Fitbloggin’ 2013 Recap, or “I guess I can’t hide that presentation forever.”

As much as I enjoy all of the adventures that my life is constantly filled with, it does make blogging a rather daunting task sometimes. Don’t you feel so sorry for me? I know. Today, I’m catching up on a post I really should have written weeks ago – my experience at Fitbloggin 2013!

Although I don’t read very many blogs, most of the blogs I do read mentioned Fitbloggin‘ in their posts last year. Fitbloggin’ is a conference that caters to fitness and wellness bloggers, and it’s an annual event. The blogs that I read made the conference sound like so much fun, and I immediately decided I wanted to go this year if the opportunity presented itself. Well, as luck would have it, the conference this year was in Portland, Oregon the weekend after my trip to Alaska. I have a lot of friends in Portland thanks entirely to this blog (HEY, HONEY BADGERS!) and I knew that I would have a chance to hang out with all of them if only I could find a way to get myself there.

Why lie? I mostly wanted to go so I could do this “Rave Run” that was featured in Runner’s World.

That’s where y’all came in. Back in the spring, I heard about an opportunity to gain a free ticket to the conference (a $300 value) if I earned a spot in the Ignite fitness presentation at the conference. Seven people would be voted in and seven would be selected by the conference committee, but I didn’t need the committee’s help. Thanks to all of your support and aggressive voting strategies, I earned the first ticket! I was able to plan my trip so that I would spend nearly a week in Alaska and then fly to Portland and hang out with the Honey Badgers for a few days while attending the conference. Perfect, right?

Naturally, this all seemed like an excellent idea until right before I had to actually submit my finished PowerPoint presentation. You may recall me freaking out in my first ever video blog. Well, it was do or die, so I did. I was incredibly nervous before the conference. We got all these really encouraging emails telling us not to be nervous, that the conference is like one big hug all weekend, and that everyone is really friendly. This obviously did not stop me from freaking out.

The first night, there was a name tag decorating party/ice breaker event that I forced myself to go to. I am the anti-name tag decorator type of person, but I was determined to soak in the experience. Within literally 30 seconds of checking in, I found myself carrying more free stuff than I knew what to do with! Holy crap. Reebok was one of the main sponsors, and before I knew it, I had a brand new duffle bag, a new pair of shoes, a new yoga tank top, and a whole bunch of other stuff! It was seriously insane. They told us to save room for new stuff in our luggage, but I wasn’t expecting that. I should have packed another suitcase!

Despite the fact that they were Crossfit shoes, I still liked them because they were purple. And free.

As I sat down at a table full of people I didn’t know, I noticed this random gold cowbell sitting in the center of the table. It seemed out of place, and as I read the tag tied to it, it said “Congratulations! You’ve found one of five golden bells blah blah blah” or something to that effect. I turned to the girl next to me and said “oh wow, you found this? That’s so cool!” and she looked at me like I had 6 heads. Turns out, I was the one who had found the golden bell. These things are apparently highly coveted and I had earned myself a seat at a Google Hangout with Dolvett, one of the trainers from the Biggest Loser! I’m looking forward to him telling me how terrible my diet is.

It’s my lucky day!

I should have known that everything was going to be fine, because while I was standing around by myself being awkward, a very nice girl came up to me and said “I just have to tell you, you have the most beautiful hair!” See, even strangers recognize it!

This is Katie! She’s a fellow Terp and we both graduated in the same year! She appreciates great hair.

Katie and I both attended the University of Maryland and graduated in the same year! What a small world. She has a great blog over at Skinny Minnie Moves where she writes about much healthier things than me. My mind was immediately put at ease because at least I had one friend now. My mind was then immediately put at theΒ opposite of ease when it was announced that it was time to do “blogger speed dating,” which is basically where people constantly switched chairs and we each answered two questions to get to know each other. I met a lot of very nice people, but I felt so awkward. Every time I told someone what my blog is about (that whole marathons in every state thing), they gave me this look that said “I am both amazed and disturbed by you at the same time.” Since many of the bloggers are weight loss bloggers, I felt a little out of place, but everyone was so nice that I’m pretty sure the awkwardness was all in my head.

Except maybe it wasn’t totally in my head that time I went up to one of my favorite bloggers and fell all over myself telling her how much I love her. I creepily lurked around waiting for her to finish her conversation and then was all “Ummm hi, I’m Danielle, and I really love your blogs and I just had to meet you, my friend told me about your blog, my friend Lauren, she loves you too, let’s be best friends!”

My new best friend and I

And I was all “Oh hey, we should take a picture because Lauren will be so excited that I met you!” But what I was actually thinking was “Oh hey, we should take a picture so I can frame it and remember this moment forever because you are my hero! And Lauren will also find it interesting.” That’s Emmie from Authentically Emmie, by the way. She rules.

It was also cool to meet several people who are fans of my blog! I had no idea any of them would be at the conference, so it was really exciting whenever someone would come up and tell me that they like what I’m doing over here. Dani and Renee stood out in particular, since I recognized their names from comments they had left on my blog.

Dani and I almost have the same name and we both love running and beer, so we are friends.

On Friday morning, I woke up terrified. There was no turning back now. I had to do the presentation today. But first I was spending the day in sessions, group discussions, and presentations that were all centered around fitness and wellness! There was a huge variety of topics, and I experienced a little bit of everything.Β  One of the group discussions was called “Diet is a 4-letter word: What are your food rules?” where people discussed how they are changing their lifestyles rather than focusing on “diets.” It was very interesting to hear about everyone’s struggles, especially since during my eating disorder recovery, I’ve realized that trying to set “rules” for myself about what I can and can’t eat and what foods are good or bad is very dangerous for me and leads me down a slippery slope. The group discussions were generally pretty emotional, and I’m not much of a crier, but lots of other people were, so it was a very open vibe and definitely not what I was expecting. Not in a good or a bad way, just different – I think I was envisioning sitting in a huge dark room with rows of chairs and watching a PowerPoint, or something.

There was a lot of this.

I must say, I was oddly quiet at the conference all day on Friday. I didn’t really reach out to people very much because I was so nervous about my presentation. I was literally sick to my stomach over it. The funny thing is that I have no problem speaking in front of people – public speaking really doesn’t bother me at all. What bothered me was the way the presentations are set up. “Ignite” is a style of presentation where each presenter has 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. The presentation is a total of 5 minutes long, and the presenter has no control over the movement of the slides. That’s terrifying! Every time I practiced my presentation, I spent 18 seconds on some slides and 12 on others, resulting in the longest 3 second pauses of my life. BAH! This was going to be a disaster.

Of course, prior to the presentation, I went in to the main room to look everything over. One of the other presenters offered to practice his presentation with me, so I listened to him flawlessly execute his presentation for 5 minutes. That did NOT help me to be less nervous! I was totally screwed. Ultimately, I decided I couldn’t practice anymore. Every time I looked at the slides, I felt sick. I was just going to wing it. What could go wrong? I then decided that I would greatly benefit from drinking a couple of beers to calm my nerves, because there is no better combination than alcohol and a lack of rehearsal when you’re giving a presentation to a couple hundred of your newest friends, right?

So, without any further adieu besides the 1500 words I’ve already written, here is the presentation I made at Fitbloggin’ this year! Thank you all again for voting for me! I hope I didn’t let you down.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

I was much more relaxed after the presentation was over, and by Saturday, I was really able to enjoy everything and get into the different sessions. I spent all my time on Saturday trying to learn more about the business side of blogging, which included a lot of phrases I didn’t understand, like “media kits” and “G+ hangouts” and “Twitter parties” and other sorts of terrifying things. Blogging is a lot of work! I just like writing my musings and sharing my pictures, but apparently it can be a full time job for some people. I don’t think that will ever be me because you have to have an actual understanding about how social media works, and I just figured out Twitter like 2 months ago, but hey, I guess you never know!

So, Fitbloggin’ was a really good experience overall,Β  if different than what I was expecting. I don’t know that I completely fit in, but everyone I met was truly friendly and genuine. I think the conference is as awkward as you make it. If you stand around in a corner drinking alone (don’t judge me) then it’s going to be awkward. If you open yourself up to making new friends and accepting hugs from people you don’t know (admittedly one of my fears) then it’s going to be less awkward. Either way, I made some great friends that I know I will be staying in touch with in the future! So THANK YOU all for voting me into that presentation and forcing me out of my comfort zone. I hope my public speaking abilities didn’t shame you too much!


51 thoughts on “Fitbloggin’ 2013 Recap, or “I guess I can’t hide that presentation forever.”

  1. It might just be me, but the video that plays is an “Ignite to Bastard Yoga” presentation and not you at all in the video πŸ˜€ The conference does sound a bit awkward because I’m not one of those people who just randomly hugs people I’ve never met either and name tags make me uncomfortable.

  2. I’m pretty sure you’re not Kia Ruz of Bastard Yoga fame. Nice try, missy, but you’re going to need to post the REAL link.

      1. Humph, I found your video and that Kia took over again. I think she’s got a plan to take over the world through yoga. BASTARD.

  3. The link worked for me. You did a great job presenting. I love that you’re so down to earth and tell it like it is.

  4. Wow … absolutely love the way it came out! I’ve given presentations at tech conferences where the slides were timed and it is incredibly distracting, because sometimes you can see it needs just one more sentence to be clear what you are trying to … crap, next slide!

    So I could see that on the infamous picture, but you handled it amazingly, and the talk went great! So glad we could all spam-vote you into the conference πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much! It was very distracting and there were definitely a couple of instances where I needed more time, but it could have been worse I guess. Thanks for all your spam voting πŸ™‚

  5. The video worked for me. Nice job. Wow, that was so fast-paced. I know you could have easily talked for twice as long about each photo. I can tell from the cheers and applause that your audience “got” a lot of what you were trying to convey. Maybe you’ve motivated someone to try a marathon!

    1. A few people actually came up to me after and told me that I had motivated them, which was awesome! They were worried about finishing last or that people wouldn’t think they belonged at the race. I hate that people feel that way so I’m glad that I helped a little!

    1. I had never even heard of Ignite before this event. I thought it was just what they named their keynote performance! Who knew?

  6. That’s too funny that Katie came up to you and said you have such pretty hair because that was exactly my first thought when I saw you holding the cowbell, like “wow, she has such shiny, nice hair!” and low and behold, the next paragraph is about someone complimenting you on the same thing. Us ladies appreciate a good head of hair I guess πŸ˜›

  7. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. πŸ™‚ The presentation was great – I absolutely love your honesty and I find that to be a characteristic many great bloggers share.
    And speaking of time- the first half-marathon I ran, I finished at the back of the guy winning the marathon.
    Talk about being slow…

    1. Don’t worry, Ines – I’ve been lapped by the guy winning the marathon on more than one occasion πŸ™‚

  8. Your presentation was awesome! And yes, beer and winging it is without a doubt, the best thing to do before hand πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing the presentation with us. Those of us that couldn’t attend the conference appreciate it!

  9. Giving a power point presentation is my least favorite thing ever. You did great and I love all of your “yes to’s”. Congrats from a non runner who appreciates your entertaining blog!

  10. My dang work blocks most YouTube videos… I’m saving this for home. I gotta see you in action. πŸ™‚ I’m sure you were amazing…
    So when do you/did you get to meet Dolvett? I would just sit with my chin in my hands & stare at him without stopping… he deserves stalking attention with a body like that πŸ™‚

    Alaska, Portland – where to next?

    1. I will sadly only be meeting him via the interwebs. We’re doing a Google hangout thing, so it’s like video chat? AKA basically my nightmare. I will be sure to post it on the blog when it’s done. Next up is a trip to Colorado! I’m running the Aspen Valley Marathon this weekend.

  11. Your presentation turned out great, that picture of me and you? Not so much. I didn’t even realize you would be there (duh) but I am glad you were it was a lot of fun hanging out with you. Also you’ve convinced me 1 marathon isn’t enough so looks like I’ll be doing Eugene 2014!

  12. You did a fantastic job!! I would have freaked out and forgotten everything the first time the picture switched and I was still talking about the last one!!

    1. That’s basically what happened, but I figured if I just kept talking it would eventually work itself out.

  13. You did so great! And if you haven’t been to Washington yet you can save some money and stay at my house:) and I will be at the race you chose with my T-Rex shirt on with beer in my hand for you!

  14. That was a great presentation – so honest and down to earth. And it really captures so many of the things that are great about running – the generosity of runners, the kindness of total strangers, the ability to laugh at yourself…

    PS keep the blog a hobby rather than a full-time job! It makes your life that much more well-rounded and interesting to read about.

    Now, if you ever feel like running marathons around the WORLD, come to Singapore for a very hot and sweaty one… we have a guest room. with AC.

    1. Thank you, Grace! I don’t really see myself making the blog a full-time job, although I’ve had offers to do so. I feel like the quality of my writing goes down as soon as the blog starts to feel like an obligation, which does happen from time to time when I have a ton of things to write about.

      I DEFINITELY am planning on doing a marathon on every continent, so I may very well take you up on that! Is there ever a time of year when it isn’t totally hot and sweaty?

      1. Sadly…no. (There is hot and sweaty, and hotter and sweatier. Take your pick. There’s one that starts at 11pm if your circadian rhythm is into that sort of thing; I tried the half last year and knew it wasn’t going to go so well when I nearly fell asleep waiting for the starting gun.) πŸ™‚

  15. LOVED your presentation! and I agree ~ you brought out some of the very best things about the running life. And I’m beginning to feel the motivation… When I began reading your blog in May, I couldn’t even say “marathon” without puking in my mouth. I can at least say the word now… Motivating??? YES!

    1. Hooray!!! That is awesome, Nancy! Thank you for the huge compliment (that you can say marathon without puking is a big compliment to me :)) Let me know if you decide to do one! You definitely can as long as you remember to have fun. How hokey am I?

  16. what a great video! Loved it (and your beer philosophy too)! Hope to see you at more marathons in the future. πŸ™‚

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