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Each summer for the past three years, my family has gone to family camp for a week at Lair of the Golden Bear.

Pinecrest Lake

Pinecrest Lake

It is hands-down the best family vacation for the dollar (let’s put it this way: not cheap but worth every penny). The tiny town of Pinecrest, California is nestled in the Sierras in Northern California. At an elevation of 5,700 feet, it’s just a smidge higher than Boulder, Colorado. The air is clear and the oxygen is thin compared to sea level where I live in Southern California. Training at elevation is not easy but it’s oh-so-rewarding (according to Runner’s World there are a lot of Benefits of Altitude Training for Non-Pro Runners). I definitely had to adjust my expectations and run according to time and effort rather than according to mileage (i.e., I ran slower than I’d like but I put in the same effort and ran for the same amount of time as usual).

During that week at camp, I exercised every day:

Running: 3 runs for a total of 20.25 miles
Biking: 2 bike rides for a total of 21.17 miles
Yoga: 2 sessions for 45 minutes each
Kayaking: 1 session for 45 minutes
Horseback riding: 1 session for 45 minutes
Stand-up paddle boarding (LOVE): 1 session for 45 minutes
Strength training: 1 session (on the beach!) for 20 minutes

That means that I packed in 10 hours of exercise for the week and had a ton of fun in the process! I even got to exercise with my husband and kids for several of those activities (my 12-year-old accompanied me to yoga class, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, and my 9-year-old went kayaking and horseback riding with my husband and me).

I went for two trail runs and on the second run around Pinecrest Lake I stopped several times to take photos:

The dirt trail bordering Pinecrest Lake

The dirt trail bordering Pinecrest Lake

Dam, that’s a nice dam!

Pinecrest Lake Dam

(Full disclosure: right after I crossed that bridge and hit the dirt trail again, I literally hit the dirt trail. I did a “Superman” when my trailing foot clipped a rock and I went flying through the air, landing on my right shoulder and right hip. I wasn’t hurt so much as my pride was injured).

I hung in there though and was rewarded when the trail looked like this:

Pinecrest Recreational Trail marker

Pinecrest Recreational Trail marker

Here’s the marker close up:

Love it when a trail requires these markers pounded into the rock face.

Love it when a trail requires these markers pounded into the rock face.

So, the fact that I went on vacation with my family for a week did not mean that I slacked on marathon training. I kept up the training plan and had a great time in the process!

Where’s the most interesting place you’ve exercised in the past few months? Pinecrest is the best but I’m looking forward to a 20th wedding anniversary trip to Napa Valley soon and I expect to get in a run and maybe a bike ride too!

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