I spent my free time in Florida in what I consider to be an ideal manner, pounding the miles out in the early morning breeze, and spending the sweltering afternoons laying out by the pool. Crowds? Frazzled parents? Screaming kids? Not for me!
I went to Orlando for a journalism conference, but had a day and a half to play after the work was done. I really needed to stretch the legs after I got off the plane Thursday so I ran three miles around the lake. There wasn't any time Friday. I attempted my long run Saturday, but let's just say that the combination of an open bar and big dinner the night before, and a big breakfast that morning yielded an epic failure. I managed one lap around the lake at Coronado Springs.
I moved over to the Hyatt Grand Cypress Saturday because I got a better deal, or at least I thought I did... I'll save that rant for later in the post. Important stuff first, though. The hotel was lovely and the decor was very modern. The best part about the place was... ok I won't kid myself here... the three pools which included designated "quiet areas". I finally got good use out of the swimsuit I got at Filene's Basement at Sawmill a few months ago!
Now for the second best part! At Coronado I went to the concierge and asked where I could get a 3 mile run in. They seemed to think I was nuts, "umm, 3 miles, you could circle the lake three times" (it was a very lovely lake).
But at the Cypress, the bellhop perked up. Jogging trails? Yes, we have those! Just follow the red bricks down to the corner and there will be signs to direct you. We'll have water for you when you get back.
Sure enough, I leave the hotel and come to this sign:
The longest course was five miles so I followed it. It went up a palm-tree lined road, past a lake and through a golf course. I wish I had my camera for some of the signs, I'm kind of regretting not going back!
Down one narrow path: "Joggers only" (Take that, cyclists and walkers)
"Joggers: Look out for errant golf balls"... I didn't get walloped by any bad shots, I didn't even see any golfers out there!
And, my favorite (they look the same everywhere, thanks Google Images!)...
That's a 12 minute mile... yea, right!! I was going at least 6 :)
At about the 3 mile mark it is starting to get very hot out. There was also a clubhouse about halfway through the course with bathrooms and a water fountain with very cold water. I wasn't feeling to great at this point and told myself I could quit after 5.
I think I already sweated off all my sunscreen so by mile 4, because I can feel myself start to burn, especially my back and shoulders. The trail went off the pavement and onto a mulch trail which ran around another lake. My calfs and shins are achy so this was a welcome relief. There was also shade, the rest of the course was lovely but it was all out in the open.
The course takes me back toward the Hyatt. It's amazing what some caffeinated sport beans and one mile in the shade can do! I decided to go for the full 8 (funny story, I misread my training schedule and I really should have just done 7!) But, it's past 9 am now and the sun is blazing. There was the main lake, 1.3 miles around... I could have gone exploring but I didn't want to risk a heat stroke so I just did 2 more laps.
|The lake was about 1 mile around.|
This turned out to be a wonderful run. The path along the lake took me past a sandy beach area, through the pool deck (I got a few looks), through a makeshift Western village that was used for childrens' events, past a gazebo and over a cool bridge. It also went past the tennis courts and clubhouse, also with water so I used that as a makeshift rest station. It was all really wonderful and shady.
Welcome to Florida! These signs were everywhere:
|Actually, I would like to keep my right arm, thanks!|
And I couldn't help but feel a little bit at home, there were completely random and nonsensical sculptures everywhere, just like downtown Newark, Ohio!
At this time of day, all the people were by the pool.
When I return I'm soaked head to toe in sweat. As promised, the bellhop greets me with a bottle of water and points me to the breakfast buffet. At $20 a head, I decided to wait until the pool grill opened at 11, I grabbed a shower and changed back into the swimsuit, and ordered a burger, fries and a frozen adult beverage at 11:01. Then it was pool time til the airport shuttle came!
The Hyatt Grand Cypress was a wonderful hotel, major props to them for the jogging course and the quiet pool areas, but I don't think I'd stay with them again. I expected some higher costs, but they just tacked fee upon fee to everything! Priceline was supposed to include all the fees in what I prepaid, but there was an extra one when I arrived. Then they put a hold on my bank account, but they didn't tell me, and I had to work through three people at the front desk when I called to figure out why I had been overcharged!
This is what irked me most: They had pool towels. When you checked in, you got one card that could be exchanged for one towel. If you didn't exchange the towel back for the card, they'd charge you $15. Really? I'm paying to stay at your wonderful resort, and you put me through all that just so I can't steal your towels. Isn't that an EconoLodge kind of thing?
Ok since I put you through the hotel fees rant I'll spare you the "screaming kids on the plane ride back" rant LOL!
It was fun getting away, but it didn't change my view of Disney as 47 square miles of commercialized hell. I was constantly being marketed to, and it was annoying! As a result, I refused to buy anything with Mickey on it, but I did get a small little Stitch. He's my favorite Disney character!