Friday, September 23, 2016

In Which Jenn Has New Rides To Look Forward To

I'm a little sad, guys. All my potential trip buddies for my Wine & Dine trip in November fell out and I'm gonna be going to alone. That's okay, though! I'm gonna knock a day off my trip for financial reasons but otherwise it'll still be a fun time. I mean, when is WDW not a fun time? Never. Exactly.

Plus - and I was thinking about this the other day - I have two instances of something very special coming up in this trip. I don't know if we stop to think about it enough when this wonderful thing happens to us, because for us park-frequenters it happens rarely. I'm talking about riding a ride for the Very First Time.

Everything's new! The story, the music, the visuals. You don't know what's around each corner, when you may drop or change direction. It's like reading a book or watching a movie - for a truly wonderful attraction, nothing will be lost by repeat and repeat and repeat rides; indeed, the richness of Disney's environments lends itself to discovering new things all the time, even on the eleventh or 1,011th go-round.

But the first time only happens once, and we should savor it. (Insert obligatory virginity joke here; ahahahahaha okay contractual requirements fulfilled.) I'll have that opportunity twice on this trip, with the new Soarin' Around the World and Frozen rides. And yeah, I'll miss the smell of oranges and pine trees in the former, and yeah, I'm still kinda mad about the replacement of Maelstrom and agree with those who say Frozen doesn't belong in Epcot, but still. The Imagineers are a pretty crafty bunch. Maybe they'll win me over for all that.*

My very first time is when we all find out.


* Except for Avatar. DEATH TO AVATAR. Okay, okay, I'll give it a shot... BUT I WON'T LIKE IT.

What rides are you looking forward to that you haven't been on yet? Do you try to be extra in-the-moment when you ride something for the first time?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

In Which Jenn Recaps The Navy-Air Force Half Marathon

This was... fine.


(I kinda just wanted to use that video.)

Anyway! Right. The Navy-Air Force Half. This is another one of those races that would, theoretically, be crazy convenient for me, given its Metro accessibility. Unfortunately due to ongoing track work Metro refused to open early as is usual for the race. Sigh. Oh well. Luckily the organizers were distributing Lyft discount codes, so I scheduled myself a Lyft for between 5 and 5:10am.

My Lyft driver was quite prompt and very nice. Sadly, he wanted to chat. Not in a weird or creepy way; just a friendly guy who likes his job because of all the people he meets. But. Dude. It's not even 5:30 IN THE MORNING yet. Let's enjoy a comfortable silence, shall we? Yeesh.

We managed to sneak right up to the mall just before the closed the roads, so I was dropped off right next to the start line with a good hour or so to spare, just as I like it. I spent a leisurely if slightly chilly hour wandering around, eating my pre-race Swedish Fish, and using the bathroom a couple times. I actually managed to be the very first person in one of the porta potties, if you can imagine. I had to break the protective covering on the toilet paper and everything.

The race went off in two waves; I'm not sure if they made the split by time or randomly, but I was in the second wave. :( Ah well; only like five minutes separated us. I took a spot near the front of the corral behind blue fencing, which was walked forward by volunteers when it was our turn, much like runDisney corrals.

I crossed the start line feeling... fine. Okay. Not bad. But - boys, feel free to bow out now if you're squeamish, but know I'm judging you for not being man enough to understand a woman's reproductive system, ya pansy - I was enjoying the very end of my period, and my tampon seemed to be irritating me in a way that made it feel vaguely like I might need to pee. Since I had already peed like four times since I got up, I chalked it up to my body lying to me and spent the rest of the race ignoring it.

How can I describe this course? Well, I could tell you about the first half of the race along the Potomac. Or the next third of the race, an out in back in Rock Creek Park that is largely uphill during the out but blessedly more downhill during the back. Or I could tell you about the next mile or so again along the Potomac that gave me major Marine Corps Marathon deja vu; that tunnel is unmistakable. Or the last bit of the race, which ends just about exactly where the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler ends. But I think one word can sum it up: boring.

Sorry. I was bored. The course arguably excised the least exciting portions of the Marine Corps Marathon. Been there, done that. Repeatedly. At least the whole thing is flattish, although not as flat as I expected. I kept thinking "I should take a picture for the blog" but never did because meh. (Although I'm a little mad at myself for not taking a photo of the backside of the Lincoln Memorial just for the Jungle Cruise joke.)

Spectator populations were also down by comparison to MCM, although the ones who did show up were pretty solid. A large section were of course there to cheer on specific people, but there some rock solid cheer squads as well - I think there was a Run DC group or something like that, and at least one other. A couple water stations had some sign holders; "touch here for power" and all that jazz. Favorite sign of the race: "If Trump can run than so can you!" Fair enough.

Post-race was better than Cherry Blossom, at least, with water bottles and snack boxes distributed. Indeed, you needed a tab detached from your bib to collect your snacks, which ensured everyone got there share. Bananas were also available but there were no sports drinks. Or rather there may have been some, in cups, but...

Okay, let's talk about on-course hydration and fuel. It was provided by some company called Ucan. Their whole thing is providing energy WITHOUT sugar, and they offered two products during the race: a sports drinking and something distressingly referred to as "Superstarch." Both. Are. DISGUSTING. You can make the healthiest sports fuels in the world but if I can't choke 'em down on course they are no good to me. In particular the Superstarch reminded me of nothing more than drinking water mixed with sand. LET ME ROT MY INSIDES WITH POWERADE LIKE DISNEY DOES, DAMMIT. I'M RUNNING HERE.

All in all I knocked the whole thing out in 2:11:17. My PR in the half, achieved in the Parks Half last year, is 2:10:21, so you can see I was just so close. It was a little warm and very humid and I probably wasn't hydrating quite as much as I should, which didn't help me. Still, a decent showing, I think.

I don't usually share race photos because they tend to cost a bajillion dollars while making me look like the most unattractive creature ever to roam the earth, but I think this says more about me and running than this blog as over three years:

You want me. It's cool. No, don't be embarrassed.
I get it. We all do.

Yup.

And then I went home and sat on the couch and binge-watched the entirety of Hellevator for the rest of the day. The end.

Next up: The National Capital 20 Miler on Sunday. C'mon, redemption run!

P.S. Thank you... Florida.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 9/21

Whew! Survived my first race of the fall season and didn't even cry once. How's that for good beginnings? (Race recap to come, of course.)



This week: tapering for the National Capital 20 Miler. Last week: tapering for the aforementioned Navy-Air Force Half. Let's roll the tape:

Sunday | rest

Monday | ran 9.01 miles on the treadmill in 1:30
In retrospect I may have pushed this a little too hard for a taper. Thoughts?

Tuesday | walked 2.08 miles outside; 75 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 7.07 miles in 1:15
Realized about halfway through my run that I was wearing the wrong sneakers. These were the most recently retired. Oh well; one more gentle-ish run shouldn't hurt.

Thursday | walked 2.12 miles outside; 75 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 4.38 miles on the treadmill in 50 minutes

Saturday | rest
Walked a bunch, though - to the Metro and back for the NAF Half race expo, although said expo was pretty lackluster. Cramped and hardly any vendors. I did snag myself a hoodie, which is too large as it is designed for men but the women's version was much thinner and I ain't about a less fleece-y life.

So that's that. Roundup time!

- Back at Square Zero schools us all on post-race recovery.
- The Magic of Running knows how to boost running motivation.
- An Open Suitcase shares WDW's official rules.
- The Disney Tourist Blog shares some interesting Disney urban legends. I believed the tattoo one myself.
- easyWDW begins his comprehensive coverage of Epcot's Food & Wine Festival.
- Disney Dork Tom considers your WDW transportation options.
- The Disney Hipsters drink WDW beverages both sacred and profane.
- Mouse on the Mind gets room service on the Disney Dream.
- This Fairytale Life has all the details on Disney's latest mobile game.
- Living A Disney Life makes a super-cute WDW countdown calendar.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Happy Friday: The Average Piece Of Junk

I recently showed Pat Ratatouille for the first time after he expressed an interest in seeing it. I remembered liking it at the time but it did not rank among my favorite Pixar films. I still wouldn't rate it higher than Wall-E or Up, but upon my recent re-watch I think it may be just the sleeper to challenge Finding Nemo. The laughs aren't as big, no. Yet to my mind, no single moment in Nemo can match Anton Ego's final speech.


A great artist can come from anywhere, indeed.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

In Which Jenn Is Ready To Kick Butt This Race Season

Here's an interesting idea: I think I may be in a position to crush my race season this year.


Okay, maybe crush is too strong. Squash? Cause to buckle? Apply a lot of pressure to? Anyway, I think I'm the best position I've been since my running career began.

I made my summer productive; I got my training in. I hear the Navy-Air Force Half is pretty flat, and after my reasonably good performance in the ZOOMA Annapolis Half O' Hills I almost wonder - is a PR afoot?

And no more lackluster 14 miler to lead into my 20 mile run a la last year! Nope, this time I smoked a 17 miler and am ready to kill this year's National Capital 20 Miler.

That of course leads directly into my performance at the Marine Corps Marathon. The Wine & Dine Half Marathon, with its mere one week of buffer time between, does raise some potential complications, but by that point I'm cruising through a runDisney race and who cares how fast I am, right?

I gotta be careful though. Can't get cocky. Can't get injured. Can't overextend in one race only to blow another. And above all: I cannot sleep through my alarm.

The Navy-Air Force Half is this Sunday, everybody. Wish me luck!

P.S. I AM KNOCKING ON ALL THE WOOD RIGHT NOW.

How are you feeling about your race season?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Jenn Guide To Running On The Beach

Newsflash, everybody: running on the beach is hard.

I was cavalier, going in. I hear running on the beach is hardER, I thought to myself, but I'm a marathoner - how bad can it be?

WELL.

Let's back up a moment. I never planned to run on the beach, for a multitude of reasons that will be discussed here. Unfortunately my time in the Outer Banks came right after a large-ish storm blew through, leaving VERY SERIOUS PUDDLES in its wake, which didn't dissipate until the very last day.

VERY SERIOUS PUDDLES.

Here's the road our house was on.

Clearly I was not going to run on the road unless I wanted to start working on post-swim triathlon transitions. But I was bound and determined to run that week. This left only one option: the beach itself.

I wound up running about two miles four times over the course of the week. It was an experience. I have thoughts. (Although please remember these are the thoughts of an amateur, not a professional trainer!)

THOUGHT: Do NOT plan a long run on the beach if you're not used to it. Running on the sand is tough and engages your body in ways it may not be used to. I know there are people out there who run miles and miles and miles along the coast but I'm pretty sure they had to work their way up to it, y'know? I never felt spent at the end of my runs, but I was tired in new and exciting ways. Speaking of which...

THOUGHT: Do NOT, repeat, do NOT try to run on dry sand. Unless you really relish the ground giving way beneath you. It's not impossible, but it's REALLY REALLY HARD and will make you miserable and maybe even cause you to roll an ankle or something. Or maybe that's just me. Anyway, I found my best bet to be sand that had recently been wet by some of your farther-reaching waves.

THOUGHT: Try to find the flattish stretch of beach possible. The steep inclines common to the shore play unfortunate merry hell on your joints. My skeleton didn't love it when one foot made impact at a higher altitude than the other. That being said, and given that it's hard to avoid some incline, try to work in a halfway turnaround point so that both sides of your body are worked evenly.

THOUGHT: Listen to your body. This is always the case, and as runners we love to ignore it, but this time try to really do it. You're putting yourself through a brand new variation of the same activity which means you mostly know what you're doing but not entirely. The tendency is to be overconfident but fight against that. Be careful. If you feel pain or severe discomfort during your run, stop and walk home. If you feel sore or tight the morning after, take a day off. I know it goes against the proverbial grain but try to do it.

THOUGHT: Sometime a wave might catch you and you'll end up with soaked feet. It's cool; keep going. You're only doing a couple miles, right? When you get back, though, make sure you rinse those bad boys off or you'll wind up with socks o' sand next time you put them on. And give them plenty of time to dry before your next run, for obvious reasons.

THOUGHT: Ocean breezes make a short summer afternoon run actually viable. Depending. Check the weather first.

THOUGHT: WATCH OUT FOR FISHING LINES. And dogs and children and crabs and sand castles and big holes and sharks and the kraken. But mostly the fishing lines.

THOUGHT: Okay. I'll admit it's scenic.



Have you run on the beach? How did you fare?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 9/13

DAMMIT. I had a whole post set up to go out last week explaining that I was in the Outer Banks this week but don't worry, I was DEFINITELY going to run and I'd see you all next week etc. etc. But I forgot that in addition to scheduling a post, you have to hit publish, even though you're not publishing right exactly then, the point of this whole paragraph being: you were supposed to get an explanatory post last week but you didn't because I'm an idiot.

Anyway, here's a picture of the Outer Banks.


Nice, right? You may remember it as the site of Runs That Were Not Great and Runs That Did Not Happen At All. But this time it was the site of not only Many Runs but Runs on the Beach. As you might imagine, I have a LOT to say about that, maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, know I ran two miles FOUR times. On vacation. WINNER!

That takes care of last week. Therefore, in this week's review we will hearken back to the exercise I got the week before last.

Sunday, August 28 | rest

Monday, August 29 | 13.33 miles on the treadmill in 2:15
I can no longer remember why I did this. Tapering for my upcoming 20 miler, I guess.

Tuesday, August 30 | walked 2.1 miles outside in 35 minutes

Wednesday, August 31 | 10.07 miles outside in 1:50; 65 minute ballet class
Pickup ballet class before the start of the new semester. I prefer to stagger my running and dancing where possible, but as I would miss the first week of class in favor of the beach I wanted to get some ballet in there while I could.

Thursday, September 1 | walked 2.07 miles outside in 35 minutes

Friday, September 2 | run 4.52 miles in 45 minutes

Saturday, September 3 | rest

And now for the roundup:

- The Magic of Running talks hydration and replenishment.
- For you multitaskers, Elbowglitter recommends triathlon gear.
- Fairytales & Fitness attends pet safety class. Especially important if you run with your dog!
- Parkeology reveals the truth about Epcot's favorite villain, Stupid Judy.
- easyWDW checks out the Shanghai Disneyland exhibit in Epcot's China.
- This Fairytale Life puts together a week of cute Disney park outfits.
- The Disney Hipsters show off their Last Photos in the Animal Kingdom.
- The Disney Tourist Blog tells it like it is re: living near a Disney park.
- Main Street Gazette is up on ToT/TZ trivia.
- Disney In Your Day knows how to force everyone around you to talk about Disney with you. (Maybe the forcing bit is specific to me...)

Let's never leave each other suddenly again, guys.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!