St. Pete Beach: the Don

Andrew and I spent last week in Florida at the Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach.  It was our family vacation with Andrew’s grandma, taken every two summers or so these days, and our first repeat (we went four years ago).  It’s a big, beautiful pink Art Deco hotel on the beach with all the amenities.

The best part?  We got UPGRADED to the Penthouse!  (Andrew and I didn’t; we and his parents stayed in rooms on the second floor while his sisters, their spouses, nephew Blake and grandma got the Penthouse.  We’re pretty sure it was because the top floor wasn’t booked and we had such a large party, the hotel offered it so they could sell the suite we’d reserved more easily. Bummer.)

Check out this view:

The Penthouse came with a small kitchen, dining and living rooms, and three separate bedrooms.  Hi Grandma!

We spent most of our time camped out by the pool, taking turns swimming with Blake, who is a little fish!


I had to do a long run–14 miles–the day after we arrived.  I started on the beach and did 7.5 miles (from one end to the other and back), before heading inside for some air conditioning.  Running on a treadmill never felt so good!  My runs that week may not have been my fastest (how do the local runners do it?!), but I was pleased with my performances.  If nothing else, I gained mental toughness in the heat.

I also did some open-water swimming in the ocean (!!) and weight-lifting while I was there.  I really enjoy my workouts on vacation, but wish I had a buddy to do them with.

I’ll leave you with this photo of Andrew, hogging all the noodles to stay afloat:

I tri’d…and WON

I did!  The whole, darn, THING.

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The first of three heats began at 6 am.  I started in the second heat at 6:35 am with a 10-minute swim, in which I was able to finish 26 laps (650 yards).

Then, after a 10-minute break, we began our 30-minute cycle, in which I was able to ride 18.8 miles.  I set the bike at about a 9 or a 10 for resistance and just pedaled as hard as I could at a pace I thought I could withstand.  I couldn’t believe how tired I was after simply swimming for 10 minutes!  The fatigue soon wore off and I was able to go at a brisk, even pace the entire time.

Lastly, after another 10-minute break, we headed upstairs to the treadmills and hopped on for 20 minutes, in which I ran 2.8 miles.  This was the trickiest part for me, as I wasn’t sure how fast to set the treadmill at the beginning. I asked Andrew for advice and he suggested starting all-out, and backing off later if I got tired. I set the treadmill to 7-minute miles and only got faster from there!  Lesson learned:  you really can go faster and harder than you think.

When all three heats were finished–approximately 15 people–they announced the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places for men and women…and not only was I the first-place woman, I happened to accomplish the most distance in all three events!

This was the second annual ‘Tri at the Y’ held at the Southtowns YMCA. I didn’t compete last year–must have been out of town–but I definitely think this is something I would do in the future.  Speaking of the future…perhaps I should take up triathlons!