Thursday, August 17, 2017

In Which Jenn Selects New Running Shoes (Small Giveaway!)

Hey, remember that time I went to Road Runner Sports for a shoe fitting and walked out of the store with the Nike Vomero 10? And remember how I wasn't sure it was the right shoe for me after awhile? And then remember how I ended up loving it and using it anyway?

And then remember how Nike ruined everything by changing the Vomero 11 so much that it didn't feel like my shoe anymore? :( :( :(

When your favorite running shoe betrays you, there is only one cure: a new fitting. In that spirit, I used my half-day off last week to head back to that same Road Runner Sports for a new go-round with their Shoe Dog fitting system.

The Shoe Dog process starts with a fitter asking you some questions about your goals, mileage, injuries, etc., and measures you feet. After that you run on a treadmill while a video records your steps (one thing that was different - last time they had me do it barefoot, whereas this time they put me in some neutral, basic sneakers).

A weird thing happened: after watching the video, my fitter declared that I had mildly flexible ankles and needed a support shoe. Last time my fitter declared that while I had some very slight flexibility in one ankle I was definitely neutral and he would never put me in a support shoe. So shoe fitting is not an exact science, I guess...

Anyway, with my new diagnosis in hand I headed over to the try-on area, where some employees brought me a bunch of shoes to try. There were several treadmills available, and I was left to pop a pair on and give a bit of running a try largely unsupervised (it was pretty busy and I guess I looked like I knew what I was doing?).

First up were some New Balances; I'm not sure what model as I couldn't seem to locate that info on the box. Not that it mattered because the second I hit the treadmill I haaaaaaated them - they were so loud and clunky and stompy! I felt like a Clydesdale and not in a good, majestic way. Just a loud, clunky, stompy way. Instant pass.

Next I tried some Asics Gel Kayanos. I liked these well enough and found the gel interesting underneath my toes, so I stuck them in the maybe pile. One annoying thing, though: there was a tag attached to the laces, something informational about the gel, I think, and I was constantly afraid I would trip on it as I ran. Knock that off, Asics!

I also took shots at the Brooks Adrenaline and Adidas Boost Supernova, but neither of them really registered with me. I didn't feel blind hatred a la the New Balances - I even gave the Adrenaline a second chance - but they both ultimately went into the no pile.

One thing I remember distinctly when selecting the Nike Zoom Vomero 10s was the beautiful fit. I specifically recall pulling them onto my feet and feeling Cinderella-esque comfort. I hadn't been brought any Nikes, but I wanted to know if they could pull it off again.

I was initially brought a pair of Nike Odysseys, and they looked like the winner for awhile - essentially the structured version of the Vomero. But there was something slightly off. The fit wasn't flawless; I felt my foot inside the shoe, if that makes any sense. I had accepted this in shoe fittings in the past, but after my transcendent Vomero 10 experience I was reluctant to do so again.

So I requested any other structured Nikes with medium-high cushioning they had - and when I slipped on the Lunarglides, I knew I'd found the one. It was that same incredible feeling of the shoe kind of... existing around my foot, you know? Bonus: they were $30 cheaper than the Odysseys and super cute. Score!

Did I make the right call? That remains to be seen. I learned from the Vomeros that sometimes you have to give your body time to adjust to change (I'm a slow learner). I've taken the Lunarglides on a couple runs now, and so far so good. Further updates as events warrant!

Mini-contest of sorts! My receipt came with a one-time-use $20 off coupon to Road Runner for a friend. Should work online, not just in store. (Sadly it's for new customers only.) I'd be happy to give this away to anyone that wants it. If that includes you, reply to this post by noon Monday. If only one person replies, great! It's yours. If multiple people want it, I'll assign numbers and randomly pick a winner. And if no one responds by the deadline, the first person to ask for it gets it regardless of time lapse so long as the coupon hasn't expired (September 30). Good luck!

Cannot be used on Nike's latest release, the Ruffian (runs large).

When was the last time you had a sneaker fitting? What criteria do you use to make your selections?

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!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 8/15

As of Friday, I am an innovator. Let's look at the logs:

Sunday | ran 12.11 miles on the treadmill in 2:00
My first experience at Planet Fitness! I'll be doing a full review at some point in the next couple weeks; needless to say it was a touching treadmill reunion.

Monday | walked 2.19 miles in 40 minutes; 50 minute Horton jazz dance class
It was raining, but no worries - I brought my amazing bubble umbrella. Unfortunately, I discovered that it is extremely difficult to keep up a brisk walking pace when your feet are slip-sliding around in wet rubber flip flops.

Tuesday | ran 5.64 miles outside in 60 minutes

Wednesday | ran 5.63 miles outside in 60 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.15 miles in 35 minutes; 80 minute ballet class
My ballet teacher played Broadway music for our exercises for some reason and it was the BEST CLASS EVER. Judy Garland and Gene Kelly and everything!

This is what I see when I close my eyes to sleep.

Friday | ran 5.14 miles on the treadmill in 50 minutes
Back to Planet Fitness and the glorious treadmill for a speed run in brand new sneakers! More on my sneaker fitting later this week.

Now for my innovation: I discovered after my post-workout shower that despite my otherwise impeccable packing job, I had thoroughly failed to stash myself any kind of bottoms - no shorts, no pants, no skirt. Nothin.' The most obvious answer would be to put my running pants back on, but I was clean and they were all sweaty and gross. Nooo thank you.

Yes, I was suffering from a lack of pants, but what I did have was the extra t-shirt I brought to dry my hair. I can't remember if it was a medium or a large, but whatever the case, I managed to shimmy the collar over my shoulders and down around my waist, where it sat very comfortably. I tucked in the sleeves, pulled my (mercifully long) regular, torso-covering shirt down over it, and BAM: I was wearing a skirt. And no underwear, but whatevs. Problem solved!

I'd hate to be the one to have to follow that magnificent story. Which brings me to the roundup.

- Tragedy has wrung the tears out of the Disney blogosphere as both Universe of Energy and The Great Movie Ride are closed for good as of today. The Disney Tourist Blog, The Disney Hipsters, futureprobe, and Disney Travel Babble all join me in mourning the sad goodbye to Ellen and Bill Nye...
- ... and The Disney Tourist Blog (twofer!), Zannaland, Parkeology, and Rolling with the Magic wave fond farewell to The Great Movie Ride.
- easyWDW tries out the latest iteration of the IllumiNations dessert party, an experience we can be reasonably sure will never go away so long as Disney finds us willing to lay down large sums of money for unlimited cupcakes.

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!

Monday, August 14, 2017

In Which Jenn Notes Something Odd About "Jolly Holiday"

A truly great animated film transcends age, appealing to audiences of all ages. Of course, sometimes there are jokes aimed squarely adults that fly merrily over the kids' heads, often sexual, political, or otherwise sly. When we go back and re-view the films of our childhoods, it's not uncommon to have a couple OHHHHH moments.


Here's my favorite: in Mary Poppins, there's an entire verse of the "Jolly Holiday" song dedicated to the fact that unlike many men, you can totally trust Bert not to rape you.

Let's break it down.

Mary Poppins sings:

Oh, it's a jolly holiday with you, Bert
Gentlemen like you are few [BERT: A vanishing breed, that's me]
Though you're just a diamond in the rough, Bert
Underneath your blood is blue [BERT: Common knowledge!]

Okay, MPopps, with you so far: you're saying Bert is a blue collar worker with a genteel soul. Do go on.

You'd never think of pressing your advantage
Forbearance is the hallmark of your creed [BERT: True]

So, like, Bert's #1 rule is not to hit on girls? Okay, that's fair. What else?

A lady needn't fear when you are near
Your sweet gentility is crystal clear

A lady needn't fear? And this is a vanishing breed? What the hell are the men in Edwardian England like?

It's cool though, ladies; you can be sure Bert won't sexually assault you. What a guy.

(Actually, I know why they did this - P.L. Travers insisted that there be no sexual or romantic tension between Mary Poppins and Bert,* and I guess this verse was drawing the explicit line. But geez, guys. Subtle much?)

* Julie Andrews is on record as saying that she hopes the two got together all the same. Also she assures us that Mary Poppins both uses the bathroom and has orgasms. God, I love her.

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!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

In Which Jenn Has A Favorite Pre-runDisney Meal

I have a runDisney suggestion for you. It's not that exciting. You are not going to be jazzed about it. But you have to trust me.

Articles abound about the best place to carb-load pre-runDisney race. Pasta places and pizza places are the favorites - Via Napoli, Tony's, restaurants with flatbreads and noodle dishes. If you don't want to have a sit-down meal, a lot of resorts have make-your-own-pasta stations.

Well, sit-down restaurants can be expensive and time-consuming. It may be tough to get the ADR you want. And I can tell you from experience that the lines for those resort pasta stations the night before a race are loooooong.

I would like to offer a different solution. It is multi-pronged. It is available at just about every resort. It is about as cheap as Disney gets. It is: The Pasta Kid's Meal.

Clocking in at the time of this writing around $6, the pasta kid's meal nets you a bowl of pasta with the sauce of your choice (and sometimes a meatball if you want one and your resort offers that option, as I find only some do), two sides, and a small drink. Some CMs will even throw in a breadstick for free, although some count this as a side.

I am not going to lie to you. This pasta with sauce is, to be frank, not delicious. It's extremely bland. It's kids' food; it's designed to be bland. I'm not talking about a taste sensation here. I'm talking food that will carb you up good WITHOUT MESSING WITH YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. Very important, that last bit. And the kid-size bowl is built in portion-control; no risk of overeating pre-race.

But that's not the only advantage of this meal. It multi-tasks! Your $6 meal comes with a small drink. Choose the mini bottle of water. Buy an additional bottle of PowerAde for tonight and drink that mini bottle in the morning before your race.

You also earn two sides. These could be grapes or apples or carrots or cookies, depending on location. I always get two cookies. I eat one with my pasta and save the other for first thing in the morning while prepping for the race. It's delicious and small enough that even when I'm not hungry yet, I don't have trouble downing it, thus sending me into the race with a shot of carbs and sugar. Energy ahoy!

Am I describing an amazing meal? God, no. But I've used this strategy three races in a row and felt great for all three of 'em - energized and sated without feeling heavy. Give it a try!

What's your favorite pre-runDisney meal?

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, August 9, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 8/09

Man, I am a dedicated runner. Skip to Saturday of this week's training log to plunge into the depths of my devotion.

Sunday | ran 10.27 miles outside in 1:50

Monday | walked 2.15 miles outside; 50 minute Horton jazz dance class

Tuesday | ran 5.58 miles outside in 60 minutes

Wednesday | walked 2.06 miles outside in 35 minutes

Thursday | ran 5.57 miles outside in 60 minutes

Friday | ran 5.56 miles outside in 60 minutes

Saturday | rest, although I walked a lot
Okay, here's where I prove that I am a Serious Runner. I attended a bachelorette party on Saturday. Naturally this involved a fair amount of alcohol, and I did not abstain. BUT. I knew I wanted to go for a long run the next day. I managed to stop drinking early and start hydrating instead; I pounded water, skipped the 3am pizza, and chose a carb- and protein-rich breakfast the next morning. In fact, I did such a spectacular job of pacing myself and listening to my body that you could argue I didn't properly enter into the spirit of the thing...

ALSO. This isn't related but I have to share in case anyone can relate to the struggle and the incredible rarity of triumph: I was meeting the rest of the party in Georgetown and they were late, so I killed some time with a bit of browsing at Zara. Where I found JEANS... that LOOK GOOD... that at the same time ARE COMFORTABLE... ON SALE. So basically I've used up my miracle for the year.

In Disney news, Be Our Guest breakfast ADRs are a tough get. I have an 8am reservation for the designated morning in my back pocket but I'd really prefer something later and weeks of trying have come up empty. There're still many months to try but damn.

Anyway, roundup:

- Elbowglitter avoids training injuries.
- WDW for Grownups reiterations the important of running fuel and hydration.
- easyWDW reviews the new refurbished rooms at Pop Century and WOW.
- A Pinch of Pixie Dust reviews those adorable Frozen cupcakes from Kringla Bakery.
- Living A Disney Life warns everyone off the Peoplemover. (MINE!!)
- The Disney Tourist Blog considers the implications of all the construction going on at WDW.
- Disney In Your Day puts together a WDW girls trip.
- You know Disney Travel Babble will give you an honest review of Disneyland's new MaxPass thing.
- Parkeology offers a survival guide for the inevitable closing of attractions. (All attractions must die.)
- The Main Street Gazette daydreams a new life for River Country.

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!

Monday, August 7, 2017

In Which Jenn & Pat Are Done With Port Orleans Riverside

The trip report proper is over, but we're not done yet - I've still got lots of thoughts, including food reviews and photos! You can see all the posts in this report here. Onward!

Pat and I have now stayed at Port Orleans Riverside twice. We are unlikely to do so again.

Oh, I'm being histrionic - but the gist is accurate. Having considered our experience at POR and compared it to alternatives, we have come to the conclusion that it is not the resort for us. Indeed, almost all moderates are not good fits. (Click here to find out how we decided to stay at POR in the first place.)

The primary reason is the bus situation. There is, of course, the issue of multiple bus stops, which we don't love, but that's not the main issue. The biggest problem is the crowding. As far as we can tell, 50% of everyone at WDW is staying at POR at any given time, and 30% of them are waiting for a bus.

Histrionics again. But seriously, this resort holds a lot of people. At one point a bus driver used the intercom to make this precise point to us, urging us to linger in the Magic Kingdom after closing time to avoid massive bus lines. And we did find massive bus lines, at pretty much all times of day.

So there's that. On a related note, there's the food court. This is also crowded - duh. They generally are. But as I noted in my food review, POR seems to handle the crowds poorly. Unlike, say, Pop, where corrals and clearly marked and separated bays keep lines in place, POR's food court is a badly organized free-for-all.

One nice perk often noted about POR is the on-site table service restaurant, Boatwright's. But having dined there twice now, we find it to be mediocre at best. We would just as soon hightail it over to Disney Springs and go restaurant hopping if we want to eat outside the parks.

Just okay - although points for the cornbread.

These are all nitpicks, mostly, not vacation ruining problems. We had a lovely time at POR, but considering that it cost us almost twice as much to stay there over a room at a value resort, we find the upgrades don't warrant the cost increase. I understand that Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs are similarly sized and crowded (I'll - sigh - find out soon enough). The only possible exception is Port Orleans French Quarter, which, with its small size and single bus stop, would eliminate a lot of the above annoyances.

But I find it far more likely than on our next trip we will swing one of two ways: be cheap and stay at Pop, or go all out and splurge on the Polynesian, which Pat unexpectedly fell in love with on our visit to Trader Sam's (sorry, Contemporary, you've been demoted to #2 on his favorites list).

This ends my April 2017 trip coverage. Boo. (Nothing like finishing on a negative note.) Thanks to all for reading - I always enjoy dissecting my WDW trips! Guess it's time to start pestering Pat to go again...

Have you stayed at POR? What do you think of moderate resorts? Are they worth it to you?

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!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Happy Friday: Mulan's Surprisingly Into Herself

I think the point of this post is supposed to be that Mulan can be unexpectedly narcissistic, or Disney fans are really good at lyrical crossovers, or something? But my only immediate takeaway was that there is a Mulan character breakfast somewhere out there and I need to find out where immediately.

(Turns out she's part of the new Trattoria al Forno bon voyage breakfast or whatever it's called, which, meh. But I'll keep it in mind.)

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!