Friday, January 31, 2014

In Which Jenn Makes a Tropical Green Smoothie

We interrupt this regularly scheduled trip report to bring you a smoothie recipe, because 1) I thought you might enjoy the break given the acres and acres of ground we still have to cover and 2) OH MY GOD GUYS YOGURT.

First, I should point out that in no way to Chobani pay, bribe, coerce, or employ shady business practices so that I would write this post. I am just this genuinely excited to discover that they make a coconut yogurt flavor and it is AWESOME. So awesome, in fact, that after spooning up my first happy cup I immediately set my mind to new ways to consume it. Smoothie? No brainer!

Indeed, this could not be simpler; I'm almost guilty over the notion that I provide this as my own invention. I'm sure you could've thought of it yourself, no problem - but sometimes the brain needs a little nudge to get going, no?

If you can't find the coconut flavor or prefer a pure mango taste, feel free to use vanilla or even plain yogurt instead, but I really liked the coconut in this recipe. It gave it a subtle richness with the coconut flavor at the back of the mouth, if that makes any sense. My point is: try it! (Unless you don't like coconut, you whackadoodle; see "Other potential substitutions" below.)

TROPICAL GREEN SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen mango (or fresh mango + ice)
1 single-serve container of Chobani coconut yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
A healthy handful of spinach (don't be afraid - it's good for you and you won't taste it!)
Optional: a dash of honey




  1. Put mango, yogurt, almond milk, and spinach in blender. Blend. Tada! 
  2. No, but seriously, before you pour it into a cup, taste it. Is it sweet enough for your liking? If not, add a little bit of honey, then blend again. You could also add a touch more almond milk if you prefer a thinner consistency.
  3. Pour into an Alice-themed glass if you have one. If not, a regular glass will be acceptable, I suppose.
  4. Consume!


I know it would've been prettier if the glass had been full,
but I had to taste it immediately. For science, you know.

Other potential substitutions: If you don't care for mangoes, I betcha frozen pineapple would work well too.

And if you're one of those really, REALLY incomprehensible people who doesn't like coconut, Chobani's pineapple yogurt is my former-first-now-second-favorite so throw some of that in there instead and see what happens. Also, let me know next time you get a box of chocolates, because I'm happy to take your coconut pieces. Thanks!

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! What are your favorite smoothie combinations? 
 
Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report of All: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Recap

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes - don't worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here.

JENN: I had set no less than three alarms for 3AM, but I woke up no problem to the first one and actually felt pretty okay. Hooray for Eastern Standard Time!

MOON: I was already awake! And terrified!

JENN: Did you sleep at all?

MOON: I did BEFORE the fireworks started going off. I mostly listened to music all night, I think.

JENN: Oh dear. I seem to recall that you weren't feeling too hot...

MOON: 
Yeah, I felt pretty bad that morning. I was really scared to get out of bed and put on clothes because my energy still felt low and it still felt like 30 degrees to me. So, I checked my phone when I decided to get out of bed. In my text inbox I had the BEST message. I will not disclose it here, but I finally felt the resolve I needed.

JENN: Yeah, I remember asking you if you were up to running and you were all I'M DOING IT.

MOON:  Yeah! Although, I was still scared I wouldn't have enough energy to run the whole thing. This was my inner dialogue all night: "Nooooo..."

JENN: I was a little worried, but I'm not gonna lie - I was relieved you meant to try. Didn't want to go without you!

MOON: Anyway, I ate a Clif bar and tried to mentally tell myself all would be well.

JENN: So yeah. We dressed and ate and put on makeup in the effort to improve photos and walked down to Disneyland. We were by no means alone - there was a constant stream of fellow runners all around us, acting as shepherds.

By contrast to the Princess Half, it was COLD out. Moon and I had on hoodies. These will be important later.

MOON: And very much missed pieces of clothing...

JENN: We headed past the Disneyland/DCA courtyard and through Downtown Disney, then banked I think a left into the Paradise Pier hotel area. We briefly hit the family reunion/pre-race area, but I hardly even remember what was in it. The tents for bag check, but we weren't using that service. We kinda milled around a bit and then left.


STEVE HOLT

MOON: I remember the Princess being a little more organized this respect.

JENN: Yeah, the Princess pre-race was much more high-energy, with a dance party and photo ops. Of course, it was also much more crowded.

MOON: Yes, but you also knew where you were supposed to go!

JENN: 
True!

We headed toward the corrals, gleefully skipping past the frequent security checks on your bib letter before you could proceed. Corral B, baby!

MOON: Hip, hip for Corral B! Starting in B was a huge improvement from the Princess Half. SO much less congested throughout the entire run. I stayed with many of the runners I started with; that's always kind of nice!

JENN: By that point it was only 4:30AM, so we had half an hour to kill. While it was a little boring, it did allow us to stand pretty close to the front of the corral, which was a bonus. We took some pictures and social media'd a bit to keep ourselves entertained.

Eh.

Much better.

There were hosts on a stage to the right of the first corral that kept up some chatter, but it was mostly filler. The event really began with the singing of the National Anthem, the start of the one wheelchair participant, and then - corral A was off! Ten minutes later WE WERE TOO.

MOON: So, I just have to say: once I started running, I was all set. I felt good (although coooold), and adrenaline kicked in!

JENN: By contrast - I did not feel good.

I have documented before how my lungs tend to react with extreme negativity whenever I try to run in the cold. It wasn't freezing out, but it was definitely chilly. We crested our first hill and, while it was very steep, I had to take in just enough extra air that I could feel the restriction kicking in. Gotta say, it scared me.

MOON: Maybe this is when my throat's weirdo illness worked in my favor. I didn't feel much!

JENN: Just like in the end of Signs when the boy doesn't die because he has asthma!

MOON: Ha!

JENN: Luckily the feeling eased on flatter portions of the course, but I was rather tragically Not Feeling It.

This is where we have THEME PARKS TO THE RESCUE! We ran into Disney's California Adventure in short order and there it was: the World of Color fountains going. Quick calculations determined that if I stopped for a picture it would also give my lungs a brief rest, so I called Moon over and we took some quick photos.



MOON: This is the part when Jenn recaps all the important things... Of which I have no recollection. Although, I DO remember lights and general pretty things!

JENN: Haha, you were in the zone! Whereas I was desperately seeking distraction, and the parks did not disappoint. We took our very first steps into Disneyland - running steps - and it was awesome. We stopped for a photo op with the castle - I had read that it was tiny by comparison to WDW's, but I didn't realize how tiny! It was still fun running up the drawbridge and through the tunnel.

Jenn was unprepared, expression-wise.

MOON: Yeah, it was almost like running through a miniature town.

JENN: From there we ran through Fantasyland (loved the characters on the carousel!) and past it's a small world, its facade all lit up, and we stopped for a photo there too.


But my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE stop was next! HORSES. They were SO cute and sweet and I wasted way too many precious seconds cuddling with them but it kicked my morale up several notches and that's what counts!




MOON: You should have mounted up and gloriously crossed the finish line on horseback.

JENN: IF ONLY.

Roundabouts then we left the parks and it all goes downhill from here, folks.

MOON: So... The Anaheim Suburbs. Running through Anaheim was not the most exciting portion of the run...

JENN: I dunno, guys. I knew the second half of the race went through the streets of Anaheim but... really, Disney? That's IT? Cheerleaders? They weren't even doing any fancy routines, just yelling encouragement. Which we already have from spectators, and while they are less likely to come in coordinating outfits they sport funny signs. They win.

There were a couple marching bands, too, but I never saw any characters or the promised Polynesian dancers. Or puppets or displays or other ways WDW dresses up its boring street sections. Maybe we came through too early or something.

MOON: Well, at least there was lots of water!

JENN: You mean the water stations? Or did I miss a fancy water entertainment portion?

MOON: Ha, yes, you missed the part where World of Color shoots magical colored water into your mouth as your run past.

JENN: God, I'm so oblivious.

MOON: Yeah, water stations, ha!

JENN: It was in the streets of Anaheim that Moon started to pull away from me. All the ill portents aside, she had conquered sickness and was feelin' it. I was not.

MOON: I periodically looked back because I really wanted us to stay togetherrrr. Most of the time I could spot you!

JENN: I stopped at every water station for water AND Powerade, but Moon started up again sooner than I did and little by little she pulled away. But not TOO far away - I could see her up ahead, and I gotta say, she kept me going. Aside from those water stops, I didn't stop once, even though I was tempted to.

At one point I saw a hill coming and my internal monologue let out a belting NOOOOOOOOO but I saw Moon run right up it and I decided I would too. No walking for me!

MOON: I was pissed we had to run up the same obnoxious hill TWICE! Anger shot me up that one. And the promise of the race ending...

JENN: So Moon was keeping me going up ahead. And then around mile 12, when I was really starting to feel the sad, I heard the voice of the 2:15 pace guy. I had seen him in our corral before the start and I knew that if I could JUST KEEP AHEAD OF HIM I would pull out a good time. I intend to write a more involved love letter to the man who propelled me forward when I needed the push, but for now let's just say that without him and Moon I could never have pushed past my sluggish body and made a PR.

MOON: And to add: there were so many jackets on the ground! I was so cold near the end. I seriously wanted to pick them up and wrap myself in them.

JENN: Oh, right, I totally forgot to mention that part! So as we entered Disneyland part, we ran up Main Street, and we were elated - Moon was feeling good, I was boosted by the sites and sounds of Disney, and were happy. All that adrenaline warmed us up, so we counted it down - THREE TWO ONE!!! - and tossed our hoodies.

We had made a huge mistake.

MOON: Way too overzealous. I still regret it. I feel cold now.

JENN: By the end of the course I had salt crusted on my face from sweat that had dried too quickly in the cold. It was crazy. But anyway. Where was I? Oh yes. The end of the race. I lost sight of Moon by the time I passed the 13 mile marker, but I had Pace Charming on my heels and even though I once or twice felt like I might puke I powered through and FINISHED BECAUSE STEVE HOLT.

FINISH HER!!!!

How was the end of the race for you?

MOON: Well, before I talk about that I just want to shout out to my favorite part of the race.While running through the Anaheim suburbs, I passed a lady who was out in her bathrobe, sporting a MIMOSA (the sun had not yet risen). When I ran past her she said, "Good morning!!" And that made me laugh, therefore... Great success.

JENN: Haha, excellent! I enjoyed the Red Hat Ladies, myself. But WHERE WAS THE GOSPEL CHOIR?! In the Princess Half we had a gospel choir at mile 13 and it was AMAZING.

MOON: Yeah, it's pretty hard to give a race that and then TAKE IT AWAY for the next. But, I did well at the end. I found the end a little ambiguous at first because I wasn't sure it was happening... and the kind of a windy path.

Survivors!

 Annnyway! Remember before we left and we said we would reveal our goals for the race?!

JENN: Yes!

MOON: Sooooo, did you make it?!

JENN: Well, no. Technically. I had wanted us to be at the parks at opening and we didn't get on our first ride until 9:40AM. But that was my own fault - I dawdled in the shower and afterward. We probably could've made it if I'd really hustled us, but it felt nice to relax a bit. I think it was okay. I got a PR by about six minutes, and that's what counts. :) You?

MOON: While I didn't finish with my personal best time, I did finish with a new official best time!

JENN: Yay!

MOON: I wanted to run the entire race - no walking. This happened, yay! I also wanted to finish under 2:20. This ALSO happened, yay! And those were my goals before getting sickly. The day before my only goal was, "Don't drop out."

JENN: Ooh, incidentally, my time was just under 2:15 and I think your official time was just over 2:13? The clock seemed a little off but that's where we ended up. Not bad either way. AND we stopped for several photos!

MOON: You're right! So, all in all we did really well. That pleases me. :D

JENN: I guess it would've been nice to get those 4-5 minutes back, but they really improved my morale and gave my crotchety lungs a rrest.

How did you feel post race? Those reflective blankets were a LIFESAVER.

MOON: Yeeeeeah, I wanted all the reflective blankets.

JENN: We pretty much just got our snack box, water, and Powerade, and got the heck up outta there. It was COLD.

Snack box contents.

One thing I must say I rather enjoyed - the course actually ran right past our hotel. We had finished so early, runners from the last couple corrals were still coming through. To get to our room, we had to do the dart-across-the-course thing. Felt pretty good. :)

MOON: I still don't know what happened to my Powerade.

JENN: Neither do I. I also don't know what was up with that bibbed girl who was running on the opposite side of the street from the course as we walked back.

MOON: Haha, yeeeeah, girl was on the wrong side of the street. And this time it wasn't because of lost costume parts like our lobster friend from last year's race.

JENN: And that was our race experience! Next up: DISNEYLAND.

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, January 29, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/18

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes - don't worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here.

The morning started with a 6AM alarm on the principle that the longer we pretended we were still on the east coast the less painful our 3AM wakeup time for race morning would be. Of course, pretty much nothing whatsoever is happening at 6AM, so we basically did nothing for several hours. Vacation!

MOON: I have no recollection of this at all, but I do remember keeping my clock on Eastern Standard Time for the entirety of the trip!

Eventually Moon took a shower, we dressed, and we headed on down to the Expo, which was held in the convention area of the Disneyland Hotel (have I mentioned how much I loved walking EVERYWHERE?). As a random aside: the bagcheck lines on our side - that is to say, the non-Disney hotel side - were generally shorter. Just some information for you.

We wandered through the Expo with slightly perplexed expressions before finally doubling back and finding signs directing us to registration, which was underneath the building (a parking lot, technically, I think?). We were able to check in fairly quickly, and then was hardly any line for the team stuff (which was essentially a bib and a sash. Can I forgo the sash and not pay $15 next time? Just a question).



As we were walking toward the exit we saw that GET Travel was still offering discount Disneyland tickets, and as we had accidentally missed the cutoff date for online ordering I was like YESSS and hustled us into line. We got 3-day park hoppers for $1 more than a regular-price non-hopper. Score!

And the guys at the booth were actually really funny, especially the one who sold Moon her ticket. He jokingly suggested we travel together, so I introduced myself to Moon and shook her hand. Guy was all, "...I thought you guys knew each other...?" "We do." "Oh, that was pretty good. You should be an actress!" Which would make me a pretty unique specimen in southern CA, no? ;)

Important piece of foreshadowing: this is roundabout the time Moon mentioned feeling like she had a bit of a cold.

MOON: I had been feeling a bit congested in the mornings for about two days, but I thought I had kicked it before we left…

We headed back up to the Expo proper and got our race shirts and bags, then began wandering through the stalls. I was disappointed not to see Brooks represented as a would love another pair of Ravennas at a discount, but alas, it was not to be. The only other vendor I really wanted to check out was Raw Threads, but their stuff is expensive and I didn't find a sale section. :( Actually, I was quite disappointed with the lack of sale sections in general. I saw some minor percentage-off offers but nothing particularly tempting.


Speaking of not particularly tempting - we got in line for the official merchandise tent and essentially walked right in. So... I don't know how much of this is just because we didn't arrive until Saturday; I'm sure that there was merchandise that had already sold out. But there were still t-shirts and tech shirts and sweatshirts available, and I found them all underwhelming. If they had been cheaper, sure, I probably would've picked something up, but $55 for a basic sweatshirt with a screen-on logo is not gonna hack it for me. I didn't even see a wine glass to pick up. We walked out empty-handed. :/

Things started looking up on the way out, as Luna was giving out little samples of their protein bars. I tried a couple, cookie dough being my favorite and carrot cake my least. Fun!

Our next stop was at FlipBelt, which Moon found intriguing. She tried one on and I'll let her insert her own thoughts here.

MOON: I would be interested to give it a try, actually. I’m not a huuuuge fan of armbands (most of the them are too big for my arm, anyway). I worry that it will ride up and then prove to be awkward, but I’m supposing it’s worth a try, right? It would make running with keys much easier (my pants lack pockets).



Other than that, we just kinda threaded through everything, shrugged, and left. Expo booth people - offer more discounts! You'll never get an impulse purchase outta me otherwise!

It was close enough to lunchtime to justify getting lunch and Earl of Sandwich was RIGHT THERE, so we hopped into line. Review to be included in food post. Spoiler alert: the story includes a sidetrip to Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express.

From there we returned to our hotel, with a brief pit stop at the front desk to request more blankets as Moon was, um, getting the chills. >.< Once in the room, I went ahead and made her my Special Travel Drink: chai green tea mixed with orange EmergenC. Based on the faces she made I don't think she particularly enjoyed it, but she got dosed with vitamin C, and that's what counts. She napped for a bit while I took notes and inspected our race bag contents.


After a time, we decided to head down to the hot tub. Unfortunately the hot tub at the HoJo Anaheim is RIGHT NEXT to the kids' play area. Which I get, I suppose - that way parents can soak while they keep an eye on their underage charges. But it made for a LOT of small children who, despite the signs, were playing around in the hot tub unsupervised, or supervised poorly. We got splashed a lot and eventually gave up and went back and took showers.

Moon was really starting to feel sick at this point (I'm sure she'll tell you more about that) and it was making us both nervous, but she had every intent of soldiering on through the morning's race so we proceeded with the plan: dinner at the IHOP right across from the Disneyland gate. We got eggs and shared pancakes and the view was probably the best IHOP view ever, but Moon was looking more miserable by the moment. We trekked back to our room with uncertain steps.

MOON: I’m going to take a paragraph here to detail my woes. USUALLY when the cold hits I begin with a sore throat. It’s a clear indicator that things are about to go down. I also have this crazy method of beating colds which I will not detail here so the audience doesn't think I’m into black magic or anything. Annnyway… This time it did not go down that way, so I was thinking, “Yeah, I’ll be fine. It’s nothing.” As Jenn said, after the chills I started to get kind of worried. I think I consumed all the vitamin C within reach. Under no less than three blankets, I figured sleeping would be my best bet at a quick recovery. Jenn suggested we go down to the hot tub, but I just grabbed three towels and spent most of the time napping. Being sick blows.

Yet, undaunted, we set out all our things for the race - sneakers and clothes and fuel and what have you. Then we settled into bed and cheered ourselves up with the masterful re-enactments of a TLC show called "Sex Sent Me to the E.R.," which was exactly the sort of quality documentary you would expect. With that to send us off to sleep, we drifted into dreamland.

And then woke up half an hour later to the blasting echoes of the Disneyland fireworks.

And then we went to sleep.

MOON: Well, JENN went to sleep...

Does Moon make it to the race? Does Jenn have to carry her into the corral?! Come back soon 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!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/17

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes - don't worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! 

My parents live right by BWI [MOON: Mine too!], so my dad can usually be coerced into offering rides. This day was no exception, and since Moon lives nearby we picked her up too. Airport check-in and getting through security took longer than normal, but we had arrived in plenty of time for our flight so it was no problem.

Once into the airport proper we bought small breakfast items (Jamba Juice for me, though sadly not free this time, and a Naked juice for Moon), and then we sat at the gate and read a bit until boarding time - which was actually on time! Who would have guessed?!

I had not sprung for Southwest's upcharge of Early Bird Check-In, as I only believe in it for business travel when I'm not footing the bill, but I had checked in online at precisely the opening time and managed to snag us B boarding group positions. I was some slots ahead and reserved us our preferred seats: aisles for both of us, directly across from each other so we could still converse. Perfect.

Until it happened.

The last people to board the plane came in and, not surprisingly, found that there was nothing left together. The guy asked me if I would mind moving to the middle seat for some reason; I'm not entirely clear on how that would've helped him sit with his girlfriend, but I, um, well, said no, because nobody likes the middle seat and I had won my right to early selection with careful advanced planning. Then he asked me if I would move up one, as somehow there was another aisle seat available, which did make sense to me as that would make two seats together, but I initially refused because I wanted to stick with Moon. So THEN he decided he would take the middle seat next to me and, uh... well, he was a broad gentleman. Which is fine! Some people just are! Yet it's not... an ideal trait in an airplane seatmate, y'know? I don't have a good solution for this one. Anyway. I sucked it up and moved up one and just talked to Moon diagonally backwards and occasionally got hit in the head by people traveling to the bathroom. Such is life.

MOON: Juuuuuust saying - they slept the whole time.

Go ahead and tell me if any of this behavior renders me a jerk; I'm always open to personality improvements. But I kinda feel like, if you're flying Southwest, you have to recognize and accept that if you're among the last to board you take what you can get. Naturally there are exceptions to every rule and extenuating circumstances do exist and what not, but that's the law of the jungle, no?

My new neighbors were very pleasant and actually rather adorable - a middle-aged couple, the wife slept on the husband's shoulder, and when they ordered drinks they clinked glasses before imbibing. (Side note: have you ever noticed how air travel makes drinking at any time whatsoever socially acceptable?) Moon seemed to be fine with her seatmates too, so that turned out all right.

MOON: Except for the papers. This lady had A LOT of paper. She would read a page, tear it out, then stuff it into the backseat pocket. She and her husband were also SNACK FIENDS. I’ve never seen anyone eat so many snacks on a flight. It was adorable, don’t get me wrong, but I was impressed. 

We landed early (!) and grabbed our luggage once an LAX employee had climbed all over the carousel undoing a bag jam, much to my amusement. From there we picked up the Budget shuttle to get our rental car. The Budget guy was kinda pushy and freaked us out about insurance coverage; even though I know my own insurance covers stuff we wound up getting partial coverage from Budget too in case. Which I think may have been dumb in retrospect, but whatever.

Although we had reserved an economy vehicle, we wound up in a Volkswagen Jetta. "Is it a party color?" inquired Katherine via Twitter. No. It was brown, which filled Moon with glee.

MOON: I was indeed filled with glee. More on The Importance of Brown later.

Braun.

We spent the rest of the trip periodically referring to the fact that ve vere driving in a braun Wolksvagen Jetta. Which felt like a friggin' LAND BOAT to me, a habitual driver of a little Ford Focus. BIG IS SCARY. But I didn't bend, spindle, or mutilate anyone or anything with it over the course of the week, so I guess it turned out okay.

MOON: Oh, it wasn't that big!

We took off for the Howard Johnson Anaheim and, barring a brief and exciting series of U-turns furnished by clever, clever Siri, we found it without trouble. We checked in and found ourselves in building three, right behind the main building. The room was fairly large, and had some nice features like a mini-fridge, coffeemaker, and extra sink outside of the bathroom. The one consolation to its Disney-adjacent location: a Mary Blair-style art print on the wall.

After retrieving our suitcases from the car, we dumped our stuff, changed out of our Maryland-appropriate winter clothes, and put on glorious, glorious shorts. It was awesome. Then we WALKED to Disneyland! WALKED! We were crossing under the Disneyland sign in under ten minutes! I mean, how awesome is that?! Sure beats buses. Is this what it feels like to stay at an Epco-area resort?


The Disneyland layout works so that you go through the bag check line and then you're in a wide, courtyard-type area with Disney's California Adventure on one side and Disneyland proper on the other; the gates are parallel to each other and you can go either way. Across from the bag check is another bag check/exit area, and from there - from our direction, anyway - you enter Downtown Disney.


I like how Disneyland is coming out of my head.

We headed that direction and walked all the way down DTD, which, contrary to the WDW setup, is a long line of shops in straight lines all the way down the street until you bottom out in the Disneyland Hotel (there are entrances to the Grand Californian and Paradise Pier along the way).

As we went we poked about at some shops and restaurants, but nothing was quite working for us so we wound up at the Disneyland Hotel in the famous Trader Sam's Enchanted Tikki Bar. Sadly, the amazingly decorated interior was packed, but we were able to grab some drinks to go and take them out to the fire pit across the way. We spent a good 30, 45 minutes with that firepit, nursing our drinks, relaxing, and generally being silly.







Moon's latest favorite pastime is Truth or Dare.

MOON: Yes, it is. I commend your sporting behavior!

My dare? "Take a sassy photo of yourself and make it your Facebook profile picture RIGHT NOW." Which is how this happened:

Sassy!

Eventually our drinks were done and we were ready to find some dinner, so we took a look at one of the store maps posted about and decided to give La Brea Bakery a shot. It was on the other end of DTD; on the way back we stopped in Roxy so that Moon could buy a hoodie, as she had forgotten to bring one.

MOON: In fact, I forgot a lot of things. I was WEARING my hoodie in the morning before we left for the airport. I’m still not quite sure what happened to it. I still blame getting my weeks mixed up. 

We looked at the La Brea menu and selected grilled vegetable sandwiches as a likely hit, so we wandered into their Express section and... saw it wasn't available there. We turned tail, approached the sit-down podium, and were seated within minutes. Review to come!

Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash.

It was still only about, oh, I don't know, 6PM? 6:30PM Pacific? But to our bodies it was three hours later, and I kinda wanted to encourage that until after the race so that our 3AM wakeup call on Sunday wouldn't feel so harsh. Still, we were on vacation, so we stopped at the hotel gift shop for some fun supplies. Thing one? Reeses Pieces. Moon LOVES Reeses Pieces. She also grabbed some Sour Patch Kids, which were rung up by a cashier who looked AND sounded exactly like Edna Mode from The Incredibles. It was uncanny.

Thing two? Alcohol. As we surveyed the cases, noting with some trepidation the rather expensive bottles of wine, and Aussie lady came up and started giving us purchasing advice. Something about avoiding cabernets, or possibly ONLY drinking cabernets; I confess I got a little foggy on these points. Interestingly enough, her #1 recommendation was the 25 oz cans of Bud Light Lime, which we ended up buying because I like carbonation and we were both sick of trying to make a decision.

From there we retreated to our room and tried to find a movie but came up short. Instead we just munched on our snacks and talked, I showered, and then we went to bed at like 8PM. East Coast girls forever.

And then we woke up again forty minutes later to BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! for like ten minutes straight and about five minutes in I realized it was the Disneyland fireworks. We had arrived.

MOON: I actually slept through the first night of fireworks; sorry for staggering your cadence, Jenn!

Tune in tomorrow for day two of our trip!

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, January 27, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 1/27

JENN:  Sooooo... we're back.

MOON:   So..... We're back, yeah.

JENN: It's cold here. I want to go back to Disneyland. :(

MOON: I want to burrow in a volcano.

JENN: That sounds delightful. You have always wanted to go to Hawaii.

MOON: I hate adjusting to life after a trip. Especially when the temperature difference is 75 degrees.

JENN: Indeed. I'm actually looking at hostel prices in various European countries in the hopes of further delaying the onset of real life.

MOON: If you could go to any COLD country right now, where would you go?

JENN: Cold? Norway. It's on my shortlist. The springs are hot, the men are tall, and the horses have mohawks.

Sweet, sweet mohawks. (Source)

MOON: You propose a strong argument for Norway.

JENN: I do. But Dublin would be cheaper and I like the cadence of their speech, so the jury's still out.

MOON: I'd be nearby in Denmark.

JENN: They do have Tivoli. I learned that in Number the Stars! Good book.

MOON: So, what of last week shall we discuss? We had a lot going onnnn.

JENN: We did! We'll have a race recap and Disneyland recaps later this week, of course.

MOON: Of course.

JENN: But now that we're back, have you been for a run since?

MOON: Yes!

JENN: ME TOO!

MOON: I went for a short 5K the morning after we returned. Worked on speed, did well! It was cold.

JENN: Outside?! Lordy.

MOON: I didn't run outside, haha! But, I had to walk there from my apartment... >_>

JENN: Bad enough. I went for a run on Thursday and gave myself the option of stopping early... naturally I had a GREAT run.

MOON: Yay!

JENN: It was awesome, but I was like WHERE WAS THIS ENERGY DURING THE RACE?!

MOON: Probably still sleeping.

JENN: This is a good point. The Wine and Dine Half in November will be at night. FINALLY, people start to do things in accordance with my internal clock.

MOON: Is this happening on a Saturday or a Sunday? I'll probably forget ANYWAY, BUT...

JENN: Haha, I'm pretty sure it'll be a Sunday as per usual. Any good music during your run?

MOON: I kept my playlist from the Tinker Bell Half going. I was hoping I could relive past glory to keep me motivated while running, cold, on the saaaad treadmill. It worked!

JENN: Nice! I listened to "Touch the Sky" from Brave for two hours/11.5 miles on loop. What can I say? I'm as strong as the sea is stormy.

MOON: Haaaa, very good! I believe we had a Twitter conversation going on about this.

JENN: Yes, you suggested that people dare us to try to run for X amount of time ONLY listening to Y song. I am intrigued. And a little scared... Let me just say right now that I DON'T DO LINKIN PARK.

MOON: Same, don't give me that. It's gotta be BALLSY, people, or we're not doing this!

JENN: So let's hear it, no doubt vast and untapped readership! Hit us in the comments!

And on that note: roundup. I am now EXTRA behind on my blog reading, so as always, if you have a post you'd think I'd like don't hesitate to comment with the link.

- The DisBroads discuss that age-old runDisney dilemma - PR or pictures?
- Over at Fairytales and Fitness, it's time to get organized!
- Pink Elephant on Parade considers the sobering fact that the Dopey Challenge is really expensive. And yet here I am, seriously pondering it...
- Prairie Princess Runners enumerate ways to avoid unhealthy snacking. Totally agree about #4.
- Elbowglitter has a wonderful story of running inclusiveness. I haven't tried much of his method, but everything I read about Jeff Galloway makes him seem pretty awesome.
- Running at Disney has the scoop on being a voluntEAR.
- Not to beat a dead movie, but The Disney Project has come out with a great podcast about Escape from Tomorrow. Spoiler alert: they didn't like it either.

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, January 23, 2014

In Which Jenn & Moon Return From California

... And we are NOT happy with the temperature shift. We would like to speak to a manager, please.

Anyway. We ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and there were PRs all around and much Disneyland to be had and the trip report begins next week. GET READY.

 
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, January 16, 2014

In Which Moon Runs in Austin, TX

As we prepare to fly to the opposite side of the country for a race, let's check in with Moon about running in a different state.

Hello everyone! Today I am here to entertain you with a tale about a road trip to Austin, Texas. You’re probably wondering why I’m going on about a Texas road trip on a predominantly Disney and running blog, right? Well, as it turns out, Austin is a great city for running.

Looking south on Congress Avenue, I think!

The boyfriend and I went on two runs while in Austin, the first a short 3ish mile run. For the first run we stuck to the city streets, hoping to get a good sense of the city layout. I’m not sure how much of a geographical sense of the city I came away with, but there was a very cute cat mural!


A goal was to find the Bullock Texas State History Museum… But, I think it’s safe to say our run was over when we ran past Whole Foods Market Headquarters.

Our second attempt was complete with many Austin sites. We began in The South Congress Avenue area and ran towards the Colorado River. Once you make it to the River you can follow the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike trail that contours Lady Bird Lake.


This trail was a great place to run! The paths are wide in most places and the river is quite beautiful. The aquamarine water of the Colorado River was a pleasant contrast to the murky grey waters of Baltimore’s Chesapeake (you’ll be healthy again, someday!). There are a few places to cross over the river, so you can easily size your run appropriately.

There was also some interesting wildlife to be seen. Of course this particular creature is of myth only, but we passed a large monument of a Jackalope. Previous to the Austin excursion, I had never heard of such a creature, but apparently it is a mixture of a jackrabbit and an antelope. It’s has indigenous North American folklore roots, but don’t ask me to get specific. There were many birds. I’m no Ornithologist, but they were quite different from the birds found in Maryland! There are also other sites around the river, such as: a statue of bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The Common Grackle [Quiscalus quiscula] was seen with some frequency.
This is not really important,  but for most of the trip, I thought it was pronounced
“graggle,” thus I spent a lot of inner thought on: What kind of name is
that?!

Okay, so after the loop we decided to head for the Texas State Capitol building. We made it there, but had about 20 minutes to make it back to our hotel before checkout. So, off we went!

…In the wrong direction, of course. In the end we made it back just in time, rounding out the run at about 8 miles.

And for the wrap up: If you find yourself in Austin, Texas, you will have a great environment for running, walking, biking, etc. We had a great time and it’s a great way to see the city. This is unrelated, but we also had really amazing grilled cheese sandwiches post-run. And I’m no fan of cheese.

Okay, that's all from us for now! OFF TO DISNEYLAND!

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, January 15, 2014

In Which Jenn & Moon Are Headed to Disneyland for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon

JENN: Let's talk Tinker Bell Half Marathon goals!

Primary goal: get something like this around our necks.

MOON: What's your biggest goal?

JENN: My goal is to have the race done in time that we can shower and change before Disneyland opens! We're in corral B, so it could happen. BUT they're also offering post-race massages for $1 a minute... I can't say I'm not a little torn.

MOON: Well, the massage will be all you. I'm afraid of massages.

JENN: Really? I've actually never had a real one. But I don't want to make you hang around waiting for me!

MOON: No, no! Nothing would make me happier than a happy Jenn.

JENN: Oh, a Jenn that makes rope drop at a Disney park is a very happy Jenn indeed. Let's just stick with that one!

MOON: So, how has your week been so far? Did you stick to walking?

JENN: I actually ran on Tuesday! I wasn't a bolt of lightning but it was fine. I feel better about the race now. How was your Tuesday run?

MOON: ...Don't kill me. But, I freaked out about getting the weeks mixed up and ran 13.1 today. I was scared that Sunday would come and I wouldn't be able to do it all the sudden.

JENN: Are your legs tired?! Don't run anymore this week until our mini-run on Friday!

MOON: That's the plan.

JENN: Good. :)

MOON: New PR, though!

JENN: Awesome!

MOON: The one redeeming factor.

JENN: So what's your race goal?

MOON: I am feeling rather superstitious and would rather not say! When we do our recap, I'll come out with it then (even if I don't make it!).

JENN: Haha, okay.

MOON: Honestly, I'm scared of being lost in a sea of people. I think that's going to hurt us the most.

JENN: Well, there are more corrals, so the herd's been thinned, hopefully. That should help. And corral B should move faster as a whole.

MOON: What's your goal?

JENN: To be done before Disneyland opens! That's all.

MOON: Can we have some numbers? Some of us do not know when Disneyland opens ;)

JENN: 9AM that day. Honestly, Moon, it's like I'm the one doing all the planning. ;)

MOON: HA. That's because you are, my dear.

JENN: And that's how I like it!

MOON: I follow where Jenn goes. But, at least I know the race is Sunday, Expo is Saturday, and we're leaving Friday.

JENN: Correct x3! Well done!

So... I'm thinking if we pull a 2:30 and shower fast we should be able to make it?

MOON: I think that's doable! Yay!

JENN: Do you have any goals for CA generally? Things To Do?

MOON: I would like to see a redwood tree.

JENN: It'll take a bit of a road trip north for redwoods, but as long as you can find a good hotspot we should be able to manage it.

MOON:
I also want to enjoy the sun. It's quite cold here. I'm under three blankets. This is no way for a girl to live.

JENN: Amen to that!

I want to read a book in the hot tub. Our hotel is supposed to have an amazing pool complex and for once I want to enjoy it.

MOON: What book will you bring?!

JENN: Oh man!! Ummm... I got a new Heinlein novel for Christmas. Or maybe I'll bring something to re-read. Something fun, like The Phantom Tollbooth. Or maybe The Last Unicorn! So many options...

MOON: I'll have to make some decisions pretty soon. I just finished a book, so tonight I'm scoping out two others.

JENN: Excellent.

MOON: Okay, so we're all set! Steve Holt!

JENN: STEVE HOLT!

Anything at Disneyland you're dying to see?

MOON: OH! So, during my trip to Austin, my boyfriend and I were listening to Patton Oswalt. There's a bit about Disneyland, actually. He mentioned that you can find out what your Spirit Animal is. I must find out what mine is. I'm rather hoping for something like a hawk, but I hear you can be given a skunk.

JENN: I thought we already knew yours is a flatworm?

MOON: Haven't spontaneously combusted yet. :D

JENN: Good show, good show.

MOON: Anyway, I'm sure flatworm will not be an option, so we'll see what I am within this new pool.

JENN: I myself am excited to ride the Matterhorn! And the Indiana Jones ride! And I understand that it's a small world will still have its holiday overlay, so that'll be fun to see. AND with any luck the California Screamin' roller coaster will actually be functioning this time around.

MOON: I'm suspicious of anything of the roller coaster persuasion...

JENN: I won't MAKE you go on anything... just ENCOURAGE. :D

MOON: I'll do my best! Bring some tissues.

JENN: Awwww. You'll be great!

MOON: :D

In short: we are WAY EXCITED about this long-awaited trip to Disneyland for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon! Who will we see there?! We'll send out a tweet when we're headed to the Expo in case anyone wants to hang with us. It'll be Saturday morning, and I know a lot of you will be doing the 10K at that time, but you never 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! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 1/14

JENN: Hooray for everyone who ran over the WDW marathon weekend! That having been said - we leave for Disneyland and the Tinker Bell Half on FRIDAY! IT'S SO CLOSE.

It. Is. TIME.

MOON: Wait. Not THIS Friday?!

JENN: THIS Friday!

MOON: ... I seriously thought it was NEXT Friday.

JENN: The race is on Sunday, silly!

MOON: I could have sworn the race was the 26th...

JENN: Nee-ope!

MOON: Well, there goes my schedule for next week! Ha, I'll have to send out some emails tonight. My bad.

JENN: Aren't you glad we're doing this blog?

MOON: I better get my running on. My last 13.1 was Christmas Eve. Slightly worried now. Guess who's running 13.1 tomorrow?

JENN: No no no! Tapering is vital!

MOON: I am too anxious for tapering!

JENN: I wouldn't run more than seven at this point. Don't worry; I haven't run the full 13 since December either. In fact, my runs have been AWFUL lately. I'm in a major slump.

MOON: I'm sorry, but that IS slightly comforting. ;)

JENN: I'm seriously considering just taking very lengthy walks this week in the hopes of recharging.

MOON: That might be good. I thought about that too. But don't worry, I'll be there to keep you going! :D

JENN: Of course!

MOON: Actually, I've just been doing shorter, faster runs.

JENN: That's great for speed!

MOON: So far so good. But the weather is KILLING me. I really want to run outside. I almost dozed off on the treadmill the other day.

JENN: Oh no! Yeah, the extreme cold plays merry hell with my lungs. I honestly wonder if that's related to the yuckiness of my training lately, even if I am doing it inside.

MOON: Winter malaise... My nemesis.

JENN: Well, we'll get some good strong California sun soon! Maybe we can do a mini-run on Friday, just a couple miles.

MOON: Sure, sounds like fun!

JENN: Got any good music powering you through the last couple pre-race weeks?

MOON: Wild Beasts have a new single out! That's all I have going on right now. I plan to put Beethoven's 9th on the playlist come Wednesday.

JENN: Beethoven's 9th is pretty magnificent. Speaking of magnificence - on to the roundup!

- Run Walk Fastpass Repeat dispenses advice on taking great race day photos.
- Through Heather's Looking Glass features a guest post on things beginning runners should know.
- The Adult Side of Disney discusses the new runDisney/New Balance sneaker distribution system.
- Will Run for Ears is mysterious as the dark side of the moon.
- MousePlanet makes the case that runDisney should offer race insurance.
- Just Me and My Running Shoes tries out volunteering at a race.
- The Disney Food Blog has some great post-race restaurant suggestions.
- A Pinch of Pixie Dust highlights my star-crossed lover, the Cake Cup. Someday. Someday.

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, January 10, 2014

In Which Jenn Makes a Treadmill Strategy Suggestion


I know. I know you all hate the treadmill. But I just don't understand it. The treadmill is awesome for so many reasons!

Okay, I know one reason why you say you hate the treadmill: the monotony. You complain about how it's unchanging mile after unchanging mile of boredom-inducing sameness. Treadmill hypnosis, if you will. Well, I have a strategy to combat it!

To be clear: this technique is almost certainly not unique to me. You may have heard it before it some other iteration. I have no reason to believe that there's anything particularly special about it; a professional running coach might well slap me across the face and tell me to stop acting stupid. But I have found it so helpful in passing the time that I wanted to share anyway on the extreme off chance it might help convert someone to my treadmill love.

The technique is simple. Here's how I do it:

  1. Start the treadmill at 6.5 mph.
  2. After 1 minute, decrease to 6.4 mph.
  3. After 1 minute, decrease to 6.3 mph.
  4. Continue for 10 minutes, ending at 5.6 mph.
  5. Jack the speed back up at 6.5 mph and repeat as many times as you like.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It doesn't matter how good you feel at 6.5 mph; DECREASE YOUR SPEED AT THE APPOINTED TIME. The beauty of this method is change and interval. You'll be back up at 6.5 mph in ten minutes again anyway, so give yourself the rest now.

You'll average a little more than 6 mph with this method as I've outlined it, but you can always customize based on your own current speeds. Start at 6 mph and go down to 5.1 mph, or start at 8 if you're speedy. Whatever works for you!

Like I said - I don't pretend I'm making any kind of revolutionary suggestion. Yet in using this method I've found that I'm starting my next cycle before I know it!

Annnnd I just realized that next week is pre-Tinker Bell Half taper week. Ugh, tapering. Anyone want to reciprocate with some suggestions on how to do that without wanting to die?

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, January 8, 2014

Squirtgun To Your Head: Favorite Disney Movie When You Were A Kid?

JENN: Squirtgun To Your Head time! What was your favorite Disney movie when you were a little kid?

MOON: How little are we talking?

JENN: I'd say... younger than ten. Whatever you watched most often in your single-digit years.

MOON: Mary Poppins.

WELL

Most often? Maybe Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

WELL

JENN: Oh my...

MOON: Okay, going with Mary Poppins. I wanted to be Burt when I was a kid; he always seemed to have interesting jobs.

This is also Ruffian's favorite.

In fact, I'm not sure why I don't have his instrumental outfit. I'm not sure why I don't parade around Baltimore like that every day.

JENN: Neither am I. Your hat would be FULL of coins!

MOON: Your turn!

JENN: This may seem random, but: 101 Dalmatians. I would like to say it's because I had such a keen ear for the jazzy masterpiece that is "Cruella deVille," but if I'm being honest it's probably just because PUPPIES.

My uncle bought me a 101 Dalmatians sleeping bag for Christmas when I was, oh, six or seven. I still have it. Oh, and I had a stuffed Perdita that I looooved. I drew comic strips about our adventures and everything.

MOON: I remember my mom almost let me have a Dalmatian once. I think she had a friend who was a breeder (is that the correct term?) and we were all set to take a puppy home... And I honestly don't know what happened. My mom must have gotten cold feet.

JENN: Awww. Near miss.

MOON: No puppy for us.

JENN: If it helps, we didn't get a dog until we found one. While my mom was on a business trip.

MOON: Ha, fair enough.

I eventually got a hamster. All was well.

What was YOUR favorite Disney movie when you were a little kid?

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, January 7, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 1/07

JENN: Question one on my mind is this: did you get any running/exercise stuff for Christmas?

MOON: I did, actually! Did you?

JENN: Yes! You first.

MOON: So, the only Christmas-proper running present I got was from my roommate's mother. She gave me a new pair of running shoes! We had been looking through the outlets over the summer for shoes (she saw my Asics and really liked them, so we went searching for a pair for her). It was very sweet of her. I was really shocked.

JENN: Awww, that's so nice! A model that will work for you?

MOON: Yeah, they are great!! I had to buy another pair while I was in Texas, but that might be a story for another day.

JENN: I'll hold you to that! Anything else?

MOON: That's it!

JENN: Well, I got something I'm really excited about: a GPS watch! It's a pink Garmin Forerunner 10 and I <3 it. Now when I am cruelly forced to run outdoors I can keep accurate track of my stats. Sorry, MapMyRun, but you just don't work that well. This will also help us pace ourselves during the Tinker Bell Half.

(source)

MOON: That's great! What goes wrong with MapMyRun for you? I've only had one weird issue with it once

JENN: It's always off on the mileage. I've also had it stop itself for no reason, and once it ceased giving me mileage reports.

MOON: Hmm, that's weird. Usually the mileage works pretty well for me, but I wonder if that has more to do with the phone's GPS rather than the app?

JENN: Maybe! Regardless - this will be better. :D

MOON: Definitely more reliable!

JENN: I also got a running skirt from Skirt Sports that - prepare to be amazed - has undershorts that are both long enough and DON'T RIDE UP. It's a freaking miracle.

MOON: Hmm, you will have to model this for me!

JENN: Of course! And finally, I got a Lululemon running bra. It works great, which is sort of unfortunate - I've kinda put a moratorium on making on further Lululemon purchases, given their reveal that they are anti-plus size. That's just plain not cool.

MOON: Hmm, that's a bit conceited and shallow.

Okay, perhaps something a bit lighter: how was your week of running?

JENN: Eh, it was okay. Slowly getting back into the groove after my lackluster holiday runs. Thursday's run was solid, anyway.

MOON: I had a great Christmas eve run. Did a 13.1 just for kicks, and that went well. I ran a few times while traveling, so it went pretty well. Although, I was spoiled by sun and somewhat warm weather... Today is my day to get back into a normal routine again.

JENN: Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm after, too.

What's on your iPod of late?

MOON: Beethoven and electronic music, you know. You still jamming to Flogging Molly?

JENN: Pretty much. I REALLY need some new music but haven't had time to search lately.

MOON: Well, I can make you a mix if you would like! I'm actually scouring the internet for some new music as we type.

JENN: Ooh, that would be awesome! We still need to swap iPods one of these days.

MOON: Ha, that will be entertaining, I'm sure.

JENN: Okey doke, roundup time!

- Running Toward the Prize leads the fight against long run boredom.
- Stop for character photos with Pink Elephant on Parade.
- Check out some great blogs at Prairie Princess Runners (including this one! ;).
- Get a rundown of the new runDisney/New Balance sneakers at Disney Every Day.
- Run Eat Repeat bans fat talk. Amen!
- Margaritas, Miles, and the Mouse points out early runDisney race registration opportunities for annual passholders.
- The Disney Food Blog presents the interesting question of what to do in the face of a single diner. Metaphorically, I mean.
- All Ears points out that even FL can get cold, and this is how you can manage.

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, January 3, 2014

The Fairest Trip Report of All: Restaurant Reviews - 12/06, 12/07, 12/08

The trip report concludes (waaah noooo!!) with Jenn's final round of restaurant reviews. Click here to see all the posts for this report. 

Our third ADR for the trip was at Sanaa, and it was exactly the hit I knew it was going to be. As I mentioned in the trip report proper: vegetarians, this is your home. My mostly-veggie mom loved this place for its unique meatless options. Heck, she loved that she actually had, y'know, multiple options.

So what did we pick? Well, for starters, I insisted on the Indian bread service, because duh, with all nine accompaniments, because double duh. Our breads were spiced naan, garlic-ginger naan, and onion kulcha (I've never been a huge fan of pappadam and similar and since my mom was aggressively deferring to me in this ordering process: I DO WHAT I WANT). When I read "spiced naan" I was thinking more the "aromatic" definition of spiced, but no, it was "spicy" spiced. Not to the extent where your mouth catches fire, but there's definitely a bit of burn. Which is fine with me - I like spicy up to a point - but I'm not sure my mom loved it. The garlic-ginger naan and onion kulcha both went over very well.


I wish they would give you a little chart to go with the accompaniments, since it's hard to keep track when you get them all (boo hoo, right?). The hummus was good - we're hummus people - but the cucumber raita was easily my favorite. I know, I know; pretty standard by comparison, but I found it very enjoyable.

Oh, also - my mom went with a Coke, but I splurged on a mango lassi. It started out icier than expected, almost slush-like, with less of a yogurt element than I've experienced in other lassis. But as it melted it took on a creamier and creamier consistency, and I wound up enjoying it more as I went along.

We also ordered the salad sampler, selecting mango, chickpea, and watermelon salads. To be honest, I was just a little bit disappointed in them, as for whatever reason the flavors struck me as weak. But then I may have been expecting too much of the mango and watermelon; the flavor profile of fruit prepared in a savory manner is unique, and not for everyone. It was certainly worth trying, especially with our vegetarian bent.


For our second course we selected another round of appetizers: my mom got fried chickpea cakes, and I went with the tomato soup with paneer cheese. I had a bite of the chickpea cakes and thought them tasty, and my mom - main consumer of the dish, so she counts more than I do - positively raved about them. As for my soup, I found the cheese rather bland, but the soup itself was DELICIOUS. Creamy, flavorful, spiced (rather than spicy, I'd say), with just a hint of sweetness. If only Sanaa would serve some unique twist on a grilled cheese sandwich, we might have the finest available lunch on property on our hands.


I mentioned this in the report, but to reiterate: Sanaa is not the hidden gem it once was. You can no longer saunter in without a reservation and expect to have your pick of seats. Make ADRs if you want to eat here, and if you're after a window-side table (and you should be; the animal views are stunning), be prepared to wait. The good news? I'd say it's worth it!


*****

Oh, Coral Reef. What a tempestuous review history you have. Truth be told, I selected this restaurant for our Candlelight Processional dining package more because of the ambiance than the promise of great food. That being said, my mom does enjoy seafood, so the menu made sense too. Our dining package entitled us to the appetizer, entree, and dessert of our choosing, with everything on the menu being fair game. Bread basket: acceptable.

My mom elected to start with a crab cake, which she declared to be very good with minimal filler. She even enjoyed the cole slaw on the side (and we are picky about slaw in my family). Meanwhile I went with the nori-wrapped flash-fried tuna, and this was easily my favorite part of the meal. Mind you, I LOOOOVE raw tuna; if you don't you will not enjoy this. But the slight crisp of the fried nori yielded to an amazing tuna-y center, nicely accented by wasabi cream. I also liked that it wasn't too big; good if you're going to consume a three-course meal.



I selected the rainbow trout for my entree, and it was okay. I don't know. I'm not a cooked fish person, is the problem; I'd a thousand times rather have some nice raw sushi. Maybe there was nothing wrong with the trout. But I found it to be thin and, well... fish. It was fish. The vegetables and bacon it came with were good, and so was the broth, so that was something.


My mom got the Scottish salmon, and it didn't wow but neither did it disappoint. It was a cooked piece of salmon, and my mom likes cooked salmon, so that all worked out.

Note to self: SLR or no SLR, don't trust the autofocus.

On to my favorite part of eating, always and forever: dessert! My mom selected the panna cotta key lime tart, which came out looking beautiful. My mom enjoyed it; I tasted it and found it okay, but I actually don't much care for key lime pie, if you can believe such a terrible thing. In the immortal words of Deb from Dexter: "It all tastes like sour dog sh*t anyway." The crust was nice, though, so if you're one of the many, many people who DO like key lime pie, you would probably enjoy this.


I got the signature dessert of the house, the Chocolate Wave. This was, essentially, a warm chocolate lava cake with raspberry sorbet on the side. I devoured it no problem, but truth be told, for a signature dessert I didn't find it particularly special, you know?


I dunno, guys. I feel like people in general are rather hard on the Coral Reef and I have been no exception. Maybe because the setting is so grand, I expect more? Question for the readership: considering how you feel about the Coral Reef, why do you think you feel that way?

*****

I'm going to apologize up front: I didn't take any pictures of the food at the Crystal Palace. My bad. But really, this is a standard Disney breakfast buffet. Various and sundry egg dishes, breakfast potatoes, breakfast pastries, breakfast meats, cereal. Skip the pancakes; those were disappointingly tough. Get the Mickey head waffles; I don't care how ubiquitous they are, they will ALWAYS be worth the stomach room. The puffed French toast is good but greasy, so proceed with caution. The famous breakfast lasagna - composed, as far as I can tell, primarily of waffles and custard - was good but SUPER sweet. And I say that as a person who could easily live off sugar if my body would allow it. I did not go back for more (I did get more Mickey head waffles).

Like I said, this a Disney breakfast buffet, which means you're mostly there for the characters and you're paying for the characters and that's how it is. Relax and enjoy it! The food is tasty, just not overly memorable. And if you're worried about cost, you can always do what I do: EAT ALL THE SMOKED SALMON. ALL OF IT.

*****

So there you have it - that wraps up my trip report for December 2013. It was awesome. I want to go back right now. Who's with me?!

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