Friday, April 9, 2021

Happy Friday: The Enchanted Laboratory At Busch Gardens Williamsburg

One of the many nice things about being a big fan of Disney parks is that they give you a greater appreciation for and interest in theme parks in general. Liking more things means there are more things we like, if you know what I mean.

With that in mind, follow me now on a brief journey into my childhood, a fixture of which was Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Sure, Six Flags America and Kings Dominion were closer to where I lived, but Busch Gardens was worth that extra hour's drive.

Just like Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has grown and changed a lot over the ensuing decades, and while we've gained some nifty new rides and attractions, we've also lost some of my nostalgic favorites. One such ride was my very first roller coaster ever, Big Bad Wolf, which while sorely missed thankfully found a worthy successor in Verbolten.

Alas, another lost attraction now has no successor at all: The Enchanted Laboratory of Nostramos the Magnificent, which ran from 1986 to 2000. Located in what is now the Ireland section of the park and ostensibly a magic show for children, The Enchanted Laboratory rose above its humble concept with a truly entertaining performance for all ages. 

Oh, sure, you think. When you were seven you thought that. But how about revisiting it as an adult?

Guys, this show is AWESOME.

I mean, sure, nostalgia may be coloring some of my opinion, but I stand by it - the magic tricks, while not mind-blowing for the most part, were performed with aplomb, the script was good, the songs were catchy, the animatronics were fun, and the actors were talented. You needn't trust me; somebody even built a fansite for the show

Need a break from your Friday workday? Take 24 minutes and check it out below. And if you like it, definitely take a look at that fansite I linked above - it's super comprehensive! (One of its fun facts: several former Imagineers were part of the project.)

P.S. SPOILER: One time, even though I'd already seen the show several times, the monster It that tries to escape at the end scared me. I asked my dad if we could leave and he said no. The show finished up and I was fine. 😆Having read on the fansite that Northrup had to actively wrestle with It, perhaps this was one of the times It rose a little higher than intended?

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 5, 2021

The Nightmare Before Race Day

Remember last year when Pat bought me Spaceship Earth leggings just in time for my race costume? Well, he's done it again!

Okay, yes, I haven't had a runDisney race in... oh, dang, well over a year. No wonder I'm so depressed. But I have to believe they're going to come back, and when they do, I need to be ready and I need to have race costumes.

Here's another one: remember my Sally the Ragdoll race costume from WDW Marathon 2020? Because Pat did NOT. (Admittedly he wasn't there.) But he knows that I love The Nightmare Before Christmas and particularly Sally, and he channeled that into my Christmas present. Behold: Sally/Jack Skellington pants!




(The first pose is meant to be Sally-esque. The second is, y'know, Sally if she were a runner.)

How perfect would that be for the Princess Half Marathon? I know Sally isn't technically a princess, but I feel like she should still count. She's a princess in my heart, anyway. 

The funny thing is, I was talking about something runDisney-related (when am I not) and showed Pat my Sally costume from that last marathon about a month before Christmas, after he had already bought the leggings for me. He later told me it was so hard not to give anything away but he was happy extra happy with his gift selection. 😊

I've got more runDisney race costumes in the tank - stand by for my new, improved Figment!

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, March 30, 2021

47 Thoughts Jenn Had While Watching 1970's "Disneyland Showtime"

I had a ton of fun doing my last Thoughts While Watching about the EPCOT film, so I decided to do another one! And just as I threatened in that last post, I tracked down the Kurt Russell episode of The Wonderful World of Disney, which is called "Disneyland Showtime." Sadly, Kurt does not wear that suit the whole time, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Watch along here:


And now, 47 Thoughts Jenn Had While Watching "Disneyland Showtime:"

  1. I'm getting a strong "A Salute to All Nations But Mostly America" vibe from this opening.

  2. Did the old monorail have a... foghorn?

  3. I wish more costume characters did the Charleston these days.

  4. That tour guide cape is sweet, but she seems to lose everybody almost immediately.

  5. All I think of when I see Donny Osmond is LET'S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS! TO DEFEAT! THE HUNS!!!!

  6. Also, all these Osmonds seem to be cosplaying as Romulans.

  7. I'm going to have to look up this... E.J.... Peaker...? person later because I am blanking.

  8. I'm 90% sure I walk faster than any of the Main Street Vehicles.

  9. This human clock makes it sound like "fun rides" are only fun because you can quantify them.

  10. Hey, I know this song! Was "Down on the Corner" an Osmond Brothers song or is this a cover? (Somewhere a boomer is weeping. Who knows; maybe it's my mom. Although I think she was more into the Monkees.)

  11. I see you there in the background, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee.

  12. Donny found Splash Mountain walk around characters! Good for him; I've managed that exactly once myself.

  13. Not that I'm not happy to see him but I'm actually not sure why Kurt Russell is even here. He seems to be sort of in charge; did Kurt Russell run Disneyland in the '70s?

  14. Remember when you had to bring a whole separate camera with you if you wanted pictures?

  15. This "people in the crowd who are not Donny Osmond" montage sure is long.

  16. Split up and go in different directions, Kurt? Really? Have you never seen Scooby Doo?

  17. Wait, what's going on with this Native American dance circle? Did Kurt Russell really just throw off their schedule like that? And then Mr. Human Clock made them redo everything? Rude.

  18. "If they needed us, they'd come find us here, in this readily accessible Nautilus submarine."

  19. Counterpoint: "Gee, maybe we can find Donny here, on the riverboat, a 40-minute self-contained ride."

  20. Nope, never heard this song about walking before. The Romulans seem to like it.

  21. Hey, who let this E.J. character in the captain's area?

  22. Boy, these Dapper Dans are dressed for a sepia-tone Kansas.

  23. See, that's why you don't look for people on rides, dummies.

  24. The '70s sure were the '70s, weren't they.

  25. Conversely, the Kids of the Kingdom (which, who?) dress like Wesley Crusher before there was a Wesley Crusher. 

  26. Do yodelers still rappel down the Matterhorn?

  27. Did the Romulan Brothers just abandon Kurt? Jerks.

  28. Ah, there's Kurt's magnificent gangster suit.

  29. Okay, I'm familiar with this sugar, sugar song, but I don't know who this mustached individual is, nor did I know Kurt Russell sang. This has been very educational for me.

  30. WHY THE HELL ARE DONNY AND OTHER RANDOM OSMOND ON THE SKYRIDE. They're literally pointing at the stage and saying "Oh, gee, we're next."

  31. Oh, the flare indicates an emergency AND signals the start of the fireworks, does it? Seems like a sound idea.

  32. I don't know this song either. I also still have no idea who E.J. Peaker is.

  33. Judy Garland already did this in "The Man Who Got Away" and she did it like 85,000 times better.

  34. "Put on your suit so you look less like Romulans for the show."

  35. Never heard this rainbow song in my life. I'm really more of a '40s/'50s girl, I'm afraid.

  36. Wait, wait. Is this "Age of Aquarius" part of the same song? Because if so, then I have heard this song. But also, didn't, like, a Motown group or something do that first? Were the Osmond Brothers a cover band?

  37. I will not miss Mr. Human Clock.

  38. Everyone DOES want to go see The Haunted Mansion, Kurt.

  39. I desperately want to play in a Disney land/attraction model.

  40. Oh, that half-translucent animatronic is interesting. Explains how they get the fadeout on the Pepper's Ghost illusion.

  41. I love the moving bust illusion - even when you know how it works you have to really concentrate to see it.

  42. It's okay, Thurl, I'll sing the response lines.

  43. Ooh, do we get a full ride-through?!

  44. Oh, Human Clock, you're still here. Great.

  45. Let the record show that Kurt Russell is attracted to Medusa.

  46. The Haunted Mansion really hasn't changed much over the years. But then why mess with perfection?

  47. For a second I thought they were trying to imply that Donny turned into a ghost.


I don't know about you, but my primary takeaway from this activity was that I am not particularly well-versed in the '70s outside of the fact that Kurt Russell was clearly there. 

I'm still enjoying this little mini-series of mine! I think I might do the original Disneyland opening broadcast next, or maybe the Disneyland 10th Anniversary special. Hit me up if you have an opinion.

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 24, 2021

In Which Brooks Ravenna Sneakers... Are Launches Now?!

I wrote a blog post a week or two ago. I was going to post it today, and it was going to go like this:

There are many reasons the Brooks Ravenna is my GOAT shoe, but none of them would be any help to me if they weren't so darned consistent. My first Ravennas were model #4, and I have used every version since up to the current #11. Every version has been a winner.

But that doesn't mean that there haven't been any changes from iteration to iteration. In fact, I noticed a pretty obvious change between my old #10s and new #11s. Can you spot it?

Brooks Ravennas

Brooks sorts their running shoes into four categories, or "experiences" as they call them: cushion, trail, energize, and speed. For as long as I can remember, and per the insole, the Ravenna has been an "energize" shoe, defined by "springy and responsive cushioning." But the #11s are now "speed" shoes, designed "for race day performance"! 

I'm still digging my pair, but I was curious as to why the Ravenna shifted categories. Naturally I asked Brooks Running's Twitter account, and they delivered!

Brooks tweet
Brooks tweet

END OF ORIGINAL BLOG POST

Why? BECAUSE IT'S NO LONGER RELEVANT.

Why? BECAUSE BROOKS HAS ELIMINATED THEIR STABILITY LINE AND THERE ARE NO RAVENNAS ANYMORE.

WHAT.

All I did was try and go back and double-check the product page to make sure I hadn't missed something obvious about the switch, only I discovered there IS NO RAVENNA PRODUCT PAGE ANYMORE.

Apparently what they've done is paired all their old stability shoes with their neutral lines, and you can get those shoes now either with or without stability guiderails. The Brooks Ravenna is now the Brooks Launch GTS.

REPEAT: THERE ARE NO MORE BROOKS RAVENNAS. Perhaps you think this is an awful lot of capital letters for such an announcement. But THERE ARE NO MORE BROOKS RAVENNAS. No more of the Brooks Ravennas I've been using since 2013. Somebody hold me. I'm scared!

I went back to Brooks for comfort:

No more Ravenna

(By the way, whoever runs their Twitter account is 100% on point. They almost always reply when tagged.)

I mean, obviously I'm going to try the Launch GTS. Who knows; maybe I'll love it just as much and it'll be okay. But in the meantime, I have two more brand spankin' new pairs of Ravennas in my arsenal, plus a pair with less than 100 miles on it in the current rotation. I shouldn't need a new pair for a year or so. Although they are $10 cheaper now, so that's something I guess.

Thus I shall make the most of what time the Ravennas and I have left together. I hear it's better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all, so... WE'LL SEE ABOUT THAT.

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 17, 2021

In Which Jenn Is More Than What She Has Become

Self-burn
I need to look inside myself, I guess.


It's one of the best parts of the whole movie, no? When Simba's laying there looking up at the stars and Mufasa's ghost shows up and yells at him. Okay, well, maybe not when I describe it like that, but you know the bit I mean. 


I've always found the moment strangely moving, although I've never been the king of anything. More just the call to be... I don't know, true to yourself, I guess? I was trying to think of a less cheesy way to describe it, but I can't. I guess some cheesy things are also accurate.

Anyway, all this is buildup just to say that my little Disney Dandy heart has been longing for a piece of "Remember Who You Are" clothing for quite some time. There's a lot of it out there, too - tank tops, crew tees, cargo jackets, and more. But none of it ever felt quite right to me.

Until, of course, I found a great sweatshirt on Poshmark and pounced. I love the design of it, I love the colors, I love the readability (believe it or not, some of 'em get a bit too fancy with the fonts), and also, I rather love that it's a sweatshirt. I have lots of Disney dresses and a fair number of short sleeved shirts, but very little in the way of outerwear. Occasionally it does get cold at Disney and I need to be prepared (January 2017, anyone?).

Lion King sweatshirt

So I picked up in the sweatshirt in a size large, because I tend to like my sweatshirts and outerwear to fit a bit big. It allows for layering and just generally feels cozier, y'know?

That did leave the question of how to style my new prize. Obviously I could toss it over some jeans and call it a day, but I wanted to spice things up a bit. First I went with the classic tuck into some high-waisted shorts, plus some socks to keep things cold weather-friendly:


But then I read an article dedicated exclusively to styling oversized sweatshirts, and one of the suggestions was layering it over a skirt. The girl in the picture had a pleated skirt peaking out of the sweatshirt's hem. I liked the look, so I tried to replicate it:



Finally, the wildcard look. That plaid miniskirt gave me an idea. You've seen sweatshirts and miniskirts, yes, but have you seen sweatshirt with MAXI TUTU???


I doubt I'd ever wear this one around the parks just because of the likelihood of snagging it on something, but it was still fun to swish about. Maybe it would work for one of those progressive dinners around Disney's Animal Kingdom?

I have some fun race costumes in my back pocket, so swing by in the coming months for more of my Disney Dandy shenanigans!

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 15, 2021

In Which Jenn Suffers A Garmin Emergency

Garmin Forerunner 235

Okay, so, my Garmin Forerunner 230, greatest Christmas present of all time, developed a crack in the watch face a few months back. It was a little concerning, but the watch continued to work fine, so I assumed it was superficial. This theory was borne out by runs in the rain and even a couple dunks in the ocean (the Forerunner is rated up to 5ATM for swimming). It had a cosmetic defect, sure, and it was getting a little behind on the tech, yes, but basically my Garmin was working fine.

... Until last Sunday, when I was once again hopping about in the Atlantic. I splashed about in the waves for about twenty minutes and then intended to come in - but then I thought, what the hell, I'm having fun; I'll stay out a little longer.

I think we all see where this is going, and yes, you're right: ten minutes later, I did indeed look down and see my watch screen had gone blank. My watch. My GPS watch. The GPS watch I rely on for my training. The same GPS watch I needed for my 17 miler in two days.

Kuzco's poison
Here's your cadence.

"By this point you know how long it usually takes you to run a certain number of miles," said Pat. "Can't you just do it without GPS?"

"HAHAHAHAHA!!!!" I said in return, dumping my watch in a bowl and pouring rice over it in a time-honored ritual of desperation.

I didn't have a great feeling about it, but after a night hopefully drying out in the rice I tried to plug my watch back in. BZZZZZZZ! was what it had to say to that. I hurriedly unplugged it. It was also seeping salt.

Okay, time to get a new watch. I wanted it to be a Garmin again, because I like the app and I feel like they do a good job on running-specific metrics. The Forerunner 245 seemed the modern iteration closest to my current model, and it had excellent battery life. 

Unfortunately, shipping to Puerto Rico can be a bit of A Thing. We get Amazon Prime down here, but only in that the shipping continues to be free. Two day shipping is out the window. Actual ship times are variable, and what Amazon tells you is the estimated arrival date may or may not have any bearing on the reality. Sometimes it's quicker than expected, but other times packages been known to arrive in a Miami sorting facility and then just kinda hang out.

All that is to say that I found the Garmin Forerunner 245 on Amazon, but the estimated delivery date of a full two weeks from then was not comforting. 

I could get a Forerunner 235 for half the price and half the time, but that was an old model, and did I really want to buy a watch that was 5 years behind the technology? And anyway that's still not in time if I wanted to keep my training plan intact. If I wanted that, I needed something almost instant. How could I get my watch instantly?

In the end, it was a real, retail storefront to the rescue. Who says malls are dead?

Walmart had no stock. Best Buy had no stock. I was distraught. But then I had an idea that should've occurred to me first: I looked up, y'know, running stores in my area. I discovered there was a Fit2Run in the mall less than ten minutes from my apartment. Not only that, but they showed the Garmin 245 in stock! I called to confirm, and that night I double-masked up and went to the mall to pick up my treasure. (Oh, what a strange world we live in that I miss the mundane comfort of a mall!)

So here's my new baby, the Garmin Forerunner 245. It has like a million new metrics and I am 100% in love with it. 

Garmin Forerunner 235

We went out together the very next morning and enjoyed a successful 17 mile run that was by some miracle 10 seconds/mile faster than my 16 miler a few weeks before. I have named it Louis, as in Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

Casablanca
Middle name "I like to think you shot a man. It's the romantic in me."

My old watch lasted me more than four years before I inadvertently drowned it, so as they say: FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!

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 8, 2021

In Which Jenn Shares Her Long Run Disney Parks Playlist

Pray for me now and in the hour of my 17 mile training run.

I will appreciate those prayers when the time comes (tomorrow), but as they say: the Lord helps those who help themselves. In addition to prayers, I shall try to make my long run as painless minimally painful as possible with the help of such items as KT Tape, mocha Clif Shots, a spare water bottle, and, of course, music.

I will start out with my usuals from Amazon Music (Aerosmith!) or my own personal iTunes stash (J. Roddy/Floggy Molly/Jukebox the Ghost), for at the absolute least the first nine miles or so. But when the going gets tough, I'm gonna bust out that big guns. You know what blog you're reading, so of course you already know it's Disney music.

But not just any Disney music - Disney parks music and parks music only! But not the background music loops; they're designed to create ambience, not capture your attention. For running, performance music is where it's at. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more transportive than a good show soundtrack. I'm talking fireworks, parades, nighttimes spectaculars - you know, with the stirring orchestral scores and catchy medleys, the ones that immediately thrust you back in time and put your imaginary feet on Main Street. You'll forget you're running at all

Want to follow along? C'mon, we'll run together - I put together a playlist special. It's unlisted, but I'm willing to share it with my bloggy buddies.* If the below embed gets wonky or you lose me at any point, here's a direct playlist link. Lace up and step into the magic!

*You know, all these other people think I'm talking to them, but I'm really just talking to you!

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 4, 2021

In Which Jenn Makes A Flower & Garden Festival To-Eat List (Take 3)

It may be a bad idea to even write this post. It went wrong in 2017. It went wrong in 2020. Do I dare too much?

Sure, in 2017, it was my fault for being too zonked by sleeplessness to fully enjoy Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival. But it was the universe that took everything from me in 2020. Is it time to let optimism flounder? Can we set the bar lower than it is even now?

Too late: I've already started the post. It's happening. 


As is my wont, I've gone through all the published menus for the Flower & Garden Festival food booths and selected what I want to try, assuming my spring trip goes as planned. If I make it, the below food items are at the top of my to-eat list. Will 2021 be the year?

If it is, I shall eat:

BOOTHITEMNOTES
BauernmarketPotato pancakesEither version
BauernmarketPretzel bread with ham and cheesePretzel bread FTW
Cider HousePotato & cheddar biscuit with salmon tartareThis sounds AMAZING
Cider HouseDark chocolate raspberry tartI feel like I had this at a Food & Wine Festival but it was good so
Cider HouseCiderPink lemonade?! Watermelon?! Jam?! I DEMAND A FLIGHT
Citrus BlossomOrange-lemon smoothieNot gonna lie: in it for the Orange Bird sipper
Citrus BlossomHibiscus lime aleI love hibiscus!
Farmer's FeastHibiscus lemonade cocktailHI, BISCUS!
Festival FavoritesMaple bacon stoutI have good luck with stouts at these festivals
Fleur de LysGoat cheese and onion tartOnly they spell it in French
Fleur de LysLa Vie en Rose slushyI hear good things
HanamiFrushiI think ordering this is required by Epcot law
Honey Bee-stroHoney & sweet corn spoon breadMan, I haven't had spoon bread in forever and I love it
Honey Bee-stroLavender chicken flatbreadLavender honey mustard? Lavender goat cheese? I am intrigued
Honey Bee-stroHoney mascarpone cheesecakeMascarpone is magnificent
Jardin de FiestasSope de chorizoI'm not 100% clear on what this is but fried dough sounds good
Jardin de FiestasTulum Mexican craft beerI've had my fair share of Caribbean seawater up my nose so I'll be the judge of that
Isla FrescaHibiscus Guavacation sour beerHibiscus AND it's a sour beer?!
Lotus HouseJasmine beerWhat can I say; I like to consume flowers
Northern BloomBlackberry beerAnd they said it couldn't be done
Northern BloomMaple whiskey with maple popcorn shakeWhat's not to like?
Pineapple PromenadeFrozen desert violet lemonadeIf you don't buy it they won't let you back on Instagram
Pineapple PromenadePOG beerPOG beer
Pineapple PromenadeViolet lemonade aleIt's a slow but steady takeover
Sunshine GriddleFried cinnamon roll bitesBut only if they'll give me extra frosting
Taste of MarrakeshHibiscus orange wheat aleI'm not shaping the universe to my whims on accident, am I?
Trowel & TrellisGrilled sweet corn with garlic spreadIn case of vampires

Hmmm. That's a lot of drinks. I might need to boost my food selections. But then this is never a definitive or exhaustive list anyway; the festival booths demand your patronage in ever greater amounts, do they not? 

I hope to see you at the festival! I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope -

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, March 2, 2021

In Which Jenn WANTS To Love UA Running Shoes, But...

Tape and sneakers

You know how sometimes you jump into a series of love affairs but just end up getting hurt? Yeah, that's me and Under Armour running shoes.

Before we start, I want to make it very clear that I am not disparaging UA or their products. They make great stuff. I love my long sleeve Baltimore Marathon tech tee with the thumbholes and my polarized sunglasses and the pair of running pants I tragically tore a hole in. Pat likes my rain-resistant jacket so much he bought one of his own. But for whatever reason, I just can't make the running shoes work for me - and what's more, every time they don't work for me, I turn around a try again.

Round 1: I get the original Sonic Hovrs. I LOVE THEM. They make me feel speedy! I get two pairs. But I notice after a 17 mile run that my inner knee bugs me the next day. Not the same day as the run, but the next day. Huh. It happens again after the National Capital 20 Miler. It is worse. I have a marathon coming up. I am nervous. I switch to my tried-and-true Brooks Ravennas and make it through okay, but it's a close one. I sadly give up my speedy Hovrs.

Round 2: UA comes out with the Guardians, which are support shoes. While I have one neutral and one support foot and have run in both types successfully, I think - maybe the Hovrs were too neutral? Or something? Maybe their support version will work?

And maybe they do, but it's hard to tell - I never run more than 10 miles in them, because I discover that after four miles I am increasingly at risk of developing a blister on my inside right heel instep (this is my neutral foot). So these seem to be a bit too supportive. In addition, the Guardians just feel kinda stiff and clunky to me. I am not a fan. I never run a race in them.

Round 3: UA debuts a NEW version of the Sonic Hovr - and they come in PINK! (They call it peach, but whatever; it's pink). Perhaps this latest iteration corrected whatever it was about the first edition my knee didn't like? 

I buy a pair and once again, I love them! So speedy! I run a race in them, and it goes pretty well. A couple weeks later, I start experience heel pain. Weird. Then I go visit family for a couple weeks. I've only packed a pair of the Ravennas since I don't anticipate any long runs, and indeed never go above four. The minimized mileage, I figure, will let my heel... heal. Heel heal. Yeah.

It works! I come back home and do some long runs, several of which are in the pink Hovrs. The heel pain comes back...? I do a little research and it seems to be the dreaded plantar fasciitis. Weird - I've never had that problem before! It waxes and wanes, seemingly unrelated to mileage... until after an embarrassingly lengthy amount of time, I finally figure out that my heel flareups correlate to long runs in the Hovrs.

Damn.

They're so cute, too.

Oh well. It was nice while it lasted. But I think I'm gonna have to break up with the Under Armour running shoe line. If you can trust me saying so - I've gone back on my word before. Heck, just a few weeks ago I said I wouldn't be picking up any Nike Vomero 14s and now I think I might because I like to have at least two models of shoes in rotation. I hear it (ha!) helps prevent injury.

John Mulany

All the same, if you see me tweeting or whatever about buying some UA sneakers again, make like the other drunk girl in the bathroom and yell "DON'T DO IT!" I'll thank you later.

P.S. I look forward to writing the post in the future when I say "I know I told you guys I'd never do this, but..."

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, February 22, 2021

29 Thoughts Jenn Had While Watching Walt's Epcot/Florida Film

So you've seen those "XX Thoughts I Had While Watching Y" posts, right? Where various and sundry authors jot down their thoughts while viewing something relevant to pop culture? I see a lot of '90s nostalgia re-watches and new movie trailers circulating, plus Disney movies, of course. Buzzfeed does it. Vogue does it. High/low culture at its finest, really.

Stick with me; I promise I have a point. 

My point is, Pat and I were rewatching The Imagineering Story the other night, and during the episode about the origins of Epcot he lamented that Walt never got to build his real Utopian city center. "It could've changed the way humans live," he said. 

Alas, he's right. Once again, we're stuck in the wrong corner of the multiverse. Still, it got me thinking about that time I was writing a paper about Epcot and cultural policy (here, you can read it), during the research stages for which I watched the original EPCOT introductory film. It's the one where Uncle Walt himself gives an overview of everything he has planned for us in Progress City.

Aha, now you see where I'm going with this! Queue up the video to watch along if you like, as I grace you with 29 Thoughts I Had While Watching Walt's Epcot/Florida Film:

  1. This conductor isn't conducting in time to the soundtrack...?
  2. The opening "To all who come to this happy place" speech always chokes me up a little.
  3. That cart horse is wearing a jaunty hat and I love him!!
  4. Wait... is this Disneyland footage just looping...?
  5. Oh, no, the Astro Orbiter is new.
  6. Old school bubble monorails!
  7. Good old WED Enterprises. I'd give the limb of Walt's choice to go back and time and become an ink and paint girl.
  8. Wait, did the Carousel of Progress originally have a different dog?
  9. If you watch the Disneyland teacups from above for long enough, Disney hypnotizes you into a yearly tithe.
  10. A whole new Disney WOOOOOOOOORLD! A dazzling place I never knew!
  11. Oh, hey Uncle Walt. Yes, you're my favorite relative too.
  12. Oh, interesting - there's a Bay Lake on the map, but I don't see a Seven Seas Lagoon.
  13. Fun fact: Uncle Walt is six miles tall.
  14. Wait, isn't WDW 47 square miles? Walt said 43.
  15. An airport of the future in WDW? IF ONLY.
  16. Walt says "Experimental CITY of Tomorrow" the first time before switching to the official "Community" and for some reason this drives me slightly bonkers.
  17. It is taking all my energy not to make a joke about communism OR socialism right now.
  18. Oh, hey, I recognize this place from the TTA Peoplemover!
  19. Yes, thank you, I'd settle for living inside this matte painting.
  20. I totally forgot Walt wanted to build the biodome...
  21. Oh, the hotel must be the inspiration for the Contemporary! Albeit in a VERY roundabout way.
  22. The Peoplemover! I was just talking about you, old friend.
  23. What, you think you can bury "There's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" in the orchestral score and expect me NOT to sing along?
  24. I look forward to the DVC tower of the high-density EPCOT apartments. I will give them all the money I have to join.
  25. Did they say more cities could be built within monorail striking distance of each other? Sounds like somebody was playing the long game of Risk: Corporate America Edition.
  26. "The six million people who visit Disney World each year" - uh.
  27. Wasn't World Showcase originally a small part of the EPCOT plan? I don't think they mentioned it.
  28. I too am ready to go right now.
  29. Bye, Uncle Walt! Miss you already.

That was fun! I think I might dig up s'more old Disney parks specials to Thoughts-ify if there are no objections. Does anyone know which one has a young Kurt Russell in the dashing one-two sartorial punch of a turtleneck and gangster suit?

Kurt Russell Disneyland
That's the ticket!

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, February 18, 2021

In Which Jenn Has To Run For Oga's Cantina

Okay, let's pretend for a moment you're me. (I'm sorry.) You are going to Walt Disney World, theoretically and vaccines willing, in April. Your travel buddy is on top of the vast majority of dining reservations, but just to be safe you have been given one, and only one job: secure the ADR for Oga's Cantina. Mission date: February 16. You put a reminder in your phone and carry on your merry way.

Of course, February 16 arrives. You remember nothing of your assignment. You get up at 5:30am, cheerily slap together your morning's outfit and provisions, and set out on an 11 mile run. Your bothersome heel is taped up, you're wearing your newest Brooks Ravennas, and you're feeling good. 

Until 7:30am,* when the reminder you set all those day ago pops up on your Garmin: Oga's Cantina ADR. Thirty minutes. You have a little over 2.5 miles to go.

You can do this.

You - not really you; take a deep breath and remember that for you this is strictly a mental exercise - don't want to blaze it because of that whole left heel thing and you don't want to risk an injury. But you trudge out your last mileage under mild stress and come screeching into the alley next to your apartment building with scarcely any time to spare.

No problem! You have the My Disney Experience app in your phone and you know how to use it. OR DO YOU? Because you open it up with your thumbprint and tap furiously through to the Oga's Cantina ADR screen only to discover that it's not giving you the day you need. Why isn't it giving you the day you need? Is the app angry?!

You race through the gate and into the elevator to hit up your computer, feverishly checking your email while you're at it to make sure you're trying for an ADR on the correct day. You confirm that you are as you slide in front of your laptop and whip through the MDE login screen. Ah, there's Oga's Cantina, and there's the day you wanted!

But wait... the calendar on the website won't load?!

You hit a hard refresh while you thumb through the MDE app on your phone and discover that while you were logged into the app, you were somehow not logged in ENOUGH, and the app didn't register the hotel reservation that should open up the extra ten days of ADR openings. You fix this problem and now you can access the correct date. You select 1pm per the agreed upon early afternoon time slot preference. Hooray!

Hold on. It's not loading? Switch back to the website. Ah, yes, there's the calendar. Refresh. Okay, 1pm is gone, but there's 1:20pm. GO THROUGH, DAMMIT!

Okay, back to the app. How about 1:40pm? No? 11:25am on the website? Fine. No, not that either? 2:30pm on the app? 3PM ON THE COMPUTER???

Ah, whew. That one finally went through. You did it! You did it! It's a bit later than originally intended, but you did it! DJ Rex, save me a seat!!!!!!!

Oga ADR

Sit back. It's over. You're not me anymore. Sweet.

Hmmm. It's hard to tell, given how far up Disney's butt I have crawled over the last 15 years or so, but this might be one of the most inside-baseball blog posts I've ever written. But then I suppose you'd have to be pretty inside the baseball yourself to get to the end of such a melodramatic tale. The point is, I got my coveted ADR. Now who's got a vaccine they're not using?

*Yes, you're right - the Disney reservation system opens at 7am. PR doesn't do daylight savings and is therefore currently 1 hour ahead of... everybody else, basically.

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, February 12, 2021

Happy Friday: "You Can't Cry Over Mufasa's Death & Then Bust A Cap"

Fun fact about me: I love standup comedy! If I'm surfing Netflix, the first place I'll look is the standup category. That or the horror section. I'm a complicated person.

Anyway - a couple weeks ago I happened upon this guy Jordan Conley, who himself happened to mention Disney in his set. This in of itself is not a huge surprise - these people are in entertainment so it comes up now and again - but his take on a Disney gang really did it for me. He and his space rangers are about to knock you to infinity and beyond!

Warning: mild language. But language is a societal construct anyway, so who cares? 

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 9, 2021

In Which Jenn Plays Fast & Loose With Shoe Sizes

Running shoes

I've been a loyal user of Brooks Ravenna running shoes for around eight years now, but I like to sprinkle in other models into my routine just to give it a try. For a brief period I was running in Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10s, which I liked a lot, but when Nike released the 11s I fell out of love.

Still, the Vomeros have hovered in the back of my mind - those 10s just fit so beautifully. Sometimes I wonder - what about the newer versions? Would they feel good again? They're on the 14s now, so I looked up some reviews. 

The Vomero 14 seems to garner mixed opinions, so for now I think I'll hang tight and see how the 15s fare. But I did notice something interesting in the Runner's World review: "The tongue stops at the top of the collar, so too-tight laces can cause irritation at the front of the ankle. If you tend to wear your running shoes tight, try a slightly looser fit with the Air Zoom Vomero 14 and let the new fit system do its job."

This concept intrigued me - the idea of purposefully going up a size in running shoes. I mean, most of us wear a larger size in our sneakers anyway, since the foot needs more room to expand during our physical exertions. Indeed, a shoe fitter once told me that soccer players and dancers tend to wear their street shoes tight anyway, and as a member of the latter category I found that interesting. I was already going up a size from street shoe to running shoe, but what if I added an extra half size on top of that, for insurance?

So I did just that. My next pair of Ravennas I ordered in an 8.5 instead of my accustomed 8. I have a pair of size 8s that's still in my training rotation, and they fit fine, but I wanted to see if that extra bit of room felt good or just floppy. Sometimes my toes get sore after a long run, and while I've never felt like my toes were bonking against the shoe, I thought some extra space might help.

Running shoes

And the verdict is: it feels good! I find I enjoy having extra room to spread my toes. I don't feel insecure in the fit at all - no slipping or sliding. After all, a half size isn't that much bigger, and there are other elements of shoe design that help keep the fit secure. I ran a 16 miler last week, and I haven't noticed any toe soreness, either.

In short, I'm calling this experiment a success, and intend to continue buying a half size up in the Ravenna for the foreseeable future. I'm no fit professional, but if you're having a bit of trouble with your shoes and you're not sure what the problem is, maybe try a half size up and see how you fare. It might just be extra space you're looking for!

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 3, 2021

In Which Jenn Will Be Part Of Your World

My inner Disney Dandy has been thinking about this tank top for a long time.

I have this habit of hemming and hawing over purchases. I go to an online store, I fill my cart, I weed out the stuff I'm not as into until I have a good balance of interest to value, and then... I often do nothing. I am a chronic abandoner of carts.

This is, probably, mostly, a good thing. Helps me save money. Keeps me from acquiring stuff I don't need - or, more accurately, acquiring more stuff I don't need. But occasionally I really regret a purchase not made. I can't stop thinking about it. I go on the website, and it's sold out. Alas.

This very much happened to me with this Little Mermaid tank from Hot Topic. I lived in my cart once upon a time, but never made it home to me. Still, it would pop up in my head now and again - there's something very affirmative about that "I don't know when, I don't know how, but I know something's starting right now" portion of the lyrics of "Part of Your World," and the crochet Ariel elevates the entire piece.

I spent a couple years looking at resale sights like eBay and ThredUp, hoping to score - and I finally found it on Poshmark! I had to take a chance on an extra small, but the gamble paid off because it fits great. 

Ariel tank

Ariel tank

Ariel tank

The only question was: what to wear with it? When I step out of the kingdom of dresses and wade into the swamp of separates, I tend to gravitate toward high-waisted items - I find them more flattering. But you can't do that with this shirt, as it would obscure too much of those all-important lyrics.

My ultimate solution surprises even me.

Ariel tank

Who would've thought I'd ever wear bike shorts outside the athletic arena? Not me! And yet here we are. It's been a fashion trend for awhile now, and even, like, weirdly flattering...? But aside from the aesthetics, what I really like is the prospect of using those side pockets and ditching a bag. Imagine, breezing past bag check! Form and function. Good times.

Ariel tank

Ariel tank

Ariel tank

Ariel tank

Oh, I have a proper tripod now. No more mirror shots! Next time I'll even take a step to the left and get the fan out of the frame. Also these screenshots are lookin' a little blurry. I gotta set up the remote clicker. Narcissism has a learning curve, is what I'm saying.

So that's my latest Disney clothing update. Until next time! Which given my track record could be, like, tomorrow...

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!