Finally…A FitBloggin’13 Recap Part 3: Touristy Stuff

My first two FitBloggin recaps were all about the event, so my last recap is more about the fun, touristy stuff Ian and I did while in Portland. Neither of us had ever been so we were looking forward to the trip. I really enjoyed the city although we unfortunately brought the D.C. heat and humidity with us as the temps never dropped below 95 while we were there, so that made walking around the city a bit uncomfortable. My runs around the city as I mentioned were all beautiful – the numerous bridges were very cool.

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The only thing that surprised me negatively about the city was the sheer amount of panhandlers and how young so many of them looked. Ian took a short, 8-block walk while I was at a session and was asked for a dollar by 25 people. It felt worse than walking around New York City even in the touristy sections. It really caught me off guard.

Back to the positives… I loved the restaurants. One of my favorites was a haunted pizza place we went to twice called Old Town Pizzeria and Brewery. We enjoyed some great pizza and beers. Check out the full recap over on Ian’s blog.OldTownPizza_Portland

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We also hit up a semi-permanent food truck village where I enjoyed a pretty amazing grilled cheese sandwich and a coke! There was so much variety though, you could choose any kind of food you wanted.

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Yet another great spot we went to was a bit more upscale – an Italian restaurant called Mama Mia. I ordered gnocci and left there so full I could barely walk home. It was that kind of food that’s so delicious you just can’t stop eating even though your stomach is ready to burst.

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I also loved Brunch Box – another spot we hit up twice – yea we ate a lot! It was a relatively new restaurant that got its start as a food truck. One of the dishes they’re quickly becoming famous for is a burger with two grilled cheese sandwiches as the bun. With all the other food I’d eaten that weekend I couldn’t quite bring myself to try that, but I had a great bagel sandwich for breakfast on our first trip and an amazing buffalo chicken sandwich the next day for lunch!

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BrunchBox_Portland

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As I keep writing this I’m starting to realize just how much I ate while I was there!! Good thing I was doing three workouts a day! To keep the food theme rolling, everyone said we had to stop at VooDoo Doughnuts while we were there. Apparently everyone else heard the same thing as we trekked over there four times before finally catching it with a short enough line to be worth waiting in the close to 100-degree heat for. They have some awesome doughnuts to choose from and I went with the “Old Dirty Bastard” – yeast doughnut, chocolate frosting, Oreos and peanut butter…so worth all the effort!

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Just in case you’re wondering we did a few other things than just eat while we were there! We tried to go to the Oregon History Museum, but it was a bit pricey and only open for another 45 minutes, so we sat in the lobby for a bit pretending to decide whether or not to buy a ticket while we soaked in the AC before venturing back into the heat wave. We also wandered around the Nike store next door to our hotel and took advantage of Portland’s lack of sales tax! We walked around the famous Powell’s bookstore – the largest used and new bookstore in the world. It was a nice bookstore, but again we were really just more thankful for some AC and a break from the heat.

It was a great few days and I’d be happy to visit Portland again some day!

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Finally…A FitBloggin’13 Recap! Part 2

Yesterday I finally posted my first recap from FitBloggin’13, which I attended in Portland at the end of June. That recap looked at the great workouts we did throughout the weekend, today’s looks at the discussions, sessions and workshops.

Opening Welcome Mixer

Opening Welcome Mixer

The Discussions:
There were all sorts of sessions planned for the conference and a few of them were more geared towards group discussion rather than presentation and learning.

One of my favorites was Motivating Your Community to Choose Healthy Lifestyles. We talked about how to create a group that is welcoming, encouraging and inspiring – not one that feels like a clique. Some had really great stories to share about their experiences making a difference and promoting healthier living in their offices, their local schools or even just their families. It was really great to hear about all these people making a difference and see that you don’t have to change the world to make a difference – you can start small and you never know how much of an impact you might end up having.

Another interesting discussion was Tackling the Taboo of Therapy: The Importance of Mental and Emotional Health. Too many people don’t seek mental help until they hit rock bottom – don’t wait was the message of this discussion. I was amazed to hear that one in four adults in any given year qualify for some type of diagnosis such as a mood disorder. We also talked about the physical effects of stress, learning not to worry about things you can’t control and remembering it’s OK to take time for yourself and take care of yourself.

Moving on to the Education Sessions:

The most beneficial part of FitBloggin’13 for me was the education sessions and workshops. I took away so much valuable info and loved learning from fellow bloggers, many of whom were once in the same place I am now.

I really enjoyed the session on Photography for Blogging: Tech, Art, and Heart. Amanda Duran of Grow Soul Beautiful talked about the tech side of things like choosing the right aperture, shutter speed and ISO to take the best picture possible as well as what kind of camera is right for you and how to choose lenses for more advanced cameras. She gave some great tips on lighting, creative apps and backing your photos up, but my favorite piece of advice she gave was the best camera you can have is the one you’ll use. She also encouraged everyone to do something with their photos. I’ve always been a big proponent of actually using all of the digital photos I take rather than letting them rot on a memory card whether it’s printing them out, making a photobook, getting a digital photo frame or something else.

I went to another session on Google Analytics: Moving Beyond Pageviews that proved to be extremely helpful. You can check out the presentation here. I thought I had a good idea about how Google Analytics worked, but quickly realized I have a lot to learn. The Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) session, Building Your Blog Through Organic SEO, Social Signals and Image Optimization, was equally helpful. We learned about Google’s Panda and Penguin updates that have really changed how SEO works and are starting to make quality of content more important to your Google ranking. I also learned that I need to stop neglecting Google+ (not surprisingly) if I want to create the biggest impact possible.

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Last, but not least were my two favorite sessions. In Turning Your Blog Into A Business: Key to Monetizing Your Work, I learned a lot about how to actually monetize your blog. While my main takeaway was, I better not quit my day job, I got some really helpful tips about advertising networks, direct ad sales, affiliate marketing and more. The presenters also talked about leveraging partnerships with local businesses and focusing on building a brand based around your interests and experiences. I was actually in charge of writing a recap on FitBloggin’s site for the workshop: How to Create a Media Kit that Showcases Your Brand and Gets Companies Knocking on Your Door.  The three presenters shared the successes they’ve had with their media kits and detailed the logistics of creating ones, how to know what you’re worth and how to market yourself. Really interesting stuff.

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Not to be Forgotten, The Receptions:

While I was really excited to go to FitBloggin, I was also super nervous. I didn’t know anyone there and I hate usually HATE networking receptions. After five minutes at the Opening Welcome Mixer, all my nerves had disappeared – this was an awesome, open and welcoming group. I started out introducing myself to others at the badge decorating table while I blinged out my badge with some stickers…yes, that’s the extent of my art talent. Next I wandered around to several tables meeting more cool bloggers while trying to complete a bit of a scavenger hunt. Then came the ice breaker games that I used to dread. I have to say, theirs were pretty cool though. The evening culminated in a dance off party that had me laughing and feeling completely comfortable with this huge group of bloggers. Kudos to the organizers on this!

Closing Reception

Closing Reception

More to come in Part 3 on playing tourist in Portland!

Finally…A FitBloggin’13 Recap! Part 1

I’ve been promising this recap since getting back from my first FitBloggin conference in late June/early July and it’s finally here. I’ve been so busy lately and I wanted to make sure I really did this post justice since I not only had a blast at FitBloggin’13, but thought it was an incredible learning experience too!

First up, The Workouts:

What would a conference for a bunch of fitness-fanatic bloggers be without awesome workouts? Roni Noone, the creator of FitBloggin, and team did not disappoint.

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On day one I was up before the sun for an early bird bootcamp workout in Pioneer Square, known as Portland’s living room, just outside our hotel. Being a former boot camp instructor I love taking these classes. Erin Kreitz Shirey was our instructor and she did a fantastic job keeping the energy level high and the workout intense for the huge turnout. I was impressed by how many people made it up for the workout. We ran stairs, did burpees, push-ups, frog jumps, planks and more. It was a fun, challenging workout that was a perfect way to kick things off. As an added bonus, a local TV station films their morning show in the square and after coming out to see what we were up to invited us all in for a tour of the studio after our workout. So cool!

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After a short tempo run I was back to try out a Reebok Cardio Dance class. I rarely take dance type classes. I’ve always been a pretty coordinated athlete, but when it comes to dance that goes out the window. I stationed myself in the back of the room and hoped it would’t be too awful. I ended up really enjoying things. Patricia Moreno, our instructor, led us through all sorts of moves that had my heart pumping and left me all kinds of sweaty. She also had us repeating positive mantras throughout the class. This sounds super corny, but it actually was pretty cool and left both my mind and body feeling stronger at the end of class.

Getting ready for Reebok Cardio Dance!

Getting ready for Reebok Cardio Dance!

Day two began with another early bird workout for me. On tap for today was SweatPink yoga led by Fit Approach co-founder Jamie. As a SweatPink ambassador I was thrilled to get to see the awesome ladies who started it. I’m the first to admit I don’t do enough yoga and there are a lot of classes I don’t like. This class was my favorite kind of yoga class though. It was fast-paced, challenging and felt like a good workout. A lot of people who have also done pilates classes said it was more similar to those kinds of classes. I loved it.

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After squeezing in a 5-miler around Portland I hustled back for my next group workout of day 2. It was the one I’d been really looking forward to: Fitness Trampoline class! Yes, you read that right. This class was so intense as we got our heart rates up bouncing on the mini trampolines while performing all sorts of cardio moves alternating with some really tough strength moves on the floor or leaning on the trampoline like push-ups into planks. It was a really tough workout yet I couldn’t stop smiling the whole class!

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There was a group run on the last day, but I somehow managed to get myself up super early and was just wrapping up my 2-hour long run as they were getting started so I unfortunately missed out on that. I did beat the heat though since I went and brought the D.C. heat and humidity with me and took in some beautiful scenery running along the water and over some or Portland’s bridges.

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More to come in Part 2 on the great discussions and workshops that I learned so much from!

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

This was a pretty hectic week but a great training one. I started off Monday getting in my long run I missed during the previous week and ended the week at FitBloggin’13 in Portland fitting in 6 workouts in 2 days! I had so much fun and wish I could do this every weekend!

Here’s the day by day breakdown…

Monday: Monday was really hot but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my long run in early so instead I went during the hottest times of the day splitting my runs into 2 1-hour stints at lunch and just after work. I got 6.5 miles in around Hains Point during lunch and looped the opposite way plus over the Memorial Bridge back home for 7 miles after work.

Tuesday: Tonight I ran a 5k put on by the DC Road Runners. Check out the full recap.

Wednesday: Rest Day – although since it was moving day I think I got in a fair amount of cross training with all the lifting and walking up and down stairs I did in 90+ degree heat.

Thursday: Travel Day – flew out to Portland.

Friday: I started off with an early morning boot camp class, then hit the streets of Portland for a 20-minute tempo run and rushed back to the hotel for a Reebok cardio dance class…my kind of day!

Saturday: It was another early morning with some 6 a.m. SweatPink yoga, a 5-mile run along the water and a trampoline fitness class! Can you tell I enjoyed this one???

Trampoline-Fitness-Class

Sunday: I woke up bright and early one more time – staying on east coast time really helped me this weekend – and got in a 2 hour long run looping around the Portland waterfront area and bridges.

Trailblazing Through Saturday at FitBloggin Portland

It was another crazy busy, but awesome day at FitBloggin. I’m so glad I came out to Portland for this conference – it was even better than I could have hoped for! Like I said in yesterday’s post, I’ll get fuller, more in-depth recap posts up soon, but here’s a quick recap of my Saturday here.

My alarm went off bright and early again, and I was off to SweatPink yoga. It was one of the best yoga classes I’ve taken in a long time. I rushed off to squeeze a 5-miler along the water in so I could get back in time for my fitness trampoline class. Yes, you read that right. So. Much. Fun!

I needed to refuel after getting all of that in by 9 a.m., so I made my way by the Got Chocolate Milk booth in the expo…

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We hit up a food truck area for lunch and then the afternoon was packed with some really great info-filled sessions. I went to a workshop on creating media kits, followed by a session on photography for blogging and finally a google analytics session. My brain is in serious overload. I learned so much. The people here are amazing. I can’t say enough about it.

We officially wrap things up in the morning with a fun run and goodbye breakfast. It’s going to be hard to leave!

 

 

FitBloggin Day One: Is This Heaven?

The first full day of FitBloggin’13 was awesome! I had so much fun and was totally in my element. By 9 a.m. I’d gone to boot camp, got out for a quick run around Portland and taken a Reebok cardio dance class. (The time change really helps make me a morning person.) Can I please do this everyday?! They also had a great hot breakfast for us, which made my morning.

Free Hugs Wrist Bands at FitBloggin

Free Hugs Wrist Bands at FitBloggin

I went to some great small group discussions later that morning. The first was a talk about motivating your community to live healthier lifestyles and the second focused on tackling the taboo of therapy. An athletic wear fashion show at lunch was followed by a presentation from Reebok on choosing the perfect shoe. I also learned a lot during a couple more afternoon sessions on using SEO and monetizing your blog.

After a great dinner with Ian at a local Italian restaurant I headed back for the Ignite Fitness keynote featuring 5-minute presentations from various FitBloggin attendees. Everyone was so amazing and inspiring. Loved it. I am completely exhausted, but excited for more to come on day two. Full recaps and more pictures to come soon!

FitBloggin’13 is Underway

I know I’ve been talking about it a lot, but FitBloggin’13 is finally here, and it’s off to a great start! I was a bit nervous heading down to registration and the welcome mixer since I didn’t know anyone here, but those worries went away quickly. I checked in and was immediately handed a bag full of swag and sent to the Reebok table in the expo to pick up some shoes and a tank top. Leading up to this week, I heard rumors on twitter of the swag being great here and they did not exaggerate! I got some incredible stuff…

So much SWAG!!!

So much SWAG!!!

After heading into the welcome mixer I worked my way over to a table to decorate my name tag and started to talk to some of the other bloggers. We had a good amount of time to mingle and then played some fun ice breakers to get to know each other ending with a mini dance party. This is going to be a great couple days! It’s also going to be a busy couple days so I’ll do my best to get some updates on the blog, but expect full recaps to come after I’m back home!

Early to bed tonight to get ready for an action-packed day tomorrow starting with boot camp and a Reebok cardio dance class. Here we go!