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,