I joined SparkPeople at the end of February 2009. The site is amazing, and I was thoroughly addicted for the entire first week. I mentioned it to my sister when I saw her over Easter, and she immediately joined too.
Then the convention was announced. I live near Pittsburgh, so I immediately ruled out such a big trip. But one night, my sister called, and said she’d like to take me to San Diego for the convention as an early birthday gift. I was FLOORED! Busybeebecca ROCKS!!
I quickly made arrangements (my husband took Friday off from work, and I found a babysitter for Monday), and my sister booked the flights and hotel. I still had a twinge of guilt for leaving my family, but I knew it’d be good for me.
Before I knew it, it was time to leave. After a tearful 3:15 am goodbye with my 7-year-old (don’t ask), I left for the airport. Even before I boarded my first flight, a wave of gratitude washed over me. I was so thankful that the only one I had to take care of was myself…for four whole days! No strollers…no whiny kids to lose in the airport…no elderly mom to push in a wheelchair. Bliss!
Several hours later, the wheels touched down in San Diego. My sis met me at the gate. We caught a taxi to our hotel, the Marriott right on the marina and connected to the convention center. It was a beautiful property. We checked in, dropped our bags, and made reservations for an AMAZING lunch at Roy’s downstairs.
While we waited for our table, we walked along the waterfront, and spotted the folks who ran the SEAL tour. We grabbed a brochure, and after we ate, we stopped back to take the 4:00 pm tour. Our “First Mate,” Tyler, was great. We learned a lot and laughed a lot. And I’ve never seen so many sea lions all in one spot before!
At 7:00 pm, we went to see Dr. Wayne Dyer speak at the Hay House I Can Do It! Conference. Very inspirational, but being on Eastern Daylight Time, I was wiped out. I was surprised I made it all the way through!
The next morning was the SparkPeople convention. I was SO excited! We started the day with the 7:00 am walk. Then we stopped back at the Marriott for breakfast (best. breakfast. EVER!) and to grab some things from our room. We headed over to the convention center.
At 9:00 am, Chris “SparkGuy” Downie took the stage, and the crowd went wild (“Can I get a ‘woo hoo’?”). He filled us in on the history of SparkPeople, and gave us an overview of the day.
The member panel was up next. It was so amazing to see the stories of people who had used SparkPeople to meet their goals. Debbie (S318830), Leah (spring4fal), Stacey (STACEY-P), Dana (zircadia) and Jocelyn (wolfkitty) were so inspiring. They were so brave to get up there and share their stories with everyone.
Busybeebecca and I hit the Gaslight District (Thanks to NCAZULL and her husband for getting a photo of us!) to grab a healthy sushi lunch at Sushi Itto, and brought it back to eat overlooking the harbor.
We missed the official SP walk and workout, but finished in time to hear the end of the staff panel discussion.
The next session was Nancy Howard, who had such great energy and was just adorable. People, I H.A.T.E. running, but Coach Nancy had me believing I could be a runner too. So much so, that the next morning on our walk, we added in a couple of jogging spurts (just so I could call myself a runner like her)!
Becky Hand’s session was so informative. You could tell she was so passionate and so full of great information that she could’ve gone all day (and I kinda wish she could’ve!). She had some great handouts, including a Perfect Plate Planner (1/2 veggies, ¼ lean protein, ¼ starchy carbs + 1 serving each fruit and dairy), my Eating Personality (Emotional, Pleasure, Relationship & Stress Eater, in that order, for me), My Eating Style (“Scratch is Where It’s At” for me, versus “Mix It, Fix It” or “Grab and Go”), and Mindful Eating.
Cheryl Richardson was next. She was supposed to talk about her new book, The Art of Extreme Self Care, but she ended up focusing on what she called “laser coaching.” Her lucky “client “ was Jocelyn (wolfkitty), who talked with Cheryl about how to handle her less-than-supportive sister-in-law. Fascinating and empowering.
By the way, I did get to read Cheryl’s book that weekend (I sent it home with my sister), and it’s perfect for the woman who is overextended and feels she’s expected to take on more than she can handle. Say, someone like me, who’s “sandwiched!”
After Cheryl’s session, Chris “SparkGuy” Downie came back to wrap things up and fill everyone in on the new book The Spark, due out December 29, 2009. It sounds so incredibly exciting. SPTAMI is working on the book, and gave us a few more details. Hopefully by January we should see SparkGuy making the rounds on the talk-show circuit. Here we come, Oprah!
Most importantly, he also challenged us to continue to Spread the Spark, becoming and staying active in our SparkTeams. I’m already becoming more active in mine. His vision includes SparkRallys on a local and regional level, spreading like grassroots wildfire, and perhaps someday even local SparkCenters.
Afterwards, we stuck around a few minutes to meet some people, and get a photo with SparkGuy.
It was a crazy busy day, but so inspirational. For a week afterwards, I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t do.