The Fairest Week In Review: 10/31

Whew. Okay. Big week, guys, big week.

Today is Halloween, so good tidings and felicitations and all that. A mere handful of days ago I completed my fourth Marine Corps Marathon. And on Friday morning, I’m heading to… WALT DISNEY WORLD!!!! for my fourth Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend. In a word: YES.


But currently I reside in tapertown/post-marathon-nothingnesstown. Workout log, roll tape:

Sunday | rest
Well, sort of. We went to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and according to my phone walked about 7 miles.

Monday | walked 2.12 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.08 miles outside in 50 minutes

Wednesday | ran 3.33 miles outside in 35 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.02 miles outside in 35 minutes; 45 minute ballet class

Friday | rest

Saturday | rest
I went to the Marine Corps Marathon expo, which for the last few years has been very inconveniently located – it’s all the way in the National Harbor, which requires me take two separate Metro trains and a shuttle bus just to get to the event. But I accomplished what I set out to do there: in addition to grabbing my bib I picked up some Honey Stinger stoopwaffels and some Guu (the on-course gels looked gross). runDisney was not represented at the expo and that made me sad.

And now I give you: the roundup.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Recaps The 2018 Marine Corps Marathon (FIREBALL!!!)

I believe this was what NASA might refer to as a successful failure.

After a fitful night’s sleep, I rose before my 5:30am alarm, taped up, dressed, and rolled out the door to catch the first Metro train of the morning. Despite that it took several billion years to make it to the start line as 30,000 people do not move quickly in a herd. Some pro tips: 1) don’t bring a bag as the bagcheck lines are lengthy; 2) ignore the monstrous lines for port-a-potties in the staging areas and proceed all the way to the start line for the largely ignored ones there; 3) store your pre-race snack in your pocket so that your body heat renders it nice and warm when you eat it.

Despite the slow collective movements of the pack I made it to my start corral with time to spare (this year’s MCM had people grouped into 3 color-coded categories by predicted time but I didn’t see anyone enforcing it). The wheelchair competitors took off followed by the scarlet group, and then gold group was off!

Sort of. There were sooo many people in the race that you could scarcely have taken off too fast if you wanted to. It was the running equivalent of mincing little baby steps for awhile there. I don’t think it really started to thin out for at least the first 10 miles, although matters did improve a few miles in.

The weather was kind of all over the place, with initial predicted temperatures in the upper 40s – but I found as soon as I started running that my jacket was unnecessary. I stripped it off around mile two, tied it around my waist, and was fine with a tank, arm warmers, and gloves.

I felt pretty solid in the beginning, through Georgetown (always a fun spectator spot; extra points for the bagpipe band), and even Rock Creek Park with its endless out-and-back. That part was at least kinda funny as random joggers out on the trail would call out encouragement as they lilted past in the opposite direction. There was an orange slice station toward the end of the area and since other runners kept taking them ahead of me a volunteer shoved like 5 into my hands with a hearty “Here you go, honey, go nuts.” >D

Mile 12 was the “wear blue to remember” mile, lined with photos of fallen servicemen, and I busied myself reading their names as I passed. Then it was through the corridor of American flags and to the mile 13 marker – halfway, baby!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling super great about it. My pace so far was acceptable but my energy was already flagging. On the bright side, my knee, a potential weak point, was holding okay. Of course there was nothing for it but to soldier on.

At that point we were in West Potomac Park, where some organization or other had pre-set up signs lining the course. My favorite read as follows: “I love running. I hate running. I love running. I hate running.” This could basically serve as my recap for the race. Thank you for reading! See ya.

Haha, just kidding; as if I would ever be that succinct. Anyway, at this point the weather was getting weird again: it was actually starting to feel kinda warm. I took off my gloves and even pushed my arm warmers down, which is an unusual move for me.

Finally we were coming up on the National Mall, my meetup point with Pat. He was running late but cleverly doubled back and caught me at mile 19, just as you leave the mall and enter the dreaded 14th Street bridge. I stole a quick kiss before facing my nemesis.

And immediately slowed to a walk, but justifiably: mile 19 seemed like a great time to bust out some music. I shoved my headphones in my ears and started up the Happily Ever After soundtrack as I resumed my run, hoping for the same magic that worked on me during the National Capital 20 Miler, but for some reason it didn’t happen this time. My legs were just too tired.

But I kept it up, following HEA with the White Stripes’ album Icky Thump, which is full of the sort of rock guitar riffs that can motivate a gal. It at least kept me going as I left that God-awful bridge and entered Crystal City.

This is generally one of my favorite parts of the race, and my personal iffy performance notwithstanding the spectator support was top-notch as always. My personal favorite was a booth offering Fireball shots while playing Pitbull’s “Fireball” on repeat, which I liked to pretend they did for the entire 7+ hours of the race. And guys, I GOT AN ANSWER!

A good 5 hours of… FIREBALL!!!!!!

There were also tons of people with signs and drums and cowbells and candy and beverages, and I even grabbed myself a shot of beer because the bubbles sounded so refreshing. (Beer shot people, are you out there too? Thank you!!!)

After Crystal City, around mile 24-ish, all you have left is the death march to the finish. The sun vanished behind the clouds and it got cold enough that I pulled my arm warmers back up. My legs and feet hurt and my knee, while not painful or twingy, was doing that harbinger thing where you kinda actively feel that you have ligaments, if you know what I mean? Morale was not good. But who’s gonna quit at mile 24? Not this kid!

Mile 25 was rough, and I even indulged myself in some run-walk-run intervals. I caught Pat again right before the the 26 mile marker and threw my arms around him because I hurt. But he told me “You’re almost there!!” and I was like “Hell yeah I am!” and was able to run the rest of the way, including that stupid hill right before the finish. Take that, hill!

My final time was 4:52:47, which is a course PR of more than 7 minutes but is way slower than my fastest marathon or even my last WDW Marathon where I stopped for like 15 photos but whatever. I finished! 

I collected my fancypants medal and snack box and then ducked out of the incredibly slow jacket line because I didn’t really need one. As nice as it sounded, neither did I need the free beer or anything like that. Instead I met up with Pat by the bell tower and we headed back to the Metro because what I did need, ever so desperately, was a long hot shower.

Worst pocket watch ever.

So that did not go as well as I had hoped. But it didn’t go as terribly as I feared it might! I’m not entirely sure what went wrong, as my training was solid. But what can ya do. Instead I shall remind myself that I did achieve my A goal, which was not too eff up my knee too badly. It was a little cranky post-race but nothing a couple day’s rest won’t cure. 

Onward and upward to Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge, because doesn’t a 10K followed immediately by a half the weekend after a marathon sound like a great idea? >D >D >D

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Confronts Her Eleventh Marathon

I have now run 10 marathons. When you’ve done 10 marathons, you’ve done a lot of different kinds of marathons.

There’s the cold marathon

… and then the even colder marathon.

There’s your first marathon

…your last marathon

And of course, always and against your better judgment… your next marathon.

My next marathon – my eleventh marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon – is next Sunday. I have had a good training cycle. I’ve experienced some minor inner knee issues. The weather looks like it might be advantageous for running if we can avoid rain. 

We’ll see what happens, but here’s the main thing about 10 marathons: I know that no matter what comes my way, I can do it!

When’s your next marathon?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 10/24

We have reached the time of the year where I had to wear long pants, gloves, AND a vest to run in the morning. Naturally I passed a guy running in a t-shirt and shorts at the same time, but I know what I need.

NOT ALL THIS GEAR, that’s for sure.

I’ve been so spoiled the last few years – all my fall marathons were in unseasonably warm weather. Mind you, that didn’t always work out, but where I come from (WDW) overwarm is preferable to cold.

Maybe it means a cold-induced PR is in the works? Or I can look forward to freezing to death on the course. A true viking’s funeral, I hear.

Chilly workouts ahead:

Sunday | rest

Monday | ran 7:08 miles outside in 1:15; 55 minute ballet class
Woke up with a sore throat and ran outside in the rain anyway. Because I am an idiot!

Tuesday | walked 2.02 miles outside in 35 minutes

Wednesday | ran 9.35 miles on the treadmill in 1:35

Thursday | 55 minute ballet class

Friday | walked 2.07 miles outside in 55 minutes
Shoulda been a run but my knee was bothering me a bit and I was still getting over that cold that started Monday. So I took a rest day. Look at me, being all responsible. (After being stupid.)

Saturday | rest
Pat and I drove up to Williamsburg for our Busch Gardens adventure and ate McDonald’s while watching dumb hotel TV and it was awesome.


Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Rides Roller Coasters With Her Eyeliner On Fleek

Pat and I took our annual pilgrimage to Busch Gardens last Sunday, and it was… something. Unfortunately the experience was not quite what it’s been in past years.

This is mostly not Busch Gardens’ fault: they can’t control the weather, after all. Sunday’s predicted high of 60 degrees never came to fruition, and while it was pleasant enough in the sun the park is largely designed to protect from summer’s heat, ie, there’s a lot of shade. I wore a thermal under a light jacket and a hat and I was still cold (also my hat wouldn’t stay on on the coasters; I performed a stunning catch on my first drop of the day). Pat even bought a long-sleeved shirt to compensate.

Which brings me to my next point: given the cold and wind, every roller coaster ride was an exercise in involuntary tears. I got off each coaster with temples streaking by high-speed teardrops. And yet my eyeliner did not budge – it’s Nyx Epic Ink and YOU SHOULD ALL GO BUY IT.
Wait, where was I? Oh yes, BGW. They can’t exactly control the crowds, either, and for some unknown reason there were a lot of people there this time around. I can’t quite figure this one out – we went on the exact same Sunday in October last year and it was maybe half as crowded. My best guess is some sort of local school sporting event or convention or some such. Anyway, lines were much longer than usual.

The last thing is on BGW though, and that’s the way they stagger land openings. Namely, they do it. Fine. WDW does it something similar sometimes too. But BGW doesn’t seem to have a strong handle on what “open” means. They seem to think letting people into an area at a designated time is enough. Actually having the corresponding rides open is optional.

Oh well. Next year we’ll take the day off and go on a Friday earlier in the season. That ought to fix 2 out of 3. And we still had a good time! We rode our favorite roller coasters (Verbolten, Griffon, and Apollo’s Chariot) multiple times and it was lovely.

We also got a chance to try out the new motion simulator ride, Battle for EireThis particular simulator is unique in that each rider uses a personal VR headset instead of everyone staring at the same movie screen (although you do have thought option if you’re not feeling the VR). 

To speed up the process, you wear the VR headset in two parts. First you’re given some very attractive headgear, which Pat and I will model for you now.


Once you’re seating in the ride, you attach your VR “goggles” to your headgear via magnet. You need to do a little adjusting to keep the goggles from tipping your headgear forward and making the focus out of whack, but I didn’t have too much trouble.

Sadly, once the novelty wore off I wasn’t all that into the ride. The graphics aren’t bad, but they aren’t good either; I got a decidedly N64 vibe, if that, although allegedly it’s all in HD. I wonder if the projected 2D version was better. I did enjoy the VR aspect of twisting my head around to view different parts of what I can only assume was at least 180 degrees worth of world (I’ll have to turn my head all the way around next time and see if there’s anything happening behind me).

The VR aspect kinda shoots the ride in the foot in that the developers seemed to assume that it can do a lot of the heavy lifting as far as motion is concerned, too. I know some previous shows have been accused of being too herky-jerky, but I barely felt a lot of the movements. At one point I was on the back of a freakin’ dragon and hardly felt like I was going anywhere at all.

More damningly, the story was pretty weak. You’re accompanying fairy Addie on a mission to save the Heart of Ireland from the bad guy, according to the preshow. It’s a pretty basic good-vs-evil plot, which is fine, but it’s thinly drawn and the climax is extremely cheesy. 

In conclusion: I miss the show from two versions back, Corkscrew Hill. What can ya do.

We skipped hitting up any of the bars this time around and left before Howl-o-Scream even started because it was just SO COLD and crowded. Cold and empty, sure; warm and crowded, I can deal. But cold and crowded is no good.

That’s okay – BGW is a great park and we have a better plan for next year. I would recommend it to anyone in the area. Ride Apollo’s Chariot on repeat and enjoy!

Have you been to Busch Gardens Williamsburg? Have you ridden Battle for Eire? What are your thoughts?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Has ALLLLLLLL AKL THE ADRs!!!!

I know Wine & Dine Half weekend is coming up first, but I can’t help but peek ahead just a bit to my next WDW trip – the one in January for the Walt Disney World Marathon. Despite not planning on any park time, I’m super excited to stay at Kidani Village. Only deluxe accommodations for me this time around!

Outside the race itself I plan to take time to relax – check out the savanna observation areas, hang by the pool, book a massage and chill in the spa area… and EAT ALL THE FOOD??????

It started with an innocent Sanaa advanced dining reservation. You can’t stay at Kidani and not eat a Sanaa, right? And what better way to carb up than with some Indian bread service.

So I had that. But then I thought, you’re there. You’re running a marathon. Why not treat yourself to a post-race early dinner at Jiko? So I booked that too.

And yet, later, I began to doubt myself. I’ve been to Jiko once before, admittedly a pretty long time ago. On the other hand, I’ve never done breakfast at Boma, and when will it ever be more convenient? Buffet breakfasts are time consuming, but when you’re already at the resort in question and don’t have any FastPass times to make, the situation is ideal. 

So I started leaning toward cancelling my Jiko ADR and picking up breakfast at Boma. Of course, if there were no Boma breakfast ADRs available, the point would be moot – so I checked. There was one at 10:50am for one person, and, because this isn’t my first rodeo, I grabbed it just in case.

But… I didn’t cancel my Jiko reservation.

Yes, as of this writing, I currently have an ADR for Sanaa, Jiko, AND Boma. Over the course of three days. Naan and African wines and French toast bread pudding can be mine!


Will I cancel any? I dunno. If I do, it’ll probably be Sanaa – I’ve been there many times and the bread service is so big I’d probably never order anything else. Yeah, I should probably cancel my Sanaa ADR.

… But I haven’t. There’s something strangely satisfying about having all three. Now, somebody tell me if there’s anything worth eating at The Mara…

Am I crazy? What’s your favorite AKL restaurant?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 10/17

The fall race season is upon us – and I have a lot coming up. The Marine Corps Marathon is less than two weeks away, followed immediately by (WEEEEE!!!!!) the Two Course Challenge at WDW. I’m easing through Taper Town, trying not to chillax too hard or push too much. It’s a fine row to hoe, whatever the hell that means.

Workout recap ahead:

Sunday | ran 13.24 miles outside in 2:20
Last v. long run of the training cycle!

Monday | rest
Columbus Day off! I took the opportunity to chill.

Tuesday | ran 5.3 miles outside in 55 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Wednesday | ran 5.07 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2 miles in 35 minutes
My GPS went haywire so I just under-guesstimated. Also Pat and I flew to Houston for a friend’s wedding so adventure!!!

Friday | ran 3.59 miles on the treadmill in 35 minutes
Our hotel had a decent gym, so I snuck in a quick speed run. Also I made a new friend!

Saturday | rest
Pat and I chilled in the hotel room watching Insidious 1 & 2 before rolling out to the wedding. I had two slices of cake and pet a dog, so I’d call it a success.

As the Texas cowboys say: roundup!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Reveals Her Upcoming Race Costumes

I am unlikely to ever be one of those really elaborately costumed runDisney people. Don’t get me wrong – more power to those guys! I am very impressed with your work! But the physical and monetary demands are too much for me to pursue such excellence at this time.

However, my Figment-y dip into modest costuming has made me hungry for personalized shout-outs from spectators. My Minnie ears are not enough because half the people on the course are Minnie Mouse. But if I can make it clear I’m channeling a character and put enough distance between me and the next Cheshire cat to know that encouraging cry was meant for me? That’s the business!

And so I give you my costumes for Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge:

Nothing groundbreaking, of course, but I’m pleased with my spread all the same. Bonus: my trip companion Erika might run as Alice for the 10K!

I would never leave you hanging if you want to make any of these items your items:
  • The sequined cat ears are from Forever 21. They don’t have these exact ears anymore but they do have an alternate selection.
  • The Cheshire cat dress is from Hot Topic. Unfortunately it’s no longer available but resellers might have it.
  • The shorts are from Target’s C9 by Champion line. These are similar.
  • The mint green lace mouse ears are from Hot Topic. I pondered getting some more personalized Little Mermaid ears but elected to save the money. I think these are right for the Ariel color scheme, at the very least. Unfortunately they’re no longer available but resellers might have them.
  • The Ariel workout tank is from Hot Topic; note that it runs VERY big – hence the fit-altering knot in the front. Although now that I’ve figured that out I think it’s a cute look. Unfortunately it’s no longer available but resellers might have it.
  • The running pants are from Victoria’s Secret Sport and are my new favorite! They have a waistband key pocket AND side pockets.
I can’t wait to slip these babies on at 2:45am and pound some magical pavement!

Are you running Wine & Dine? Will you be wearing a costume?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Digs Up New WDW Background Music Loops

As is by this point well documented, I suffer a pathological inability to get through a workday without listening to Walt Disney World background music of some kind. It’s soothing and it cheers me up! 

I have lots of favorites, but sometimes after the 17th round of Innoventions area music I get the urge to branch out. And so I went on a bit of a musical YouTube walkabout the other day, wherein I discovered… not all WDW background music is created equal when it comes to porting some of the magic home.

First I tried out the Pinocchio Village Haus music. This is fine if you like yodeling.

Then, in the sidebar of similar videos, I was very excited to discover the Mouse Gears bgm. As it turns out, I have no real recollection of what it sounds like inside of that particular gift shop, because dear Lord what a borderline irritating collection of Disney novelty songs. I think that one girl in particular wants to get inappropriate with Donald Duck…

Finally I hit upon something suitable for my purposes: Epcot’s International Gateway loop. A pastiche of music from around the World Showcase, it’s not quite as evocative as some more distinctly Disney tracks but it definitely puts me in mind of a lazy Epcot day. I dub it worthy of a place in my rotation.

Until next time, audiophiles!

What’s your current favorite Disney parks BGM?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 10/10

Hello humans! I am pleased to announce that I finished up a long run on Sunday and that’s the last one of the training cycle. We’re tapering our way to the Marine Corps Marathon, baby!

Workout log is go:

Sunday | National Capital 20 Miler, official time of 3:27:52

Monday | 55 minute ballet class
A lil’ bit of knee pain popped up, but not nearly as bad as last time.

Tuesday | walked 2.1 miles outside in 35 minutes

Wednesday | walked 2.11 miles outside in 35 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.34 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.43 miles outside in 55 minutes

Saturday | rest

The Marine Corps Marathon bearing down on us all can only mean one thing: Wine & Dine race weekend is just around the corner too. And I mean just: my Magic Bands have shipped and everything. Still waffling on whether to purchase a two-day park ticket now or wait until arrival… if only I could see the new pricing tables in advance! (HA.)

Pork butt.

And with that, I present to you: the roundup.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!