I’m Headed to #FitSocial

Coming off the high from FitBloggin I couldn’t help but wonder if ALL social media/fitness conferences were just as much fun? Sure I could have waited until FitBloggin 2014 and not taken a risk, but I didn’t want to wait another year to be “in the zone” and I was especially fearful I might not be able to afford the next location! I began searching for additional conferences to attend and came upon two. BlogHer and FitSocial.

BlogHer is HUGE and probably the type of place where I would love to get lost in information and passion, and it was an easy 6 hour drive from where I live. Unfortunately, It was also the same weekend as the Burning River 100 and I knew in my heart of hearts where I belonged.

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FitSocial is an event I heard about in the past from other bloggers and it sounded like a wonderful vacation and learning opportunity. Previously it was held in June, but it was shifted to the fall this year to not interfere with FitBloggin (see they’re like sisters). I’ve always wanted to travel to Colorado too, so when I crunched the numbers and found I could make it work, I signed up before I could talk myself out of it.

What should I expect for this conference? Well, I will arrive LATE Wednesday evening (luckily my awesome roomies don’t mind). I’m arriving late because I couldn’t risk not making it to the hike on Thursday so I decided Wed would be a good arrival date/time. Sadly we are so short staffed at work I wasn’t able to get the day off and have to fly out immediately after work. Oh well, thankful to have my health and vacation time and the money to attend regardless. Thursday and Friday are both held in Boulder, Thurs will be hike day and a pay on your own social dinner. Maybe I’ll have time to explore a little on Thursday too. Friday has yoga and HIIT classes along with educational programming and then a social dinner.

Saturday and Sunday we will be traveling to Denver and working at the Anschutz Health & Wellness Center. Both days have several more educational sessions and exercise classes including Tabata Cycle, Zumba, and Barre Conditioning! Sunday the conference is over a little after noon, and my flight leaves I think between 3-4. Plenty of time to relax and get to the airport or do any last minute sight-seeing. Although I’ve learned over the years Sunday isn’t really a day when things are open and ready for the public.

When searching for the reasons why I signed up, I found their blog had a great entry on their Top 5 Reasons (plus a bonus 6th reason). Here are my own reasons:

1. I heard this is small conference about 100-200 people. The prospect of actually getting to hang out with everyone and spend quality time together seemed sweet. It may not be ideal for networking with “big names”, but I’m not in it for that at the moment.

2. The first 100 40 people who signed up were offered a free outfit from Soybu. When I signed up the page said 11 left, I emailed and asked if that was accurate and was told there were outfits still available. I will be gracious if that wasn’t the case, but man do I REALLY want one! It has been confirmed I will have one. Excellent!

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3. If you offer to write a blog before and after the event your registration was only $95. That’s a steal! Plus see reason #2, that outfit is like a $80 -$100 value so win-win!

4. I have always wanted to see Colorado and on Thursday before the main conference begins we’re going on a hike in the mountains! The latest update after the rains is that the hike is currently closed, but looking hopeful to reopen before the conference next week.

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5. A chance for learning and exercising, a chance to get away from work and “life”.

6. Since they’re offering CEC credit for ACE and ACSM peeps, I had a feeling the content has to be legit and held to some wonderful standard.

If you’ve been on the fence I would say it isn’t too late to attend! Registration is available and I know people are looking for roomies if that helps with your costs. I wish I could say more about it, but without having personal experience I don’t know what to expect.

It’ll be nice to be new at something and it’ll be nice not to have to present or liveblog. Not because those things are BAD, but it’ll be nice to just be present, to just be there and go with impulse and inclination and on my own schedule.

Tell me. What conferences do you like to attend? Have you been to FitSocial? What’s on the must-see or must-do list?

With the Touch of a Button #FFTech

Have you ever considered all the ways technology has impacted our lives? Sure there’s the simple answer of keeping in touch with friends when you or they move away or being able to call family. What about other ways unique to you or lessons learned, but not expected? I thought I’d share some of my reflections with you on this sunny Friday afternoon. In no particular order…

Social Media

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Twitter: Using Twitter has helped me develop better communication skills. How? Because limiting myself to 120-140 characters forces me to practice being concise. I look for new vocabulary words and share the most vital aspects of my thoughts. It also has taught me to be a better listener. Instead of mindless nodding while someone shares a story or scanning the page for the keywords, I need to really consider what has been put out there before responding if I don’t want to look generic and insensitive.

YouTube: For over 20 years I hated the sound of my voice and I really didn’t like the way I looked on camera. Then YouTube went and got all popular and since I enjoy giving into peer pressure I started making videos. Through trial and error I become more comfortable with myself and enjoyed being able to express things to others through sound and moving picture.

Instagram: What a fun and pleasant surprise. Learning about this application from IPhone users I didn’t see the purpose. Can’t I see pictures on Facebook or blogs or Flikr? Then it came to Android and I tried it reluctantly. Little did I know I would learn to see the world in new ways. Beaches, food, babies, anything is suddenly a new angle! I constantly challenge myself by asking “What am I not noticing about this”?

Facebook: Using Facebook for the past 10+ years has taught me to ask “How important is this”? With the ability to post all day long using my phone, it’s so easy to want to share every thought, picture, video or whatever else comes across my mind or feed. Then I realize while my feed is my own, it’s also a part of the rest of the world. Is my impact helping or harming? Solidarity through an image is amazing. Knowing what’s happening local or far away before the official news stations is beyond what I imagined growing up. Bad weather? I check Facebook before the news stations. Bad traffic? Same. Royal wedding…OK you get the picture.

Pinterest: Good lord I need a better camera and some picture taking lessons. Ha. Also I never KNEW there were so many ways to recycle, or upcycle.

Technology Tools

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Phone: Currently I am using the HTC Rezound. Previously I was using the Droid Incredible and when it came time to upgrade with Verizon I learned 3G coverage was about to go away in my area. Well, not really ‘go away’, but I was told all efforts would be put into the 4G towers, so my service may not be so great. I decided to go for a phone with 4G. I knew I needed something where I could run tons of social media and my friend had the same phone and loved it. So far it’s been awesome in performance, maybe not too great with battery life. I recently bought a little power pack guy though and that’s been a life saver at conferences or long times without an outlet.

Computer:Long ago and far away (around 2009) I decided to buy a laptop. I’ve always been a sucker for “Black Friday” sales and one fateful day I received an email about a special before the big day. One of our first computers at my house was an Acer. We NEVER had issues with this thing. It was a grey/blue thing with big holes or what was probably vents on the side. I don’t know really, but I called it “the moon rock” and I loved using it for school projects or early encounters with AOL and message boards. My laptop now is an Acer and I continue my love affair with their products. The email announced a special computer only being released to Best Buy and it was a type of hybrid between a laptop and a notebook. As luck would have it I was working a half day or a late day or something so I was able to go to my local store. Under $300 later I had my first computer. If you ask my friends I complain a lot, but for the money I spent, my baby has towed the line for 4 years! 2.2 GHz processor, 2 GB DDR2, 160 GB HDD, DVD drive and lots of ports and other goodies. It also weighs about or fewer than 5 pounds. The mouse pad stopped working within the 1st month, but I like having a USB mouse better anyway. I’ve taken it on multiple trips and my only other complaint is battery life. It runs tons of programs with ease and looks great when watching media and plays games wonderfully too.

Ideally, my next computer will have touch screen, great battery life, great processing speed and every latest and greatest feature (including being lightweight). Then I look at what that’ll cost and I get sticker shock! Yikes! So, I’ll probably just remember to buy something basic and functional from Acer when I find another good sale.

Camera: I’ve always been a Canon girl. I currently use a basic point and shoot. The PowerShot SD1200 IS. I hate it. No seriously I do. I keep wishing something would happen to it so I have an excuse to get a new camera. It takes lovely pictures outside. It takes great action shots. It takes horrible pictures of people (especially me) and it doesn’t do well with indoor lighting. I’ve tried adjusting just about every aspect possible and it still doesn’t work well. If I have to adjust so much I might as well learn a DSLR or whatever.

You may be asking, how can you be a Canon girl and hate your camera? Well, previously I had a different Canon PowerShot and it was the best camera ever. I could do the worst set up for a photo and it would come back flawlessly. I swear it was possessed with magical features. It was bulky though and hard to carry with me on the go. Also eventually something went wrong and the lens no longer extended. Not to mention it used regular batteries and that became a pain.

Any suggestions on a new Canon? Should I try a new brand?

Real Life Experiences

Last but not least I wanna reflect on times where technology has impacted me and my crazy little life.

Anxiety: When I was dealing with INTENSE anxiety and palpitations before my heart procedure I would try to take deep breaths and pulled out my phone. I would scroll through Twitter or Facebook or Instagram and I would find by zoning out into the sea of friends and their lives I could calm myself down. I felt safe and I felt connected, which grounded me.

Crisis: When I had my medical procedures done it was my phone and social media that allowed me to feel connected to my running community even when I couldn’t set foot at training. When my friend had a stroke, Facebook told me, Facebook allowed her to know the hundreds of people who cared and Facebook let me know she was safe again.

Joy: Of course social media is there for watching friends and their children, but how has it been special to me? Without Facebook I wouldn’t have kept in touch with college classmates. You know the ones you have no problems with, but aren’t actually “let’s hang out” friends. Well, thanks to one of those friends, he knew I was job searching months after graduation, he knew his previous place of internship had posted a position and he emailed it to me. Thanks to this little piece of what some people consider “insincere friendship” I have a WONDERFUL job. For this point in my life, it is my dream job, a job where just today I was reflecting on all the ways I have grown in this position and may not have at another agency.

Sure this isn’t a complete list, but it’s so interesting to reflect upon I hope to maybe do another post down the line. What ways has technology changed you. What tools do you use? Do you think it brings us together or is it isolating? Is it simply a way to move your fitness journey along or is it a part of your every day life? Do you have any questions for me?

Are You Ready for the #TryChocoMilk Challenge?

Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows I am in love with chocolate milk. I tried for their Team ReFuel in 2011 and 2012, sadly never getting enough votes to qualify. Still, it’s always fun to interact with them on Facebook or Twitter, and they always have the nicest representative at events like FitBloggin, where I can do things like run a few miles with new friends.

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So when I found out there was a way to interact with other chocolate milk fans at home, without having to make the team, I was thrilled! It also helps that I get to encourage all of you to try chocolate milk as your refueling beverage. How is that? See there is this lil 21 day challenge and it’s super fun and easy too! Most importantly it isn’t set up on a specific 21 day cycle. I could start today, you could start tomorrow, your friend can start next week. It isn’t about winning or being the best, it’s about discovering the benefits of chocolate milk as your refueling beverage and sharing your active lifestyle with others.

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Aside from flexibility, here are my tip 3 reasons I like it:

  • It’s 21 days not 30 (hey I get posting ADD ya know)
  • You get to drink chocolate milk
  • Don’t you just feel like you’re in the cool kids club when you use hashtags?

What types of pictures are we talking about though? What level of “active” does a person need to be to play along? How about sharing a shot of your favorite yoga pose? Or the new group class you’re trying? Perhaps a glamour shot? Or some time outside with the kids? All daily challenges with #TryChocoMilk (click the image for a larger version).

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Sounds like a blast, right? So please look for my posts on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and try it yourself. I’m planning to start Monday 8/12 to give people time to read this post and make their own arrangements if they want to buddy up.

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On a more technical aspect of things, what is it I love about chocolate milk? For starters (and from their website) chocolate milk is or has:

  • A natural source of high-quality protein to build lean muscle.
  • The right carb-to-protein ratio scientifically shown to refuel and rebuild exhausted muscles.
  • Vitamin A to support a healthy immune system and good vision.
  • Electrolytes including calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium to help replenish what’s lost in sweat.
  • B vitamins for energy.
  • Fluids to rehydrate.
  • Calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, protein and potassium to build and maintain strong bones and reduce the risk for stress fractures.

Not listed are additional reasons I’ve grown to love it. Such as:

  • I always have it in my home, so I don’t need to worry about special trips to stock up for a race
  • I can make it as chocolatey as I want or need for the day
  • I have dietary issues, I can’t process sports drinks, but I can process whole milk
  • I can drink it cold or warm, I can add spices too! Spicy hot cocoa anyone?
  • Try drinking chocolate milk and not smiling. It’s like a trained trait or instinct from childhood

There ya have it. What might be your reasons for loving or trying chocolate milk? Think you’ll be joining me in the #TryChocoMilk challenge?