In an awesome end to a hectic week, I made my first cross-country trip to Portland, OR to attend Fitbloggin’ 13! This was my first blogging conference ever and now that I’ve gone I can’t believe I’d never been to one before! There is so much to talk about that I decided to break it up into chunks so this is the first chunk.
Now, for those that don’t know, Fitbloggin’ is an annual conference that brings together bloggers from all over.
“The FitBloggin’ Conference is for anyone who blogs about fitness, wellness, good food and a healthy lifestyle–regardless of where they are in their journey. FitBloggin’ is all about the desire to use technology, blogging and social media to motivate, inspire and foster a culture of health and wellness. We strive to bring together bloggers from all walks of life to create a tightly connected group of men and women who care deeply about and are committed to spreading this passion for fitness. We may all be in different stage of fitness, but we all share one passion: To live a happy, healthy balanced life.”
I first heard about it from Dani who blogs over at Weight Off My Shoulders and has attended previous Fitbloggins’. After reading more about the conference, I saw there were a bunch of sessions and discussions that appealed to me. I knew going was a huge commitment on my part because I had to take time off from work, spend money on a cross-country flight, get a hotel, etc.—it would add up quickly but I told myself early on this year that I would take more risks instead of finding ways to say no to things.
I’ve always been an observer/introvert so making friends immediately is one thing I’ve struggled with. Acquaintances? I’ve got tons. But friends? People who genuinely understand/empathize with you? That’s hard to accomplish in a short period of time, let alone 72 hours. I can’t begin to describe how hesitant I was to go to Portland: there were so many variables that I couldn’t control and didn’t know ANYONE. I’m such a newbie when it comes to blogging and I was afraid it’d be just like being the new kid in school entering the lunch room for the first time.
Day 1 of Fitbloggin consisted of picking up my swag bag (full of awesome goodies like crossfit sneakers from Reebok! Thanks guys!) while visiting all the sponsor tables, going to my live-blogging session and then figuring out what I wanted to go to for the rest of the day. I knew the minute I started to tear up during my live-blogging session that it was going to be a weekend full of laughs and tears. I wanted my time in Portland to be memorable and full of firsts. So what did I do? I went to my first Zumba class! I’ve always wanted to try Zumba but for some reason, never did…I don’t know what took me so long because it was SO MUCH FUN! Zumba is basically a dance fitness class and instructors put their own twist on classes. Some classes can be all latin/world music and others can incorporate pop music/rock/reggae in their classes. Some of the attendees were Zumba instructors so they each took turns leading a dance and man, I was dripping sweat after 30 minutes. Who knew I’d be Zumba-ing to Limp Bizkit…talk about a throwback song.
I was gross after Zumba. But it was so much fun!
There were so many genres we danced to in one class! We cooled down to a Muse song.
There were so many sessions to go to and they all sounded so interesting! I tried to go to all of them by going to an hour of one and then an hour of another one if they were two-hour sessions. I went to a session that talked about therapy as it related to mental and emotional health. I’m always fascinated by mental health and my feeling is that you don’t know what you don’t know so take the time to learn as much as you can about as many things as possible. I didn’t realize there was such a stigma surrounding therapy as it related to weight loss and fitness. I went to another session that explained how you can incorporate SEO in your blog. I have heard about SEO but never really took the time to understand what it can do, so that was really insightful.
One awesome thing about the conference is that there were healthy snacks throughout the day and some of the breaks had snacks provided by the sponsors so you were able to try products you had never seen before or wanted to try but didn’t. I got to try some delicious nut thins by Blue Diamond along with some crazy almond flavors (ie. strawberry, mocha, salt & vinegar).
These were so good and I even got a box to take home! Pair it hummus or spreadable cheese 🙂
my healthy snack plate 🙂
I spent some time wandering around Portland and resting up a bit in between sessions. I admit, I didn’t really start to reach out to people until the second day since I was still getting my bearings on where I was and what I was doing. Plus, Portland had really nice scenery! I kept taking pictures of the views!
The view of Portland from the Conference Lobby
The Conference Lobby
A really funky restaurant I passed during my downtown wandering.
Portland is a super laid-back city and I love that they are all about local businesses. They also have a serious food truck establishment that puts a lot of malls and East Coast cities to shame (coughBostoncough). Matt had given me one mission: to bring back beer. So I tried to wander around and find some but that ended up being a task left for a different day.
I also tried to blend in like a local and take public transportation…which turned out to be a fail on my part. Now, I had already endured sneakergate during my 10K but in Portland I had busgate. What was busgate you ask? Well, on my way back to the hotel (which wasn’t at the conference but about 2 miles out) I caught the last bus back to the hotel. My bus driver was a surly woman who couldn’t have cared less that I had my all-day bus pass. She didn’t even want to see it. I’m sure by that time she was sick of seeing paper with holes in them. Now I knew where my stop was and we were driving right along towards it and like a good commuter, I hit the ‘request stop’ button well before my stop. I thought that there was a different outbound stop location so I didn’t think anything of it at first when she turned away from my hotel…but then we went further and further away from it. She completely ignored my stop request and proceeded to the NEXT bus stop…a good mile out from the hotel, along freight train tracks and along the highway.
This was what I walked alongside all the way back to the hotel. At one point I literally jumped at a shadow (it may or may not have been my own.)
I don’t scare all that easily but I have watched enough Law and Order to know that trains/industrial areas+highways never lead to anything good.
After what seemed like an eternity, I finally made it back to the hotel in one piece and was so exhausted after everything I’d done all day that I showered and immediately hit the sack. It was quite the eventful first full day in Portland.