25 July 2016

the fitbloggin conference that wasn't

Sometimes, intuition sucks.

Like that time over a year ago when Trump announced his candidacy and all I could think was "Fuck. Now he's going to be in Cleveland during the convention." And all my friends were like "Nah, he'll drop out long before then."

OH REALLY? HOW'D THAT WORK OUT FOR ALL OF YOU, HUH?

And then there's FitBloggin.

Legit, this is me wanting to talk about the conference this year:


I have written and re-written this post multiple times because I don't know how to write this post. Fuck, I don't want to write this post. Every time I sit down I fluctuate between being sad and angry and worried and I don't know. Maybe I'm the outlier. Maybe I'm the only alumni who had a "needs improvement" experience. Maybe it was a self-fulling prophecy: maybe because I was hesitant going in, the not so good experience manifested on its own due to that hesitation. I don't know. But all I can do is share my experiences and let you take from it what you will.

But I'm going to start with the good stuff!

Thursday night was registration at Scottys Brewhouse where I met some of the Zephyr people -- the new company in charge of the conference -- and saw old friends and had a really good beer flight.

Blackberry what + coffee porter + blonde

Friday morning was breakfast (I'll get to that in a minute) and keynote speaker Lisa Delaney followed by a panel about influencing your community, moderated by David. (I guess originally it was supposed to be moderated by FitBloggin's own Roni but wasn't and . . . I'll also get to that in a minute).


Then I attended a fantastic session led by Brooklyn Active Mama all about becoming a consistent blogger forever that will hopefully help me become, um, a consistent blogger forever. (No, but seriously I came away with some great tips so thank you, Nellie!)


Friday afternoon I had lunch with my friends Samantha and Tracy. I saw old friends, I made new ones, and that night I had dinner with some of my favorite FitBloggin people:


Saturday morning I led my What Need For Speed? small group discussion where we discussed the highs and lows of being a back of the pack runner.

And then I came home. Yup, I left the conference a full day early. There were no Saturday afternoon sessions I wanted to attend. There was no Ignite this year. There was no evening activity at all, the conference was effectively over at, like, 5 pm Saturday night. There was no goodbye breakfast Sunday morning and because of my injury, I couldn't attend any of the fitness things so, fuck it, I'm going home. (Perk of being in a location I could drive to. The irony is, had it been in a more exciting locale that required a plane trip, more people would have attended and I would not have wanted to leave.)

This . . . this was not the FitBloggin I have come to love after attending in 2014 and 2015. Attendance was drastically down -- there were about 50 people there. Total. Partially from last minute Southwest Airline issues but lots of regular attendees didn't even register to begin with and then, in the weeks and months leading up to the conference, people were dropping out nearly every day. Some of it was people being unimpressed with the Indianapolis location but for others, it was just life taking over. New jobs, new babies, new priorities. Which, y'know, are totally understandable but also may just be indicative of the state of the community as a whole. We just have different priorities now.

It felt . . . lacking. Maybe those of us who have attended in the past have just been spoiled but it's like there was no passion or heart driving the event behind the scenes. There was no Roni. Literally. Roni, the woman who founded FitBloggin, was not in attendance and while I don't know why, I know from David that it happened sometime in the week leading up to the conference because he was tapped to moderate the panel pretty last minute.

I also know this was not communicated to the FitBloggin community. Like, what? Where they just hoping we somehow wouldn't notice Roni wasn't there? And even if she had the most reasonable, perfectly understandable excuse ever, how do you not tell the community and alumni? Because, lemme tell ya, it looked bad. I even had a first timer ask, saying "She's not here, is she?" and when we said no, this was pretty much her reaction:


That, of course, brings us to the big question: what the fuck happened?

After last year, there was a change in management, so to speak, although some of the people I spoke with this year started to see a shift in Denver last year so who knows, perhaps Zephyr signed up to steer the Titanic and didn't realize it. I believe they tried. I also know, from conversations with other people, that the location debacle was really outside of their control. They did their best. And I also know they run other conferences and maybe what their way of doing things works for those other conferences and it must be really, really challenging to come in and take over a well-established conference with a tight-knit community and try and make it work while both satisfying their needs and our needs.

But this wasn't communicated. Nothing was really communicated. In the past, everyone behind FitBloggin was always really open and honest with the community and alumni about the good and the bad and we didn't have that this year and I think that led to some mistrust which led to some rebellion which led to 50 people showing up at a hotel in Indianapolis.

Something just did not click.

And you wanna know what it was that made me realize it didn't click? The lack of bacon at breakfast.

This year, breakfast was a yogurt parfait bar.

Which I mean, I get. Breakfast was sponsored by a yogurt company, so coolio. But . . . yogurt parfait just ain't gonna do it for me on the protein front. Even fancy "protein packed" yogurt. And it wasn't even like they had big bowls of yogurt or anything. They had like those lil single serving 100 calorie cups of yogurt and then you could put toppings on it like fresh fruit and granola and almonds.

Which, y'know, is great and all but what I just described? That's a fucking snack. That's not breakfast.

Now, if that's enough for you for breakfast, more power to you. But that will not and did not cut it for me, which is why during the mid-morning break I stopped at the Starbucks in the lobby, bought a breakfast sandwich, and changed my hotel reservations.

Which brings me back to bacon.

I know, that seems kind of like a dumb thing but if you ask around the FitBloggin community, we fucking love our bacon. It is its own food group in our world. My friend Samantha told me that she made a comment to one of the Zephyr people about bacon and they were just startled by the suggestion. Bacon, they told her, was not healthy. Correction from Samantha: It was more they didn't understand the big deal. Which, in some ways, makes it worse because it's sort of missing a key part of the equation 

Well no shit bacon isn't healthy but it's tasty and delicious. As someone else said, we are a Run Your Own Race kind of crowd. We are a Progress Not Perfection kind of crowd. We are average, every day, run of the mill people all on our own paths and journeys. Not all of us are weight losers. Some of us are weight gainers. And some of us are okay with that. And, sure, there are hardcore athletes and fitness professionals within our midst, but the community as a whole runs a wide spectrum of ages, abilities, and sizes. And that's why I love this community so much.

A community that also really fucking loves bacon.


And if you don't understand why the missing bacon is problematic then maybe you don't understand us. Not really. Oh, it's easy to understand that we all use our blogs and social media to chronicle our healthy living lives and all that, but that's what we do. That's not really who we are.

I like to think they tried their best, but maybe it was all just the circumstance and things not jelling and, I dunno. Trust me, I expressed everything in my post-conference survey and I signed it with my name so they know it came from me. I didn't feel comfortable telling any of it to them over the weekend -- when one overheard I was leaving Saturday morning (my session ended at 10 am. I was on the road by 10:30) what the fuck was I supposed to say? "I'm leaving because you fucked up FitBloggin"? Yeah, that's gonna go over well.

One comment I did make in the survey was that it might be best to skip 2017 and focus on 2018 -- at least for the purposes of the location -- and to be more open with the community. We love FitBloggin, we want to support FitBloggin, but maybe it's jumped the proverbial shark. I always leave the conference excited for the next year but not this year. For one thing, I don't even know if there will be a next year and even then I don't know if they can recover from this year.

Time will tell, I guess.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

18 July 2016

mental health monday: anxiety

As I'm packing, planning, and preparing to leave for FitBloggin this week, I was thinking about the Mental Health Monday series that briefly was around after last year's conference. It seemed a rather fortuitous subject to be thinking about lately.

We had a family wedding over the weekend which involved seeing all of those out-of-town relatives I only see at, well, family weddings. (It's down to me and my cousin Sean as the last remaining unmarried cousins of our generation. I'm slightly closer to getting hitched than he is although I think of all sixteen of us first cousins, he and I are the most likely to just run off with our significant others and elope, so for all we know this was the last family wedding for awhile LOL).

Anyway.

At one point during the day, I stumbled on a conversation between some cousins related to anxiety. My cousin A. was talking about testing positive for some kind of gene mutation that is known to cause anxiety, depression, among other things, but those were the two items that piqued my interest. She's trying to get her parents and siblings to get tested because, y'know, genetics, DNA, and SCIENCE! but so far they haven't show any interest.

Later, spurred by my wanting more information, she asked me if I have anxiety and I wanted to laugh.


Oh. Oh yes, yes I have anxiety.

Six months ago I agreed to help my friend Dave out with a recurring event here in Cleveland. At the time I went in with full-faith that I'd be able to do this, but as the months went on it became apparent that this was not possible after all. I was supposed to be in charge of the September event and it's still two months away but I was becoming increasingly crippled with the anxiety surrounding the event. Like, unable to go to sleep at night because all I could think about was all the things that had to be done and that's not even considering all the things that will have to be done as we get closer and then actually running the event.

As I'm explaining all of this to my cousin, I look over and realize my mom is watching and listening to us talk.


Oh. Hi mom. Right, we have never talked about this because just the thought of talking with you about personal stuff even now at 34 makes me anxious so there's no way in hell I would have done it twenty years ago at 14 and so, instead, turned to food and now things come full circle and make way more sense than I think they ever did before and omg.


I'm not being factious with that, either. That's always the thing when you're overweight, right? There must be something in my past that caused me to eat enough to get up to 311 pounds and there must still be something in my present that caused me to regain some of the weight I originally lost several years ago.

And I could never figure out what it could be. I had a good childhood, loving parents, solid family unit, no trauma. But despite all that, I have spent my whole life feeling anxious. About something, nothing, everything . . . and when I'm feeling anxious I eat.

Well there's some food for thought. Pun intended.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

15 July 2016

One Week Until FitBloggin 2016!

Man, summer is just flying by this year. All of a sudden I wake up and holy shit we're already halfway through July. Maybe that's why it caught me off guard that my injury happened over two months ago -- I have no idea where May and June went.

Being that it's already July 15th, that means that FitBloggin 16 is one week away!

I know that a couple of weeks ago I expressed feeling a little meh about the conference this year, but now that it's so close the excitement and anticipation is starting to build. Thanks to my Passion  Planner, I've even started figuring out my schedule for conference.



And, of course, I'm leading a session on Saturday that's all about being a slow runner and offering tips and tricks, like race selection and such, so if you're going to be at FitBloggin this year be sure to come and say hello.

I also get to drive this year, which is different: in the past I've always had to fly to reach the destination so I'm looking forward to having a bit more flexibility with regard to my start and leave time. I'm also loading up my iPad with lots of audiobooks from the library to help make the drive go a bit faster.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

12 July 2016

nine weeks later.....

But, like, for real tho.

Nine weeks ago I was coming down the stairs at the new house and slipped on the bottom two steps and fell, injuring my ankle. Thinking it was sprained, I walked on it for a week only to discover eight weeks ago that, nope, it's broken lulz.

Two weeks ago I was given the go ahead to start walking, after six weeks of non-weight bearing status.

Yesterday I had another follow-up appointment. Now, at the end of my last appointment, the doctor said he'd give me something removable like a boot or an air cast. Knowing how conservative he is as a doctor, I was preparing for the boot.

So I go to the doctor and I'm sitting in the examination room, waiting for the technician or whomever to take my cast off. The practice I've been using has two locations and I've been going to Location A this whole time but because of his schedule was at Location B yesterday. Apparently all the staff switches back and forth because the woman who walked in put my first cast off and took the one off last week. She even recognized me as soon as she walked in which, well, I mean, kind of sucks because it means I've been going often enough to be recognized but it's also nice to know I'm going to a facility that recognizes patients.

Foot now free, I walk to go get x-rays which was just the weirdest thing ever. The foot is still a little swollen and the bottom of my foot is disgusting. Like, I need a legit pedicure and major exfoliation magic happening.

After x-rays, the doctor comes in.

Doctor
I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is, the x-rays are looking good. The bad news is that the fracture line is still visible.

Me

Doctor
I really want to put you in a cast again

Me

Doctor
What's the benefit of a boot besides bathing and sleeping?

Me:
Uh, nothing? Like, that's it.

Right, so, this struck me as a really odd question. Like it was a test or something and I think in some ways it was: I think he wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to say "BECAUSE I CAN TAKE IT OFF WHENEVER I WANT YAYAY!"

But apparently I passed because I walked out with a boot!


Honestly, the only thing I care about is the showering part. That's it. I'm even okay giving up free foot sleeping -- which is good, because I have to wear an air cast at night. The boot can only come off for bathing, I have to wear it the rest of the time, except when I'm sleeping which is when the air cast goes on.

Last night after work I took a shower/bath combo -- mostly bath, sitting in the tub so I wouldn't put any weight on the ankle, but I stood up for the last few minutes to rinse off but, seriously. I say this after races all the time but that literally was the best shower/bath I have ever taken.

I go back in two weeks for more x-rays and we'll see what he says after that. No physical therapy yet because he doesn't want to move the ankle more than necessary. When I asked why it was taking longer to heal, he thought it might have something to do with that first week when I was walking. I didn't do any real damage from that week -- the fracture didn't move or anything -- but as he said I was pretty "active" that week, which may just mean it's taking the fracture longer to heal.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

08 July 2016

stepping off the tilt-a-whirl

That's how my friend Terri described it, shifting from the diet mentality to ditching the diet mentality. She's right: in the past couple of days I've been feeling a little unbalanced and off-kilter as I attempt to navigate this new path I've set for myself.


It's challenging because my new focus is on Intuitive Eating, with this as my resource guide:


I've been meaning to read this book for awhile now but never got around to buying it. I think -- as the book indicates -- I had to hit diet bottom. Basically that point where I just cannot. diet. any. more. That's where I was last week, what caused this decision.

Along with this blog, I'm doing other writing related to this and it's been... illuminating, to say the least. I'm examining my past history with food through a new lens and it's rather eye-opening and not always in good ways because I'm seeing that I had adopted destructive eating patterns even when I thought I had figured out my healthy relationship with food.

That, more than anything, is going to be the really challenging part. The relationship with food. Part of eating intuitively in the beginning is making peace with food and having permission to eat. That's really, really scary because I have it so ingrained in me to put limitations on what food I consume. Even now, when I have full permission and am being encouraged to eat what I want, I still have that voice in my head saying there are certain foods I can't or shouldn't eat. Or they say because I ate X then I need to eat less at dinner to make up for it. "Honoring" my hunger and listening to my body seems like such a simple process but coming from a background of restriction, it's uncomfortable and taking me out of my comfort zone.

This part, I can already tell, is going to be a long, long process where I do a lot of mental and emotional unpacking but I think that's expected. After at least fifteen years of dieting that overlaps with twenty years of disordered eating, I can't just magically expect to suddenly have a healthy relationship with food.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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