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Penguin Journal

Dateline: Lake Tahoe, CA

July 17, 2000

What a week!! Karen and I just returned from eight days at the Jeff Galloway Fitness Vacation at Squaw Valley. This was my third year in attendance, Karen's second.

The format of the camp is pretty simple: get in as much running and hiking and eating as you can stand. With the ascent of Pike's Peak only a month away, we had a training agenda in addition to the opportunity for fellowship with Jeff and his family and the rest of the campers.

The Olympic Village lodge where the group stayed is at about 6,000 feet altitude. That alone is enough to get your attention. The experience of the past few years taught me to take things easy for the first couple of days. With that in mind, we did a relaxed 90 minute hike on our first afternoon.

We followed the Granite Chief trail, as best we could. With any luck we might have found the Pacific Crest Trail that goes from Canada to Mexico. We didn't. I'm not sure how the early settlers found their way around, but I know I wouldn't have been much help.

Tuesday morning we met and ran with Jeff and the campers. We renewed some old acquaintances [a couple of folks have been coming to the camp for 20 years] and made some new friends. The early morning run along the Truckee River is enough to remind me why I keep coming back. Crisp temperatures, blue skies, and warm conversation.

Tuesday afternoon we hiked to the overlook above Emerald Bay. There may be more beautiful places on earth, but not many. The hike is not especially difficult--just challenging enough to make you savor the view.

We took Wednesday morning off in anticipation of the week's most difficult workout that afternoon. We knew we would be running, hiking and trekking along the rim trail that STARTS at around 9,200 feet. It was perfect training for Pike's Peak.

Our plan was to run 1 minute, then walk 3 minutes, and try to maintain the pace. The trail meanders along the rim with some modest ups and downs, but with no major climbs. As it turned out, Karen and I, along with four other campers, managed to knock out a 2 hour, 24 minute walk/run. It was as exhilarating as it was exhausting.

I wore an "adventure" style backpack and carried 100 ounces of water. When it was all over I had consumed almost 80 of those ounces. I learned my lesson about the dangers of dehydration at Rock and Roll the HARD way. I was not going to take that risk again.

The highlight of the weeklong camp is always the Thursday night "Awards" ceremony. It's impossible to describe unless you experience it--a combination of a very bad imitation of the academy awards and a very good imitation of the funniest talent show you've ever seen. My only real injury of the week was from laughing so much that my stomach hurt.

Friday morning brought the good-byes. But Friday evening brought in a new group for the weekend version of the camp and it all started up again.

As I told Jeff, the experience of being at Squaw Valley, the warmth of his family, the strength of the bond of those who return, and the freshness of the newcomers make being there better every year. I can hardly believe it's over. And I can't wait until next year.

For more information about the camp, go to:\

We're off to Toronto this week for our first Canadian Flight School. More on that later.

Takin' it to the streets....




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Last Updated: July 22, 2000 10:30