Monday, February 24, 2020

In Which Jenn Seeks Flower & Garden Festival Redemption

Remember last time I ran the Star Wars Half and was in WDW for the Flower & Garden Festival? Remember how I excitedly made a to-eat list in advance? Remember how I was so zombie-fied from the race that morning I didn't try a single thing from the booths????

Dark days, my friends. Luckily, what I have on my hands now is the chance at redemption: another Star Wars Half trip, another Flower & Garden Festival, and another to-eat list.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list and items may change as the early reviews roll in. But for now, here's what I've got my eye on this time around, kids:

BoothItemNotes
Magnolia TerraceHousemade boudin
Citrus BlossomTuna tataki bowl
Northern BloomGriddled maple pound cake
Northern BloomBeer flightFruity!
Honey Bee-stroHoney-mascarpone cheesecakeI <3 Mascarpone
Honey Bee-stroLemonade meadLemon could really cut mead's syrupiness
Trowel & TrellisGrilled street cornAll about the garlic spread
Pineapple PromenadeFrozen desert violet lemonadeI've heard good things!
Pineapple PromenadePineapple beer flight
Jardin de FiestasQuesadilla al pastor
Jardin de FiestasAll the drinks!!I love rose stuff!
Lotus HouseJasmine draft beerFloral stuff generally, really
BauernmarketALL THE FOODPotato pancakes! Pretzel bread! Strudel!
Hanami MarketFrushiIt's time to try the legend
Florida FreshWatermelon cucumber slushy
Florida FreshBeer flightCitrus-y!
Fleur de LysGoat cheese tart
Refreshment OutpostCider flight

Only this time I'm gonna TAKE A POST-RACE NAP and then ACTUALLY EAT SOME OF THE STUFF ON MY LIST.


What do you plan to eat at this year's Flower & Garden Festival?

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

In Which We Turn An Old Pair Of Tights Into ALL Your Race Throwaways

Hello intrepid runners! Staring down an unexpectedly chilly race morning, but expecting to warm up over the course of the, well, course? Forget your throwaways? Don't have time to run to the thrift store? Otherwise hate chucking valuable clothing items? I come bearing a solution!

It's tights.

You know, women's tights. Like pantyhose, but thicker. If you want to shell out for new tights, you can get a basic pair just about anywhere - Target, Walmart, CVS, you name it - for like $5. But I'd be willing to bet that, if you're a girl at least or know one, somewhere in the back of your sock drawer there's at least one pair of tights that's ready to be retired due to runs, holes, etc.

So let's hack that sucker up!

Yes, with just a few strokes of your scissors, tights can give you:

- arm warmers, as demonstrated here as part of my Sally costume. It was a reasonably warm morning, so I didn't want to waste a real hoodie or what have you, but I do tend to get chilly easily. All you need to do is cut off the legs of the tights, then cut slashes at the toes for your wrist to emerge.


- calf and even thigh warmers. Same principle.

- an upper torso coverup. Just slice holes in the toes for your hands, then a hole in the crotch for your head. In this particular photo I am using old running capris, but it's the same principle. (Incidentally, these tips can also work with running tights that are out of commission due to construction flaws like parted seams, rips at the knee, etc. No, seriously, in the photo below my top layer is old running tights with a hole cut in the crotch.)

Perplexing but true!
- ear warmer/headband - just cut off part of the waistband. Can also function as a neck warmer/balaclava.

Get too hot in any of these items? Strip them off and throw 'em to the side! Rip them if they get stuck over your sneakers or whatever. It's just pieces of old tights; who cares?

I myself maintain a box of old clothing items expressly for use someday as race throwaways. But in cases where a stopgap measure might be needed, I like to keep the tights method in my back pocket too.

Parting thought: if you type the word "hole" enough times it starts to lose all meaning. Hole-y trails to you!

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 13, 2020

In Which Jenn Backtracks Wildly For runDisney


Guys, it's happening! I wasn't sure it really would, but it's officially happening!

I signed up for runDisney's Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon and Pat and I are going to WDW for a WEEK!!!
ME: If you came with me, we could go for like 5 days...
PAT: How about a full week?
SOLD.

I know what you, a longtime reader with one hell of an elephantine memory, are thinking: "Jenn, I thought you said the Star Wars half wasn't really right for you?"

Well, I did say that. But I said it in the context of a person approaching it as a runDisney race, meant to be run purely for entertainment, characters, etc. But this time around I have loftier and, dare I even say it, speed-based goals. I'll elaborate closer to the race once I've got the training largely behind me, but might *I* have lightspeed hidden inside me...? And anyway several people we know are also going so that could be fun.

But you've already got a comeback, I know it. "Jenn," you say, "didn't you ALSO say that you are neither jazzed about moderate resorts nor Caribbean Beach in particular?"

Well, I did say that. But that was before the advent of the Skyliner, the most beautiful, the most wonderful, the most magnificent form of Disney transportation ever on offer (and yes, I myself include the monorail in this - FIGHT ME!). Caribbean Beach, being the Skyliner hub, is going to get me to the Studios and Epcot in a different kind of lightspeed! And anyway Pop was booked up and the Riviera is too expensive.

Only one week until I can make FastPass reservations! But no need to worry about ADRs - I reserved my post-half marathon spot at Oga's Cantina weeks ago. You know, in case. ;D

Don't forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: A Food Review Hodgepodge

And now for the food review portion of my 2020 WDW Marathon trip. You can read all the posts in this report here. Onward!

Denouement! Allow me to present a random assortment of foods we ate that didn't warrant their own post.

Pop Century Food Court: Curious about the new plant-based options, I picked up the new plant-based BBQ burger with sweet potato fries. It was actually pretty good, but a meaty taste that, while not exactly fooling me, was enjoyable. Sort of like a well-done burger. And the avocado on top was a nice touch. But holy crap, could I have taken worse photos??? Sorry, guys, it was the end of the day and I was tired. >D



Cheshire Cafe: I finally got a Cheshire Cat Tail! It was good, too, although not out of the common way - less a chocolate croissant and more a lightly glazed donut with chocolate running through it. The frosting on top was a nice extra shot of sugar. I wouldn't go out of my way for one but it makes a decent breakfast if you want something lighter and/or don't feel like waiting in the Starbucks line. Damn, now that I'm posting this photo I kinda want one...


The Mara Bakery: I picked up a plant-based flamingo cake to enjoy after the marathon, which I did indeed do on the balcony and it was awesome. It was very dense and sweet and only lightly chocolate-y, but I very much enjoyed the cinnamon elements of the cake and the frosting was the sort of thick that I personally respond to. Would recommend, although I still need to try that peanut butter brownie...


Choza Margarita: I went with the cucumber margarita, which was good - it didn't taste like it was from a mix, nor did it have that sugar-y taste crappy margaritas so often sport. It was a little bland, though; I think it could use some jalapeno or something to punch it up. I liked that it came with a cucumber spear.


Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie: I have not frequented Les Halles nearly as I should, but this was a good first foray. I got the Tartine aux Fromages, and it is completely worth your time: essentially pizza on good bread, it comes with a dollop of goat cheese that totally changes the game. Erika also let me try her Jambon Beurre, which is a ham and cheese sandwich covered with MORE cheese and when is that ever a bad idea?


Ronto Roasters: We got breakfast wraps and they were SO GOOD. I mean, it's just sausage and eggs and cheese in a pita, but it was all hot and fresh and you should absolutely get one. Don't let this little droid guy slave away in vain.


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 10, 2020

In When Jenn LIKES Doing "Just" The WDW Marathon

Just the 2018 WDW Marathon was my favorite race so far!

A couple days after the Walt Disney World Marathon, half the people you encounter in Orlando International Airport ran the race. We're all decked out in our gear, a lot of have on our medals, and we're all dying to talk about it; it's one of the only times I ever cheerfully talk to strangers. 

So there I am, chatting with a nice family from Houston as I wait outside my gate with my subpar airport wrap. Seeing my medal, they congratulate me on completing the Goofy Challenge. "We only ran the marathon," they say, almost apologetically.

Weirdly enough, I have had a conversation like this on multiple occasions. Heck, my very first time in 2015, when I did Dopey, I met a woman who said practically the same thing: "Oh, I only ran the marathon."

Excuse me? You only did what now?

You only ran 26.2 grueling miles that you trained hard for? You're one of the, I don't know, 1% of the population or whatever that can call themselves a marathoner?

Look, I can get caught up in this way of thinking myself sometimes. Of my six WDW Marathons, only two have been completed as part of challenges. "Oh, you did Dopey; I just ran the marathon," I once said to the woman next to me at the California Grill bar.

And it's not like we're wrong. We did, comparatively, do less.

But we still ran a full freakin' marathon, which sure as hell ain't nothing. And besides, I like running only the marathon. The challenges are fun and all, but running only one race makes the whole thing less stressful. There are all the anxiety-inducing trappings of the race, of course - waking up and getting to the bus on time, etc. - but mostly you don't have to think about anything but that one experience. You can relax and enjoy it. Everything you've got in the tank is fresh; no leftovers here. And you're not yet jaded by course or characters. It's a good time.

Doing Dopey and Goofy was awesome. But I think next year I might do just the marathon. I kinda like it that way. 

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 5, 2020

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Wine Bar George Review

And now for the food review portion of my 2020 WDW Marathon trip. You can read all the posts in this report here. Onward!


See, what happened was, Becky of Disney In Your Day very kindly allowed us to horn in on her Wine Bar George post-half marathon brunch ADR down in the Disney Springs, despite the fact that she had only the internet's authority that I am a real person. Thanks for accepting me on faith, B-Gees!

Like many restaurants in Disney Springs, Wine Bar George doesn't have a theme per se, but it does have a nice airy feel with clean lines and lots of wood. The island bar (by which I mean the bar is an island in the center of the room, not to conjure tiki connotations) looks nifty indeed, but with our larger party we were sat at a high top in the corner.

Despite 3/5 of the assembled group having a marathon to run the next day, we were all quite determined to order Alcoholic Beverages. I initially ordered a frose at our server's suggestion. But then Becky ordered a frozcato, which uses Dole Whip, and when the server offered her a prosecco floater I knew I had to switch to that.

It was good, with a sort of slushy orange-y pineapple taste, but I think if I came back I'd try the frose; I think the frozcato might be just a touch too sweet for my preferences.


For my entree I went with the burrata, which was essentially avocado toast with a giant freakin' hunk of burrata which, if you've never had it, is like a softier, creamier mozzarella. This was AMAZING. The bread was griddled, the avocado perfectly ripe, and the bacon thick cut, all of which combined in a winning open-faced breakfast sandwich. Well, I say combined; if I had one complaint it would be that it's quite difficult to get a single bite with all the components, but since they're delicious in smaller combinations it's no big deal. Perhaps they could add an egg?


Erika got the steak and egg frites plus some breakfast potatoes on the side, all of which she said was good but not bowl-you-over good. Stick with the burrata, I say.

Two funny things happened during our meal - first, Becky's husband's order came out a bit later, and was ultimately delivered... by George himself! The waiter confirmed that here's there five or six times a week.

Secondly, and less exciting for... just about everyone else on earth, but our waiter was from the next town over from where I grew up and went to the same high school as me! Not at the same time, but still. Funny old world and all that.

Ultimately I found brunch at Wine Bar George to be lovely for a quieter, park-free morning. I may just have to swing back through for that frose.

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 4, 2020

In Which Jenn Has A runDisney Chip Time Warning


Oh, shoot, guys, I just remembered something and I can't believe I forgot to notate it in my WDW Half recap!

So as I mentioned there, I dropped back to corral F to run the half with Erika. I've observed that the farther back your corral, the more waves there are, and in this particular case we were just cut out of F's first wave. Two volunteers came across with the tape directly in front of us.

A minor bummer, to be sure, but not the end of the world. And it did mean we'd be at the very very front of our wave, which would be advantageous for avoiding the early course crush of humanity.

Unfortunately, this came with a side effect: when the volunteers walked us forward to the start line, I received a text message that my bib chip had registered as started.. while I was standing there, waiting. At no point did I touch the chip mat in any way. I was still a good foot or so away from it, I'd say. But it must've been sensitive enough to grab my reading and start my time... a minute or so early.

I don't know if anyone else experienced this issue, and if I hadn't signed up for my own text alerts I probably would never have realized it happened. In this particular case, it didn't bother me overmuch, as I was fully expecting to be slow as hell and didn't plan to run for time at all.

However, this won't always be the case for everyone. So I deliver unto you this warning: if you care about your chip time, stand back from the starting mat. Let a line or two of people get ahead of you. Sure, you won't get to start first, but you'll maintain the integrity of your chip time. Good luck out there, runners!

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, February 3, 2020

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Oga's Cantina Review

And now for the food review portion of my 2020 WDW Marathon trip. You can read all the posts in this report here. Onward!


THIS. WAS. SO. COOL.

As I have mentioned on several occasions, I 1000% prefer to Trek over Wars with my Stars. But I gotta say, even as an inveterate follower of Captains Picard and Janeway,* I freakin' loved Oga's Cantina.

* Also: Robert Duncan McNeill, call me!

The very popular flagship bar in Galaxy's Edge, Oga's Cantina cultivates an ambiance. The bartenders, while not playing characters per se, definitely have an air of anarchy about them (think Whispering Canyon Cafe, but make it space opera). The set decorations and, of course, DJ Rex all combine to create a strong sense of place, even if you're not previously familiar with that place.


Slow Pan Video | DJ Rex Video

The drinks are not cheap, but they are delicious. It being early on in our trip and have 39.3 miles to run ahead of us, I had initially planned to get the non-alcoholic blue milk and cookie and call it a day, but I wound up getting totally swept up in the spirit of the thing and got the full two rounds Oga's rules allot. (Although after our two our server offered us a third, which we declined but it seems the two-drink maximum isn't hard and fast. Or it's the anarchy?)

You can find menu photos all over the internet, but
these are the only ones in the world featuring my hands.

Intrigued by a "botanical grapefruit vodka," I started with the Jedi Mind Trick, which also includes an assortment of juices plus my beloved falernum (or, as Pat and I called it, flrnm). This was pleasantly fruity but just not as interesting as I had hoped from something labeling itself botanical.


Erika's first drunk was the Punch It! Powerade concoction she deemed entirely too sweet and fully cloying to the point that she was ready for something featuring alcohol. Do skip.

After seeing The Outer Rim across the table, I knew I had to get that next. It's essentially a margarita but it comes with an exotic fruit puree that is foam by any other name, plus a copious black salt rim. It was kinda like having some slurpy on top of your margarita, which I was into.


In the back there you can see Erika's Jet Juice, which both the server and a Twitter friend warned us was deceptively strong for its size. And indeed it was! Erika let me try it, and while I'm not generally a huge fan of bourbon cocktails this one was really good. I mean, I'll sip a whiskey on the rocks, but it usually tastes weird in a mix to me. This one was delightfully balanced, with the chili liqueur cutting the alcohol taste beautifully.

Overall: totally worth it, already have another ADR for my next trip and it hasn't even been confirmed yet. >D Hooray for Oga's Cantina!

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, January 31, 2020

In Which Jenn Can runDisney Photo Dump Again, Hooray!

Despite my better fiscal judgment, I have an WDW Annual Pass once again, and you know what that means, kids - I CAN ACCESS MY PHOTOPASS RACE PHOTOS FOR FREE!

And then I can make you look at them. Wait, no, don't click away! Don't you want to read my commentary??? It's pithy and judiciously deployed, I promise!

For context, if you like that sort of thing:
WDW Half Marathon Recap | WDW Marathon Recap


Arranged in height order.




I spent entirely too long making this. I don't know what it's for.



"How horrible our Christmas will be!"

I'm crouching to keep the blood off the saddle.
Wait, is that a period joke? Anyway this photo is terrible.
No, guys, THIS was the best day ever.

Smoke gets in your eyes. Did I say smoke? I meant the sun.


Remember what I said about the happy almost-tears? Yeah.


Did you know I have double-jointed elbows?


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!