Tuesday, September 29, 2020

In Which Jenn Reviews The Under Armour Sportsmask


The first step in reviewing any product is to remember to bring it with you for its intended activity. I was out of the building and halfway to the gate before I realized I had forgotten to don my new Under Armour athletic face mask for my morning run. Therefore this review comes at the expense of approximately 6 minutes' lost time. Please read it!

(Also, for the record, I bought it with my own money in anticipation of potentially needing it for a race. Despite my average running performance, unpopular blog, and minuscule Instagram following, UA mysteriously has yet to offer me a sponsorship.)

Don't forget to cut the tag out before you use it.


The Under Armour Sportsmask
will set you back $30, which is a bit steep for a mask, but in exchange it promises enhanced comfort and breathability using high-quality, antimicrobial materials. It's also allegedly water-resistant. It's recommended that you hand-wash it but machine-washing is supposedly okay too.

This is my good eyebrow side.

First impressions: it was indeed a comfortable material, and seemed to fit reasonably well. There's a wire bit at the top so you can mold it across your nose. I liked that there was enough space at the middle and bottom that I didn't feel like I was playing Suck and Blow with the fabric. (Is that a real thing or did Clueless just make it up?) 


I did not, however, feel cool - my hot breath was definitely winning that game.

This is my bad eyebrow side.


Then I took it for a quick 5k. Let's compare my experience against the selling points one by one:

  • "Made with high-performance UA materials, designed to be worn all day & when playing sports" - It was comfortable enough. I was able to zone out and forget I was wearing it now and again. I did occasionally feel like it was sliding off my nose but every time I reached to check it was still fine. I have a S/M and I don't think this was a function of needing a smaller size.
  • "Structured design sits up off the face & lips for added comfort & breathability" - As the run progressed and my breathing got a little more labored, I found that the fabric did hit my lips during some inhales, but it wasn't too bad. 
  • "Water-resistant outer shell features smooth, breathable spacer fabric" - It didn't rain during my run so I'm not sure how that would work out. I definitely sweat, though, and the mask retained its shape.
  • "Anti-microbial treatment on the inside layer to help keep mask fresh" - I noticed no funky smells. It'll definitely need a wash every time, though.
  • "Polyurethane open-cell foam lets air through but makes it hard for moisture & sweat to pass" - I never felt like I was struggling for air, nor did any sweat drip out of the bottom of the mask.
  • "UA Iso-Chill fabric on interior lining & ear loops feels cool to the touch for as long as you wear it" - I guess. Look, I'm running in Puerto Rico in September, so we've already set the dial to 11 in terms of heat and humidity. The fabric never felt super hot, but it didn't feel expressly cool either, even when I first put it on. And I definitely sweat underneath of it. 
  • "Fabric is soft & smooth for next to face comfort & moves moisture from your mouth to the insert layer" - The fabric next to my mouth never felt soggy, so that seems to work, yeah.
  • "Built-in UPF 50+ sun protection" - I can't wait to add weird facial tan lines to my weird runner's tan!

Obviously the ideal mask situation while running is no mask at all in a world where there's no pandemic. But as long as we have to wear one to keep everyone safe and race (fingers crossed it actually happens), I think the UA mask is perfectly serviceable. I wasn't blown away, but I don't dread potentially running 13 miles in it. 

Pro tip: if you want to potentially take it off to drink water or wipe away sweat for brief periods during your run, make sure you put your headphones on BEFORE the mask. Otherwise you're taking both off every time and it's annoying.

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, September 23, 2020

In Which Jenn Cheers Herself Up With A New Disney Dress

Ugh, fine. Here's the post I was gonna write before I was so rudely sidetracked.

Back in simpler(?) times, before the mass cancellation of runDisney race weekends, I elected to cheer myself up with a new dress from the Disney Dress Shop. Disney was offering 30% off all orders for Annual Passholders and it seemed the time to strike.

So I indulged myself in the purchase of a super-cute yellow dress featuring the flamingo from Fantasia 2000. As has been previously documented, I absolutely adore Fantasia 2000, and the flamingo's tale that goes with Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals finale ranks among the top 2 segments out that exemplary anthology. Should we just watch it real quick? Let's just watch it real quick:

Right? Right! I never would've guessed Disney would see fit to make that little guy a dress but they sure had my number when they did it.

It's a great dress, too! While I love The Dress Shop, some of their designs can err on the side of frumpy; indeed, the skirt on this one is a bit long. Can't a girl show a little knee anymore? But the colors are fun, the print is cute, and the cut is flattering. I'm into it!



I wore it out for the first time to dinner a couple days ago. The waitress accidentally spilled Coke on it which was just as well because then, when I inadvertently dumped ketchup and mustard in my lap, I already had club soda and napkins available. And if that ain't 2020, I don't know what is. 😭🤣

P.S. Who wrote this?!

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, September 22, 2020

In Which Jenn Mourns More Lost runDisney Races

Annnnnnnnnnd there it is.

I was just about to sit down and type up a cute little post about my latest Disney dress, but NO - the universe had to go ahead and hit me where it hurts.

As you are more than likely aware, both Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend are cancelled. To quote myself expressing my feelings on the matter:

Blarg. Blarg, I say!!!

I know, I know. It's not the end of the world. But boy am I bummed all the same. The WDW Marathon is my favorite day of the ENTIRE YEAR. Hell, I would cite the 2018 version as the happiest day of my life so far. Losing it is a blow to my life force.

Ah, well. If they feel they have to cancel, that's how it is. I'm sure runDisney did not make the decision lightly or happily. I am a little surprised they took out Princess at the same time, but I suppose the two races are indeed quite close together. I suppose it's gonna save me some money, anyway.

Which is to say: I will definitely be requesting a refund. A) The prices for the virtual versions are exorbitant and B) I'm just not much of a virtual race girl. I value medals as physical reminders of a beloved experience, but medals for the sake of medals don't do much for me. If they do for you, good! You find joy in many things and are doubtless an overall happier person than I am. But a virtual version isn't gonna fly for me.

The only question in my mind at present is what to do as regards the WDW trips I had planned around those races. Should I go anyway? My first instinct is to say no - I'd rather reallocate those funds to trips that do include races. 

But on the other hand, I kept my Annual Pass because of those trips. If I don't go on them, the pass's value is significantly diminished. I could call Disney and see if they'd let me cancel my pass now even though the deadline is passed on the strength of this setback, but I doubt it'd get me that far.

Both of those trips also involve people who were suppose to share my room, so I'll have to talk it over with them too.

Things to ponder.

Thank God I opted for my 2020 runDisney race registration strategy. I'm still holding out hope for Rivals weekend - and I'll be ALL OVER Wine & Dine registration when it opens.

2020 really is the worst.

Are you also bummed? Or are you bummed too, also?

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, September 16, 2020

In Which Jenn PRs In The 10K Thanks To Southwest Airlines

Okay, I know we JUST did a post about a training run of mine and I generally try to mix it up, but I had the BEST run on Sunday - all thanks to Southwest Airlines. Naturally I simply must tell you about it.

So here's what happened: I was going to get up at 8am and run that week's Rock 'n Roll virtual 10k. However, a notification popped up on my phone as I was setting my alarm: I needed to check in for my flight home to Puerto Rico at 8:55am on the dot. (For those not familiar with Southwest's seating policies, it's first-come first-served, with boarding groups and numbers assigned by how early you check in.)

Not wanting to stop in the middle of my run to accomplish this, I got up half an hour earlier. But as I finished dressing, hydrating, etc., I realized I would still going to need to push myself a bit if I wanted to make my time cutoff.

So I did. Rather than attempt to curtail my early-run instinct to pick up the pace, I let myself go kinda fast. And then... I continued to let myself go fast. Not sprinting, but a good clip. No reining it in or pulling it back in an effort to keep the entire thing comfortable. Hell, by the last mile I was decidedly NOT comfortable, but I also wasn't incapable. I kept the pace and my final mile was in fact my fastest.

You know what else was my fastest? This 10k! By a full minute! During training! Not a race! I have NEVER done that! I'm STILL pleased with myself!

I have to give a shout out to the excellent running weather that morning in Maryland, where I enjoyed upper 60s temperatures the likes of which Puerto Rico may well have never seen. And an extra thank you to the parking lot of the tech school behind the house, which has only one slight incline and is otherwise an ideal running circuit.

Now I am back in Puerto Rico, where it's hot and humid and running fast can be a challenge. But I'll give it a go sometimes anyway. As the professionals like to tell us, to run faster you've just got to... run faster. Pam was right all along!


P.S. A27 and A28. Boom!

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, September 7, 2020

In Which Jenn Runs In OBX

Hello from OBX! Yesterday morning I completed my first long run outside of Puerto Rico in literal months and my God, did you know that in North Carolina it gets almost CHILLY at NIGHT? And that there's a BREEZE and the HUMIDITY isn't 8,000 PERCENT??? What a delight! I like to think all my hot weather training is going to convert into faster times in cooler climes, but it's nice to turn down the heat a bit now and again.

The only downside to pointing due north is that the sunrise is later, so I couldn't get quite as early a start as I would've liked (there aren't lights on the roads down here or sidewalks either, so visibility is important. Always run against traffic!). But I was still able to pop out a practice half with comparative ease.

I started by hanging left off our beach house and running down to Lee Robinson's General Store, a distance of about 4 miles. If you're ever in the Cape Hatteras area, definitely pop in there and get some chocolate peanut butter fudge and Blenheim ginger ale, but as they weren't open yet I was sadly unable.

Then I turned around and ran back to the house, where I swapped in a fresh bottle of water and finished my 13.1. I passed a couple of pro-Trump signs during this portion of the run - it's the south, after all - but I flipped them all off for my own cathartic purposes. Please vote Biden so poor Ruth Bader Ginsburg can retire, okay?

One of these days I should really try running on the beach again, but the flat, fast roads are so hard to resist!

Do you run on vacation?

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!