Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/28

Hoooo boy. It has been a WEEK. And it's not even over. Hell, it'd been a week by Tuesday. Are we experiencing time dilation? I'm fairly certain I've been at work for several years now.


I feel like I've been running for several years now, too - which is probably because I have. But I think I'm starting to experience a little burnout. Last weekend I meant to do 9 miles but only managed to drag myself out for 7. Which is perfectly acceptable - it's about taper time for my next marathon anyway - but I might need to do some short 3 mile runs for a couple weeks after or something, just work on a bit of speed in 30 minutes' time to keep it fresh. Y'know? You do? Well thank God someone does.

Anyway, here's my workout recap for the week:

Sunday | ran 7.14 miles outside in 1:10

Monday | ran 7.42 miles outside in 1:10; 55 minute ballet class
It was a work holiday, so I doubled up on my run so I could sleep in the next day.

Tuesday | walked 2.12 miles outside in 35 minutes

Wednesday | rest
SNOW DAY! I got up to run but there were already a few inches on the ground so I went back to bed.

Thursday | ran 5.28 miles outside in 55 minutes; 55 minute ballet class
Snow day makeup run. Some of my neighbors are better about cleaning snow off their sidewalks than others.

Friday | ran 5.25 miles outside in 55 minutes

Saturday | rest

And here's the roundup:

My Glass Sneaker bids farewell to running.
Parkeology has some thoughts on Epcot's new pavilion announcement.
The Tomorrow Society takes a deeper dive into Spaceship Earth.
Living A Disney Life tries out Wine Bar George at Disney Springs.
Vegan Disney World explores vegan DisneyLAND.
WDW For Grownups checks out Morimoto Asia's Sakura Festival.

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, February 26, 2019

In Which Jenn Doesn't Like One Part Of The WDW Marathon

Time was when my least favorite part of the Walt Disney World Marathon was the Wide World of Sports.

It's roundabouts miles 17 - 21, so, already you're tired. Although a "park" of sorts, it's no proper theme park. And as you enter the area, you run up against the people exiting the area, and you know they're like four miles ahead of you. Screw those guys!

Not you, Minnie. You're cool.

But as I age, so do I soften. No, just kidding. I haven't softened, I've just shifted my hatred.

Wide World of Sports is now pretty okay in my book. It's still no Animal Kingdom at sunrise, but I like the athlete characters and the baseball stadium and the weirdly spaced comics. I'll take it.

What do I really hate now instead? Where is my WDW Marathon low point?

It's hella early. It's the area right after you exit the Magic Kingdom.

But that's only like mile 7, you say! There are plenty of resorts and your spirits should still be pretty high, you say!

Okay, first of all, you can barely see the resorts. A couple entrances and maybe some glimpses of the monorail, but that's it. A golf course (yawn). And those guys in suits by the wedding pavilion, for some reason. I assume it's near the wedding pavilion but you can't really see it so who knows. Anyway, why are they there? Wait, does ABC air The Bachelor? That's a dumb crossover.

Not pictured: the sanitation center.

Where was I? Oh yes. Second of all, you know as you leave MK you have several miles until you hit the next fun part (DAK!) and that just reminds you that, oh, frick, big picture: you have SO. MANY. MILES. LEFT. SO MANY!!!!

So that's when my morale dips lowest. That's my wall. I get it out of the way early. I drag it with me past the sewage treatment plant. But then I get to the outskirts of DAK and see my buddy Fezzik the bunny and hurtle into the park to Cast Members banging on pots and cheering for us and I am happy again. This race is my favorite.

But mile 7 can suck it.

P.S. Thank you for those happy few who choose to spectate and cheer in this area. I NEED YOU.

What's your least favorite part of the WDW Marathon? Do you hit a wall? Are you horrified by how quickly I hit mine?

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, February 21, 2019

In Which Jenn Is Nonplussed By Coast To Coast

I've put off writing this post for years. I thought I'd want to write about it, and kept putting it on my lists of future blog posts, but every time I tried the words just failed to come.

What is there to say about runDisney's Coast to Coast medal, anyway?

Now defunct in the face of the post-Disneyland race wasteland, the Coast to Coast medal was awarded to those brave, foolhardy, and financially-challenged folks who elected to run a runDisney race in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year. I got mine in 2014, when I ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in Disneyland in January (the last year before it switched to May) and then the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in WDW in November.

I was early in my runDisney career - Tink and W&D were my second and third of those races, respectively - and I was absolutely adamant that I needed to earn the Coast to Coast honor. I remember being so excited to stand for my photo at the W&D expo, which would be used to identify me when collecting my medal after the race. I was almost there. A runDisney elite.

In the rain and chill that was the post W&D Half 2014 experience aka Splash 'n Dash, I received my coveted prize. "Here you go," said the volunteer, and possibly "congratulations" although I can't say I recall. To be frank, the whole thing was sort of impersonal.

But then, what could I expect? It's just a medal. It's just a medal for running some races. I didn't go above and beyond in any capacity. It wasn't even a back-to-back race challenge. I just flew further one time. 

I don't run races for "the bling," per se. I have considered parting with my medals before. But I can't quite do it. Regardless of how large or pretty or they are, if they open up or spin or double as a wine stopper, they each represent an effort I made. Good race or bad, I earned my finishes with blood, sweat, Vaseline, KT Tape, and tears.

My Coast to Coast medal represents a time I... ran Disney twice, I guess. I don't know.

But with Disneyland races being a thing of the past (at least for now), I thought it was finally time to ruminate on this thing I once thought I wanted so bad, and that others can't obtain. I conclude that its loss is, to me, no big deal. 

Do you have a Coast to Coast medal? How does it make you feel?

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, February 20, 2019

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/20

I recently read that endurance athletes require MORE sleep than the average person. In this way I have not been optimizing my training as a runner. Do not follow my example re: sleep.

However, I am not without redeeming qualities. For example, I have found a new way to adapt to running in the cold! Do you like to mess with your music while you run, but your supply of touch-sensitive gloves is limited? You only need one designated tech hand - split the touch pair, stick a regular glove on your non-tech hand, and voila! You just doubled your inventory!


Anyway. So life continues to be a mixed bag. Workout log, whatcha got for us?

Sunday | rest
Having just completed a 17 mile run the Friday before, I decided to give my body an extra recovery day.

Monday | 55 minute ballet class
I woke up early to run but I was unimpressed with the snow-rain-slush on the roads so I went back to bed. And then it rained all day so I never got a walk in.

Tuesday | ran 7.11 miles outside in 1:15
STILL raining but it was too warm for ice so I sucked it up and went out anyway.

Wednesday | ran 7.33 miles outside in 1:15

Thursday | walked 2.08 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 7.12 miles outside in 1:10

Saturday | rest

And now for the roundup:

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

In Which Jenn Locates Vintage WDW Souvenir Clothes

I've mentioned this before, but in case you're new and/or don't have all my personal details memorized: my parents are in the processing of moving to NC, and are cleaning out their MD home to sell. This means digging through 20+ years of detritus, including the absolutely horrifying trash heap that is my childhood bedroom.

Part of this is actual trash, and part is a study in the changing fancies of growing up: I'm talking posters of unicorns, stuffed animals, decades-old homework, and - I kid you not - a life size cutout of Star Trek: Voyager's Lt. Tom Paris. Who is still my one true love; fight me!

Anyway, every garbage pile is bound to include one of two things worth saving. In this case, I was able to locate three things: more Disney apparel to add to my collection!

Okay, so in the middle we've got a WDW sweatshirt from 1998. I am particularly charmed by this item, as it is so far removed from today's slick park merchandise, which is all about capitalizing on trends. The Winnie the Pooh graphic is completely unsophisticated, and I kind of love it.

On either side we have two t-shirts I purchased from the Disney store in the mid-to-late 2000s (2006? 2007?). I love how they feature such underappreciated films as the original Fantasia and The Three Caballeros. As a certified Disney dandy, my mind instantly turns to pairing the latter with a red skirt and swanning around the Mexico pavilion acting all caaaaaaaaaaasual about it.

I can't wait to rock these on a lengthy Disney trip, where I can sprinkle them among my fancier Disney dresses. Tres chic!

What are your favorite vintage Disney clothing items? Am I so vain I probably think this blog is about me?

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, February 14, 2019

In Which Jenn Eats At The Mara

I freakin' loved my deluxe resort experience. The amenities and rich themeing of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge & Kidani Village were unparalleled, especially as compared to moderate and value resorts. But there is one area where I personally believe VALUE resorts reign, and that's the food court.

With that said, let's talk about The Mara, Animal Kingdom Lodge's quick service restaurant.

The first thing to note is that as a DVC resort, Kidani Village does not have its own real food source; you can pick up some groceries and such in the gift shop there, but if you want hot food made for you you'll have to go to AKL. It's at most a 10 minute walk, or if you want you can take the bus.

The Mara is a bit out of the way - from the lodge entrance you'll need to walk through the resort bar, down through the shared Boma/Jiko waiting area, out of the building, past the pool, and there you are. There's limited seating inside as well as tables outside in a shady area.

"Food court" might be a bit of a stretch as there's one line for ordering and the options are pretty limited. They didn't even have my go-to prerace pasta kid's meal. Some menu items have a strong Afro-Indian flavor, and some are more commonplace food court items, like a burger and a turkey sandwich. In effort to try something a bit more unique that at the same time wouldn't weigh me down pre-marathon, I went with the falafel plate.

This was... okay. As far as the falafel itself was concerned, it was decent. The spice was mild to accommodate less adventurous palettes but it was fried to a nice crisp. It came with a largely tasteless naan that would be a disgrace in an Indian restaurant, but as far as a piece of flatbread to dip in the cup of raita it was good enough. The remaining salads and pilaf were pretty soggy and anemic in taste. I wouldn't go so far as recommending this item but if you're strictly vegetarian and it's your only option you should be able to tolerate it.

I went back later that night for a pre-race flatbread. This was a pretty standard-issue flatbread as far as Disney is concerned. The crust is thin and crisp and the cheese is plentiful if a little bland. My main complaint would be the sauce, which I felt there was not enough of, but then I'm a big fan of marinara. Normally this comes with a Caesar side salad but I was allowed to order it without.

I purchased one more item from The Mara, in the bakery, but it was such a showstopper I'm going to give it its own post. ;) 

I don't mean to suggest that value resorts offer better food court food, necessarily. But value resorts tend to offer a lot more options in a better organized setting. Of course, at AKL you can always go sit at the bar in a sit-down restaurant, so I guess you could argue it doesn't really matter.

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, February 13, 2019

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/13

Longtime readers of this blog know that there was a time when I abhorred running outside, clinging to the blessed safety and climate-control of the treadmill. Eventually I conceded that running outside was probably good practice for, y'know, races, which tend to be - wait for it - outside, but winter was definitely spent in the gym.

And then, THE UNSPEAKABLE. My gym closed. I transitioned to running outside 90% of the time... and I didn't hate it. Then I came to rather like it. Now I consider it my norm.

That being said: you can take the girl off the treadmill, but you can't take the treadmill off the girl. Last week questionable weather led me to complete my pre-marathon 17 mile training run on the treadmill, and it was fabulous. The music! The TV! The readily accessible water and bathrooms!

Oh, friends who despise the "dreadmill" - open your hearts and give it a chance. It's not a replacement; it's a tool!

Treadmill warning on this workout recap:

Sunday | ran 7.2 miles outside in 1:15

Monday | walked 2.13 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.09 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | ran 3.11 miles outside in 30 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.36 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 17.14 miles on the treadmill in 2:50

Saturday | rest
But I did walk downtown to go wedding dress shopping! Obviously I'm not gonna share the winner, but here are some rejects because who doesn't like looking at pretty dresses? TLC's Saturday Say Yes to the Dress marathon is a VITAL part of my pre-race ritual.

I also like pretty blogs; here's the roundup:

Elbowglitter is baffled by race cheaters.
easyWDW has a podcast! Do you think it'll be acerbic? I don't.
The Main Street Gazette lauds Toy Story Midway Mania's potential for flexibility.
- Speaking of, Disney Every Day can help you top out your TSMM score!
Mouse On The Mind welcomes the Year of the Pig with Disney pigs.
EPBOT bids a special adieu to Epcot's IllumiNations.
Disney In Your Day teaches us how to make my beloved Lighthouse Sandwich from Columbia Harbour House.
My Glass Sneaker snags a cabana at Castaway Cay.

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, February 12, 2019

In Which Jenn Has A New Favorite Running Fuel

Ooh, ooh, ooh! Can we talk about my new running fuel obsession? It's cheap! It's easy! It's... UNCRUSTABLES!

Yes, the pre-packaged, pre-assembled, frozen version of the humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich is my new pre-run obsession. But really, can you blame me? It's bread (carbohydrates!), jelly (sugar!), and peanut butter (protein!) in a demure 200-ish calorie package (depending on the flavor you select).

It's also very gentle on your stomach - I ate two over a couple hours the morning before my last 17 mile training run, and I felt great the whole time. I supplemented with Clif Shots during the run and all was well with my gastrointestinal tract.

But here's the real kicker: Walt Disney World stocks them in their resorts. They're marketed to parents and children, so you can find them in the kid's section of the refrigerated cases in the food courts. If you train with these babies, forgetting your pre-race snack is no big deal; just pick up a replacement on your way back to your room!

If you're not a peanut butter person or peanut butter could, y'know, kill you, I've seen them in Nutella and sunflower button versions too. You can find them in the frozen section of just about any grocery store. 

Easy! Accessible! Cheap! Forgetfulness-proof! I am way too excited about such a small thing! But try them anyway! Tell me how it goes?

What's your favorite running fuel lately?

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, February 8, 2019

Happy Friday: Look At This Stuff - Isn't It Neat?

 I frickin' LOVE Scuttle, and this is great and all, but where's the love for the snarfblat?

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, February 7, 2019

In Which Jenn Points Out A Glitch In The Running Shoe Matrix

Can we talk about the Brooks Ghost 10 for a hot second? Specifically THIS Ghost 10, in this color scheme:

I have them (see above). And based on observation, and assuming you are a woman who wears a woman's shoe, I can only assume you have them too.

I have seen them on my home trails.

I have seen them at multiple runDisney races.

I have seen them in frickin' Runner's World magazine.

I am familiar with the conceit that once you become aware of something, you start to notice it more often, but I've never had this happen with any of my other running shoes. I feel like this one pink Ghost is EVERYWHERE.

Of course, the Ghost 10 has been replaced with the Ghost 11, and probably has its own new set of exciting color options. But man, those pink 10s seem to have had a moment.

Did you have them too? Did you see them everywhere? Or am I just suffering from one of those bizarre Number 23 things?

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, February 5, 2019

The Fairest Week In Review: 2/05

It's been pretty chilly around these parts the past couple weeks, and while THIS week is thawing out nicely, I know fickle nature is bound to come right back at me with the winter chill in a week or so. It's this kind of nonsense that makes me bound and determined to move south, people!

Ah, memories.

Anyway, as naturally cold reptile of a human being, I have a hard time dressing for winter runs. Logically I know that the act of running will warm me up, but I dread those moments on the street corner waiting for my GPS watch to connect to satellite and I'm not running yet and I'm NOT. TOASTY.

Which is why I have a bad habit of over-dressing for winter runs and getting hot. And then I remember that I over-dressed yesterday, so on today's run I won't make that mistake, but then the conditions are even more frigid than the day before and I've under-dressed and never quite warm up! Blast!

My point is that I recently read somewhere that you should dress for a run like it's 10 degrees warmer outside than it actually is, and this rule has been helping me a lot lately. If you too suffer from Oh God Why Isn't It Summer-itis, maybe it will help you too!

Speaking of cold runs, here's the roundup:

Sunday | ran 9.09 miles outside in 1:30

Monday | walked 2.13 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.11 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | ran 5.04 miles on the treadmill in 50 minutes
Too cold and potentially icy for the outdoors.

Thursday | walked 2.06 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.14 miles outside in 50 minutes
On this particular day it was 19 DEGREES and SNOWED during my run. So I'm kinda proud of myself for doing it, but also, WHY IS WINTER A THING.

Saturday | rest

And now, the roundup.

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!

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Disney Springs & The Sad Goodbye

Continuing my trip report for my January 2019 WDW trip. See all the posts in this report here. Onward!

Post-massage, I hightailed it back to my room to squeeze every last second out of the experience before checkout. I put on some restorative Hotel TV (Friends marathon; you can always count on one) and finished packing all my stuff before slinking down to bell services to check my duffle. Thus unburdened, I hopped on the bus to Disney Springs.

My first order of business was to grab some food, but as is my wont, I got distracted. I made the game time decision to take a left toward the West End instead of my usual right, and was immediately drawn, like Ray to Evangeline, to Disney Style.

I don't think I'd set foot in this area since the big Disney Springs overhaul, and Disney Style was certainly new to me. Its contents reminded me of Trend-D over in the Marketplace, as redesigned by a teenage Instagram influencer. This makes it sound horrifying, which it kind of is, but ALSO, it is full of CUTE! And COLORFUL! And therefore I was entranced.

I am particularly fond of this small world spirit jersey,
which essentially tells you to GTFO.

My selfie game is insufficiently strong for many of these photo ops, but I was able to wrangle a Cast Member into taking a picture of me with the mural because CASTLE.

I had to get out of there before I bought EVERYTHING EVER, so I threw up a quick Twitter poll about what color Minnie ears I should get and then hustled myself out. I also asked Twitter where I should eat lunch, but I got so hungry in the interim that I wound up bumrushing Morimoto Street Food for snacks. Review to come!

I toyed with the idea of seeing a movie at the AMC theater but decided for a more active shopping session. I instead did a thorough tour of Sephora, Uniqlo, and Zara - without buying anything of course because all my souvenir budget was earmarked for - wait for it - EARS!

Speaking of ears, guess where I headed during my inevitable jaunt through World of Disney?

Guys, I may have a Minnie ears problem...

But I do have SOME self-control: I have limited my ears purchases to max one pair per trip. Which meant I had a lot of thinking to do, and I decided the best place to do it would be Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar

My bartender and I had an in-depth discussion about whether I should branch out and try a new drink, but ultimately I went with my tried-and-true Anything Goes, plus a pretzel to round things off. I munched and sipped and consulted Twitter, and ultimately we both came to the same conclusion: Spaceship Earth ears it would be. Better luck next time, purple potion and rainbow!

I'm sure I could've gotten them at any number of nearby Disney stores, but I couldn't resist rolling back to Disney Style, my new favorite place to desperately try not to spend money. As she scanned my purchase, the CM said, "Normally I ask if you want me to cut the tags off so you can where them out of the store, but you're already wearing ears..." Damn skippy, lady!

The time of the Magical Express grew near... but I still had a few plans up my sleeve. I hopped the bus back to Kidani and walked it back to the pool, where I changed into my swimsuit in the locker rooms and did something I'd never done before: used the Disney resort hot tub! Verdict: not hot enough.

You probably think that's the end. Incorrect! I did one more lovely thing before I accepted my airport fate: I sat by the fire in the Palace Library and listened to a bunch of kids participate in the nightly drum circle. Kidani Village at its finest, folks. I frickin' love AKL.

And so, as the pounding beat made my raging feet not easy to ignore,* I dragged myself to the DME bus stop and flew home. AGAINST MY WILL, may I just add.

So that kinda ends the trip report, but nobody panic - I have a handful of food reviews still to come!

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!