Tuesday, August 4, 2020

In Which Jenn Shows Off More Disney Dresses

Normally I save my Disney Dandy posts for upcoming Disney trip wardrobe reveals, but I am disturbingly low on upcoming Disney trips. I definitely have some planned, but the first isn't until January if I'm lucky and it feels a bajillion years away. How am I supposed to replenish my mental health from outside Orlando?!

Anyway. As I was saying, it's gonna be a minute before I can share a trip wardrobe post, so let's just pretend, shall we? I've snapped up some sweet second-hand Disney finds in the last year or so and I want to show them off.


The first three were all from ThredUp* but I know for a fact that at least two were sold at Hot Topic and I feel like the last one was too? Not that I regularly troll Hot Topic's Disney clothing selection or anything...

So we've got the Snow White collared dress, which particularly eagle-eyed and elephant-memoried Twitter followers might remember from years ago, when I polled the crowd on which of three Disney dresses I should buy for my next trip. I wound up purchasing my Peter Pan dress, but when the previously rejected Snow White number popped up on ThredUp I remembered it immediately/had to have it.

Slightly easier to remember but still a deep cut, longtime readers may recall how I did an entire post on this Marie dress. And then... wound up not buying it. And then when I wanted to they were out of my size. But then I found it on ThredUp and my wardrobe was complete (hahahaha AS IF - Cher Horowitz).

The Frozen cameo heads dress was an impulse purchase during a sale. To be honest it's a little subtle for my tastes, and I'm not even super intro Frozen (Moana FTW!). But I knew my nieces would dig it, and sure enough when I wore it to Thanksgiving the older one clocked that my dress had Anna and Elsa on it in like ten seconds. Kids know what they like.

And finally, my Baymax dress! There's a white Baymax costume dress floating around out there that I kinda wish I'd gotten instead, but as we've discussed at length before, white shows sweat and black does not. This dress I snagged on Poshmark for a mere $5! If there's a piece of Disney clothing you wish you'd picked up back in the day, definitely check Poshmark - it may just be hiding there.

Good hunting, everyone!

What are your latest Disney purchases? Are you also bereft whenever not safe in WDW's loving embrace?

* Affiliate link, as you do.

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, July 21, 2020

In Which Jenn Is Slow (& It's GREAT)


I was in Ocean City, MD last week. I KNOW. Look, I'm not saying it was a good idea. Largely we went so that we could be the buffer between the world and an immunocompromised family member who was going. We wore masks any time we stepped outside, but you wouldn't BELIEVE how many people on the boardwalk didn't. It's a mess and if you were thinking about going, maybe don't?

Anyway. Personal choices aside. I was there, and I was able to get in some boardwalk runs. Don't worry, I got up early and knocked them out before the crowds rolled in. 

I had planned to keep it pretty chill, just a series of 30 minute jaunts. Of course, the boardwalk is such a delightfully straight, flat running path, I couldn't help clocking some unintentionally fast miles.

But then one particular morning, I had been asked to swing by the post office to drop a card in the adjacent mailbox; since this was off the boardwalk and I'd need to pay attention to a new route and the hazards therein contained, I decided to take the run extra easy.

Holy guacamole, guys, it was AWESOME. I just cruised all 3 miles. It felt almost effortless. I hardly even knew what to do with myself but I knew I was enjoying the hell out of it. I may do this all month.

Runners tend to be goal-oriented with a need for gains, in both speed and mileage. But if you haven't tried a short and gentle jog in awhile, I would highly encourage it. Finishing your run with a jaunty step and a smile on your face will make you that much more excited for your next hard slog. After all, isn't running easy and fun? 😜

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!

Friday, July 10, 2020

In Which Jenn Luckily Already Has A Splash Mountain Souvenir

No doubt by now you've heard about how Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom had a 240 minute wait yesterday- for the gift shop. People were queuing up for a legit 2-hour wait to buy endangered ride merch.

Sure, that's kind of insane, but I do get the urge - Splash Mountain is a great ride, and as much as I'm down for the Princess & The Frog redo for a variety of reasons, I'll miss it. It would be nice to have a memento. Alas, I'm not sure I'll be back to WDW before it shuts down for the refurb, thus ruining my chances at both a final ride and a final shopping experience.

But wait! Thankfully I remembered I already have a Splash Mountain souvenir: a t-shirt I picked up in June 2011. If I remember correctly I grabbed it on the very last day of the trip. It's not the most eye-catching of designs (where are the characters? Why is the color palette so muted? What is the ride name barely legible?), but the fitted crop cut is cute and - this was important as I can be cheap am frugal - it was on sale, which is probably what tipped me into "buy" mode.


Unfortunately, while I have no memory of anything ever happening while wearing it, it hasn't aged well, which is why it hasn't made it into a park wardrobe rotation previously. It's got some weird discoloration on one sleeve and a tiny hole in the upper left near the collar. 

I think it might be salvageable, though, with a good steam and some minor modifications - the discoloration doesn't bother me too much, and I think I can cover over the hole and make it cuter with an iron-on patch. I'm currently trolling Etsy for a such a find, so if you have any recommendations, let me know!

I suppose this would decrease its value as an authentic piece of Disney Parks merchandise of a bygone era, but, I mean, it isn't in great condition as it is. What is it with me and vintage Disney t-shirts?

If my mission is successful, you may see this shirt in my next Disney Dandy post; I have a brown suede skirt that might go with it well, or some skinny jeans if the weather calls for it. In the meantime, best of luck for those trying to get your hands on a Splash souvenir of your own. Here's hoping it stays open long enough for us to get those last rides and shopping sprees in!

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!

Monday, July 6, 2020

In Which Jenn Is Probably Forgetting Something

Hello! Are you a paranoiac? Are you forgetful? Are you a forgetful paranoiac? ARE YOU A PARANOIAC BECAUSE YOU'RE FORGETFUL???

I feel you. Oh, do I feel you. My anxieties seep into all aspects of my life, running included. But I adapt and manage them as I go along - and I think I've got my pre-race readiness paranoia licked (one down!). The solution is simple: photography!


Next time you lay out your race gear, lay it ALL out. Is your breakfast bar in the fridge? Go grab it and toss it on top of your sports bra. Have you cut your KT Tape yet? At least lay it out with some scissors. Watch? Water? Credit cards? Add EVERYTHING for race morning to the pile.


Once you're absolutely sure every element of your race is in one place, take a picture. Afterward your race is over, evaluate. Were you missing anything? No? Great! You've got yourself a race prep platonic ideal!

Then, when you're prepping for your next race, consult your photos and look over the contents. Anything missing? No problem; you've caught it in time!


Certainly it's not a foolproof method; different races have different requirements. But it's helped me cool my anxiety jets and/or saved my running bacon on more than one occasion. Can also work for long training runs. Practice while you're waiting for races to start up again. You know how to get to Carnegie Hall, after all.

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!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

In Which Jenn Has A Weird Running Tan

It all started at the 2020 Walt Disney World Marathon.

I don't know if it was record-breaking heat, but it was certainly the hottest WDW Marathon I'd experience, so much so that they cut the course short for some of the slower runners

Thanks to that heat, I made the unusual choice to wear shorts. They worked out fine, but with the broiling sun I wound up with quite the shorts tan. Even weeks later I was rocking a distinct straight line across my thighs, like a farmer's tan if farmers wore very pale bike shorts.

Oh, and a KT Tape tan too, for good measure.

Of course, not too long after that the COVID shut down came, and I wasn't able to hang out on the beach in an effort to combat this problem. I was, however, able to continue running outside in the mornings. In my shorts. Problem: compounded.

But wait, there's more! I've been running more and longer in Puerto Rico, and in the summer the heat and humidity here is pretty brutal. I sometimes come in from perfectly dry runs looking like a just slogged through a rainstorm. One way to make this problem more bearable? Ditch the shirt.

This works great! Ladies, you should all ditch the shirt! Run in just the sports bra and be free! There's no need to be weighed down by redundant torso fabric!



But you should know: you will get a weird band of tan around your abdomen. Unfortunately I can't show you the overall effect because I can't quite reconcile a Disney blog with nudity, so you're going to have a trust me. Combined with the aforementioned thigh tan it's an... interesting look.

Then again, what isn't... interesting these days? Lean in!

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!

Monday, June 29, 2020

In Which Jenn Joins The Splash Mountain Fray

Sooo I waffled back and forth about whether to post this, but here we are.

I had a Twitter conversation about Splash Mountain's announced re-theme on Thursday evening in which I was pleased with some of the points I made. I took some screenshots with the intention of posting them here on Friday, but after thought decided against it. I'm not trying to get anyone cancelled, and others may disagree with me with civility if that's their wont. 

However, while I debated peacefully enough on Twitter, I have since seen it has gotten rather uglier in other corners of the Disney world. (Metaphorically. You know, as separate from the Disney World.) As such, I think it is once again time to make my thoughts known, not because I think anyone's on tenterhooks waiting for my hot take, but because I want to make sure it's clear where I stand, if only for posterity.

As such, here as some of the thoughts I have about the upcoming Princess and the Frog redo of Splash Mountain. I have removed the tweets of my verbal sparring partner because they weren't rude and I'm not here to call anybody out, but I'll fill in any gaps with the gist of their arguments. Onward!


After which someone responded that New Orleans doesn't make any sense either which, fair enough. However:



To which came the rejoinder that it did matter because The Princess and the Frog could've had a brand new ride anywhere, people who grew up with Splash would miss out on sharing it with their kids, and this person's children would not be interested in the change.

My rebuttal:


To put it another way:

  • Give Disney a chance to figure out the themeing and location because Splash Mountain isn't perfectly placed as is.
  • I'm confident Tony Baxter won't let anything terrible happen to an attraction he pioneered. At the very least, see what he comes up with, along with what I can only assume is an amazing team of Imagineers.
  • The Princess and the Frog is a great movie with some FIRE music and the concept art looks pretty appealing! Sure, there's a princess in the title but Mardi Gras fun should be perfectly accessible to boys. As we tell kids about just about everything else in life: try it; you might like it!
  • If I can get past my seething hatred for Avatar and take some begrudging pleasure in Pandora's rides, you can do it too.
  • And finally: however hard Disney may have tried in the past to sidestep the more unsavory aspects of the movie, Song of the South can't help but impart at least some of its racist undertones upon Splash Mountain's story. Walt wanted his parks to be for EVERYONE to enjoy. That can only come to pass by learning, growing, and making changes in the name of social enlightenment - yes, even when it comes to classic attractions. Your sore nostalgia gland has nothing on the pain of systemic racism. No one should ever feel sad and/or uncomfortable at Walt Disney World! What the hell do you think this is, real life???

So there's that. I'm sure you were all wondering. Anyway, I shall bid Splash Mountain a fond farewell but I think this overlay has every capacity to be fabulous; I'm excited to ride it someday!

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!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

In Which Jenn Finds A Race Costume Loophole

I have found it! I have found my race costume holy grail! It's... WHITE RACE PANTS THAT WON'T MAKE IT LOOK LIKE I PEED MYSELF ON COURSE!!!

Perhaps this seems like a frivolous request. Perhaps the solution should be simply to not wear white running pants; problem solved. But. Do you have any idea how many runDisney race costumes require some white for clear recognition?

Marie from The Aristocats! EVE from Wall-E! Baymax! Any iteration of Duck, be it Donald, Daisy, or an assorted nephew! Those first three in particular I have been pondering forever, but I was afraid to take the plunge because of my fear of sweat-through. 

Then I found them. The running pants to fix the problem. They're Senita, I got them on Thredup,* and they circumvent the whole problem so neatly I immediately bought some Baymax ears to go with them.


Keep the top black and just put the white on the bottom, less-sweaty portions on the body? Genius! I'm so running as Baymax for the marathon - I have just the shirt for it.


I may have an EVE hat coming in the mail, too... A girl's gotta be prepared.

What's your latest race costume?

* Heads up: referral link.

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, June 23, 2020

In Which Jenn Does NOT Bless The Sands Down In Africa

A view of the mountains from my balcony. They're there, okay? Just trust me.

Today I did not run because of the weather. Was it stormy? No. Aggressively windy? No. Hail? Hurricane? Flood? Extreme heat? All logical for Puerto Rico, but no.

It was sand. In the air. FROM THE SAHARA DESERT.

Look, The Washington Post even published an article on it yesterday. They're saying it's a record amount.

A record amount of sand, yes, but not an unusual phenomenon: we get Saharan sand over here every year in the summer in the form of the Saharan Air Layer. NOAA can explain it to you in more detail, but basically the SAL kicks up over the desert and then crosses the freakin' Atlantic to hang out in the atmosphere over here. 

As I understand it, this phenomenon is useful in mitigating the intensity of potential hurricanes, so that's good. But it's not fabulous for air quality. When the SAL shows up, especially in the levels we're currently seeing, it's recommended you stay inside and not breathe too much of the sand air. Particularly if you have asthma or anything else that causes difficulty in breathing.

I myself have some exciting allergies to dust, and while I had planned to go for a run this morning Pat was VERY dubious about the wisdom of this choice; he asked me like eighteen times if I was sure I wanted to go for a run. So I did my arms/shoulders workout instead. BUT I DIDN'T LIKE IT. (Not that I ever really do, but that's not the point.)

Pat assures me the levels are supposed to go down tomorrow, so I intend to knock those missed miles out then. Hear that, Sahara Desert? You ain't ever gonna keep me down! (Ain't never? I can't remember how good Chumbawamba is about grammar.)

What's the weirdest weather you couldn't run in? Or heck, the weirdest weather you could?

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!

Monday, June 22, 2020

In Which Jenn Has A Nifty New Running Trail

I've found a new running trail! It (mostly) hugs the beach all through Piñones, and features some pretty sweet views of the ocean and sometimes even the mountains. 

It has some hills, too, which obviously aren't always a good time while you're doing them but are great for training purposes. My times got significantly faster when I started running outdoor routes with hills. Between that and the heat and humidity, I expect to crush my next mainland race, of course. 😜

I've followed the trail as far as 5 miles, but I've seen more trail across the street from where I stopped so I know there's more! Out-and-backs aren't always the best, but they're a helluva lot better than doing laps in a parking lot to fill out your mileage, I can tell you that much.

I tried to take a video during my last long run during my favorite portion of the trail. I can't say it turned out great, per se, in that it a bit herky-jerky and I didn't always control the camera as well as I would've liked. In my defense I was also partially concentrating on not tripping and falling on my face.

All the same, this video will give you the gist, and Pat doctored it nicely and added some music (Nellie McKay's "Caribbean Time," since you asked). It doesn't do the trail justice but it'll have to tide you over until you can come visit.

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!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

In Which Jenn Wants To Go To WDW... In Her Pajamas?

Like many of your parents too, I'm sure, my parents number among the worshipers at the altar of Costco. I'm not a member myself, but I must admit to enjoying the odd trip when I visit them; Costco has so much STUFF to poke around in!

Some of that stuff, believe it or not, is Disney stuff, and when my mom offered to send me some Minnie Mouse pajamas, I wasn't about to refuse.


Look how cute they area! They're soft and pink and even have pockets! Why, they're so cute they almost look like... a matching shorts set...

Okay, hear me out. You know how lately it's a thing to wear pajamas on the red carpet? Zendaya's done it, and Billie Eilish, and Rashida Jones, and Tilda Swinton of course because she would. You can totally do it and it's totally chic as long as you elevate it in the accessories.

What I'm trying to say is... I can wear my Minnie Mouse pajamas to the parks, right? Look! I tucked in the shirt and added ears and sneakers and the Kate Spade purse I got for my birthday! Sweet drip, right? (Is that how you use drip? I've only ever heard it from Hasan Minhaj but it sounded cool when he said it.)


I mean, it's not like I'm naked. I can't see why Disney would have any objection -


Oh.

Well? Should I take the shot or stick to, like, actual clothes?

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, June 16, 2020

In Which Jenn Almost Ruins Her Own Race Schedule

In today's post I am going to take you on a brief tour of the inside of my brain. Now, I want to be up front with you: it's scary in there. Don't panic! I'll be with you the whole way and I won't let anything happen to you. I promise I can safely shepherd you through the full experience; I live there, after all.

It all started two days after Princess Half Marathon registration. I can't quite put my finger on the catalyst, but I believe I was thinking through potential flights surrounding the February 21 race when suddenly it dawned on me: I was also signed up for the Wilmington Marathon. Historically this race is in mid-March, but for next year it had moved... to late February.

You can see where I'm going with this.

Now. For a normal person, this would be mildly problematic. They would register some slight concern, then check the dates. Not me! As is my wont, I initiated Stage One Panic: a shot of adrenaline mixed with dread. I was instantly like 90% sure the two races were the same weekend. Neither is particularly generous with their cancellation policy.

Still jacked up on the epinephrine rush, my brain jumped ahead to Crisis Management Mode. I must fix this oh no oh no no I can fix this how do I fix this solutions solutions?????? Could I defer? Was there a virtual option? Given how popular Princess is, would runDisney make an exception and let me return my bib ahead of public registration day?


Luckily while my mind was galloping ahead, my spinal cord took over my hands and I actually looked up the date for the Wilmington Marathon.

It's February 27.

To reiterate, the Princess Half is February 21.

I was gloriously wrong. THANK GOD.

The relief came flooding over me and washed the dread away. The day was saved! But I was still in such a tizzy that I got halfway through making pizza before realizing we didn't have any sauce and THEN I messed up the replacement stir fry and THEN Pat accidentally dumped an entire glass of water on my laptop. I think I'm getting to him. (Don't worry; he took the back off and managed to dry it out for me.)

So yeah, I'll be running a half marathon and a marathon within a week of each other, but that's okay, I've done that and worse - much worse. Mind you, I'd prefer the full and then the half, but I'm sure I'll manage. If anything, it'll encourage me to slow down and enjoy Princess. Stop for those characters. Take my time.

The important thing is that they aren't the same weekend and my brain did not explode. And with that, the tour is over, kids! You made it! Now go forth and be functioning adults!

Have you ever inadvertently double booked races? Do you also spend two-thirds of your life teetering dangerously close to a nervous breakdown or is that special for me?

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!

Friday, June 12, 2020

In Which Jenn Is A Princess

Alrighty, let's dive back in.

I'M A PRINCESS, EVERYBODY!


Yes, for the first time since my very first half marathon and runDisney event in 2013, I'm running the Princess Half Marathon. I outlined my thought process in this post, but basically I'm so afraid of 2021 race FOMO I'm willing to throw caution (and money) to the wind in order to mentally insure myself against potential cancellations. 

As I've said as recently as the last paragraph, I haven't run the Princess Half since its 5th anniversary in 2013, so I'm woefully out of the loop as to what to expect. I'm pretty sure the course hasn't changed, and I hear the expo is still a bit nuts, but I'm excited to see what princess characters are out and about. What else should I be looking forward to?

Incidentally, this was the first time I wound up in a virtual race registration queue in like two years. I did not like it. You guys going for challenge bibs and 10Ks and all that really popular stuff have nerves of steel.

Good luck to all those gunning for a bib when they drop to the public on Tuesday - fight for your own hand!

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!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A Transitional Interlude

Hey guys - it's been a bit since I've posted. I don't mean to alarm you if you hadn't already noticed, but things are... weird. You know, what with the pandemic and racism and riots and police brutality and political incompetence and whatever else.


I'm not usually one to broadcast my political views, and on some channels such as Facebook I haven't made any statements simply because I don't historically do so; starting to use some platforms now feels uncomfortably disingenuous. But I talk a lot on Twitter and I talk a lot here, and I want to be clear: Black Lives Matter

For all of us who aspire to the title of ally, now is the time to put our money where our mouths are, figuratively (in the form of signing petitions, protesting, etc.) and literally. If you're looking for a way to help, some organizations I have personally donated to in the last few weeks include the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the DC Legal Support Fund, and the Black Visions Collective. But there are TONS of worthy causes out there. If you're not sure where to start, I suggest looking up your local bail fund and going from there, but lead with your heart. 

You can also support Black businesses (webuyblack.com is one good resource), watch Black-led shows and movies (I'm watching Self-Made because I adore Octavia Spencer!), follow Black public figures on social media (Ally Henny has been thought-provoking for me) - basically, broaden your horizons.

And if it's not already apparent, I'm not suggesting I'm the foremost authority on allyship, race relations, or any of that! These are just some ways I'm pursuing improvement and growth. I'm 100% open to additional suggestions and discourse in the comments or anywhere else. 

Okay. So. Now what? Well... I don't want to say "let's get back to normal," because a) that's not happening any time soon and b) "normal" as defined by "just the same as before" needs some improvements which the populace is collectively addressing at present (see above).

That being said, I do intend to start posting my light, Disney- and running-related content again. If this is not your bag right now, that's okay! You don't have to visit my particular corner of the internet if it's not working for you. No hard feelings.

All right, that's my statement. It certainly can't to cover the depth and breadth of... everything... but it's a start.

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, May 13, 2020

In Which Jenn Has A Rough Sketch Of A Race Schedule?


And now for a list of races that might get cancelled.

Kidding! Kidding. Hopefully they all happen. Certainly the virtual ones will.

I've never been a virtual race girl. Kudos if they're your jam, but I find the medal without the full experience of a race attached to be underwhelming. Still, the world being but it is in the age of COVID-19, I've adjusted my outlook a little.

For starters, the Rock 'n Roll Race Series has started a virtual race experience where everything is free! I mean, you can order medals to accompany your accomplishments if you like, but it's not required. They have little challenges during the week and a different virtual race distances on the weekends. There's a point system with prizes attached, but they aren't very good; likewise, there are randomized prizes to be won when completing a challenge, but statistically the winner won't be either of us. Still, it's a fun little runner's diversion - and did I mention it's free?

In addition, my former hometown race the Parks Half Marathon has been cancelled for 2020. :( The good news is they're now offering a virtual version, so I can participate even from 1,000s of miles away - AND it's only $25 WITH a premium! I don't know what that premium is, exactly, but in the past they've handed out fleece hats, ballcaps, and ear warmers. If you'd like to try a virtual race that doesn't just duke you your millionth cheap t-shirt, give this one a shot.

Now for some actual, geographically localized running, assuming we are so lucky. Since my March marathon in Wilmington, NC was cancelled and subsequently my trip to visit my parents, I'm taking a stab at an event there in November instead - the Showboat Challenge at the Battleship Half Marathon. I'll be doing the half plus the 5K the day before. KNOCK ON WOOD KNOCK ON WOOD KNOCK ON WOOD that it can happen!

Let's add some theoreticals:

I was strongly considering taking another stab at the Baltimore Marathon, which is October 17 this year. I'm sitting on it a bit before registering, though - in addition to the whole looming spectre of potential cancellation, we'd potentially be staying with someone who's immunocompromised, so keeping a weather eye on the virus sitch is imperative.

There's a Divas Half Marathon in San Juan on October 25. I'm not 100% on board with the whole "men as sex objects" angle, but I'd really like to run a local half so I might sign up anyway. Again, we'll see if it looks like it's happening, and how I'm feeling leading up to Battleship.

I also randomly stumbled upon a Santa Run 5K right by my apartment here in Puerto Rico last December - I had no idea it was happening and spent my 10 miler running past the course and sulking. Now that I'm in on the secret, I intend to sign up, assuming it happens again this year!

And that leads us into 2021, which I will of course begin with my beloved WDW Marathon. There's a kink in my plan, though - because of the virus, bib numbers were reduced, and all the races sold out super quick... before my race buddy could get her bib! Luckily she got a bib through a charity, but yikes!

(Incidentally, this has me what the kids would call "shooketh" - I've never seen the marathon by itself sell out like this. My race buddy was only like 90 minutes behind. Hell, I didn't sign up until October once! One time I waited until several hours after opening! What if I'd gotten cavalier and not registered during the AP window? Perish the thought!)

Obviously this is ALL pure speculation at this point, even for the races I'm legit signed up for. But ever the quixotic one, I hold out hope that we can start racing for real again by the end of the year. Clap if you believe in races!

Have you put together a race schedule for this year? Or to put it another way: are you also a quixotic one?

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!

Monday, May 11, 2020

In Which Jenn Has A New runDisney Race Registration Strategy

I'm gonna cut right to the chase here: my new runDisney race strategy is that I'm registering for ALL OF THEM.

I took the Annual Passholder route last week to register for the WDW Marathon early, because it is my One True Race.


Luckily, the marathon is the least popular of the races/challenges of that weekend, so I had no trouble getting in, but every other race opportunity sold out quickly. I'm hearing COVID-19's got Disney putting a lower cap on the totals, so for all of you gunning for a registration tomorrow, I wish you good hunting.

More abnormally, I also plan to register for the Princess Half, and probably Rivals too. Heck, maybe even Wine & Dine; Pat accidentally broke one of my Food & Wine Festival wine glasses last week and I told him he owes me a trip to get new ones. ;P

I'm just worried that if another race weekend gets cancelled, by the time we find out the next available race will already be sold out. And I already felt that acute sting when I was unable to pivot from Rivals to Wine & Dine this year. (Assuming that one doesn't get cancelled too; fingers crossed for you guys!)

Race cancellations aren't fun for anyone - I certainly don't begrudge the person at the top who has to make the dreaded decision - but as long as I know I've got something on the horizon, I won't sink too heavily into the doldrums. I'll have to spread my budget across shorter, less ambitious trips and maybe skip a race the next year, but I can make it work. Who wants to split a hotel room with me? :D

Incidentally, I still think runDisney should respond to the void (ha!) left by Rivals by reinstating the Tower of Terror 10 Miler. Anyone? Anyone?

What's your runDisney strategy for the coming year?

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!

Friday, May 8, 2020

In Which Jenn Tries Out... Rest Days??

Hey, remember that hip issue I was having last year? And I barely ran all December and showed up to the Goofy Challenges KT-Taped to high heavens but somehow escaped with no pain and thought I'd beaten the issue? WELL IT'S BACK.

So I'm taking a rest week. This is an uncomfortable time to take a rest week, as in the current social distancing climate my runs are some of my only real opportunities to be outside. But my hip was really bothering me, so no running for me all week.

And I came to a realization. After we moved to Puerto Rico last year my race scheduled screamed to a halt - we were just finding our footing, culturally, geographically, and especially financially. Races aren't much of a thing here and I didn't want to take out the time and money to fly to the mainland for races.

This year I did (/do, knock on wood) have a handful of races to look forward to, but my spring marathon was cancelled; I'm scarcely any better off than I was last year from a race perspective.

What's this got to do with injuries, you ask? Well. Usually I only take rest days after races. After marathons I take a full week, and after half marathons I take half to a full week off too.

In 2018, with a steady stream of races in rotation, I would've had around 6 rest weeks.

In 2019, I had 2 rest weeks, in January and March, and then... none. Cue hip injury.

This year, I took a week and a half off in January after the Goofy Challenge... and nothing since then. I DID recently knock out two practice halves and now here I am, with my hip injury back.

MAYBE, just MAYBE, I need to factor in rest weeks even when I DON'T have races.

And MAYBE, despite these very unfortunate circumstances where NO ONE gets to do a proper race, you should consider a rest week too. It may seem counterintuitive, considering the forced confinement of our quarantine predicament, but your body only knows the pavement it pounded. Now might be the time to give it a break, you know?


When was your last prolonged rest period?

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, April 29, 2020

The Fairest Trip Report Of All: Imaginary Edition

Normally the week after a Walt Disney World trip is followed by a series of trip report blog posts. Alas, last week's WDW sojourn didn't happen. 

But this didn't stop me from opening up my planning spreadsheet and punctuating every single day with statements about what we should be doing at that time. I was constantly telling Pat things like "We should be in Disney Springs right now;" "Our Splash Mountain FastPass just opened up;" "Our Oga's Cantina ADR is for 7pm tonight;" etc. I'm sure he loved it. 

And then it occurred to me - what if I combined these erstwhile plans with a little imagination and wrote a trip report anyway? In my mind's eye, how would a flawlessly executed vacation have gone? Maybe a little something like this...

Saturday, April 18
We get up and go to the airport. Our plane takes off early and lands super early, yay! We head down to the Magical Express and the bus leaves almost immediately after we get on; Caribbean Beach Resort is the first stop.

I change into my Alice in Wonderland dress* and head straight to the expo, where I get my corral A bib for the Star Wars Rival Run Half. From there Pat and I pick up the bus to the Contemporary and manage a quick walk-in lunch at The Wave. Then we walk over to the Magic Kingdom where we knock out our FastPasses at Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, with stops at the Hall of Presidents and the Haunted Mansion in between.


We eat a quick carb-loading dinner at Pinocchio Village Haus on the upstairs level, where we get one of the coveted tables by the window that looks into it's a small world. Then we grab the bus back to Caribbean Beach, where I lay out my race stuff the morning and readily fall into a deep sleep without freaking out in the slightest.

* Yes, I will be telling you what I planned to wear every day, like it's the introductory chapter of a Babysitter's Club book. Enjoy it.

Sunday, April 19
I wake up with my 2am alarm without once dreaming I slept through it. I put on my Picard/Riker '20 shirt and stuff a Clif Shot in my shorts pocket before heading out to catch the bus. It is a running-perfect 65 degrees. I have a fabulous race where I never have to stop to pee and I meet my A goal: a sub-2 hour half. Hooray! Grand Moff Tarkin is waiting at the finish for a photo op. The snack boxes have liquid cheese, mini Clif bars, chocolate toffees, AND Oreos.


I take the bus back to the room, shower, and snuggle into our big king bed for a nap. A couple hours later I wake up, pull on my Mulan swimsuit, and meet Pat out at the pool. We chill for a bit and then head back to the room, where I change into my 2017 Star Wars Dark Side Half shirt and a gray pencil skirt before we grab the Skyliner to the Studios.

We have a leisurely lunch at the Brown Derby Lounge, where I order the champagne flight, which is back on the menu. After lunch, we knock out our FastPasses. Pat gets the HIGHEST EVER score on Toy Story Midway Mania, we do the shocker for our on-ride photo at Rock 'n Roller Coaster, and I don't get at all anxious in line for the Tower of Terror.

Our ADR for Oga's Cantina is up, so we head over there. We get standing spots at the bar and the bartender lets us have three rounds, which are all fun and delicious! After our drinks, we grab quick Ronto Roasters wraps, then jump into the end-of-the-night line for Smuggler's Run. We only wait 20 minutes and get to be the pilots. Then it's back to the room and bedtime.

Monday, April 20
I pull on my flowery Simba and Nala dress and usher Pat out the door early so that we can catch the bus in time for Animal Kingdom's Morning Extra Magic Hours. We follow the crowds to Pandora but enjoy a short wait for River Journey while everyone else trips over themselves trying to get onto FoP. Then we saunter over to Kilimanjaro Safaris for a magical early morning viewing - we see ALL the animals! The lions are out! The cheetahs! The warthogs! The zebras! The baboons!

We stop at Kusafiri for a breakfast of coffee and paw print brownies, which are miraculously back on the menu. Then it's time to knock out some FastPasses for Dinosaur and Expedition Everest. In between I drag Pat to the first showing of Festival of the Lion King because it's my FAVORITE. I sit in my preferred spot at the edge of the lion section and every single tumblemonkey high fives me.


We have an unhurried lunch at Nomad Lounge - Hightower Rocks all around! - before taking a train to Conservation Station so Pat can show off his amazing art skills at the Animation Academy (we draw Mulan, my favorite princess). I pet a bunch of sheep and goats and even the donkey comes over to the fence to say hi to me. Then it's back to Pandora for our Flight of Passage FastPass.

A bus is waiting for us at the station for Epcot, and we're in World Showcase in no time. We watch the new Canada film and my love for Catherine O'Hara redoubles; we watch the France film and my love for Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony redoubles. We also do the American Adventure because I freakin' love it, and Spaceship Earth once more before the refurb. Then we head back to the resort for a late dinner at Sebastian's (rolls and butter!) before turning in for the night. You see, we must get up early, for it's...

Tuesday, April 21
... time to rise and resist! I put on my Marie dress and we head straight to the Studios - the gondolas are open early for us and everything. We grab coffee while waiting for the Rise of the Resistance boarding group mayhem to begin when the park officially opens. We hit the app at precisely 7am and get the first group! Amazing! We sneak in a ride on Slinky Dog before heeding our boarding group call, then jump into the Resistance line. It's just as good the second time around.

We get green milk bread pudding and blue milk for breakfast before hitting our opening FastPasses: additional spins each on Midway Mania and Tower of Terror, with a ride on Star Tours in between. After that we run to BaseLine Taphouse for an early lunch.

We take in showings of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and Frozen Singalong. After that, it's finally time for our last FastPass: Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway! I can only assume I really enjoy it, but I still wish they'd refurbed The Great Movie Ride.

That's all for the Studios for the day - we hop in a gondola and, since we're swinging through Caribbean Beach anyway, stop by our room for a quick nap. We need it since our next stop is Epcot for Evening Extra Magic Hours! The gondola dumps us off at the International Gateway and we immediately get to work on Drinking Around the World. We have drinks and sometimes snacks in all the countries, including Tipsy Ducks in Love, those Viking shots, sake, and more, all culminating in margaritas in the Mexico pavilion while we watch Epcot Forever. It is truly a magnificent evening.

Wednesday, April 22
It's Sleep In Day! We get up whenever we wake naturally and hang around the hotel room for a bit, just hanging out and watching dumb television. When we're ready, we roll over to the pool and splash around a bit, then go back to the room and change (new Snow White collared dress today - haven't debuted that one on the blog yet!). A bus for Disney Springs is waiting for us at the closest stop.

We enjoy a lunchtime bar crawl, swinging by whatever restaurant catches our eyes - Jockey Lindsey's certainly, maybe The Edison - Homecomin' - Wine Bar George...? Maybe one of those chocolate chip cookies from the Polite Pig? We go to Basin so I can get more bar shampoo and The Dress Shop so I can pick out a pretty dress and World of Disney to get Pat's niece some Minnie ears for her birthday and Goofy's Candy Company for the sour gummy worms Pat loves. Everything is on sale.

From there we take a bus to the Contemporary and walk to the Magic Kingdom, where we have some late FastPasses lined up. We knock out Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (another highest score for Pat!), ride the Peoplemover, and then enjoy the fireworks from an awesome location.


We take advantage of Evening Extra Magic Hours running around riding whatever's got a short line, then take the monorail to the Polynesian for a late meal and drink at Trader Sam's. Then it's back to the resort and into bed!

Thursday, April 23
We sleep in just a little this day too, although we get up a little earlier so we can get a gondola to Epcot in time for our first FastPass. We grab breakfast in the Land and ride Soarin' first; the lines are so much shorter since they added the third theater. Then our Test Track window opens, where we make the all-time best-rated car! After that is Mission: Space (orange team all the way) and a leisurely ride on Living with the Land. We swing by China so I can get a photo with Mulan in my Mulan skirt and shirt, and after that we're off to our ADR at Space 2020, which has opened by now! It's an absolutely amazing experience and the food is fantastic.

Then it's off to DAK; I miraculously pick up a fourth FastPass for Flight of Passage on the bus over. Once there, we immediately head to Everest and ride twice in a row through the practically nonexistent single rider line. We get drinks at the Thirsty River bar and then wander through Maharajah Jungle Trek to say hi to the tigers. I drag Pat to another showing of Festival of the Lion King, after which we head over to Pandora for our FoP FastPass.

We stop at Santuli Cateen for dinner, swing through Nomad for a to-go round of Hightower Rocks, and settle in for a showing of Rivers of Light. Miraculously, the shamans are back! Otherwise why bother? The park now closing, we watch a few rounds of scenes on the Tree of Life before taking a bus back to Caribbean Beach. We stop at the pool bar for a drink or two and then head back to the room.

Friday, April 24
Our last theoretical day. :( We get up early, check our bags, and hightail it over to the Studios to grab a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. Our group is a higher number this time around, but that's okay because it means we can head straight to the Magic Kingdom and still make Morning Extra Magic Hours. Once there, we get breakfast waffles at Sleepy Hollow and then hit a bunch of Fantasyland rides while the waits are low. Then we knock out our FastPasses: Peter Pan's Flight, The Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain (Pat's favorite!), which a quick spin on Space Mountain in the middle. I make Pat take photos in front of Cinderella Castle and they all turn out cute.


Our perfectly-timed boarding group is called soon after we get off Splash, so we take a bus back to the Studios and heed the call of the Resistance. I magically pick up a Smuggler's Run FastPass while in line, so we ride that too. And THEN I get FPs for Runaway Railway while in line! I'm on a roll!

We ride Runaway Railway and then head out of the park, taking the gondolas to Epcot so we can have lunch at Nine Dragons at Pat's request. Then, alas, it's time to head back to the resort and collect our bags. The Magical Express whisks us back to the airport, and we have a drama-free trip home. The cats are thrilled to see us, and though I'm sad to no longer be at Disney, all is right with the world.

So that's my pretend Disney trip! A silly exercise, to be sure, but it was kinda fun to write and at least all my planning spreadsheets didn't go COMPLETELY to waste. Here's hoping WDW is able to open again safely in the not so distant future, and we can all go home soon!

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, April 22, 2020

In Which Jenn Runs The Race Her Own Darn Self

Back in January of 2017, some brave Walt Disney World Half Marathon registrants set a precedent: when your runDisney race is cancelled, you run it anyway on your own.

And so last Sunday, the woulda-been date of the Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon, I set out on the streets of San Juan to run 13.1 by myself.

I wore my intended race outfit, as viewed below. You see, when it comes to the Stars, I prefer to Trek. ;P


I started at 5:45am, which is probably somewhere in the general area I would've started the race anyway, give or take a corral, a wave, and an on-time start.

(PAT: What time are you getting up to run? ME: 5:15am. PAT: Wow, that's really early. ME: [hysterical laughter])

There were no spectators, no signs, and no water stops. All I had at my disposal was my normal running trail. It was (as Puerto Rico has a nasty habit of being) hot and humid and I'm not sure I would've had enough hydration if I'd brought 18 more bottles of water.

But I did it! I logged my 13.1 miles, then went home and made Mickey waffles. It's not the race I wanted, but it made me feel better to make it happen on my own all the same.

Perhaps it is best to remember Spock's iconic quote: you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.

All of which to say: I want to try again next year!


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!

Friday, April 17, 2020

In Which Jenn Needs A (Disney) Drink

Darn it, guys, these are not the posts I had planned for April. We were going to discuss my park wardrobe. We were gonna geek out together over my race costume. We were going to squee joyously over my trip plans. And today, I was going to drive the point home: tomorrow I go to Walt Disney World!

Only I'm not. If you can imagine.

Ah, well. We're all coping as best we can. And one way I've been coping with missing Disney is with alcohol.

Wait wait wait - not like that! Rather, I've been following along with La Cava del Tequila's Instagram Live streams. You know La Cava, right? Mexico pavilion? Site of my first-ever tequila shot?

They've been explaining how to make a lot of their fancier drinks, but I've kept it simple - I made a paloma (grapefruit soda, tequila, lime) and a classic margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, lime, agave syrup), both of which were excellent for a person who has mostly let bartenders mix her cocktails for her.


And to really drive home the Disney angle, I've been using some of my Disney household items. There's the cutting board above, plus I finally got a chance to put my modest collection of Disney shot glasses to good use!

Sorry, my bad - Disney doesn't make shot glasses. They make, um, "mini glasses," or as I have heard they are more recently referred to, "toothpick glasses." Sure, Jan.

Anyway. Even though I rarely take shots outside of celebratory events, for a few years there I purchased quite a few shot glasses at Disney parks. Observe!




That Disneyland glass is really hard to photograph. Please rest assured effort was made. And I can't believe it's been almost ten years since I bought the 40th Anniversary glass!

Now that I've actually found a purpose for these bad boys, I may have to pick up a few more, if I see one with a nifty design. And I bet they'll have something for the 50th anniversary...

Cheers, guys. To making it home some day.

Do you collect Disney shot glasses? Sorry, toothpick holders?

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!

Monday, April 6, 2020

In Which Jenn Takes On The Virtual Parkeology Challenge

Are you familiar with the Parkeology Challenge? You can get the full lowdown here, but the gist is that you ride every single ride in the four main WDW theme parks. If it's a ride with cars/physical movement, it counts. So, Main Street vehicles? Counts. It's Tough To Be A Bug? That's a show; don't worry about it.

It's not something I've ever put too much thought into attempting myself, because I tend to be high enough on the anxiety scale as it is. 🤪 But when the Parkeology guys offered a virtual version in an attempt offset quarantine doldrums, I was all about it!

Basically the idea was that the Parkeology guys would spend 8 hours tweeting a ride, every 10 minutes. In that 10 minutes, it was up to you to tweet back a selfie that interpreted that ride. You could prep your selfies in advance or you could perform extemporaneously.

I chose to take all my photos the weekend before to keep the stress levels down, and starting 11am last Saturday I was right there tweeting my "rides." Some of them were frankly phoned in, but others I'm quite proud of!

With that in mind, I'm going to make YOU look at them. Presented in the order they were "ridden," with my effortlessly witty commentary intact, here are my entries in the Virtual Parkeology Challenge 2020, plus some hard-earned badges!

Photos after the jump because holy hell there are a lot of them...

Friday, April 3, 2020

In Which Jenn Takes The Cinderella Approach To Running


Last week I got a hot tip from one of my runDisney Facebook groups - the Rock 'n Roll Marathon store was selling their themed tie-dye Launch 5s for $25!

Now a) I've never used the Launch and b) I'm not running a Rock 'n Roll race this year (I did once and it was not my favorite). But for $25 bucks plus a five spot in shipping I was certainly willing to give it a shot.

They came yesterday and I was surprised how much they cheered me up. I mean, obviously as a runner and a girl-type girl I'm always gonna be jazzed to try a new pair of shoes. But the tie-dye just made me feel happy and excited to try them out on a run at a time when I have been experiencing, shall we say, a modicum of stress, sadness, and disappointment.

Perhaps you can relate.

If you're still a position to run, I would encourage you to get yourself a hopeful running treat. Alas, those $25 Launch 5s are no more, but I'm sure there are any number of multi-hued sneakers available on this great internet. Or get a colorful new tee, or a fun headband. Maybe some patterned compression socks. Whatever floats your boat.

Anyway, I got up this morning and ran 7 good miles in my new tie-dye shoes, because we may not be able to race right now, but we can still train. We will keep our chins and our feet up. And when those registrations open back up again, WE WILL BE READY.


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!

Monday, March 23, 2020

In Which Jenn Gets The runDisney Rug Pulled Out From Under Her

Hope springs eternal but reality kills it dead - the Star Wars Rival Run race weekend is no more. I think we can all agree that we saw it coming.

Obviously I'm pretty darned sad about it. I mean, of COURSE I can see the necessity and of COURSE I recognize that as an ostensibly healthy person who already works from home I'm very very lucky right now. But also... I had such a good trip planned. :( :( :(

But in the face of a large problem, I like to turn my attention to solutions. Okay, I want to runDisney and go to WDW for a week. When can I do that next? The Wine & Dine Half! It's far away but I can pivot to that!

Except noooooo I can't, because even though it's been on sale for less than two weeks it's sold out. Travel agents? SOL with them too. (Shout out to Becky for trying her level best to get me one - book your trip with her, guys.) There are some charity bibs available but the lowest fundraising minimum I could find was $700 and I'm not that good at asking for money anyway, so, no dice.

Pat is suggesting we wait and see what happens and if the parks are open by mid-April we just take the trip anyway. I suppose I could do some of the resort fun runs in that case. But let's be real - anyone see that happening? I can't claim to see that future but most reasonable forecasts seem to place WDW opening again somewhere in May at the earliest.

The one silver lining to that possibility is that if the parks stay closed for 7 weeks or longer, my Annual Pass will probably be extended enough to cover a Princess Half Marathon trip. But I don't really like that course as much - I really wanted to run this Star Wars Half for time. But do I really want to wait a whole year before I go? (Marathon Weekend excepted, naturally.) I would need a whole new park ticket, too... unless the parks close until, like, June, but in that case, yikes.

I don't know. I'm just sort of spinning my wheels and then typing it into this little box. I know the problems of one little person don't amount to a hill beans in this crazy world, but all the same, I has a sad. Doubtless I will get over it soon enough, but I has it.

...

AND I DON'T EVEN GET TO WEAR MY NEW PICARD/RIKER 2020 SHIRT TO THE RACE DAMMIT

... I should probably go. Here's good health, social distancing, and new plans, 'cause the old ones clearly aren't gonna work. 🤪🤪🤪

I've been thinking about Casablanca a lot lately for some reason. Viewing party, anyone?

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!