It's over. I keep seeing new friends tweeting about their flights home and it makes me just a bit sad but I know that we'll keep in touch even if only through Twitter and the blogosphere.
In some ways, my worst fears about FitBloggin were realized: I really was the smallest, least known blogger there and most of the girls were thin, young, and fit. They all seemed to know each and to read each other (I'd never heard of most of their blogs, much less read them). But then, just as I was turning to run away from the opening night POM reception, the kind Andrea stopped me and said that I wasn't going anywhere, just before she dragged me back into the room (and probably back into the conference as a whole, if I'm being honest).
I'll never be able to do it all justice and I should have been blogging as I went along but I was never able to get on the Internet at the Marriott (I'm staying at the Hyatt but the conference is at the Marriott), so I'll just have to do a quick round-up.
1. Meeting Beth, Andrea, and Jeff from POM at the opening night reception. Friendliest people you'll ever meet and so very welcoming
2. New Balance is my very favorite shoe company, mostly because the toe box in their shoes is roomy enough that I can wear a normal/non-wide size and they gave everyone at the conference a free pair of shoes PLUS I am signed up to get a free pair of these cool new toning shoes sent to my house. What a great way to support blogging and fitness. I've already worn my new shoes for walking back and forth from the Marriott to the Hyatt and they are so comfortable - thank you so much, New Balance!
3. Attending the IFIC and Dave Grotto session about how to critically evaluate stories about food, health, and fitness. These guys are all the real deal and they had great ideas about how NOT to fall for every new scary finding about how eating too many Cuties will kill you. (Ha, as though there was a way to eat "too many" of these yummy little citrus jewels - I've got four sitting in front of me on my breakfast tray as I type!) As a diabetic, I really appreciate the information and the evaluation criteria because there is a lot of scary information out there and I am just one girl with one brain and a pink laptop...any help is appreciated.
4. Have you heard about the Gruve Solution? This tiny device tracks your daily calorie burn, vibrates when you've been sitting around too long, and flashes a green light when you've reached your daily target for calorie burn. I'd been really looking forward to trying the Gruve out during FitBloggin and it definitely lived up to my expectations - I found myself tapping my feet during presentations just so that I wouldn't get vibrated - and then they announced that they were GIVING them to all of us to take home...wow. I can't believe I'll be able to add this neat tool to my arsenal on the road to better health (yay). Oh, and if any of you would like to purchase one, there's a special promo code that will allow you to purchase it for only $129.95 (they're normally $199.95). Go to www.Muve.Me and enter promo code BlogNGruve during the checkout process. (Promo is good until April 15.)
5. Attended an amazing session on body image and blogging, about what we're passing on to our readers, particularly young girls, when we write about our experiences. This is where I met the wonderful Carla of MizFitOnline and yes, she's really THAT kind and supportive in person, and Melissa of Tales of a (Recovering) Disordered Eater. This session had me in tears several times as I thought about all of the messages we receive as children about our bodies..."you'd be so pretty if you just lost some weight", "fatty, fatty, two-by-four, can't fit through the classroom door", "Moose on the loose", etc...and what that can lead to later. And then someone brought up Mrs. Obama's campaign against childhood obesity and their concerns that, by calling attention to kids who are larger in size, this campaign might just end up triggering body hatred and binge eating behavior in those very same kids they're trying to help. It's delicate because focusing on "losing weight" can trigger health problems equal to or worse than those associated with overweight and obesity. Choosing our words carefully and focusing on being healthy by eating yummy, healthy foods when we're hungry and moving our bodies in ways that are fun for us, these are the way to help kids - and the rest of us - make healthy changes.
6. Meeting the ladies of the Sisterhood of the shrinking jeans at lunch was amazing. They are training for the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon while they live in different cities and are only connected by their wonderful online community. It was so great to meet them because I'd just read their story in my Competitor magazine and I love that they're raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - click here to donate.
7. Finally, the good folks at EA Sports Active told us all about the great new features they'll be coming out with later this year, including totally wireless controllers (no more whacking yourself in the head while boxing), a built in heart rate monitor, and non-slip leg strap. Woohoo, I'm running home (well, flying home) to start my six week challenge first thing tomorrow morning.
So many awesome moments that I'll keep with me forever. But I must pack up now because Yvonne is coming to pick me up in an hour and I have SO MUCH stuff to pack because of all of the new things I received just because I was willing to humble myself, admit I'm a novice blogger (even after 7 years), and open myself to learning what fitness blogging is about today.