My Fitbloggin adventure got off to a slightly grumpy start when my connecting flight was cancelled, my luggage was lost and the US Customs Sniffer Beagle rightfully busted me for attempting to smuggle a tasty salad into the country.
I'd bought the salad at Edinburgh Airport to eat on the plane but never got round to it, so I thought I'd scarf it down by the baggage carousel before I officially entered the country at passport control. But noooooo, Sniffer Beagle had to go be really good at his job and stop me destroying American agriculture!
I eventually got to Baltimore by train, amused that it took 7 hours to get all the way from Edinburgh to Newark but 10 hours to get from Newark to Baltimore. Hehe.
Think I'll need to bust out the bullet points now…
- I awoke at dawn but luckily there was a CVS and Whole Foods nearby so I could wander around jetlaggedly marvelling at American Goods. You can keep your Statues of Liberty and Yellowstone National Parks, give me your well-stocked drugstores and supermarkets. Swoon! Find of the day: Justins Peanut Butter Cups.
- I met Carla! My beloved podcasting partner in crime. I opened the hotel room door and there she stood with her Pantene hair and beautiful smile, looking exactly like her Twitter avatar. But then she started moving and talking! It took me a good fifteen minutes to get used to her having three dimensions. After that awkwardness passed we yammered for hours as if we'd known each other for the cliched all our lives!
- I met Denise! We go way back to the early 00s when we carved blog posts onto rocks with mammoth tusks. It was so good finally meet her. She generously offered to drive me to the shops to buy some workout clothes – I had enough normal clothes in my carry-on for a couple of days but no gear for the fitness activities coming up on Friday. Denise rules!
- On the way to the car park I held open the door for someone with fabulous hair and it turned out to be Carrie! Another lovely person met from my Meet Or Bust list!
- The Walmart Mini-Roadtrip was ace. It was peeing down with rain as we zoomed around Baltimore. The sky was black and lightningy, which almost made the Rapture billboards seem credible. BUT NOT QUITE.
- I scored some great workout clothes at Walmart, saw the most enormous bottle of milk ever, and learned from the checkout lady that Governer Schwarzenegger had been a cheating git (I'd been out of the news loop awhile). Thank you again Denise for a great afternoon!
- Afterwards I hid in my room for awhile to get psyched for The Room Full Of Stranger-Friends. I know I wasn't alone with the whole sneaking-back-to-your-room-to-recharge thing. It's weird you can be so delirious with anticipation to meet people yet utterly shitscared at the same time!
- But once in the fray it was all okay. The conference kicked off with a Name Tag Social, in which we decorated our name tags and mingled. It was good fun – being a conference for people who blog about fitness, you could always find something to talk about.
- Every was so friendly and real with none of the "And who are you?" dismissive glancing at your name tag that I've experienced at some events. It felt like we were all on equal footing… a really cosy, welcoming vibe.
- At one point I confess… I had a wee Fat Girl Freakout. I said to Carla, "People keep looking at my STOMACH! I know I've stacked on the weight but dude, I think I need a t-shirt that says NOT PREGNANT, JUST FAT". Carla with her usual patient wryness replied, "Are you sure they're not just trying to read your name tag?"
- By 8pm I had reached that deliciously delirious stage of jetlag where you love the world to bits. Good timing as I was lucky to wind up having a dinner with these extremely groovy folks – Carla, Charlie, Gail, Julie Julie, Kerri, Laurie, Lisa, Sean, Steve and TJ (please forgive me if I missed anyone, it was a big table!). Tasty burgers and hilarious times ahoy!
- Back to the room… roomie Jennette had arrived! And she had brought an autographed Chocolate & Vicodin book and a jar of my favourite Trader Joe's Almond Butter. What a legend
There will be another Fitbloggin installment or two but I promise to keep it lean!