Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In Which Jenn Unscrambles Disney Trivia

I got an amazing text from Elizabeth a couple weeks ago.

In case you can't see the image, here's the gist: Elizabeth's trivia team was the only one to correctly answer a Disney-themed bonus round answer. It was an anagram that contained the name of the Disney movie AND the name of a character in that movie.

Obviously I immediately demanded that she tell me the clue, just as I'm sure you, too, are screaming that at your screen. Far be it for me to deny you. Behold!


Go ahead, think about it. I'll wait. (Don't look at the keywords; that's cheating!)




No pressure, but Elizabeth said I got it even faster than she did.




Ready for the answer? Well, GET ready, because here it is:


And that, children, is yet another example of how encyclopedic Disney knowledge can win the day.

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

In Which Jenn Selects Her Favorite WDW Bars

My cousin's wife, by some great fortune, is a Disney parks nut. Whenever I hang out with my dad's side of the family, we inevitably end up talking shop. That's awesome. What's less awesome: my cousin himself is not that into it.

Oh, he goes on the trips, of course, but while his wife and I are chatting about which resort they're staying at and FastPass+ strategy, he's in the background, grumbling. "All I'm saying," is his refrain, "is if I didn't have kids, it's not the vacation I would choose."

Fine. Not everything is for everyone. I have a mental strategy to handle anti-Disney rhetoric. But there are clues in his grousing that explain why he might not be having the best time.

"It's expensive," is a common theme. Which, well, yeah. Disney vacations are indeed expensive. They at least take a shot at making you enjoy the wallet raid, though. The goal is "Man, Disney took all the money I have, and I loved it!" That addendum is a very important part of the experience.

Not to say you can't have fun at Disney on the cheap, but I think my cousin's taking things a little to far. "I'm bringing my own beer," he declared of their next WDW outing. "I'll have a couple six packs of Miller Lite in the fridge. I'm not paying $11 for a beer!"

Which, okay, fair enough. WDW prices are no doubt inflated. But I think this is entirely the wrong attitude to take. I understand not wanting to pay that much for a drink, but now you're drinking regular beer... of the same type you always drink at home... in your resort room... out of a mini fridge? Dude. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY INTRICATELY THEMED AND DESIGNED BARS FULL OF DELICIOUSLY UNIQUE LIBATIONS YOU ARE SQUANDERING???

Sorry; got a little excited there. To each their own. It was all I could do to bite my tongue and say that followed immediately by a long string of restaurant, bar, and beer recommendations. But it did get me thinking: if someone were to ask me to recommend the best bar in each park, what would I tell them?

The Magic Kingdom
This one is easy: the answer is no. I don't care if they've added alcohol to some of the restaurants; restaurants are not the same as bars, and from what I hear the selection isn't very good anyway. The only real option here is to hop the resort monorail. The question is: to where?

Initially I intended to pick one bar per park, but I'm going to immediately break my own rule here because I think it depends on what you're looking for. Craft brews and wines? Get off at the Contemporary and march yourself right into The Wave. Likewise, if it's nighttime and you think you can wheedle your way in, I'd try for a coveted spot in the lounge area of California Grill for some fireworks watching. And if cocktails are your jam, Trader Sam's at the Polynesian is a must. I think the latter is my pick given no other criteria.

... Oh, shoot. The World Showcase has so many options... can I cheat again? No? Okay. I'm going to say La Cava del Tequila is my bar recommendation here, because the inside of the Mexico pavilion is absolutely enchanting and I dig margaritas. But know that Tutto Gusto wine bar in Italy is a solid second choice.

Disney's Animal Kingdom
Nomad Lounge, hands down. Delicious drinks, nifty atmosphere. It juuust edges out Dawa Bar because their specialty cocktails are premixed, but they do have Burudika and other entertainment, so I wouldn't blame you if you went there instead.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
THE BROWN DERBY LOUNGE. THE BROWN DERBY LOUNGE. THE BROWN DERBY LOUNGE. Great drinks, great food, great location. Unless it rains. Then, uh... good luck, kids.

What are you favorite WDW bars? Do you think I'm being too hard on my cousin? Or do you think I should smuggle a Hightower Rocks back from Nomad so he can better understand his mistake?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 10/11

As I mentioned yesterday, I developed a minor injury last week that's put a serious cramp in my training style. I'm tapering for the Baltimore Marathon anyway, but I've had to skip more runs than I'd like all the same. Still, if it takes not running at all to not have a miserable marathon, then that's what I'll do.

Training log, go:

Sunday | ran 7.26 miles outside in 1:15
This is where the trouble started. Nothing actually happened; just all the sudden the side of my knee started bothering me. So naturally I...

Monday | ran 5.51 miles outside in 60 minutes
I know. I KNOW. Such a bad idea. If I could take it back I would. But I hadn't yet accepted the reality of my situation, which is why I had to enlist Pat's help.

Tuesday | walked 2.61 miles outside in 40 minutes; 60 minute ballet class
Sat out on the jumps in ballet this week. At least I'm THAT smart.

Wednesday | 35 minutes of arm and ab work
And no morning run. :(

Thursday | walked 2.46 miles in outside in 40 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Friday | 35 minutes of arm and ab work
I was gonna shoot for 45 minutes this time, but Pat texted me about 25 minutes in and asked if I wanted to meet him at the bar so, yeah.

Saturday | rest

It was otherwise a fun, (run)Disney-fied week in some ways - which you already know if you follow me on Twitter. Otherwise, you'll just have a to wait a bit to find out what's up!

Roundup, you're up.

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In Which Jenn Doesn't Hurt Herself Worse For Once

During my run last week I experienced some mild knee discomfort, on the side. Just a sort of stiffness, really. It mostly subsided afterward, so like an idiot I just taped it up and ran again the next day. Thankfully this didn't create a firestorm of pain, but the twinginess definitely did not subside.

And so, when my next scheduled run rolled around, I was forced to make a tough decision: do I run or do I take... God forbid... an UNSCHEDULED REST DAY???

Pros: I have a marathon coming up and I don't want to turn a minor issue into a major one. 

Cons: I have a marathon coming up! Loss of fitness! Monthly mileage goals!!! Calories burned!!!!!! THE PLAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't know if you, too, suffer from dreadful guilt over a run not taken, even with justifiable cause. Maybe I am the sole crazy one in this world (probable). But if you also suffer from irrational exercise compulsions, perhaps you can benefit from my solution, which was this:

I found Pat. Pat used to be a competitive gymnast. He has broken every bone and torn every ligament in his body, basically. He knows a thing or two about healing and recovery. I explained my why I was considering a rest day against my own will, and he said,

"DON'T RUN. Ligaments take forever to heal. If you make it worse you could have a serious injury on your hands."

"So I'm making the right decision?" I responded hopefully.

"You are making the right decision," was his emphatic reply. And I didn't run for a week.

Next time you think you might need a rest day but can't seem to pull the trigger, go find a cooler, wiser head to make the decision for you. Sometimes it takes a little outside perspective, you know?

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Happy Friday: A Resting-Free Philosophy

"What's a fermata?"

"I don't know. What's a fermata with you?"

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 10/04

Ah, yes. Back to normal. More or less. (I wish it was less. Beach, I miss you!)

Pictured: the beach I miss.

Sunday | rest
Gearing up for...

Monday | ran 20.16 miles on the treadmill in 3:25
No, it wasn't that bad, I swear. But it wasn't, like, good. What is it that makes a 20 mile training run so much more painful than the actual marathon?

Tuesday | 70 minute ballet class
I had planned to walk, too, but wound up stuck at Mount Vernon for a business meeting. Because that's how your life goes sometimes when in you're in the arts industry in the DC area.

Wednesday | ran 5.51 miles outside in 60 minutes
This was not as bad as I feared it might be but I was definitely still a bit sore from Monday.

Thursday | walked 3.12 miles outside in 50 minutes
No ballet this day because I instead drove up to Ocean City to meet Pat and his family for an extra beach day! Hooray!

Friday | ran 5.08 miles outside in 50 minutes
As always, the boardwalk is a magical place.

Now for a little WDW vacation planning chat. Namely, let's talk about how I am dumb.

I got the email that my FastPass+ window had opened on Sunday, but I was busy so I didn't jump on it right away. This is generally fine - my mom's not a thrill ride person - BUT it meant that OF COURSE by the time I got around to it (like, less than 48 hours later) all the Flight of Passage FPs were gone. Blast. Forgot about that one.

Oh well. It'll be fine; we'll just kick it in standby early in the morning or late at night. I hear the queue's pretty impressive anyway.

And now for some people who know what they're doing. Roundup!

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, October 2, 2017

In Which Jenn Runs 20 Miles Thanks To Jeopardy

I didn't have to do it.

There were a million reasons not to. I had the remains of a splinter in my heel. I suspected I might be fighting off a very very low level cold. I'd already run a 17 miler, and that's been enough marathon prep in the past, right?

But it was on the schedule, so I did it: my 20 mile training run.

Normally I knock out my good-marathon-prep-mandatory 20 miler during the National Capital 20 Miler. This is a race put on by a local running club in bare bones fashion; no medals, few spectators, just a bib and an out and back course. BUT. There is course support! Snacks and drinks I don't have to carry FTW!

Unfortunately, this year's race was the same morning I would just be leaving the Outer Banks, so I had to skip. That left me to tackle the dreaded distance alone. And sure, I could've done it outside, but then I would've had to worry about on course supplies and bathroom breaks and water and weather and... forget it. I'd done 20 on a treadmill before and I could do it again.

I can feel 99% of you clenching your pork butts at the mere thought. I hear you! Long distances on the treadmill can blow in a lot of ways. But sometimes they're necessary, and to that end, I figured I'd walk you through mine to see how I cope (for more tips on long runs on the treadmill, click here).

First, supplies. I picked up Swedish Fish and a peanut butter packet for fuel, plus I have a big 32 oz water bottle that I refilled at one point (yet one advantage of the gym setting).

Next, physical prep. I slapped some KT Tape on the hip and knee that have been known to give me trouble. I also hit my chafe points with some Vaseline to prevent discomfort on that front.

Most importantly, entertainment. I think that's where a lot of treadmill-haters get tripped up. Something about the lack of scenery changing makes you all antsy. That's where audio comes in! Fire up your playlist, by all means - but it's important to have a plan. The same old tracks may not cut it when the boring chips are down, so make sure you have a stash you know will excite you.

I highly recommend something with a long through line, such as a full album you love or is new to you, a movie or musical soundtrack, etc. For this occasion I decided to re-listen to the entire Hamilton soundtrack, which I have only done once before (normally I pick and choose favorites). This slammed me through almost 2.5 hours of running time! I have also successfully used Disney park show soundtracks, like Festival of the Lion King.

When the going gets rough, though, music alone may not be enough. I know some people like to watch TV on the treadmill, and that can be a good distraction - but this time around I stumbled upon a surprising distraction solution. Please try this: watch Jeopardy.

I didn't plan this. I just glanced up at one of the gym's many, many TV monitors and there it was. So I started to watch, and get involved with answering (questioning?), and when I next glanced down I realized 5 solid minutes of treadmill time had passed without me noticing it despite being on, I don't know, mile 14 at the time. And so for the next half hour I focused on Jeopardy questions as hard as I could and wouldn't you know, it worked.

So my advice to you is now this: consider intellectual game shows for your long run treadmill needs! Jeopardy! Cash Cab! Reruns of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego!

No, but like, seriously. WHERE?

I know the treadmill is not for everyone, but I hope these tips will help make your next indoor long run more bearable. Next stop: The Baltimore Marathon!

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!