Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summertime means family vacations - training on vacation

Ahhh July 4th. Bar-b-que's and fireworks.

Here in Miami because it's hot as Hades and humid too. It's too hot for my beloved husband to be outside for more than 2 minutes without complaining. So, no bar-b-que at our house.

But I didn't grow up in Miami so it's hardwired into my little body that there should be fun and outdoor shenanigans on this festive July 4th weekend. Att the last minute I proposed a weekend getaway. We called a lot of places and were quoted a lot of rates (very high rates) for the weekend and finally the bargain hunters in us went for the Bonita Springs Hyatt. Turns out it was a great choice. While there isn't much around Bonita Springs (it's North of Naples and South of Fort Meyers) this is probably my second favorite family vacation we've taken. My first favorite is the South Seas Resort on Captiva.

Keeping up with training while on vacation can be a challenge. For me Saturdays means a long run. the long run for me is a run with the group and it's a key workout as I ramp up in mileage for a marathon. Without the group running to keep you honest it's easy to just take a day off. In fact this is something I have learned to think about when picking a race. In fact twice I have bailed on training for the Miami full marathon because it's in January and you have to train through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah and New Years. I've just learned that it's too much for me to get ready for the full for that so instead I run the half.

Of course, you can miss a group run if you need to and with 18 solid weeks of training there is a good chance that on at least one Saturday you'll be sick or on a plane or whatever. So in my opinion it's best to make sure you get your long runs in because there will probably be one that you can't do that's out of your control.


Since I've got the NY Marathon to train for in November I've realized that it's going to take some solo training to get me there. Luckily after training for the tri's over the last year I've gotten better at solo training. 

For this trip we were gone 4 days over a weekend. So, this is what I did to make sure I didn't derail my training over the weekend.

I did an extra workout before I left. This way I had banked my Sunday workout in advance and could take Sunday off. This way all I had to do while out of town was my long run. I made sure that my husband knew that my plan was to do my nine miles on Saturday morning.

In order to make sure it was an honest 9 miles I went out and upgraded my watch to a GPS enabled watch. To be honest I could have done my training without it but it's better to have a watch that I can count on for the training. Then all I had to do was pass on the bottle of wine with my hubby Friday night (he had forgotten) and then get up early and go out and run. I had forgotten to pack anything for breakfast so I gobbled up 2 graham crackers for breakfast and went out to get my run on.

This is my longest solo run yet so I'm happy that I did it. It was a bit boring but oh well. I am feeling like I am into obsessive marathon training mode. Which is good because you have to be a bit obsessive about training for the marathons to get there in good shape, in my opinion.

If you're curious here's my opinion about why the Bonita Springs Hyatt is such a good getaway destination with kiddos in tow.

My kids have traveled a lot.  So they are pretty good at it. But we've stayed in some places that were great with kids and some that weren't (are you listening club med sandpiper, St. Frances in San Fran?). Admittedly it is easier to travel with my kids now that they don't need to nap, they are out of high chairs and they eat off of menus - sort of)

  1. We got two adjoining rooms and the second room was 1/2 price for the kiddos. That's pretty great. 
  2. Next, they have an awesome water slide in the family pool. There are three pools one is reserved for adults only. One has a waterfall and one has 2 slides. One big and one little. My kids went on the big slide about 1000 times. I went once a day. It is a fun slide.
  3. They have a rock wall for climbing - and it's free. That's pretty great. It's a tough wall - none of us made it up.
  4. They have a s'more pit open every night. You have to either bring or buy the fixins but still this was a big hit with my s'more eaters for nightly entertainment.
  5. There is a beach that you have to take a boat to. We didn't make it there on this trip because we're impatient and the slide was calling but still a free boat ride to a free beach. That's cool too. 
  6. There are kids everywhere and parents everywhere so you don't feel silly carrying your inflatable alligator raft in the elevator or walking to breakfast in your swimsuit.
  7. The staff is very kid friendly. It was a rainy weekend but since the hotel was crawling with kids they ran the slide as long as there wasn't lightning and they didn't have to do that but it made for happy kids and therefore happy parents to be sure.
  8. We were there for my son's birthday and they sent a plate of s'mores to the room with Happy Birthday written in chocolate. They were delicious. He felt like a prince.
  9. When it rained the staff had kid games including art and coconut bowling. 
  10. They had snowcones, hotdogs and burgers poolside. Not free but still snowcones are always great.
  11. They have a breakfast buffet with pancakes (chocolate chip on request), fruit and an omelet station and it was included in our room rate.
  12. Ice cream served in the lobby cafe with kid movies like tangled playing every night.
  13. There is a gratuitous tunnel that you can walk through with a ridiculous coral rock display on the way to the pool. It's silly but still my kids enjoyed going through the tunnel and when they are happy - well, I'm happy.
It was very good.  I had banked one of my workouts during the week so I could relax on Sunday and Monday with the family. So I parked my tooshie on the pool lounge and relaxed watching my kids fling themselves down the slide.

They do have a kids camp also. I don't know anything about it because I didn't put the kids in it. I figure my kids are in camp all week so the point of the family vacation is so we can hang together. But that's just me.

The restaurants at the hotel are not fabulous. In fact we ordered room service one day and the carrots and celery on the side of Jack's grilled cheese were blanched so they were soggy - eeewwww. But directly across the street is a mall with easy convenient food, shopping and even a movie theater. That was handy because it was a rainy weekend so we took the kiddos to two movies (cars2, mr poppers penguins).

Then we drove to Naples to see the fireworks on July 4th. I have to say I think it's one of the best fireworks displays I've seen. It helps that you can get really close and feel them as they boom. My kids were suitably impressed. Dylan kept saying oooh I think this is the finale .... oooh maybe this is the finale. Jack was splashing in the water shrieking with delight. We may have a new family tradition.

In other random tidbits for my weekend vacation. It could be called the bad beer weekend. Now, there isn't much beer that I won't drink. But this weekend we found two. My hubby picked up Torpedo IPA from Sierra Nevada which is super strong IPA and while I like IPA this was too strong. Thumbs down. Then on our last dinner out I ordered a Magic Hat beer that was awful. Turns out it's apricot flavored - blech, really bad. I had to send it back for something else.
too strong - too much IPA flavor something I thought I'd never say.


Also not related but I didn't see one Ironman tattoo all weekend. It felt bizarre. I am so used to seeing them now wherever I go that it really stood out. Of course, that just might mean I'm spending too much time at the running store, biking store and with my training groups but it was interesting to me that I noticed.

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