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!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

In Which Jenn Has Thoughts About The New WDW Marathon Course


Hello cats and kittens! Are you stuck inside due to COVID-19 quarantine? Is the world slowly crumbling around you? Does the threat of cancelled races and Disney trips loom over your head? Me too! Let's distract ourselves with a frivolous runDisney discussion topic.

Let's talk about the 2020 Walt Disney World Marathon course. It was appreciably different from the course used for at least the previous 5 years, which I know because I ran 2015-2019 of those races and subsequent changes, while existent, were minor.

But 2020 was a brand new experience. And as is so often the case when I comes to change, I had mixed feelings. I think a lot of this was to accommodate all the construction; I wouldn't be surprised to see major adjustments as frequent as from year to year until all the newness shakes itself out.

So my opinions may be even less valuable than ever. Nonetheless, here are some of my random thoughts on the 2020 course, in no particular order:

  • Hitting the Magic Kingdom later in the race was nice in some ways, as it gave you something to look forward to. But by the time I - moderately slow from undertraining but nonetheless a denizen of early-ish corral C - didn't get to MK before sunrise. I missed seeing the lights on castle.
  • However, I did like that hitting more fun stuff during later miles. Long stretches of road and Wide World of Sports were replaced by stuff like the aforementioned Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom, and I wasn't mad about that.
  • Speaking of Wide World of Sports, I'm neutral on its excision. I know a lot of people hated it with a fiery passion, but I developed a strange fondness for it over the years.
  • On the other hand, the vaunted addition of Blizzard Beach was kinda boring. No characters, no spectators.
  • In fact, there were hardly any characters at all toward the end of the race, at least when I was running through it. This might have been a product of the heat; maybe Disney was trying to keep people moving, especially since they ended up removing a mile from the course for the slower folks thanks to the weather. But I didn't see a single character in World Showcase, which was weird.
  • Doubling back through the Epcot bus area in the beginning was a bad idea. I don't think I need to explain this one. But if you're curious, I dive into my conspiracy theories a bit more in my marathon recap
  • There were no real out-and-backs! Score!
  • Obviously the run through the Studios down the Boardwalk and into Epcot remains EPIC. It was a bit of a bummer having to turn out of World Showcase early and go backstage, but I understand we had to accommodate the construction. Still, somebody could've hooked up some speakers during the last half mile or so backstage. I had been jamming to the Disney music and really missed it at the end of the race.
  • EXCUSE ME WHERE WAS THE GOSPEL CHOIR AT MILE 26???????

So those are some things that stood out to me. Did you run the race? What did you think?

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, March 13, 2020

In Which Jenn's Fifteenth Marathon Is Cancelled :(

Alas, my friends, add my name to the legions of the bummed out.


I was all set to run my fifteenth marathon next Saturday, the Wilmington Marathon in North Carolina. But like so many events, the threat of coronavirus forced the race organizers to cancel it.

I don't begrudge them this - their hands were forced by a combination of government edicts and common sense. Race communications have been very promising; we're assured that if we can just wait a bit while they organize their thoughts we'll be given an array of options including at the very least a deferral to next year at no charge. All in all the trend is one of generosity.

But I can't help but be a little sad - I trained! I planned! Now I have to do battle with Spirit Airlines customer service! Blast and damnation!

Ah well. What can ya do. I'm sure a lot of you are in similar boats, both in terms of races and also Disney trips, what with, oh, every single Disney resort closed around the world right now. Obviously we all recognize the necessity of the cancellations, but also: drat.

Speaking of which, my next trip to WDW for the Rival Run doesn't begin until April 18, so fingers crossed that this health crisis has improved enough that we can all enjoy the race weekend by then.

In the meantime, Becky at Disney In Your Day wrote a great piece on handling the anxiety of trip planning and cancellation in these trying times. I recommend it if you're currently in the throes of a similar fate.

Stay safe out there, kids!

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, March 4, 2020

In Which Jenn Dispenses Parkless Disney Advice

The Dress Shop, aka A Store Full Of Things I Want.

If you know me, you know I'm all about Disney resorts. No, seriously, if you know me at all, you know.

Case in point: a couple weeks ago a coworker of mine emailed me; she said she was going to be in Orlando for a single afternoon with her family and did I have any recommendations regarding what they could do in Walt Disney World without buying a park ticket? Clearly I was the person to ask.

Needless to say I dropped everything I was doing and assembled a quasi-exhaustive list of what a couple with a small child in tow might find most feasible when short on time. And just in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I'm passing this wisdom on to you! (Minor tweaks have been made to protect privacy and avoid date-specific times and events but this is basically it.)

  • WDW has two mini-golf courses on property, Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens. (There are also some full golf courses if that's something you're into)
  • The water parks aren’t cheap but they are cheaper if the weather’s warm. 
  • The Magic Kingdom fireworks can be seen from the observation deck at the California Grill; they even pipe in the soundtrack. It’s a bit of a tough get but availability often opens up in the days before (Disney requires a credit card guarantor and charges for no-shows). I know it looks fancy, and it kinda is, but kids are definitely welcome.
  • Fort Wilderness has a campfire singalong with s’mores at 7pm; you don’t have to be staying at the campground. They play a Disney movie after.
  • Also at Fort Wilderness: I hear the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue is really fun! There are often 4pm shows so you could do that and then go to the singalong right after if you wanted.
  • I can’t vouch for the food but the audio-animatronic dinosaurs of the T-Rex Café tends to go over extremely well with the smaller humans. (Disney Springs)
  • The NBA Experience is purportedly where “all your basketball dreams come true.” I have exactly zero basketball dreams but maybe you guys have some? (Disney Springs)
  • Disney Springs also has bowling!
  • House of Blues often has free music in the afternoons (and paid evening concerts too, of course). (Disney Springs)
  • And if all else fails, you can just wander through Disney Springs and pick a store or restaurant at your leisure. Some suggestions: The Dress Shop is super cute if you like vintage and Basin has bar shampoos I like (no plastic!). At The Art of Disney you can commission your own Disney drawing and watch it being sketched. If you like Indiana Jones you should definitely hit up Jock Lindsey’s (get an Anything Goes). 
  • Bonus: this is NOT toddler-friendly but just in case you're big Star Wars fans, Imma put THE VOID here. If it’s not busy it’ll only take about 30 minutes so you could kid swap. (Disney Springs)
I've never expressly written anything like "do not reproduce without permission" or whatever on my blog posts. I feel like it's implicit. But if you ever receive a similar inquiry from your coworker, feel free to copy/paste the above into an email and continue on your merry way. They'll never know!

What's your preferred non-park day agenda?

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!