Thursday, May 31, 2018

In Which Jenn Runs With Short Hair(!)

I have had long hair for the better part of two decades. For the last 10 years especially, I mean long - like almost-to-my-butt long. And I like it like that! It feels very me. I call it my Fairy Princess Hair.

Well, I don't have it any more. I hacked it all off last week.

WHY??? you scream, flecks of spittle hitting your monitor as you shake it with fearful rage.

... Okay, maybe you don't care about my hair as much as I do, for some reason. But since you asked, I donated it! It is now in possession of Lolly's Locks, an organization that assembles quality wigs for adult cancer patients who can't afford to buy such a thing on their own. And that's why all this happened:

None of this has anything directly to do with running - but it's more impactful than you might think. Namely, there's the question of how to handle my hair during runs.

The standard go-to running gal hairstyle, the faithful ponytail, has been a firm no for me for most of my running career. My hair was so dang lengthy that a ponytail served only to lash at my back and get stuck to my sweaty face and neck. No thank you. I played around with pigtail braids for awhile there, especially for races, before giving up and jamming it into a bun atop my head. (For runDisney races I like to slap a Minnie ear headband in front to distract from the madness.)

Well, no more. Now my hair is too short to make it into a real bun. At best I can manage a sort of sad half-twist. So I'm back to ponytails, against all odds.

In some ways, this ponytail has served to be a bit of an annoyance. It doesn't smack me around anymore - it can't reach - but it does have a habit of thumping against the back of my head. And it can be pretty tough to gather it all together in a single 'tail, leaving little escaped bits falling out at the bottom. But the extra coolness around my neck area is an admitted plus for summer, and I suffer less tangling so far. Call it a wash, I guess?

I'm sure hair management will be an ongoing project as it slowly lengthens again. In the meantime, any suggestions?

How do you deal with your hair for runs?

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 5/30

In this week's review we shall do training log first, discussion second. Okay, go!

Sunday | ran 10.13 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.4 miles in 40 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.32 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | ran 5.33 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.13 miles outside in 35 minutes
This was Pat's and my four year anniversary together. Originally I was going to go to ballet anyway, since Pat's been studying for his final architecture licensing exam, but at the last minute we decided to go out anyway. Margarita Thursday is a thing, right?

Friday | ran 5.41 miles outside in 55 minutes
And apparently post-Margarita Thursday bursts of speed are a thing too.

Saturday | rest

Among the, let's face it, probably somewhat poorly thought out Memorial Day sale purchases I made was a subscription to Zombies Run, the running app that tells you a story about how you're being chased by zombies 90% of the time. This being a good way to spice up an otherwise boring training run, I've been using the app for almost a year now - but in its free version, which allows you only one episode per week. I've been more or less fine with that, but when the company offered to drop the price of a year's membership from $25 to $10 I bit. (Get it? I BIT! :D :D :D)

I don't regret the purchase, but I do want to put some emphasis on saving money in the future. I'm not spending outside my means but I'm not saving as much as I should. Why, you ask? Am I worried about retirement, or college funds? No, silly; I'm thinking ahead to a potential week long WDW vacation in November 2019!

Trader Sam's, here we come!!!

But that doesn't mean I intend to slow my runDisney roll. I merely intend to spend some low-key, long weekend time at the WDW Resort - minus (GASP) so much park time. Stay tuned for more on my no-park trip planning!

On to the roundup:

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

Thursday, May 24, 2018

In Which Jenn Has A Secret Running Admirer Maybe? (But Probably Not)

One day, on an otherwise very routine run, I realized that my sidewalk was speaking to me.

Secret messages dotted the pavement as I ran past. Well, maybe not "secret" as such, as they were written in brightly colored chalk. But still, it was unexpected to suddenly find a cheering section beneath my feet.

Arrows pointed my way first. On my way out they seemed to be encouraging me to turn around, but once I headed home they were totally on my side.

Indeed, I was shortly reassured that I was definitely heading in the right direction.

As I headed up the biggest, steeped hill on my route, the path had some sage advice for me.

And you're just going to have to trust me when I say I was told that I was "almost there," because when I went back to get a better photograph it had sadly worn away. (Taking pictures of the ground while actively running is surprisingly hard, guys).

Here and there the ground also declared "Ytri." The name of a person, my messenger, perhaps? The meme-ified thoughts of a person who would rather not be running after all? It is a great mystery!

Although it is also a clue. After some thought it occurred to me the most likely explanation was that the local YMCA hosted a practice triathlon. But I refuse to look it up. As long as I don't know for sure, I can pretend that the sidewalk messages were special for me.

Have you ever encountered intriguing messages on your running trail?

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 5/23

Hi! How are you? I'm fine. I'm just stalling because I don't have anything in particular to share this week. Well, I mean, there are things. But since I am saving them for their own dedicated posts, they are secret for the time being. Intrigue!

Training log, go:

Sunday | 7.03 miles outside in 1:10
Not bad for the day after a wedding and after party.

Monday | walked 2 miles in 35 minutes; 70 minute ballet class
My GPS watch did that weird thing again where it tries to claim I'm walking, like 13 minute miles, so I'm just putting down what my usual 35 minute walking pattern nets me at bare minimum and calling it a day.

Tuesday | ran 7.23 miles outside in 1:15

Wednesday | ran 5.31 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | ran 5.17 miles outside in 55 minutes
I went to see Jukebox the Ghost at the 9:30 Club that night, so I moved my run up a day; I didn't want to have to worry about getting back from the concert late and then getting up early to run. By the way, have you listed to "Jumpstarted" yet? LISTEN TO IT. LISTEN TO IT RIGHT NOW!!!

Friday | walked 2.26 miles outside in 40 minutes

Saturday | 70 minute ballet class
Since I skipped Thursday.

I have one more race coming up at the beginning of June, and then we settle into the mid-year lull where nothing happens until September. Ah, the muggy runs of summer.


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

Monday, May 21, 2018

In Which It's Rough Out There In Disney Room Reservations

Hot damn, you guys. Can we take a second to talk about how near impossible it's gotten to book a room in a Walt Disney World hotel in a reasonable time frame?

I've talked about some of my odd room reservation experiences before, and I've learned a lot from them. Primarily, I've learned to book a room the SECOND you so much as CONSIDER going to WDW, a year in advance if possible.

I was smart for this year's Wine & Dine Half weekend, and booked my room at Pop in January. When I decided to extend my races weekend to include the 10K, I was luckily able to cancel my first reservation and re-book with the additional night. That was March.

Two months later, I asked my race weekend buddy Erika if she had booked a room yet. She's a newbie to WDW and runDisney, and she hasn't decided yet if she wants to share a room with me or bring her kids and get her own room. I encouraged her to book a room now just to be safe; she can always cancel later. (For the record, you can cancel a WDW hotel reservation up to a week in advance without penalty. The more you know!)

I promised to send her an email with info about Pop, where I'm staying, as well as some alternatives. A search on the Disney site with our dates found that, six months in advance of arrival, you can stay... practically nowhere. 

Certainly no values. Art of Animation has suites, but they're twice as expensive as a regular room. On the moderate level, I've seen Coronado and Caribbean waft in and out of availability - but they're both under construction, so yuck. And then of course you have a smattering of deluxe resorts, but it's mostly only the fancier rooms that are still available, with views and suchlike. I don't run in circles where the people are made of money, so.

For now I've advised Erika to pick up the Art of Animation suite (which wouldn't be the worst to have with two kids). If she wants to stay with me in the end, great; she can cancel. If not, she has a room - and in the meantime she can keep checking back. If her nerves are steely enough, she can probably expect a value to pop up a couple weeks out from check-in day. I've had that luck before.

Remember the good old days, when you could wait until room-only discount offers were released a couple months in advance and casually book then? Yeah. I wouldn't hold my breath for a return to that model any time soon. When Star Wars Galaxy's Edge opens, we better all watch our backs...

What's your Disney hotel reservation strategy? Have you ever been locked out?

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

Thursday, May 17, 2018

In Which Jenn Has A Mothereffin' Mantra

I stayed at my parents' home in NC when I ran the Wrightsville Beach Marathon. Naturally, for the long weekend away I brought along some Runner's World magazines. For theming, of course!

Post-race and oh, so well-deserved shower, I plunked myself down on the bed and flipped through an issue. I hit upon an article about the importance of having a mental plan in place for a race. Having just run a marathon, I was nodding along - I firmly believe that the only difference between a marathon finisher and non-finisher is that when the finisher hit the wall, they kept on plugging anyway.

But the bit about race mantras threw me off. Race mantras, RW declared, should be purely positive. While there is the rare person who responds to expletives, they should be avoided.


I thought back to my, er, "motivational phrases" during the marathon I had literally just run. I've never been one to swear like a sailor, but whatever internal coach my brain channels definitely does. During the race, I asked myself repeatedly if I was a pansy-ass motherf***ing QUITTER. I called myself all sorts of names. And I told myself some of your standard "you can do this" general stuff as well. But mostly the self-flagellation and swearing. 

I dunno, though. I may be in the minority, but I think this approach kinda works for me. Mind you, if a real, external person tried the same tactics to get me to do some, I would immediately sit down right on the trail and refuse to budge, because that's the kind of jerk I am. But somehow when I yell at myself like that I know I'm doing it because I know I can do it. I'm asking myself if I'm a pansy-ass because I'm NOT a pansy-ass! Watch me get that medal!

During the Parkway Classic, I was powering up a hill when my mantra popped into my mind. This time, it immediately made me laugh.

And so I think, for now, I shall be maintaining my race mantras just as they are... motherf***ers.

What's your race mantra?

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 5/16

HELLO! I'm coming off an AMAZING weekend. Moon - remember Moon? - she got married! In the same place Will Smith got married if that helps you envision it!

She had the most gorgeous dress and a lovely ceremony and good food and awesome people and a great after-party and I got cake and champagne and made a joint toast with my co-maid o' honor Elizabeth and everything was magnificent.

I still got my runs in for the week, though! I can prove it:

Sunday | ran 10.27 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.41 miles outside in 40 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.28 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | ran 5.17 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class
Actually I'm not sure how far I walked because my GPS went haywire and started logging ridiculous speeds, so I just went with the minimum distance I tend to achieve along my usual walking route in the usual amount of time.

Friday | ran 5.3 miles outside in 55 minutesAnd then it was off to Baltimore for wedding shenanigans!

Saturday | rest
I love cake.

Seriously, LOOK AT MOON'S DRESS!!!!

Ugh. Insurmountable. If I ever get married I may as well do it in a potato sack, because why bother?

Wait. What are we doing again? Week in review? Right! To the roundup!

Monday, May 14, 2018

In Which Jenn Remembers Tangled A Little Differently

Are you familiar with the Mandela Effect? It's the theory that, since a huge group of people remember Nelson Mandela dying in a jail cell in the '80s even though he didn't, there must be an alternate universe where this did happen. Another famous example is the Berenstein/Berenstain Bears debate. 

Basically, it's any time you absolutely definitely undoubtedly remember something happening a certain way, and you are 100% wrong. Don't feel bad! Maybe you accidentally slip-streamed into the wrong universe! Best of luck getting back.

And in my universe, the Tangled script looked juuuuust a bit different.

Remember this bit at the end of the Snuggly Duckling scene? The one after the song where they let Rapunzel and Flynn escape?

If you can't watch video or it stops working, it goes like this:

Except I swear to God I remember the big warrior dude saying "your dream SUCKS." Not "stinks." SUCKS. And I remember thinking a) that that was HILARIOUS and without question my favorite part of the whole movie and b) how far have we come that Disney now uses the word "sucks" freely? (But not "butts." Never butts.)

Of course we haven't because they didn't. I am obviously completely wrong, as evidenced by, well, the movie itself. But darned if the sucky memory doesn't stick there, haunting me with its inaccuracies. 

I understand there's a ritual where you can jump to an alternate universe by, like, locking yourself in a dark closet with a mirror or something like that. Maybe I should try it?

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

Thursday, May 10, 2018

In Which Jenn Creates A Running Allegory Or Whatever

Sometimes training runs are easy. And sometimes they're hard. Some days you love running and some days you hate it. Sometimes you start off fine and then, suddenly, you run into an obstacle.

Sometimes you can see it way far ahead in the distance and it makes you nervous and tense. How can you possibly handle this issue?

And then you get closer and you're like, yeah, that's a problem.

But luckily, nine times out of ten, if you look around a little you'll find a new path, and you can go on your merry way.

I hope this metaphor was helpful to you. Mostly what I'm trying to say here is LOOK AT THE GINORMOUS TREE THAT LANDED ON MY RUNNING TRAIL.

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 5/09

Ummmm, hold on just a second. I need to say something.


Thanks, I just needed to get that out of my system. We can do the workout log thing now.

Sunday | ran 10.1 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.26 miles outside in 40 minutes; 45 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.42 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | ran 5.29 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | ran 5.28 miles outside in 55 minutes
No ballet class, so I moved my run up a day.

Friday | walked 2.29 miles outside in 40 minutes

Saturday | rest
I picked up my bib for the Wayfarer Half. because for some reason they give you a full month to get it? Which is nice, although I did kinda miss the expo experience. And then I went to Elizabeth's birthday party and discovered that I'm really good at a board game called Meeples Circus. I wander if there's a career path in that. 

I'm not sure if I'll get my usual long run in this Sunday, but it's for the BEST reason: my girl Moon is getting married this weekend! :D :D :D I'm looking forward to pretty dresses and champagne and cake and hopefully not drinking too much champagne before my speech but definitely drinking it after.

I'm taking Pat as my plus one, sorry. But maybe you can fill your time with the roundup instead?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

In Which Jenn Finds Some Curioser & Curioser Disney Clothing

Can we talk for a hot second about the bootleg Disney clothing that riddles Amazon?

As part of my Disney Dandy(tm) duties, I like to stay apprised of the latest Disney clothing offerings so that I might better outfit myself in the parks. Mostly this manifests in Hot Topic taking all my money, but there are other sources out there, too. You can find things like t-shirts at Five Below, fancy shoes at ThinkGeek, handmade ear headbands on Etsy, and, of course, everything under the sun on Amazon.

The thing about some of these Amazon offerings is that they're v. under the radar, as apparently some of the manufacturers are using Disney characters without obtaining proper licensing. How do I know this? Well...

Here we have a dress featuring "Kittens."

And here's another that's "Colorful."

This one is apparently "Snow White," which....?

Perhaps you would prefer a "Prince & Princess."

(This same seller also offers the same dress in a Heironymous Bosch print, which brings me no end of amusement.)

This manufacturer must think Tim Burton is steak sauce, because this dress is labeled "A1."

Now for my favorite: check out these pants, featuring a "Splicing Animal."

I'm not here to narc on any of these businesses - it's all Disney legal's problem, not ours. And I still think Hot Topic is the best place for Disney clothing purchases for variety. But I can't say I'm not enjoying how some of these clothing companies are pretending that they're completely unaffiliated.

P.S. I'm just realizing now my screenshots include my potential gift list for Pat, for some reason? So if you see him, don't tell him what's on it. Thanks! :D

Have you ever purchased bootleg Disney merch?

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

Friday, May 4, 2018

Happy Friday: But WHY Do We Run?

And now for a rare look inside the minds of your apparently individually sentient, anthropomorphic insides.

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

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 5/02

Good morning campers! I come bearing good news: I've secured another discount code! Remember when I ran the Wrightsville Beach Marathon and got a PR and everything was awesome? Well, you can run it too in 2019! For, like, practically no money by road race standards - right now the race is $65, but you can get $10 off with promo code MARATHONMADNESS10.

Of course, you'll have to train for it and everything. Which brings me to the workout log.

Sunday | Parkway Classic, 10.02 miles outside in 1:31 if you believe my GPS
Despite a chest cold! Woo!

Monday | walked 2.05 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.33 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | ran 5.3 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.09 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.11 miles outside in 50 minutes

Saturday | rest
Went out with some friends, saw A Quiet Place and got irrationally angry about the inconsistencies (YES I KNOW EVERYONE ELSE ON EARTH LOVED IT), shattered my phone screen, and then drunk purchased a new phone. It's red! So it was an exciting day.

Ummmm... anything else for this week? I wanna say no.

On to the roundup!