Monday, February 27, 2017

In Which Jenn Freaks Out About Race Morning Alarms


I skirted the edge of an honest-to-God panic attack the night before the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon.

Not because I was nervous about my performance. Not because I was missing any part of my gear. Not because I was sick or injured.

I was terrified of sleeping through my alarm.

To review: I had three alarms set on my phone. I also set up a wake-up call. But then I worried about sleep-answering it and/or sleeping turning off all the alarms. So I set ANOTHER alarm. Then I tried to add a second wake-up call, but as it turns out the automated system won't let you do that.

I was alone in the room, and there's no one unrelated to your race you can reasonably ask to give you a call at 3am to make sure you're awake. Out of options, I started to get the shakes. My mind was racing. What if I missed the race??? It was Daylight Savings Time clock change night - what if my phone failed to update? What if the wakeup call system failed to update?? I flew ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE and I LOVE these races and what if I slept through all my alarms and missed it and wasted all that money and didn't get to run and and and????

You may recognize all this as Totally Unreasonable Behavior. I know this. But ever since I very nearly slept through the Marine Corps Marathon I've been hyper-paranoid about the possibility. It's bad enough under normal circumstances, when I have Pat or a friend around to sync alarms with and make sure I'm up, but when I fly solo I get really nervous. In this one particular case, heart-poundingly nervous.

I managed to calm myself down enough to get a couple hours sleep and ultimately woke up with my alarm no problem, but I do wonder: does anyone else have this crippling fear? How to you handle it? What extra insurance do you put in place to ensure you get up on time? And does anyone want to be my race morning text message buddy?

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, February 23, 2017

In Which Jenn's Favorite Running Shoe Betrays Her

I was a Brooks Ravenna girl for a long time. I started with the Ravenna 4 and rode it out to the Ravenna 6 with no problems. Each iteration may have had some subtle differences, but for the most part they were unremarkable in that they continued to work fine for my feet.

Then, a little over a year ago, I was fitted for the Nike Vomero 10. It was a switch from a support shoe to a neutral shoe and that took some getting used to, but after a rocky start we found a groove. I've gone through many pairs of 10s now and thoroughly enjoyed the bouncy ride.

Once I've selected a shoe, to save money, I like to stay one model behind. So when the Vomero 12s came out, I knew it was finally time to take a crack at the Vomero 11s. I found a great post-holiday deal and they were mine.

I immediately noticed a difference.

Not saying which is which so that if I'm making up a difference you can tell me.

Look at that heel! It's so thick. Weird! But squeezing it was pleasantly squishy, so I didn't worry about it. Versions are never that far removed from each other, right?

A few weeks post-WDW Marathon I decided to take my new shoes for a test drive. Putting them on was oddly difficult - I had to loosen the laces and then readjust them to get my feet in properly. The toe box felt smaller, too, in that I could actually feel it. What drew me to the Vomero 10 in the first place was its incredibly comfortable box, like it was made just for me. I wasn't loving this.

I took 'em for a test run just the same. They were okay, as it turned out. But the seam of my left sock rubbed a sore on my big toe, something that has never happened in the 10s. And I just didn't have that Cinderella feeling that the shoe was made for my feet.

I've run in them again since then using compression socks instead of regular socks and they worked fine with no rubbing. I got the 11s for a great price and they do work for short runs so I intend to keep them. And who knows, maybe once I get through the break-in period they'll be great. But I've ordered a pair of 10s off eBay for the Rock 'n Roll Marathon in March, because I am NOT taking that chance.

For the future, I know Vomero 10s are going to get harder and harder to come by. I probably need to get fitted again. Maybe the Vomero 12s are awesome? Or something else is. I'll stop by Roadrunner Sports sometime this summer and find out.

Have you ever been betrayed by a new model of your favorite shoe? How did you cope?

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, February 22, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/22

This week in Jenn's training log: I begin to get overconfident.

Sunday | rest
That's not why.

Monday | 12.11 miles on the treadmill in 2:00
There it is. I'm, like, SMACK on goal pace. The goal-est pace. So I'm like, come at me, marathon! I need to keep reminding myself I've been hurt by goals before...

I was going to go to ballet today as well, but I forgot my driver's license at home and that is no way to get on the DC beltway, trust me.

Tuesday | walked 2.08 miles outside in 35 minutes
Skipped ballet in favor of Valentine's Day, which I largely spent watching Pat play Resident Evil 7 because holy guacamole, guys, that game is tightly paced like a horror movie and I love it but I might also die of jump scares. Get you a man who will be your horror video game surrogate, is what I'm saying.

Wednesday | ran 8.06 miles on the treadmill in 1:20
SEE?

Thursday | ran 5.23 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes
Skipped ballet to leave on our ski trip.

Friday | several hours of skiing
Performed in deathly fear of breaking a leg right before my spring races. Also performed in deathly fear. I am just FULL of risk-avoidance. Luckily I was with lovely people who patiently coaxed me down the bunny slope, and by the end I was doing pretty well and having fun. Incidentally, the bunny slope is basically a living episode of America's Funniest Home Videos.

We all fall down.

Saturday | rest

I just want to take a moment to commemorate that fact that I made my FastPass selections this week! If I haven't already mentioned it, I also managed to get a better, fireworks-friendly ADR time for the California Grill. The trip inches closer! :D :D :D

Roundup:

- Through Heather's Looking Glass gives non-runners a jump start.
- Elbowglitter ponders the implications of racing in the Athena class.
- Back at Square Zero handles a DNF with grace.
- Pink Elephant on Parade begins her Dopey 2017 recap.
- The Runner's Guide to WDW attends MK's After Hours event.
- The Disney Tourist Blog offers an excellent breakdown of those WDW gondola rumors.
- Parkeology thinks Steven Tyler is the least of WDW's PC problems.
- A Pinch of Pixie Dust puts WDW's express buses to the test.
- Disney In Your Day reviews Disney Springs' Portobello.
- WDW for Grownups eats American in the parks.

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, February 21, 2017

In Which Jenn Has Questions About Theme Park Grammar


Here's a question that's been plaguing me for years: should you or should you not italicize the names of rides? I've seen it go both ways and I just don't know.

Wikipedia suggests no.
Ditto Yahoo Answers.

Annnnd that's about it, as far as an admittedly shallow Google search went. But I've seen posts and articles italicizing ride names, so I know there are dissenters.

I thought if anything, an official Disney publication would be able to clear things up, but noooo. WDW sent me one of those "your vacation is coming up" booklets, and the style guide vacillates wildly. The theme parks are italicized. Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris are italicized but Festival of the Lion King is not. Okay, so yes to rides, no to shows, you'd think. But then later on Tower of Terror ISN'T italicized, but Fantasmic is. So... what???

As of right now I don't italicize rides, on the principle that a ride is not a movie or a book title; but then again the rules are arbitrary to begin with, and if someone came along with an official style guide answer I'd be in no position to refute it.

Anyone who capitalizes it's a small world, however, is DEAD TO ME.

Well? What do you think?


Well? Should theme park attractions be italicized or no?

Yes!
No!
I have a more nuanced opinion and I'll tell you about it in the comments!
QuizMaker


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, February 15, 2017

In Which Jenn Calls The WDW Resort Reservation System Out On Its Lies

And now for another story of the thought that goes into trip planning - and how the WDW online reservation system is FULL OF LIES.

After two lovely solo trips, I am ready to tour WDW with a buddy again. Lucky for me, my pixie-dusted Disney aura has settled on Pat at least a little, as he has decided he's coming with me for the Star Wars - Dark Side Half Marathon. Hooray!

The first step in successful trip planning is of course your resort reservation. Were it just me, I'd be looking at three days in Pop, as per my current usual. For all his rugged, camping-and-my-Jeep interests, however, Pat is more particular than I am about hotels (maybe it's an architect thing?). We decided on a five day stay, and I brought up some options.

All deluxe resorts were sadly out, as we are not kazillionaires. The Contemporary will have to wait for another time. I did peep at the prices at AKL and Wilderness, and while the costs were more reasonable they were still appreciably higher than the next tier down. I simply had to filter out deluxes. Moderates and values only, please.

Pat expressed a fondness for Port Orleans Riverside, where we stayed last time. Unfortunately, it was listed as unavailable - even without applying the discount code Disney had sent me.

On to the next thing, then. We could stay at Pop, but Pat didn't seem too enthused about the comparatively juvenile "theme." I love Pop and find a lot of the decor very cute but I can totally see where he's coming from in relation to Riverside's exquisitely rendered ambiance.

Caribbean Beach only had pirate rooms available at a completely unnecessary upcharge. Pass.

Coronado Springs was a viable alternative, but it's known to be sprawling. We looked at a map together and counted five widespread bus stops. Pat vetoed on this basis alone, but I think a lot of it had to do with the pictures not looking as pretty as Riverside.

Port Orleans French Quarter was listed as available, but only without applying the discount (stupid POFQ always pulling that nonsense!). The single bus stop was attractive and Pat liked the fact that it was Port Orleans pretty. The boat the Disney Springs is a nice perk, too. The one detriment: the aforementioned lack of discount made it almost twice the cost of Pop.

After debating a little, Pat came down on the side of POFQ, and despite its added costs I was inclined to agree. Rather than make the reservation immediately, though, I decided to call the WDW reservation phone line in case there were annual passholder discounts available. (Note: calling WDW is the only time ever ever ever I will ever choose the phone option over the web option. Please don't call me. Send me a text like a civilized person, sheesh.)

Ooh, and, pro tip: if you can, call the WDW reservation line after 10pm EST. It's open until 11pm and your wait will be much shorter.

Anyway, I wound up talking to a very nice CM who was totally shilling for the Disney Dining Plan. She was like, "Did you have a plan for dining?" And I was like, "Yeah, we'll probably wing it, we don't need a dining plan." And then she was like, "I have added the Deluxe Dining Plan to your package." NICE TRY, LADY.

This is when things start getting weird again. The CM gave me the aforementioned quote at POFQ with the DDP attached, plus I believe the AP discount although we never got far enough to confirm. I said no thanks to the DDP, can you run it again as room only? At which point availability for the room vanished. Odd.

I suppose I could've pushed back on that, but first I figured what the hell, might as well ask. Do you see any availability at Riverside? She checked and THERE WAS. With the AP discount, it was $200 cheaper than POFQ.

So I booked it immediately. Sure, POR has four bus stops, but we didn't run into trouble before so I think it'll be okay. Hell, depending on our room location we could always walk to the POFQ bus stop. I hear good things about Ubering around WDW, too. The Disney Springs boat is available here, and we already know Pat likes the resort's design. We'll have Boatwrights readily available if we want it. And hey, we're each saving $100 over POFQ. Being as how we are not wildly rich, that's helpful.

How weird that POR was listed as unavailable on the website, then. It wasn't unavailable just 'cause of the discount code, and I know this for certain because POFQ specifically called out that it was only bookable with regular rates. And yet over the phone it was mine for the asking.

In conclusion: as I have said before, unless the WDW online reservation system is giving you exactly what you want, don't trust it. Call. Unexpected things happen when you call. Worst case scenario, they say no dice and you book your second choice anyway.

Save us some whiskey, Talon!

Have you experienced any weird discrepancies when booking a Disney trip? Are you going soon? Where are you staying?!

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, February 14, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/14

Happy Valentine's Day! Here's how I'm celebrating.


Anyway. Now that Gene has walked us home we can discuss last week's long run. I'll tell you one thing: you want an empty gym, you go way early the morning after the Super Bowl.

Sunday | rest
We had a couple friends over for the Superb Owl. Still maintain I would much prefer a Superb Owl.

Monday | ran 17.49 miles on the treadmill in 2:55
Perhaps you are thinking: maxing out at 17 miles and change before a marathon? That's IT? What is wrong with you??? But I'm thinking I may be on to something; see this post. Plus I felt strong the whole run, and at the end I was positive I could have totally kept going if I wanted to. That's the key, right? We'll see what happens, but I have a good feeling about this race. Now excuse me while I knock on every wooden object I can see.

Seems about right.

Tuesday | walked 2.75 miles outside in 45 minutes; 70 minute ballet class
It was weirdly nice outside.

Wednesday | ran 7.22 miles on the treadmill in 1:15; walked 2.18 miles in 35 minutes
Normally I don't do my walks and runs on the same day, but it was still pretty nice out and the next couple days were predicted to be cold and terrible. So I doubled up.

Thursday | 70 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.43 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes

Saturday | rest
Went to some friends' engagement party. Brought presents for their dog.

Pat read something on the WDW subreddit about someone getting bumped from Port Orleans (didn't specify which) to the Contemporary. He expressed hope that such a thing might happen to us. I've been laughing for the past three days.

Okay, actually, if such things happen we're in a prime spot for it: we're arriving at the tail end of Easter break. Overbooking is possible. But I'm not holding my breath. Out of curiosity, though, anyone ever have it happen to them? I've heard of people being miraculously in club level but never being punted to the next resort tier.

Right, so, roundup:

- Speaking of Port Orleans, The Disney Tourist Blog is making me feel really good about my upcoming stay at Riverside.
- easyWDW catches a preview of Rivers of Light. Now I'm wondering if I SHOULD get a dining package after all...
- A Pinch of Pixie Dust reviews Epcot's Festival of the Arts.
- The Main Street Gazette draws a line from Jock Lindsey's to the Adventurer's Club.
- Disney In Your Day pairs wine with Disney movies and is definitely invited to my next slumber party.
- This Fairytale Life makes super-cute heart Minnie ears.

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

Monday, February 13, 2017

In Which Jenn Posts About Her Posts


Hey! You know how there are a lot of posts on this blog? Well, sometimes I like to curate them for you. Always assuming of course that your interests align precisely with my theories about your interests.

As such, here's my yearly roundup of the trip reports and race recaps that have graced this blog; I've marked those that are new since last year with an asterisk. Catch up at your leisure.

Here is a comprehensive listing of all my multi-day theme park (mostly Disney!) trip reports so far:

We also have some day trip park reports if you're into that kind of thing:

And since this is also a running blog and people tend to enjoy race recaps, here's a listing of those too:

Have thoughts on what you read? Feel free to comment no matter how old the post - I can assure you I'll see it. And if YOU have a particularly good trip report you'd like to share, let me know; I love those things!

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

Friday, February 10, 2017

In Which Jenn Is Still Overexcited About runDisney Photos

It's trip report time again! I love trip reports! I'm recapping my January 2017 trip to WDW for the marathon. You can see all the posts in this report here. Onward!

I am still an annual passholder.

I still get free photo downloads.

AHAHAHAHA LOOK AT THEM ALL!!!!!

Megalomania with a side of slaphappiness ahoy:











Does anyone else have no idea whether to look at their cell phone camera or the photographer's camera during photo stops?

This concludes my WDW Marathon trip coverage. Thanks for sticking with me - see you for the Dark Side!

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, February 8, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/08

Quiet week before my pre-marathon long run:

Sunday | ran 5.13 miles on the treadmill in 50 minutes
First speed run since before the Marine Corps Marathon, I think. Embarrassing. I need to get back on that.

Monday | ran 6.2 miles on the treadmill in 1:05

Tuesday | walked 2.24 miles outside in 35 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 9.07 miles on the treadmill in 1:30

Thursday | walked 2.14 miles outside in 35 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.51 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes

Saturday | rest

Quiet week generally, too, for the most part. Looking forward to my April FastPass window opening up - gotta snag Pat as many Splash Mountain FPs as I can.


Sorry, this was boring. Maybe the roundup will be more interesting?

- Running, Loving, Living points out that running isn't supposed to be easy.
- Adventures in Familyhood has tips on prepping your family for a runDisney trip.
- Living A Disney Life tries out WDW's new express bus service.
- Finishing up easyWDW's posts reviewing ALL the Festival of the Arts food offerings. This is need-to-know information, people.
- Djambo Everyone remembers the erstwhile Camp Minnie-Mickey.
- Main Street Gazette digs up details on DAK's okapi.
- Parkeology has the dubious "inside scoop" on Avatarland or whatever the hell it's called. Bah humbug.
- A Pinch of Pixie Dust enjoys Frozen Ever After in Norway.
- The Disney Tourist Blog returns to Tokyo Disneyland. They never take me. :(
- On the Go in MCO scopes out Disney's influence in NYC.

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, February 7, 2017

In Which Jenn Makes Her First-Ever Flower & Garden Festival To-Eat List

The Epcot Flower & Garden Festival food booth menus have been released AND - for the first time - I will be there to sample them.

Oh, yes. Yes I will. You see, Epcot has Evening Extra Magic Hours the night after the Dark Side Half. I have PLANS. Do they involve taking a nap? Probably not. Do they involve riding Frozen Ever After while slightly drunk? I am not prepared to rule that out at this time.

Anything to spice up this photo op. Yawn.

What I can tell you is that they definitely involve the following foods:


BoothItemNotes
Northern BloomNaomi Bar TrifleDid they mean Nanaimo? Regardless: TRIFLE.
La Isla FrescaFlanChoco
Cider HousePotato & Cheddar Cheese BiscuitIt has smoked salmon. SOLD.
Cider HouseLemon Scone
Cider HouseBlack Cherry CiderOr if I'm lucky there's a flight
Jardin de FiestasTres Leches
BauernmarktPotato PancakesNot sure which kind. Both?!
BauernmarktRoasted Bratwurst with Curry Ketchup
BauernmarktWarm Cheese Strudel with Mixed BerriesUnless blueberries are included in a non-removable way.
BauernmarktHugo-Charles De Fere BrutWith elderflower and mint...?
Primavera KitchenStrawberry Tiramisu
The SmokehouseWarm Chocolate Cake
The SmokehouseShipyard Maple Bacon StoutI LOVED their Milk Stout from F&W, so. Maybe I'll get the beer flight, even.
Taste of MarrakeshDesert Rose
Fleur de LysMacaron Chocolat Framboise

Plus whatever Pat wants, I guess. I respect his autonomy.

I assembled this list cross-referencing with easyWDW's reviews of last year's festival, which includes many of the same items. Highly recommended if you want some more in depth analysis.

Will you be at F&G? What are you planning to eat?! Did you go before? What am I missing?!

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, February 3, 2017

Happy Friday: I'm Especially Good At Expectorating

In case anyone out there wants to get political but also stay on topic.


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, February 1, 2017

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Epcot's Brioche Ice Cream Sandwich Review

It's trip report time again! I love trip reports! I'm recapping my January 2017 trip to WDW for the marathon. You can see all the posts in this report here. Onward!

My history with the brioche ice cream sandwich is lengthy. Since its premiere a few years ago in Epcot's France pavilion, I have wanted it. It even appears on my WDW to-eat list from April of 2014. That's how far back this goes.

And yet somehow, in the FIVE trips I took between then and November 2016, I had never managed to take that first bite. Often it was because I was far too busy enjoying the ephemeral delights of the Food & Wine Festival. Occasionally I just plain wasn't feeling it at the time - insufficient hunger, or too much of a chill in the air for ice cream.

So we passed and passed, as those proverbial ships in the night.

I feared it would happen again this past trip, despite my determination to eat it once and for all, as the weather was decidedly nippy. But things warmed up the final day, and I was hungry. The time had come.

If you read my trip report for the day, you already know I specifically did an Epcot drive-by to make this my lunch. I walked into the store and paused inside the archway to read the flavor assortment, narrowing my selections to two.

There was no line whatsoever, and when the CM asked for my order we had the following exchange:
ME: I'd like a brioche ice cream sandwich, please. Would you recommend the salted caramel or -
CM: Yes.
He was so emphatic about the salted caramel that I didn't even bother to ask about other alternatives. I accepted his verdict with chocolate sauce and headed down to the pickup area.

The ice cream tubs and brioche press are right there, and I was able to watch the CM make my treat, scooping up a ball of ice cream, placing it in the brioche bun, pouring chocolate sauce over top, and squishing the whole thing together in the press. The buns congealed at the edges, with little curls of the chocolate peeking out.



It wasn't the most photogenic food item I'd ever eaten, but it's of course the taste that counts. My verdict? Totally worth it. The brioche is just sweet enough, with a soft, yielding chew, and the heat of the press melts the chocolate syrup into the soft innards to make crackling chocolate marbling.

The weak point was, surprisingly, the ice cream. For all that the CM was super into salted caramel, I found the flavor weak against the strength of the chocolate. It's probably delightfully delicate alone, but I think the brioche ice cream sandwich requires a strong flavor to stand up to its competition. I'll have to try a different combination next time.

Have you had a brioche ice cream sandwich? What did you think?

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!