In Which Jenn Doesn’t Need New Running Clothes – But…

My dresser is 80% running clothes. I have a draw each for sports bras, short sleeved tops and tanks, long sleeved tops, and running pants, plus a couple free-floating warm weather tops and vests and a collection of hats and gloves. Probably, most likely, I have enough running clothes.


And yet I can’t help but coveting new things. It’s so motivating to say to myself, hey, on tomorrow’s run you can wear your new running socks – get excited! So even though I know, logically, that I don’t need to spend the money, I have a hard time letting a running gear sale pass me by.

Mostly I’m talking about C9 by Champion, Target’s athletic line. They release discounts periodically, and every time they do I can’t help but browse. And then there was the time Target was offering a $10 gift card for every $40 in clothing purchased, C9 included. I walked out with a small but no less superfluous haul. And let’s not even talk about what’s on my Christmas list.

It’s not strictly wanton! Since I’ve been running outside more and more a lot of the warmer stuff is quite necessary. And since it’s a Target brand it’s not like I’m constantly dropping tons of tons of money. And this is how I snagged a pair of running pants that had stripes in Figment purple and orange that doubled as part of a race costume. Practical!

But the best example of my playing with fire was when I ran the Baltimore Marathon. Guys, I did something very very stupid: I bought a pair of running capris a week before the race, and without even testing them, I RAN THE RACE IN THEM.

Like so.

Why? Why would I pull such an obviously boneheaded stunt? Was it the spectacular pattern? The superior design? Did all my other tried and tested running capris spontaneously combust?

No. It’s just that these pants had… A ZIPPERED POCKET. I could put my house key and a credit card and ID in my pocket and fear NOTHING. In perfect comfort too, unlike my sometimes sweaty and restrictive wristlet. It was 100% worth the risk. And it paid off, too – I didn’t see so much as a lick of chafing.

A classic case of do as I say, not as I do, kids. But the siren call of shiny new running gear is so tantalizing sometimes…

Do you have a minor obsession with new running gear, too?

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In Which Jenn’s Runs Are Haunted By Demons Or Something?

Nobody panic, but there MIGHT be a demon-summoning cult on my running trail.


Their fiendish rituals have become a fixture of my Sunday morning runs, a brief distraction around mile 3 for which I am thankful. Of course, that’s up until I get chased by a dragon or the Antichrist or something.

No, no, I kid. (Probably.) I’m pretty sure I’ve figure this out. But first, let me set the scene:

My regular running route passes by, among other things, a local park. Its most distinguishing features are a playground, baseball diamond, and pavilion. Over the past couple years I’ve never noticed much activity aside from playing children.

That all changed a couple months ago. As I ran past in blissful ignorance, movement caught my eye. Under the pavilion, a group of adults stood, their hands raised in a curious pose not unlike that of a Hindu god. They turned and, forming a circle, walked around the pavilion in single file at a steady pace, one hand moving past the other with concentrated deliberation.

Whatever activity they were engaging in, I couldn’t readily identify it. And it reminded me of nothing more than the tainted mages in the Circle Tower in my most beloved video game, Dragon Age: Origins.

Well, this is Wynne, and she’s a good guy, but the basic pose is kinda what I’m getting after.
Probably you either already get this metaphor or you don’t…

(Alternative theory: medieval dance troupe. But demon cult is more interesting. Ask Mia Farrow.)

So I called them my demon cult, and I peered out of them from the corner of my eye as I ran past on Sunday mornings, because of course they were always there too.

… And then it hit me. TAI CHI. I’m 99% sure they’re doing tai chi. Sure, it’s sped up and I don’t understand the circling part, but it’s traditionally done in the morning and the movements totally fit. 

But I still like to think of them as my demon cult, because that’s more fun, don’t you think?

What’s the wonkiest thing you’ve seen on your run?

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 Invents Peanut Butter Yogurt, Maybe?

Say, I haven’t done a Cheater’s Recipe in a while! And this one is, like, really cheat-y. I mean, it’s not even really a recipe as such. Well, it kind of is. My point is IT IS DELICIOUS AND YOU MUST TRY IT.


To back up – I am a breakfast person. I like breakfast. I want breakfast. Ninety-five percent of the time I get out of bed ready for breakfast. But it isn’t always easy to put together a delicious, filling breakfast that can easily come to work with me and keep me full until lunch time.

I’m still working on the latter. But the former is going well. I present you with: peanut butter honey Greek yogurt.

WAIT COME BACK. I know it’s not a fancy-pants “recipe,” and I know you can just buy flavored yogurt wherever, but peanut butter yogurt? No. Also, it’s hard to control the sugar content of regular flavored Greek yogurt. Also also, when is more protein ever enough?

TRY THIS RIGHT NOW:


PEANUT BUTTER & HONEY GREEK YOGURT

You will need:
  • Two tablespoons of a powdered peanut butter like PB2
  • One package of plain Greek yogurt (I use Chobani but do whatever makes you happy)
  • Honey
  • Nuts like peanuts or almonds (optional)
  1. Open up the yogurt container and, if possible, make a little crater in your yogurt.
  2. Pour ONE tablespoon of powdered peanut butter into the crater and CAREFULLY mix. This stuff has a habit of flying everywhere, so make sure you’ve cautiously incorporated all the powder before moving on to the next step.
  3. Okay, NOW add the second tablespoon. Don’t get cocky about mixing slowly.
  4. Add a dollop of honey to taste and combine.
  5. Finally, if you’d like, add some nuts for crunchiness.
There you have it! It’s so simple it hardly even seems worth sharing, but I couldn’t bear not spreading the joy of peanut butter yogurt across the galaxy. 

What’s your go-to breakfast?

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 Did NOT Register For A Race



I got an email a couple months ago about a half marathon in my area. The race description assured me that I would never forget that race. It’s in July so, it’s hot! It’s full of hills! Do not attempt if you’ve never run a half marathon before!!! No shirts, no medals. JUST PAIN.


BUT, came the tantalizing caveat, at mile 8 you shout out the flavor of popsicle you want and a volunteer will hand you that popsicle

I’m not gonna lie, I was tempted. I’m more heat tolerant than most but I hate hilly courses. A popsicle in the middle of a half marathon, though? How often do you come across that? Take my $30, please! I want red!!!!

I was about to click the registration link… but I stopped and reassessed. By all accounts this was unlikely to be an enjoyable experience. That’s fine – sometimes physical exertion is more about saying you could and you did than having a great time in the moment. (I like to think this is why I continue to run marathons despite the existence of the miles in the middle.)

All the same… was it worth $30 for a popsicle and a bib? $10, sure. $15, maybe. But if all I want is a hilly course and an icy treat, I can run my usual trail and cajole Pat into handing me a popsicle on my second loop. Y’know? Running trail: free, box of popsicles: $4 or whatever, rolling out of bed and onto the road: priceless.

So apparently that’s where I draw my line. Where’s yours? What stops you from registering from a race? Price? Course? Location? WHAT???

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 Earns Her Minnie Ears

Since I spent most of this WDW trip in a conference, I won’t be doing a traditional trip report, but I definitely still have a lot of stuff to tell you about that will be loosely collected under the July 2018 trip keyword. Read on!


I don’t usually put post-WDW trip haul posts – not because I don’t think they’re interesting, but rather because I rarely get enough to warrant the dedicated word count. I just don’t generally buy more than a souvenir at a time lest the percentage of my salary I give to Disney yearly dips from “inadvisable” to “unhinged” territory.

I’m going to make an exception this time, though, for two related reasons:
  1. I have been chasing these items for the better part of a year now because
  2. I am sometimes what in the modern parlance we call a “basic bitch.”*
*IT’S NOT MY FAULT PINK HAS BEEN COMMANDEERED BY THE YOUTHS

And that’s why I, yes, I, urbane and eccentric and unique though I obviously am, have been chasing those stupid rose gold Minnie ears across time and space. For the longest time unsuccessfully, because apparently millennials are obsessed with rose gold and everyone went nuts and bought them immediately? I don’t know about that; I just really like pink and colors adjacent to pink, cultural zeitgeists not withstanding.

Anyway, these have been so popular that even on three separate trips I’ve never been able to get my hands on them. I’ve just never been in the right gift shop at the right time. UNTIL NOW.

You see, the world has moved on. They now enjoy millennial pink and iridescence more instead (or so the official Disney blog assures me, and they have no reason to lie…?). Thus supply finally outran demand, and the rose gold ears can be readily had all over WDW property.

So I set out on my free night to Disney Springs, where I finally got my hands on these shiny shiny wonders. I bought my mom a pair too so that next time I bring her along we can match and be REALLY infuriating.

And just to really drive down the hammer on my basic bitchiness, I picked up a rose gold spirit jersey too. It’s BEAUTIFUL and I regret nothing.

I said I WASN’T unhinged.

Well, I do regret one thing: on my way home I discovered that both items were in the Disney airport store the whole time. I could’ve picked them up on my way into Orlando and had them all trip.

Ah well. What is beauty but pain?

P.S. While slumming it in the Springs, I also got some solid shampoos and conditioners from Basin. I’ll let you know how they work out!

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: 7/25

Hello.

I am neither at the beach nor at Walt Disney World.

Harrumph.


Despite my sullen tone and distinct lack of excitement for life, you’re going to want to strap in: thanks to my two weeks away, we have three weeks of workout logs to catch up on! Yowza! I don’t have many notes for most of it because, frankly, I don’t remember, but boy do I have numbers. Feast your eyes on allllllllllllllllll this:

Sunday, July 1 | ran 10.12 miles outside in 1:45

Monday, July 2 | walked 2.09 miles outside in 35 minutes; 45 minute ballet class

Tuesday, July 3 | ran 5.19 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday, July 4 | ran 5.24 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday, July 5 | walked 2.4 miles outside in 40 minutes; 70 minute ballet class

Friday, July 6 | ran 5.15 miles outside in 55 minutes

Saturday, July 7 | rest
We arrived in Ocean City! I’m thinking I might do a post about running there and our favorite places to go and best spots for food and drinks. Stand by!

Sunday, July 8 | ran 4.13 miles outside ON THE BOARDWALK! in 40 minutes

Monday, July 9 | ran 4.09 miles outside in 40 minutes

Tuesday, July 10 | rest

Wednesday, July 11 | ran 4.15 miles outside in 40 minutes

Thursday, July 12 | ran 4.05 miles outside in 40 minutes

Friday, July 13 | rest

Saturday, July 14 | rest
We left Ocean City. :/ BUT I ARRIVED in Walt Disney World!!!

Sunday, July 15 | ran 14.13 miles on the treadmill in 2:20
Performed on a treadmill in the Dolphin’s gym. Hotcha!

Monday, July 16 | rest

Tuesday, July 17 | 3.04 miles outside in 27 minutes
Tessitura Conference 5K
 on the WDW Boardwalk!!!

Wednesday, July 18 | ran 5.05 miles outside ON THE WDW BOARDWALK! in 50 minutes

Thursday, July 19 | ran 5.36 miles outside in 55 minutes
And then I left Walt Disney World. 🙁

Friday | rest

Saturday | ran 5.02 miles outside in 44 minutes
Rockville Twilighter 8K. Worth the read if you like to appreciate the great indoors.

Whew! That was a lot. Where am I? What generally comes next? Oh, yes. Roundup time:


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 Runs A Very Rainy Twilighter 8K


A month or three ago, I convinced Elizabeth to sign up for a 5 mile race. She’s not really a runner (except when I make her), but she gamely agreed to give it a shot when I promised her the Rockville Twilighter 8K would be a festive night race with free beer.

And by God, I delivered a night race with free beer. What I did not deliver was just about anything else that might make a race pleasant.

Guys, it friggin’ POURED all day. I’m talking torrential rains. I was getting emergency emails with flood warnings for portions of the county. But there was no lightning, and thus the show went on! And my dear brave Elizabeth showed up all the same.

Dressed in exactly the long pants and jackets you would not expect to wear to a July race, we picked up our bibs at Rockville Town Center and then hid out in Starbucks for awhile. (PSA: Starbucks now sells stroopwaffels! Remember that next time you forget your race fuel.)

When the 8:15pm race time rolled around, absolutely nothing had changed: it was still raining absolute buckets. But the wind wasn’t too terrible and hey, as I noted early this year, there’s no level of wet beyond soaked, so we lined up. After a quick rendition of the national anthem by a very talented 14 year old, we were off!

The course left the shopping complex almost immediately, veering off into local neighborhoods. A few brave souls hunkered on their front porches and cheered us on, but for the most part it was quiet. There were a few more hills than I might otherwise have expected but nothing that slowed me down overmuch.

After completing that loop, we briefly retraced our steps figure-eight style before setting out for a loop in the opposite direction. This part was flatter, and featured a circuitous tour of the Montgomery College parking lot. There was brief overlap between those entering and exiting the parking lot (think entering/exiting WWoS during the WDW Marathon) and I looked for Liz but didn’t spot her before the course peeled off.

Shortly after that we popped onto a road – possibly Rockville Pike but I don’t think so? Anyway, we ran down said road before veering back into Rockville Town Center to finish exactly where we started.

And how was my race experience? Not bad, all things considered. I met my A goal – I brought it in under 45 minutes, what what! – and my supplementary goal, which was not to fall and snap any limbs, so that was a success. I did run into the same problem I had during the equally rainy 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon, where the reflection of the lights on the puddles and wet pavement sometimes made it hard to tell where, exactly, the ground is. But I made it!


The post-race party was supposed to feature music and beer and food. Maybe it did, but finishers were mostly just congregating under the eaves of the closest building. While I waiting for Elizabeth to finish I hightailed it over to the complimentary-for-runners Gordon Biersch beer tent and grabbed the first thing they had available before running back to the covered sidewalk. I’m 100% sure there was rain water in my beer by the end but it was pretty good! I think maybe a white ale or something?


Finally I saw Elizabeth running in, gallantly escorted by a Storm Trooper, obviously. She has promised to write her own recap of her experience so keep an eye out.

I gave Liz the other half of my beer and then we drove home, because OH MY GOD IT WAS RAINING SO HARD YIKES. Based on the higher bib numbers I saw vs. number of results, I’m pretty sure there was something like a 50% attrition rate.

But hey, we showed up and showed out! Go us!

What’s the worst weather you’ve raced in? Honestly I think the DC Rock ‘n Roll Marathon was worse for me…

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 Runs A Boardwalk 5K

Hello from Orlando International Airport! My flight took off three minutes ago. Haha, just kidding! It was supposed to take off three minutes ago. Now it takes off in two and a half hours.

Clearly I have some time to kill, so I’m going to tell you nice people about the conference 5k I ran.

This race is always a fun run with no chip times, just approximations, plus they don’t even promise it’ll be exactly 3.1 miles, but I like to participate every year anyway because hey, free race!

In this particular case there was the added incentive of running amok on Disney’s Boardwalk. It was enough of a draw to get me out of bed and hanging out at the Swan lap pool before 6:30am, 78 degrees and humid or not. Truly the magic of Disney conquers all.

The start was informal, and the pack set off with no real preamble or organization beyond: okay, go! The course matched the Swan & Dolphin’s suggested run route exactly, so we saw pretty much all there was to see of the Boardwalk.

First we set out across the bridge headed for the Yacht & Beach Club, curving around Seabreeze point where a breakfast buffet was being set up for a private event (an Epcot wedding, maybe?). Then we passed by the pirate ship – WDW Marathon deja vu! – and curved around to pass by the Boardwalk area proper, with ESPN and Ample Hills and Boardwalk Bakery and all that jazz.

From there we veered onto the path toward Disney’s Hollywood Studios – so, now in reverse of the marathon course. Luckily for my sense of cognitive dissonance, we were turned around at the top of path right before the bus stops and sent back down the trail, now in full accordance with marathon proceedings.

It was a blurry day.

After that it was one more loop of the Boardwalk before hitting in the finish, back where we started by the Swan. There was water and some Kind bars, plus plenty of cheering conference spectators. A couple of them were even cheering from swan paddle boats out on the lake!

As for my performance, it wasn’t too bad for all that. It was hot and muggy (aka Florida), and at the start I had to dodge around some slow people and a briefly narrow course, but I brought the whole thing in under a 9 minute average mile. All in all I wasn’t displeased.

Mostly I was just happy to be running at WDW again – and proceeded to do so twice more before I left. But that’s a story for later…

Have you ever run the Boardwalk? How do you feel about it?

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(ish): 7/18

HELLO! I have been hella busy at this magnificent conference IN THE FRIGGIN’ SWOLPHIN all week, and I scarcely even have time to write this post – hence the weird time and what, as you will see, will be a very truncated version. Rest assured I am doing it all in the name of amazing WDW exploration and will be coming at you with tons of new girl-on-the-scene updates over the next couple weeks.

So! I am – and prepare for possibly the greatest sentence I have ever written – I am literally about to run right out the door and straight into a private party at Epcot; thus, we’re gonna make this one short and sweet: we’re going to skip the week in review. Which means next week we’ll have three weeks to cover since I was at the beach last week, but don’t worry, I’ve been running. I even ran a race! (More on that coming shortly.)

Anyway! Here’s the roundup:

Just Me & My Running shoes runs on vacation. Me too!!
Disney Travel Babble shows off a craze-mazing Disney-themed apartment.
This Fairy Tale Life has the scoop on the new Play Disney app. (I’m gonna try it tonight!)
Kait Around The Kingdom shows off DAK’s famed Boma buffet.
A Pinch Of Pixie Dust tries WDW’s buzziest drinks.
The Disney Tourist Blog considers the WORST of WDW’s character meals.
Sparkly Ever After tries out that Disney After Hours hard ticket event.
Disney In Your Day hangs out in the Rainforest Room on DCL’s Magic.

And here’s a lovely video of me showing off all the latest Disney fashions while highlighting my rallying cry.

TTFN, ta ta for now!

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 Coming At You LIVE From The Swolphin

Hello! I am in Walt Disney World! RIGHT NOW!

I’m conferencing at the Swolphin, and it is going very well. I’ve walked on the Boardwalk, chilled in the hot tub, and seen the tippy-top of the IllumiNations fireworks over Crescent Lake. Can’t beat that.

I’m only halfway through the trip, and I know I’ll be mining this trip for lots of content (just WAIT until I hit Disney Springs, kids – I have cocktails in my sights and a shopping list in my head!). In the meantime, check these photos. Anything else you want to see? Let me know!

Have you ever stayed at the Swolphin? What do you think?

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!