Friday, September 30, 2016

In Which Jenn Is Afraid Of Stitch's Great Escape

No doubt you've heard the news that the Tomorrowland attraction Stitch's Great Escape is moving to a seasonal schedule. We all know this is the death knell as it goes the way of Body Wars, Horizons, and many other rides before it.

Unlike most, however, Stitch's reduction and (assumed but I think fairly) ultimate removal will incite little outcry. The attraction has been pretty universally reviled since its opening, built on the skeleton of cult favorite ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Doubtless the fan community will welcome its demise in favor of something new and - we hope - better. I've never once heard anyone rave about it.

Another thing I've never once done: ride it.

I almost did, once. I was there with a friend from grad school and her younger sisters, and they wanted to ride it. I got all the way through the pre-show and into the show room before having a mini-panic attack and asking the nearest cast member for the chicken exit. She looked at me like I was insane but pointed me toward the exit.

I'm sure this makes me sound crazy. It's Stitch, for heaven's sake! I LIKE Lilo & Stitch!

In it for this line.

Also this one.

Sure, he's mischievous, but a huge part of Lilo & Stitch is pointing out that Stitch has a heart; that he is "broken, but still good."

But I just can't hack it, and it has nothing to do with the scathing reviews. My fear of Stitch's Great Escape stems from a couple of things, the first being, illogically, Alien Encounter, which you may recognize as not actually the ride anymore. Still, I remember when it was about a giant killer alien stalking around in the dark and, like, licking your shoulder or whatever, and even though I never rode that one either, the concept, as it ever did when I was twelve, makes me want to BOLT. (New idea for making a PR in my next race: threaten to take me back in time and ride Alien Encounter.)

I know lots of people loved it, including people whose opinions I trust, but there it is. Stitch's Great Escape may replace the killer alien with a lovable prankster alien, but the basic idea remains unchanged, only now you're being hazed instead of terrorized.

Perhaps more important is this: the aspect of being held in place while your senses are unabashedly messed with is EXTREMELY anxiety-inducing for me. As someone with a very strong fight-or-flight instinct (ask me about that one time I kneed a coworker in head after he jumped out at me from around a corner), I simply CANNOT BEAR the idea of being trapped in a harness while Stitch, however innocent his motives may be, does God only knows what to me while I sit powerless to stop him.

And that's why that one time in 2009 I said NO THANK YOU to Stitch and did not ride. Now maybe I never will. And I DON'T CARE.

(Also, I don't love having hot dog smell burped in my face. I hear.)

Well? Am I making a big mistake?

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, September 29, 2016

Guest Post: Washing Your Lycra-Containing Garments With SLS3 + A Discount!

Thanks to SLS3 for putting together this post! You may remember this as the brand that made the running belt I reviewed toward the beginning of the year. They make a lot of other running accessories and garments, so naturally they know a lot about proper handling of synthetic fabrics. Read on for lots of cleaning and laundering tips, and for a discount at the end!

Handle with Care
You’ve spent your hard earned money on your exercise gear like Running Shorts or Compression Socks and now it’s time to put it to the test. After a grueling workout, you and your Lycra®-containing gear are ready for a bath. By the way, Spandex is the generic Lycra® version. Lycra® is a brand name trademarked by DuPont.

After Your Workout
As much as we hate it, we’re all drenched in sweat after a good workout, which means our clothes are, too. If you don’t have time to wash your clothes right after your workout, or you’re too tired like me, then hang dry your workout clothes, making sure there are no wrinkle or overlaps. This prevents your gear from turning into a mildew breeding ground. Gross! It also helps prevent weird stenches from staying trapped inside your clothes.

Getting the Stink Out
The best method for remedying smelly gym clothes is to give them a prewash. Soak your Lycra® outfits in one part vinegar, and four parts water for at least 30 minutes before hand washing, or throwing them into the washing machine. Rinse your clothes thoroughly before washing them to get rid of any vinegar.

Some Dont’s to Remember
Do not mix vinegar and bleach ever! If your detergent contains bleach rinse out your vinegar soaked clothes before throwing them in the washer. Do not use vinegar in the rinse cycle of your washer if your detergent contains bleach. Do not use heat for any of your Lycra® garments. Heat will destroy the elastic properties aka the Lycra® fibers of your outfits. Avoid the dryer, ironing and the sun. Remember: Heat is bad. Do not use chlorine or bleach. This will destroy the fibers of the fabric and you will get “bag and sag” syndrome. Do not use Fabric Softener. These are used to soften clothes and will make sure your expensive garment will never retain its shape. Avoid the fabric softener.

In the Wash They Go
Although it is said that hand washing is always the way to go, most of us don’t have time for that. Don’t fret though! It is safe for your Lycra® garments to go into the washing machine following these steps. First, make sure that all of your zippered garments are zipped all the way up to prevent the zipper track from snagging onto other fabric during the washing cycle. Turn your clothes inside out. Put delicate items into a mesh laundry bag, lingerie bag, or pillowcase to protect them (Definitely do this for Bib Shorts).
                                                                       picture courtesy of instagram

The Set-Up
If you are worried that a pre-soak just won’t cut it for getting all the smells out, you can put some vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser of your washer. This will make sure your washer will dispense vinegar in the rinse cycle. Always use cold water when washing your Lycra® garments. Heat will destroy them. Set your washer on the “Delicates” setting to prevent damage of your clothes.

Less is More?
Use less detergent than you normally would for your Lycra® clothes. While detergent cleans your clothes, you definitely don’t want a build up of it on your workout clothes. A build up of detergent will trap in dead skin cells and trap bacteria into the fabric. If you want to make sure your clothes last, try a detergent designed for washing workout clothes.  

Finishing Touches
After the washing cycle has been finished, hang your clothes up, or lay them down flat to dry. Never put them in the dryer. Remember heat is not friendly to Lycra® clothes. Lycra® is a fast drying fiber so your clothes should not take too long to air dry.
Again, thanks to SLS3 for all the awesome info! Bonus: use promo code BLOG40 at the SLS3 site to get 40% off your purchase. They've got lots of tri and running gear, so check it 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.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In Which Jenn Has A Much Better National Capital 20 Miler

It is only in a universe of comparison that I can say this, but as I do live in such I won't hesitate: that was much better.

Last year my showing in the National Capital 20 Miler was, shall we say, not my best work. I was very slow. I walked a lot. I was in a fair amount of pain by the end. Chalk it up to not being used to trail running and general under-training or whatever you like. I got it done - but it wasn't pretty.

But I signed up again this year for two reasons: 1) There's nothing like running your twenty mile NOT on a treadmill, not looping endlessly around the same runnable portions of your neighborhood, and - this being my favorite part - with water/Gatorade stops built right in; 2) REDEMPTION RUN.

I talked about the course itself last year, and it is the same: 10 miles up the C&O Canal Towpath, 10 miles back the way you came, the end. So I won't be diving too much into scenery and what have you. But I do want to discuss the unique experience of this particular event.

When I talk about the race with others, I describe it as "barely a race." Not in the sense that you're not really running (FAR FROM IT), but rather because the casual nature of the whole thing makes it feel like a training run that a couple hundred of people happen to be doing at the same time.

For starters, the whole thing is barely a 15 minutes' drive from my house. That's kind of unique to me, but most runners are coming from close by. So the first thing you do is get up at what feels like an almost reasonable time (5:15am in my case, but I could've slept in another half hour and been fine except I'm a paranoiac) and just driving straight to the starting line. Literally. Last year I accidentally parked in a satellite lot that required me to walk a bit, but this year I new better and was able to leave my car in a lot right next to the start.

Packet pickup is also 100% possible the morning of the race, and I availed myself of it before doing all your standard pre-race things: using the porta-potty, eating a snack, etc. I hung out in my warm car until about 5 minutes before race start.

The course is bib chip timed, but there's no opening remarks, no fancy "start" or "finish" proscenium, and no corrals. It's up to you to hang back or up front depending on how fast you think you'll be (naturally I go for the back third). At 7am, they said go, and we crossed the start pad and went.

And I felt pretty good! Not great, but solid. I had a good rhythm going and enjoyed my music as I cruised along the remnants of the C&O canal. Not speedily, mind you - there's something about the towpath that my body doesn't love. At Navy-Air Force the week before I clocked under a 10 minute mile average for the whole thing, yet on the C&O trail I can't seem to break 10:40 in a single mile. Ah well. At least this time I knew what to expect.

Important note about the trail, though: in addition to being slower (for me), it's also a touch dangerous. There are large rocks everywhere, and the occasional hole for good measure. You could turn your ankle or worse if you're not paying attention. I came down on a couple rocks wrong; luckily I have flexible ankles or things could've gone badly for me.

This race tends to attract the faster/more dedicated runners in the area, as I only finished ahead of a little over 60 runners out of just under 200. Which is why I always already seeing runners coming back toward me on their way back to the finish by mile 7. But I saw something weirder: people wearing completely different bibs. And then, just before the turnaround point, I saw the finish line - for a different race.

This race is also barely a race in that somehow other races are going on the the same time in the same area. No idea what their parameters were but I saw people wearing the other bibs going in both directions. Very weird and disconcerting.

This race is also barely a race in that the path isn't closed to anyone. There are casual runners and hikers there too, and dog walkers. I love seeing the dogs, but you know that would never fly on most courses.

I also saw a guy biking verrrry slowly behind a race participant as her personal support bike. Adorable, but another thing that would be hard to pull off in most of your bigger races.

Anyway, I hit the turnaround point, grabbed some Gatorade, and plugged on secure in the knowledge that every step I took carried me closer to home. Naturally I was ready to be done by mile 11 but who isn't, really. I saw fewer stragglers on the way to the turnaround point behind me this time; I think I saw my last one while I was on mile 12 and therefore they were on 8.

From then on it only got harder - but not nearly as hard as last year. Yes, I was slow, but I was plugging on! Thanks to the KT Tape Pro I had applied to both hips AND both knees, I was feeling no unusual discomfort! I only stopped for water stops! I never walked otherwise!

In the end I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:46, slower than what I could've accomplished on a treadmill, yes, but a full 9 minutes faster than last year. Not too shabby, all things considered. I think I can be so bold as to call myself redeemed, even.

There were bagels and fruit in the parking lot but I was ready to go home and shower more than anything else. I hopped in the car and was in my shower in under 30 minutes. Location, location, location.

Having exorcised the demon that was my first time in this race, would I do it again? Probably, yeah. Look, it's long and boring and not at all speedy, but it's convenient and a great way to basically have my 20 mile practice run done for me. If I'm not training for a marathon, I'd skip it, but any time I am, I'm inclined to add it in there so long as I remain in the neighborhood.

I'm really happy with the outcome not only as regards my performance, but also my body. I used my Nike Zoom Vomero 10s and taped all my problem areas - and came out feeling good. I've got some joint stiffness, but no stabbing, jolting, or otherwise unusual pains. I think I can use the same methods for MCM and feel a-okay.

Next up, the big one: THE MARINE CORPS MARATHON.

Have you ever been in a race and suddenly there was a different race on the same course? I must admit that one surprised me.

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, September 27, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 9/27

I did it! I did it! My twenty-miler is BEHIND ME. Take that, marathon training cycle! It's all downhill from here, baby!

All of which is to say that on Sunday I ran the National Capital 20 Miler and it wasn't nearly as terrible as last year. Review to come, of course. The rest of this week I'll be taking it easy, then I'll ramp things up a little bit before my final taper into the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October. AND THEN WINE & DINE HOORAAAAAY

Here's how last week's training went down:

Sunday | Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, 13.23 miles in 2:11 and change according to my watch
This race was pretty humid but otherwise I think I put in a decent showing.

Monday | 75 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 7.08 miles in the treadmill in 1:15
Also I saw Brian Wilson perform Pet Sounds. You know, whatevs. (Although really the tour should be called Al Jardine and His Son Perform Pet Sounds And Also Brian Wilson Is There And He Sings A Little, Kind Of, Don't Worry About It)

Wednesday | walked 2.06 miles outside in 35 minutes; 80 minute ballet class

Thursday | ran 4.16 miles in 50 minutes

Friday | rest
I had planned to go for a walk but ended up taking a half day from work to head to a family thing early. Walked about 3 miles on Ocean City's boardwalk, though!

Saturday | rest
Another 6.5 miles walking on the boardwalk, but I didn't GPS it so according to my system it doesn't count. Light warmup for my twenty miles the next day!

And now: the roundup.

- Fall notwithstanding, I Run for Wine puts together a hot-weather running outfit.
- Fairytales & Fitness ponders the incredible speed of race walkers.
- Back at Square Zero know how to train for a tough weather race.
- On the Go in MCO points out the cats of Disney movies.
- Disney In Your Day offers some unique WDW tips.
- Capturing Magical Memories does the VIP Food & Wine Festival tour.
- easyWDW continues the yeoman's work of reviewing ALL the F&W Festival foods.
- EPBOT has introvert problems. AND SO DO I.

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, September 23, 2016

In Which Jenn Has New Rides To Look Forward To

I'm a little sad, guys. All my potential trip buddies for my Wine & Dine trip in November fell out and I'm gonna be going to alone. That's okay, though! I'm gonna knock a day off my trip for financial reasons but otherwise it'll still be a fun time. I mean, when is WDW not a fun time? Never. Exactly.

Plus - and I was thinking about this the other day - I have two instances of something very special coming up in this trip. I don't know if we stop to think about it enough when this wonderful thing happens to us, because for us park-frequenters it happens rarely. I'm talking about riding a ride for the Very First Time.

Everything's new! The story, the music, the visuals. You don't know what's around each corner, when you may drop or change direction. It's like reading a book or watching a movie - for a truly wonderful attraction, nothing will be lost by repeat and repeat and repeat rides; indeed, the richness of Disney's environments lends itself to discovering new things all the time, even on the eleventh or 1,011th go-round.

But the first time only happens once, and we should savor it. (Insert obligatory virginity joke here; ahahahahaha okay contractual requirements fulfilled.) I'll have that opportunity twice on this trip, with the new Soarin' Around the World and Frozen rides. And yeah, I'll miss the smell of oranges and pine trees in the former, and yeah, I'm still kinda mad about the replacement of Maelstrom and agree with those who say Frozen doesn't belong in Epcot, but still. The Imagineers are a pretty crafty bunch. Maybe they'll win me over for all that.*

My very first time is when we all find out.

* Except for Avatar. DEATH TO AVATAR. Okay, okay, I'll give it a shot... BUT I WON'T LIKE IT.

What rides are you looking forward to that you haven't been on yet? Do you try to be extra in-the-moment when you ride something for the first time?

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, September 22, 2016

In Which Jenn Recaps The Navy-Air Force Half Marathon

This was... fine.

(I kinda just wanted to use that video.)

Anyway! Right. The Navy-Air Force Half. This is another one of those races that would, theoretically, be crazy convenient for me, given its Metro accessibility. Unfortunately due to ongoing track work Metro refused to open early as is usual for the race. Sigh. Oh well. Luckily the organizers were distributing Lyft discount codes, so I scheduled myself a Lyft for between 5 and 5:10am.

My Lyft driver was quite prompt and very nice. Sadly, he wanted to chat. Not in a weird or creepy way; just a friendly guy who likes his job because of all the people he meets. But. Dude. It's not even 5:30 IN THE MORNING yet. Let's enjoy a comfortable silence, shall we? Yeesh.

We managed to sneak right up to the mall just before the closed the roads, so I was dropped off right next to the start line with a good hour or so to spare, just as I like it. I spent a leisurely if slightly chilly hour wandering around, eating my pre-race Swedish Fish, and using the bathroom a couple times. I actually managed to be the very first person in one of the porta potties, if you can imagine. I had to break the protective covering on the toilet paper and everything.

The race went off in two waves; I'm not sure if they made the split by time or randomly, but I was in the second wave. :( Ah well; only like five minutes separated us. I took a spot near the front of the corral behind blue fencing, which was walked forward by volunteers when it was our turn, much like runDisney corrals.

I crossed the start line feeling... fine. Okay. Not bad. But - boys, feel free to bow out now if you're squeamish, but know I'm judging you for not being man enough to understand a woman's reproductive system, ya pansy - I was enjoying the very end of my period, and my tampon seemed to be irritating me in a way that made it feel vaguely like I might need to pee. Since I had already peed like four times since I got up, I chalked it up to my body lying to me and spent the rest of the race ignoring it.

How can I describe this course? Well, I could tell you about the first half of the race along the Potomac. Or the next third of the race, an out in back in Rock Creek Park that is largely uphill during the out but blessedly more downhill during the back. Or I could tell you about the next mile or so again along the Potomac that gave me major Marine Corps Marathon deja vu; that tunnel is unmistakable. Or the last bit of the race, which ends just about exactly where the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler ends. But I think one word can sum it up: boring.

Sorry. I was bored. The course arguably excised the least exciting portions of the Marine Corps Marathon. Been there, done that. Repeatedly. At least the whole thing is flattish, although not as flat as I expected. I kept thinking "I should take a picture for the blog" but never did because meh. (Although I'm a little mad at myself for not taking a photo of the backside of the Lincoln Memorial just for the Jungle Cruise joke.)

Spectator populations were also down by comparison to MCM, although the ones who did show up were pretty solid. A large section were of course there to cheer on specific people, but there some rock solid cheer squads as well - I think there was a Run DC group or something like that, and at least one other. A couple water stations had some sign holders; "touch here for power" and all that jazz. Favorite sign of the race: "If Trump can run than so can you!" Fair enough.

Post-race was better than Cherry Blossom, at least, with water bottles and snack boxes distributed. Indeed, you needed a tab detached from your bib to collect your snacks, which ensured everyone got there share. Bananas were also available but there were no sports drinks. Or rather there may have been some, in cups, but...

Okay, let's talk about on-course hydration and fuel. It was provided by some company called Ucan. Their whole thing is providing energy WITHOUT sugar, and they offered two products during the race: a sports drinking and something distressingly referred to as "Superstarch." Both. Are. DISGUSTING. You can make the healthiest sports fuels in the world but if I can't choke 'em down on course they are no good to me. In particular the Superstarch reminded me of nothing more than drinking water mixed with sand. LET ME ROT MY INSIDES WITH POWERADE LIKE DISNEY DOES, DAMMIT. I'M RUNNING HERE.

All in all I knocked the whole thing out in 2:11:17. My PR in the half, achieved in the Parks Half last year, is 2:10:21, so you can see I was just so close. It was a little warm and very humid and I probably wasn't hydrating quite as much as I should, which didn't help me. Still, a decent showing, I think.

I don't usually share race photos because they tend to cost a bajillion dollars while making me look like the most unattractive creature ever to roam the earth, but I think this says more about me and running than this blog as over three years:

You want me. It's cool. No, don't be embarrassed.
I get it. We all do.


And then I went home and sat on the couch and binge-watched the entirety of Hellevator for the rest of the day. The end.

Next up: The National Capital 20 Miler on Sunday. C'mon, redemption run!

P.S. Thank you... Florida.

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, September 21, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 9/21

Whew! Survived my first race of the fall season and didn't even cry once. How's that for good beginnings? (Race recap to come, of course.)

This week: tapering for the National Capital 20 Miler. Last week: tapering for the aforementioned Navy-Air Force Half. Let's roll the tape:

Sunday | rest

Monday | ran 9.01 miles on the treadmill in 1:30
In retrospect I may have pushed this a little too hard for a taper. Thoughts?

Tuesday | walked 2.08 miles outside; 75 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 7.07 miles in 1:15
Realized about halfway through my run that I was wearing the wrong sneakers. These were the most recently retired. Oh well; one more gentle-ish run shouldn't hurt.

Thursday | walked 2.12 miles outside; 75 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 4.38 miles on the treadmill in 50 minutes

Saturday | rest
Walked a bunch, though - to the Metro and back for the NAF Half race expo, although said expo was pretty lackluster. Cramped and hardly any vendors. I did snag myself a hoodie, which is too large as it is designed for men but the women's version was much thinner and I ain't about a less fleece-y life.

So that's that. Roundup time!

- Back at Square Zero schools us all on post-race recovery.
- The Magic of Running knows how to boost running motivation.
- An Open Suitcase shares WDW's official rules.
- The Disney Tourist Blog shares some interesting Disney urban legends. I believed the tattoo one myself.
- easyWDW begins his comprehensive coverage of Epcot's Food & Wine Festival.
- Disney Dork Tom considers your WDW transportation options.
- The Disney Hipsters drink WDW beverages both sacred and profane.
- Mouse on the Mind gets room service on the Disney Dream.
- This Fairytale Life has all the details on Disney's latest mobile game.
- Living A Disney Life makes a super-cute WDW countdown calendar.

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, September 16, 2016

Happy Friday: The Average Piece Of Junk

I recently showed Pat Ratatouille for the first time after he expressed an interest in seeing it. I remembered liking it at the time but it did not rank among my favorite Pixar films. I still wouldn't rate it higher than Wall-E or Up, but upon my recent re-watch I think it may be just the sleeper to challenge Finding Nemo. The laughs aren't as big, no. Yet to my mind, no single moment in Nemo can match Anton Ego's final speech.

A great artist can come from anywhere, indeed.

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, September 15, 2016

In Which Jenn Is Ready To Kick Butt This Race Season

Here's an interesting idea: I think I may be in a position to crush my race season this year.

Okay, maybe crush is too strong. Squash? Cause to buckle? Apply a lot of pressure to? Anyway, I think I'm the best position I've been since my running career began.

I made my summer productive; I got my training in. I hear the Navy-Air Force Half is pretty flat, and after my reasonably good performance in the ZOOMA Annapolis Half O' Hills I almost wonder - is a PR afoot?

And no more lackluster 14 miler to lead into my 20 mile run a la last year! Nope, this time I smoked a 17 miler and am ready to kill this year's National Capital 20 Miler.

That of course leads directly into my performance at the Marine Corps Marathon. The Wine & Dine Half Marathon, with its mere one week of buffer time between, does raise some potential complications, but by that point I'm cruising through a runDisney race and who cares how fast I am, right?

I gotta be careful though. Can't get cocky. Can't get injured. Can't overextend in one race only to blow another. And above all: I cannot sleep through my alarm.

The Navy-Air Force Half is this Sunday, everybody. Wish me luck!


How are you feeling about your race season?

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, September 14, 2016

The Jenn Guide To Running On The Beach

Newsflash, everybody: running on the beach is hard.

I was cavalier, going in. I hear running on the beach is hardER, I thought to myself, but I'm a marathoner - how bad can it be?


Let's back up a moment. I never planned to run on the beach, for a multitude of reasons that will be discussed here. Unfortunately my time in the Outer Banks came right after a large-ish storm blew through, leaving VERY SERIOUS PUDDLES in its wake, which didn't dissipate until the very last day.


Here's the road our house was on.

Clearly I was not going to run on the road unless I wanted to start working on post-swim triathlon transitions. But I was bound and determined to run that week. This left only one option: the beach itself.

I wound up running about two miles four times over the course of the week. It was an experience. I have thoughts. (Although please remember these are the thoughts of an amateur, not a professional trainer!)

THOUGHT: Do NOT plan a long run on the beach if you're not used to it. Running on the sand is tough and engages your body in ways it may not be used to. I know there are people out there who run miles and miles and miles along the coast but I'm pretty sure they had to work their way up to it, y'know? I never felt spent at the end of my runs, but I was tired in new and exciting ways. Speaking of which...

THOUGHT: Do NOT, repeat, do NOT try to run on dry sand. Unless you really relish the ground giving way beneath you. It's not impossible, but it's REALLY REALLY HARD and will make you miserable and maybe even cause you to roll an ankle or something. Or maybe that's just me. Anyway, I found my best bet to be sand that had recently been wet by some of your farther-reaching waves.

THOUGHT: Try to find the flattish stretch of beach possible. The steep inclines common to the shore play unfortunate merry hell on your joints. My skeleton didn't love it when one foot made impact at a higher altitude than the other. That being said, and given that it's hard to avoid some incline, try to work in a halfway turnaround point so that both sides of your body are worked evenly.

THOUGHT: Listen to your body. This is always the case, and as runners we love to ignore it, but this time try to really do it. You're putting yourself through a brand new variation of the same activity which means you mostly know what you're doing but not entirely. The tendency is to be overconfident but fight against that. Be careful. If you feel pain or severe discomfort during your run, stop and walk home. If you feel sore or tight the morning after, take a day off. I know it goes against the proverbial grain but try to do it.

THOUGHT: Sometime a wave might catch you and you'll end up with soaked feet. It's cool; keep going. You're only doing a couple miles, right? When you get back, though, make sure you rinse those bad boys off or you'll wind up with socks o' sand next time you put them on. And give them plenty of time to dry before your next run, for obvious reasons.

THOUGHT: Ocean breezes make a short summer afternoon run actually viable. Depending. Check the weather first.

THOUGHT: WATCH OUT FOR FISHING LINES. And dogs and children and crabs and sand castles and big holes and sharks and the kraken. But mostly the fishing lines.

THOUGHT: Okay. I'll admit it's scenic.

Have you run on the beach? How did you fare?

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, September 13, 2016

The Fairest Week In Review: 9/13

DAMMIT. I had a whole post set up to go out last week explaining that I was in the Outer Banks this week but don't worry, I was DEFINITELY going to run and I'd see you all next week etc. etc. But I forgot that in addition to scheduling a post, you have to hit publish, even though you're not publishing right exactly then, the point of this whole paragraph being: you were supposed to get an explanatory post last week but you didn't because I'm an idiot.

Anyway, here's a picture of the Outer Banks.

Nice, right? You may remember it as the site of Runs That Were Not Great and Runs That Did Not Happen At All. But this time it was the site of not only Many Runs but Runs on the Beach. As you might imagine, I have a LOT to say about that, maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, know I ran two miles FOUR times. On vacation. WINNER!

That takes care of last week. Therefore, in this week's review we will hearken back to the exercise I got the week before last.

Sunday, August 28 | rest

Monday, August 29 | 13.33 miles on the treadmill in 2:15
I can no longer remember why I did this. Tapering for my upcoming 20 miler, I guess.

Tuesday, August 30 | walked 2.1 miles outside in 35 minutes

Wednesday, August 31 | 10.07 miles outside in 1:50; 65 minute ballet class
Pickup ballet class before the start of the new semester. I prefer to stagger my running and dancing where possible, but as I would miss the first week of class in favor of the beach I wanted to get some ballet in there while I could.

Thursday, September 1 | walked 2.07 miles outside in 35 minutes

Friday, September 2 | run 4.52 miles in 45 minutes

Saturday, September 3 | rest

And now for the roundup:

- The Magic of Running talks hydration and replenishment.
- For you multitaskers, Elbowglitter recommends triathlon gear.
- Fairytales & Fitness attends pet safety class. Especially important if you run with your dog!
- Parkeology reveals the truth about Epcot's favorite villain, Stupid Judy.
- easyWDW checks out the Shanghai Disneyland exhibit in Epcot's China.
- This Fairytale Life puts together a week of cute Disney park outfits.
- The Disney Hipsters show off their Last Photos in the Animal Kingdom.
- The Disney Tourist Blog tells it like it is re: living near a Disney park.
- Main Street Gazette is up on ToT/TZ trivia.
- Disney In Your Day knows how to force everyone around you to talk about Disney with you. (Maybe the forcing bit is specific to me...)

Let's never leave each other suddenly again, guys.

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, September 2, 2016

In Which Jenn Reacts To Marine Corps Marathon Changes

A couple nights ago I was driving home from ballet, zoning out to WTOP (local news radio), when I heard it: "changes to the Marine Corps Marathon route."

Naturally my ears perked immediately, and I learned multiple things:

  • It's official: due to the ongoing hardcore track work that's be going on all summer and is scheduled into the fall, the Metro will NOT open early for MCM. This is a bummer but not unexpected; I already knew the Metro wasn't opening early for the Navy-Air Force Half six weeks earlier. I'd hoped MCM would be different but what can you do. We here in the DC area are used to Metro disappointments by now, believe me.
  • By consequence of this, runners will now have a full hour to cross the start line - from 7:55 to 8:55am. (This would've come in handy last year but I hope I don't need it this year!) I assume this to combat the potential traffic snarl that will almost certainly render a lot of runners late.
  • And by consequence of THAT, the course has changed. As many know, you've got to "Beat the Bridge" - make it over the 14th St bridge (around mile 20 in previous years' routes) by a certain time or else get swept as they need to reopen it for traffic. With the extra start time buffer, beating the bridge can be more challenging. Therefore some of the course before the bridge - the Rock Creek Park section - has been cut in favor of more time in Crystal City, which is post-bridge. 
  • This isn't relevant to me personally, but those participating in the 10K will not longer start at the National Mall; indeed, they'll now race entirely within Arlington County, no DC at all. Tough break, guys.

How does this affect me? Well:

  • I'm sad about the Metro not opening early; it's a convenient and cheap way to get to the start line. But it is what it is. I figure I'll catch an Uber around 5am. I'm a high anxiety driver when I don't know exactly what I'm doing and rode closures would make it worse; let someone else figure it out. 
  • The extended start time will hopefully be a non-issue for me if I'm leaving at 5am but I guess it's good to know I can take four times as long to get there and still be in plenty of time. Since I have more time to cross the start I guess I could technically wait for the Metro to open at 7am as usual and take my chances, but HAHAHAHAHAHA NO
  • And hey, if other runners are late, early race crowding could dissipate!
  • I'm actually pretty okay with the course change. Rock Creek Park, while full of lovely forests, is one of the least populated in terms of spectators and has some of the lowest energy. Meanwhile, Crystal City is FULL of people and downtown sights and also you know you're nearing the end of the race so you're like YESSSSS and I just generally kind of love the Crystal City portion of the race, is what I'm saying. Also the bridge is one of the roughest portions of the race for me, and if I'm reaching it sooner I might have the energy reserves to make it less miserable. 
  • The only part that makes me nervous - if I mentally associate Crystal City with Almost Done, but really I have way more race left than I think I do, how will that mess with me? On the other hand, maybe I'll just be tricking my happiness into kicking in early...

Overall, and Metro annoyances aside, I guess I'm all right with these changes. We'll see how they shake out.

You can see the WTOP article that sums up the radio spot here. I'm sure this info is on the MCM site somewhere too but since WTOP told me first they get the nod. Harrumph.

Will you be at the Marine Corps Marathon? How do you feel about these last-minute-ish alterations? Do you want to share an Uber with me?

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, September 1, 2016

In Which Jenn Self-Soothes With WDW Background Music

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I've been in the throes of particularly strong WDW homesickness of late. I said it then and I'll say it now: one of the best ways to cope with this terrible, terrible feeling is in the plundering of YouTube for area background music, perfect for comforting you as you cry your way through a non-Disney work day. I know a lot of people turn to radio stations and such, but I like YouTube for its ability to find me the exact music I need, plus sometimes there are some lovely accompanying videos.

Of course I have all the usual favorites: Magic Kingdom's Main Street U.S.A. background music (hereinafter referred to as BGM), BGM from MK's various lands (shoutout to Tomorrowland for its futuristic covers), the Epcot entrance music, the music from Wishes and IllumiNations and Fantasmic. But I've also been enjoying some slightly more off-the-beaten-path selections. Have you tried...

... Epcot's Innoventions area BGM? You might not be able to place it offhand, but I guarantee with one listen you'll be all, "Oh, yeeeeeah." Indeed, this music is some of the most evocative of being in WDW for me.

... The Studio's Animation Courtyard BGM? I wasn't expecting much of this one. Because I am an idiot. While movie soundtracks aren't quite as parks-exclusive as some other BGM, they are stirring as all hell. A Bug's Life doesn't even come close to numbering among my favorite Pixar offerings but the overture totally gets me. Also, who doesn't need more of Jerry Goldsmith's Mulan score in their life?

... Animal Kingdom's Expedition Everest BGM? If you've got a taste for the exotic, this one's for you. Fascinating Himalayan vocalizations and music characterize this atmospheric score. Should you love Expedition Everest as much as I do - which is really hard but maybe you're up to the task - you've got to give it a go.

... The BRAND NEWEST version of the Magic Kingdom's Main Street BGM? Most videos offer an older version, which is fine, but this one is current as of 2015 and includes such perfect fits as "Ellie's Waltz" from Up. Plus it's got nifty time-lapse visuals to go with it!

Let's all pretend we're not, repeat, not at work. Do you listen to Disney BGM? What are your favorites? I'm always eager to try more obscure park soundtracks! Also, does anyone have a link to the International Gateway BGM? I can't find it anymore.

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!