First, the bloggers. I hadn't met any of the other bloggers that were attending the Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival, so I was really nervous going into it. I got the impression that all the other bloggers already knew each other, and had done this kind of thing before, so I was worried I wouldn't really fit in. But I was going because I was very interested in Runner's World, and attending the seminars, and meeting the people behind the scenes, so I kept reminding myself that it wouldn't even matter if I was the oddball ;)
The other bloggers that attended are:
Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers
Charlene from FAB Running
Matt from No Meat Athlete
Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point
Anne from fANNEtastic food
Sarah from Sarah Fit
Jason from Strength Running
Theodora from Preppy Runner
Presley from Run Pretty
Amanda from Run to the Finish
Katy from Katy Widrick
Karla from Run Karla Run
Heather from Relentless Forward Commotion
Marnie from Run Street
Sarah from Picky Runner
Larisa from Zero to Twenty-Six Point Two
Jessica from Keeping Mommy Sane
Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders
Most of the bloggers were very extroverted, so I definitely felt out of place, but I introduced myself and just went with the flow for everything. I was so excited to be there!
But speaking of being extroverted, there was one point where we had a seminar with Running Skirts. They had brought a ton of running skirts and tops with them, and then asked us to put on a "fashion show". Not for the public, but in front of a few RW people and Running Skirts reps... oh, and a video camera! I was mortified. I wanted the floor to swallow me right then and there, but I just tried to make the best of it. I basically tried to remove my brain from my body, and just go through the motions of what the other girls were doing, and go with the flow. I did my thang on the red carpet, and almost died ;) Hopefully, there will never be a photo or video of it online, haha. But by doing it, I did manage to score a $100 gift card to give away on the blog! I'll write about that when I know the details.
I think what makes this race weekend so unique is that they have seminars that are open to the public to attend. I had the pleasure of attending Bart Yasso's seminar, "My Life on the Run" yesterday. He is SO fascinating--he has a way of telling stories that just makes you want to sit and listen for hours. He's got a lot of running stories (he's traveled all over the world doing races--some seriously crazy ones!).
|After the seminar|
He had a "Jeopardy" game set up for us to play, with some funny trivia questions about his column.
|Mark Remy and his "Jeopardy" game|
After Mark's seminar, I went to a blogging seminar. Three of the bloggers (Matt, Katy, and Karla) were on a panel to talk about building up the success of a running blog. I found it very interesting, because my views on blogging differ completely from a lot of the others' views.
From there, we went straight to the pasta dinner. The dinner was open to the public as well. It was an awesome opportunity for runners to meet people like Bart Yasso, Shalane Flanagan, Sarah Reinertsen, Mark Remy, David Willey (Editor-in-Chief of RW), and others who are known to the running community. The food was fantastic--a few different pasta dishes, salad, rolls, and a cash bar.
Immediately after dinner, we went to the key note presentation, which was a talk by Sarah Reinertsen. Holy cow! She is AMAZING. She talked to us bloggers the day before just a little, but when I heard her whole story, I was floored. She is SO inspiring. And one of my favorite moments of the trip involved her, actually...
I was in my dorm room, looking out the window, when I saw Sarah and another woman wearing a prosthetic leg (I later learned that she was a victim of the Boston Marathon bombings). Sarah was teaching the other woman how to run with her new "running leg", and they were practicing in the parking lot. There weren't any cameras around, or even anyone else who was watching. It was just the two of them, in a parking lot. I knew then that Sarah was for real--she was doing it out of the goodness of her heart, and I loved that!
Speaking of which... at the kids' race, there was a girl who was running her first race, was really nervous about it, and it was clear from the beginning that she was in last place. Without missing a beat, Sarah (who was there to watch the kids' races) ran over and finished the run with the little girl, allowing her to cross the line first! Sarah has a heart of gold, and it's obvious when you see her.
I loved her key note talk. Sarah met someone who had completed an IronMan, and she wanted to do the same, so she trained for it for a VERY long time (I think she said it was 12 years). She actually got a DNF (did not finish) on her first attempt, but that didn't stop her. She eventually completed the Hawaii IronMan! I also didn't know this about her, until she talked about it, but she was on the reality show The Amazing Race. I left her presentation feeling so inspired!
I'm currently sitting at the airport writing this, trying to remember everything about the weekend. It was SO jam-packed full of stuff to do, that it's hard to remember it all! But I had such a great time, I learned a ton, I met some amazing people... and I ran 22.4 miles (which I'll write about tomorrow). This whole experience has been fantastic!