In Which Jenn Recaps The Rock ‘n Roll Marathon DC

Hey, remember that time I told you how to have the best shower of your life? Well, I lied. The actual way to have the best shower ever is to run the 2017 Rock ‘n Roll Marathon DC, then turn your shower on as hot as it can go and stay there for the rest of your life. You’re welcome.

The Rock ‘n Roll DC Marathon was cold. (“How cold was it?”) It was so cold I shivered starting 5 minutes after I stopped running and didn’t stop shivering until I got into that aforementioned shower.

But I digress. Let’s start from the beginning.

Things weren’t so bad when I got up at 4:30am. I put on my five layers plus pajama pants and an old MCM jacket (yes, that brings my total top layers to six), picked up an Uber, and got to the start a little over an hour ahead of the 7am start time. Temperatures were in the low 20s but without any wind it was quite tolerable under my million layers of shirts, gloves, and headgear. I can tell you, however, that my Swedish Fish FROZE. I sucked to pliability about two-thirds of the pack and then gave up.

I don’t know if things were more regimented for the half (which had an expected 22,000 participants according to the race announcers), but for us measly 4,000 marathoners the entire process was quite simple compared to runDisney or the Marine Corps Marathon. There was no bag search or anything, and I didn’t see anyone checking bibs as you entered the corrals. Indeed, when we started the race, we just kinda moved forward; there was no formal corral send-off. Honestly, we could’ve self-seeded.

The bands along the course all had tents and were spread out over, I don’t know, say every two miles? Some were quite impressive, some so-so, as you might imagine. Their presence did help me run the first 18 miles with no music, which was great for my battery life. Major kudos to them for, as far as I could tell, all showing up; I doubt the tents were heated.

I started out feeling… okay. Pat and I have been trading colds back and forth for the last couple weeks and annoyingly, I was starting to get the most recent one, but I took a throat-numbing lozenge and that kept true hell at bay. My first couple miles were reasonably strong, and about 45 minutes in I even stopped to take off my top layer.

Much is made of this race being the only marathon that keeps itself confined entirely within DC. Well, I found said course largely boring. It was a lot of backstreets and what have you. Spectator support was all right, given the circumstances; I’m sure a lot of people chose to skip in favor of not dying of exposure. Those that did come out were great, though – one group was giving out champagne, beer, AND whiskey (I regret not stopping for a shot of whiskey). My own personal hero was a man distributing tissues.

Before the race even started I overheard a veteran of the race talking about hills. Namely, there were three big ones to content with, at mile 6, 22(!), and 23(!!!). The mile 6 hill was steep but not too bad, being early enough in the race that I did not yet want to die, and was assisted by the lining of flag-bearing Wear Blue to Remember volunteers. 22 and 23, however, as you might imagine, were a nightmare.

But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Up until I want to say mile 15 things were pretty all right. That’s when the wind start kicking up. Gently enough at first that it didn’t cause overmuch trouble, but with increasing viciousness as the course progressed. And somehow it was NEVER a tailwind. Luckily I never got hit with a hard headwind either, but getting sideswiped on the regular wasn’t exactly thrilling.

I got hit around mile 17 with the beginnings of that pelvic twinge I sometimes experience. This was much earlier in the race than usual, so I did some panicked problem-solving and ultimately ended up figuring out a solution for the issue entirely! Turns out when I’m tired I tend to slump a bit, with a slight emphasis on my left side. By concentrating on pulling my core up and rolling my shoulders back, I was able to mostly eliminate the issue. Thank God.

I was tired, though. I think the beginnings of a head cold sapped my energy, plus of course the low temperatures and wind. Naturally that’s when the hills showed up. I wound up walking more of them than I would like, but I had reached the point in the race where I no longer cared about anything except not actively dying.

As much as the second half of the race frankly sucked, here’s the good thing: I DID manage to meet my goal of shaving some time off my PR! I came in at 4:58:03, a full 97 seconds faster than my fastest time. I might’ve been ever quicker if not getting confused about where the finish was; I stopped to walk too soon and turned off my GPS prematurely. But no matter. I did it!

Also good: given that circumstances were against me and I got hit with those two big hills at the end, this tells me I have more to give. There are more PRs in my future if I can just line it up.

As far as the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon DC is concerned – I was underwhelmed. The course was kinda boring (and who thinks big hills at mile 22 & 23 are okay?!), I didn’t like the on-course fuel, there were no snack boxes at the end (just scattered individual snacks), and March weather is just too capricious to put your trust in. I think this one is probably a one and done for me. I’m not sorry I did it but I don’t feel a particular pull to return. The Marine Corps Marathon is way better.

At least I can be proud of this: I showed up. Based on final totals, it looks like almost half those registered for the marathon didn’t!

I do want to thank all the amazing volunteers, band members, and spectators who stood out in the cold to cheer us on, hydrate us, and keep us from collapsing in a defeated heap. I can only imagine how close to frostbite you were without running to warm you up! Know it was very much appreciated.

Next race on the docket as of now: the Dark Side Half! Yay!!

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 Rebels Against The Status Quo

There is a thing.

There is a thing highly recommend to runners, especially after a race or hard workout.

It’s a thing you could even say is considered practically mandatory.

Well, I WILL NOT DO IT. NOT NOW, NOT EVER.

What is this thing that I cannot accept?

It is the cold shower. CAN’T. WON’T. HOT SHOWERS OR DEATH. MUSCLES, SUCK IT UP AND TAKE IT.

Thank you, that is all.

P.S. Ice bath? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.

Can you stomach a cold shower? How about a tepid-to-warmish one? How does it not make you want to cry? I’m asking.

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 Giveaway Of All: Soapbox Soaps Shower Products

Whew! It’s been quite a weekend here at FRoA headquarters. My interns* and I have been snowed in since Friday. Today I am finally free of my cold wet confines, which is a cause for celebration, yes? I give you: giveaway week, so named because I have TWO giveaways for you.

* Cats. They’re my cats.

We’ll start with the one I teased way back when: Soapbox Soaps. I received their coconut conditioner in an Influenster Vox Box last month I fell completely in love with the product. I have tricky hair – it’s VERY long, but it’s fine, but it’s also frizzy, but it’s REALLY wavy. The shea butter-infused shampoo and conditioner soften even my really-need-a-trim ends, smoothes, and shines. All for, like, $6, and you can get it at Target or the drugstore or whatever. Awesome.

Awesome indeed, if that were all. Here’s what earned my customer loyalty: not only does Soapbox run clean drinking water programs around the world, and not only does Soapbox give out bars of soap to those in need, these products are 100% CRUELTY FREE.

This is so important to me. I’ve been trying to phase out all my animal-tested products. It’s tougher to do than I would’ve imagined, but I’m dedicated to finding a swap for all my beauty and hygiene products even if it takes awhile. If you want to argue the necessity of animals in medical testing, okay; there’s a shade of gray there, always provided of course that experiments are conducted as humanely as possible.

For beauty products, though? We don’t NEED those. We don’t NEED to slap shadow on our eyes and lipstick on our lips. We don’t NEED specially formulated shampoos with ingredients that could apparently mess us up hence the testing. There is NO REASON to test beauty products on animals, ever, and that is why Soapbox is now my new go-to for shower products.

Want to make your own animal-friendly switch? You’re in luck – Soapbox Soaps has generously agreed to give one lucky reader a bottle each of their shampoo, conditioner, AND body wash in Pomegranate and Acai. To enter, simply comment on this blog post. (Bonus points if you list your favorite cruelty-free company!) You’ve got one week to enter, so get cracking! (To be clear: deadline is midnight Tuesday.)

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 Tells You How To Have The Best Shower Ever

You want to have the finest shower of your ENTIRE LIFE? It’s really very easy. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go for a 10 mile run outside in the early morning when it’s theoretically cooler but actually it’s 77 degrees out and the air is heavy with the humidity of the rain that will occur later in the day. If any part of your outfit isn’t soaked by the halfway point, you’re doing it wrong.
  2. Take a normal shower.

You, inside.

(Okay, fine. You want a real shower treat, ladies? Mix some turbinado sugar with coconut oil, scrub your legs with it, and THEN shave. Smooth!)

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

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

In Which Jenn & Moon Hit the Post-Workout Showers

JENN: A few weeks ago I was nearing the end of a run and was motivating myself by promising I could use my expensive facial cleansers when I showered afterward. And then I realized, hey, that could be a post!

So, Moon, do you have any Shower Rewards?

MOON: I have a great facial mask I like to use. It’s the Clear Improvement mask by Origins. I do that right before I shower and it feels very refreshing to my skin.

JENN: Moon is the one who turned me on to Origins products, which are delightful to use. They are less delightfully priced, however; hence the “treat” aspect. I tend to use them only after a good run. I have the Checks and Balances cleanser and the Modern Friction exfoliator, although that one can be kind of intense so I don’t always use it.

MOON: Modern Friction is amazing. I have had the same bottle since April. I don’t use it very often!

Rock star. That is to say, awesome yet kind of abrasive.

JENN: It definitely is amazing! I just keep it to twice a week so I don’t irritate my skin. When I do use it, my face is smooooooooth. I also have a charcoal exfoliator I got in my ipsy bag that’s much gentler, so I use that on other days – Michael Todd’s jojoba and charcoal facial scrub.

Mostly I’m just frickin’ thrilled to have made it to the shower. The post-workout shower may be the best part of the whole business.

MOON:
Have you ever been too hot to shower?

JENN: Psh, of course not. You’re talking to a girl who was fine and dandy in Orlando in August.

MOON: Ah, riiiiight! Well, I usually have to wait a half hour or so before I can get in the shower. It is better than getting out of the shower still sweating. I was just curious if anyone else experienced that…

JENN: We’ll have to poll the audience!

Well? Does anyone else need to wait to shower? What’s your post-workout shower ritual? Do you treat yourself with any products?

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.com. See ya real soon!