In Which Jenn Recaps The 2018 National Capital 20 Miler

I have knocked out a fair number of 20 mile runs in my day as preparation for a marathon. Some have been treadmill runs; others were outside. But I can tell you with certainty there’s nothing like the serenity that comes from knowing that somebody else is in charge of providing your snacks and water.

Which is why I wound up at the start line of the National Capital 20 Miler for the third time, already with the knowledge that I was looking at a boring out-and-back course BUT also water stops and Clif Shots. A worthy trade if you ask me.

I rolled out of bed at 5:15am on Sunday morning, collected my running buddy Sarah, and drove over to the Carderock entrance of the C&O Canal Towpath. We arrived about an hour before start time, which gave us plenty of time to pick up our bibs and then chill in the car. I felt less silly about insisting on arriving so early when I saw how quickly the parking lot filled up, with latecomers parking in the woods and along the road.

After a quick bathroom break (in a real bathroom, no less; another point in this race’s favor) we took up position at the start line. Conditions were good, partly cloudy with temperatures rising from the high 50s to the low 60s, but recent rainfall promised some muddy portions.

A race announcer tried to yell something about detours prior to the start, but we were too far back to hear; we figured we’d just follow the runner in front and hope for the best. Unfortunately this distracted me from starting up my GPS watch until right before the race started, and I didn’t get a signal until about halfway through. Oh well! My split times would just have to be approximate.

Anyway, the race started and Sarah took off like a shot. Feeling more cautious about keeping a consistent pace across a whopping 20 miles, I settled into an easy jog, not making too much of an effort to go around people unless they were very slow.

We came upon our first detour, which sent us over a bridge and onto a makeshift and tragically muddy mulch trail. The soft ground slowed me down, but luckily it didn’t last too long and I was back on the regular C&O Canal path.

A few miles later there was an even weirder detour, which was a canvas semi-circle out onto the
canal itself. It was soggy and bouncy and made keeping your footing a challenge, but at least it was short.

A little after the mile 7 marker we started to see the front runners coming back down the trail… but also people with different bibs? Turns out there was a different race going on in the opposite direction on the same day. This wouldn’t have been so bad expect that around mile 8 we started encountering some pretty big puddles with narrow paths of comparative dry footing around them. Sometimes you were in competition with the other racers for the space, and I was nearly shoulder-checked on more than one occasion. Irritating but what can you do.

Finally I hit mile 10 and the turnaround point, where a lovely volunteer handed me a Clif Shot. I took a brief walk break to consume it before taking off again, this time toward the finish. That’s the one nice thing about an out-and-back – at least one you hit the and-back you can tell yourself that ever step carries you closer to home.

Around mile 5 I overheard a girl in front of me mentioning she needed to use the bathroom, which made me realize I needed to pee. Unfortunately I hadn’t encountered a single porta potty on the way up, which a) seemed like a huge oversight and b) meant there wouldn’t be one on the way back. Or so I thought. Just as I was beginning to scope out a place in the woods to hide I saw hidden porta potties across a bridge just before mile 13. You’d never see them on the way out without craning your neck to see around bend, but coming back they were plain as day, and I enjoyed sweet relief.

I also took this moment to pop in my headphones, and the combined pleasures of an empty bladder and uptempo music gave me a second wind. A little after mile 15 I gave myself the added boost of switching on the soundtrack to the Happily Ever After fireworks, and that beautiful musical creation galvanized me to such an extent I was passing people. Such is the incredible power of Disney.

So far, against all odds and historical precedent, I was coming up on mile 17 without having walking outside of the scope of a water/Clif Shot stop. Could I make it all the way? After a brief rendition of the IllumiNations soundtrack I went back to Happily Ever After for its miracle boost, and although the second hit is never as much of a high as your first it was enough to push me across the finish line in an official 3:27:52. This is like 15 minutes faster than last time, so I’m pretty darned pleased with myself.

Sarah had finished ahead of me, and we grabbed some snacks (they had a pretty good spread) and water before heading home. All in all a successful outing. Here’s hoping it’s a good omen for the Marine Corps Marathon!

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 Jenn Finds A Whole New Running World

Last weekend I was very brave. I did my longest pre-marathon run of 17 miles… OUTSIDE.


For the longest time I was strictly a treadmill girl. But time and circumstances pushed me outside more and more. Then last June I lost my nice, walking distance gym, and vowed to perform as many of my runs as possible outside so as to avoid the trek and packing that involved driving to my new one. There is certain weather I still drawn the line at, but I’ve gone down to 22 degree temperatures and endured some rains and winds. 

And I gotta say, I think my running game has improved enormously because of it. That very same terrain and weather and bloody freaking HILLS, even when I hate them, make me stronger. My races have been increasingly speedy (which makes sense, since they are also, y’know, outside). At my last marathon, I broke my previous time record by over 10 minutes. It was the WDW Marathon, too, so that includes character stops!

So I’ve been surprisingly jazzed to run outside and keep that upward trajectory. But my really long runs? Those were still on the treadmill. I mean, you’ve got your bathroom right there, and your water fountain for refills, little nooks to stash snacks, and a TV for entertainment. Anyway, I just plain run faster when I can control my speed and push myself through, so it’s over faster. 

But in the back of my mind, I wondered… could I handle those double digits outside? I’d never done more than 11 miles in an outdoor run – that is to say, the purely training outdoor runs – and I kinda wanted to. I wanted the running XP.

At first I thought I’d tackle my 14 miler this way, so as to not stray too far outside my comfort zone. But when the appointed day came it was rainy and miserable, and I was driven inside to the safety of the treadmill.

When it came time for my 17 miler, well… that seemed like a stretch. But I was looking at a nice, sunny day with highs around 50, great for running. I told myself if I needed to I could run back to my apartment at any time for a bathroom break, more water, etc. Off I went.

I stepped onto my usual running trail and began my run in reasonable spirits. To add mileage, I ducked onto a few side streets and other sidewalks I usually passed by. As I crossed the street from my usual running trail’s end, I saw a man out of the corner of my eye… WALKING DOWN A RUNNING PATH I HAD NEVER NOTICED BEFORE.

Well, that’s not strictly true. I noticed it all the time, because it was a continuation of my usual trail. But I’d never known there was more of it! I ran up over this new bridge and into a magic world.

The next 5 miles or so were spent in delighted wonderment – not that the scenery was as exciting as all that, but because it was new and new is always more interesting and what an incredible boon that I would find this interesting new thing on the day I needed it most! 

I credit this humble discovery to the ultimate success of my outdoor run, in that it kept things fresh and interesting and minimized the amount of rehashing I had to do. I finished feeling strong and capable and totally ready to marathon.

That helped along with the Happily Ever After fireworks soundtrack, of course. You didn’t expect me to NOT mention Disney, did you?

How do you slog through your long runs? Are you a treadmill loyalist or an outdoor enthusiast?

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 Jenn Runs 20 Miles Thanks To Jeopardy

I didn’t have to do it.

There were a million reasons not to. I had the remains of a splinter in my heel. I suspected I might be fighting off a very very low level cold. I’d already run a 17 miler, and that’s been enough marathon prep in the past, right?

But it was on the schedule, so I did it: my 20 mile training run.

Normally I knock out my good-marathon-prep-mandatory 20 miler during the National Capital 20 Miler. This is a race put on by a local running club in bare bones fashion; no medals, few spectators, just a bib and an out and back course. BUT. There is course support! Snacks and drinks I don’t have to carry FTW!

Unfortunately, this year’s race was the same morning I would just be leaving the Outer Banks, so I had to skip. That left me to tackle the dreaded distance alone. And sure, I could’ve done it outside, but then I would’ve had to worry about on course supplies and bathroom breaks and water and weather and… forget it. I’d done 20 on a treadmill before and I could do it again.

I can feel 99% of you clenching your pork butts at the mere thought. I hear you! Long distances on the treadmill can blow in a lot of ways. But sometimes they’re necessary, and to that end, I figured I’d walk you through mine to see how I cope (for more tips on long runs on the treadmill, click here).

First, supplies. I picked up Swedish Fish and a peanut butter packet for fuel, plus I have a big 32 oz water bottle that I refilled at one point (yet one advantage of the gym setting).

Next, physical prep. I slapped some KT Tape on the hip and knee that have been known to give me trouble. I also hit my chafe points with some Vaseline to prevent discomfort on that front.

Most importantly, entertainment. I think that’s where a lot of treadmill-haters get tripped up. Something about the lack of scenery changing makes you all antsy. That’s where audio comes in! Fire up your playlist, by all means – but it’s important to have a plan. The same old tracks may not cut it when the boring chips are down, so make sure you have a stash you know will excite you.

I highly recommend something with a long through line, such as a full album you love or is new to you, a movie or musical soundtrack, etc. For this occasion I decided to re-listen to the entire Hamilton soundtrack, which I have only done once before (normally I pick and choose favorites). This slammed me through almost 2.5 hours of running time! I have also successfully used Disney park show soundtracks, like Festival of the Lion King.

When the going gets rough, though, music alone may not be enough. I know some people like to watch TV on the treadmill, and that can be a good distraction – but this time around I stumbled upon a surprising distraction solution. Please try this: watch Jeopardy.

I didn’t plan this. I just glanced up at one of the gym’s many, many TV monitors and there it was. So I started to watch, and get involved with answering (questioning?), and when I next glanced down I realized 5 solid minutes of treadmill time had passed without me noticing it despite being on, I don’t know, mile 14 at the time. And so for the next half hour I focused on Jeopardy questions as hard as I could and wouldn’t you know, it worked.

So my advice to you is now this: consider intellectual game shows for your long run treadmill needs! Jeopardy! Cash Cab! Reruns of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego!

No, but like, seriously. WHERE?

I know the treadmill is not for everyone, but I hope these tips will help make your next indoor long run more bearable. Next stop: The Baltimore 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!

In Which Half A Marathon Wasn’t Enough

Don’t judge his grammar here; he’s not a morning person.
(Also: pork butt.)

One of the perks for locals of running the Parks Half Marathon was historically that the race ended right in downtown Bethesda. You could finish your race and then stroll straight home!

But then they do say all good things must come to an end, and so it was: scarcely a week after I signed up, I received an email that the course had to be changed due to construction work. The start line moved further up the Metro line and the finish, by consequence, bottomed out along Rockville Pike, several miles from Bethesda’s downtown area.

Then, a bonus! A couple weeks before the race we received notice that the closest Metro stop to the finish line, the one everyone expected to use to return to their cars/go home, would be closed that weekend. Options dwindled to either taking a Metro shuttle with the masses or Ubering home.

But there was one more alternative. The finisher area was a mere intersection away from the turnaround point of my usual running trail. From there to my apartment was a little over 3.5 miles. I could finish the half marathon… and run home.

It made sense, really. I mean, I needed to run a 17 miler as part of my marathon training anyway – why not knock out the first 13 miles with the help of aid stations, water stops, and spectators? But I kept the plan mostly to myself; after all, it would all depend on how I felt after the race.

Well, to make a long story short, I felt up to it! I hit the porta potties, bundled my medal and other accoutrements into what approximated a bindle, and I was ready to go.

In solidarity, my friend and fellow runner Sarah came along for the ride (she’s training for the Marine Corps Marathon). This turned out to be fantastic not only because talking to her made the run more fun, but also because I got to try out my hand at being a running coach.

I don’t think Sarah fully realized how hilly the Bethesda Trolley Trail can be when she agreed to go, because she ended up dragging a bit. Thus it became my job to be Very Encouraging! I was Captain Positive Thinking and I’m not afraid to be made fun of for it. Almost to the top of the hill! I said. You’ve now run 15 miles! I said. You’re getting your training out of the way! I said, and while I’m not entirely sure she loved it while it was happening to her, she did send me a text later thanking me for pushing her, so BAM. Coachin.’

As for me, I felt surprisingly good. Mind you, I was not speedy at all; I’d just run a half at a pretty good clip and as I mentioned previously the trail has a few considerable hills. But I didn’t feel spent and my morale was high. I do think I could’ve completed a marathon – not a fast one, mind you, but I could’ve finished!

In fact, when I reached my apartment building, I ran an extra lap around my block to pull out ahead of 4 miles. Seventeen miles done for the day.

Naturally my reward was a waffle at the local diner. For if we do not eat carbs, why do we run?

I’ve now done 15.5 and 17 miles as part of my training cycle. One 20 miler to go and then it’s taper time!

Have you ever tacked additional miles onto a race distance? How did it work out for you?

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 Goes On A Running Food Bender

Let’s see, how to explain this. Have you ever… gone on a sort of… pre-long run food buying spree… like, way in advance… without planning it?

Now that I’m officially training for the Baltimore Marathon, I gotta get those mega-long runs on the docket. And I have – I have a 15 miler, 17 miler, and 20 miler laid out on the calendar. For my normal long runs – say, 9-12 miles on average – I don’t usually require much beyond a pre-run snack and some water, but these big’uns need a bigger sustenance commitment.

There are lots of ways to do it: water, sports drinks, gels, chews, gummy bears, pretzels, honey… a lot of peoples’ boats float a lot of different ways. I have found I perform well with Swedish Fish, so I bought one box for my 15 miler, just to start things off. So far so well measured.

Then last week I was doing my weekly Target grocery run. I was in the candy aisle to grab some 90% dark chocolate (TRY IT!!!!!! YOUR TASTE BUDS WILL EXPLOOOODE) and happened to pass by the theater box candy. Well, I’m here and thinking about it, I thought, so I might as well grab two more boxes for 17 and 20.

That simple act opened the floodgates. In the drinks section for some seltzer, I saw Body Armor sports drinks were on sale. I usually go with PowerAde since that’s runDisney’s MO, but what the hell – I grabbed two bottles without hesitation.

Over by the peanut butter, I was picking up a canister of chocolate PB2 when I saw that Justin’s individual nut butter packets were on sale as well. What an amazing mid-run snack that would be for my really long runs!! I said to myself, even though this is something I’ve never tried. Well, I will now! Into my cart went two peanut butter-and-honey packs.

And, uh, here’s all the stuff I hadn’t planned on buying for runs some of which aren’t for another month:

Will it all be actually good for my long runs? WE SHALL SEE.

Do you ever impulse-buy food in the name of training? What are your favorite pre-and mid-run snacks for long runs?

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 Fairest Week In Review: 2/14

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s how I’m celebrating.

Anyway. Now that Gene has walked us home we can discuss last week’s long run. I’ll tell you one thing: you want an empty gym, you go way early the morning after the Super Bowl.

Sunday | rest
We had a couple friends over for the Superb Owl. Still maintain I would much prefer a Superb Owl.

Monday | ran 17.49 miles on the treadmill in 2:55
Perhaps you are thinking: maxing out at 17 miles and change before a marathon? That’s IT? What is wrong with you??? But I’m thinking I may be on to something; see this post. Plus I felt strong the whole run, and at the end I was positive I could have totally kept going if I wanted to. That’s the key, right? We’ll see what happens, but I have a good feeling about this race. Now excuse me while I knock on every wooden object I can see.

Seems about right.

Tuesday | walked 2.75 miles outside in 45 minutes; 70 minute ballet class
It was weirdly nice outside.

Wednesday | ran 7.22 miles on the treadmill in 1:15; walked 2.18 miles in 35 minutes
Normally I don’t do my walks and runs on the same day, but it was still pretty nice out and the next couple days were predicted to be cold and terrible. So I doubled up.

Thursday | 70 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.43 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes

Saturday | rest
Went to some friends’ engagement party. Brought presents for their dog.

Pat read something on the WDW subreddit about someone getting bumped from Port Orleans (didn’t specify which) to the Contemporary. He expressed hope that such a thing might happen to us. I’ve been laughing for the past three days.

Okay, actually, if such things happen we’re in a prime spot for it: we’re arriving at the tail end of Easter break. Overbooking is possible. But I’m not holding my breath. Out of curiosity, though, anyone ever have it happen to them? I’ve heard of people being miraculously in club level but never being punted to the next resort tier.

Right, so, roundup:

Speaking of Port Orleans, The Disney Tourist Blog is making me feel really good about my upcoming stay at Riverside.
easyWDW catches a preview of Rivers of Light. Now I’m wondering if I SHOULD get a dining package after all…
A Pinch of Pixie Dust reviews Epcot’s Festival of the Arts.
The Main Street Gazette draws a line from Jock Lindsey’s to the Adventurer’s Club.
Disney In Your Day pairs wine with Disney movies and is definitely invited to my next slumber party.
This Fairytale Life makes super-cute heart Minnie ears.

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 atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Has A Much Better National Capital 20 Miler

It is only in a universe of comparison that I can say this, but as I do live in such I won’t hesitate: that was much better.

Last year my showing in the National Capital 20 Miler was, shall we say, not my best work. I was very slow. I walked a lot. I was in a fair amount of pain by the end. Chalk it up to not being used to trail running and general under-training or whatever you like. I got it done – but it wasn’t pretty.

But I signed up again this year for two reasons: 1) There’s nothing like running your twenty mile NOT on a treadmill, not looping endlessly around the same runnable portions of your neighborhood, and – this being my favorite part – with water/Gatorade stops built right in; 2) REDEMPTION RUN.

I talked about the course itself last year, and it is the same: 10 miles up the C&O Canal Towpath, 10 miles back the way you came, the end. So I won’t be diving too much into scenery and what have you. But I do want to discuss the unique experience of this particular event.

When I talk about the race with others, I describe it as “barely a race.” Not in the sense that you’re not really running (FAR FROM IT), but rather because the casual nature of the whole thing makes it feel like a training run that a couple hundred of people happen to be doing at the same time.

For starters, the whole thing is barely a 15 minutes’ drive from my house. That’s kind of unique to me, but most runners are coming from close by. So the first thing you do is get up at what feels like an almost reasonable time (5:15am in my case, but I could’ve slept in another half hour and been fine except I’m a paranoiac) and just driving straight to the starting line. Literally. Last year I accidentally parked in a satellite lot that required me to walk a bit, but this year I new better and was able to leave my car in a lot right next to the start.

Packet pickup is also 100% possible the morning of the race, and I availed myself of it before doing all your standard pre-race things: using the porta-potty, eating a snack, etc. I hung out in my warm car until about 5 minutes before race start.

The course is bib chip timed, but there’s no opening remarks, no fancy “start” or “finish” proscenium, and no corrals. It’s up to you to hang back or up front depending on how fast you think you’ll be (naturally I go for the back third). At 7am, they said go, and we crossed the start pad and went.

And I felt pretty good! Not great, but solid. I had a good rhythm going and enjoyed my music as I cruised along the remnants of the C&O canal. Not speedily, mind you – there’s something about the towpath that my body doesn’t love. At Navy-Air Force the week before I clocked under a 10 minute mile average for the whole thing, yet on the C&O trail I can’t seem to break 10:40 in a single mile. Ah well. At least this time I knew what to expect.

Important note about the trail, though: in addition to being slower (for me), it’s also a touch dangerous. There are large rocks everywhere, and the occasional hole for good measure. You could turn your ankle or worse if you’re not paying attention. I came down on a couple rocks wrong; luckily I have flexible ankles or things could’ve gone badly for me.

This race tends to attract the faster/more dedicated runners in the area, as I only finished ahead of a little over 60 runners out of just under 200. Which is why I always already seeing runners coming back toward me on their way back to the finish by mile 7. But I saw something weirder: people wearing completely different bibs. And then, just before the turnaround point, I saw the finish line – for a different race.

This race is also barely a race in that somehow other races are going on the the same time in the same area. No idea what their parameters were but I saw people wearing the other bibs going in both directions. Very weird and disconcerting.

This race is also barely a race in that the path isn’t closed to anyone. There are casual runners and hikers there too, and dog walkers. I love seeing the dogs, but you know that would never fly on most courses.

I also saw a guy biking verrrry slowly behind a race participant as her personal support bike. Adorable, but another thing that would be hard to pull off in most of your bigger races.

Anyway, I hit the turnaround point, grabbed some Gatorade, and plugged on secure in the knowledge that every step I took carried me closer to home. Naturally I was ready to be done by mile 11 but who isn’t, really. I saw fewer stragglers on the way to the turnaround point behind me this time; I think I saw my last one while I was on mile 12 and therefore they were on 8.

From then on it only got harder – but not nearly as hard as last year. Yes, I was slow, but I was plugging on! Thanks to the KT Tape Pro I had applied to both hips AND both knees, I was feeling no unusual discomfort! I only stopped for water stops! I never walked otherwise!

In the end I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:46, slower than what I could’ve accomplished on a treadmill, yes, but a full 9 minutes faster than last year. Not too shabby, all things considered. I think I can be so bold as to call myself redeemed, even.

There were bagels and fruit in the parking lot but I was ready to go home and shower more than anything else. I hopped in the car and was in my shower in under 30 minutes. Location, location, location.

Having exorcised the demon that was my first time in this race, would I do it again? Probably, yeah. Look, it’s long and boring and not at all speedy, but it’s convenient and a great way to basically have my 20 mile practice run done for me. If I’m not training for a marathon, I’d skip it, but any time I am, I’m inclined to add it in there so long as I remain in the neighborhood.

I’m really happy with the outcome not only as regards my performance, but also my body. I used my Nike Zoom Vomero 10s and taped all my problem areas – and came out feeling good. I’ve got some joint stiffness, but no stabbing, jolting, or otherwise unusual pains. I think I can use the same methods for MCM and feel a-okay.

Next up, the big one: THE MARINE CORPS MARATHON.

Have you ever been in a race and suddenly there was a different race on the same course? I must admit that one surprised me.

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: 9/27

I did it! I did it! My twenty-miler is BEHIND ME. Take that, marathon training cycle! It’s all downhill from here, baby!

All of which is to say that on Sunday I ran the National Capital 20 Miler and it wasn’t nearly as terrible as last year. Review to come, of course. The rest of this week I’ll be taking it easy, then I’ll ramp things up a little bit before my final taper into the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October. AND THEN WINE & DINE HOORAAAAAY

Here’s how last week’s training went down:

Sunday | Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, 13.23 miles in 2:11 and change according to my watch
This race was pretty humid but otherwise I think I put in a decent showing.

Monday | 75 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 7.08 miles in the treadmill in 1:15
Also I saw Brian Wilson perform Pet Sounds. You know, whatevs. (Although really the tour should be called Al Jardine and His Son Perform Pet Sounds And Also Brian Wilson Is There And He Sings A Little, Kind Of, Don’t Worry About It)

Wednesday | walked 2.06 miles outside in 35 minutes; 80 minute ballet class

Thursday | ran 4.16 miles in 50 minutes

Friday | rest
I had planned to go for a walk but ended up taking a half day from work to head to a family thing early. Walked about 3 miles on Ocean City’s boardwalk, though!

Saturday | rest
Another 6.5 miles walking on the boardwalk, but I didn’t GPS it so according to my system it doesn’t count. Light warmup for my twenty miles the next day!

And now: the roundup.

Fall notwithstanding, I Run for Wine puts together a hot-weather running outfit.
Fairytales & Fitness ponders the incredible speed of race walkers.
Back at Square Zero know how to train for a tough weather race.
On the Go in MCO points out the cats of Disney movies.
Disney In Your Day offers some unique WDW tips.
Capturing Magical Memories does the VIP Food & Wine Festival tour.
easyWDW continues the yeoman’s work of reviewing ALL the F&W Festival foods.
EPBOT has introvert problems. AND SO DO I.

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 Gets Jazzed For A Long Run

Last week I came to a startling realization: I was actually excited about my planned 16 mile run.

I expressed this unexpected feeling on Twitter and received the expected response: that I was crazy, and everyone who had a long run on the docket was dreading it.

And so I thought: what if I explained how I got myself this psyched up? Maybe my fellow runners could follow the same method and at least manage to downgrade outright dread to reluctant acceptance. In that spirit, try some of these on for shoe size:

Get some new music. Duh. Everyone knows this one. But seriously, do it. Despite my alt-rock leanings, I fired up some of the Ke$ha I’m less familiar with, because BEATS. Highly recommend serious beats for running.

Perfect segue to…

Get some new gear. CAREFULLY. This is a long run, after all; introducing new clothes could lead you into an exciting new world of chafing, sweating, smelling, etc. Save it for the short run and see how it performs there. Use your tried-and-true clothes here. BUT. How about clothes you already have exactly but in a dangerously different color? Or a new hat or sunglasses, something you can remove easily if it’s not working out for you? Myself, I was wildly excited to have found a value 12-pack of elastic headbands in the bargain bin at Rite-Aid – I snagged ’em for $1.42. GLITTERY GOLD TO THE RESCUE.

Get your favorite pre- and mid-run snacks. Again, nothing you haven’t tried before – now is not the time to puke on the side of the trail (or down the side of your treadmill; someone’s going to have to clean that mess up, and it could be you). I had a box of Swedish Fish to munch on my walk to the gym and a mocha Clif Shot (plus caffeine!) for the midway point. Happy tongue, happy… um… sorry, nothing logical rhymes with tongue. Just eat something good, is all I’m saying.

And on that note…

Plan an awesome night-before dinner and post-run meal. Assuming you’re doing this run in the morning, of course; if not, adjust accordingly. I had Neapolitan pizza and it was DELICIOUS.

Post-run, I made myself a chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie with chocolate protein powder. Good stuff.

There you have it. How do you know my methods work? Because I ran SEVENTEEN miles. BAM! Now go forth and smash those long runs! (And if you can only choose one thing, I highly recommend the glittery gold headband.)

What are your long run tips and tricks?

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: 8/16

I was at a conference last Sunday afternoon through Thursday morning, so my schedule was a bit discombobulated – no lunchtime walks and in some cases unfamiliar running territory. I did do a fair amount of power-walking around the conference center, though, which added to my daily count step even if it’s not GPS official. Here’s how all the official stuff went down:

Sunday | ran 14.22 miles on the treadmill in 2:25
Woke up to the exciting realization that I was getting Pat’s cold, but I had 14 miles on the schedule and BY GOD I WAS RUNNING 14 MILES. So I did. And it actually went pretty well, which makes me feel optimistic about my 16 miler next week when I hopefully will not feel my ears when I swallow. But the rule is that if all your symptoms are above your chest, you’re cool, right?

Monday | ran 3.53 miles on the treadmill in 40 minutes
Cold moved away from my throat so I did this run as planned. Sad that this hotel gym did not have flavored water like last year’s.

Tuesday | Conference 5K in National Harbor; 3.1 miles in 33 minutes

Wednesday | rest
I had planned 4-5 miles AND a ballet class, but my cold had progressed to Coughing Mode and I elected to sleep in and chill my night away.

Thursday | ran 5.41 miles on the treadmill in 1:00
I had planned to go to ballet this night too, and technically I COULD have done it – but I was post-conference tired and kind of still in recovery mode so I wimped out. I’ll get back on track next week.

Friday | ran 5.91 miles on the treadmill in 1:05

Saturday | rest

Monday is my 16 miler. Send good thoughts.


Okay. Roundup time!

Fairytales & Fitness gets the most out of the act of running races.
Back At Square Zero knows how to build a comprehensive training plan.
Mouse on the Mind gets her Imagination Pavilion on
– … and so does The Disney Tourist Blog.
Living A Disney Life assembles some purposeful WDW day bags.
Sparkly Ever After takes a VIP WDW tour.
The Disney Hipsters are back with more Last Photos in Epcot.
Disney In Your Day enjoys the best drinks WDW has to offer.

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!