In When Jenn LIKES Doing “Just” The WDW Marathon

Just the 2018 WDW Marathon was my favorite race so far!
A couple days after the Walt Disney World Marathon, half the people you encounter in Orlando International Airport ran the race. We’re all decked out in our gear, a lot of have on our medals, and we’re all dying to talk about it; it’s one of the only times I ever cheerfully talk to strangers. 
So there I am, chatting with a nice family from Houston as I wait outside my gate with my subpar airport wrap. Seeing my medal, they congratulate me on completing the Goofy Challenge. “We only ran the marathon,” they say, almost apologetically.
Weirdly enough, I have had a conversation like this on multiple occasions. Heck, my very first time in 2015, when I did Dopey, I met a woman who said practically the same thing: “Oh, I only ran the marathon.”
Excuse me? You only did what now?
You only ran 26.2 grueling miles that you trained hard for? You’re one of the, I don’t know, 1% of the population or whatever that can call themselves a marathoner?
Look, I can get caught up in this way of thinking myself sometimes. Of my six WDW Marathons, only two have been completed as part of challenges. “Oh, you did Dopey; I just ran the marathon,” I once said to the woman next to me at the California Grill bar.
And it’s not like we’re wrong. We did, comparatively, do less.
But we still ran a full freakin’ marathon, which sure as hell ain’t nothing. And besides, I like running only the marathon. The challenges are fun and all, but running only one race makes the whole thing less stressful. There are all the anxiety-inducing trappings of the race, of course – waking up and getting to the bus on time, etc. – but mostly you don’t have to think about anything but that one experience. You can relax and enjoy it. Everything you’ve got in the tank is fresh; no leftovers here. And you’re not yet jaded by course or characters. It’s a good time.
Doing Dopey and Goofy was awesome. But I think next year I might do just the marathon. I kinda like it that way. 
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 Isn’t Too Sure About These Race Challenges

I have made it through two runDisney challenges now: the Dopey Challenge in 2015 (5K + 10K + half + full marathon) and Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge just this past November. Running Disney is my very favorite thing to do, and I adore every race.

Which is why I don’t know if I can ever do another challenge again.

It’s just too stressful, guys. I’ve talked before about my pathological fear of sleeping through the race, and how I’ve had near panic attacks while trying to fall asleep. I set 4 phone alarms. I program in a wakeup call. Once I accidentally called emergency services while attempting to program a second wakeup call (turns out the system won’t let you do that). I wake with a start 3, 5, 9 times in the night in a cold sweat, desperately checking the time.

Have I ever slept through a race? Well, no. But I almost did once. And ever since then I have been FREAKING. OUT.

Which is why these challenges, where you’re getting up at 2am, 3am, two to four nights in a row, might simply be too much for me. During the Two Course Challenge I was nervous the night before the 10K, and not surprisingly got very little sleep.

You would think that by consequence I would’ve fallen asleep much more easily the night before the half. But no, now I was MORE terrified – because what if I was so tired I slept unusually deeply and turned off all my alarms in my sleep??? Cue tossing, turning, a racing heart, and fitful slumber. AGAIN. JUST LIKE THE NIGHT BEFORE

I’d say collectively I got about 3.5 hours of sleep over the course of the 2 nights.

I freaking LOVE runDisney races, but I think I might have too anxious a temperament to enjoy challenges as I’m meant to. One race at a time will probably be enough for me for the foreseeable future.*

UNLESS, of course, runDisney re-institutes night races, in which case I am THERE. I am SO THERE!!!

* Until someone actively asks me to do a challenge with them, in which case I will probably cave immediately.

P.S. I had a Twitter conversation before the half with a woman who claimed to have never gone to sleep in the first place, which I suppose is an alternate means of handling the problem?

How do you feel about challenges? Do you ever sleep?

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 Is Not Dopey

For the third year in a row, I am signed up for the WDW Marathon. Hooray! But you may have noticed, for the second year in a row, I am NOT signed up for Dopey.

Don’t get me wrong – when I knocked out the Dopey Challenge in 2015, I LOVED it. I was SO happy: running four races, finishing my second marathon, being in Walt Disney World for a full week with my boyfriend. It was AWESOME. About as awesome as it gets. I would kill to do it again. I’d even do that exact week over again if you have a time machine you’re willing to lend me, temporal prime directive be damned.

All that being said, I don’t see doing it again in the near future, and the reason for that is twofold:

  1. The cost. Oh man, the cost. This is, like, 90% of the reason why I don’t expect to go Dopey for another couple years at least. There is of course the cost of the races, which I think is now up over $600. Then there’s the cost of your flight, but then that’s about the same regardless of how long you’re in Orlando. Not so for your park tickets and especially hotel costs, both of which get more expensive as you expand your trip. Same with your food needs. Even a bare-bones Dopey experience has got to knock you back a couple thousand dollars. And as much as I think it’s totally worth it, I simply don’t have the dough drop year after year. Hell, my bank account is still recovering from 2015. Maybe if I ONLY did Dopey and didn’t visit WDW otherwise I could do it every year or two, but I’d rather have the additional park and race trips. So there’s that.
  2. Then there’s the other 10% – the experience. Perhaps you have also noticed I didn’t sign up for Goofy. Goofy is certainly not cheap, but as it only adds one race, (optionally) one park day, one day of food, and one hotel night to the total, it doesn’t require nearly the same level of expenditure. It’s MORE, yes, but I could probably swing it if I put a little thought into a plan.

    But I have not. I decided to stick with just the WDW Marathon because of the magnificent time I had last year. Dopey is glorious, like I said just now, but like I also said a long time ago, it does drain some of the fun out of racing. It becomes less about enjoying the WDW Marathon and more about JUST FINISHING GOD I’M SO TIRED. And while I was super proud of myself for completing the Dopey Challenge, I can’t say the process filled me with joy in the same way it did when I ran the marathon only last year. That was probably my favorite runDisney race experience yet. I want to see if I can match it. I don’t want to potentially ruin it with more miles that cost me more money. If I’m going to do that, I think I’m going to hold out and save up for Dopey again.

That’s my thought process, anyway. What about you guys? You doing the challenges? Why or why not? Most importantly, do you have $2,000 to spare and want to sponsor my Dopey repeat?

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 Finally Stops Resenting That Dopey Guy

During my last WDW Marathon weekend, I overheard some people on the Expo bus talking about their preferred approach to the final few miles of the race. Mainly they attempted to make several pit stops in the World Showcase for food and drinks, especially for soft pretzels in Germany and beer in the UK.

This, of course, is the sort of opportunity that makes runDisney races amazing and unique. I wholeheartedly endorse anyone and everyone who takes this laid-back and delicious approach to the end of the race. I may even chill out and join you some day.

But that is not why I’m writing this post. I’m writing it because with that overheard conversation, something in my racing past finally clicked into place.

You may recall that I did Dopey in 2015 – and if you read my recap of the final, marathon leg of the race series, you may remember the following anecdote: while running around the World Showcase, the finish line almost at my feet but NOT NEARLY CLOSE ENOUGH, I saw a guy standing on the side of the course, wearing his official dark green long-sleeved Dopey 2015 tech tee, sipping on a glass of sparkling wine. He wasn’t wearing a medal, but he didn’t appear to be in race mode. Rather he was just standing there, relaxin’ all cool, sipping his beverage and watching his fellow athletes sprint limp run by.

I considered the options, briefly noting that it was possible that he had slept through the race start and had only come out to watch what could have been his (tragic!). But no, I concluded; the only plausible explanation was that he was already done and now he was drinking sparkling wine in definite mockery of all of us who were still very very slowly oh God I feel so slow why is this happening to me incidentally where did all my money go plodding toward our endgame. Never mind that he didn’t have a visible medal – my logic was flawless. Clearly this man was an officer in the army of evil, intent upon destroying my morale with his… his… his FINISHEDNESS.

No, YOU tailor YOUR writing to gifs YOU want to use. Quit projecting!

Obviously now I realize he was a fellow Dopey denizen who had only, and wisely, chosen to step off the course, drink some much-needed alcohol at 11:30am, and straight up take a break. And so I exorcise my resentment toward him and replace it with respect. Random Dopey wine guy, I salute you. You have much to teach us all.

Have you ever stopped during a race to make a purchase? Come to a complete halt and chilled out a bit before stepping back onto the course?

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 A Meshuganah & More

Running can come with commentary.

“Sometimes I think this is very impressive. Sometimes I think you might be a bit of a meshugana.”
– coworker looking at my cube wall of bibs and medals

“Maybe you’re running to much. Maybe you should cut back a little.”
– my mom, who thinks I could stand to scale back a bit on the mileage

“Oh, you ran a half marathon in XX time yesterday? I’d still be running.”
– this is a surprisingly popular reaction

“You ran a marathon yesterday and you didn’t even tell anyone? I would’ve told everyone. I told everyone when I ran a half marathon!”
– coworker who just ran her first half marathon

“If I had one of those mileage stickers on my car, it would say .01.”
– Magic Kingdom security guard noticing my Dopey medal

“I hate running.”
– everyone ever

What’s the craziest/funniest/annoying-est thing anyone’s ever said to you about running?

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 Discusses Dopey Takeaways

And now here we are, at the finish line, as it were. My final Dopey trip post. Only took me two and half months to get there!

Not that there is, sadly, much more to say on the subject, but I did want to do a quick rundown of my takeaways from the whole Dopey Challenge experience. For those who are new to the runDisney table, the Dopey Challenge is a part of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend where you do ALL the races. The 5K. The 10K. The half. The full. One a day, one right after the other. It’s not nearly as crazy as it sounds – but it does change up the game a little.

For starters, I found I definitely had to toss my plans and chill. For the average person (and by average I mean “like me”) the Dopey Challenge is NO PLACE for any kind of PR. Unless it’s a PR in Worstness. Don’t push. Slow down. Enjoy. And I know – there’s a certain amount of DUH! there – but I don’t think you truly understand how calm and relaxed you have to be until it’s happening to you.

So yeah, slow down and enjoy – but I do think the Dopey makes the enjoy part harder. Your headspace is swirling with what left there is to do, and usually that’s a LOT. For that reason, I wouldn’t say Dopey is for everyone; you need a strong mental game as much as if not more so than physical. That having been said, even if it does suck some of the fun out of running, it definitely amps up the pride factor. I am decidedly pleased with myself for finishing the challenge.

Speaking of headspace, I found that my morale was actually lowest right before the half. During the 5K and 10K, I could at least comfort myself with the knowledge that it would all be over soon. During the half, I knew I was a solid two and half hours and more away from a hot shower, and then I had to run a freakin’ marathon the next day. If I ever do it again, I will arrange some sort of pick-me-up for that morning.

Oh, and make sure you prepare for EVERYTHING, and by everything I mean cold. Bring more throwaways than you think you’ll need. I think we get complacent because it’s Florida, but it’s still January and anything can happen.

The races themselves were actually pretty okay. I was pretty much the exact opposite of lightning fast but I didn’t injure myself and I was never in the slightest danger of getting swept. I will say that I needed a LOT a LOT A LOT A LOT A LOT more food than usual, especially during the marathon. When I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, I ate a couple snacks Nicole had given me beforehand and then a pack and a half of Clif Shot Bloks because I dropped the second pack like an idiot and I was fine. But for the final leg of Dopey I ate two full packs plus like three energy gels and a banana. You’re expending a TON of energy over the four days of the Dopey Challenge and should I repeat the experience I will bring more sustenance out on the course.

And! BRING RUNNING BUDDIES. I say that as a person who usually does NOT run with buddies, and often prefers to get lost in her music and zone. Well, under normal circumstances that’s fine, but under the grueling miles of the Dopey Challenge that’s no way to live. KRaut and KVac totally made my marathon. Could I have finished without them? Sure. Would I have kept as high a morale and plugged along as steadily? Not even close.

Here’s the ultimate thing about Dopey, though. Since I ran my first marathon, every half marathon has sounded like total cake. After having run Dopey, my reaction to a marathon, plain and simple all by itself, is this: oh, is that all?

One more thing – there was a girl in corral J who recognized me and Katherine and said she liked our blogs. I failed to get her name like a moron but I just wanted to say: if you’re out there, random girl, thanks so much!

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 Trip Report Of All: The WDW Marathon

Is it trip report time again already? Yay! I’ll be looking back at my Dopey trip at the beginning of January, with special separate posts for each race and some food experiences depending on how much I have to say about them. You can read all the posts in this particular trip report here. Ready? Let’s go!

Believe it or not, my morale the morning of the marathon was infinitely higher than before the half marathon. The great sage Nicole had told me many months ago that once the marathon rolled around, you were just ready to finish this thing, and she was so right.

And so I popped out of bed, dressed, and prepped with a comparatively light heart. Originally I had planned to drag Pat out with me for the marathon, but he had unexpectedly been saddled with a giant project at work. I determined that he should sleep in and work on that in the morning in favor of watching the parade and fireworks that night. It’s all about priorities. He would come out to see me run later in the race.

The line for the buses was unexpectedly long (the past three mornings I had boarded a bus immediately or almost immediately). It stretched out far behind me, but I luckily had come early enough that I didn’t have to wait too long. The traffic was definitely worse, though – I guess because more roads were blocked? – and by the time I had hit the port-o-potties and walked to the corrals the national anthem was already in the air.

After some furious texting I found KRaut and KVac by our usual marker, the man with the giant brown Afro wig. As with the half, I found that the corrals moved up with surprising speed, and I was totally caught off guard when corral J was next to go! We were so close to the front of the corral as to be practically on top of it, and my Garmin still hadn’t found a location when we started; indeed, we were about a quarter mile in before it did. No big deal, as I was really only using it as a barometer. I CERTAINLY WAS NOT about to use Dopey as an attempt to set a PR. Another shocker: I shed my throwaway outer layer before the start. A WDW Marathon weekend first!

One fun bit when we started: we were on the side of the corral, so we passed right by the video cameras. We all waved and made ridiculous faces for the big screen, naturally.

So yeah: we were off! Once again I started up my music, and once again I found myself using it less and less. I’d say I ran maybe ten miles with it on total. Partially I was concerned with draining my battery and being unable to find Pat in the spectator area, but a lot of it was that this race was about something new: camaraderie. Usually I am an inward-focused runner – even when Moon and I run we do so mostly in companionable, music-driven silence – but Dopey was about survival, and survival is easier with a team. KRaut and KVac kept me moving!

The opening volley of roads was the usual uneventful. The first item of any note was, of course, entering the Magic Kingdom. We ran up Main Street and into Tomorrowland, stopping off briefly in a nook to take some photos with the castle. Then we circled it around through Fantasyland and under the castle, pausing to say hi to Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff, who were hanging around on the balcony. (Hi! Hello! Hello! Hi! Hi! – Everything the Frozen Characters Were Allowed To Say)

We continued on to Frontierland, where we stopped for our usual bathroom break. I was in crazed time-saving mode, and, terrified of being left behind, I zoomed through my business, bolted out of the bathroom, and saw… no one. I bounced from one foot to the other and frantically scanned the crowds – had KRaut and KVac abandoned me??? One text message and thirty seconds later and I found them behind me; I had been the first one finished. Whew.

Crisis averted, we hopped back onto the course and were quickly out of the Magic Kingdom. We continued one past the monorail resorts before heading back out onto the road. Next landmark: The Richard Petty Driving Experience.

Which we reached in short order, stopping just outside the Speedway entrance to take some pictures with the fancy pants cars parked outside. KRaut and KVac warned me about the ramp into the Speedway, and boy were they right – it was scary! It’s a SUPER sharp angle downward, and I practically walked down it. Then we blasted up the ramp and were onto the Speedway itself, lined almost all the way with more fancy pants cars and their owners. Nifty.

Fa Zhou? I didn’t know he had a son!

 Our next passage of roads had one bright spot: a photo op with characters from Robin Hood! The queue was pretty minimal, and we grabbed a shot with Robin, Little John, and Friar Tuck.

That was great and all, but I’d say it was the next part that was the highlight of my race: right outside the Animal Kingdom there were SO. MANY. ANIMALS. I LOVE ANIMALS!!! I wasted probably as much as ten minutes taking pictures with two owls, a goat, a donkey, and a pig. Like the horses of the Tinker Bell Half, I consider it time well spent.

Around this time I had been texting with Pat, who was done with work for the morning and ready to head over. He originally planned to come spectate at the Animal Kingdom, but as I hit the park he still hadn’t managed to get a bus. The bus situation was evidently a mess, to say nothing of the insanity of traffic with all the road closures. We agreed he’d just find me at Epcot at the end; it seemed the safest proposition.

We ran through Animal Kingdom, eschewing a ride on Everest but stopping to take a photo with… um… somebody. Marie? I honestly don’t remember the character, but I know that KVac and KRaut remembered the handler from touring the parks the day before, so they were all excited. Another stop for a photo with Jiminy Cricket and we were out of the Animal Kingdom.

And settled in for the long road. The portion of the course between Animal Kingdom and the ESPN Wide World of Sports was not what I would call exceptionally exciting. There was of course music at the halfway point, but I forget what song. Oh, and the grave diggers livened things up (hah!), although the Katherines were surprised to see them at so early a mile.

Also we took a picture with the Country Bears at some point, but as I can’t recall when exactly I’m just going to mention it here. It happened!

Anyway, after several thousand years of running we made it to the Wide World of Sports, which was frankly not that much more exciting. They had some soccer and volleyball and frisbee games and the like going on, but I personally found this minimally entertaining. Also it started to rain, though it did slack off with reasonably speed. Regardless, this was my least favorite part of the race. Although I did receive and eat probably the best banana of my life (I was insanely hungry during this race, I guess because of all the running beforehand).

The road portion between the WWoS and the Studios was characterized by damage control. For starters, I needed to pee. My yammering about finding the first bathroom in the Studios became more and more incessant until I’m quite confident the Katherines would’ve liked to have shoved me into the nearest woods. Of course, if they had done that, there would’ve been no one around to assist in tricky Vaseline application. Then KVac suffered a protein spill, but luckily she felt fine afterward. No Man Left Behind, that was our motto!

Finally we made it into the Hollywood Studios, entering behind the Tower of Terror and running past a bunch of areas that did not have bathrooms. It took a trip through the Backlot Tour costume tunnel (from the opposite direction as the Wine & Dine? Right? Am I crazy?) and a trip past the Lights! Motors! Action! stadium to find a restroom. As I went to exit the course, the feelings of relief already welling up inside me, I was stopped by a cast member: “You can’t use the bathroom.” My mouth dropped open and my eyes grew wide. ???? But the CM laughed and told me to go ahead. VERY FUNNY, CAST MEMBER.

Meanwhile, Pat was riding Mission: Space. Would that we were all so lucky.

Post-bathroom break, we ran through the Streets of America, which was considerably less exciting without the Osborne Lights, and then I think around past Muppets and Star Tours? Yes? Maybe? Well, we definitely ran out of the Studios and onto the pathway between it and Epcot.

This was a major spectating session, full of cheering people with signs and lots and lots of people offering exciting candies. I can’t say I was feeling good at that point per se, but it was definitely nice to have all that support, to say nothing of the high fives.

We put the Boardwalk area behind us, ran through the International Gateway, annnnnd… it started to rain! Yay! Like, real rain this time, Wine & Dine style. Which was sad, because I had wanted to get a picture of Mulan, but we were almost done and I wasn’t about to stop to hang out in the wet.

Another denizen of the World Showcase I did not stop for: a guy wearing his Dopey shirt spectating and drinking a glass of sparkling wine. Now, he didn’t have a medal on, so it’s possible he borrowed the shirt or slept through the race, but I suspect that he had already finished and I hated him for it.

But! Like I said! We were almost done! We exited the World Showcase under slightly less extreme rain conditions and ran down the bridge and past the fountain. Pat had texted me that he was in this area, and I almost thought I’d missed him when I spotted him under Spaceship Earth. Success! A quick hug and kiss and he sent me on my way, promising to meet me at the finish line.

Which was, but that point, SOOOO tantalizingly close. Like, we were practically on top of it, that’s how close it was. Like, we were running past Spaceship Earth. Like, we were running past the gospel choir. Like, we were formulating our finish plan (EVERYBODY HOLD HANDS!). Like, WE WERE RUNNING UP TO THE FINISH LINE AND THEN UNDER IT AND THEN WE WERE DONE.

WE WERE DONE! Oh, and it had stopped raining!

We grabbed our marathon medals, then got our backdrop photos taken before entering our respective challenge tents to be photo-matched. KRaut and I accepted our Goofy and Dopey medals and KVac got her Goofy medal. Then we headed over to the food and beverage areas to collect much-needed sustenance. We also received a “cooling towel” instead of a space blanket, which was interesting and reusable but not warming. Someone told me later that a lot of races are moving away from space blankets for environmental reasons, but I really think we need something heat-trapping post-race. Maybe a cheap fleece blanket?

The Katherines and I spent some time thanking each other for sticking with us, and then we argued a bit over who, exactly, was the slowest one, with everyone vying for the crown. Regardless, I was and am wildly grateful for their company; I would never have gotten through the experience so pleasantly without them. KRaut and KVac, if you’re out there – THANK YOU!

I will have more Dopey takeaways in a later post, but for now let me just say that I was, in that moment, super happy to have done it and super happy to be done. The Katherines headed to the merchandise tent to look around (I hear the selection wasn’t much), and I headed over to the POR bus stop, meeting Pat along the way. The race was over, but vacation was not!

Up next: more Magic Kingdom!

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 Trip Report Of All: The WDW Half Marathon

Is it trip report time again already? Yay! I’ll be looking back at my Dopey trip at the beginning of January, with special separate posts for each race and some food experiences depending on how much I have to say about them. You can read all the posts in this particular trip report here. Ready? Let’s go!

I’m not gonna lie, guys – throughout the entire Dopey Challenge, my morale was never lower than right before the half marathon. Prior to the 5K and 10K, I could think to myself, “Well, at least this will be over quickly.” A little less or a little more than an hour respectively and done; a hot shower and park time were right on the horizon. The half, however, inspired only thoughts of HOW LONG THIS WAS GOING TO TAKE and OH MY GOD I HAVE 26.2 MORE MILES THE NEXT DAY UGH.

At least I was learning, though! After a freezing 5K and a decidedly chilly 10K, I had stopped trusting the run itself to warm me up. This time I layered a tank over a long sleeved tech shirt, pulled my fleece cap over my head, AND – guys, pay attention here because it was totally the kicker – I finally had the smarts to wear my gloves. Cold, stiff hands no more!

Thus armored, I threw my space blanket over my shoulders (with the hope that I would really be able to toss it this time) and headed down to the buses, which deposited me in short order at the start line. I was sad to see that the White Tents of Warmth were now in use for other purposes and no longer available for runners, but I regrouped, hopped in the bathroom line, and headed over to the corrals.

Katherine (hereinafter referred to as KRaut) and I were now in the same corral! Yay! And she had brought her hotel buddy, Also Katherine (hereinafter referred to as KVac and the reason why we have these designations, clearly). Through a series of texts I found them toward the front of corral J near that bastion of consistency, The Guy in the Brown Afro Wig. A few pleasantries and an anthem from the emcees and the race was off!

Although we were obviously much farther back in the corral lineup, the corrals seemed to take off much faster than during the 5/10K. In all the excitement I made the questionable decision to toss my space blanket and regretted soon after. KVac to the rescue! She pulled a discarded fleece top from the fence and put it on, encouraging this recycling behavior in others. Two minutes and another corral shift later and I was wearing a neon orange sweatshirt while KRaut girded her arms with fuzzy Mickey pants. Much better.

Shortly after that it was J’s turn to go, and we gently took off down the highways of WDW. I initially, as per usual, put on my music, but having running buddies rendered it less and less necessary and I found myself turning it off as the race wore on.

This race follows the same pattern as the Princess Half, so there were no surprises for me. We ran down aforementioned highways for awhile before entering the Magic Kingdom a couple miles in. I reluctantly tossed my sweatshirt here so that my bib would show for pictures and found that, surprise, I was an okay temperature! Yay! Running up Main Street was a thrill as per usual, and the music in Tomorrowland never fails to make me happy. We stopped for a brief bathroom break in Frontierland before heading into Fantasyland and through the castle.

Not long after that we exited the parks and ran past the monorail resorts. Then started the boring part – the many miles of roads between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Sure, you have the promise of Epcot to sustain you, but you know there are SOOOOO many miles before you get there and when you do it’s pretty much over, so it’s not much more motivation than the regular finish line, at least for me.

Right, so, anyway. Highways. Yeah. I will give runDisney credit – they put effort into livening things up. There were deejays and entertainers at various stations, with the halfway point marked by stereos blasting Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” – the version sans rap, which pleased KRaut enormously. There were also several character stops, but the lines tended to be fairly long. The only one we deemed worth featured Mary Poppins, Bert, and the penguins, just like when my mom and I went to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This Bert, however, looks awfully young, no?

From there on our race was fairly uneventful. We plugged away at a Dopey- and Goofy-friendly pace until mile 12; that mile marker was Frozen themed and KRaut was dressed as Elsa, so we stopped for the photo op. Then it was on through Epcot and the weird out and back up and down the bridge, past the gospel choir, and finished!

I picked up my medal, snacks, and drinks, thanked the Katherines for sticking with me, and hopped a bus back to the resort. I was pleased to be done, but there was still the marathon to tackle in the morning!

Up next: back to Animal Kingdom and the Studios.

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 Trip Report Of All: The WDW 10K

Is it trip report time again already? Yay! I’ll be looking back at my Dopey trip at the beginning of January, with special separate posts for each race and some food experiences depending on how much I have to say about them. You can read all the posts in this particular trip report here. Ready? Let’s go!

The weather predictions for the 10K weren’t nearly as horrendous as the 5K the day before, but the early morning was still far from balmy. I scrapped all my earlier clothing plans in favor of putting my long-sleeved shirt on again (don’t worry, it never saw sweat thanks to the 5K’s all-too-tactile tribute to Frozen). I did put on my running capris since my long pants have any annoying habit of sliding down as I run, but I did top it off with a throwaway sweatshirt and donned my fleece cap once again.

Thus protected, I ventured out into the chilly early morning and boarded a bus bound for the race start. The area was a little more lively – the deejay was having a much easier time finding people who were willing to dance it out – but I still made a beeline for the warm tents. I found Katherine and Kinley in the same tent as before by our pillar of consistency, the man in the brown Afro wig (if you’re out there, sir, thanks for providing us with a landmark!). We passed the time talking about nothing of import before volunteers shooed us out of the tents and toward the corrals.

Like I said, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the day before, especially with my extra sweatshirt protections, but it wasn’t exactly puppies and rainbows either. We shivered our way over to the corrals where I once again said goodbye to the K-names at B before heading into C. The wait time between corral starts once again felt unusually long, but the chit-chat between was mildly amusing – it’s always nice to see Sean Astin, Official Mascot of runDisney.

Finally, we were off! With a sense of deja vu! Because basically the 10K is the 5K only with more time on the highway! (Poetry!) Or anyway that was what it felt like to me. I mostly zoned through the entire street portion, playing Tangled‘s “Kingdom Dance” on repeat and choreographing a ballet in my head. I did briefly stop on an overpass and observe what appeared to be an endless stream of runners behind me. These races truly are crazily massive. I can feel the lottery coming and I fear it.

Just outside Epcot I reluctantly tossed my sweatshirt with the knowledge that I wanted the photographers to be able to capture my bib in case by some miracle I had become a photogenic runner (this is unlikely to happen EVER but a girl can dream). I didn’t exactly delight in the chill that hit my slightly sweaty frame the second it was exposed, but then neither did I curse every decision that had led me to that particular moment in time, so again, better than the 5K.

I love Epcot, but as I noted above the route through it was exactly same as the 5K. Given the amount of running I still had to go in the coming days, I couldn’t quite drum up the usual enthusiasm. Indeed, my outlook was primarily one of “… but I just DID this…”

All the same it was a hell of a lot more fun than any of my usual routes at home, so don’t feel too sorry for me. I put the World Showcase behind me at a slow but steady rate – so far so good on pacing – and passed by Spaceship Earth and a pair of gigantic puppets before crossing the finish line and accepting my much more substantial medal and the usual food and beverage supply.

Unfortunately, after stopping I felt the loss of my sweatshirt keenly. I skipped all the post-race festivities in favor of the bus line, which was mercifully shorter this time. I boarded the second bus I saw and headed for POR. Two down, two to go!

Up next: Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.

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 Trip Report Of All: The WDW 5K

Is it trip report time again already? Yay! I’ll be looking back at my Dopey trip at the beginning of January, with special separate posts for each race and some food experiences depending on how much I have to say about them. You can read all the posts in this particular trip report here. Ready? Let’s go!

While packing for this particular trip, I kept a close eye on the weather reports. I noticed that the day of the 5K was predicted to boast highs no higher than the upper 50s. Hmmm, I thought, and I tweeted to my travel buddies: do you think I need my puffy running vest? And they were like, running makes us hot, so probably not. And I was like, yeah, that sounds right. So I just packed pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

To paraphrase myself: The 5K was FREEZING. The end.
No, I won’t do that. BUT I COULD.
Anyway. The morning of the 5K, I bounced up with the first alarm at 4AM and immediately began dressing for the race. I munched on snacks, threw on my clothes, pulled my new fleece Brooks running beanie over my head, and wrapped myself in the space blanket I had saved from the Marine Corps Marathon. Thus fortified, I step outside. I was definitely cold, but not in horrific shape. I walked down to the pickup spot, grabbed a bus, and made it to the start in plenty of time.
I walked into the pre-race area and already something had changed. Approaching dawn not withstanding, it had somehow gotten COLDER. There was the usual deejay on stage, but he was having one hell of a time assembling any kind of crowd; I saw a handful of people busting it out to Psy’s “Gangnam Style” but that was about it. I felt kinda bad for the guy, but that didn’t keep me from immediately running into one of the white tents set up in the area. It was here that I discovered that I had forgotten my Garmin, but as it was just the 5K I wasn’t too beaten up about it.

Suddenly the lobster costume looks like a great idea…
After milling about a bit, I received a text from Katherine that she was in the same tent, so I met her and her friend Kinley (is that right, KRaut?) by the tall man with the giant brown Afro wig, an individual who would prove his worth as an identifiable meeting place all weekend. Meanwhile, we got a text from Nicole that she had woken up at 4:45AM and only JUST made the buses for the race. Glad you made it to the hat 5K, Nicole du Lancret! We chatted and lingered in the tent, milking the relative warmth as long as possible before race volunteers came in and shooed us out.
And somehow it had gotten EVEN COLDER; a quick check of my weather app gave me a temperature of 37 degrees. WITH A WINDCHILL AHHHHH. The race participants all huddled together as we traveled from the pre-race area to the corrals.
I waved Katherine and Kinley off at corral B before depositing myself in corral C, as close to the middle as possible so that I might leach warmth from the surrounding crowd. The anthem and pre-race chatter and general to-do seemed interminable. I don’t know if I’m insane or it was just the cold or what, but it seemed like it took forever between corral starts. Never in my life had I felt so eager to start running – anything to get the blood moving.
Finally it was C’s turn, and we took off. Many were worried that the chilly temperatures would mean that they would run the 5K too fast, messing up their Dopey plans. I may have had that problem, except – have you ever tried to run without moving your arms? Slows you down in a big way, doesn’t it? Well, I had originally planned to chuck my space blanket at the start. Then I amended that to chucking the blanket once I warmed up. I NEVER WARMED UP. And so I ran the ENTIRE RACE straitjacketed into my space blanket. Times be damned; I just wanted to conserve body heat as much as possible.
But not even the cold could completely destroy the joy of running in Walt Disney World. Although I was far too chilled to stand in lines for characters, I did pause once or twice to take a picture. Being in Epcot continued to make me happy – I just didn’t want to linger in it.

I tweeted this picture to @brooksrunning and they retweeted me!
Totally made my morning.


And so I’m afraid this recap is kinda dull. Basically I ran slowly in my space blanket straitjacket, felt really really really cold, admired Epcot, and then stopped at the finish. I blazed through the finish area as fast as possible, collecting my medal, liquids, and snack box in record time. From there I raced to the bus stop, lamenting the lack of runDisney space blankets the entire time.

I had barely broken a sweat, but I was just dewy enough for a chill in the cold cold air. Therefore it was particularly painful to see that the line for the Port Orleans bus was RIDICULOUS. It took me twenty minutes to climb aboard, and even then I was the last person on. By that point my hands were getting stiff and I was shivering a little. SO NOT COOL, FLORIDA.

Maybe if you’d gotten me on a bus sooner I wouldn’t have
noticed the typo, runDisney.

Arrival at the resort still meant that I had to brave the temperatures on the walk back to the room, but I was rewarded with comparatively warm air and a half-hour long shower that at least raised my core temperature to normal levels. 

One race down, three to go!
Up next: a day in DAK and the Studios.

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!