May 19, 2015

Conference Recap: Blend 2015

Adam and I spent this weekend apart, with him in Phoenix and me staying in Colorado. Fortunately, even though I missed him a lot, I was able to stay pretty busy attending the Blend Retreat. While I’ve traveled to Park City, Utah for the last two years of Blend, this year I got to stay right in my own house and just drive 15 minutes up the road to Chatauqua Park in Boulder!

To be honest, I didn’t really know how well it would work for me to stay at home instead of sharing a cabin in Chautauqua, like almost everyone else. In previous years, a lot of the bonding has happened in the rooms – in fact, three of my roommates from previous years had stayed in touch and were going to be sleeping at my house in the nights before/after Blend! For the actual retreat, I was worried that I’d feel left out if I didn’t stay with everyone else, but I just couldn’t justify spending money on a room there when my own house was so close by. However, it all turned out great! It helped that I had been to Blend before and knew people, but this year it also felt like everyone was less clique-y and more about hanging out all together šŸ™‚

On Friday, after a trail run led by Heidi (which was a hike for me due to my injury), I headed to my car to retrieve some things… and locked my keys in the trunk of my Jeep. I didn’t even understand how that was possible, since I have a keyless entry thing, but I guess the trunk locks automatically when you shut it, and the trunk was too far away from the driver door for it to pick up the keys. Luckily, I was able to borrow Julie‘s car for a quick trip home to get the spare (and I was planning to go home anyway to change for dinner), so it didn’t really mess me up much at all. But geez, I’d better be careful not to do that on a trip to the mountains!

After I got back all glammed up in a dress, it was time for the opening cocktails and dinner. The food was really outstanding this year, and I ate way more than I needed to as a result! But I was really excited that 34 Degrees crackers were one of the main sponsors (remember when I got to go check out their plant right in Louisville?), and I also really enjoyed trying Sizzlefish salmon. Believe it or not, I still have some fish in my freezer from my trip to Alaska, but I think when that runs out I may have to give Sizzlefish a try.

As for the company, I shared a table with Ericka, with whom its always great to catch up, and then several women I hadn’t yet met, including Giselle. Sometimes it amazes me how big the blog community is; it still sometimes surprises me to find so many bloggers who are really popular but that I haven’t yet encountered! I remember back when it felt like every blogger knew and read each other (which is how Adam and I met), but now the community is so huge.

I missed Ericka the last time she was in Colorado, so I was especially excited to get to see her! We’ve been blog friends for several years.

After heading home to bed on Friday morning, I got up bright and early to be back at Chatauqua at 7am for a bootcamp with Kindal. I definitely took it easy on my foot and modified a lot of things… and if I’m going to be honest, I probably modified even more than necessary. That’s one challenge I always face when injured: still pushing myself with workouts I can do. It’s just way too easy to give up on an exercise that’s hard just because it’s hard, not because it’s actually hurting you. I am really eager to return to full health so that I don’t have to constantly second guess whether something hurts or if it’s just hard!

Post-bootcamp, we had a delicious breakfast and then went for a hike on the Mesa Trail. I ate a rather absurd amount of some amazing buttermilk biscuits at breakfast (which was catered by the Chatauqua Dining Hall), and since that’s basically only a couple hundred feet from the trailhead, I think that’s going to be my new post-hike brunch indulgence whenever I hike Chatauqua šŸ™‚ Yum!

The views from the Chautauqua trails aren’t bad either… remind me why I don’t go to this trailhead more often??

After some sponsor snacktime, though, the planned activities for the day were done, and most people retired to their cabins to shower/change/relax. I made plans to meet up with a bunch of the women at Upslope Brewery later in the afternoon, and headed home myself… but once I got there, I just could not motivate to get myself up and going again! I was so tired from the bootcamp/hike combo that all I wanted to do was lie around (and maybe take a nap)… but then I was getting so mad at myself because Blend only comes once a year, and here I was wasting my time lyng around. Between the exhaustion and the self-criticism, I was not in a good mood, but I finally dragged myself up and out to meet up with my friends… and I was rewarded with their smiling faces and great conversation making me just so glad that I rallied šŸ™‚ A group of about twenty people went to dinner at Aji on Pearl Street, which was the perfect choice. I really need to go there more frequently!

The women I met up with at Upslope before we headed to dinner… what great people!

Finally, on Sunday morning, I was up extra early in order to lead some of the women on an unofficial hike before the official sponsored yoga class at 8am. However, I accidentally took the wrong trail on the hike and we ended up on a different loop than planned. While we didn’t get lost and were still back right on time, I chose to skip yoga and head out hiking again on my own to do the 2.2 mile Flatirons Loop that I hadn’t done since last year, but really enjoy.

This was why I wanted to go hiking… I love the views from here, and you can actually reach this point fairly quickly!

All in all, this was a really active weekend and I had an amazing time with a lot of new and old friends… but what stuck out to me most was how typical it actually was. The last two years, when I’ve lived in NYC and gone to Park City for Blend, I’ve been struck by how great it was to get to do so many fitness activities with friends, vs trying to fit a workout in around seeing my friends. This year, I was definitely excited to hang out with friends from previous years that I typically only see at Blend (like Megan and Kate, despite the fact that they both live in Phoenix and I’m there all the time). But as much fun as I had, when I look back on the weekend, I feel like the rest of the weekend wasn’t all that unique. I got to hang out with friends, enjoy great food and drinks, and go hiking/take bootcamp/yoga… that’s not so different from my normal weekends!

Seeing Colorado through my out-of-state friends’ eyes as they marveled at the beauty of Boulder and the mountains reminded me of just how lucky I am. I am so amazingly happy that I live in Boulder and can do hikes like the ones this weekend anytime I want, and I love that just about everyone I know in Colorado is all about getting a workout in before we go to brunch or a brewery, so it’s something I feel like we’re all in together rather than me trying to stay healthy on my own. This weekend was an amazing retreat, and I owe a huge thank you to the organizers, Lauren, Lindsay, and Janetha. But I have to say that I’m equally grateful that I’ve found a place where a “retreat” weekend isn’t too terribly far from my norm. Life shouldn’t be about living for vacations and retreats; it’s about making sure that your daily life is what you want it to be.


16 thoughts on “Conference Recap: Blend 2015”

  1. Laura I’m so glad to have met you at Blend this year! You are so sweet and personable, and I love your blog! I hope to see you again. I’m right in Denver šŸ™‚

  2. I am loving all of these Blend recaps! Your remarks on Colorado are so true – It is a gorgeous state and so easy to spend a majority of your free time outdoors being active. I can’t wait to get back (my sister currently lives in Ft. Collins) and visit. When I do, you are on my “to call” list – Hopefully that’s not super creepy, haha!

    1. Far from creepy; I would be realllllllllly upset if you didn’t call me! You (and Kyle and Dean?) are welcome to stay with me if you want to explore Boulder/Denver in addition to FoCo.

    1. Nicole, it was great to see you too! I will definitely let you know next time I’m in the city – it’s usually a few times a year for work.

    1. It was fun doing bootcamp with you! Hopefully the three of us can get together for something similar in Phoenix šŸ™‚

  3. I would have the same concerns as you if there was a big event like that in my town that I was planning on going to. But, much like you, I’d totally end up staying at home to help save the expense / have the convenience.

    that said, I can’t think of a better spot to have it than in Boulder. The amenities there are second to none for activities for everyone to do. Hopefully they keep having it there every year!

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