all your support on Mum’s Dopey Challenge journey! Part 1 on why she entered is here, and coming up soon is how she went from doing pretty much zero exercise to training for this challenge!

But before we reveal her marathoning secrets 😉 , I (Debbie) have done the obligatory summary of every year since I started blogging in 2015, so naturally this trend must continue! You can see my 2015 recap here and 2016 here!

Ok so January was pretty much spent celebrating our engagement, with a phenomenal ski holiday thrown in!


In February I was given the FANTASTIC news that SPEEDHUB were going to sponsor me, along with Felt, High5, POC saddles, Knight Composite wheels, Zoot and the support of AquaSphere!


In March, Kyle SMASHED his first ever ultra at the Haworth Hobble, coming in 4th in a sprint finish(!) and securing his place at the world championships in Italy that June!


We also headed to Aviemore for my birthday getaway, and got some serious wedding/honeymoon planning done!

I got a little excited over the sponsorship deal, overtrained and got injured HOWEVER I ran with Mum in her 1st 5km, where she beat Kyle’s mum 😉


In April, I won my 1st cycle race  at the Suie hill climb, and got my triathlon confidence back!

May came along very quickly and we were down at speedhub HQ getting Retul fitted. 


We also managed, over the course of 1 long weekend, to travel to Glasgow for for a wedding, to then fly to Belfast for a wedding the following day! It was hectic but worth it!


If that wasnt a busy enough month, it was also London Marathon month! We headed daown saaff (my attempt at a London accent) and Kyle didn’t perform as he had hoped, however soon realised that training for high elevation ultra racing is not conducive to a sub 2.20 marathon time…!


In June, the biggest news of the month (although there was lots of good news!) KYLE WAS 1st BRIT AND 26th AT THE WORLD ULTRA RUNNING CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!!!!


Also, we headed to Blenheim Palace for the British Elite Triathlon Championships. I came away with 5th and was super happy I was on the right track after being injured!


We also participated in our annual Stonehaven Beer fest cycle, however on the Cairn O’Mount descent, I skidded on grit and came off. It left me TERRIFIED for my first middle distance triathlon within a fortnight.


Luckily, I WON the women’s elite field at that triathlon despite HORRENDOUS bonking on the run. That race, along with some other positive results, led me to be granted the VERY tough process of getting a pro licence!! British Triathlon pro licences are SO HARD to get because of the calibre of our athletes!


One week later, I had a point to prove at the Scottish Sprint distance championships (the distance for the 2018 CWG). I won that with ZERO sprint training and felt like my fitness was better than ever!


Only a couple of weeks later, we headed to London again for the London Triathlon (World’s biggest triathlon) and I managed to come 5th in the female elite field. Lots of fighting in the Thames, meant a tough (and especially technical!) bike catch up and a painful 10k.


In August, we headed to Ireland for a trip away with Kyle’s parents, and I also had a work trip to Amsterdam, only a few days before we headed to London to watch the World Athletics Championships! As I’m sure you can tell it was a MENTAL summer!

September was a pretty uneventful month. Oh wait WE GOT MARRIED!!!! I also got taken away to a surprise trip to Spain with Mum and Emma, and we had a home hen at Kildrummy Castle. Oh, and I also had my last race as a Moore where Kyle and I won the Crathes Half Marathon! Kyle also had his stag HOWEVER I’m told no pics allowed…. 😉 He also came 2nd at the Loch Ness Marathon just 1 week later!!!



October was spent Honeymooning in Bali! ‘Nuff said. We also created this new blog together!


November Kyle came runner up at the Aberdeen Sports Awards for his achievement at the World Championships!


And finally, December. We have started training properly again after wedding for our upcoming races in New Zealand in February (when we head to Fraki’s wedding!) and have caught up with friends and family for lots of festive fun (more on that later)!

I suppose you can say we had a pretty successful year 😉 We loved all the adventures we went on and are super proud of ourselves for our achievements being better than ever! Here’s to a HEALTHY, successful and happy 2018!! Let’s see what it can bring! ❤