Fitbloggin Part One: My Stressful Race to Portland

I got home today from a wonderful three days at Fitbloggin, a conference for health, wellness, and weight loss bloggers that was held in beautiful Portland, Oregon. I learned a lot, met a ton of people, and have a lot to share, including loads of pictures, so I’m going to spread it out over multiple posts. The thought of trying to sum up the past three days in one post makes my head hurt.

The trip got off to a horrible start. The plan was to get to LAX via the Van Nuys FlyAway. It’s a shuttle bus from my part of town to the airport that saves me a ton of money in parking costs. The shuttles leave at specific times, and I get to the FlyAway station with time to spare, park my car, buy a round-trip shuttle ticket ($14), and board the shuttle a few minutes before it leaves. I just happened to be rearranging items in my carry-on bag when I noticed this:

open wallet with missing driver's license and $2 bill

MY DRIVER’S LICENSE IS GONE.

Oh, crap. Where the hell is it? I’m going to need it to board the plane! I look up and the driver is welcoming the last passenger on board. So I quickly make my way to the front of the bus, explain that I need to get off, and they pull my other bag out from the cargo hold underneath. A few seconds later, the shuttle bus is gone, and I’m on the sidewalk.

I make the decision to go home, spent a minute or two looking for my license, and, if I can’t find it, grab my passport. I’m stumped as to what happened with the license: I can’t remember the last time I removed it from its slot in my wallet, and since I still had my credit cards and cash, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t theft. But there’s no time to dwell on it – I have a flight to catch! I make it home, ran around frantically looking under the couch and in pants pockets, to no avail, grab my passport, and head out again.

Now there’s no time to head back to FlyAway. The clock is ticking – I need to head straight to LAX. It’s the tail end of morning rush hour, and of course, the 405 is a traffic nightmare. I bypass part of it on surface streets, and nearly an hour later, I’m pulling into the cheapest parking lot I know. I luck out, and only have to wait a few minutes for a shuttle to the terminal. Since I printed my boarding pass the night before, I could go straight to security. It’s a close call, but I make it to the gate just as they’re announcing the final boarding call. Phew!

alaska-airlines-gate-lax

It never felt so good to sit in an airplane seat!

keep-it-up-david-garcia-airplane

The fun began in Portland minutes after I landed, when I literally ran into two friends on the train into town. Kelly blogs at curvyfitgirl.com (she’s lost about 120 pounds!) and Steve blogs at steveisgettingfit.com, and I’ve been reading those blogs and chatting with Kelly and Steve on Twitter for a couple years. But I’ve never met them in person… until I saw them on that train. Turns out meeting people I’ve followed on Twitter is going to be a recurring theme over the course of the conference!

Bloggers David Garcia and Kelly Espitia

Steve Gray David Garcia

I arrived at the hotel around 3pm, and it’s a very swanky, stylish place. It’s called The Nines, and it’s in the heart of downtown, across the street from Pioneer Courthouse, a landmark that was built in 1875. The Nines is the big white building in this shot, behind the Courthouse:

Pioneer Courthouse The Nines

My room was unbelievably comfortable!

Guest room at The Nines hotel in Portland Oregon

While I was waiting to check in, I ran into my friend Kenlie, one of two bloggers at the conference that I actually know in real life. She stayed at my place during an extended visit to LA a few years ago, and she’s even let me write a guest post on her blog, alltheweigh.com. The hotel lobby had naked mannequins all over the place, so why not take a picture with one?

Kenlie Tiggeman All The Weigh David Garcia The Nines hotel lobby

I had a few hours to kill before the Fitbloggin kickoff event, and since I had spent all day sitting in cars, planes, and trains, I thought I’d go for a run and see the city a little bit. And I loved what I saw! Portland is fantastic. People smile when you pass on the street. It’s green. It’s clean. There’s efficient public transportation. There are cobblestone streets and an interesting mix of older and modern architecture. My run took me through downtown, around the Portland State University campus, down along the riverfront, and back.

portland-oregon-skyline

portland-oregon-waterfront-skyline

skidmore-fountain-portland

I ran for 37 minutes, and went 3.65 miles.

Keep it up, David!

IN THE NEXT POST: More about the Fitbloggin conference, including two brutal workouts… and how I met some local celebrities!

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16 Responses to Fitbloggin Part One: My Stressful Race to Portland

  1. I hate it when you’re all organized & ready for your airport trip and then something knocks you off course – ugh! Glad you were able to get your passport and still make the flight.

    It was nice meeting you in Portland, especially since we’re nearly neighbors (I’m in San Diego).

  2. Patty says:

    Found your blog through the Fitbloggin twitter stream since I’m reading every recap of the weekend b/c I could not make it this year. Congrats on all the success in your journey. Look forward to reading more of your blog.

    • David says:

      Thank you, Patty, for stopping by and saying hello! You missed a good weekend but hopefully you’ll be able to attend next year. And I hope to meet you there! -David

  3. I wish you would have told me you were going to be in PDX, I live there! Would have loved to see you and have you meet my two girls. Plus we have a bitchin kiddie blow up pool in the back yard with 85 degree water! It was crazy hot over the weekend,no?
    Off to read your post!

    • David says:

      Hey Leah! It would have been great to see you and meet the family, and I’m sorry I didn’t reach out. It ended up being a crazy busy conference and I hardly had any free time to get away anyway! I want to come back, though. I love your city!

  4. Dre says:

    David, it’s great meeting you. Congrats on your success. I think you definitely had one of the top quotes of the weekend: “What other people think of me is none of my business. … Make sure to tag @KeepItUpDavid in that tweet.” Hilarious!

    • David says:

      So great to meet you too, Dre! Looking forward to checking out your blog (haven’t had a chance yet!). Honored to have made an impression, although I do feel the need to backpedal a bit and clarify that I was just sharing a quote I’ve heard RuPaul say 1000s of times! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Thank you for sharing this recap with us. I’m very excited to read Fitblogging recaps and see pictures since I couldn’t make this year, maybe the next one. Congrats on your journey it is really amazing what you’ve accomplished.

  6. So glad you made it! Meeting you is high up on my Fitbloggin Faves list. :)

  7. Matt says:

    We just visited Portland, too. And stayed right by that courthouse, as well. Loved that city. Can’t wait to hear more of your adventures.

  8. Kenlie says:

    I loved seeing you face, and I’m so so so glad you were there for Fitbloggin. I hope this is just the first of many more years of fitbloggin fun. xxoxooxo

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