Monday, September 30, 2013

The Fairest Week in Review: 9/30

Good morning, sunshines! As you might have guessed from that disgustingly cheery opening, I survived my second half marathon, even as it was outside of the warm Disney embrace. Did I meet my time goal? If you follow us on Twitter you know; if not, you'll have to wait until later this week to find out! You won't want to miss it - I get REALLY excited about a bagel.

Also on the blog post docket for the week: Moon hops in on a post with me; plus I GOT NEW SNEAKERS!!! Can you tell that I may or may not be mildly to moderately excited for this prospect? Guessing game: what did I buy?

Could it be one of these? Is this a trick question?
Did I stick with the same model as before?!

As for last week's training, I think my post about tapering pretty much says it all. And for music, are you aware that Counting Crows is an amazing band? "Mr. Jones" is my song, but "Angels of the Silences" is great for running. So is "Sessions."

Anyway. Now for the reason you're really here: the roundup.

- Through Heather's Looking Glass has a the hookup for a custom running tutu - and your money goes to a great cause!
- Speaking of things you wear while running, Pink Elephant on Parade has something to say about running shorts that I proudly cosign.
- Hold the phone - you can run a marathon in Antarctica? Fairytales and Fitness has the scoop.
- Road Runner Girl highlights some really funny runner e-cards.
- Running at Disney points of some new runDisney merchandise at disneystore.com. In related news, I just started my Christmas list.
- Pumkpin to Princess attempts to answer that age-old question: do slow runners have any place in the racing world? (Yes. Duh. Silly Complainypants McGees!)
- Dad runs Disney discusses training fuel, something I for one am still working on figuring out.
- And to counteract all that exercise, here is a cupcake parfait full of icing that I want more than any other foodstuff ever, courtesy of the irrepressible Disney Food Blog.

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, September 27, 2013

In Which Jenn & Moon Hit the Post-Workout Showers

JENN: A few weeks ago I was nearing the end of a run and was motivating myself by promising I could use my expensive facial cleansers when I showered afterward. And then I realized, hey, that could be a post!

So, Moon, do you have any Shower Rewards?

MOON: I have a great facial mask I like to use. It's the Clear Improvement mask by Origins. I do that right before I shower and it feels very refreshing to my skin.

JENN: Moon is the one who turned me on to Origins products, which are delightful to use. They are less delightfully priced, however; hence the "treat" aspect. I tend to use them only after a good run. I have the Checks and Balances cleanser and the Modern Friction exfoliator, although that one can be kind of intense so I don't always use it.

MOON: Modern Friction is amazing. I have had the same bottle since April. I don't use it very often!

Rock star. That is to say, awesome yet kind of abrasive.

JENN: It definitely is amazing! I just keep it to twice a week so I don't irritate my skin. When I do use it, my face is smooooooooth. I also have a charcoal exfoliator I got in my ipsy bag that's much gentler, so I use that on other days - Michael Todd's jojoba and charcoal facial scrub.

Mostly I'm just frickin' thrilled to have made it to the shower. The post-workout shower may be the best part of the whole business.

MOON:
Have you ever been too hot to shower?

JENN: Psh, of course not. You're talking to a girl who was fine and dandy in Orlando in August.

MOON: Ah, riiiiight! Well, I usually have to wait a half hour or so before I can get in the shower. It is better than getting out of the shower still sweating. I was just curious if anyone else experienced that...

JENN: We'll have to poll the audience!

Well? Does anyone else need to wait to shower? What's your post-workout shower ritual? Do you treat yourself with any products?

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, September 26, 2013

In Which Jenn is Not Very Good at Tapering

TAPERING IS HARD, YOU GUYS.

It seems counter-intuitive - I mean, the principle behind tapering is that you spend the last week or two before a race running with LESS mileage and LESS intensity, so as to save your strength for the big race push. That means that tapering comes with LESS difficult runs - or at least, it ought to.

And it would for me too, were I somehow able to do it properly.

For starters, I can't seem to get myself to start tapering until the last minute. My half marathon is this Sunday; last Sunday, I thought to myself, "The race isn't for another whole week." So I did my standard, basic upkeep run: eleven miles in about two hours. Not speedy, but not very taper-y either.

Then on Tuesday I thought to myself, "I shall do a mere seven miles this run. TAPERING." So I set my treadmill a couple notches slower than usual and settled in for a leisurely run with the option to slow down whenever I wanted. Naturally I felt GREAT the entire run for the first time in weeks and ended up running an extra mile just 'cause I was in the zone.

TAPERING IS NO TIME FOR ZONES.

I'm pretty sure I understand the problem. I run because, even when it sucks, it makes me feel like I've pushed myself, like I've worked hard. It makes me feel good about myself and my exercise achievement. And, let's face it, knowing I've burned 1,000 calories or more makes me feel way less guilty about, y'know, eating. (Yeah, I know; I'm recovering from a complex here...) And although it makes perfect sense to taper prior to a race, tapering DOES NOT FEEL GOOD. It feels incomplete. It feels lazy. It feels like a week of less-than-I-could-do.

It's not just me, is it?

Oh, Mr. Thurber. You understand me.

Anyway, I have one more run scheduled before the race, for today. FIVE MILES. I STOP AT FIVE MILES. I can walk UP TO TWO AND THAT'S IT. Those are the rules that I just made up.*

Friday, though tempting me with the time to run, will be a strictly yoga day. I'm still trying to decide if I'll go to ballet class on Saturday. I'm thinking I will but I'll just do the wussy version, with no extra effort that could lead to sore muscles or tiredness. That's probably still not part of a good tapering plan, either, but hey, it'll get me nice and stretched out, and that's a win, right? :D

Does anyone else have trouble with tapering? Or is this just my particular brand of crazy popping up again? Any tapering advice? Lord knows I need it!

* Do you have a flag?

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, September 24, 2013

In Which Jenn Chooses Her Very Favorite Thing at WDW

It's unthinkable. To name a favorite attraction at Walt Disney World is to name your favorite child. You're not supposed to play favorites! It's supposed to be an impossible choice!

But I can. If asked, I can name my favorite thing at WDW. Go on, guess. Of all the rides, shows, and characters, what is my very favorite thing?

I'll give you a hint: if it had been discontinued in favor of the questionable Avatar land, it would have meant the end of true happiness as I understand it.

Here, I'll give you a bigger hint:


Yes. It's the Festival of the Lion King. Of all the things, I love it most. In fact, I often see it twice in a given trip! Let me explain.

I'm not going to go into a long explanation of what it is, exactly, since the information as readily available and I think most readers are avid WDW fans anyway. Suffice it to say, FotLK uses the music and characters of Disney's The Lion King to form the skeleton of a performance. It is NOT, as so many other shows are, a retelling. The loose storyline is that Simba and his friends are holding a festival of sorts, and as such there is much singing and dancing.

Here are some of the reasons I think FotLK is so great:

  1. First things first: what's the ROI on this baby? I think of attraction ROI in terms of wait time vs. experience time. While it's certainly better to get to the theater early so as to claim your preferred seat, audience seating in the theater is HUGE, and since the show is in the round, there aren't really any bad seats. Under all but the most extreme crowd circumstances, if you show up five minutes before the show starts, you'll see it. And that show is a good, solid 35 minutes long.
  2. Since it's not, as I said, a retelling, it's not rushed. Voyage of the Little Mermaid, the Beauty and the Beast stage show, Finding Nemo: The Musical - they're all well done (especially the latter!), but because they're doing 90 minutes of movie in 30 minutes or less, plot points naturally get a bit crunched together. FotLK skips right over the exposition and just does the awesome songs you love with great choreography. It is its own perfect whole.
  3. Which brings us to point three: the FotLK music comes straight from the movie. And, um, if you don't love The Lion King soundtrack I'm going to need you to go to sit in a corner and think about where you're going wrong with your life. Oh, and in my experience the lead singers are always excellent.
  4. The choreography is wonderful too! The dancers are seriously talented and the dancing is a wonderful mix of African tribal dance and more traditional modern technique. There's even some whimsy thrown in, plus some aerial work (which frankly I find to be the most boring part of an otherwise enthralling show, but most people seem to like it) and more atypical performances such as gymnastics and a fire... guy. Twirler? You know the guy I mean.
  5. The performers have great charisma, and many of them go out of their way to interact with you! I mean this is beyond stuff like making eye contact. I was once at a late performance and a girl behind me was sitting alone. When he wasn't performing, the lead singer wandered into the bleachers, sat down next to her, and chatted with her a bit. I've seen dancers make funny faces for cameras, bump fists with audience members, the works. And of course there's the singing along, the hand jive, and the parade of kids. 
  6. Therein lies the repeatability of the show. Because of the freedom the performers have to interact with the audience, it is never the same twice. I spend most of my time watching the backup dancers instead of the main characters for this reason.

My FAVORITE incident happened when Moon and I were there in February. We were sitting in My Spot, which is the right hand side of the lion section, on the edge and up a couple rows. One of the Tumble Monkey acrobats came up to the section and started high-fiving the little kids in front of us. We figured he'd stop before he got to us because, well, we're not kids, so who cares about us? Yet he came up to us and high-fived us both - then turned to me, grinned, KNOCKED ON MY FOREHEAD LIKE YOU WOULD A DOOR, and scampered off. It was HILARIOUS. Thinking of it still makes me laugh. And that's the sort of thing that makes WDW for me.

Not convinced? Here are bunch o' photos I've taken over Lord knows how many years and performances. Apologies for the varying quality; I've had a lot of phone cameras in my time. Experience the glory!










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, September 23, 2013

The Fairest Week in Review: 9/23

Okay, so, the reason why Moon has been skipping on these Week in Review posts is because she's been too busy to run, what with her free time being spent at the hospital with her mother and all. She's rather bummed about it, as you might imagine; us runner types do very much enjoy, y'know, running. Therefore I would like to ask a favor - please comment with your story about a time you had to quit running for awhile and then came back and TRIUMPHED. She'll see it and be reassured that all will be well again once she's ready to get back in the game!

My next half-marathon is this Sunday. Eeeee. Nervous. Not about being able to finish - I'm confident I will - but it's only my second half and I'm not sure how I feel about leaving the warm embrace of runDisney and I really want to hit 2:30. Like, a lot. I really, really hope they didn't mean it when they said no headphones...

IT'S ON.

On that note: training has been okay. Not stellar, but okay. As I mentioned last week, I've been recovering from a cold, I'm telling myself that by Sunday I will be 100% healthy. Seems plausible, even!

I've been in a bit of a music rut lately. Does another have any suggestions on that front? I'm partial to rock but open to other ideas.

Sorry, this post is kind of disjointed. Let me make it up to you with a series of blog posts that were not written by me:

- Through Heather's Looking Glass has a post on safety while running outside, so of course you should READ IT RIGHT NOW.
- Running Toward the Prize has some advice on how to tackle those really long runs.
- And for tips on how to run faster? Prairie Princess runners has you covered.
- Before you purchase any cool weather running clothes, get the Fairytales and Fitness take on the matter.
- MousePlanet details the changes runDisney is making to corral assignments.
- Disney Tourist Blog takes a careful look at a place Moon and I love unreservedly: Epcot's World Showcase.

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, September 20, 2013

In Which Jenn Discusses Mid-Run Fueling

I dunno, guys. I must be doing it wrong.

Earlier we talked about pre- and post-run fueling, and that's very important. But it seems like there's a whole lot of buzz surrounding the gels and beans and shots and such that provide energy during a run. Many reported that they found substantial improvement in their runs when they consumed something during, and as a fledgling runner I thought: clearly I need some energy gels!


After Moon and I had somewhat mixed results with Energy Bits, I was determined to figure out what WOULD work. I went straight to the store and bought several types of fuel: Honey Stinger organic chews, Clif Shots, Clif Shot Bloks, and, as my control group, some Swedish fish. I have tried them all multiple times and I can say now, with confidence, what makes a definitive difference in my performance.

None of them.

Oh, sure, I had some good runs using the fuels. But I had just as many lackluster runs. I never felt any energy surges, and at no point can I report feeling AWESOME I COULD RUN FOREVER which, puzzlingly to me, many people seem to. (Is it the caffeine? I can drink a cup of coffee and go right to sleep. I KNEW that would come back to bite me!)

Now, I will note one advantage. I mentioned before that occasionally, if I've pounded particularly hard or long, I feel a little sick after a run, and need to sit down and eat something immediately. I did find that, if I had eat something during the run, I was far less likely to feel sick afterward. For this purpose, there was a winner - Clif Shot Bloks, which were reasonably tasty, fairly easy to get down, and did tend to make me feel a little more together. If any one fuel worked for me, it would be that one. But even with the Bloks I never really felt more capable, and where I succeeded it seemed more due to mental endurance than added physical endurance.


What I have decided is that I will consume Bloks under the following circumstances:
  1. For races, where it's best to be able to pound hard AND long without worry.
  2. If I plan to run more than 14 miles, which seems to be around where I start needing the extra oomph.
Other than that, the jury's still out. I know there are LOTS of other options out there, but most of them require special trips or ordering online, and the ones I tried were readily available in the store. I suppose I could try one of those sample box subscriptions like Kona Kase, but I'm not at all sure I want to make that financial commitment.

Hmmm... Would anyone like some Swedish fish?

Anyone out there have a similar problem? Have you found your perfect mid-run fuel?

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, September 19, 2013

Squirtgun To Your Head: Favorite WDW Store?

JENN: Squirtgun to Your Head time! What's your favorite store at Walt Disney World? Betcha it's the same as mine!

MOON: It is!

I wonder if anyone reading this is thinking, "Yeah, me too." We don't even have to say it.

Why hello, sailor.

JENN: Well, I'm going to anyway, because it's fun to say. MITSUKOSHI DEPARTMENT STORE! The magnificent fiscal sinkhole center of the Japan pavilion at Epcot.

MOON: Where you can find anything with a cat on it. My cat Hoodoo gets a different kitty dish every morning.

JENN: The kitchenware section is indeed AMAZING.

MOON: Yes, and let's not revisit that story again.

JENN: I have a plate that says "Hustle Cat." The dog was "Lucky Dog," the bear was "Happy Bear," and the cat... is a hustler. I love it.


At the back of that section they also have a little sake bar, which I have patronized once or twice but not explored NEARLY thoroughly enough for my liking.

MOON: I don't know if I'm just too conditioned to go straight for cat merchandise when I enter the store, but I don't remember you ever mentioning a sake bar. But I know you. You would have.   

JENN:
It's past the huge displays of gummy candy shaped like random stuff. I think I was with Elizabeth when I got a drink there.

MOON: Well, I would say that we should drink our way to Japan next time, but we know I won't make it past Mexico.

JENN: Ha, sure we will. We'll just share and go slow next time.

Mitsukoshi is also a great place to get gifts for anyone who likes anime or Hello Kitty, who is a particular favorite of my mother. I once bought her a Hello Kitty robe for Christmas. We are disinclined to completely grow up in my family.

MOON: Who doesn't adore Hello Kitty? Everyone should have a Hello Kitty something.

JENN: There's also a room full of beautiful dresses I can't afford and incense with such wonderful smells that I once bought some as a wedding gift for a friend; the next time I went down to WDW, he gave me some money and told me to buy as much incense as the amount could get.

Oh, and Shinzi Katoh!!!

The Shinzi Katoh stuff is ADORABLE - funny and/or touching, oddly-worded-through-translation English phrases accompanied by the cutest illustrations, printed on bags and cards and notebooks and things.

JENN: I totally bought this. I mean, I had to.
I have an adopted black cat and a sense of narrative.

JENN: Whereas, if this is still there when I go back in
December, I'm buying it. My go-to stuffed animal was
(*cough*is*cough*) a gray rabbit.


JENN: I find this strangely poignant.

My mom is named Sheri and she loves cats; there are a few designs with a girl and her kitties labeled "Chéri with cats." That's like half my Christmas shopping DONE right there.

MOON: Jenn has stories to tell. I just have about 20 cat dishes in my kitchen.

JENN: Just cats? No bunnies or owls? Bunnies and owls have been big lately.

OH! That reminds me of another story. I once bought a mug there because the cats on it reminded me of my cat Minx.

I don't have a photo of the mug but the designs on it were
the same as these plates.

You see what I'm saying.

And then someone at my old job STOLE IT. So keep a close watch on your Mitsukoshi souvenirs! They are irresistible enough to drive people to crime!

MOON: You should have stolen all the other cups and left a note. "The cups will be returned if the cat the returned to ME."

JENN:
Well, I handed in my two weeks' noticed shortly after. REVENGE.

MOON: Hahaha, that works also. I would have taken all the other cups with me when I left.

JENN: I think my ultimate point is that I could easily empty my bank account at Mitsukoshi. Or redecorate my house, restock my kitchen cabinets, and revamp my wardrobe, should I ever win the lottery. Stupid rent payments, ruining my aesthetic aspirations.

MOON: Well, I suppose you need a place to put all the stuff, so rent is merely an extension of Mitsukoshi.

JENN: Ha! I'll remind myself of that next time I pay.

What's your favorite WDW store? Do you love Mitsukoshi too?!

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, September 17, 2013

In Which Jenn Recaps the Color In Motion 5K


After last week's Electric Run 5K two weekends ago, Scott and I weren't finished: last Saturday we tackled the Color In Motion 5K, one of those races where people chuck colored powder at you until you look like a piece of spin art. It was a good experience but not without some troubles. As Lewis Carroll so wisely suggests, I will begin at the beginning, go on until I reach the end, and then stop.

For starters, the Color In Motion people did the same thing the Electric Run people did - they made the pickup location Alexandria, Virginia. And I'm not knocking Virginia. It's a fine state and I'm very fond of its Williamsburg attractions. But the Sports Authority where CIM wanted me to pick up my packet (possibly even the same one as the Electric Run?) was 35 minutes away from me. Via the DC beltway. If you're not familiar with the DC Beltway Time Conversion Algorithm, allow me to do the math for you:

35 minutes x DC Beltway(Rush Hour^Friday + MD into VA) = 1.5 hour minimum

No.

So we decided we'd pick up our packets the morning of the race. One point in CIM's favor over the Electric Run - CIM didn't charge us for the privilege.

The race began at RFK Stadium; I live on the red line and didn't feel like make the circuitous transfer from the red to orange lines on a weekend, so I decided to go to Scott's place in Baltimore for the night. From there we could drive directly New Carrollton, the orange line's end point, and the Stadium-Armory stop would be shortly down the line.

I arrived at Scott's, found a parking space, accompanied him and his roommate on a dinner outing to Abbey Burger, and promptly made my first mistake: I allowed him to talk me into sleeping until 7AM. I should never have let him do that; I KNOW that you need to get to your race early if you intend to do packet pickup and bag check. But I was tired and feeling a little under the weather so I agreed.

I'm sure you'll all be shocked to learn that, what with one setback and another, we didn't make it into the pre-race area until about 9:15AM. The first wave was set to take off at 9:30AM, but the last wasn't supposed to start until 10:10AM; the situation wasn't ideal but it wasn't terrible. We ought to be fine, I thought.

And theoretically, we should've had plenty of time. In reality, the line for both packet pickup AND bag check were several bajillion miles long. There were only two or three people working at each booth and they couldn't keep up with demand. I briefly hopped in the store line too, to pick up some socks I preordered while Scott checked our bag, but that barely moved so I eventually bailed.

It was well past 10:10AM before we had completed both tasks, and there were tons of people behind us in line in either case. Luckily around 10AM one of the officials got on the deejay's mic and announced that they recognized the lines were crazy, they were pushing back the last wave, and they'd make an announcement before that happened. To their credit, they did seem to want to give everyone a chance to run.

Our packets, incidentally, didn't contain much - in fact, we pretty much just got a bib and a packet of colored powder to toss at people. Although I had pre-registered for a size small shirt, it was not included in the packet; I was directed over to a shirt table where I was told that they were all out of smalls. I accepted a medium and it was fine, but if they're going to offer sizes beforehand I really think they should put them in the packet.

Obligatory "before" shot.

Still clean!

Scott and I wound up in the last wave, which finally took off at 10:36AM. The course began in a section of the RFK Stadium parking lot, wound up and around the building, serpentined up and down a few more sections of parking lot, and then returned to the start area. With a few exceptions, it was fairly flat.

The start area.

Along the way, several "powder" stations were set up, largely themed to one color; these included orange, green, pink, and blue. As you ran through the color station, volunteers squirted color on you via the method of their choice. My favorite was a volunteer who had completely COVERED himself in orange powder, and when I say "covered" I mean "I am honestly in the dark regarding his skin tone, hair color, and the hue of anything he was wearing." He was greeting everyone who ran through with "Free orange hugs! Free orange hugs!" Naturally Scott and I went in for a group hug.

Unfortunately I didn't get any viable shots of the course because my iPhone was
encased in a plastic bag as protection from the colored powder. But I kinda like
this picture of Scott rolling in the blue station; he looks like he's under water!


It was a nice day and a fairly simple course, so by rights I should've had a great race - except remember how I mentioned I was feeling kinda under the weather? That didn't change overnight. I had a bit of a cold and I was dragging; I had to walk several times. We didn't cross the finish line until 11:14AM. Man, I can do so much better!

There was a dance after-party going on in front of the deejay's stage, but they weren't playing techno so Scott was having none of it (myself, I prefer ballet). We wandered past and grabbed a bottle of water. There were a bunch of food trucks parked around the area, but nothing was offered complimentary to the runners.


Obligatory "after" shot.

No longer clean!

I went over to the store to pick up those knee socks I had pre-ordered, and was told that they were all out of green but I could pick another color. I grabbed pink, and was fine with it because when I ordered them I waffled about the color I wanted anyway, but once again it seemed to negate the entire point of pre-order. If I selected and paid for merchandise beforehand, it should've either been placed in my packet or set aside for me.

At this point we were tired and just wanted to go home so we did that. I bet the Metro cleaning staff just LOVED it.




I realize this recap sounds kinda whiney and displeased, but I ultimately liked it! I did. I just think it needs some tweaking. Specifically:

  1. This first one is for ALL races that are held in the DC area: some of your runners will be coming from MD and some will be coming from VA. If your packet pickup is in one, runners from the other will probably have trouble getting there. As long as you provide day-of pickup, this is fine, but keep in mind that there will probably be a high demand; be sure to staff your pickup area accordingly. 
  2. Similarly, if your race is set up in an area near a Metro station, bag check is going to be popular with all those who took it and therefore can't leave stuff in the car. Staff your bag check area accordingly.
  3. If you allow people to specifically request a shirt size, put that size in their packet or don't bother letting people pick it out in advance. You're only asking to run out of something early.
  4. Similarly, if you allow pre-ordered merchandise, either put it in the person's packet, set it aside, or don't do it.
  5. One thing I haven't mentioned: the water stations. The water stations in this race were weird. They were unmanned PVC pipe with holes poked in them and hoses pumping water; the force of the hoses sent the water streaming out of the pipes to be drunk like you might out of a water fountain. Unfortunately, this water tasted exactly like hose water, which is to say: lukewarm and a little dirty. Proper water with cups is way better, guys.
  6. And lastly, I think you should offer your runners a post-race snack as part of their fee. I'll give you an extra dollar if you promise me something tasty at the finish line, no problem.

Incidentally, if you're wondering about the colored powder: it seems to be the same stuff they use in Indian festivals, and it didn't even stay on clothing particularly well unless you really caked it on. We tossed our shirts in the washer when we got home and they washed perfectly clean; we tossed ourselves in the shower and we washed perfectly clean too, both skin and hair. My sneakers are still stained but I'm not worried about it. Even with a slight cough it didn't bug my lungs, but there were people with face masks and bandanas over their mouths if that's a concern of yours.



Would I run this race again? Sure, I'd give it a go. The people were friendly and tried to help in the face of most of the above mentioned problems, and the colored powder concept was fun. And it would be nice to do it WITHOUT a cold. Hopefully, though, the organizers will be more organized next time.

I by no means had a terrible experience; there were just some issues that needed fixing. Do any of you have any REAL race day horror stories?

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, September 16, 2013

The Fairest Week in Review: 9/16

Moon can't make it today, but - IT'S HER BIRTHDAY! WEEEEEE!!! Everybody wish her a happy one! :D :D D

Glorious. Okay. Training last week. It started out well - on Sunday I knocked out a 16 miler at decent speeds. Unfortunately my Tuesday run was rough and my Thursday run was even rougher. I couldn't figure out what went wrong until after the Thursday run when I realized that my bit of a cough and slight soreness of throat added up to a cold. Not a severe one - I'm already almost over it - but just enough sickness to throw me off my game. Ah well. Better now than when I run my half in two weeks!

I also ran the Color in Motion 5K on Saturday morning, which was unfortunately rendered less enjoyable by the aforementioned cold, among other things. More on that tomorrow!

SPOILERS!

Wanted to give a quick shout-out to sports headphone maker Yurbuds. I bought a new pair a few weeks ago; when I plugged them into my iPod before my run on Thursday, the left ear shorted out (I spent the entire run dejectedly watching bad TV; there is NOTHING GOOD on after The Daily Show. What is up with that?). The instruction booklet asks that you please contact the company before making any returns, so I figured what the heck. I emailed customer service, and within 24 hours I had a response. They're sending me a new pair in the mail, no problem. ETA is 5 to 7 days, so if you experience a similar problem and need a new pair fast, I recommend you just take your earbuds back to the store regardless of the booklet's request. If you've got the time, though, the Yurbuds people are very nice and helpful. So there you are!

My music was consequently The Daily Show and everything that come on afterward (ehhh).

Okay! Roundup!

- MORE Disneyland Half weekend coverage - Pumpkin to Princess! Prairie Princess Runners! MousePlanet! Live Laugh Eat Run!
- My Glass Sneaker shows us how to get into a sold out Disney race, legit.
- Margaritas, Miles & the Mouse understands the terror that those nice pacer people can create.
- Eating WDW reviews one of my favorite meals at one of my favorite counter service restaurants - the Lighthouse Sandwich at Columbia Harbor House. Take it upstairs and eat by a second story window; wonderful views!
- Speaking of awesome Disney food and drink consumption, Beers and Ears drinks around the World Showcase with beer only. I appreciate the commitment to the theme.

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, September 13, 2013

In Which Jenn & Moon Discuss Pre- & Post-Run Snacks & Jenn Uses Her Car as an Oven

JENN: So, running fuel snacks. They're important, one way or another. There are three categories: pre-run, mid-run, and post-run snacks. I'm ignoring mid-run snacks because I'll have a blog post about that next week, but for today I'd like to start with pre-run snacks - Moon has her own take on this!

MOON: Pre-run snacking = >:(. I hate eating before a run. So... I'm a little useless for this topic, but I never eat before I run.

JENN: Regardless of length, regardless of time?

MOON:
Yes. For long runs I sometimes cave and eat something in the event that I get low blood sugar, but it is entirely out of fear. When I am close to home I will not eat anything, though.

JENN: Did you eat before the Princess Half? I can't remember. I know I had a Clif bar.

MOON: I had part of a Clif bar. I think I was really nervous, but that's the only time I've ever eaten before a run on purpose.

JENN: Myself, I ALWAYS eat before a run, but I try to avoid it DIRECTLY before a run when I can.

MOON:
What's your favorite?

JENN: I usually shoot for an hour out from my run for digestion time, in case my stomach wishes to protest for whatever reason. After much experimentation, I've found that less is more.

Lately I've been eating a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a Perfectly Simple bar. I like them because every flavor has 10 ingredients or less, and they're all pronounceable. Oh, and they're a little less calorific than a lot of other bars. They're also gluten free if you're into that. I find it's enough to keep me going but not so much that it weighs me down.

Brief tangent: I do this with the Perfectly Simple bars, but I've done it with Clif bars too and there's no reason it won't work with others. I often eat a bar after work if I'm going straight to ballet class, and I leave the bar in the car to prevent myself from snacking on it earlier in the day. I've found that, if conditions are right, the heat of the car will essentially bake the bar, and it'll turn warm and soft like a cookie. You've got to work with the weather - keep it out of the sun lest it melt in the summer, and directly in sunlight in the winter - but it works. Don't attempt it with any bar with a yogurt or chocolate coating, though; that's just asking for a mess!

Where was I? Right, pre-run snacks. For awhile I was eating almond butter on a gluten-free frozen waffle and a smoothie but I found that was just too MUCH.

MOON: Smoothies are better after, I find. Although, for me everything is better after...

JENN: Now, you do eat post-run, correct?

MOON: Yes, most of the time!

JENN: Any go-tos?

MOON: I like to drink lots of water and wait about a half hour to an hour before I actually eat anything solid. In a perfect world where I get to run before a meal, I like to have fish with some whole grains. If it's just a snack, I usually just eat some fruit.

JENN: No toast?! [Moon is a major proponent of toast.]

MOON: Well, I can put the fish on toast. :D Okay, so I'm sure you have a more interesting after-run snack!

JENN: I actually don't always eat AFTER runs! It depends on how I feel.

Occasionally, if I've pounded particularly hard and/or long, I actually get a little sick and shaky-feeling, and I NEED to eat. Then I usually reach for almonds or another protein bar - something with real sustenance.

For runs of ten miles or more, regardless of how I feel, I almost always drink some coconut water, to replenish carbs and electrolytes. Although I'm starting to wonder if that shouldn't be a pre-run thing.

If I'm feeling only moderately hungry, I'll often make a smoothie of almond milk, frozen fruit, spinach, and orange fiber powder (let me know in the comments if you'd like me to do a recipe post, although I'll warn you that it's a) simple and b) inexact ;). Delicious, nutritious, and hydrating! If I'm not hungry, I just stick with the coconut water. No need to force things, y'know?

Jenn's favorite frozen fruit for smoothies: raspberries!
Favorite flavor of Perfectly Simple bar: peanut crunch!

MOON: I would really like to have one of those smoothies right now... I would also like to have time to RUN, but we can't have everything. We're going to have a blog celebration when I go on my next run. (I'll think of something fun!)

JENN: Yay! Hoping you can make the Annapolis Light House Half. :)

What are your favorite pre- and post-run snacks? Let us know in the comments!

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, September 12, 2013

In Which Moon Defends WDW from the Zombie/Alien Apocalypse

JENN: MOON'S HERE, EVERYBODY!!!!#$!#!!!323111

MOON: Whhhhhaaat111! raise the roof

JENN: I have every intention of doing so. In fact, I may have to add a story to the house.

MOON: Glad to be back. Thanks everyone for your well wishes! I've missed you, Jenn!!! <3

JENN: <3 <3 <3

And we have an extra-special Moon-tastic treat, because today we're talking about Disney dreams. And to paraphrase The Voyage of the Dawn Treader*: I don't mean daydreams. I mean dreams. Guys, Moon has THE BEST DREAMS EVER.

* The book, not the movie. The Narnia movies hurt my heart.

MOON: Last week's dream was especially spectacular because I was on Oxycontin!

JENN: Hey, whatever it takes to get you there.

MOON: I had my wisdom teeth removed. Not just hitting up.

JENN: Don't tell them that! Let them wonder!

MOON: Right! Come to Moon's opium house, I mean!   

JENN: Indeed.

MOON: So, Jenn. You've heard the good ones. Which do you want first?

JENN: Um... either alternate universe or zombies.

MOON:
OK, the alternate universe first. I think that was my first one.

My dreams are usually WEIRD (to the max). Also, it should be known that I never had a Walt Disney World dream before the Big Trip that Jenn took us one a while back. Four friends went to WDW. Three came back still as friends. Just kidding! But it was a lulz crazy trip.   

JENN: My lawyer advises me to refrain from commentary.
 
MOON: So, here I am in dream world. I'm riding some sort of train or Metro of sorts. I remember it looking just like the DC Metro, only above ground level. I'm riding along completely by myself. It's cool, until we start traveling through the sky. So, going through space or whatever by myself and the train stops at a boring cement dock.

I get off and at first it's like I'm in Florida. There's lots of touristy stores, but there's nobody around. I walk around a bit and realize I'm in WDW only it's different. I can't really describe it except, I guess, it was more "space" like? Think Tomorrowland completely empty and creepy.

Okay, I realize where I am and then I wonder, "Does Jenn know about this?!" I immediately call her and say "Look. there's this train that takes you to a WDW in another universe. Did you know about this?!" And she responded with "YEAH! I'M ALREADY HERE!"

So, I meet Jenn at the dock area... which was like an airport for other universe people. And this is how my dream ended: Jenn and I walk back toward AU WDW, but a pair of flip flops catches our eyes. And then we look at all the shoes.

JENN: OMG, shoes.

MOON: Hopefully my dream with have a sequel, and I can tell you if we got to ride anything new. BUT at least I got to ride through space and time.

JENN: And nothing tried to kill you... THAT TIME.

MOON: YEAH, you think she's joking.

JENN: Zombie time!

Indeed. Zombie time. Quite. (source)

MOON: I had this dream in college, I think. It was years ago. Waaaay before The Walking Dead, so there's no connection!

I'm at my aunt's house with some friends - Jenn, Elizabeth, etc. We're about the leave for Florida, so naturally we're all gathered around a table to assemble our war plan. My cousin is helping me plan and she reveals this huge painting on her living room wall: it's a map of Florida. Why are we so seriously planning?

When we arrive at the entrance to the main park, a Disney official announces that males and females should separate before entering the park. Because we had such a large group, I was separated from everyone in the confusion. 

I was standing in a long line of people that was leading to some dark and eerie-looking warehouse. I saw a student of mine and we started chatting - mostly pondering what was going on. 

It started to get dark and we finally made it to the warehouse. As soon as we get in, Disney people start telling us the situation. It is all very serious business. The Disney lady briefs us, explaining that there are aliens invading the park and it is up to us to rid WDW of the intruders. She says it is imperative that we keep the aliens out of the bathrooms. 

We were handed weapons and then off we went! My student and I decided it was best if we stuck together. So, not only were there aliens, but there were zombies also. Apparently this apocalypse was an all-in-one kind of deal. After taking out our foes, I distinctly remember telling my student "I REALLY need to use the bathroom." 

Disregarding the previous warning, I made my way to the bathroom. I find a lot of people hiding inside. Student and I decided to protect the bathroom and all the people in it, but somehow it started raining in the bathroom. It flooded and we were forced out. 

We fought until sunrise and made our way to the exit of the park. I was afraid that all my friends were dead (don't you worry about that every time you go to the parks? apparently I do!). I see a group of people and start making my way towards them when another Disney official comes out and cheerfully says, "I hope you all enjoyed the new attraction at Disney!"

I saw my boyfriend standing with my friends (which was weird because he was in real life an ex and we hadn't spoken for at least two years). I ran up to him and hugged him, and excitedly asked, "Where have you been?!"

Boyfriend says, "I was sleeping." 

"So... you missed the alien apocalypse?"

"I had a nap."

The end.

JENN: Beautiful. But I'm really excited to hear the new one!

MOON: Okay, so here's one from last week. This is the opiate dream.

Last weekend I was supposed to go on a weekend vacation with my girls Liz and Meg. Well, my mom had to have a surgery and I was still sick from my surgery, so I couldn't go. I think this influenced the dream a little.

Liz, Megan, and I are hanging out. They are being really nice to me for some reason (I guess I was feeling sorry for myself in dream world, haha). Elizabeth decided to cook me a snack. She said she had this new recipe I was going to love. It was Soup pizza. I guess pizza in soup form?

JENN: I wouldn't actually be surprised if she tried making that...

MOON: I know, maybe she will now! Forward her this link!

We enjoy our soup pizza and so the party is now outside in the middle of the woods. I'm really anxious in my dream and I realize it's because I'm holding a big shotgun. I feel the need to shoot at every squirrel that I see.

Liz and Meg seem to be all about this squirrel hunting culture because they are not having any second thoughts. I have a moral crisis and a lot of my dream is me overcoming my addiction to shooting squirrels. I finally resolve to never shoot another squirrel again.

And just like that, I am instantly in California. I think some friends are there, but nobody really in particular. I'm standing near the ocean and I start seeing all these giant manta rays jumping out of the ocean.

JENN: Oh, let's name the zones, the zones, the zones... Actually, Mr. Ray was an eagle ray, but whatever.

THEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERE'S nothing to see.

MOON: Ha, of course he was!

I don't know why, but this twice this summer that I have dreamed about giant sea creatures jumping out of the ocean. It's like seeing dolphins when you're at the beach. Only they are 1000 times as big. Big mantas and then big whales.

THEN I start seeing whale skeletons jumping out. It didn't make me feel sad or scared in my dream. It was kinda like, "Hey... there are those bone fish again."

Okay, so Phantas... the thing Jenn makes me watch in Hollywood Studios. It was like that, only with giant fish.

JENN: ... What? Oh, Fantasmic!

MOON: There we go!

I turn around and there are these funny magician people acting like they are the ones making the giant sea life jump out of the ocean. It's not Mickey, but it was definitely like... Disney-esque. There was no "The Final Countdown," but all the sudden this turned into a show. In my dream I thought, "Oh hey, that's where I am. Disneyland." The end!

JENN: And the moral of that story is, if you stop shooting innocent woodland creatures, you are instantly whisked away to Disneyland! Too bad no one told the hunters in Bambi.

My Disney dreams are way more prosaic. Wandering around. Or dreaming that I'm supposed to be running a race and I missed it. You are the supreme grand master of Disney dreams.

MOON: I will try to record them all and maybe one day I'll have a weird blog all by myself!

Yay for Moon returning! Unfortunately she's not yet able to come back on a permanent basis, but with any luck she'll be able to check in with us again soon. :D If you've had a crazy Disney dream, we'd love to hear about it in the comments!

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, September 10, 2013

In Which Jenn Recaps the Electric Run 5K

Sheeeeeeee's electric! She's in a family full of eccentrics! (Oasis fans in the audience? No? Just me then? Oh.)

Can I be electric too?

Moving right along. As I detailed in my post about upcoming races, I signed up for the Electric Run 5K a few months ago, and when the day finally dawned (or should I say dusked?) it was a good one: not too terribly hot and not at all rainy.

The race instruction email promised traffic congestion due to the many race attendants and also because, duh, DC, so Scott and I arrived at the National Harbor about an hour before pre-race festivities were scheduled to start. We wandered along the harbor a bit, walked out on the pier, investigated some bizarre statuary, ducked into some shops, and then headed to the provided address for race pickup, where we frowned at a locked building for a couple minutes until a nice policewoman directed us toward the ACTUAL location. Emails are such liars sometimes.

...?

Race pickup was provided same-day for a $5 fee. I thought this was somewhat poor form, given that pre-race packet pickup was available only on the preceding Wednesday and Thursday in Virginia, half an hour or more around the dreaded beltway for us poor Maryland participants, but what're ya gonna do. Scott and I grabbed our packets, accepted a free can of Rockstar energy drink (verdict: fizzy but too fake-sugar-tasting), then went back to the car for a bit to eat some snacks and dig through our goodies.

Our packets contained an Electric Run shirt, a motion-activated light-up bracelet, some bizarre glowstick glasses that I didn't bother opening, our bibs, and safety pins. The guy sizes were tech shirts, but the girl sizes were sadly plain ol' cotton. Less sad: when I tried mine on I found it fit perfectly and was super cute, so score!

After a quick bathroom pit stop, we returned to the pre-race area around 7:15PM to investigate a mystery. A week or so earlier, I had received a strange email - a "receipt" for LED shutter shades, grand total $0.00. I asked around and was eventually directed to the store tent, where I was informed that as I was one of the first fifty people to sign up for the race, I was entitled to a free pair of light-up glasses. Scott was way more excited than I was, so I let him pick out a pair in his favorite color. Then we of course had to take multiple photographs to get the proper shot with all the lights on.

Complete with classy port-o-potty backdrop!



There wasn't much else to do in the pre-race area, so we went ahead and lined up for the race. There was an emcee and some assistants warming up the crowd with music and various freebies like glowsticks, hats, and light-up foam baton-type things.



There was no shortage of glowsticks handed out, believe me. One of them smacked me right in the nose, so I wound up a bit gun-shy; with every subsequent handful thrown, I ducked! People got quite creative with their use, Scott included.

They stayed in for approximately 60 seconds'
worth of distance run, which Robert Frost
assures me is more than sufficient.


The crowd was partitioned by rope, and in that way we started in waves. Scott and I were far enough forward that we were able to start in the second wave. I fired up the MapMyRun app and we were off!

The race began with a slight uphill followed by a delightful downhill lined with those glowing blow-up pillars as seen above. I think I may have turned on a little TOO much speed in my delight over the downhill segment, as we finished the first mile in 9:02 - not fast for a lot of you, but I'm usually more of a 10:00 girl!

I blame this on Scott. You see, he is one of those obnoxious natural athlete types who just does this stuff naturally. He swims and does yoga and plays soccer, but he doesn't run much at all; yet he pretty much danced his way down the course and was barely winded. Stupid tall people with their long strides. Jerk! ;) I held my own, and we did slow down and stop to take some photos later, but I'm sure he could've left me in the dust if he wanted to.

The course was punctuated, as promised, by music and light-up surprises.



There was a hydration station at the halfway point, where we were handed some sort of Rockstar vitamin water-type product. We didn't much care for the taste so we tossed them in the trash in favor of good old-fashioned water, attractively presented!



Annnnnd we took off again. There were lots of spectators clustered around the water area, and Scott and I wantonly distributed high-fives to long rows of hands! 

The second half of the course was similar to the first, with portions of light and music - and even an umbrella photo op.






That last photo, with the fog and the lasers? That's the finish line. It was really neat - but just before the end there was a really THICK patch of fog for the light to dance upon. Two steps in I was thinking: AHHHHH! I CAN'T SEE! I CAN'T SEE! It only lasted about ten seconds, but I would just mention to the Electric Run team: maybe rethink that portion, okay? :D

Perhaps you are wondering about our ultimate finish time. Well, so am I. For some reason MapMyRun decided to pause itself at 2.58 miles with 26:48 minutes on the clock. :( We kept a pretty good clip the rest of the way but we also stopped for photos a couple times, so I'm just calling it 33 minutes. That's gotta be close.

At the finish, we were plied with more water and granola bars. We also received another free can of Rockstar, this an uncarbonated version which I didn't particularly enjoy; I gave most of mine to Scott. There was the option to buy drink tickets for beer, but all they had was Miller Lite and we weren't really feeling that. There was also another merchandise tent if the need for an Electric Run t-shirt or glowing hoodie struck you belatedly.

Scott was far more interested in the dance party that was just starting up; the boy LOVES techno, so we headed over to the deejay stage. Since we a) were part of the second wave and b) ran pretty much the whole way, this is what it looked like when we arrived:



And here is what it looked like about half an hour later:





In addition to playing pop, hip hop, and techno music mashups, the deejay and his assistants distributed a ton more of those freebies - the same glowsticks, light-up batons, and hats from the beginning, plus a sweat band. Scott snagged a headband and I nabbed a hat, both of which were uncommon but not overly difficult to obtain; but seriously, if you didn't get a glowstick, it could only be because you were willfully refusing to see them. The batons were easy to come by too; I think Scott obtained and subsequently gave away two or three of them.



So yeah, that was really fun, and after all my long distance training, 3.1 miles felt so short! My only complaint was in the amount of scenery. The race description made it seem like there would be something new to see and hear every couple minutes, so I didn't bring my iPod, but in reality I'd say there were only seven or eight short areas set up along the course and not enough music. In the future I hope they add a lot more ambiance to the race.

I don't know how long they gave you to finish or how many waves took off, but when we left over an hour later there were still plenty of people heading toward the finish line (although we could also see the halfway point and it was empty). Things seemed pretty low key, so this might be a good first 5K for beginners.


This coming Saturday Scott and I take on the Color in Motion 5K - how will it compare? Will we make it out alive?! Tune in next week to find out!

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!