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:
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!
It never felt so good to sit in an airplane seat!
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!
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:
My room was unbelievably comfortable!
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?
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.
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!