In Which Jenn Runs In San Juan

While we apartment-hunt for a permanent place, Pat and I are staying in a little place by the beach in Ocean Park, in the northern part of San Juan on the coast. It’s not a proper hotel and there’s no gym… but like any good addict, I’m not about to let my training just drop, y’know? Mama needs her mileage! … Ew. Why did I say that? I mean, it’s true, but why did I say it like that?

Anyway. So it’s hot here in Puerto Rico (WUT) and humid, and even in the middle of the night it’s 75 degrees. But I’m a warm weather person so that’s okay. The first week I did a series of 3 milers, and then a series of 4, and it’s working out fine.

The routes are a little weird, though. I mean, not weird, just not ideal. The neighborhood we’re in is compact so I do a lot of doubling up around blocks and stuff. A nice feature, though, is a park about a third of a mile away from our place. I mean, can’t hate on that view, can you?

San Juan running

And this sidewalk… embossing? Or whatever. It’s pretty cute.

San Juan running

San Juan running

There’s even a track in the park, although I’m not a huge track fan. I’ve used it once or twice but I prefer the neighborhood streets.

The sidewalks are rough, though, man. There are uneven curbs and potholes and random uneven bits. All throughout my ballet career my teacher has told me to stop looking at the floor, but in running this particular skill has served me well. You gotta keep your eyes on the ground or you’re going down. Hell, I almost broke my ankle this morning while walking. Thank God I have flexible joints.

I’m still hoping to snag an apartment with a treadmill when the time comes, but for now, this is working out fine. Now if I can only find a good race series…

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

In Which FRoA Is 5 & WDW Is Imminent

Hey hey hey! Here’s a fun fact: as of yesterday, this blog is 5 years old! FIVE!


And to celebrate, I’m off to the beach with Pat’s family. PEACE.

Oh, but – as soon as I get back from the beach, I’m immediately heading to the airport for that convention in Orlando. That’s right; I’ll be coming at you LIVE from WDW. Hotcha! 

As is traditional, here is my pre-trip bucket list:
  • Go for some runs on the Boardwalk
  • Search out some of that rose gold stuff that I’m basic enough to want but am never fast enough to get at World of Disney
  • Perhaps try something from Amorette’s Patisserie? And/or the fancy chocolate shop?
  • Ponder some of the bar shampoos and conditioners offered at Basin (better for the environment!)
  • Buy Pat some more of those gummy worms he loves
  • Try some Boardwalk restaurants, including the Boardwalk Bakery and maybe Jellyrolls (or Flying Fish or Abracadabar? Recommendations, anyone?)
  • Poke my head in the Mandara Spa and see if they’re offering any specials (otherwise they’re way too expensive)
  • Investigate the Swolphin’s amenities, including the pool and gym
  • Check out the World Showplace and ride Soarin’ and Test Track several million times
  • Maybe see if they can fit one measly little person in the CA Grill bar for the fireworks?
Hang on, everybody – it’s gonna be one hell of a July!

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 Invites You To Plumb Her Archives

(That’s what she said)

Heeeey! You’ll never guess where I am right now… Because it’s not WDW, and you’d totally guess that.

Nope, I’m back at the beach for our annual Outer Banks sojourn. I’ll be back next week with tales of sun, sand, and … sruns? I’m gonna run. I’M GONNA. You’ll never beat me, vacation!!!

Anyway. If you came here because you’re bored and now you’re saddened by the lack of entertainment, never fear! New options are available to you. Particularly sharp-eyed readers may have noticed I added two new pages to the FRoA menu some weeks ago: Trip Reports and Race Recaps.

Basically it’s what it says on the bottle: trip reports from WDW and other theme parks and summaries of my race experiences. They’ve all been on the blog before, but now they’re handily collected in one place so you don’t have to go rummaging around in the archives. Read them! Live them! Love them!

While you’re doing that, I’ll read 8,000 books in the hot tub, and we’ll meet back here in a week. Okay, break!

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

In Which FRoA is Four & Jenn Isn’t Even There To Celebrate

Hey! Wanna hear something neat? As of Saturday, this blog is four years old! Dang.

Wanna hear something else neat? I’m at the beach this week!

So rather than a full blog post, I invite you to sit in silence for a minute or two and ponder what Fairest Run of All means to you, on this, its birthday.

Here’s one approach.

Nah, kidding. I’m just here to say I’m not here. Swing by next week for more exciting content and all the latest on what it’s like running on the boardwalk. (Spoiler alert: nice.)

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

The Jenn Guide To Running On The Beach

Newsflash, everybody: running on the beach is hard.

I was cavalier, going in. I hear running on the beach is hardER, I thought to myself, but I’m a marathoner – how bad can it be?

WELL.

Let’s back up a moment. I never planned to run on the beach, for a multitude of reasons that will be discussed here. Unfortunately my time in the Outer Banks came right after a large-ish storm blew through, leaving VERY SERIOUS PUDDLES in its wake, which didn’t dissipate until the very last day.

VERY SERIOUS PUDDLES.
Here’s the road our house was on.

Clearly I was not going to run on the road unless I wanted to start working on post-swim triathlon transitions. But I was bound and determined to run that week. This left only one option: the beach itself.

I wound up running about two miles four times over the course of the week. It was an experience. I have thoughts. (Although please remember these are the thoughts of an amateur, not a professional trainer!)

THOUGHT: Do NOT plan a long run on the beach if you’re not used to it. Running on the sand is tough and engages your body in ways it may not be used to. I know there are people out there who run miles and miles and miles along the coast but I’m pretty sure they had to work their way up to it, y’know? I never felt spent at the end of my runs, but I was tired in new and exciting ways. Speaking of which…

THOUGHT: Do NOT, repeat, do NOT try to run on dry sand. Unless you really relish the ground giving way beneath you. It’s not impossible, but it’s REALLY REALLY HARD and will make you miserable and maybe even cause you to roll an ankle or something. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, I found my best bet to be sand that had recently been wet by some of your farther-reaching waves.

THOUGHT: Try to find the flattish stretch of beach possible. The steep inclines common to the shore play unfortunate merry hell on your joints. My skeleton didn’t love it when one foot made impact at a higher altitude than the other. That being said, and given that it’s hard to avoid some incline, try to work in a halfway turnaround point so that both sides of your body are worked evenly.

THOUGHT: Listen to your body. This is always the case, and as runners we love to ignore it, but this time try to really do it. You’re putting yourself through a brand new variation of the same activity which means you mostly know what you’re doing but not entirely. The tendency is to be overconfident but fight against that. Be careful. If you feel pain or severe discomfort during your run, stop and walk home. If you feel sore or tight the morning after, take a day off. I know it goes against the proverbial grain but try to do it.

THOUGHT: Sometime a wave might catch you and you’ll end up with soaked feet. It’s cool; keep going. You’re only doing a couple miles, right? When you get back, though, make sure you rinse those bad boys off or you’ll wind up with socks o’ sand next time you put them on. And give them plenty of time to dry before your next run, for obvious reasons.

THOUGHT: Ocean breezes make a short summer afternoon run actually viable. Depending. Check the weather first.

THOUGHT: WATCH OUT FOR FISHING LINES. And dogs and children and crabs and sand castles and big holes and sharks and the kraken. But mostly the fishing lines.

THOUGHT: Okay. I’ll admit it’s scenic.

Have you run on the beach? How did you fare?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Runs On The Boardwalk… FOREVER???

Now that we have my itchy, welt-y, icky rant out of the way, we can talk about the nice things that happened on vacation. And there were lots!

  • Hanging out on the beach and jumping over waves
  • Eating “Sweetest Fish” Italian ice because it’s finally out of litigation
  • Playing with Pat’s niece
  • Going to the Kite Loft toy store and admiring a stuffed penguin that Pat later surprised me with after the trip because he is vying for Best Boyfriend Ever 2016; please vote for him
  • Not being at work

And finally… going for all three of my planned runs! Luckily I got them in before my plague level rose to code red, and they were all pretty good. I knocked out three runs of five miles every other morning, along a route that by my estimation is as close as you can get to a treadmill in the real world: the Ocean City boardwalk. Straight, flat, and the wood ain’t too rough on the joints. And the ocean breeze – and ocean views – are a niiiiiiiice touch. Plus, water fountains!

It was only super hot one morning, but as I made a point to be out of the sun and into the shower by 8:30am I didn’t suffer too badly. What really boggles my mind is that I often saw people running on the boardwalk in the middle of the day. What are you trying to do, drop dead of heat exhaustion?

This is my favorite part, though. Remember way back during my first boardwalk run when I found the sign that told me I had to touch the spot or I wasn’t finished, and also, I was immediately to turn around and do it again?

WELL. There’s another such sign on the OTHER end of the boardwalk. How did I never notice that before?

What I love about this is that it creates a feedback loop. Even if I do touch the spot, I am instructed to repeat my run on both ends. Therefore if you begin running on the boardwalk, you can never stop. That’s running the Rod Serling way!

That about wraps up this edition of Vacation Running. Check back in September when I take on: THE OUTER BANKS.

Do you run on vacation? How about at the beach? Do you do it in the middle of the day when it’s 90 degrees? STOP THAT.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: Special Vacation Plague Edition

Warning: If you read this, there are a lot of shouty capital letters in your future.

Oh man, guys. Hello. I’m back.

From the beach, that is, and it was really good, because I was on vacation at the beach and that’s always awesome. It was also really bad, because…

Well, let’s start at the beginning. Important plot point: I am allergic to animal dander. I also have two cats because SCREW YOU, ALLERGIES, I LOVE ANIMALS WITH A LOVE THAT YOU CANNOT BREAK, NOT WITH A THOUSAND SWORDS.

Yes, thank you, Buttercup; I can take it from here.

Anyway. I take OTC allergy meds to stave off sneezes and itchy eyes. I usually leave it behind on vacation, unless I plan to be hanging out with animals. As in this case I very sadly was not, I didn’t pack it. This will be important later.

Fast forward to about, oh, the morning of the third day of the trip. I can’t help but notice that I have an unusual number of bug bites. Three down my shoulder line up, which is of course a sign of bedbugs, so Pat and I lift the mattress and take a look around. Nothing seems unusual and Pat hasn’t been bitten at all. We assemble alternate theories: spider bites? Sand fleas?

The next day I have an itchy red bump on my face.

The day after that I have MORE bites on my face and a huge cluster of them cascading down my left arm. As I am starting to feel uncomfortably plaguey, Pat enlists his brother to help him with another, more thorough bedbug check, this time removing the mattress entirely. Still nothing unusual, and still no bites worth noting on Pat.

I decide to sleep on the couch that night to see if that helps. It does NOT; in fact, things get worse. My hands are covered in itchy lumps and there’s a big pink spot ABOVE MY EYELID. My eye is a little swollen, too, which leads me to a terrible thought: am I allergic to something besides pet dander but don’t know it because my meds keep it at bay? That would explain my escalating condition as the buildup of antihistamines in my system slowly gave way.

By this point frankly a bit miserable, I slap on a baseball cap and sunglasses to hide my stupid leper face and walk to CVS. I pick up the strong OTC stuff, the kind you have to go to the pharmacist and hand over your driver’s license for (no, I did not remove my sunglasses inside and no, the pharmacist didn’t challenge me, in case you’re ever similarly afflicted). I add some cortisone cream to my purchase and rip into both immediately upon leaving the store. An hour or so later and things are looking up: my welts are flattening out, the angry pink is fading, my eye isn’t as swollen; I just generally feel less like I want to die.

Okay then. I must be allergic to something. Maybe something the cleaning service uses? A chemical or some such? I’ll need to make an appointment with an allergist, but at least now I have a solid lead as to what’s wrong with me. Just in time to… leave; the trip is over in the morning. But at least I go to sleep feeling optimistic.

When we wake up, PAT IS COVERED IN BUG BITES.

When Pat’s mom folds the fitted sheet, SHE FINDS A BEDBUG.

A much more thorough search yields bedbugs hiding in the wood of the box spring. They’d been ignoring Pat all week for the most part in favor of me, but I guess that strong antihistamine made me less delicious, and they went to town on him that last night. He reaction wasn’t as strong as mine, but his back and arms were pretty chewed up and his hands were almost as bad as mine.

FUCKING BEDBUGS, GUYS. BEDBUGS. LIKE, WHAT THE FUCK?

If only, Eddie. If only.

And this was a nice place, too! You would never have suspected it. But believe it or not: THE PLOT THICKENS.

As you might imagine, Pat’s dad mentioned the FUCKING BEDBUGS (maybe not in those exact words) to the realtor, and received… an apology. That’s it. Pat and I are kinda furious about this. All our stuff could be tainted. Everything we brought (minus electronics) is currently in the car to bake in the sun, as heat kills bedbugs. Then we’ll spray it with bedbug stuff, then wash and dry it on setting HOT HOT HOT, THEN bag it for a week to starve anything that might have survived all that. Therefore half the things we own are out of commission for at least a fortnight. My favorite running clothes are in there, and my favorite running shoes, and a couple new dresses and some toiletries that were in a cloth case and therefore could be vulnerable. Pat had his favorite t-shirts with him and he’s loathe to hit them with high heat lest they shrink. Also, did I mention we’re both COVERED IN A PLAGUE OF BEDBUG BITES? Matters are definitely improving but these itchy spots have staying power. I may start carrying a sign that says MY FACE ISN’T BREAKING OUT IT’S BEDBUGS.

Like, at LEAST offer to pay for our meds and anti-bedbug supplies, okay, realtor? And good customer service would include knocking a bit off the price. I recognize that the infestation is not the realtor’s fault, but the cleanliness of the property is their responsibility. An apology does not cut it.

Oh, but: about that thicker plot. The realtor did call Pat’s dad back, to say they DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING. The strong implication being – wait for it – they just let the next renter have the place. Did they even mention the bedbugs, do you think? VERY SUSPICIOUS.

As far as Pat and I are concerned, this is not over. For starters, the realtor is getting one of my Strongly Worded Letters. Please be assured they are quite strong in the words. I plan to attach a picture of my plague arm. And if they don’t put some real effort into making things right this time, I am posting their name and their properties here. And then some Yelp reviews or whatever. Spoiler alert: they will not be good reviews. Stay tuned! (I’m not overreacting, am I? It’s hard to tell; I’m SO ITCHY.)

I swear to God, if we get bedbugs from this I will DIE. I am clearly VERY ALLERGIC. How do people live with them in their home?

There you have it, then: my tragic vacation plague story. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I didn’t. If you have any advice, feel free to lay it on me.

I did manage to get three runs in on the boardwalk before I completely morphed into a hot mess, but I think this rant has gone on long enough. More on running (which, if you’ve forgotten, is what this blog is largely about) later.

Happier times! Here’s your roundup.

Darlin’ Rae wisely listens to herself as regards race distances.
Why I runDisney is going Dopey! Lucky.
Disney In Your Day assembles a Disney park glossary.
Plus the Magic snags some nifty Epcot pins.
Disney Nerds eat around Disneyland Paris.
Living A Disney Life explores WDW’s drink flights.
The Disney Tourist blog heeds the words of Tom Haverford at WDW.
Mouse on the Mind takes in a movie on the Disney Dream.
– Slightly off topic, but since I just saw and liked it: EPBOT reviews the new Ghostbusters movie. “The floating hot dog implies that a ghost is holding it.”
– If you’re sick of this blog and want to start your own, better one, Through Heather’s Looking Glass has some tips for you.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Has Gallivanted Off To The Ocean Again

Guess where I am right now!

If you guessed Walt Disney World… you’re wrong. 🙁 I know, I’m upset about it too. But I am in Ocean City, MD with my boyfriend and his family, and that’s one hell of a giant step above normal life/work, no?

I’m planning to knock out three runs on the boardwalk over the course of the week, a la this one and this one. As usual, I intend to indulge the rebel in my heart and not touch the spot. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, all this is to say that I’ll be back next week. While you’re waiting, Fozzie Bear can tell you more about the ocean.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 9/09

JENN: Ask me how many times I planned to run on vacation.

MOON: Every day?

JENN: Nope, just three. Now ask me how many times I ran.

MOON: Every day!!? … Maaaybe?

JENN: NONE! AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

I meant to. I packed my sneakers and my running clothes and headphones and GPS watch. And then I… didn’t run.

MOON: And how do you feel? Triumphant?

JENN: Well, a lot less hot and sweaty, that much is certain. And a lot more rested. A little guilty. But only a little.

MOON: Nah, enjoy the break. 🙂 How was vacation?

JENN: Good! Beachy. Warm. Not very wave-y, which made Pat sad since he wanted to surf more, but it was good for swimming. How was your week? Did you run?

MOON: My week was… busy. And my car. Much woe. And I don’t think I ran? I know I planned to, because when I did laundry last night I had several pieces of running clothing…

JENN: If you had running clothes in the laundry, doesn’t that mean running happened? Perhaps you ran in your sleep.

MOON: Well, for example… Yesterday I put on running clothes. I worked for a bit, then fell asleep doing that (sigh). Was then brought back to life by the fire alarm. And it wasn’t a drill. Sooo, still half asleep I grabbed Hoodoo cat and proceeded to go down 14 flights of stairs holding a scared cat in my arms.

As it turns out, the fire stairway leads to the outside of the building. I’m in downtown Baltimore, just to add a bit of perspective. This is no place for cats. Needless to say, I was COVERED in cat fur by the end of this episode and when I returned to my apartment I changed and forgot all about running because I was literally inhaling cat fur. In fact, I got a piece IN MY EYE.

JENN: I can see how that could be distracting.

MOON: But, that did not happen every day. I could have just been me getting distracted by a number of things. Anyway, it wasn’t my most athletic of weeks.

JENN: Ah, good. As long as we’re matching. I’ve got a half marathon on Sunday, though, so once more unto the breach! Anything good on your radar?

MOON: Besides being excited for it not being 90+ degrees every day? Not really. Pretty boring over here.

JENN: You’ll just have to sign up for something to spice things up. ☺

MOON: I think I’ve got a small thing coming in November, but that’s still pretty far off.

JENN: That’s good! Y’know what else is good? The roundup.

– Miss the Disneyland Half? Me too. 🙁 But never fear, Why I runDisney has us covered. Ditto from Pink Elephant on Parade.
Elbowglitter has some fall race suggestions. I’m doing two of these, and Moon might do another!
Home is Where the Mouse Is enjoys a few Disney dessert parties.
Inspired by Dis gets all lovey-dovey.
Mouse on the Mind takes a trip in the Downtown Disney balloon.
Passport to Dreams Old & New points out a few times the Imagineers weren’t quite on point.
Living A Disney Life enjoys WDW guilty pleasures.
The Disney Tourist Blog collects ALL THE DISNEY THINGS.

Jenn is running the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon for the Diabetes Action Team. Will you help her earn her bib while fighting diabetes? Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Is At The Beach Again

Hey, remember how I went to the beach a couple weeks ago? Well, I’M DOING IT AGAIN.

This time I’m heading back to the Outer Banks, site of… well, not super awesome runs, actually. But I did run. And I plan to again. So we’ll see how that goes!

While I’ve got you, I want to remind you that the Diabetes Action Team is a totally awesome charity that I am fundraising for to earn my Marine Corps Marathon bib and you can get involved! I am inching closer to my goal and every little bit helps. Pretty please click here and donate? I’ll appreciate it, but Ruffian will be absolutely ECSTATIC.

See you next week!

Jenn is running the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon for the Diabetes Action Team. Will you help her earn her bib while fighting diabetes? Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!