Friday, April 24, 2015

In Which Jenn & Moon Try To Choose A Marathon

Hi there! Jenn here. The following is a conversation Moon and I had a couple days ago wherein we attempted to pare down our choices for Moon's first marathon. We did not originally write it as a blog post, but I thought it might be an interesting insight into the factors that affect the decision - finances, timing, course, etc.

JENN: Any marathon-y thoughts lately?

MOON: I've been leaning towards the Baltimore Marathon. Because it occurs around my birthday, I though maybe asking my parents to help with the fees as a present.



JENN: So how hilly is this thing? Maaaaaaybe I would do it with you............. be honest, because I WILL whine. ;)

MOON: Hmm, my running course near my apartment is straight up hills for two miles. It's not a STEEP incline, but it's a pain.

JENN: Is it part of the course?

MOON: I think part of druid hill park IS part of the marathon. I hear you don't run through the zoo anymore, but do the lake and stuff. The zoo would be boss.

JENN: No zoo? Lame. Is there a course map?

MOON: I believe you run just outside of the zoo. Course map is here.

JENN: Looking at pricing... cheaper than runDisney, of course. But the half is only $10 cheaper than the full? Well psh.

MOON: Yeah, I know.

JENN: What do they mean in this description by "fair yet challenging"? Fair as in pretty? Fair as in just? "This course will be judged by a jury of your peers."

MOON: LOL. The beginning will be hilly. 15-22 = count on uphill. The last two miles shouldn't be too bad. Maybe I could try running this course for practice and let you know. Maybe in chunks.

JENN: Does it usually sell out?

MOON: Yes,

JENN: Hmmmmm. I wish we could sign up for these things, like, a week in advance. Do the training, obviously, but make the decision at a later date.

MOON: How much is the WDW Marathon? If I could choose any for my first marathon it would be WDW.

JENN: Pricing is here. $175 for just the marathon; Goofy is $360.

MOON: Hmm, $360 is a bit steep.

JENN: Well, Goofy would be the half AND the full. We don't have to do that; I just figured I'd throw out the option since you get an extra medal and stuff. :)

MOON: I will have to think on it. Do you think the WDW marathon will sell out before May 19th?

JENN: Barring any miracles it will. I think if we want to do it we need to be on the computer registering exactly at noon at Tuesday. Now, if you want to do it through a charity, you have more time.

MOON: I simply won't have the expendable income again until mid-May. I think I might have to do the Baltimore one.

JENN: Well, here's a thought. How do you honestly feel about the Baltimore Marathon?

MOON: I think I could do it. It will be hard.

JENN: I know you could. But The Marine Corps Marathon is a week later and the course is mostly flat.

MOON: Hmmmmmm.

JENN: You could get a charity bib, maybe for your mom's thing? You could crash at my place the night before if you wanted; I live within safe and easy walking distance of the Metro now. I could potentially do it with you depending on the charity's fundraising requirements.

I mean, the Baltimore Marathon will in some ways be easier for you. But MCM is well known as a good beginner's marathon. It's really up to you, but it's another option. :) I also hear good things about the Philadelphia Marathon.

MOON: If we did that one it could snow. O.o I will compile a pros and cons list!

JENN: Sounds good! So we'll take the WDW Marathon off the table?

MOON: Yeah, let's do that.

JENN: I can't say that doesn't make me a little sad but it's really the wisest fiscal decision for both of us, I think. The Princess Half registration doesn't open until July 14 - maybe we can do that one?

MOON: It's definitely a possibility!

And that's where we currently stand on the whole marathon-choosing thing. What do you think? How do you select which races to run?

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, April 23, 2015

Photographic Memory: The Inappropriate Puppets of Dinoland U.S.A.

JENN: Photographic Memory time! Did you see the pics I want to use?

MOON: Ah, yes. The dinosaur puppets!

JENN: Here we have Moon helpfully modeling dinosaur puppets from the big gift shop in Dinoland U.S.A. - I believe it's called Chester and Hester's Souvenirs of Extinction or something like that?



These pictures are from December 2008, so the details for me are fuzzy, but my caption in the Facebook album says something about pterodactyl porn...? The implication is that it's an inside joke for you that I don't understand. We are probing the dark, seedy underbelly of Disney excursions, clearly.

MOON: Haha, you know, I remember we took that picture for my ex Ryan.

JENN: A man well known as the King of Dinosaur Erotica.

MOON: Apparently. And I remember there being an inside joke about dinosaurs, probably related to aforementioned pterodactyl porn (it was something he found on the internet and thought was funny), but now the association just seems inappropriate, ha!

JENN: So... pterodactyl porn is a real thing?

MOON: Umm, I'm not googling that for verification...

JENN: I wouldn't. So Dinoland U.S.A. must be a very traumatic area for you, then.

MOON: Let's just say I have no plans to purchase those puppets.

JENN: Okay, well, I think it's safe to say that we've effectively ruined Dinoland for everybody. Sorry about that, 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!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

An Ode to Winnie the Pooh


A couple weeks ago I chose Piglet & Pooh as my Marry for Kill/Refurb/Marry: Disney Partners. Naturally I had to go plumb the depths of YouTube for the perfect video to illustrate why. Shockingly, I did NOT get sucked into the YouTube vortex at that time - but my brain was ready to pick up the slack itself. But the time I went to bed that night, I was singing a rotating medley of both the movie Pooh theme:


And the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh theme:


And that made me remember the weird live-action Pooh show I have only very vague memories of beyond the fact that I LOOOOVED it as a little kid:


And also the books, with the Spotted or Herbacious Backson and the Expotition and Bisy Backson and Please Ring Bell If Answer is Required and don't you know what THER means and did anyone else read those Benjamin Hoff books about Taoism?

And it's the narrator!


And THAT'S trouncing.


Can't you see the presents? The cake? The candles? Neither can I. After all, we can't all, and some of us don't.


Incidentally, THE WONDERFUL THING ABOUT TIGGERS IS TIGGERS ARE WONDERFUL THINGS. Did I say Tigger? I meant Tee-Eye-Double-Guh-Er.


Magnificent magic, most mysterious, make meek me make the monsters into mozzarella marmalade!


And oh my God, PIGLET WAS SECRETLY IN THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE!


Is there any more? No, there isn't. I thought not.


Or at any rate, I don't think so. It isn't meant to be. (Although in all seriousness, every time I watched a clip I would think of ANOTHER good one; I'm leaving out A LOT. DON'T. FEED. THE. BEAR.)

Basically what I'm trying to say here is that Winnie the Pooh in all its forms, at once clever, gentle, and philosophical, shaped my childhood and continues to be one of my favorite things. Ever. You might even say that Pooh, not Roo's medicine, is what Jenns like best.

TTFN! Ta-ta for now! <-- Paul Winchell ad-libbed that



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, April 21, 2015

The Fairest Week In Review: 4/21

JENN: How was your post-Cherry Blossom week? Do any running?

MOON: It was oooookay. I ran maybe 20-25 miles? I had a nice run yesterday in Druid Hill Park. Too bad the zoo was not open. :/ How was your week?

JENN: It was okay. I actually ended up taking Tuesday off from running. I just wasn't feeling it and I think every once and awhile that's okay.

MOON: Sure, of course you can take a day off. ;)

JENN: I made up for it on Thursday with my first outdoor training run of the year! It was... fine. I was a little faster than has sometimes been the case, but it's still much slower going. Hills, man. The good news is that by consequence when you set me loose on a relatively flat race course it seems easy!

I will say, though, that running outdoors is much more demanding on the muscles. I'm going to need to ease into doing that regularly. The fronts of my lower legs and feet were sore afterward.

MOON: Same. Yesterday's run was almost a straight 2-mile hill. Going back was greeeat, but I really drained myself in the beginning. We should plan a date for the Airport loop (this time we will actually run the loop >_>... and not into Glen Burnie).

JENN: Definitely! Put any more thought into running the WDW Marathon? ;)

MOON: Actually, I was thinking about it yesterday... Christian thinks I should definitely run a marathon.. I would like to do it... I think I've got a good momentum going now and can definitely see myself getting to 20 mile weekend runs in a few months.

So, I would rather not travel for a marathon, buuuuut that leaves me with a short list. Without ranting too much, the only race available to me is the Baltimore Marathon. So, option no. 1. Then again, I've run all over Baltimore and it's not really that flat (yeah, I want to go easy on my first marathon, ha!) and it's Baltimore. Not terribly exciting for me.

Option 2: WDW. Pros: Will be fun. Kind of know the track already. Weather will almost definitely be good. Cons: Cost. Must travel to get there.

But, my logic yesterday was: if anything can get you through a 26.2 mile run, it's WDW.

JENN: That is very true! Although you do have the option of running the Marine Corps Marathon for a charity?

MOON: It might actually take me less time flying to FL than driving into DC from North Baltimore... So, if I have to travel into DC, I might as well go to FL.

JENN: Haha, maybe! Well, you've got until April 28 to decide!

Maybe?

While she's pondering, check out the roundup.

- The Runner's Guide to WDW shows you exactly what you get in the special Runner's World Dopey package.
- Meanwhile, This Runner's Trials ponders the Dopey Challenge itself.
- Elbowglitter delves thoughtfully into speed and competition and all that inevitable weirdness that comes with athletics.
- Through Heather's Looking Glass gets honest about social media.
- Just Me & My Running Shoes offers a compendium of runDisney course signs.
- Healthy-ish dessert?! Eating WDW visit the new Erin McKenna Bakery in Disney Springs. (Or DTD, as it will forever be known in my head.)
- Parkeology lists hilariously awkward ways to hit the rides at WDW.
- Also hilarious: My Disney Addiction's preliminary Disneyland trip recap.

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, April 17, 2015

In Which Moon Recaps The Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

Let me preface with: for the past three years I’ve been going to the Cherry Blossom Festival in hopes of seeing some BOSS cherry blossoms. Because we’ve had long and stupid winters, however, I’ve been coming out of the experience seeing bare trees. A week before the race I hear news that the cherry blossoms should be in their peak blossoming stage (is that a thing?), so I was pretty pumped!

And then: The sore throat.

I think I posted about it in the weekly review. At first, I thought it was a cold. Two days pass by and the throat still hurts, but I’ve got no other big symptoms, so I think, “Yes! Maybe it’s just allergies!” Wednesday: goodbye voice. Thursday and Friday: ears clogged, headache, and chest congestion. Saturday: It’s a cold. And, it’s a pretty bad one.

I had plans to meet up with Jenn and Pat at the National Building Museum (creative name, huh?). When I get there, I’m first struck by how many people are actually inside. I really didn’t think this was going to be a huge expo. Upon entering, we’re greeted by volunteers shouting directions to pick-up location. Why not use signs, I think.

Pick-up and expo go smoothly. It wasn’t terribly exciting and there were a lot of people, so we all parted ways and went home.

At home: I pretty much fret over the cold and try my best to kill it as fast as possible. Christian and I discuss whether or not I should run the race (I prepared sooo well, I really didn’t want to sit it out). I decide I want to do it and Christian says, “Well, it will make a good blog entry post for Jenn, right?” I don’t know, but mostly my review is: I’m running sick. This is what happened. Annnnyway… I go to sleep, wake up at 4AM and decide I might as well start purging all the nastiness that a cold brings in the morning. I also decide that I should eat as many cough drops as possible.

This resulted in a stomach ache of the ages during the race and for long after. But, hey… If I’m running miserable I might as well take it out for a full-blown test drive, right?

We left at 5:25AM for DC and had plenty of time and arrive on Smithsonian grounds. We see people going both left and right. To our left is a sign that reads, “5k this way!” So, because there’s no sign to the right, I figure that must be the way to the ten-miler start. We follow the crowds heading that direction and eventually run into a giant gathering around the Monument and see a huge sign that reads, “Welcome Runners!”

This is the only picture I had the energy to take...

Okay, so that’s ambiguous. There was also some signs for medical tent, pictures, etc., but they were all gathered together and underneath only said “this way.” Also ambiguous. Where are yesterday's volunteer shouters when you need them? I need to check my bag and meet back up with Christian. We have about seven minutes before the start of the Orange Wave. The original plan was to meet Jenn and have her sneak into the back of this corral with us, but it was extremely crowded and there were no defined places to really meet. I also ran out of time looking for things I needed to do before heading to the corral.

After reaching what we thought was our corral, we realize that we’re not in fact in the race lane. A white fence blocks us off from the runners, so we squeeze though and as soon as make it to the back of the corral, we briefly look for Jenn at the beginning of the Green Wave, but no luck. While this is all going on, our wave is actually moving to the start line, so we basically made it to the corral just in time for the start. As we’re starting I also hear something about the race being changed due to a personal injury, so part of the race was to be shortened, but they were unsure by how much [Jenn's note: turned out to be 9.39 miles]. A hurried and confusing experience, but okay. Off we go.

The run itself was probably the most miserable run I’ve ever done. And I forgot my gloves, so my hands swelled and froze. The pacing of the waves wasn’t the best. The wave never really smoothed itself out. I was constantly getting hit by other runners and ironically (even with a cold) getting stuck behind packs of slower runners. Around mile four I landed on my right foot wrong and hurt my ankle, but at this point my feelings towards everything was, “please just finish as soon as possible so I can go homeeeee.” It definitely slowed me down a little, but I'm glad I have enough resolve to keep running.

But, on the bright side: Christian and I stayed together until about mile 7 (he picked up his pace and finished about 5 minutes ahead of me) and it was sunny. The Cherry Blossoms were actually in bloom (yay!). I also didn’t have as bad a finish time as I thought I would. 1:31 is pretty okay with me for a sick run.

The course itself was a lot of back-and-forth running. I think at one point we ran through a parking lot? Yes, the trees were pretty, but I’m not sure it was a positive enough experience for me to want to definitely make this a yearly run (I just asked Christian and he replied with a monotone and short, “no”). If you’re trying for a new PR, I wouldn’t suggest this run. It’s packed on the course and water isn't found terribly often. I only took Gatorade once because every time I hit a water station I wasn’t sure which side the water would be on and it got backed up because a lot of runners stopped. With a narrow running track, this made finding water a bit inconvenient. 

The other question is: Would I run with a cold this bad again? Probably not. Unless it was my first marathon or something. Breathing good. Congestion bad. 

Post-race it took about a half hour to find Christian and Jenn. I parked myself near a trash station and continued my feast of cough drops. I found some water, but didn’t care to go looking for other snacks I saw runners with. Although, I was pretty jealous of the plastic blankets some runners happened to find.

This is a pretty accurate display of how I felt. Also, my hair was nuts.
(Photo courtesy of Christian's phone!)

Well, that about wraps it up. I’m sitting here regretting writing this post because I imagined myself two weeks ago writing something to the effect of, “IT WAS AMAZING!! YAY RUNNING AND CHERRY BLOSSOMS!” Instead, I’m sitting here still with a cold and making myself write a review that isn’t cringe-worthy (read: booooring)… I think I’ve moped sufficiently for one post. Here’s to our next run that’s full of health and organization! 

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, April 16, 2015

In Which Jenn Recaps The Cherry Blossom Ten Miler


 So... that was not my favorite race.

Don't get me wrong - the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler has a lot of things going for it. Mark one: from the moment I left my apartment to the moment I arrived at the race start, only an hour had passed. This includes about 15 minutes spent waiting around for the Metro train to show up, which is a matter of timing. Pretty good! Got to sleep until 5am and everything; it was awesome.

Unfortunately from there it was a slow downward slide - a study in gentle but real disorganization: nothing so awful as to completely ruin the experience, but a growing list of small frustration that compounded.

Finding my corral: there was very little in the way of directional signage. Labeling signage, sure, as in "this is what's here at this spot," but nothing saying "Go that way if you're looking for this stuff." As such, I did a fair bit of wandering before I figured out my corral.

Which was WAY crowded. I was sulkily in green when everyone else I knew was in orange - I think because my predicted time fell on the edge of each (note to self: exaggerate my speed more when giving time estimates). And this congestion never really let up, from start to finish, and I sincerely believe this impacted my final time. I felt like I was back on the 2013 Princess Half course. Only runDisney has largely fixed that problem. Cherry Blossom people, you need to increase the number of corrals because the congestion is insane.


Oh, and: before it started, it was announced that the course would be shortened by approximately half a mile. This was not the fault of the race organizers - there had been an accident on the course and the area had been declared a crime scene so we had to reroute - but it wasn't exactly thrilling to hear. I came to run ten miles, y'know? And it messes with your splits to not know how much you have left. Ah well. My GPS watch wound up clocking 9.52 miles for me, but I understand the official recount came to 9.39.

So anyway. Back to the Cherry Blossom 9.39 Miler course. It was way crazy frustratingly crowded. This became a problem at the water stations. I never had a supply problem as some have reported, but I had other issues with the way hydration was handled. The tables were only on one side of the course, not both, which meant everyone was trying to veer off on the same side; it was tough to bounce in, get your drink, and bounce out without colliding into a million other people attempting the same thing.

Another thing that bugged the bejeezus out of me for some reason related to the problem of cups. There were plain paper cups for water and branded green Gatorade paper cups for Gatorade. Except for almost all the stations that meant NOTHING. Volunteers were pouring whatever beverage into whatever cup and it became a complete crapshoot what you were getting. For those who had a specific drink in mind and no time to dally, this was a problem. (No, but seriously, thank you, volunteers - I'm sure you were doing the best you could at the direction of someone else.)

Worst race sign ever.

And another thing! I never saw a SINGLE TRASH CAN at the water stops, which meant ALL cups wound up on the ground. SLIPPING HAZARD, GUYS.

And another thing! No food on the course? I guess I'm spoiled by runDisney handing out Clif gels all the time, but there was nothing available here. It IS only a ten miler, but that's not exactly nothing either... I did see a spectator who had set up a table of Gatorade and cookies of his own accord, but there were too many people around me to get over to him so I missed it. Sigh. Thanks, though, guy - you're awesome!

The scenery? Um... would you hate me if I responded to the scenery with a resounding "eh"? As I said on Twitter the day of: the cherry blossoms are to me as Lil Sebastian is to Ben Wyatt. So that was not motivating for me. There were a couple on-course music/entertainment spots but nothing earth shattering, with the possible exception of batala drummers.



All that being said, and even though I didn't exactly feel full of energy, I actually didn't have a terrible race. The congestion slowed me down but I did, in fact, clock quite a few negative splits toward the end there, hampered only by a biggish hill right before the finish. Sadly, as this did not come out to an actual ten miler in the end, any kind of PR is meaningless. It does however make me feel a little better about my performance outdoors. I think I have the capacity to improve!

Okay, so, the race ended and I found Moon and Christian who had been in the orange corral. On the way I located the end-of-race snacks, which consisted of... bananas. Nothing but bananas. I saw a bunch of cracker packets in the trash which indicated that at another point there may have been other options, but they were beyond my reach. And I wasn't even that slow - my time placed me ahead of over 50% of the participants. What gives? And no bottled Gatorade? C'mon, guys, get it together.

Let's cut to the chase: would I do this race again? Maybe. I mean, it could hardly be much more convenient for me geographically and it's not too expensive if you forego the extras like tech shirts and medals. But I can't say I'm feeling gung-ho.

I leave you with this thought from Nicole and I:


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, April 15, 2015

The Fairest Week In Review: 4/15

JENN: So how was your week? I know you did some pre-Cherry Blossom Ten Miler training runs.

MOON: I did! I think, all in all, I did three trial runs. Each trial was better than the last, but Saturday and Sunday is another story. How was your week?

JENN: Eh. My practice runs weren't very good but what're ya gonna do. It's been that weird in-between inching-toward-spring weather and I think every time it swings back to rainy and chilly my body freaks out a little.

MOON: My morale definitely suffers from stupid weather. :/

JENN: We'll talk more about the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler itself in our recaps, but you wanna review the expo real quick? You saw more of it than I did.

MOON: Hmm, I was actually surprised there was an expo? I'm not exactly sure why... There was a certain amount of gear available for purchase, but I didn't find anything particularly striking...  >_> annnnd the expo was much more organized than the actual run, but I suppose I'll hold it for now.

JENN: Haha, yeah...You find any calf sleeves?

MOON: I did, but without a discount, I decided to just stick with the pair I have

JENN: Indeed - I've never really found many impressive expo discounts, although admittedly I don't search too hard since I tend to get overwhelmed. I feel like the internet is a better bet.

MOON: Definitely.

JENN: I'd brought Pat along with me because he loves the National Building Museum, but it was SO crowded and insane that we were both just like LET'S GET OUT OF HERE AHHH.

This, FULL OF PEOPLE.

Packet pickup was smooth, I will say that, although the quarters they held it in were quite crowded.

MOON: Yeah, I couldn't really understand all the vocal directions in lieu of signs? It kind of made it feel more panicky. I felt sorry for the few people I saw attempting to peruse the museum.

JENN: Ah well. At least it was close to the Metro!

MOON: It was! Very easy to find. :)

JENN: I look forward to your race recap!

MOON: Same to you!

JENN: We'll have more ten miler coverage on the blog this week. In the meantime: roundup!

- Can't wait? Try Cherry Blossom race recaps from Pink Elephant on Parade and Elbowglitter.
- Why I runDisney offers advice for runners just starting out.
- Running Through the Castle understands the importance of recovery days.
- At Mom's Magical Miles, it's all about that butt. Holla!
- And more body image power can be found at Sparkly Runner.
- My Disney Addiction sets her sights on Disneyland.
- Headed to the Wine & Dine Half with me? easyWDW has the November operating schedule.
- And for those who were at the last WDW Marathon Weekend, Disney Every Day has your stats.
- Inside the Magic has some interesting FastPass+ strategies.

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!