Thursday, August 31, 2017

In Which Jenn Is Running The Baltimore Marathon


Surprise! I'm running the Baltimore Marathon!

Maybe it's not that surprising, given that it showed up among the possibilities when I wrote a post about which fall marathon to choose. But it might not have been my first choice - if I hadn't tripped and fallen into a bib.

My friend Sarah is also a runner with multiple marathons to her name. Last year she signed up for the Baltimore Marathon but was forced to defer. This year (why? Don't ask me) she signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon too, based on the assumption that, like last year, they would be on different weekends. Well, they are not. So she was sitting on two bibs when she only needed one.

Enter me, a person who has been mostly building her race schedule up as she goes along. "Which one don't you want?" I told her. "I can take it off your hands if you like!"

And that, friends, is how I wound up with a Baltimore Marathon bib.

It's a more challenging course than Marine Corps; or, to words the used in the website course description, it is "challenging but fair." Which I guess means it's got hills but not, like, Big Sur level of hills? It also promises a Heartbreak Hill-esque portion BUT ALSO the last five miles are allegedly downhill. Downhill! Not just straight - DOWNHILL. So already we're in better shape than Rock 'n Roll DC.

Bonus, I get to run through Camden Yards! Go Os!!! (Also it ends at Ravens Stadium, but, like, yawn.)

It'll be a convenient race for me, too, since my parents live just outside Baltimore and I can crash with them for ease of commute. Uber-ing in FTW.

I can't claim not to be a bit apprehensive about taking on a brand new course, but hey, I can do it, right? Right??? ANSWER ME.

Now for a 15 miler, a 17 miler, a 20 miler, new sneakers, fuel... Marathon #8, here we come.

Right???????????

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 8/30

Hey guys! I had an amazing long weekend at the wedding of a couple friends, and it was glorious even if I did let my face get a little sunburnt and I didn't get any running done at all. It's cool, though, because I prepared with a frontloaded training schedule. Look, I can prove it!

Sunday | ran 10.17 miles outside in 1:50

Monday | walked 2.19 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute workout class

Tuesday | ran 7.33 miles outside in 1:20

Wednesday | walked 2.3 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute workout class

Thursday | ran 7.33 miles outside in 1:20

Friday | rest
Wedding weekend shenanigans!

Saturday | rest
Actual wedding shenanigans!

In WDW trip planning news, you are no doubt aware that Disney recently announced more narrators for the Candlelight Processional, including the dates my mom and I will be there. It's... Whoopi Goldberg again! Who you may recall my mom LOOOOVED as narrator last time. I asked her if she wanted to see it again and got a resounding "Let's do it!"

This means we need a CP dining package, because I don't fancy sinking an hour or three into waiting in the standby line. But now I have a bit of a conundrum.

On the day we can see CP, we also have a 4:30pm reservation for the Behind the Seeds tour. All the dining package lunch ADRs come with a ticket to the 5pm CP, so that won't work - but none of the dinner ADRs are later than 5:30pm. Even if I take a later ADR, I need to change my BtS tour time... but if I'm doing that, I could just as easily also maneuver the schedule so that we can a late morning BtS tour, lunch, and then the 5pm CP... and any way I slice it, I'm looking at one hell of a jam-packed day, so maybe we should do BtS on our Epcot morning instead...?

I dunno. I'm still working through it. Meanwhile I grabbed a dinner dining package ADR for safety. At least WDW planning problems are my favorite kinds of problems!

Anyway, GUINAN.

And blog roundups are my favorite kind of roundup:

- The Runner's Guide to WDW walks us through runDisney costume creation.
- Disney In Your Day recaps D23's Lion King panel.
- This Fairy Tale Life takes us inside Disneyland's exclusive Club 33.
- Parkeology rides it's a small world eclipse-style.
- The Main Street Gazette has the jump on Epcot Food & Wine Festival recommendations.
- easyWDW eats at Boma and I am jealous.
- WDW for Grownups eats at Be Our Guest and I am not too jealous because I have an ADR for December!
- Disney Nerds checks out the (non-alcoholic) bars of Disneyland.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

In Which Jenn Secures All Her Belongings Inside The Ride Vehicle EVERY TIME

(Source)

Say what you will about Dinoland USA, but I have an unabashed love of its flagship ride: Dinosaur. Equal parts intense and absurd, scary and silly, it's a great example of a non-coaster, dark ride/thrill ride hybrid.

After many years and many trips to the past, I can now make it all the way through the ride without shutting my eyes once (I said it was kinda scary!). My one remaining fear? That all my stuff is very carefully stowed in the pocket in front of me. Travel back with me to the much less distant past: 2009.

I was at WDW with a grad school friend - for safety, I'll just call her D - and her two younger sisters, here referred to as B and S (because those are their initials; no subtle commentary here!). We rode Dinosaur. We loved Dinosaur. We left the park for the Magic Kingdom. We went to get a snack at the dearly departed Main Street Bakery. While we ate, we checked our phones, of course, because we are millennial degenerates. Only... B's phone was gone.

How was this possible? She knew she'd put it in her bag, in the side pocket. That was before Dinosaur. But she didn't recall ever checking for it after...

B hadn't put her bag in the ride vehicle's pocket - I think because it didn't quite fit? I'm not sure. She held the strap the whole time and it was fine. But despite the phone being stored in a pocket, it became apparent that the crazy jostling of the time rover had bounced her phone right out of her bag and, presumably, onto the show floor. Her phone was now chilling in the late Cretaceous period.

We immediately went to guest services, where B filled out a lost and found sheet. We were told that there was a nightly sweep of all ride areas, and if her phone was there, it would be located then. In the meantime, we could only wait.

Here's where the magic of Disney kicks in: the very next morning, we got a call that B's phone had been retrieved from Dinosaur! A quick swing by central lost and found and they were reunited.

So all's well that ends well. But it was a stressful experience all the same. And an educational one - you really can't be too careful when it comes to stowing your belongings! Even pockets, without zippers or similar closures, can't be trusted. That's true of all rides, of course, but Dinosaur, with its incessant bouncing and open cars, now makes me extra paranoid.

Maybe next time I can tell you about that time I left my phone in an orange team Mission: Space capsule...

Have you ever lost anything important at a Disney park? Did you get it back?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 8/23

Ummmmmmm... hold on. Did anything interesting happen to me last week? Somebody tell me.


Training log, you got anything?

Sunday | ran 11.14 miles outside in 2:00

Monday | 2.14 mile walk outside in 35 minutes; 50 minute modern dance class

Tuesday | ran 5.68 miles outside in 60 minutes

Wednesday | walked 2.18 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute workout class
Nobody showed up for hip hop dance class except me, so the teacher and I just said the hell with it and did an, I don't know, "body pump" kinda workout thing. Good for my arms and abs so I was down for it.

Thursday | ran 5.65 miles outside in 35 minutes

Friday | ran 5.6 miles outside in 60 minutes
SO HUMID, GUYS. (It's kind of a thing lately and I'm not into it.)

Saturday | rest

When I first started running seriously, I was doing three 10 mile runs a week because I had lots of time and beginner's enthusiasm. Once that was revealed for the insanity that it clearly is (enter: overuse injuries, serious boyfriend, generally doing things that aren't running, did I mention overuse injuries?) I modified that schedule to two 10 milers and a 5 miler. Once I transitioned to doing most of my runs in the morning before work, I've gone from two long runs and a short to one long run and three short in the average week. Honestly I think it's one of the smarter moves I've made - so far the injuries are at a minimum and I feel pretty good about my training. We'll see how it all shakes out as the fall race season hits.

Hey, you know that conference I usually go to every summer? I run the 5K? I went to Universal that one time? Well, I wasn't able to go this year, but NEXT year it's... wait for it... IN ORLANDO again. Not only is it in Orlando, IT'S IN THE SWOLPHIN. Oh my God, guys... I could be a Crescent Lake snob. It's a whole year away so there are no guarantees, but man that would be awesome.

Speaking of awesome, enjoy this roundup.

- Elbowglitter volunteers at a triathlon.
- Darling Rae preaches the gospel of CrossFit for runners. I'm not a joiner, but it definitely proves I really need to up my cross-training game...
- Inside the Magic highlights my ABSOLUTELY ALL TIME FAVORITE Disney cartoons - Goofy's instructional shorts.
- Parkeology shares one last secret from the dearly departed Great Movie Ride.
- easyWDW reviews Epcot's Spice Road Table. Trying to decide if I want to take my mom there in December...
- Disney In Your Day counts down WDW's top 10 counter service restaurants.
- This Fairy Tale Life shares what goes down in a Disneyland wedding brunch tasting.
- Disney Nerds eats the famous Monte Cristo sandwich at Disneyland's Cafe Orleans. I can't believe I didn't do this. Next time!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

In Which Elizabeth Is Running Her First 10K Ever

You guys remember Elizabeth, right? I have dragged her along on several WDW trips. She is such an excellent travel companion that I am slowly grooming her for the cult of runDisney.

Kidding! Kidding. She makes her own decisions. Totally autonomous. And I'm sure my nagging and cajoling and promising to run with her had NO impact on her decision to sign up for her very first 10K in November - the Across the Bay 10K on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

She'd never classify herself as a runner, but I'd say that by now she's done enough 5Ks to claim the title if she wants it. She can absolutely tackle the 10K distance as long as she puts in the training. It's gonna be awesome!

I think a lot of us have been running distance races for so long that we've forgotten what it's like to be taking our first tentative steps into the race world, so I made asked Elizabeth to shoot me her thoughts on signing up for her first 10K ever. She even provided illustrations!
I am torn between my dislike of long-distance running and my affection for the Bay Bridge, which is apparently the scariest bridge in the country to drive over, but that only makes me love it more.  I figure 10K can't be THAT much harder than 5, right? And those views! Anyway, the Across the Bay 10K seemed like the least-objectionable way for me to try my hand (foot?) at something a little more challenging, and Annapolis is a pretty fun area for doing some practice runs, assuming I don't trip on the bricks.  Hopefully I won't embarrass myself too badly come November. If nothing else, I'll end up with a good "that time I freaked out trying to run over the bridge and had to be carried off" story.  :)
Both of these together probably sum up my conflicted feelings: 


Do you remember your first long distance race? Have you ever dragged a friend into the running community?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, August 21, 2017

In Which There Was Blood On The Saddle

So there I am, minding my own business at my parents' house. Am I there because in the morning my dad is going to drive me to the airport so I can go to Walt Disney World? I don't remember. Probably. Statistically likely.

Anyway, I come out of the bathroom next to the computer room and: there it is. I'm briefly uncertain. Is it...? It totally is. I grab it and bring it to my dad. "Do you know who this is???" I demand.

"Sure," he replies immediately. "That's Big Al from The Country Bear Jamboree. Your grandfather loved him!"


Guys. There is a Big Al piggy bank chilling in my parents' house. That my grandfather bought in WDW! The Country Bears are my family legacy! Who knew? Well, my dad, obviously, so maybe the question is more why didn't he tell me???

I get the idea this item was pretty common - a brief internet search yields the same model for $20 to $30. I'm guessing it's from the '80s but I'm not sure.

On a related note, this car is always parked at the gas station near my ballet studio:


I guess you could say Al and I frequent the same places.

Ever found any random Disney merch in an unexpected place?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

In Which Jenn Selects New Running Shoes (Small Giveaway!)


Hey, remember that time I went to Road Runner Sports for a shoe fitting and walked out of the store with the Nike Vomero 10? And remember how I wasn't sure it was the right shoe for me after awhile? And then remember how I ended up loving it and using it anyway?

And then remember how Nike ruined everything by changing the Vomero 11 so much that it didn't feel like my shoe anymore? :( :( :(

When your favorite running shoe betrays you, there is only one cure: a new fitting. In that spirit, I used my half-day off last week to head back to that same Road Runner Sports for a new go-round with their Shoe Dog fitting system.

The Shoe Dog process starts with a fitter asking you some questions about your goals, mileage, injuries, etc., and measures you feet. After that you run on a treadmill while a video records your steps (one thing that was different - last time they had me do it barefoot, whereas this time they put me in some neutral, basic sneakers).

A weird thing happened: after watching the video, my fitter declared that I had mildly flexible ankles and needed a support shoe. Last time my fitter declared that while I had some very slight flexibility in one ankle I was definitely neutral and he would never put me in a support shoe. So shoe fitting is not an exact science, I guess...

Anyway, with my new diagnosis in hand I headed over to the try-on area, where some employees brought me a bunch of shoes to try. There were several treadmills available, and I was left to pop a pair on and give a bit of running a try largely unsupervised (it was pretty busy and I guess I looked like I knew what I was doing?).


First up were some New Balances; I'm not sure what model as I couldn't seem to locate that info on the box. Not that it mattered because the second I hit the treadmill I haaaaaaated them - they were so loud and clunky and stompy! I felt like a Clydesdale and not in a good, majestic way. Just a loud, clunky, stompy way. Instant pass.

Next I tried some Asics Gel Kayanos. I liked these well enough and found the gel interesting underneath my toes, so I stuck them in the maybe pile. One annoying thing, though: there was a tag attached to the laces, something informational about the gel, I think, and I was constantly afraid I would trip on it as I ran. Knock that off, Asics!

I also took shots at the Brooks Adrenaline and Adidas Boost Supernova, but neither of them really registered with me. I didn't feel blind hatred a la the New Balances - I even gave the Adrenaline a second chance - but they both ultimately went into the no pile.

One thing I remember distinctly when selecting the Nike Zoom Vomero 10s was the beautiful fit. I specifically recall pulling them onto my feet and feeling Cinderella-esque comfort. I hadn't been brought any Nikes, but I wanted to know if they could pull it off again.

I was initially brought a pair of Nike Odysseys, and they looked like the winner for awhile - essentially the structured version of the Vomero. But there was something slightly off. The fit wasn't flawless; I felt my foot inside the shoe, if that makes any sense. I had accepted this in shoe fittings in the past, but after my transcendent Vomero 10 experience I was reluctant to do so again.


So I requested any other structured Nikes with medium-high cushioning they had - and when I slipped on the Lunarglides, I knew I'd found the one. It was that same incredible feeling of the shoe kind of... existing around my foot, you know? Bonus: they were $30 cheaper than the Odysseys and super cute. Score!


Did I make the right call? That remains to be seen. I learned from the Vomeros that sometimes you have to give your body time to adjust to change (I'm a slow learner). I've taken the Lunarglides on a couple runs now, and so far so good. Further updates as events warrant!

Mini-contest of sorts! My receipt came with a one-time-use $20 off coupon to Road Runner for a friend. Should work online, not just in store. (Sadly it's for new customers only.) I'd be happy to give this away to anyone that wants it. If that includes you, reply to this post by noon Monday. If only one person replies, great! It's yours. If multiple people want it, I'll assign numbers and randomly pick a winner. And if no one responds by the deadline, the first person to ask for it gets it regardless of time lapse so long as the coupon hasn't expired (September 30). Good luck!

Cannot be used on Nike's latest release, the Ruffian (runs large).

When was the last time you had a sneaker fitting? What criteria do you use to make your selections?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 8/15

As of Friday, I am an innovator. Let's look at the logs:

Sunday | ran 12.11 miles on the treadmill in 2:00
My first experience at Planet Fitness! I'll be doing a full review at some point in the next couple weeks; needless to say it was a touching treadmill reunion.

Monday | walked 2.19 miles in 40 minutes; 50 minute Horton jazz dance class
It was raining, but no worries - I brought my amazing bubble umbrella. Unfortunately, I discovered that it is extremely difficult to keep up a brisk walking pace when your feet are slip-sliding around in wet rubber flip flops.

Tuesday | ran 5.64 miles outside in 60 minutes

Wednesday | ran 5.63 miles outside in 60 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.15 miles in 35 minutes; 80 minute ballet class
My ballet teacher played Broadway music for our exercises for some reason and it was the BEST CLASS EVER. Judy Garland and Gene Kelly and everything!

This is what I see when I close my eyes to sleep.

Friday | ran 5.14 miles on the treadmill in 50 minutes
Back to Planet Fitness and the glorious treadmill for a speed run in brand new sneakers! More on my sneaker fitting later this week.

Now for my innovation: I discovered after my post-workout shower that despite my otherwise impeccable packing job, I had thoroughly failed to stash myself any kind of bottoms - no shorts, no pants, no skirt. Nothin.' The most obvious answer would be to put my running pants back on, but I was clean and they were all sweaty and gross. Nooo thank you.

Yes, I was suffering from a lack of pants, but what I did have was the extra t-shirt I brought to dry my hair. I can't remember if it was a medium or a large, but whatever the case, I managed to shimmy the collar over my shoulders and down around my waist, where it sat very comfortably. I tucked in the sleeves, pulled my (mercifully long) regular, torso-covering shirt down over it, and BAM: I was wearing a skirt. And no underwear, but whatevs. Problem solved!

I'd hate to be the one to have to follow that magnificent story. Which brings me to the roundup.

- Tragedy has wrung the tears out of the Disney blogosphere as both Universe of Energy and The Great Movie Ride are closed for good as of today. The Disney Tourist Blog, The Disney Hipsters, futureprobe, and Disney Travel Babble all join me in mourning the sad goodbye to Ellen and Bill Nye...
- ... and The Disney Tourist Blog (twofer!), Zannaland, Parkeology, and Rolling with the Magic wave fond farewell to The Great Movie Ride.
- easyWDW tries out the latest iteration of the IllumiNations dessert party, an experience we can be reasonably sure will never go away so long as Disney finds us willing to lay down large sums of money for unlimited cupcakes.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, August 14, 2017

In Which Jenn Notes Something Odd About "Jolly Holiday"

A truly great animated film transcends age, appealing to audiences of all ages. Of course, sometimes there are jokes aimed squarely adults that fly merrily over the kids' heads, often sexual, political, or otherwise sly. When we go back and re-view the films of our childhoods, it's not uncommon to have a couple OHHHHH moments.

Patty-cake?!

Here's my favorite: in Mary Poppins, there's an entire verse of the "Jolly Holiday" song dedicated to the fact that unlike many men, you can totally trust Bert not to rape you.


Let's break it down.

Mary Poppins sings:

Oh, it's a jolly holiday with you, Bert
Gentlemen like you are few [BERT: A vanishing breed, that's me]
Though you're just a diamond in the rough, Bert
Underneath your blood is blue [BERT: Common knowledge!]

Okay, MPopps, with you so far: you're saying Bert is a blue collar worker with a genteel soul. Do go on.

You'd never think of pressing your advantage
Forbearance is the hallmark of your creed [BERT: True]

So, like, Bert's #1 rule is not to hit on girls? Okay, that's fair. What else?

A lady needn't fear when you are near
Your sweet gentility is crystal clear

A lady needn't fear? And this is a vanishing breed? What the hell are the men in Edwardian England like?

It's cool though, ladies; you can be sure Bert won't sexually assault you. What a guy.

(Actually, I know why they did this - P.L. Travers insisted that there be no sexual or romantic tension between Mary Poppins and Bert,* and I guess this verse was drawing the explicit line. But geez, guys. Subtle much?)

* Julie Andrews is on record as saying that she hopes the two got together all the same. Also she assures us that Mary Poppins both uses the bathroom and has orgasms. God, I love her.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

In Which Jenn Has A Favorite Pre-runDisney Meal

I have a runDisney suggestion for you. It's not that exciting. You are not going to be jazzed about it. But you have to trust me.

Articles abound about the best place to carb-load pre-runDisney race. Pasta places and pizza places are the favorites - Via Napoli, Tony's, restaurants with flatbreads and noodle dishes. If you don't want to have a sit-down meal, a lot of resorts have make-your-own-pasta stations.

Well, sit-down restaurants can be expensive and time-consuming. It may be tough to get the ADR you want. And I can tell you from experience that the lines for those resort pasta stations the night before a race are loooooong.

I would like to offer a different solution. It is multi-pronged. It is available at just about every resort. It is about as cheap as Disney gets. It is: The Pasta Kid's Meal.


Clocking in at the time of this writing around $6, the pasta kid's meal nets you a bowl of pasta with the sauce of your choice (and sometimes a meatball if you want one and your resort offers that option, as I find only some do), two sides, and a small drink. Some CMs will even throw in a breadstick for free, although some count this as a side.

I am not going to lie to you. This pasta with sauce is, to be frank, not delicious. It's extremely bland. It's kids' food; it's designed to be bland. I'm not talking about a taste sensation here. I'm talking food that will carb you up good WITHOUT MESSING WITH YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. Very important, that last bit. And the kid-size bowl is built in portion-control; no risk of overeating pre-race.

But that's not the only advantage of this meal. It multi-tasks! Your $6 meal comes with a small drink. Choose the mini bottle of water. Buy an additional bottle of PowerAde for tonight and drink that mini bottle in the morning before your race.

You also earn two sides. These could be grapes or apples or carrots or cookies, depending on location. I always get two cookies. I eat one with my pasta and save the other for first thing in the morning while prepping for the race. It's delicious and small enough that even when I'm not hungry yet, I don't have trouble downing it, thus sending me into the race with a shot of carbs and sugar. Energy ahoy!

Am I describing an amazing meal? God, no. But I've used this strategy three races in a row and felt great for all three of 'em - energized and sated without feeling heavy. Give it a try!

What's your favorite pre-runDisney meal?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 8/09

Man, I am a dedicated runner. Skip to Saturday of this week's training log to plunge into the depths of my devotion.

Sunday | ran 10.27 miles outside in 1:50

Monday | walked 2.15 miles outside; 50 minute Horton jazz dance class

Tuesday | ran 5.58 miles outside in 60 minutes

Wednesday | walked 2.06 miles outside in 35 minutes

Thursday | ran 5.57 miles outside in 60 minutes

Friday | ran 5.56 miles outside in 60 minutes

Saturday | rest, although I walked a lot
Okay, here's where I prove that I am a Serious Runner. I attended a bachelorette party on Saturday. Naturally this involved a fair amount of alcohol, and I did not abstain. BUT. I knew I wanted to go for a long run the next day. I managed to stop drinking early and start hydrating instead; I pounded water, skipped the 3am pizza, and chose a carb- and protein-rich breakfast the next morning. In fact, I did such a spectacular job of pacing myself and listening to my body that you could argue I didn't properly enter into the spirit of the thing...


ALSO. This isn't related but I have to share in case anyone can relate to the struggle and the incredible rarity of triumph: I was meeting the rest of the party in Georgetown and they were late, so I killed some time with a bit of browsing at Zara. Where I found JEANS... that LOOK GOOD... that at the same time ARE COMFORTABLE... ON SALE. So basically I've used up my miracle for the year.

In Disney news, Be Our Guest breakfast ADRs are a tough get. I have an 8am reservation for the designated morning in my back pocket but I'd really prefer something later and weeks of trying have come up empty. There're still many months to try but damn.

Anyway, roundup:

- Elbowglitter avoids training injuries.
- WDW for Grownups reiterations the important of running fuel and hydration.
- easyWDW reviews the new refurbished rooms at Pop Century and WOW.
- A Pinch of Pixie Dust reviews those adorable Frozen cupcakes from Kringla Bakery.
- Living A Disney Life warns everyone off the Peoplemover. (MINE!!)
- The Disney Tourist Blog considers the implications of all the construction going on at WDW.
- Disney In Your Day puts together a WDW girls trip.
- You know Disney Travel Babble will give you an honest review of Disneyland's new MaxPass thing.
- Parkeology offers a survival guide for the inevitable closing of attractions. (All attractions must die.)
- The Main Street Gazette daydreams a new life for River Country.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Monday, August 7, 2017

In Which Jenn & Pat Are Done With Port Orleans Riverside

The trip report proper is over, but we're not done yet - I've still got lots of thoughts, including food reviews and photos! You can see all the posts in this report here. Onward!


Pat and I have now stayed at Port Orleans Riverside twice. We are unlikely to do so again.

Oh, I'm being histrionic - but the gist is accurate. Having considered our experience at POR and compared it to alternatives, we have come to the conclusion that it is not the resort for us. Indeed, almost all moderates are not good fits. (Click here to find out how we decided to stay at POR in the first place.)

The primary reason is the bus situation. There is, of course, the issue of multiple bus stops, which we don't love, but that's not the main issue. The biggest problem is the crowding. As far as we can tell, 50% of everyone at WDW is staying at POR at any given time, and 30% of them are waiting for a bus.

Histrionics again. But seriously, this resort holds a lot of people. At one point a bus driver used the intercom to make this precise point to us, urging us to linger in the Magic Kingdom after closing time to avoid massive bus lines. And we did find massive bus lines, at pretty much all times of day.

So there's that. On a related note, there's the food court. This is also crowded - duh. They generally are. But as I noted in my food review, POR seems to handle the crowds poorly. Unlike, say, Pop, where corrals and clearly marked and separated bays keep lines in place, POR's food court is a badly organized free-for-all.

One nice perk often noted about POR is the on-site table service restaurant, Boatwright's. But having dined there twice now, we find it to be mediocre at best. We would just as soon hightail it over to Disney Springs and go restaurant hopping if we want to eat outside the parks.

Just okay - although points for the cornbread.

These are all nitpicks, mostly, not vacation ruining problems. We had a lovely time at POR, but considering that it cost us almost twice as much to stay there over a room at a value resort, we find the upgrades don't warrant the cost increase. I understand that Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs are similarly sized and crowded (I'll - sigh - find out soon enough). The only possible exception is Port Orleans French Quarter, which, with its small size and single bus stop, would eliminate a lot of the above annoyances.

But I find it far more likely than on our next trip we will swing one of two ways: be cheap and stay at Pop, or go all out and splurge on the Polynesian, which Pat unexpectedly fell in love with on our visit to Trader Sam's (sorry, Contemporary, you've been demoted to #2 on his favorites list).

This ends my April 2017 trip coverage. Boo. (Nothing like finishing on a negative note.) Thanks to all for reading - I always enjoy dissecting my WDW trips! Guess it's time to start pestering Pat to go again...

Have you stayed at POR? What do you think of moderate resorts? Are they worth it to you?

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Happy Friday: Mulan's Surprisingly Into Herself

I think the point of this post is supposed to be that Mulan can be unexpectedly narcissistic, or Disney fans are really good at lyrical crossovers, or something? But my only immediate takeaway was that there is a Mulan character breakfast somewhere out there and I need to find out where immediately.



(Turns out she's part of the new Trattoria al Forno bon voyage breakfast or whatever it's called, which, meh. But I'll keep it in mind.)

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

In Which Jenn Ponders Race Throwaway Clothes


I have an idea. I don't know if it's a feasible idea or even a necessary idea, but I figured I'd do a little spitballing here, see what people thought. So:

People often have to get up early in the morning for races. Temperatures tend to be colder then. Even if no great temperature shift is expected, people run hot but stand still cold. This is why these same people bring throwaway top layers for before the race - sweatshirts, jackets, etc.

However, sometimes the temperature throws you a curveball and is a lot colder than you expected (see: the last two marathons I ran). At that point you're not looking at picking up a cheap hoodie to stave off the chill - now you'd be best served with a heavy duty fleece or legit jacket. These are harder to come by at throwaway prices. 

Sometimes you're not even in a position to readily make a practical purchase - for example, when the WDW Half Marathon got cancelled, some runners made the switch to the marathon the next day, and temperatures were much colder. Unless you want to throw down money for a last-minute cab ride or something, it's gonna be tough to grab what you need at any price. I saw locals on Facebook offering to swing by resorts and bring donated clothing, and that's awesome, but hardly efficient.

Which brings me to my idea: what if expos included a booth where people could drop off/pick up throwaway top layers they didn't need? Hoodies, sweatpants, jackets even; hats and gloves and things, too. If you had extras, you could drop some off; if you need something, come grab it! Leftovers, like the items tossed on-course, would be donated or recycled. It could even be something like a Goodwill or thrift store outpost.

Or hell, forget the booth - it could just be a series of bins that people could riffle through and add to as well. I mean, that'd probably be messy, but it'd be easy...

Obviously there are lots of factors to consider here - need, staffing, exhibition space costs, etc. But I figured I'd throw this out there first, see what the reaction was. Is anything like this already happening at a race near you? Do you think it's worth doing? Let me know!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 8/01

Well, I did it, kids - I signed up for a new gym. It's a little farther from home than I'd like, but it could hardly be any cheaper, so... call it a wash?

I've only joined so far, though - no uses yet, since the weather was cooperative last week. Dare I suggest that I've become an outdoor runner? Blasphemy! Let's check the logs:

Sunday | ran 9.23 miles on Assateague Island in 1:35
A tale of ponies, trails, and bug bites. Ah, memories.

Monday | walked 2.12 miles in 35 minutes; 50 minute Horton jazz dance class

Tuesday | ran 7.04 miles outside in 1:15

Wednesday | walked 2.37 miles in 40 minutes; 40 minute hip hop dance class
I would've hipped (and hopped, presumably) longer, but the apocalyptic hellscape that is the capital beltway during a particularly heinous rush hour made me late. CURSE YOU, DC.

Thursday | ran 5.68 miles outside in 60 minutes

Friday | ran 5.59 miles outside in 60 minutes

Saturday | rest
Dropped my phone in the toilet and both it and I lived to tell the tale. Let that give hope to the similarly beleaguered (AND TURN THAT SUCKER OFF IMMEDIATELY).

Anyway. More on my new gym experience in a later post, once I've, y'know, actually experienced it.

Yeah, seems likely.

Roundup, take us out.

- Half Crazy Mama offers some marathon don'ts.
- The Magic of Running points out that running with headphones ain't all bad.
- Crazy excited for your first runDisney race? Duh. The Runner's Guide to WDW knows how to tame that nervous energy.
- Jambo Everyone reveals that DAK will soon welcome tiger cubs!!!
- Speaking of DAK, The Main Street Gazette enjoys the Wild Africa Trek.
- Disney In Your Day enjoys an evening perusing WDW's BoardWalk area.
- This Fairytale Life has the scoop on Lularoe's latest Disney designs.
- For those who are carting kids around WDW, Adventures in Familyhood knows how to find a sitter or similar on property.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!