In Which Jenn Mourns the Osborne Lights

I know – everyone’s doing it. But how can you not?

Last November, I did not set foot in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Not once. Why bother? Rock ‘n Roller Coaster was done, I had no companion goading me into Tower of Terror, and the Great Movie Ride and Star Tours, while fun, are hardly enough to lure me alone.

I would’ve made the time if the Osborne Lights were still around.

I have so many wonderful memories of sharing a drink with Katherine while we danced among the lights. Of running through the Streets of America during the Wine & Dine Half in 2014 and 2015. Of saying to Elizabeth, “One more song. One more song.” repeatedly as I gazed at the spectacle for what I knew would be the last time.

I knew I would miss the lights. I didn’t know I would miss them this much.

In memoriam:

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: 12/24

JENN: Merry Christmas Eve! And on that note: injury update! You first. How’s the hip?

MOON: I think it’s safe to say I’m good to go. I’ve run 3-4 times this week? I guess I won’t know if it’s completely good until I do a looooong run, but I figure it will take me enough time to build back up that it’ll probably be fine by that point anyway.

JENN: Hey, if there’s no pain so far, you’re in good shape!

MOON: What about you?

JENN: Good, but also bad. The bad news is that I’ve decided to take the whole week off if an effort to heal my Achilles fully and completely. :/ This is bad because I hate not exercising and I have a marathon in less than a month, so the timing is not ideal.

The good news is that so far it seems to be working. As long as I stick to my guns and DO NOT give in to the temptation to run again prematurely, I think I’ll be a-okay.

MOON: It sounds like a good plan!

JENN: I’ll do some short runs after Christmas, and then some gentle medium runs the week after, and then WDW MARATHON TIME!

MOON: :D!

JENN: My finest thirtieth birthday present to myself.

MOON: It is definitely a well-suited gift.

JENN: Also well-suited? The roundup:

Darlin’ Rae ponders the reality of run streaking.
Pink Elephant on Parade has tips on cramming all your Dopey needs into a single carryon.
Mom’s Magical Miles discovers the joys of Tom Sawyer Island. (Which is more than can be said for me. I’ll try again someday…)
The Main Street Gazette soaks in the holiday ambiance at Disney Springs.
Walt Disney World for grownups offers some legit cute ways to propose at WDW.
The Disney Tourist blog is offering a free Disney Christmas e-book.
The Affordable Mouse points out some things that Disneyland has that WDW doesn’t.
Mouse on the Mind, and On the Go in MCO offer a retrospective of our nearly departed Osborne Lights.

Speaking of which: I want to end this post with a smattering of photos of the Osborne Lights. Farewell, dear friends. It was my pleasure to view you – and even run through you – on multiple wonderful occasions. Here’s hoping you reappear elsewhere on property.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

P.S. Don’t forget my birthday is the day after Christmas. >.>

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: 11/08

It’s time for another trip report! Yay! I LOVE trip reports! This time around we’re covering the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Quarter Marathon trip. I’ll be including reviews of my Food & Wine Festival purchases within the trip report itself, but restaurant reviews will be in their own separate posts. Commentary from Elizabeth provided in red. Click here to read all the posts in this report. Onward!

After our late night night, the plan for the morning after the after party was to sleep in. That plan was almost interrupted by housekeeping at 8:45am; I literally rolled out of bed, snuck the “do not disturb” sign onto the door handle behind the housekeeper’s back, and returned to slumber. Crisis averted.

ELIZABETH: My brain, of course, decided that I needed to wake up every 20 minutes or so from about 8am on, because apparently that is my punishment for forcing it to stay up til the wee hours. At least the curtains in our window blocked the vast majority of the light.

We got up for real around 10:15am, and I ate some leftover race snacks while Elizabeth showered. We dressed, ran out the door, and caught a bus to the Animal Kingdom.

Having not had the luxury of post-race snacks, Elizabeth needed sustenance, so we stopped by Flame Tree Barbecue for ribs. They came with cornbread and beans and she let me try whatever. I found the ribs to be acceptable but the cornbread was really good, enhanced with cheese and jalapenos. Nice.

ELIZABETH: I was so hungry, everything tasted amazing. My only complaint is that Disney generally provides portions that are a bit too large for little old me to completely finish, and we were surrounded by some very hopeful ducks who would be HAPPY to help us, but of course you’re not supposed to feed them. Sigh. 

From there we booked it to the noon showing of the Finding Nemo musical. I enjoy it – “Go With the Flow” is an especially great song, obviously – and the puppets are amazingly well done (MR. RAY!) but it definitely can’t match my incredible love for Festival of the Lion King. There’s a little part of me that wishes we just saw FotLK twice.

ELIZABETH: While I think they did an excellent job trimming down the story to fit within the (I think 40-minute?) time frame, I’m a little sad that they cut out the part with the whale-speak. “COME BAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!”

After the show we were in the neighborhood, so why not check out the Expedition Everest single rider line? I think it posted a wait of something like 10 minutes, but we were on a train in less time than that. “Is this your first time on the ride?” the girl next to me asked. HA!

Also in the area: Maharajah Jungle Trek. Time for some tiger-spotting!

ELIZABETH: We got a surprisingly good view of them, too, considering that it was the hottest part of the day. Tigers are awesome. 🙂

Post Trek we backtracked to Dinosaur. The wait was posted at 30 minutes but it was actually more like 10. We did some pretty solid work with the photo op, I think.

A quick pit stop for frozen bananas and we were heading out of the park and over to the Studios. You know that sinking feeling you get when you’re watching the bus you want pulling away? I hate that feeling. But we were in luck; the traditional sideways logic of the bus schedule sent us another one in short order.

ELIZABETH: Can anyone eat frozen bananas without thinking of Arrested Development anymore? I know I can’t.

*insert inappropriate giggles here*

We had a fair amount of time to kill before our first FP+ slot opened up, so we wandered over to Star Tours. The wait was posted at 30 minutes, but it wound up being maybe half of that. We got Storm Troopers, pod racers, Admiral Akbar, and the Death Star. I was NOT the rebel spy this time. I guess it’s a transitional title.

It was then time for our Rock ‘n Roller Coaster FP+, and we were glad to have it – the posted wait if I remember correctly was at least 90 minutes if not longer. As we passed into the “recording studio” waiting area, we had an amusing conversation with the CMs about their autopilot spiels. “Go ahead and scan your band. I’m going to forget you did and ask you to do it again in like two minutes; make sure you tell me no.” Forget the first song we got, but the ride ended with “Love in an Elevator” and that made me happy. LIVING IT UP AS YOU’RE GOING DOW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OWWWWWWN

Then it was time for our Tower of Terror FP+, a reservation I had made for Elizabeth because I love her but ACK ToT ACK ACK. I dunno, though; all the times Pat made me ride it in January must have desensitized me to a degree. I was still apprehensive but much more resigned than anxious. I attempted to maintain absolute stone face for the picture but was lucky to get it as I kept involuntarily laughing during the ride itself. Okay, ToT, you win this round. WE’LL SEE HOW I FEEL NEXT TIME.

Multiple attempts were then made to find a bar for a drink, but Tune-In was packed. Instead we wandered through a couple gift shops before using our final FP+, good for another ride on Star Tours. This time around we got the Storm Troopers to start again, but everything else was new: Wookie planet (yessss), Leia, and Boba Fett to finish it out.

ELIZABETH: I just want to take a moment to gripe about how I seem to be getting more sensitive to 3D motion-simulation rides as I get older. Most rides don’t bother my AT ALL (see: roller coasters), but recent years, I find myself getting a headache after Star Tours-type rides, and then I have to take it easy or risk feeling extremely ill.  Curse you, biology!! (End rant)

Backing up to the hub, we were frowning studiously at the 40 minute posted wait time for the Great Movie Ride when a familiar figure called out to us: it was Kim! We talked to her a bit about her experiences during the race and other topics, during which it was revealed that Kim, your husband is HILARIOUS. After swapping a couple stories they headed off to the Indy Stunt Show while Elizabeth and I considered our next move.

Plans to see Beauty and the Beast were thwarted by a capacity crowd (has it always been that popular?). Instead, we picked up a Fantasmic FP+ and then put our names down for a table in the Brown Derby Lounge. More on this in a separate review, but let it be known it was a very enjoyable experience.

After that I was not quite sated, for I had been unable all day to kick my craving for a carrot cake cookie for the Writer’s Stop, a delicious, frosting-filled item I had not had in YEARS. This trip, I succumbed – the CMs let me slip through the Osborne Lights blockage just to grab my treat. It was huge and sugary and terrible and wonderful and I regret nothing. ALL THE FROSTING ALL THE TIME!

ELIZABETH: And I got to have some of it, wheee!

We caught the 7pm showing of Fantasmic next – and here I must admit to being annoyed. We were admittedly at the end of the time slot for return, but we still made it. How is it that pretty much the entire stadium was already filled up? Oh, sure, there was room at the far end, but I knew how that ended after the show: in a crush of humanity, all of whom walk at quarter speed. FP+ for shows, why do you even exist?

The bleachers had a nice view if not a close one, happily, so we just settled there. The rather loud family next to us was a trifle annoying, but eventually they settled down and we were able to enjoy the show. Being as we were already up top, we were also able to book most of the way out of the stadium before getting caught up in the crowds. Altogether a primarily successful venture.

ELIZABETH: I also find Fantasmic one of the more interesting light shows to watch, since it has more of the story line than the others. Just once, I want Mickey’s power of imagination to NOT BE ENOUGH, though…

And then it was time: time for my final turn through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. I had thought that by timing it after the first Fantasmic, the larger portion of people would be heading out of the park and we’d have space, but I was wrong – it was v. crowded. Also not as many bars and things as last year? But still beautiful and wonderful and I’m going to miss it SO MUCH.

We danced around and sang to the light show, including my favorite, a rendition of “What’s This?” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Eventually, though, it was time to let go. “One more song,” I kept saying to Elizabeth, and eventually I meant it. I left the lights behind with a heavy heart.

On the way out the Great Movie Ride listed a 30 minute wait, but as I was curious to see the TCM changes we decided to take a chance on it. We did get in a bit earlier, as they had room for two groups of two – but something when the CM pulled us forward, Elizabeth missed it? I got to the loading station and turned around and she was gone. Happy ending: the CM went back in and grabbed her and we were reunited thusly. In the front row, no less!

ELIZABETH: Hey, I was watching Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall on the preview screen. You try and pay attention to anything else at the same time!

The current changes are pretty minimal, but I like were it’s heading. A lot of the live narration has been replaced by a canned Robert Osborne track, and while some might find this to be a downgrade I think it makes sense; after all, we know he knows what he’s talking about. There were also new clips in the final clip show, and I think they may have spruced things up a bit? Let’s take it further, guys: new scenes, please! P.S. We got the gangster. 🙁

After that we headed out of the park and caught the bus to Pop. Once back in our room I readied my running clothes for a morning run before typing up my notes and uploading pictures and such. Elizabeth found Mulan on ABC Family and we watched that glorious, glorious movie for a bit before drifting off to sleep.

Up next: the last day. :/

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: 11/10/14

It’s time for another trip report! Yay! As I have in the past, I’ll be saving our ADRs for a final food review post, but I’ve decided to sprinkle all the Food & Wine Festival stuff into the report itself. You can see all the entries in this report here. Okay, onward! 

Our last full day at Walt Disney World was a Studios day, and as Estelle and I were the first people ready in the morning, we took off for the park… OR SO WE THOUGHT.

Follow the bouncing bus:

  1. We walked to the Art of Animation bus stop and found a seriously INSANE line for the Studios. We figured this had to be a freak thing, 
  2. so we walked over to Pop Century’s bus station, where the line was even CRAZIER. I decided to get all clever and led us onto a Downtown Disney bus with the idea that we could then pick up an Epcot area resort bus and use the path to the Studios from the Boardwalk. 
  3. Upon arrival at DTD, we hopped in the Epcot resort bus queue, only to be informed by a cast member that if we got on this other bus over here, it would take us to the Studios.
  4. But not before it took us to Port Orleans Riverside AND French Quarter.
  5. The end result being that we FINALLY arrived at the Studios, oh, an hour or so later.

Oh, WDW transportation. Always an adventure with you!

Our first thought upon arrival was breakfast, so we got in line at Starring Rolls. Estelle found a danish that would do nicely, but what I really wanted was a breakfast sandwich, something Starring Rolls mysteriously lacked. I knew from reading Eating WDW that Fairfax Fare has an egg sandwich, so I cruelly abandoned Estelle in line and ran over there.

But not fast enough. I slid into the stanchions with the Fairfax Fare breakfast menu still in view. But as I came to the front of the line, a guy switched out all the menus for the lunch specialty hot dog offerings. I checked my watch – 10:31AM. Breakfast ended at 10:30AM but surely they weren’t hard and fast on that rule, were they?

They were. I asked for an egg sandwich and was cruelly denied. Maybe I could’ve argued my way into it, but instead I beat a retreat to the Sunset Ranch Market produce stand and sulked my way through a bag of Craisins trail mix and a bottle of water. Seriously, Disney, won’t you spare a thought for brinner?

Estelle met me at the tables in the back but was still working through her coffee and danish; she sent me on ahead and I jumped into the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster single rider line. It took about 40 minutes to make it into my super-stretch limo, but considering the standby line read 90 minutes I counted myself lucky.

Post “Sweet Emotion” I located Nicole and Erica, who were meandering about Sunset Boulevard while Katherine and DeJanea went through the Tower of Terror standby line (YES KATHERINE I WILL RIDE THIS WITH YOU IN JANUARY BUT I WANT THAT ICE CREAM). The latter still had awhile to wait, so the former and I met up with Estelle in the Muppets courtyard and took in MuppetVision 3D before heading to lunch.*

DeJanea and Katherine escaped the Tower of Terror with their lives, and we met them at the Sci-Fi Dine-In for our lunch ADR. More on this in a later post!

Somewhere in there we also visited Wandering Oaken’s, where long lines of children waiting to play in the snowground. To them I say: silly children. Drive north a few hours and see what winter is like for REAL.

After lunch we formed splinter groups, with Estelle headed off to the Yacht Club; Katherine, Nicole, and I bound for Epcot; and DeJanea and Erica staying the Studios. On our way out, Katherine, Nicole, and I randomly passed the Great Movie Ride and jumped in the (long, actual existing, since when is there an outdoor portion of the queue, what the heck?) line. Coincidentally enough, we encountered DeJanea and Erica in that very line, and we were able to enjoy a thorough hijacking by Mugsi in the world of movies.

Then it was time for Epcot really. Katherine, Nicole, and I picked up a Friendship boat that was just docking, with Nicole debarking at the Boardwalk while Katherine and I continued on to the Yacht Club. We made a brief pit stop in the Yacht Club lobby to see the sights and smell the smells before walking to the International Gateway for the final day of the Food & Wine Festival.

Our first stop was the Scotland booth which was offering 12-year-old Glenfiddich scotch. I don’t actually like scotch, but I understand old alcohol is better alcohol and I figured when will I get this shot again? So I decided I would order to Loch Lomond cocktail, which contained said aged scotch. While we were in line I overheard someone mentioning they had purchased it earlier and hated it, but I was undeterred. I was taking the high road and getting to Scotland afore ye if it killed me (COME BACK OFF KILTER).

Well. It didn’t kill me. It didn’t even maim me. But it was kinda gross – like thin mead with a weird aftertaste. I downed a little over half of it before giving up and chucking the rest in the trash. Meanwhile Katherine ate meat from Australia and fared much better than I did. Moral: don’t drink scotch cocktails. Do eat meat.

Hey, remember that tiger hat I modeled at the Animal Kingdom? Well, it was a completely impractical and frivolous purchase that I totally regretted not making and had lamented much in the chilly day previous. Jokingly I mentioned that the African Outpost might have it – and as we passed by I saw that they DID. Naturally I bolted over and used my Wine & Dine gift card on it. Money well spent as per usual.

My mission accomplished, we moved on to additional foodstuffs. Katherine bought more meat from Patagonia, and I stopped at Mexico (where the cast member complimented me on my tiger hat) for the sweet corn cheesecake. Verdict? My second favorite thing after the pao de queijo. It was really more analogous to a corn pudding than a cheesecake; in fact, I didn’t detect much cheesecake texture at all. But if you enjoy sweet corn, you would very much like this.

Our next stop was in the Germany gift shop to look for Haribo shark gummies, but alas, they didn’t have any. They did have dinosaurs, which was almost as good, but my heart was so set on the sharks that I just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm. I considered buying a delicious grapefruit beer to drown my sorrows, but I wasn’t quite done with my Food & Wine purchases so I refrained.

Katherine and I had been experiencing Acute Phone Battery Drainage all day. The cure? Time spent in the Chase Lounge, accessed via exclusive elevator with the help of our matching Disney Visas. We availed ourselves of the Coke Freestyle machines (raspberry Coke is weird, guys) before settling on the floor in a corner by an outlet and watching the provided cartoons while we charged up.

Then it was time for one last stop – Brazil again, where I convinced Katherine to get some pao de queijo and a cocada. I bought myself more pao de queijo, too, and it was just as good as the first time.

Pao de queijo round 2 + moscato!

We located Estelle in France during snack time, and once everything was consumed it was time to head back to the Studios for our Fantasmic FastPasses. We passed Nicole on the way, fresh from an encounter with Alice, but she demurred joining us so we carried on without her. From there we took the path between Epcot and the Studios and power-walked past the Boardwalk, into the Studios, and directly to the Fantasmic amphitheater.

Well, not DIRECTLY – we had to hop in a massive FastPass line first. I’m confused about the precise value of the Fantasmic FastPass. My mom and I used it last December, and at that time I thought that standby line was held until the FastPass window had closed. This time around it looked like the standby line was being let in before the 7:45PM FastPass cutoff; when we entered the amphitheater, it was already largely full. Indeed, it was one of the most packed showings I’ve ever seen. We were way over on the other side of the stands from the entrance.

The show was great as usual, and we were close enough to the top that it wasn’t too painful escaping back into the park. Extra Magic Hours were in place, and we scurried over to the Osborne Lights to make the most of them. The lights were beautiful and the snow was a wonderful touch, but my favorite part was when the lights danced to “What’s This?” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Festive!

I felt like I hadn’t shared anything with my Sharing Buddy Katherine in forever, so when I spotted a temp bar with specialty drinks, I coerced her into going in on a Winter Berry Margarita with me. It was wonderfully tart and tasty, but more importantly it had a glow cube. And that says CHRISTMAS, no?

We whiled away an hour or so dancing around to carols, taking pictures, and generally being silly, but as park close grew near we couldn’t shake the urge to ride one more ride. The eventual consensus was to walk over to Pixar Place and see if the Toy Story Midway Mania line was manageable. And it was in this way that I rode Midway Mania for the first time sans FastPass. Astonishing! Also: I had the highest score in my car. I don’t have any point to attach to that; I’m just bragging.

By the time we exited the ride the park was closed, and we were forced to make the sad march to the bus stop. The bus took foreeeeeever to show up, but we were finally deposited back at Art of Animation, where we made a quick stop in Landscape of Flavors for snacks. I debated buying some gummy bears, but Katherine promised me some Haribo gummy cherries and I no longer needed to make a purchase.

There was nothing left to do but pack. Sigh. I drank my leftover beer from the race and ate Katherine’s donated cherries while I packed up, then showered and went to bed. Which I just mistyped as “bad” because the next day we would go home. And that’s bad.

Tomorrow: the final day.

* WILL YOU STOP THIS FOOLISHNESS?**
** What foolishness would you like to see?

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: Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap

It’s time for another trip report! Yay! As I have in the past, I’ll be saving our ADRs for a final food review post, but I’ve decided to sprinkle all the Food & Wine Festival stuff into the report itself. You can see all the entries in this report here. Okay, onward! 

Hit it, Gene!

Minus the Volkswagen connection, this should give you a pretty solid idea of what the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon was like. In a word: wet.

Not that we were entirely without warning. The weather forecast kept flip-flopping in the days leading up to the race. For a long while there it looked like we would dodge the aquatic bullet. But, alas, it was not to be.

Backing up: after prepping myself for the race in our suite, not forgetting to don several bajillion wrist accouterments, Nicole, Katherine and I left the safe haven of Art of Animation for the bus line at Pop Century. The line was predictably long but there was a decent bus arrival rate and we had plenty of time. We collected Kellie on the way to the bus, thus completing her and Nicole’s extremely impressive coordinating Genie and Iago costumes.

Pop is pretty darned close to ESPN Wide World of Sports, so the buses deposited us at the starting area almost obscenely early. We bypassed the lengthy lines to take a photo with a cardboard cut out of a champagne glass, instead meeting up with Kimberley, checking our bags, and wandering into the runners-only area and the water station.

Before we got rolling I decided it would be wise to hit the port-a-potties, so I hopped into one of many, many loooong lines. At some point I became aware that Danielle from Live, Run, Grow was behind me, but I didn’t want to be all weird and just whip around and announce “I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!” so I kept my mouth shut… until such time as I overheard her mentioning that she was looking for a Kellie who she had last seen at the NYC Marathon. So I whipped around and announced “I KNOW WHERE KELLIE IS!!!!” which is almost as bad but I had information to impart!

Anyway, Danielle (who was hanging with a Jenn who isn’t me) took it all in stride, and post bathroom break our groups converged for the long walk to the corrals. Katherine and I ducked into the D corral just about as the rain was starting to make its presence known. Thank goodness I had brought that hat.

There wasn’t much to do except kinda randomly futz around and lament over the weather until the corrals started moving forward. We shed our outer layers, high fived or something similarly affirmative (I don’t remember; did we yell Steve Holt?), and we were off!

Or anyway Katherine was off – like a SHOT. I stuck with her for a bit but when she stepped on the gas about half a mile in I mentally wished her Godspeed and decided to stick with my current, slower pace. I didn’t want to spend my post-marathon energy too quickly and make myself miserable later.

From here on my half was a solo act, but I really didn’t mind at all. I had my music playing and I was at Walt Disney World and rain or no I was happy. I settled into a slow but steady rhythm and zoned out, although I did spare a thought for the poor Main Street Electric Parade character photo ops who were getting rained on.

Entering Animal Kingdom sure caught my attention, though! I saw Rafiki under the bag check area with pretty much no line, and kind of regret not stopping for a pic, but as he himself would say: What does it matter? It’s in the past! I was too distracted by the glowing red fangs that marked the park’s entrance.

Running through a park was as awesome as ever – a truly galvanizing experience. Gushing bathwater of the sky notwithstanding, I all but skipped my way past the Tree of Life and Expedition Everest, mouthing music lyrics and occasionally punching the air for emphasis because I am a dork.

I ran out of DAK and under a parking fee booth – where some FESTIVAL OF THE LION KING dancers were hanging out for photos! And being completely ignored. I very nearly caused an accident veering over to them, but caught myself, politely sidled off the course, and came up behind them, probably scaring them half to death. I was about to orchestrate a selfie photo when a Cast Member popped up to take the picture for me.

Naturally this whole time I was gushing like a crazy person about how much I love their show, punctuating it with a final “You’re the best ever!” As I ran away I heard the cheetah girl yell back, “No, YOU’RE the best ever! Thanks for stopping!” And of course with this exhilarating event to propel me I knocked out my fastest mile of the race.

From there it actually got – dare I say it – a little boring. It felt like it took FOREVER to run the roads between DAK and the Studios. A lot of characters weren’t coming out because of the rain, and the running conditions were getting a little questionable, too. I never had any close calls, but I discovered it was wise not to step on the slippery paint jobs on the asphalt. That and with the darkness and the reflection of the rain I needed to concentrate if I didn’t want to lose depth perception. (Actual momentary thought: OH MY GOD WHERE EXACTLY IS THE GROUND???)

After what I can only assume constituted approximately fifteen years’ worth of running, we made it into the Studios – where I got teased like all get out. I caught a glimpse of the Osborne Lights and I was all “SQUEE! It’s happening!” And then the course turned me AWAY. I was a little mollified, though, when I discovered that we were now running through the workshops tunnel from the dearly departed Studio Backlot Tour (complete with disco ball, for some reason). The lights for the costume shop and everything were on, and it occurred to me that this might be the last time I ever saw them, so I drank it in.

Finally, finally, FINALLY I came upon the Osborne Lights, where I got my photo taken but it didn’t turn out that great. I’m surprised they didn’t have a ton of official race photographers staking out the area. I was also surprised by how quickly I ran through it, but it was still a magical experience.

Shortly after that the course snaked out of the Studios and I had a disheartening experience: I observed that we were going to run to Epcot via the Studios-Boardwalk-Epcot walkway, which meant I knew EXACTLY how far I still had left to go. Which, with my post-marathon legs and the by that point getting ridiculous rain, I had very little interest in doing. Running while essentially taking a two-hour-long shower is a novelty that wears off pretty quickly.

But there was nothing to be done but continue to put one foot (carefully and firmly) in front of the other and press forward. The no-joke rain and chill had driven most spectators off the course, but the Boardwalk resort area path pulled a few people from their rooms to cheer which boosted morale a bit. A couple of smart and prepared people had even erected a tent for the purpose. And of course the Boardwalk lights were beautiful as always.

We crossed the bridge and entered Epcot via the International Gateway – almost there! Indeed, even more almost-there than I expected; by my recollection barely any of the course made its way through Epcot. We pretty much went straight into Future World, past Spaceship Earth (where was the gospel choir, b t dubs?), and then hit the finish.

Speaking of the finish, I saw as I approached that the clock read 2:29 and change. Not that clock time really mattered, but I liked the idea of coming in under 2:30, so I powered forward and finished at 2:29:58, with a net time of 2:20:25. Not a PR by any stretch, but not bad under the circumstances.

I pressed through the finish area, collecting my space blanket (never more judiciously deployed) and a random Yeungling that I told the guy not to open; I just chucked it in my bag. I got my regular medal, got my Coast to Coast medal, got my food box and PowerAde, got my checked bag, and headed into the changing tent.

Which was a MAD SCENE. There was no organization and no privacy, and spacing was a total free-for-all. Hey, at least it was heated! I put my stuff down on my space blanket and shuffled things around for easier carrying. I was wildly pleased with myself for having the foresight to pack a complete change of clothes, but the changing tent was so crazy I just swapped out my shirt and sweatshirt and headed back out into the cold.

Next stop: the after party! Because no way was I missing the after party no matter how discouraging the weather might be. But this post has gone on long enough, so we’ll get to that tomorrow. See you then!

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!