Monday, September 18, 2017

In Which Jenn Invites You To Plumb Her Archives

(That's what she said)

Heeeey! You'll never guess where I am right now... Because it's not WDW, and you'd totally guess that.

Nope, I'm back at the beach for our annual Outer Banks sojourn. I'll be back next week with tales of sun, sand, and ... sruns? I'm gonna run. I'M GONNA. You'll never beat me, vacation!!!

Anyway. If you came here because you're bored and now you're saddened by the lack of entertainment, never fear! New options are available to you. Particularly sharp-eyed readers may have noticed I added two new pages to the FRoA menu some weeks ago: Trip Reports and Race Recaps.



Basically it's what it says on the bottle: trip reports from WDW and other theme parks and summaries of my race experiences. They've all been on the blog before, but now they're handily collected in one place so you don't have to go rummaging around in the archives. Read them! Live them! Love them!

While you're doing that, I'll read 8,000 books in the hot tub, and we'll meet back here in a week. Okay, break!

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, September 14, 2017

In Which Jenn Gives Her New Car A WDW Name

Once, in the very recent Holocene, I was lucky enough to be gifted a new car by my parents. They wanted something sturdier and sportier and, well, it's a long story, but the end result is that they gave their current car to me in exchange for my old car as a trade-in. Score!

It's a weird adjustment, though - my old car was from 2006 and the new one is a 2016 model. My GOD has a lot change in the space of a single decade. This baby has two separate display screens that tell me things like the temperate and the date and how many miles I can drive before my tank is empty, it charges my phone and plays music through a USB port while simultaneously allowing me to use the GPS, bluetooth capability allows me to answer calls via a button on the steering wheel... Even the gas cap is this sleek cover you press to pop open. Every time I slide into the driver's seat I feel like I'm at the helm of the USS Voyager.

The most disconcerting thing for me is the automatic headlights. They don't dim immediately after exiting the car, so I find myself walking backwards and pausing, waiting for them to shut off because what if this time they don't and the battery drains and I'm SOL before work???

For most of you, here in the future where the regular cars are, this is probably old hat. But let me tell you, Rowdy had NONE of these features.

Oh, right! Rowdy. I gave my car a name because if there's one thing I'm good at, it's anthropomorphism. (Sometimes I still wonder whatever happened to that poor lamp.) I named my first car Rowdy after the dog from Scrubs.


Naturally my new car needed a name too. I tossed some ideas around - Bruce, Aziraphale - but none of them seemed quite right. Then I hit upon the thing: perhaps a name themed to Walt Disney World?

Of course Figment was my first thought, but this car is silver, and if I'm going to spend that kind of frivolous money, it's gonna be on WDW itself, not unnecessary pastel purple paint jobs. (Although that would be sweet. With orange detailing, obvs.)

It didn't take me long to hit on the best fit: WDW ride vehicles. Doom Buggy was a good one, but not quite right for a small silver hatchback. I gift that moniker to the black SUVs and tinted-window sedans of the world.

The Peoplemover was out, too; while I love that ride with all my heart, when applied to such basic transport as a car it seemed mundane. A car named Peoplemover strips the magic out of it.

And then I had it. I knew my car's name.

It's from a ride that, while not a slam dunk with everyone, I happen to love. It has a whimsical feel appropriate to the vibe of the car. It implies the sort of advanced technology that is suddenly hitting me in the face. It even has the exact same lady robot voice. What is it? That's proprietary.

Just kidding! Allow me to present: THE TIME ROVER.


So every time I drive it I can say things like "meteor shower approaching" in a robotic voice and then laugh.


......... Do you think Rowdy thinks I abandoned him...?

Does your car have a name, WDW or otherwise?

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

In Which Jenn Has An Excellent Parks Half Marathon

I didn't mention this half much in advance of my running it, and here's why: I didn't want to jinx myself. I've gone into races with fanfare before, bellowing about how I was going to crush it, and wound up crushingly disappointed. Which is guess is tangentially related, but not really what I'm going for.

Well, the Parks Half went great. But I don't feel 100% good about it. Run with me.

I woke up to a near perfect race day: morning lows in the mid-50s with a predicted high of the low 70s, meaning a brisk morning perfect for running. I jumped out of bed, gathered my race stuff, and picked up a ride from Pat's boss (he was also running the race and lives close by and he kindly offered, which was nice).

The course was different from the first time I ran it, so we had a little further to drive - all the way down to Shady Grove. Pat's boss graciously dropped me off by the start line and I did my usual thing: porta potty stop, Swedish Fish snack, dancing around in a giant throwaway sweatshirt because I'm cold.

I found my fellow runner/friend Sarah and we chatted a little before race start, which was pretty unceremonious - if there was a pre-race anthem or announce we couldn't really hear it. At the last minute I decided to take one more quick bathroom jaunt. I was unable to pee then but immediately wanted to five minutes later and basically the rest of the race. Oh well.

Anyway, the race started and we took off down the road. The first mile or two was in residential neighborhoods that quickly gave way to a trail around Needwood Lake. This portion in particular was a little hillier than I would like, especially in contrast to the downhill start of the old course, but thanks to my hill training I was fine.

Once we left the lake area things started to flatten out helpfully, but otherwise the course wasn't terribly interesting. There were a few stretches of spectators, including two dressed as pirates and one as Mr. Incredible. I did kinda like this bridge:


Past the bridge we made it back into the eponymous county parks that comprised the whole of the former course. It was a little weird remembering seeing the same stretch but at a completely different point in the race; I was constantly experiencing strong deja vu with the caveat that it all should've happened earlier.

This unfortunately meant that the famous Silencer, a hill that's not terrible but not NOT terrible, came several miles later in the race, which of course isn't what you want. But a group of children had renamed it High Five Hill and offered such with off-brand Mickey gloves, so that was good for morale.

For almost all of the race I hung with the 2:10 pacer, and that mostly worked fine. The vast majority of our miles came in under 10 minutes, which was great, although maybe if I hadn't needed to pee I could've been faster...? What can ya do. Regardless, around mile 11 I picked up a little speed and left the group in the dust. It was passin' time! (And time to be passed, but they can't all be winners.)


Now comes the bit I feel uncertain about. My GPS watch showed just under 13 miles when I turned the corner and saw... the finish line? Usually my GPS clocks MORE mileage than a half, so I was totally taken aback when I finished the race and saw 12.98 on the screen. Only .12 off, but still. Mind you, it's a legit course, and I know that GPS isn't 100% all-the-time reliable, but it makes me a little uncomfortable with my PR...

Oh yeah, my new PR! My originally record stood from my last Parks Half, and it was 2:10:21. This time around I blew past that number with an official finish of 2:06:46. Is that right...? I mean, I did almost match my old PR on a very hilly ZOOMA course, so maybe...?

There was a ton of food and water and other stuff at the finish line, but I had a different plan for my post-race activity. I found Sarah and we proceeded to... RUN HOME.

More on that in a later post. In the meantime, I really hope my GPS just suffered a brief hiccup because I want the PR.

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, September 12, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 9/12

Greetings, friends! I come to you as the humble bearer of a brand new personal record in the half marathon. Hotcha!

But more about that tomorrow. For now, let's check in on the training log:

Sunday | ran 5.54 miles outside in 60 minutes
And then I saw Counting Crows and Matchbox 20 at Jiffy Lube Live! Gotta say, while I'm waaaay more of CC fan, MB20 had far superior showmanship. Rob Thomas knows how to present.

Monday | ran 5.48 miles outside in 60 minutes
Humid, but I wanted to front load my training at the beginning of the week so as to have plenty of rest days before the Parks Half.

Tuesday | walked 2.17 miles outside in 35 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran ran 5.48 miles outside in 60 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.07 miles outside in 35 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Friday | walked 2.11 miles outside in 35 minutes

Saturday | rest, mostly
I did a little bit of ab work but hardly anything worth noting. Then it was off to bib pickup for Sunday's half. It's a local race but one with a pretty far reach, and the sports store where the hold pickup was mobbed. It was way too crowded to do any shopping, but I did snag an old race pint glass for $1. Sure, it's for the year before I first ran it, but $1!



And in amusement park news, I just snagged a Groupon for tickets to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, so look for that recap coming in a month or so. It's dive coaster time!

Roundup:

- easyWDW continues full coverage of Epcot's Food & Wine Festival and I want it all and I don't get any and I'm very jealous and sad. :(
- Disney In Your Day begins to report back on the festival as well.
- Jambo Everyone visits one of my favorite WDW bars, Nomad Lounge in DAK.
- The Disney Tourist Blog parses out the differences between visiting WDW at Halloween vs. Christmas.
- Disney Adulting takes a deep dive into the history of Pirates of the Caribbean.

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, September 11, 2017

In Which Jenn Invents A WDW-Inspired Smoothie Recipe

I am always impressed by the industrious bloggers who are constantly coming up with their own unique recipes. Even the smoothies are themed - strawberry cheesecake smoothies! Pumpkin pie smoothies! THE ULTIMATE GREEN SMOOTHIE RAAAAAAAAR!!!

Me, I was just trying to put together a high-protein smoothie to drink after my morning runs that kept me full until lunch and tasted okay.

By some miracle, I did that. But then I got greedy. I thought, how come I can't put together a fancy-pants smoothie with a legit flavor profile? Why can't I theme it to Disney???

And so I did. Fire up your blender, because today we're making...

THE WDW CHOCOLATE-COVERED BANANA-ON-A-STICK SMOOTHIE

Uh, is it technically called something specific? I know it has a wrapper but I'm usually too busy ripping it off to read it. You know what I'm talking about, though. One of these:

*insert inappropriate giggling here*

NOW LET'S SMOOTHIE-FY IT.

You will need:

  • 1 banana, sliced thin and frozen
  • 1 cup chocolate Greek yogurt (I used Oikos)
  • 4 heaping tablespoons chocolate PB2, TruNut, or other powdered peanut butter product, preferably chocolate flavor (or you can also use a scoop of straight peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup milk or plain-flavored milk substitute
  • OPTIONAL: Handful of spinach; you won't taste it, it's just for some extra nutrition
  • OPTIONAL: Crushed peanuts for garnish

Directions: Put it all in the blender and have it do its thing until smooth. C'mon, guys. It's a smoothie. Get it together.

Variations: I'm all about variations because I like to be able to farm what I already have without necessarily taking a trip to the store, especially in cases like this where you're just trying to throw together something quick. Taste and texture will vary, but what can ya do. That is the philosophy of the cheater's recipe! With that in mind, here are some flex ingredients:

  • You can take out the yogurt and add a serving of chocolate protein powder and double the milk. I thought this was okay but the consistency isn't as nice. Also, protein powder is very hit-or-miss with me as far as hunger goes. Also also, every chocolate protein powder I've ever tried has been weak sauce, but maybe that's to counterbalance the equally inevitably aggressive vanilla flavors? 
  • Vanilla or plain yogurt and some cocoa powder could also work but I haven't tried it. 
  • Or chocolate almond or soy milk could mix well too. 
  • Peanut butter allergy sufferers may substitute the nut butter of their choice.

Anyway, if you make it as I did, you're looking at a minimum of 22 grams of protein - 15 grams from the yogurt and 8+ grams from the PB2 or whatever. And that's not even taking the milk into account. Not too shabby.

And if you close your eyes and pretend you're eating it while chilling on Main Street, USA? Less shabby still.

What's your favorite smoothie recipe? Bonus points if it's WDW-related! (Or Arrested Development related, I guess...)

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, September 8, 2017

Happy Friday: The Unvarnished runDisney Truth

I don't know who made this meme, but they deserve a medal. Every time I look at it I start laughing all over again.


See, it's funny 'cause it's true!

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, September 7, 2017

In Which Jenn Goes On A Running Food Bender

Let's see, how to explain this. Have you ever... gone on a sort of... pre-long run food buying spree... like, way in advance... without planning it?

Now that I'm officially training for the Baltimore Marathon, I gotta get those mega-long runs on the docket. And I have - I have a 15 miler, 17 miler, and 20 miler laid out on the calendar. For my normal long runs - say, 9-12 miles on average - I don't usually require much beyond a pre-run snack and some water, but these big'uns need a bigger sustenance commitment.

There are lots of ways to do it: water, sports drinks, gels, chews, gummy bears, pretzels, honey... a lot of peoples' boats float a lot of different ways. I have found I perform well with Swedish Fish, so I bought one box for my 15 miler, just to start things off. So far so well measured.

Then last week I was doing my weekly Target grocery run. I was in the candy aisle to grab some 90% dark chocolate (TRY IT!!!!!! YOUR TASTE BUDS WILL EXPLOOOODE) and happened to pass by the theater box candy. Well, I'm here and thinking about it, I thought, so I might as well grab two more boxes for 17 and 20.

That simple act opened the floodgates. In the drinks section for some seltzer, I saw Body Armor sports drinks were on sale. I usually go with PowerAde since that's runDisney's MO, but what the hell - I grabbed two bottles without hesitation.

Over by the peanut butter, I was picking up a canister of chocolate PB2 when I saw that Justin's individual nut butter packets were on sale as well. What an amazing mid-run snack that would be for my really long runs!! I said to myself, even though this is something I've never tried. Well, I will now! Into my cart went two peanut butter-and-honey packs.

And, uh, here's all the stuff I hadn't planned on buying for runs some of which aren't for another month:


Will it all be actually good for my long runs? WE SHALL SEE.

Do you ever impulse-buy food in the name of training? What are your favorite pre-and mid-run snacks for long runs?

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, September 6, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 9/06

And so marathon training begins:

Sunday | rest
End of that wedding weekend I mentioned last week. Spent most of the day either chilling with friends or driving home.

Monday | ran 5.59 miles outside in 60 minutes

Tuesday | walked 2.3 miles outside in 40 minutes; 25 minute workoutThere was no ballet this week, so I did a little workout on my own time - ab work and arm work and such. Fun fact: jump lunges are the devil.

Wednesday | ran 5.85 miles outside in 60 minutes
This run was significantly helped a long by a girl who kept almost passing me, until I was like NEVER AGAIN and took off. Nothing like a rabbit to get the legs moving.

Thursday | walked 3.11 miles outside in 50 minutes; 20 minutes ab and arm work

Friday | ran 15.39 miles on the treadmill in 2:35
Actually, I think it was closer to 16 miles EXCEPT about 45 minutes into the run I tripped and the safety zealot of a treadmill just SHUT OFF. All my data went WHOOOOOSH into the ether and since I wasn't 100% sure where I was, I just called in 40 minutes, 4 miles, even though I really think it was more like 44:XX and somewhere in the area of 4.5 miles but I don't KNOW so :(

Saturday | rest

WDW planning update: all's well that ends well with that whole Candlelight Processional dining package time/Behind the Seeds tour time discrepancy. I called the tour line, they moved us to a different, earlier tour, and we're squared away.

Meanwhile, the Epcot Food & Wine Festival just started, and since I am tragically not attending this year I am sulking and voraciously reading the coverage. Hence this roundup:

- Our man in Havana easyWDW is in his usual process of reviewing EVERY. SINGLE. ITEM. AT. THE FESTIVAL. and it is beautiful and bittersweet. (For me, not for him.) (Probably.)
- The Disney Tourist Blog chimes in with a review of the festival's Light Lab booth.
- Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free in WDW points out the specifically vegetarian and vegan festival items available.
- In other WDW food news, The Main Street Gazette checks out Pandora's Santu'li Canteen.
- The Disney Diner makes an adorable Rapunzel bread braid.
- A Pinch of Pixie Dust reviews the Disneyland Hotel's E-Ticket Club.
- Halloween is coming! Get group Disney costume ideas from WDW for Grownups.
- Ride through the original Universe of Energy with The Tomorrow Society.


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, September 5, 2017

In Which Jenn Dreams Of triDisney (Literally)

Longtime blog readers will know that I frequently have runDisney dreams, and 97% of the time the theme is My Screwing Up. I've slept through dream races, forgotten dream bibs, crossed dream start lines too late... Pretty much every race morning screw up you can imagine, I've dreamed it.

Today I share with you another runDisney dream... but it is unique in two ways:

  1. I made it to the start line without incident.
  2. It's not really runDisney. It's... TRIDISNEY!!!

Yes, in this dream for some reason my brain decided to posit that runDisney had added a triathlon to its ranks. (I guess kinda like that one time they tried to CrossFit?)

The first odd thing to note about the event was that it was taking place at night. This seems like a poor choice to me, but hey, I don't run triDisney.

The second thing that was weird was the the first portion, the swim, was taking place in... the World Showcase Lagoon...?

Talk about the perfect place for aquatic sports. (Source)

But wait, there's more! Not only was the swim in the lagoon, it started from one of those random islands in the middle. So we had to take a Friendship Boat out to the start, wave by wave.

The third weird thing is that evidently we were starting before the park was cleared out, so there were a handful of regular guests also on the boat, including - wait for it - Brad Pitt. Why was Brad Pitt there? Beats the hell outta me - aside from a general fondness for Fight Club, I've never been one to follow him or his work. My subconscious had to really dig around in the archives to pull that one up.

Anyway, he was there, and he was annoyed about all these random wet-suit clad weirdos hanging out on his means of transport. "Why are you doing this?" he asked me, glaring, and I gave a noncommital murmur along the lines of, "To attempt a triathlon...?" You're the one who's late leaving the park, Brad, but okay.

I escaped the wrath of Brad... and dream me promptly blacked out. I don't remember my wave starting or anything. Next thing I know, I'm flailing in the water. I'm pulled out of the dark nighttime lagoon and back onto the Friendship boat. "You failed," my rescuer told me. "You're disqualified." And then I woke up.

So I guess this is just my mind getting out ahead of any possibilities? I mean, I didn't even make it to the bike portion. If Disney ever does hold a triathlon, this would certainly make me think twice about registering...

Had any weird Disney dreams lately, runDisney or otherwise?

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!