Tuesday, September 22, 2020

In Which Jenn Mourns More Lost runDisney Races

Annnnnnnnnnd there it is.

I was just about to sit down and type up a cute little post about my latest Disney dress, but NO - the universe had to go ahead and hit me where it hurts.

As you are more than likely aware, both Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend are cancelled. To quote myself expressing my feelings on the matter:

Blarg. Blarg, I say!!!

I know, I know. It's not the end of the world. But boy am I bummed all the same. The WDW Marathon is my favorite day of the ENTIRE YEAR. Hell, I would cite the 2018 version as the happiest day of my life so far. Losing it is a blow to my life force.

Ah, well. If they feel they have to cancel, that's how it is. I'm sure runDisney did not make the decision lightly or happily. I am a little surprised they took out Princess at the same time, but I suppose the two races are indeed quite close together. I suppose it's gonna save me some money, anyway.

Which is to say: I will definitely be requesting a refund. A) The prices for the virtual versions remain the same and that's just exorbitant and B) I'm just not much of a virtual race girl. I value medals as physical reminders of a beloved experience, but medals for the sake of medals don't do much for me. If they do for you, good! You find joy in many things and are doubtless an overall happier person than I am. But a virtual version isn't gonna fly for me.

The only question in my mind at present is what to do as regards the WDW trips I had planned around those races. Should I go anyway? My first instinct is to say no - I'd rather reallocate those funds to trips that do include races. 

But on the other hand, I kept my Annual Pass because of those trips. If I don't go on them, the pass's value is significantly diminished. I could call Disney and see if they'd let me cancel my pass now even though the deadline is passed on the strength of this setback, but I doubt it'd get me that far.

Both of those trips also involve people who were suppose to share my room, so I'll have to talk it over with them too.

Things to ponder.

Thank God I opted for my 2020 runDisney race registration strategy. I'm still holding out hope for Rivals weekend - and I'll be ALL OVER Wine & Dine registration when it opens.

2020 really is the worst.

Are you also bummed? Or are you bummed too, also?

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

In Which Jenn PRs In The 10K Thanks To Southwest Airlines

Okay, I know we JUST did a post about a training run of mine and I generally try to mix it up, but I had the BEST run on Sunday - all thanks to Southwest Airlines. Naturally I simply must tell you about it.

So here's what happened: I was going to get up at 8am and run that week's Rock 'n Roll virtual 10k. However, a notification popped up on my phone as I was setting my alarm: I needed to check in for my flight home to Puerto Rico at 8:55am on the dot. (For those not familiar with Southwest's seating policies, it's first-come first-served, with boarding groups and numbers assigned by how early you check in.)

Not wanting to stop in the middle of my run to accomplish this, I got up half an hour earlier. But as I finished dressing, hydrating, etc., I realized I would still going to need to push myself a bit if I wanted to make my time cutoff.

So I did. Rather than attempt to curtail my early-run instinct to pick up the pace, I let myself go kinda fast. And then... I continued to let myself go fast. Not sprinting, but a good clip. No reining it in or pulling it back in an effort to keep the entire thing comfortable. Hell, by the last mile I was decidedly NOT comfortable, but I also wasn't incapable. I kept the pace and my final mile was in fact my fastest.

You know what else was my fastest? This 10k! By a full minute! During training! Not a race! I have NEVER done that! I'm STILL pleased with myself!

I have to give a shout out to the excellent running weather that morning in Maryland, where I enjoyed upper 60s temperatures the likes of which Puerto Rico may well have never seen. And an extra thank you to the parking lot of the tech school behind the house, which has only one slight incline and is otherwise an ideal running circuit.

Now I am back in Puerto Rico, where it's hot and humid and running fast can be a challenge. But I'll give it a go sometimes anyway. As the professionals like to tell us, to run faster you've just got to... run faster. Pam was right all along!

P.S. A27 and A28. Boom!

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Monday, September 7, 2020

In Which Jenn Runs In OBX

Hello from OBX! Yesterday morning I completed my first long run outside of Puerto Rico in literal months and my God, did you know that in North Carolina it gets almost CHILLY at NIGHT? And that there's a BREEZE and the HUMIDITY isn't 8,000 PERCENT??? What a delight! I like to think all my hot weather training is going to convert into faster times in cooler climes, but it's nice to turn down the heat a bit now and again.

The only downside to pointing due north is that the sunrise is later, so I couldn't get quite as early a start as I would've liked (there aren't lights on the roads down here or sidewalks either, so visibility is important. Always run against traffic!). But I was still able to pop out a practice half with comparative ease.

I started by hanging left off our beach house and running down to Lee Robinson's General Store, a distance of about 4 miles. If you're ever in the Cape Hatteras area, definitely pop in there and get some chocolate peanut butter fudge and Blenheim ginger ale, but as they weren't open yet I was sadly unable.

Then I turned around and ran back to the house, where I swapped in a fresh bottle of water and finished my 13.1. I passed a couple of pro-Trump signs during this portion of the run - it's the south, after all - but I flipped them all off for my own cathartic purposes. Please vote Biden so poor Ruth Bader Ginsburg can retire, okay?

One of these days I should really try running on the beach again, but the flat, fast roads are so hard to resist!

Do you run on vacation?

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Monday, August 31, 2020

In Which Jenn Saw Those Yellow Minnie Ears Coming

 Hey, guys, I'm psychic!

That's right - I asked the universe for yellow ears and BAM! Two weeks later, Disney serves 'em up. Clearly I am a person of taste with my finger on the pulse of fashion trends. Disney Dandy powers, arise!

Anyway, there's a new pair of ears I want. Initially I was disappointed by the lack of sequins, but I'm really coming around on the velvet.

Hmmm. Let's see if I can pull this off again, shall we? What'll be the next color trends to emerge from the hit-and-miss minds of Disney merchandising execs? Let's do a trifecta horse race betting style, so as to give myself better odds of winning at least some, I don't know, internet clout or whatever:

  1. Royal blue
  2. Lime green
  3. Periwinkle (we haven't done that one yet, have we?)

Brb, just gonna run down to the Haunted Mansion to consult with Madame Leota on this one...

What do you predict will be Disney's next quote-unquote color trend? 

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

In Which Jenn Tests KT Tape Pro Extreme

Pat would like to contribute the following: KiTty Tape!

I'm sure you know KT Tape. I've been using it for years. You probably have too. I tried Rock Tape once but found it to be little different for more money, and the CVS version worked okay but lacked sufficient stretch. No, KT Tape works fine for me. Hell, it once saved my IT band. I guess you could say I stan.

HOWEVER. Since moving to Puerto Rico, I have run into a bit of a problem: the humidity is so high here and the answering sweat so profuse that, well, this happens:

Yeah. And, like, ALL the damn time. If I wanna keep it on my body I need to barricade it with longer running pants, which sucks because, as I said, hella high humidity, but what can you do.

Perhaps you can do one thing. You can upgrade.

Turns out there are three versions of strip KT Tape: regular, Pro, and PRO EXTREME!!!!!!🔥🔥🔥 (Emphasis, er, mine. But how can you not???). Pro Extreme allegedly tackles a lot of the problems above, per the box below. Reviews on Amazon were mixed but since I was able to pick it up for a reasonable price I figured it was worth a shot.

Test 1: KT Tape Pro vs. Extreme

First thing I did was a one-to-one comparison with my last piece of KT Tape Pro, which is I think what they use at expo booths and as probably considered the standard when actively working out (although I've definitely used the original and gotten away with it). I did one knee in Extreme (black) and one in Pro (blue). I also made sure to wipe down my skin with a paper towel and then rub the tape after application. Here's where we started:

And here's where we ended after 3 miles. I had to yank the Pro off because flappy tape irritates me; top piece came off after about a mile and bottom piece surrendered around 2.5. Score one for Extreme, although you'll notice it didn't exactly come out unscathed either.

Test 2: Two Knees of KT Tape Extreme

Nevertheless, I took a leap of faith and donned two full knees worth of Extreme(!!!!!!!!) for a 10 miler. Note I used the exact same style as for last January's WDW Marathon which was so hot and humid the course got shortened for some and as you can see from the finish line photos my Pro tape held. Here's where we started:

And here's where we ended. Weird, right? Both are Extreme but one stayed pretty well intact (although still showing a bit of peeling around the edges) whereas the other finally gave up the ghost entirely around mile 7.5, I think. 

In neither test did I have any trouble removing the remaining tape; it slipped right off.

So I don't know. I'd say Extreme probably is noticeably more adhesive than Pro, but not to the point that you can 100% trust it in truly humid conditions. I will say that a KT Tape expo booth rep once sprayed me with alcohol to dry up my skin in advance and help with adhesion, so I might give that a shot. Still, I wanted to see what it could do straight out of the box first, as ideally we wouldn't need to add anything to our sleepy morning pre-run routines. Alas.

One other note: a different KT Tape booth rep another year entirely once told me they had stopped utilizing any stretch when applying the tape. I did not like this and wound up redoing my tape myself the way I'm used to, but maybe it's not designed for torque anymore? Feels off to me but who knows.

I wouldn't discourage you from giving Extreme a chance if you feel like you could use it, but definitely shop around. You can get it on Amazon for comparable prices to Pro if you're not picky about color.

Have you used KT Tape Pro Extreme? Did it work for you?

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

A Brief Rundown Of runDisney's 2021 Proof Of Time Cutoffs

Someone asked me the other day to remind them of the Proof of Time cutoff for WDW Marathon Weekend. Not remembering off the top of my head, I hit Google, where I discovered plenty of information on Proof of Time cutoffs in the abstract sense but nothing about the exact dates for 2021 runDisney races.

This does make sense in that these dates are rolling each year in relation to the precise date of the race. But I thought in the present moment it might be helpful if someone collected 2021's cutoffs all in one place so that you don't necessarily have to go through each individual registration to check. And that someone is me!

2021 WDW Marathon Weekend: "Proof of Time can be submitted and/or updated by October 20, 2020. Only races run between July 1, 2018 and October 20, 2020 can be used as proof."

2021 Princess Weekend: "Proof of Time can be submitted and/or updated by November 17, 2020. Only races run between August 1, 2018 and November 17, 2020 can be used as proof."

2021 Star Wars Rival Run Weekend: "Proof of Time can be submitted and/or updated by January 19, 2021. Only races run between October 1, 2018 and January 19, 2021 can be used as proof."

Wine & Dine 2021 is pending; registration will probably open early-ish next year. All above information was collected directly from the runDisney website but is of course subject to change per their mighty whims.

You're welcome.

One last thing - if, like me, you find your 2020 race schedule has been largely COVID-cancelled out, you may find your quest for the perfect POT before the deadline to be an increasingly deflated one. I am trying to remind myself that runDisney is about the experience more than being in the speediest corral and if ya gotta weave a little, well, ya gotta weave a little. It's KIND OF working... 

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Friday, August 7, 2020

In Which Jenn Has A New Hope

Whew, it's stressful out there in runDisney registration land lately!

Yesterday I jumped into the Annual Passholder presale virtual queue for next year's Star Wars Rivals Half Marathon (take two). I won't leave you in suspense: I made it! I'm registered! Hooray!

But holy guacamole, getting in was anxiety-inducing. Although anecdotal evidence suggests that the order to get through to the purchase page is randomized, I bounced into line as soon as it showed up around 9:50am. A couple minutes later, just to be safe, I fired up my phone too. 

And then I watched the little waiting room spinner go round and round and round and round and...

I don't know if runDisney is still limiting the number of bibs released to allow for social distancing if needed, but as each minute ticked by I got more and more nervous. I'd say my phone probably got through around 10:14am, and I was v. relieved to see that not only was the half still available, only the challenge by itself was sold out.

I FLEW through the registration process and a couple minutes later I was the relieved recipient of a confirmation email. (I can't remember if I've already mentioned this tip, but: as you know, if you don't move fast enough, a race could literally sell out while you're putting in your credit card info. One way to speed up the process is to skip putting in your proof of time and making any decisions about merchandise add-ons. After you've registered, you can go back into your account and edit those things at your leisure.)

Out of curiosity, I let my computer continue to run the virtual queue screen, just to see how long it would take to get in. It finally came to the registration screen at 10:22am, 8 minutes later. If I hadn't also busted out my phone... it would've been fine. The half was still available. In fact, it was the same setup as before - everything but the bare challenge.

I checked back later around 10:35am and the only additional things that had sold out at that point were the half+virtual and challenge+virtual. And then I kinda got distracted so I can't give you very precise timestamps after that, but I can tell you by 11:20am everything was gone but the 5K, oddly enough.

So yeah. The challenge is a, um, challenge to get through to fast enough, but it seems like most of the other races don't require the level of nerves I historically apply to the process. But I guess each registration day is different.

If you're gunning for public signups on Tuesday, I say to you: qapla'! 



No, seriously, what?

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!