Friday, July 29, 2016

In Which Jenn Narrows Down Her 2017 runDisney Race Selection

I think I've done it, guys. I think I've narrowed down my 2017 runDisney list to two. It's either gonna be: the Star Wars Half  - Dark Side or the Wine & Dine Half Marathon again. (Click here to get a handle on how I arrived at these finalists.) Let's play pros and cons!


STAR WARS HALF - THE DARK SIDE

Pros:

  • I've never done it before, which is fun
  • Coincides with Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival, which I haven't attended in a long time
  • Breaks up the year in WDW trips
  • Parks will NOT have Christmas decor, which is a change of pace

Cons:

  • I've never done it before and might not like it
  • April might be kinda hot
  • I don't actually care about Star Wars all that much
  • It means I can't really afford to do the Wine & Dine
  • I miss the Food & Wine Festival
  • No Christmas decorations, even if I have seen 'em a million times


(Just pretend it shows next year's dates.)

WINE & DINE HALF MARATHON

Pros:

  • I've done it before and liked it
  • Epcot's Food & Wine Festival is awesome
  • After Party and gift card are nice perks
  • Magic Kingdom will be all Christmas'd up!
  • Potential for cooler weather

Cons:

  • I've already done it; maybe it's time to expand my horizons?
  • I won't be able to try the new, morning race/evening after party format before committing
  • I miss the Flower & Garden Festival, which I haven't seen in a long time
  • I've seen the Magic Kingdom in its early November Christmas decor a LOT
  • If I do the 2018 WDW Marathon, I'm not spreading out my trips
  • It means I can't really afford to do the Star Wars Half


The courses, while slightly different, mostly go through the same parks, and challenges (should I select to add a 10K) are available to both, although I believe Wine & Dine's races are more expensive. In a perfect world I would have the opportunity to try out Wine & Dine's new schedule before deciding, but as Star Wars registration opens up early next month I don't have the luxury. I've got some thinking to do.

Which do you think I should choose? Will you be at either race weekend?

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, July 27, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 7/27

Hello everybody! We now return to our regularly scheduled, wholly bug-free version of the week in review. I don't mean to suggest, however, that is edition will be complaint-free: IT'S HOT.

It's been quite hot in much of the country; I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about. It's so hot it's been having some minor impact on my training. Outdoor runs, when I even deem it cool enough to take them, have been a bit shorter and slower, and even the gym isn't as air-conditioned as I would like it. Still, thank God for the treadmill.

I did go on a couple outdoor SHORT runs in the heat that went surprisingly well, but as I have more to say on the subject I'm holding that for another post later this next week. I do want to mention the reason I was sneaking them in speedily, however, which is this: Pat and I dogsitting all this week! Yay! They're two giant American Bulldogs and they are SOOOOOOOOO happy to see me when I come home in the afternoon to take them outside. ^_^ I <3 my cats (as anyone who follows me on Instagram knows), but I can't wait to have a dog too.

They look a lot like this, only bigger and not as recently bathed.

I can't wait for the roundup, either, but luckily I don't have to.

- Back at Square Zero explores the art of tapering before a race.
- Sparkly Runner suggests cutting yourself a break.
- The Runner's Guide to WDW considers chEAR Squad packages.
- Living A Disney Life is surprised by Enchanted Tales with Belle.
- The Disney Tourist Blog is instituting Figment Fridays! I LOVE FIGMENT!!!
- The Disney Hipsters are back with more of their Last Trip Photos. (My inspiration!)
- The Main Street Gazette ponders the implications of Tomorrowland.
- Mouse On The Mind locates more super cute aspirational WDW apartment listings.

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, July 25, 2016

In Which Jenn Makes Her 2016 Food & Wine Festival To-Eat List

And now for my favorite post of the year: my Epcot Food & Wine Festival To-Eat List. The booth menus were released while I was on vacation, but you can bet I jumped right on them the second I got back, assembling my High Priority snacking list.

... Where I discovered that I have become one of Those People: the Food & Wine Festival Regulars Who Complain When Things CHANGE. Because why do things change???


It's cool, though; while I may mourn the passing of some of my personal favorites, I'm sure a wonder of new culinary masterpieces await me. And who knows - resurrection may be just a year away!

Now, without further ado, I give you my 2016 Food & Wine Festival To-Eat List.

Key: + means I ate it last year and liked it enough to add it to the list again. - means it was on the list last year but I never got around to trying it.


BoothItemNotes
AfricaButtered chicken with micro cilantro and naanDunno about the rest, but I LOVE naan.
AfricaJam Jar sweet ShirazSweet shiraz…?
BrazilPao de queijo+I just can't quit it.
CanadaCheddar cheese soup with a pretzel roll-W/ the pretzel roll, I may just actually get it.
The ChewRicotta and zucchini ravioli
The ChewPeanut butter and white chocolate mousse
ChinaRoasted duck in a steamed bun+
ChinaRitzy Lychee with cognac and vodka-Happy Lychee under a new name, right?
Chocolate StudioYes thank you I'll take itALL THE CHOCOLATE
Craft BeersShipyard Midnight Snack Milk Stout
Desserts & ChampagneChampagne+Where are the desserts? Did I miss that bit?
Farm FreshChicken and dumplings
Farm FreshLoaded mac'n cheese+
Farm FreshAll those fruity alcoholsCider!
FranceCroissant aux escargots-
GreeceGreek yogurt vanilla cake soaked in ouzo
HawaiiSparkling pineapple wineBUBBLES
Hops & BarleyCarrot cakePending the frosting situation; I want LOTS.
Islands of the CaribbeanQuesitoSweetened cream cheese!
JapanSpicy sushi roll+
MexicoFlan de chocolate abuelita
MoroccoSpicy hummus friesFries… made of hummus?
New ZealandSeared venison loinB/c I never remember what it tastes like.
ScotlandPotato pancake with smoked salmon+
ScotlandThe Tipsy LairdWhiskey cake!

Now, onward to Wine & Dine Half Weekend! Will you be there? What are you itching to get your mouth around?!*

* That's what she said.

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, July 22, 2016

Happy Friday: All Right, Time To Show 'Em Your Man Walk

You must be swift as a coursing river
With all the force of a great typhoon
With all the strength of a raging fire
Mysterious as the dark side of *breath* THE MOOOOOOOOON


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, July 21, 2016

The Favorite Photos: Walt Disney World, 2008 - 2012

Now we come to the most exciting portion of my Disney photo album audit (previously: First Photos and Last Photos). This time around I'm picking out my favorite photo from each collection - and as you might imagine, it was tough! Sometimes a pic would jump out at me; other times I had to really think and compare. Since the selection was subjective, I can't guarantee I would be the same choices a year - or, hell, even a day - later. (I've already changed my mind twice.) But here's what I decided upon this time around.

Apologies for the quality on these; being from the oldest trips, I don't know where the originals are anymore.


The year: 2008
The companion(s): Moon, Elizabeth, and mutual friend Megan
The title of the album: Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?
The why: This extremely sub-par, old-camera, bad-lighting photo was my desktop background for the longest time simply because it was a picture of the Magic Kingdom from the ferry and I took it myself. Such is the great power of nostalgia.


The year: 2008
The companion(s): Moon
The title of the album: Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning
The why: The spirit of Norvay has alvays been and vill alvways be adventure.


The year: 2009
The companion(s): Unofficial Guide people
The title of the album: Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas
The why: To me, this moment - where Donald Duck grabbed a random lady from the crowd and danced with her to the sound of a live, authentic mariachi band - is what WDW is all about.


The year: 2009
The companion(s): My grad school friend Diana and her sisters
The title of the album: Practically perfect in every way
The why: Pre-parade balloon vendor under a setting sun - quintessential Disney.


The year: 2010
The companion(s): Elizabeth
The title of the album: it's a small world after all
The why: Jasper the porcupine was part of our best day at DAK ever.


The year: 2011
The companion(s): My ex-boyfriend
The title of the album: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
The why: Oh, God, guys. It was so hard to choose the best one. But eventually I landed on this shot, because Galahad an appointment to get to. (I really miss these guys.)


The year: 2012
The companion(s): Elizabeth
The title of the album: A magical kingdom with lots of witnesses and great security (yeah Burn Notice!)
The why: Oh, right! This was the year we were down for the WDW Marathon without meaning to be! (When will then be now? Soon!)


The year: 2012
The companion(s): Sometimes my cousin and his friend, sometimes random people, sometimes just myself!
The title of the album: There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
The why: Simple. Basic. Gives me the warm fuzzies.

2013-2016 are up next!

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, July 20, 2016

In Which Jenn Runs On The Boardwalk... FOREVER???

Now that we have my itchy, welt-y, icky rant out of the way, we can talk about the nice things that happened on vacation. And there were lots!

  • Hanging out on the beach and jumping over waves
  • Eating "Sweetest Fish" Italian ice because it's finally out of litigation
  • Playing with Pat's niece
  • Going to the Kite Loft toy store and admiring a stuffed penguin that Pat later surprised me with after the trip because he is vying for Best Boyfriend Ever 2016; please vote for him
  • Not being at work

And finally... going for all three of my planned runs! Luckily I got them in before my plague level rose to code red, and they were all pretty good. I knocked out three runs of five miles every other morning, along a route that by my estimation is as close as you can get to a treadmill in the real world: the Ocean City boardwalk. Straight, flat, and the wood ain't too rough on the joints. And the ocean breeze - and ocean views - are a niiiiiiiice touch. Plus, water fountains!

It was only super hot one morning, but as I made a point to be out of the sun and into the shower by 8:30am I didn't suffer too badly. What really boggles my mind is that I often saw people running on the boardwalk in the middle of the day. What are you trying to do, drop dead of heat exhaustion?

This is my favorite part, though. Remember way back during my first boardwalk run when I found the sign that told me I had to touch the spot or I wasn't finished, and also, I was immediately to turn around and do it again?

WELL. There's another such sign on the OTHER end of the boardwalk. How did I never notice that before?


What I love about this is that it creates a feedback loop. Even if I do touch the spot, I am instructed to repeat my run on both ends. Therefore if you begin running on the boardwalk, you can never stop. That's running the Rod Serling way!

That about wraps up this edition of Vacation Running. Check back in September when I take on: THE OUTER BANKS.

Do you run on vacation? How about at the beach? Do you do it in the middle of the day when it's 90 degrees? STOP THAT.

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, July 19, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: Special Vacation Plague Edition

Warning: If you read this, there are a lot of shouty capital letters in your future.

Oh man, guys. Hello. I'm back.

From the beach, that is, and it was really good, because I was on vacation at the beach and that's always awesome. It was also really bad, because...

Well, let's start at the beginning. Important plot point: I am allergic to animal dander. I also have two cats because SCREW YOU, ALLERGIES, I LOVE ANIMALS WITH A LOVE THAT YOU CANNOT BREAK, NOT WITH A THOUSAND SWORDS.

Yes, thank you, Buttercup; I can take it from here.

Anyway. I take OTC allergy meds to stave off sneezes and itchy eyes. I usually leave it behind on vacation, unless I plan to be hanging out with animals. As in this case I very sadly was not, I didn't pack it. This will be important later.

Fast forward to about, oh, the morning of the third day of the trip. I can't help but notice that I have an unusual number of bug bites. Three down my shoulder line up, which is of course a sign of bedbugs, so Pat and I lift the mattress and take a look around. Nothing seems unusual and Pat hasn't been bitten at all. We assemble alternate theories: spider bites? Sand fleas?

The next day I have an itchy red bump on my face.

The day after that I have MORE bites on my face and a huge cluster of them cascading down my left arm. As I am starting to feel uncomfortably plaguey, Pat enlists his brother to help him with another, more thorough bedbug check, this time removing the mattress entirely. Still nothing unusual, and still no bites worth noting on Pat.

I decide to sleep on the couch that night to see if that helps. It does NOT; in fact, things get worse. My hands are covered in itchy lumps and there's a big pink spot ABOVE MY EYELID. My eye is a little swollen, too, which leads me to a terrible thought: am I allergic to something besides pet dander but don't know it because my meds keep it at bay? That would explain my escalating condition as the buildup of antihistamines in my system slowly gave way.

By this point frankly a bit miserable, I slap on a baseball cap and sunglasses to hide my stupid leper face and walk to CVS. I pick up the strong OTC stuff, the kind you have to go to the pharmacist and hand over your driver's license for (no, I did not remove my sunglasses inside and no, the pharmacist didn't challenge me, in case you're ever similarly afflicted). I add some cortisone cream to my purchase and rip into both immediately upon leaving the store. An hour or so later and things are looking up: my welts are flattening out, the angry pink is fading, my eye isn't as swollen; I just generally feel less like I want to die.

Okay then. I must be allergic to something. Maybe something the cleaning service uses? A chemical or some such? I'll need to make an appointment with an allergist, but at least now I have a solid lead as to what's wrong with me. Just in time to... leave; the trip is over in the morning. But at least I go to sleep feeling optimistic.

When we wake up, PAT IS COVERED IN BUG BITES.

When Pat's mom folds the fitted sheet, SHE FINDS A BEDBUG.

A much more thorough search yields bedbugs hiding in the wood of the box spring. They'd been ignoring Pat all week for the most part in favor of me, but I guess that strong antihistamine made me less delicious, and they went to town on him that last night. He reaction wasn't as strong as mine, but his back and arms were pretty chewed up and his hands were almost as bad as mine.

FUCKING BEDBUGS, GUYS. BEDBUGS. LIKE, WHAT THE FUCK?

If only, Eddie. If only.

And this was a nice place, too! You would never have suspected it. But believe it or not: THE PLOT THICKENS.

As you might imagine, Pat's dad mentioned the FUCKING BEDBUGS (maybe not in those exact words) to the realtor, and received... an apology. That's it. Pat and I are kinda furious about this. All our stuff could be tainted. Everything we brought (minus electronics) is currently in the car to bake in the sun, as heat kills bedbugs. Then we'll spray it with bedbug stuff, then wash and dry it on setting HOT HOT HOT, THEN bag it for a week to starve anything that might have survived all that. Therefore half the things we own are out of commission for at least a fortnight. My favorite running clothes are in there, and my favorite running shoes, and a couple new dresses and some toiletries that were in a cloth case and therefore could be vulnerable. Pat had his favorite t-shirts with him and he's loathe to hit them with high heat lest they shrink. Also, did I mention we're both COVERED IN A PLAGUE OF BEDBUG BITES? Matters are definitely improving but these itchy spots have staying power. I may start carrying a sign that says MY FACE ISN'T BREAKING OUT IT'S BEDBUGS.

Like, at LEAST offer to pay for our meds and anti-bedbug supplies, okay, realtor? And good customer service would include knocking a bit off the price. I recognize that the infestation is not the realtor's fault, but the cleanliness of the property is their responsibility. An apology does not cut it.

Oh, but: about that thicker plot. The realtor did call Pat's dad back, to say they DIDN'T FIND ANYTHING. The strong implication being - wait for it - they just let the next renter have the place. Did they even mention the bedbugs, do you think? VERY SUSPICIOUS.

As far as Pat and I are concerned, this is not over. For starters, the realtor is getting one of my Strongly Worded Letters. Please be assured they are quite strong in the words. I plan to attach a picture of my plague arm. And if they don't put some real effort into making things right this time, I am posting their name and their properties here. And then some Yelp reviews or whatever. Spoiler alert: they will not be good reviews. Stay tuned! (I'm not overreacting, am I? It's hard to tell; I'm SO ITCHY.)

I swear to God, if we get bedbugs from this I will DIE. I am clearly VERY ALLERGIC. How do people live with them in their home?

There you have it, then: my tragic vacation plague story. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I didn't. If you have any advice, feel free to lay it on me.

I did manage to get three runs in on the boardwalk before I completely morphed into a hot mess, but I think this rant has gone on long enough. More on running (which, if you've forgotten, is what this blog is largely about) later.

Happier times! Here's your roundup.

- Darlin' Rae wisely listens to herself as regards race distances.
- Why I runDisney is going Dopey! Lucky.
- Disney In Your Day assembles a Disney park glossary.
- Plus the Magic snags some nifty Epcot pins.
- Disney Nerds eat around Disneyland Paris.
- Living A Disney Life explores WDW's drink flights.
- The Disney Tourist blog heeds the words of Tom Haverford at WDW.
- Mouse on the Mind takes in a movie on the Disney Dream.
- Slightly off topic, but since I just saw and liked it: EPBOT reviews the new Ghostbusters movie. "The floating hot dog implies that a ghost is holding it."
- If you're sick of this blog and want to start your own, better one, Through Heather's Looking Glass has some tips for you.

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, July 11, 2016

In Which Jenn Has Gallivanted Off To The Ocean Again

Guess where I am right now!

If you guessed Walt Disney World... you're wrong. :( I know, I'm upset about it too. But I am in Ocean City, MD with my boyfriend and his family, and that's one hell of a giant step above normal life/work, no?

I'm planning to knock out three runs on the boardwalk over the course of the week, a la this one and this one. As usual, I intend to indulge the rebel in my heart and not touch the spot. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, all this is to say that I'll be back next week. While you're waiting, Fozzie Bear can tell you more about the ocean.


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, July 8, 2016

In Which This Blog Is Three

Wanna hear something weird? The Fairest Run Of All is three years old today! (In celebration, I tweaked the layout/design a little. Thoughts?)

I started this blog with Moon with the initial goal of trying to eventually run all the runDisney races, which three years ago was a much less daunting task. The growing roster of races plus the reality of how budgeting actually works made for a pretty quick pivot away from that completionist goal, but we've still made the most out of all the running and racing we can, meeting some awesome people along the way.

Sadly, Moon has temporarily left us to make a new life in Boston. As she has promised to return upon her assimilation into her new environment, I would say that my goal for the blog over the next year is to engender her triumphant return!

Pictured: Boston.

I've already alluded to it briefly, but let me say it formally: I am infinitely grateful for the runners and readers who have visited and will continue to visit this humble little shrine to Disney and running and other stuff sometimes when I feel like it. Thank you for your eyes and minds and hearts. May we see each other soon in a Disney park!

In case you're in the market for such things, here is an assemblage of some of my completely subjectively favorite posts so far:


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, July 7, 2016

In Which Jenn Has A Running Distraction Suggestion

I find that when I'm hurting or tired or just plain bored in a run it helps to think about something else completely unrelated to running. For you runDisney folks, I have invented a new way to do this!

And it all hinges upon your pride. That is to say: you're proud you never need a map in Walt Disney World, aren't you? I know I am. Drop me anywhere in any of the four parks and I'll know where I am, how to get to anywhere else from where I am, and over half the time I'll even be able to tell you the location of the closest bathroom. I could guide anyone through WDW in my sleep, practically.

Which is what this distraction method counts upon: your ability to envision, You're essentially going to overlay WDW onto wherever you are really. But I don't mean that in the usual "pretend you're in WDW while you're running" capacity (although that's cool too). Oh, no - we're getting way more specific.

I call this the How To Get There From Here Method, and it involves you making three simple choices: a park, and then two locations in that park (preferably at least some distance apart).

For example, I could say I'm in the Magic Kingdom, I'm at the Haunted Mansion, and I want to go to Space Mountain. Okay, I'm now moving away from the Haunted Mansion - and I will imagine I'm running up Liberty Square past the Hall of Presidents and the Christmas Shoppe. Now I've passed Sleepy Hollow and its hordes of ice cream sandwich-eaters. I'm over the bridge, and then I run past the castle on my left, through and around the hub, and over the bridge into Tomorrowland. Now I'm blasting past Stitch and the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, stepping underneath the Peoplemover, and tada! There it is! Space Mountain!

Told ya.

And by the time you've imagined all this, you've gone, what, half a mile? A mile? Ten miles???? It all depends on how carefully you craft your route - or, I guess, how fast you think...?

Bonus points: play WDW music as you run. Super bonus points: track an alternate route (for the above scenario, you could always go behind the castle and through Fantasyland into the entrance to Tomorrowland by the Speedway).

What do you think of my method? How do you distract yourself during a run?

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, July 6, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 7/06

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great Salute to All Nations But Mostly America.* Fun Jenn fact: Sam Eagle is my favorite!


* It is a glorious three hour finale.**
** You have about a minute and a half.

Did you watch the Disney Parks Blog live stream of the Magic Kingdom fireworks? I did! I didn't find the display as emotionally stirring as the regular show, but it was certainly impressive - and seeing the castle always makes me happy.

I also went for a Fourth of July long run, and it went pretty darn well. Then I ran ten miles outside this morning and it was hot and humid and horrible I wanted to die. So that was fun. On the bright side, one more easy five miler, and then a week of running at the beach for me! (More on that next week, of course.)

Also! This week is the blog's Anniversary Week, so be sure to swing by Friday for some retrospective fun.

Oh, who am I kidding; you probably all stopped reading as soon as I had Sam Eagle call you weirdos.


To the roundup with you!

- Elbowglitter recognizes the awesomeness of rest days.
- Fairytales & Fitness can help you select your next race.
- WDW for Grownups roams Disney parks as a party of one.
- Passport to Dreams Old & New ponders the architecture of Disney Springs.
- MousePlanet has a fascinating comparison of the cost of a WDW vacation in 1971 vs today.
- Touring Plans checks out the new Epcot breakfast options.
- Main Street Gazette dives into the history of Epcot's Matsuriza.
- This Fairytale Life goes WDW wedding tasting. Caaaaake.

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, July 5, 2016

In Which Jenn & Elizabeth Visit Kings Dominion

A couple weeks ago Elizabeth and I went to Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA, to run a 5K and 10K, respectively. Our race fee included park admission in the price, so we stayed on post-race to ride some coasters. Here are our thoughts on the experience.




JENN: Ready to talk about Kings Dominion?

ELIZABETH: Yes!

JENN: Was it your first time there? It was mine!

ELIZABETH: I think I was there once as a small child? I seem to have a vague memory, but nothing stands out, so it might as well have been!

JENN: The nice thing about running a race through the park first was that it gave me a primer of what rides were available. For example, I might not have otherwise noticed the Boo Blasters. Since that's one of the few non-coaster things we rode, want to do that one first?

ELIZABETH: Sure! So that's one of those rides where you have a laser gun and shoot at targets.

JENN: It's kinda like Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.

ELIZABETH: I really liked that fact that the targets actually responded when you shot them

JENN: Ha, that was indeed different.

ELIZABETH: I DID have a broken gun the second time, which sucked because then I couldn't activate any of the ghosts.

JENN: It was actually a bit intense for a kid's ride, though, if you ask me. It's themed to a haunted house, and while nothing's really actively scary, a couple scenes are a little much for a small child, I'd think. I'm specifically thinking of the skeleton army room where the lights go off and their eyes start flashing at you in strobe.

ELIZABETH: Oh yeah, that would have been creepy for a kid I think. I'm not sure how I would have reacted as a kid, but I think having a gun would have helped (i.e. I can fight back!).

JENN: I'm trying to think if we did any other non-coasters and nothing's coming to mind? We were going to do the swinging ship but it started raining. They also have a water park section but it wasn't open yet so no opinions.

Alrighty then! On to the roller coasters! Let's start alphabetically and also with my favorite: Backlot Stunt Coaster!

ELIZABETH: That was definitely the best one. It's a small coaster that's themed like you're in a stunt car for a movie shoot. It also launches you, which was fun and caught me by surprise both times we rode it. It was originally themed for The Italian Job, right?

JENN: Yup! Now it's just generic stunts, but it's definitely the most themed of the coasters here. After the launch and some swoops, you stop and there's fire and a helicopter!

ELIZABETH: The fire felt really good because it was COLD.

JENN: It's a family coaster, but it's got some fun thrills and I enjoy themeing. I'm pro!

ELIZABETH: I agree.

JENN: Okay, next... Flight of Fear. This disappointed me. It's an indoor coaster touted as being in the pitch black but really it's only in the dark... ish. Also there was a weird, I don't know, construction site set up at the bottom of the building that was lit up but not relevant? Unless aliens are into, like, random tables and stuff.

ELIZABETH: Yeah. It's like it was trying to be Space Mountain and failed. I mean, it's worth riding once if the line isn't long. But it was odd, and felt weirdly half-finished. I also don't remember being impressed with the track that much. Space Mountain has those fun dips that take you by surprise in the dark, but we didn't really get that. It was just a spiral downward. Sorry I keep comparing it, but that's my only reference point!

JENN: Ah, yes, that is correct.

ELIZABETH: And there was the weird entrance area where it looked like it was going to be alien themed, and then was not. Slipshod at best.

JENN: Shall we do Grizzly next? Was that the really aggressive one? One of the wooden coasters was much jostle-y-er than the other. Wait, that might have been Rebel Yell. I think Rebel Yell was the wooden coaster that was trying to murder me.

ELIZABETH: Yes, I think it was the other one that felt more intense to me, but I could be

JENN: Well, let's do both. Rebel Yell: it's trying to kill you!

ELIZABETH: Haha, yes. So it was rough like your average wooden coaster is.

JENN: Yeah, but Grizzly was LESS rough. Rebel Yell had a stop so sudden it felt liked being stabbed in the uterus. Might be because in addition to the trestles, the track was also wooden.

ELIZABETH: But it's pretty long and goes through the woods, which was nice.

JENN: Whatever. I DO NOT APPRECIATE UTERUS ATTACKS.

ELIZABETH: Yeah man. A lot of the rides there seemed to have sudden stops to me.

JENN: Grizzly was a bit gentler, but otherwise I don't think either was distinct from the other. Wooden. Varying levels of aggressive. Straight drops.

ELIZABETH: I always found wooden coasters less intimidating as a child, so they might be good for the younger set who aren't sure about loops yet.

JENN: Back to modern metal. I think Volcano was the last one we did? Toward the end of the day it got more crowded AND started raining, which curtailed our riding. Anyway, Volcano was my second favorite after the stunt coaster. The vertical bit out of the volcano is fun! Although Pat misremembered it as being a vertical launch and I'm still a little sad it wasn't. We did it twice.

ELIZABETH: Yes! Another launching coaster, which I personally like (none of that "waiting to ride to the top" business). I'm sure a vertical launch is harder to engineer but it's a fun ride as it is!

JENN: I think that wraps up the rides we did. What did you think of the ambiance? I thought it was a step up from Six Flags, but not at Hersheypark level. Close, but not quite. Nowhere near Busch Gardens Williamsburg, can't touch Universal, and not worth 1/100th of a Disney park, OBVIOUSLY, but then that tends to be the case.

ELIZABETH: I'd give it a solid...B? It was a little odd seeing all the rides that USED to have themeing but no more. The Peanuts area with the kids rides was cute.

JENN: It was! It does have a pretty robust kid's section. The park is divided into lands but there's no cohesive overarching theme so it doesn't mean much.

ELIZABETH: Yeah, and we got turned around a lot, but then again we hadn't been there before.

JENN: Ha, well, that's 'cause we're us. Remember that time we walked allllllll the way around Universal Studios in the wrong direction?

ELIZABETH: Yeah....

JENN: One thing I can say with confidence is that the food is more expensive than even WDW's. I mean, $16 for a barely even lackluster chicken sandwich with a soda and fries? Not even Disney would stoop that low (yet).

ELIZABETH: Ah yeah, the food was a disappointment. The meal I got was much smaller than the picture indicated (not that other places don't do that, but it's still a black mark). And I did splurge on a beer, and I don't even remember how much it was because I've blocked the memory, but it was ridiculously overpriced.

JENN: Yeah, I think it was like $11 for a Yuengling or something like that.

ELIZABETH: Some of the other rides we didn't do looked pretty good - the pirate ship (which goes upside-down!), the swing ride, the Crypt ride. I have a weird thing about swing rides where they make me nervous though. I'm weird.

JENN: Hey, I'm terrified of haunted houses. We've all got stuff.

Sorry we didn't do more at the park! We were tired and kinda cold and by the afternoon a bunch of people had showed up so the lines got longer and THEN we were in line for the wild mouse coaster and it got shut down due to rain so we were like the hell with it, let's go home.

On that happy note: any final impressions about your first real Kings Dominion Day?

ELIZABETH: I'm glad I went! They have some good roller coasters and I'd go back, but it's not quite up the the level of Hersheypark or Busch Gardens.

JENN: I agree on all counts. Thanks for helping with my recap!  😁

ELIZABETH: Glad to help!

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!