Thursday, May 26, 2016

The First Photos: Walt Disney World, 2008 - 2012

Having finished up my Last Photos series for the time being, let's take a look at the First Photos of my Disney albums. Because are not first photos just as telling?

Once again, apologies for the quality; these range from old to quite old.

The year: 2008
The companion(s): Moon, Elizabeth, and mutual friend Megan
The title of the album: Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?
The why: Awww, look at Moon and Liz and Megan, playing around in post-ride Test Track show room! You know, kids, in OUR day, it was sponsored by General Motors.

The year: 2008
The companion(s): Moon
The title of the album: Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning
The why: Slight cheat as my first photo was in BWI, and who wants to look at an airport that isn't event a Floridian airport? BORING. Anyway, here's a shot of the Grand Floridian's life-size gingerbread house. I did not buy a shingle and have yet to decide whether or not a regret that. I mean, yes, it's a rite of Disney passage, but pre-packaged frosting is never that good, y'know?

The year: 2009
The companion(s): Unofficial Guide people
The title of the album: Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas
The why: Hey! Remember my Sharks of WDW series? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, here's an entry: sharks on display in the Polynesian. Or anyway they were back in 2009; I have no idea if they made it through the recent refurb.

The year: 2009
The companion(s): My grad school friend Diana and her sisters
The title of the album: Practically perfect in every way
The why: Get in line for a shot with Mulan? Psh, why waste time when you can just take a picture of her with some rando and move on with your World Showcase adventure?

The year: 2010
The companion(s): Elizabeth
The title of the album: it's a small world after all
The why: Another no-one-cares-about-BWI-so-let's-skip-it cheat. Instead, let's examine that inner workings of Orlando's own MCO. Fun fact: convenience store newspapers are labeled Disney! (I still have those Chucks and they rock.)

The year: 2011
The companion(s): My ex-boyfriend
The title of the album: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
The why: My ex and I snagged first-day ADRs at the Biergarten in the Germany pavilion to kick off our trip. The employees were very amused to discover my last name is German. No, literally.

The year: 2012
The companion(s): Elizabeth
The title of the album: A magical kingdom with lots of witnesses and great security (yeah Burn Notice!)
The why: The Dapper Dans are appropriately outfitted against freezing Florida winters.

The year: 2012
The companion(s): Sometimes my cousin and his friend, sometimes random people, sometimes just myself!
The title of the album: There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
The why: "You won't be able to finish this," the bartender at Raglan Road told me as he served me the famous Ger's Bread and Butter Pudding. "This is my dinner," I countered. "Oh," he said, "then you'll be fine."

That's it for this installation. Up next: 2013 - 2016!

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, May 25, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 5/25

It's taper time! Okay, for me "taper time" often translates to "SLIGHTLY less than usual," especially in the case of races 13.1 miles and under, but hey, less is less.

What has me cutting my mileage, you ask? Why, the ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon on June 4! I'm extra excited for this one because the race takes place near Elizabeth's house, so I'm crashing with her the night before and then post-race we're getting a delicious breakfast. I looooove breakfast. Honestly, it's the one thing standing between WDW and perfection.

Luckily, nothing is standing between you and the roundup.

Through Heather's Looking Glass instructs us on how to run in hot weather.
- Fairytales & Fitness keeps training steady.
- Just Me & My Running Shoes wants us all to cram in those runs on vacation.
- Darlin' Rae performs marathon prep.
- EPBOT practices a little body image self-love.
- The Runner's Guide to WDW offers a list of Disney resort secrets, one of which I legit did not know.
- A Pinch of Pixie Dust does the new Early Morning Magic thing.
- Capturing Magical Memories snags a cabana at Castaway Cay.
- easyWDW reviews the Boardwalk's new Ample Hills Creamery. WANT.
- The Disney Tourist Blog features Disney's DINOSAURSSSSSSS.
- Passport to Dreams Old & New plumbs the archives for Liberty Square's original background music.
- Speaking of old things, Disney by Mark reports on a 22 year old park hopper finally redeemed.

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, May 24, 2016

In Which Jenn Recaps The Kings Dominion Run & Ride 10K

Guys. Guys guys. I ran a race in an amusement park and it wasn't runDisney.

Last Sunday, the ever-popular, ever-magnificent Elizabeth and I got up at 4:30am and drove down to Kings Dominion amusement park in Doswell, VA. The hour-and-a-half-sans-traffic trip went smoothly, and we arrived in plenty of time to pick up our packets and prep for our runs. The morning included a 10k, a 5k, and a 1 mile fun run, with me slated to run the 10k and Elizabeth the 5k.

Packet pickup was quick and easy with no line despite it being the morning of. Packets consisted of pretty much just a bib and safety pins, the included park ticket, and a shirt - a short-sleeved tech tee (YEAH!) for the 10k-ers and cotton tees for everybody else. I also received a "Fastpass" equivalent in my packet, but Elizabeth did not; uncertain if that was an error or a 10k-only thing.

This was all good and simple. The bad bit: the weather. Late May or no, the morning highs were in the low-to-mid 50s with on-again-off-again rain. Needless to say I wore long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. BUT I WASN'T HAPPY ABOUT IT.

The start area was by the picnic pavilions, and the race stepped off in stages, with the 10k starting at 7:40am, the 5k five minutes later, and the 1 miler at 8:30am. That's about where my knowledge of the 1 miler drops off, but I do know the course for both the 5k and 10k were precisely the same - the 10k people just looped it twice. I don't love that kind of setup, but since both loops were entirely within the park I was willing to go along.

The races weren't large enough to warrant waves or corrals, but it was chip-timed. We lined up, they counted us down, and we let fly, crossing into the park within a couple of yards.

The course began at the front of the park, dubbed International Street and dominated by Parisian fountains and a one-third scale replica on the Eiffel Tower. We breezed on past that and I think into Old Virginia? I'm not 100% remembering how we got to the next part. I know exactly what that next part was, though: DINOSAURS ALIVE!

I was super excited to realize we were running into this area, which is a minor upcharge in the park, although to be honest I can't fathom why. It's just a walking trail featuring audio-animatronic dinosaurs, some of which move on their own and some of which can be made to move by pressing buttons. Don't get me wrong, they were pretty awesome and my favorite part of the race, but I'd hardly pay an extra $5 for it. Whatever; I got to see it twice for free. (Also, they had a carnotaurus and I was all HELLO FRIEND!)

Then if I remember correctly we took some service roads or some such into the Soak City Water Park section, which was rather hilariously staffed by lifeguards. Oh yes, I'm definitely going to try to sneak a dip in the wave pool because I'M NOT ALREADY COLD AND WET ENOUGH. Rain: The Water Park That Follows You Everywhere And Will Not Be Denied.

Next up was I believe Candy Apple Grove followed by Safari Village followed by the admittedly adorable Planet Snoopy (did I mention Snoopy was there? No character ops on the course though, sadly). Then, if you were running the 5k, you made it back to the picnic pavilions and the finish! Or, if you were in the 10K: REPEAT.

It really wasn't that bad. I wasn't in super great racing shape, a combination of my own stupidity (lack of hydration; forgetting my snack) and one of my knees deciding to act up slightly, but it really wasn't that bad. Like I said, the dinosaurs were fun. The rain slacked off during the second time around. and after all, I knew I only had another 5K to go. No sweat, right?

What surprised me a little was the traffic. This being a shared course, I started passing not just 10K people but 5K people, as early as something like 3.25 miles. Don't get me wrong - I'm not about to speed shame anyone; getting out there and doing a 5K however slowly is a helluva lot better than not doing one at all - but I'm glad the race organizers capped the 5K at a small enough number that I never had to dodge slower participants. There was always plenty of room (with the exception of the start) and I therefore advise the race organizers, wherever they are, to keep the numbers steady.

The finish was fun, with plenty of cheering crowds and an announcer calling names at the finish. The volunteers distributing medals were so enthusiastic I was still in the process of slowing to a walk when one was handed to me!

What was weird was that my GPS came up pretty short: it registered 5.95 miles at the end, including a little bit of extra where I started it slightly early/stopped it slightly late. Odd. Here are my official stats, anyway, since they look more impressive.

I found Elizabeth, who had finished her 5K when I was just starting mile 5 (recap from her coming!). We hopped in the food line, which was nicely stocked with PowerAde and water but rather disappointing the food department: un-toasted bagels and cream cheese or nada. We took them because we were hungry, it was all rather cold and boring. Probably the area that could use the most improvement.

After our sad breakfast we changed in the bathrooms (real bathrooms! I love amusement park races) and got ready to enter KINGS DOMINION! Elizabeth and I will give you a full rundown of our park experiences at a later date.

In short, I wouldn't say this is a must-do race for me, but I'll consider it next time it comes around assuming the prices don't skyrocket. Especially if we're promised better food. And weather. C'mon, May, get it together.

Have you ever run a non-Disney amusement park race?

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, May 19, 2016

In Which Jenn Commandeers Elizabeth's Race Prep

Hi guys! As you may recall, Elizabeth and I are running the Run & Ride Kings Dominion 5k and 10k, respectively, on Sunday. I thought you might like to see this email I sent her on the logistics of our trip and races. Not that you'll be running this precise race, probably, but it'll get you in the headspace of a destination race, right? Onward for some advice! Note: Please always check before using my futon.

Okay, as promised, here is a Logistical Email & Race Packing List! Full of information you probably already know because I'm a paranoiac like that! Divided into sections with unnecessarily high levels of verbiage!

What time do you plan to get here? I'm thinking with our early wake up call we'll want to be hitting the proverbial hay by 10pm, but it's up to you. We could grab dinner or something beforehand or not; again, your call! We have a fold-out couch AND a futon plus plenty of blankets and pillows so you should be good on that front (although feel free to bring your own stuff if it would make you more comfortable).

Packet pickup has thankfully been extended to 7:30am. It takes just over an hour and a half to get to Kings Dominion from my place with no traffic - and there shouldn't be any this early in the morning on a Sunday - but I still want to make sure we have plenty of buffer. I'm thinking we get up at 4:30am with an intended 5am departure time. This will also give us time for a quick coffee pit stop if you want one. :)

We'll be able to park free with our confirmation email (I'll pull mine up on my phone). According to the most recent race email, packet pickup is in the bus parking area, pavilion entrance. We need photo IDs and race waivers to get our packets, although the latter can be done online in advance. If you need me to print one for you, let me know! 

Our park tickets and t-shirt and stuff will be included in that, so we'll want to use some of that extra time to walk our stuff back to the car. We might want to eat a snack at this time too.

The 10k starts at 7:40am and the 5k starts at 7:45am. I'm not 100% sure what the means in terms of how time will shake out but my guess is you'll finish before me. I guess shoot me a text when you're done, I'll do the same, and we'll find each other in the post-race food area?

It's still a ways away, but right now Weather Underground is showing Sunday as partly cloudy with a low of 52 and a high of 73; small chance of precipitation listed as possible showers/storms, but percentages are pretty low. Hopefully that DOES NOT come to pass. Well, at least not the storm part; I've run in the rain and survived just fine, but lightning generally means less or even no race at all. Regardless, it doesn't look like it'll be cold, per se, but the morning will be brisk. Good for running, but we'll want to take that into account when packing. Which brings me to...

This list will be a long series of DUH moments, but I like to be thorough because, as I mentioned, I am a crazed paranoiac. This is race-related only; I trust you already know to bring, like, your wallet and bag and stuff. If there's something on this list you don't have let me know; I may be able to lend you something.

For the race
- Snack
- Running shoes
- Running pants
- Running shirt
- Running jacket OR throwaway jacket (depends on how warm you expect to get. If you think you might want to toss your jacket mid-race, bring something old or hit a thrift store for a cheap sweatshirt you're comfortable never seeing again; alternatively you may simply wish to wear a long-sleeved shirt)
- Running socks
- Running bra
- Headphones (optional; these are "allowed" but "discouraged" officially, but I like to run with music); along with an iPod if you don't use your phone for music
- Hair ties/bobby pins/headband/etc.
- Vaseline or some such to lubricate potential chafing areas
- Hat if you want one; ditto sunglasses depending on how the weather is looking
- Plastic sandwich bag to cover your phone in case it's raining
- GPS watch if you have one (this may be just a me thing)

Post race
Change of:
- Shoes (optional but you may want to change them, especially if the race is at all rainy)
- Socks (again, optional, but see above)
- Shirt
- Pants/shorts
- Bra
- Underwear
- Hoodie/jacket

- Deodorant and/or wipes for post-race cleanup

I hear we need to ride a roller coaster called Volcano.

That's all the word vomit I have at this time. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Extreme regret that you agreed to do this with me in the first place?

<3 <3 <3


P.S. This may be my all time favorite website ride description: "[Rebel Yell is] not the biggest, tallest or fastest ride at Kings Dominion, but certainly a ride with class."

So what do you think? What advice would you give or alter along the vein of destination races? Am I completely insane individual you would never race with? Sure, but like, imagine having to BE me.

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, May 18, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 5/17

Annnnd that's game!

My annual spring ballet show is over, and with it my annual ballet-induced cutback week. I ran only half the usual amount of time and the six day break was very enjoyable.

Now that it's over, though, it's back to the training schedule. This week I'm dialing it back juuuuust a little, in preparation for the Run & Ride 10k at King's Dominion this Sunday. I don't think a full taper is necessary for a 10k, but I'd like a shot at having rested-enough legs for a decent time. And then two weeks after that, it's time for the ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon!

Yes, there is much running to be done before summer sets in. I will of course be reporting on ALL OF IT.

In the meantime, here's the roundup!

- Elbowglitter points out that body type doesn't tell an athlete's whole story.
- For the Love of Disney Running volunteers at the Neverland 5k.
- The Disney Tourist Blog counts down the best queues at WDW.
- Living A Disney Life lists the best places at WDW for lunch...
- And Mouse on the Mind rocks Narcoossee's brunch.
- The Disney Hipsters enjoy a rainy WDW day.
- The Main Street Gazette digs deep into Splash Mountain's decor.
- Rolling with the Magic explores Pop Century's accessible room. (This makes me nostalgic because I randomly got such a room for my night before the 2016 WDW Marathon.)

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!

Monday, May 16, 2016

In Which Jenn Finally Stops Resenting That Dopey Guy

During my last WDW Marathon weekend, I overheard some people on the Expo bus talking about their preferred approach to the final few miles of the race. Mainly they attempted to make several pit stops in the World Showcase for food and drinks, especially for soft pretzels in Germany and beer in the UK.

This, of course, is the sort of opportunity that makes runDisney races amazing and unique. I wholeheartedly endorse anyone and everyone who takes this laid-back and delicious approach to the end of the race. I may even chill out and join you some day.

But that is not why I'm writing this post. I'm writing it because with that overheard conversation, something in my racing past finally clicked into place.

You may recall that I did Dopey in 2015 - and if you read my recap of the final, marathon leg of the race series, you may remember the following anecdote: while running around the World Showcase, the finish line almost at my feet but NOT NEARLY CLOSE ENOUGH, I saw a guy standing on the side of the course, wearing his official dark green long-sleeved Dopey 2015 tech tee, sipping on a glass of sparkling wine. He wasn't wearing a medal, but he didn't appear to be in race mode. Rather he was just standing there, relaxin' all cool, sipping his beverage and watching his fellow athletes sprint limp run by.

I considered the options, briefly noting that it was possible that he had slept through the race start and had only come out to watch what could have been his (tragic!). But no, I concluded; the only plausible explanation was that he was already done and now he was drinking sparkling wine in definite mockery of all of us who were still very very slowly oh God I feel so slow why is this happening to me incidentally where did all my money go plodding toward our endgame. Never mind that he didn't have a visible medal - my logic was flawless. Clearly this man was an officer in the army of evil, intent upon destroying my morale with his... his... his FINISHEDNESS.

No, YOU tailor YOUR writing to gifs YOU want to use. Quit projecting!

Obviously now I realize he was a fellow Dopey denizen who had only, and wisely, chosen to step off the course, drink some much-needed alcohol at 11:30am, and straight up take a break. And so I exorcise my resentment toward him and replace it with respect. Random Dopey wine guy, I salute you. You have much to teach us all.

Have you ever stopped during a race to make a purchase? Come to a complete halt and chilled out a bit before stepping back onto the course?

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, May 11, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 5/11

Happy cutback week, everybody!

Yes, it's the annual week of my ballet show, which means I will be crazy busy all week with rehearsals and performances and all that nonsense. I could, theoretically, get up early in the morning to squeeze in my usual run schedule, but I'll be exhausted enough as it is. Anyway, everyone needs a cutback week now and again, right?

Besides, it's not even a full cutback - I knocked out a speed run on Sunday morning and a long run yesterday. But that's it and that's all. No more running until Monday!

I do plan to take a few afternoon walks.

And so now I dance off into the sunset, leaving you alone with the roundup.

- Begin giggling now: Back At Square Zero explains what fartleks are and how to do 'em.
- Fairytales & Fitness engages in foot pain management.
- Half Crazy Mama goes commando while running. Me too!
- This Fairytale Life explains the new way to get your runDisney race photos.
- Running at Disney describes running the inaugural Kessel Run Challenge.
- Hulk Hogan once filmed a TV show at WDW and Touring Plans knows ALL ABOUT IT.
- A Pinch of Pixie Dust gets the most out of the Studios' new Star Wars Launch Bay.
- The Disney Hipsters are back from WDW and have the awesome pics to prove it.
- And now for a thorough investigate of Disney foodstuffs: eat DCL food with Disney In Your Day, Magic Kingdom Snacks with WDW for Grownups, new Studios whoopie pies with The Disney Blog, and Afternoon Tea at the Beach Club with Gluten Free & Dairy Free in WDW.

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!