Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas Eve! Win Yourself A Present!

Hello and welcome to this very special Christmas Eve episode of The Fairest Run Of All! I am here today to tell you about a super sweet giveaway I'm co-hosting with Disney In Your Day. Well, I say co-hosting; Becky did most of the work. I'm just here to tell you to GO ENTER THIS HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY BECAUSE THE PRIZE IS SO GOOD. Observe:

Win it here

It's a race bib display holder! I know! Synergy!

I never should have agreed to host this giveaway because now I can't enter. But YOU can. Do it here. Do it now!

And with that, I bid you adieu for 2018. Christmas is tomorrow, and then my birthday, and then I'm just gonna chill until the new year hits me right in the face. I shall see you all in January for the WDW Marathon.

And so I exclaim, e'er I run out of sight, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/20

Good morning! We are deep in December!! It is peak Christmastime!!!!!

I have:

- decorated the tree
- wrapped the presents
- yelled at the cat for nosing around in the presents
- baked cookies (okay, that's a lie; Pat baked them and I provided moral support)
- replaced lunch with cookies
- watched Christmas movies
- demanded Pat wear my Santa Mickey hat

... so it's going well over here. I'm a big Christmas fan so naturally I am increasingly excited. And then after Christmas is my birthday, a day where ONLY I am excited so I have to march around all day demanding attention, and then New Year's Eve which is never as good as it's supposed to be, and then the WDW Marathon, which is invariably BETTER than I expect it to be. Yay!!!

After that winter is DTM, there is nothing to look forward to, and I wish I were dead. But right now it's Christmastime, and life is good.

Here's what training looks time in this glorious time:

Sunday | ran 5.37 miles outside in 55 minutes

Monday | walked 2.07 miles outside in 35 minutes

Tuesday | ran 5.38 miles outside in 55 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 3.03 miles outside in 30 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.48 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 15.1 miles on the treadmill in 2:30
Yeah, yeah, I probably should've done this outside, but I didn't feel like dealing with the cold weather.

Saturday | rest

Normally this is roundabouts where I'd leave you for the year, but I'm teaming up with the lovely Disney In Your Day for a giveaway on Christmas Eve so be sure to check back for that. It's a runner-tastic prize!

While you're waiting, kill the time with the roundup:

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

In Which Jenn Doesn't Need New Running Clothes - But...

My dresser is 80% running clothes. I have a draw each for sports bras, short sleeved tops and tanks, long sleeved tops, and running pants, plus a couple free-floating warm weather tops and vests and a collection of hats and gloves. Probably, most likely, I have enough running clothes.

And yet I can't help but coveting new things. It's so motivating to say to myself, hey, on tomorrow's run you can wear your new running socks - get excited! So even though I know, logically, that I don't need to spend the money, I have a hard time letting a running gear sale pass me by.

Mostly I'm talking about C9 by Champion, Target's athletic line. They release discounts periodically, and every time they do I can't help but browse. And then there was the time Target was offering a $10 gift card for every $40 in clothing purchased, C9 included. I walked out with a small but no less superfluous haul. And let's not even talk about what's on my Christmas list.

It's not strictly wanton! Since I've been running outside more and more a lot of the warmer stuff is quite necessary. And since it's a Target brand it's not like I'm constantly dropping tons of tons of money. And this is how I snagged a pair of running pants that had stripes in Figment purple and orange that doubled as part of a race costume. Practical!

But the best example of my playing with fire was when I ran the Baltimore Marathon. Guys, I did something very very stupid: I bought a pair of running capris a week before the race, and without even testing them, I RAN THE RACE IN THEM.

Like so.

Why? Why would I pull such an obviously boneheaded stunt? Was it the spectacular pattern? The superior design? Did all my other tried and tested running capris spontaneously combust?

No. It's just that these pants had... A ZIPPERED POCKET. I could put my house key and a credit card and ID in my pocket and fear NOTHING. In perfect comfort too, unlike my sometimes sweaty and restrictive wristlet. It was 100% worth the risk. And it paid off, too - I didn't see so much as a lick of chafing.

A classic case of do as I say, not as I do, kids. But the siren call of shiny new running gear is so tantalizing sometimes...

Do you have a minor obsession with new running gear, too?

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, December 13, 2018

In Which Jenn Is Determined To Embrace The Suck

I've been thinking a lot about my last Marine Corps Marathon vs. my last WDW Marathon. In both races I felt my energy flagging the middle. The difference? In MCM, it was a downward slope - but in WDW, I rallied in a big way.

Any number of factors can be influential when it comes to race performance - training, weather, injuries, hydration, fuel, the works - but in this case, I think the deciding factor may have come down to one thing: attitude.

Everyone knows the WDW Marathon is full of joy and fun - how can running through the parks be anything but? Sure, the bare stretches of road in between can be rough, but I never fail to be bolstered considerably by the incredible spectators and energy of the Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk area, and World Showcase finish.

Alas and alack, they can't all be runDisney races. But having thought back on my last Marine Corps Marathon experience, I think maybe I'm giving that race's own vibe too little credit.

Specifically I think back to the last couple miles of the race, in Crystal City, after you've conquered the dread 14th Street Bridge but still have a bit of a slog to the finish line. This is exactly where you need to pick up your chin and fight for your finish, but I must admit I sagged a little without that Disney boost.

And yet now that I'm not actively in the moment I remember so much good energy - the little kids holding out their hands for high fives and the spectators and their signs and their candy and, oh yes, their booze. The Fireball people and the very nice men who were carefully portioning out tiny cups of light beer which I gratefully took because COLD BUBBLES YES.

Why not take selfies with these incredible helpers like you might a runDisney photo stop? Why not collect all the high fives you can from streets lined as thick as the Boardwalk? Why not, as a self-same spectator sign suggested, embrace the suck?

Much easier, of course, to paint this happy picture after the race is over. But perhaps if I remind myself before my next non-Disney marathon to look for the little joyful touches, I can port some of that same spirit into plain normal boring real life and charge for the finish.

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/12

It's beginning to look a lot like... WDW MARATHON TRAINING PEAK TIME!!!

Yup, my pre-WDW Marathon 15-miler approacheth, and I am READY. For starters, it helps that it's only 15 miles. Should I do a longer run? Probably. But it feels like I just finished the Marine Corps Marathon and Two Course Challenge and I don't care to push myself. Besides, I've done a mere 15 miles before this race before. It's not like I'm running it for time. I'm running it for maximum FUN!


Other training notes ahead:

Sunday | ran 10.24 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.28 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Tuesday | rest
I had a cough and also my knees were kinda bothering me, so I took an unscheduled rest day.

Wednesday | ran 7.09 miles outside in 1:15
And then promptly added extra mileage to my remaining runs. I'm not saying I'm smart; I'm just telling you what happened.

Thursday | walked 2,04 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 7.17 miles outside in 1:10
This weirdly good run was brought to you by sunshine and Ke$ha. It's amazing what taking a half day and running in the afternoon can do for a gal.

Saturday | rest


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

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: ANOTHER Nomad Lounge Review

Trip report time! See all the posts in this report.

Q. Oh Jenn, you've reviewed the Nomad Lounge in like 87 times. Why don't you try eating somewhere different in Disney's Animal Kingdom, like Harambe Market or Yak and Yeti?

A. No.

Q. Okay, well, if you must go to Nomad Lounge AGAIN, why don't you order a drink you've never had before?

A. No. The Hightower Rocks, essentially a watermelon margarita, comes with an enormous wedge of watermelon. It's a drink and snack. To stray would be to set oneself up for disappointment.

Q. Fine, but couldn't Erika have tried something different?

A. No. She wanted to drink my drink, and the Jenn's Tattoo deserves to be shared with the world.

Q. All right, all right. Did you at least try some new food?

A. Yes! Erika got the cheese plate, which offered an assortment of cheeses (included a bleu, brie, and two types of hard cheeses) alongside almond streusel and sweet potato puree. Erika was not a big fan of the bleu cheese but was quick to note that her distaste was more of a personal preference than anything wrong with the cheese itself. She was very into the almond streusel.

I got the Impossible sliders, since I've heard so much about these plant-based burger wonders. And they were indeed enjoyable, with a good meaty flavor. They reminded me of a pleasantly prepared well done hamburger - I prefer rare, myself, but for what it was I liked it. The slaw on top of the burgers added some crunch but wasn't overly flavorful.

The sliders were served alongside yucca fries, which I enjoyed. They reminded me of a denser steak fry, with a crisp and nicely seasoned outer casing. I would not have been mad if there had been more on the plate.

Q. Great! Glad you enjoyed yourself. But next time you go to DAK, maybe you could try something new?

A. Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm................

How many times have you been to Nomad Lounge? Twelve? Ninety? Eleventy-billion?

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

Friday, December 7, 2018

Happy Friday: Sweaty, Yet Satisfying

Let's just call this Christmas shopping inspiration. As I always say, Hot Topic offers the best selection of Disney apparel!

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/05

I've spent a lot of time in my most recent weekly recaps complaining about how a) I do not live at Walt Disney World and b) how where I do live is COLD right now. None of this has changed and I am still angry about it.

BUT! In the spirit of the Christmas season I thought it might be interesting to experiment with being, you know, kinda sorta a little positive sometimes maybe? So here is a thing I do currently like: seeing dogs on my run. All dogs are good but sometimes they see you running and they're like oh are we running ooooh!!!! and then they try to run and their owners don't let them but I know that for the moment my dog friend and I are simpatico.

Here are some of the runs on which I sometimes saw dogs:

Sunday | ran 10.08 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.39 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.29 miles outside in 55 minutes
My GPS watch started acting all wacky on this run, clocking sloooooooooow miles and then a weirdly quick one. Subsequent runs were less weird but still didn't feel quite right. I'm hoping the next update will make things a little more consistent.

Wednesday | ran 5.19 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.02 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.07 miles outside in 55 minutes

Saturday | rest
We ran a fair number of errands, though, including getting our Christmas tree! Yay!!!

Enjoy some more feels from the roundup (or not; I'm not THAT curatorial):

Disney Adulting gets your Christmas list going with stocking stuffers.
Disney In Your Day plans your Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party experience for you.
Disney Travel Babble painstakingly assembles a Disneyland Christmas playlist.
The Main Street Gazette ferrets out more DAK details.
Living A Disney Life goes big with DCL concierge.
Kait Around The Kingdom shares some interesting info on each state's favorite Disney princess.

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Everything Pop Food Court Review

Trip report time! See all the posts in this report.

Soooo I committed a cardinal blogger sin when it comes to this post about Pop Century's food court offerings: I didn't take much in the way of photos. I KNOW. Amateur hour.

In my defense, I don't usual eat at my resort's food court with much frequency, and I was caught by surprise when we hit up Everything Pop with the frequency that we did. Once I realized I had a post on my hands, it was practically too late.

Lack of pictures aside, I'm going to walk you through some of my Everything Pop food impressions all the same, as I personally find the written descriptions on food posts to be just as important - and often neglected! Here we go:

We picked up breakfast sandwiches on our first day, consisting of eggs, bacon, and cheese on a bagel (which I do not recall being toasted, although the whole thing was warmed). There were scads of these pre-made hanging out at the station, but it was actually pretty decent. Mind you, the scrambled egg was the usual mass-produced stuff and the bacon was, as per Disney standard, limp, but you can't really go wrong with the salty-fatty-cheese-y combo. It's not haute cuisine but it does the job fine.

The night before the 10K we picked up my usual pre-race meal of a pasta kids' meal. Learn more to find out about its magical powers. Erika got a chicken parmigiana and did not seem unhappy with it.

However, the night before the half marathon we'd been to Epcot to sample some of the glorious offerings at the Food & Wine Festival. We didn't quite want a full meal, but we did want a little something to fortify us before bed, so we chose a slice of cheese pizza to split. It comes with a Caesar side salad normally but we were able to request it on its own.

This pizza is... fine. It is not even Domino's good, but it is frozen pizza good or maybe a slight step above? The cheese was melted, the marinara was not offensive, and the bread held it all together. Not a sophisticated flavor profile but an acceptable carbohydrate delivery system for pre-race purposes.

For our lazy post-half meal we dragged ourselves down to the food court for lunch. I'm afraid I don't remember what Erika got but I went with the vegetable sandwich. This was a mistake.

In fairness, the description doesn't mention much about it beyond the vegetables, cheese, and bread involved. But in my head I was picturing something more panini-like, probably because of the provolone cheese. Sadly, nothing about this monstrosity was hot, including said cheese. It was a massive collection of cold vegetables on bread. And not even fresh veggies either - everything was cooked or dried, and it was all doused in pesto. Together the flavors were entirely too aggressive while being impossible to consume together for an overall flavor profile. Soggy and cold all at once. Disappointed. Disappointed!!!

And so we come to my final purchase of the trip: a whoopie pie. It was an impulse purchase by a sad girl about to leave her heart's home. How could I not? It's shaped like Mickey and covered in edible glitter!

Unfortunately this was only okay. The chocolate cake portion was one-note and too thick, obscuring the inner spread of vanilla frosting. The frosting layer wasn't thin per se, but it wasn't thick ENOUGH for the cake-to-frosting ratio. Mind you, I wish EVERYTHING had more frosting, or, alternatively, just buy me a can of frosting and give me a spoon. But if I wanted something sweet at Pop I'd get a cupcake or something next time.

Overall I find Everything Pop to be perfectly serviceable but largely uninspired. I think Landscape of Flavors across the lake at Art of Animation has more interesting options, although I haven't been there in a couple years so who knows.

How do you feel about Everything Pop? Do you have any frosting? Can I have some?

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