Monday, June 30, 2014

Fitbloggin 14 Recap: Joy

Fitbloggin 14 in June in Savannah Georgia was in one word: Joy.

I flew from New Orleans, LA airport (about an hour from my hometown, Baton Rouge) to Atlanta.  It was a super short, super exciting flight cause many Fitbloggers were connecting to ATL and then flying into SAV. We nicknamed the flight Party Plane 1752 and it was great to meet some newbies as well as to connect with some of the veterans like Fit and Free Emily one of my first Fitbloggin friends and a kindred spirit.

At the lobby people started to arrive and it became a squealing joyous occasion of hugs, joyful tears, and dear god - so . many. selfies.

Sarah Scott setup reservations at The Gryphon Room and a group of us went to learn about how to make proper English Tea and converse.  It was a fun experience and very quaint, a great way to start off the Fitbloggin fun and take in some Savannah culture.

I dropped by the SCAD store to pick up a few items for my sister who is an alum. This town has such a create creative, artsy presence due to the school. The atmosphere is young and hip but yet old, unique, and southern.

By the time we got back, more and more people started to arrive and finally it was time for registration. The staff worked hard on providing some amazing swag - a Fitbloggin bag with tons of goodies inside! I also purchased Roni Noone's books (Green Lite Bites and Funderwear) and got it autographed for a friend. Then we made our own name badges and decorated them with stickers (bacon and broccoli stickers for mine cause PAF!) After that we started the social with drinks and food and then did some Ice Breakers to get to know our group.  Alan Ali lead some activities like Four Corners where we got to find out who were newbies and who were veterans, which blogging platform most of the attendees use, and more.

Once that was done many of us went on a Hearse Ghost Tour of Savannah which was a ride along in an actual hearse (equipped with chairs).  It was a great opportunity to ride around Savannah and see the many beautiful squares with fountains, statues, etc. Savannah's history is rich with stories, old buildings, and spooky tales.

Thereafter a few of us hung out at the hotel bar, chatting, eating and just generally enjoying socializing with our Fitfam.

The next morning I woke up early for bootcamp with Erin from Dig Deep Play Hard.  This is the third time I've been to her class at Fitbloggin and her energy is amazing. She combines high intensity with fun activities that can be done at your own home without exercise equipment. It was hot and humid (and I was tired) but I never regret a workout and this one was worth the early morning effort.

Next I went into the Anti-Computer Body Workout but had to leave early for my session. But the part I attended was great and I wish I could have gone the entire time. Sitting at a desk all day I sometimes get hip tightness and bad posture and these exercises, stretching, and strength work seemed like a great way to really help my body recover from the eight hours of hunched typing.

Finally! It was time for me and Katrina's session on "Maintaining your Mojo!"  Our session originated from an idea of how we deal with plateaus and how to we overcome dry spells in weight loss or fitness goals. It was a group discussion (with a big crowd) where we talked about from starting to finish what strategies best work to really keep ourselves going towards or goals.  From talking about allowing and planning for failure to discussing accountability and commitment, our session rocked! We handed out great signage to our attendees that would help them "maintain the mojo" after Fitbloggin and beyond.

Since I'm participating in a triathlon at the end of July I decided to attend Jen Sader's Triathlete Chat. An avid triathlete, Jen went through the basics of what to expect as a beginner, demonstrated the equipment and gear, and some other helpful tips. This was great cause after my first triathlon last year I had some experience to hep with the discussion but also learned some pretty good info.  I think I'll be getting a body suit which will shorten my transition time and some toe changes for my bike to help me speed up on the bike. In addition it was great to talk to Jen afterwards and ask what type of training plans she recommends. We decided the most important part of triathlon training - "honor the brick!"

For lunch RunDisney joined us and talked about ESPN's Wild World of Sports which has great programs for youth and adults to keep active. Tons of sporting events are held there and it was very moving to see how Disney is encouraging youth to stay active. They also talked about RunDisney and the recent Star Wars Race in Disneyland as well as the other fun races. RunDisney has been on my list of races to do and i was desperately hoping there'd be a discount or gave away........ well, just so happens there was and through a crazy turn of events (more info below when I talked about Ignite) - I'm running the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Feb 2015 with a fellow blogger and Prior Fat Girl, Liz! More posts to come on that topic!

After that I used some time to opt out of going to sessions and popped into a gift store for some postcards. I spent some of that afternoon writing out addresses and taking a power nap before heading out to an old-timey photo booth place with some Fitbloggin Friends. We decided to do an old fashioned Southern style and it was neat how the "old time" photo shop worked. We had a great time joking around, watching each other smile, and really bonding.

Coming back to the hotel that night it was time to get ready for our keynote, Ignite Fitness.  Always a great keynote, Ignite is essentially small 5 minute speeches given by fellow Fitbloggin attendees on many topics. From how to brew proper tea, to weight lifting, to water aerobics, and even a special Fitbloggin Rap by Mission Meltdown! Ignite Fitness this year was the best ever. And that's saying something cause I was in it last year! ;-) In addition there was a flashmob lead by Nacho Mama and some karaoke afterwards.

The best part of Ignite Fitness was the in between giveaways.  Turned out that one of the RunDisney winners didn't want her registration so two volunteers (Myself and Liz) got called up to stage to duel (rock, paper, scissors style) for the registration. She won. To which I was totally bummed! Later on though Liz mentioned that the paperwork stated it was *two* registrations and asked if I would want to run with her, and of course said YES... only then to find out that the paperwork was wrong, only one registration and I told Liz that how about I drive in to see her RunDisney and I'll be her cheering section. After all, isn't that what Fitbloggin is all about! (But wait... didn't I say earlier that I AM running it?!?!... to be continued...)

After Ignite a few of us went out to a local dance place and did some Fitbloggin After Dark antics... I'll spare the details. Suffice it to say I had a great time and did not get much sleep.

The next morning, despite the previous ate evening and a throbbing headache, I woke up for Kia's yoga class.  I love her yoga sessions cause she's always very gentle, explains things basically, and doesn't get into a bunch of yoga mumbo jumbo.  It's time to center and stretch and she keeps it simple. After bootcamp and dancing the night away - stretching was very needed.

Next I stepped into Sue (Mrs Fatass) and Steve Gray's session "Fitblogger Tough Love." I learned the most in this section and this was less of a "teaching" session and more of a rally cry or plea to the Fitbloggin community.  It focused on how sometime the community can be too supportive and that can be detrimental towards our goals. We discussed ways to critique or give advice to our fellow fitbloggers but without hurting feelings. Having experienced this first hand and many others in agreement, at the end we were given homework to write a ToughLove letter to ourselves and post it, as well as use the hashtag #tribelove or #justtrollin when "calling out" a fellow Fitblogger.  In this way we as a community can help positively drive each other towards our goals. Great session.

After that here came my favorite fitness session, Zumba (80s Style!) with Trio Fitness!  I've been to many Zumba classes and have to say that the way Sue teaches is amazing. When she teaches I follow easily and feel like a dancer.  I have a great time and am all smiles (despite sweaty and breathless).  Lots of fun music, laughing, and great 80s tunes - Zumba really rounded out a great set of workouts from the weekend.

After that I showered real quick and grabbed some lunch with fellow Fitbloggers before I went to my hotel room and crashed for about an hour. It was a much needed nap and glad I did.

Then it was time to go to Anonymous Tattoo to get (wait for it) A TATTOO! For a while I had wanted to get DubyaWife tattoo'd on me. As a symbol for my love of 17 years and my alter-ego. The whole process was amazing and my artist, Dean, did an excellent job.  It was only 2 minutes of actual needlework which barely hurt and it turned out just the way I wanted. Now I can always remember Fitbloggin. It will forever be with me.

After the tattoo, it was time to get ready for the ProBlogger session.  Before that got started Arian Foster (Houston Texans RB) visited to take "selfies." Amazing experience!

The ProBlogger panel was informal but great. Katy Widrick, Leah Segedie, Erica House, Lindsey, and Shannon Calvecchio helped deliver some great bloggin tips and advice. While I'm not a monetizing blogger I still found it very interesting. The food was amazing as it was yummy desserts like pralines, fudge, saltwater taffy, and fresh. basked. pretzels. My tummy was very happy.

Once the panel was finished the music started playing and a dance party broke out with the wobble, cupid shuffle and much more fun dance songs. It was great to let loose once again with all the Fitbloggin peeps.

After a quick stroll down River St. for some drinks, later that night myself and a few others ended up on a room having a couple of drinks and playing Cards Against Humanity.  So. Much. Laughter. Honestly, this is why I come to Fitbloggin. It's for the intimate moments.

The next morning was the final event of Fitbloggin the Fun Run. I chose to do a 5K and Jeff Galloway joined us! He was such a joy to meet. For the 5K, I started off with Deanna Adams just doing some intervals and we ended up with just a group of us run/walk/run through Savannah to Forsythe Park. What a great and rewarding experience. I need to get myself a running group because we had so much fun, talking and motivating each other - time went by so fast. And I felt like I could have gone further.

After the Fun Run, people started to say their goodbyes and that's always the hard part of Fitbloggin.

I happened to be chit chatting with Roni Noone (the founder) and the RunDisney rep and Kia approached. Kia mentioned to them that due to the confusion, I was going to join Liz as a spectator. The RunDisney rep was moved by this (and due to the confusion) said to get in touch with them about the race and they'll give me a registration for the Princess Run in February 2015. WOOHOO!

At this point... I hadn't really cried during Fitbloggin... until this point. Kia hugged me and I just cried. After having such a wonderful weekend, saying goodbye, seeing all my friends, and then this news... I just broke down. That moment.  The moment of pure joy. Of knowing that I belong to a community of people who truly.... who truly care. The tears followed and I was just filled with joy.

That is why I titled my post Joy. If Joy were a place, Fitbloggin would be it.
It's been said: "It's like going home" or "It's like being in a hug"
This year - it was like living in joy. As if Joy were a place and you could take up residence there.
To wrap up my final words on Fitbloggin are this: My life is made better because of Fitbloggin.

See you next year in Denver!


  1. Yay for RunDisney! Loved your session :)

  2. You were a joy to be around! :) <3

  3. What a great recap post! You really captured the magic of FitBloggin.

  4. Sounds like you had an epic time! I've heard great things about Disney races, you'll have a great time :)

  5. So much joy. I hope you are enjoying or social media break.

  6. Hello! I've really enjoyed reading your blog. I'm on a quest to lose 160 pounds, and being able to read everyone's recaps of FitBloggin '14 has been SO inspiring! Thank you for sharing your journey with newbies like myself. :)