I can’t believe Healthy Living Summit 2011 has already come to an end.
After checking into our room at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriot, Gretchen and I headed straight to El Vez for a lunch hosted by the awesome Wellsphere team. This Stephen Starr Tex Mex establishment was conveniently located on 13th street, just a few blocks from our hotel.
The shrimp enchiladas were hands down my favorite dish ordered, though the guacamole was also quite delicious!
It was wonderful getting to know the team better and spending time with some wonderful new blogger friends!
The official Healthy Living Summit festivities started Friday evening with the cocktail party. Located in Reading Terminal Market, this year’s location gave attendees a taste of a Philadelphia landmark while also allowing for more space than last year’s location. This meant that there was plenty of space for mingling, laughing, and photo booth fun! I was elated to see so many new and familiar faces alike!
After the cocktail party, Theodora and I ventured out for more food since we had 14 miles coming up bright and early. Paulie’s Pizza was a drunk girls dream even though we were both stone sober.
Five short hours later, we were up and ready for the Healthy Living Summit long run! My exhausted eyes and brain were thankful that I didn’t have to think about my long run fuel since I planned ahead with a packed sandwich thin.
For some reason, they all trusted me with directions and last minute instructions. It felt pretty amazing to be party of such a supportive group this early in the morning. Last year I was too scared to run with the large long run group but this year I was organizing it!
The first few miles of the run sped by since I was so excited to have new running friends. I chatted with a few different runners as we navigated the dark Philadelphia streets including Kelly, Meghann, Monica, Ben, and Evan.
By the end of the second mile I decided it was time to slow down and run with my normal run buddy, Theodora. Mile 3-7 flew by as we chatted with some of the other runners, enjoyed the sights, and talked about our presentation.
But, by the time we reached the turn around point we were bored, dehydrated, sweaty, and alone. The group naturally broke into different pace groups and we were smack in the middle. We continued on though, only walking 2-3 times for 30 seconds each time. I had one stomach scare after trying a new Accelerade gel, but was luckily able to keep going. Running into Evan two miles away from the hotel also helped as we were able to catch up with him and hear about his college life!
Fourteen miles and 2 hours and 26 minutes later I was thankful for a quick ice bath compliments of the hotel ice machine.
There was no time to rest and relax since the sessions started only an hour later! By 9am, I was dressed and ready for a day of networking, learning, and eating!
The morning flew by as we learned the importance of mantras from Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD and how to Write a Better Recipe, taught by Stepfanie Romine. I can’t wait to share some of the things I learned during Stepfanie’s session as it was definitely an epiphany moment for me. I apologize for all my recipe posts to date and will in fact be going in to update them based on what Stepfanie taught us.
At 11:30, Theodora, Cynthia, and I took the stage for our presentation filled with nervous butterflies but excited for this wonderful opportunity.
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The group was attentive, asked wonderful questions, and seemed to enjoy the topic!
My growling stomach was ready for the famous Healthy Living Summit lunch, always known for fresh, delicious, and wonderful food which delights both vegan and omnivores alike. I think Theodora’s photo below captures my noon time feelings perfectly: starving and exhausted.
After lunch I spent the afternoon learning a great deal from Monica and Katy. I’m going to do a few separate posts regarding the highlights from each session at HLS, but if you have the chance, go go www.spokeo.com. This is a very eye opening and scary sight showing just how much anyone can find about you and your family.
By 4pm, our table decided it was happy hour, compliments of one of Kath’s blog readers.
As you can see from the below pictures, Anne plays two roles in pictures: professional photo bomber or photogenic beauty.
Our next stop was Time, a new to me whiskey and absinthe bar at 13th and Sansom.
Katie meanwhile was far more adventurous and chose the absinthe! You’d think we were a crowd of frat boys the way we were cheering her on during her first taste of absinthe!
At 9pm, a group of us finally made our way back to El Vez, where they graciously had a table for 12 ready and waiting.
Words can’t explain the hilarity that ensued with the group over multiple margaritas and lots of laughter.
We enjoyed some wonderful sights along the way, including the Franklin Institute and Love Statue.
We posed for a quick group picture before heading over to the steps. It was wonderful such a large group came out for the morning walk as it was a great chance to catch up with familiar faces like Heather, Amelia, and Brittany.
Heather even inspired me to run back to the hotel with her so we could continue talking. The 1.8 mile sprint was exactly what my legs needed to shake out the soreness after yesterday’s run! Thanks Heather for pushing me that extra bit!
After the sweaty run, a Quaker sponsored breakfast was the perfect way to end the conference. I caught up with Kath, Sam, and others while devouring oatmeal and a delicious new yogurt.
Heather was kind enough to drive Theodora and I all the way back to the last NJ Transit station so we were able to spend quality time chatting in the car versus being cramped on the train. Spending time with them discussing the weekend just left me even more passionate about Healthy Living Summit, blogging, and the amazing friends I’ve made along the way.
If you’d like to see all my pictures from the weekend, head over to my Facebook page!
Question: If you attended HLS, what is one thing you’d like to see again or included next year? If you didn’t attend, what was the best part of your weekend?