Thursday, April 24, 2014

In Which Jenn Channels The Dread Pirate Roberts

On Tuesday evening I ran seventeen miles. That's not the part that will impress you. I mean, they weren't very fast miles or anything. No, the part that will impress (horrify?) you is that I ran them on the treadmill.

I know, I know - we've already discussed the treadmill ad nauseum. I love it, you hate it, and never the twain shall meet. But a couple months ago I offered some treadmill-spicing advice that was pretty well received. Maybe I can make it happen again.

Because I have thought of another way I consistently beat the potential boredom of the treadmill. It's nothing revolutionary; in fact, I didn't even invent it. The Dread Pirate Roberts did.

You've got to take your mind away.


I can't remember if the movie version of The Princess Bride mentions this - off the top of my head I want to say it doesn't - but in the book (GREAT BOOK GO READ IT) there is more detail involved in Westley's time in the Pit of Despair. He is not immediately strapped to the Machine, but tortured in other small ways, both physical and psychological. (Yes, in this conceit the treadmill is a torture device. Happy now?)

But Westley never feels any of these small tortures, because he, quote, takes his mind away. He is not merely thinking about other things. He is daydreaming SO HARD that he is transported to another place entirely.

And so, when my music isn't pulling its distraction weight, I take my mind away. I'm not merely thinking about other things - I immerse myself wholly in a daydream. I only dedicate enough of my sense to running to keep myself moving properly. (Seriously, don't worry; your body knows what it's doing and will take care of you.) The rest of me is completely elsewhere. A really good daydream can propel me through countless miles.

Anyway, that's another one of my treadmill-conquering tips. How about you? Do you take yourself away when you run? Where do you go?

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 atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 4/22

Just me for the week in review this time around - Moon and I were at a wedding for much of the weekend and then there was Easter and basically we just haven't had time to chat. Well. We had time to chat. But it was about other things.

Sample conversation topic: This vineyard makes great Malbec!

Here's a general wedding anecdote you might enjoy: several years ago I informed my dad, in a purely hypothetical manner, that if I ever married I would want to elope because I don't want people to stare at me for hours on end. Despite the fact that I was single and furthermore used the word "if" my dad went into an unexpected panic and jumped straight to a bribe: would I promise not to elope if he paid for a wedding at Walt Disney World?

I'm still saying "if" and I still think eloping would be the most painless way to wed, but it's nice to have that in my back pocket.

Anyway. Really quick: running. That's one of the main points of this blog, right? Running. I was in recovery mode from the HILLLLLLLS of the Marine Corps 17.75K, so I mostly went on long walks. But I did run once, and it was a solid sixteen miles, so that counts for something, right? It didn't even make me want to kill myself! (Except for the first two miles when I tried to run outside. The pollen count proved to be too high for my lungs. I will regroup and try again later.)

Okay, that's all for now. Go talk to these guys instead:

- Find the perfect running shoe with Fairytales and Fitness.
- Nail increasingly competitive runDisney registration with these tips from Margaritas, Miles, and the Mouse.
- Running Toward the Prize considers the psychology of DNF.
- If you're headed to the DC Nike Women's Half, Pink Elephant on Parade has some advice for you. (Step one: Give me your bib. ;)
- Wondering where you've seen that guy from the Soarin' preshow before? Theme Park Insider has the scoop on Disney park celebrity cameos.
- Disney With Me assembles a dream Disney vacation checklist.
- Inside the Magic introduces Anna and Elsa to Patrick Stewart. As it should be.

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 atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, April 18, 2014

In Which Jenn Recaps the Marine Corps 17.75K


End of recap.

No, no, I won't do that. BUT I COULD.

Anyway. The Marine Corps 17.75K took place in Woodbridge, VA, which is about 45 minutes south of me. The last shuttle from the parking lots to the race start was scheduled to leave at 6:25AM, so for safety I was up, dressed, and out the door before 5AM. Luckily I ran into no traffic AND managed not to get lost, and I was on a shuttle before 6AM. The guy sitting next to me was friendly and wanted to talk; I remained polite since he was just being nice but my internal monologue was like DUDE IT'S NOT EVEN 6AM WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

Upon arrival at the start line I did the first thing we all do - got in line for the port-a-potties. While there, I heard someone mention that there was a killer hill at mile five... great.

My bathroom break out of the way, I wandered about the area and warmed up until we were called to the start line for a color guard and the national anthem. That done, we were informed that the actual start line was a little ways down the road, so the whole group walked forward until we hit the first timing pad and we were off!

The course was pretty much exclusively within a fairly heavily forested park, partially on trails and partially on roads but all lined with trees and trees and trees. And FULL OF HILLS. The first mile or so was largely downhill, but after that we started hitting some inclines that were just steep enough to make me take a walk break much, MUCH earlier than usual. Oh, and that hill at the five mile mark I'd heard about? Take a gander.

And it keeps going around that bend. FOREVER.

Yeah. No.

And remember how I said that the first mile or so was largely downhill? Well, for the last couple miles we doubled back on the course and had to go up that hill.

Not all the illustrative signage in the world can help you now.
 Yeah. No.

But it wasn't all bad! Sure, I had to take approximately 27 more walk breaks than is usually the case thanks to the constant hill presence, but I maintained an okay time all the same and my morale stayed high (especially when I overheard fellow runners discussing Dopey intervals). Thanks to Nicole's generous gift of some KT Tape to try, my knee never bothered me much; I didn't even have to take the emergency pain meds I'd put in my shirt pocket. And while the pack did thin, I was always surrounded by people - I never felt abandoned like I kinda did during the Light House Half.

They also had moderately amusing boot-camp-themed signs posted about. Here are my favorites!

Only two people understand why I found this so funny:
Katherine and...

Elizabeth gets me.

Excuse me, but I believe the brunette doll is called... um, Courtney?
I was more of a Breyer horse/My Little Pony girl.

That last one is from the last quarter mile of the course. It was STILL an upward incline, but once I passed the sign I pushed a little and crossed the finish line at a decent pace. Mind you, my time was 2:14:20 for the 11.03 miles, which is only 19 seconds faster than my time during the Tinker Bell Half, but like I said - HILLS, people. Treadmill, I have loved you and I continue to love you, but I regret to say that I clearly need to do more outdoor training if I want to improve my times in the face of real terrain.

The very first thing I encountered in the finishers shoot past the med tent was a table adorned with slice after slice of pizza. While I applaud the thought, I think this was extremely cruel placement. I just ran 11 miles of hills; I don't want pizza yet! ASK ME AGAIN LATER. (Of course I wanted it later.) But I guess they didn't want it out in the post-race area where just anybody could come grab some.

Past the pizza, finishers walked through a tent collecting water, a box of snacks, a finisher's "coin" (they called it a coin but it's plastic), a protein drink called Enu, and a light cotton pseudo-jacket meant to serve the same purpose as the foil blankets runDisney hands out.

As I exited the chute, I heard a guy behind me mention that drinking the protein shake immediately was the key to recovery. Good enough for me! I plunked myself down on the curb next to many a fellow finisher and drank that sucker down. Verdict: not bad. Nutty, I think from soy protein. I wouldn't go out of my way to order it, but might buy it again if I happened to come by it on sale in a store.

The snack box was otherwise fairly boring - a tiny container of peanut butter, two graham cracker squares, sesame sticks, raisins, stuff like that. I ate one or two things in the name of not feeling sick later and then made my way back to the post-race tents.

Stop one: The #AccessGranted tent. As a finisher, I was entitled to a guaranteed entry to the Marine Corps Half Marathon. I exchanged a tag from my bib for a postcard with a website and entry code. Mission, as they say, accomplished.

Oh, but as a side note - I got completely distracted on the way by PONIES.

Well, actually, my horse breed knowledge suggests that these are technically Miniature Horses, not ponies; MH people get super touchy about how they AREN'T PONIES. I say if it's under 14.2 hands high then it's a pony per the rules, but whatever. ADORABLE either way. (And someone on Twitter told me that they're at ALL the Marine Corps races, so that's something to motivate me during the full. KEEP RUNNING THERE WILL BE PONIES)

Aside from that, there wasn't a ton going on. I did make a brief stop at the Brooks tent and talked to the guy there for a couple minutes, but aside from a freebie lip balm there didn't seem to be any incentive to buy or even try right then. After a loop or two I boarded the shuttle back to my car and drove home. (Which took forever because of the cherry blossom people trying to get into DC. Where is the teleportation technology you keep promising us, Star Trek?!)

And that was my 17.75K experience. Next stop: the full marathon!

The bib has taken its place on my Cubicle Wall of Triumph.

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 atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In Which Jenn Makes The Cheater's Egg Sandwich

I am a mean baker. You should be so lucky as to have me make you a birthday cake. Current plan for my roommate's: yellow cake, three layers, cream cheese frosting on the outside, crunchy Biscoff spread on the inside. See? Evil genius. I have also been known to dabble in chocolate cream cheese, pumpkin yogurt, and cheesecake fluff fillings.

My culinary skills, however, are pretty rudimentary. Unless I set my mind to a particular recipe, I'm more throwing things together than I am really cooking perse. And on that note, here's another one of my "recipes" - nothing groundbreaking, just an idea with instructions for assembly, like with The Cheater's Grilled Cheese. I'm the food equivalent of IKEA.

And so, without further adieu, I give you The Cheater's Open-Face Egg & Cheese Sandwich. This is another great one for when you'd like some tasty, hot food with as little effort as humanly possible. And this one's pretty effortless. Observe.

You will need:

1 slice of bread, white or wheat
1 Laughing Cow Cheese wedge - I like the reduced fat Swiss
1 egg or egg white equivalent (but I hear the yolks are healthy again)
Spice rub
A small amount of spinach, fresh or frozen

  1. Pop the bread in the toaster.
  2. Put your spinach in a small bowl or a saucer with a decent lip to it. (If your spinach is frozen, thaw it first.) Crack open your egg and pour it over the spinach. If you prefer a good scramble, mix it all up. If you like the yoke intact, just kinda spread the white of the egg so that it covers the spinach.
  3. Stick your spinach-egg concoction in the microwave (YES I SAID THE MICROWAVE WE'RE CHEATERS, REMEMBER?). Nuke that sucker to your desired specifications. I like my yoke to stay a little soft and I know my microwave runs hot, so I generally go for about 40 seconds; this gives me a solid white but the yolk still gives without exploding as I bite into it. For a runnier yoke, try 30 seconds. For a hard yolk, try a full minute. Basically, experiment based on what you're into.
  4. While you're waiting, retrieve your toasted bread, spread the cheese wedge onto one side, and place it on a plate (cheese side up, although I'd imagine this goes without saying. Like the car in The Phantom Tollbooth).
  5. Take your egg-spinach mass out of the microwave and observe how nicely the two elements have fused into one fabulous round. Carefully slide it out of the bowl and onto the cheesy side of your bread.
  6. Now for the garnish! Sure, I could say "salt and pepper to taste" and call it a day, but where's the fun in that? No, I like to hit my egg with a dash of sweet-and-savory barbecue spice rub. I bet garlic salt would be good too, or Old Bay goes with everything. Hot sauce fiends could indulge with success. Nose through your spice cabinet and see what strikes your fancy.

There you have it! Another easy, healthy (protein and veggies and low fat cheese!), cheap, minimal-equipment-necessary set of food assembly instructions. Now here's a question: yolks or no yolks?

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 atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In Which Jenn Is Dopey

I have done something. I have done something unwise.


Thanks to the magic of early registration for Annual Passholders, I just registered for WDW Marathon Weekend's Dopey Challenge.

I have willingly signed up to do a 5K... and then get up the next morning and do a 10K... repeat, run a half marathon... repeat, RUN A FULL MARATHON.


I mean, I will. I'm signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October, if you recall. So I'm not going into the challenge flying completely blind.

Still, I probably shouldn't have done it. Logically. Sanely. That's a lot of running all at once. Also, it costs pretty much all the money.





THIS PLACE! (source)

Perhaps the dopiest thing about it: I AM SO EXCITED.

Who will I see at WDW Marathon Weekend? Whether you're going out for Dopey or Goofy or just the 5K, it's going to be glorious. :D

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 atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 4/15

JENN: Get any training done this week?

MOON: A little! Working on toning mostly. How have your runs been? Any improvement?

JENN: Eh, this week was worse, but I only did one training run; the rest was walking. I had the Marine Corps 17.75K (11.03 mi) on Saturday, the one that got you guaranteed admission to the Marine Corps Marathon when you finished. I'll do a recap, but for now let me some up my experience with this race with the following word: HIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLS.

MOON: Oh, dear! But regardless of hills, congratulations!

JENN: Thanks. :) But I think I might need to start doing at least one run a week - gulp - OUTSIDE. I still love my dear sweet treadmill, but I need to get used to terrain changes and inclines and what have you.

MOON: I find I need to get used to obstacles (people, mostly) and the air change. I am super excited I can now officially run outside again. The weather this past weekend was amaaaaazing.

JENN: Oh, and speaking of gulp, I used my #AccessGranted code from the 17.75K and am officially entered in the Marine Corps marathon. So there's that.

It's like Jenn is Dr. Seeker and Dr. Marsh just left the room!

MOON: :D Yay! Very proud of you. <3

JENN: I'm little scared, but the minimum pace is 14 minute miles, and I'm confident I can average that at the very least. [insert a knock of the internet wood here]

If you're bored that weekend, maybe you can come meet me at the finish line!

MOON: Of course. :) Or I'll show up when you hit mile 20 and scare you into speeding up. <3

JENN: Startled into speed... I suppose it's a system.

You know what else is a system? The blog roundup.

- Learn along as Fairytales and Fitness ponders advice from a PT.
- Running at Disney claims that finishing your first marathon is the best feeling EVER. Boy do I hope that's true.
- More learning: Running Toward the Prize considers her takeaways from her first half marathons.
- If A Pinch of Pixie Dust is going to put up a post featuring a chocolate dessert, then I'm going to feature it here.
- Get happy as the Disney Tourist Blog counts down a top ten of Disney moments.
- And finally, The Disney Hipsters speak the truth.

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 atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, April 11, 2014

In Which Jenn Has A Race Tomorrow

Whew. They made me drive all the way into Virginia to get it, but I have my bib for the Marine Corps 17.75K. I'm kinda nervous; my runs have not been great lately, and the course is described as having "rolling hills." Goody. But this is my only way into the Marine Corps Marathon if I want to do that (I do want to do that, right? Right??? I have to decide by April 14! Tell me if I want to do it!).

The magnificent Nicole gifted me some KT Tape, so I'm gonna slap some of that on my touchy knee tomorrow, plus I'm making myself some whole-grain pasta for lunch. Preparedness!

Less preparedness: I'm not sure what to eat for dinner or breakfast before the race - I'm experiencing too-much-research paralysis, if you know what I mean. I was thinking a fruit + coconut water smoothie and a couple slices of buttered toast for the night before, and then for pre-race...? What are your go-to meals leading up to a run?

Anyway, if you happen to be awake at 5AM, think of 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 atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!