Wednesday, November 29, 2017

In Which Jenn Is Prepped For WDW

Things to do tomorrow:

1. Go to Walt Disney World.

In the wise words of Lavender Gooms:

Things not to do on this WDW trip:

1. Run a runDisney race.

Which makes me feel all weird. You mean I don't have to immediately bolt for the expo as soon as I get there? I haven't had a non-race trip since... December 2013, the last time I took my mom. Hmmm.

Here are an assortment of things I do intend to do:
  • Since my mom only rides the green side anyway, let's check out the new Mission: Space
  • Get some margaritas from the new stand in Mexico
  • Enjoy the elephant and Behind the Seeds tours for the first time
  • Try some of Epcot's Festival of the Holidays food booths, with an emphasis on those smoked salmon things from Alsace, the mochi cake from Japan, and all the fancy drinks
  • Investigate the inevitable train wreck that is the new Hall of Presidents (Never mind, probably)
  • Take in Flights of Wonder one last time (I hope I get my favorite Guano Joe!)
  • Watch the France movie, since my mom'll dig the soundtrack and who knows how long it has to live
  • Get some Hightower Rocks from Nomad Lounge
  • Watch the new MK fireworks show
  • Finally catch Rivers of Light
  • See Guinan recite the story of Jesus's birth, or the script of "Yesterday's Enterprise;" whichever
  • Accept, with resignation, that Pandora is a thing and, like, go there, I GUESS

It shall be awesome! Be on the lookout for mad tweets and instas so you can follow along. See ya around the World!

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, November 28, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/28

Guys. Guys guys. It's ALMOST TIME. Almost time for Walt Disney World!!!

Let's get my workout log out of the way right quick so that we can get to the good stuff:

Sunday | ran 10.11 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.18 miles in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.22 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | walked 2.04 miles outside in 35 minutes

Thursday | ran 6.22 miles in 58 minutes and then another 2.03 miles in 21 minutes
First bit was the Turkey Chase 10k; second bit was me running home from the finish line.

Friday | ran 3.26 miles outside in 35 minutes

Saturday | rest

Okay, on to Disney stuff! I was sooooo close to switching my resort reservation AGAIN this week, because my beloved Pop Century became available. But it ultimately seemed like it would be cutting Magical Express ticket stuff too close, and since we're checking bags we need those stickers. I restrained myself.

What I DID rebook was my Be Our Guest breakfast ADR!!! YES!!!! We've moved from a crazy-early 8am ADR to a much more reasonably 9:35am breakfast time, and since the Magic Kingdom opens at 8am for Extra Magic Hours that morning the change is invaluable. I'm very pleased.

I was a little concerned about weather last week - for awhile it looked like it might be downright chilly in Orlando while we're there, with some highs in the upper 60s only. O.o Luckily predicted temperatures have rocketed up to at least the mid 70s for all four days, which is much more my style.

I am still deeply scarred by the 2017 WDW Marathon.

I'll be posting my usual pre-trip bucket list/plans tomorrow. In the meantime: roundup, take it away.

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, November 27, 2017

In Which Jenn Recaps The Turkey Chase 10k


Last year I scoffed at all the people running the Thanksgiving 10k right outside my apartment. Why would you suffer in the cold when there's a nice warm treadmill at the gym?

Well, my walking-distance gym closed down and I've taken to running outside more and more, so this year I joined the suckers for the Turkey Chase 10k.

I woke at the very civilized time of 7am and dressed for the expected low-thirties temperatures. Then it was but a two mile walk to the start line at my local Y. 

I arrived about 20 minutes before race time, at which point I discovered something dismaying: because my OS had updated overnight, my phone's battery had plunged to a mere 30%. My friend and fellow runner Sarah texted me her location and bam, another 4% gone. Damn. No music and no photos for this race, apparently. :/

There wasn't much going on in the start area, but there was an announcer on stage with a couple people dressed like turkeys, so that was certainly thematically appropriate. 

We were soon shooed into the start line area, where pacers were scattered among the group with signs denoting their expected finish times. The race site had advertised 4 different waves, but there ended up being at least twice that, which no clear delineation that I could see - a certain number of people were allowed to the start, they went, and then another group, etc.

The race started off in the back neighborhoods of Bethesda, initially in areas I was not familiar with before meeting up with my well-traveled regular running route. These neighborhoods were marked by what I would call sporadic hills; nothing crazy, but definitely noticeable.

After all that neighborhood time, we bottomed out at a hill I frequently travel - but where I would normally turn around and head back, we instead moved forward and turned onto Rockville Pike. A mile or so later and we were in downtown Bethesda proper. I waved to our apartment building as I passed by I guarantee Pat was still asleep.

We headed deeper downtown, eventually turning right by the Metro station before heading back up Old Georgetown Road. From there it was a straight shot back to the Y and the finish line.

So that's the course. As for my own performance - it was pretty good! Despite the MUCH hillier route, I was able to shave several seconds off my previous 10k PR a few weeks earlier at the Across the Bay 10k. My official time was 58:04:38.

The only thing that bums me out about it is that I had to stop to adjust my bib pins at one point. I only lost like 15 seconds but I wish I could have those 15 seconds back. Oh well - I'll just have to find a pancake-flat 10k and really beast my time!

The finish area was pretty disappointing, to be honest. I didn't see any snacks or water or anything like that. I guess they assumed people would be saving themselves for Thanksgiving dinner? There were various tents set up too but I didn't see a darn thing in 'em. Weird.

After a quick spin around the area I waded through some spectators and then ran the two miles home. Mission accomplished.

Will I run this race again next year? Hmmm. Maybe. It does seem sort of silly to shell out money for the privilege of basically running around the same backyard I can run for free, especially given how no-frills the event is. No Gatorade, no medal without a surcharge, no free snacks... 

On the other hand, it's always nice to have the energy of a race, a timed course, and water stops. I'll give this one a strong maybe.

Did you run a local Thanksgiving race?

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, November 22, 2017

In Which Jenn Has Lots Of Opinions

I have two modes: I don't know you that well so I'm not gonna talk much and HERE ARE MY OPINIONS ABOUT EVERYTHING. Since you're reading this, my blog, presumably of your own free will and with at least a passing interest in my inner workings, allow me to present: a bunch of opinions.

A couple notes. First, the below items are included because I feel that a mini-review might be of some assistance to like-minded folk. I am not going into any great depth, but if you'd like a more exhaustive report, leave a comment and I'll either expand the topic into a full blog post or respond with additional information.

Second, no one is paying me to mention any of these products. All opinions are 100% my own. I only got one thing free, so for simplicity's sake let's start with

HAIR CAREMaple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo. LEGALESE!!! I was sent a bottle free to try, but with no pressure to give a good review.

Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo is a natural, sulfate-free, cruelty-free formulation. These are all good things! Natural for avoiding weird chemicals, sulfate-free for not stripping your hair of good oils, and cruelty-free for being nice to animals.

Here I am pretending Oswald threw it to me.
Thanks, Oz!

I detected little to no smell, and it didn't really cause any tingling or similar when used.

This shampoo promises to improve scalp clarity and banish blemishes. I don't suffer from a ton of scalp issues myself, but I was coincidentally suffering from a few small - zits? Ingrown hairs? Something like that - on the side of my neck next to my hairline. After a few uses those bumps disappeared! Nice! I seem to have less dead skin on my scalp, too.

As for what it did to my hair - it successfully kept it clean. My hair is very difficult - fine but long and wavy - and I didn't notice anything extraordinary about its condition while using the tea tree shampoo. But it didn't get worse either, so, score.

I would recommend this shampoo to anyone suffering from scalp problems or hairline acne. The great news is you can try it yourself risk-free, because Maple Organics offers a sample program. As far as I can tell you can try just about anything that tickles your fancy. Check it out!

Now, with that out of the way, I am in no way affiliated with any of the below:

Differin. The only physical change I have noticed so far in my 30s is a fresh new fight with acne. Rock on. After going through the usual frenzy of trying and rejecting anti-acne products, I tried the flavor of the month: Differin. And, as the ads promise, it pretty much worked. But the claim that you may see improvement in 2 weeks? HA. It took three months to get through the purge period, with my skin throwing up flare after flare. If you suffer from moderate adult acne and no regular solution has worked, you should still try it - but be prepared.

Burt's Bees Cleansing Oil. My savior in this trying Differin times, this soothing cleansing oil improved texture and dryness enormously. I've tried some other brands but this is my favorite.

Vaseline. Top notch eye cream. Look, just try it, okay?

My parks makeup philosophy. I've kinda already covered it here, but I personally find I'm much more likely to enjoy looking at my park photos if I'm wearing makeup. Vanity, thy name is me, but there it is. I'm constantly curating a park makeup strategy that's cheap and long-wearing, with the added stipulation that everything should be cruelty-free. We can debate the merits of medical testing on animals some other time, but I don't see any argument for why a bunny should suffer so that I might enjoy the privilege of changing the colors on my face.

Anyway, here are some recommended products:

Milani Prime Shield. Matte primer with a nice texture. Nyx Shine Killer is good too but I like the slip on this one just a touch more.

ELF Gel Eyeliner Pot. Surprisingly long-wearing! Don't forget primer.

Wet 'n Wild Balm Stain. These lip crayons have staying power, but when they do fade, they do so very naturally. No pressure to reapply until you're ready.

Quest Bars. These are not the holy grail many claim from a taste perspective. But from a ratio of calories to protein perspective, they're pretty great. I detect a hint of fake sugar in every flavor, but not as bad as some protein bars I've tried. The S'mores flavor is probably my favorite.

Halo Top Ice Cream. As Ted Danson so wisely says on The Good Place

And that, I think, is a perfect descriptor for Halo Top. It's no Ben & Jerry's but if you're looking to eat a pint of ice cream at once without feeling terrible afterward it's surprisingly tasty and satisfying. I recommend Mint Chip, Oatmeal Cookie, S'mores, and Pumpkin Pie (while you can get it).

PB2. You're never gonna mistake it for real peanut butter, but it'll successfully scratch your PB itch without risking eating half a jar at once. Also a good mix-in for smoothies.

Sparkling water. I have always been obsessed with seltzer water, so believe me when I tell you that Target's Simply Balanced cans are the BEST. They have awesome flavors like cucumber mint and tropical cherry and the price is good. Dasani is also enjoyable, but Aquafina gets a pass; it's not bubbly enough.

Running fuel. They may laugh, but I swear by Watermelon Sour Patch Kids. Get 'em in one of those single-serve theater boxes. I like to eat them both before and during a race. Simple sugars and carbs and easy on the digestive system. And much cheaper than the fancy stuff that never did much for me anyway!

Kinesio Tape. People rave about Rock Tape but I didn't find it to be anything special. Plain ol' KT Tape has been fine for me for years. BUT. When on a KT Tape run at CVS the other day I discovered CVS makes their own knockoff kinesio tape for like half the price. I've been trying it out and so far it seems to work fine!

Running clothes. C9 by Champion has always been fine for me, but I've been really into Under Armour lately. Down for recommendations!

Hit me with your opinions in the comments!

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, November 21, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/21

Normally in a week in review post I do my exercise stuff first and my Disney and life stuff second, but screw the boring stuff because I HAVE DISNEY NEWS.

Y'know how I've been kvetching basically since I made the reservation about my room in Caribbean Beach for my upcoming WDW trip? There's the construction, of course, which means weird food options to boot, plus the resort itself is sprawling with multiple bus stops AND the only room I could get was a pirate room, which is more expensive AND supposedly at the very back of the resort. Bleh.

Well, you're all Disney pros so I hardly have to preach the gospel of Continuing To Check Back. But last week, a mere 10 days before the penalty-free cancellation deadline, I did it: I found us a room at All-Star Music! EEEE!!!

Perhaps it sounds odd to be rejoicing over a change from a moderate to a value resort, but I really think this is a major improvement. The construction becomes a non-issue, and even when the All-Stars share buses there's at least only one stop and it can't be too far a walk. Best of all, this saves us well over $300! 

So yeah, I'm pretty jazzed. Nine days to Disney!!! 

P.S. Did you know you can make your Magical Express reservations via a website? I'm been doing it on the phone all this time like a chump!


... What else is this post usually about again? Oh yes. Go go gadget workout log:

Sunday | ran 7.16 miles outside in 1:10
I did this run at my parents' new place in Wilmington, and it is flaaaaaat. I was flying!

Monday | ran 5.29 miles outside in 55 minutes
Back to my plain ol' boring not at all flat regular training route. But the cold does seem to improve my times.

Tuesday | walked 2.19 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 7.35 miles outside in 1:15

Thursday | walked 2.24 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class
This walk had greater purpose: I walked from work to the local Whole Foods to pick up my bib for my Thanksgiving Turkey Chase! Why they chose to hold packet pickup a full week in advance I couldn't tell you.

Friday | ran 7.35 miles outside in 1:15

Saturday | rest
My family held Fake Thanksgiving on this day, so done so that none of our air traveling relatives have to pay through the nose for flights. So I spent a lot of my day in a car going to or from New Jersey. Mine is a very glamorous life. At least there was pie.

Okay, workout log done. What else? The roundup:

Important note: Shindig is my favorite episode of Firefly.

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, November 20, 2017

In Which Jenn Assembles Her Next WDW Trip Wardrobe

Hey, remember how I have turned into a WDW dandy and like to ramble on about all my Disney clothes and how Hot Topic is Disney mecca so goth kids step aside?

Anyway, here's my planned wardrobe for my holiday trip (which begins NEXT WEEK, guys! EEE!!!!).

The red polka dot dress is something I picked up from Delia's 6 or 7 years ago, when I, y'know, still shopped at Delia's. It's not technically Disney, of course, but I think it's extremely evocative of Minnie Mouse. Paired with my sequined Minnie ears, it's a Disneybounding slam dunk.

The Figment t-shirt is vintage 1998, baby! And the Figment ears were a hard-won limited edition. But you can still score the pants with the Figment color scheme at Target!

Ah, now for my Disney wardrobe bread-and-butter: the Jack Skellington and Zero dress is from Hot Topic. With a Santa Mickey hat, because character franchises, like metaphors, are as fun as they are confusing when mixed.

My final outfit is my contingency outfit - the skirt (the specific one I bought is no longer available but this one from Amazon is similar) is the constant but the top adapts to the weather. If we get a hot day, I'll pair it with my Finding Nemo seagulls tank, which I picked up at Epcot 5 or so years ago. If we get a cold day, I'll wear my long sleeved Remy shirt from the Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2016

The lace mouse ears are still available at Hot Topic; they also come in plum.

I challenged myself to change it up a bit this time around with some pieces that don't make the rotation as frequently, and I think I succeeded!

It's still a little too far out to know what the weather's going to be like, and Orlando in winter is notoriously fickle (hi, WDW Marathon 2017!). I may have to swap in some leggings or something here and there. But this is the gist.

I'll be packing all this up SO SOON. I can't wait!!!

Do you meticulously plan your Disney parks wardrobe?

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, November 17, 2017

Happy Friday: A Whole New Set Of Vocal Chords


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, November 16, 2017

In Which Elizabeth Runs Her First 10K Ever

I dragged Elizabeth with me for the Across the Bay 10K - and it was her very first 10K ever! I asked her if she wanted to write a post, so here's her experience in her own words. - Jenn

So, since I never got around to figured if I had a time of 1 hour and 30 minutes (barely faster than walking, I know, shut up) I'd be satisfied. I started at the same time as Jenn and Sarah (apparently you could be in any wave you wanted?), but once the crowd broke up a bit I was on my own.  I did have to do a fair bit of weaving through the walkers at first, but pretty quickly got to a crowd of people going at approximately at my pace.

I made a deal with myself that I had to get halfway over the bridge before I could take a walking break, and I also used one of the port-a-pots they had at the center of the bridge, which was very strange to see but made sense, considering the bridge is almost five miles.  I never would have guessed it was that long, by the way. The more you know! 

I wished I hadn't made that deal with myself early on, since the entire first half is an incline, but it was gradual enough that I only ALMOST felt like death once I got to the top. I probably should have taken pictures, but it actually wasn't the best day for views, as it was overcast and grey. But! I had plenty of time to contemplate the ships floating out in the bay and the shoreline slowly coming into view through the fog, which typically doesn't happen when I'm driving over the bridge at 65 mph (Editor's note: THIS IS SPEEDING, ELIZABETH), so it was overall a positive experience.

Towards the end of the bridge my hips started to feel unhappy, which is a new phenomenon--usually my knees get sore before anything else when I run, but they felt fine! I suppose it could have had something to do with running downhill for 2 miles. At any rate, I took another walking break at the end of the bridge, and then ran the last 200 feet or so once I felt recovered. Final time was 1:29, just like I thought, woo!

OH! Towards the very end, I started hearing flute music, and sure enough, a few minutes later a gentleman passed me, who had apparently been playing the flute the whole race as he ran, I guess?  He was playing one of those patriotic tunes, but I couldn't actually place it at the time, and I've now forgotten what the tune was.  It was something similar to Yankee Doodle, though.

Artist's rendering.

Thanks again to Jenn for getting me to sign up for this. I am far too lazy to run otherwise, especially for anything longer than 5K.

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, November 15, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/15

More running! Hooray! My IT Band has been... pretty good. Every once and awhile I think it might be acting up a little but it's nothing a little KT Tape hasn't been able to handle. I do wish that stuff was cheaper, but then it's nowhere near as expensive as medical bills, so.

I think I might also look into getting some different running shoes for my long runs. Perhaps Black Friday will deliver some worthwhile deals? I almost bought the Nike Odyssey on my last shoe testing trip... but Brooks Ravennas performed well for me for years... thing to ponder.

In the meantime, here's last week's workout log:

Sunday | Across The Bay 10K; 6.15 miles outside in 58:11
I'm chalking up that extra .05 miles up to GPS wonkiness.

Monday | walked 2.14 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 9.23 miles outside in 1:40

Wednesday | ran 5.64 miles outside in 60 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.07 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.34 miles in 55 minutes
Then headed down to my parents' new house in Wilmington, NC. My dad is retiring next year and my parents are in the slow process of moving south. I have no objections to this; the warmer the better, I say. Plus, it's halfway to WDW!

Saturday | rest
Some wandering about Wilmington but otherwise a pretty chill day.



Fairytales & Fitness runs the Outer Banks Marathon, which I almost did and then decided not to and now I'm mad at myself.
The Runner's Guide to WDW knows where in the World to carb-load prerace.
Jambo Everyone looks at DAK's use of water in its themes.
Living A Disney Life shows you how to survive WDW on Christmas Day.
EPBOT makes the MOST AMAZING Figment rocking horse - and you can too.
WDW For Grownups reviews Homecomin's pumpkin bread pudding and I WANT IT.
The Main Street Gazette indulges in a meal at DCL's Remy.
This Fairytale Life checks out DCA's Festival of the Holidays. (I keep thinking this is for Epcot's festival and then winding up disappointed I can't have these glorious things.)
- Speaking of DCA, Disney In Your Day goes barhopping there. COVE BAR 4EVA.
The Disney Diner has a recipe for the famous carrot cake cookie, which is AMAZING so haters to the left.

Exactly. Thank you, Kenneth.

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, November 14, 2017

In Which Jenn's Baltimore Marathon Photos Tell An Epic Story (About Someone Else)

One nice perk the Baltimore Marathon offers its participants is free race photos. No $35-for-a-single-photo-file nonsense here!

Mind you, I usually look, shall we say, less than radiant in my race pics, but of course I always check 'em out anyway. And I was scrolling through the available shots, a saga unfolded.

Let's start from the beginning. Here I am running along happily, because my IT Band hasn't started misbehaving and I don't yet wish I were dead.

And here I am approaching the finish line. I now have an unhappy IT Band and wish I were dead.

Ah, there I am approaching the finish and - wait. Who's that guy?

Damn, Tormund sure is coming up fast.

BUT NOT FAST ENOUGH. Step on it!!!

Something tells me I am not the focal point anymore.

The weird thing is, even though the dude was CLEARLY right behind/next to/in front of me for a key portion of the race, I don't remember him at all. I was very busy nursing my IT Band and wishing I were dead. But thanks to the magic of photography, we get a glimpse into what looks like a wildly exciting story about triumph over adversity and shirts. Technology!

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, November 9, 2017

In Which Jenn Gets By With A Little Help From Her WDW Friends

From the moment I laid eyes on it, I knew the limited edition Epcot Food & Wine Festival ears needed to be mine. Only one problem: I'm not going to the festival this year.

No problem, though! Lately Disney's been putting 95% of parks merchandise on the Shop Disney Parks app. There isn't much that can't be had through the app, and the initial blog post revealing the merch promised most of it would be available.

So you can imagine my chagrin when I searched for the ears and saw this:


Of course there's always eBay and such, but pricing tends to be so inflated there. My best hope was probably going to be waiting until after the festival ended to see if any stray unpurchased leftovers made it to the app. Not an impossible dream but I didn't love the odds.

Enter Black Dog Runs Disney, the hero of the day! I saw her posting WDW pics on social media and mentioned my plight. One Paypal transaction later and here we are:

I. AM. SO. HAPPY. I'm going to wear these with my 1998 Figment shirt like a complete dork. And then I'm going to ride the Figment ride and the Cast Members will ACKNOWLEDGE THE AWESOMENESS. They must! They shall!

It's gonna be a good trip, guys. Oh yeah.

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, November 8, 2017

The Fairest Week In Review: 11/08

Sometimes running sucks. But it doesn't suck as much as when you CAN'T run. Such is the paradox of the runner. 


Sunday | rest
I had considered trying out a run this day, but the weather was pretty icky; I took it as a sign from the universe to get my IT Band one more rest day.

Monday | walked 2.07 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.16 miles outside in 60 minutesSlow as all hell, but I RAAAAAAAN!!!

Wednesday | ran 5.33 miles outside in 60 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.11 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.44 miles outside in 60 minutes
I gotta say, the steady improvement has been heartening.

Saturday | rest
It was a busy day with a fair amount of walking, though. I visited my grandmother, had lunch with my parents, drove home, picked up Sarah, drove to Elizabeth's house, walked to the Across the Bay 10k expo, drove back to Elizabeth's, walked to Annapolis for dinner, walked back to Elizabeth's house, and went to bed. Whee!

The race expo was pretty big for a 10k, but the corridors of the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium were too narrow for the crowd. It was pretty chilly too, so we basically just grabbed our bibs and walked out.

Keep your fingers crossed that all this physical cooperation keeps up. And that the weather doesn't get TOO frosty.

And that's all I have to say about that.

In other news, Magic Bands and Magical Express tickets have arrived - mother/daughter WDW 2017 is almost upon us! I keep refreshing the WDW resort reservation system on the hunt for recent cancellations, but so far no dice. We're probably stuck with Caribbean Beach. But hey, we'll be in WDW - how much can I complain?

Roundup FTW:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

In Which Jenn Recaps The Across The Bay 10k

The Across the Bay 10k, spanning the entirety of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, has intrigued me for years. Thing is, it's invariably the same exact weekend as the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, so I was never able to sign up. Since I chose the Dark Side Half over W&D this year, the weekend was finally free. I got to run the bridge!

Let's back up. My friends Sarah and Elizabeth accompanied me on this adventure, which started with a jaunt to the expo and sleepover at Elizabeth's place before rising before the dawn and heading to one of the race pickup locations (parking directly at the race start was discouraged as traffic was going to be congested enough as it was with one bridge closed). 

We boarded a shuttle and were at the start area in no time flat. There wasn't much to it; just a porta potties and some inflatable arches. This is fine with me, but I take issue with their wave start system. First of all, they seemed to be arbitrarily assigned. I was technically in wave 4, Elizabeth was wave 3, and Sarah was wave 5. But Sarah is usually a touch faster than me and Elizabeth had never run a 10k before in her life, so I'm not sure how they arrived at these assignments.

But here's the bigger problem: it didn't matter at ALL. No one was checking bibs and waves weren't enforced in the slightest. Not that it really made a difference since there was no signage or other clear indication of which wave was up anyway. And there were FIFTEEN MINUTES between waves. This is RIDICULOUS. The justification given is that this gives the walkers some time to get ahead, and while this race is indeed walker friendly, those walkers should be in the last waves. But they were not. They were doing whatever the hell they felt like. I saw walkers in the second wave. Sheesh.

Oh well. We all started in wave 4 and it was fine. I lost Elizabeth quickly and then Sarah; according to the latter she was just a bit behind me the whole time, which makes sense since her final time was about a minute slower than mine.

The race started just a bit from the bridge itself, and I'd say we were hitting the first portion of it in about a quarter mile. It was pretty congested to start but by the time my GPS watch registered the first mile things were clearing up considerably. Of course, there were walkers from earlier waves clogging up the works (Four abreast? REALLY???) but I was able to dodge them.

One interesting thing to note is that the water stops were cupless, I'm sure to prevent unnecessary litter in the bay. There were jury-rigged water fountains made with PVC pipe and water kegs at a couple points at the race. Given how short the distance, this worked fine for me, but some others might require a water bottle.

The bridge has a slight uphill for the first, oh, I don't know, mile and half? It really wasn't that bad; although that outdoor running is finally paying off for me! And of course hitting the crest of the bridge and beginning the downhill portion was delightful. That probably lasted for a good mile or so. Then there was a flat section, but by the time the bridge ended we were only a bit past the 4 mile mark. (Incidentally I never did see a mile marker and relied entirely on my watch, but other people claim they saw a marker or two so what the hell do I know?)

I know this is a pretty boring description what is supposed to be an EPIC, SCENIC course. Certainly the multitude of photographers would suggest that photos would be a highlight. But the day was gray and dreary and the sky and ocean were doing their best imitation of grayscale, and anyway I've driven over the same bridge like 87 million times, so I wasn't super awed. Probably I'm a jaded jerk.

Also there were like twelve billion police there to, among other things, make sure you didn't suddenly decide to hurl yourself over the bridge. They thought of everything!

After the bridge itself, we ran into what seemed to be a small office district, then onto the highway - which included a small hill around mile 5.5, which, like, COME ON, but such is racing life. Then it was around a corner and into a giant field and BAM! Done.

I  had a really good race - my IT Band, while taped up, didn't give me any trouble, and my body was ready and willing. I finished in just under 58:11, which is darned good for me!

Sarah came in just behind me, and we grabbed some snacks and water before wandering around the finisher's area while we waited for Elizabeth. There were a remarkable number of bars for so early in the morning, but that's to be expected. There were also multiple food vendors, but only one selling coffee. I was FREEZING so I bought some, and then spent the next half hour fielding a volley of "WHERE DID YOU GET THAT??"s. Somebody ought to bring in a coffee truck; they'd make a killing.

Elizabeth crossed the finish line about half an hour later, at which point we hopped a bus back to the satellite parking (kinda but not really the wrong one but that's a long and not that interesting story and anyway it was the driver's fault). And then we walked into Annapolis and got brunch. And that was our race day!

All in all I had a nice time, and would recommend this race to anyone looking for a relatively easy 10k experience. Even Pat, who tends to look upon 5ks with a dubious eye, expressed interest. 

But is it worth skipping Wine & Dine for? SURELY YOU JEST.

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!