Ever feel hungover from a vacation? After a two week trip which included a long stay in Chicago with friends and the FitBloggin’ 2014 Conference in Savannah, Georgia, I was happy to get home. Being away for so long can sometimes be depressing but when I sat down to write today this lyric from Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” popped into my head:
The past 2 weeks were most definitely a soul vacation. Chicago and Savannah were nourishing. Good friends always fill your heart and soul but few people can say that a conference can have a similar effect.
Last year FitBloggin’ was life changing and this year FitBloggin 2014 was soul nourishing. When you get the chance to spend a weekend with a bunch of people who share a passion for community, health, wellness, fitness and blogging, you can’t help but feel refreshed and invigorated. Nourished isn’t a word that normally doesn’t apply to conferences but FitBloggin’ is different and here’s why:
N – New (and old) friends
If you’ve ever thought that maybe the social media friends you have aren’t really your friends, here’s where you’ll find out.FitBloggin’ is the place where you’ll get to see if you can crossover from virtual friend to IRL friend…and likely, you will. It certainly happened to me!
My SoCal Ragnar team was born at this conference last year – Amy@It’sAllAboutTheJourney, Jill@TreeFitness, Carrie@FamilyFitnessFood, Jamie@FitApproach (who got married this past weekend!) and Kia@BodhiBear (who was not only my ride to and from Atlanta but she was very visible during the conference).
I met the amazing Kimberly@ManifestYourself and Nellie@BrooklynActiveMama at FitBloggin’ last year. Kimberly and Nellie teamed up with Cassandre@LosingInTheCity in May for A Healthy U Conference. I never would have been invited to speak at their conference if I hadn’t met these ladies through FitBloggin’.
Even though the conference runs from Thursday night to Sunday morning, I still did not get enough time with many friends including Kelly@NoThanksToCake, Melissa@MelissaRunningIt, Erin@DigDeepPlayHard, Aliah@TheGetFitDiva, Alyssa@DoubleChinDiary, Tammy@GingerMantra, Danielle@TheTRexRunner, Shannyn@FrugalBeautiful, Erica@EricaDHouse and Kat@KatrinaElle just to name a few.
Although we didn’t meet at FitBloggin’, it was also a time to reunite with my good buddy Allie@VitaTrain4Life
There were also so many fabulous new people that I met as well – Stephanie@FoodandFitness4Real, Ashley@FierceForwardForLife, Shannon@BadAssFitness, Allison Carter (girl, I don’t even know your blog), Jesica@rUnladylike, Sarah@RunFarGirl and I finally got the chance to hug and hang out with the wonderful Alan@SweatingUntilHappy!
O – OMG! Moments
So, it rains a lot in Savannah. Unexpectedly, so there were a lot of OMG moments including:
- Hearse Tour – Who knew that Savannah was so damned haunted? Margo@NachoMama actually got a photo of a ghost!
- Got to meet and take a selfie with the vegan athlete, Arian Foster of the Houston Texans. I’ll admit that not only did I not know who Arian was, I didn’t even know that there was an NFL team called the Houston Texans. I’m certain with a son that has embraced sports this is the type of stuff that I’ll get to know soon.
- 80’s Zumba – I’ve taken one Zumba class before but there was no way that I was going to miss this one. Sadly, no Duran Duran was played during the class.
U – Unexpectedly Good Eats
Who knew that an old fashioned town like Savannah had such modern restaurants? The restaurants I went to in Savannah rivaled many of the establishments in both NYC and LA in both food and feel!
Normally, I’d classify myself as not a fan of southern food but I believe I’ve been converted. Here were some of my favorite things – the Horchata Latte at The Coffee Fox, Fried Green Tomatoes at Bohemian House’s Rocks on the River, Gouda Grits and Athena Cocktails at Ampersand, the Turkey Burger, beer and Oreo Pie at The Crystal Beer Parlor (none pictured but the place is absolutely worth mentioning) and the sweet tea and breakfast tapas at the Bee’s Knees in Augusta (a stop made on the way to the Atlanta airport).
R – RunDisney 10K Savannah Bridge Run with Jeff Galloway
I still can’t believe that not only did I run an unexpected 10K over the massive (and scenic) Savannah Bridge but that I did it with Olympian and run coach extraordinaire Jeff Galloway (and his lovely wife). I’m a sucker for bridges so it was almost a gimme when I found out that the bridge was only included in the 10K (vs the 5K or the 1 miler) at the end of FitBloggin’. The fact that Jeff Galloway was running the 10K made it an even quicker yes.
This run was so unbelievably life changing for me that it will get it’s own separate post in the near future. All I can say is that Jeff and Barb Galloway may have altered my running life forever and I’m thrilled to have taken this #epicselfie to prove the awesomeness.
I – Ignite Presentations
Ignite is the Key Note of FitBloggin’ and it allows multiple speakers to each present on their topic of choice for 5 minutes with 20 slides to help tell their story. Presentations vary from the funny like Sarah@LosingWeightandHavingFun’s – How To Make A Proper Cuppa Tea or Andre@MissionMeltdown’s rap to the inspiring from Allie@VitaTrain4Life, Alan@SweatingUntilHappy or KrisOlsen. Every single speaker did a great job!
Ignite makes everyone at FitBloggin’ friends whether they meet each other or not. Being in a room when people share some of their innermost thoughts and feelings to a crowd is something that has an impact.
S – Sessions
Conference sessions at FitBloggin’ come in 3 varieties – educational, emotional or exercise. Here’s my take:
- Education: I wasn’t particularly interested in most of the talks this year. Some seemed to repeat from last year and 2 were about podcasting. I was particularly disappointed with 2 of the sessions I attended but I did love the presentations by Katy@KatyWidrick about Media Kits and with Shannyn@FrugalBeautiful about Blog PlugIns and found them both very interesting and helpful! The How To Survive Your First Triathlon discussion session could (and likely should) have been made into a presentation.
- Emotional: Last year I found myself in quite a few small discussion groups and it was both wonderful and draining.
- Blogging Over 40 with Gail@GoGoGail was very eye opening. It reminded me of how much age-ism there is in the fitness/health culture and that I am part of an untapped group of smart, savvy females that need to convince PR people what we’re worth! #noelderbloggers
- Maintaining Your Mojo with Kat@KatrinaElle and Dubya@DubyaWife impressed me with how prepared both moderators were and how the attendees really spoke up and supported one another.
- Blogging Without Losing Yourself had 4 moderators – Kimberly@ManifestYourself, Nellie@BrooklynActiveMama, Maddie@FoodFitnessandFamily and Presley@RunPretty (which seemed a bit excessive) but perhaps it was the sheer number of moderators that gave a wider perspective of the subject matter. This is a topic that could have been discussed for a very, very long time.
- Exercise: Cards on the table, the trampoline class from last year was sorely missed BUT having Erin@DigDeepPlayHard reprise her outdoor bootcamp (along with her husband and infant daughter to help motivate the group) was amazing! I’m a fan of hot vinyasa yoga and I can say that I’ve never sweat so much in my life. Erin is a powerhouse that makes exercise accessible, fun and challenging which is a quite a feat!
- I also found the 80’s Zumba class a ton of fun. Even though it was light hearted, I was sweating and sort of emotional. Kia’s yoga class was not the yoga I typically like but after lack of sleep, a slow stretchy almost restorative class was what my body needed even if my head disagreed.
- I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to attend more of the exercise sessions but they clashed with some of the other discussion groups or presentations. I wish that there was another afternoon exercise session at a different time because I’m especially sad that I missed PiYo/Insanity.
H – Hell Yes! Attitude
After two weeks away and some soul vacation, the fire of inspiration for blogging, my business and for fitness was reignited. Ever since I went to my first blogging conference (Bloggy Bootcamp by the SITS Girls), I’ve loved the quote, ” If the answer isn’t a ‘Hell Yes!’ then it’s a ‘No!'” but it never resonated with me until I got home from this conference.
We all want to be healthy and happy human beings but sometimes we do our best to stand in our own way. It’s not easy to say no or choose the path that would better suit us but it may be the only way each individual can really thrive.
I went for a 5 mile run Monday (which is long for me – especially after running 6.2 miles the previous day) and it was glorious. My mind was clear, my body felt strong (even though I barely slept and was jet lagged) and my soul felt nourished. I”m looking forward to the latter half of 2014. You never know what might happen….
What nourishes you and who’s with me for FitBloggin’ Denver in 2015?