Wednesday, July 31, 2013

In Which We Talk Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian

MOON: Okay, let's do tea!

JENN: We did the afternoon tea in the Grand Floridian's Garden View Lounge for the first time in June of 2008. There have been many changes since then, some positive and some negative, but it is the one WDW restaurant I have returned to more than any other. I think my count is up to... I dunno, five times? Six?

Anyway, Moon and I went again in February, so we figured we'd talk about it, because it is awesome.

MOON: I was just looking at photos of our tea yesterday. Yuuum. :D

JENN: The Garden View Lounge is located on the first floor of the Grand Floridian, at the back of that vast lobby area. It's scarcely even its own room, just kinda roped off up a few stairs in a vestibule. The walls are almost entirely made of window and the views of the grounds are lovely. I love watching the cast members go by and their adorable Victorian outfits with the caps and the knee pants!

The Garden View Lounge afternoon tea service can be purchased a la carte or in certain pre-set prix fixe menus. We almost always get the Grand Tea, largely because of the dessert options, but we'll get to that!

The first thing you do when ordering said Grand Tea is select your tea. The teas are loose leaf and brewed individually in personal pots. Unfortunately, the tea menu condensed awhile back, deleting my favorite tea, the cassis. Still, the selection is good and the quality is high. I want to say I got the Mad Hatter tea last time? It was a lightly flavored black tea and very good. You're given lump sugar and milk if you want your tea English style.

They put your teapot in a tea cozy to keep it warmer. And cuter.
The little strainer is for putting over your cup as your pour, to keep
the loose tea leaves out.

MOON: I have no memory of what I picked, but I'm pretty sure I would have picked a black tea. So, one of them.

JENN: The Grand Tea also comes with champagne, although you can substitute sparkling cider. This we did on this particular occasion, as we were running the Princess Half in a few days and didn't want to overdo it on the alcohol. The strawberry wedged on the edge of the glass is a nice touch!

Another time, this coulda been champagne!

The Grand Tea comes in three courses, alongside your tea and champagne/cider. The first course is tea sandwiches. These had been pretty much the same over the three or four years I had them - and then on this last tea, they changed!

The most important thing about the finger sandwiches I want to mention, however, is that they are easily customizable to fit certain diets. Moon is a pescetarian, which means she'll eat fish but no meat. The sandwiches include chicken salad as well as duck wrapped in... um... prosciutto? Some pork product. The waitress was happy to sub the chicken salad for a second smoked salmon sandwich and the duck for an extra onion tart.

Other sandwiches include (if memory serves) a cucumber sandwich, an egg salad sandwich, and a pear and gorgonzola sandwich (shrimp salad sandwich wasn't included during this run - maybe it'll make a return or maybe it's been permanently replaced?). I think they'd have to make you something different if you're vegan, but vegetarians should be pretty easily accommodated by doubling up on the sandwiches they can eat. Of course, it never hurts to call ahead! They can probably make completely new sandwich combinations as well with a little notice.

The chicken salad sandwich has curry and is Jenn's favorite!

MOON: The first time I went to tea with Jenn was around four or five years ago and at that time I was vegetarian to the max and I remember not having a lot of options. This is not to say that I did not enjoy it! The tea is really why I'm there, anyway. But yeah, if you're vegetarian you'll probably want to call ahead, and if you're vegan you definitely will.

JENN:
  The second course consists of a delicious scone with Devonshire cream and what I believe is strawberry jelly and a strawberry jam tart (again, I'm pretty sure it's strawberry but my memory could be fritzing; let me know if you know it to be raspberry). These are of course exceptionally tasty, but they've changed the presentation of the jam and cream. The latter used to come in a pretty whipped dome shape, and the former used to arrive in its own personal little jam jar. Not that either of these things have any bearing on the taste, but I kinda miss 'em...


The final course is your choice of either two pastries chosen from a little tray or English trifle. We can't really speak to the pastries because we ALWAYS get the trifle, and I'm going to let Moon take this one because she has such an uncharacteristically effusive take!

MOON: I approve of the trifle! As you can tell by my lack of input that I do not have a strongest memory... But I remembered the trifle from our trip a few years back and had to have it again in February. It's delicious - kind of like strawberry shortcake, with cream.

JENN: It has gotten WAY fancier. Formerly they just brought you some trifle in a bowl that had clearly been scooped out of a larger receptacle. Now it's all artistic!

Trifle back in the day up there.

Trifle now below!




MOON:
Retrospectively, I think I would have opted for just the tea and the trifle, because honestly, I was pretty full half way through our meal. Jenn, did we finish the trifle?

JENN:
We did! Yeah, a la carte might not be a bad idea, although the individual prices are a bit high... the package meals tend to be a good deal by comparison (some of these are smaller; some larger, so you have options). Maybe split a Grand Tea and buy an extra pot of tea and trifle. Great way to save money and have room for more Disney snacking later. But people with hearty appetites may want to buy their own Grand Tea. And be sure to budget a fair amount of time - we average about an hour and a half for the entire meal and lingering over tea.

MOON: I mean, if you haven't had the whole grand tea experience: you should. I think the experience really stands out from what WDW has to offer - from a dining AND ambiance perspective.

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.com. See ya real soon!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In Which Crosstraining is Discussed & Jenn Tries to Sell Moon on Ballet

JENN: What's your cross-training regimen?

MOON: You always ask me first. I insist you share this time!

JENN: Haha, okay! I try to do some push-ups plus crunches, and similar ab exercises on a regular basis. I say try, but in all honesty I don't do it very often... I'm a little better about grabbing some low-weight dumbbells and doing some basic arm exercises.

The problem with all of it is - and I know this is kinda weird in a small apartment gym - if there's anyone else there I get REALLY self-conscious about doing anything other than running. Even the running feels a little weird, but I can power through it. Any other exercises, though, feel like I'm exposing myself to ridicule. I know that doesn't make any sense, but that's the direction my brain goes.

MOON: I think I know what you mean. I still have problems running next to you!

JENN: I've got nothin' but love, baby!

MOON: But remember: nothing is more hilarious than watching me try to swim. When I was getting ready for the tri, I had to get myself to swim a mile.

JENN: How was that tri?

MOON: So, I was SO READY for that. It was my first event and I was solo. About four weeks before the event, I went to NC with college friends and I messed up my foot, tripping over a rock. I came home and waited a few days to see if it would get better. It didn't, so I went to the doctor one night when it was feeling especially bad. He told me to not walk on it for six weeks.

So, needless to say, I was bummed. I also fell attempting to get across the parking lot with crutches.

JENN: Well, hey. Go big or go home!

MOON: Yeah, I GUESS. ANYWAY, swimming is not my forte and if you ever need a laugh...

Cross-training: I really favor cardio, but I like mixing it up between running, biking, and the elliptical. I don't do a lot of lifting with my upper body, but it's something I'll probably get into eventually.

JENN: The main thing I do religiously is something I think you should try again! BALLET. I love ballet class. I take two classes a week in the summer and three in the fall/winter months.

MOON: You = graceful swan. Me = monster.

The nutcracker that shows up in Epcot's Germany pavilion in December is very inspiring.
At least it was in 2008. Dear God, is this photo really almost five years old?

JENN: Well, sure, on the FIRST DAY. You only took one class. Ballet is a 100% ugly duckling situation. NO ONE just wanders into ballet class and starts grande jete-ing around like a pro! Heck, the kids who start out in preschool are mostly just flailing to music anyway.

My experience with yoga is limited, but I think ballet is a great workout along similar lines, at least in some ways: it's not necessarily overly strenuous or heart-pumping in the cardio sense, but it requires concentration and utilizes muscles that might not otherwise get used. It's also GREAT for your feet. My arches are titanium!

MOON: I'm a flat foot. Am I off the hook?

JENN: Nope! Ballet would strengthen those suckers. And you would BECOME a graceful swan!

Another great thing about ballet for runners is the stretching, I hear mixed opinions about stretching - it's good before, it's good after, it's good both, it's good NEVER - but regardless, all the stretching we do keeps my muscles from seizing up. I've GOT to stretch out my legs for ballet class or I'm not going to get anything done properly.

MOON: I think you should stretch all the time!

JENN: Yes! And much of that stretching can be done in ballet class. :D :D :D

MOON: Monsters don't look good in spandex.

JENN: Psh. Strictly speaking, you have a better ballet body than I do, in terms of what a professional company would want. But then I'm not professional and never will be, so why worry? I just soak in the benefits.

MOON: My first born will be a prima ballerina. Second born will be an astronaut. And if for whatever reason one is incapable, then both careers will fall on the other.

JENN:
No pressure! Which, coincidentally, is what your second born will feel in space. TADOW!

MOON: Hahaha, that's right!

SPACE. The final frontier.

JENN: And continuing the no-pressure theme, I'll stop harassing you about ballet. Any other cross-training to mention?

MOON: Besides normal gym stuff, no, not really.

JENN: Me neither. So obviously we're open to suggestions.

MOON: I'd really like to do join a soccer league, so if anyone participates in one in the MD area, let me know!

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.com. See ya real soon!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Fairest Week in Review: 7/29

JENN: Okay, here's my first report for the week: the running skirt I bought last week was a bust. I tried it on and it fit really comfortably, which should've been the first red flag. Since the undershorts weren't gripping my thighs with deathly force, they naturally rode up as soon as I started to run.

MOON: I figured they would probably ride up too much for running.

JENN: It's not a total loss, since it was only fourteen bucks and it's always useful to have a skirt with undershorts for picnics and other sitting-down endeavors, but as a running accoutrement: no good. Ah well. Back to the drawing board!

MOON: How was training this week?

JENN: Right! The actual running thing! It was decent. I got some long-ish runs in with okay times. I'm a little concerned that my right knee has started bugging me when it always used to be my left, so I'm giving myself an extra day off and just walking tomorrow. Hopefully that'll take care of things.

MOON: A break will probably do you some good. I hope your knee feels better soon!

JENN: How about you?

MOON: So, this week I have been mostly in Delaware at the beach. I have done all of my running outside and I must say that it has been the best running week I've had since I moved to Baltimore (and had to do a lot of running inside).

JENN: Yay!

MOON: I'm convinced it is the R&R, but my speed and distance improved. I coerced [our friend and Moon's roommate] Andrew into taking a walk that was over 3 miles (he will be ready for 5k in no time!).

And here is the best part: Yesterday I went for a swift 5 mile run. It was around 2:30PM and rather hot. The sun was out full force with no shade, but this was all part of the plan... because when I finished my route, I ran into the ocean!

JENN: Niiiiiice!

MOON: The water has been quite cold all week and I haven't really been in much, so I figured the only way for me to get in was to just go for it.. and to do that I needed to be really hot, so there you go. I recommend this to all runners; it was pretty glorious.

JENN: I think runDisney should arrange for a GIANT swimming pool at the end of the course. And then the finish line is six inches in front of the edge. Maybe they can alter the course so that it ends in Typhoon Lagoon's wave pool.


Preferred race end (parfait optional).


MOON:
Hahaha, I second!

JENN: What songs accompanied you on this glorious run?

MOON: I am still listening to Wild Beasts; nothing new there! What about you?

JENN: Plumbing the depths of my Flogging Molly collection. "Factory Girls" is pretty good.

MOON: I haven't listened to them for years. I should get that album out.

JENN: "Another Bag of Bricks" is my favorite. I break it out whenever I need a speed boost!

They opened with "Another Bag of Bricks"! IT WAS AWESOME.

By the bye, if anyone has any running song suggestions, we'd certainly be happy to hear 'em. Always good to have new material in rotation.

And now for a humble collection of noteworthy blog posts:

- Katherine of Food Fitness Fantasy discusses our home away from home, Pop Century. Ask for a room in the '60s building!
- Did you know that Disney Legend Bob Gurr blogs for MiceChat?! I didn't! Did you know that the '50s rocked? I did!
- Sarah of Gluten-Free & Dairy Free at WDW is starting her own runDisney journey! Go encourage her!
- MousePlanet has another great runDisney article, this one about running on a budget. Never hurts to have more advice on the fiscal front, no?
- Sarah of RAD Living talks hydration. Especially important with the temperatures we've been experiencing of late.
- Learn about the eight different types of runs with Carrots 'n Cake.

That does it for today - see you back here tomorrow for more of the usual awesomeness! (Really, this is the week we'll be awesome. I can feel it.)

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.com. See ya real soon!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Squirtgun to Your Head: Favorite WDW Ride?


JENN:
In my head I originally titled this series "Gun To Your Head," the idea being that if someone were to hold a gun to your head and demand your favorite Disney ride and you can only say one with no caveats GO, what would you say?

But that seemed needlessly violent, given the subject matter, so I vote we call it Squirtgun To Your Head. Much friendlier.

So, ahem. I'm holding a squirtgun to your head. What is your favorite ride at Walt Disney World and why?

MOON: SPACESHIP EARTH! History of western civilization narrated by Judi Dench. And the sleepy monk.


JENN:
I remember when you selected the French language track, and wound up SO disappointed because you expected Judi Dench speaking French. Which she really ought to, you know, because it rhymes.

MOON:
I, as well as the French nation, have been let down.

JENN: Mine would have to be Expedition Everest, I think. It's got thrills AND story! And sherpas! My mother had a Himalayan cat named Sherpa, because she's clever, so I get excited at the mention of sherpas, because I'm weird.
Also, one of my favorite WDW memories is of the second time I dragged you onto the ride, but I'll keep that one in my back pocket for our post on how I'm a terrible person who makes you ride roller coasters. :D

MOON: I just HAD to see the yeti.

JENN: And it only took, what, four tries before you uncovered your eyes? ;)

MOON: I will say that I love that part of Animal Kingdom. And waiting in the line is pretty nice, actually. And a bucket full of tears.

Not pictured: Bucket full of tears.

JENN: Psh. You love it. And I would just like to note for the record that she goes on the ride voluntarily, even if she likes to pretend otherwise, and I don't have to put a squirtgun to any part of her!

MOON: I have made a promise to myself: to man up.

JENN: And you've kept it!

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.com. See ya real soon!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In Defense Of Our Predicted Tink Finishing Time

JENN: As you will know if you read our Princess Half Marathon recap, our finishing time was 2:52. And as you will know if you read our Tinker Bell Half registration post, we put down 2:20 as our projected finish. You might be thinking to yourself, "Hmmm. That's quite a jump."

But wait! We can explain! We feel that many factors slowed our time during the Princess, which incidentally was our first half. We learned a lot in it.

MOON: That, and... Jenn and Moon: now with bionic legs.

JENN: It's true. We got the upgrade. We stroll to the moon on our lunch breaks now. But we've decided to play fair and don regular legs for the half. You know, so as not to demoralize the others.

MOON: Right!

JENN:
Which brings us to warp Factor #1: the weather. The Princess Half was not blessed with running weather.

MOON: No. Hot and humid. Not quite to the max, but enough to make running at 6AM unpleasant.

JENN: Experts recommend you decrease your speed in the face of heat and humidity. This was therefore not a help.

However! Southern California is professionally a sunny 75 degrees year round, right? That's what it DOES. 5AM should feature a lovely brisk running weather forecast.

MOON: Well, I'm currently getting a lot of practice in unpleasant weather. So, either way, I will be set!

JENN: Factor #2: the crush of people. During the Princess, we encountered what seemed at times to be an impenetrable series of human walls. We did a lot of dodging and braking and weaving and going around. It adds up.

MOON: I remember getting to the 5K mark and thinking, "will this let up?"

JENN:
It sort of did, eventually, but not until... mile seven, would you say? Definitely after the castle. The castle was still crowded.

MOON: Yeah, it got a little better, but I don't think I was ever running freely, if you know what I mean.

In my head, I imagined running through the castle gloriously one-by-one and having a private moment of triumph, ha!

Like this, only faster.

JENN: If only! But we have some strategies to combat this problem for Tink.

First off, by aiming for a 2:20 finish, we'll hopefully be placed in a corral among faster runners who are less likely to form a blockade.

Second, one of the nice advantages of Disneyland is its compact nature. You can walk to everything, and that includes the starting line from our hotel.

That means no huge line for the bus. No fighting traffic once we're ON the bus. No lengthy walk just to get to your corral, even! (Or so I hear!) So - we can get up at the same time, but be at our corrals MUCH sooner. Hopefully toward the front, so we can start the race off free and easy!

MOON: Yay!

JENN:
This brings us to Factor #3, which is the factor we brought upon ourselves: we walked. Two. Whole. Miles. Not in a row, but STILL. Why did we do that again?

MOON:
I think at the time the question was more, "Why not?" Honestly, when I work out at home I usually never walk for more than .25 miles

JENN:
Me neither! I think our psyches got the best of us. At the time I was like, "Well, I've run nine miles already. I'm tired." It made sense. But looking back on it, I know I didn't need it. Not really.

MOON: Agreed. I think we burned out physically and mentally near the end.

JENN: And it was our first half marathon. We just wanted to DO it. Well, now we've done it. We know we can. Time to starting doing it RIGHT.

So. Not to say walking is verboten in all future cases, but we'll know better than to keep it up for more than the few minutes we need to replenish our energy stores.

MOON: We will be ready! We've been keeping up with our running schedules, running together, eating well, and now we're even blogging about it!

JENN: And that brings us to Factor #4, which is essentially - we will be ready!

MOON: Steve Holt
! (We haven't said it in a while, right?)

JENN: I wouldn't say we were under-prepared for the Princess, but it was our very first race and we only had our eyes on the prize for a few months.

But we decided to go for the Coast to Coast medal pretty much as soon as the Princess medals were around our necks. Which means that by the time January rolls around, we will have had nearly a year to prepare, both physically and mentally.

And! It will be our third half marathon, because we will have run our second in September, which means more learning about how to most effectively run a race.

MOON: I'm actually pretty excited about September!

JENN: My PR for 13.1 miles in training is down to 2:13. My goal is to have it shaved down to 2:10 by the time we hit CA, but secretly I'd like to get to 2:05... we'll see!

MOON: I just started training again at the end of May, so my goal for September is 2:20 with no walking. Then we can resubmit our proof of time, which may help our corral placement!

JENN: To review:

Better weather + fewer roadblocks + less walking + more preparation = a half marathon finish time that's 30 minutes faster than the Princess. We can do it!

MOON: We WILL do it!

JENN: As Moon so rightly said: STEVE HOLT!

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.com. See ya real soon!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In Which Moon Touches On Restrictive Dieting

We'll periodically be putting up solo posts from one or the other of us, just to keep the format fresh. And you know, for funsies. Today Moon tackles a topic that has great meaning to us both...

Restrictive diets: say no.

Let’s talk a little about nutrition and diet. Most of the “diets” I have experienced have been extremely restrictive. So, in other words, they are not diets, but more like a blacklist for your stomach. I would like to take a different approach. How about we not create a diet based on what to restrict from our bodies, but build a balanced diet that gives our bodies what they need (and want!).

I have a lot of experience with weird eating habits and crazy diets, but let’s start with my most current eating concern. All of my adult life I have been a vegetarian. I am a vegetarian who is also lactose intolerant. But, let’s start with vegetarianism. Most of the time I get this reaction:

What DO you eat? And yes, the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding was correct in the portrayal of family members insisting that the leaner meats are not meat at all (That's okay, that's okay. I make lamb).

I eat everything except meat, of course! And honestly, I really love vegetables. For the past few years I’ve been trying to figure out what is going on with my cholesterol levels. I went for a yearly check-up with my primary physician and a few weeks after the appointment I received a letter that basically read, “You are overweight and should consider a weight management program."

My initial reaction was amusement, but after going through the test results, I discovered that my cholesterol levels were through the roof. This was surprising to me because my diet contained barely any cholesterol (minimal amounts from eggs, but I rarely ate eggs). Now, I understand that cholesterol has strong ties to the genes you have, but I have NO idea about my medical history because I am adopted. However, I never before showed any high levels of cholesterol. Now, I have another condition that might account for the high levels of cholesterol, but I take medication that should balance that out. Here’s the bottom line: I needed to change my diet to try and lower at least the bad levels of cholesterol. To do this, I started to eat fish.

I cried the first time I ate fish. A small number of vegetarians out there are probably empathizing with me right now, but the majority of you are probably thinking, seriously? Vegetarianism became for me a way of life and while I did not start because I was against eating animals, over time I did feel that going back to eating meat would be in some way contaminating or somehow letting myself down.

I shouldn’t have been upset to eat fish. Sometimes I consider stopping, but I honestly have no negative side effects from eating fish (don’t get me wrong; I am absolutely for better treatment of animals. I am for eating organic and I try to stay far away from processed foods. I think our meat industry is in terrible disarray).  However, in retrospect I really believe that I should have been easier on myself for eating something that was good for me. And the fish has been helping. I am stronger and healthier. My protein levels are getting better and I will find out soon to see if my cholesterol is any better.

Here’s the thing with restrictive diets: it does something to my psyche. I go overboard with removing foods from my diet. I’ve found shortcuts to calorie intake. I think it does something to a lot of us, mentally, and I firmly believe that if your mind and body are not in the right place then whatever you are going for won’t have the best outcome.

And finally, to the point of the post: Eat what makes you healthy, strong, and happy. You might be thinking, Yeah, but I want to eat cake topped with cake. I want to play steak with Jenn. Can I deep-fry the cake? I find that my uncontrollable cravings for sugar are usually because I’m stressed. When I’m stressed I try to run to rid myself of the bad energy and usually it works enough to get me to calm down. I think if we recognize why we crave some of the unhealthiest foods all the time, we might be able to balance the real issue.

The good news is: let yourself eat something you like every now and then! There is nothing wrong with enjoying the sweet, sweet, nectar that is all foods found in a bakery. It’s the extreme desire of wanting unhealthy foods all the time that is usually an indicator of another issue. Be positive in your approach to your nutrition! Above all else, keep your body and mind happy and healthy and things will fall into place.

A lot of our diet is controlled by bad moods, stress, and anxiety. Take the negatives out of the equation and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Restrictive dieting has definitely messed with both our psyches in the past. We'll be talking more about this subject in the future. There are still so many destructive habits floating around among women out there - but we think it's great that blogging has opened up a dialogue about it! If you have any thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below.

Delicious sandwiches from Backlot Express.

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.com. See ya real soon!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Fairest Week in Review: 7/22

JENN: Wanna do our weekly?

MOON: Sure!

JENN: Then let's hit it! How'd your training go this week?

MOON: Rather well, actually. I jogged indoors, outdoors, got through a minor ankle issue, and tried an intense elliptical workout.

JENN: Ankle okay now?

MOON: It's getting there. I honestly don't know what I did to offend it. How was your week? I know you were in San Francisco and weren't feeling so well...

JENN: I had a pretty off week. I got my mileage in, but I never really found a groove. I was tired every time. I'm kinda bummed about it - the gym had glass windows looking out thirty-five stories above San Francisco, and as much as I wasn't thrilled by the city it was a great view. I just couldn't quite find my footing, as it were.

Maybe the explanation is as simply as a three hour time zone shift. Although I hope not, because if that's the case, there goes my performance in the Tinker Bell Half...

MOON: Well, we will be excited and the course will be great, so don't worry about that!

JENN: And the weather is bound to be beautiful! And we'll have a whole day beforehand to rest.

MOON: You know, I'm sure it was just jet lag, stress from having to do work stuff along with fitting in your runs. and "airport sickness." It's a lot to pack into five days.

JENN: Airports always get me!

MOON: Me too!

JENN: I wasn't really sick, but I feel like any time I spend a lot of time in airports I come out with just the slightest edge of what may or not be a cold. And I credit my escape from a full-blown cold to orange juice.

MOON: Mmmhmm.

Well, I'm glad you're back! I've missed you. 

JENN:
Awww, I missed you too! I got a running skirt on sale for $14 at Target today. We should go for a run so I can try it out! It's got light green accents, so it would be perfect for the Tinker Bell Half.

Jenn's new skirt (credit Target.com)

MOON: Cute! That sounds good to me.

JENN: We'll need to talk Tink outfits at some point in the future!

MOON: Haha, okay!

I'll be running mostly outside this week because I'm at the shore except for Monday and Tuesday. I'm hoping to improve my time AND distance this week. The route I have here is on a highway, basically. It's really hot, humid, and boring. If I can make it through this I can do anything.

JENN: You should definitely take some pictures if you go for a picturesque run. Any good songs on your playlist?

MOON: It's the same band as last week, but I especially liked "We Still Got the Taste of Dancing on Our Tongues" by Wild Beasts. Some pretty impressive falsetto. You?

JENN: I've been enjoying Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere." Seems a very running sort of song. I'm not usually a country kind of girl, but Johnny Cash isn't country, nor is he anything else. He is simply Johnny Cash. And Johnny Cash is a great musical genre.

MOON: I think JC would be great for long runs.

JENN: He's got a steady beat.

I also had a Moon sort of moment yesterday. See, Moon is always ferreting out exciting new music before anyone else.

One of the songs I was going to mention today is "Beast" by Nico Vega. The lyric "We're not going down like this" really works for me sometimes when I need a push. I THOUGHT I had discovered it through the trailer to BioShock: Infinite.

Then yesterday the old iPod I keep in my car was dead, so I turned on the radio. What comes on but "Beast." And I was all, BUT THAT'S MINE! Very hipsterish of me, I'm sure. ;)

MOON: Haha, letting your inner hipster out.

JENN: I remember when you were all upset that the radio found Finger Eleven.

MOON: Oh MAN, that was like... high school!

JENN: And then you started listening to Anberlin, so WE started listening to Anerblin, and then the radio started playing Anberlin something like three YEARS later, and we all responded with a collective "...?"

MOON: I'd like to think my taste has become a bit more refined. ;) By the way, if anyone is interested in playlists, shoot me an email. Let me know what kind of music you like and I'll try to put something together for you!

JENN: Me! I want one!

But hey, sometimes the best running songs aren't even GOOD, technically - they just keep you moving. That's why I let Ke$ha songs pop up now again. There. Now I'm officially the most embarrassing!

Although in my defense, the Ke$ha thing is Star Trek's fault, so I came to it in the nerdiest way possible.




And now that I've thoroughly discredited myself, here are some running/Disney blog posts from around these fanciful internets!

- Our friend Andrew sent us a great The Oatmeal comic about running. We'll make you run a 5K with us yet, Andrew!
- Moon will have a post tomorrow about diet and nutrition, but in the meantime, if you're Paleo, Eat Sleep Run Disney has some great recipes for you. I must try the mug cake!
- Over at Running at Disney, Sarah talks about her must-dos as a Disneyland newbie. We'll be looking at Sleeping Beauty Castle for the first time ourselves in January for the Tinkerbell Half, so this is inspiration for us!
- MousePlanet has a great series of articles on runDisney; the most recent discusses racing tips. It kinda freaks me out a little that I've been reading MousePlanet since 2005...
- Organic running apparel company Raw Threads is holding a contest with the prize of a $200 gift card. I have one of their shirts and I love it!

I was a bit remiss in my blog reading last week, being at a conference and all. If you ever feel like you've found/written something awesome we simply must see, feel free to drop us a line or leave a comment!

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.com. See ya real soon!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Coldest Winter Jenn Ever Spent

Hi there! Just Jenn here today. Guess where I spent the last week running?


But Mr. Twain, if you meant it literally you should've SAID.
That's right - high above San Francisco! I was there for a business trip, and my hotel's gym was on the top floor. It was certainly quite the novelty! And as a bonus, the treadmills were the fancy type with the monitors attached.

Bonus: my hotel room featured a scenic view of the Nike store.



So that was fun. As for San Francisco itself, my feelings on the city can be summed up at marker 0:31:



Look, I have a hard enough time adjusting to October in October. October has NO BUSINESS getting all up in my July. And then the defense is, "But it's like this in January too!" And I'm like, what's the POINT of being cold if there's never any chance of snow? And also, here in Maryland I can think to myself, well, I'm cold now, but in a few months it will be warm again. Whereas in San Francisco I could think, well, I'm cold now, but in a few months... I will still be cold. This is weather as furnished by purgatory. To live in San Francisco is to live without hope.

And so I was wandering the city, feeling lost and alone and bitter about the fact that I was wearing a JACKET and PANTS in JULY and composing an angry inner monologue to that effect, when I happened to glance down the street and see this:

SANCTUARY!

It was like being in a foreign country and spotting the American embassy.



I don't <3 San Francisco, but I suppose I can Mickey it.



I know, I know - everyone else on earth loves San Francisco. My own father, whose DNA I supposedly share, loves it. Heck, Moon likes it fine. But you're talking to a girl who found the temperatures during an August WDW visit to be hot, but perfectly manageable. As Eeyore so wisely said: We can't all, and some of us don't.

One last note: I was on an egregiously slow and ancient work laptop all week. Usually I proof these posts, but getting anything done on that monster was such a terrible chore that I was just slapping up anything I could manage. Apologies for any weird typos and spacing issues that may have plagued previous posts.

Okay, that's all from me! Moon and I will be back next week with more running and Disney conversations. See you then!

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.com. See ya real soon!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Great Margarita Caper

JENN: So today I would like to talk about the Great Cucumber Margarita Caper, Or; Drinking 1/12 of the Way Around the World.

MOON: You mean drinking our way INTO Mexico and then I'm drunk?

JENN: Well, technically we drank IN Mexico, and then out of Mexico. But everywhere we went, we took Mexico with us.

MOON: We drank outside of Mexico?

JENN: Our initial idea, you see, was to engage in the traditional Drinking Around the World. Not too quickly, and sharing drinks, of course. We took our drink with us.

MOON: Well, I know the plan was to drink something in every country, but I just remember Mexico. Was there tequila? Because if we did a shot of tequila first, I totally understand the haze.

JENN: Haha, nope. No excuses. That was Elizabeth. She is twice the man we'll ever be.

We started our journey with La Cava del Tequila, naturally. The line was, as is so often the case, at La Cava, and we had plenty of time to consider the margarita menu. We briefly toyed with the idea of the pomegranate but eventually settled on cucumber.

 First of all: it came rimmed with chili salt. If I had a binder, I would doodle "Mrs. Chili Salt" all over it.


Mrs. Chili Salt
MOON: ...I get jokes.

JENN: I am a very sophisticated comedian.

As for the margarita itself, it was delicious. There were actual chunks of cucumber floating around in the drink. These of course soaked up the liquid and became progressively tastier as time went on.

MOON: See, this is why we have a two-man team. If I had to write this blog on my own, this would be the entry: We had a drink. Annnnd, I'll see you guys later.

JENN: You would make a great meme.

MOON: I don't doubt it. I'm assuming my picture is going to pop up sometime during this post, so I must be upfront with the audience: I am a lightweight. Can't hold my alcohol. My skin turns red, my hands and feet swell and my head will itch.

JENN: Awww. You just look adorably flushed. Like a Jane Austen heroine.

MOON: Don't get me wrong, I love a drink every now and then (maybe two if it's a long evening), but I need to drink at the pace of a cactus.

JENN: Also, have you noticed you look kinda like the Korean version of Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl in the pictures?

The rootinist, tootinist cowgirl in the Wild Wild West

MOON: No, I can't say that I have!

JENN: It's magnificent.

MOON: Yee-haw?

JENN: I can be Bullseye. There, Halloween done.

MOON: Hahaha, okay!

JENN: How much of the margarita would you say you had before you started going slightly loopy?

MOON: One quarter. No kidding.

JENN:
And so, having completed one quarter of one drink out of twelve, we somehow found ourselves drawn, as if by some unseen force, to the Mitsukoshi department store in the Japan pavilion...

MOON: I know what's coming up next... And all I have to say about that is: 1. I LOVE cats and 2. It wasn't that bad! Just a lot of wrapping paper...

JENN: Right, so you know all those adorable dishes they have in the last section of the store? Moon bought ALL THE DISHES.

MOON: My kitty thanks Disney for the dishes. :)



JENN: In fairness, I was over in the Shinzi Katoh section squeeling over adorable tote bags I didn't need but bought anyway because one had a black cat and I have a black cat and EEEEE. If I ever become independently wealthy, I'm hitting up Mitsukoshi first. And I'm having a margarita before I start.

MOON: So, had I made it through the margarita, what would we have had next?

JENN: Something from Norway. Maybe we'd be REALLY brave and try a shot of Aquavit. See if we're vikings on the inside.

MOON: I can do a shot of anything. Challenge accepted.

JENN: Oh my. I guess it's happening next time! We'll just have to start our Drinking Around the World at 11AM.

MOON: Just a suggestion, but perhaps I should give myself the length of our stay in Disney to drink myself around the world. If we're staying for less than a week's time then I'll still be drunk for a large portion of the trip.

JENN: We can just camp in Epcot.

MOON: I would be okay with that. Can you imagine riding Spaceship Earth all night?

JENN: We could fall asleep to the gentle lilting tones of Dame Judi Dench telling us to thank the Phoenicians.

MOON: I've always had an affinity for the transcribing monk. You know, the sleepy one.

JENN: There ya go. That can be us!

Yo de lay hee yo de lay hee yo de lay hee
One of these days, we really ARE going to Drink Around the World. MARK OUR WORDS.

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.com. See ya real soon!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Fairest Week in Review: 7/15

.JENN: Are you done with your running for the week?

MOON: Yes! Well, as long as Sunday is the first day of the new week, that is.

JENN: I consider it to be so. In this way dailymile and I differ, but I just mentally make adjustments. How was it for you, running-wise?

MOON: I experimented with my diet and speed. It went pretty well, although my ankle was bothering me. How was yours?

JENN: Surprisingly good! I shaved two minutes off my 13.1 mile record, and then I did the same two days later. I've started adding a "speed minute" out of every five and it works surprisingly well.

Learn anything interesting in your experimentation?

MOON: Yes. Being a pescetarian makes a lot of running difficult. I am MOSTLY vegetarian. I do not eat fish often, but if I do not eat fish, I rarely get enough protein in my regular diet.

I've been eating fish every day this week and I do feel a difference. I have more energy and now that it's been about a week, I do not feel that I would necessarily require a gap day between runs.

JENN: That's awesome! This is what makes sushi so great.

MOON: Thank God for sushi.

Sushi (among other things) from Tokyo Dining in the Japan pavilion.

JENN: Any interest songs come into your running playlist rotation this week?

MOON: I've been listening to a band called Wild Beasts, and for my longer runs, I've been listening to the Well Tempered Clavier. I like thinking about theory when I run, it keeps me distracted! You?

JENN: On a whim a couple days ago, I checked the iTunes store to see if they were offering anything as a free download. I came away with "Un Dia de Sol" by Los Claxons, and I actually quite like it. It's half in English and half in Spanish and all in a sort of sunny alt-rock-pop that reminds me of good ol' Jukebox the Ghost. There's a little more depth there. For both, I mean.

MOON: Very cool! I haven't downloaded many of the free downloads from iTunes lately, but a few years ago when I would check back every week, I usually liked the selections.

JENN: How crazy is it that the Tinkerbell Half sold out in two days? If that had happened to the Princess last year we never would've made it.

MOON: Wow. Well, it's much smaller, right?

JENN: It's also interesting that the 10K DIDN'T sell out. The 10Ks they added to the WDW Marathon and Princess weekends did, but I think they were probably snapped up by those doing the "challenge" of both the 10K and half. runDisney isn't formally offering a challenge for Tink; I guess that makes the proposition far less tempting.

MOON: I would do a 10K as part of the challenge, but I'm not sure I would travel across the United States to just run 10K. So, I can see why the 10k wouldn't sell out as fast

JENN: Yeah, if they'd offered a challenge I would've pondered it, because I'm easily manipulated like that... we can talk about it for the Wine and Dine next year if it comes to that. But I'm REALLY glad we registered within the first hour. Whew!

MOON: Me too!

JENN: To wrap this up, here are some interesting tidbits we collected on the web this week:

- Over at Food Fitness Fantasy, Katherine took a close look at The Hall of Presidents. Moon LOVES The Hall of President. We did it twice last trip.
- Amy of Pumpkin to Princess is offering a pretty amazing runDisney-themed raffle for a great cause.
- Running advice for beginners is usually pretty unoriginal, but this list from Women's Health magazine is unexpectedly good!


Normally I would make this list longer, but I'm on a borrowed laptop that is so slow it makes me feel like I somehow tripped and landed in 1994. So until next week!


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.com. See ya real soon!

Friday, July 12, 2013

In Which We Recap the 2013 Princess Half Marathon

When we last left Jenn and Moon, they had just finished talking over their time at the Fit for a Princess Expo. Ready for the race recap proper? Let's dive in...

JENN:
I don't know about you, but I didn't sleep super well. I did that annoying thing I always do when I know it's imperative that I get up a certain time: a) I dream that I missed the alarm and b) I wake up every hour or so to check.

MOON: Yes, I would agree that it was a rough few hours. Going to sleep early is never easy for me. Also, I was really nervous about the race...

JENN: We got up at 3AM and just kinda quietly dressed. I had forgotten to bring any outer wear to strip off later (apparently this was The Trip Where I Forgot Things), so I took one of the bath towels from the hotel and wrapped it around my shoulders. Hey, it never left Disney property and it was for a good cause!

MOON:
The towels were a great idea! Next time I will have to remember to bring an old sweater or something.

JENN: ME TOO. Especially because of our bus situation. Which leads us to: Our Bus Situation. The instructions said to be at the bus by 4AM. We arrived at the pickup point at about 3:40AM. Waiting for us was what we in the business like to call A Huge Freakin' Line.

So we waited. And waited. I think it was about 4:10 when we finally got on a bus? By that time they were out of the coach-style buses so we were in a standard Disney transportation bus. With the air conditioning running. THANK YOU, TOWEL.

MOON: You made Douglas Adams proud.

JENN: You should always know where your towel is.

MOON: I was NOT expecting there to be so many runners! But, it was really motivating to see so many participants all excited for the race! I was expecting maybe 5,000 runners max.

JENN: The runDisney gods are laughing at you right now. Merciless, they are.

MOON: Haha, yes, I'm sure! There were probably at least 1,000 just at Pop Century with us.

JENN: I really wasn't terribly worried about time, as we weren't starting until corral F. Traffic was serious, though. I'm glad I didn't have to drive.

Once we arrived at the Epcot parking lot, we were herded across the asphalt and into the pre-corral area. There were lights and loud music and I think there was even a dance party going down. I'm pretty sure the main thing we did in this area was use the port-a-potties. The lines for those before you hit the bag check tents were unexpectedly short.

After that we headed through the bag check tents, but we had nothing to check, so we breezed on through.

MOON: This is the long walk to the start line...

JENN: Yes. Hordes of runners all headed toward the corrals. Cast members with those giant Mickey Mouse gloves ushering us along.

We were in corral F, which I think we practically ran right into, so there was no challenge finding our way!

Jenn is a cool frood who really knows where her towel is.

MOON:
I want to take a moment to talk about performance anxiety.

JENN: Okay, but I want to take a moment before you take a moment to say that Moon is an excellent performer in all things.
MOON: As a musician, I'm used to it. You prepare for months and then you're warming up backstage. A lot of my friends feel excitement. I feel DREAD. Every time, never fails. In fact, I think it has gotten worse (although, strangely enough, I feel OK teaching a classroom full of students. Who knew?)

Anyway, back to Disney. We walked for about twenty minutes to our corral. Those twenty minutes were filled with worries. Will I make it? Will Jenn leave me behind? OH MY GOD THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE, etc.

However, when we reached the rest of our group, we decided to shed the towels. I think once I threw that towel in a bin, I started feeling ready.

JENN: Which was lovely at the time, but in retrospect, we should've been perturbed that it was warm enough...

MOON: Yes, we will get to THAT soon enough, ha!

JENN: The official word was that temps were high and humidity was higher, so take it easy. This was strike one against our time.

MOON: It was FEBRUARY. And yeah, maybe you're thinking, "DUH. It's Florida," but it was FEBRUARY!

JENN:
I believe the high for the day was somewhere in the upper 80s. Regardless. It felt hot. And humid. But at 6AM it was still all right. Every time the fireworks went off and another corral took off, I felt more ready.

MOON: Same! And I can't lie, the fireworks were kinda cool...

JENN: Eventually corral F inched up to the starting line. I remember for sure that Moon and I hugged; I assume for probably we yelled "STEVE HOLT!" at each other a couple times.

MOON: It makes me smile just thinking about it. :D

JENN: Me too!

The Fairy Godmother counted us down, fireworks went off, and then... we started walking slowly toward the actual start point. Gave me time to prep my iPod. Do you remember your first song?

MOON: I THINK it was "Celebrate," by Mika (the acoustic version because I gotta have my piano)

JENN: Mine was "Death Valley Queen" by Flogging Molly.

I know Disney officially "discourages" headphones during the race, but c'mon. You've gotta have music. Even some of the pictures on the runDisney website show people with MP3 players.

MOON: Yes, and music is motivational!

I wanted to start with "Celebrate" because the lyrics are "I'll be just fine/When I see you at the finish line/Doesn't matter if I take my time."

JENN: Even if we hadn't had iPods, though, Disney had plenty set up along the course. I don't think we went more than a mile or so before we ran past a full marching band. They also lined this opening stretch of otherwise boring road with things like pirate ships, giant puppets, and characters, although we never stopped for those; the lines were invariably humungous.

The first indication that were were in WDW at all was as we passed under the parking toll booths for the Magic Kingdom.

MOON: Did you find that at all exciting?

JENN: Not gonna lie: I did. I really, really did. And I was amused by the flashing signs and audio warning us about speed bumps.

MOON: Honestly, though, it is totally plausible that someone would miss seeing a speed bump. It was really crowded!

JENN: Ah, yes, that reminds me: strike two against our time was the crowding.

When we first started running, I was feeling good. I was ready to roll! Except... how are all these people directly in front of me?! So Moon and I spent the first few miles of the race playing Find the Clear Path.

MOON: Talk about runner's wall. It was like an actual wall. Of people.

JENN: Sometimes we went around people, or through groups. Sometimes off the track for a moment. A couple times we were practically jogging in place. It was a frustratingly circuitous route for awhile there, let me tell you.

MOON:
OK, so the beginning of the race: a little bit of shock by the alarming amounts of people. Also, my shoelace came untied (I double tied, too!). I also remember being shocked by how many people were using the restrooms at only .5 miles in.

JENN: The one good thing about passing all those people at the beginning was that it made me feel like a BEAST. I was dodging through holes, passing person after person, thinking, I AM SPEEDYPANTS MCGEE! Which, of course, I was not. But it felt good!

So: I think we lost serious time trying to find a clear path to run. But it was a bit of a morale boost, too.

MOON: Incidentally, I didn't feel like a beast until Epcot, but I'm glad you were pumped! My top concern in the beginning was to keep you within eyesight. I didn't want to run the half alone!

JENN: You'll beast it at the Tinker Bell Half, I'm certain!

Anyway. Where were we? The MK parking lot. The run through this area was livened up by Japanese taiko drummers. And I think maybe some princesses?

MOON: I know that happened at some point! Readers will probably pick up on this fast, but I have a terrible memory. I remember random things and usually not in any kind of order. So.... take it away, Jenn.

JENN: By this point, of course, it being obnoxiously humid, I was already sweating. Moon was not, because she was biologically engineered to be a perfectly poised athlete, and consequently never sweats.

MOON: I sweat EVENTUALLY, but it takes a while and usually happens after I stop moving. nd yeah, it was humid and poor Jenn was wearing a cotton shirt (and I wore a black shirt... A+ to both of us for clothing choice!).

JENN: Yes, we have made improvements to our running wardrobes, I can assure you.

The next thing we knew, we were in the Magic Kingdom! I think we ran through Tomorrowland first? Does that sound right? And then into Fantasyland and... duh duh duh DUHHHHH... CINDERELLA CASTLE. And I mean that literally - there were two hornblowers playing fanfares as we passed underneath.



MOON:
Next time we do the Princess, I want to run with a horn and play us our own fanfare as we run through!

JENN: Now that's a costume idea!

MOON: What mile was Cinderella? Somewhere around seven?

JENN: In the six to seven area, yeah. Moon and I had discussed beforehand that at the very least we wanted to run straight to the castle. I have a very distinct memory of me saying, "I feel good! Keep going?" And then of Moon responding with an enthusiastic affirmative.

MOON: Steve Holt!

JENN: It would not surprise me if that was exactly what you said at the time... we threw it around a lot!

MOON: If we ever do a prize or something on the blog, we should have people guess how many times we've written "Steve Holt."

JENN: I believe we ran down Main Street here, and then exited the park. I was feeling pretty glowingly happy to be where I was, doing what I was doing. Main Street will do that to you.

MOON: Up until the castle we had been doing a lot of road running. Main Street was filled with people cheering, holding signs, etc. I remember Main Street.

JENN: And it was back to road running again! I believe this was where they had the accordion ensemble.

MOON: Hats off to them! I thought they were awesome.

JENN: Unfortunately, it was here that my bones started to give their first indication that they were less than thrilled. My bones and the hard pavement were not friends.

I was, however, motivated by the bibs I was seeing around me; many were for corrals that had started before us. We were doing well!

MOON: Passing an A was excellent.

JENN: Mile nine was where we made our crucial mistake: we decided to walk. An ENTIRE MILE. We were tired, granted, but COME ON. I never walked that much in training! I blame the humidity. Curse you, humidity!

MOON: I think it actually made my legs feel worse. Where were you at mile 9, accordion players?! That certainly would have kept up my momentum.

JENN: I don't know that walking was necessarily a mistake in and of itself. But we should've done it for two minutes. Five minutes, maybe. But then we did it AGAIN at mile eleven! I take the blame for this one; it was my idea. I think next time we should walk through the water stations but immediately start running again as soon as we pass them.

By the bye: I have never loved Powerade so hard in my LIFE.

MOON: Next time I do not want to stop!

JENN: That would be great if we can hack it! We can do that fancy thing where we grab a cup out of a volunteer's hand and pour it over our heads.

MOON: Then take another and smash it to the ground like the glorious champions we are?

JENN: Steve Holt, my friend. Steve Holt. But if not: water station walks. They're gonna be a thing.

At mile twelve we began to run again, and a glorious, glorious thing happened: EPCOT.

Oh, I forgot to mention! A couple times I thought I lost Moon, and then once I really thought I DID lose her - even glancing behind me I couldn't find her. Then miraculously she appeared again at my elbow - felt much better about life then! But my point is that up until Epcot, I was leading. This was about to change.

MOON: Something about Epcot gave me a huge burst of energy! I was so ready to get to the finish.

JENN: Indeed - girl TOOK OFF. Thankfully, "Go the Distance" from Hercules popped up on my iPod just as Spaceship Earth loomed into view. Synergy!

We were running up the bridge when it dawned on me that we would not, in fact, be running through World Showcase. I was disappointed, honestly.

MOON: I was bummed when they turned us around...

But on the other hand - we were almost there! The park was about to open as we were passing through, and there were so many cast members along the route waving and cheering us on!

MOON:
Exiting Epcot was indeed sad, but something amazing happened as we were running out.
Just outside of Epcot was a gospel choir! We went around a bend and there they were. It was perfect.

JENN: We had .1 miles to go!

MOON: So, I would say we had a spectacular end to our race. Epcot, choir, and of course the finish line!

JENN:
And how did we cross it?

MOON: HOLDING FREAKIN' HANDS :D:D:D:D <3<3<3

JENN: It. Was. AMAZING.

MOON: Happiness. :)

JENN: We had to keep moving once we crossed the finish line so as to not block other runners. They gave us our medals and took a terrible photograph of us - or of me, anyway; my eyes were completely closed - and then it truly felt like the race was over. We'd won! Well, it was a moral victory. But it counts.

MOON: The best type of victory! And we did it together! AND it was still morning. We had a whole day still to spend in the parks!

JENN: They gave us a box of food, a banana, Powerade and water, and there were some general post-race festivities, but I, for one, was soaked in sweat and in desperate need of a shower.


MOON:
I was slimy. We went straight back to the hotel after picking up our boxes.

JENN: I fell asleep in the shower for a couple minutes. The water was hot and felt awesome, and I thought, I'll just sit down for a second...

MOON: I probably fell asleep somewhere...

JENN: But we had to check out of Pop, so there was no nap to be had here. What we did have was half a day to spend in the parks? So we turned around and went right back to Epcot, because it's Epcot.

MOON: Spaceship Earth! Judi Dench! I think I fell asleep on the ride, actually.

JENN: And we ate pizza from Via Napoli, which was pretty good but probably not worth what we paid for it.

MOON: I liked the salad.




JENN: We wore our medals around the park, and lots of people wished us congratulations. It was awesome!

MOON:
I felt like a champ. ;)

JENN: Later, back in the stifling confines of real life, a friend asked us to name the highlight of our trip. We said the race, and he was surprised. But it really was.

MOON: Bravo! I had so much fun. It was just what I needed. I'm glad you asked me to come along, Jenn! Can't wait for 2014, we're going to kill it!

JENN: I'm gladder that you came! :D We really, really are.

Whew! Ten thousand points to you if you made it this far. We're sure it's clear that we loved every minute of that crazy race. We learned a lot, some of which we'll be discussing in the coming months on this very blog. Hope you stick around!

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.com. See ya real soon!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

In Which We Discuss the 2013 Fit for a Princess Expo


Our runDisney obsession began with the - wait for it - MAGICAL adventure that was the 2013 Princess Half Marathon. And because we can't relive it enough, we wanted to talk about the experience. We'll be more timely about the next one, we promise!



JENN: You ready to talk Princess Half Marathon 2013?

MOON: Oui oui!

JENN: Let's start by talking Expo. Given that we're five months behind (shhhhh! We are TOO relevant!), it's no secret that due to a conflict the Fit for a Princess Expo took place at Coronado Springs, in the convention areas. Usually it's in the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

And neither him nor me was ever seen again!

We haven't been to the Wide World of Sports, but since everyone else on earth seems to corroborate this opinion, I think it's safe to say it was somewhat oppressively crowded. The packet pick up and t-shirt distribution were fairly quick - we must have showed up at just the right time (which was around 12PM on Thursday, if you're wondering) - but once we stepped into the vendor areas it was PACKED.

MOON: That was the weird thing. We get there and were directed to a large open space with many booths and barely any people. The Expo was all in one big space, if I remember correctly.

JENN: Yeah, an enormous ballroom with no wall dividers.

MOON: And the actual expo portion had a lot of vendors in a small space. Then add A LOT of runners.

JENN: Then add me, determined to get into the Official Merchandise Tent. Moon, ever the trooper, braved the line with me, which was corralled by masking tape on the floor.

MOON: I found the masking tape amusing, though!

JENN: How long would you say we waited - twenty minutes? Thirty?

MOON: I would say twenty, but I think the reason it was only twenty was because everyone was getting in the store and realizing there wasn't much left.

JENN: It was like being line for a ride. But no. You were in line to give them more money.

MOON: And then they didn't have much to buy! ;)

JENN: Moon is absolutely right. Cast members were indeed restocking items as best as they were able, but the hoards inside picked over the merchandise in record time. And to be absolutely honest, I wasn't entirely thrilled with what I did see.

Look, I've got nothing against pink. Or sparkles. I like pink AND sparkles. But I don't necessarily want a sparkly pale pink t-shirt. (A hot pink t-shirt, on the other hand...) There was really very little on the shelves that didn't scream I'M A PRETTY PRETTY PRINCESS! To be fair, it was the Princess Half Marathon...

MOON: I would have appreciated a simple tee with the event name and maybe a year?

JENN: Precisely. Now, if you DO like the pale-pink-and-rhinestones thing, more power to you! I just feel there should've been a greater variety.

MOON: Hear hear. I mean, we already get a purple running shirt with a giant castle on it. Anything more would be overkill... for me, at least!

You did find a jacket, right? I think it was white?

JENN: Close - it's black!

MOON: Ha!

JENN: You see I, being the great genius that I am, had managed to forget my hoodie at home. I had usurped an extra of Moon's for the time being to combat chilly mornings and evenings, but I was bound and determined to find a replacement jacket of some sort.

The super-lightweight zip-up hoodie I did end up getting was the lone example I saw hanging on the rack. It was simple a black and had just the Princess Half logo on the breast and the runDisney logo on the sleeve. I'm very pleased with it and wear it ALL THE TIME. It was a small, and I had been displeased with the tightness of the sleeves in the teal track jacket I had just tried in a small, but by some miracle it fit me. Victory!

Jenn's Jacket of Subtlety

MOON:
You know what I want next year?

JENN: A tiara and a scepter? And the wings of an eagle?

MOON: A runDisney head sweat band!

JENN: Ooh, did they have those?

MOON: No. Ha! But it would be just the right amount of ridiculous for me. And it would be functional. And I like to run wearing functional clothing.

JENN: Hmmm. You hear that, runDisney people? Let's make it happen!

MOON: It would contribute to team spirit, right?

JENN: I'm sad that I missed the cups with the swirly straws. Maybe they'll have one at the Tinker Bell Half. I also didn't much care for the Dooney & Burke purses they were selling, but the Tinker Bell version looked much cuter - we'll see what they offer in January!

MOON: Do you remember the wine glasses?

JENN: Yeah, I pondered one of those. Not sure why I didn't buy one, actually. I guess because I don't technically need one. Fun, though!

MOON: Yeah, I thought that was a nice souvenir.

JENN: Ah, well. We were young and naive, then. And a little overwhelmed.

MOON: It's not like we're not going to have many more chances for a runDisney haul!

JENN: Haha, no kidding.

Once we escaped the Official Stuff area, we did nose about among the vendors, but it was just so claustrophobic I think we were a bit turned off.

MOON: Yes, agreed. If I recall correctly, I think we browsed some clothing on a sale rack (probably because it was nearest the exit), but didn't stay too long after leaving the official merchandise spot

JENN: Yup. But! As we were leaving I spotted a pair of footmen posing for photographs in front of a castle backdrop. Jokingly I said to Moon, "Want your picture with some footmen?" Imagine my surprise when she responded with an enthusiastic "YEAH!"

MOON: I think that was the first time since being 4 that I willingly took a picture with a cast member. Of course, we had to wear our hats and I'm sure Jenn would love to share that story with you.
 
JENN:
For this trip, Moon and I eschewed the usual baseball cap head attire in favor of sweet, sweet fedoras, because we feel strongly that fedoras are sweet.

MOON: Sweeeeeeeet.

JENN: Totally.

When it came our turn for the picture, one of the footmen said to us, "We were just saying that we like your hats." So I said, "We do what we can." The tall one responded thusly: "You do a lot."

Well done, Mr. Footman. Smooth.

MOON: You can say anything when you're wearing a powdered wig. And it will be smooooth.

JENN: That's what Bach always said. And he had a way with the ladies.

MOON: Ja.



JENN:
After that we got the hell out. Later we perused the swag bag we were given, which contained:

- A short-sleeved women's tech shirt in my favorite shade of purple
- A pin with the race logo
- A pink mesh bag, also with the logo
- Our individual and team bibs, plus safety pins for attachment
- A temporary tattoo
- A mini Luna bar
- And the race program

All cute!

MOON: I think I kept the Luna bar, for some reason... As a keepsake, I guess. I probably should have eaten it.

JENN: Ha. You should shellac it for better preservation.


This sums up our Expo-sition. Tune in tomorrow for a race day 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.com. See ya real soon!