One Very Long Day

by Meghann on August 20, 2011

After months of planning, hours of pulling my hair out, and schmoozing sponsor after sponsor ( I <3 you Quaker!), I’m proud to say the actual session portion of the conference went off without a hitch.

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Yippee! :)

BUT, I can’t even begin to tell you how long or crazy of a day it was. Insane. Absolutely insane. ;)

Mostly because my day started before 5:00am. That’s the time I agreed to meet a bunch of fabulous bloggers for a long early run. Can you believe how many smiling faces were up to run between 8 and 14 miles at 5:00am this morning.

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Told you it was insane. ;)

Ashley (our fearless leader who organized the run) gave the group the final instructions of where to go before we were off and running.

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I had to be back at the hotel by 6:30, so I hung back and did the 45 minute out and back route. As a group we ran up Market Street before running into the path that leads to the famous Kelly Drive. It was a very quiet, spooky run. I was extra happy we were in a large group and not running by our lonesomes – that would have been even more spooky and unsafe.

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On my way back I ran into the shorter 6:00am group. Turns out there were just as many crazies willing to get up at 6:00am to run as there were for the 5:00am group.

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I finished the tail end of the run with my new friend Alyssa. She’s a Philly local (Florida original) who holds a mean 9:00 minute conversational pace. We spent the last 4.5 miles covering everything from being a twin (her twin sister and her both live in Philly!) to engagements (she has a great engagement story that had me gasping for air with shock and laughter). There is nothing better than running and meeting new people. :)

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We were a little short of my 9 mile goal, but I’ll take it. :)

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I had to shower and change very quickly to head downstairs and help set up for the day. We still had morning check-in for all the stragglers who couldn’t make it yesterday afternoon.

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We also had a gorgeous breakfast display thanks to our amazing friends at Attune.

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Lots of fresh fruit, eggs, Stonyfield Yogurt, milk and Uncle Sam’s Cereal for everyone.

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We even had a special gluten-free section for all our friends with special dietary needs.

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I made a small bowl of Uncle Sam’s Cereal, fresh fruit, and blueberry Oikos (which I ate standing up and running around like a mad woman) while everyone was piling in for the day.

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I so wish I could remember the name of the blogger who gave me the mini pumpkin spice donut, but it was amazing.

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I started getting very nervous about having to speak in front of such a large crowd for the opening remarks. I decided to jot down a few notes, so I wouldn’t leave anyone. The strategy worked out perfectly – I was able to say what I needed to say and didn’t leave anyone out.

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At 9:00am I welcomed everyone to theĀ 3rd Annual Healthy Living Summit.

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I was soooo nervous, but the notes really did help. I need to remember that when I try to ‘wing it’ in the future.

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The rest of the morning flew by.

We had some fabulous sessions…

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My sister and brother were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor…

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(they worked their tails off as volunteers the past couple of days in exchange for a free ticket)

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I got to see my friends….

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(I heart Katy!)

And before I knew it – it was snack time!

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Quaker provided their new Smashbars for everyone. They’re like rice krispie treats with extra add-ins. I enjoyed the nice crunch of chocolate and pretzel in mine.

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Frito-Lay had a mini photo booth with fun props set up. Dierdre and I were craving tire sized pancakes after this.

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I started to crash around 11. The run and early wake up call were catching up to me and I needed caffeine stat! Theodora completely saved the day with an iced coffee that I downed in minutes.

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I had the pleasure of introducing Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD for both a mid-morning workshop on action mantras and for her keynote slot following lunch.

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Dawn was amazing. She wrote The Flexitarian Diet and I whole heartedly agreed with a lot of what she had to say. My favorite line was to be “pro-plant, not anti-meat.”

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We had one last round of sessions after the workshop.

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At this point I stumbled upon Katie. She was giving away homemade cookie dough balls (yum!) and offered a dark chocolate chip one to me (I later found her again for a double chocolate dough ball).

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Lunch could not have come soon enough! I was getting hungry (and snacking on one too many dough balls).

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We had a display of various salads and sandwiches for break. All of the bread was donated from the local Great Harvest – probably the best thing about the whole conference!

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All of the sandwiches were vegetarian, four of the 5 were vegan, and we had a gluten free salad station on the side for our gluten-free guests.

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I tried the grilled veggie and balsamic tofu sandwiches and the chickpea quoina salad. The sandwiches were a little dry (and lacking salt), but the bread was amazing!

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Shana shared her sun butter crunch balls for dessert.

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I had one and enjoyed the crunch from the granola and chocolate covered seeds.

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I also nabbed a bite of Evan’s brownies.

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He told me they were gluten-free, nut free, milk free,and refined sugar free, but, luckily, they weren’t taste free. :)

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Dawn spoke again after lunch and I took a cue from Sabrina to relax.

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The Quaker snack break at 3:10 was my next large obstacle.

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Quaker has been great to work with. Many thanks to Jenn for helping us through and supporting us along the way!

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The snack break had rice cakes, veggies, hummus, and…

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Naturally Nutty Nut Butters!!!

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That stuff went fast!

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Luckily, I was able to try a few flavors before they were all gone.

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We ended with giveaways and a round of applause – yay!!!

Time to get our party on!

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I met Annelies (from Attune) and my fellow Attune ambassadors (Anne P., Heather, and Monica) for Happy Hour and appetizers at Smokin Betty’s.

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The Anderson Valley appealed to me.

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I almost chugged this beer. It was needed.

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We ordered an array of apps and shared. It ended up being just enough food for everyone to classify it as dinner.

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I had been craving gelato ever since we walked by this place the first day.

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Kath, Allison (I hope I got the name right – if not I’m sorry :/) and I walked over to enjoy a small bowl.

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I had 1/2 Burnt Sugar and 1/2 Hazelnut. It was perfect.

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We joined a few other bloggers at El Vez for drinks.

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It was fabulous chatting with all the girls, but I had to call it a night. Only one more day of HLS to go!!!

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