Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/28

Greetings, citizens! How's it going? I'm currently riding the high of finding running capris on clearance for $10! They're size small but they FIT ME by some miracle AND they have TWO side pockets AND they have a high waist which I find helps leggings stay up better AND man, it sure doesn't take much to please a runner, does it?

Workout log: 

Sunday | ran 17.1 miles outside in 3:00
Great success!

Monday | rest

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

Wednesday | ran 5.29 miles outside in 55 minutes; walked 2.45 miles outside in 40 minutes
This was day two of a freak warm snap. Temperatures were predicted to plummet the next day so I stacked my usual Thursday walk on top of my Wednesday run and enjoyed the weather.

Thursday | rest

Friday | ran 5.26 miles outside in 55 minutes

Saturday | 70 minute ballet class
Since I skipped Thursday.

Big ol' shout out to everyone who completed the Princess Half last weekend. Oh so many years ago (5) it was my first half marathon, my first runDisney race, and a huge part of why I started running - and this blog. 

Anyway. On to the roundup!

Monday, February 26, 2018

In Which Jenn Finds Her Place On The Path Unwinding

I got three paragraphs into a full review of The Lion King on Broadway (Pat got me tickets!) before I deleted the whole thing. We all know The Lion King. The Broadway version has been around for more than two decades. While there are elements that I personally did and did not like, for the most part the show is simply The Lion King, beautifully rendered with spectacular puppetry, and that's that.

But I do want to talk to you about one thing: the first 90 seconds. If you have not seen this musical, I am kinda spoiling things for you, so maybe stop reading? On the other hand, no number of words could ever fully convey the feeling behind what I am about to describe.

All righty, so - the show starts. Rafiki walks out, alone on stage and begins the famous call - Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba, etc. 

But THEN it KEEPS GOING, because it's a musical and you can sing more if you feel like it. It's not Rafiki now, though. In the far left balcony, she gets an answer from another singer (I think they're supposed to be some sort of antelope?), more Swahili. And then she answers back, and then ANOTHER singer in the other balcony corner answers, and Rafiki responds joyously, and by this point I there were tears straight up POURING DOWN MY FACE, guys. Why?! I know this song. But something about the presentation totally wrecks me. The entire audience always seems to applaud when the animal puppets first ascend the stage, and I get that, but seriously, I could watch the beginning with just Rafiki and those two guys on repeat for the whole show.

Rereading the above paragraph, I realize I'm doing a God-awful job of describing... any of it. What it is, how it makes me feel. Still, I can tell you this: two weeks later my ballet teacher went. She's not a huge Disney person. Mind you, she's not against Disney; she's just not super into. When I asked her what she thought, her main point was that she, too, cried during the first 90 seconds. See? IT HAS SOME STRANGE POWER.

It's not the same as being there, but if you want a taste, check out this super nifty 360 video of the opening "Circle of Life" number from the musical. Be sure to swivel the camera around so you can see Rafiki's balcony buddies!

Truly this is a magnificent work of art. Except for the Magic Mike hyenas. They suck.

Have you ever seen The Lion King on Broadway? Am I seriously overreacting or what? I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE OILED UP HYENAS, OKAY???

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, February 22, 2018

In Which Jenn Finds A Whole New Running World

Last weekend I was very brave. I did my longest pre-marathon run of 17 miles... OUTSIDE.


For the longest time I was strictly a treadmill girl. But time and circumstances pushed me outside more and more. Then last June I lost my nice, walking distance gym, and vowed to perform as many of my runs as possible outside so as to avoid the trek and packing that involved driving to my new one. There is certain weather I still drawn the line at, but I've gone down to 22 degree temperatures and endured some rains and winds. 

And I gotta say, I think my running game has improved enormously because of it. That very same terrain and weather and bloody freaking HILLS, even when I hate them, make me stronger. My races have been increasingly speedy (which makes sense, since they are also, y'know, outside). At my last marathon, I broke my previous time record by over 10 minutes. It was the WDW Marathon, too, so that includes character stops!

So I've been surprisingly jazzed to run outside and keep that upward trajectory. But my really long runs? Those were still on the treadmill. I mean, you've got your bathroom right there, and your water fountain for refills, little nooks to stash snacks, and a TV for entertainment. Anyway, I just plain run faster when I can control my speed and push myself through, so it's over faster. 

But in the back of my mind, I wondered... could I handle those double digits outside? I'd never done more than 11 miles in an outdoor run - that is to say, the purely training outdoor runs - and I kinda wanted to. I wanted the running XP.

At first I thought I'd tackle my 14 miler this way, so as to not stray too far outside my comfort zone. But when the appointed day came it was rainy and miserable, and I was driven inside to the safety of the treadmill.

When it came time for my 17 miler, well... that seemed like a stretch. But I was looking at a nice, sunny day with highs around 50, great for running. I told myself if I needed to I could run back to my apartment at any time for a bathroom break, more water, etc. Off I went.

I stepped onto my usual running trail and began my run in reasonable spirits. To add mileage, I ducked onto a few side streets and other sidewalks I usually passed by. As I crossed the street from my usual running trail's end, I saw a man out of the corner of my eye... WALKING DOWN A RUNNING PATH I HAD NEVER NOTICED BEFORE.

Well, that's not strictly true. I noticed it all the time, because it was a continuation of my usual trail. But I'd never known there was more of it! I ran up over this new bridge and into a magic world.

The next 5 miles or so were spent in delighted wonderment - not that the scenery was as exciting as all that, but because it was new and new is always more interesting and what an incredible boon that I would find this interesting new thing on the day I needed it most! 

I credit this humble discovery to the ultimate success of my outdoor run, in that it kept things fresh and interesting and minimized the amount of rehashing I had to do. I finished feeling strong and capable and totally ready to marathon.

That helped along with the Happily Ever After fireworks soundtrack, of course. You didn't expect me to NOT mention Disney, did you?

How do you slog through your long runs? Are you a treadmill loyalist or an outdoor enthusiast?

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, February 21, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/21

You can read the workout log that immediately follows, or you skip below to the part where I make an impassioned plea for your help. Choose your own adventure!

Sunday | 10.32 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.12 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.27 miles outside in 55 minutes
The Crash & Burn Part 2. Somebody left a loop of wire in the middle of the sidewalk and in the early morning gloom I didn't see it, tripped, and fell - not too hard, but hard enough to scrape up my knee. But never mind my knee - I RIPPED A HOLE IN MY SECOND FAVORITE RUNNING TIGHTS. Do you think I should sue the city or...?

Wednesday | ran 5.26 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.35 miles outside in 40 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.08 miles outside in 55 minutes

Saturday | rest

Anyway, on to the part where I beg your assistance. As you know if you've read my race plan, I'm running the Wrightsville Beach Marathon on March 17. This involves, among other things, a minimum 5 hour drive down there and 5 hours back. Naturally I'm going to need a lot of audio entertainment and I'm thinking podcasts are the way to go.

So: which are your favorite podcast episodes? To be clear, I don't just want to know your favorite podcast (although that's a start). Hit me with the best episode of it you've ever heard. I want nothing but hit after hit after hit!

Of particular interest are running and Walt Disney World, of course, but I'm willing to open my horizons if you have other ideas. Thank you very much lots!

On to the roundup:

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, February 20, 2018

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Be Our Guest Review

It's trip report time! You can see all the posts in this report here.

Remember when Be Our Guest was, like, THE dining reservation to have? I mean, I guess it still kinda is, but I never really got into the hype. Despite its general popularity, Beauty & The Beast was never a huge favorite of mine as a child, and aside from the grey stuff there was no huge attraction in the perfectly serviceable but expensive menu.

I don't know why I suddenly felt the urge to go there for breakfast, which generally gets middling reviews. The lure of doing something new, I suppose. Whatever the reason, I found an ADR almost as tough a get, but with dogged pursuit landed an ADR at a mid-morning time I liked.

And thus we found ourselves there on the second morning of our trip. Since breakfast is not a true table service affair, the experience starts out a little less lux. Even with an ADR you're shuffled through a huge line, culminating in a cast member taking down your order. All adult breakfast are the same price and come with a non-specialty beverage and pastries to share. It's been pointed out that if two people make separate ADRs each person gets a separate pastry plate and they can still sit together, but I had a hard enough time getting the one ADR, so.

If you have a Magic Band, you're free to wander the castle - your food will geolocate you later. First up: a stop at the drink station. There seems to be one in every room and you can help yourself, so presumably seconds are allowed? I didn't try but I don't see how they'd enforce a single serving policy. My mom and I both got coffee and it was indeed coffee. So far so good.

Then I took a dip into the three available seating areas. The main ballroom dining area is everything you've heard: loud, cavernous, enormous, loud, loud. Lovely ceiling art but otherwise avoid.

The library has a lovely rose centerpiece, but my hurried examination didn't yield much else of note (I didn't want to linger too long lest my food have to chase me around). Instead we settled in the West Wing, with its soothing darkness and periodic thunder noises to scare all the small, loud children away. (For some reason WDW is full of children???? PLS EXPLN)

About five minutes after we selected our table a Cast Member brought our food in a cart, checking our receipt and leaving us to our devices for the remainder of the meal. 

My mom got the vegetable quiche, which is for some inconceivable reason served with a slab of puff pastry even though it already has a crust? Go figure. She seemed happy enough with it. It came with mixed fruit but I can't even LOOK at it because the bowl contains grapes and GRAPES ARE THE DEVIL. P.S. My phobias are legitimate!

I had originally planned on ordering the bacon and egg sandwich, but upon arrival I found myself digging something a little lighter. I wound up selecting the charcuterie plate. Tres European, non? Nothing on the plate blew my mind but it was all satisfying: the cheese was brie, and the meats were two types of ham and salami. Bonus: apple slices and french bread with marmalade. Pro tip #1: put some cheese and marmalade on the bread and GO TO TOWN.

As for the provided pastry plate, they were decent; more or less what you might expect to be served at a hotel breakfast buffet. The pan aux chocolate was a particular standout. The cinnamon roll was kinda dry, but the apple danish and turnover were decent. Muffins provided were blueberry and bran. Pro tip #2: bring a couple plastic baggies with you, bag it all up, and stick in your backpack for snacks later. That'll show 'em!

Overall I found it to be a pleasant enough experience, and the food was pretty good. The pastry plate stretches the value. Still, I'm not sure it's worth the price or effort; I think I'd rather just snag a waffle sandwich from Sleepy Hollow. But if I ever find myself traveling with a big BatB fan, I'll take a swing at an ADR. What the hell, y'know?

Have you ever been to Be Our Guest? Thoughts?

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, February 15, 2018

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Behind The Seeds Tour

It's trip report time! You can see all the posts in this report here.

I have had Epcot's Behind the Seeds tour on my to-do list for literally years. Which is ridiculous because it's one of WDW's cheapest, easiest to book tours ever. But that very accessibility is what makes it so easy to skip when other things come up, you know? This time around I was absolutely determined to take this tour of The Land's greenhouses, and I dragged my mom along for the ride.

We checked in for the tour at the desk by Soarin', where we were given hand-drawn name tags. I noticed that some people had elaborately designed name tags, whereas some had otherwise plain name tags save a Mickey-dotted "i" if the name happened to contain one. I deduced that this was determined by whether or not you had booked in advance. Either way, I enjoyed my snowman in a Mickey hat.

Our group was picked up by our tour guide and took us through a side door behind the Living with the Land boat ride, where she distributed headphone packs that enabled us to hear her spiel regardless of our place in line.

Regarding our guide: she was good. Very pleasant, very nice, very knowledgeable. But to be frank. she was also kinda bland and flat - her delivery didn't have much personality. There were no young kids on our tour, and maybe it's different with a different guide, but if there had been I bet they would've gotten real antsy real fast.

Anyway! After receiving our headphone packs, we proceeded into a small room containing bugs and plants. Our guide explained that scientists are experimenting with using one type of insect to curtail populations of another, thus cutting down on the need for pesticides. 

This was all well and good, but we next got to the real meat of the tour: the portion you can see when you're riding Living with the Land. We stepped through a door, and ta da! We were in the ride's greenhouses. 

Our guide noted some of the methods Epcot uses to grow crops before taking us over to a small station with a refrigerator and sink. She offered us all a piece of The Land-grown English cucumber, and I gotta say it was pretty delicious - much tastier than the large cucumbers you get at the grocery store. 

After that we went into the fish tank area, where we checked out the catfish in particular. One particularly interesting tidbit: our guide told us the catfish are unusually snuggly, and will rub up against you if you get in to clean their tank. I asked if this seemed affectionate or just happenstance, and she said she wasn't sure. In conclusion, I should probably get myself a catfish and see if I can convince it to be my friend.

Next we moved on to the tropical greenhouse, where many exotic and familiar plant specimens were pointed out to us. The highlight was the spice display, where our guide gave us containers full of spices to attempt to sniff and identify - cinnamon, clove, etc. 

And then the tour ended. Look, this probably wasn't super exciting to read. To be honest, it wasn't super exciting to experience, either. It definitely had interesting bits, and it was definitely fun watching the ride boats go by while actively on the show floor. But overall I was kind of underwhelmed.

I've read much more positive reviews of this tour, and I'm not sure if something was off or if it was me or what - but I wonder how my experience might have differed if I'd had a more enthusiastic tour guide. I may try again someday...

Have your done the Behind the Seeds tour? Did you like it better than I did? I've read plenty of rave reviews so I don't know what happened!

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, February 14, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/14

Happy Valentine's Day! If you're reading this, I love you. (For reals, the idea that people read the things I write gives me the warm fuzzies. <3)

Pat and I used to mark the occasion by eating dinosaur chicken nuggets, but then we decided they were so awesome that we should incorporate them into our regular diet and now they're not special anymore. Oh well!

Let us non sequiter our way into the workout log:

Sunday | rest
There was a nasty wintry mix outside and my IT Band was still giving me a bit of trouble, so I decided to take the day off.

Monday | walked 2.15 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.36 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | ran 6.22 miles on the treadmill in 1:05
Rain drove me into the gym. :(

Thursday | walked 2.11 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 7.2 miles outside in 1:15

Saturday | rest

I was one of the huddled masses taking their iPhone into the Apple store to get the battery replaced the other weekend. While I've noticed some quicker battery drainage over the past months, my main impetus was that my phone keeps dying on me in the cold. Last time it happened I had to run TWO WHOLE MILES in silence AND it pulled down my step tracking average. :( :( :(

Sadly, when I explained all this to my Apple genius bar guy, I didn't get that far. He determined that my battery still charges up to 87% of its capability and that's within guidelines. Since we all have a year to replace our batteries at the reduced fee, he recommended I wait a bit. Fair enough. 

But when I asked him about ways to prevent the cold from causing my phone to just up and give up without warning, he was tragically unhelpful, insisting this was the norm. And I get that batteries don't like the cold. But how come I was able to run the Rock 'n Roll Marathon last March in 20 degree temperatures with no problem, but 35 minutes into a cold weather run now and my phone dies? Hmmm? HMMM???

Anyway. On particularly frigid mornings I've been stuffing my phone down my sleeve so that it leeches some of my body heat. So far so good with that strategy. But I don't like how I can't make music and volume changes. Anyone have alternate suggestions?

While you're thinking, here's the roundup.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Baltimore Marathon VS Marine Corps Marathon: An Investigation

You could, conceivably, run the Baltimore Marathon AND the Marine Corps Marathon the same year. They're never on the same day. They are sometimes on the same weekend, and historically they're always within a week of each other.

This year the two are spaced apart by about a week (Oct 20 & 28), so the feat is a little less daunting than last year, when the guns went off within 24 hours of each other. Perhaps you are one of those who would like to double up. If so, class dismissed!

But if you want to run one or the other but not both, this post is for you. Since these races are so close in date and locality I thought it might be helpful to make some comparisons.


The Marine Corps Marathon bibs are awarded by lottery, so you have to get in, for starters - or run for a charity. (The lottery opens in March, so keep an eye out.) 

The Baltimore Marathon is sold until unavailable. My bib was given to me last year so I didn't keep an eye on when it sold out, but I don't think it's super quick. Registration is open now.

The races are within a week of each other, hence this comparison for those not looking to double-dip. There are a few differences to consider, though.

First, it's worth noting that MCM is on Sunday, giving you Saturday to travel as needed. Baltimore is on a Saturday, which means that you'll have to find a way to get to the expo on a Friday. That may require taking some vacation hours depending on your work schedule.

Second - and this may be silly - but MCM is the Sunday before Halloween. This means most Halloween parties will be going down on Saturday night... while you head to bed early. Many won't care, but if you're one of those people who just loves Halloween and its accompanying shenanigans, you might want to go with Baltimore instead on the strength of its timing alone.

Last year MCM was $160. Ouch. 

Baltimore is currently $110. It gets incrementally more expensive as the race date nears, topping out at $140 at the expo.

Total crapshoot. They're close enough in location and date that this can't really be a deciding factor, but I figured I'd make a category anyway precisely to point out that fact.

Anyway, weather around here in October is usually reasonably mild, but it can get chilly toward the end of the month. That being said, every October marathon I've run since 2014 has ranged from comfortably crisp to downright hot. And now that I've said that, this year it'll probably be rainy and 2 degrees outside. You're welcome!

Both have hotel partnerships with associated shuttles as needed if you're traveling. If not, Baltimore is easier to get to by some measures - they don't close off the roads until about an hour before the race, so you can be dropped off right at the start line by an Uber/Lyft (or, if you're me, by my dad). Light rail is also available.

On the other hand, if you live on the DC Metro line, MCM is very convenient. Barring years where the administration is being especially cranky about track maintenance schedules, the Metro opens early Sunday morning and you can take the train right to the start area. Driving is not as easy as many roads are closed and you've got to take shuttles and crud, but it can be done.

MCM is a much more regimented and grand experience, as you might imagine. There are bag inspection checkpoints, extensive personnel, skydiving with the American flag, Ospreys, and a line of Marines ready to high-five you as you start off on the course.

Baltimore is humbler, but it has its perks. Real bathrooms in Camden Yards are open for you, for starters, plus there's a gas station nearby where you can pick up coffee or whatever. It's just kind of a homier vibe.

MCM is pretty flat and pretty fast; it's considered one of the best marathons for beginners in the country. The course winds through DC and northern Virginia, with some highlights being Georgetown, the National Mall, and Crystal City.

Baltimore definitely has some rolling hill sections. I didn't encounter anything too mountainous, but if you hate hills you won't be thrilled with certain portions of the course; this IS somewhat mitigated by the final couple miles being largely downhill. The primary highlight to me was running through the Maryland Zoo, although to be honest you don't get to see much. They did have a penguin out for photo ops. Under Armour World Headquarters was pretty fun too.

MCM is the only race on its course for the duration. Baltimore includes relay marathon runners as well as a half marathon that mixes into the second half of the race.

Both have excellent course support as far as spectators are concerned, with lots of random neighborhood people cheering you on.

Course support for both is comparable. Gatorade, med tents, water stops ever couple miles.

MCM ends in Arlington, near the Netherlands Carillon, or bell tower. This is technically near the famous cemetery but not appreciably close. There's a post-race finisher area where you can get food and beer and such but it's always overrun with people. I generally meet Pat at the bell tower and get the hell out of dodge.

Baltimore has the advantage of ending in the Inner Harbor, in the center of the city's most tourist-y area. In addition to the many, many runner's village tents, you're welcome to branch out into the Inner Harbor and its many restaurants, shops, and other attractions. (Shout out for the National Aquarium!)

At MCM you get one of those pre-packaged snack boxes a la runDisney. Baltimore has more of a free-form, grab-what-you-want method. I thought the inclusion of indigenous Utz chips was a nice touch.

Marine Corps Marathon requires a 14 minute per mile pace. Generally you have to "Beat the Bridge," or run over the 14th Street Bridge, by a certain time or you'll be pulled from the course. My understanding is that if you make it in time you're pretty much in the clear, but I've never tested this theory...

The Baltimore Marathon requires a 16 minute per mile pace, so same as runDisney.

MCM's expo is MUCH bigger. That being said, Baltimore's is legit; it's just not nearly AS big. Both have a fair to expansive selection of vendors, but MCM seems to draw some bigger names. For example, runDisney usually has a booth at MCM but I didn't see them at Baltimore.

MCM runners get a nice flocked mock turtle neck race shirt. Finishers also receive a commemorative patch.

Baltimore runners get an Under Armour long sleeve tech tee. It has thumbholes!

There are sometimes some random snacks and things in bib bags and at the expo, but nothing jumps out at me as particularly remarkable.

Both have plenty of nice merch to choose from. MCM partners with Brooks and Baltimore partners with Under Armour. I'd say there's a greater variety of gear and more stock at MCM. Baltimore's stuff was very nice but stock wasn't as plentiful (everything I would've bought wasn't available in my size by the time I got there). They had some discounts if you bought a certain amount, though, which is a perk worth considering if you like to buy a lot of commemorative race gear.

Medals for all!

I've run both races and enjoyed both from different angles. I think MCM is a bigger deal and has more pomp and flash attached therefore. But Baltimore is not to be discounted - it's a formidable race with great course support, spectator turnout, and perks.

Personally I'll be entering the MCM lottery simply due to the convenience factor: it's on a Sunday so I don't have to worry about having time to get to the expo, and I live a ten minute walk from the Metro. But if I don't make the lottery, I won't hesitate to register for Baltimore instead. It's a solid race (and I could use a redemption run).

Have your run the Marine Corps or Baltimore marathons? What are your thoughts? Did I forget anything in my comparison?

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, February 9, 2018

Happy Friday: Of Course Not; Witches Have Brooms

Despite that fact that Jane and Michael themselves dismiss a very similar theory in the movie, this is certainly an intriguing notion...

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, February 8, 2018

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Lunch at Sanaa

It's trip report time! You can see all the posts in this report here.

Remember when Sanaa was a hidden gem and you could waltz right in? Those were the days. Now word has gotten out about how awesome this restaurant in Kidani Village is, and an ADR is a must. Since my mom raved about our visit there in 2013, I made sure to make a reservation for this trip as well.

As you know if you read my trip report, we arrived late and a bit cranky to boot. Thanks to my phone call ahead during the bus debacle allowed the hostess to hold our ADR, and they even accommodated our request for a table by the window. By the time we settled into our seats we were already feeling better.

Our first act was obviously to order the bread service. I initially selected the three accompanying dips options, but our server was moved by our tragic tale and brought us all nine gratis. Sampling was of course a delight, with the pickles being a surprise favorite. I was also pleased to find that they only bring you soft naan breads and such now - none of that crunchy cracker nonsense.

We also ordered some mango lassi, a yogurt-based drink of smoothie-like consistency. It's a little icier than, say, a milkshake, and very refreshing.

Since we were already starting to fill up on bread service, so we elected to order some appetizers for our meal. 

I went with the Boerewors sausage with spiced eggs (our server told me how to pronounce that but it has already gone wooshing out of my head). I enjoyed this immensely - I love curry, and both the sausage and egg were nicely spiced. If anything I could've gone with a slightly more intense flavor profile, but as it is I would definitely order it again. Protein, baby!

My mom picked out the shrimp tinashe, sauteed shrimp with season pap and nhopi (whatever that is). I didn't get a taste because my mom wasn't about to share it, so I'd say if you like shrimp it's safe bet.

We also ordered the salad sampler, but to be honest we barely touched it - we had enough food as it is and nothing I tasted really warranted a second bite. The ingredients are unusual compared to your average restaurant salad but I wasn't wowed.

Sadly we didn't have room for dessert, but since the chai cream is long gone, who cares? I may have to try the Spice Trade Candy Bar sometime, though.

As always, the ambiance was top notch -  while we dined we viewed Watusi cattle, giraffes, cranes, and more.

I almost hate to say it, but: BOOK SANAA. (But don't book the ADR day I want.)

Have you eaten at Sanaa? How did you like it?

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, February 7, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/07

Three words: STUPID IT BAND.

Yup, my old injury has reared its ugly, ugly head. Mind you, I probably shouldn't've run a 14 miler when I suspected something might be up with it again, but it was on the schedule, okay? WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO??? (Rest. Right. Yeah. Whatever.)

The good news is - and I'm gonna go find a giant hunk of wood and knock on it eight to twelve times - the judicious application of KT Tape, an extra rest day or two, and slightly curtailed mileage seems to have tamed the beast. Here's hoping it keeps up; I don't want to run another marathon injured.

Sunday | ran 5.12 miles on the treadmill in 50 minutes
Cold and rainy weather drove me inside, so I made a speed run out of it.

Monday | walked 2.06 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.26 miles on the treadmill in 55 minutes
Oy with the weather already!

Wednesday | ran 5.31 miles outside in 55 minutes
Snuck this one past the meteorologists by running AFTER work. I didn't love having it hanging over my head all day but I was a fan of sleeping in.

Thursday | walked 2.33 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 14.07 miles on the treadmill in 2:25
As I said above, I should probably have just saved this run for later, but doing so would've torn my carefully constructed marathon training plan asunder, so I took a shot. Hopefully it doesn't backfire? 

I had wanted to attempt this outside, but again... RAIN. ICE. WEATHER. I really need to just move to Orlando already. Two out of two Edison employees agree!


The Runner's Guide to WDW schools runDisney n00bs on what to expect on race day.
The purple whales of DCA's carousel swim free, and Parkeology mourns. (And so does Moon.)
- Also in DCA, This Fairy Tale Life checks out the Lunar New Year celebrations.
The Disney Tourist Blog reviews DVC's special Moonlight Magic event. So jealous of the hyena photos!
A Pinch Of Pixie Dust swans around Disney's Vero Beach Resort.
The Main Street Gazette theoretically tinkers with WDW's nighttime spectaculars.
Passport To Dreams Old & New takes another deep dive into the history of WDW's background music.
easyWDW revisits lunch at the California Grill. (I tried to show this to Pat; all he saw was the post title and immediately declared himself in favor.)

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, February 6, 2018

In Which Jenn Has A Race Schedule This Year

You might recall that last year I decided to basically wing my race schedule because I wasn't sure how my life might change over the course of the year. Well, I winged my race schedule as planned... but nothing changed.

This runs counter to my wishes. So: you know the old saying that if you want make God laugh, make a plan? Yeah. Here's my tentative race schedule. YOUR MOVE, GOD.

Wrightsville Beach Marathon, March 17 (already registered)
Allegedly fast and flat, and since my parents have a house down there I can make my dad drive me to the start. Score!

George Washington Parkway Classic, April 22 (already registered)
10 Miler. Local. Gonna drag Sarah along with me.

ZOOMA Annapolis Half, June 2 OR Run 'n Ride Kings Dominion Half, June 3
I think ZOOMA might be rebranding? I got an email about a different Annapolis half on the same day; I'm still sussing that out. I guess I could do both but each require varying lengths of driving and I'm not sure I feel like juggling all that travel.

TENTATIVE: Tessitura Network 5K?
If I go to the conference this year. I didn't last year but this year is at the Swolphin so my fingers are permanently crossed.

Parks Half Marathon, September 9 
Plus a four mile run home, duh.

Marine Corps Marathon, October 28 OR Baltimore Marathon, October 20
If I don't make the MCM lottery I'll sign up for Baltimore. I'm planning to do a comparison post at some point since I've now done both.

Wine & Dine Half Marathon, November 5

Bethesda Turkey Chase 10K, November 22
Eh, what the hell. Gotta love a race you can walk to AND walk home.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Christmastown Dash 8K, December 2 (probably - based on last year's date)
I've always wanted to run this race but something always gets in the way. Let this be my year!

Got any other suggestions for races I should be running? General DC area for preference, or somewhere within a couple hours' drive? I'm currently on the hunt for a half or similar in late February and early October...

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, February 1, 2018

In Which Jenn Reviews Cruelty-Free Products

I alluded to this in my last round of random product reviews, but to make it official: a couple years ago I went strictly cruelty-free when it comes to makeup. Medical testing, in my opinion, is a separate ethical debate, but I see absolutely no reason why we should make animals suffer purely for the purposes making select portions of my face a different color. I just don't need it.

Mind you, I do sometimes want it, and luckily there are plenty of cruelty-free companies out there who can help me out. My personal code is that if a company is cruelty-free but its parent company isn't, I will still consider it cruelty-free since I'm still voting with my dollar. I'm also not as concerned with veganism in my products, just that no one is mean to them during any part of the process. Your own standards may be more strict or more lax than mine. It's up to you!

If you are interested in making some part of your cosmetics consumption cruelty-free, here's an important thing to know: companies can be pretty tricky about it. Even if the company itself never tests its products on animals, that can be rendered moot in two ways: they can get components of their products from companies that aren't cruelty-free, or they can sell in China.

That's right, ANY cosmetics brand that sells in China is NOT cruelty-free. China has a post-market animal testing policy, wherein any product on a shelf in a store in China can be pulled and tested on animals. Yes, even though it's already been approved for sale. No, I don't get it either.

There are a couple loopholes as I understand it - I think maybe airports don't have the same requirements? - but generally speaking, if a brand sells in China it's not cruelty-free and that's all.

Why am I telling you all this? Because cruelty-free beauty is the theme of this round of random product reviews! Every one of the below items is kind to animals and it makes me happy. So let's start off with

Maple Holistics Argan Oil Shampoo. DISCLAIMER! I received a bottle of this shampoo for free, but with no obligation to give a good review. I can assure you I strive to be fair and balanced when I review anything, regardless of how I got it.

Now, on to the argan oil shampoo! Despite being sulfate-free, this shampoo lathers easily, with a pleasantly robust texture and no scent worth noticing. It made my hair soft soft sooooft - I'd consider a great dupe of the classic Morrocanoil shampoo, only Moroccanoil isn't cruelty-free so eff 'em.

Here's the thing, though: my hair is fine, and by consequence already pretty soft. Softening it further kinda sucks the life out of it, and certainly deflates my naturally wavy texture. If you have something similar going on, I'd recommend the tea tree oil shampoo instead (I like how it gets rid of scalp buildup that can weigh down hair). If you have a coarser texture that could use some softening up, or if you like to add your volume products post-shower, go for it.

Not sure? No worries! Maple Holistics offers an impressive sampling program that'll let you try just about anything as far as I can tell. Have at it.

**All other products listed below were NOT sponsored or gifted in any capacity and I have no relationship with any of their parent companies. I bought this stuff of my own accord, kids.**

Not Your Mother's Dry Shampoo. Hooray! A cheap, easily accessible cruelty-free dry shampoo! NYM's version comes both unscented and in a "warm sugar" smell that makes me think of vanilla with a hint of chalk. You need a pretty thorough spray down to get the full effect and your hair is gonna have a white cast to start. Don't panic! By the time you brush it all through it'll be invisible. Trust me; I dye my hair as close to black as brown can reasonably get and I've had no troubles after a good brush-out.

Sheet masks. Who doesn't love a good sheet mask? They're extra great for when you're traveling solo and want to schedule a brief relaxation period. I believe these originated in Korea, and many would argue that the Koreans have perfected the genre. Thing is, a LOT of Korean brands sell in China. One that doesn't? Creme Shop! I recently found this brand in CVS, tried their egg white sheet mask, and loved it. I need to try more!

More readily accessible: the Miss Spa face masks I see at Target seem to be cruelty-free. I wasn't impressed with the bee venom one but the hydrate version is always good. A little research suggests the whimsical Animalz face masks are cruelty-free too, but I haven't tried any yet. Maybe for next time?

Foundation with SPF. I've been playing around with some drugstore SPF foundation options, because I find them extremely useful when touring Walt Disney World (or any outdoor activity, for that matter). No one wants their vacation ruined by a painfully sunburnt face!

This has been a somewhat more challenging adventure, as a lot of the BB creams with SPF I've used in the pass are owned by companies that test on animals. (Looking at you, Maybelline Dream BB Cream. D:)

I found the e.l.f. BB cream with SPF 15 to be entirely too dark for my complexion, and Sonia Kashuk's version felt too thick. I briefly landed upon a Physician's Formula cushion compact with SPF 50 (!!!!), and while I like it for its high protection powers it's so sheer it's barely worth wearing. Also, it seems to be on clearance everywhere so we may never be able to buy it again.

Right now what's working for me is e.l.f.'s Beautifully Bare Foundation Serum with SPF 25. The fair shade works on my skin, and although it's sheer it's also buildable up to a low-medium coverage as needed. I love how it sinks into my skin weightlessly and makes my skin soft with vitamin E and goji berry among other things. It's a little price-y for e.l.f. but at $8 it's still not an investment.

All that being said - I'm open to more SPF foundation suggestions? Cheap, cruelty-free suggestions, naturally. I see Wet 'n Wild has a cushion compact with SPF too...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if Ruffian becomes aware of
anything ever she will assume it's for her.

As always, if you'd like me to expand any of these reviews or product topics into a full post, let me know! I'm thinking I might do cheap running gear next...

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!