Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 6/29

Hey guys! How's your training going? Nothing much to report on my end. I pulled a speed run out on Friday with the help of J. Roddy Walston & The Business, so there's a music recommendation for you. I've also been doing some outdoor runs in the morning and am continuing to experiment with switching permanently to my Nikes. I'm pondering going for a longer run on the Fourth of July assuming my gym's open... that's about it.

I feel like these week in review posts have gotten more boring since Moon departed for the far climes of Boston. Hopefully she'll settle into her new life soon and come back to us, but in the meantime, bear with me! And if there's anything in particular you'd like me to discuss here, definitely let me know.

If not, the roundup is here to show you all the blogs you could abandon this one for. I'm very altruistic.

- Fairytales & Fitness contemplates when to put "just" in front of your running mileage.
- The Runner's Guide to WDW details the perks attached to a runDisney race retreat.
- EPBOT got to poke around in a Disney prop shop!
- Mouse on the Mind scouts more great WDW real estate for rent. (And if it were real I'd be first in line for this one!)
- Flowers Croon puts together an adorable Disney travel bag.
- Disney In Your Day rejects the shame attached to going back to WDW. (Strengthen your Disney backbone here, too.)
- Disney Nerds has your back if you're headed off to Disneyland Paris...
- ...and The Disney Tourist Blog was there for Shanghai Disneyland's grand opening!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, June 27, 2016

In Which Jenn Tries To Pick Out More runDisney Races

I've been pretty homesick for Walt Disney World lately - you know, the sort of homesick where you look through photo albums and listen to park background music (Innoventions FTW!) and weep silently to yourself because you're not in WDW right now and won't be again for months. There is but one cure for this affliction: standing in the shadow of Cinderella castle. Barring that, all you can do is treat the symptoms with copious trip planning.

To that end, I've been trying to decide what runDisney races I would like to run next year (Because what's a Disney trip without a race?). With the shift of Wine & Dine to a morning race like any other boring ol' runDisney race, I no longer have the same incentive to make this my evergreen selection. It's still in the running, mind you, but it has competition.

By my reckoning, and removing trips to foreign lands because I barely have the money to do any of this as it is, the current runDisney race lineup is as follows:

  • WDW Marathon Weekend, generally early January, WDW
  • Star Wars Half - Light Side, generally mid-January, Disneyland
  • Princess Half, generally late February, WDW
  • Star Wars Half - The Dark Side, generally late-ish April
  • Tinker Bell Half, generally mid-May, Disneyland
  • Disneyland Half, generally late August/early September, Disneyland
  • Wine & Dine Half, generally early November, WDW
  • Super Heroes Half, generally early-ish November, Disneyland

I'm already signed up for the 2016 Wine & Dine Half and the 2017 WDW Marathon, so for this exercise, let's look at February 2017 and beyond.

The Star Wars Half - Light Side is in Disneyland, which means a greater expenditure as far as flights go, plus I have to figure out how to get myself to/from the airport, plus plus I probably can't afford an on-site hotel. Plus plus plus I'm (please don't hate me!) lukewarm on Star Wars. Star Trek or no stars at all, I say! Pass.

The Princess Half is scarcely six weeks after the WDW Marathon. If I select that one, I'm not spreading out my trips for effectively, and can expect to be right back in Homesickland for the majority of the year depending on how planning shakes out. I've also already done this one - but then again, that does up the nostalgia factor. It's also a for-girls race, which means I'd probably enjoy a corral boost with all those boys eliminated from the first few.

The Star Wars Half - Dark Side... is actually a contender, surprisingly. Look, I know I said I'm not a Star Wars girl, and I stand by that statement. But a lot of other factors are attractive about this race. It's a good four or five months after the WDW Marathon, which would inoculate me against the homesickness right about the time I would need it. It's also during Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival, which I haven't attended since before it had all those exciting new food booths and things. It's not during the Christmas-adjacent season, so I could see/hear the Magic Kingdom without any holiday trappings for the first time since 2013 (don't get me wrong, I love said trappings, but sometimes you need a little bit of the original flavor to cleanse the palate). I'm throwing this one in the "maybe" pile. I guess I could rebel and wear a Starfleet insignia.

The Tinker Bell Half comes with the same issues as Star Wars - Light Side plus it's on Mother's Day weekend generally, which my mom may or may not love. I've already done this one too, back when it was still in January. I dunno; just not really feeling it for some reason.

The Disneyland Half comes with those same issues too... but for some reason I am feeling this one. I want that Dumbo Double Dare! Also, when I ran the Tinker Bell Half the course did not go through Angels Stadium and I want to run through it. This one depends on how my finances are looking when registration rolls around. I'd kinda want to stay at the Disneyland Hotel if I did this... we'll see if anyone wants to come and split those costs with me.

The Wine & Dine Half is a race I have enjoyed in the past. Step one is to see how it shakes out as a morning race, and I'll react to that. I do looooooooove coming to Epcot during the Food & Wine Festival, but it does mean that forever-Christmas Magic Kingdom thing strikes again. If I do the WDW Marathon in 2018, then I'm once again not spreading my Disney trips very far apart, leaving me vulnerable to the homesickness I am experience now.

The Super Heroes half, not to beat a dead but purely metaphorical horse, has the same problems inherent in all the other Disneyland races. Unfortunately I may care about superheroes even less than I care about Star Wars. Okay, well, I liked Deadpool. Is it a Deadpool race? Can I dress as the zamboni?

The WDW Marathon is awesome and I love it. However, so far it seems like I can only swing it on the regular if I don't go to any parks and make it an overnight, in-and-out, arrive-sleep-run-go-home sort of thing. I almost wonder if I shouldn't just take a year off, save up my money, and do things right. But then the homesickness... the homesickness! Also: perpetual Magic Kingdom Christmas still in effect; a lot of rides are refurbed during this time. But think of all the challenges I could do if I saved my money!

Then of course there's always the option of going to WDW and NOT running a race. I'll have to think about that one...

Have you put any thought into your upcoming runDisney calendar? What are your thoughts? What have you selected?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 6/22

This Week In Jenn's Running Innovations: treat yo' self to a Fla-Vor-Ice post long run. You know - those soft plastic sleeves of sugar water you always got at summer camp back in the day. I did it on Monday and it was everything I thought it would be. Well, except speedy - I had to toss the last third in favor of making it to work on time. But I stand by the concept.

Important tip: if you plan on being anywhere in public after your ice, choose pink or red as your flavor. Otherwise you may end up with an interesting... mouth color... situation. If you know what I mean.

All of this is to say that the consumption of a Fla-Vor-Ice was the most noteworthy part of my training over the past week. Anyway, how are you?

Um... roundup!

- DISTherapy offers vacation running tips.
- Heather Through the Looking Glass drums up some running motivation.
- run Geek runDisney lists running gear favorites.
- Disney In Your Day got to do that Animal Kingdom Lodge Dine with an Animal Specialist thing! I tried to get an ADR to that once and was blocked out. :/ Some day!
- WDW for Grownups is psyched for summer at WDW.
- Main Street Gazette tries La Cava's new Maelstrom... margarita?
- Meanwhile, The Disney Hipsters investigate the DAK beverage situation.
- Mouse on the Mind checks out Disney Springs' The Ganachery.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

In Which Jenn Has Her Very Own DAK Cocktail


So I was reading easyWDW like I do when I want to giggle to myself while reading Disney stuff, finding out all about the new Nomad Lounge connected to the Animal Kingdom's latest fancy pants restaurant, Tiffins. I'm scrolling, I'm scrolling, not paying very careful attention to the images of the menu proper as I'm generally more interested in the food selected for review. I get to the bit where Josh describes all the drinks... and suddenly, THERE IT IS.

Original blog post here.


It's called JENN'S TATTOO because MY NAME IS JENN WITH TWO N'S AND I HAVE A TATTOO. And it has watermelon in it. I LOVE WATERMELON!!! Do you think it's legit watermelon juice? I hope so; I LOVE WATERMELON JUICE.

You'd best believe that come November I am going to march myself over to that lounge and get myself a JENN'S TATTOO because I AM JENN and that is MY DRINK.

Oh, Walt Disney World. There truly is no end to your magic.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, June 20, 2016

In Which Jenn Is Confused About Shoes

I am confused. Confused about shoes.

I just wanted to rhyme. That's my blog post for today. Thanks for stopping by!

Nooooooo, I will elaborate. Maybe one of you magical readers can alleviate my confusion.

Last summer I went to Road Runner Sports to get fitted for running shoes. I'd been using Brooks Ravennas pretty happily for awhile but it never hurts to reevaluate now and again, no? Roadrunner had a whole fancy pants process for determining my best fit, including videotaping me running barefoot on a treadmill. My shoe specialist told me that while my right foot does pronate bit, my left foot remains absolutely neutral; as such, she would never have put me in a support shoe like the Ravenna in the first place. Gasp!

What followed was your standard shoe fitting montage: I put on, like eleventy-billion pairs of sneakers, ran in them a bit, slowly narrowed it down, and eventually settled on a pair of the Nike Zoom Vomero 10, a neutral model with a ton of bouncy cushion. Not did I enjoy said bounciness, they fit my feet like an absolutely dream - no breaking in required!

At first everything was great. I ran some training runs with no issues. I even set a new PR in my first race with them. But then the National Capital 20 Miler happened, and I came out of it with a messed up hip and angry knees. In terror of the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon, I bought a new pair of Ravennas and used them for the marathon instead, convinced that the problem was that the neutral Vomeros didn't provide enough support for very long distances.

So I wore the Ravennas for the marathon and that was fine - up to a point. I finished the race no problem, but my knees and hip definitely bothered me. Then two weeks later came the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, and it being a shorter distance I decided to go with the Vomeros again. Indeed, it turned out to be a much shorter distance (more on the quarter marathon here), so much that I wound up knocking out a quick 5K a few days later on my own. No issues.

Until a few days later, when I attempted to run a few miles on the treadmill and began experience steady discomfort in my right Achilles tendon. This pain - not sharp but constant - followed me around for a good six weeks before I finally gave up and gave myself a couple weeks off from running entirely. Suspecting the Vomero's lack of support, I wound up running the WDW Marathon at the beginning of January wearing the Ravennas again, with the help of professionally applied KT Tape on my Achilles.

Luckily that worked, and from then it was nothing but improvements until I felt no pain at all. Great success! And you would think, too, that this would cement my love of the Ravennas forever. And yet...

I do love Brooks Ravennas. They're really great, supportive and cushiony. But they're heavier than the Vomeros, and my God, guys, I can't even find the words to explain exactly why the Vomeros feel so good, but the fit is just... right. They feel... bespoke, almost. I don't know. They feel good.

So for whatever reason I've been breaking out the Vomeros off an on for shorter runs over the last couple months... and over the last week and a half I ran a practice 13.1 and then 15 miles in them. No pain, no problems.

Correlation, as we know, does not imply causation. Let's look at a couple things that could have caused my pain for other reasons that happened to coincide with the arrival of my Nikes:
  1. As I mentioned the other week, I wasn't quite as ready as I could've been for my long distance races. In all honesty my muscles weren't sufficiently prepared, at least not for a good showing.
  2. The National Capital 20 Miler is a trail race, which is generally going to be harder on your body than a treadmill or road race. I do train outside, but a lot of my route is sidewalks and paved trails; I don't get a ton of packed dirt and grass time in.
  3. As opposed to the shoes, it could've been the one-two-three punch of Marine Corps Marathon, Wine & Dine + walking around Walt Disney World, then squeezing in another early morning run the day later that caused my strained Achilles.
  4. Or all of the above could wrong and the neutral ride of the Vomeros could be the culprit after all.
This is, of course, speculation. I am by no means a professional fitter and an unproven diagnostician. And I'm feeling very uncertain as to where to go from here. I think I may have outgrown my beloved and steadfast but clunky Ravennas. I love the Vomeros and have been experiencing success with them of late, but I worry that there may be a mileage threshold there and I don't know where it is. Nike does make a support Zoom shoe called Structure, but I hesitate to start purchasing shoes that haven't been specifically suggested to me. Maybe I should go back and get fitted again? I just don't KNOWWWWWWWWWWW

Any suggestions from the audience? What have been your best and worst shoe fitting experiences? Shoe-related injuries? How do you select your shoes? Have you ever bought a shoe blindly based on description? Obviously I'm interested in any shoe-related tale you wish to share, so sound off!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 6/16

Here's some exciting news: I think I'm actually kinda on track with my training this year!

After my half I did another, practice half, and then a week later I did a fifteen miler with reasonable success. Now I'll take a couple months to do some speed runs and tennish mile maintenance long runs, knock out another fifteenish miler at the end of August, taper a bit, and then it's race season!

I'm happy because in all honesty I think I may have botched my training a bit last year. Not horribly, but enough so that I didn't have enough really long runs until my belt before the National Capital 20 Miler and the Marine Corps Marathon. This would explain why I ended up with some minor but legit injuries. Possibly my new sneakers were not to blame after all (and you can bet I'll be diving into shoe drama in an upcoming post). Hopefully a more careful training plan this year will help me smoke those races this time around!

I don't really have a good segue, but here's the roundup. Enjoy.

- Disney In Your Day believes even a non-runner can enjoy runDisney.
- Live, Run, Grow has some interesting thoughts on runners and our ability to quit - or lack thereof.
- Fairytales & Fitness observes people frequently seen while running.
- Similarly, Living A Disney Life spots the types of moms seen at WDW.
- Just Me & My Running Shoes makes a Disney dinner at home.
- It's WDW water park season! Sparkly Ever After has some tips.
- This Fairy Tale Life cheaps out at Aulani.
- The Disney Tourist Blog knows how to have an awesome day at Epcot without riding ANYTHING. Two words, kids: 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.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

In Which Jenn Would Defend Swedish Fish To The Death

I had, just, the WEIRDEST conversation with my boss the other day.

She had picked up some candy to give out at a festival we're hosting, and was giving out some samples to staff. I overheard someone mention getting Swedish Fish, and I said: "Swedish Fish? I LOVE Swedish Fish!" because they are AMAZING and the best running fuel ever. Do you remember me lunging at that poor Swedish Fish-distributing girl during the 2016 WDW Marathon? Yeah, they're that important.

Which is why I was shocked, SHOCKED when my boss said, "Oh, you like Swedish Fish? I didn't think anyone liked Swedish Fish. That's why I didn't mention them."

And I frankly don't know what to do with this information. Swedish Fish are such a staple of my running diet. I like to eat them before runs of 15 miles or more. No, they're not "formulated" as sports fuel per se, but they're cheap, easy to obtain, taste delicious, don't mess with my digestive system, and provide a nice sugary, carb-y shot of energy. They are manna from heaven. They are life.

So I said, "It must be a running community thing."

But everyone else is missing out.

Do you like Swedish Fish? Or did you also assume that no one likes Swedish Fish? What's your favorite running 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.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The First Photos: WDW & Disneyland, 2013 - 2016

Finishing up the Disney portion of my First Photos series. (And catch my Last Photos series here.)

The year: 2013
The companion(s): Moon
The title of the album: I Know Every Mile Will Be Worth My While
The why: An otherwise mundane photo, but Moon and I tremendously enjoyed that our Magical Express driver's name was Rockland Steel. ROCKLAND STEEL.

The year: 2013
The companion(s): My mom
The title of the album: Look for the bare necessities
The why: I was all confused and out of sorts stepping away from my beloved Pop Century, so I grounded myself with a snap of All Star Music's gift shop.

The year: 2014
The companions: Moon
The title of the album: You can fly! You can fly! You can fly!
The why: Moon's version of this photo is way better; in it, Disneyland comes out of my head. (Moon says: It may as well.)

The year: 2014
The companion(s): Many wonderful bloggers and buddies
The title of the album: Y'know, for a clownfish he's not that funny
The why: I took this photo out the window of our Magical Express bus as we entered WDW proper and immediately texted it to my boyfriend, a portent of things to come. Which brings us to...

The year: 2015
The companion(s): My boyfriend
The title of the album: Thank you, Florida (where my Silicon Valley peeps at?)
The why: I'm walkin' right down the middle of Main Street, USA! It's the heart of America; the heartbeat of a holidAAAAAAY-AY-AY-AY! NO YOU SHUT UP.

The year: 2015
The companion(s): Elizabeth
The title of the album: The thingamabob that does the job
The why: Behold the mighty runDisney expo! IT WILL CRUSH YOU AND NOT EVEN CARE.

The year: 2016
The companion(s): None!
The title of the album: A very merry unbirthday to me
The why: Blogger rule #1: when you eat food, ALWAYS TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH. Anyway, this is sushi from Morimoto Asia. It was okay.

Next up: Universal Studios!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Happy Friday: We'll Have A Dalmatian Plantation...

Where our congregation can roam
In this demarcation
Our whole aggregation
Will love our plantation home!

P.S. Fifteen spotted puddles stolen? Oh, balderdash.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 6/09

I dunno, guys. I'm feeling a little bereft.

Not that I'm generally one to have a super-packed race schedule or anything, but as of this weekend I've knocked out all my races for the first half of the year. I don't technically, actively have anything to train for until September. What do I do now???

I am considering piracy.

This certainly doesn't give me license to slack off on training. Those races in September include a 20 miler and a full marathon, so I need to use this time to build up my mileage slowly and wisely. And I will. But without anything to dangle the more immediate carrot I'm going to need to get a bit creative motivating myself.

One thing I plan to do is get myself a sneaker fitting. Yes, AGAIN. I'm not sure I've found my perfect match just yet. Don't get me wrong, I love the Ravennas and I still think they were instrumental in keeping me from exacerbating any injuries during last year's fall/winter race season. But the Nike Vomeros fit sooooo nicely. They feel good in a way the Ravennas don't quite.

So I'm gonna carve out some time this summer to go sneaker hunting. Right now I have the following on my list to try out: the new Ravenna and Vomero models, Brooks Launch and Ghost. Any other suggestions out there for a weirdo with one support foot and one neutral foot?

While I ponder my options, please ponder this roundup.

- Darlin' Rae explains how the host city can make all the difference in your race.
- Running, Loving, Living discusses how to cope with injuries.
- The Disney Tourist Blog considers the options when planning when to go to WDW.
- Disney In Your Day attends the new Star Wars Fireworks Dessert Party in the Studios.
- Speaking of the Studios, Mouse on the Mind may be moving in.
- The Disney Blog thinks Disney should maybe build near D.C. or something and I'm like HELL YES.
- WDW for Grownups lists some of WDW's more excellent chocolatey snacks.
- Living A Disney Life dives into the history of those recently erstwhile Disney Dollars.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

In Which Elizabeth Recaps The Kings Dominion Run & Ride 5K

Please welcome my partner in crime, roller coasters, and life plans, Elizabeth, for a recap of the Kings Dominion Run & Ride 5K! Click here for my recap of the 10K on the same day.

So, I think I may have gone to King’s Dominion once long ago as a child, but I had no real memory of it, so this was a good opportunity for me to try out all of their roller coasters (and other rides, of course). It was a bit chilly (I think somewhere in the 50’s) that morning, but it was really a good temperature for running jogging. The 5K course overlapped with the 10K (correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the 10K was just a double-loop of what we did?), so I had the amusing experience of seeing signs telling me that I had gone 6 miles! I’m much faster than I thought.

The best part was going through the Dinosaurs Alive! Trail, which you normally have to pay extra to go through. It includes animatronic dinosaurs that you can control with little consoles, which I saw some kids stopping their run to play with (I don’t blame them!). I don’t think it would be worth paying extra to go unless you have kids that are into dinosaurs, but it was definitely neat to see. Also that part of the course was more shaded than the rest, which was nice when it rained on us for about five minutes.

My time was I think about 42 minutes...which is better than I normally do, but according to Jenn’s watch the course was actually a bit short, so who knows. The after-race snacks included bagels with cream cheese and drinks, though I could have used something warm...or maybe that was just the fact that it was still surprisingly cold. At any rate, we were able to park close enough that keeping our things in the car wasn’t terribly inconvenient. All in all it was a good time!

Thank you Elizabeth! You are a great and glorious creature and I will definitely be dragging you to more races. There is some runDisney in your future, I can see it...

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, June 6, 2016

In Which Jenn Recaps The ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon

To quote myself that one time: HILLLLLS. (But not THAT bad. Nothing ever will be.)

I was very graciously hosted for this race by Elizabeth, an Annapolis resident, who picked up my packet for me so I didn't have to brave the Friday Beltway during rush hour, fed me, put me to bed, and let me set an extra alarm for race morning because I am still paranoid post-MCM.

The close proximity also allowed me to sleep an extra 45 minutes, and even then I arrived at the race start at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium an hour early. Now that's how I like it! Temperatures were decent, too, in the low 70s with cloud cover, but the humidity was a little too high for comfort. That's what you get for daring to schedule a race in June, I guess.

Parking was free and on-site, so I chilled in my car for about fifteen minutes before hitting up the portapotties and then wandering around the finisher area, which was already populated with vendors. I also discovered that there are real bathrooms available in the stadium, so I went again on the principal that it's never a bad idea.

Race start approached, and as there were no formal corrals I selected my own starting area. There was signage indicating approximate minutes per mile, and I plunked myself down by the 10 min/mile area. Someone sang the national anthem, and then a startling turn of events, the race started precisely on time.

This race was weird in one particular aspect: there was a 5K, a 10K, and a half as part of race day, and they all started together. The whole group set off around the stadium and behind it, at which point the 5K peeled off back toward the stadium while the 10K and half groups soldiered on.

Another weird bit: at one point us half people peeled off from the 10K people, performed an out-and-back, and then... met up with them again. Disconcerting.

From there we entered my favorite part of the whole race: downtown Annapolis! We ran down the main street and toward a marina; I loved seeing the sails at the bottom of the hill. This is the last positive thing I will say about hills.

Look, it's hard to take a steady picture while running.

After that (I'm pretty sure it was after but it might have been before? They were definitely adjacent course portions) we ran around the St. John's College campus and some random neighborhoods before The Part Elizabeth Had Warned Me About: the Severn River Bridge.

But I was a bit confused. There were people in front of me headed up the bridge, but then there were people headed back down it toward me. I knew there wasn't an out-and-back over the bridge proper; I also knew that the race hadn't been on long enough - and the crowd was too thick - for the people on the opposite side to be the leaders of the half. We had also already crossed a couple bridges, so I concluded that I had actually already run over the Severn River Bridge without realizing, the people on the opposite side were probably behind me, and in conclusion it couldn't be so bad.

It was in that optimistic spirit that I ran up the bridge, increasingly miserable but quite determined not to give up on something I had probably already done. And at the top of the bridge, in my moment of happiness and relief, I saw it: the 10K turnaround. No, the half didn't have an out-and-back, but they did. The people I had seen were the 10K runners, something I would've realized if I'd looked closely at their bibs but with a mixed race it's hard to keep track, you know? Anyway, my point is that you can do anything you set your mind to if you're deluded enough.

I lost them about a third of the way into the hilly second half
and I'm still kinda bummed about it.

After putting the bridge behind me, I was met with the WWII memorial and... ANOTHER HILL. Still a bit tired from my last incline, this was arguably even rougher. But I made it!

And there I thought to myself: I can tell Pat I didn't quit on the hills! He sometimes gently teases me about that, how I often let myself walk on hills during training. So he would be proud of me for running all my hills. This thought then backfired on me, however, when the rest of the race proceeded to consist of A BUNCH OF HILLS.

Up until about mile 6 I was doing great. Hell, my GPS later told me I had set 5K and 10K records for myself. If this course had been Florida-flat, I feel pretty confident I would've had a PR on my hands. But that second half, guys. It was the worst. It was in out-and-back that in turn involved several internal out-and-backs, Inception-style. And the worst of it was that every time you ran downhill, you could see the people ahead of you running uphill on their way back. I saw so, so many people stop and walk, and not without full justification. At times my running steps were barely more than a glorified walk, but I ran up every hill because of that stupid thought: I can't walk because then I won't be able to tell Pat I didn't quit on the hills.

After clearing the primary out-and-back of highways and wooded back neighborhood, and then the Seven River Bridge AGAIN (luckily it was a tad less steep from the other direction), I found myself back in the area behind the stadium - only, you guessed it, this time I was met with a bunch of upward inclines I didn't even remember running down. And then the run to the finish WAS UPHILL. WHAT THE HELL.

But the final few yards were flat, and I was so happy to see the finish I cranked up the speed to meet it. And the announcer was all, "A big sprint to the finish from Jenn German!" possibly the first time an announcer has ever singled me out, and I was all, YOU KNOW THAT'S RIGHT.

I was quickly medaled and water-bottled, at which point I was free to roam the post-race area. There were snacks for the taking for runners, plus vendors, massage, and yoga. But I had a breakfast date with Elizabeth to make, so after cleaning the sweat out of my eyes (I managed to save my contacts!), I hopped back in my car and... proceeded to get stuck in the road closures of my own damn race. What're you gonna do. I found a back way eventually and Elizabeth and I walked downtown for brunch and ate monkey bread and eggs, so I think I win.

The lighting wasn't great.

My final time was 2:16:06, a good five and half minutes slower than my PR. Yet I'm still kinda proud of it, because seriously, guys. THOSE HILLS. And I didn't quit! I got to tell Pat I didn't quit!

I'm not sure if I would run this race again. It was reasonably well organized, but early June is an uncertain time to plan a race, weather-wise. Plus, again, HILLS. On the other hand: hills. They suck, but conquering them was good practice for me. My muscles are now just a little bit stronger. I think as a training race, it might be worthwhile to do again. But I'd go into it knowing that I won't probably enjoy myself. We'll see how I feel when registration comes around again.

That does it on races for the first half of my year. More to come in September!

P.S. Happy D-Day!

Have you ever run a ZOOMA race? How about in Annapolis? How about a race with the sort of hills that make you want 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.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 6/02

It's ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon week! Yup, it all goes down this Saturday. As I've mentioned, I'll be crashing with Elizabeth, a native Annap...olean? Annapolite? A person who lives in Annapolis. She also gave me some insight on the course:
Looks like you'll be running past the Naval Academy and St. John's College, which both have nice campuses (St. John's is weirdly reminiscent of Washington College with the brick walkways, etc.), and you'll go past some government buildings like the Court of Appeals building and DNR. The Severn River Bridge is the bane of my existence when I try to bike over it (it's rather steep), but the view is really nice. It also looks like you'll be running past the start of the B&A trail, which is actually a really nice trail for walking/biking.
Not sure how I feel about that steep bridge, but it should be fun! I've bought sports drinks and race day snacks, I've planned my race outfit, and there's an emergency KT Tape run in my future. Weather looks like it'll be decent-to-good. I'm ready and raring! Dear Navy plebes: HIGH FIVE ME.

Fact: Anchors Aweigh is 175% better than On the Town.

So that recap will be coming at you next week. The roundup is coming at you now!

- Back At Square Zero speeds it up at the finish!
- Why I runDisney has the scoop on a Hong Kong Disneyland race.
- The Disney Tourist Blog thinks WDW smells mighty fine.
- Mouse on the Mind highlights some of the nifty books that decorate the Magic Kingdom's new Skipper Canteen.
- Living A Disney Life suggestions Disney attractions for the old and wise among us.
- Plus the Magic highlights awesome vintage Disney park photos...
- ... and so does ImagiNERDing!
- Disney In Your Day eats around Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

In Which Jenn Reviews Another Influenster Vox Box

Hey, remember that time I got an Influenster Vox Box? I guess they value truthiness after all - I got another for review.

More unbridled honesty ahead!

Orgain Organic Protein Powder in Vanilla Bean
Despite the surprising popularity of this tropical smoothie recipe post, I haven't been smoothie-ing it up much lately. For a long time smoothies were a backbone of my diet, but I've been concentrating on eating more varied meals. That being said, I broke out a peanut butter-banana smoothie recipe courtesy of the interwebs, replaced the recommended Greek yogurt with Orgain protein powder, and slurped away. Verdict: not bad. Not nearly as cloyingly sweet as some other vanilla protein powders I've tried. Still a little too sweet, though. I'd be inclined to go for the Greek yogurt instead. But if you like your proteins powdered and are looking for something organic, this could easily work for you.

Ecos Laundry Detergent
This is laundry detergent. It worked very well as laundry detergent. It did not, however, distinguish itself for me personally as the laundry detergent to end all other laundry detergents. It's green, whiuch is good. Otherwise, by all means, grab it if it's on sale, but it's a solid whatevs.

Hair Food Moisture Collection
First off, this product is produced by Clairol, which tests on animals. I'm trying to move away from giving companies that do animal testing my money. I did try it, though, since a) it was free so Clairol did not in fact get said money and b) if it's awesome, those without such hangups (after all, it's a personal choice) might want to hear a review. Well, I was only sent one wash's worth of product, and the conditioner portion could barely cover my looooong hair. It was okay, but nothing that makes me sad I can't purchase it in full. A larger sample might've produced a different result, but what can ya do. I'd stick with Soapbox Soaps if I were you (50% off this week in Target's Cartwheel app!).

Eatsmart Three Bean Tortilla Chips
I enjoyed these very much. These chips have 14 grams of whole grains per serving and have a pleasantly spicy kick. My only critique is that they could use more salt, but then me and sodium are perhaps a bit too fond of each other. Would buy again if I saw them in the store and had tortilla chips on my list.

Curate Dark and Tempting Snack Bar
The Dark and Tempting flavor was composed primarily of dried fruit, yet miraculously did not cause me any intestinal distress. Score! Tasty, but didn't keep me full overlong. I wouldn't go out of my way for it but I'd definitely eat one if I needed a snack and it was lying around.

Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Supreme &
Vichy LiftActiv Supreme Face Moisturizer
Okay, so, here's the thing: I'm not a good tester for anti-aging products. At the ripe old age of 30 I sport nary a forehead line. People regularly guess my age to be as much as a decade less than it is. Now, before you accuse me of bragging, please note: I'm 99% sure this is the combined product of my distressingly oily T-zone and a complete lack of cheekbones. Nothing in life comes free.

Anyway, I tried both products. I only received one packet of the serum and it was perhaps a bit slick for my oily skin but otherwise it was fine, I guess? How exactly are serums supposed to make you feel? As for the moisturizer, I received a small pot and have been using it with regularity. I like it. It's not too thick and makes my skin feels soft enough. I haven't broken out to any unusual degree, and I don't look any older than I did when I started, so victory...? They're both pretty expensive, though, so I doubt I'd repurchase either unless it was deeply discounted. YMMV.

Also: Casablanca and French Nazis.

Have you tried any of these products? Do you have a sword of truthiness?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!