A hug is worth a thousand comments! *

The thing about a conference like Fitbloggin’ is it makes you feel real. When you write about health and wellness, about fitness and weight loss, things get personal.

We are sharing stories about our bodies, after all, and how our legs and arms and stomachs feel about getting off the couch, carrying babies (if we have one) walking around the block with our dog (if we have one) or walking or running 5K’s or marathons (if we have to…I mean want to!)

Of course we are sharing more than that, though. We are sharing our hopes and dreams, our love and loss, our minds and spirits, and how to move from point A to B with honesty.

The fitness blogging community is tightly knit and encouraging. There’s a current of positive inspiration and no-holds barred authenticity that flows through it. When you get to meet your fellow fitness writers in person, there’s a spirit of openness and connectedness that is brilliant.

Renee Ross talks to Carla of MizFitOnline, who gets personal. As usual.

My personal journey to Fitbloggin’ has played a significant role in my life this year. I’ve been writing my blog casually since 2006. I went to the first Fitbloggin’ conference in 2010 to figure out how to take it to the next level.

A funny thing happened when I got to FitBloggin last year: I felt normal. It turns out I wasn’t the only one writing little stories about life, the universe, and exercise. I wasn’t the only one trying to figure out how to transition my writing and community building from hobby to career. I felt a bit overwhelmed, though, too. I saw the talent in the room, how hard they worked, and wondered if I’d ever make it big time.

I’ve had an interesting year with many transitions. I kept running and I kept writing to keep my mind and body from slipping into the dark places that scare me. I finally realized that looking fear in the eye is not as scary as I thought it would be. My blog has grown up a bit since last year, and I guess I have too.

So when Roni Noone, the fearless founder of Fitbloggin’ talked to me about speaking on a panel about building community, I was thrilled. At first I didn’t think my blog was big enough to qualify me as an expert, especially alongside my fellow panelists, Kate at The Daily Burn, Christy at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans, and Jacqueline of Fitarella.

Me, Kate and Christy. Jacqueline was sick, dang it!

But then I remembered feeling small last year, and how nice and encouraging everyone was, and how hard I worked to keep writing and running and trying, not crying (okay, there was a lot of crying!) to get from point A to point B.

And now, here I was, a year later, in the thick of things, taking my swimsuit with me because I’m partnering with Iron Girl to do their Sprint Triathlon next month and I had to get my swim in.

And I was schlepping the hot pink pumps from my new sponsor Oh! Shoes to show everyone, so I could make a little shoe adventure video series.

The amazing Shauna from Adventures of Diet Girl shows off my Oh Shoe!

That Roni girl is on to something, here. The FitBloggers are beyond awesome. We are a force to be reckoned with.

Oh, and if you missed yesterday’s video about people doing cartwheels and one-armed push ups at the conference, here you go!

photos marked with * via Flickr, Carrie D Photogprahy